Thursday, 28 March 2013

Giveaway winners

I've had two giveaways end this week.  The winners of the Cake and Bake show tickets were:

  • Anna
  • Penny
  • Katherine
  • Beth
  • Sarah
They've all been emailed to confirm they have tickets.

The winner of the Thornton's chocolate hamper was Lloyd - I'm told the hamper will be delivered on Saturday morning.

Well done for winning, and thank you to everyone that has entered.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Coffee and Cake - The Arch Cafe, Leeds

We went to The Arch Cafe in Leeds last month to meet Dave and Laura for a long overdue catch up. All profits from the cafe go to Age UK Leeds.

I had a cup of tea and a lovely slice of fruitcake which came with butter and cheese - it was moist enough not to need the butter though.  Because I knew I could hand Missy over for cuddles I opted for tea, which came in a nice (non-drippy) teapot.

Space - Not too bad, a slight squeeze where we sat but nobody minded moving for me to get by with the pram.  Sitting nearer the door would have been easier with the pram.
Price - very reasonable, a plus for my dwindling purse
Baby changing - superb, lovely and clean
Help - very helpful, no problem providing hot water
Coffee - my cup of tea was lovely, I've had coffee there since and that was lovely too
Cake - Delicious, baked fresh on site - the Arch Cafe are now baking cakes from the Clandestine Cake Club book, I've heard nothing but good things about the cake there.

Arch Cafe is definitely very high on my list for going with Missy, we've been back twice since.

Coffee and Cake

Whilst on Maternity Leave I've been enjoying getting out and about with my little one and treating myself to a nice cup of coffee, and usually a piece of cake or a scone to go with it.  My rationale for choosing somewhere is:

Space - can I go there with the pram?
Price - is it stupidly expensive? On mat leave every penny counts.
Baby changing - are there facilities - if yes, how clean are they?
Help - do they mind providing me with hot water to warm the bottle? Is customer service above average?
Coffee - is the coffee nice (prior to having a baby it would have been first consideration)
Cake - are the cakes nice?

I've noticed that whilst the chains can often answer positively for baby changing and usually space, they factor lower for help - starbucks wouldn't let me have the hot water for health and safety reasons, pret charged for the hot water.

I'll be posting my thoughts on places we have been.

Do you have any recommendations of places to go for coffee and cake with a baby in tow?  I get to Leeds and York most weeks, and of course am always out and about in Tadcaster.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Haddock Chowder

I'd normally made chowder with smoked haddock, but we had plain haddock in the freezer and that for me was fine, but it's definitely a more flavoursome dish with smoked haddock.

Now unfortunately I was too hungry to mess about trying to clean the edges of my bowl after slopping the soup when serving, so there isn't a finished article picture of the chowder.  Bad food blogger.

2 fillets of haddock
3 medium potatoes
1 leek
1 pint low salt vegetable stock
skimmed milk (enough to cover the fish for poaching)
1 tin sweetcorn
1 medium onion
fry light

Roughly chop the onion and leek, heat fry light then add the onion and leek to the pan to cook.  Peel the potatoes, chop into cubes and add to the pan.

If the vegetables are starting to stick slightly then add a little bit of water.

Grab another pan, add the frozen fillets to the pan and then pour in enough milk to cover the fillets.  Bring the milk to fast simmering and turn down the heat.  (If you get distracted at this point the milk will boil over.  Not that that happened to me of course...).  Leave to simmer for 10 mins.

Add the vegetable stock and sweetcorn to your soup pan and then leave to simmer until the veggies are soft.

When soft blitz the soup until fairly smooth.  Drain your haddock, reserving a small amount of the poaching milk.

Add the cooked haddock to the soup, use a little of the poaching milk to thin the soup and serve.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Giveaway - Thorntons I love Chocolate Hamper

In another chocolate themed post, I've been offered the opportunity to run a giveaway for Thorntons.

They have lots of great gift ideas on their website, I love the Toffee and Fudge eggs but I'm disappointed they don't have one for my favourite Thornton's product of all... Coffee Creams!  We always buy these for my Mum, I just got her 2 packs for Mother's Day, she gets them at Christmas and for her birthday too.

The hamper contains:

• Continental Milk, White & Dark Collection (300g)
• Moments (250g)
• Chocolate Smothered Toffee Box (525g)
• Continental Viennese Bag (105g)
• Premium Collection (96g)
• Continental Alpini Bag (112g)
• Milk Chocolate Block (90g)

Entries to be made via the Rafflecopter widget below.  The giveaway will run until 26th March 2013.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

Monday, 11 March 2013

Meal Planning Monday

We're having a frugal week this week, with the exception of Wednesday when eating out.  We got a few basics at the supermarket yesterday, have a small veg box coming tomorrow morning, and I need a quick trip to the butchers for some mince.  (I think our butcher is better value than the supermarket).  Not including Wednesday our spend this week should be around £35.

Monday - Pork ragu with bow pasta (leftover or frozen veggies)
Tuesday - Leek and Potato soup (from freezer)
Wednesday - eating out
Thursday - Curried Parsnip soup (veg box)
Friday - Chilli with jacket potatoes (half mince from butchers, storecupboard rest ingredients)
Saturday - Prawn Stir Fry (frozen prawns, frozen stir fry pack and extra veggies from veg box)
Sunday - Cottage pie, purple sprouting broccoli, slimming world roasties, frozen peas

For lunches I'll be having leftovers, omelettes or pasta with mushrooms and philly (we have half a tub left in the fridge).

You can join in with Mrs M's other meal planners here.

Hotel Chocolat Cow Beastie Egg

I was sent a Cow Beastie Egg to review.  The egg comes with mini praline and salted caramel filled eggs.

I love Hotel Chocolat, I know I shouldn't, and should only buy from independent chocolatiers, but I know where I am with Hotel Chocolat - I know that if I'm feeling a bit sad then a slab of Hotel Chocolate will always cheer me up.

Because I'm trying to be a good girl and not have too many syns the only bit I tried were the little eggs.  I'm not a big praline fan but the amount in the little eggs was just spot on for me.  Of course I loved the salted caramel ones, I adore anything with salted caramel in!

Phil had the big egg and really enjoyed it - but who wouldn't enjoy chocolate?

The Easter collection from Hotel Chocolat looks better than I remember last year's being.  I love the hamper, and the extra thick easter eggs.

Have you picked out the Easter egg you want yet?

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Argento wine tasting at Fazenda Rodizio

We've had Fazenda on our list of places to try for a very long time.  We attended a wine master class there a few Monday's ago.  Wine and meat - what could be better?

We were seated, given a short talk on how Fazenda works and then had an introduction to the evening and the wines from the Argento wine rep.  If you haven't been before the set up at Fazenda is very simple - you help yourself to the generous buffet, and then turn your card over to green if you want meat.  The waiting staff then bring round the different meats and serve to you.

We tried two white wines, three red wines and a rose over the evening.

My favourites were the Torrontes white wine and Malbec red wine - the white as a drinking wine, and the red as a good accompaniment to eating wine.

I really enjoyed the food as well as the wine, the salad buffet bar caters for all tastes.  The meat was fantastic, the beef cooked to a nice rare/medium rare, and the waiting staff were great and very patient.  We were coaxed into trying the chicken hearts, and advised to squeeze some lemon juice on them - they were delicious.  

My only slight reservation about Fazenda is the price for vegetarians - £19.50 just to use the buffet is very steep, and might possibly put us off trying it with my parents. (Mum only eats well done beef so sticks to veggie when out).

But I'll definitely go back with Phil again though, all the meat makes it a perfect meal for him.  The next wine master class is 19th March, and if Phil wasn't on call then we'd definitely be going along for that one.