Wednesday, 30 October 2013

feast your eyes on these lovely goods!

1 //  2 // 3 // 4
Hello there everybody!

How are we all doing?

Sorry it's been a while since we said hello (I've been busy behind the scenes with my other work) but I've been on an internet browse again, and came across some really lovely things.  And, I thought it was about time I shared another cheery post with you.

So here it is.

1 // Check out this cool biscuit notepad!  From one of my favourite shops Future and Found.

2 // Founds this cool online shop with the coolest triangle necklaces.  I have a thing about triangle patterns at the moment so these caught my eye. The colours are especially fab!

3 //  On the theme of food-shaped notepads coincidently, in the same shop as above, they sell these Ice Cream Sandwich notepads!

4 // I went into one of my favourite shops, Paperchase the other day and they have so much great new stock - I spent so long looking at it all - and this new munch bunch range is great fun, just look at this recipe book!  It's perfect for all the torn out recipes from magazines and scribbled down notes I have - finally they'll be nice and organised in here.

See you again soon for more foodie chatter and fun!

Angie xx

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Pancakes


There's no explanation required here really. Breakfast. Pancakes. Syrup. That's all. Oh and a friend who needed cheering up.  

It worked.




Many thanks to Selsley Foods Raspberry and Redcurrant Syrup and Winstones Ice Cream which were the best additions to these pancakes anyone could wish for.  

The great thing is that they're two local producers from right here in the Cotswolds, and they're awesome.

This breakfast was pure champion.

Have a go yourself....

Ingredients
150g Flour (use same amount of Doves Gluten free flour in place if GF diet)
1 tsp baking powder
30g sugar
1 egg
150ml milk
1tsp vanilla essence (if you have it)
30g butter

Method
Combine Flour, Baking Powder and Sugar in a bowl. Make a well int he middle, crack in the egg and pour in the milk. Whisk it all up. Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract if you have it. 

Heat up a frying pan, pop in some of the butter, wait until it bubbles.

Add a ladle of the pancake batter, wait until you can see bubbles on the top, then flip. Add some more butter to the pan, and repeat until you run out of batter. 

Pour syrup on top. Add some ice cream. Go crazy.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

So far this week...

So far this week I've not done a lot of cooking.

I've been having a lot of food on the 'run' because I've been a bit busy in my other 'life' away from the kitchen.

The good news is that I have had a chance to visit The Wilson - (Cheltenham's new art gallery and museum) that has a really cool coffee shop/cafe attached to it. Which I will be checking into in due course - didn't have time this week, but I will visit soon with my coffee glasses on! (Follow the Cafe on Twitter here for lots of offers - they do a gluten free chocolate brownie slice I've heard!)

Looks good though, don't you think?



I've also been drawing a lot. Here are a few sketches I've been doing as part of a 30 day sketching project. As you know, I do a bit of an illustration and art on the side and I've recently made some new illustrations into nifty little greetings cards, which arrived today.

If you'd like to follow my 30 day sketching project, follow me @angiebee on Instagram!

Don't worry, I've stocked up my cupboards again this evening to start making some sweet treats and eats again over the next few days which I will share with you all!

Cheerio for now my food loving friends!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Can't get enough of 91 Magazine!

All images 91 Magazine
I'm bursting with excitement because the new issue of 91 Magazine is now online! Not only is it one of my favourite magazines to read online, but I'm so proud to have a feature published in the new edition! And it looks gorgeous!

I discovered this gem of a magazine back in the Spring via Pretty Pastel Style heroine, interior stylist Selina Lake and I've been flicking through past editions ever since. It's full of so many lovely features and contributions from lots of creatively talented people - it's hard to choose a favourite, with each turn of the page, there's something even more exciting. Everyone I've introduced to 91 Magazine loves it as the articles are full of eye candy, featuring everything from crafts to vintage wares, and photography to interiors!My little feature 'A bit of the side!' - stars 4 deliciously healthy Gluten Free soups and Gluten Free side dishes, including some amazing gluten free savoury cheddar scones (that you will be munching on all winter long) are on page 102 onwards.  All the photography was captured in my tiny kitchen here in my flat and I love how the beetroot soup turned out in particular - get a load of that pink colour!

All images 91 Magazine
There's also a lovely feature all about wall mounted crates and tins in this edition which I really love and definitely getting the urge to do in my kitchen.. it's such a neat idea and very effective, don't you think?  If you like crafts, interiors or vintage style, there's so much more inspiration in the magazine, you really won't know where to start - and the great thing is that you can flick through it all online completely freeeeeee!!!  Yep, it's too great isn't it?!  Go and sit down with a big mug of tea and soak it all in, right here! >  91 Magazine
All images 91 Magazine





You can also hook up to all the latest from 91 Magazine on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!

I know you're going to love this magazine! Enjoy!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

October Favourites

I did a bit of an internet spree today and finished up at Anthropologie.

And stayed there for some time.

I lost a few hours actually.

I'd forgotten how much I love Anthropologie! Not come across Anthropologie before? Well, let me tell you, it's an amazingly beautiful shop full of clothes and adorable homesey goods (is 'homesey' a word? Nope, well you know what I mean) that I discovered when I was in New York a few years back.  I wanted to take the shop home with me on the plane.

Sadly there's only a store in London, but the good news is that you can shop on their UK website and us Brits can discover their beautiful clothes and goodies for ourselves!

Here's some things I picked out from their site. They sell really nice cooking books too.

You see! How perfect could this shop be? Cool clothes, nice shoes, modern plates and awesome cook books.

// I Love NY Cook Book.  All the best recipes from the city you love. Reinterpreting New York classic dishes.

// Sweater with collar.  Collars are all the rage this autumn/winter and this spotty one is really cute.

// Penguin Jumper!  Because jumpers should be fun.  And cute.

// Where Chefs Eat.  A book all about...well, where chefs really eat.  Because chefs should know where all the good food is served, right?

...And now I'd better get back to work.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Coffee time

Many moons ago, I learned to master a coffee machine like a pro. It's probably where I got my love of coffee from and why I search out the best coffee shops where ever I go. (Oh hey that rhymed!)

So, as you can imagine I was pretty excited when one of my favourite coffee shops The Green Coffee Machine, Cheltenham (opposite the train station) announced a Barista workshop!

Yes, really! If you love coffee and want to learn about how to get the best from your beans and the secrets of texturing milk and latte art, then this is for you!



It's not as easy as it looks - but with practise, you can be turning out a perfect cup in no time at all.

I trained when I was in Australia and the girl I worked with, Jen, was nothing short of a coffee supergirl. She could pour the perfect cup with the perfect figleaf or heart on top everytime, even after the 300th cup of the morning rush hour. She taught me how to pour the milk and how to make sure the crema was just right. And when it was busy (and could see I needed perking up) she'd shout over 'Angie, do  you want a coffeeee?' and before I could say yes, there'd be a cup waiting for me on the side.

There's nothing like the perfect cup of coffee and when you do get it just right, you'll realise why people like me go crazy about searching for a good cup.

© Angie Browning Art 2013


I must thank my colleague Rich for one of the above photos above. Rich shares my appreciation for good coffee too and loves a cup from The Green Coffee Machine too.

I believe the next workshop is on 4th October so quick! More info here > The Green Coffee Machine.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

The perfect weekend breakfast

© Dishes Undressed 
It's the weekend! Boy, am I glad it's arrived. Knowing that my alarm is not going to go off at the crack of dawn is just the snuggliest, most perfect feeling! Ahhhhh yesss!!

And, what could be more perfect than this breakfast? I've been mad about Bircher Muesli breakfasts all summer long and now winter is fast approaching I want to get the last few in before this 'cool' oaty snack turns into warming porridge.

// Mollie Makes Magazine - Check
// Runny Honey (from british bees)  - Check
// Gluten Free Porridge oats with berries - Check
// Mangos, strawberries and lots of healthy seeds on top? - Check check!!
// A few tunes from my favourite new band London Grammar - Check

Here's how you can have the perfect breakfast too....!




Ingredients
150g muesli mix (I used Perkier!)
1 grated Granny Smith or other eating apple
1 cup milk (or apple juice or soya/rice milk - each are just as delicious!)
A small tub of yoghurt (use alpro soya for dairy free)
1 mango
a few strawberries, sliced
Seed mix
Fresh mint (don't worry if you don't have any!)
1 tablespoon Runny Honey (I used Clarks Honey)

Method

Mix the muesli mix with the milk (or apple juice) and refrigerate overnight (if you want soft oats, but works just as well if you don't refrigerate overnight).

In the morning take out of the fridge, add the grated apple, stir in half the yoghurt and dollop the rest on top.

Cut the mango and strawberries and sprinkle on top with the seed mix and a few mint leaves and drizzle with lashings of honey.

NB:  I am addicted to mangos. I think there has been a boom in Mango sales in recent months due to this. YEY TO THE MANGO!

POOR COFFEEEEEE into your favourite mug.

Perfect rise and shine breakfast!

Enjoy your weekends everybody!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Loads of things I really like

I haven't done a Kitchen Crushes post for a long time. So here it is!

The nights must be drawing in and getting colder because I'm finding myself doing an Internet-shopping-surf-sessh of an evening all of a sudden again.




(Left to Right)

1 // I really need a cool lunch box for the office. All mine are boring. This will do nicely! It's by Happy Jackson.

2 // And if you were an 80's child like me, you'll find a big smile appears on your face when you see this My Little Pony mug.

3 // I have so many bags full of Random Crap. When I came across this one also by Happy Jackson, I knew it would be great for all my ...well, random crap!

4 // And last but not least - I've saved the BEST till last. You know I drink a lot of coffee, right? Well, I also get a lot of takeaways and I was thinking recently about the amount of cardboard cups I use and got guilty about it as it's so wasteful. So I stumbled on 'KeepCup' the resuable takeaway coffee cup!! Sooo brilliant. And, get this, I designed this Coffee Keep Cup myself! You can customise your own too, right here!



1 // Possibly the coolest house?  Well this one in Buenos Aires I found via Remodelista.  And I really want to serve some kind of 'food truck' food from this serving hatch!

2 // And yep, I found this new book, The Truck Food Cookbook detailing some of the coolest food truck recipes in town!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Dad visits YO! Sushi

I love Sushi.  And I love bargains.

So when YO! Sushi came up with their September Blues promo of £2.50 sushi,  I was down there faster than you could say 'Chicken Katsu'.



I decided to take my parents along.  They've not been to YO! Sushi before and knew they'd love it, but wouldn't necessarily go on their own.  Although my Dad needed a bit of persuading, 'I need a big meal Ang, I can't eat little bits of fish..'

'No Dad,'  I reassured him. 'That's not what Sushi is nowadays, there's loads you can have, they're got fried rice, fried noodles, beef, chicken and cheesecake balls...'

'Cheesecake balls?'  His eyes lit up.

'Yes Dad, you'll love it.'

Dad was also relieved that he didn't have to use chopsticks either.

Dad had the vegetable firecracker rice and loved it.  He tried some sushi too, quite liked it, and then he had vegetable tempura (vegetables in batter with a dipping sauce).  Yep, you can guess he loved that too.



Dad also enjoyed the entertainment value and couldn't stop looking around and watching the food go by on the conveyor belt.  'Can I have that?  He pointed to a dish that looked like pancakes.

'Yes, you can take anything from the belt Dad, but you can't put it back!'  But it was too late, Dad had already taken the dish from the conveyor belt and started dipping it in the sweet berry dipping sauce.

'Oh wow, that's amazing'  He said, mouthful of sweet pancakes.

I quickly had to remind him, 'Don't over do it now! You won't have room for your cheesecake balls!'


Watch the little video above for my Dad's reaction!

YO! Sushi Cheltenham is just before Starbucks on the Promenade where Pizza Hut used to be.  You can't miss it.  The staff are lovely too, and all too happy to advise you of what to have and always on hand if you have a question.  The September promo ends on 13th September so get in quick!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Fab Foodie Weekend


We had a great first Fffood Swap on Saturday. A day showcasing and swapping the most amazing fresh produce, produced locally in the gardens of fab foodie’s around Gloucestershire!  Fffantastic! The yellow Courgettes were my favourite!

I met some really great people (some of you from Twitter came, thank you so much for coming by and saying hello!) and I really enjoyed showing people how to make some delicious food with my recipe demonstration!  Here’s some lovely pictures from the day if you missed it.

I also showcased some of my favourite Gluten Free products. In particular Perkier! Foods new porridge mixes,  B-Tempted foods delicious cakes and Honeybuns Bakery traybakes. We also included some in our giveaway hamper, the proceeds of which went to the Stroud Food Bank.




I picked up some apples and have my eye on making some of my Toffee Apple Pockets with some new Warburton’s new gluten free croissants!

If you’re interested in the recipes and recipe demonstrations that I did at the show, I'll be posting them up in the next few days so stay tuned!  

I also met the lovely lady, Naomi who's behind the Heavenly Pies and Puddings company - Great gluten free pies and pastry... Oh my goodness, heavenly, my Mum and I ate the roasted vegetable one and it was the best pastry I've tasted that's gluten free. Heavenly Pies sell at Stroud Farmers market so definitely worth hunting down!

I feely really lucky to live in an area where fresh and local produce is so readily available, and neighbours generously donate their produce to other's.  People here really appreciate where their food comes form here and continue to champion local producers and makers and to encourage people to buy local where it's possible. It makes such a difference.

 © Matt Bigwood Photography www.matthewbigwood.co.uk www.flickr.com/photos/mattbigwood/


And can you believe that not one penny exchanged hands in return for these goods - yes, swapping, it's the new shopping!  I'm telling you! :)

Big thanks to the Fffood Swap Team who worked magic behind the scenes to make this fantastic event come to fruition!  Well done everyone.

Also a big thank you to other food producers who donated to the Hamper including Tilda Rice and The Artisan Kitchen Preserves.  See you soon for more foodie fun!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Fffood Swap


Who likes food?  Put your hand up.



Ok, cool! I see you!  Now, who wants to swap some food?

Yes, 'swap', not buy - no small change necessary.  Intrigued?

Well, if you are, come on down and see what a fantastic local community foodie Fffood Swap is all about!  There'll also be lots more foodie fun and fodder for you, including a gluten free food demonstration from me where I'll be showing you how to make a delicious Lemon and Lavender Cake and some Summer Bircher Muesli with Perkier gluten free porridge mixes.

And if you have any produce from your garden, come and swap some for another person's carrots (or brocolli, or fruit and berries)  but even if you don't have your own home grown fruit and veggies, come on down anyway as we'll also be swapping old cookbooks, utensils and things you have in your kitchen that you don't use anymore.  Yes folks, this is modern recycling and reusing at it's best!  Just come along, it'll be heaps of fun.

All this is taking place on Saturday 31st August 2013 from 2pm - 4pm at the Subscription Rooms, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire.  I'd love to see you there!

They'll be tea and cake served by The Canteen of Nailsworth too! Yum!




So what's food swapping all about?

Throughout history food has been swapped and traded yet in our busy lifestyles sharing over the garden fence seems to have dwindled and reliance on fast and convenience foods has grown.

The aim of the swap is to bring like-minded people together, reduce waste and save people money. With the origin of our food being questioned in the press lately, people are more keen than ever to know where their food actually comes from, so, what better way than to meet with the growers and producers face to face over a cup of tea and a cake down at a village hall.

Domonic White, founder of ‘FFfood!’ says, “We wanted to hold the event at a time when there is real glut of food, people harvesting from their allotments and baking for their children during the summer holidays. We are hoping it will be a fun, social event that brings the community together, creates a buzz around home produce and that it becomes a regular event in everyone’s calendar”.



The swap encourages people to trade home-made, home-grown, and seasonal produce with each other. Swappers will have the option to put their wares out on a display table or simply mingle with other swappers as they walk around.

A few commercial stalls will showcase local food and drink suppliers who share the same ethos as FFfood! If you are interested in having stall, please contact jemma@suscito.co.uk immediately.

So come along to the  ‘FFfood! Swap’ on Saturday, it's FREE!  Or for further information on swapping you can contact me or the team on FFfoodSwap@suscito.co.uk  // www.FFfood.co.uk

You can also WIN a fantastic foodie hamper - see the Facebook page for more info www.facebook.com/FFfood  or follow on Twitter @fffood_


Monday, 19 August 2013

Lemon and Thyme Drizzle Cake

Are you ready for another episode of Dishes Undressed? It's a good one this month - it's baking!



Yes.... get your Kitchenaids at the ready.  A really easy and deliciously chic little afternoon loaf cake you can eat all by yourself... or err.. share with friends and family ;)

Let's go!


Note:  When I say 'flour' in the video I used Doves Gluten Free Self Raising Flour.  I just forgot to say that. But if you aren't following a gluten free diet and want to use normal flour, the same amount of flour will work the same!

<
Dishes Undressed Recipe #3 Lemon Drizzle Cake from Golby Creative on Vimeo.

Ingredients
3 Lemons (3 tablespoons of juice in the cake, 2 tablespoons in syrup)
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
125g Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour or / standard Self Raising Flour
100g Unsalted butter
125g Caster sugar
2 Medium eggs

Drizzle 
3 tablespoons Icing sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon thyme leaves

Preheat your oven to 180 fan, 190 conventional and gas mark 5.

Line a baking loaf tin with baking paper.

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl, or Kitchenaid, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, add the lemon juice, half the lemon rind and the thyme leaves -  and then fold in the flour until just combined (don't overmix).

Pour the mixture into the greased and lined loaf baking tin.

Bake in your pre-heated oven for about 40/45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean form the centre.

Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

To make the icing...

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and mix slowly into a paste with the icing sugar, add the other table spoon and repeat,... until the mixture slowly comes together into a runny consistency (add more water if the mixture is still a little too thick).  

Prick holes in the cake gently with a fork just on the top and pour the drizzle syrup over and sprinkle with the remaining fresh thyme leaves.  The syrup will absorb into the cake and make it moist, sweet, and tasting like heaven.  

Enjoy it with a cup of tea and a dollop of fresh cream!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Food and coffee memories - Part 1

I've been meaning to write this blog post for a while and for whatever reason it's never actually made it to the keyboard.

For those of you who know me, you will know that I love coffee.  Coffee and cafes.  Coffee and brunch.  Coffee and people watching.  Coffee and friends and chatter and gossip.

Photography by Sally May Mills © www.cremaandcrumbs.com


I do have to make sure I only have a maximum of 2 coffees a day now because otherwise it affects my sleep, but I do get by ok :)

When I was out in Western Australia I drank quite a bit more.  Because it's totally different over there.  The quality of the coffee is amazingly good (tasty, not bitter) it doesn't affect me in the same way - and the Australian baristas make it so well too.  They are seriously passionate about the quality of the coffee and are total experts.  I learned so much from them and even went on a coffee workshop when I was there to learn more about these delicious little beans and their origins!

I made some great friends in WA, one in particular was my great friend Warwick.  I say ' great' because Warwick was a whole 6ft 4in tall and towered above me.  I met Warwick in 2009 when we were on a tour together in the South West region of Western Australia.  I remember this tall Kiwi guy who was really laid back and unassuming.  When I returned to WA in 2011 he was the best buddy a girl could ever ask for.  We shared a love of the great outdoors, the beach and coffee... and people watching.  Warwick introduced me to all his favourite coffee hang-outs and they soon became mine too.  Hanging out over great coffee was one of my favourite things to do, even if I would often be whinging like a whinging pom! (Thankfully he trained me out of this terrible british habit and made get a little more 'laid back' like the Western Australians!)

Photography by Sally May Mills © www.cremaandcrumbs.com 


There were a lot of ups and downs during the time I spent in W.A;  I became homesick (yeah I don't know why, it's Australia, right?)  I also met up with a previous boyfriend and ended up (foolishly) falling for him again (the rest of that I'll fill you in on one day!).  Warwick did try to warn me, but as us girl's usually do, I didn't listen (Oops).  I guess you only learn the hard way sometimes.  Like the waves that came to the shore, I was learning which ones I wanted to ride and which to let go.   Thankfully, a cup of coffee was always close by to soften the blow.

Thankfully the happier memories still remain.  The mornings I spent having 'brekkie' and 'brunch' at my favourite cafes in Perth, and chatting with my new found friends...I will treasure forever.

Photography by Sally May Mills © www.cremaandcrumbs.com


There's so much more to Australia than the beach (which you hardly ever go to because it's just too damn hot)  the coffee and the food (and the blue skies) and people I met are what I'll remember the most.

Photography by Sally May Mills © www.cremaandcrumbs.com


I started reading a blog when I was over there called Crema and Crumbs.  Warwick and I would choose our next 'coffee place' to visit through this blog sometimes and when I returned home, reading this blog again bought back so many memories.  The photos really tell a story, and the colours and light really are that vibrant in Australia - Sally May Mills the writer and photographer behind the blog captures the cafe scenes and coffee perfectly - it's just how I remember :)  And she's kindly let me share some of her photos from her travels in this blog post for you all to see and experience a little bit of Australian sunshine and welcome too.

Check out her blogs Crema and Crumbs and Remote and Raw for more sunshine, food, coffee and travel inspiration.

As for the rest of my Australian adventures, memories and story .... To be continued.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

YO! Sushi

I love sushi.  I love it very much (but you don't get a lot of it around these parts of the west country).  So I was very pleased when I saw a big orange sign pop up in my hometown, Cheltenham this summer.  It could only be YO! Sushi. *Applause*.

Sushi for all, even if you don't like fish - plenty of veg, chicken, beef, noodles and rice dishes to choose!


The shopfitters quickly worked their magic on the old Pizza Hut unit on the Promenade, turning it into a new sushi haven.  Each morning on my way to the office this summer, I've watched the transformation unfold.

And today YO! Sushi Cheltenham opened it's doors to the foodie loving public of Gloucestershire.

Now, if you've not visited a YO! Sushi restaurant before, prepare to be amazed.  YO! Sushi isn't just about the great food, it's about the experience itself - self-serving and picking your plates which drive by in front of you on a conveyor belt (a bit like in the 1980's TV gameshow, The Generation Game).  And all dishes are freshly prepared by the chefs, right in front of you - watching them roll sushi is just so cool!



Basically, this is how it works;  Sit down, choose your plate, pick up your chopsticks (don't worry there are wooden knifes and forks for you folks who can't use chopsticks)  and eat.

Then start again.  If you get stuck (like me) and look at the food in front of you and wonder, 'what's that?'  you're given a handy little manual/menu that shows you pictures of each dish and tells you what it is and what's in it.

Once you've eaten and you've stacked up your plates.  The waitress then adds up your plates and you pay the bill.  TA DA!  The plates are all colour coded by price and if you get stuck, your little manual/menu that tells how much it is too (so you can decide whether you want to pay for that dish before you pick it up and eat it).  It's so easy.

And for you people who are still stuck in the stoneage and think that sushi is just raw fish, you couldn't be more wrong.  Sushi comes for all - vegetarian too (heaps of choice here, I love their fruit salad sushi and avocado sushi).  You see, although sushi is at the heart of the concept, there is a choice of Japanese inspired items too, including delicious soups, rice or noodle-based dishes, salads, tempura and hot classics like best-sellers Chicken Katsu Curry, Salmon Teriyaki and Yakisoba noodles.  Oh gosh there's so much choice!

Great service for Gluten Free and allergies too - they have this manual menu which lists the ingredients for every dish - and if you call ahead and tell the staff what your allergy is they will prepare your sushi especially - yes, they're that awesome.  Even a gluten free soy sauce especially for you!  A lot of the menu is gluten free, so it's a real breeze.



Take you're friends, hang out, have a beer, laugh at each other's chopstick skills and chat to the chefs while they're rolling sushi in front of you.  Saturday night food and entertainment has never been as good.  Enjoy!  (And if you go, can I come too?)

:)


Monday, 5 August 2013

Dining out in Cheltenham

One of the things I love about going on holiday is dining out, al fresco, in the sunshine -  you just can't beat it.  I love lingering over every bite and knowing that I don't have to be anywhere, on anybody's schedule for the rest of the day.  When you're relaxed, you enjoy the food, the company and conversation that little bit more.  It's one of life's simple and perfect pleasures, don't you agree?

I've been working so hard recently, I've kind of forgotten to take a break and a holiday, Ooops.  But sometimes just a special 'time out' lunch or dinner with good company is just as great and does the trick  - especially in Cheltenham, when the weather is sunny, Cheltenham is really pretty and there's no excuse not to enjoy great food in the sunshine (and you can always pretend you're in the south of France.  I do).

// Yep, that's purple basil! //


I'm always keen to try somewhere new, so was a bit excited when I heard that the Hotel Du Vin in Cheltenham had released their new Al Fresco menu.  Reading a menu is so much fun, isn't it?  Seeing the choices and deciding what you fancy -  and it always makes it even more special when a lot of the menu is gluten free and I have a choice of not only one dish, but maybe two or three (a rare occasion)!  Which is where this menu scored extra points!

Not only did the menu have a great choice, but the team were so accommodating to me following a gluten free (and nut free!) diet that I felt so relaxed and welcomed - offering alternatives and recommendations - I really couldn't have asked for more.  This kind of service goes a long way!

I'll let the food do the talking now - as they say, a photograph says a thousand words, so I'll just share some of the photos from my delicious lunch 'time out' break. I'm taking my friends and family back for dinner soon because the Al Fresco menu ends on 31st August and I definitely had food envy when my dining partner had a perfect medium rare steak (Ooohhh!) so I want to try that.. Oh and everything else on the menu too!

 **Applause **



You can view and download the Al Fresco menu here.
Go on, treat a friend, a loved one, or someone special!!

And if you're looking for a great Christmas Party Menu (yet it's time to book up!) check out theirs... it's awesome! > have a look and book quickly.

Hotel Du Vin is on the Parabola Road, Cheltenham. You can't miss it.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Quick Summer Salmon Salad

I've loved the weather we've had in the UK this summer so far (hope you have too). It's been SO hot though and I've definitely not enjoyed cooking in it at all - the last thing I've wanted to do is turn on the oven or hob!  So I came up with this really quick and easy, light and fresh, full of goodness green summer salmon salad.

And do you know the best thing of all?

I didn't cook a thing!

The method is below, just press play!



Ingredients

A handful of spinach leaves
A handful of iceberg lettuce (so refreshing in the hot weather!)
Some thin ribbons of cucumber
4 spring onions, trimmed
A tin of haricot beans, warmed up in the microwave to soften (1.5 min), drained rinsed in cold water
Garlic infused oil  (white beans in garlic oil go so well wish fish! try it!)
Half a lemon
salt and pepper
Salmon steaks, poached  (I bought 4 for £7.50 where there was an offer on - crazily that's £1.87 per steak, you couldn't buy one in a restaurant for 5 times that!)

The whole dish comes out at less (much much less!) than £3.00.  Each bag of lettuce was only a £1 and the haricot beans were 49p.  The spring onions were from a neighbour, and the lemon was less than 25p.

Can't believe it.  Tasty, healthy, delicious, cool, fresh - go on treat yourself!





Thursday, 18 July 2013

BBQ Salad

A Vegetarian BBQ in a hurry? Can it be done?  Oh yes!



If you live in a flat like me and don't have a garden, having a BBQ can be a bit tricky.  And cooking anything in my tiny kitchen in this weather is just swealtering.  But I wanted something BBQ-esque.  I could smell people having BBQ's in their gardens in the street, and I fancied the flavour of BBQ food all by myself.

That's where my Microwave came to the rescue.  Microwave? I hear you cry.  Oh yes!



I remember when my parents got their first Microwave.  It was probably 1987 ish.  My mum had wanted one for AGES and my Dad wouldn't get her one because he said they were a waste of money, but then we went on holiday and stayed in this house and they had one there and Mum was in heaven.  Dad found that the quality of his dinners improved a bit as she tried out new recipes (my Mum's idea of dinner is beans on toast..)  so I think he knew it would do him good to get her one.

We all own one and they do make our lives easier to some extent, however we use them.  I tend to use mine to quickly cook up frozen veg, to heat up a cold cup of tea, or blast something to defrost.  What do you use your's for?

And when I'm busy and working in the week and I get home late (and could chew on the sofa), I tend to whack a micro-rice in there and mix it with some veggies or tuna.  Job done.



And I'm a big fan of Tilda Micro Rices - I've been a fan of their Coconut rice (OMG it's amazing!)  for some time and their rices are all usually gluten free too.  They recently bought out a BBQ Limited Edition version and Dhruv Baker  who won Masterchef in 2010,  put together some recipes that go with it.  

I saw he'd done a BBQ salad one with Courgettes, Aubergenes and Halloumi that sounded so easy and delicious I had to try it -  OMG it was flipping delicious.  The mint and coriander add a real WOW flavour.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL RECIPE

And you don't feel so bad about using some 'micro-rice' when it turns out like this - who cares if it's cheap and chic? It's delicious!!

Try this, and give your microwave some new skills ;)
Angie's recipe doodle






Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Ice Cream Memories

My very earliest memory is holding a bowl of ice cream while chasing my brother around the garden of our house on a hot summer's day.  I even remember the bowl it was in.  My mum had this willow pattern set and I remember trying to scrape the little men in the boats off with my spoon.

I guess I must have been 3 or 4 years old.  

Fast forward 30 years and I still love scraping the bowl after tucking into some ice cream! (Who doesn't?!)  

I often remember things place-marked by a bowl of ice cream actually.  I love hot pudding with ice cream melting over the top in the winter, then in the summer I love a nice bowl of ice cream or sorbet to cool down with after a long day at the beach... 

Living in the Cotswolds, Winstones Ice Cream is a hands down favourite which I've been eating since I was little.  A local brand that I've been proud to grow up with and seeing Winstones today and still eating their amazing flavours (that they bring out all the time) always makes me smile.



So of course I was too excited when Ben Vear of Winstones Ice Cream family fame, bought out his new book 'Ice Cream' and other frozen delights this month.  How cool is this guy?  He's young, he's cool and he makes amazing ice cream.  I bet Harry Styles couldn't do that ;)

Watch my Vlog review below for a sneak preview of the delicious pages of ice creaminess.

The vanilla ice cream recipe is from Ben's book, and the Simple Peach Syrup over the top is below.  (Then over the top of that I crumbled some gluten free ginger biscuits from Waitrose).



Click here for the FREE recipe card Download 'Simple Peach Ice Cream Syrup'.

Ice Cream by Ben Vear is published by Absolute Press, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing. Hardback, £20. Photography by Mike Cooper.

Enjoy the sunshine, and check this out - Winstones Ice Cream parlour is open until 7pm throughout the summer.  So no excuses not to have an ice cream supper on Rodborough Common.