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Last week was another good week, it was Dean’s birthday which meant lots more eating out! February is a busy month for us with lots of celebrating, also with it being Valentine’s Day. I love February for both those reasons and Dean always laughs at me as I say it’s a short month, but it is, right?
Dean spoilt me for Valentines and totally broke our rule this year of just getting “token” presents. My token present of brown sugar cubes to go with our coffee machine looked a bit silly next to my beautiful earrings. I know I’m a lucky girl!
It’s a bit like a little coffee shop in our house at the moment, for Christmas Dean bought me a coffee machine and then for Valentine’s he got me a heart shaped stencil so we can now decorate our coffees. For his birthday I got him some flavoured syrups.
On the evening of Dean’s birthday we went to a restaurant called Cheal’s in Henley and Arden, recommended by my brother. I did a bit of research and the owner Matt Cheal used to be the head chef at Simpson’s in Birmingham, which is one of our favourite restaurants. We were both excited to try the food there.
We opted for the tasting menu as there were some really nice sounding courses on the menu and wanted to try them all. We had a lovely evening and the food was very delicious but we did find the portions were a little on the small side. I was also a little disappointed with the pudding as I felt it was a little too simple and more of a pre-dessert. Dean did have some chocolate truffles as it was his birthday which was a nice touch.
The celebrations didn’t end there. The next day we went to Hoar Cross Hall with our friends Becky and Oli to have a relaxing weekend in the spa. It was a fantastic weekend spent with great company. We came back very relaxed to begin the week with lots of new exciting things we had talked about at the spa.
So after having a week of overindulging we were ready to get back to the healthy eating and there was no better way than this homemade carrot and fennel soup. I’ve made this soup a few times before when we have had guests round but have been so busy that I hadn’t had time to take the photos. This is probably the simplest soup I have made and oh my it tastes so good!
It’s just what you need in the winter months as it’s so vibrant makes you feel even better by just looking at it!
I much prefer homemade soup these days and we’ve got quite a few on the blog now. I normally use good quality fresh stock as it’s much nicer but is a more expensive way of making your soup. This time I bought some organic chicken stock cubes to try and they worked really well. Plus they’re great to have in the cupboard when you don’t want to open a big packet of stock.
We have been eating a lot of fennel lately and I really love it. It’s great raw too and I find it has a stronger flavour that way. The seeds are much stronger too, which is why I added them to give the soup that extra punch! This soup won’t ever let you down, it tastes great and is super easy to make. When I’m trying to be good I probably wouldn’t have bread with my soup, Dean never think like that though – he’s by far the naughtiest one out of the both of us!
We had some cheese that need using up so I did us half a cheese toasty with it, I never thought carrot and cheese would be such a great match, but wow I thought it tasted yummy! Give it a go and tell me what you think!