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Halloween – What’s on?

1 Oct

If you’re stuck for where to go this Halloween weekend I can thoroughly recommend the Halloween Raveyard at The Vaults in Waterloo. I’ve been going for a few years now, and the depth of decoration and interaction has never ceased to amaze me. It’s pretty cheap, it’s in a set of underground abandoned railway arches, they have zombies, a band, a rave room, and a chill out room – it’s pretty amazing! The people who go put a massive effort into their costumes, so get that special effect make up out and go wild!

Tickets can be bought here www.thevaults.london/halloween-raveyard-2017 at £18 each for Friday 27th and Saturday 28th October 2017.

Verdict 9 / 10 (this would be a 10 if they had more bar ares, service is slow! And air conditioning as its really hot in there!)

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London Eats: Tayyabs, Whitechapel

25 Sep

Established in 1972, Tayyabbs has long been serving the people of east London the most delicious Pakistani cooking around. It’s a firm favourite with my friendship group, as with a BYOB policy you can go stuff your face, drink your own wine and pay no more than £20.

My absolute favourite dish is the spiced and sizzling lamb chop platter, I also find the naan breads so flavourful and fresh. The curry is amazing full of lamb (or chicken) and all with their own spicy twists. My only criticism is that they can be a little greasy. It must be said, the atmosphere is simply mad. Even with a booking there’s crowding, pushing shouting and often chaos. The restaurant greeter does have it all in hand (usually) and when you do eventually get a table – you will be shouted at in the nicest way possible to place your order. They always remember i without writing it down, even for tables of 11! It’s not for the faint hearted if you want a quiet corner – go elsewhere. Typically its fun folk getting together and a lot of laughter and joy. There is always the obligatory table of suited ‘*rhymes with Anchor* banker types who are just that bit too loud, grating and vulgar. Just ignore those and you’ll be okay!

Here are some pictures to entice your taste buds:

Verdict: 9 / 10

Where?
83-89 Fieldgate St, Whitechapel, London E1 1JU
Top Tip: Booking in advance is absolutely necessary www.tayyabs.co.uk

Winter Eats: Zing Zing

19 Nov

With the cold weather seeping into tired bones this winter, after a late night at work it can be far too tempting to order take out (again) for dinner. Zing Zing have the perfect solution – as they make chemical free modern Chinese take out that I can vouch for as delicious!

aab

The menu was designed by executive chef Jeremy Pang and if you are money conscious like myself you’ll be pleased to know that the average price for a main is only £6.50.

I tried some of the below with my family and here are our favourites:

Firecracker Chicken
The best! So hot and sticky and amazing. I would order this every day if I could.

fggggd

Coconut Tamarind Prawns
My second favourite, rich coconut with fresh pawns and lime leaves. Perfect!

Glazed Sesame Chicken
Made with pieces of chicken thigh it made each bite really tender and moist.

fsfsdfsd

Seasonal Chinese Greens
My mam’s favourite, crunchy broccoli, pak choi, mushrooms and mange tout yet lots of delicious oyster sauce

Sticky Pork Ribs
Infused with a smokey flavouring these were lovely to nibble on

bbbbazs

Nutella and Banana Spring Rolls
A little weird, but anything with nutella gets my vote! I guess it’s a take on the banana fritter (which to be honest I love more) but I imagine this is healthier as not so battered/fried

I love that there are no hidden nasties in this takeaway and will definitely be ordering from here in the future.

Verdict: 9 / 10

Halloween Recipe time! Skippy Spooky Cookies

25 Oct

It can be so boring handing out pre-packaged sweets to the trick or treaters at your door or the guests at your Halloween party. I love baking, and adore peanut butter so thought that I would give Skippy’s Spooky Cookies a try this year. They were so easy to make and the recipe is pretty simple:

Ingredients
·         1 jar of Smooth SKIPPY® Peanut Butter

·         340g cups all-purpose flour

·         1 teaspoon baking powder

·         1 teaspoon baking soda

·         1/4 teaspoon salt

·         170g butter

·         150g granulated sugar

·         165g firmly packed brown sugar

·         2 large eggs

·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

experiement

Directions:

1.      Heat oven to 180°C/ 350°F.

2.      In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well.

3.      In large bowl, beat together peanut butter and margarine with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in granulated and brown sugars, then eggs and vanilla until blended. Beat in flour mixture just until blended.

4.      Shape dough into 1-inch balls. On ungreased baking sheets, arrange cookies 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes or until lightly golden. If decorating like spiders, remove to cool on baking sheets 2 to 3 minutes. Decorate to look like spiders, if desired.

5.      If decorating like spiders, gently press mini chocolate button or chunk into top of each cookie while still warm. When chocolate starts to melt, attach thin pretzel “legs” by placing end of pretzel into melted chocolate. Cool completely then attach mini coated candy pieces for “eyes” and mini sugar pearls for “pupils” with peanut butter.

SKIPPY® Peanut Butter has a RRP of £2.25 per 340g jar and is available in Smooth and Super Crunch varieties, which are currently available in major UK supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Ocado.

Toffee Apples – Pink Lady Style!

24 Oct

It’s the run up to Halloween weekend, and a great time to spoil your family and friends with sweet treats. Here’s a great recipe to get started – Toffee Apples – Pink Lady Style!

Ingredients

4 – Pink Lady® Apples
400g – Caster sugar
50g – Salted butter
3tbsp – Golden syrup
1tbsp – Cider vinegar
100ml – Water
4 – Thick wooden sticks

pink-lady-toffee-apple-high-res-2

Full preparation

Place the Pink Lady® apples into a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for a few minutes, as this will help the sugar syrup stick better. Remove the apples and dry with kitchen paper. Remove the stalks of the apples and push the wooden sticks through the top to create the handle.
Measure out all of the ingredients and put them all (except the apples) into a medium heavy-based saucepan with deep sides, as you will need to tip to the saucepan to the side while dipping the apples into the sugar syrup. Line a baking tray with parchment paper for when the apples are ready.
Heat the sugar mix on a medium low heat and let it bubble away for a good 10 minutes. The most accurate way to know when the sugar syrup is ready is to use a cooking thermometer; you want the sugar syrup to reach 143 -150°c. Or alternatively if you do not have a thermometer you can place a small amount of the mixture into a bowl of cold water and if it separates into threads that are hard but not brittle, then it is ready.
Once the sugar syrup has reached 143-150°c, turn off the heat and keep stirring to remove all the bubbles and to cool it down slightly. If the sugar syrup is too hot then it will run off the apple so you need to wait until the mixture looks like syrup with no bubbles, which is around 120°c.
Carefully place your apple with the wooden stick into the sugar syrup and tilt the pan to get best coverage for your apple. Keep rotating the apple in the mix to coat. Hold the apple above the pan and keep rotating until the sugar cools and holds its shape better. When you think its holding well place the apple onto the lined tray to cool. Repeat the process with the remaining apples.

Sunday Roast: Duchy Arms, Kennington

13 Sep

I’m always looking for a pub with a good Sunday roast. London may do the vegetables well, but you struggle to find the lashings of meat and gravy that you get in the north! One pub even charged me extra for my extra gravy. While watching an episode of Celebs go dating recently, I saw that Geordie Shore’s Charlotte Crosby actually took her own tupperware tub of gravy on a date – that seriously was my new mindset on how to go about my roast dilemma. Kennington is an odd one too in that there are nice places (take the Tommyfield and The Dog House) but they are so pricey, packed and hard to sit comfortably on a sofa or on a table a wee bit too small.

I came across the Duchy Arms on my way back from Tesco last month, Matt and I popped in for a pint and I was pleasantly surprised at the Edwardian decor, range of cask ales and spacious layout.
duchy1
I returned this weekend to sample their Time Out recommended Sunday Roast and I was suitably impressed. With one course at £12.95, two courses £15.45 and three courses at £17.95 I opted for the two courses with chicken wings to start and lamb leg roast. Firstly, the portions are great. After a busy day of cleaning, packing for holidays and gardening we hadn’t eaten and this filled the gap very nicely. The wings had just the right amount of spice and lashings of sour cream and pickled salad on the side. The roast was beautiful with so much tender lamb meat (pink how I like it) and actually they did ask how well done we’d like the meat which is great if like my parents you prefer the well done variety. It included a huge Yorkshire pudding (soft at the bottom crisp at the top as it should be!) and plenty of gravy. When I say plenty of gravy, this is a big must have for me – nowhere in London gives you enough in my opinion! To compliment it a glass of Merlot at £4.80 – not bad at all.

duchy2

Verdict: 9 / 10

The Duchy Arms – 63 Sancroft Street, Kennington, London SE11 5UG

Date Night: London Beer Lab, Brixton

22 Aug

Last month I found the ideal date night solution on Groupon, a beer tasting session at the London Beer Lab, Brixton. So many a happy Friday I spend in the pub with my gorgeous one, but an activity that’s educational and drunken ticks all boxes!

Under one of the iconic Brixton rail arches, this microbrewery is tiny, but very interesting and the staff are friendly which is important at such an intimate gathering. Priced at £12 per person for 10 beer tastings (small glasses!) and costing even less on promotion on Groupon, it’s an affordable date.

We were early to arrive, and made our way up into the top floor, where benches and tables are laid out like a beer hall in the middle of plastic casks and brewing equipment. Snacks are laid out in little glasses (Thai crackers and the like) and a big bucket with a water jug allows you to swill your glass between rounds.  Some of the beers were quite strong (and a lot of IPA and pale ales to Matt’s delight!) so we were fairly tipsy by the end and made friends with another couple sat on our table. It gets a little hot in there in the summer so keep your day time attire on!

Customers get a 10% discount on bottles in the mini-shop to take home – so after our obligatory Wetherspoons jaegerbomb for the road we were clinking our way home on the bus very happy.

Verdict: 9 / 10

 

beerlab2

Beerlab1a1

London Happy Hour: The Oval Lounge

20 Aug

If you are looking for a little pub to chill on a weeknight – I would recommend The Oval Lounge in – you guessed it – Oval! It’s close to the station, and has a Happy hour until 7pm with £3 beers and £12 wine. A really cozy little venue (with twinkling lights in the beer garden!) to relax in.

The only let down is the food, pretty pricey for some average burgers (and one time I had the cheese board – it was boring and really not worth the money. No variation on the crackers and bread, just standard plain, no butter, no chutney. Basically a couple of slices of cheese and one segment of apple!) That said they do accept taste card on weeknights  which puts it more in the price range I would expect for the food.

a1

Verdict: 8 / 10

Nearest Tube: Oval, Northern line. Address: 24 Clapham Road (continuation of Kennington Park Road), Kennington, London SW9 0JG|

Opening times: Mon-Fri 12pm, Sat & Sun 10am. Closing times: Mon-Thu 10pm, Fri-Sat 11.00pm & Sun 9pm

KERB Camden Market

17 Aug

KERB Camden Market is the newest and biggest player in London’s dynamic street food scene. Open 364 days a year, 35 of the capital’s best-known and most innovative traders will offer locals, Londoners and visitors a unique eating and drinking experience in this iconic canal-side place.

To celebrate the launch I went along this week with fellow food blogger Toli Benson (Fork My Pie Hole) to sample the food and drinks from street food legends such as Mother Clucker, Crabbie Shack, Killa Dilla and Roit House.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, hasn’t Camden always done street food? Well… perhaps, but this is another level. Gone are the sad dried up noodles, strange opening hours and that uneasy feeling you get as you perch by a rubbish bin to eat your wares (all the while watching out for pickpockets or flies landing!) It’s now sleek, laid out in a sensible and easy to navigate way, plenty of sitting and leaning areas and food that isn’t just convenient but is truly restaurant quality in flavour.

Check it out at www.kerbfood.com and take a look at some of our adventure below!

Incredibly happy and full 🙂

Incredibly happy and full :-)


The Patate – French burgers, think tender tender brisket oozing in raclette cheese. or blue cheese – any cheese they offer please it is french after all! 😉

 

The Mac Factory – OMG, I don’t usually rate mac and cheese, it’s a home food and I wouldn’t pay for it. How wrong I was – this crispy topped chorizo filled mac and cheese blew my mind!


Born & Raised Pizza
– covered in honey. Such a rich and indulgent taste, mixed with a really herby and delicious tomato base.

 

Fundi Pizza

Oli Baba’s HALLOUMI FRIES – Served with Za’atar Yogurt, Pomegranate Seeds, Mint and Sumac they are so very perfectly spiced, crisp and a total tummy pleaser.

halloumio

STAKEhaus – a delicious sample of their steak and chips, dripping in garlic and herb butter. Pink and rare – just how I like it!

STAKEhaus - a delcisious sample of their steak and chips, dripping in garlic and herb butter. Pink and rare - just how I like it!

KillaDilla – more spice please, yes more – oh wow you guys know how to do spice 🙂

Boom – Belly Busted! 🙂

 

Verdict: 10/10 I cannot wait to go back!

Summer Eats: In the House

16 Aug

If you’re saving for a last-minute summer holiday, the nice weather is the perfect opportunity to relax in your own garden or indoors with the windows open and avoid the busy restaurants altogether! I’ve sampled some new ranges this summer and here are a few of my favourite!

Chicago Town – Takeaway range
Chicago Town has launched seven new varieties to their takeaway range  including Pulled Beef Brisket, American Hot,  Four Cheese,  Cajun Chicken, Deep Dish Meatball Melt, Deep Dish Mega Meaty and Pizza Melt BBQ Chicken. I love the taste of the dough in the take-out range, it is the closest to my favourite Papa Johns takeaway pizza, and pretty good that you can just cook in the oven from frozen for a fraction of the price! The four cheese while it sounds like the plainest it actually surprised me, it just oozes deliciousness and the cheese goes well with the tomato stuffed crust. The pulled beef brisket is so juicy – I would definitely recommend!

actown

Verdict: 8 /10
JimJams Chocolate Spread
If you have a sweet tooth, you may like this chocolate spread with a difference. Former IT worker Kevin Bath waved goodbye to the City after being appalled by the level of sugar in his children’s spreads and snacks, and created a chocolate spread with a lot less sugar than popular brands. Now available in Tesco, Ocado and Holland & Barrett its chocolate gooey heaven – and while I am not totally convinced it’s in any way healthy, it is still a great way to relieve some food guilt knowing it’s far less packed with sugar!
ajimjam
Verdict: 7 / 10

POLO Sugar Free Extra Strong
JimJams aren’t the only brand going sugar-free this summer – very on trend! POLO have launched a Sugar Free Extra Strong Mint. I actually love this mint as it doesn’t melt away as quickly as the more sugared ones! It’s great for keeping sweet cravings at bay while I’m on slimming world too. POLO Sugar Free and POLO Sugar Free Extra Strong (RRP 50p) are both accredited by the Oral Health Foundation so again guilt free snacking, I love it!

My one criticism of a polo is the top mint always gets a bit grubby in my bag. If only you could seal the packaging up better it would be a 10!
apolo
Verdict: 9 / 10

 

Leffe and Sausages!
The Belgian beer brand, Leffe, has teamed up with British charcuterist, Adrienne Treeby, owner of Crown & Queue to create an exclusive Leffe salami.  Using only British Heritage pork and a number of locally-grown herbs – and allowing the right amount of time for the ingredients to infuse at a specific temperature & humidity – Adrienne has created a delicious & unique sausage which reflects the age-old heritage of Leffe abbey beer.

The Leffe Brune Infused Sausage are available to buy in a box of three for a limited time only this summer priced at £18 for three at Crown Queue Meats and are absolutely divine. I made a slight error by leaving in the fridge (best served at room temperature) which made it a little tough, but when it warmed up it was so peppery and succulent! I think these are a real and unique treat – if a little on the premium side of the cost scale!
aleffe
Verdict: 8 / 10

 

PiCK UP! Mini
Gone are the days when you pop over to your Nana’s house and have a chocolate biscuit. Well bring them back I say! It’s not always practical to have cake or cookies in your packed lunch (yes I am an adult who eats packed lunches – with the hope that my frugality will help me to climb out of the London rental trap!)

apickup

Verdict: 7 / 10

 

 

London Eats: The Stable, Whitechapel

18 May

The Stable is a new restaurant/bar with two main items on the menu – cider and pizza! Now both of these are my favourites so I may be biased but it makes a refreshing change to London’s recent obsession with craft ale and burgers! (Not that there’s none of that going on at The Stable too!)
Conveniently located in between Aldgate East and Whitechapel underground stations this cool east London venue has a really relaxed atmosphere and the cider tasting rack is amazing moving up in dryness as you go along for the most palatable tasting experience.

about-top

Food options include pizzas, pies and salads, all of which have fresh and locally sourced ingredients. I went along to the launch night last month, and my favourite pizza was the meaty, cheesy delicious Longhorn Jim. I describe this as heaven in a slice, and the the menu describes this as:

Marinated Longhorn ground beef (from a lovely bloke in Dorset with the best herd around), Bath Pig Co. chorizo, field mushrooms, roasted red onions, our fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella. Topped with shaved Dorset air dried pork loin from award winning Capreolus of Dorset. (£13.50)

about-top

Launched first in Bristol by husband and wife team Richard and Nikki Cooper, one can see that they have succeeded in including that homely vibe in their chain of ‘stables’ across the UK. A perfect venue for dinner with friends or a cheeky date-drink-food combo!

Verdict: 8 / 10

 

Juice your way to better health with Philips and Joe Wicks

8 Feb

It’s that dreary time in February when the New Year health kick that 75% of us Brits embarked upon begins to dwindle. Dry January is over, pubs are full again. The memories of the Christmas partying are fading and willpower is seriously lagging!
I decided to try to combat this not by further deprivation (of calories and ultimately the foods that I love) but by making some healthy swaps – and to squeeze more fruit and vegetables into my life.
Philips have worked with  Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, this New Year to get people forming healthy juicing habits for 2016 as part of their resolutions – check out the #RealJuiceReboot campaign.
By making your own juices at home, you control what goes into it, and I have had some very delicious breakfasts as a result!
I used the nifty little juicer from the Viva range, it has a two litre capacity, and it doesn’t take up too much bench space. It’s also not fiddly like the juicers of past! I love it and will continue to make my own from now on. Philips Viva collection is available to buy from Amazon and the HR1839 retails for around £70, with compact versions for even less – so definitely a money saver in the long run.

Here are some of Joe’s #realjuicetruth recipes to get you started:

Zesty Zinger
1 pear
½ a fennel bulb
½ a lemon
1 orange

zesty-zinger-juicer1
Carrot or the Stick
2 carrots
5 celery sticks
1 beetroot
1 pear

juicer
Tiny Tree Forest
1 apple
2 handfuls of spinach
1 small head of broccoli
1 inch piece of ginger
5 celery sticks, ½ a cucumber
zesty-zinger-juicer2

Little Green Monster
2 apples
3 handfuls of spinach
5 celery sticks
¼ of a lemon
tiny-tree-forest-juicer3

The Lean in 15 Post Workout Shake
2 carrots
1 apple
3 handfuls of spinach
3 handfuls of kale
1 scoop of whey protein (optional)

zesty-zinger-juicer4

Verdict: 10 / 10 Literally couldn’t be easier to use!

Festive Food with a Twist

22 Dec

I had never visited a Wagamama before – so I was delighted to try something new, especially as it involved a new festive menu! Japanese-inspired, Wagamama may not be the first thing you think of when thinking Christmas, but its dishes are certainly warming and a welcome reprieve from all of those sunday roasts and pork pies! My boyfriend Matt and I tried the hearty ramen bowls, and we were very impressed.

Matt had the new seafood ramen is made up of sea bream, grilled tiger prawns and breaded tilapia – all served on a bed of noodles in a steaming vegetable broth and garnished with pea shoots, wakame and samphire. I was very jealous – that is until mine arrived, the short rib ramen. fragrant, meaty, yet at the same time it felt more guilt free and less stodgy than say going to the pub for a burger. All ramen are under £15, so fairly reasonable and we washed it down with strange beer and delicious plum wine. Visit www.wagamama.com to check out the menu, and pop along for lunch to try it for yourself!

ramen

ramen2

Verdict: 9 / 10

kamut pasta – makes you horny?

24 Oct

When I received a press release about Kamut pasta – I knew right away that I had to try it. Firstly as a member of slimming world (a terrible member who needs to follow the rules better!) I welcome carbs if matched with the right vegetables, so pasta is always a great choice for me. Secondly the brand have made grand claims about the health benefits, and more surprisingly it has been labelled a powerful aphrodisiac.

To give you a little history on the product, Kamut Pasta is made from Kamut Khorasan which when translated from ancient Egyptian – where the grain originated
from – means “wheat”. This ancient wheat grain has never been genetically modified so it is as pure and healthy as it was when it was first grown over 2000 thousand years ago.

Now back to the fun bit – an aphrodisiac! Due to its high level of protein and mix of minerals Kamut Pasta is said to (in layman’s terms) make people horny. Now, I am not so sure that either myself or my boyfriend need any help in that department but still it seemed like a fun thing to try!

A very unsuspecting box!

Over a week we cooked the conchiglie with courgettes and tomato, the spaghetti with quorn tomato and garlic, made a pasta pesto and pasta salad for lunch. Kamut looks a little different (less starchy) but in fact tastes great. I also think that normal white pasta can make you feel bloated whereas this didn’t. Now, the side effects! Did it make us more horny? The answer is – who the hell knows! Having come back from a holiday we were probably a little more loved up than usual anyway, plus if you eat something that has a claim as such you will probably find sex on your mind more anyhow! Still definitely a fun experiment 🙂

This pasta is available in Ocado and Wholefoods Markets at around £2.99 for a 500g bag. (Actually not too pricey, surprisingly!)

Verdict: 8/10

 

Summer Party Tipples

7 Aug
Hi everyone, I have tested out some lovely products this week to get you ready for the long summer nights and of course, parties!
lbd
Summer is a perfect excuse, for fun and fruity drinks! For convenience try lbd’s new range (available in pre mixed cans and in bottles) in three dual flavours; peach & raspberry, apple & cranberry and lime & watermelon. lbd is a fruity vodka-based spirit and at 20% proof it won’t be too naughty to drink in the day time parties and bbq’s either!
lbd will is available in pre-mixed cans priced at two for £3, or in a 50cl bottle at £11.99 RRP in ASDA stores nationwide.
yum!

yum!

Verdict: So convenient for drinking on the go, and very refreshing too! 9 / 10
Cîroc Vodka
As dusk approaches if you are looking for something a little stronger I can recommend the tropical taste of new Cîroc Vodka pineapple flavour.  Try out these gorgeous cocktails on your guests:
Cîroc Chi Chi Roc
Ingredients
50ml Cîroc Pineapple
40ml Coco Real
20ml Pineapple Juice
1 ring of Fresh Pineapple
ciroc1
Cîroc Hula Hoop
Ingredients
50ml Cîroc Pineapple
40ml Apple Juice
15ml Lime Juice
10ml Cointreau
15ml Passion Fruit Syrup
1x ring of Pineapple fresh
2x sticks of Rosemary
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Dash of Rhubarb Bitters
ciroc 2
Cîroc Summer Punch
Ingredients
35ml CÎROC Pineapple
15ml Chambord
50ml Pineapple Juice
10ml Vanilla Syryp
Ice Cubes
Flower (optional)
Devine!

Devine!

Cîroc Pineapple and Blue Dot are available to purchase from Selfridges and Harvey Nichols (and selected supermarkets) RRP £38.00 per 70cl bottle.
Verdict: A yummy 10 / 10
Alcohol-free (or use as a mixer for a boozy one!)
For those after an alcohol free fix, try the Funkin range of ‘mocktails’ In flavours such as mojito, pina colada and strawberry daiquiri (all the ‘classics!’) they are deliciously indulgent. You can also add rum for example to make a boozy cocktail – in fact the packaging quite handily tells you which spirit to add. Each 750ml carton costs just £2.99 and makes 7 cocktails; available to purchase in Waitrose or you can shop their full cocktail range on their online store at www.funkincocktails.co.uk/shop
Mojito!

Mojito!

Verdict: A bit on the sweet side so I would advise that you use soda water to make a long drink  8 / 10
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