Let my review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire…begin!

Let’s play 2 truths and a lie.

1) I loved reading The Hunger Games trilogy

2) I despised The Hunger Games movie

3) I also despised The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie

Challenging game, huh? In case it’s not evident, the lie is #3 (if you need proof of how much I hated The Hunger Games please feel free to read the post I wrote about it). In actual fact, I looovvveeeddd Catching Fire. Perhaps it’s because I went in with low expectations due to my first Hunger Games experience (to this day I haven’t been able to get over my disappointment), but I came out of the theatre excited, stimulated, and eager to watch part II.

Catching Fire was officially released Nov 21 and that’s when I went to go see it. At 12:31am GMT Nov 21 to be exact. M and I went to see Thor the Wednesday evening (guess whose choice that was) when I noticed they were going to have a midnight screening. I have never been to a midnight screening and don’t generally care to be the first to see anything but for some reason I felt compelled to attend the one for Catching Fire. I tried to be reasonable and tell myself to just go next Wednesday and save £10 using my Orange Wednesdays 2 for 1 code but obsession started to take over reason. Here’s how my evening unfolded:

We got out of the theatre at 11:10pm after watching Thor and walked home. It was cold, windy, and raining and M and his mum had one thing in mind: warmth. I tried to push away thoughts of watching Catching Fire but it just kept on invading my brain. All I could picture was the movie times screen and seeing my two options: 12:10am and 12:31am. At this point it was too late to catch the 12:10pm show but I knew there was time to catch the second show. M was already in the process of getting ready for bed but I still had my jacket on. He looked at me and knew what was coming next. He also knew there was no way he’d be able to get me out of it and with that, he put on his jacket and out the door we went.


We left the theatre at 3:20am and I was beyond exhilarated. I haven’t read the books in over a year and that probably lent itself a helping hand in ensuring my enjoyment since I didn’t remember EVERY single detail of the novel. But whereas The Hunger Games was crammed into one 2.5 hour long movie, Catching Fire was split into two parts. This time around 2.5 hours of movie time covered half the book, which left me a happy duck since one of the main reasons I hated the first movie was lack of character and story development. My thoughts:

I felt much more connected to the characters and thought the screenplay and direction of the movie was excellent.

Woody Harrelson is phenomenal. I can’t think of a better person to play Haymitch than Woo-dawg and he was probably one of the only reasons why I would have remotely enjoyed the original film.

The costumes were fabulous. I remember being less than impressed the first time around but seriously, when Katniss’ wedding gown (gorgeous!) flamed itself into a mockingjay I was like “man…amazing…so badass…”. Even the over-the-top fashions of Effie were pretty awesome. Oscar nominations for best costumes, anyone?

“Let the 75th annual Hunger Games…begin!” Oh man, my heart was pumping and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I mean, I’m sure there’s more that could have been done in terms of detailing the games and developing the other victors a bit more but maybe that’s just me being greedy :D I understand that the movie is rated 12A but I could’ve done with a bit more gore. The book made the games out to be quite gruesome and while I was kept on the edge of my seat, I wouldn’t have minded squirming a wee ‘lil bit.

All in all…a job very well done and those on my social media platforms have already been targets of my accolades. J-Law has risen up the ranks in my books (I still have yet to see Silver Linings Playbook FYI) and I’m expecting only good things from the remaining movies. So that being said, go watch The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and…enjoy!

Hype over Catching FireHype over Catching Fire


Sunday Fun Day – It’s ROAST time!

If there’s one thing I love England for it’s for their immense devotion to providing their countrymen with a pleasurable way to end off a long and hard week. Two words. 1. Sunday 2. Roast. Of course, the reason for the long and hard week is because I’ve had to work my body to the max to burn off the million calories from that one meal. But I digress…

I’m ashamed that after living here for two years and having kept up this blog for basically the same amount of time, not a single entry has ever been devoted to one of my most favoured English gastronomic experiences. I have to specify English because let’s face it, not even the crème-de-la-crème of Sunday Roasts will ever beat out Chinese-style lobster and Peking duck.

But it’s never too late to correct an error (is it?) so I will now begin to document my Sunday Roast experiences. The good, the bad, and most especially, the OMG-THAT-WAS-SO-AMAZING-I-WISH-EVERYDAY-WAS-SUNDAY experiences.

Allium Brasserie  Abbey Hotel, North Parade, Bath BA1 1LF

Price: £££  ||  Atmosphere: 3/5  ||  Service: 5/5  ||  Would I go back? Yes, but it wouldn’t be my first pick

Allium Brasserie’s one of the more pricier Sunday Roasts I’ve come across, but with Chris Staines, bearer of a Michelin star, as head chef I can see why. I ordered my go-to dish, the traditional roast sirloin of beef. At £18.95 the roast came with the regular trimmings: Yorkshire pudding, parsnips, carrots, roasted potatoes, and a bed of greens and bacon.

Sirloin beef with all the trimmingsSirloin beef with all the trimmings

The good:

-I appreciated that the server asked if I was OK with my roast being served pink.

-We were served bread that was ACE! It was a beautiful sourdough bread that’s leaving me with a watery mouth just thinking about it even 9 hours later. Props to serving this delicious bread warm and for providing us with room temperature butter that just melted right onto the bread. We ordered another round of bread because it was so good.

-The service was quick, efficient, polite, and I never had to wait long before my empty glass of water was refilled.

-The meal itself was pretty nice. The beef was tender and juicy, although the slices were precut for me and I’d prefer to be served a chunk of meat and be given a steak knife so I can cut my own portions. That way the beef will stay warmer as well. The carrots were caramelized and pretty delicious. The roasted potatoes were piping hot and seeing as they were triple fried in duck fat, pretty tasty as well (but just three potatoes? Come on…).

The bad:

-The atmosphere and ambience of the restaurant was definitely catered towards a higher end clientele. It’s probably nice as a romantic date kind of setting, but on a Sunday afternoon I just want to have a good laugh and relax with my friends. Allium Brasserie is definitely not the place for that. We all felt we had to be on our best behaviour and had to make sure our indoor voices were in check.

-Not enough gravy. I adore gravy, and the more of it I get, the happier this girl will be. I want to be able to dunk my beef, all my vegetables, and have enough gravy left over so that my Yorkshire pudding can go for a lovely swim. The gravy supply was definitely lacking, leaving my Yorkshire pudding dry and lonely. Poor thing.

-I’m a self-confessed quantity over quality girl and while I’ll admit I didn’t really NEED to eat more at the end of my meal I would have preferred to leave the restaurant STUFFED . I mean, a Sunday Roast should leave you satisfied all day long. I just had dinner 2 hours ago. I would have preferred more of everything and would have also appreciated more vegetables, namely greens. Broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts – anything! I mean, at that price I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

-For the next point I don’t think I can hold it against Allium Brasserie because I think this particular downfall may be a remnant from last night’s dinner, but I found certain parts of my meal to be overly salty (eg. bed of greens with bacon). I’m stating I could be biased because I had a doner kebab for dinner last night, which was so loaded with sodium that I woke up today with a completely parched mouth and proceeded to drink a 1.5 litres in one take. I think my palette was a little extra sensitive to salt today, so again, can’t hold this point against Allium but I thought it’d be worth a mention.

In conclusion, not a bad experience whatsoever. It just wasn’t my ideal situation but I would recommend it to those who I know would appreciate Allium Brasserie’s qualities.

Sophisticated Stuffed Peppers

Ok, the title of this post is a little misleading but I’m a big fan of alliteration and I like to think that what I did was SLIGHTLY on the sophisticated side…you be the judge!

So, those who know me (and probably even those who don’t) know a few basic things about me:

-I like to eat

-I like good value

-I like to get a little creative (although, admittedly, procrastination and laziness have overpowered my creative side lately…creativity requires time and lots of forethought)

I made a little somethin’ somethin’ that combined the above and was fairly satisfied with the results! I present to you: Peppers stuffed with leftover quinoa salad, topped with an egg. Nom nom nom! I purposely made excess quinoa salad so I could use them for my peppers. I actually prefer it a couple days after I’ve made it because at that point the flavours have really had a chance to soak in. I LOVE how two cups of quinoa supplies you with SO MUCH FOOD. I managed to stretch out £3 of quinoa salad into two meals for two people. Not bad, eh!?

Step 1. Blanche cleaned out peppers in boiling water for one minute. I personally like using sweet peppers (yellow/orange/red) but any colour peppers will do. Just make sure you get some decently big ones so you can do some major stuffing! Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Clean out those peppers!Clean out those peppers!

Step 2. Take leftover quinoa/rice/couscous and do a quick reheat in a pan. Add some tomato sauce and grated parmesan or mozzarella to ensure your stuffed peppers are beautifully saucy and gooey.

(Just in case you’re curious, my quinoa salad consisted of halved cherry tomatoes, red onion, dill, carrots, chickpeas, zucchini, spinkled with salt and pepper)

Step 3. Fill your peppers with the leftovers, leaving a bit of space on the top for the magic ingredient…

Time to stuff these beautiesTime to stuff these beauties

Step 4. Magic ingredient time! Crack an egg into your stuffed pepper. I’ve advised you to leave space in your pepper so you don’t make the same mistake I did..I didn’t have enough room for my egg and the egg white ended up spilling over :( (Picture of red pepper not shown, I didn’t feel the need to provide evidence of my boo-boo)

Crack egg into peppersCrack egg into peppers

Step 5. Sprinkle a bit of chilli flakes and ground pepper on top then pop peppers in the oven and let bake for 10-15 minutes (20 minutes if you don’t like runny whites and would prefer the egg to be more cooked).

That’s it! I’ve made stuffed peppers before but I love the addition of the egg. Cutting the pepper and letting the egg yolk soak into the quinoa and being able to scrape the yolk with the peppers was ever so satisfying!

The final product (accompanied with smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese and alfalfa sprouts)The final product (accompanied with smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese and alfalfa sprouts)
Runny yolk, just the way I like it!Runny yolk, just the way I like it!

Bon appetit!