Lifestyle: Lunch at the Black Horse, Market Bosworth

I grew up very close to Market Bosworth, childhood weekends spent wandering round the Battlefield were plentiful. Though I far preferred the country park on the other side of Market Bosworth. A proper wooden playground, a circular walk with plenty to see, fields to play football on. Bliss. Apart from when you have a dog that stampedes through people’s picnics stealing food…

I headed back to the lovely village of Market Bosworth last weekend, back to a pub that brings back some lovely (if slightly painful) memories. The Black Horse is one of the nicer pubs in an area which is if I’m honest lacking in decent food. The restaurant itself is lovely, all shabby chic and little rooms, a maximum of about 15 people in each area. Be warned though, there’s some very low beams and ceilings!

 photo 2015-03-15 14.26.15_zpsoqjga0lr.jpg photo 2015-03-15 14.26.25_zpsf1xtscog.jpgI had what has to be one of the best starters I’ve ever eaten. A Mushroom and Stilton bruschetta served with a Pesto, this was really substantial. Mushrooms cooked to absolute perfection, juicy and nutty, just a teeny bite from the stilton. The pesto wasn’t as flavourful as it looked, but everything complemented everything. Just delicious. And I didn’t have to share – W hates mushrooms, mum hates cheese. The others had a Chicken Liver Parfait which was raved over, apparently exceptionally smooth. Clean plates all round.

 photo 2015-03-15 14.27.17_zpssfbezqrd.jpgI was a teensy bit disappointed with the choice for the mains – last time I ate the menu was far more exciting and adventurous, here we were limited to the standard Sunday roasts. My lamb was okay – tender, tasty, I enjoyed it. I was just hoping for something a little more. Bowls of veg were some of the better ones I’ve had, everything perfectly cooked.

 photo 2015-03-15 15.26.40_zps29ti3mc0.jpg photo 2015-03-15 15.26.28_zpsjkn8sp5o.jpgPuddings came, and the menu picked up again. I’m not usually a pudding person, but I could have happily eaten four or five things here. After much deliberating I went for a Cappuccino Panna Cotta, with Bailey’s ice-cream, with the agreement that I could try some of mum’s (White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake) and Will’s (Milk Chocolate & Peanut Butter Torte). I have to say I think I picked a winner – the panna cotta was absolutely delicious. I personally wouldn’t have paired it with ice-cream. Both were yummy, but I’d have liked some crunch! W’s tart was very rich, very chocolatey, and perhaps lacking in Peanut Butter.

 photo 2015-03-15 15.26.52_zpso4htvp7b.jpgA quick wander around the village, we retreated back so I could lie down and recover. The biggest meal I’d eaten since January, and it definitely showed! No more three courses for me…

Have you been out for a meal lately?

Restaurant Review: Steak & Co, Covent Garden

I love London. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a countryside girl at heart, but London gives me a real buzz, and more than anything it excites the foodie in me. I try to be relatively adventurous when eating out – recently I’ve had fabulous meals in a vegetarian pay-by-weight buffet place (I loved it, my boyfriend wasn’t convinced), a charming little Swiss place in Soho, and of course my go-to is the utterly delicious Wahaca. But this time we decided to follow up a recommendation and go pay to cook our own dinner…

 photo 2014-10-11185939_zps266fe77c.jpgWe had decided what we were eating before arriving; steak cooked on a hot stone. The only decision to make was the cut, the butter, the salt, the sauce and the sides. In the end we both went for a (massive) 8oz Rib-Eye. I had garlic butter, mustard salt and pepper sauce, he had chilli butter, chilli sauce and pepper sauce.

 photo ebcb545d-e1dd-42b3-ad6b-b835aa9cd6a8_zps23360018.jpgThe idea is your steak comes underdone – so as I like mine rare it comes to the table blue. You then cook slices to your liking on the hot stone provided, using your flavoured butter, sprinkling with the salt, and dipping into the sauce. A bit theatrical, but the steak is good quality and well-flavoured, and it’s not ridiculously expensive. Our bill came to around £40, which really isn’t bad for central London steak. Mustard salt is delicious, the mushroom sauce I ordered originally should be avoided (the pepper one is lovely!). I’d possibly suggest not getting rib-eye if you like your meat rare – its a cut better suited to being more cooked so the fat renders down.

 photo ff7cc94a-1b61-4889-aa8a-f3fb71fdaf74_zpse56743d0.jpg photo 7f9f8dbf-a96c-401b-891c-a332cffaff06_zps247ae66d.jpgSides were garlic mushrooms for me, sweet potato fries for him. The mushrooms were spectacular, garlicky and cooked to perfection. Only issue was there were so many I couldn’t possibly finish them all. I stole a few sweet potato fries, and surprisingly enjoyed them. Still a little over sweet for my tastebuds though.

 photo 2014-10-11160243_zps52409faf.jpgWe weren’t impressed with the desserts menu at all, instead opting for a wander to Ben & Jerrys at Leictester Square. We had eaten a massive brownie from Borough Market before dinner though!

Have you ever been to a restaurant where you cooked your own food? What do you think about the concept?

Lifestyle: Girly Date at The Chocolate Cafe, Canterbury

Looking back I didn’t visit the Chocolate Cafe in my second year at university, which is strange because I loved it in my first year. Me and my boyfriend would go on an evening, after a meal out, and cuddle up on one of the many armchairs dotted around. Chatting and catching up, coupled with hot chocolate. The waffles made it just about perfect.

 photo d5940928-cb76-49b2-b175-671d9b54f23c_zpse3027a74.jpgWhen I went to visit my university girls last weekend (I miss them so much!) the Chocolate Cafe was number one on our list for eats. To be honest, I’d have loved a visit to Pork & Co too, but you can’t have everything. And I did go and buy five bags of pork scratchings…Anyway, the Chocolate Cafe it was, after a visit to the new Primark, and the accidental purchase of a new winter coat.

 photo 93b14776-8d77-445c-a721-da5e9b919c2d_zps203d5cb4.jpgIt being suddenly Autumn, suddenly cold, and suddenly very rainy (24 hours earlier I’d been in a pub garden in a t-shirt?!), we were rather hungry, so descended on the savoury items, and the cakes, and the drinks. I pushed the boat out – hot chocolate, mozzarella and prosciutto toastie, and a green tea cake. Others went slightly healthier, choosing tea or juice. But damn, that hot chocolate was worth it! Perfectly thick, almost like melted chocolate but a little more liquid, smooth, and a great chocolatey flavour without being too sweet. Yum. The sandwich was good for a place specialising in the sweet side of things, although it could have been a little hotter, and the cheese wasn’t melted enough. Yummy combination of flavours though, and packed with filling for the price.

 photo 7b148e76-2ac5-4cfc-af97-b2affd48b4f0_zps21e44236.jpgNow my cake! Oh my cake. You probably can’t tell from these awful photos, complete with instagram filter (whoops!) but it was more cheesecake than cake. A light, slightly crunchy base, topped with a green tea cream, and then topped with a thick layer of white chocolate and lemon mousse. It was unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before, but it was utterly delicious. So light and refreshing, whilst being utterly indulgent.

 photo 65bb55ec-1f81-4963-a1fe-74988c9b88dc_zpsdb1d1d94.jpgOf course, I couldn’t stand paying by the chocolate display and not pick up a few, so I used “The Anniversary” as an excuse. I can’t remember what I picked out now, apart from a Blue Cheese and Walnut invention – so it’ll be a surprise when we dig in! We’ve eaten chocolates from there before in the past and they’ve delighted with their flavour combinations, so I’m looking forward to these. I’m hoping to have a few more chocolatey posts up over the next few weeks, as I’ve found some lovely little places which you *have* to visit!

Are you a chocolate lover?

Lifestyle: Date Night at Bombay Mela, Redhill

The month of September marks four years since me and my boyfriend starting talking (we met at school, and spent evening after evening chatting on MSN – does that even exist anymore?!), and two years since we starting university and our long distance relationship. This year I’m out on placement and so we’ve had less of a summer than usual, and I’ve really been trying to make our visit weekends more special – nice food, funny films, romantic walks…so I was delighted when I was invited to review one of my now-local curry houses, Bombay Mela*. I’ve been itching to try some of the restaurants nearby, and what better way to do it than with my bestie and partner-in-crime?

 photo 7a59aa17-0cc5-4090-9353-6c972eddb89a_zps40b10a9e.jpg photo 4b8343ee-c4bb-4714-9dda-422731b93615_zpsadc0c83c.jpgThere’s no other way to start an Indian meal, you have to have Popadoms. Preferably with mango chutney, though I enjoyed the mint-yoghurt type sauce we were served here too. Coupled with Mango Lassis (which are, by the way, delicious and I’m craving another) this was a great start to the meal – they were obviously fresh too, hot and with a great snap. I’ve been served slightly stale popadoms far too often! Minor niggle – I would have like the chutney pots to be bigger, we were scraping them out at the end!

 photo 2014-09-06185423_zpsb3daca29.jpgWe went all out and ordered starters – three of them. No word of a lie, portions at Bombay Mela are big! Four massive Onion Bharjis were the best I’ve ever had – they included potato, spinach and sweetcorn, were crisp, and amazingly light. Well flavoured too, not spicy but with plenty of aromatics in there. And served with a lovely dip that worked well, although was a little sweet for my taste.

 photo 2014-09-06185430_zpsaf1b2550.jpgGarlic & Pepper Calamari was specially made to exclude tomatoes. The menu version may be different, but this was outrageously spicy – both of us really struggled to stomach it and definitely avoided the peppers it came with! That said the squid was wonderfully cooked, soft and springy, it melted in the mouth. I’d love to try more seafood cooked by this chef!

 photo b39c5e2a-1cbf-4c22-a581-cfa85f0339ae_zpsc61b80d8.jpgFinally my boyfriend picked Shami Kebab (new, and not on the online menu) – this was two giant balls of lamb mince, well spiced. It was lovely in flavour, though for me a tad too dry and crumbly. W clearly enjoyed it though as is disappeared pretty quickly! He says; “a tad too dry, but adding the accompanying sauce made it come together quite nicely – the pickled veg was some of the nicest I’ve eaten.”

Thankfully we had a pretty big gap between starters and mains, as I was already feeling pretty stuffed! I took the chance to inspect the loos (as you do) and the rest of the restaurant – they have a pretty cosy looking Shisha garden which looks lovely, although that isn’t really my thing. They also have a large room at the back that can be hired to parties, a 1st Birthday Party was in full swing when I was there, so this would be a great place to hold a gathering. As for the loos, can’t say I was too impressed – they are a little dated compared to the rest of the restaurant, and I would strongly suggest they purchased some new bins/brushes (and got rid of the giant eight-legged beast in the ladies, thank you very much!). Mains then arrived, so I dutifully snapped away before tucking in.

 photo b605c9a7-bbe9-4ba8-95d1-319fce954bf2_zps9aa1adcb.jpgI’d ordered the only tomato-free item on the menu, the Korma. I do wish I’d been offered more of a choice, or perhaps an adapted dish, as I’m actually a lover of spice and Korma is just a bit bland for me. This is one of the better ones with a good background flavour, and the king prawns were again amazingly well cooked – juicy and sweet. However the sauce was too thick, and so a little cloying. I definitely needed rice and naan bread with this!

 photo adcfcdd9-724b-45b0-98ed-63e33ac88890_zps35f545d6.jpg photo b83681b0-0eef-4b85-b87d-2534a5bd751f_zps730531cd.jpgMy boyfriend went for the 3-chilli Lal Mass, along with Aloo Gobi. Greedy boy! Both of his dishes contained tomato, so you’ll have to take his word. His main was very nice, not as spicy as expected but with a lot of warmth. He says his side was nice, although he gives a carb warning as he was struggling with the amount of food by this point!

 photo 7830138a-272c-486a-9af8-b90a3779d918_zpsf958127d.jpg photo 7122cc9d-6b19-42bf-a4a0-4f6d6c11c325_zps3248ac51.jpgAs for sides – we shared a Pulao Rice (a good decision, we didn’t finish it between us) and had a naan each. Garlic for me, defeating the point of a date night as garlicky it was indeed! Bombay Mela win the title of the best naan I’ve had, and coming from Leicester (and having eaten a lot of curry) that means a lot. It’s thin, chewy and crispy, and charred just to right side of the burnt line. Simply yummy. W had a Peshwari naan. Now, I don’t like this stuff, it’s far too sweet for my liking and this naan was no different. But his view? “It was very good, although with the rest of my food I really didn’t need a naan as well. It needs a robust spicy curry, or it would be too sweet.” Another minor niggle is that I would have served different types of naan bread in different baskets – mine took on a little of the sweet flavour which I wasn’t too enamoured with. But minor, because the naan bread are so, so good!

 photo 2014-09-06201357_zpseb8c5bfb.jpg photo 4baa5f68-e171-41e5-aa77-6e39c33ded12_zpsbeee48c7.jpgWe were completely stuffed by this point, and after resorting to some playful funny places hoped we could quietly crawl out clutching our bellies. No such luck, we were presented by this stunning dish and (thankfully) two spoons. Inside was some of the yummiest frozen goodness I’ve had in a restaurant, and hands down the best sweet I’ve ever had at an Indian. From examining the menu we *think* it was Matka Kulfi – either way it was delicious. Creamy but not heavy, slightly fruity, slightly sweet, but just nicely balanced. Surprisingly it really settled out full stomachs and actually made us feel better – we appreciated it!

 photo 0ff5770b-e305-4ad3-8312-a63c587d79f0_zps51a5d6f1.jpgOur bill came to just shy of £54 – slightly on the expensive side for a curry in my opinion, but we’d never order that much if (or when!) we go back. Starters aren’t really necessary (maybe the Bhajis to share, as they are amazing), and lassis, although gorgeous, probably should be treated as more of a desert. Service was excellent – very friendly, but not over the top or too attentive, there’s nothing worse than being asked if something is wrong the second you put your cutlery down for a breather. Yes, we were there for a complimentary restaurant for this blog (and as always my opinions are 100% honest) and yes, they knew who we were, but having observed other tables I’m pretty sure service would be just as good another time. And there will be another time – it was a really yummy dinner! I’m definitely tempted by ordering a takeaway over the coming winter months…

If you’re ever in Redhill, I’d highly recommend a trip to Bombay Mela. Whether its worth a journey, I’m not quite convinced mainly as it’s the down curry house down South I’ve tried – but it definitely rivals some of my old favourites from home. And I’ll be back, I’m already craving bhajis and naan…

Do you like Indian food?

Restaurant Review: Sunday Lunch at The Windhover, Northampton

Another Sunday Lunch post from me this week, I’m clearly missing them this year! I’m actually living in a vegetarian’s house and feel a little uncomfortable eating me so jumped at the chance to have Sunday Lunch with my Nan for her birthday a few weeks ago. After scouring online menus I decided on The Windhover; a five minutes drive from parents house, with a lovely walk on its doorstep. It’s also priced excellently; not so cheap you get suspicious; not so expensive that you need to remortgage over a lunch.

The pub was completely full when we arrived; this is definitely a place where booking is needed! We were ‘squeezed’ into a corner, which actually suited us fine for a cosy catch up (just to note, the interior photo is taken from their website). On an allergy point of view I was really disappointed to find out I couldn’t actually have a Sunday Lunch, as the gravies had tomato-puree in them. On the plus side, this generally mean its a properly made gravy, so bonus points there!

 photo f05577b1-a769-4f78-abc7-515fd3e61f83_zps1a2fddc0.jpg photo 3d644d70-be53-42b0-8c65-7d6a136b67aa_zpsac7a1e81.jpg photo 02536149-0569-4180-9286-93ad2f13680d_zps23a0bec0.jpgI plumped for a massive portion of Chicken, Ham and Leek pie, with chips and peas. My nan had the Roast Beef; I got lucky ‘cos they brought out enough vegetables for two. Both mains were beautifully cooked; the pie was stunning with a crispy yet soggy underneath crust, a rich sauce, and massive pieces of chicken. Chips were average oven chips; a little dry, but perfect as a vehicle for pie filling. The roast dinner certainly looked beautiful, there were no complaints, and all of the vegetables were freshly cooked.

 photo ce1d92fc-1861-462e-9443-88e0c9608f91_zpsb729fd93.jpg photo fcae1323-d612-4a1c-a631-a4181fc1748b_zps079f6b11.jpgNormally I’m a starter-kinda-gal, but I’d spied the pudding menu as we walked in and deliberately saved room. I ordered a favourite with a twist; Creme Brulee, with raspberries. It was delicious, although the top was possibly verging on burnt, with the raspberries adding a tart and refreshing edge. Nan went for a St Clements tart; I sneaked a piece and it was delightful; zingy, crunchy base and a wonderful smooth filling.

Best of all was the bill; £35 for two courses, and drinks. For the quality it was superb. In fact, it was so good that my whole family is going back this Sunday to celebrate my parents 25th Wedding Anniversary…though I will be taking my own gravy!

Where do you recommend for a good Sunday Lunch?

Restaurant Review: The Ness, Shaldon

A nice summery post for you today – fingers crossed the weather isn’t as gloomy today as it was at the weekend. I love watching rain, but I hate, hate, hate cloudy grey skies that don’t seem to do anything. Give me thunderstorms any day!

Anyway, remember a few weeks ago I posted about a lovely weekend away in Devon with my family? I promised a review of the pub lunch we had, and finally here it is. Worth the wait I promise – and if you decide to visit this lovely not-so-little but still quaint pub then the scary roads are worth it too! Just look at that view…

 photo 2014-07-19144402_zps1663e375.jpgWe wandered here after a sunny morning on the beach, thirsty and hungry. We were impressed with the welcome we all got, included the dog. We were offered a clean bowl from the kitchen (nothing annoys me more than places leaving out a single dirty dog bowl!) and pointed to a outdoor tap where we could fill it up as needed. Someone was impressed!

 photo 2014-07-20143824_zps39af775e.jpgAfter browsing the menu, I decided to be awkward and ask about various dishes as I wasn’t immediately sure which ones were tomato-free. A little disappointingly a lot of ingredients are bought in – though they are from a butcher (bonus) – and so they couldn’t guarantee they were safe for me. Said butcher labels with ‘herbs and spices’ which isn’t helpful! On a better note they were very accomodating and I was able to have a ‘starter’ of whitebait with some fries as my main. The drinks selection was also pretty impressive, especially given the precarious position of the cliff!

 photo 2014-07-19143632_zps7263bf26.jpgWaiting staff were a little confused, most people were sitting on the unnumbered tables outside which led to wrong meals trying to be delivered – but when ours came out (relatively quickly, but not suspiciously so) everything was all together. My sister ordered a massive Cornish pasty (half became dinner), mum had a gorgeous looking unfortunately-tomato-laced steak pie, and dad ate a fish-and-cheese baked dish. However…

 photo 2014-07-19150528_zpsb97ba80e.jpg photo 2014-07-19150537_zps4e12851b.jpgMine was absolutely stunning. Simple whitebait, so, so fresh. Not covered in a batter, just crunchy by itself. Salt and fishy without being overpowering, with the best tartar sauce I’ve ever had. Chips (skin-on fries) were also fresh tasting. One of the nicest pub lunches I’ve had. Pinterest worthy presentation too!

Have you been out for a meal recently?

Restaurant Review: Just Burgers & Beers, Edinburgh

We’d planned to have a ‘dirty’ meal at The Filling Station one night of our holiday – tasty, greasy, bad-for-you American style food, as opposed to local Scottish ingredients and a more romantic environment. We found it to be closed for refurbishment, and we’re particularly taken by other menus especially as we try to avoid big chain restaurants. Then we spied this place over the road…and headed on over to have a menu browse. Within about 30 seconds we’d confirmed we’d be visiting, and the second night of our holiday saw us scurrying up the Royal Mile for a burger fix. The actual restaurant is just lovely, really roomy, far from crammed in, light, perfect level of music, and the decor is just amazing – I took the above photo from their facebook page as it show perfectly both the amazing food and amazing room. The menu is so, so simple – it is pretty much burgers and beers!

 photo 2014-06-18191945_zpsea29c46d.jpgThe drinks list is presented on a clipboard, and is four/five pages of beers, then a page for soft drinks, ciders and wines (red or white). My boyfriend opted for a sweet Coconut Beer, which he really enjoyed, and which seems to be hugely popular with their customers. Personally I felt it smelt too much like shampoo to even try, but I’m far from a beer-girl. Cider was calling my name, so I went with the unusual Old Mout Kiwi & Lime – it was delicious! Its actually (quite embarrassingly!) the first time since my operation that I’ve drank a whole bottle of cider, the other ‘first’ time actually involved secretly disposing of some down the sink! This is the perfect cider for those who like less dry drinks, its also not as fizzy as some, however its not as sweet as it sounds. They also do a Passionfruit version (they’re available in Tesco!) which I’ve also enjoyed since my holiday.

 photo 2014-06-18192823_zpsf34efe11.jpgHaving not been particularly well the night before (overeating on top of a five hour train journey, never good!) I was meant to be sticking to something smaller, something a bit more sensible, like a plain old burger, or even one with a little cheese. Did I follow my self-imposed rules? Nope, I went for The Mac Attack – the menu puts it better than I can, but basically its a cheeseburger with mustard and a mac’n’cheese fritter. Sounded like my idea of heaven!

 photo 2014-06-18193830_zps6fdae70a.jpgThere it is in all it’s glory – it was massive! No way were we picking this bad boy up and eating with hands, it was a cutlery challenge. I’m afraid to say I actually ended up taking the fritter out and eating it seperately as I wasn’t a huge fan of it in the burger, but on its own every element was delicious! The burgers were cooked lovely and pink (love a pink burger!) and were so meaty, flavoursome and juicy. I also loved the beer mustard – I have a thing for mustard at the moment anyway, but this was amazing. It also paired well with the fritter – which was good although I think our were a tad overcooked as they were very solid. Overall I reckon the burgers could have done with a bit more ‘goo’ as everything was a little solid, but it was a damn good burger. Can’t say I was overly impressed with the chips as they were a little dry, I was having major food envy over other tables onion rings though!

 photo 2014-06-18194237_zps3c745b4d.jpg‘Fraid to say I got in a little bit of a mess eating mine…I loved the fact there was complete freedom to make up your own burger – I was so tempted to do that! Their Dirty South burger sounded stunning (I couldn’t deal with the hassle of checking tomato content of the pulled pork), my dream burger would probably be a medium-cooked beef patty, topped with a little pulled pork, some spicy-ish sauce, a little cheese, with some onion rings on the side. Mmm…
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I’m now craving a burger – what would be your dream burger?

Restaurant Review: Hula Juice Bar, Edinburgh

 photo 2014-06-19133846_zpsca93462d.jpgI’ll be totally honest with you, this is one of my favourite places. Ever. This may sound like an over exaggeration, but it really, really isn’t. I’ve had some wonderful moments with my boyfriend in this little cafe, chatty lunches, romantic brunches, and more than one cake stop. Its only downfall is that it’s in Edinburgh, and I live in the Midlands. Needless to say we visited virtually every day on both our holidays to Edinburgh and I have no doubt we’ll continue to do so.

 photo 2014-06-19124453_zpse373bd43.jpg photo 2014-06-19124447_zps92a1745e.jpgThe menu isn’t exactly varied, but its got enough variety to keep everyone happy (especially in the juice department!), and they will happily make changes to menu items – although only for dietary requirements during busy periods like the Fringe. I’ve tried a couple of the juices and smoothies and although I have my favourites, none of them have been bad.

 photo 2014-06-19130601_zpsfb30a92e.jpg photo 2014-06-19130537_zps0fd4262e.jpg photo 2014-06-19131039_zps270c5d86.jpgMy favourite meal there has to be lunch – or the soup with cheese and toast to be precise. They generally do two different soups a day, one is always vegetarian, and there’s generally one that is gluten-free. My favourite? The Potato & Haggis. Its smooth apart from the Haggis-y lumps, not sweet (a huge problem with soups for me) and with a great pepperiness. Great in the August rain or the June heatwave. And the cheese on toast…I think the photo just says it all! It’s amazing, though the bread itself is gorgeously oaty. Needs to be tried to be believed! I’ve had other gorgeous soups (Mushroom & Stilton springs to mind) and my boyfriend really enjoyed his photographed here, I think it was Courgette and Pea.

 photo 2014-06-21095517_zps5b7e4b3f.jpg photo 2014-06-21095539_zps1c8a21f3.jpgWe’ve also visited for Brunch, which was delightful. Not so delightful was paying the bill at 10.20am and realising we still had to pack and be out of the apartment (the other end of the Royal Mile) by 11am… We both ordered porridge. Bananas, honey and cinnamon for him. Chocolate and chilli for me. Both combinations were great, but I loved mine. Sweet, rich and the perfect amount of spice to wake me up, I have to create a similar recipe! I was daring and went for a green juice – the Tah-ti Kicks – and really enjoyed it. I’m definitely going to try converting myself to green juices!

 photo 2014-06-21150932_zps22c6b153.jpg photo 2014-06-20145234_zpsab6887c6.jpg photo 2014-06-21190140_zps833cdd73.jpgNow, I can’t review Hula without mentioning the cakes. They do a fab selection baked daily, and every time I’ve noticed vegan and gluten-free options. Will had a fabulous looking Vegan Fruit Slice (I didn’t get a look-in), but I generally stick to the brownies. I wasn’t convinced about the Oreo Peanut Butter concoction – both elements were fine on their own, but together it felt a bit confused. The Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie was something else. It was absolutely glorious. So much so  I bought an extra to eat at the top of Arthur’s Seat and another for the train journey home. I’m contemplating baking my own. Or I will be doing as soon as I can afford ingredients!

 photo 2014-06-19133901_zps9367f090.jpg photo 2014-06-19124518_zps9ce46b36.jpgThe prices are reasonable, not the cheapest but the quality is definitely high, the atmosphere is amazing, and unless it’s Fringe its generally not too crowded. It’s definitely my favourite place in Edinburgh, and I highly recommend you visit! Now I’ll be off to crave another Nutty Professor…
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Would you like to see a Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie Recipe?

 

Restaurant Review: Pork & Co, Canterbury

 photo Shop_zpscb5c96fc.jpgRight at the beginning of the year I remember reading a (Daily Mail, guilty pleasure!) piece about a pulled pork shop that had had to change its slogan due to avoid offending people of the nearby Cathedral. I must’ve been tired or hungry when reading it, as I was completely oblivious to the fact that this shop was in fact due to open in Canterbury. I’m actually pretty distraught as it opened close to exam season (no chance of getting into town then!) and this year, when I’m out on placement as of July and won’t be in Canterbury *sob* until September 2015. Or rather, I hadn’t planned to be, but I think visits to friends and a certain Pork Shop may now be on the agenda…

 photo Pork_zps672be255.jpg photo Cob_zpsb1499cd1.jpgPork & Co really one have one regular thing on their menu, and that’s their Pork Cobs (or Rolls, Buns etc, I’m from Leicestershire and they are cobs!). They are pretty pricey, but the £5 includes a meat stuffed, gravy soaked, apple butter spread cob, and a topping of your choice (I recommend black pudding). Don’t quote me, but I think a slab of crackling is also included, but this may count as your topping! They do occasionally offer another choice – Beef Brisket. At £6 for a Brisket Cob with slaw, its even pricey, but this is definitely my favourite. I also struggle to finish it, so it’s well worth those pennies! Both meats are tender, incredibly flavourful, and just wonderful.

 photo Sauces_zps78c18957.jpg photo Eggs_zps1aba3abc.jpgI highly recommend the hot sauces too! Espeically with the scotch eggs…

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Also available are a variety of sausage rolls and pork pies. I have to say I am particularly taken with the sausage rolls, they are rich, meaty and the pastry doesn’t fall apart and get everywhere (I’m looking at you, Greggs!). The fennel flavour is subtle, but they are really delicious. I’m not sure I can think of an excuse to visit Canterbury soon, but I sure am trying!

 photo Crackling_zpsd615c901.jpgOf course, any Pork shop isn’t worth it’s crackling if they didn’t sell pork scratchings. Now I have two little secrets to tell you;

  1. I went into Pork & Co around an hour after my last exam, devoured a Brisket Cob, and bought five bags of pork scratchings. The guys in the shop laughed. It was pretty embarrassing. But…
  2. I don’t actually like pork scratchings!

Something about the texture just don’t get on with me, but my parents and boyfriend love them, so every time I’ve visited the shop I’ve bulk-bought scratchings. Nearly caused an issue travelling home, as bags in St Pancras were being randomly checked by sniffer dogs… If you’re a scratching fan, I’d highly recommend these. I really wish I liked them!

 photo Slaw_zpscb94e737.jpgI highly recommend Pork & Co if you’re ever in Canterbury – it’s truly a hidden gem! Please note that all of the photos in this post were taken from their Twitter feed, I’ve tried to use only ones they have posted by if I have inadvertently stolen anyone’s please contact me and I will remove it or credit/link the rightful owner!

 photo Pigs_zps776edf3b.jpgBack to the pork…it’s delicious! Moist, meaty, and incredibly messy to eat (don’t wear white, you have been warned…). One of the best things about it is that all the pigs are raised by the people behind Pork & Co themselves – whilst I don’t particularly enjoy looking at the pictures of the pigs (I find them really, really cute!) its lovely to know they are having a brilliant quality of life, and I think that really shows in the quality of the meat. Let me know if you visit Pork & Co!

Have you found any ‘hidden gem’ eateries nearby?

Restaurant Review: Byron Hamburgers, MK

 photo 2014-04-19131504_zpsaea25213.jpgAfter reading that a new burger chain was opening in Milton Keynes (reasonably local to my non-term-time home) I’ve been planning a visit. I finally managed to visit Byron last Saturday, and can honestly say it was worth the wait!

 photo 2014-04-19131436_zps51fbadfa.jpgWe’d done a little bit of shopping beforehand, and were rather hungry for our lunch!

We ordered quite simply – drinks, a classic burger and fries each, and a coleslaw for me. What really impressed me was how well they dealt with any special requests – I wanted my burger without the tomato and my boyfriend requested his without the mayo. Both of these were done without question, and my allergy was noted on our tables ticket.

Fortunately the food arrived quickly.

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 photo 2014-04-19132700_zps5bee01b4.jpgFirst of all – the fries and coleslaw. Its been a long time since I had fries as good as these, and to be honest the only fries I usually have are KFC’s. These were 100x better – crispy, light, well seasoned (although still improved with a sprinkling of salt!) and there was plenty of them. I definitely didn’t need a whole portion to myself, but I’m not sure sharing was an option given how quickly my other half polished off his! The coleslaw was some of the yummiest I’ve eaten, finely sliced veg and a thin dressing meant this was light and crisp against anything else.

Now the burger. As a picture speaks a thousand words, I’ll start with showing you this…

 photo 2014-04-19132912_zps5f8f6e7d.jpgPerfectly cooked for me (I’m sure some would disagree, my mum was disgusted when I spoke about a pink burger!), in a proper burger bun. Too many places have been serving burgers in ‘posh’ buns, but nothing beats these! The bread was soft, not at all stale and (most importantly) held together perfectly when eating. The meat was tender, juicy and wonderfully flavoured – you could definitely tell this was high quality beef!

I’ve been craving a properly cooking pink burger for months, I have a list of burger joints in London I want to visit, but Byron definitely satisfied my craving – proper meaty goodness at its best! I could never be a vegetarian…

 photo 2014-04-19131426-1_zpsaf6d490a.jpgWe were definitely very satisfied eaters! Despite being tempted by the Banoffee concoction, neither of us had room for pudding. Just another excuse to go back!

 photo 2014-04-19134551_zpsb6550ca6.jpgYou can tell from that photo how happy my boyfriend was with his meal! Our bill came to just over £25, which we thought was really reasonable for the quality and quantity of food. We’d have spent roughly the same on a Nandos (the queue for which is usually 45 minutes + in Milton Keynes for Saturday lunch!) and I personally enjoyed this far more. I’ll definitely be back, I’m now craving a cheeseburger!

What burger restaurants do you recommend?