Categories
Foodie things Hull Bloggers Product Review Uncategorized

The Tea Shop X Trinity Market*

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love tea. Any type is fine with me: green, breakfast, black, white, green…I’ll give anything a go. So when I was asked if I’d like to sample some of the delights courtesy of The Tea Shop X Trinity Market, I jumped at the chance.

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Though I’m not actually a Hullian, I like to think of myself as an honorary Hullian since I lived there during my university years. Hull will always have a special place in my heart, and supporting small Hull businesses is something I will always be more than happy to do.

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I only discovered Hull’s Trinity Market in my final year of undergraduate study, and i was surprised how full it was of curiosities, antiques and interesting bric a brac. There’s also some fabulous food and drink kiosks, selling handmade, locally sourced produce made with love and passion. You can’t really beat that, can you?! I remember venturing into The Tea Shop briefly when my parents visited, but my student budget didn’t allow for much splurging and I had to make do with own-brand breakfast tea for a while. Well, fortunately enough for me, I’ve now had the chance to sample some delicious blends and they most certainly didn’t disappoint.

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The tea blends are: Elderflower and Green Tea, Honeybush Chocolate Cake and Blood Orange. Sound good, don’t they?!

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I got out my finest tea pot, and started brewing.

The Elderflower Green Tea is gorgeously floral and sweet, with a slight fruity aroma that couples well with the crisp, slightly bitter green tea. If you’re not the biggest fan of elderflower, I’d still give this a go. It’s a really great pairing.

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Honeybush Chocolate Cake is a wonderfully-unusual sounding tea, that includes chocolate chips, cream-caramel pieces and rosebuds. It smells exactly as you’d think: a deliciously chocolatey, sweet blend, with a floral note to finish. Another fabulous brew that is something a little bit special.

The final tea is a Blood Orange tisane, with lots of pieces of dried, sweet fruit. It contains apple, hibiscus, rosehip, orange, lemon and natural flavourings. I’m a really big fan of tisanes as a pre-bedtime beverage, and the fruity flavours – and gorgeous colour – is such a wonderful combination.

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As Hull is the City of Culture this year, The Tea Shop is also stocking some exclusively-designed, Hull-themed Moorland pottery mugs, alongside a selection of other Hull-themed goodies. Make sure you pop in when you’re on your travels. They have a Facebook page , website and an instagram account as @theteashophull . Why not check out Trinity Market’s insta, too? Find them at: @TrinityMarketHull .

I’m heading back to Hull for my MRes graduation (eek!) next week…I think I need to pay The Tea Shop a little visit!

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Thanks so much to The Tea Shop X Trinity Market for providing some truly delicious blends. I’ll be back!

Heather x

Categories
Foodie things Hull Bloggers Product Review

A taste of the Gin Explorer Box*

I have no secrets when it comes to gin. 

It is my favourite.

I will drink it in a cocktail, with a cold, crisp tonic, or – if the occasion calls for it – neat, perhaps over ice.

The front of a greetings card with a guinea pig saying 'hic' as if drunk peering over the top of a glass. Next to that the text reads 'who's a ginny pig?'
Gin and guinea pigs? A match made in heaven

Gin has been for so long the butt of everyone’s joke, where retorts of ‘mother’s ruin’ echoed over the bar, and where it’s only drinkers in my world were ex-boyfriends’ mums. But, you’ll be glad to know that this is no longer the case.

Gin has become one of those fancy drinks you don’t mind ordering at the bar; it’s simple when served with tonic, but oh-so sophisticated, and craft gins made with care and attention are at the forefront of the gin-drinking world. This is where the Gin Explorer Box comes in; a monthly box crammed with gin samplers, accompanying tonic or other mixers, and a little snack to bring it all together.

Craft gin to your door? What more could you wish for!?

The opened box with shredded yellow paper, bright blue tissue paper, and a box with the front cut out displaying four tiny bottles of gin. A tub of corn kernels sits in front, with a bottle of cucumber-infused gin to the right of that.
A beautifully packaged box including gin-flavoured sweets

The four gins I received arrived in a gorgeously packaged box, complete with a booklet describing each gin and the flavour notes associated with it. These gins included Leeds Gin, Nelsons Rhubarb and Custard gin, Thompson’s Grape gin and Hernö gin, alongside two bottles of cucumber-infused sparkling water, and a spanish snack of salted giant corn kernels. I also received a sample of Bath gin to keep me sweet whilst I waited (im)patiently for the box itself.

A box with another box containing gin samples, the Bath gin bottle the main focus of the picture and a bottle of cucumber infused water to the right of it.
Including the little bottle of Bath gin I had five gins to test (no complaints, there!)

This was such a treat for me, and I particularly enjoyed the Nelsons Rhubarb and Custard flavour: light pink so not off-putting, with a rich fruity flavour and a hint of vanilla sweetness to bring the gin to life. I also very much enjoyed the other gins with the Qcumber water, over ice and with a slice of lemon. It made the perfect festive tipple, but I can only imagine just how wonderful this pairing would be during the height of summer or on a balmy evening. Divine!

I absolutely loved this box, and love that you can purchase a full-sized bottle with a slight discount to tide you over whilst waiting for the next box. It was such a perfect raffle prize for me, so thank you to Gin Explorer for being part of the Blogger’s Halloween Party! 

Why not treat the gin lover in your life? If they’re anything like me, they’ll love you forever!

If only it were acceptable to sip a g&t right now…

Heather x

Categories
Foodie things Hull Bloggers

Napoleons Casino: Dine In Style*

Over summer, which seems like a ridiculously long time ago (owing to my MRes ridiculousness and a year of madness seen in my previous post I’m back…), I was lucky enough to be invited to Napoleons Casino and Restaurant in Hull’s bustling city centre to try out their Dine In Style menu.

Food and a little bit of roulette…is there a better way for a postgraduate research student to unwind?!

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Walking up to the bright lights on a cool summer evening, I wondered what the night would have in store. I don’t often frequent casinos, and I’d never usually consider a casino a place to go to for dinner. But I was in for a rather pleasant surprise.

Shortly after arriving, I was greeted by the helpful staff and signed in,  and then we ascended a rather glamorous-looking staircase leading up to a candle-lit restaurant with an extensive bar and a relaxed atmosphere. Shown to our seats, and given a lovely bottle of red to share, we pondered over the delights of the menu and peered over into the casino area, bustling with people eager to wind down after a busy week.

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Though it was difficult to pick three courses from a delicious selection, I opted for three dishes that I hoped would warm up the chilly evening. To start, I had the delicious garlic mushrooms on toast; mixed mushrooms sauteed and slathered in garlic butter, sat atop crispy ciabatta and were garnished with microherbs and aioli. A delicious starter to whet the appetite.

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For the main course, I went for a bowl of comforting haricot bean cassoulet paired with garlic and parsley ciabatta. The cassoulet was richly flavoured, with intense tomato sauce flavoured with garlic and herbs. Just the thing for a cool summer night. The cassoulet was topped with a crumb, complementing the warming cassoulet perfectly.

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As if two courses weren’t enough, we were also treated to a third! I chose the pear and ginger creme brulee: a soft, creamy custard with stewed pears, top with a glazed sugar crust and served with a tiny gingerbread man and ginger syrup. And yes, it did taste as good as it looked!

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After our delicious meal, we played on the American roulette with our £5 chips. Though I’d never played before, I came away with some winnings, and it was the perfect ending to a lovely night.

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My experience at Napoleons Casino has completely altered my perceptions. I had a great night, with some delicious food, and as their Dine in Style package is such great value for money, I’m sure many of you will also be surprised at what Napoleons has to offer. The  Dine in Style package starts at £22.95, with a £5 value gaming chip, increasing to £27.95 on Friday and Saturday nights. A fantastic night and something a little bit unusual!

 

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Why not visit any of the venues in Hull, Sheffield, Bradford, Leeds or London to find out for yourself? You may not come home a winner, but I can guarantee you’ll come away feeling well and truly stylish.

Hope you’re feeling good. I’m wrapped up attempting to get through a pile of lesson planning…wish me luck!

Heather x

Categories
Foodie things Hull Bloggers Product Review

Simple Snacking: Ape Snacks*

Hello! Firstly, I just want to say thanks for popping by. I know it’s been quiet over here; if I’m not writing my dissertation, I’m thinking about it, or reading for it, or talking about it…it’s pretty time consuming, so I appreciate you hanging around as I know nosuperhero has had to take a back seat. Not long to go, now. Keep your fingers crossed!

Secondly, I just thought I’d share some really delicious, simple snacks that I recently had the pleasure of trying. Meet Ape Snacks; deliciously crunchy, crispy, lightly seasoned coconut curls, with no added sugar, gluten free, vegan AND part of your five-a-day. No, really: they’re fabulous!

I was lucky enough to receive a couple of packets of each flavour, of which there are currently two: lightly salted and slightly peppered.

I love coconut, and anything remotely coconut-related. Coconut oil is my go-to beauty product, as it lends itself so well to so many things, but coconut itself is such a delicious, tropical-tasting treat. Admittedly, I didn’t expect these curls to be so crispy, but they were so incredibly satisfying! When those hunger pangs hit in the early afternoon, it’s all too easy to reach for a packet of fat-laden, salty snacks, and though I do enjoy the traditional crisps, I feel an awful lot better if I snack on something healthy. This is where Ape comes in; not only are they healthy – and practically guilt free – their crunchy texture is so satisfying and easily replicates that hearty crunch I often long for somewhere between lunch and dinner. 

Both flavours are simple, allowing the sweet coconut flavour to come through. Admittedly I prefer the lightly salted flavour, but either are delicious and it’s great to know I can grab a packet of these and not feel badly about it!

These would be great as a breakfast topping, or something to accompany your morning smoothie bowl.

Thank you so much to the team at Ape for letting me try your delicious snacks; you’ve made a peckish student very happy!

Hope you’re all having a great day…I’ll have to head back to my desk and trawl through my books. Send positive thoughts!

Heather x

Categories
Foodie things Product Review

Food and Drink: Things I’m Loving*

Hello, you! Hope you’re doing well today. First, I have a little confession to make. You may have noticed that it’s been super quiet here, and I apologise. I think I might have to reduce the number of posts I’m uploading. Life is busy, and right now, my dissertation needs to come first. I hope you understand, and just know by September I’m hoping to have a lot more time to write up posts. I have a long list of things I’m wanting to share, so as always, thanks for being wonderful and patient. 

Anyway, here’s a post I hope you enjoy (warning…it might make you thirsty!)

If you know me, you’ll know that I  love food. I am that annoying person who’d like to think they’re a real ‘foodie’. I love cooking, I love experimenting, and most of all, I love eating. Food is such a wonderful thing to feel passionate about. I love nourishing my body and aim to eat as healthily as possible. I’m fortunate that my healthy eating habits were formed from a young age (thanks mum and dad!) and I try and eat a good balance of protein, fats, carbs and vegetables. I’m also a real fan of refreshing,  tasty drinks; I’m an avid tea lover, and my tea cupboard is stuffed with so many varieties and flavours. I love a refreshing cool fizzy drink every now and then, but what I do hate is that horrible sugary film left on your teeth or – where the diet versions are concerned – nasty artificial sweeteners to replicate that sugary taste we all love. So when Gaia recently got in touch and asked if I fancied trying out some new products – tea and  a healthy version of fizzy drinks – I jumped at the chance.

Meet my two new favourite drinks; ICHAI tea and Ugly Unsweet Water! 

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I admit, I’m quite new to chai blends. I never really tried a chai tea that lived up to my expectations; they lacked the spicy warmth I was promised, or were oversweet, sometimes in powdered form with dried milk and were – oftentimes – a real disappointment. This is where ICHAI comes in and changed all my chai-related expectations. Meet ICHAI: a caddy of loose leaf tea blended with real spices and all-natural ingredients. Available in eight different flavours, these teas are of the finest quality with absolutely no artificial flavours, additives or preservatives, for the purest, most delicious chai pleasure. 

I was lucky enough to receive four of the blends to try starting with the Classic Chai #8 : blend of tea, ground cinnamon, green cardamom and a hint of ginger, clove and star anise for a deliciously balanced and calming blend. You can see the amazing, fragrant mix of spices, you can really appreciate the flavours in the final cup.

Next is Vanilla Chai #7; sweet, indulgent and comforting, this chai is a sumptuous blend of cinnamon, vanilla pods and a hint of cloves for a sweet and indulgent take on the classic chai tea.

Thirdly is Ginger Chai #3: dried ginger root added to the blend to provide a spicy, warming cup that settles, cleanses and invigorates. This blend won the Great Taste award in 2015, and you can see why! 

Finally we have a caddy of Spicy Chai #1: a deeply warming blend with cinnamon, green cardamom, black pepper, cloves and ginger, creating a warming blend perfect for even the chilliest of days.

I’ve been enjoying these blends with milk and a little honey, and I have to say the Spicy Chai and Vanilla Chai are proving to be my favourites, although I’m really enjoying all of them!

Helen, ICHAI’s creator, spent years working as a plant biologist working with Unilever, and her work to create the best tasting plants has continued with the creation of ICHAI. Helen wanted to create traditional chai with the finest ingredients to produce the best taste and aroma. The spices are grown to maintain their optimum flavour, ground to the optimum particle size, using the correct machinery to produce an exquisite-tasting chai and an intense drinking experience. I’m not claiming to be a plant biologist like Helen, but she’s doing something right as they taste absolutely fantastic! I can’t wait to get my hands on the other flavours.

Ugly Unsweet Water

Ugly are changing the way we think about fizzy drinks with their new range of unsweetened fizzy drinks, with natural flavours, no artificial colors or sweeteners. Ugly kindly tells us we’re sweet enough already (thanks, Ugly!) and maintains that their drinks are delicious without that  awful sugary film or horrible artificial sweetener aftertaste. These are best enjoyed chilled, and come in two flavours: lemon and lime, and pineapple and grapefruit. I absolutely loved both of these, but the pineapple and grapefruit has to be my favourite. I was pleasantly surprised by their cool, crisp taste, and would love to see these in vending machines on campus! They’re fab on a hot day, and if I could I’d be drinking one as I write this!

So there you have it; some truly delicious drinks to quench your thirst this Wednesday afternoon. What do you think of the ICHAI and Ugly drinks? Thanks so much to Gaia, Helen and the Ugly team for letting me try these delicious products; I’m a real fan!

Look after yourself today, 

Heather x

Categories
Events Foodie things Hull Bloggers Product Review

The #HBHullBloggers take on Furley & Co for the #HBMiniMeet*

Hello, lovely! I’m so sorry if you visited this post earlier to find nothing at all; everything I had written up somehow deleted and didn’t make it apart from the title, which is very frustrating. Anyway, here it is, so let’s start again!

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A few weeks ago myself and some of the #HBHullBloggers came together to give the lovely Alex from Champagne and Lemonade a cheery farewell as she embarked on her travels for six months. We thought it’d also be a fabulous chance to have a mini get together, and we were lucky enough to have some gorgeous goodies sent to us. imag2019.jpg

We met at Furley & Co, a fairly new eatery/bar/cafe in the centre of Hull, which serves a huge variety of craft ales, beers and other alcoholic beverages, alongside freshly brewed, quality coffee, teas and other soft drinks. Though Furley’s hasn’t been round for long, it has already made a huge impact on the locals and is widely-renowned for their delicious ‘Freak Shakes’, which you’ll get to see later! We were lucky enough to try some of Furley’s newest menu items – burgers and fries – which are made from chuck steak seasoned in house, lovingly crafted and griddled with cheese and served with your choice of mustard, BBQ mayo or ketchup and pickles. Yum! Although I do sometimes eat meat, I am becoming increasingly interested in exploring vegetarian foods and perhaps switching to a veggie diet altogether, so I plumped for the halloumi burger; griddled halloumi, rocket and onion chutney, all sandwiched between a rich brioche bun. Yummy!

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13384791_10154211558068544_125391270_nWe also had freshly cooked fries, seasoned with chip spice, which was the perfect accompaniment to both burgers. I really liked the BBQ mayo, and would seriously recommend trying it with the fries! After the burgers came the monstrous ‘Freak Shakes’; a sweet concoction of milkshake, whipped cream and plenty of sweet treats. I had the banoffee flavour. A warning though; these are not for the faint-hearted!

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Isnt that amazing?! And yes, that is a doughnut! These are quite the party-piece, and we sure gave them a good go. A definite treat, but something I would recommend when visiting Hull!

As I said earlier, we were fortunate enough to have some gorgeous goodies sent to us, and below you’ll see some of the gorgeous goodies. These included Batiste, Benefit, Stargazer cosmetics, Simply Beautiful Collection, Gosh, Paul Mitchell, Make Up Revolution, LYDC and Ultradex. I’d also like to thank Eat Your Photo for making me look good enough to eat! Don’t worry; you’ll get the lowdown on all these fabulous products soon, so keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming favourites! As always, a huge thanks goes to Kat from The Kats Paws for being so wonderful and an organisation-Queen,  who even treated us to our very own party bags! Of course you’re never too old for party bags, and the whole evening was so much fun.

Here’s a few snaps; how lucky were we?! I’m sorry there aren’t lots of snaps right now. I’ve had real trouble uploading pictures, but as soon as I’m able I’ll post them for you to have a good nosy at. Technology isn’t always on my side!

Hope you’ve had a great day, whatever you’ve been doing…

Heather x

 

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Categories
Foodie things Recipes The Spoon Theory

Easy Eats: Nutritious Snacks

Hello there, lovely reader. A while ago I mentioned I was going to start writing up some easy, spoonie-friendly recipes and ideas. For new readers (hi!) I actually have a form of cerebral palsy called mild hemiplegia and a painful spinal condition called scheuermann’s. My cerebral palsy limits coordination and movement in my affected side and can also be painful, and alongside my recent diagnoses of depression and anxiety these can be a tiring mix!

On painful and tired days it can be a real struggle to eat well, so I thought i’d share some tips with you.

When having a bad day I tend to snack because I can’t muster up the energy to create a really nutritious, home-cooked meal. Here’s a few snacks I’ve come up with to help me on tough days:

Homemade granola
This is a really yummy, super easy thing to make. I store it in a big Kilner jar *insert heart emoji here* and then just dig in when I feel like it. It’s fab for breakfast, but like most cereals it’s great to snack on when you’re feeling a little peckish.

What you need:
2 cups of porridge oats (make sure they’re the proper ones, not the ones that make instant porridge)
2-3 tbsps of honey or maple syrup (I used half and half)
2-3 tbsps of oil (I used rapeseed oil but melted coconut oil would also be lovely)
Pinch of salt
Any yummy additions you’d like to add including dried fruit, nuts or even chopped chocolate. I used very dark chocolate (80% I believe) for a really chocolatey hit

Method:
1.Turn on the oven to around gas mark 2/150°
2. Mix all the oats, syrup, oil and salt in a mixing bowl until well combined. If adding nuts, you can add them to the granola at this stage to get them all lovely and toasty.
3. Prepare a baking tray by covering in grease proof baking paper to prevent sticking.
4. Spread the mixture onto the tray and place in the oven.
5. Cook for around 40 mins to get the oats lovely and toasted and golden. However you must make sure you continue to check the granola at 10 minute intervals: it can burn very quickly so be sure to keep an eye on it.
6. Remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool completely.
7. Once cooled, feel free to mix in as many yummy additions as you’d like. There is no measuring needed here; it’s completely up to you!
8. Once well mixed, place into a clean jar or container and this will keep for a good couple of weeks…if you can bear to leave it of course!

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I love mine with plain natural yogurt and the addition of fresh fruit. Blueberries and raspberries are lovely in this.

Fresh zesty salsa
One of my favourite dips. When feeling like a snack it’s great with tortilla chips, but for a more substantial meal I love eating it with oven baked wedges made using chopped potatoes or sweet potatoes.

What you need:
A handful of cherry or plum tomatoes (whichever you prefer)
Half a fresh lemon or lime (again, whichever you prefer)
A spring onion
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
Half a teaspoon of sugar
Glug of olive oil
Fresh chilli if you like it hot

Method
The easiest way to do this is to use a small food processor or chopper. We have a brilliant little processor from Aldi and this is really useful if low on energy (or simply don’t want to chop everything by hand!) If you don’t have a processor or if you want a chunkier salsa feel free to chop by hand

1. Wash veggies and put them into the processor/chop up.
2. If using a food processor, gently pulse to get required texture.
3. Add salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon/lime juice, sugar and chopped chilli if using. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
4. Serve alongside tortilla chips, potato wedges, or anything else that takes your fancy!

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Sometimes I add chopped coriander which is also lovely. Sorry for the rubbish photo: I simply couldn’t wait to get stuck in!

Easy Banana “ice cream”

I’m oh so late to the party with this, but it is a delicious sweet something when you want to have dessert but feel too bad about diving into the tub of Ben and Jerry’s at the back of the freezer. Yummy!

What you need:
1 chopped banana per person
Optional toppings/flavours. I like nutella, peanut butter or Sweet Freedom’s Choc Shot

Method
1. Peel and roughly chop the banana.
2. Place into a sandwich bag and pop in the freezer
3. Leave until fully frozen and solidified
4. Remove from freezer and let it thaw out slightly
Place in a food processor or chopper, and pulse the banana until thick and creamy. Swirl any additional flavours in at this stage.
5. Serve and add toppings!

To make this really healthy omit the nutella (it is full of sugar but great for a treat) and replace with a drizzle of honey, chopped frozen raspberries, almonds or anything else that takes your fancy!

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The above pictures are an example of the less-healthy version…though choc shot is low calorie!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Be sure to watch out for some more easy recipes; there’s lots more I want to share with you. Meanwhile, look after yourself and happy Thursday!

Heather x

Categories
Foodie things Hull Bloggers

#WrenFamilyFavourites: Wren Kitchens Event with Linda Barker*

It was a chilly November evening as we made our way to Wren Kitchen HQ, situated across the Humber bridge nestled in the sleepy town of Barton-Upon-Humber. Fizzing with anticipation and excitement, we tentatively entered the heart of Wren Kitchen’s design hub and sat shyly, admiring the delicious aromas wafting from the room before us.

When I was invited to the Wren Kitchen’s Family Favourites event I admit I didn’t really know what to expect. I suspected that there would be lots of food (check!), wonderful blogger-company (check!) and some rather gorgeously designed kitchens (check!). However – to my delight – the Wren Kitchen event was far more than I could ever have imagined; it was utterly fabulous.

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We were kindly greeted by the lovely Victoria, who handed us some very intriguing goody bags…we knew from the off that this was going to be a fabulous night!

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As we walked in we were handed a glass of bubbly (and a non-alcoholic option for those who had to drive) and ushered to tables laden with all sorts of interesting crafty goodies. I am seriously into anything crafty/arty. My mum has always made scrapbooks and cards, and she’s always creating something new every week and I think I definitely have some of that creative streak. We were given our very own personalized recipe scrapbooks just for the occasion! Safe to say my mum was pretty jealous when I showed her!

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We were made to feel extremely welcome by the lovely Linda Barker, who went on to explain her collaboration with Wren Kitchens. Linda is a seriously talented designer (and a fabulous chef as it turned out!) and we were treated to a live cooking demo. Wren Kitchens have been running a campaign for people to enter their family favourite recipes, and the bloggers at the event (yes, lucky us!) got to taste these recipes for ourselves.

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We were treated to vanilla and chocolate marble cake, peanut butter and banana loaf and warm mince pies. And what’s best of all is we were actually given the recipe so we could replicate them at home; Drew is going to have to deal with lots of cake because I have had such a baking-craving after this event!

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The mince pies were a festive favourite of many, but I’m a real lover of anything chocolatey so the marbled chocolate cake was my favourite of the night.

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After our live cooking demo and plenty of chat from the lovely Linda and the team, we were treated to a look at Linda’s very own kitchens. I’m a student so I’m only living in student accommodation, but I developed SERIOUS kitchen envy after seeing these. They were fabulous; and as explained by Linda their kitchens are as bespoke as you can get for the price, which is fabulous as Wren believes that the kitchen is the heart of any home. Now Christmas is approaching I can definitely agree with that, and as someone who is really into cooking, the kitchen becomes a vital part of every day life.

This was a fabulous kitchen; just look at the units! I was also a fan of the duck-egg blue colour scheme.

This one was more rustic, yet with a modern edge. Really beautiful!

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Linda loved explaining her designs to all of us. This geometric print is similar to something she has in her own kitchen, and it made a great focal point for the room.

I hope by this point you’re as jealous as I am…how wonderful are these?!

After having a nosy around the kitchens, we all enjoyed some more chat (and cake!) and had a couple of pictures. We were all huge fans of our personalized apron and wooden spoons…they were such a gorgeous touch, and we demanded we have a picture of them!

I just want to say a massive thank you to the lovely Wren Kitchen team, all the wonderful bloggers and of course, to the fabulous Linda Barker. It was a really wonderful night and it was a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of!

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Has this post given you serious kitchen envy? Let me know in the comments below!

You can check out Wren Kitchen’s website here and Linda’s collections here.

I hope you’re having a fabulous Tuesday.

Heather x

Categories
Foodie things Hull Bloggers

One of Hull’s hidden gems: Stanley’s Brasserie

Hi there! Now, this is the fourth year I’ve lived in Hull to study at the university, so I’ve had ample time to sample and savour the local delights in wonderful restaurants dotted around the city. On Saturday it was my birthday (which is a completely scary thought…where has that year gone!?) and my parents headed over to help me celebrate with a meal out (I know, I’m a lucky girl!). We wanted to book a table in a local restaurant for the occasion and decided to try Stanley’s Brasserie in Hull. I’ve never been before and always admired its cosy atmosphere from afar.

I’m so so glad I booked that table, because it was absolutely amazing.

I’m a fan of most foods. I like to be adventurous, and it’s always great to try new things. I was fortunate enough to have an upbringing filled with many different types of food and cuisines from all over the world. As I’ve got older I’ve become a real fan of seafood, and fish – when it’s well-cooked – is one of my favourite meals.

Well, little did I know when I sat down at the table that I’d have one of the most delicious fish dishes I’ve ever had.

We kicked off the meal with cocktails, and I chose the Espresso Martini.  If you’re a big coffee fan, this is definitely the drink for you. Delicious! In fact, it was so good I forgot to take a picture. Woops!

To start I ordered the Hot Mozzarella. I’m a huge fan of cheese – cheese and biscuits is one of the best parts of Christmas day for me – and when I saw that this came with Italian prosciutto, I knew it’d be right up my street. I wasn’t wrong. It was fantastic; oozy, salty mozzarella in crunchy breadcrumbs, surrounded by fruity tomatoes and a good drizzle of pesto and topped with some delicious prosciutto, which is definitely one of my favourite things in the world.

It was divine, and it tasted even better than it looked.

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Next up, I had the seabass fillets, which came with a spinach and potato gratin and a dressed side salad. This was literally the best fish I have ever EVER tasted. The skin was crisp and salty; the fish itself was succulent and tender, and the gratin and salad was the perfect accompaniment.

It was truly divine, and is definitely one of the best things I have ever eaten.

Because I enjoyed it so much I didn’t even stop to take a picture which is a real shame, but wow. I would go back just for the seabass.

To finish mum and I shared a little lemon meringue pie. I think it’s true what they say; you definitely have a separate stomach for pudding! I did take a photo of this one.

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Again, beautifully presented and also extremely delicious. It had a crisp, buttery pastry case, lashings of tangy lemon curd, sweet marshmallowy meringue all topped with a generous helping of whipped cream (although we could have had ice cream but I think mum would agree the cream was a great option!).

All in all this was seriously fabulous. If you’re around this part of the world be sure to drop by; it’s feeling very festive at the minute, and the fairy lights definitely help!

You can check out their menu online here.

I hope you’re having a fabulous Wednesday.

Heather x

Categories
Foodie things Recipes

Cooking in the Kitchen with Primula cheese*

If you’ve been reading for a while you might be aware that I’m into cooking. I find cooking great therapy, and usually on bad days Drew will come home to cakes/biscuits/bread, or indeed a mixture of all three. Because cooking requires lots of preparation , I don’t  always find it easy to create fresh meals from scratch, particularly if I’m in a lot of pain.

This is where Primula comes in!

Primula were kind enough to send me some products from their range of cheeses. I’m sure you’ll remember these; they are firm favourites as sandwich fillers and, as I found out, great for handy shortcuts in favourite meals!

I decided to get creative and made a variety of Primula cheese-inspired dishes, which were very easy to prepare and extremely tasty!

Firstly, I decided to try making some cheesy stuffed potato skins.

Here’s what you’ll need:

5 medium sized baking potatoes,

half a tube of Primula Cheese and Chives,

4 rashers of smoked bacon,

a drizzle of olive oil,

seasoning to taste,

a small amount of grated cheese of your choice (I used double Gloucester).

Firstly, you’ll need to prepare the potatoes. I made sure to prick each potato with a fork several times (as it lets the heat escape) and put them in the microwave on a plate at full power for 15 minutes, or until the potato is cooked on the inside. Meanwhile, turn the oven on (about 170 degrees/gas mark 6).

As the potatoes were cooking, I chopped my bacon in bite sized pieces and grilled using my handy George Foreman grill. I remember when these were all the rage, and I must admit that we have had a lot of use out of ours as they make cooking  really easy and are very quick to clean! Perfect if you’re low on spoons/energy/just don’t want to spend ages cleaning up. I grilled these bacon pieces until they were crispy and golden.

When the potatoes were cooked and the insides like mashed potato, I carefully scooped out the flesh into a jug (you could use a mixing bowl) added my crispy bacon and put the empty skins into a non-stick oven dish. I then squeezed in approximately half a tube of Primula’s delicious cheese and chive into the potato and bacon mixture, stirring well. Here is where you should add a drizzle of olive oil; it can be really hard work to mix everything in evenly! Crack in some black pepper and season to taste, before dividing the mixture out and placing it back into the empty skins. I then topped with a scattering of grated cheese.

Pop them into the oven until they are piping hot, golden and bubbly, (approx. 15-20 mins) and voila! Delicious, easy and filling; perfect for these wintry, chilly nights we’re having.

Here’s a pic before they went into the oven:

Stuffed potatoes

I also decided to make one of my all-time favourite snacks – cheesy nachos –  using Primula’s original cheese. Again these were super easy to do, and extremely yummy.

All you’ll need:

A bag of salted tortilla chips,

a tube of Primula original cheese,

grated cheese (if you like things really cheesy!)

and a jar of jalapeno peppers to heat things up a bit! I chose red peppers, as they are hot yet sweet.

These are super simple. Just pour the bag of tortilla chips into an oven-proof dish, squeeze as much Primula original cheese onto the top as you wish (and yes, I did put plenty on there!) and add the jalapenos/extra grated cheese if you fancy. I then just popped them into the oven (again, 170 or gas mark 6) until the cheese was bubbly and the chips lovely and toasty. Just keep an eye on them, though. 15 minutes will be sufficient. They really were lovely and the Primula cheese was a perfect topping for them. Here’s a quick picture I managed to take before Drew and I devoured them all:

cheesy nachos

I’m a big fan of fresh guacamole – particularly with cheesy nachos – so I couldn’t resist making my own (with the help of Primula cheese, of course!). This time I opted to use Primula cheese in light. You will need:

2 ripe and ready to eat avocados,

juice of half a lime/lemon (I used lime this time),

Primula cheese in light (about a third of a tube)

salt,

cracked black pepper,

some coriander leaves; as many as you’d like,

cayenne pepper to garnish.

Homemade guacamole is so easy, it’s almost not worth buying it premade! All I did was scoop out the flesh of both avocados (but keep the stones in the middle; you’ll see why soon!)  and put into a food processor along with the lime juice, a pinch of salt, twist of black pepper, Primula light and coriander. I then whizzed up the mixture to form a smooth, well-mixed paste. I then placed the guacamole into a bowl after checking it was seasoned to taste, and placed one of the avocado stones into the middle of it. The reason for this is it helps the guacamole to keep its bright green colour. I then sprinkled cayenne pepper on top (just a little; you can of course skip this step entirely) and it was done! The Primula really added a creaminess to the guacamole and it’s something I’ve never thought of adding before. I definitely will now!

Here it is:

salsa and guacomoleguacamole

As you can see I also made a super-quick tomato salsa to go with it. All I used were chopped cherry tomatoes, coriander, the juice of half a lime (or you can use lemon if you prefer) a teaspoon of sugar, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Then all you have to do is mix them together! Very easy and a great accompaniment to the guacamole.

All in all I’m really impressed with Primula cheeses. They taste great and make mealtimes so much simpler. You can find Primula in the dairy aisles of all good supermarkets, or check out their website here to check out more about their products and collaboration with the charity Make a Wish.

primula feastPrimula feast 2

Let me know if you decide to try any of these!

Hope Saturday is treating you well.

Heather x

ps sorry for the terrible photos; i’m having to make do with my phone camera which has no flash and is generally rubbish, so bear with me! I should have my camera soon 🙂