More Than Just A Taste But A Feast (Taste of London 2015 Part 2)

Here’s the second part of the anticipated food adventure of Taste of London 2015. If you’ve missed it, you can read part 1 here. You last left us after eating 8 dishes of stunning food in a ridiculously short amount of time. But it was time to get some liquid refreshment and on such a lovely warm day there is only one choice. Sipsmith Gin. We went for their ice chilled Summer Cup, dry and fruity served with lemonade, perfect to wet our appetite for more delicious food. 2015-06-18 13.17.01

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With a spring in our step we headed to another cousin favourite ‘meat up’ MEATliquor – Bingo Wings – Chicken Wings Slathered in Housemade Buffalo Sauce served with Blue Cheese Dip.  As mentioned before I love me some chicken wings and there’s nothing better than lip numbing hot sauce. Firm favourite.

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Katherine and Dan went for the Dead Hippie Slider – Mustard Fried Beef Patty, Dead Hippie Sauce, Lettuce, Cheese, Pickles, Minced White Onions as I was faced planting into the buffalo wings. From the short time the sliders were in front of my cousin, I would say they were pretty darn good.

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Last year me and my cousin fell in love with the beautiful soft cloud like steamed buns so we just had to try Chai Wu‘s Chinese Special Roast Duck, Hoisin Sauce and Mantou Bun. With a crisp tang of pickled cucumber with the rich sticky duck, nestled in the lighter than light steamed bun. Dreamy.

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On to the next meaty treat and what a treat it was from Chop Shop – BBQ Glazed Short Rib with Smoked Corn. Another stand out dish for me, I wish I could have a bathtub of the smoked corn, creamy, woodsy and just the stuff dreams are made of. Top that with shredded smoked sexiness of BBQ short rib and you’re on to a winner of a dish.

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Another cousin favourite and one of my fangirl restaurants are Duck and Waffle. Having been to the restaurant a couple of times, I knew I wanted everything they were offering at Taste of London. Dan had never been so we just had to get their iconic dish and one of my firm favourites, Duck and Waffle, a Crispy Leg Confit, Fried Hen’s Egg, Mustard Maple Syrup on a fluffy waffle crisp waffle. I mean there is nothing to not like about this dish and we pounced on it like a plague of starved locust with refined tastebuds.

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The next dish from Duck and Waffle was the insane Bacon Wrapped Dates, Linguica, and Manchego. The sticky natural toffee from the date with the salty smoky bacon, spicy sausage and oozing cheese, meant once again there were clean plates all round in no time at all.

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The dessert that was on offer was not just a show favourite for myself but for people that I work with who were also there to research treats. The different textures and temperatures of the Buttermilk and Corn Mousse with Pistachio and Toffee were incredible. Clean and an interesting eat that was just perfect.

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One more shot of sexiness of an oozy egg cooked to perfection.

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Time for more refreshments and to rest up after polishing off all those Duck and Waffle dishes! Clutching our VIP tickets we headed to the champagne tent for a glass of bubbles and to formulate our plan of action as to what were the remaining dishes we still wanted to tick off our must try list.

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One of the most underplayed named dishes of the show was by Ametsa with Arzak Instruction. Simply called Roasted Pineapple Ice Cream with Toasted Milk but wow oh wow this was special. The pineapple ice cream tasted that it was dripping with the sunshine and a freshly picked that morning, the essence of pineapple. The toasted milk was like nothing I had tasted before, a wafer of caramelised milk that dissolved on the very tip of your awaiting tongue. Only wished I had experienced it earlier in the day to get many more portions of this beaut.

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With the show drawing to a close for another year, we only had time for one more dish with our final crowns and it so happened to be Barbecoa’s Salted Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Black Cherries, Sour Cherry Candy Floss. I was expecting a great cloud of candy floss but the intense cherry from the compote at the bottom, the floss and fruit leather cut through the creamy salty joy that was the peanut butter. I actually don’t think we could of left the show without trying every peanut butter dish on offer and we managed to do it in the nick of time.

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With another show over for another year, we managed to eat so many fantastic dishes in one glorious sunny afternoon with my wonderful cousins. Just now counting down the days to Taste of London 2016!

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(I paid for all my food, all views are my own, I just like sharing great food!)
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More Than Just A Taste But A Feast (Taste of London 2015 Part 1)

This post is a long time coming but I had so many treats to share with you that not only has this post been delayed but is even split into two parts and hopefully you can see why.

The second week in June in probably one of my favourite weeks, nope it doesn’t contain my birthday and sure isn’t Christmas. But it’s the week where Regents Park in London gets a foodie makeover to host the wonder that is Taste of London 2015. The past couple of years (which you can read about here and here) me and my cousin, Katherine have embarked on a foodie exploration together one tapas portion of heaven at a time. There may have been a spreadsheet with the menus imputed and cross-referenced, highlighted to an inch of its life to make sure nothing was missed out. This year we allowed Katherine’s husband Dan the pleasure to join us, but I have my suspicions that it was so that we could order more food without looking as greedy as we actually were.

We tend to treat ourselves to the VIP tickets when the early bird discounted tickets go on sale as work for us to include Crowns (the currency of the festival 1 Crown=£1), the festival recipe book and a glass of champagne in the VIP tent where you can rest your weary legs. Also, you get to head in just before the main body of people who when you have a list of 16 dishes to try in the 4-hour lunch slot, every minute count!

Barbecoa was our first stop with the sinful dish of –  Slow Roasted Pit Beef with New York Slaw, Ketchup, Beef Dripping Crumble. Yes, it was definitely as good as it sounds. The fresh crunch from the slaw with the sticky fatty beautifully tender charred beef – wow. And those beef dripping crumble nuggets – Forget about it!(In my best fake New York accent!) Strong start.

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Fortunately, Shake Shack was right next door and on our list of dishes to try. Putting it out there, I’m not the biggest fan of their burgers but their Frozen Custards I have made journeys cross London to get my mitts on one of these chilly delights. Malted Marshmallow Peanut Butter Frozen Custard topped with Crumbled Chocolate Covered Pretzels. Basically anything with peanut butter then you have mine and my cousins hearts. There seemed to be fewer desserts on the menus this year so happy to tuck into this beaut. We just ran out of time to get a second one on the way to the exit.

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Again we had planned our route with accuracy and Amestsa with Arzak Instruction was next up. The Jambon Iberico sobre Almohada de Pan – Iberico Ham on a Bread Pillow was one of our favourite dishes we tried last year and pleased we got a chance to share it with Dan. Clean, simple and allows the natural flavours of quality ingredients sing through. Dishes don’t need to be over complicated.

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On the theme of fresh clean flavours is The House of Ho – Smoked Duck Banho Mi Sandwich. Melting tender shredded duck with fiery chilli and a coriander hit all in a chewy french baguette. This was one of Dan’s favourite dishes of the day. It was up there for me too.

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Now the next dish from Pont St was one of my favourites of the whole festival and when you hear what was being served up I’m sure you can understand. Hot Cheese Balls with Pont St Quince Jelly. Yep that’s right. Hot Cheese Balls. Hot. Cheese. Balls. Crunchy, oozy, cheesy with the sweet tartness from the quince. Amaze- cheese- balls.  We totally went back for seconds.

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Time to switch it up to an iconic dish that has been on my ‘Must Eat List’ for so long and the green eyed monster always comes out to play when I see the dish on someone’s Instagram. It has to be the one and only – The Clove Club – Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Pine Salt. Finally tucking in and this dish did not disappoint. Juicy to almost the point of obscenity in its uber crispy jacket with a hint of alpine air. There is always a fear when strong botanical flavours are used that it will be like gnawing on a car freshener. No fear here and an iconic dish for a very good reason.

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I have a thing for chicken wings. I know they tend not to be elegant or fancy, but either am I. But saying that Aqua Kyoto have managed to make chicken wings elegant (if only they could do that to me!) Karaage of Stuffed Chicken Wings, Spicy Ginger Lime Mitsuba Miso sauce were the things my chicken wing dreams are made of. Boned wings stuffed full of flavour on flavour and then another hit of flavour in these crispy juicy pterodactyl sized chicken wings. I’m ashamed to used the wing tip bones to soak up every last drop of the miso. 2015-06-18 12.59.59

The last dish of this half of the post is from a new favourite that we tried at last year’s Taste of London and visited their restaurant as we fell in love with their dishes. Ember Yard, make insane tapas based around a wood fuelled grill adding heaps of flavour to all their dishes. I was a tad disappointed when they didn’t have any Iberico Pork Ribs which we had tried last year but one bite of their Asparagus, Pea & Goats Cheese Croquettes with Wild Garlic Pesto, the disappointment faded into a distant memory. Gooey, whilst being paired with a fresh hit from the fragrant delicate wild garlic. New visit needs to be booked in again…

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Stay tuned for the second half of Taste of London, so many, many more dishes to come!

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(I paid for all the food and all views and opinions are my own, I just like sharing really great food!)
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Guilt Free Dining (Lunch For Penny, Pata Negra, Bristol)

I will be the first to admit that I’m a greedy person. Food envy is a real issue most meal times and longing puppy looks across restaurant tables until morsels are shared. That’s when the joy of tapas comes into play. Zero food envy, 100% food joy. But what if I told you could you could indulge in the sweet sweet joy of tapas till your hearts content whilst being guilt free and smug when you pay the bill. This can’t be done I hear you cry, well friends you are so wrong.

All throughout the month of August, the banging tapas restaurant Pata Negra on Corn Street, Bristol will be donating every penny of profit from their lunch services to Penny Brohn Cancer Care. Lunch for Penny will aim to raise money to support Bristol-based organisation Penny Brohn Cancer Care, who aim to help people living with cancer.

I was invited along for lunch (of course I paid to support this great cause!) to hear more about the work that Penny Brohn Cancer Care does for people and their families before, during and after treatment. Their focus is on health and well-being, the range of services including residential and day courses, are free of charge to adults with a cancer diagnosis. Running day courses to learn about nutrition, healthy cooking and food to lift the spirits.

The month will culminate in a fundraising extravaganza on Sunday 30th August, when the team will be throwing open the doors to Pata Negra and inviting the people of Bristol to come down and ‘Party for Penny’. The evening will include live music from local bands, a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses and a £5 entry fee, which will go directly to Penny Brohn Cancer Care.

So what tasty treats can you indulge in to raise money for this fantastic cause. Grab a fork and your wallet for these sublime dishes, of course with a glass or three of sherry.

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Breakfast Ice Cream (Toasted Almond Croissant Ice Cream)

Breakfast Ice Cream. Yes, you’ve heard right. Breakfast Ice Cream. You’re welcome. Toasted Almond Croissant Ice Cream. Chewy, Nutty, Creamy. Dreamy.

Who says that you can’t have a scoop or two of this beautiful ice cream for breakfast when the days are starting to heat up this Summer? That is if we get a Summer!

This is a really nice way to use up any spare almond croissants you might have lying around, ok so you might need to buy or make some extra croissants to make this ice cream. I added a touch of my dad’s honey to add a light floral note to the ice cream as well some toasted flaked almonds with a pinch of warming cinnamon to scattered over the top for some crunch.

What are you waiting for? It’s getting hot out there…so make this ice cream!

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Free Range Fun (Bluestone Resort, Pembrokeshire National Park)

The Summer holidays are near upon us, which means getting out into the sun and enjoying every last minute in the sun with the family. I was kindly invited to explore the stunning countryside of Pembrokeshire National Park by the team at Bluestone Resort. Well, who could say no to that offer?

We loaded up the car with treats, board games, and very muddy walking boots and set off towards the sunshine. Bluestone Resort is nestled in the beautiful incredible countryside, beaches, wildlife and history of the Pembrokeshire national park. Offering luxury holidays in a relaxed setting where you can roam, relax and have an adventure with your families and friends.

Having arrived early and not being able to get into our lodge straight away, we grabbed our swim kit and our appetites and headed to the super cute village center. Having been to other holiday resorts in the UK and aboard before, I was a tad wary as they tend to be a sensory overload with arcade games and music blaring from opposing direction with a multitude of theme places vying for you attention.

Bluestone has managed to make their village, an actual village. With a quaint bakery, pub and corner shop all next to a tree house playground and green were bunnies took in the afternoon sun.

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