Thursday, February 21

Escape to the Country, Day 2

On Sunday morning, did I manage to snuggle in my double bed for an incredible lie in?
Stretching out under the cosy covers to wake up to the smell of sizzling bacon and sausages?
Happily skipping downstairs to the smell of one of my Mum's legendary full English breakfasts in the Aga?
Whilst my Dad happily chomps on a sausage sandwich reading the Sunday Times?

.....No. Not this time.

Instead, this morning was another quick get away. This whole weekend my brother Ben and some of his rowing team have been staying with us whilst they compete in a nearby head to head race.
Boston in Lincolnshire is only about 45 minutes away and so we jumped in the car, early doors, to go and watch my big bro pull some oars.

Father dearest and myself!

Luckily we were incredibly blessed with the weather. Crystal blue skies in February!? This must be a dream!

Ben and his crew from Exeter Uni were in the 4 man coxless race (basically it means no tiny person screaming at them in the boat!). There were a few different events throughout the day; women's 8's (with cox), men's 8's, women's 4 etc.
The boats kept on streaming down the river in a continuous flow. Unlike other races, such as Henley, this is not a head on sprint to the finish; it is all about putting in the best time possible. (Not the best for spectators, but never the less, fun to watch for a while!)

Ben and his Exeter crew, (2nd on the right); the boys came in the top group for points overall, pretty incredible if you ask me!

Of course, watching rowing does have some perks to counteract the icy cold day. The grounds were constantly buzzing and you found yourself suddenly ducking to miss being hit on the head by a boat!
... And a lot of eye candy. A girl can't complain.

Ben in his snazzy Exeter Uni Boat Committee jacket... Fancy!

Most of the big universities from across the country were there to take part. Plenty of Hunters, Lycra and oars flying all over the place!

Rowing definitely is not an easy sport. It takes them about 2 hours to organise 1 round of racing and alot of hassle after too; all that for just 1x 15 minute row!
It's certainly not for the faint hearted either, it is blooming hard work as the rowers nearly always collapse after the finish line!
Fitness to the max!

Big bro Ben and I; we finally got to have a quick catch up as its just a little bit hard when he is all the way down south!
The race was good fun for a morning out; plus the albino skin needed to soak up some well needed sun!
I'm going to try to watch Ben row at a few more events as the buzz around the rowers is infectious; fingers crossed they will even qualify for Henley!
Big well done to his team though, every so slightly proud....!

So after we said our goodbyes, it was time to head home for some well earned comfort food after standing in the frosty air all day!

Mum and I whipped up this pasta recipe in minimal time; and since I'm addicted to smoked salmon, it is one of my all time favourite dishes!

This recipe is adapted and tweaked from a Mary Berry classic...

..our creamy "Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Tagliatelle"

One batch easily serves 4, (or 3 starving people in our case!) and only takes around 20 minutes to make. Simples!

To whip this up yourselves, you will need:

- 225g smoked salmon
- 225g full/half (if your watching your thighs!) creme fraiche
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil/chives
- salt and pepper to season
- 225g asparagus tips
- 300g tagliatelle pasta
- juice of 1/2 lemon

Cut up your smoked salmon into bit sized pieces. Mix your creme fraiche with the salmon and herbs in a bowl; season it well and leave all of the lovely flavours to mingle for a while.

Meanwhile, cut up your asparagus by chopping off the 'woody' ends.  Pop the tagliatelle in a big old saucepan of salted water and boil according to the packets suggestions, (the time varies depending on your pasta choice.) Then just add your trimmed asparagus 6 minutes before your pasta is due and leave to bubble away.

Our beloved Aga. A country classic which once you have sampled its charm, feels impossible to live without! Perfect for roasting, whipping up some quick bacon on the hob or (like me..) leaning on the top as if it is a huge radiator!

Once cooked, drain off your pasta and asparagus before adding back to the pan immediately. Spoon in your creamy salmon sauce and mix well. Pop this back on the heat for a quick blast to make sure the dish is piping hot... And voila!
Dish it out in big old spoonfuls with some crusty, warmed bread or a fresh salad.
Perfect for summer or for winter! DIG IN!

Sadly though, my weekend was up. Before I knew it I was re-packing my weekend bag, ready to trundle back to the train station. I dearly needed this weekend. Leeds life is hectic; partying hard, essay deadlines and early starts. Even though I love it and can't wait to get back for a mental week ahead...(Just don't tell my parents, but...MY GOD IS IT NICE TO HAVE HOME COMFORTS!?).


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