19/11/2017

Sunday Soup: Creamy Asparagus (v)

Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 25 mins


Lately we've been feeling like we haven't been eating our best and we felt this soup would be the best quick fix. Asparagus isn't something we usually use a lot in dishes but it is a very underrated vegetable to be honest, what do you think?
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17/11/2017

Restaurant: Wild Goose Lakeside - Dodleston, Chester

Beetroot carpaccio, goat’s cheese, honey and walnuts - £4.50 

A country drive on a bright and crisp Sunday afternoon led us here - Wild Goose, on the fringes of Chester. Almost alone in 100 acres of parklands and lakes lies this gorgeous restaurant and bar, but it actually feels more like a home.

Serving local and seasonal produce, Cheshire ales, a quality wine selection and as it was Sunday, extraordinary roasts, it was the perfect location to celebrate Mum's birthday.

Prawn cocktail, toasted sour dough - £5.50 

The menu was limited, but quality shone through in every dish on the table. Starting with prawn cocktails and beetroot carpaccio, taste and presentation were first class. Portion sizes were healthy but never overwhelming to begin with, but then out came the monumental roast dinners. With chicken, beef, cod and a vegetarian option to choose from, it left us with just enough space for dessert. A special shout out to the puffy Yorkshire puds, magnificent roast potatoes and beautifully tender meat. Incredible stuff.

Half Roast chicken served with homemade bread sauce, pig in blanket, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and a selection of crisp vegetables with a rich meat gravy - £14 

Roast Sirloin of beef, served pink with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and a selection of crisp vegetables with a rich meat gravy - £15 

After eyeing up the sticky toffee pudding early doors, we waited in hope and equal expectation and are glad to confirm it did not disappoint. Afterwards we moved over to the sofas and fire place, and had to have coffees as we felt so at home we were nearly falling to sleep.

On a sunnier day it will be fantastic to return and walk the beautiful surroundings, but for now, knowing that we'll certainly returning is enough.

Sticky toffee pudding, butterscotch, salted caramel ice cream - £4.50 

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

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15/11/2017

Under 30: Goat's Cheese & Mushroom Risotto (v)

Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 5 mins


As Winter approaches us, it only means that the colder days need to be balanced with warmer heartier meals. Risotto is exactly what we all need; it's quick, simple, easy to have it however and whatever you like.
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12/11/2017

Sunday Soup: Thai Pumpkin (v)

Serves: 6 | Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins



If you're looking for something a bit thicker, filling and with a bit of a kick? This Thai pumpkin soup will satisfy all your cravings, maybe even that awkward cold you may or may not have from this very confusing weather we've been having recently.

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10/11/2017

Baking: Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Serves: 6/10 | Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 55 mins (with 2 hr fridge time)


So we all know I, Jessica, am not a stranger of making cheesecakes but all one (which we'll get into in the end) has been no bake cheesecakes, but today, this recipe is somewhat half baked, half refrigerated.

Combining some of the main ingredients of autumn: cinnamon, apples, crumble and with a sweet touch of caramel, we just knew this had to come out delicious! Perfectly paired with a hot cup of freshly brewed tea, you've got yourself what we call a Friday night ;)

So what are you waiting for? Get this in the oven and you're all set for tonight!

If you'd like to have a little giggle for old times sake, watch one of our first ever videos on YouTube making a baked cheesecake in 2015, at the end of this post.


Ingredients:

For the crust:
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

For the filling
- 110g cream cheese
- 3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tbsp divided
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored & diced
- 1/2 ground cinnamon

For the topping
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Caramel, for serving

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 180. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Make crust: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add butter and use your hands, or a pastry cutter, to cut the butter into the flour mixture until it’s crumbly and moist. Press into prepared pan and set aside.


3. Make filling: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluff. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Mix in vanilla and salt. Pour over the crust.


4. In a small bowl, toss together apples, 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

5. Make streusel topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, sugar, flour and oats, then cut in butter with a fork or pastry cutter.

6. Scatter apples on top of the cheesecake mixture, then top with oat mixture.

7. Bake until the cheesecake is only slightly jiggly in the centre for about 55 minutes. Let cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

8. Before serving, drizzle with caramel sauce and slice.

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08/11/2017

Review: Dom's Tavola Calda - Deansgate, Manchester

Tagliere misto - a selection of Italian salami, vegetables and cheese

We enjoyed the magnificent views from our train journey across the Pennine's on this bright Saturday morning, as we made our way to Manchester to visit Dom's Tavola Calda - literally translated as 'no menu.' The Deansgate restaurant provides a classic and basic Italian and Mediterranean menu, but in the most authentic way with the offering changing on a daily basis to reflect the fresh, seasonal ingredients that they source from local markets.

Their approach is rustic, and with a head chef with over 40 years of experience, you are guaranteed quality in every dish. Our experience was faultless and our waiter, Lee, took amazing care of us throughout.
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05/11/2017

Sunday Soup: Creamy Mushroom (v)

Serves: 2 | Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 15 mins



It's November, Halloween is officially over and it's time to full focus on being autumnal - the soup recipes are coming out! So each Sunday of this month, we'll be sharing our favourite recipes for this year and what better way to start than a classic creamy mushroom soup!
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03/11/2017

Review: Wine Tasting at Veeno - Northgate Street, Chester


Oh it's good to be back in Chester! This weekend we made the most of an extra night at home on the Sunday as we were invited along to Veeno, the first Italian wine cafe chain, located on Northgate Street. With a growing presence across the UK, they serve the most incredible and wide range of Sicilian wines and sputuni, as authentically as it gets. The Caruso & Minini wines we spent the evening trying came directly from their Sicilian vineyards, along with a platter of meats, cheeses and breads - all especially paired with each wine.


With a welcome Aperol spritz cocktail, we were introduced to the two whites, a rose and two reds which we would be trying, kicking things off with a Grillo, their driest of the white wines. The buffalo mozzarella went perfectly with this one, with the strong cheese taste making the dry wine much easier to drink and the flavours of both were heightened by the other. 

Sicily is the perfect location for the vineyard as the climate almost stays the same throughout the year. This means that the wine's taste is consistent, although we learnt that where about on the vineyard itself can change the taste. The grapes for the drier wines are grown at the highest point in the vineyard as it is here where there is most sunlight, and they are never watered. 


The second of the white wines was quite similar, although sweeter and with hints of spice. With Sicily being home to Mount Etna, any volcanic eruptions taking place here just makes the wine that bit more incredible. The ash mixes with the rocks and allows plants to absorb plenty of water through the roots, and it is which gives this wine its spice. 

If that's too much Science for you, then all you need to know is that it is amazing with parmesan and balsamic glaze!


Jessica loves rose wine, however this one didn't seem at all familiar or taste like ones she has had in the past. It was because at this point we learnt that there is absolutely no sugar in anyone of Veeno's wines, which is a lot more than can be said about what is stocked in UK supermarkets. Cheese and wine in the UK is a cheat day treat, but in Italy, it's an everyday thing and part of their magnificent culture. It's a little bit more acceptable when there is no sugar and the cheeses aren't full of bad fats.

But in fact Sicilians don't drink much rose wine at all, and we tried the only one of its type that Veeno stocks. The strawberry, pomegranate and cherry flavours were an absolute delight, and the smoked parma ham made it extra special.


Now on the reds, which neither of us are usually massive fans of, but we may just have been converted now. The first was a Perricone - strong, deep, and with hints of liquorish, it wasn't one which we expected to think much of, but actually Jessica said she preferred it to the rose - and that was definitely a shock!

But the strongest and most expensive wine was saved until last. At a grand £8.50 for a small glass is the reserva Gorgonzola, a red that is high in tannins and hits the back of the throat immediately. Aged for 10 months in the barrel and 6 months in the bottle, it is also the wine with the lengthiest making process. Perhaps not one we'd go back for, but it was certainly interesting to try and say we've had the widest variety of wines we could possibly hope for!


But that wasn't all, along with a dessert wine was Tirimasu - homemade with a secret recipe and for a change, no alcohol! It was the perfect way to end a fantastic evening, and we can't thank Veeno enough for having us along! Also, big shout out to our waitress Hannah, who knew every last detail about all that was in our glasses and on our plates. We had an incredible service all night.

They have cafe's up and down the UK, and you can find your nearest one on their website, along with more details about their wines and story. 

Grazie!

Food & Wine: ★★★★★
Customer service: ★★★★★
Atmosphere: ★★★
Toilets: ★★★

Disclaimer: we were invited to the restaurant for a complimentary wine tasting experience in exchange for a review. As always, all our opinions and photos are our own.

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01/11/2017

Christmas: Homemade Chocolate Christmas Loaf Cake

Cuts: 8-10 | Prep Time: 25 mins | Cook Time: 55 mins


I know what you're thinking, either yay Christmas or it's way to early to be thinking of Christmas - but no matter what you say, we are proudly going to share with you a very simple Christmas not Christmas pudding.
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