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Chocolate Chiffon Bundt Cake with Gooey Marshmallow Frosting

I’ve become a big fan of Bundts. The main reasons are:

1) You can make it all in one tin, so less cleaning up (yay)

2) They are SO much easier to cut than regular sponges!

3) They look so pretty!

Seriously, if you haven’t already, you should try them!

The first Bundt recipe I ever tried was a Dark Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Fluffy Rosewater Frosting, from one of my all time favourite food bloggers Sweetapolita. I made it for a Clandestine Cake Club meet up, and everybody raved about it. So much so I’ve had a lady from the club ring me up out of the blue for two years in a row, asking me to make it for her as a birthday cake. High praise indeed, Thanks Sweetapolita!

After a recent Degustabox (UK) delivery containing some lovely Dr Oetker premium dark chocolate baking ingredients, and some delicious Solo toasted marshmallow creme, I decided to get a bit creative and come up with my very own Chiffon Bundt cake recipe.

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I’m pleased to say that the result was even better than expected. If you haven’t heard of a chiffon cake it’s essentially a sponge made with oil instead of butter. To create a fluffy texture you separate the eggs and produce a meringue before combining with the rest of the ingredients (which include warm water and baking soda to create its own aeration). This creates a really light, fluffy and moist cake, with less of a crumb so I find it holds it’s shape a little better. I’m a huge fan of chiffon cakes, this recipe could easily be used as a really good chocolate cake recipe as it is, and isn’t restricted to just Bundts! I hope you enjoy!

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Ingredients

For the cake

  • 275g Golden Caster sugar (separate 200g from 75g)
  • 150g Self raising flour
  • 25g premium dark cocoa powder (plus a little extra for basting the tin)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 pint oil (I used rapeseed oil)
  • 100ml warm water
  • 100g premium dark chocolate
  • A little butter to baste the tin with

For the frosting

  • 1 tub toasted marshmallow creme
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 200g condensed milk

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 170’C
  • Baste the Bundt tin with butter and then dust with a little cocoa powder (make sure you get into all the groves)
  • Separate the eggs, you should end up with 5 egg whites and 3 yolks
  • Melt the chocolate
  • Beat the yolks and 200g sugar together
  • Then add the oil, melted chocolate, vanilla paste and warm water and mix well.
  • Finally mix this with the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Leave to one side.
  • In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until white and frothy, then gradually add the remaining 75g sugar and whisk until glossy and stiff. (I use an electric whisk!)
  • You then need to gradually incorporate the meringue mixture to the wet chocolatey mixture. You should notice that while you’ve been making the meringue mix, the chocolatey mix will have become aerated and bubbly. You don’t want to lose too much of the air from either mixes so gently fold the meringue into the chocolate mix.IMG_1769
Bubbles forming in the chocolate mixture.

Bubbles forming in the chocolate mixture.

  •  Once combined, spoon the mixture into the bundt tin, making sure to distribute evenly. Make sure it’s pressed into the edges too. Place in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Be warned this cake is a bit of a monster in the oven, so be careful not to overfill the bundt tin.

For the Frosting.

  • While your bundt is baking away in the oven you can prep your gooey marshmallow frosting.
  • Now the advice for this is to use a sugar thermometer to gauge when it’s been heated enough, however I have made a similar caramel recipe before without a sugar thermometer so as long as you keep a good watch over it, it’s not essential. This part needs your full attention, you need to watch over the pan the whole time.
  • Slowly melt the butter in a pan.
  • Add the sugar and gently heat until the sugar starts to disolve **be really careful not to let the sugar catch and burn**
  • Add the condensed milk and marshmallow creme.
  • Heat over a low heat until it reaches (200’F)- NB I usually use Celsius but for this part Fahrenheit is an easier gauge, any decent thermometer should have both. If you don’t have a thermometer you can (carefully) judge this point by a pretty sudden change in thickness. You’ll notice the mixture becomes pretty thick all of a sudden, at this point take off the heat.
  • Pour the mixture into a bowl and allow to set.

Dressing the Bundt:

Once the Bundt is out of the oven, place to one side and allow to cool fully in the tin until turning out. That way you get the best result.

Now if you’re anything like me by this point you’ll be desperate to add the frosting and tuck in… (which is what I did)… but from experience my advice would be to leave the frosting overnight to set a little. When it’s freshly made it will still be a little runny, but once left overnight it sets to a treacle like texture… this holds much better on the Bundt than if it’s dressed straight away. For best results spoon the frosting over the bundt on the same day you’re planning to eat/present it. You may find you don’t need all of the frosting, but we kept some to add to each slice on serving as it was so goooood.

 

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Don’t worry if after a day or so the frosting pools into the middle, if you keep some frosting spare you can drizzle it over again per serving. This was actually my boyfriends favourite bit… spooning up all the crumbs mixed in with the caramel-like frosting.

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degustabox

Degustabox UK; A perfect foodie delivery every month

 

So what is Degustabox (UK)?

Essentially it’s a monthly subscription to a surprise food delivery. Each month they send you a variety of food products to sample.

What’s so good about it?

You sign up for £12.99 a month (subscription needs to be done by the 20th each month, and payments usually taken out on the 10th each month). Your delivery will come by the 8th of the following month and the box’s value is typically worth a lot more than you paid. In fact the box that I received was worth over £25, so from a simplicity and value point of view they’re on a winner. (The website is also very good, and easy to use).

What about the content and quality?

As a foodie this was be my main focus, and I’m pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed.

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The suppliers and products for October’s delivery were:

Special K: Cracker crisps (Barbecue flavour)

Blue Dragon: Sweet Chilli Sauce (x2)

Get Buzzing: Original nut free flapjack (plus 10% discount code)

Enhance drinks: Orange and passion fruit

Kents Kitchen: meal kit- Bengal flavour

Solo Marshmallow creme: toasted flavour

Dr Oetker: Premium 90% extra dark chocolate (100g)

Dr Oetker: Fine Dark Cocoa Powder

Bear Paws: Strawberry and apple flavour

Brioche Pasquier: Sliced Brioche Loaf

Brioche Pasquier: Pain Au Lait with Choc Chips

Jelly Belly: 1 pack mixed flavours

BEAR: Alphabites

Benecol: Greek Style Yogurt (voucher)

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The delivery was well packaged and looked very pretty on opening, I also loved the information card that came with it. It had a list of products, prices and recipe ideas on it so you knew exactly what you were getting.

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All the snacks were wolfed down very quickly by my other half, he’s the big kid of the house! All were approved of with no let downs.

I love, love, love blue dragon sweet chilli sauce as you will have already seen in my Cheats Stirfry Recipe.

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I also used the Dr Oetker chocolate baking products, and the marshmallow creme to make a pretty awesome dark chocolate chiffon bundt with toasted marshmallow frosting. (Fear not the recipe will be up soon.)

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And the brioche made a particularly good French toast (recipe also to follow)

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What do I think? And would I subscribe?

I really liked this delivery. It’s always a risk paying for an unknown product but I’m pleased to say the quality of the contents and overall packaging are well worth the price in my opinion. I love the idea of a random selection of food products to try out every month, it keeps things interesting and is a nice treat from your usual food shop. So in a nutshell YES I would subscribe to Degustabox UK. In the run up to Christmas I also think it’s worth noting that this would be an excellent gift for a foodie who has everything. Forget the kitchen gadgets that they probably already have, and don’t have enough room for, or the magazines that they probably already subscribe to… A Degustabox UK subscription would be a great surprise.

And now to the best bit…. A DISCOUNT CODE!

The lovely people at Degustabox have given a discount coupon code for you, which gives you a £3.00 discount when registering. The code is:

                                    20P14

Sticky Honey and Mustard Glazed Sausages for Bonfire Night

It’s Bonfire night, and in the lead up to it I’ve been asking around for peoples favourite foods this time of year. For me, Bonfire night always sticks out in my mind as the first time when you really start to notice the shorter days and colder nights. I always remember going to various bonfire night displays in local rugby clubs (even when we were living in Cornwall), and the smell of the bonfire and fireworks, feeling really cold for the first time since spring and wearing my hat, scarf and gloves for the first time since summer. I always, ALWAYS end up with a greasy burger or hot dog on bonfire night, and toffee apples. Now most of you tell me that chilli con carne is your favourite food this time of year, my recipe for minced beef chilli is here, I also have a chicken version here.

But for this post, I HAD to stick to what I know. So here is my sticky honey and mustard glazed sausage recipe, perfect as a bit of a ‘posh’ hot dog, and eating while watching the fireworks.

 

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(Serves 3)

Ingredients

6 good quality butchers pork sausages

2 teaspoons good quality honey (I usually use Manuka)

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

1 medium cooking onion

Large glug of olive oil (approx 2 tablespoons)

2 cups water

soft hot dog rolls to serve

 

Method

 

  • Preheat your oven at 180 ‘C
  • In a small glass add the olive oil, honey and mustard and mix well
  • Place your sausages in a non stick/enamel tin or in a terracotta pot. If using a normal baking tray I’d advise lining with baking parchment first for ease of cleaning and to stop the sausages catching.
  • Cut the Onion into large sections and place in the tin along with the sausages
  • Pour over the oil, honey and mustard mixture, and mix well to make sure all the sausages are covered.
  • Place in the oven for 1 hour to allow them to be cooked through and well browned
  • **TIP** To stop the sausages and onions catching, regularly check and pour a little water in the bottom of the pan. This stops them catching and sticking to the bottom but will evaporate while cooking so don’t worry you won’t end up with soggy sausages!

Serve with a soft roll and a little brown sauce, as a perfectly posh autumnal hot dog

 

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Fun at Eat Drink Bristol Fashion with the Sanchez-Inglesias Brothers of Casamia

You know when you get the opportunity to do something that means a lot to you as a blogger, so much so that when you come to writing the post you freeze up for fear of not doing it justice? Well this is one of those posts… Here is my review of Eat Drink Bristol Fashion.

You could be forgiven for thinking I was lying when I tell you I’ve recently been for a six course meal cooked by the chef brothers of the Michelin starred restaurant Casamia in a huge tipi in Bristol! And that it was the perfect mix between fine dining and a relaxed atmosphere. No Dinner jacket only or no jeans policy, just good food (really good), and a sociable relaxed environment to enjoy it in. Sounds too good to be true I know. It’s so great to see an out of the ordinary event like this, and what with planning the wedding, the house renovation and being busy in work we needed a bit of a break! This was just perfect.

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The event is called Eat Drink Bristol Fashion (EDBF), it was held for the third year running in Bristol over the 1st-11th of May this year. Organised by Josh Eggleton, Luke Hasell, Nick Roberts and Amelie Twine (you can find more info about them on the website.) The event boasted a total of 9 Michelin stars in total over the course of 10 days, as well as Bristol College, and other top local restaurants. We ate there on Monday 5th May, which was hosted by the brothers who run Casamia, and come with high credentials such as running a Michelin starred restaurant, winning Gordon Ramseys best restaurant and this is all by their mid twenties! I was lucky enough to get to meet the brothers after service and have a chat with them about the food served and what they’re looking forward to creating this year.

This was daunting! I’m a health professional who really likes food (to the point I decided to blog about it) talking to some of the most promising hard-working chefs in the UK at the moment, in order to write about it?! I assumed food bloggers would be their worst nightmare; a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing and all that. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. They were so incredibly down to earth and inspiring with their passion for food, that it was really easy to talk to them. Which makes this post even harder to write; I wanted to do them justice. So here is a run through of what we had at EDBF and how we enjoyed, I hope it encourages you to think about going next year.

So where to start?!
Well first off we misread the map so got there a little late. This meant we weren’t in the best corner for photos and out of respect for our fellow diners I didn’t want the flash going off every five minutes so apologies in advance for the quality of the photos. The set up was casual with long tables and communal seating. We were sat next to a couple who had been coming every year since it started, and raved about it, which is a good recommendation.

In the next tent there was live music, which filtered through into the private dining area and created a great buzz. The central tent was also serving food, and as we walked through to get to the ‘private dining area’ we could see big juicy beef burgers being taken to tables. So even if you didn’t have tickets for the fine dining nights, you could still go there and enjoy a great atmosphere and good food.

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Being 28, and having spent most of my 20’s putting the hours in to better our careers and saving for a deposit for a house, car etc etc I haven’t had much opportunity to eat at top restaurants. Our biggest night to date was eating and staying at Bath Priory for our 10 year anniversary (we are childhood sweethearts) JUST before it got its Michelin star. So turning up for a 6 course meal with no idea of what was being served was a little intimidating, but also exciting; you knew you had to trust in the chefs. When we were seated there was light and delicious warm poppy seed focaccia bread, served with Jersey cow butter placed along the tables. The menus were printed on rustic brown wrapping paper and simply had the following:

edbf table

JONRAY AND PETER SANCHEZ

CASAMIA

Focaccia Bread, Jersey Cow Butter

Crab, Seaweed

Tomato, Mozzarella

Brown Trout, Cucumber, Sea Herbs, Dill

Duck, Carrots, Fennel

Orange, Rosemary

Strawberry, Tarragon

bread

This gave us an idea of flavours but not really what we were eating. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the crab and brown trout, as I’d never eaten either, but that’s the great thing about taster menus. The portions are just small enough to have a taste, and satisfy your hunger, plus you get to try things you may not ordinarily order at an a la carte restaurant.

We decided to go for wine, and asked the very helpful waitress to recommend one. As it turns out they had all sampled the wines before the event so she could confidently advise us on what to have. We went for the Cotes du Rhone les Abeittes blanc, Jean-Luc Columbo, France 2012, which we found very palatable, a good medium white wine which was easy to drink.

The crab course was actually a savoury crab meringue with crab infused mayo, served on a rock! Which was inspired by being by the sea.There were comments as we ate, of memories from playing in rock pools springing to mind from the salty seaweed that had been infused through the meringue. I finally know what a real meringue is meant to be like, it melted as soon as I put it in my mouth, I couldn’t get over how light it was. The mayo was really creamy too, in a good way, it complimented the meringue so that it tasted almost sweet and fresh.

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Following the crab was the tomato and mozarella dish. This was like a magical mystery caprese salad. You had four different ways of serving the tomato, three ways of flavouring with basil all served on top of aerated soft creamy mozarella. As we were eating it we were trying to figure out how they managed to get that flavour, it was incredible. After speaking to Peter Sanchez-Inglesias about the menu we discovered they had got some of the tomatoes from the Isles of White (they are passionate about well sourced and local ingredients), and the dish had consisted of a dehydrated tomato slice, a smoked tomato, tomato jam and a confit tomato, then they had a basil consume, basil jelly and some fresh basil. Put this all together and we were amazed by all the different flavours you could get from what you’d think was a simple caprese salad. I loved it, and it was a real conversation starter as we were all trying to get out heads around how they’d managed to get the different flavours.

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It was then onto the fish course. Now I’m not a big seafood lover, so I didn’t expect to love this course as much as I did. In fact I think it was my favourite. It consisted of slow cooked brown trout (which was a surprisingly lovely meaty fish), which had been blow torched a little on the top. This was served with a creamy samphire oil and fish infused sauce, foraged sea herbs, aromatic dill and cucumber pickled in lemon. Now I don’t know if I should admit this, but my first mouthful took me back to the late 80’s/early 90’s when me and my mum would regularly eat ‘fish in a bag’ in a creamy dill sauce, which I used to absolutely love! This was a bit of a nostalgic moment, as I hadn’t really eaten much fish in cream sauce since then. Obviously the trout was far, far nicer than any boil in the bag fish! But you catch my drift?!

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Then came the duck. A hint of summer, as Peter indicated. This was a soft and tender Creedy Carver duck, slow cooked in a sous-vide, then roasted and blow torched before coating with a honey glaze, and crystallised fennel seed and pollen. It was served with a simple carrot puree, which for ‘simple’ was amazing, I never knew carrot could pack so much flavour. It also had shaved fennel bulb and a duck jus to finish it off. I love fennel and I love duck so this was a big hit for me. The crystallised fennel seeds were another talking point, it was almost like aniseed popping candy- we couldn’t figure out what it was, which was another great topic of conversation around the table.

With this course I decided to try a glass of red, and opted for the Vina Real Crianza, from Spain 2010. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine, and it was nice to have with the duck.

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The following course was the Orange and Rosemary dessert. My god it was amazing! It was a surprise too, as it consisted of orange jelly cubes (and I don’t usually like jelly), blood orange puree, orange granita, and a rosemary custard aerated through a syphane. On top of this was freeze dried orange segments (done in liquid nitrogen) which turned out to be one of the nicest things I’ve ever tried. It was like an orange honeycomb, again (this is a returning theme) we were all trying to work out how they did it while we were eating it. The idea behind this dessert was orange rosemary, which is actually a herb! I loved this course, I could quite happily have stolen the persons next to me and eaten theirs too.

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The final course (yes that’s right we has two desserts) was the strawberry and tarragon dish. I love strawberries but not so fussed on tarragon so I was intrigued as to how I would feel about it. It consisted of star anise and tarragon infused meringue shards, strawberry sorbet, macerated strawberries with fresh strawberries on top, chantilly cream infused with star anise and a vinegar glaze. The first thing I noticed was the peppery tarragon, followed by a sweet after taste. Every other mouthful after that was sweet and fresh. It was like the first mouthful was preparing you for the rest of the dessert, I guess you could say it was complex because different flavours hit you in succession rather than all at once. This was really good, but I must admit I was sad at the same time as it meant our meal had come to an end, and I had enjoyed it so much!

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A brief nerdy thing I picked up on were all the beautiful plates were made by Churchill China. I’ve recently discovered Churchill and since noticing them, every time I turn over a plate I like guess what stamp is on the bottom? Churchill! I think the way you serve you food and the crockery you use definitely adds to the overall impression, and to be honest I’m a little obsessed with crockery. So a big thumbs up for the presentation and crockery used on the night from me.

After the meal, and after putting up with me quizzing him about the menu (I don’t think I could have coped not knowing what the elements of each dish were- it was so fun eating them and trying to work out how they did it), I asked Peter and Jonray about how they had enjoyed working with EDBF, what their summer inspirations were and we also had a brief chat with Josh Eggleton.

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Peter explained that although you wouldn’t usually think serving 70 covers in a field all at once would work, it did, and was a good challenge. When discussing the upcoming summer menu he explained we were given teasers for summer in the courses that night with duck, foraged herbs and sea trout. If you’ve never heard of Casamia, it’s the family restaurant run by the Sanchez-Inglesias brothers famed for being Michelin starred, having 4 AA rosettes, winning Gordon Ramsey’s best restaurant, and more recently winning Bristol Good Food award (to name a few accolades). Now you won’t find all these awards on their website, they focus on the food, and also are big on seasons, with not only their menu changing with the seasons but also the restaurant’s décor and scents. They are passionate about well sourced local ingredients, but also memories and nostalgia that is brought back when you eat certain things. For this reason they’ve been working on a dish which strays away from local ingredients to create a tropical fruit dish for this summer, as it’s such a favourite with us Brits- who hasn’t had a fruit salad as a child? and who doesn’t have bananas in their fruit bowl? I can only imagine the creative way they think up of serving this.

They work incredibly hard to create each dish, Peter was describing how they have a flat above the restaurant where they have a development kitchen, and they usually prepare each dish at least four times before it makes it onto the menu (wouldn’t you love to make sure that none of those tester dishes go to waste?!). For them it’s all about breaking down trends and bouncing ideas off each other to keep each other on their toes. I asked how it was to work with a sibling, after all it’s not always easy going into business with family. But Peter and Jonray have a great relationship where they keep each other down to earth and focussed. They’ve been working together for over twelve years so have found the perfect equilibrium and are clearly going from strength to strength.

We saw Josh Eggleton and Luke Hasell at the end of the night and it was great to see how involved they get, you can tell how invested they are in the EDBF event. They were also both incredibly down to earth.

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So in a nutshell, we had an awesome time at EDBF, and I would absolutely go again! We were paying customers to this event and the tickets cost £70 each. Considering the atmosphere and quality of the food I think this was well priced. There were cheaper tickets available to the event, so it’s not restrictive if you’d like to go but don’t have the budget. Next on my list are Casamia and The Pony and Trap. The Sanchez-Inglesias brothers and Josh Eggleton were so lovely and the food and atmosphere so relaxed and welcoming in EDBF I can’t wait to see what they’re like on their own turf.

Thanks to Jonray and Peter Inglesias, Josh Eggleton, Luke Hasell and the people at Plaster PR for taking the time at the end of a busy night to have a chat with a nosy blogger! We’ll be back next year.

A meaty twist on afternoon tea; Cardiff Park Plaza’s ‘Gentlemen’s Tea’

What better way to spend the afternoon than in good company, eating delicious nibbles, sweet treats and drinking tea?! It certainly ticks all the boxes for me. I love afternoon teas; it can turn a catch up with an old friend, or a celebratory afternoon out, into something that little bit extra special. A few weeks ago I was lucky to sample an afternoon tea with a twist; Park Plaza in Cardiff now offers a meaty twist on the traditional afternoon tea, called ‘Gentlemen’s tea’. I was invited to try it, so decided to take my Mother in Law (to be) up to Cardiff for the day and see what it was all about. Here is my review:

Location:

The Laguna Kitchen & Bar is part of Park Plaza Hotel and located on Greyfriars road. Now, being part of the Cardiff University Alumni this is an area I know quite well. So in my opinion the location is great. It’s just off the main pedestrianised area of Cardiff Queen Street and about a 10-15 minute walk from the train station.

Laguna Kitchen and Bar

Park Plaza Hotel
Greyfriars Road
Cardiff
CF10 3AL

 

Hotel Tel: 02920 111 111
Restaurant Tel: 02920 111 103

tea

Atmosphere & Service:

The atmosphere is great, we sat inside and everything was clean and well presented. They also have a lovely terrace outside so even though you are in the middle of Cardiff it looks leafy and green outside.

The service really was excellent too. We had reliable friendly advice regarding wines and teas, and they regularly topped up our wine for us… I couldn’t quite keep up with my Mother in Law!
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Food:

The Gentlemen’s tea consists of mini meaty treats including:

Chorizo Scotch egg with Bloody Mary mayonnaise

Seared Welsh sirloin steak with caramelised red onions & garlic mushrooms on toasted ciabatta

Severn & Wye smoked salmon blini with dill crème fraiche & caviar

Mini Brecon Venison burger with juniper berry & red currant mayonnaise

Miniature prawn cocktail shot

Roast sirloin of Welsh Beef and horseradish stuffed Yorkshire pudding

***

Warm chocolate fondant with Clotted Cream

Rum Baba filled with Chantilly cream and raspberries

Your choice of speciality Tea or freshly brewed Coffee

(£18.95 per person)

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To drink my Mother in Law had a cappuccino, and I had the Assam Mokalbari Estate tea, which was really good. The selection of speciality teas was just right, with a good variety but not too many!

We also ordered a bottle of The Old Station Zindafel Rose (as recommended by the waiter) which was easy to drink, and which we both enjoyed.

By far our favourite choice was the chorizo Scotch egg, the yolk was soft (drooools) and the coating was really crispy. The chorizo gave it a nice kick too. If I could have taken some more home I would have!

The meat was all very well cooked, and it was well presented. The only thing that could have made it better were if it could have been served a little hotter.

As afternoon teas go I particularly enjoyed this, and like the concept. We recently went to a traditional afternoon tea and I found myself eating something before I went as the idea of finger sandwiches and cakes doesn’t make you feel like you’ll be fully satisfied afterwards. But with the Gentlemen’s tea this certainly is not the case- leave plenty of room!

I was looking forward to the rum baba but alas it wasn’t on that day, so we had pain au chocolat instead, which was very good. The chocolate fondant was delicious too, chocolate and raspberry is my favourite combination so the sweet treats are definitely a winner for me.

 

Value for money:

For what you get, and compared to other prices the value for money is excellent in my opinion. It’s competitive with regards to other afternoon teas available in the area, and is a great (and filling) twist too.

Would we go again?

Yes. I think it’s a great idea, it’s perfect for a sociable afternoon whether you’re meeting a friend or going on a date (there was actually a few couples on dates while we were there). It’s more sociable than going for a meal really, because you can nibble and chat in between. I also love trying a variety of things, for example I would never usually order a prawn dish for a main (for fear I wouldn’t like it and waste my money) but with this you have a selection of mini tasters, which is great as you end up trying things you may not have eaten before.

Thank you very much to the Staff of Laguna Kitchen & Bar for the excellent service and great Gentlemen’s tea! It’s certainly not just for men as us girls loved it!

Looking Forward to Grillstock Bristol 2014

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This Friday we will be heading to Grillstock – Bristol (Bristol Harbourside 7th – 8th June) for the first time. As I mentioned in my Dates For The Diary post we are really looking forward.

We will be staying in the Bristol Hotel, as it is really close to Bristol harbourside. It also has free parking!

The Weather is set to be pretty good from what I can see, clear Friday evening, and all day Sunday, with a chance of rain on Saturday. Here’s hoping for some perfect BBQ weather!

We will be attending the pit crew party on the Friday, and what with my fiance turning 30 a few days afterwards, we’re hoping to celebrate it in style at Grillstock.

Over the weekend the lineup looks awesome. Including Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Levi Roots, Hayseed Dixie and many more. The King of the grill competition sounds amazing too, follow this link to see the listing of the competition times, to make sure you can be around when the food samples go out! I love the names of some of the teams that are competing. It sounds really fun!

There’s also the Brooklyn Bars, which not only will be serving Brooklyn lager on tap, and cider from Orchard pig. But they’ll also be the host of a second music stage. With some intriguing sounding acts!

One of the things I’m most looking forward to is the Weber BBQ Academy. I’m always keen to learn more about cooking, so with Masterclass demonstrations from the Weber expert chefs this is probably one of the top things on my list (apart from eating my way through all the delicious food!).

Thinking of going? You should be! With tickets at an incredibly reasonable £12 per day the price is really competitive compared to other events like this. But alas the Friday night and Saturday tickets have sold out! I’m not surprised! The good news is that you may be able to get tickets on the door on the Sunday. Check the website for more details.

Hope to see you there!

 

 

Garlic & Chilli rice; a Holy Lama Spice Drops review

I love garlic. All my favourite dishes contain garlic, and I like a lot of it! Unfortunately I work in the health care profession, meaning a lingering garlic smell on your breath, and in particular your hands, is not something you want! But I’m of the philosophy that life’s too short to cut garlic out all together! So for years I’ve been looking for various garlic substitutes.

It’s the smell on my hands I find most frustrating, I love fresh garlic but after chopping it I find it tricky to get rid of the smell even after numerous washes! I’ve tried purees, frozen cubes, and pre chopped garlic in vinegar all of which are OK but each have their draw backs.

When I received an email about Holy Lama Spice Drops I was intrigued! Had I finally found my perfect garlic substitute?! They actually have a whole range of flavours, and are well priced at around £3 (different flavours vary). The benefits are well summarised here:

The Spice Drops® range of products – concentrated extracts of natural spices in the form of drops – offer you a simpler, more consistent way to infuse food and drink with pure, vibrant flavours. Forget peeling, grinding, scraping, measuring. Just add a drop or two at any stage of the cooking process. No artificial colour, flavour or other nasties – and a few drops go a long way!
See the full range of Spice Drops® at the online store
  • Simple – no preparation or messy powders
  • Versatile - a huge range of uses in food and drink
  • Long life – all products have a 3 year shelf life
  • Economical - average price just £3 per bottle
  • Consistent flavouring – better cooking with more reliable results
  • Flexible – can be used at any stage of the cooking process
  • Accessible - spices at your fingertips – minimum storage 20cm
  • Sensory - spray in atomiser for delicious food aromas
  • Health benefits – add a ‘wow’ taste factor to healthy food
  • Ethically sourced – clear provenance of ingredients
  • Ethically produced - Holy Lama makes a lasting difference to the lives of disadvantaged women in Kerala, India

All sounds very good! But what did I think?

I like them! The shelf life is a bonus, especially for those herbs/spices/essences that you only use occasionally. As I mentioned they have quite a large range of flavours, so for the more obscure ones this is perfect.

They’re really convenient. The most convenient garlic substitute I’ve come across. The flavour is unadulterated, there’s no strange aftertaste or hint of ‘something else’ that you can sometimes get with other pre-prepared garlic. The fact you don’t need to cook them is also great, as you can add it at any stage and don’t have to worry about it.

I’ve tried these garlic spice drops in most of my cooking for the past few weeks, but my favourite dish I used them in was my (really simple) garlic and chilli rice. I wouldn’t really call this a ‘recipe’ it’s more an ‘idea’ of how to spice up bland old rice. So here it is:

Lovely Appetite Garlic & Chilli Rice

My Dad isn’t a lover of rice, he finds it bland. I on the other hand love rice! I could eat it on its own with just a little butter! So as a compromise (way of convincing him to eat it- as I tend to cook it a lot!) I’ve taken to flavouring my rice to match whatever we’re eating. I tend to add turmeric and cardamom pods for Indian food, ground fennel seeds for mexican, and egg fried rice with Chinese. The best all rounder for everything is adding chilli and garlic, it goes well with most things. So here’s how I do it.

You will need (for 4 people):

  • Boiled Rice (to packet instructions – different theories for how to cook it is a whole other post!)
  • A large glug of olive oil (approx 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried chilli flakes
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 3 drops of garlic spice drops (or 2 cloves garlic)

How to do it:

Heat the oil in the pan and add the garlic and chillies. Allow it to heat for a minute or so to help flavour the oil (at this point if you wanted to add finely chopped onions or other veg you can- this makes it a little more substantial)

Next simply take the pan off the heat and add the rice to the oil and season with salt. Mix well and you’re done!

Like I said, it’s really simple. But a great way of adding flavour to rice. It’s our staple go to when we’re trying to eat healthily with chicken, salad and rice. I hope you enjoy! Let me know if there are any other flavours you make. Adding flavoured salts with a glug of olive oil is also a regular favourite in our house. (Excuse the photo- a better one will be on the way as soon as I can get one).

Satay chicken with garlic and chilli rice

Satay chicken with garlic and chilli rice

 

Dates for the Diary: Grillstock

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Thanks to the lovely Charlie (of ginfuelledbluestocking) I recently heard about an awesome event called Grillstock. It sounds amazing! And I’m just disappointed I hadn’t heard of it sooner! So what is it?

Grillstock, the UK’s hottest BBQ and music festival, will return to Bristol and Manchester this summer for two weekends of Meat, Music and Mayhem.

Grillstock festival will dock at Bristol’s Harbourside on 7th and 8th June before heading North to Manchester’s Albert Square on 28th and 29th June. With a smouldering hot US style low ‘n’ slow BBQ competition, over 25 acts playing across two music stages and craft beer bars, Grillstock is the hottest festival in the UK, attracting over 17, 000 meat and music lovers seeking some southern hospitality.

The festival invites you to kick back to the finest blues, rockabilly, bluegrass and country rhythms this side of the American South. Foot stomping rockgrass legends and Grillstock favourites, Hayseed Dixie, top the Sunday bill at both festivals with Vintage Trouble taking to the stage to headline on Saturday night in Albert Square. The Bristol Saturday headline act is yet to be revealed.

Festival goers can witness over 40 BBQ teams battle it out in the ‘King of the Grill’ international BBQ contest across the two cities. The US style ‘low and slow’ BBQ competition puts the teams through their paces as they show off their culinary skills over the smoky coals. The competition allows festival goers the chance to interact with the teams, taste the food and experience their passion for authentic barbecue. Increasing the heat, legendary Dr BBQ (aka Ray Lampe) will oversee the judging.

Grillstock festival would not be complete without its epic Chilli and Frank’s Hot Sauce Wing eating competitions which are not to be entered by the faint hearted. This year will also be extra special as they pay tribute to the buffalo wing celebrating 50 years since its invention. Making its first ever entrance will be the hot-dog eating competition.

BBQ experts Weber will be on hand with their informative and entertaining cooking Academy for visitors to pick up tips and tricks from the best in the business, which will leave them King of the BBQ.

Brooklyn’s finest draft beer will be served in a special New York style pop up bar, with specially imported craft beers to help wash down and accompany the food and music.

For tickets please visit http://www.Grillstock.co.uk, Twitter @Grillstock, facebook.com/GrillstockBBQ.

Bristol festival – 8th & 9th June
Manchester festival – 28th & 29th June
Tickets: Saturday £22.50, Sunday £18 or £30 per weekend with early bird discounts available on-line.

I am so excited to be going to Grillstock this year! ‘Real’ BBQ is our absolute favourite, as you may have noticed from my ‘meat feast’ quests in London, The Big Feastival and also the pretty awesome Hangfire Smokehouse (review up soon). I also love Country music, my favourites are Blues and Bluegrass. Me and my Mother are big fans of Alison Krauss, Joe Bonmassa, Beth Hart and shows like Nashville (Country songs galore) and we are desperate to visit a local cafe, known for hosting Country music called The Chattery. So I can’t wait to see acts like Danny and the Champions and Hayseed Dixie (to name just a few) and broaden my knowledge of good ol’ Southern music! The pricing of the tickets is one of the most reasonable I’ve seen too- for so much going on, so win-win!

There are so many things going on in Grillstock that I haven’t covered in this post. But keep coming back for more details and a review. We’ll be going to the Bristol event, if I could manage to go to both I would! It’s right up our street! Are you going? What are you looking forward to most? Give me a shout over at @LovelyAppetite to let me know what you think.grillstock1

 

White wine and mushroom pasta with roast tomatoes

This is one of those recipes needed for days where you want a bit of comfort food and have relatively little in the cupboards. Sounds like most days?! It’s pretty simple and if you’re a meat lover I’d try adding lardons or diced smoked bacon for flavour, but as you know my sister’s a veggie so we left it out. In the photo you’ll see I used Orzo as it was what we had at home, but this also works really well with linguine. This will easily serve 4 people.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Punnet mushrooms (300g) I used standard closed cup, but you could use any.
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 Large glass white wine
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 2 cloves Garlic, in this recipe I actually used 3 drops of Garlic Holy Lama Spice Drops
  • Large glug of good quality Olive Oil (approx 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cooking onion
  • 200ml sour cream (or you could use soft cheese – I usually used 2/3 tub of Philadelphia)
  • 100ml double cream
  • generous amount of black pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • small pinch of mixed herbs, or oregano
  • baby tomatoes on the vine
  • drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Pasta of your choice (approx 100g per person- but we’re greedy)

Method:

  • Dice the onion and garlic and slice the mushrooms
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the mushrooms, onion and garlic
  • In a large pan full of water and a generous pinch of salt, heat until boiling the add your pasta (cook to packet instructions)
  • Place the tomatoes in a pan and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, place in the oven on 150’C and cook for 20 minutesphoto(100)

 

  • While you’re sorting the pasta & tomatoes you can be cooking the vegetables on a medium heat until softened and add a pinch of the herbs- just to flavour it not overpower the dish

photo(102)

  • Add the wine , 1/2 cup of the pasta water and the stock cube and simmer on a medium high heat until the sauce starts to thicken- it’s just right when you drag the spoon along the bottom of the pan and it takes a few seconds for the sauce to reform, this is ‘au sec’ I took a video here: Vine of ‘au sec’
  • Take the sauce off the heat and allow to cool a little then add the cream/soft cheese. It’s important to do this as it prevents the cream from splitting. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Roughly drain the pasta so it’s still a little moist and mix in with the sauce in the large pan.
  • Take the tomatoes from the oven and place on top of the pasta to serve.

And that’s it! It’s really simple, and quite indulgent so make sure you balance it out with a salad the next day! ;)

photo(101)

 

 

Dates to add to the diary: Eat Drink Bristol Fashion

I’m rather excited about a really cool ‘foodie’ event coming up in Bristol. Called Eat Drink Bristol Fashion it’s one you can’t miss. Not only because it sounds so good, but also because it’s running from 1st May – 18th! So there’s plenty of chance to get there.

Eat Drink Bristol Fashion Tipi Village
Set to be the highlight of the Bristol dining calendar, Eat Drink Bristol Fashion returns to Queen Square this year from 1st – 18th May, bringing chefs from throughout the South West to cook for diners in the stunning tipi village’s fine dining restaurant.
The confirmed chef line up holds a total of nine Michelin stars between them, representing the best of the South West’s culinary scene. The latest additions to the bill include Dominic Chapman of The Royal Oak Paley Street, which has 3 AA Rosettes. Having worked in many great kitchens around the world, Dominic’s previous experience also includes the Fat Duck, and the role of Head Chef at Heston Blumenthal’s Hinds Head in Bray.
Bath Priory’s Sam Moody will cook at the festival for the second year in a row on Sunday 4th May, I have eaten at Bath Priory and it is amazing! so this is sure to be a good night! While Matthew and Ian Pennington of Bristol’s Guardian Ethical Awards Winners The Ethicurean will take over the tipis for a lunch service on Saturday 17th May.
The fine dining marquee will host a unique collaboration between two star Cornish chef, Nathan Outlaw, and TV chef Valentine Warner on Friday 2nd May (now fully booked).
Tickets for the fine dining line up are now on sale at www.eatdrinkbristolfashion.co.uk. But fear not, if you want to check it out but don’t fancy the ‘fine dining’ they have events for casual diners; the Tapas Cafe will be serving food from 12 noon until 10pm offering a fantastic, modern British tapas menu, designed by Josh Eggleton, owner of the Pony & Trap and FREE live entertainment.
Josh Eggleton, Eat Drink Bristol Fashion Director explains;
“The whole of the UK is talking about the food scene in the South West, epitomised by some of the exciting chefs cooking in the region. We are pleased to bring them together for the first time, cooking under canvas, Bristol Fashion! We will be championing a field to fork philosophy throughout the 18 days in Queen Square, with entertainment each evening, free to the public.”

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Full line up includes:
Friday 2nd May – Nathan Outlaw and Valentine Warner Restaurant Nathan Outlaw
Sunday 4th May – Sam Moody Bath Priory
Monday 5th May – Jonray and Peter Sanchez Casamia
Tuesday 6th May – Chris Staines Allium Brasserie
Wednesday 7th May – Toby Gritten The PumpHouse
Friday 9th May – Dominic Chapman The Royal Oak at Paley Street
Saturday 10th May – Josh Eggleton The Pony and Trap
Sunday 11th May – Romy Gill Romy’s Kitchen
Monday 12th May – Paul Ainsworth No. 6
Tuesday 13th May – Simon Hulstone The Elephant
Thursday 15th May – Lunch City of Bristol College
Friday 16th May – Richard Davies The Manor House
Saturday 17th May – Lunch Matthew and Iain Pennington The Ethicurean
Saturday 17th May – Jack Stein Rick Stein Restaurants

For more information visit http://www.eatdrinkbristolfashion.co.uk and to keep updated with current news follow @eatdrinkbristol on twitter and like Eat Drink Bristol Fashion on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Eat-Drink-Bristol-Fashion

We will be attending this event for one evening, but so far it’s proved difficult to choose between them! Sam Moody’s night is sure to be a winner, after being blown away by the food at Bath Priory for our anniversary a year ago. Simon Hulstone is also a favourite of mine after seeing him at Electrolux Chefs Secrets in the Big Feastival. We also love the sound of the Invisible Banquet, and the photos from last years look pretty awesome! But before you go thinking “it’s bound to be expensive“, think again. Tickets start from £20 for Sunday lunch, £25 for Bristol College, £45 for Romy’s kitchen and then up to £60-£100 for most of the other events. So whether you fancy popping in for Tapas, having a top-notch lunch or splashing out on an exquisite fine dining experience, there’s something for everyone’s budget. Which one would you choose? We could do with a hand choosing so feel free to give me an idea of which one you would go to!

The Invisible Circus (1)