I have a new TV show and podcast obsession for those of you into political dramas. First up, download The West Wing Weekly. The presenters include Joshua Malina, who plays Will Bailey on The West Wing, and David Rosen on Scandal run through every episode of The West Wing (basically the most iconic political drama ever made (I have the box set, a binge watching (every few years!) investment you won't regret) with analysis and interviews with the writers and actors. It's engaging, fascinating, and teaches you a lot if you're at all into television, acting, politics or creative writing. Then watch Designated Survivor. Unfortunately, it's US only at the moment (there is a reason I kept my streaming subscriptions!), but it is frankly brilliant, is obviously inspired by The West Wing and basically follows the aftermath of the Capitol being blowing up during the State of the Union, killing everyone, and the designated survivor (explained here) becoming President.
1. Cozying up in front of the fire with a bottle of Merlot and a bowl of my favourite Sausage Bolognese. It's so cold that I'm in front of it, under a blanket as I type, actually! #ad | 2. Enjoying a lovely bright and spicy plate of Sweet Potato Rosti with Roast Curried Sprouts and Red Onion, topped with a perfectly runny poached egg, from Riverford's new Vegetarian Quick meal box they were kind enough to send me to trial. God those sprouts were good (!) | 3. Fighting a winter cold with Kimchee Fried Rice and Korean Fried Chicken at Kyoto in Canterbury. | 4. Filling the house with pink roses, mainlining sweet rhubarb tea, and learning all about FODMAPS with Emma Hatcher's The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen. I don't believe in restrictive diets without a medical diagnosis, but as I live with someone who has been recommended a low FODMAP diet, I'm excited to try some recipes we can all enjoy together. | 5. Another delicious dish from Riverford's new Vegetarian Quick meal box: Lentil, Butter Bean & Kale Stew with Pumpkin Seed Pesto. | 6. More pretty doorways running errands in Deal.
- It's Chinese New Year, so here are 3 great places to try in London.
- Lucy has posted 4 great recipes for students that you can make with only a tostie maker, kettle, toaster or microwave. The most important takeaway? You can make omelets in a tostie maker!
- Yaya and Lloyd have done a great guide on where to soak up American history in London.
- Also, they've put together a really helpful list of seven unexpected (and really important) things you need to know before you book to go on safari in South Africa.
- And, they've broken down our the itinerary from our trip to the Dordogne Valley last year into the perfect guide for a 5 day getaway (you can read my posts from our trip here).
- I want to go to Australia so I can have a private picnic in a vineyard.
- Also, Olivia roadtripped the Great Ocean Road in Australia and I'm super jealous.
- Another from her trip: how to spend 48 hours in Melbourne.
- Joy has shared her favourite spots in Los Angeles' Koreatown (mine are Soot Bull Jeep for Korean barbecue, Koreatown Plaza for dumplings and the Asian supermarket, Snow LA for matcha shaved ice, and poolside at The Line Hotel to relax with a gin and watermelon juice!)
- Kristabel sits down with three really great full time bloggers (including one of my all time favourites, WishWishWish) to hear all about the ups and downs of blogging full time.
- Also, she's written a great post on how having monthly blog meetings with another blogger is beneficial to both their businesses. I wish I had someone to sit down with like this!
- And, WorkWorkWork has sat down for an in depth interview with a blogger and Instagrammer I met years ago, Camille Charriere to talk about the real ups and downs of being cyber famous.
7. Planning February on the blog. #ad | 8. Lunching on Trealy Farm Monmouthshire Spiced Air-Dried Beef with tomatoes and fresh sourdough from my Gourmet Meat Club delivery - I'll be reviewing the whole service on the blog next month. | 9. Misty January mornings at Simpson's Wine Estate, another exciting new Kentish vineyard just outside Canterbury. | 10. Playing with spices putting together my spice collection guide. | 11. Unpacking my Riverford Vegetarian Quick box - out of all the recipe boxes I've reviewed so far, Riverford always have the best quality ingredients wonderfully packed. | 12. Clearing out cupboards as we're moving house, and finding my childhood sketch books. I'd almost forgotten I used to draw before I got into photography!
- Apparently roasting pasta is now a thing. Do I even want to try this?
- Deb from Smitten Kitchen now has a Food Network web series. I went to one of her cooking demos in L.A. when her book came out, and it is as good as watching her cook in person.
- Joy has the lowdown of what to do in New Orleans this winter.
- 12 things you would not know about The White House unless you've been inside. Also, this is how they 'flip' The White House when there is a change of President. And, did you know that M&M's are the official candy of The White House. This piece tells us why.
- Carrie has created a great hand painted wooden sign DIY guide. I made these for the holiday cottages we used to run, and they do look rather lovely.
- She's also posted a really helpful post on how she dressed her bridesmaids (beautifully!)
- Lucy spent the weekend in St Ives. It looks pretty, so now I want to go!
- These are the 10 most popular computer passwords of 2016. Please don't use any of them.
- Lucky Peach have posted 17 pretty awesome instant ramen hacks.
- I have always been suspicious of those frozen avocado halves in Tescos. This Food 52 experiment where they try freezing them has confirmed my suspicions as totally founded.
- The Kitchn has a genius way of browning meat for a stew without making all that mess from spitting fat on the hop/ Aga top that I need to try asap (I hate cleaning!)
- There is a fight going on over if blue wine is legal in its native Spain or not.
- How Lennon Stella (Maddie Conrad) ended up on Nashville, almost by accident.
- Julia has put together a wonderful winter specific Paris travel guide.
What have you been enjoying this week, and what do you have planned for the weekend? For more like this, don't forget to sign up to my monthly newsletter, which hits your inboxes on the first Sunday of each month, packed full of seasonal eats, mini cookbook reviews, and other updates. Oh, and if you're curious how I'm getting on with my cooking from a blog each week New Years Resolution I wrote about here, I've added an update section (with kitchen photos!) to the newsletter, as I know some of you have been asking!