You need this drink in your life!

I’m a big fan of the Arizona Iced Tea range, so I was delighted when I came across something I’d not tried from them on Ocado…

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Love the design and let me tell you it tastes as good as it looks! Delicious iced tea with added lemonade, a lovely, oh-so-refreshing pick me up. Ideal as we head into the summer months too. Seriously, it’s SO good.

I get mine from Ocado but you can buy online and other places by visiting www.amdrinks.co.uk

Can’t wait to order some more!

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My Winchester

Some people may have spotted me in the Hampshire Chronicle’s ‘My Winchester’ column talking about my favourite things in the city. The experience got me thinking why not write an extended version for FoodTeaLife? You can only say so much in a short column and anyone who knows me will know I always have a lot to say about Winchester! I thought I’d alter the questions too, here goes…

Best place to get a cup of tea in Winchester:

Pitfield, The Bridge Patisserie, The Forte Tea Rooms and Ginger Two.

Best Desserts in Winchester:

Moments Gelato is pretty amazing. The Plough at Sparsholt’s dessert menu has all my favourites though.

Best Place for drinks with friends:

My house?! …and the Black Bottle

 Best place for alfresco eating and picnics:

The water meadows, far less crowded than the Cathedral Grounds

Best beer garden:

The Queen Inn has a great garden but also the Black Boy is pretty good for heaters and coverings in case it rains (you’ve got to consider these things!)

Best walk in Winchester:

Around the water meadows or St. Giles Hill

Perfect evening in Winchester:

Some of the best evenings are the spontaneous ones, so you can’t plan those. An evening at Winchester’s cinema is usually very nice though, you can have wine with the film just like you would at home!

Best place to celebrate  a special occasion:

For a special occasion the outside tables at the Black Rat are lovely.

Favourite Winchester tourist attraction:

The Christmas Market!

 

…So there you have it, My Winchester. What are your favourite things about Winchester? I’d love to know yours answers.

xXx

 

 

 

 

In Anticipation of Austria…

Feeling very lucky right now, although things are busy and at times hectic (hence the lack of updates), I have a lot to look forward to. There are lots of little things I’m excited about but possibly the biggest is a ski trip to Austria in a few weeks time. It’s fair to say I can’t wait! I’ve been to Austria a few times before and it’s a beautiful country, especially up in the mountains. From stunning tyrolean scenery to the breathtaking alpine views, there’s a lot to love but here’s a round-up of what I’m most looking forward too on the foodie front…

Almdudler!

This soft drinks seems to be specific to Austria, as I’ve never seen it anywhere else, but if you ever go there this is an absolute must try! It’s a carbonated soft drink, I’m not even entirely sure what it’s supposed to taste of, but it’s very refreshing! It’s a sort of grape juice type taste, maybe with a hint of ginger ale and elderflower flavours mixed in, at least that’s how I remember it. It’s a lovely ski slope refresher and I can’t wait to guzzle some again.

The mysteriously delicious Almdudler

The mysteriously delicious Almdudler

Glϋhwein!

Glϋhwein…it’s just like mulled wine, so what’s not to love? It’s the warmth of Christmas in a cup, and with snowy scenes all around and cool mountain air nipping at your cheeks, it’s absolute perfection!

Ahh, gluhwein...I can almost taste it!

Ahh, gluhwein…I can almost taste it!

Mozart Balls!

Sounds odd but Mozart Chocolate Balls are literally in all the shops over in Austria I find, well imitations of the original ones are anyway.  Named after the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the original Mozart Balls are still produced by hand according to the original recipe and only sold in specialist shops and online, however there are many similar imitation balls (try to keep a straight face) which bear the composer’s face and you find these everywhere in Austria.

Chocolatey goodness with a famous composer's face emblazoned on them...what more could you want?

Chocolatey goodness with a famous composer’s face emblazoned on them…what more could you want?

Fondue!

A must on any ski trip is a fondue, in my book cheese is the best sort of fondue. However my meat loving travel companions often opt for a meat fondue which often leaves this as my only option. These are still good, often you dip small pieces raw beef or venison into hot oil or red wine and slowly cook them. It is pretty tasty I have to admit but cheese is my winner every time I’m afraid.

Cheesy goodness!

Cheesy goodness!

Strudel!

I love a bit of traditional Austrian strudel. Once on a ski trip the family who’s apartment we were renting baked us a traditional apple strudel dropped it off as a treat, it was lovely surprise that I’ll always remember.  Who could fail to enjoy a few fluffy layers of pastry with a sweet filling? I’m definitely having some strudel for pudding (so long as I don’t overdue the fondue before hand!).

Can't wait to get me some strudel!

Can’t wait to get me some strudel!

So there you have it, some foodie things I’m super excited about in Austria. Of course I am excited about the snow, the skiing, the scenery and showcasing my many hats too but food always seems to occupy my mind the most! There is one other thing I’m ridiculously, deliriously far too excited about…using this (my new Christmas pressie)…

My gorgeous new suitcase will make it's maiden voyage on this trip!

My gorgeous new suitcase will make it’s maiden voyage on this trip!

All in all, I’m feeling very lucky, loved and full of excitement. Just a few more weeks of busy working until I can jet off to the mountains xXx

Last weekend’s foodie highlights

Well, the title says it all really…

Last Friday night’s visit to the Chesil Rectory was a lovely last minute treat. The menu was great, just look at these yummy starters…

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Portland Crab, Secrett’s Beetroots, Avocado, Mayonnaise         

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Treacle Cured Salmon, Brixham Scallop, Pickled Ginger

And of course there’s the beautiful Cottonworth rose to enjoy when at the Chesil Rectory. This English sparkling wine is every bit as lovely as something like a Laurent Perrier Rose. It’s local too, if you haven’t tried it already, it’s a must! You can also get it from Wine Utopia in Winchester.

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On Saturday I ate at an old favorite that never disappoints, The Bugle Inn, Twyford. The tasty bacon chop on their menu at the moment is highly recommended! It comes served on a bed of bubble and squeak with a poached egg on top and some gorgeous cauliflower cheese – it was heavenly and certainly very filling! No pictures due to me being a greedy guts and scoffing it all without thinking of my blog!

You wouldn’t think I could eat more food in one weekend…but I did. To celebrate my dad’s Birthday a fabulous family party tea was put on at home. Featuring afternoon tea, triangle sandwiches, my sister’s yummy mocha cupcakes and a scone or two, it was a fine birthday feast! Here’s a snapshot…
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Definitely a few fast days need this week after a full on weekend of food, glorious food!

xXx

Magnificent Meze and More in Cyprus

It’s been a little quiet lately on FoodTeaLife and it’s in part due to a wonderful trip to Cyprus, lucky me! The other contributing factor was the dieting in the lead up to my time away, which left me with few yummy foodie things to write about (any one see my post on fast day foods?!). Thankfully the foodie drought is well and truly over now and this post is packed with delicious highlights from Cyprus.

Okay, apologies in advance for some of the terrible photography in this post – clearly I enjoyed a little too much of the lovely local wine every night!

On the subject of the local wine, here they are…

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Both from the Vasilikon Winery in Pathos, Cyprus – it’s fair to say many many bottles of both the white Vasilikon and the red Methy (a Cabernet Sauvignonwere consumed! It left us all wondering why don’t we get more lovely wines like this over in the UK?! I’m not going to get all wine notes here but they were both so very pleasant and very reasonably priced for being so enjoyable.

We stayed in a beautiful hotel, right by the coast, so naturally plenty of fish and seafood featured in the holiday diet, including two separate fish meze nights! Meze (as anyone who’s seen Come Dine With Me will know) is a selection of small dishes often including pitta and salad, what I didn’t realise was that it doesn’t all come together (like it does on Come Dine With Me!) but continuously, course after course! The word literally means ‘small dishes’ and it’s a style of eating that features many different courses, but each course contains just a little of each item, enough to have a taste. Well, even though they are ‘small dishes’ – it soon gets pretty filling, especially if you gorge on salad and pitta bread in between courses! Here’s just a small selection of the dishes included in our fish meze…

Grilled Octopus

Grilled Octopus

King Prawns

Terribly out of focus but delicious king prawns

Sardines

Sardines

white fish mezze

White fish

As you can imagine as all of these dishes (and more) kept coming our table got pretty chaotic…

Messy meze!

Messy meze!

Every inch of the table was packed with plates of fish, seafood, salad and pitta…which of course meant you just had to keep on eating to free up some space! Heavenly though it all was, it has certainly not done my waistline any favours – so worth it though! The fish was cooked so well, with just a little olive oil and lemon, simple but lovely.

I couldn’t let the week pass without indulging in a little traditional moussaka either…

mmm...moussaka

mmm…moussaka

Of course I had to sample one of the local desserts too…

Baklava

Baklava!

I do love Baklava! It’s little rolls of filo pastry with a deliciously sweet, cinnamony, nutty filling – so good with ice cream!

Our hotel (the Amathus Beach) was lovely too – check out these little delights left in our room most days…

free fizz, petit fours and canapes!

free fizz, petit fours and canapés!

The cocktails served at the hotel were absolutely delightful – we sampled many of these too of course…

Holiday classic - a pina colada

Pina Colada, a holiday classic!

All in all it was one beautiful, delicious, laughter-filled week in sunshine. A huge thank you to my extended family for the magical trip!

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Fun in sun

Amathus

And relax…

xXx

5:2 Favourites

Like many other people I’m following the 5:2 way of life, eating only 500 calories on two non-consecutive days each week. It’s flexible, achievable and seems to be working out well. You can actually feel relatively satisfied on 500 calories, you just need to pick the right things to eat – in fact it’s amazing how many pleasant things you can consume really. In this post I thought I’d share a few of my favourite things to eat on a fast day.

There are some mega low-cal recipes and meals you can prepare for dinner but for now I’m focusing on satisfying snacks and the type of things you might eat at your desk.

It’s no secret that I love popcorn, so a bag of sea-salted Proper Corn at 87 calories makes me so happy! It’s a decent sized bag too (not like those healthy crisps you get in tiny bags!)

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My love of cheese is also well documented, so these little Cathedral City Minis at 50 calories per piece are a deliciously creamy treat on a fast day.

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Okay, so it’s maybe not the freshest foodstuff but at 96 calories Ainsley Harriot’s Thai Chicken & Lemongrass soup is perfect for keeping in your desk drawer. I’ve tried many an instant soup and this definitely the most flavorful and tasty. Warm and fragrant, it really hits the spot sometimes.

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Fage Total strained 0% Greek Yoghurts are a yummy fast day win. They have about 140 calories, so a few more than some of the other fat free yoghurts out there – but the pot is bigger! The thick consistency makes me feel like I’m enjoying a full fat cream-like dessert. The plain variety is excellent with a few berries for breakfast.

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Jimmy’s Skinny Iced Coffee is a lovely fast day pick-me-up, it feels just like drinking some kind of full-fat frappe from a coffee shop but is only 36 calories per 100ml.

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Lastly, you can’t beat a boiled egg for simplicity and keeping you feeling full! If you can just bear to go without the soldiers, a boiled egg only sets you back about 70 calories.

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These are just a few of my go-to fast day foods that are quick to grab and enjoy during busy days and in the office. If you’re a 5:2 dieter I’d love to know what yours are…do tell.

I do have a few light and low calorie dinner suggestions to share as well but I’ll save these for a future post.

Right, time to get fasting after a bit of bank holiday excess! xXx

Bank Holiday Bits & Bobs

Ahhh, the end of a four day working week – lovely! Wasn’t the bank holiday weather brilliant? I tried to make the most of it with some Winchester walks and a new forest day trip too. Here’s a little look my bank holiday weekend in pictures…

The perfect mode of transport for a bank holiday day trip…

Day tripping in style!

Day tripping in vintage style!

We paid a visit to the pretty little town of Lyndhurst in the New Forest…

I do love a bit of bunting!

I do love a bit of bunting!

We called in at The Tea House for some refreshments – how could I not with a name like that?!

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Tea and cake heaven!

It had to be a cup of vintage earl grey of course, which was absolutely lovely!

A pretty little pyramid of tea

A pretty little pyramid of tea

There were so many tempting cakes to choose from as well as scones, sandwiches and lovely lunch options too. I could have eaten everything on the menu but in the end made the snap decision to enjoy an omelette (I’m terrible at making them myself so it’s a treat to have a nice one made for me).

Too many cakes to choose from

Too many cakes to choose from!

Back in Winchester, the sunny weather left me a bit of golf widow – but I made the most of it with walks along the water meadows and up St. Giles Hill – you can’t beat that view of the city…

Beautiful Winchester

Beautiful Winchester!

Somewhere I also found time to eat at Hotel Du Vin (very nice!) and fit in a trip to the cinema – how great is Winchester’s cinema? Okay so there’s not much parking, it’s a bit pricey and the popcorn can be hit or miss – but you can take in a nice glass of wine or a G&T! It does add to the cinematic experience I find!

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The fabulous HDV Winchester

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Love this cinema!

Hope I’ve provided you with some weekend inspiration…whatever you get up to this weekend – enjoy it!

xXx

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