The Diner...

I spent last weekend in London celebrating my birthday. We got the 7.30am train to Paddington and spent the journey making posters to go all "fan girl" on Beyoncé's ass! We were slightly light headed after the heavy usage of Sharpie markers but it was totally worth it, we got on the big screens and Beyoncé pointed at me and sang happy birthday! Best moment ever!

We arrived into London just before 10am and decided to make our way to the O2 just to double check what time the O2 priority room was opening, as no one was answering the phone.

By the time we had done that we decided it was time for a spot of lunch...Now Emma and I are mad on food, I mean we would eat anything! (Well...Emma refuses to go anywhere near eggs...EGGS!)

Planning of trips usually involves heavy organisation of food consumption. This time we had decided that we were going to try something americanised on the Saturday and then Brunch on the sunday...However it didn't quite turn out like that.

Saturday lunch time we made our way to Soho as Emma wanted to take me to The Diner.

It saddens me the amount of times i've walked past this place and not even noticed it! 

We walked in at just the right time, a table for 2 awaited us and shortly after they were turning people away.




Whilst looking over the menu the waitress took our drinks order and left us to decide. I went for the Snickers milkshake and Emma went for a Coke (Which she quickly regretted!)

One sip of this shake had me in a very emotional state...it tasted like a snickers but one million times better! I mean seriously amazing. It even had chocolate chips in it!

Our mission in life is to find the best chicken wings in existence, so naturally when we saw they had a basket of them we ordered them. 


We ordered one of the larger blue plates (£11) to share between us. 10 gloriously scrummy chicken wings arrived (along with the rest of the food) and we dug in. The wings had a crispy batter on them and the only way I can describe it is...Its like they cooked them in bacon...SO GOOD!



I then went for the Diablo burger,which is a signature 8 0z Burger made from rib, sirloin, filet and chuck on a bun with bacon, jalapeño mayo and cheese. I also had Wet Fries which really brought back memories of my trip to NYC.

I have to hand it to these guys, they know how to make a burger. Sadly though I was so stuffed after the wings and the fries, I couldn't finish it! I was defeated!


Emma went for the ribs and fries. She ate like a lady(ish) but she didn't really need a knife and fork, the meat fell off the bone. I had a cheeky nibble and they were beautiful.


If you are a big eater and a lover of meaty mouthfuls, head on over to the diner.  My only real criticism for the Soho branch was the service. We asked for water but it never came, and the waitress seemed to be away with the fairies a little bit. But other than that it was great...Or so we thought!


That evening we went and watched Beyoncé. She was amazing! Such a talent and such a naturally beautiful girl. 

The original plan was to get up, have a small breakfast and then head on into central London for Brunch. However we decided against it as we both had rather vivid dreams about DEM WINGZ!

We made our way into London and wandered around for a little while. Popped into Patisserie Des Reves and got some birthday yummies (More on that later in the week). Whilst doing this we decided that rather than going to the Diner again, we would go to Spitalfields Market and have a little look round and maybe grab some market food.

However! on arrival we realised that there was actually another Diner there...Emma is a sneaky chicken fiend!

Naturally we went again... as you do...

 This Diner was a lot busier when we arrived. We were informed that there was a 40 minute wait, but that didn't bother us to much. They took my mobile number and said they would text when a table came up.

When we got the text we made our way in. The tables at this particular Diner are much more spacious. In the Soho one we felt like we were rammed into a tiny booth and had to sit with our bags and coats between our legs. In Spitalfields all tables sit 4 and are very comfortable.




Once again we placed our drinks order, this time I opted for the iced tea. They also have a menu of "Hard" iced teas, for the boozy tea drinkers! I debated getting one but decided against it.




We wanted a smaller lunch today so decided to both go for the chicken wings and just get a side of fries each... Expecting 10 wings each...

I think something must have been seriously wrong with Sohos portion control. We had 10 wings in Soho and 20 (Yes, 20!) in Spitalfields for the same price. I even got the receipt out at the end of the meal to check what we paid the day before....

So much for a light lunch!



We were both presented with a MASSIVE basket of chicken and a HUGE portion of fries. I made the foolish mistake of going for the Chilli cheese fries. They were so so good but I hardly touched them due to the chicken.

Overall the service in Spitalfields was much better! If you are looking to try those juicy wings I would recommend making the journey as not only do you get the food but you also get the market which made the day.





Or if you are lucky enough to live in London but fancy a night in, why not order for delivery! I'm so incredibly jealous of all of you Londoners that can order those wings whenever you want....


Alternatively if you just fancy a shake, a thick, amazing, glorious shake... They do them to go!


Whilst you are here, Why don't you take part in my bloggers Giveaway! It's easy and you could win all the equipment you need to make bread! 

Go on...you know you want to...





a Rafflecopter giveaway

December in London...Scratch that...Food in London...

...Back in December I made a trip to London to get myself in the festive spirit. Usually when I plan a weekend away I book something to do, like a show or a concert...This time it was just a hotel and a train ticket...
It was quite exciting to arrive and just hurl myself on to the tube and get off where I liked.

My main aim for the weekend was to eat a lot and finish off my christmas shopping.

Lets focus on the food.




A trip to London for me is not complete without a MASSIVE burger, and for me it has to be Shake Shack.








The queue as always was massive, but lucky for me there was someone selling mulled wine near buy so I quickly grabbed one and kept myself warm whilst I looked over the menu.
My order rarely changes as my usual is just SO good. You join the queue and wait to be served, they then give you a buzzer that allows you to wander covent garden until your food is ready. Don't worry though you don't usually have to wait to long.



I went for the Double Smokeshack, Cheese fries and a malted peanut butter milkshake.

This particular photo truly doesn't do the photo justice, it was beautifully cooked. The molten cheese smooches the smoked bacon and I have lost my train of thought... Umm...Burger....
The cheese fries are awesome, I just with that there was more of them.
I have no words for the Milk shake..its peanut butter...PEANUT BUTTER!


Next stop on my foodie adventure was based on a recommendation from Ching He Huang. I sent her a tweet asking what restaurant I should visit in china town for an authentic meal. She graciously replied and told me to try Joy King Lau.



The restaurant is a 5 minute walk from Leicester square tube station and was quite easy to find.
I arrived later in the evening as I was pretty tired after a long day of wandering so popped to the hotel for a quick power nap.



Instantly I knew I was in for a treat, the queue outside was massive and it appeared that the downstairs room of the restaurant was packed out.
I joined the queue and probably waited 15 minutes to be seated which in my eyes was fantastic as they really were busy.
I was taken to the second floor of the restaurant and seated opposite 4 large circular tables that all had large families on.
My mouth started watering straight away. It was a little like the tables in Hogwarts, food covered every inch of the surface and the smell was amazing. One family opposite appeared to have a MASSIVE bowl of noodles to share which contained all sorts of goodies, including crab claws and king prawns.



I decided to go for something with a kick to start with. I went for Hot and Sour soup. It certainly was hot, I remember ordering a beer and thinking "I could really do with a warming cup of tea" and then downing the bottle of beer because I was sweating from the soup. A mix of vegetables, chicken, prawns and tofu swam in a broth so deliciously hot. I recommend you to try it if you go, just bare in mind it is hot!



Next on the menu was Chicken and Cashew nuts with a side of egg fried rice. Simple and so good! The chicken was tender and juicy, the cashews had a soft exterior with a bit of a bite and it was scrummy.
I had 2 courses and 2 bottles of beer and it came to under £20 which I was very impressed with. The staff were lovely and the atmosphere was great. It's lovely to see families enjoying food together.

My one recommendation for this restaurant would be this... If you are planning on visiting, go as a group! Although I felt very welcome and enjoyed every minute of it, the set menu's look and smell amazing. I was a bit jealous of everyone around me.

Give it a go next time you are in London! you won't regret it!

Crab and sweetcorn soup..

...its been one of those weeks again. the kind of week where all you want to do it collapse in a heap when you get home.

today is my last day of work before a weeks holiday and i decided it was time to take action and have something warm and comforting as well as tasty and delicious.
luckily Ching He Huang took the effort out of it and posted a yummy recipe which was really quick and really tasty.






you will need:

1 litre of simmering water
2 tomatos
2 fresh corn kernels (or if tired like me, a can)
1 table spoon of vegetable bouillon
250g fresh crab meat (or canned..)
2 table spoons of light soy sauce
a pinch of ground white pepper
2 eggs
toasted sesame oil
1 table spoon of cornflour + 2 table spoons of cold water




firstly bring the water to simmering point, to me this seemed like a really alien way of starting a soup but trust me its awesome!




whilst the water is heating up cut each tomato in to 6 pieces.




once the water is simmering away, add the tomato...




if you have had a long week forget the fresh kernels of corn and go for a can! crack it open and drain the liquid..




add the corn and allow it to simmer away for 3 minutes to allow everything to soften up.



in the mean time prepare the spring onion, chopping them into small rounds. this will be used as a garnish.




after 3 minutes add the vegetable bouillon and give everything a good stir...




again if feeling lazy crack open the cans of crab meat and give them a quick fork, i found that the meat was very compact in the can so it needed to be broken up slightly...




add the crab to the soup and give it a good stir, from this point onwards everything moves quite quickly as the crab is already cooked so its just a case of heating through...

add the white pepper and light soy sauce and stir once again..




to thicken the soup you need to create a cornflour paste, mix one table spoon of cornflour with 2 tablespoons of COLD water.




whilst mixing the soup pour this mixture in, you should notice that the soup thickens almost immediately...




crack the eggs into a jug and whisk until combined...



with a fork stir the soup and gently pour in the egg mixture. you will notice that as the egg hits the soup mixture it begins to cook, forming a web like structure.

finally add the spring onions and a splash of sesame oil, grab a bowl and enjoy!




the soup takes minutes to prepare and it so delicious. once served you could even sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds if you liked.

i would recommend this to anyone feeling a little under the weather or in need of a food hug.

give it ago, you will love it!

a little update..

...so as you may have noticed things have been pretty quiet on The Broke Boy recently.

i can't honestly give a reason why this is, its just been one of those months where the days seem to have merged and nothing is getting done.

i thought i would do a little update of some of the little things i have been doing with my spare time (or lack of it).




recently i have became a bit more adventurous in the kitchen, moving away from purely baking and trying my hand at roast pork. i have to say it was ruddy lovely, the crackling was amazing and the squash, carrot and leeks were cooked to perfection!




i ventured to Bath once again with Fran last thursday and we paid Jamie Oliver's italian a visit. i signed up for a gold membership card on my last visit to london so got £10 off the bill. 2 courses each for the grand sum of £28! lovely food, lovely view, lovely company, shame about the weather!




Ringo has been a very tired boy recently. i think he might have found himself a girlfriend. he is out all night and in bed all day. i found him like this in my parents bed..how cute?!




if you are walking down the road or sat on a train and see someone getting furious with their phone, its probably me! i've become so addicted to minion rush that its my go to thing at lunch time now...over food!



speaking of food, a customer at work came in with a pot of home made blackberry jelly for me the other day. now i know what you are thinking but no, it's doesn't contain any illegal substances that could knock me out...
but my god it makes a nice cake! i spread some between 2 layers of sponge and topped with some whipped double cream. beautiful!





i saw this online today and hovered my mouse over the buy button for quite some time before chickening out. the colour goes completely with my kitchen (i have the orange K mix toaster and kettle) and its a Kitchen aid..what more need be said!?! 

its just a lot of money to put out on a mixer at the moment.

on the Australia front i am still undecided as what to do. the more time i spend thinking about it the more and more i get into baking and cooking. what i really need to do is either book a plane ticket or find some way of getting some experience in a professional patisserie/kitchen.

i have been putting some feelers out with regards to work experience but no where seems to be offering kitchen experience, it all seems to be front of house. if you are reading this and can offer any kind of work experience in a kitchen please, get in touch!

and finally...

i haven't signed off a post with my savings for a little while but its about time i did...its grown a bit...

hopefully normal service will resume soon! i have some exciting recipes i want to try!



£900

+£400

Total Saving
£1,300

START THE BUS...



...but don't leave without me!

so last weekend was the bristol harbour festival. i had never been before so me and the lovely Emma (aka Boom Boom) decided we would venture up to bristol.

we got on the train with a lunch target in mind!




start the bus is an awesome little dinner tucked away by the bristol hippodrome. we have been talking about going for ages but only just got around to it.




i was extremely excited, mainly because of the chicken that Boom Boom had been going on about for months! 










the menu has lots of different options from burgers to sliders, fried chicken to macaroni cheese. with lots of sides, toppings and extras! check it out here.








 we both went for the hot and kickin' chicken. my god! it was amazing! 3 massive bits of chicken served with fluffy fries and a pot of glorious hot sauce. 
chicken is mine and Boom Booms down fall, if there is chicken on the menu we are going to order it! its a shame really as i would of liked to have tried the burgers and stuff but hey! theres always next time!

the chicken fell off the bone and was juicy and oh so tasty. the little pot of hot sauce was thrown over and it was a awesome!

i love spice but i don't like when it burns the mouth and leaves you gasping for water, i like it when you can taste the heat but the second it leaves your mouth you feel ready for more! this ticked all those boxes.

if you are in the bristol area i would recommend a trip! 





after we sucked the bones dry we headed over to queens square, grabbed a drink and watched the crowds dance around the stage. the heavens opened but if anything it made it even better!









such a wonderful atmosphere and a brilliant day with the bestie.

cannot wait for next year!









Bristol Foodies Festival...

...so things keep getting better and better!




i have been thinking about buying some tickets for me and the family to the Bristol Foodies Festival on the harbor side for a few months now but we were a bit unsure as to weither my parents would be in the area to go.

they have now decided that yes they will so i started looking into the different tickets.

i eventually decided that i would get a VIP ticket for myself and normal tickets for my parents are they weren't quite as excited for the chef theatre as i was.

this morning i turned on the computer to book the tickets but before i did so i decided to check twitter.

@foodiesfestival had tweeted asking any keen photographers to email them to get their hands on some free press passes.

i thought i would be a little bit cheeky and tweeted them asking if they were looking for any food bloggers and they asked me to email them...

...who knew my little blog could get me free passes!




its going to be a fun filled day full of food, drink and hopefully sun!


obviously my passion is baking and i am really looking forward to all the different cupcake stalls! hopefully it will be a really inspiring day and i hope to come back full of ideas and ready to try new things!







yummy!

i'm really looking forward to some of the cake and bake theatre's including the chocolate truffle masterclass by Coeur De Xocolat and the Sugar craft demo by Ann Pickard


contestant of the great british bake off Manisha Parmar will also be at the festival and will be giving bakery hints and tips! 2 contestants in one week! what more could i want!

the festival runs in bristol from friday the 12th of july until sunday the 14th and the tickets are actually a really good price...

...£12 for adults and £38 for VIP.

the festival is also at different locations throughout the summer, check here for more info!
ill make sure to take lots of pictures and report back to you with what i find... if i take a minute to stop eating that is! 





Oui Oui...

in two days time i will be in london baking and making yummy things with John Whaites. i recently found out that Emily and Bea will be attending as well!

as i have never made any of the goodies before i decided it might be a good idea to give them a go!


i decided to try Madeleine's! the madeleine or petite madeleine is a traditional small cake from Commercy and Liverdun, two communes of the Lorraine region in northeastern France, AKA yummy!

i stuck to Johns recipe for rose water but decided against the fondant. insad I went for a simple rose water icing using icing sugar, water and rose water.

considering i have never made these before im really pleased with how they turn out! they looked perfect and they tasted amazing!


in the morning i will be trying mushroom and parmasan rough puff pastry palmiers


on a slightly different note the final fundraising amount for cancer research was £266! id like to say a special thanks to all those who supported by buying the cupcakes and making the day such a success!

 

wok on...

...in the kitchen!
dad was away with work the other day and as usual mum and i were trying to decide on something to have for dinner.
lucky for us Ching was on hand (in book form) to guide the way to a delicious meal!

we decided to go for a chicken and cashew nut chow mein and let me tell you...it was YUM!

for the chicken
1 free-range egg
1 tbsp cornflour
pinch sea salt
500g skinless chicken breast fillets, sliced
300ml groundnut oil

for the stir fry
1 onion, sliced
1 yellow pepper, de-seeded, sliced into strips
1 red pepper, de-seeded, sliced into strips
1 carrot, peeled and cut into stripes
3 tbsp chicken stock
2-3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 large spring onions, sliced
4 tbsp roasted cashew nuts
sea salt and ground white pepper
ready cooked egg noodles
 

start by mixing the egg, cornflour and salt in a bowl until combined. at this stage my experimentation head took over and i decided to mix in a small amount of Chinese 5 spice. this is completely optional but i found it gave the chicken a bit of warmth!

pour this over the chicken and make sure to get every little bit of the chicken covered.

"Wok on, oil in" as Ching would say. for this recipe i went for my trusted non stick wok because it has a flat bottom and is steadier than my new one.

allow the oil to heat to a high heat, a great test for this is to throw in a small chunk of bread, if it just sits there the oil is not hot enough, if it sends the oil into a bubbling frenzy...its ready!

next gently place the chicken into the oil, make sure to place it in away from yourself as you will find it will start to spit hot oil everywhere. i did the chicken in 3 batches as my non stick wok is quite small and i didn't want a mass blob of chicken.

once the chicken is golden remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen towel to get rid of any excess oil.

 

drain all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the wok and place back on the heat. throw in the garlic, ginger and chilli and give it a quick stir. quickly throw in the onion for a minute or so then add the peppers and carrot and stir fry until they have softened slightly. throw the chicken back in the wok and stir fry for a few minutes.

next add the chicken stock and the soy sauce, allow it to simmer for a few minutes.


at this point add the noddles, cashew nuts and a hand full of spring onion. stir fry for a few more minutes to allow the noddles to loosen up. season to taste and serve!
 

london : mother, the market and me.

...so this weekend mother and i visited london, and i have to say i really enjoyed myself...even if we did reverse roles and i some how became the parent!


we arrived 10 minutes late due to signaling errors in swindon but thats nothing to get angry about. we clambered onto the tube and made our way to Portobello Market. i had read up before planning the weekend but i was not expecting this...

as we turned the corner onto the beginning of the market we entered a sea of people, so many faces eyeing nic nacs and enjoying the glorious weather.



of course my eye was instantly drawn to the hummingbird bakery shop but i was very strong willed and stayed away! partially because of the queue but manly because i am not a fan of the cakes from their bakeries.. 

don't get me wrong the recipes are amazing but they always taste better home made. something about the bakery made ones feels like it should be a long life product.








as i wandered down the market gazing at stalls i felt myself drift off into a harry potter inspired day dream, Diagon ally was calling my name!
at university one of my favorite lessons was the letter press and i stumbled across these beautiful sets! i don't know about you but i think there is something really special about these little gems. more to them than just a computer generated piece of type, a depth if you will...

i was very tempted to buy some but they would be wasted on me.





as if by magic the stalls then became a food bloggers paradise, the house elves of the market had been hard at work creating piles of doughnuts.... 



...breads and cupcakes...




i might get shunned for saying this but i always seem to find more fresh produce in london than i do anywhere at home in somerset! maybe its just because when i am home i'd either be working or recovering from working....who knows!




the vibrant colours were enough to get my creative juices (and my saliva) flowing. i wanted to grab everything and nibble a corner off.


had this of been on the second day or closer to home i think i would of been bankrupt within 10 minutes. my obsession with food and cooking is becoming more and more...well... obsessive...
i am constantly looking for ideas and ingredients and its getting quite costly haha.

maybe i chose the wrong career path?





mum got quite excited by all the olives, bucket after bucket of tasty little morsels that take you to a land far away where the sun is shining and the clear blue sea is lapping at the perfectly white sand.








did i mention the food? THE FOOD!





i love markets and i would recommend Portobello market to anyone visiting london. all i would say is make sure that you plan it so that you go near to the time you are going to be returning home as there will be things you want to buy but cant carry around london! we missed out on a very nice chilli plant sadly because of this.

more to come tomorrow!

cake mountain and a farewell...

after a lovely week off work i decided i had better show my face...
i had enjoyed my time off so much that i actually felt quite sick at the thought of returning but it had to be done. so after pulling myself out of bed and getting myself ready i made the journey in.
it wasn't as bad as i had been expecting and it was nice to see the familiar faces, that and the fact i knew it was only a day before my next day off haha.
when i arrived home i had received a private message from a friend asking me if i could make a cake for her sons first birthday next week. the cake is obviously aimed for the guests of the party rather than the baby.
they asked me to make something they had seen on the choccywoccydoodah website. It's basically a chocolate cake bathed in chocolate topped with marshmallows and even more chocolate.. at first i wasn't sure i could do it...but then i thought heck! i can try!


Deans funeral was today, i went with some other work colleagues and it was a lovely service. there were no hymns but lots of his favourite songs including Barcelona by Freddie Mercury.


RIP Dean
x

a tasty treat: cinnamon butter...



so as i may have already mentioned i visited bath for the day on Thursday. rather than doing the normal thing and going to Sally Lunn's for breakfast i decided to get a couple of buns to go and have them as a treat over the bank holiday weekend.

 

one box contains one beautiful bath bun and let me tell you, they are amazing!

in the restaurant they serve them with a variety of thing including: chocolate spread, cinnamon butter and even scrambled eggs!

my personal favourite has to be the cinnamon butter bun, it's sweet, inviting and is served with a slice of orange! beautiful!


as i am having these as a treat at home i decided to make my own cinnamon butter. most recipes i found require you to chill the butter back down after making it but i wanted a quick fix!

you will need:

butter (unsalted)

caster sugar

ground cinnamon


you will notice i haven't put any quantities, this is because it really depends on how much you want to make, how sweet you like it and how much you like cinnamon.

start by placing some soft unsalted butter into a bowl or jug (if like me this was a last minute thing, microwave the butter for 30 seconds)
give the butter a mix and then add a good sprinkling of cinnamon.
next add a sprinkling of caster sugar and then give it a good old mix.
and there you have it! no need to chill it down before using it, but of course if you have left overs pop it in the fridge.
i spread a generous amount on each half of my slightly warmed buns (cheeky!) and to give the butter a chance to melt i took my blow torch to it.

and there you have it! glouriously gooey and incredibly tasty. sadly i couldn't add the slice of orange as i used it all in a pitcher of pimms last night!


 

foodurday


i didn't have much planned for my day off before last night...
fran and i decided to go for breakfast this morning which was really nice, the laughs flowed and we did some light shopping.

i then came home expecting to be going out for a coffee with my mum and auntie...but no...we went for a full on italian which was also lush..pasta with a creaming sauce with mushrooms, chicken, garlic and a hint of chilli...

by this point my tummy was over joyed and at the point of bursting...

then came my evening plans with one of my nearest and dearest friends, ruth.
tomorrow is her birthday and i wanted to treat her to a night in with laughs, chinese and some light baking.
i collected her at just gone 3.30pm and we commenced with the baking..



i finally got round to baking these bad boys, Ferrero Rocher cupcakes! i have been wanting to do them for a few weeks but haven't been able to.

i didn't bother to do a step by step guide for these as i was to busy chatting but they are so easy to make. just whip up a batch of your favourite chocolate cupcakes, core them, fill with nutella and stuff with a ferrero rocher!

i believe ruth said "Crumbs in my lap, chocolate smeared on my boobs...these are the signs of a good cake!"

all in all a brilliant day! we laughed a lot and i look forward to doing it again soon!


happy baking all!


a friday off work....what is this!?

my working week usually consists of me working 5 days and having sunday and thursday off. however this week i worked the thursday...i have to admit...i felt like a zombie that had been microwaves...my brain did not compute..

i was excited for a friday off though as i always work friday and always come home feeling pooped.

last night i planned on spending my day off in bath doing some kitchen utensil shopping, these plans did not happen as i woke up full of cold again! luckily its not a sore throat and i dont feel unwell...its just like someone has turned a tap on up my nose and i cant shut it off!


instead mum asked if i would mind running her to the hair dressers and hang around to take her home again, as i had nothing else planned didn't mind.

her appointment was at 11am so i dropped her off just before hand.




as most of weston town center is now pay and display i decided to drive along the sea front. it was such a glorious day i couldn't help but pull over and take a snap of the lovely view of 
brean down.





after collecting her we decided to take a trip to bristol, cribbs causeway to be precise.
we started off with a spot of lunch at the M+S deli but sadly because i was starving i didn't get any pictures of the food as it didn't last long enough. never fear though, i enjoyed it so much i purchased all of the items to make it again for dinner...it was that good!


first off we visited john lewis, i wanted to pick up a few items to make a delicious lemon drizzle cake. got myself a citrus reamer and a zester.
after that we visited the apple shop and once again i had to hold myself back from getting a new toy. i already have an imac and an old mac book pro... i really don't need anything new but i would really like a new mac book pro...but no...no i shall not buy one...yet....


i also popped into hotel chocolat and got myself some dark chocolate covered coffee beans and some chocolate orange puddles..i feel a baking session coming on!



after this mum wanted to have a look around the clothing department in M+S..as usual she told me to go away...i think i cramp her shopping style...that and i moan a lot...

i decided to walk back down to the food hall and got myself a mango passion with double fruit from Boost.




so back to the food...

for lunch i had a prawn and avocado salad which was very nice indeed...but i went one stage further tonight!

i decided to add some crab meat to the mix and my gosh....it was gooooooood!

the only thing with salad is i always feel hungry again an hour or so later.

so as i type this blog i'm having a little snack of crackers and extra mature tickler cheddar...yummy!

another trip to london...

came home from work today after a slightly enjoyable day. i say enjoyable..it wasn't enjoyable just different. it was nice to have a bit of backing for a change rather than being shot down for challenging what people are saying.




after such a good day mum and i decided to book a trip to london! when i went last time with emma i enjoyed VIVA so much that i knew mum would love it. so we are going up to london for a night in a hotel to see it. 



im going to try and put us down for a cooking class at jamie olivers once that weekend starts booking, which will be exciting.

one thing i will definitely be doing this time is to create a list of things i want to do whilst up there and plan things a bit better.



mum wants to go to portobello market, which would tie in well with going to recipease as there is one in notting hill...awesome!

lets hope this time i can get the shorts and sunglasses out rather than coats and scarfs..

why does time fly so quickly...

...when you aren't particularly having fun!

this week has flown by even though i have mostly been working. i finished at 6 yesterday and my parents had decided we would have a chinese. usually when this happens i get order happy and get everything, but i was good.

i had a text just before ordering asking what i was doing and if i wanted to go to a friends house for some drinks, after having last weekend in bed due to feeling crap i thought bugger it! lets have some fun.

got to theirs around 8.30 and had some wine...ok...a lot of wine... had a little dance around in the kitchen and then we decided to make a night of it and go into town.

its amazing how good a spur of the moment night can be, i had an amazing time and it was really nice to hang out with people i hadn't seen for ages.

i got home at about 2.30am and went to bed dreading waking up but lucky for me, the chinese seemed to have soaked up most of the wine...score! hang over free!





the one thing i hate about getting up on a sunday after a night of drinking is TV...always programs on about amazing food which really makes me hungry. todays culprit was jamie oliver...dam you jamie!

he's had me looking at tasty food and recipes all day and i even found out that he has cook schools in notting hill and brighton...did not know this! you can find out more here.

think the next time i visit the flat in portsmouth i may have to take a train ride over and get my cook on!








i really fancy trying the mexican street food and the taste of japan classes...literally just dribbled over the keyboard looking at it.


anyway, i need my beauty sleep. its going to be a lonnnnnnng week. doing over time as its easter week and this means working 47 hours... next day off is a week today.... Argghhhhhhhh!



£235
+£100
Total Saving
£335

London part two


finally got round to typing up part two. have been off work poorly today, full of cold and feel like poo but anyway....onwards with the final part of my visit to london last weekend.




so we got up on saturday morning after the fun of the evening before and emma told me to get ready for the day as we were going somewhere...but she couldn't tell me where as it was a surprise.

now i HATE surprises with a passion as i always feel really on edge and my mind starts thinking over time as to what it could be.

we jumped on the tube and i just put my head down and followed her, feeling a bit sick.

eventually we jumped off the tube and made our way up to street level. turns out the surprise was Madame Tussauds.

the knot in my stomach disappeared and we joined the queue to get tickets.





now normally i go crazy for anything remotely gaga related as im a HUGE fan...but im sorry this looks nothing like her!




beyoncé's was slightly better but its still just weird!


next up we came across the marvel experience which included a 4D experience which was AMAZING! anything related to super heroes or marvel makes me very happy!

the hulk ripped a whole in the floor and climbed his way up to spend some time with his friends.





i literally just stood around with my mouth open at this point, everything looked awesome! check out the shield!!!!! THE SHIELD!!!!



oh stark....i didn't like the first 2 iron man films but you ROCKED in the avengers...and iron man 3 looks purely epic...





when i was younger i used to love the spider man cartoon, the first lot of films were ok but i never really liked the actor who played peter.

saying that though, the new film was amazing! Andrew Garfield really became peter parker!




after we finished mooching around in there we popped over to covent garden and grabbed some lunch in Jamies italian. as we waited at the door to be seated Leslie Jordan walked past me...im a MASSIVE will and grace fan and almost passed out...made the weekend! i had the crab risotto with crushed amaretti biscuits...it was lovely!  




that evening we saw viva forever, i never thought in a million years id enjoy it as much as i did. i mean i grew up with the spice girls so i know all the songs and love them but i was worried about the show making it cheesy. IT WAS AMAZING! the songs were performed in a unique way which gave a whole new element. the story was brilliant and funny. the cast we're lively and interacted with the crowd. 

it was actually so good im taking my mum to see it as a mothers day present (purely because i want to go again).





sunday was a hard day, we had to treck around london with our suitcases. we made do though and payed a visit to camden market. check out them donuts!



i made it my mission to go in to selfridges and buy the cheapest thing i could possibly find. i eventually found a keyring notebook for 99p and snapped up my yellow bag.

then i let my wallet talk and spent more money that i intended to on a bluetooth speaker and some stationary for work.

all in all an awesome weekend! need to visit the city more often!


London part one

so this weekend emma and i went to a city...i believe its called london....
or as we call it....

LANNNNNNDANNNNNNNNNN!

we travelled up on friday afternoon by train, arriving into paddington at about 10 to 5.

we made our way over to the hotel via tube, i've stayed here before but its recently been taken over by ibis and is now an ibis styles hotel... custom house.

before it was taken over i had stayed there twice, i was happy with it as the location was good for the O2 arena but i probably wouldn't have recommended it to friends after the last stay as the room was tiny and it felt more like a hostel than a hotel.

however as its been taken over, i would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a cheap hotel in london. its roughly 40 minutes from covent garden on the tube and its right oposite the station!





so after getting changed at the hotel and having a little relax we made out way over to st.paul's for our dinner reservation at disco bistro
just as we got off the tube and exited the station the heavens opened and we got soaked.






from the outside it looks like any other pub but once you enter...ohhhhhh you are in for a treat!





at first when we walked in we felt a little bit out of place, it seemed quiet with only a few tables full. we were presented with the menus but of course i already knew what i wanted from reading it online before hand. 






whilst pondering over the menu one of the waitress placed some bread on the table and i must say, it was amazing! Sweet yet satisfying in all the right ways!






we ordered some drinks, i went for the head banger (chase gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and champagne) and emma went for the champagne cocktail. i love the presentation of the head banger, its the main reason i ordered it! good old jam jar!




you may not know this but emma and i are both chicken addicts, if there are wings on the menu we order them.
this time however we were spoilt with choices so naturally we went for both!
sticky and spicy...
is it bad that i think i may have done a little wee when eating these? they were AMAZING!
i preferred the sticky and emma loved the spicy, both crispy yet moist...heaven on a plate!






i then went for the dexter steak with bone marrow. i was a bit unsure when ordering this as i wasn't quite sure what i expect from the bone marrow but im so glad i went for it. the steak was perfectly cooked and cut like a dream. the bone marrow was a great addition and it really made the dish special. i would recommend this if you go, so much steak!






before travelling to london we spoke about places we would like to go and places we would like to go to eat. i mentioned a few places that the londoner recommended and emma said she wasn't really a burger person.... errr....excuse me emma is that a burger you are holding? 

as you can see she went for the disco burger and i dont think she regretted it at all.






as i said, when we first arrived we felt a little out of place. but not long after we sat down the place started to fill up quickly and the music was turned up. i actually fell in love with the place and would love to go back. we described it as a place that students would go for a posh night out but in all honesty if you want good food and a brilliant night out, give it ago!




dont worry there is plenty more to come...

london tomorrow





so tomorrow i am off to london with emma for the weekend. its kind of a birthday weekend away. 
we went a few months ago and had a really good time, so we decided to stay an extra day this time and make the most of it.





on friday night we were ment to be going to Circus but i decided it sounded a tad to fancy for me. i mean i dress smartly to my standards but they were saying dress to impress...sadly that is just not me.
so instead after reading +the londoner The Londoners review we are going to Disco Bistro. Im really excited for this, the food sounds amazing and i love the pictures of the drinks! its going to be a great evening!

saturday day time we are going to try and escape the tourist side of london and visit some quieter hidden gems, we hope!
a late lunch will also be had as we are tickets for the theatre....




VIVA! i know i know...but lets face it....i grew up with the spice girls and im not afraid to admit that i still have a massive love for them! this was a birthday present for the parents. ideally i would of liked to have seen the book of mormon but sadly the one weekend they are not doing any performances is the weekend we are going...typical! i missed it when i was in NYC as it was sold out and now here...





either way im really looking forward to having a weekend adventure. there will hopefully be lots and lots of pictures up over the weekend, i need to try and get my head around posting blogs on my ipad..perhaps this weekend will be the time for that!


"blush" orange cheesecake part two


so as you may have guessed i decided to leave the cheesecake for two days as i find that it tastes much better if you wait! so this is part two, which is actually really easy.
ingredients you will need are 

100ml of orange juice, squeezed from the oranges you used.
and
2 leaves of gelatine. 





first off roll the oranges around under your hand on a work surface. this helps to release the juices and makes them easier to squeeze. i did this over a sieve just to catch all the unwanted pith/pips.






place the orange juice into a sauce pan and warm it up slightly over a low heat.






whilst the orange juice is warming up gently, place the gelatine leaves into some cold water until soft. the gelatine i used recommended a soak time of 5 minutes.






next up drain the water from the gelatine and keep hold of the leaves. remove the sauce pan from the heat and drop the leaves into the warm liquid. stir it around until the leaves are completely disolved and then allow the mixture to cool slightly. i transfered mine into a pyrex measuring jug as the pan was quite hot.





once that has chilled slightly remove your cheesecake from the fridge and pour the mixture over the top, ensuring you quickly move the liquid across the top as it starts to set almost instantly.




mine had a bit of a fat lip around the edge so it didnt quite look as perfect as i was hoping, but you get the jist from the above picture.
place the cheesecake back into the fridge for one hour to allowed the jelly to completely set.






after the jelly has set remove it from the fridge and carefully tease it away from the edges of the tin with a palette knife.




hopefully you should then have one yummy looking cheesecake!
for a first attempt at a baked cheesecake i dont think i did to badly. next time i would spend a little more time making sure it is flat on the top to avoid the jelly forming a bit of a puddle in the centre.




the only thing left to do now is to invite round your friends or family, make a pot of tea and slice this bad boy open. if its made correctly i can guarantee you will be surrounded by people going UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM! 



my auntie came up for a cup of tea with mum and i, we polished off a fair chunk. she even took some home for later.


leave a comment if you try this recipe and let me know how it goes! 


"blush" orange cheesecake part one


so im on holiday from work this week and as you may know i have a love of baking. i decided that today would be the day that i got out my mixer and baked something from my new book cake days. i have to thank emma once again for this as it was a really kind birthday pressy. very thoughtful.

unfortunately when i popped into waitrose to pick up a few vital ingredients they didn't appear to have any blood oranges but never mind, i went for blush oranges instead and i have to say, snacking on one mid bake...fwahhhh what a scrummy orange!

so you will need :

220g of biscuits (i used digestives but its up to you)
100g of melted unsalted butter
as much orange zest as you can muster (i always use more zest)
700g of philly cream cheese (full fat, none of that light stuff)
100g of ricotta cheese
120g caster sugar
3 large eggs
save all the orange juice you can squeeze out of the oranges you used for zesting, this will be used in the final step (which will be posted separately)






firstly take your biscuits, dont worry if they are already broken as it wont make much difference in a second...





place the biscuits inside a bag of some sort, i used a freezer bag but anything you can seal will do.





and now for the fun part. smash the hell out of those yummy biscuits, these are not for dunking!



next take your butter and melt it. most books tell you to melt it on the hob in a pan but really, do i look like i have the time or patients for that?





time to add some zest to those biscuits, grate the zest of one blush orange and go ahead and stick that in a bowl with the biscuit. i used over a teaspoon of zest for my biscuit base as i love the flavour but zest at how you like it.





now its time to bring together the zesty biscuit with the melted butter. mix it all together until it starts to combine and form small clumps.





line a springform cake tin with parchment paper and pour in the biscuit mix. if you manage to spill any dont waste it, eat it!





spread the biscuit so that it covers the bottom of the tin and make sure its pressed down firmly to form the base of the cheesecake. go ahead and pop that in the fridge to set whilst you do the next part.





now get your mixer out, i splurged a few months ago and purchased a kenwood chef but a hand mixer will do.





put the philly, recotta and sugar into a bowl and mix until its all smooshed together nicely. then add a few teaspoons of orange zest into the mix, again it really is to your taste but i personally always use more than recommended. next chuck in one egg at a time and let that mix in with the other ingredients, kind of like a meet a greet...."hello mr philly im Alan egg, meet my sisters Mary and Pam"...oh dear....anyway....back to the cheesecake!





once thats all mixed together well remove the cake tin from the fridge and wrap the base and sides in kitchen foil, this will all make sense soon. Scoop the cheesecake mixture into the tin and spread it all about so that you have a nice even cheesecake top.





now pop that onto a baking tray and fill the baking tray with some water, enough to go about half way up the cake tin. this should stop it from drying out whilst it bakes.





place the tray into the oven for about 40 mins at 160, your oven may vary to mine so judge it yourself. just make sure that you keep an eye on it because it may split if its over cooked, you want it to start going a golden colour around the edges before you remove it.



just enough time to have a snuggle with my beautiful baby boy, Ringo. he turns one on friday, how exciting!





after 40 minutes my cheesecake was firming nicely on the edges and wibble wobbling about in the middle but it had not really gained any colour. i added 5 minutes onto the timer which was just enough time to give it a golden shimmer.

allow it to cool in the cake tin for a while before putting the whole thing into the fridge to chill. most books tell you to leave a cheesecake in the fridge for a few overs or over night. but i actually find its best to leave it for 2 days with most cheesecakes. it gives the flavours time mingle and get to know each other a bit before relaxing, the first time i made a cheese cake it was mint chocolate flavoured. i tried it on the day of making and was almost sick, 2 days later it was heavenly!

there is still one last step to this cheesecake but i cannot do that until it has fully chilled. this will be posted tomorrow hopefully so keep your eyes open for it!