Recent finds

I’ve been up in London for both work and play recently and made lots of exciting foodie discoveries, I thought I’d share a few of my favourites here.

The Restaurant Show + The Bar & Pub Show

I was lucky enough to be working at this fantastic event and had a great time visiting different exhibitors and hearing their stories. Here are a few things I found…

Twisted Halo

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Health conscious but enjoy a drink? This is for you! Twisted Halo is a gently sparkling blend of coconut water twisted with ginger and muddled with premium vodka. At 90 calories per 275ml bottle, it’s light, fresh and very drinkable. I hope to see pubs and bars stocking it soon!

Curio Spirits

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Yes more booze – but I loved the Curio Spirits collection of gin and vodka. Made in small batches all the way down in Cornwall they were full of fragrant botanicals and natural ingredients. I liked their Rock Samphire Gin, made with Cornish spring water and quadrupled distilled with 15 fragrant botanicals, including Kombu seaweed.

The Snaffling Pig Co. – Pork Crackling

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If you watch Dragons Den you may remember this company, who had reinvented pork crackling as a high end pub snack. I had to try some and I wasn’t alone in doing so, their stand was very busy with people sampling the tasty flavours. Expect to see these in good pubs soon!

This is just a little snapshot from the show, there were so many other great things to see and try and talks to learn from too.

Stylist Live 

A week or so later I was back in London for a fun day out at Stylist Live. This is a truly amazing event, with so much going on. I could have gone to all the talks and bought so many lovely things! There are foodie stalls, gins, clothes, jewellery, interiors, make up – just everything. It’s fair to say I was a little over excited. So here’s just two fun foodie finds…

Crosstown Doughnuts – Matcha Tea Doughnut

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I have had the pleasure of sampling Crosstown Doughnuts before (they’re amazing!) but I’d never tried their Matcha Tea Doughnut before. With Match Tea being all the rage at the moment I had to give it a try and it didn’t disappoint. These sourdough doughnuts are on another level! Seriously indulgent but seriously worth it.

Rebel Kitchen – Raw Coconut Water

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From indulgence to innocence…this refreshing coconut water has no additives so it naturally turns pink in the bottle. I’d never seen coconut water with this pink glow before but apparently they’re the result of naturally occurring phenols (anti-oxidants to you and me). It tasted different to other coconut water brands and was lovely and refreshing. I’ll be stocking up on it!

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Summer Refreshment

With the warm weather continuing I thought I might risk a summer-themed post rounding up some of the loveliest things to drink when the sun is shining. My apologies in advance if this post brings on the rain!

Red Zinger Tea
Top of my list of course is a good iced tea, while I do enjoy the varieties available in the shops it’s much more fun to make your own. Red Zinger Tea makes a great iced tea for summer – sharp, floral and fruity with a deep red colour it’s perfection with mint leaves, orange and lemon. See Martha Stewart’s recipe for Red Zinger Ice Tea here – it’s a real summertime win.

If coffee’s more your thing – you’ll love my next two choices…

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It’s got to be an iced coffee for summer and one of my favourites is Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, which even comes in decaf and skinny varieties. I love the skinny variety, it still tastes creamy and satisfying despite being fat free and just 118 calories – every little helps with summer traditionally being the season for dieting and bikinis!

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Okay so Coco Cafe’s Coconut Water Latte has already had a write-up on FoodTeaLife but I how could I not mention it in a post dedicated to refreshment?! It combines the natural refreshing hydration of coconut water with a strong espresso shot and reduced-fat milk. It’s caffeination and hydration all at the same time! The creamy coconut flavour of the whole drink is lovely too, adding a touch of tropical sunshine to caffeine consumption.

Liefmans Fruit Beer
Well now, who doesn’t enjoy a cheeky shandy on a hot summer’s day? For me a bottle of Belgium’s Liefmans Strawberry Beer is spot on for summer. It’s actually beer blended with natural the fruit juice of not just strawberries but also cherries, raspberries, billberries and elderberries – the result is a lovely sparkling blend that’s almost like a bellini.

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Sticking with the stronger stuff, the lime and elderflower variety of Kopparberg fruit cider is a definite barbecue must have – light and zesty it’s certainly a summertime refresher. I also don’t find it to be quite as sweet as some of the other Kopparberg varieties – so you can enjoy more than one!

Apple & Ginger
So that this post isn’t only booze and caffeine I must also give a mention to the lovely apple juices from local, Hampshire-based company Hill Farm Juices. Apple juice can be so thirst quenching and I love the wonderful selection from Hill Farm. I adore their apple and ginger variety which combines both Cox and Bramley apple juice in a deliciously sharp but sweet blend. It’s so good it’s even got a Great Taste Gold award!

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I must have a bit of a thing for ginger because this next summer favourite is a blend of Lemon, Lime and Ginger from Firefly Natural Drinks. This stuff is incredibly refreshing, ideal for those mornings that follow a heavy night on the Pimms! Zingy and uplifting it’s the perfect summer pick me up.

So…feeling thirsty? What’s your favourite summer drink?

I’m off to get started on some ice tea!

xXx

Foodie Favourites Right Now

As usual I’ve been busy eating and drinking lots recently, so this week’s post is all about a few of the things loving at the moment…

The Black Rat, Winchester – I love this place and have been lucky enough to go twice recently, including this weekend. What can I say about it other than go experience it! The dishes are are always so interesting and full of fantastic flavours, even when you order something you might not normally go for – it’s always so enjoyable. It’s just great place, small, intimate, cosy and laid back – I just love having it so close by!

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Sticking with restaurants, I’ve got to give a mention to what I feel is one of the best food pubs around, The Bugle, Twyford. Lucky me, I enjoyed a meal here on Saturday and it was excellent as always…it’s just consistently good! I highly recommend the Laverstoke buffalo burger and also a new dish of giant langoustines that’s been recently added to the menu. I’ve never seen or tasted langoustines like this before, they were huge and absolutely delicious with a sweet and meaty flavour. All the dishes on the Bugle’s seasonally changing menu are a delight – it’s well worth visit.

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Moving  away from eating out, I’m loving cooking anything and everything on my George Foreman Grill. I know this isn’t exactly a new bit of kitchen gadgetry but it’s fairly new to me and it’s great! I even cooked goat burgers on it the other day!

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One particular tasty snack I’m enjoying creating on the George Foreman Grill is pitta pizza pockets – pitta breads filled with peppers, mushrooms, mozzarella and mixed herbs, then just toasted…it’s like a healthy take on a calzone! The contents vary according to what’s in the fridge, sometimes I add prawns, sometimes chicken or tuna.

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If you find filling pitta breads a faff (who doesn’t?!) then you’ll love these new sandwich pittas from Warburtons, they are the most user-friendly pittas I’ve ever tried! They break in half so easily and don’t fall to pieces when you try to fill them, the round shape is ideal too.
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Proper Corn salted popcorn is just brilliant, I’m a huge fan! So tasty and less than 100 calories per bag! Great for 5:2 dieters on a fast day.

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Everyone’s been talking about Sipsmith Gin of late and not being much of a gin drinker, I’ve kind of missed out on it all, so I was delighted to discover Summer Cup from Sipsmith. It’s a wonderfully refreshing alternative to a classic Pimms. Slightly more floral tasting than a Pimms No. 1  – it’s perfect with lemonade and summer fruits. Now, if I can only get some of the Sipsmith Damson Vodka to try next!

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Coco Cafe – Coconut Water Cafe Latte…WOW this stuff is awesome and I don’t say that lightly. I could do a full entry on this incredibly delicious drink! We’ve all heard how amazingly hydrating coconut water is (who didn’t go through a phase of drinking it till they got sick of it?!), well this cold drink  is a mix of the famously good-for-you coconut water, a strong espresso shot and reduced fat milk – it really is delicious. It tastes creamy like some luscious full-fat iced coffee but it’s good for you. Best of all, you can caffeinate and hydrate all at the same time! Pure genius.
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Saucer Crackers – well why should crackers just be for Christmas? These pretty little mini crackers sit on your saucer and make a lovely little addition and stylish finishing touch to a fancy afternoon tea. They’re just so cute! Inside each cracker is a suggested topic to stimulate conversation (perfect for tea parties!) as well as a more traditional joke too, what fun!
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Well there you have it, just a few things that are currently floating my foodie boat – hope I’ve inspired you to try a few of my favourites too.

xXx