I’m pretty sure I sound like a broken record, I say this almost everytime I post on the good things…. but how has seven months already passed?!?!? 2015 is so far hurtling past at an alarming rate! Excitingly though Spring seems to have arrived and with it a new sense of energy and adventure – although it did snow again on Monday so I’m not totally out of winter yet, but I have seen the first signs of flowers poking out of the ground so the reappearance of snow is just a temporarily blip.
Happy St Paddy’s day!!! Over here in Indiana, St Paddy’s is a pretty big celebration, with Chicago hosting one of the worlds largest events, filled with parades, and green stuff. Notre Dame has an adopted Irish heritage, so often many Americans decide to be Irish for a little while. There have been all sorts of green paraphernalia in the shops, with green food items, green rinks, green clothes and green decorations.
Our neighbour has consistently had some kind of decoration all year around, and the green glittery shamrock has adorned their door for a little while.
Ages ago – I think before Christmas even, Kiwi and I had some time in Chicago and enjoyed walking along the Lake Shore. We also stopped in to visit the Field museum of natural history. The museum reminded me of the one in London and the Pitt Rivers/Natural history museum in Oxford- both worth visits if you are ever near by!
Last weekend Kiwi and I wrapped up warm and ventured to the west of Chicago. We had heard about free zoo days that take place in winter, January and February, and offer free admission to a huge range of zoos. One of them was the Brookfield zoo. So we thought we’d pop along. I’ve spoken before about my love for zoo’s and how I still haven’t grown out of them so I was pretty excited. We did wonder if all the animals would be hiding from the cold and that they might be fast asleep.
When we set off it was relatively warm, well in comparison to the last few weeks, it was a toasty 0 degrees! But the forecast said no more snow and even some possible sunshine for the afternoon. The drive took us along past Michigan city and through Chicago, its always fun to see the impressive skyline. Once we crossed the state border into Illinois the sky was clear, crisp and blue and it even felt warm in the sunshine.
Before the rugby game we went to a few weeks ago we once again popped into the french market in downtown Chicago to pick up a second breakfast. As well as finding some really good cheese we also were delighted at the selection of French pastries and amazing brownies. For a start croissants, especially almond stuffed croissants are always amazing. These reminded me of the little farm shop in the Village where we used to live. The ones in the market hit just the spot and are highly recommended!
This time we made it past the macaroon stand and at the same stall were some lovely treats. Brownies are also delicious and there are so many types, I haven’t yet tried a bacon brownie! but I tried a cayan pumpkin one. A distinct flavour and better than I expected – I just don’t get the pumpkin spiced thing. There were peanut brownies, and we tried a caramel pecan one. They were dense and chocolatey and oh so yummy. My next baking afternoon is likely to involve some brownies, possibly just traditional gooey ones but we will see. These were the perfect treat to keep us going for the chilly game.
SO yeah I’m a total cheese fanatic!!!!! which brings me to the best cheeses ever.
I recently saw this infographic made by an American on the greatest cheeses ever. Although I loved the sentiment, I mean who doesn’t need a graph reminding them of so many great cheeses! sadly the range of cheese was slightly lacking. Clearly Europeans are just a bit more cheesed obsessed.
On a recent trip into Chicago we stumbled on Pastoral, a magnificent cheese shop. It made me consider what my favourite cheeses are, and this is really difficult! my mind changes regularly but right now I’m loving:
1. Triple cheese cream especially Delice de Bourgogne – best cheese ever, melt in your mouth magnificent!
2. Cambozola, a rich creamy blue
3. Goats cheese – all of them
4. Snowdonia black bomber. mmmmm
5. And a Blue Monday