Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Great British Food Revival

I just managed to catch the second half of today's great british food revival, about Michael Caines talking about carrots! I think he's 100% in saying the way most of us cook them is such a waste. I have to admit, i have a guilty pleasure when it comes to my carrots. If they're with a roast dinner (which they always are!) i leave them to the end, chop them up really small, dollop a teaspoon of mint sauce on them and douse them with gravy! I know it's gross, don't judge me. It's been a thing i've done since i was a child and i haven't got round to stopping yet. ANYWAY, i love the way my nanas cooks carrots, it's simple but they taste so much better than just plain old steamed carrots:

She cuts them into strips, and adds a pinch of salt, a large tablespoon of sugar and a knob of butter to a pan filled halfway with water. And of course the carrots! And just simmers them slowly until the water dissipates and the sugar and butter caramelise on the carrots, it's delicious. 

There are so many amazing ways in which you can cook them, like Michael Caines did, make a carrot and coriander soup, or carrot cake, roasting them, using them in salads, you could make carrot and sweet potato mash (a nice change from carrot and swede!). And last but not least, one of my favourite snacks is just some raw carrot cut into sticks to nom on.

How do you cook your carrots? I can't wait to try roasting them with some honey, or with garlic and rosemary!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Leek and Spinach Risotto

Serves 2 people

SORRY! I've not posted in so long it's unbelievable, but my camera SD card is at home and i'm at uni atm. But finally got round to making something, yay.

I was cooking for my friend as well so i had to think of something that didn't include mushrooms or tomatoes, so i was a bit stuck. But this turned out very well i think. And my friend loved it, yay. 


1 shallot, finely minced
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1 litre of vegetable stock
6oz arborio rice
large glass of dry white wine
1 and a half large leeks, chopped up into smallish chunks
bag of baby spinach
olive oil
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese/vegetarian parmesan


large saucepan
wooden spoon
chopping board
medium sharp knife


- Heat up around 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the saucepan. Once it's hot, throw in the minced onion, garlic and the chopped leeks. Sauté on a medium heat until the onions and leeks are softened (around 5-7 minutes).
- Once they have softened so they're no longer crunchy at all, add the rice. Stir through the mix until the rice is coated with the oil. Then pour in the wine! Let it simmer and stir occasionally until the wine has reduced and the liquid has been absorbed. 

- Now start adding the stock, one ladle at a time, waiting until the liquid has been absorbed before adding the next one. You have to stir pretty much constantly so the rice doesn't get stuck to the bottom of the pan. Every so often, check the rice by eating a couple of grains to check when it's done.
- Once the rice is mostly soft but still retains a small amount of bite in the middle, it's done! The rice should be quite loose and not overly sticky or gloopy, if it has become like this, add a little more stock to loosen it up.

- To finish, take it off the heat and stir through a large handful of the spinach, it will wilt from the heat of the risotto. Next, add a handful of grated parmesan cheese (or vegetarian alternative) and a large knob of butter/margerine. Season with pepper and a little salt, to taste. 

- Finally, serve into bowls and sprinkle parmesan over the top.

Et voila!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Noodle one Bangor (Wales, not Ireland) review

Sorry I haven't posted in so long! I have a few recipes lined up but stupidly i left my SD card with all the pictures on, so i can't post until i have them. Never mind!

Last Thursday all the girls from uni wanted to go for a meal. we'd originally decided on fat cats but we didn't think to book it, and it was so busy we had to go somewhere else. We were all pretty annoyed because we'd been looking forward to it for so long! We decided on noodle one because it was close to where we were, not like Bangor is a big place anyway, and i'm so happy we did!

Obviously from my review about wagamama's i love noodles. And i've been to noodle one a few times before, but i always opted for ramen. Now i have more of an idea about different noodle dishes, so i went for chili yakisoba with tofu and a side of vegetable gyoza. I'm slightly obsessed with anything with a bit of heat to it at the minute, so naturally i had to go for the chili, but they do one without as well. The gyoza came out first, and it was a nice touch that the woman who served us told us she'd made them herself! They were lovely, and came with a sweet chili dipping sauce. The sauce was nice but i thought it was a bit disappointing that that was the only type of sauce that came with all the sides. We ordered prawn crackers too and had the same dip with them.

I love noodle one because it's really easy to mix and match, basically. You can choose to have different noodles if you wanted, and you also choose the dish you want, and then choose what kind of meat you want with it. The choices are crispy tofu (obviously not meat), beef teriyaki, shichimi duck, teriyaki chicken, and king prawns, and you can have any of them with any dish. Also, with the ramen, you can choose between vegetable or chicken and pork broth. My yakisoba was amazing, i couldn't find a single fault with it and i'll definitely be having that again next time i go. I can't remember what the other 5 of my friends had, but you can be assured there were no complaints! I already can't wait to go again.

I highly recommend going to noodle one for lunch or dinner if you're around in Bangor. There aren't many places to choose from, but this is my number one favourite restaurant and i wish i could go there every day. They also have a 10% discount if you take out! Definitely better than a takeaway.

Hope you enjoy!

p.s. if you love this review please hit the share button underneath!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Potato Dauphinoise

Serves 2 people


3 large potatoes (e.g. maris piper)
Double cream
3 Garlic cloves
salt & pepper
butter or margarine for greasing
Cheddar cheese (optional)


Small oven-proof dish
Small knife
kitchen roll
bowl of cold water
speed peeler


- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Take your small dish, and using a piece of kitchen roll, grease the dish with butter/margarine, and put to one side.

- Peel your potatoes using a speed peeler, or your knife if you prefer, whatever's easiest for you. Slice the potatoes thinly, around the width of a £1 coin at most. Try to make the potato slices as even as possible, or they will all take different times to cook. After slicing them, put them into the bowl of water to stop them from turning brown due to being exposed to air. Chop the garlic as finely as you can.

- Now to assemble! Start by sprinkling a small pinch garlic at the bottom of the pre-greased dish, then season the dish with salt and pepper. Now, take the potato slices out of the bowl and pat dry with kitchen roll.

- Place one layer of potato slices into the dish. Sprinkle more garlic and salt and pepper. Add another layer of potato, then more garlic, salt and pepper. Repeat layering until the dish is full (depending on the depth of the dish, 4/5 layers). Don't fill to the brim of the dish, leave around a 1cm gap at the top.

- Take the cream, and pour until the top layer of potato is just covered. Put into the middle of the oven, for an hour and a half. If you wish, 10 minutes before the dish is ready to come out of the oven, take it out and grate a layer of cheddar cheese over the top. Put back in for the last 10 minutes for the cheese to melt and crisp up.

Sorry there's a chunk missing, I couldn't wait to get into it! Enjoy.

Et voila!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Yo! Sushi Review

Sorry I haven't posted in a while! I've been so busy running all over the country visiting friends and having good times. I arrived back from London today where I was visiting one of my friends while she's at uni. 

While we were there, we were walking along the South bank of the Thames and walked past about a million restaurants and decided on Yo! Sushi. We've been meaning to go for 'real' sushi (not that stuff from supermarkets) for so long and I'm happy we finally got the opportunity! 

We walked in and were seated straight away. All of the staff were really nice and friendly and easily approachable. We were given menus and basically left to it! It's pretty self explanatory, there are different coloured dishes, corresponding with different prices, and they all go round the room on a conveyor belt. We were a bit overwhelmed at first, thinking 'do... do we just take things?' but once we got into the spirit of it, it was incredibly fun! It was nice to see everything going past trying to see what it was and then grabbing it before it went past us. It's quite easy to spend a lot though, by just grabbing everything you want. The dishes on the conveyor were all cooked in a kitchen in the middle of the room, and they were all cold/warm, and there were also hot dishes you could order from the staff that were always wandering around.

Now I need to remember what I had... we both shared everything we got though. We had vegetable gyoza (dumplings) that had been steamed and fried, that came with a vinegar and soy dip. They were gorgeous, I wasn't sure I'd like the steamed texture, but they were soft and not slimy at all. We had some cucumber maki (rice rolls with a filling and seaweed/nori on the outside), and some tuna and salmon nigiri (rice with slices of fish/meat/omlette). I literally have everything with soy sauce, my friend smothered wasabi and pickled ginger on everything, the rice is so much nicer than the generic stuff you get from supermarkets. It was a bit disappointing how we didn't see any hand rolls, because they kind of made the dishes in batches and they never made any! We had about 3 dishes of katsu prawns which were amazing, they came with a sweet (ish) fruity, sticky sauce and panko breadcrumbs (japanese breadcrumbs) are brilliant. We both ordered a hot dish of vegetable yakisoba, which are just noodles fried with vegetables and a tangy sauce. The sauce was supposed to be slightly spiced but i didn't pick any of that up. When we were both stuffed to the brim (for only around £10 each) we were trying to hold out for the chocolate ganache dessert, but that never came round either, it was slightly disappointing. It was probably for the best though, considering how much we'd eaten! The drinks were quite expensive, we had 1 large glass of rosé wine each, which were £5.80 each, but so worth it. 

It was brilliant just to get into the spirit of picking dishes and finding out what everything is, and you could easily keep track of how much you were spending. The only problem i encountered was trying to grab the attention of staff to ask for a hot dish or for the bill, but there are 'help' buttons that you can press that will get the staff's attention and get them to come over, but we didn't realise until we'd been sat waiting for who knows how long. If you've only ever had supermarket sushi, GO HERE because it'll change how you look at it forever.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Simple Goats Cheese and Beetroot Salad

Serves 1

I just whipped up this salad for lunch. It's so much more satisfying than the beans on toast my boyfriend had! So quick and simple to do. 


large handful of rocket
1 small  cooked beetroot
around the same amount of goats cheese as beetroot
little bit of olive oil
balsamic glaze (from a bottle, naughty)


ovenproof dish (I used a tin plate)
small knife


- Pre-heat the oven to around 180C. Using a small knife, chop up the beetroot into smallish chunks and put onto the ovenproof dish. drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and put into the middle of the oven.

- Meanwhile, take a large handful of rocket and place into the bowl. Cut up the goats cheese into small cubes, and sprinkle over the rocket. 

- After 5-7 minutes, take the beetroot out of the oven (n.b. roasting the beetroot is optional, I prefer it warm). Place the bits of beetroot over the rocket and goats cheese. Finally, drizzle the balsamic glaze (you could also use a balsamic reduction, but I don't have a recipe for it yet) over the top of it all, and enjoy.

Et voila!

Miller and Carter Steakhouse Cheshire Oaks

On Thursday (30th September), me and my family went to have an impromptu meal out. As Cheshire Oaks is very local to us, it doesn't take much to drive down there and have our pick of many delicious restaurants. I personally LOVE going out for meals and could go out every day, but I don't think my bank account could really handle it.

We decided on going to the Miller and Carter Steakhouse, primarily because my mother eats nothing but steak, and as it was my treat (more fool me...) there was no competition. We walked in the door and we all pleasantly surprised; it wasn't what I was expecting at least. Very spacious and filled with tables, but not too cramped. We were shown to a table (a booth, lucky us!) and offered drinks straight away. Obviously I ordered a large glass of the strongest rosé they had. 

The service was very good, our drinks arrived pretty much straight away and not soon after, a waitress came to take our order. Now, it being a steakhouse, I wasn't expecting much choice for me (a bit like at Hickory's) so I was pleasantly surprised when I was spoilt for choice! I ended up sharing calamari with my brother, along with an order of garlic bread for us all for a starter, and for the main I ordered the spring onion risotto. My mother ordered an 8oz sirlion steak with sides of chips and vegetables (which turned out to only be french beans), and my brother had a burger, as always! 

The calamari was very nice, it came with aioli, pretty standard. It wasn't chewy and there weren't tentacles (which I didn't mind because I don't like them). My main of spring onion risotto was quite loose, but I think there was a fair amount of cream in it. It was nice, a little too creamy for my taste, I don't usually like cream in risotto, so it was slightly too rich for me. It came with 2 small goats cheese fritters with complemented the onion in the risotto, the tang of the goats cheese was amazing! 

We finished the night off nicely with some cocktails, of course! Me and my brother both opted for long island iced teas. With it's 5 different alcohols, how can you possibly go wrong?

The price for the food was very reasonable, however drinks were little on the steep side. However, the night was worth it and you couldn't really ask much more!