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Lidl Christmas Party Food

Party Food

Pardon my French but bloody hell #lidlsurprises. I’m the ‘chief shopper’ in my household which means I pick the clothes, the food and the appliances we buy. When it comes to our food shopping, my husband prefers we stick to the same place and for as long as I can remember, Tesco has been out go-to groceries store. However in recent months, I have tried breaking that mould and shopping around. We’ve occasionally done a ‘top-up’ shop at Sainsbury’s and get the odd bits from Aldi. With Christmas being such a special occasion, we go to Waitrose for that.

In all my years, never have I considered going to Lidl. The last time I stepped foot into one of their stores was when I was at secondary school and had a chocolate biscuit addiction. Mumsnet challenged me to buy party food from there. The Lidl Chrismas range were both great value and great tasting which left me pleasantly surprised.

To me Christmas is a time for family and a time to celebrate. I look forward to exchanging presents, eating my weight in food and watching an endless stream of Christmas movies. Since becoming a mum, I’ve found it to be even more important to me. I find new ways to make new traditions with my family and pass on old ones.lidl christmas

I dread slaving away in the kitchen so when I can, I slip out of having to make the turkey. Somehow, it always comes down to me. Maybe because my house is normally the central location where everyone comes to.  When I can get away with not making turkey, I go for whole chicken because everyone loves it. Well, except for the vegetarians. For them, I have a wide selection of party food and snacks to compensate.

With a £25 budget , I headed to Lidl to see how much party food I could get from the Party time range. With a packed basket I headed to the till thinking I’d be told I’ve exceeded that budget. Instead, I was told I was significantly below it and had to get more things. Here are the party food I got:

Partytime 60  Indian selection, £2.99
Christmas Hand Cooked Crisps
Premium Cracker Selection, 1,79
Partytime 12 Chicken Skewers, £1.99
Partytime 14 Vegetarian Spring Rolls, £1.99
Deluxe  12 Tempura Prawns, £1,79
Partytime 10 Gyozas, £1.99
Partytime 14 Duck Spring Rolls, £1.99

With all these food and not enough mouth to feed, I invited some friends and their kids for a girls night in. In the video below, I mention how eager I was to try the Deluxe Tempura King Prawns. My, oh my they were incredible and cost only £1.89! I left them in the oven long enough for the crispy batter coating to be really crunchy. The sweet chilli dip was slight runny but tasted AMAZING. So good, I dipped a few chips in there too. These Tempura King Prawns literally flew off the plate when they came out of the oven. I’ve had to promised to return to Lidl and get some more because even the kids liked them.

Another thing that was quite enjoyable were the Premium Crackers Selection. For £1.79, you get a selection of six multigrain, whole wheat and poppy seed crackers. My nephews who are super fussy and hate trying new things loved them. As they ran around the house, they’d stop to take some and eat. It was an absolute pleasure having everyone over. It truly felt like Christmas day with all the food and people around.

The least favourite from the Partytime range were probably the Indian Selections. I’m not much of an Indian food fan so maybe I should have cooked half and save the rest for another day. In hindsight, the 60 Oriental snack selection might have been a better option or perhaps even both seeing as they cost a mere £3.99 each. The snack selection of vegetable samosas, onion bhajis and vegetable pakoras were very pocket-friendly and definitely something to serve if you are expecting a lot of people.

I cannot tell you how happy I was that all the food cooked at the same temperature of 190C. I really hate cooking frozen food that require different cooking times. Everything went straight in the oven from freezer. In addition, even for the small price tags attached to them, they didn’t taste like generic frozen foods. Each item had enough flavour to have your taste buds dancing.

My nearest store was the Woolwich branch. After a recent renovation, it nice and clean. Things are pretty easy to find and when they are not, the staff are willing to help. As someone who prefers shopping online, I appreciate all the help I can get when I have to shop in-store. As previously mentioned, I was pleasantly surprised with my visit to Lidl and will definitely be going back to get the Oriental Snack Selection and Deluxe Tempura Prawns and maybe a few other bits.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a voucher in return for writing this post

 

Pukka Up

Pukka Herbs

My abhorrence for the cold whether can only be tamed  by dousing myself in hot drinks. I love coffee but I’m partial to tea. I don’t really mind what type of tea but Peppermint is normally my go to. The fact that not only does it keep me warm but it also possesses health benefits makes it a win in my book.

The new matcha range from Pukka Herbs is absolutely amazing. Matcha tea is a type of green tea in a powdered form. It originates from Japan, where it’s best known for its use in tea ceremonies. It is the oldest and most premium form of green tea. Unless you’ve been under a rock recently, I’m sure you’d have come across the hundreds of matcha recipes doing the rounds online. Its become the magic potion for clean eating. Some of its benefits include Improving metabolism and supporting weight loss, Maintaining bone strength and healthy mouth and fresh breath.

Pukka Tea

I’ve truly enjoyed drinking the Pukka Herbs matcha tea range, particularly the Mint Matcha Green. It great for when I need a midday pick me up during a long working day. I’ve been trying to be more conscious about what I eat recently so I was happy to see that it’s organic and fair trade.

Try Pukka Herbs’ new matcha tea range; Ginseng Matcha Green, Clean Matcha Green and Mint Matcha Green. For more information, check out: http://www.pukkaherbs.com/

Jackson Rye

Jackson Rye

What do you do after a long day of attending press events? Go get food of course! Situated on Wardour Street and just a stone throw away from the ever so popular Ham Yard Hotel sits Jackson Rye, a cafe, restaurant and bar all wrapped in one. With four locations already and a menu bound to satisfy everyone, I think this American style location is perfect for group dining.

Jackson Rye came as a recommendation from Ronke, editor of Brown Beauty. Whilst it wouldn’t be my first choice, I was glad I made a visit on this day. The staff were really accommodating. Going above and beyond with a smile on their face. We arrived just in the nick of time to take advantage of their lunch set menu. For a mere £14.95 you can enjoy a three course meal. The menu boasts appetisers like Pulled Pork Cups and Pumpkin Soup, mains like Avocado and Ricotta Salad as well as mouthwatering deserts.

Jackson Rye

As with any American style restaurants I visit, the first thing I asked our waiter was “do you serve sweet potato fries?” To my delight he replied “Yes”. Promptly, I order the Buffalo Wings for starters and Buttermilk Chicken Burger as my main. My friend Tee from STWF Blog ordered the Salt and Pepper Squid along with Smoky Rye-glazed Pork Ribs. Ronke however couldn’t keep her eyes of the steak so she got that with a glass of Pinot (fancy).

I can’t speak for the others but I have to say I wasn’t impressed. Although the chicken wings were the right balance of crispy on the outside and juicy the inside,  my burger was “drier than a camel’s asshole in a sandstorm.” I had a taste of Tee’s Salt and Pepper Squid and wished I’d ordered it. The house sesame and lime sauce was fantastic.

Overall,  I would rate Jacksn Rye a 7/10. The decor features comfy cushioned bar stools and blogger worthy tiles which ties together beautifully.  The ambience is exactly what you’d expect from a central London location on a weekday evening. When we arrived, there were loads of spaces to chose from but as we left, there was a clear reduction.

 

Wedge Issue Pizza

London Pizza Restaurant

I’ve said it numerous times that I have a weakness for sweet potato fries, well you can also add Pizza to that list. The thought of pizza leaves my mouth watering so much it would create a flood in the Sahara desert.

At work, we have a thing ( well I think we do. It could possibly all be in my head due to my pizza obsession) called Payday Pizza. You guessed it! It’s basically when we order pizza on payday. Well , last week payday was looming and I couldn’t stop the constant thought of pizza creeping up in my mind. I even had a spring in my step as I went back to work after being off sick. It was great to have something to look forward to – PIZZA! That was until my colleague who recently joined Slimming World announced she was going on a diet.

Places to eat pizza

My dreams were shattered. The walls around me began to come crashing, air disappeared from my lungs. What is life? I thought. Like a miracle, an email popped into my inbox from the pizza gods ( if ever there were such a thing ) offering a visit to Wedges Issue Pizza. With just a quick glance at their website, I replied YES! YES! and YES! Like the lady in the herbal essences advert.

Because we’d already be out of office for a super fun launch event, I asked my friend aka my boss Keeks to come with me. What happened during our visit is now a blur. We ate, we drank and laughed to our hearts content. Everything about Wedge Issue Pizza is what I look for in a restaurant. Cosy ✓, Good Food ✓ Great Vibe ✓ and an amazing service!

Wedge Issue Pizza

Pizzas at Wedge Issue Pizza are all named after places in London. I remember ordering The Soho Pizza (N’duja sausage, peppers, chilli, mozzarella, San Marzano tomato sauce). Being from South East London, I was upset that all the places the pizzas were named after were in east London so I added chicken and jalepenos to make it slightly south. Perfect combo I know. Keeks, my date, fancied the Dalston with added mushrooms.

I’ve had good pizza but as of right now, this is the best I’ve ever had. Know why? It’s the simplicity of it. All their pizza’s are made from dough which is proofed for three days, with a sauce made solely from crushed San Marzano tomatoes.

Wedge Issue Pizza

If you plan to visit remember All starters, soft drinks, beer, and wine are half-price between 3pm and 6pm!

91-95 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1R 5BX 020 7242 3246

Neighbourhood

Neighbourhood Restaurant Stratford

Neighbourhood – an aptly named restaurant in the heart of East London’s latest neighbourhood, The Olympic Village. Following my visit to the newbie eatery by Faucet Inn in Stratford, I understood straightaway where the name comes from. The decor was tasteful with floor to ceiling windows bringing in the rays of sunshine, bold coloured furnishing that’ll make leave you feeling incredibly blissful. Each table was equipped with fresh plants that helped create a feel-good atmosphere. With provenance at its heart, the food was everything you’d expect from what can be dubbed as the local pub.

Neighbourhood

Neighbourhood

Meat lovers rejoice, the main menu  created by Head Chef Blair Macan and Executive Chef, Vagner Matos is right up your street. It features a Robata Flame grill that carefully prepares grilled offerings like whole roasted chicken, lamb, steak and ribs. Veggies, fear not options like the Robata Grilled Aubergine with Pepper, Portobello Mushroom and Sweet Potato or  Corn Burger with Sweetcorn, Polenta, Manchego, Chilli + Coriander Patty, Beef Tomato and lettuce might tickle your fancy

To prep our tastebuds for the mains, friend and I ordered the Spicy Mac ’n’ Cheese made with Shredded marinated rotisserie chicken and tabasco cheese sauce as well as the BBQ Pork Hash made with Shredded pork, sweet potato and crispy red onion. I have to say the Mac and Cheese was the best I’ve ever had. It was the right mix of crispy yet creamy – I absolutely enjoyed it, so much so that I’ve bought ingredients to try make it at home!

Neighbourhood

Neighbourhood Restaurant

For mains, I ordered what I always do when I see it on a menu, Pork Ribs and Chicken combo. However, my friend who doesn’t eat pork, played it safe and asked for a chicken burger made with Buttermilk Chicken Breast, Beef Tomato, Gem Lettuce + Ranch Dressing. To our disappointment, these did not arrive in a timely manner. We waited and waited  before our meal arrived almost 30 minutes later. I’m not huge on complaining and neither was my friend so we stayed quiet and delved into the food in front of us. 

Bar the Mac and Cheese from the smaller plates menu and the rustic cut chips, it was truly unfortunate that the rest of our food was not as tasteful as the decor. I was saddened by the fact that my combo meal was not served with chips and I had to keep digging into my friends. On the day I assumed my meal was only served with slaw, however after perusing the menu again online, all I have to say is where were my chips?
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I read somewhere that the menu at Neighbourhood was created to be enjoyed with friends and shared in groups – this couldn’t be any truer. As we sat feasting, a group of eight or more arrived to tuck into some lunch time offering. I kept peeping at their table trying to suss out the meals they opted for. I was so besotted with the games table at the entrance. There were so many to chose from and sofas to sit on and while away time with friends or family.

We noted that the venue is still at the learning stage so hold no fault to them. At the end, the manager was kind enough to come over and apologise before we left.  That definitely put them in my good books. Whilst Neighbourhood may not be my first choice for meal out – simply because it’s not in my neighbourhood ( see what I did there) if I’m ever in the area, I’ll be sure to head there for a drink. The large bar played host to a range of drinks from cocktails and  artisan beers to selected international wine list.
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Faucet Inn

Neighbourhood, Celebration Avenue, East Village, London, E20 1DB