What to do in Oslo

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Oslo might be an odd destination for a summer getaway but we decided to give it a go as we’ve never been. And oh how happy I was when it was raining back in Manchester and Oslo was gorgeous. My Oslo tan is still on fleek!

Talking about good weather and outdoor activities, Eventbrite have this super cool summer project called GOMO (Going Out More Often).You can read all about it here. It’s basically trying to get people out and about and discover new outdoorsy things. Their website lets you check out events in your area and even helps you organise your own! Unfortunately I’m a bit late to the party as Pokemon Go is already doing that but I thought a guide to glorious weather Oslo would be a good idea to get people away from Netflix and Chill and encourage the good old weekend city gateways!

Without further do, let’s get into my guide to the Norwegian Capital. I’ve been thinking of what to start out with and I thought it will be appropriate to share with you the free and outdoorsy places first, followed by museums and finishing off with beautiful food and drinks.

OUT & ABOUT

I’m not the first one to say this but Oslo it is a bit on the pricey side. Do not fear! If the weather is nice, you won’t need to go anywhere near the underground or busses as there are so many places scattered around town that it will be great just to walk and explore. We stayed in Grunnerløkka ( bargain Airbnb find) which is like the Northern Quarter of Oslo and it’s quite central so I guess we were a bit lucky with that. We found so many amazing places while walking around but I’ll try to limit myself to top 5.

1. Damstredet

I fell in love with this street the first time I walked on the pebbled stones. It’s the oldest street in Olso and I won’t say anymore, but the houses look like they’ve been taken straight out of fairytales. No jokes!

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2. The Picasso Mural (Regjeringskvartalet)

It’s worth the walk down to the government quarter to see the beautiful fisherman on block Y. This was supposed to get demolished but I think it is now listed as one of Europe’s most endangered heritage sites by the heritage organisation Europa Nostra. Pretty cool.

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3. Aker Brygge

A walk to the docks is a must do and whether or not you’re feeling the shopping vibe, this area will def make you’re day better.This is where you can find the cruises around the fjords which I totally recommend on a sunny day. It’s also really close to Tjuvholmen which has some pretty cool architecture and Astrup Museum.

4.Sofienbergparken

We literally went to this park every night! We loved it so much. To be honest it was on our way home but at the same time, it was the place to be if you just wanted to have a cheap supermarket drink on the grass and a disposal bbq dinner. And there’s always good music coming from someone close to you. The best summer spot if you’re into GOMO!

5. Vigeland Sculpture Park

Last but not least, the crazy sculptures in this park will definitely make you reconsider life. Especially the column! Fairly, it is quite far away from everything else but we really enjoyed the walk. It’s also on everybody to do list of Oslo so I could not have included it as well!

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LANDMARKS & MUSEUMS

1. Oslo Opera House

You might be very surprised I haven’t mentioned the Opera House already, and I know it’s a great outdoor place to chill and people watch but I wanted to include it in the landmarks/museums list, not to mention my ‘out and about’ list was full.. I wouldn’t miss it if I were in Oslo though.

2. National Gallery

I have a thing for National Galleries, they seem to be my fav place to go, but for good reason. If you’re a fan of Munch, or not, you’ve probably heard of The Scream. Oh well, one of the versions is here, and if you can’t be asked to spend half a day in the Munch museum, this is def the place to go! When we went, it was free on Friday, but it’s probably worth checking in advance. Worth a visit either way!

 

Good old snapchat

 

3. Mortensrud Church

Okay, I lied when I said we walked everywhere, we took the train one evening to go see the Mortensrud Church. It’s only about half an hour away from Oslo city centre and I would def suggest to go if you have the time. It’s light till late in summer so just go at the end of a busy touristy day! Surrounded by nature, it feels like years away from busy Oslo and it’s absolutely stunning.


4. DogA

Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture. Vegan cafe, fabulous shop and some interesting exhibits. Give it a go if you’re in the area!

5. Asrup Fearnley Museum

Mentioned this when I talked about Aker Brygge but it reminded us a bit of Fondazione Prada in Milan so I had to put it on the list. Don’t ask me why, it was probably the exhibition. Modern Art heaven.

I was planning to have a FOOD & DRINK section but then I realised this post is way too long anyway and I would have probably lost you half way through so I will save that for next time. And when you think about it, it’s not that relevant to GOMO, although some of these places happen outside.

We really enjoyed Oslo and it was the perfect ‘go out more often’ place to go to!

Have you ever been to Oslo? Let me know all your recommendations, I loved it so much I’m already planning on going back soon so would love to know of any good new places to see!

Love, Sim x

 

 

 

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Italian evening

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Hello there! I’ve decided to indulge you with an italian treat in-between my Cuba adventure posts. Are you hungry yet? Yes me too, and you will be thirsty for some wine very very soon!

I was lucky enough to be invited to Veeno to join their wine tasting and snacking event by their lovely staff! Sounds heavenly, I know.

Now, I’ve never been wine tasting before so the whole experience was amazing. Tried 6 different types of wine, two whites, three reds and a dessert wine. Made me feel very classy indeed! Not to mention we started our night with a glass of prosecco! I was a happy bunny.

The testing menu comes with a platter full of nibbles!!!! (I always get excited when it comes to food..) Delicious Italian treats, each of them being carefully selected to go with the wine. And their olive oil is to die for! Gonna get a bottle next time I go.

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My favourite wine was definitely the Frappato & Nerello, and even though was supposed to be enjoyed with salami, I loved it just as much with the focaccia and olives. I’m not usually a red person but this wine made me change my mind. It was really smooth and easy to drink. And you can even take it home if you want!

The place is super cosy and welcoming, with an italian vibe, right in the centre of Manchester.  I’ve wanted to go for a while but I just didn’t get the chance so I was super happy when I got the invite! I have already planned my next visit!

They have a very long list of wine and prosecco, but if you can’t decide, the wine tasting menu is quite varied and affordable. I totally recommend,especially if you are, such as myself, quite new to on wine tasting boat! Such an amazing experience. And the best bit, the lovely staff is right there throughout your visit to give you the help you need to enjoy your evening!

 

 

Make sure you check their website to see what other events they have on! They’re based in Manchester, Leeds, York, Liverpool, Harrogate and Nottingham!

Let me know if you’ve ever been! Do you have any other suggestions for wine tasting in Manchester?

Love, Sim x

 

Cuba break

So this place has been really quiet for the past couple of months, sorry about that. The thing is I’ve been away to Cuba for most of that time. A whole month to be exact, and yeh Internet was something we were short of over there.

But do not worry, I have so many stories and photos to share that I am sure they will definitely be worth the long wait!

I plan on doing a ‘what to do and see in Cuba’ blog post soon so I won’t give that much away this time. I’ll just show you guys some general photos of the beautiful Caribbeans  and a bit of what I was up to while there.

I went over there with a workshop so I was working most of the time, 6 days a week to be precise, but there were always Sundays off and I also had a whole week to explore on top of that!

I went to Havana, the workshop was there so I spent most of my spare time walking around Havana Vieja trying to find good food and drink places as well as nice shops and all those sort of things.

We also went around Havana to all its suburbs, tried lots of beaches and even reached the beautiful grounds of Vinales.

I have to say, I am now a very big fun of sun in February/ March. We don’t get that much over here unfortunately.

But that’s enough of me rambling (for now)! Please enjoy these beautiful photos and make sure you come back soon!

Love, Sim x


  



Comptoir love

Ever since I have started watching Estee’s vlogs ( you can find them here in case you have been living under a rock and don’t know who she is haha) I’ve been wanting to try Comptoir. And lucky me, there’s one 5 mins away from our flat that opened a few months ago! So we decided to give it a go.

I love Lebanese food anyway, but seriously, this place is absolutely insane. I just wanted to keep eating. And their veggie menu is so diverse, I struggled to decide what to have. You can have a browse on their website if you’d like!

We shared their dip platter thingy for starter because we couldn’t decide on one dish. Seriously I just wanted to order everything on that menu. It was so hard. And look how insanely good it looks. Dreamy!

 


For drinks I went for the carrot and ginger juice, which was great but maybe a bit to gingery for my taste. Gonna try something else next time. I got the large one and it was hugeeee, I have to admit I couldn’t finish it.


For the main, the boy went for lamb tagine and I was advise by the lovely staff to have the aubergine moussaka with vermicelli rice. I’ve had moussaka before, my grandma used to make it lots and I also had it in Greece but I can’t even explain it, this one was so much better. They can’t even be compared, this one is a completely different league. The photo doesn’t do them justice, they looked 10 times better in real life.


As if we didn’t have enough already, we ended up having desert as well. Same problem occurred, had no idea which ones to choose so we went for all of them. I don’t regret a thing. They were so good I even forgot to take photos of them.

I am definitely going back again soon. It has to be one of my favourites restaurants of all time! These are big words but true nonetheless.

Do you like Lebanese food? Have you tried Comptoir?

Love, Sim x

December vibes

Hello everybody! Long time no see. WordPress is telling me that it has been two months since my last blog post… That’s scary…

Anyway, it’s December!!! It’s actually been December for a while now… I planed to get this post up first week of December but I have been so busy it just didn’t happen unfortunatelly.

It has been a very good month so far, I love Christmas so our house is always festive, there are always christmas films on and the Christmas Market is always a must at least once a week.

I’ll just quickly go through what has happened so far, I don’t want to bore you or anything!

1.Ciaran and I are advent calendar enthusiasts, we always open them together, we never miss a day, the whole experience is all very excited! I got the yankee candle pink advent calendar, it’s the spice one and  you can find it here. I know it is a bit too late but it’s on sale now and there are 25 tea lights in so why not?!

The boy got the lego star wars advent calendar. I actually got this in October because I know they sell out very quickly. You can find it here but pretty overpriced.

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2. We put our Christmas tree up ! This happened on 3rd of December I think. We got a replantable norwegian christmas tree in a pot from Tesco and I am very happy with it ! The entire flat smells lovely!

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How adorable is this?

3. As I just mentioned before, there might or might not have been several trips to the Christmas Market.. Manchester has such an amazing market, the food is so yummy and comforting, there are so many quirky and pretty things everywhere and the mulled wine is a whole other story. The french cheese stand was particularly appreciated this year. Money has been spent there.. more than once.

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4. Christmas films I have been loving.

  • The Holiday is an old time favourite, I think we’ve watched it three times since the beginning of December… Oops!
  • I don’t know about you but I love Harry Potter no matter the season, although there is something special about the festive holidays that makes us watch them even more!
  • Arthur Christmas is probably one of Ciaran’s favs but I have actually been loving it too recently. It just makes me so happy!
  • The list could go on forever but I think I am going to conclude with Home Alone. It just doesn’t get any better!

PS. You might be surprised that I haven’t mentioned Love Actually. It is probably my favourite but we haven’t watched it yet. I am saving it for Christmas Eve just make it all a bit more special!

5. Christmas do, wearing christmas jumpers, writing christmas cards and baking christmassy cupcakes. I just love Christmas so much !

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How’s your December been so far? Let me know if you have any festive suggestions!

Love, Sim x

Mini Ikea Haul


I thought I will go crazy and buy lots of stuff but apparently I had a bit of self control and didn’t end up buying the whole Ikea… okay it was more because I was on a very tight budget .. Anyway, I did get some stuff, mostly storage, very boring but I will show you nevertheless!

Ikea Haul

1.I shall start with the thing that I’m most excited about… This cloud cushion !!! which is called FJÄDERMOLN because why would you give it a normal name..Anyway, OMG just look at how cute it isssss. I really didn’t need this but hey, you never have enough cushions. Right??

2.Since I’m starting fresh with a new kitchen, I decided a few Ikea storage boxes are in order to keep my cupboards on track. So I got like 5 of these PLUGGIS things, I already had 4 so I just needed a few more to put my baking things, condiments and herbs and ALL THE GRAINS. They’re so nice, I got 4 white mint and 1 completely white.

3.Last time my parents came over, they brought lots of Ikea goodies (oh my, I just love  Ikea storage solutions), including some containers which I really liked and I decided I needed some more so I got another small one (I already have 2) and I got a super long one for spaghetti which I am overly excited about. I think they’re all called DROPPAR but they just have different sizes.

4.My mum also brought these 4 RAJTAN small containers (spice jars) last time so I decided (again) I need more so I got another set of 4. They’re quite nice for small things, I keep my pine nuts, black sesame seeds, chia seeds and flaked almonds in mine and I needed some more for coconut flakes, white sesame seeds, maybe sprinkles and who knows, I’ll decide on the spot.

5.Basically most of the things we got were kitchen storage as I said before so we ended up buying these JÄMKA containers too because they’re quite handy with flour, cereals ect and I know I’m gonna use them because I already have two haha!

Ikea Haul2

6.We also got some super cute beddings called EMMIE LAND (I can’t seem to find them online, think they’re new and on some sort of sale something not sure), I needed some pink and white beddings in my life and I just loved these ones so I got them. So yeah that’s that haha. I am really excited to put them on!

7.Going to the boring part, not that the rest of the items were incredibly exciting but yeh, that’s life. We got a DRÖNA pink box, I already have a pink one and 2 flowery ones and we needed 4 to fit in our new unit wooop wooppppp!

8.So as you can see from the previous number, we got a new unit. And omg I’m so excited about it. It’s a KALLAX, big surprise there haha. We’re gonna use it as a side cabinet in the living room and I just think it’s gonna look really nice. If we change our minds and we won’t like it anymore in the future, it can go on the hallway as we kind of need something there to replace the current foldable shelves. We’ll see about that.

9.We actually got quite a lot of things but yeh the last bits and bobs are for the wardrobe as our didn’t have anything except a KOMPLEMENT rail… and it’s a pretty big wardrobe but meh. We talked to a very nice lady in Ikea and she helped us design our wardrobe and we got another KOMPLEMENT rail, two KOMPLEMENT drawer baskets and a KOMPLEMENT shelf and I’m so happy about them! There’s so much room now!

Been really busy for the past couple of days, haven’t even finished unpacking everything yet… I mean most of it is done but I still need to decorate and go through some things and hopefully get rid of some things and yeh.. really busy so I didn’t actually get around to finish this post either. I think I started it on Monday.. Oh well, better late than ever, right?

Let me know what you think! I love reading and watching videos about other people hauls (is that even a word?) so I thought I might do one myself!

Love, Sim x

We’re moving!


Unfortunately I fell asleep last night before posting this so basically everything is delayed by one day. Just to clarify, we picked up the key on Thursday and moved the first batch of boxes and stuff last night! Very confusing I know..

The time has finally come to move flats.. again! We picked the key up yesterday and I spent all day packing the old flat up, writing inventory lists and dreaming of how the flat will end up looking.

We didn’t manage to move anything last night, even though I had a lot of boxes ready for when the boy came home from work, because the place wasn’t exactly clean. They just finished refurbishing it and the floors were dusty ect and I wanted to give it a good clean before we do anything else. Have I told you it’s a grade 2 listed building?! And it’s super new inside as they’ve been refurbishing for the past months?! The architecture geek in me is above excited.

I literally can’t wait to dive into organising the space and making it our own! Wooooop. I gave the floors a good scrub and rearranged the furniture to my liking and tonight is moving in time!

It will probably take us the whole weekend to completely move all our things but I just really want to get started.

This is how the flat looks like now, not impressive I know but it’s white and it has a lot of potential! Doesn’t it just look like a blank canvas ready to be turned into art?! And it has super tall ceilings both in the bedroom and kitchen/living room and amazing windows! And I have such high hopes for it! So keep tuned for a few interior design posts soon.






And as you do, the next thing on the list is going to ikea so I might do an Ikea Haul post in the nearer future. Who knows!

Let me know what you think of the space and if you have any interior tips/amazing interior shops suggestions!

Love, Sim x

The grainy salad -summer special


In case you haven’t already noticed, the last few recipes have been very summer focused as I have started to be pretty obsessed with this summerless summer that has been going on. (word to self: how many times can I include summer in a sentence? …summer)

The past couple of weeks have been a bit weird in terms of weather and although some days weren’t as hot as I wanted them to be, I was in a very strange summery mood. It might be because we are soon departing to the very exotic Greece for a week – yay!

Therefore, our dinners have more or less been the same… let me introduce you the grainy salad! The smoked trout recipe that I posted a couple of weeks ago has this salad going on, but it has evolved so much since then that I needed to share it with you.

Warning!!!! This is not a ‘what you’re used to’ recipe, is more of a guidance post to let you experience with your summer food super easy!

I came up with this grainy salad idea while I was thinking for a good light summery recipe for the boy. He hates salads (mental…), those salads that are just veg and they don’t really taste of anything, flavourless and sad, you get the idea. I didn’t really fancy another steaming hot meal, I know it hasn’t been hot around here but I told you I’ve been feeling incredibly summery lately. So I had to compromise: the grains in question are still warm when I add them to the rest of the veg that form the salad so it’s not too hot but it isn’t cold either.


How to and what you need:

  • Choose your BASE

Any type of lettuce, baby spinach leaves, kale, basically any greens that you fancy

  • Choose your GRAINS

You can be boring and go for brown rice or quinoa or be super adventurous and choose one of the following: Bulgar wheat, Freekeh, Buckwheat, Millet and so on! My personal favourite is the middle east Freekeh as it’s got a really delicious smokey flavour- yum!

  • Choose your VEG

If you want to go for a green grainy salad, your safest bet will be cucumbers, courgettes rocket and green pepper. But if you’re like me and like to mix and match, radishes, tomatoes and red peppers will go down a treat! Be creative, and use the veg that are in season or at your local organic shop. Corn on cob is in season at the moment so that will be an amazing addition to any salad!!!!

  • Choose your FILLING(s)

A vegan options works just great here with some grilled tofu or aubergines(yummmm) or any grilled veg for that matter, but if you’re vegetarian, please go for grilled halloumi! It makes all the difference. You can also have egg or smoked salmon or baked/grilled fish. Seriously everything. You can even go for chicken if you’re into that sort of thing haha. It’s great if you’re having a nice summer bbq in the back garden!

  • Choose your SAUCE

I recently tried Sarah’s spicy tahini sauce from her My new roots book and I have been making it over and over again with slight changes( will def blog about it seeing it’s been such an important part of my summer), but you can go for a simple lemon and maple sirup drizzle or go for chipotle. This recipe is so good because it’s open to interpretation and you can make it your own! Also a peanut sauce will be great. The boy makes a great Asian peanut sauce, promise I’ll blog about it soon.

  • Choose your TOPPING

This is starting to sound more and more like subway haha, but I promise this is the last ingredient and arguably the best one. You can top your salad with nuts( flaked almonds, crushed peanuts, pine nuts ect) seeds ( sunflower, pumpkin, chia, sesame ect) roasted or as they come or just herbs (rosemary, coriander, dill ect). I quite like to keep it simple with nutritious yeast flakes . Up to you!

Choose wisely! And let me know if you try it! #grainysalad

Love, Sim x

Quinoa and Bulgar Wheat Summer Recipe


I though I’ll share with you this perfect summer meal as it’s almost mid august and UK still hasn’t had summer. I guarantee sunshine and happiness comes with this dish. Okay maybe I am exaggerating things a little bit but every time I have this dish I think of hot summer days somewhere on a Greek Island. It’s such a light and flavoursome meal and it’s so easy to make! And it will most likely brighten up a gloomy UK summer day. How’s that for a great dinner?!

The recipe is super simple, Ciaran makes it all the time. And the best thing about it is that you can use any summer veg you like and roast them. They are all delicious! My personal favourites are vine tomatoes and peppers, which taste super delicious in summer. The boy hates tomatoes so he never has them so they are not a key element. We literally use what we have in the fridge so it’s a great meal to make just before the food shop. Last time we had it we used some asparagus we found at the bottom of the fridge and it went down a treat!

Here is what you need to serve 2( plus leftovers for lunch tomorrow!) :

  • 120g quinoa and bulgar wheat mix ( you can find it both in Tesco and Waitrose and probably some other big supermarkets but these are the ones we get ours from)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 peppers
  • handful of tomatoes
  • baby asparagus
  • any other veg you fancy ( I read somewhere radishes are great roasted, haven’t tried it but maybe it’s worth the risk?)
  • halloumi (skip if you’re vegan but it really makes this dish perfect)
  • olive oil
  • veg stock

Cook the quinoa and bulgar wheat mix following the instructions on the pack or do what we do:

Fill the pan with the quinoa then fill with water boiled from the kettle so the quinoa is covered by approximately 1-1.5 inches of water. Add a vegetable stock cube and bring up to a boil. Water will be absorbed and once the water has all been absorbed take away from the heat and its ready to serve. Make sure that you fluff the quinoa with a fork before serving. Once plated drizzle the quinoa with lemon juice and olive oil, I use just under 1 lemon for 2 people.

While that is bubbly away on your hob, cut the peppers in convenient sizes, we left us quite big and roast them. We use our small griddle (you can find it here) but I’m sure they taste equally as good if you grill them in the oven. Just make sure you turn them on both sides and sprinkle them with olive oil. And keep a constant eye on them!!!

The griddle technique is better for me as I don’t have to use any oil and I have full control of it. Do the same with the tomatoes ( roast them whole as they get mushy when cut). You can use either cherry tomatoes, plumb tomatoes or small vine tomatoes, as long as they aren’t too big.

Bulgar wheat green salad with smoked trout

I had a few posts planned for weeks but I just didn’t get around to finish them. But I just had to share this incredibly easy dinner that I made tonight and the boy absolutely loved! It’s so easy to make and super healthy and it’s a great meal for when you have people over! No one will need to know it’s so basic!

The recipe that I made serves 2 hungry hippos with a bit of extra for lunch tomorrow or 4 normal people who already had a starter!

Here’s what you need:

For fish:

  • 2 or 4 smoked fresh trout fillets (you can also use fresh trout or salmon, I’m sure it will taste great although the smokiness gives it a little extra something!)
  • 4 garlic cloves (we love garlic so if you’re not a fan, maybe use less haha)
  • rosemary (I used fresh but dry rosemary shouldn’t make much of a difference)
  • thyme (same as rosemary)
  • coriander seeds
  • oregano
  • black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 juice of a lemon

For  the salad:

  • 120g bulgar wheat ( you can use quinoa or quinoa and bulgar wheat mix as well, but follow the steps on the pack as they might need less water)
  • 600ml fresh cold water
  • half a cube veg stock (optional)
  • half a british round lettuce ( just being picky here as that’s my favourite lettuce of the lot but any lettuce works)
  • handfull kale
  • handfull rocket
  • half large cucumber ( just to give you guys a rough idea of how much cucumber I used, small cucumbers are even better)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 juice of a lemon
  • 2 splashes of maple syrup

Make sure you start with the bulgar wheat as it needs a bit of time to cool down before you mix it up with the greens.

In a pan, add 600ml cold fresh water and 120g bulgar wheat and the veg stock and bring to boil, then cover and leave to simmer for about 15 mins (until all the water is gone). In the meantime, turn on the oven at 180 degrees to warm up.

Add all the herbs and pepper in a pestle and mortar and grind. Crush the garlic (I used a garlic crusher but cutting it in small pieces should work) and mix it in a small bowl with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add the herbs and mix well. Put aside.

Sprinkle all the olive oil and herbs mix on your fish and top with lemon juice and some more rosemary and leave in the oven for 20 mins.

When the bulgar wheat is cooked, strain it and leave it to cool down about 15 mins. While you’re waiting for your fish to cook and your bulgar wheat to cool, start prepping the greens. What I do is chop everything in bite size pieces but it’s up to you! Be creative! You can use a spiralizer for the cucumber or leave the lettuce leaves intact. Add a bit of salt and mix well. By this point the bulgar wheat shouldn’t be hot anymore so add it over your greens and mix well. Don’t be afraid to use your hands! Add the lemon, some pepper and maple syrup. Mix some more. Serve in a big bowl so everyone can have as much they want!

While prepping everything, make sure you keep an eye on your fish and check regularly as you don’t want it to be overcooked. It could be ready in 15 mins, really depends how good your oven is. You can use frozen fish as well, just keep it in a bit longer.

That’s all! Super yummy food in 35 minute! Couldn’t have been easier. It’s a great summer dinner and everyone will ask for the recipe.

Let me know if you try it! Hope you guys like it as much as we did!

Love, Sim x