Retro Ice Cream

Seeing this vintage ice cream poster reminded me of the ice creams I would have back then.

Retro Ice Cream poster

My overriding memory was having the rectangular cornet. Probably because it was 5p and was one of the cheapest ice creams from the van or the fridge. I do recall thinking how nice it would be to have a round cornet with a scoop of ice cream. Of course today that is the norm.

The other thing I don’t see today very often is the choc ice.

Why no oven chips?

French fries
Image by Matthias Böckel from Pixabay

I wrote about my impressions of self-catering at Cerro Mar in Portugal in a previous blog post. 

I do like to shop at local supermarkets and buy local produce or ingredients to cook with. As self-catering can be quite limited, I do sometimes on holiday buy convenience food to cook.

One of things I did find different in Portugal was the lack of oven chips available in the local supermarkets. They did sell frozen chips, but these were for deep fat frying.

I don’t know if this is a cultural thing, having bought oven chips in France and Spain on previous holidays.

I did buy the chips, but cooked them in the oven with some oil. They were okay.

Self Catering in Cerro Mar

hotel complex

I have in previous years written about my self-catering experiences when going on holiday abroad.

Coping with self-catering in Calpe

Self-catering at La Croix Du Vieux Pont

This year we went on holiday to Albufeira in Portugal. We were staying at the Cerro Mar Garden apartments.

The self-catering kitchen in the apartment was large, spacious and well equipped.


As well as a full size oven, four ring hob, there was a large fridge freezer, a dishwasher and a washing machine. There were lots of pans, utensils and kitchen tools. The kitchen knife was nice and sharp as well. There was a good chopping board too.

What was missing though, were some baking trays for the oven. This restricted how we could use the oven. There was also no sieve or colander. We did pasta and rice, but it was a bit of a challenge in getting them drained.

There was a kettle, a toaster, and a coffee machine. Our coffee machine was leaking, but this was quickly replaced by the hotel. It was a filter machine, I would have preferred a Nespresso capsule machine or similar.

In the past on self-catering holidays it has been challenging to cut fresh bread, this time the local supermarkets had a self service bread slicing machine you could use, so I used that to slice the bread.

One of the pans had a uneven base which meant it didn’t work on the induction hob, took me a couple of goes to realise that, as I don’t normally use induction hobs.

I appreciated the big fridge we had, and the freezer section. On self-catering holidays in caravans (mobile homes) the fridge can be quite small.

Overall it was a great apartment, and the kitchen worked out really well.

Now that was different

I was at a conference in London at the Shaw Theatre. In the afternoon break we had something I have never had before at an afternoon tea break.

Usually at this time, in virtually all conferences I have been to, you can get tea, coffee, and usually a cake, or biscuits. Sometimes it is merely a packet of biscuits, other times it can be a proper slice of cake. 

At this event, yes there was cake, but they also had deep fried battered slices of courgette with a sweet chilli dipping sauce.

deep fried battered slices of courgette with a sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Now that was different!

What was it like, to be honest no idea, as I just had some coffee.


Cañoncitos de dulce de leche dipped in chocolate

I generally don’t buy cakes and pastries at the street food markets, but the cakes and pastries at the Lunita Pasteleria stall at the Finzel Reach street food market looked really good and tasty.

I decided I would have one and went for the Cañoncitos de dulce de leche dipped in chocolate.

This was a croissant style pasty filled with dulce de leche (caramel) and then dipped in chocolate.

It was rather nice, and not as sweet as I thought it might be. Certainly will look out for Lunita Pasteleria at future street food markets.

Time for a Coffee: Top Ten Blog Posts 2022

In 2022 I wrote 236 blog posts. More than 2021 when I wrote 107 blog posts, slightly less than in 220 when it was 120. In 2019 it was 58 blog posts, 2018 just 36. 

At ten was Tasty Bao Buns was a review of a meal of bao buns I had at Master Bao in January 2020.

Shiitake Mushroom Bao - teriyaki shiitake mushrooms, pickled onions and miso

Dropping five places, the ninth most viewed post  from January 2021 was about Truffled Cauliflower Cheese is no more… at M&S. It had disappeared, as I did want to get some for our Christmas lunch. Never saw it again in 2022 either.

Time for La Lola was the eighth most popular post, a review of my first visit to La Lola in St Nick’s Market in Bristol.

The seventh most popular post was about how the chain German Doner Kebab is opening in Weston-super-Mare. Well the post in January 2022 was about it opening, here we are year later in January 2023 and it still isn’t open.

Rising two places to number six was my review of Lidl Fritto Misto. Though I have bought the Lidl Fritto Misto from their Italy week quite a few times, the reality is that it’s okay, but not good. 

The fifth place spot was another on German Doner Kebab not yet open in Weston-super-Mare.

The top post from 2020 dropped six places to number seven in 2021. In 2022 it was my fourth most popular post, and it was my review of some Lidl Sol Mar Cod Croquettes

Having been the most popular blog post for both 2018 and 2017, second in 2019, and  dropping seven places in 2020, using from tenth place to third place was a post asking the question could you use Sirloin for Beef Wellington? This was a response to the high ranking of another post about using sirloin steak in a Beef Wellington rather than fillet steak due to the way people were (at the time) searching Google. 

The post at number two, sticking there, was a review of Lidl Coffee Ice Cream. They are not huge tubs, but what you get is a tasty creamy coffee ice cream, with a little chocolate in there as well.

Lidl Coffee Ice Cream

So the most popular blog post on Time for a Coffee in 2022 was German Doner Kebab still not open in Weston-super-Mare another post on the kebab chain.

Quite refreshing to see posts from 2022 being in the top ten.



We got some sweets in for Halloween, however due to the heavy rain we didn’t get many trick and treaters. So as a result we’ve had them hanging around the house for too long…

They are little bit too moreish…

Bonfire Biscuits

Take a chocolate digestive.

Add a dollop of buttercream (vanilla or chocolate). Use some Matchmakers broken up to represent the logs of the bonfire. The new(ish) honeycomb ones work well, from a flavour perspective, otherwise the mint can be overpowering. At this point you can dust with icing sugar to represent the ash.

Then using some torn up red shoelaces (the sweets, not actual shoelaces) place them around the chocolate logs to represent the flames.

Add some (fallen) mini marshmallows around the edge.

Sin Gluten

Sin Gluten

On our recent holiday to Spain visiting the local supermarket I was impressed with the quantity and types of products that were labelled “sin gluten” or gluten free.

These were mainstream or “normal” products and not products found just in the gluten fee aisle. This made self-catering gluten free so much easier.

The types of things that were labelled included pasta sauces, salami, chorizo, fish, meat and a range of other things. 

I do wish that labelling in the UK was just as clear, yes there are some (mainstream) products labelled gluten free, but normally I am there reading the ingredients list for those that contain gluten.