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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27/03/2018

A Day Trip in York, UK

Last weekend, we visited York for the first time. This has been a long awaited visit, as we've been discussing coming here for a while now and for both our birthday's this year, James' parents to us treated us to a voucher for The Grand Afternoon Tea, which was also a perfect reason to finally visit this beautiful city.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn't the best, which resulted us in not seeing everything we wanted to see and do all the things we planned to do, but that only gives us the chance to come back on a nicer day and explore the city better. So, for now, here is a very small photo diary of our little day trip.










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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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20/03/2018

What's Next: Cities We'd Love to Re-Visit


Paris, France

We've been to Paris twice together now, once for James' surprise birthday celebration in 2016 and the other spontaneously when Interrailing to Disneyland. With having both trips really short, we still feel like we haven't seen what Paris has to offer, and with having access to direct trains from London to Paris, you just can't go wrong.

We are definitely looking to go back this year as we've always wanted to visit the Paris Catacombs, but with The Paris Guy they offer Skip The Line Paris Catacomb Tours which is perfect for those short city trips we love to take. Check out their other tours they have to offer.


Known as "the gateway to hell", it's easily the eeriest place in Paris and certainly not the typical tourist attraction, but it instead shows the darker side of such a magnificent city. That doesn't mean it's not extremely popular - all of their tours give you queue jump to avoid the huge crowds at the catacombs! 
Budapest, Hungary

As you know, when we went Interrailing last Summer, we also went to Budapest and when someone would ask which was our favourite country, it was always Budapest for the both of us. Not only was it the cheapest place to eat in (although the most money we spent in, the food was just too good) but it also has the famous, Széchenyi Thermal Baths, which we did get to visit but in the evening for their SPArty.

As great as it was, like honestly an experience we will not forget, we know it is not the same experience as visiting during the day.


Prague, Czech Republic

Beer is cheaper than water! Need I say more? Again, when Interrailing, we also went to Prague and we learnt that back in the day, beer was safer to drink than water which why beer is cheaper than water there. So although we did the whole experience and even going to a Beer Spa, we've always spoken about going back with some friends and head downtown Budapest on a Beer Bike.

Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post with The Paris Guy

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17/03/2018

Under 30: Danish Open-Faced Rye Sandwich


Serves: 2 | Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins

After our amazing weekend in Copenhagen, we wanted to re-create what is perhaps their most famous delicacy. Sometimes known as snaps and sometimes known as smørrebrød, it was an absolute delight to try on our Food Tour of Copenhagen. The open-faced rye sandwiches are most often done with red onions, pickles, mayonnaise, eggs and beetroot, and now back in Sheffield, here is our attempt at it...


Ingredients:

- 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- salted butter
- 8 slices rye bread
- 4 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 medium cooked beetroot, thinly sliced
- 2 radishes, thinly sliced
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
- small handful fresh dill
- 16 pickled cornichons, diced

Instructions:

1. Combine the red onion and vinegar in a bowl. Leave to pickle for 20 mins.
2. Meanwhile, spread a thin layer of butter on one side of the bread slices, then divide the mayonnaise between them. Arrange the beetroot, radishes, hard-boiled eggs, pickled red onion and dill fronds on top of the bread.
3. To serve, sprinkle with the coronations and season with sea salt and black pepper.

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15/03/2018

Review: I Sea Pasta Pesto

Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins

As many people are, we are absolute pasta lovers: it's tasty, quick to make and so versatile, but today we bring you something healthier and free from friendly from of pasta. I Sea Pasta is organic, gluten free and vegan friendly - can you even go wrong?

Seamore’s founder mistook seaweed for pasta, loved the experience and decided to fool the rest of the world. I sea pasta looks like tagliatelle but is 100% wild, handpicked seaweed from Connemara, Ireland.


We have actually reviewed one of their other products before, I Sea Bacon. Seamore is turning seaweed into an everyday food. They are turning the healthiest, most sustainable ingredient on the planet into tasty, convenient and affordable food.


I know some of you may be thinking that sounds weird or maybe even disgusting, but honestly the seaweed taste doesn't taste as strong as it smells when boiling it. It is definitely not overpowering to the rest of the dish, if like me, you like your pasta with a bit of a bite, this 'pasta' still has that and is much more healthier - it could never replace the real deal but it sure will be a great alternative to stay healthy and for anyone who is gluten free!




Ingredients:

100g I sea pasta (1 pack)
- 250g cherry tomatoes
- 30g basil
- 1 garlic clove
- Pepper and salt
- 75 dl extra virgin olive oil
- green pesto
Optional:
- 2 tbl toasted pine nuts
- 30g parmesan cheese

Instructions:

1. Soak I sea pasta in lukewarm water for 20 min.

2. Rinse I sea pasta in a colander and put it into boiling water (make the sure pasta is under water). Let it cook for 20 min.

3. Meanwhile, cook the cherry tomatoes in olive oil until they are soft.

4. Rinse the cooked I sea pasta and stir it through the pesto.

5. To garnish use the cherry tomatoes.
Also you could add a piece of cooked fish, meator extra vegetables. Yummy.

Recipe from: https://seamorefood.com/i-sea-pasta-pesto/


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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13/03/2018

Hotel Kong Arthur in Copenhagen, Denmark


After an extremely early start and a short flight over from Gatwick to our weekend destination of Copenhagen, we needed a hotel to access quickly and get on with our time here. Luckily, it took us just 25 mins to get from CPH airport to Hotel Kong Arthur, and despite it being before 10am, our room was available to check into. 

This start was symbolic of our short stay in this beautiful hotel - seamless, easy and pure quality.  



We hadn't even got to the hotel yet and we were already walking on water! Walking along the nearby frozen Copenhagen lakes, we had a sense that the hotel and Copenhagen as a whole was going to be one to remember. 

We approached the grand Kong Arthur along a cobbled alley and when the oakwood door swung open to welcome us in, we felt the hygge concept sweep through us in an instant. The comfy sofas, fireplaces and grand pianos created an atmosphere of tranquility and sophistication like never before. 



We were lucky enough to be staying in one of their amazing Double Superior rooms, which seemed large enough not only for us, but for a whole family. We had a fantastic and peaceful night's sleep, and used all the basic but elegant amenities of the TV, sofas, desk, chair and luxury bathroom. 

We just wish that we were able to stay longer and check out the full range of facilities that the Kong Arthur has to offer. Along with what looks like a beautiful spa and water temple, they also offer bike rental, car rental, running sessions and a range of unique events. 

We made sure not to miss out on one thing though - and that is cosy hour. Free drink of your choice from the bar every day between 5 and 6pm - why not!?



However perhaps the number one memory from staying here will be the breakfast! We enjoyed it so much that we only came away with one snap...

They had it all... from sausages, eggs and bacon, a wide selection of breads, cheeses and even somewhere to make your own hot waffles! Overlooking the beautifully snowy courtyards we found ourselves going back for more and more, unsurprisingly still full by lunch time. It certainly set us up for a full day of exploring the city.


We always say that on breaks away, the hotel isn't that important to us. Usually, it's all about spending the time outdoors and seeing what our destination has to offer. However, whilst our priorities stayed in order, this medieval themed hotel completed an amazing weekend in an amazing city. It made everything that extra bit more memorable and if we ever return to Copenhagen, we'll most certainly be returning to Hotel Kong Arthur. 

Disclaimer: we were given one complimentary night's stay at Hotel Kong Arthur in exchange for an honest review.
However as always, all pictures and views are our own.

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10/03/2018

Copenhagen: Marv & Ben, Snaregade

Freshly baked bread brushed with bone marrow and buttermilk

Normally looking for cheap eats in the new cities we explore, we occasionally have to take exception. With Jessica's birthday weekend away to Copenhagen, we did without regret when we visited Snaregade's Marv & Ben, who lead the way with the finest Nordic cuisine in the city.

Everything is prepared from scratch here with a curious combination of ingredients that cannot be found elsewhere. Following the traditional 'small plate' culture that we first experienced in Oslo's Nord & Natt last month, we chose from Marv & Ben's 'Four Favourites' recommendation, which took us on a sophisticated journey of exquisite flavours. 


However beforehand, we were treated to some snacks... if that's what you want to call it. With everything from a hot chicken and garlic soup to warm us from the sub-zero temperatures outside to small bites of deer meat and mushroom, we prepared ourselves for a special evening ahead. 

With the best bread we've ever had with the smoothest of buttermilk, and a glass of their beautiful champagne, we toasted Jessica's birthday and before long, our first starter course arrived. 



Codfish, blue mussel & fermented asparagus 

Thanks to our trip to Lisbon in January and exposure to the Portuguese's massive appetite for cod fish, we have become massive fans of it and are looking to incorporate more fish into our home cooking. We were delighted to find it on the tasting menu here, and learnt that Portugal actually imports the freshest kinds of cod from Scandinavia. There was a heightened fish flavour from the blue mussel and kicks of garlic from the fermented asparagus which made all in all for huge punches of flavour and a melt-in-the-mouth start to proceedings. 

On with the fish theme, the floral verbena tones in our second appetiser of squid and leek was equally as delicious.


Squid, leek & verbena

It was a tough choice, but the main course of grilled pork belly, grilled beetroot and fermented raspberry was our favourite of the evening. The unbelievably tender meat, delicious sauce and the massive complimenting flavours were having a party in our mouths. We'd go back to that party every night if we could.

Grilled pork, beetroot & raspberry 

With the final of the 'Four Favourite's finishing our time here with an incredible dessert, we were full but left wanting so much more. As with Nord & Natt, the small plates will deceive you into thinking it won't be enough, but it is never the case.

How could we resist this amazing doughnut-like caramelised apple? The raw artichoke and artichoke chips gave crispy and soft textures with the lemon and thyme cream. It worked fantastically well and it was the best end to a journey through Copenhagen's dining culture, at the best place to have it. 

Caramelised apple, Jerusalem artichoke & lemon thyme

At 400 DKK (just under £50) per person for the 'Four Favourite's,' it was a splurge which was more than worth it. Each plate wasn't just full of food, but thought, care and character. No wonder Marv & Ben have found themselves in the Michelin Guide for six consecutive years and cemented itself as the best Nordic restaurant in Copenhagen.

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

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08/03/2018

Copenhagen: The Copenhagen Food Tour


Here we are again - another European city and another fantastic food tour. We were in the beautiful city of Copenhagen for Jessica's birthday weekend and couldn't pass off the opportunity to explore Denmark's culinary scene.

When finding the start point for Sandeman's New Europe Tour, we joked about the hotdog stands which are dotted around the city being a stop on the tour. 10 minutes later, and there we were enjoying something which definitely shouldn't be judged on its cover. These hotdogs are originally German, but have become the most popular street food in Denmark. Open all day and most of the night to capture the spill overs from the many bars and clubs, they were amazingly delicious.

There were raw onions, cooked onions, ketchup, mustard and pickles making for soft, crispy, hot and cold all in one mouthful. It's hard to find a quick and cheap snack in this affluent city but this is definitely the way to go and it was a fantastic way to kick off the tour.



Next up... beer! In Tap House there are 61 beers on tap which are all local to Copenhagen. The first of two tasters was an IPA and the second was a complete opposite in a coffee like stout. Drinking is key to the Danish concept of Hygge - locals mostly drink to relax and not get drunk. They have a deep care for the quality of the drinks and drink slowly to savour the taste and enjoy good company.


We were lucky to stumble across Torvehallerne markets just around the corner from our hotel when we first arrived. After a wander around and one of the best coffees we've ever had at The Coffee Collective, we were delighted to be back a few hours later on the tour. These food markets go way back to opening in 1889 but reopened as the glass containers they are today in 2011. 

With everything from cheese, Danish pastries and sushi, we tried their famous smorobrod (rye bread) with curry dip. It was spicy, melt in the mouth and completely perfect. 



That wasn't the last of the rye bread and that came as no surprise when we found out that on average a Dane consumes 30kg of it every year! It's often made at home to take out to school or work with simple ingredients on top. However restaurants like to jazz it up and at our next stop, Skaal, they did just that. 

With a board of smorobrod topped herring & capers and potatoes & eggs, we were treated to this famous Danish delicacy yet again. 'Skaal' translates into English as 'cheers' and more IPA's followed out to enjoy alongside. 


What would a tour of Copenhagen be if we didn't end with Danish pastries? These often used as an afternoon snack was the perfect way to end a fantastic tour. 

Shorter than most tours we've done in other cities at around 2.5 hours, we were in walking distance between each stop and managed many new parts of Copenhagen along the way. Our guide, Laura, was amazing and we'd fully recommend this fantastic culinary experience.

Disclaimer: we were given discounted tickets to the Sandeman's New Europe Food Tour in exchange for an honest review. However as always, all pictures and views are our own.


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06/03/2018

48 Hours In Copenhagen, Denmark


I know I've said this many times already, but we are truly blessed to be able to say we've visited three new countries this year already and it's only March. They may not be big trips, but nevertheless, it's one more country we can tick off our list of travelling the world.

In January, we went to Lisbon, Portugal, last month we went to Oslo, Norway and this month, we bring you to Copenhagen, Denmark for my, Jessica's birthday.

We arrived early Saturday morning and left late evening on Sunday, so with just under 48 hours to explore the city, this is what we did..


Take Pictures of the Famous Street, Nyhavn


it's pretty self-explanatory isn't it? We would not be true tourists, let alone bloggers, if we did not visit this picturesque street.


Climb the and See the Views at Rundetaarn


If you haven't already guessed by now, we love a good scenic view from above. It didn't cost too much for entry and unlike most places we visit, it wasn't stairs but a very long round walk up.

Along the way, you can stop and learn facts along the way and little interactive things. It is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe.


Walk on a Frozen Lake

We were lucky enough to have The Lakes on the doorstep of our hotel, Kong Arthur Hotel, and with the current storm, The Lake was beautifully frozen which allowed us and the public to walk on it. It was terrifying but a beautiful experience. 


Go on a Free Walking Tour (or two)


On the day of my birthday, we decided to take a Free Walking Tour to explore the city. It was actually a beautiful day. The first tour we took was the Grand Tour of Copenhagen at 11am, which lasted around 3 hours. At 2pm, we went on the Christianshavn Tour, which lasted 1.5 hours and luckily with the same guide, Jarod.

Jarod, on both tours had such great humour, as well as knowledge about modern and historical facts of Copenhagen. From Danish language lessons to Harald Bluetooth. He was also really helpful with sharing his recommendations of the best Danish pastries, cheesecake and restaurants.


Talk a Stroll or a Boat Ride to The Little Mermaid


Originally, we wanted to take a little boat tour which would have taken us to see The Little Mermaid, but due to the weather and the frozen lakes, it was completely impossible and we decided against it. When we realised we were only a 10 minute walk from where we ended our first walking tour, we thought we'd take a nice crisp stroll to it.
"The sculpture was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about a mermaid who gives up everything to be united with a young, handsome prince on land. Every morning and evening she swims to the surface from the bottom of the sea and, perched on her rock in the water, she stares longingly towards the shore hoping to catch a glimpse of her beloved prince."

Grab a traditional Danish hotdog from the many Hotdog Stands

We actually first tried these as a part of our food tour the day before, but it was that good that we decided to have them again for lunch the next day! You can read more about them on our food blog.


Enter the Freetown of Christiania


After our second free walking tour: Christianshavn Tour, it ended by the freetown of Christiania and after hearing about it, we knew it was a must visit while it was still daylight.

"Freetown Christiania is a green and car-free neighbourhood in Copenhagen, best known for its autonomous inhabitants’ different way of life. It was established in 1971 by a group of hippies who occupied some abandoned military barracks on the site and developed their own set of society rules, completely independent of the Danish government.

For your own safety, visitors are advised not to film nor photograph in Christiania, especially not in the area in and around Pusher Street, mainly due to the hash dealing, which is illegal in Denmark. At the entrance you will find signs indicating 'do's and don'ts' in the area. We advice you to take them seriously and follow them for your own safety."

To be honest, it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. It was much calmer and you can sense the freedom in the area. Some compare it to Amsterdam, but from our experiences there, it's nothing like it. In Christiania they are more open about the presence of drugs and it and it was so weird to see it publicly at many different stalls. We would recommend to visit if you're curious, but make sure to follow the rules.


End your Day with the Best Cheesecake in Town


Bertels Salon was actually recommended to us by our Free Walking Tour Guide, Jarod. As it was my birthday, we obviously went here for a treat. Jarod suggested the Key Lime Cheesecake but unfortunately, it was out of stock. I opted for the pistachio and James had the Black Forest - both were so good and creamy - definitely needed after walking for 6 hours straight.

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