29/09/2017

Coffee: The Flower Cup - Watergate Row, Chester

Holy Guacamole - guacamole, bacon and cheese grilled sandwich - £5.50

If you've been following our blog for a while now, you'd know that we appreciate and support those cute little independent coffee shops. We feel like we hadn't been to one in a while, so we wanted to take advantage of the fact that we were in Chester.

James had been here once before and it was on my list of places to go when we next came. With arranging to have brunch with Grandma Baker we suggested to go to The Flower Cup and to our luck, she'd not been here before either, so it was a win win.

Mocha - £3

The Flower Cup is not only a cafe, it is also a flower shop. They are Chester's first and only Flower Shop Cafe, and they aim to become the biggest and best Flower Shop Cafe in the UK. With their unique location, beautiful decor, flower arrangements, Italian influenced food and drink offer, we have no doubt that this Flower Shop Cafe will go far!

The atmosphere was calming, the smell of the fresh flowers were hypnotising and the seating arrangements were intimate, but very welcoming at the same time.


It was an overall avocado morning. As the avocado lovers that we are, I, Jessica had the Holy Guacamole - a very hearty breakfast sandwich, while James and Grandma Baker ordered the avocado on toasted bloomer bread. Grandma's had poached egg and a side of sliced tomatoes, and James with hummus and pomegranate - which is not a combination that we've had before, but it worked very well together.

Each paired with a hot drink, Grandma with her pot of tea, James with his traditional latte and my sweet tooth mocha.

Avocado on toasted bloomer bread with Hummus & Pomegranate - £5.75

We are sure that we will return, we have yet to try their cakes and take some very instagramable pictures in the set up. Just look at the simple but effective decor.

If you're looking for a weekend brunch location, a shopping coffee break spot or simply taking some me time, this is the place to be.

Food: ★★★
Coffee: ★★★
Customer service: ★★★★
Atmosphere: ★★★
Toilets: ★★★

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27/09/2017

Review: Picnic Essentials*

I know what you're thinking, a picnic at the end of September? Who on Earth would do that? Well last year, we proved that having a panic doesn't always mean going to a park on a sunny day. Picnics can be done in your own garden, in your room, off peak zoo times, anywhere that tickles your fancy to be honest.

Okay, I know we called this post picnic essentials, we all know about the sandwiches, juices and apples, but we're on about the good stuff: chocolate, fizzy drinks and sweet treats!


Doisy & Dam Chocolate*

This chocolate brand is definitely the greatest alternative for healthier treat to add to your picnic. The many different ranges of flavour, many free-from choices and healthy ingredients. I, Jessica, am not the biggest fan of dark chocolate but the unique ingredients have made it all the difference.


Tenzing Natural Energy Drink*

I know what you're thinking, energy drinks are not a good idea. They're full of crap that you probably shouldn't be drinking? Well with this energy drink everything is made from natural products and practically made from only 8 ingredients and nothing more.

We actually had these when we were walking around the zoo and it was definitely needed for a booth of energy.



Nothing beats a homemade treat - and these are super easy to make and with only a few ingredients and really easy to use different alternatives to suit every need.

What are your picnic essentials?
Have we convinced you to have a picnic in September?
Let us know in the comments below.

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Disclaimer: we were sent these products in exchange for a review. But as always, all our opinions and photos are our own.
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24/09/2017

Under 30: Baked Gnocchi with Peas & Beans (v)

Makes: 4 | Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 15 mins


Returning from our travels, one of the question most people have asked is if we're sad to be back. Of course we'd rather be travelling around the world, but that costs a lot of money and nothing beats cheap and hearty home cooked dishes.

Although, we'd prefer to had a bit more sun upon arrival, we knew this only called for a proper warm hearty homely dish, potatoes and cheese? Under 30 minuets to make? Could you say no?

Healthy? Possibly, but it's definitely the most healthiest meal we've had in a while. This is actually the first tie we've created a dish with gnocchi and trust me, we'll be making a lot more dishes after this.



Ingredients:

250g gnocchi
- 75g frozen peas 
 - 100g beans
- 1 x 125g pack asparagus tips, cut into 3cm pieces
- 200g half-fat crème fraîche 
- handful fresh basil, leaves chopped
- handful fresh mint, leaves chopped
- 1/2 lemon, zested and squeezed
- 1 mozzarella ball, drained and torn
- 1 tbsp Parmesan, finely grated


Instructions:

1. Preheat the grill to high. Cook the gnocchi in a pan of boiling, salted water following the packet instructions. Drain with a slotted spoon; transfer to a baking dish. Reserve the cooking water.

2. Add the peas, beans and asparagus to the water. Bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and refresh under cold water.

3. Meanwhile, combine the crème fraîche, herbs, lemon zest and juice 
in a bowl; season.


4. Add the veg to the gnocchi, then stir in the crème fraîche mixture. Scatter over the mozzarella and hard cheese. Grill for 3-4 minutes, until bubbling and golden. Serve immediately.

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22/09/2017

Breakfast: Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

Makes: 6/8 | Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins


Throughout the year we haven't had many chances to have breakfast dishes in bed, but with recent circumstances it has opened many opportunities to create some fun dishes for each other and so we are kicking off this little segment with the fluffiest pancakes I've ever made.

I've made many pancakes in my day, but it's amazing how just a simple ingredient can change the texture of the pancakes - butter. I know we haven't create this evolution on adding the berries within the pancakes, but this was my first attempt and I'm sure we'll be experimenting with all sorts after this.


Ingredients:

200g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 medium egg
- 2tbsp honey
- 300ml milk
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- 150g fresh blueberries

Instructions:

1. Mix together the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Beat the egg with the milk, make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and whisk in the milk to make a thick smooth batter. Beat in the melted butter, and gently stir in half the blueberries.

2. Heat a teaspoon of oil or small knob of butter in a large non-stick frying pan. Drop a large tablespoonful of the batter per pancake into the pan to make pancakes. Make three or four pancakes at a time. Cook for about 3 minutes over a medium heat until small bubbles appear on the surface of each pancake, then turn and cook another 2-3 minutes until golden. Serve with golden syrup and the rest of the blueberries.

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20/09/2017

Anniversary: Sushi Samba - Heron Tower, London



Saturday 16th September 2016 marked 3 years of our relationship and of course, we just had to celebrate in style. There are many places in the world we want to eat and if you've read our post on where we would eat if we won the lottery, you'd know that Sushi Samba was on that list.



A few weeks ago, we didn't have a solid plan on what we wanted to do and due to having travelled around Europe and spent so much money, we were happy to take it easy for our anniversary. But little did I know the romantic James had booked us a table here at Sushi Samba for lunch.

Sushi Samba is located on the 38th floor of Heron Tower, which we have been to a few times before for Duck & Waffle, which is on the 40th floor. Tables get booked up here months in advance, so we were extremely lucky when we checked about 4 weeks ago when a table for 12noon popped up - we snapped that up as soon as possible! It was quiet when we first arrived, although it quickly filled up in the couple of hours we were there. We bagged a table with a fantastic view spanning the entirety of London, and could even spot where we'd be heading afterwards - we stayed in an AirBnb that night in Stratford. 


Anyone who's had it before will know that any kind of sushi doesn't come cheap, so coming to a place like this is always going to burn a considerable whole. We gave ourselves a budget of £100, and  chose accordingly. The bill ended up coming to £127, but with service charge and our inability to resist dessert, we couldn't complain and we did not regret it one bit. The meal was amazing. 

Edamame - soybean, volcanic salt, lime - £5
Salt and Pepper Squid - dry miso, shichimi, sea salt, crispy garlic, smoked soy - £13

We kicked things off with edamame and salt and pepper squid - to be honest with you whilst we enjoyed it, we felt the squid could've done with more flavour as it came across as quite bland. But thankfully, that is where the criticism ends.


Next up we shared one of the large plates - Sea Bass Tempura. The fish was beautifully tender and almost melted in the mouth, and the vegetables gave all the kicks and different textures you could hope for. The sauce contained in a pipette tube to drizzle over was pretty cool too!


Sea Bass Tempura- heritage tomatoes and beetroot seviche, aji verde, lime - £29

To follow the large plate, we chose two Samba rolls, this based on that the Samba London seemed to be their signature classic and included a lot of different varieties of fish, and the California Maki on the basis that we both love crab, but hardly ever have it. We agreed that this was our favourite out of the lot. The wasabi and Japanese mayo added great twists to the taste of each roll, although they probably didn't need it. Packed with flavour and quality ingredients, it was the best sushi we have ever had.

Samba London - crab, tuna, salmon, white fish, prawn, avocado, tempura crunch, rice cracker, Japanese pickles, wasabi mayo, aji panca, soy reduction - £16
California Maki - snow crab, cornish brown crab, cucumber, avocado, sesame, japanese mayo, truffle oil - £11

As we always do, we decided to "just have a look" at the dessert menu, but Jessica convinced us to get the assorted mochi - it was a really good choice! The restaurant knew it was our anniversary so made the special effort to congratulate us in the form of white chocolate! Each ball had a different flavour of ice cream and all were delicious. It was the perfect end to a fantastic meal.

Assorted Mochi - soft japanese rice cake filled with ice cream served with a warm white chocolate sauce - £9

Once you've had a good range of it, it's easy to tell when sushi is quality and when it's not. Having been to Sticks n Sushi a couple of times in Covent Garden, it made us very excited to see how it would compare to Sushi Samba. Their food is more or less on par, but the setting, views and experience of Sushi Samba sets it far above the rest - literally!

Check out the video below of our anniversary...

Food: ★★★★★
Customer service: ★★★★★
Atmosphere: ★★★★★
Toilets: ★★


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17/09/2017

Review: Letter Box Anniversary Cake


It's our three year anniversary and what does every celebration need... cake!!

However this years cake is a little extra special as I, James took it upon myself to get a personalised cake from bakerdaysIt got me a few extra brownie points, a small part of the cake to eat, and a fantastic anniversary. 


The way it works is if you head over to the bakerdays website, you can choose from a plethora of designs which are categorised by occasion, and then add your own details. You can include your own text, photos, cake ingredients and the size you would like your cake to be. Plus the option to have the cake gluten free means that everyone can be catered for. 

What makes bakerdays that extra bit unique is the letterbox cake option, which is the one I went for. We had the cake delivered through the letter box, safely packaged in a box and tin - which looked pretty good itself!

Of course that meant the cake was pretty small, so if you fancy something larger, then other sizes are available too. 

I opted for the classic sponge, but in hindsight would maybe have gone for another option to excite the taste buds a little, but it was all we could hope for in the fact that the sponge was soft and light, and the sponge had a nice taste too. 


If we could criticise anything, we would have liked to have seen the text and photo more defined and clear - it makes the photos look slightly blurry but they honestly weren't. Regardless, it is a literally unique cake, and nothing will ever take that fact away. 

We believe the letterbox cake is a fantastic concept, and is fitting for any loved one or friend's occasion. It certainly won't be something we'll forget and would fully recommend it to anyone!

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Disclaimer: we were sent this product in exchange for a review. But as always, all our opinions and photos are our own.
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14/09/2017

Review: Sakagura London - Mayfair, London


Heddon Street - a haven of fantastic restaurants and bars nestled behind the bustling and frantic Regent Street in Central London. It is home to Piccolino, the Ice Bar, and perhaps more interestingly, Sakagura. Here they serve up the most delicious and high quality Japanese barbecue you could hope for... or in fact they don't... you, the guests do!

With the Yakiniku Barbecue set, you can choose 3 from a list of meat, seafood and vegetables, which also includes steamed white Koshihikari Rice, Tofu and Wakame Miso Soup, and Wafa Salada, plus a choice of Ice Cream for dessert. With aprons at the ready, we cooked what was an amazing dinner!



As all good Wednesday nights go, we kicked things off with cocktails and enjoyed a glass of Furano Fields, a floral and fruity drink with both gin and brandy. It was good, but with a price tag of £15 each, we couldn't justify another.

Amongst the prawns, sausage, courgettes and mushrooms was our stand out winner of the evening - the Japanese wagyu. Perhaps expected with a massive £11 surcharge for the pleasure of having it, but the meat was succulently tender and if you're looking to treat yourself, this is definitely the way to go.



With the three selections from the barbecue set, the rice, soup and salad completed the meal and left us just enough room for a fantastic ice cream dessert, which was included in the price of the meal. Dark chocolate wasabi and soy sauce caramel had us a little skeptic, but they proved to be amazing and gave our taste buds one last tickle. 


We had a fantastic evening at Sakagura and we do imagine it to be a great meal to have with friends and family who are up for the cooking experience. Although on the pricey side even for Central London standards, the quality of the meat and vegetables is there for all to see and therefore also serves as a fantastic occasion venue. 


A massive thank you to all at Sakagura for having us along!

Food: ★★★
Customer service: ★★★★
Atmosphere: ★★★
Toilets: ★★★

Disclaimer: we were invited to the restaurant for a complimentary meal in exchange for a review. But as always, all our opinions and photos are our own.

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10/09/2017

No Bake: Banoffee Cheesecake


Before we set off on our travels, I, Jessica, had made this Banoffee Cheesecake for my mum's birthday. We posted this on twitter and a lot of you wanted to see a post on how we created this beauty. Although it may be a few month late, but it's better late than never right? Plus, anytime is the best time for any type of cheesecake!

Even if I do say so myself, this has to be my best cheesecake yet (possibly biased as banoffee is my fave) but you'll just have to see how we made it, make it and try it for yourself.


Ingredients:

- 4 x 200g soft cheese
- 300g hob nob biscuits
- 50g caster sugar
- a couple of squeezes of toffee sauce
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp butter, melted

Instructions:

1. Using a blender/food processor, break 280g of your biscuits in and blend, until you've got finer crumbs (it's okay for thicker pieces, as hob nobs are like that). Pour your biscuits into a bowl with your melted butter and combine. Now evenly mould this mixture at the bottom of your round cake tin/dish.

2. In a separate bowl, mix your cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and 2 and half mashed bananas.

3. Squeeze some toffee sauce around the tin, fill the cream cheese mixture half way and squeeze more toffee sauce on top (but not too much or else it won't set properly) fill the remaining cream cheese mixture to the top.

4. Finally top your remaining sliced bananas and the remaining broken biscuits to decorate.

5. Place into your fridge overnight, for that perfect cheesecake texture.

What's your favourite type of cheesecake? Will you be trying this one?
Let us know in the comments below.

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We have been shortlisted for the BEST FOOD BLOG for the second time in the #BloggersBlogAwards 2017, if you love what we do and truly believe we are worth your vote, please vote for us here - voting ends Sunday 10th September 2017.
Thank you to everyone who had nominated us, we are truly grateful, we hope you continue to join our in our adventures.
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07/09/2017

Review: The Alchemist - St John's Street, Chester

Jessica - Smashed Avocado & Poached Eggs with Bacon - £9.50

Rewind to last summer, and we were at the opening of Liverpool's newest bar and restaurant, The Alchemist. We were blown away by their unique cocktails and delicious menu, and have been craving to return ever since. When we found out a few months ago that they would be opening in my, James' home city of Chester, we were absolutely delighted and took the first opportunity to get down there for brunch. 

Perhaps more famous for their theatrical cocktails on Saturday nights, we were to find that 11am on a Monday morning is an equally as great time to visit, and had faultless service, food and mix of coffees and breakfast cocktails. 

Double Latte - £2.75  & Strawberry Colada - £4.50 

James - Huevos Rancheros with Chorizo - £8.00

Their breakfast and brunch menu had fantastic range, with everything from the the classic full English and eggs benedict. to more alternative options such as the amazing huevos rancheros with chorizo. Each of the dishes were fantastically presented, with all of them providing great additions to the 'yolk porn' hashtag! 

Helena - Eggs Benedict - £7.75

Remembering the splendid lunch we had last time out in Liverpool, we're pretty confident that the dinner and dessert menus are just as remarkable as the breakfast and brunch, and we can't wait to return to testify that. With restaurants also in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Leeds, The Alchemist name is quickly sweeping the UK, and it not hard to see why.

It's quirky, it's unique and perfect for any meal and occasion. 

Steve & Olivia - Full English - £10

Food: ★★★
Customer service: ★★★★★
Atmosphere: ★★★
Toilets: ★★

Disclaimer: we were invited to the restaurant for a complimentary meal in exchange for a review. But as always, all our opinions and photos are our own.



We have been shortlisted for the BEST FOOD BLOG for the second time in the #BloggersBlogAwards 2017, if you love what we do and truly believe we are worth your vote, please vote for us here - voting ends Sunday 10th September 2017.
Thank you to everyone who had nominated us, we are truly grateful, we hope you continue to join our in our adventures.
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03/09/2017

Under 30: Steak Taco Dogs

Makes: 4 | Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins


In the middle of this month the football season had begun once again. Yay for James but boo for Jessica. Don't get me wrong, it's not terrible, I can tolerate it but the only thing that keeps me going is the food. Usually when we're watching, it's in a bar or somewhere for me to have typical pub/bar food, but with this season starting at home, there was only one thing for it. Hot dogs and beer!

The joys of creating your own hot dogs at home is that anything goes, I may not have grilled onions but I do have some steak pieces and taco elements.. Can you argue with that?

These aren't paired with your typical beers either! We've paired our steak taco dogs with Asia's top beers - Bintang* which hails from Indonesia, and Pearl River* from China. These have just launched for the first time in the UK market, so make sure to get your hands n them before everyone else.


Ingredients:

- 2 tsp. oil
- 1 beef sirloin steak
- 1 tbsp. chilli powder
- 1/2 c. prepared salsa
- 4 hot dogs, grilled
- 4 hot dog buns, toasted
- shredded Cheddar, for serving
- crushed tortilla chips, for serving
- shredded lettuce, for serving

Instructions:

1. In a skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Cook the beef sirloin steak and chilli powder

2. Stir in the salsa; cook 1 minute and spoon over hot dogs in buns. Top each with 3 Tbsp. each cheddar and tortilla chips, plus shredded lettuce.

Drink responsibly: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk

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Disclaimer: we were sent the complimentary beers* in exchange for a review. But as always, all our opinions and photos are our own.


We have been shortlisted for the BEST FOOD BLOG for the second time in the #BloggersBlogAwards 2017, if you love what we do and truly believe we are worth your vote, please vote for us here - voting ends Sunday 10th September 2017.
Thank you to everyone who had nominated us, we are truly grateful, we hope you continue to join our in our adventures.
SHARE:
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