Browsing Category

Food

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

Wedge Issue Pizza

I’ve said it numerous times that I have a weakness for sweet potato fries, well you can 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.

Wedge Issue 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?
 photo Rocket Bishopgate-35_zpswhu8cief.jpg
 photo Rocket Bishopgate-28_zpsks37ap8g.jpg

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.
 photo Rocket Bishopgate-36_zpslw5xoojv.jpg

Faucet Inn

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

Rocket Bishopsgate

Rocket Bishopgate

Good food and great service – that’s what I look for in the restaurants I visit. On Saturday after I attended the first ever Afternoon Tea in Ankara with Temi Otedola, followed by a date with the hubby at Rocket Bishopsgate. Date night for us is a rare occurrence especially a kid-free one so it’s safe to say I was incredibly excited. I love eating out and I love him so the two combined left me feeling major butterflies.

We arrived promptly for our 8:00pm reservation. Even though it was a Saturday night and the restaurant is bang in the middle of Liverpool Street and Shoreditch, to my relief it wasn’t busy at all. I had read somewhere online that customers were the business-types that’s why I picked a Saturday.

Rocket Bishopsgate Joy Ejaria

Our waitress, the lovely Francesca appeared to take our drinks order. I opted for a classic mojito and hubby asked for water. What a bore I thought, only to later realise he had been drinking and didn’t want to drink some more. It might surprise many reading this but at at the tender age of 25, I’ve never been drunk. I drink yes, but I have too much self control to actually get drunk. However, on Saturday the one drink I had led me to the brink. After two sips, I could feel things were changing. I assumed this was because the drink was too strong but hubby corrected me saying it was because I was drinking on an empty stomach. What a rookie mistake.

For starters, I ordered Thai Spiced Crab Cakes served on cucumber & daikon radish ribbons with pickled ginger & lime zest and my date went for the Panko Crumb & Coconut King Prawns With warm green & yellow zucchini ribbons, red chilli & mango dressing. We liked both but preferred the Thai Spiced Crabs. The lime zest and pickled ginger provided the right kick our taste buds required for the culinary experience.

Rocket Bishopsgate Rocket Bishopgate

I love an eclectic menu. The idea of going to a restaurant and having the ability to order a variety of cuisines is the type of thing that fills me up with joy ( no pun intended ). At Rocket, my culinary experience can be likened to a roller coaster ride,   good ride might i add. One minute I was digging into Thai Spiced Crab Cakes and the next, pizza with smoked mozzarella, kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes & fresh basil leaves also known as N’duja, Cherry Tomato & Prosciutto on the menu.

Being the type of man that he is, hubby felt somewhat adventurous and ordered the house special. Sirloin Steak and Teriyaki Prawns with apple, ginger and mango salsa, lamb lettuce and toasted sesame seeds. Doesn’t that sound mouth-watering? According to him, it was. It’s all he has been talking about since our visit.

Rocket Bishopsgate Rocket Bishopgate

With the disclaimer that all their desserts are homemade, there was no way we could resist. After eating what felt like the entire menu, we decided to have some ice cream – you know the icing on the cake… the cherry on top. With three scoops to choose from, we order two scoops of pistachio and one scoop of vanilla ice cream. Best decision I’ve made this year.

I’d give my experience at Rocket a 5/5 – It rarely happens but when it does, I’m elated. I loved everything about my visit from the table we were sat to the understated decor and the presentation of the food was impeccable!

Rocket Bishopgate

Rocket Bishopgate

Check out my other restaurant reviews here.

Rudie’s

@rudieslondon

In the past, my happy place used to be at home, in my bed, watching TV and eating popcorn. But now my happy place is in a restaurant eating my weight in food. Whether I’m with friends, family or on my own, I alway seem to be content.

My recent visit to Rudie’s London with Akesha, took my contentedness to a whole new level. I have literally been telling anybody who would listen how Rudie’s should be their next culinary destination. Online, this new restaurant in Dalston seemed much bigger, but upon arrival, we were greeted by a quaint little venue filled with buoyant customers. A sign I used to prophesy if the food is good.

More often than not, I visit restaurants where I’m so spoilt for choice – I wish I could order everything on the menu. Rudie’s of course was no different. The menu offered authentic Jamaican meals like Jerk Chicken, Patties and Rice and Peas with fusion offerings like Jerk Calamari, Bammy Bruschetta and Jerk Caesar Salad.
Rudie’s London
Rudie’s London
Jerk Calamari
Audie’s London Chicken Patty
Our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs because for starters, we ordered Jerk Calamari and a Chicken Patty. Choosing between the Fresh Grilled Lobster and the Ya Man! would have probably been the hardest choice we had to make that day so we opted for both and shared. The Ya Man! platter can only be described as incredible. Chicken, Pork, Lamb with a side of Corn Pon-De-Cob all for £24.50? Bargain! Thanks to their 24h marinade technique, every part of the meat was well seasoned. There’s no way I can visit a restaurant with Sweet Potatoes Fries on the menu and not order some. Probably the best I’ve had to date. They were nice and crispy.

One week post our visit, it still saddens me that we had no room for dessert. The Rum Cake with Rum Butter Sauce and Ice Cream sounds absolutely delightful!

Speaking of delightful, who goes to ‘Jamaica’ and not have rum? Not me! I ordered the aptly name Katch a Fire cocktail and lets just say, my throat nearly caught fire. A concoction of five different Jamaican rums including an a reserve rum that arrived on fire, literally and Akeska ordered a fruity boozy smoothie called Jamaica Nice.Whether you are a soft drinker, coffee lover or glass clinker, Rudie’s have the right drink to quench your thirst.

Rudie’s have brought Jamaica to our doorstep! The staff are the type of people that make you want to continuously visit thanks to how amiable they are. My next visit is already in the works and this time, I must taste the Curry Coat or Oxtail!
Rudie’s
Rudies is located at 50 Stoke Newington High St. For more information, click here.
Caribbean Restaurant London
Katch a Fire Cocktail
Rudies Restaurant

Jamie’s Italian – Kids Eat Free

Ciao Bella! I’m not going to lie, that is probably the only Italian I know. That and Buongiorno of course. 

Do you ever walk past a restaurant and think, oh, I would love go there one day? Well, that’t how I felt about Jamie’s Italian for the longest time and I finally got the opportunity to go last week.

Jamie’s Italian Greenwich
Jamie’s Italian
Jamie’s Italian
For the second time in a row, Jamie’s Italian kids menu won the Soil Association’s ‘Out to Lunch’ poll for high street restaurants and to celebrate, they were offering kids a free meal for every paying adult. Sadly this offer ended yesterday.

As a half term treat, I was invited to my nearest restaurant in Greenwich with my kids, my brother and his kids. Due to work, we could only visit at dinner. I was worried that they’d be the only kids there at that time but that wasn’t the case. To my surprise Jamie’s Italian is incredibly family-friendly. The kids were given a pack which comes filled with various activities to keep them busy until their meals arrived.

Thanks to rush hour traffic, we arrived at 7:00pm and were immediately sat in the bustling restaurant. I spotted at least four other families with young children digging into a hearty meal. We spent a good amount of time scrutinising the menu before deciding on what to eat.
Jamie’s Italian Burger
Jamie’s Italian Kids Meal
Jamie’s Italiam Lollipop Kitchen
Chilli and Garlic Prawns
I opted for Tagliatelle Bolognese and my brother went for the Jamie’s Italian Burger. I am very watchful about what my kids eat. I hate meals that are very ‘snacky’ or unhealthy. My oldest ( CeCe ) chose Jamie’s Proper Picnic Box and the youngest ( Amelia ) had the popular Happy Chicken Lollipop and my nephews shared a bowl of Mini Spaghetti Meatballs.

In CeCe’s words “ Mummy thank you for taking me to Jamies. My food was super tasty and I can’t wait to come back”. As per usual, she had a million and one questions about the restaurant and the meals. She asked why her meal was served in a lunch box that included an apple. She made it her mission to taste every meal that was ordered. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree because like me, her fave meal on the table was the Garlic and Chilli Prawns from the Bread and Antipasti section of the menu.
Jamie’s Italian Kids

Jamie’s Italian Kids
Jamie’s Italian

Kirsty’s Chilled Ready Meals

The amount of people suffering from Coeliac Disease, diary intolerance and other forms of food allergies is on the rise. Both my husband and youngest daughter Amelia are diary intolerant.  This has led us to make the switch to other types of milk like Almond and Soya. We’ve also considered going gluten-free but its taking a wee bit longer.

I was more than happy to review Kirsty’s Chilled Ready Meals when I was approached. I’m not going to lie and say I enjoy cooking everyday. There are many days when I just want to shove a meal in the microwave and have it ready it minutes. However, doing this often means relinquishing taste amongst other things.

Kirsty’s is a range of ready meals free-from gluten, wheat and diary launched in 2012 by Kirsty Henshaw. The company’s aim is to produce high quality, delicious and allergen free alternatives to a range of food products.

Kirsty’s Chilled Ready Meals Kirsty’s Ready Meals

I was sent three Kirsty’s Chilled Ready Meals to try. Spanish Chicken with Brown Basmati Rice, Beef Lasagne with a Rich Bolognese Sauce and Pork and Herb Sausages with Sweet Potato Mash. If you’ve been reading my food spots then you know exactly which meal I had first.  My weakness for sweet potato is slowly becoming a problem now.

The Sausage with Sweet Potato Mash is packed in two compartments. One side contains the sweet potato mash and the other for the sausage and gravy. Directions suggest microwaving the meal for 4 minutes in an 800Watt microwave but I added an extra two ( just in case ).

The aroma that filled my kitchen thanks to the gravy was astonishing. I was upset to discover  that upon taste, the sweet potato mash was rather bland. However, when mixed with the gravy and eaten with a slice of the sausage, it was delectable. The gravy was just how I like my gravy to be. Not to salty, well seasoned and oniony!

Kirsty's

Sausage with Sweet Potato Mash

One of the things that makes me really impressed with Kirsty’s ready meals was the shelf life. Apparently their long shelf life is down to the fact that they steam cook their meals in their packs to lock in nutrients and flavours.  Refrigerated meals can be kept up until their use b dates whilst frozen meals can last up to six months.

I can highly recommend Kirsty Ready Meals if you are suffer from gluten, wheat, dairy and nuts. Furthermore,  can also recommend these meals if you are looking for quick and easy meals, yet healthy meals. You can find your nearest Kirsty’s stockist by clicking here.

The O2

The O2

The O2 is my go to place for entertainment. Mainly because it is a 15min drive away from where I live. There is so much to do there like eat, watch a film or even climb. My recent visits to the the O2 have left me wanting to experience Up at the O2 but still not sure if I have enough courage. Some of my favourite restaurants there are Rodizio Rico, Chiquita, Pizza Express and Nandos. There are still a handful that I am yet to try like Las Iguanas who are currently offering 20% off with same day cinema or Up at the O2 tickets.

My birthday was last week and Gaucho looked like such a great place to go and celebrate. They are currently offering a three-course lunch for £26pp.  As a Greenwich local, I’ve always said how I don’t value the area and all the fun things available to nearby.

With the upcoming bank holiday weekend, the O2 have a lot of offers in place like ‘Kids Eat Free’ at selected restaurants. Visit www.theo2.co.uk for more information.

The O2

Café Rouge Children’s Menu

I hold very fond memories of Cafe Rouge. The first time I visited the restaurant was when I started my job with LOCOG in 2012. It was a team lunch for us to get to know each other. Since then, I have become a regular thanks to Tesco Clubcard!  The Cafe Rouge Children’s Menu has had a revamp and I was invited along with other yummy mummies for a trial. You all know my love for food so of course I said yes!

Cafe Rouge Café Rouge Children’s MenuCeCe is exactly like me. A complete and utter foodie. She was so eager to eat that day it was funny. She ordered the Poulet Ohh La La along with a glass of lemonade. For Amelia, I ordered the Poulet Goujon which came with chips -and a glass of pineapple juice.

Before their mains arrived, the kids  were giv, en their starters which was bread with tomato sauce and some veggies. Like the polar opposites that they are Cece enjoyed the bread whilst Amelia enjoyed the veggies!

I liked the fact that the kids meal came with some sort of vegetable either as part of their starters or the main meal. I find it hard to get my kids to eat a range of vegetables but whenever we visit a restaurant, they manage to.

Café Rouge Children’s Menu Café Rouge Poulet Ohh La La Café Rouge Kids Meal

To celebrate my sister in law’s birthday which was the week before, I asked her to tag along. For starters, we ordered Fougasse A ’L’ail aka tear and share garlic bread with warm garlic butter. Before I continue let me just use a few words to pay homage to this bread. Pizza Express watch out! Your garlic dough balls have some fierce competition!

I am that person that regularly visits the same restaurant, orders the same thing even though I’ve browsed the menu for ages! This time, I wanted to try something different. I’m trying to be unpredictable and spontaneous so I ordered Loup De Mer for my mains.The meal was everything and then some! Each ingredient worked together to create party in my mouth. The seabass fillet was well seasoned inside and out.

Café Rouge Demi Poulet Café Rouge Seabass Café Rouge Garlic Bread

The kids menu is really affordable and filling for little tummies. For a mere £6.95, they get starters, mains, dessert and a drink.  Our visit was absolutely pleasant and I look forward to the next time I visit. To find out more about the new children’s menu at Cafe Rouge please visit their website.

The Salisbury Arms

What do you do on the hottest day of the year? Go to a pub for lunch of course! Yesterday, temperatures in London peaked as high as 36C making it the hottest day in a decade. I was invited down to The Salisbury Arms a while back and thought yesterday would be the perfect day to attend.

The Salisbury Arms is a newly refurbished pub on Hopper Road, in the suburbs of north London and literally a 1 minute walk from Winchmore Hill station. They are open 12pm – 11pm Monday to Friday, 10am – 11pm on Saturdays and 10am-10:30pm on Sundays. The pub boasts a courtyard and front garden ideal for hot summer days.

The Salisbury Arms The Salisbury Arms  Menu

The Salisbury Arms Menu The Salisbury Arms

I have always seen Enfield as this really far place especially from my neck of the woods but getting to Winchmore Hill from Woolwich Arsenal was incredibly easy. I got the South Eastern to London Bridge, then the Northern Line to Moorgate where I then boarded the Great Northern to Winchmore Hill. My overall journey time was about 1 hour 20 minutes.

I visited with my friend who travelled from East London. She too found the journey there easy. She got a bus to Islington & Highbury Station where she hopped on the Great Northern to Winchmore Hill Rail Station. We arrived literally minutes after the  pub opened at 12pm. I ordered a glass of Pimms ( #pimmsoclock ) and she opted for a coke. Both were served chilled, perfect for the sweltering heat.

The Salisbury Arms The Salisbury Arms Restaurant DSC_1604 The Salisbury Arms Pub

When it came down to what to eat, there we so many possible choices From your traditional pub food to platters to share. Before my visit, I peaked at the menu on the website where I noticed that they served one of my favourite food ever. Sweet Potato Fries! So I already knew I wanted some. I initially want to order the Chargrilled Chicken Burger with avocado and pulled pork as my toppings, but when my friend chose this, I changed my order to Southern-fried chicken with fries, summer slaw and house dip.

To my disappointment, I was later informed that they’d ran out of Southern-friend chicken, so once again I changed my order. This time I played it safe by going for fish and chips. On the menu this meal was described as ” sustainably caught hake in a cider batter with puree pea, tartar and chip shop chips.  The fish was just how I like it. Dry and crispy on the outside but moist on the inside. A spritz of lemon and it was a party in my mouth. I wasn’t keen on the pea puree though. It was more mushy than puree and I didn’t like how dry it was.

DSC_1697 The Salisbury Arms Fish and Chips The Salisbury Arms  Food The Salisbury Arms

Being the greedy pig that I am, I also ordered a side of Mac and Cheese. It was meant for Amelia and my friend’s daughter to eat but they chose to eat from our plates instead. The mac and cheese was out of this world. Everything was just right. It was served in a small ramekin but somehow the portion was perfect. The top was not overly dry, and the middle was nice and creamy.

I was amazed at the quality of the food served. I always expect pub food to be of mediocre quality but what I ate at The Salisbury Arms was far from mediocre. Everything was impeccably made and definitely of high quality.

If you are a local, in the north London area or surrounding, I would definitely recommend a visit to The Salisbury Arms. The staff were cheerful, the venue was spacious, prices were pocket friendly and there was a car park. I was besotted with the decor. Long cushioned sofas, like the one we sat on makes dining with friends a comfortable a experience. There were tables for two next to a grand fireplace for chilly date nights.

The Salisbury Arms DSC_1701 The Salisbury Arms Drinks The Salisbury Arms Courtyard

As a mother, finding a family friendly restaurant is like finding money in your handbag that you forgot you had. At the Salisbury Arms, the tables were wide, there was space to keep pushchairs next to the table or any extra baggage. We sat the an airy area of the pub called the Oak room

The only thing I wasn’t pleased with about my visit was the length of time it took to get served. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a friendly female staff who took our drink order and then gave us a food menu. We placed our food order and our meal arrived between 15-20 minutes. However, after this it took a while before someone came back. I’d say this is down to two factors. One it is a pub and traditionally you are meant to go to the bar for service. Secondly, the time of the day we went. They had literally just opened and possibly not every member of staff was around.

For more information and booking enquires, please visit their website.

Food Photography Tips

Kale, Spinach and Egg on Toast

When it comes to blogging, I am a walking, talking cliche. I say things like  ” I absolutely loved it” I do the stare at the ground pose when taking ‘OOTD’ pictures ( Outfit Of the Day for all the non fashion people reading ). However, when it comes to food photography, I am an embarrassment to the blogging clan. More often than not, I start eating my meals before remembering to take the pictures. Sometimes, I am so ravenous that all I want to do is get the meal inside me.

Depending on who you follow on social media, I can guarantee you come across an image of a meal on a daily basis. Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. I can also guarantee that said image leaves your mouth watering so much you are left in a puddle of your own spit. A quick browse on Pinterest sends me straight to the grocery store due to cravings. Food art has become such a big deal recently.

Food Photography Tips

When it comes to food photography, Tom, Dick and even Harry want to show off what they just had. Unfortunately, not all manage capture the image well enough to leave viewers envious. That’s all about to change thanks to happy egg co. and Marte Marie Forsberg. As part of the Taste 100 network, #happyeggtastemakers, are set a task each month. Remember when I showed you how to make Yam and Eggs? This month’s task was to use Marte Marie Forsberg’s tips to create a meal using happy egg co. eggs.

I’ve join the smoothie making gang ( another blogging cliche to add to the list ). My go to smoothie always includes Kale and Spinach. If you haven’t tried it I suggest you do. Don’t under estimate the power of a cup of green juice. I digress. Following my new found love and addiction to Kale and Spinach, I decided my meal of choice would be Sautéed Kale and Spinach on Toast with Egg. Recipe here.
So without further ado, here are her food photography tips. These are the things you need to do to make your food pictures, heck, this can apply to any picture look like it was art directed by the creme de la creme of photography.

Food Photography Tips

POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice Review

I am a sucker for fruits, especially tropical fruits. Growing up, I particularly likes Mangos and Papayas. However, recently, thanks to my new found love for juicing, my go to fruits are Bananas and any sort of berries. Strawberries and Blueberries are a firm favourite though. I have also developed a liking towards Pomegranate although the whole seeding hassle makes me reconsider. Hence why I leaped at the chance to review POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice.

POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate is a superfood known for its health benefits. The fruit contains high levels of anti-oixdants,  Vitamin A, C and E and its a good source of Fibre.

POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice is apparently the only brand to be producing 100% pomegranate juice. Their juice is made using pomegranates from their own orchard in California. The new 190ml size is ideal for drinking on the go and contains one and a half pomegranate from their orchard.

POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice

I like the taste of the juice. I do have to say it is slightly strong but also sweet. I preferred drinking it when it was mixed with a little water. It have a distinct ruby red colour with no added sugar or artificial colours.

There are a wide range of recipes and cocktails to try out on the POM Wonderful website. POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice is available to buy from Waitrose and Whole Foods.

 

 

 

Ed’s Easy Diner

By now my love for food is no longer a secret. I have shared some of my favourite recipes with you ( like this and this), I have reviewed restaurants ( like Sticks n Sushi ) and today, I have yet another review. Last week, I headed down to the new Ed’s Easy Diner in Islington with my sister-in-law for a spot of lunch.

With over 30 diners in the UK,  6 BBQ and Grill and a shake stand, the restaurant group is a highly recognisable one. Just a stone throw away from Angel Station, located next to a Vue cinema, the O2 Academy and in the heart of Angel Shopping Centre, the new restaurant is the perfect pit stop. With an opening time of 9am till 10pm Monday to Thursday and extended on Fridays and Saturdays there is a meal for all times of the day.

Ed's Easy Diner Ed's Diner

Ed's Easy Diner Kids

 

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a member of staff who advised us to get a lift to the 1st floor because the ground floor of the restaurant featured only bar stools. Not ideal for lunch with a baby in tow. The restaurant is beautifully decorated. Very 50’s American diner-esque with colours are like red, black and white. The seating options includes chair and tables as well as booths. We chose to sit in a booth and added a bold red coloured high chair to the edge of the table for little Amelia to sit.

The menu was jam packed with so many options, I was truly spoilt for choice. There were burgers ( 16 altogether ), hot dogs and sandwiches and even salads. I was particularly fascinated by the fries section of menu. Everything sounds rather tasty. I opted for a Chilli Dog whilst my sister in law ordered the Classic Burger with Cheesy Fries.

Burger Ed's Diner

Chilli Dog Ed's Diner

Eds Dinner Review

I have a serious weakness for sweet potato fries. I ask for a potion whenever I see it on a menu. I have tried on numerous occasions to make some at home but its just not the same. The crispiness is never there. When I saw it on the menu I got so excited and almost ordered some. But I held back and thought Joy, try something new, so I did. I tried the Atomic American Fries. The word atomic perfectly describes this meal. It arrived with five different sauces with varied tastes. My favourite was the cheddar cheese sauce. The Jalapeno jelly tasted sweet, the sour cream was very creamy and the guacamole was amazing! I wish instead of chunky fries, it was served with french fries. That would have really created a party in my mouth!

Our choice of drinks was pretty basic. In hindsight, I should have tried something else. They had so much on offer including iced tea, milkshakes and wine. I chose a glass of Coca Cola and my sister in law chose Fanta. She did note that the Fanta was sweeter than usual restaurant Fantas. A bit like the ‘ Nigerian Fanta’ which she loved.

Child Friendly Restaurant Eds Diner Atomic American Fries

Gluten – Free is all the rage right now. If you happen to be one of the unfortunate people who suffer from Coeliac Disease and have to stick to a gluten free diet then you’d be happy to know that Ed’s Easy Diner is the first burger chain to be accredited by Coeliac UK.

Overall, I would give the restaurant a thumbs up! I loved the decor and the abundant options on the menu. This particular Ed’s Easy Diner is still brand new ( opened 3 weeks ago ) so everything is of course still pretty clean. I like the fact that the kitchen can be seen my customers. Its very spacious, my Quinny Buzz 3 pushchair could move around without obstruction. The toilet was big and equipped with baby changing facilities! If you live, work or happen to be in the area do give it a visit. I guarantee you will find something to leave your taste buds fill with joy! For more information please visit http://www.edseasydiner.com

Eds Easy Diner Inslington Ed's Easy Diner Review

Pizza Making Party

In this post, I mentioned that we were planing a pizza making party for CeCe and this Saturday it finally took place at Pizza Express,at The O2 in Greenwich.

The first pizza making party we attended was in September last year where one of Cece’s friend was celebrating her birthday. Since then, CeCe insisted she wanted to have one for her 6th birthday too. I spoke to two friends one whose daughter had hers at Pizza Hut and the other who had theirs at Pizza Express. I compared both their experiences and when it came down to it, I decided to go for Pizza Express.

Pizza Making Party

Pizza Making Party

The booking process was really easy, however I had a couple of complication due to the date I wanted.  We have about 5 different Pizza Express surrounding us within a 5 mile radius but due to the Easter holidays they were all booked up on the Saturday after her birthday. Unfortunately, the weekend after that was Easter so we had to postpone it by another week. It all worked out in the end because the day we ended up doing it was also my Mr’s birthday.

The Pizza Express at The O2 doesn’t normally take bookings for Pizza Making Parties but they made an exception because there was no event taking place at The O2 on the day of my booking. I am so glad they made this exception because I was super impressed with the service we received on the day. The food was top quality, the staff were patient, friendly and really helpful.

Pizza Making PartyPizza Making PartyOur initial booking was for 10 kids but due to the timing and weather on the day only six kids managed to make it in time to actually make their pizza. This didn’t affect anything. When the rest of the kids turned up, they simply placed an order from the children’s menu provided.

I think for £11.95 per child, the experience is  truly worth it. Not only do they get to make their pizzas, they get the infamous Pizza Express Dough Balls for starters and a choice of dessert. At the end of the day, they also get a certificate stating that they are certified pizza makers!

The only complaint I have is that maybe it could have start a tad bit later. We were told to turn up at 10:30am and even though we were half an hour late it still was far too early.

Pizza Express Dough Balls

Pizza Express

Birthday Cake Pizza Express

 

Farfalle Fusion

Farfalle Fusion

In my bid to stay fit and heathy, I mentioned in the post how I have been obsessed with ‘instachef’ Dooneyskitchen.  When I saw her post this Farfalle recipe I couldn’t wait to try it. She coined the recipe “Farfalle a la Nigeria” after she was inspired by one of Jamie Oliver’s 30 minutes meals.

Farfalle Fusion

Making this meal was unbelievably easy. I missed out some of the ingredients like chopped Uziza, beef stock and smoked fish but even without these it tasted AMAZING. Farfalle also known as ‘bow-tie pasta’ is one of my favourite types of pasta. It is just so pretty.

This Farfalle fusion combines the best of Italy with some of the best of Nigeria. From the pictures, you will see that mine wasn’t as rich as Dooney’s. That is because I didn’t blend my tomatoes and peppers together to create the sauce.

Farfalle Fusion

Myself and the kids had this for lunch about two weeks ago and it went down a treat. If you would like to try making this here is the recipe and for how to prepare it click here.

Farfalle Pasta – or any uncommon pasta shape
2 tbs of Iru
2 – 3 pieces of red bell pepper
12 – 15 pieces of cherry tomatoes – or 5 pieces of regular tomatoes
1 red onion
1 shallot – optional
1 – 2 pieces of ata rodo – scotch bonnet/habanero pepper
A handful of Chopped Uziza
Palm Oil
Softened Smoked fish
Smoked red prawns
Beef Stock
Salt and/or seasoning cubes if you need

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Get fit or Die Tryin’‏

Get fit or Die Tryin'‏

At the beginning of the year we all go through the ‘setting goals’ periods. I set mine every year and  by the third month I throw in the towel. Well, not this year. This year I am sticking to my guns. I must achieve my set goals.

Get fit or Die Tryin'‏

One of the goal I set for this year was getting fit. Being a parenting requires juggling a whole host of things. I find that I am always all over the place doing A or B so eating right is always difficult. But I have said to myself, I must get fit or die tryin’ ( not literally of course )

When it comes to staying fit, one of the things I find quite hard is eating right. I love my Nigerian meals however they can be quite ‘unhealthy’ and its hard to eat a variety. Mosts meals are high on carbs. Also more often than not I find myself eating late because I had so much to do.

To stay on track, I have carried out extensive research which I believe is really helping. I found this NHS article sharing ‘The truth about carbs’ It has really enlightened me on the how to cope with my high carbohydrate diet. So I dont have to eat different meals from the rest of my family.

Another way I have been staying on track is through Nigerian #instachefs my favourite being @dooneyskitchen. I have never tasted her food but her images leave my mouth watering. I often find myself rushing to the next food shop just so I can try out one of her recipes, which can all be found here. Whilst reading Skint Dad’s blog I came across this post ‘ 7 Free Alternatives instead of paying for Gym Membership’ and I think it is useful for anyone trying to get fit on a budget.

I am trying to lose weight not to get to a smaller dress size but to get rid of my ‘mum tum’. It has been there for almost six years now and I think its time it disappeared. I would love to wear a cropped top this summer!

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Sticks ‘n’ Sushi

Sticks 'n' Sushi

A lot of the time when I read reviews on blogs the sentence ” I absolutely loved it ” is thrown all over the page. I myself am guilty of it. But this time as I use it, I 100%, no I 200% mean it! I went the the soft launch of Sticks ‘n’ Sushi yesterday with my hubby and Amelia. Unfortunately CeCe wasn’t able to come.

Sticks 'n' Sushi

The new Sticks n Sushi, Greenwich is located in the heart of Greenwich ( 1 Nelson Rd ), very close to Greenwich Park.  No other words can describe my experience except for amazing. The restaurant, it’s location, the staff and the meals were amazing.

Now bear in mind I have never tasted sushi in my entire life. I wasn’t sure what to expect and what I would eat when I got there seeing as the place is called ‘Sticks ‘n’  Sushi’. Let’s just say it was an experience. A pleasant one might I add. We had a choice of one shared starter and we chose the Grilled Edamame Beans tossed in supreme soy, ginger & garlic!  I particularly liked this because it was well seasoned and the ideal thing to start off the evening.

For mains we selected two sticks plus two sushi each.  I left it up to my husband who is the adventurous one to choose as the choices were many.  For himself, he went for salmon with spring onion and shrimp hosomaki which of course he enjoyed. He picked the salmon hosomaki  for me. The really friendly waitress serving us recommended the Crispy Ebi Roll Uramaki for us to try so we went for that. The rolls are cut into 8 tasty bite-sized yet very filling pieces.

Sticks 'n' SushiFor our choice of sticks, my other half went for Rib-eye beef with Japanese barbecue marinade plus Salmon wrapped in smoked bacon with miso herb butter whilst I chose Chicken wings and Goat cheese with dried ham.

Everything we ordered can you only be described as delicious! The Crispy Ebi Roll which had Tempura shrimp, avocado, spicy sauce, tsume soy, rolled in sesame was like a party in my mouth. Even little Amelia loved it!

I was flabbergasted by the decor of the restaurant so much so that I asked the very lovely general manager if it was the same at every location as I’d never been to a Sticks ‘n’ Sushi before. He explained that each store had a different concept. I was shocked to see the cream colours leather table and wooden white chair. Upon first impressions, I though the chair would be uncomfortable but they were actually the opposite of that!

Because our babysitter fell through last minute, I was nervous about taking Amelia along but she was fine and I am happy I did. They had high chairs, and an interactive kids menu. I was impressed by the fact that they provided colours pencils for kids to play with. If CeCe was there, she would have been impressed by this. The restaurant was spacious enough to accommodate a pushchair ( though we didn’t bring one), there was space provided to hang coats, umbrellas and other added baggage.

I can hand on my heart say we will definitely be returning to Sticks ‘n’ Sushi for lunch one day. They officially open tomorrow ( Jan 31st ) so if you are in the Greenwich area, I recommend a visit! For more information visit www.sticksnsushi.com

This was a complimentary visit for greenwich locals. All opinion shared are 100% honest.
Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Fried Yam and Scrambled Eggs

Fried Yam and Scrambled Eggs

Everyone has their go to meal. A meal that they prepare when they need a pick me up. Something they can eat all day, every day. Mine is Yam. I can eat yam in any way shape or form. Fried, Boiled or pounded you name it. But when it comes down to eat, my first choice is often fried yam and scrambled eggs.

Fried Yam and Scrambled Eggs

As members of the Happy Egg Co. Taste 100 tastemakers, we have been challenged to come up with our own scrambled egg recipe incorporating the following :

  • A vegetable (e.g. onion, tomato) or source of fish/meat (e.g. salmon, bacon)
  • A herb or spice (e.g. chives, paprika )
  • A surprise ingredient of your choosing (I’d probably go for cheese…!)

I was sent a coupon to buy the eggs and there was no dwelling on it. I knew exactly what recipe I would be using. Its one I have made times without number. My family absolutely love it! We often eat it with bread or fried yam for breakfast ( P.S did you know its breakfast week? ). In fact I’d say this meal is a staple in a Nigerian household. It is also referred to as Nigerian Egg stew and is much more watery than mine. When it comes to preparing eggs, everyone has their own preference. My kids and hubby prefer eating theirs ‘dry’ so that is how I have prepared it buy using less tomatoes.

yam and scrambled eggs

Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 medium plum tomatoes ( The Vegetable )
  • 1 medium onion
  • One Scotch Bonnet or you can use Black Pepper
  • Garlic (  The Surprise Ingredient )
  • Salt ( to taste )
  • 1 stock cube
  • 2 cooking spoons of vegetable oil


Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Project Sunlight | #Clearaplate

Blogging has brought many great experiences into my life. Many that money can buy and very few that no amount in the world can pay for. Yesterday’s experience was the latter. As per usual, I dragged Amelia along to a trip in the city. This time it was to visit the Oxfam HQ to find out more about their new partnership with Unilever for Project Sunlight. The partnership which also inlcudes Trussell Trust and FareShare is providing thousands of people around the UK with access to emergency food support through distribution of surplus food and food banks.

Project Sunglight

Having previously blogged about Trussell Trust and Tesco’s  neighbourhood Food Collection, I still went into today not knowing what to expect. I have never had to use a food bank. But this is life, You never know what will happen tomorow. I spent the day with two other amazing bloggers who like me were not sure what to expect. However, one has had to visit a food bank for help when push came to shove and the other was on the verge of needing to go to one. Let me just say it now if you looked at both ladies you wouldn’t be able to tell. As a blogger,there is a certain level of perfection expected from readers. I guess that comes down to the whole something to aspire to that I blogger about early last year ( Read here ). But really and truly, you never know what is going on behind closed doors. I digress.

The day began with us meeting  Rachel Orr, Oxfam’s Head of UK Poverty programme.. She went into great detail about how Oxfam came to be involved with Trussell Trust and Unilever. She explained why there is a rise in the amount of people using food bank. Many find it hard to the believe that there is food porverty in the UK with it being the sixth richest country in the world and considering over 11,000 tonnes of food is thrown away daily. But this is the reality and changes need to be made.

Project Sunlight

The first part of the morning really didn’t prepare me for what happened in the afternoon. Honestly. I am not even sure how to put it in words. We met a lady who brought us to tears. No, not tears in our eyes but actual blubbering. She explained how she ended up at the food bank that day. She talked about her four children who all sounded amazing despite their unfortunate situation. She is unable to work or receive benefits and for the past year has been relying on help from her children’s school. Something she said resonates ” I came here not knowing if they will give me food or not but I had to have hope” Those words. The fact that if she hadn’t been given anything at the Brent Cross Food Bank, herself and her four children would have nothing to eat. Again. I can’t even phantom how she copes. upon my return home I began reading other food banks stories here and it really saddened me.

Something I witnessed at the Brent Foodbank was truly astonishing. A local shop owner brought in boxes of crisps to donate. I was told by the Project Manager at the Food Bank that this is a regular occurrence with this man. When ever he orders for his shop, he gets extra for the food bank. He was not the only one who brought food in that day too. The atmosphere was definitely not what I expected. People were jovial. As each person arrived they were greeted with a friendly smile, offered cup of teas and a listening ear. There is a stigma attached to those who find themselves in the unfortunate position to use a food bank but from what I saw yesterday it need not be. A huge chunk of the people who use foodbanks are due to benefits delay. You can find your nearest food bank by clicking here and if you want to find out how it works then click here.

Project Sunlight

Each person’s situation is assessed to find how much food they will need. So a single person will obviously need less than a family of three or a single parent with 4 kids. The food bank has  a chart that they follow when providing food. Using this chart, they provide food that will last up to three meals a day for three days.

Unilever and Oxfam through their tpartners Trussell Trust and FareShare are providing half a million meals to hungry families, in addition to the 2 million already given. You can find out more about the project here https://www.projectsunlight.co.uk/

 

I have linked this post with www.honestmum.com 

What are your habits costing you?

What are your habits costing you?

Its been a super busy week for us. From prepping the house for christmas to prepping for Amelia’s birthday which is just two weeks away. It really has been overwhelming.  We are STILL not sure if we are having a party due to the timing of things. To be honest I’d rather spend the party money on a short break abroad. 

 
For many including myself, this time of the year often leads to lots reflecting. I personally enjoy looking back and seeing the goals I have achieved, the pictures I have taken and the adventures I have been on. But one thing that always occupies my mind is money. I wonder if Iv saved enough and if I could have done anything differently.
 
This year, I developed a lot of bad habits that are crippling me financially.  I have mentioned my love for food in my “What I am thankful” But what I didn’t mention was how expensive this love. 
 
Another bad habit, though not new that I have is shopping. I’m embarrassed to admit that I buy a new item of clothing at least once a week. Dont judge me. Have you never heard of Retail Therapy? This habit however, has gone to a new direction where I am now buying for the kids instead. Thats because its easier to justify buying for them to my husband.
 
I used the Legal & General habit cost calculator to see how much my habits are costing me and lets just say I am not surprised by the results. By my calculations, if I saved the money I used on takeout a month, I could end with up 60% of the money needed for a holiday abroad. I will definitely be cutting back in 2015 as I save towards a trip to NYC!
The cost calculator is Legal & General’s way of getting us to think about life with a long term perspective They believe that with a tax efficient saving account , we could all be spending our money differently.
 What are your habits costing you?
Sponsored post – read my disclaimer here 

Our Little Adventure with Barny the Bear

“We’re going on a bear hunt! We’re gonna catch a big one! I’m not afraid! Are you? Not me!”

Ever since she watched ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ at Greenwich Theatre, CeCe has been so obsessed with bears and adventures oh and that song!

Barny is a bear shaped sponge snack with a hidden centre that is available in four flavours. We received two packs of tasty Barny cake bars with the task to take them on an adventure. I planned so many different adventures but they all didn’t work out. Then it hit me! We’ll take Barny on an adventure to London. Well the city for the #VCSchoolout event organised by Voucher Codes but things didn’t work out as planned so instead Barny came with us to Coventry for the weekend.

The drive to Coventry from our house is about 2:30hr long and 115 miles. This was our first long drive journey as a family. Imagine a baby, an impatient hubby and a demanding 5 year old in one car. I prepared myself my packing lots to drink and lots to eat including Barny Bear off course( epic fail on the drinks though. It meant stopping twice for toilet breaks ).

CeCe’s favourite flavour was chocolate ( she’s got a sweet tooth like mummy ). She loved Barny so much she ate one on the walk to school yesterday. The packaging for Barny was well thought. In a long rectangle box with 5 individual bars which are protected my cardboard and wrapped in foil like paper. With no artificial colours or preservative it seems like Barny will soon become part of our weekly shopping.

barny bear

Each flavours comes in a pack of five and costs roughly £169Barny is available from all major supermarkets. For allergies and ingredients please click here – http://www.barnyworld.co.uk/

 

Disclaimer : We were sent two packs of Barny Bear in return for this review.

Neighbourhood Food Collection Challenge

This is a very different post from what I usually post. Well, not so different because I like to post about variuos charities who strive to help others.

This week, I present to you Trussell Trust a charity partnering with communities to launch foodbanks across the UK. Giving emergency food to people in crisis & raising awareness of food poverty. Its funny, when we think about poverty, we assume its a thing that only those who live in 3rd world countries suffer from. But did you know that in the UK, 1 in 4 children live in poverty and by 2020 3.5 million children will be living in poverty. This saddens me.

Neighbourhood Food Collection Challenge

This July, Tesco will undertake its 4th Neighbourhood Food Collection to help tackle the growing issue of food poverty in the UK.  Customers across the country will be encouraged to donate non-perishable food items to Tesco stores nationwide. The collection will help provide much needed food for the Trussell Trust foodbank network and the all the other UK charities supported by food redistribution charity FareShare.

Neighbourhood Food Collection Challenge

To raise awareness of the growing issue of food poverty in the UK and highlight just how many families are relying on food banks to feed their children, Tesco have created the Neighbourhood Food Collection Challenge. I will face the challenge of food poverty for one week by living off a food parcel containing items that will last me for 5 days.  The content was already curated and has literally just been delivered to my house by Tesco. The challenge is to make every item last and share my innovative recipes and experiences on my blog starting from Monday.

Neighbourhood Food Collection

So I have enough to live on, the parcel I received has been turned into a balanced diet. I have everything from porridge to Long grain rice.

The food parcel isn’t an exact replica of what the Trussell Trust give out as the charity runs on donations, every food parcel is different and mine was purchased from Tesco and normally food can be from anywhere.

Jamaican Brown Stew Recipe

Apologies for the lack of posts this week. I am down with allergies. My eyes are red and watery, my nosy is stuffy and my throat is sore. OH Hayfever… why are you so mean?!

Anyway, Im going off topic… I thought I should share this recipe and meal I made last week with you. It was really delicious. In fact I’m craving it now but have no energy what so ever to get out of bed and make it.

I found this Jamaican Brown Stew recipe on Cook like a Jamaican  but tweaked it a little my adding my own extras.

jamaican brown stew recipe

Ingredients

1 kg of Chicken Wings

Chicken Seasonings:
2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black pepper
3 Large cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp of Lemon Juice

Gravy:
1/2 cup Cooking oil (for frying chicken)
1 Large onion, chopped & 1 Spring onion, chopped

2 Bay Leaves

1/4 each, Red and Green bell pepper, chopped

1 Sprig of thyme
1 tsp Barbecue Pepper sauce
1 Tbsp Tomato ketchup
2 cups Hot water
1 tsp salt (to taste)

Method

Tip: Wash the chicken and make sure to dry it with paper towel to remove any water before frying.

1. Season chicken with salt, black pepper, sugar, garlic and lemon juice). Marinate the chicken overnight of at least one hour before frying.

2. On High heat, fry the chicken in cooking oil for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until browned. Remove chicken from pan.

3. Remove half the cooking oil in pan and use remaining oil to fry onions and bell peppers until onions are transparent.

4. Add thyme, hot pepper sauce, tomato ketchup and 1 cup of hot water to pan and stir; taste gravy and add 1 tsp of salt, if needed.

5. Add chicken to gravy. Add 1  cup of  hot water and turn heat to Low and cover pan. Simmer chicken for 30 minutes or until it is tender and the gravy has thickened.

6. Serve with Basmati or side dish of you choice. I went for Basmati Rice and Salad but for the hubby he had long grain rice and plantain.

 

jamaican brown stew recipejamaican brown stew recipe