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

Cupcakes, cookies and Vietnamese cuisine…

Phew, last week was the week to end all weeks – so busy! Fortunately, on the foodie front this meant I got to enjoy some fabulous things too.

There was a trip to London’s west-end and dinner out – lucky me! Naturally I tried to push for a table at the super-tasty Burger and Lobster in Soho – but even on a Tuesday it was heaving. Fortunately we came across Cay Tre, a nearby Vietnamese restaurant that proved be be delicious. The food was fresh and fragrant without being at all overpowering and there was so just much on the menu that I wanted to try! In the end we settled on a mixed platter of traditional Vietnamese goodies to start and I had a stewed pork belly, cooked with caramelised coconut and a hard boiled egg for a main course. Here’s a little look at our yummy spread of Vietnamese food…

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Dinner at Cay Tre in Soho

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My dish of stewed pork belly…it was excellent

Last week also saw me launching Martha Stewart’s beautiful new Home Office collection of accessories – to celebrate we had cookies and cupcakes baked to Martha Stewart’s own recipes, which of course were absolutely lovely. Here’s a little sneak peak at the refreshments table piled high with Martha Stewart’s Old Fashion Sugar Cookies (sadly the cakes aren’t in this shot – we were still setting up at this point)…

As you would expect Martha Stewart's sugar cookies did not disappoint!

As you would expect Martha Stewart’s sugar cookies did not disappoint!

It didn’t end there for the culinary delights last week – there were birthday dinner celebrations in the Old Vine in Winchester, a Paella at El Sabio and a get-together at my long-term favourite The Bugle Inn, Twyford (I highly recommend their new veggie dish of grilled halloumi with sweet potato fries).

Barely a week passes without a trip to The Bugle these days!

Barely a fortnight passes without a trip to The Bugle these days!

So yes…I’ve hardly cooked a thing recently and I’ve certainly over indulged – I’m so thankful for the foodie fun times and experiences I’ve had in the last week!

Now it’s time to get the 5:2 diet back on track and hit-up Movers & Shapers again.

Hopefully I’ll eat a little more sensibly this week…

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

Feeling a bit like Santa…

This week has been so epically full of food…this must be how Santa feels on Christmas morning after gorging himself on a million mince pies the night before!

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It all started on Wednesday at an award ceremony in London’s The Grange St. Paul’s Hotel. After a nightmare journey and arriving 45 minutes late, the evening wasn’t off to a great start but somehow we were still able to consume all three courses of the meal on offer (oh the wonders of mass catering)…wait make that four courses if you count the lovely little Petit Fours at the end…

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I thought the Petit Fours might turn out to be the best bit of the evening, but no…Sue Perkins was hosting! She was witty and amusing as always and certainly made my evening – meeting her more than made up for not winning the award! A large wine afterwards helped too.

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The real tremendous day of eating came on Thursday when I enjoyed breakfast, lunch and dinner out. I began the day with a fabulous girly breakfast at Paul’s – a lovely french patisserie  in London and followed this with a ladies lunch also in London (I will add that I only ate a salad…), finally I rounded the day off with a dinner at Winchester’s Number 5 Bridge Street. Thankfully Number 5’s menu features a whole range of smaller dishes to enjoy, so I didn’t quite have to be rolled home!

And this weekend…well…I’ve shamefully had not one but two Subway sandwiches (dam it’s close proximity to my new home!), but also a lovely dinner at The Bugle Twyford and some hearty bread and mince pies from Winchester City Market.

I guess I’m just preparing my stomach for the indulgences of Christmas….? My tree’s up already, bring on the festivities!

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The Pleasures of Petit Fours

So you’ve enjoyed a lovely meal out, starters and main course, you’re feeling too full for dessert, the over indulgence has made you sleepy…but you know you don’t want the experience to end…ever felt this way? Petit Fours and a coffee are perfection in these situations. Light little sweet treats that you can take your time over with a strong coffee to revive and ready you for the rest of the night.

Petit Fours are nearly always a visual treat too, temptingly presented in a whole host of creative styles – here are two such examples I recently enjoyed…

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Petit Fours enjoyed at the Wykeham Arms in Winchester

I loved the little lollipop, it was coated with popping candy which made for a fun surprise.

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Scrumptious Petit Fours enjoyed at a beautiful restaurant in Lake Garda, Italy

These adorable treats arrived in their own little tree – like a work of art, they were almost too pretty to eat (I said almost…)

Well, that’s actually all I have for now (you know my track record for remembering to photograph my food!) – if I enjoy any more lovely little Petit Fours I’ll be sure to add to this post.