31/05/2018

Restaurant: Steak & Lobster - Marble Arch, London


A little like our recent post from Giraffe, this post comes to you on more of a sentimental note than anything else. Just like this time two years ago when we visited Fortnum & Mason for Afternoon Tea as a welcome meal for me in London, I was again treated by my love on the day of my arrival. After a long day packing, travelling and unpacking once more, it was the perfect way to cool off and relax.




A long long time ago we had dinner at Burger & Lobster, sister of this wonderful restaurant and fond memories came flooding back when we saw a special offer on Open Table for a three course meal with cocktail for £39 each. Considering their signature main course dishes cost £20 alone usually and given the occasion, it was a steal and it turned out to be well worth it.


Starting with Chilli Cheese Bites and Beef Tacos, our appetite was well and truly whet as both dishes gave explosions of flavour, plenty of spice and a massive compliment to the Strawberry and Rhubarb Fizz' we had to go alongside. You may have guessed what we had as main courses - the menu is simply The Steak or The Lobster. Both with unlimited fries and salad, we ordered one each and devoured both in due course.


With running this blog we'd like to think our pallets and tastes have widened and matured over the last few years, however sometimes you can't beat a simple handful of fries. They came in a never ending abundance here and that meant we became rather full before our dessert arrived. However the salted caramel cheesecake was light, dreamy and the perfect way to see us off home to prepare for our holiday the next day.


From the fantastic customer service and sophisticated decor, the freshly caught lobster and steak from Northern Island, it is clear from all aspects that this restaurant aspires and delivers on the highest quality. Our experience certainly lived up to the occasion and we fully recommend it to those looking to celebrate in style.

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

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24/05/2018

Under 30: Cheater's Easy Homemade Pizza

Makes: 4 | Prep Time: 12 mins | Cook Time: 8 mins

You know when you have those lazy days and you simply want to order take away and if it's not Chinese, it's obviously pizza! But let's be honest, those take aways can add up and who on Earth wants to wait 40 mins for it to arrive when you can make a cheat cheat easy peasy pizza at home with  as little or as many ingredients as you'd like.

Using tortillas as the base is genius, even if I do say so myself! Simply life changing and making this cheat pizza is so easy, you just can't go back!



Ingredients:

- 4 tortillas
- 20g tomato purée
- 2 x 125g pack mozzarella, drained and sliced
- a range of Woodall's charcuterie*

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the tortillas on 2 large baking sheets and spread with the tomato purée.


2. Arrange the mozzarella slices and charcuterie on top of the tortilla. Bake in the oven for
 6-8 mins, until the cheese has melted and the edges of the tortillas are golden.


3. Remove the pizzas from the oven. Serve immediately. 

Disclaimer: we were sent (*) product in exchange for a review. But as always, all our opinions and photos are our own.

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17/05/2018

Restaurant: Giraffe - Meadowhall, Sheffield


I know what you're thinking, this restaurant is not exactly something new or somewhere we haven't been before, but this is a special kind of post, it'll be about the food of course but also about the meaning behind why we visited this restaurant once again.

Giraffe prides themselves on discovering the best dates, favours and recipes, and sharing them with us under one roof. After all, the first time we visited, this is not what we ordered the first time.

Halloumi and Feta Pide - Baby spinach, halloumi, creamy feta and charred Turkish peppers on a baba ganoush base. Topped with yoghurt.


The reason why we re-visited Giraffe, specifically in Meadowhall in Sheffield is because this was actually the first restaurant James and I went to in Sheffield together, and in commemoration of the first time, we knew it would only be right to eat there for the last time on the last weekend of my trip there for the final time.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, where have you been? We will be explaining more on a future post soon.

Nonetheless, if you are curious and sneaky, you may or may not be able to find that horrendous first post somewhere on the blog, I will not give you a direct link, but it'll be good to see how far we've gone with this whole blogging thing and what it simply used to be: a visual diary.

Chicken Spicy Rice Bowl - Nourishing brown rice with sugar snaps, red peppers, crispy onions, chilli and soy sauce. Topped with a fried egg.


The food is nothing of what we remembered, looking back at what we first had, what we chose this time was much better and of course we had to get sweet potato fries, one each, now that we're greedy people! 

To be honest, looking back over this and remember the first time we ate here, Giraffe is actually underrated, this may have been the first and last time we ate here in Sheffield but I'm sure we'll keep the tradition alive and visit here again and again for the many different culture foods it has to offer.

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

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10/05/2018

Event: Peddler Market - Kelham Island, Sheffield


After living in Kelham Island for nearly two years, it seemed nothing short of ridiculous that we had never been to Peddler Market. After only hearing amazing things and with this month's event being our last chance to go before moving down to London, we made sure we took the opportunity along with some friends to check out the hype!

On the face of it Peddler is set in quite an odd location - 92 Burton Rd is an ex-industrial site and is still surrounded by steel centred suburbia. However it does represent the beginning stages of Kelham Island's regeneration, and they're doing a fantastic job of it!


The surrounding courtyard is already home to a mix of independent retail businesses including The Depot Bakery, Nether Edge Pizza Company and Kelham Arcade, but on the first weekend of every month both the indoor warehouse and outdoor courtyard are filled to the brim with local traders and hundreds of folk looking for a slice of the action! 

If there is a downside, it's the queue to get in but on a hot (by Sheffield standards) Saturday night we expected nothing less and brought our patience with us. Once in we scanned the scene, evaluating our options but that was quickly brought to a halt when we stumbled upon the halloumi fries and grilled cheese sandwich stall. 


The bad boy you see above was filled with beef, spice and the stringiest of cheeses. The fingers got a little bit messy, but it was totally worth it and the halloumi fries were the stuff of dreams too. After a drink or two at the bar, a stroll around the art section and much indecision about where to eat next, we opted to end with a Thai green curry. As you can see and imagine, it was full of flavour and the below veggie option looked pretty appetising too! 

It was an amazing and alternative way to spend a spring weekend evening that left us wishing that we'd come a long time ago! The amazing food, drink, art and music gave off such great vibes and that of which we will definitely plan to experience again when we visit this wonderful city in the future.



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03/05/2018

Restaurant: The Hidden Gem - Bents Green, Sheffield

Full English - Bacon chop, Moss Valley's award winning Cumberland sausage, fried egg, mushroom, homemade black pudding with confit pork belly, tomato, homemade baked beans and toast - £7.95

Always wanting to keep up with the best cafes, restaurants and food events in my adopted home city of Sheffield, The Hidden Gem certainly didn’t pass my attention by.

Standing at the top or near enough to it on the TripAdvisor rankings for a good while, it needed to be on our list of go-to’s before the end of my time here at university. Maybe one reason that has stopped us coming before is its location, but as the name suggests, it’s part of what makes the inspiration and uniqueness of The Hidden Gem so special.


At the very end of the 83 bus route is Bents Green, a part of Sheffield we’ve never reached before and one we don’t know much about. Amongst the gated houses and on the edge of the glorious Peak District was a path seeming to head to not much at all, but then we remembered the name of the cafe, and we trusted that our maps were leading us the right way.

The Hidden Gem is part of WORK Ltd, a local charity that offers people with learning disabilities a chance to reach their full potential. They aim to provide a rewarding environment for people with disabilities to develop their skills and build self esteem. 


This integral part of what the cafe is all about is clear to see, from a touching plaque on each table and shelves full of home items for sale, made by the people that the charity work for. A chalk board stands next to the shelves telling that the products may not be perfect, but they are made with love. The latter is certainly the case but they looked pretty perfect to us too. 

The great work doesn’t stop there... our food was magnificent. Both opting for the full English breakfast from the menu full of your traditional breakfast dishes, each part was incredible. The highlights were definitely the bacon, which was so thick that it was almost a small gammon steak, and the homemade beans  which had spice and a delicious tomato sauce. 


We followed our visit here with a half hour walk towards more familiar territories of Oakbrook Road, stopping at on old favourite of La Coppola for the best chai latte the city has to offer, and a walk through Endcliffe Park. It was the perfect way to spend a weekend afternoon. 

Thank you, The Hidden Gem. The service was impeccable, the setting tranquil, food beautiful, and the cause is truly special.

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

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26/04/2018

Food Trip: BANG BANG Oriental Food Hall


The Bang Bang Oriental Food hall is the newest and largest Asian food court in London. Located in Colindale, an hour via bus across London from where I, Jessica live, James, my father, my two sisters and I trekked to what now could be a rival of Chinatown.

I have been here once before with my family, but without James a few weeks prior to this trip and with so much to offer, I simply knew we had to come back and with the opportunity of James' Easter stay, it was a given that we were back on that bus for a well-worth journey for some delicious (but not as good as grandma makes it) Asian food.

Spicy chicken ramen - £9.25

"Asian food: some familiar, some new and exciting. A huge selection of menus from Mumbai to Tokyo and all under one roof: 27 different restaurants, many preparing and cooking their dishes on site. You are literally spoilt for choice."

On my previous visit, I was craving some serious ramen and there I found 'Rain Samurai Ryu', and I was not disappointed. That came highly recommended and a safer option for James to go for on his first trip here. So that is what we got and I'm sure he can agree that the spice, hot soup and hearty chicken complimented the halved boiled eggs.


For me, I knew I had to try something completely different - which lead me to 'Makatcha' which is from the beautiful country of Malaysia. I had not had Malaysian food before, but the photos looked delicious and something meaty was on the agenda, and spice too, so spicy is what I got!

Although you cannot see it in the photo properly, but there was much more meat than it seems and was definitely worth the money - it was so filling and full of flavour, much more than just the spice.

The prices at BANG BANG are reasonable as it's pretty much the same as you'd find in regular restaurants. However, that makes it dangerous as it's an open food court, you'd be tempted to buy more than one dish and from different places and across cuisines. We'll definitely be returning to try something different.


And to end every meal, we had to get dessert, no mater how full we were. This time, I went back to my roots and headed over to the Filipino stall - if you are like me and know that it's hard to go out and eat your own culture food because you just know, no one makes it like your grandma does and it could never compare. 

This very cold dessert (wasn't really a good idea considering it was raining outside) 'Halo Halo' is something I do not have often and I wanted to make the most of it. Personally for me, you have to be in the mood for it and there's so much to explain about what's inside - you'll just have to try it for yourself!

Have you been to BANG BANG before? What's your favourite Asian cuisine?
Let us know in the comments below.

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19/04/2018

Event: London Coffee Festival


London is undoubtedly one of the world's most relevant and exciting spots on the world coffee map, so the chance to attend the London Coffee Festival at Shoreditch's Truman Brewery was not to be missed!

We joined on the opening night where the world's hipster population descended upon the four floors of demonstrations, masterclasses, workshops and exhibitions before ending a wonderful evening at the caffeine fuelled Espresso Martini launch party.


Armed with our VIP wristbands we first headed up to the exclusive suite to gather our complimentary Bailey's Flat White Martini - which is even more delectable than it sounds. Along with our passes to the event we each had a tote bag full of goodies which got gradually added to as we picked up some of the best quality freebies you could imagine. We've now got an extraordinarily eclectic range of capsules to try out with our Nespresso machine at home, and some light reading in the form of the Caffeine Mag for our next morning work commute. 


Our favourite show was Latte Art Karaoke! The incredibly assured baristas from Ozone Coffee Roasters invited the daring public to show off their latte art skills on stage, handing out prizes whilst having a sing-song to Britney Spears. We definitely need to invest in our home barista set up before next year and we might just give it a go ourselves!


Wandering the venue, tasting everything from cold brews to smoothies and shakes and simply absorbing the enormous vibes made for a tremendous evening and one we'd sure like to experience next time around.

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12/04/2018

Restaurant: Craft & Dough - Kelham Island, Sheffield

Crafty Cuts - Braised Beef, Pepperoni, Balsamic Red Onion, San Marzano Tomato, Mozzarella & Parmesan - £9.50


If you search hard enough, you'll find a fair few Craft & Dough posts on Food & Baker, but looking back on them, none of it does this wonderful place any kind of justice. With one on Campo Lane but our favourite spot of their's in the upcoming area of Kelham Island, it encapsulates all that is great about Sheffield's independent restaurant scene.

It's all in the name - craft beer and dough pizza, so starting things off with a Beavertown Neck Oil beer seemed like the right way to go. I, James am a massive fan of IPA's so if you are too, this one comes highly recommended. The bar shelves are full of unfamiliar bottles and cans, which is what makes this place different from any other bar or restaurant in the city. On draught is everything from their own Craft & Dough lager to the more common Estrella and the lesser known Konig Ludwig - which is what I opted for later on in the evening. 

Filthy Fries - Fries, Mozzarella, Nduja, Balsamic Red Onions Spring Onions, Parmesan - £4.50 

Along with the Apple & Elderflower Collins from their extensive cocktail menu, we chose to share the Nduja 2 and all time classic of Craft Cuts. The latter was recently voted one of the thirteen best pizzas in the UK in the National Pizza Awards, and it's clear to see why. The braised beef and pepperoni on the hand stretched and freshly prepared dough will have us back here time and time again.


The second generation of the Nduja pizza also went down a treat. Now with fried potato, cream cheese and stilton, it takes what is another favourite to another level and epitomises the unusual and unique toppings and combinations you cannot find anything else.

Nduja 2 - Spicy Calabrian Sausage, Cream Cheese, Fried Potato, San Marzano Tomato, Mozzarella, Stilton & Kale - £9.50

Just when you thought things can't any better, the filthy fries with even more nduja, spring onions and red onions were perfectly spicy and enticing. It was hard not to be drawn into having our usual herb salt fries option, but we're glad we did!


A massive thank you to everyone at Craft & Dough and special shout out to Johnny for looking after us so well!


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


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05/04/2018

Event: Brunching Bloggers at Caravan, Bankside

Baked eggs, tomato pepper ragout, greek yoghurt, grilled flatbread with an extra of merguez sausage

#BrunchingBloggers was born to bring bloggers together, eat good food (obviously) and network. What makes us special? We encourage diversity. We want to involve every blogger niche, people of colour and all genders. It doesn't matter how many followers you have, how much or little you blog, we just want to widen the bloggersphere and break the clichés.

Housed on the ground floor of an old metal box factory, we decided to host of next #BrunchingBloggers in Caravan, BanksideWith their open coffee bar and kitchen, it creates a great brunching atmosphere.

Caravan fry: eggs, roasted field mushrooms, slow roast tomatoes, thick cut bacon, toast

With our table booked at the opening time, walking through the doors smelling the fresh brewed coffee, it would have been rude not to order my regular latte.

Once we've all settled down and ordered out hot drinks, conversations started flowing - we sound realised what a great diverse of people we had, some not even bloggers, but on instagram and one wanting to create a blog/YouTube channel for some time now. We had fashion bloggers, lifestyle bloggers and myself, food blogger.

With many controversial and interesting topics flying across the table, we had been asked if were ready to order about 3 times (ops) but once we eventually picked our dish and the food arrived, you could easily hear the penny drop.

The food was delicious and I was very happy with my choice of baked eggs (pictured above), while others got the salmon, eggs and toast and one had the caravan fry. All looked so delicious and as we do, we had to take photos, hoping it doesn't go cold.


After brunch, we decided to head down to Central London, as per one of our brunching attendees, Truly's recommendation to Bronte, a very picturesque location, for a cheeky glass of processco and to take some cute photos.

It was the perfect way to whine down from a very filling meal, to get to know each more and to discuss and share some blogger tips and stories.

Chapel and swan smoked salmon, soft scrambled eggs, grain toast 

Join our next #BrunchingBloggers event on Saturday 28th April at Snaps + Rye in Golbourne, come along and buy your tickets here.

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

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31/03/2018

Budget Series: Green Vegetable Lasagne


Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 45 mins

Back in our own kitchen and not that we are vegetarian or vegan, but we are aiming to try out some meatless alternatives to classic dishes like this! With broccoli, spinach and kale, this vegetable lasagne is almost healthy if you ignore the amazing cheddar cheese dashed all over the pasta sheets. 

The verdict: nothing beats the classic, but it doesn't take away from the great taste and the fact that we'll most definitely be making this again! Pair it with a salad with your favourite dressing to give it that extra dimension! 



Ingredients:

- 350g broccoli, broken into florets
- 100g kale
- 100g spinach
- 30g unsalted butter
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 650ml milk
- 75g Cheddar, coarsely grated (£2)
- 200g lasagne sheets (£1)

Optional salad
- 85g bag crispy salad
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tbsp cider vinegar

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the broccoli, cook for 3 mins, then add the kale. Cook for 3 mins, drain, then stir through the spinach to wilt. Rinse under cold water, then drain thoroughly.

2. Heat the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min before adding the flour. Cook for 1 min, then gradually stir in the milk. Simmer for 2-3 mins until slightly thickened, then stir in 50g Cheddar.

3. Spoon a quarter of the cheese sauce on the bottom of a square proof baking dish. Cover with a third of the lasagne sheets, then top with half the veg. Add another quarter of the sauce, another third of the lasagne sheets, then the remaining veg. Top this with another quarter of the sauce, followed by the remaining lasagne sheets, then remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining Cheddar.

4. Cover with foil and bake for 40 mins or until golden and bubbling, removing the foil for the last 10 mins.

5. Meanwhile, combine the oil and vinegar, season, then drizzle over the salad. Serve with the lasagne. 

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29/03/2018

Easter: Chocolate Easter Egg Nest Cakes


Makes: 12 | Prep Time: 25 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

For the cake:
125g butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 125g self-raising flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate nests:
200g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
- 85g weetabix, crushed
- 2 x 100g bags mini chocolate eggs

You will need:
- 12 x cupcake cases



Instructions:

For the cake:
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees. Prepare your cupcake cases.

2. Cream butter and sugar together until it has become light and creamy. in a little bowl beat the eggs and vanilla together, then add into the mixture. if your batter is curdling then add 3 tsp of the flour and give it a mix until it has become back to normal.

3. Add in the flour and fold with a spatula (so that once it bakes it will have lots of air and will be light)

4. Spoon the mixture in the cases and bake in the oven for 10-15 mins or when a skewer is inserted it comes out clean. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile, for the chocolate nests:
1. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl placed over a pan of barely simmering water. Pour the chocolate over the shredded wheat and stir well to combine.

2. Spoon the chocolate wheat on top of your sponge cupcakes and press the back of a teaspoon in the centre to create a nest shape. Place 3 mini chocolate eggs on top of each nest. Chill the nests in the fridge for 2 hrs until set.

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24/03/2018

Under 30: Garlic and Habanero Chicken with Rice & Peas


Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 25 mins (plus overnight marinade)

Ingredients:

For the chicken
- 4 chicken breasts
- Garlic and Habanero sauce
- Salt and pepper, for seasoning
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped

For the rice & peas
- 200g basmati rice 
- 400g can coconut milk
- 1 bunch spring onions, sliced
- 2 large Thyme sprigs
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 2 x 410g cans kidney beans



Instructions:

1. Make a few slashes in the chicken breasts and combine all the ingredients for the marinade and pour the marinade over the meat, rubbing it all over. Cover and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge.

2. Pre-heat to 180C. Put the chicken on an oven tray and cook for 25 mins until tender and cooked through.

3. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rice & peas. Rinse the rice in plenty of cold water, then tip it into a large saucepan with all the remaining ingredients except the kidney beans. Season with salt, add 300ml cold water and set over a high heat. Once the rice begins to boil, turn it down to a medium heat, cover and cook for 10 mins.

4. Add the beans to the rice, then cover with a lid. Leave off the heat for 5 mins until all the liquid is absorbed. Squeeze the roasted lime over the chicken and serve with the rice & peas, and some hot sauce if you like it really spicy.

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22/03/2018

Afternoon Tea: The Grand Hotel & Spa, York


Last weekend we took the long awaited but short trip up from Sheffield to York. Falling on the day that the city was voted the best place to live in the UK, we wandered the famous Shambles and visited the beautiful Minster - but you can read all about that in our upcoming travel post.

We were encouraged to finally visit by my, James' parents who bought us both a voucher for Afternoon Tea at what is perhaps the finest setting within the city's walls. The Grand Hotel is just a few minutes walk away from the main train station and when we were greeted by a top-hatted fellow at the impressive entrance, we were having flashbacks of our first Afternoon Tea experience together at The Grosvenor Hotel in Chester. 



Their food offering is traditional but elaborate, and a feast for the eyes as well as the taste-buds. Starting things off in the best way possible with a hot fennel and cranberry sausage roll, we moved on to the delightful finger sandwiches consisting of the classic smoked salmon and crème fraiche to cucumber and chive cream cheese.

Making our way up through this magnificent tower of food, the mix of plain and fruit scones with a selection of jams and clotted cream were wrapped in serviettes to keep warm, and were complete melt in the mouth perfection.



As always, the top tier stole the limelight of a wonderful experience. It did the simple things well, and the unique aspects extraordinarily. The raspberry cupcake was soft and of incredible flavour, and the passion fruit meringue pie will certainly live long in the memory. 

With a live acoustic guitar session accompanying quiet chatter and a mesmerising Afternoon Tea to start to our time here in York, it is something that simply can't be missed if you want to experience the very best.

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

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