Ladies lunch at Jamie Oliver’s Pop Up Diner

My sister and I do enjoy an occasional ladies day out, usually involving the theatre, a little Pimms and some good food – and so our most recent outing to see The Book of Mormon was no exception.

There’s something so exciting about taking the day off work to have some fun – it feels like such a treat! And what better way to celebrate our day of freedom than a little bit of Pimms O’clock whilst journeying to London!

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Cheers!

Once in London we made our way to Jamie Oliver’s new pop-up diner on Shaftesbury Avenue for a spot of lunch.

What a fabulous place! Full of quirky dinosaur decor, including a giant T-Rex, it just looked like fun from the moment we stepped inside!

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The menu was great too, there were hearty salads, burgers, ribs, chicken in a basket and lots more classic dishes, all with an interesting twist. Something that stood out as particularly intriguing was Jamie’s avocado fries…I simply had to try some with my burger.

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The famous avocado fries….

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They were really good, strange at first but very moorish! There was a delicious coating to the fries which seemed to include fennel seeds making them incredibly flavoursome. And so with a squeeze of lime over my avocado fries they were soon demolished. The chicken burger was excellent too and I loved the retro way it all came served on a tray.

We indulged in a little liquid dessert, choosing a cocktail each from the tempting menu…

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I’ve talked about the brilliance of The Book of Mormon in a previous FoodTeaLife post, so I won’t go on about it again, other than to say it’s still very funny the second time round! I’ll end by passing on a huge recommendation for Jamie Oliver’s diner, it’s only there for a limited time so make sure you check it out if you’re in London any time soon.

Thanks to my fabulous sister for the best day out in ages! Xx

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

Winter Warmers…Hello Hot Drinks

I definitely felt the turn of the seasons today, the chill in the air went right through me and I heard a proper Christmas song on the radio…so there’s absolutely nothing for it but a soothing hot drink in front of the fire (or radiator in my case!) – but what to choose? Here are a few of my favourites…

Pimms Winter

Well lets start things off with a bit of a kick…it is the festive season after all. I absolutely adore a Winter Pimms, it totally captures the essence of Christmas in a warming cupful that’s less heavy and hangover-inducing that mulled wine. Of course you need the finishing touches – don’t forget some citrus fruits for the full-on festive, fireside experience.

Twinings Signature Blend Earl Grey

Now for something a little calmer, Twinings Signature Blend Earl Grey is just delightful, aromatic, pure loveliness in cup. The signature blend is like Earl Grey and then some…with lavender and full of flavours that just taste fancy! In fact it is so fancy that the little silken pouches the tea comes in are called ‘tea pillows’ – how wonderful. I take mine with a dash of skimmed milk…perfection!

Ahmad Prime Time Tea

For those of you who prefer your tea little a more conventional, but still want something special, checkout my favourite everyday cuppa – Ahmad Prime Time Tea. I’m lucky it’s a local based company – so I find it in quite a few places, but I’m pretty sure it’s available online too. It’s refreshing, perhaps a little lighter than some strong teas, but with a full tea flavour.

Tetley Green Tea Lemon

I’ll always have a soft spot for Tetley, but their Lemon Green Tea really is better than any other out there. It’s perfect for when you feel like a bit of detox, but it’s far more exciting and flavourful than a plain old hot water. It’s genuinely enjoyable (unlike some green teas!), really zesty and thoroughly drinkable – definitely ideal after an overdose of the festivities that this of year always brings.

Ovaltine Malt Chocolate

Mmmm…ultimate evening fireside beverage! I like mine on Sunday nights to help me sleep, it works wonders (too well sometimes, often end up fighting my eyes on the sofa). It’s a wonderfully nostalgic taste that never fails to soothe and relax me, it also so much lighter than a traditional hot chocolate – which I often find too rich. Give this one a try – it’ll take you back to childhood!

Baileys Latte

What a delicious note to finish on…if you haven’t tried this –  you must! You can make it at home, but I find it best in a restaurant as a warming alternative to a dessert. The combination of coffee, frothed milk and a luxurious helping of Baileys is simply fabulous. Just imagine it at the end of a meal, in a cosy pub, warming the soul..aaahhhh.

…So have I got you reaching for the kettle? What will you be putting on? Whatever your favourite hot beverage, take the time to sit down and really enjoy it…savour those comforting moments.