Monday, 25 July 2016
Call me selfish, but when Darren's birthday arrives in the middle of summer, I usually book us a night away somewhere as it's something we can both enjoy. With the dog in tow, I booked a night in Rye, a tiny market on the south coast of England. We totally lucked out on the weather, which was perfect as we'd planned to take Baki to Camber Sands, a 10 minute drive away.

Rye is tiny and absolutely charming. We stayed at The Standard Inn in the middle of the Old Town and, although I gave it a slightly unfavourable TripAdvisor review (due to it being too hot, too noisy and absolutely tiny - not great value for money), it was a lovely place to spend a night. We'll just bring a fan next time!

We spent an hour or so walking around the town - in the centre there is a small strip of antique shops which are mostly overpriced, but we couldn't resist a pair of large pink and yellow teapots at £10 a pop. We spent the evening dipping in and out of different pubs and had our dinner at The Standard, who offer a bit more than your standard pub grub; I had delicious scallops with a gratinated garlic and herb crumb and Darren had the most amazing chicken pie I've ever tasted, packed full of fresh chicken. A mini break breakfast is always something I look forward to and The Standard didn't disappoint with a really great full English, yoghurt and Dorset Cereals - just a shame we had to take breakfast in shifts as the dog was a bit restless and irked at having to watch us eat. Note to self: hotel may be dog-friendly, but bringing a dog isn't always hotel-friendly! I think we will wait until he is a bit older before trying that again.


Sunday, 3 July 2016

While not groundbreaking, I have sincerely been eating this on regular rotation in recent weeks and in the spirit of sharing the (carb)load, I thought this easy recipe was worth a bit of time in the blog limelight. When I was in kindergarten I had a Swedish Vietnamese friend who's mum made spaghetti with butter and yes, it is as delicious as it sounds. This version is slightly more sophisticated, but it's the addition of a splash of pasta water that gives it silky smooth, restaurant-quality appeal. Plus, cooking time is just however long you like to cook your pasta!

Originally we were making this a few nights a ewek as we couldn't let Baki out of our sight for more than a few seconds for fear of a wee on the carpet or a dalliance on the sofa, and it was the easiest thing to whip up in a squeeze - plus, when your dog wakes you up at 5am, it's pretty hard to think of an exciting meal to make come 7pm. However, now we've found that he loves to watch us cook and will sit nicely for up to 40 minutes, willing any scraps to fall from the chopping board, so hopefully that means more recipes in Sprunting!'s future.

Serves one
At least 75g spaghetti
1tbsp butter
1tbsp olive oil
1 - 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced or minced
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Bring a pot of water to the boil with a big pinch of salt and add the spaghetti. Cook until al dente or to your liking - usually less than 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan on a very low heat and add the garlic. Stir occasionally and don't allow the garlic to burn, or it will get bitter. Just before draining the pasta, remove a small amount of the cooking water using a mug - about 50ml is enough for one person - and add this to the pan with the garlic. Drain the pasta, stir through the butter and add to the frying pan. The water should have mostly evaporated/soaked into the pasta. Serve immediately with a generous helping of sea salt and ground pepper - parmesan cheese is a nice addition, but I prefer mine without.