Hipster BBQ Guide

Well, the barbecue season is *technically* here, British weather permitting as usual. If you’re tired of seeing the same old things at a barbecues, here’s my guide to shaking it up a little.

Meat matters

I won’t go into the meat too much, suffice to say this should be locally sourced, from a farmshop, farmers market or quality butchers. You can eat supermarket meat on any other day of the week, get the organic, tender, aged, best you can buy for a BBQ. Plus, it’s better for our farmers and animals.

Plant-based popularity 228798011_0_640x640

Increasingly people are opting for more plant-based diets these days, veggie and veganism is more in fashion than ever, so make sure you’ve got this covered. I recommend these Aromatic Moroccan Veg Cakes from Great Foods (you can get them on Ocado, naturally). These are delicious and may event tempt a few meat eaters too.

Shrimp on the barbie

Don’t forget about the pescatarians too, this is a very popular way of life (I pretty much live it). As a child we would use freshly caught scallops to make our own family version of coquille st jacque on the barbecue – but to be honest a nice bit of salmon, king prawns or fish kebabs will do just as well.

Bye baps, hello brioche 

Yes, even bread has had an update. It’s out with the baps and in with the brioche buns with their beautiful golden shine. They’re the perfect accompaniment to a hearty burger and should be top of your shopping list.

Gin is inbrockmans-gin

Unless you’ve been living on the moon recently, you’ll know that gin is in. The quirkier and more unusual sounding your gin, the better! If you can get a locally distilled gin (like Hampshire’s very own Twisted Nose), that’s ideal. Another recommendation from me is Brockmans Gin, just make sure you’ve got the grapefruit peel, or at least the blueberries to go with it. If all else fails, Sipsmith is a great choice and it’s available in supermarkets. The mixer matters too, step away from the Schweppes and pick up the Fever-Tree Tonic, it’s the best!

Anyone for tea?hb

For something a little lighter but still alcoholic check out Harry Brompton’s Alcoholic Ice Tea for some sweet refreshment. It’s delicious and free from artificial flavours, colours and preservatives. You’ll be supporting a lovely British brand too, so cheers to that.

British bubbles

If it’s a celebratory barbecue occasion, cast aside the Prosecco and opt for an English sparkling wine – there are some truly fantastic ones out there. If you don’t have time to get to a local wine shop (like Winchester’s fabulous Wine Utopia), supermarkets like Waitrose have a few English wines these days, like the lovely Nyetimber.

Super saladssalad

Last but not least, the salad, often overlooked, people tend to think of it as that person at a party no-one really likes but you have to invite anyway. Personally, I don’t feel this way and put a great deal of effort into my salad making. I recommend adding cous cous or quinoa into the mix for a bit of texture and flavour. Use plenty of fresh herbs too, a little chopped coriander, mint and chives (my salad favourites) make a world of difference to how a salad tastes. I like to add a little feta cheese or mozzarella as well. Keep your salads bright with plenty of vegetables and textures and they’re sure to be more popular. I say that it’s high time salad stopped being a wallflower and took centre stage, so let’s make it happen!

Happy BBQ-ing everyone, fingers crossed for a glimpse of sun again!

xXx

P.S. Don’t forget your mason jars to drink out of.

 

 

 

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A Foodie Feast to see in the New Year!

Many people will know The Bugle in Twyford’s a firm favourite place to go for me, it never disappoints! So that was where we headed for new year’s eve, and what an evening it was…

We started with a glass of local Danebury Vineyard Kir Royale and some lovely canapes…

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There were many fabulous courses, including a beautiful crispy fillet of sea bass served on a lobster, lemon and saffron risotto…

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This was then followed by a generous sized organic fillet of beef from Laverstoke Park Farm, which was delicious – served medium rare, it was cooked to perfection!

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As if we had room for more, there was then a multiple dessert spectacular that we all somehow managed to demolish. To the best of my memory it was tart au citron, with a tangy lemon panacotta, ginger ice cream and a gooseberry brulee…all of which were divine. The gooseberry brulee was particularly scrumptious!

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To finish off there was a selection of Hampshire cheeses and of course some port. I pretty much needed wheeling out of there I was so full to the brim with lovely food! All in all a cracking evening, spent with some of my favourite people – a wonderful way to see in the New Year.

Happy New Year!
xXx

Fun & Fromage in Les Deux Alpes

A little while ago I went to Les Deux Alpes where I enjoyed some fantastic local dishes, drank some lovely wines, suffered a few hangovers…oh and did a bit of skiing, only a bit though, it was all about the fromage for me really.

Here’s our trip in pictures (thank you to Tom and Joe for most of these!)

The hotel…

Hotel Cote Brune - Highly Recommended

Adorable Alpine Chic Bedrooms!

A beautiful and perfectly located hotel, with friendly staff, good food and peaceful spa area.

The wine…(six bottles between five on the first evening)…*sore heads*

A lot of this lovely mountain wine was consumed

The Food…

Cheese heaven!

Escargot...garlicky goodness

Plenty of meat and hot stone cooking took place...

Crepes - a ski trip must!

Tartiflette - a delicious local speciality made with cheese, potatoes, bacon bits, cream...you get the idea!

The world's smallest salad (and this was a starter!)

Last but definitely not least it’s the raclette, heaven for cheese lovers like me…can you believe it…I’d never actually had one before this trip! To order a raclette there must be at least two people to enjoy it (partly why I’d never had one before)…So I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thanks to Joe for manning up and sharing a raclette with me! It was awesome… in fact it was so awesome and exciting  that I forgot to take a photo…so here’s a picture very much resembling our raclette experience courtesy of Google Images…

 

Fromage Fantastique!

The Best Restaurant…

Crepes A GoGo - quirky, fun and good quality food...I cannot rate this restaurant highly enough!

Oh and the slopes…

Here I am taking in the beautiful scenery

Great memories of a great trip!

Meat free for a month

Okay, so it’s been a while since the last FoodTeaLife update but I do have a good excuse…a holiday in the French Alps skiing and enjoying lots of molten cheese! More on that to come.

Cheese party

My latest foodie update comes following a long chat with my good friend Miss Penn (of super awesome blog PopCulturePlaypen). We’re making  April Pescetarian month!

Fish!

That’s right no meat, just fish! I’m a big fish and seafood lover anyway so I’m thinking it should be easy, but will I crack and crave a bacon sandwich or one of the Bugle Inn’s amazing buffalo burgers?! Oh god I’m starting to think I haven’t exactly thought this through…if only it wasn’t for the the Bugle on my doorstep! Luckily their fish dishes are lovely too.

There are all sorts of health benefits associated with eating less meat and more fish so we’ll see how pescetarian month goes…might even post a few fish recipes!