It’s been sooooooooo long since my last giveaway that I can’t even remember what it was! Pancake Day is coming up and to be honest I was supposed to have hosted this giveaway a little while ago (in Jan!) but I’ve got my butt back on track and it’s finally live!
With Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday (Feb 25) fast approaching, it’s time to get back into the kitchen and start cooking or baking! For Christians, Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Lent, traditionally a period of abstinence, associated with clearing your cupboards of goods such as sugar, fats and eggs. Traditionally, pancakes were eaten on this day to use up these foods before the 40-day fasting season of Lent began.
You can find a link to my healthy pancakes recipe here if you’re a little stuck on inspiration. The crepe maker from AO.com was super easy to use and 1-2 spritz of oil goes a long way. I’ve always loved cooking and baking but recently I’ve been very lazy. There’s more recipes you can find here on the blog and this year I’m going to make it one of my goals to add more to it. I think I’m going to try making savoury pancakes this year so make sure you come back to see what I get up to.. of course, the recipe will also be up on the blog. 🙂
Not a big fan of pancakes? No problem, you can always make something else using the same set of ingredients if you want to keep it traditional. You could try making a crepe (French pancake) which is similar to a pancake but is thinner and a little more crispy – it can be served with savoury or sweet toppings.
Healthy hearty Shakshuka / Photo: Unsplash
Banh Xeo – Vietnamese savoury pancakes (egg and gluten free!)
Chocolate protein pancakes
Tasty omelettes / Photo: Unsplash
Crepes; thinner and lighter pancakes / Photo: Unsplash
For other alternatives you could even opt for omelettes or eggy bread (French toast). There’s a neat little recipe in the Kitchen Capers cookbook for the latter. 🙂 For those wanting something a little more healthy with a few more ingredients, try a shukshuka. There’s actually a simple recipe for this in the cookbook too! The word shakshuka comes from Arabic, meaning, “a haphazard mixture” or “all mixed up.”
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can try egg-free pancakes and crepes by using substitutes like flaxseed or chia seed and water which you’ll leave overnight to create that eggy texture. I found this recipe for fluffy vegan pancakes on Tasty.co, check it out! If you prefer savoury, try Vietnamese savoury pancakes, known as banh xeo – they’re eggless and gluten free as the batter is made from rice flour, a little bit of corn flour, tumeric, salt and water. It’s absolutely delish! I can’t believe I haven’t uploaded a recipe on here! I’ll do that soon along with the savoury English pancakes.
WIN! Kitchen Capers cookbook by David Banks
Kitchen Capers is a funny little cookbook filled with lots of tasty recipes made simple. It’s great for people who don’t want to faff around with complex jargon and boring text. Every recipe is laid out in comic strips which are nice to look at and good to have a little giggle. The kids and I certainly did at some of the comic strips!
(V) this coconut curry contains fish which you can omit for a full vegetarian dish
So in The Greenwich Mummy’s household, Daddy P recently decided to stop eating meat products, adopting a pescetarian diet. I, however, still enjoy my meat products on top of our new food diet. The popular new label for people like me is ‘flexitarian’ – someone who is semi-vegetarian and enjoys vegetarian meals but still consumes all animal, fish, egg and dairy products.
Being Vietnamese, I love my meat dishes but we also have a lot of healthy vegetarian dishes too which is a nice balance. Our little family have been on this pescetarian diet for about 4 months now and the transition has been really smooth. The kids don’t mind it and Daddy P has done really well considering he was the biggest meat-eater out of all of us. He hasn’t missed eating meat at all! I guess because we’re still eating fish, shellfish, egg and dairy products we’ve still got a wide variety of protein sources in our diet so it’s not too noticeable. Some may even say cutting out red meat is a healthy thing to do.
A curry is a great dish to enjoy any time of the year, similar to soups, but I especially love it in the winter and the summer. Winter because you can have a mean hearty curry to get you through the cold nights. Summer is a great time for curries because you can make it taste as light and as fresh as you like.
I originally wanted to make a haddock and butternut squash cashew curry but my local Sainsbury’s had run out of butternut squash so I bought some sweet potato instead and came up with this recipe. It tasted fantastic! I’m afraid my photos don’t do this dish any justice so you’ll have to just take my word for it. 🙂 It tastes like a cross between a Thai curry and a creamy fish dish. If you like your curry with heat, add in some chilli flakes but I preferred mine mild so made it without any spices.
Haddock, sweet potato and vegetable coconut curry recipe
2-3 haddock fillets (leave this out to make it a vegetarian/vegan dish)
3-4 whole carrots, sliced
a handful of green beans (frozen or fresh)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 onion, sliced or diced
1 vegetable stock cube
2 tsp mild curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
1-2 tbsp sunflower oil for frying
200ml coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
On a medium heat, add the oil to the pan and fry onions until soft then add the sweet potatoes and fry for a further 7mins until soft but firm inside.
Add the dry seasoning (curry powder, garam masala, cumin, salt and pepper) then add the veggie stock cube to 100ml water and pour into the pan. Let everything simmer for about 15mins.
Add in the fish, veg and coconut milk and simmer for a further 7-10mins or until the fish is cooked and falling apart (flaky looking).
I went along to my local IKEA Greenwich store last week for a foodie workshop event called “Waste Not, Want Not”. It was hosted by the lovely Melissa Hemsley (from Hemsley + Hemsley) and was about making the most with food and learning throw nothing away.
We were ushered into the sleek kitchen showroom by Maria from IKEA Greenwich who ticked us off the registration list as we entered. Melissa poured us all a glass of water, sparkling lemon or lingonberry mixed cordial which looked lovely but I stuck with the lemon which was refreshing. We were then told that we were going to receive Melissa’s latest cookbook, Eat Happy as a gift which was a wonderful surprise! She also happily signed it for each and every one of us. 🙂
The event night
Melissa then introduced herself to us and talked about her love for cooking and how she lives by the “waste not, want not” motto which was the take-home message of this workshop. Growing up with strong Filipino traditions and culture, she explained to us that her mother made sure she never wasted food. I think it must be an Asian thing as I always remember my parents saying the same thing to me when I was young and as a result, I too rarely waste food. I always had to finish my bowl of food and was never allowed to throw it away… or else there’d be trouble!
The workshop was supposed to include a live cooking demo but because of some technical issues with the cooker it didn’t happen so instead we got lots of tips and advice from Melissa on how to build a ‘waste not want not food bowl’ from unwanted bits and bobs sitting in the fridge (there’s also a recipe for this in the Eat Happy cookbook).
Food glorious food
She constructed a simple, beautifully presented bowl filled with chickpeas, boiled eggs, radishes, green beans, a leafy salad and feta cheese – all topped off with a light dressing. I love healthy food bowls but never really knew how to construct it properly so seeing it done was very helpful.
We all chatted about food and how some foods can have so many ways of cooking it or eating it. For example when eating an orange, instead of throwing the rind away, zest it and use the shavings to infuse sugar or add it to another dish. Alternatively you can even save the rind and use it as potpourri.
Banana and apple bread bake
During our chat, Melissa pointed out the delicious cake that caught everyone’s attention; the banana and apple bread bake! She posted up the recipe on her instagram page @melissa.hemsley the following day and I was keen to give it a try. It smelled so so divine at the workshop, I knew I had to get back to baking.
The banana bread bake came out so soft and fluffy. I don’t know if that’s how soft it’s supposed to be but I love it like that. Occasionally a heavy stodgy banana bread hits the spot but this evening a lighter version was perfect. I decided to make mine a little different and changed the recipe slightly – simply because I didn’t have all the ingredients at home so just made it up as I went along which turned out great!
Here’s my adapted version of Melissa’s banana and apple bread bake. To make this yummy dish vegan-friendly, simply swap out the eggs for a chia or flax seed mix, or another egg substitute. To make it gluten-free Melissa suggested quinoa or buckwheat flakes. If you’re allergic to nuts, use only coconut flour if you’re okay with coconuts otherwise you can try it with another flour – perhaps polenta or millet.
3 ripe medium-sized bananas
1 apple; 3/4 grated for the bake and 1/4 sliced for decoration
50g ground almonds
25g coconut flour
100g rolled oats
4 medium eggs (for a vegan alternative, swap for chia seeds or egg substitute)
150g coconut oil
1tsp baking powder
1tsp allspice seasoning
1tbs brown sugar
(bake using the same instructions as the original recipe)
Preheat oven to 180C/350F or gas mark 4
Add all ingredients (apart from the bananas and apple) together in a blender and blitz until smooth
Add in banana and apple and blitz further to your desired consistency (with or without lumps)
Pour into a lined loaf tin and add the decoration apple slices
Bake on the middle shelf for 50mins
Do the knife test to ensure the bread bake has thoroughly cooked inside then leave on rack to cool
There’s so many different ways to recreate this banana bread and that’s the real beauty of it. I’m thinking of adding in chocolate chips or orange rind next time too to spice it up a little bit more! 🙂
I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by! New Year celebrations are a great way of getting everyone together, especially if it’s with family and loved ones. I’ve been actively trying to be less consumed by social media but it’s pretty hard when as soon as you open instagram, a million and one fabulous places pop up and then your bucket list of places to go just gets longer.
I created this post because I wanted to share some of my favourite places and some insta-famous places in London where you can get something to eat (or perhaps drink). I’ve only been to a couple but committed to getting out more and exploring these wonderful places.
The most instagrammable places & restaurants to eat in London
Bob Bob Ricard, Soho Best known for… the champagne button
After being introduced to this restaurant by my best friend it’s now become one of my favourite restaurants. It’s fine dining so slightly pricey but the portions are generous. It’s not child-friendly so be aware if you have young children and wanted to dine with them,. Under 14s are not permitted at BBR however if you’re planning a meal with friends or a loved one, it’s a fabulous place to eat. The food cuisine is Russian and British which threw me off at the beginning but it’s fantastic and everything is cooked with perfection.
We went here for Daddy P’s 30th birthday (see photos of our day) and I was blown away again by the opulent decor and good food. Our favourite thing to order was the pelmeni for the starter, mariner’s fish pie and lobster mash for the mains and for dessert, the BBR signature chocolate glory which looks amazing and eating it is really a little experience in itself! The waiter/waitress comes over to drizzle hot chocolate sauce over your beautiful gold ball to reveal the delicious goodness inside… amazing!
The Ivy Chelsea Garden, Chelsea Best known for… the floral installations
I’m sure anyone who passes the doors of The Ivy Chelsea Garden is bound to be tempted to take a photo. Look at the glorious arrangement – it always looks so opulent and beautiful! For this festive season, they’ve kitted it out in the style of a gingerbread house – check it out on their instagram page, @ivychelsgarden
I have been to the Ivy Cafe in Blackheath and really loved the environment. The Chelsea Garden branch is like a super-magnified version of that – all the photos of the interior decor is amazing and so beautiful. However if you’re not a big fan of botanical plants and flowers, it may not be the best place to eat for you. It really does feel like you’re dining in a garden at The Ivy.
Élan Cafe, various locations Best known for… the pretty pink flower wall
Élan cafe, also known as EL&N (Eat, Love & Nourish) must be one of the ULTIMATE pink cafes that is known for it’s insta-worthy status. I love the style of this cafe and it really is one of the prettiest cafe in London – it’s definitely the pinkest! It’s a great place to go for an all girls catch-up.
As they don’t have a reservation system, you can end up queuing for a while as it’s really popular with models, influencers, bloggers and anyone wanting a piece of the insta-worthy-selfie-pie. Turnover for your table for 1.5-2hrs max so don’t think that you’ll be able to spend a whole afternoon at this gorgeous place.
8. Little Miss’ bday brunch at Elan Cafe
The prices are really high (somewhat extortionate for some drinks) so it’s a place for a treat than a regular coffee spot. You’re looking at £6 for a matcha latte, £4.50-4.80 for a regular latte or cappuccino and snack bites start from £5. I’m not a massive fan of their food, drinks are okay but the winning dessert has to be their giant strawberry macaron which actually tastes as good as it looks. They are almost everywhere with their 8th store opening at Bicester Village shopping outlet.
SushiSamba, Bishopsgate Best known for… the bamboo ceiling & the drinks
A great place to eat, drink, and party! Sushi Samba is a very popular place to go after work and even more so on the weekends. The decor is simple but very stylish – I really love the bamboo ceiling, it’s something you don’t normally see with London architecture. I haven’t been here yet so hard to comment on the nightlife here but everyone has told me the atmosphere is very lively and amazing.
Sky Garden, Fenchurch Street Best known for… the rooftop garden
Sky Garden is a rooftop garden in the middle of the city which you can visit for free but entry needs to be pre-booked online. You also need to make sure you have a valid form of photo identification to enter. Families and children are permitted to enter but under 16s are not permitted to enter without an accompanying adult. There are several restaurants and bars at Sky Garden including the Fenchurch restaurant and the Darwin Brasserie which overlooks the garden.
It’s a great place to visit which is on my to-do list but as the entry is so popular, the free tickets always sell out before I can book them. Admissions go live on their website every Monday for two weeks ahead. It’s only an hour’s admission but if you can book yourself into one of the bars or restaurants, your entry to the Sky Garden is free. Be aware, the temperature is similar to the weather outside so if it’s a cold day, wrap up warm as it’ll be chilly inside the Sky Garden too.
Aqua Shard, London Bridge Best known for… the views of London
I have only been here once for a friend’s birthday but the food was great and the views were even better. Service was good and the food tasted delicious but slightly on the small side for me. It’s not a place where you can arrive hungry and expect to leave feeling full or with a food baby. You need to have something light to eat beforehand to leave feeling ‘content’. The tables are lovely and even if you’ve not got a window seat you can still catch a glimpse of the skyline.
If you’re planning to head here for just the drinks, the bar area gets really busy. Not ideal if you’re short like me because everyone else felt like they were towering over me with their sky-high stilettos. Some advice – if you’re dining in the evening, dress to impress. It’s a formal dress code so make sure you’re looking glamorous!
Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden Best known for… the romantic setting
A restaurant after my own heart. Look at that romantic atmosphere, the ceiling is adorned with fairy lights and cheery blossoms… and with the fireplace blazing… absolutely beautiful! It’s been dubbed as ‘World’s Most Romantic Restaurant’ and it’s not hard to see why!
Clos Maggiore serves contemporary French cuisine. I haven’t dined here but my sister has and she said she loved the setting but not a fan of the food. Check out their menu before booking so you’re not disappointed because it’s not the cheapest place to dine either.
Palm Vaults, Hackney Best known for… the vegan cakes, hanging plants & rainbow lattes
I first came across this cafe through a friend – she posted an instagram story of her pink latte and I instantly fell in love… after that I was on the hunt for pink lattes. I love matcha lattes and before rainbow lattes were popular, the hulk-looking latte was the only coffee alternative you could get. At the cafe, I tried either the velvet rose or pink velvet tonic latte (the difference is rosewater in the velvet rose one) which tasted okay but not what I expected. However, their pink latte was so so much better than the one at Élan cafe and for a cheaper price too!
I also tried the ‘blue moon’ tea latte (Thai butterfly tea, lavender, oat milk) and it was AMAZING! I would definitely order this one again as it tasted like a mild lavender latte – really delicious and it tastes nice. The vegan cakes are delicious and the icing doesn’t taste overly sweet. Check out Sweet Monday’s review of Palm Vaults for an idea of what to expect. This place is currently one of my favourite vegan cafes.
The Oval at the Wellesley, Knightsbridge Best known for… the fine dining experience
I’ve only just discovered this place and it looks amazing. It looks really fancy so I don’t think it’s a place you’d feel comfortable cam-whoring at but a shot like the one above would be dreamy!
The Wellesley also have a jazz lounge where they have live piano music playing daily and serve afternoon tea. Again, it’s another pricey place to eat but the menu looks good.
Sketch London, Mayfair Best known for… The Gallery aka David Shrigley’s pink room
This is one place I am dying to go! According to Secret London, Sketch is one of the most beautiful restaurants in London. Again, not a cheap eaterie but it’s different compared to your usual dining experience. Afternoon tea here in The Gallery aka the pink room, surrounded with artwork and crockery commissioned by David Shrigley is amazing. The cute little tea cups, tea pots and plates are labelled with creative text (they are also available to buy!) and the sandwiches and pastries look good… and very instagrammable indeed!
9. Afternoon tea at Sketch London
*updated review* I went here with a girl friend for afternoon tea and I can say it was a lovely experience, the food was very tasty and you can get endless refills on teas and sandwiches however I wasn’t a big fan of the atmosphere – slightly pretentious and everyone seemed more concerned with taking selfies or photos of their food than actually eating it.
Tonight Josephine, Waterloo Best known for… the cocktails & THAT neon sign
Okay, so this one is not really a restaurant or place to eat but it is DEFINITELY one of the most instagrammable places in London! Tonight Josephine is a new and trendy bar that popped up in Waterloo. They have another trendy bar opening soon in Shoreditch which will also be kitted out in the same pink glitzy glamour.
I’m not a drinker so I haven’t been but my other sister went for a night out with her girls here and they absolutely loved it. Banging tunes, fantastic cocktails and mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails) and of course, loads of chances to cam-whore with the surroundings and especially those insta-famous neon signs. Just type in the hashtag #tonightjosephine on instagram and you’ll see what I’m on about!
I hope you like the list!
If you have any suggestions of other instagrammable places to eat in London, let me know. I’ll add it to my bucket list of restaurants to visit!
Bill’s restaurant first opened their doors in 2001. Since then, there’s over 20 Bill’s restaurants in London and UK. Recently, all of their stores have undergone a revamp and adopted a beautiful, tropical vibe. We were lucky enough to be invited to Bill’s Greenwich for an evening out and had a fabulous dinner. The food was fantastic and the service was faultless.
We arrived at 5pm for our booked table. We were greeted by our waiter, Kieran then sat by the window. Kieran checked if we needed highchairs for the kids. The decor is beautiful, I really love how they’ve revamped the place. It looks like a modern, urban-tropical oasis. I really loves all the potted plants surrounding the restaurant. Little man loved the bird ornaments and animal paintings. The plus velvety chairs were super comfy and the leather booths looked really good too.
The restaurant’s vibe was chilled and casual enough to bring a young family without feeling weird and out-of-place. My two monsters can be extremely loud and noisy sometimes so we’d normally only go to places that have a busy vibe (think Nandos)… it was definitely different for us but in a good way.
The restaurant floor had soft mood lighting which I love because it adds so much ambience to the place but Daddy P wasn’t a fan. He prefers a well-lit setting “so he can see what he’s eating”. If you’re like my hubby then heading out here earlier would be a better choice as the natural sunlight floods in during the day.
We had a good amount of time to choose from the menu without feeling rushed. Looking around, I can see all the staff were being very attentive to each of their guests. Our water glasses were refilled regularly and our orders were taken swiftly. Food arrived in good time too.
We took advantage of the kids set menu for our little monsters and ordered the macaroni cheese for the mains and a chocolate mousse and strawberry ice cream for desserts. For myself and Daddy P, I ordered the oak-smoked ribs and he had the seafood and red pepper stew (Thursday special).
From ordering to service, it was about 15-20mins which is really quick but maybe this was because Thursday nights are slightly quieter than other nights.
When the food arrived, we were not disappointed. It looked and smelt amazing! The kids’ food arrived first then ours. I had a little taste of the macaroni and it was nice, cheesy and creamy. I expected the iron dishes they came in to be super hot but they were not too bad, warm enough for little hands to hold and enjoy.
Then my ribs and fries arrived… man,it was full! There were lots of ribs and a generous portion of sweet potato fries. I didn’t enjoy the red cabbage slaw as it was very bitter. I tried to mix it with mayo to make it palatable but it couldn’t be saved.
In the end it didn’t matter because the ribs were cooked to perfection! Melt-in-your-mouth ribs… it was heavenly. I don’t normally order ribs so I’m glad I took a gamble.
Daddy P was thrilled with his seafood and red pepper stew. It came with a side of saffron aioli toast. I had a little taste of his stew and I must say, it was a good choice.
I was slightly envious of his stew. The prawns were large and cooked well and the stew was divine – so flavoursome. Daddy P is a fussy pescatarian so there’s a lot of dishes he’s not a fan of (including tomato-based stews) but he was so happy with it, he couldn’t stop raving about it!
His only feedback would be that there wasn’t enough toast to go with the stew. It’s a generous stew portion but he had only about 4 or 5 thinly-sliced sticks of toast to dip with. We ended up ordering extra bread because Daddy P said he couldn’t continue enjoying his meal without it. 🙂
Kieran, our waiter came to check on us at timely intervals to make sure we were enjoying our meal (which we were!) and topped up with water. We also ended up ordering a side of chips for the kids because they were still a little hungry after the macaroni cheese.
For kids with big appetites, the portion size is very small but for us, it was okay.
I’m sure the burger and chips or fish fingers with chips and peas would be more filling. As the kids set menu is a two course meal, we picked one of each dessert for them. We knew they wouldn’t finish it but ordered it nevertheless.
I decided not to order my own dessert in the end because I was still so full from the ribs. It was a much bigger portion than I anticipated. Daddy P ordered the cinnamon doughnuts for himself but we ended up sharing because he couldn’t finish it either! 🙂
There was about 6 doughnuts and after eating two, Daddy P was struggling. I helped out of course and ate three, then he devoured the rest with a little encouragement. The doughnuts tasted like little balls of fried, sugary, heavenly goodness. They come with two dipping sauces; caramel and chocolate. They tasted like a cross between dinky doughnuts and churros. I ordered a hot chocolate with cream which was nice and the whipped cream was light and fluffy.
We’ll be back… We loved the atmosphere, the food and the staff. We can now have a good family night out that won’t break the bank, especially being with it so close to Christmas.
There’s an upstairs area which is well-lit and has ‘The Ivy Cafe’ feel about it. I’ve visited the Blackheath branch and I’m sure they have the same green wall paint and mirrored hanging. For Daddy P, I have requested for an upstairs seat due to the lighting but personally, I prefer the mood lighting downstairs. it’s way more romantic. 🙂
Why Bill’s Greenwich is a great place:
Beautiful decor and a chilled casual vibe
Friendly, attentive staff
Generous portions of delicious food
Very affordable, especially for families
The perfect place for every occasion – be it a family dinner, social gathering, catch-up with friends, after-work drinks with colleagues or a date night
(We didn’t drink but the cocktails ordered by the table beside us looked amazing!)
NB. We were invited to Bill’s Greenwich for a complimentary meal in exchange for a blog review. All words, photos and content are my own. Any photos that are not mine have been credited respectively.
A little while ago I was sent some of these natural energy drinks to try out. I am really sorry it’s taken me so long to get round to posting this review but I guess I got a little lazy overwhelmed with all the other stuff that’s been going on in my life, at home and at work.
Today’s also the first day since January that I’ve been able to sit at the computer for more than 15mins without having to run off and do something else. I had also hit a writing block and didn’t feel like writing for ages. I’ve got like 5 posts in my drafts – started but nowhere near finished but I’m determined to get working on them soon and getting them out.
Flyte drink review
Flyte’s packaging: I really like the packaging of the Flyte energy drinks. The glass bottle and matte black packaging looks very modern and sleek. It’s nothing like the packaging you would normally find on standard energy drinks like Redbull and Monster. It’s also not in a horrible metal can which makes it even more sophisticated. The hoarder part of me wanted to keep the bottles – yes, to me they were that pretty.
The energy I experienced from drinking Flyte: I tried the drinks on different days after doing different things; I tried one at home before gym, one post-workout at the gym and one when I was just leisurely at home. I found that when I tried it before gym it didn’t really do anything for me – no buzz no nothing. I got really tired as I usually do when I’m strength training with weights and thought the energy drink could help me but it didn’t.Then another day when I tried it after my strength training workout, it actually helped! Post-workout I always feel really exhausted as my muscles have been worked to their max and are fatigued which zaps my energy levels. I purposely didn’t eat anything to drank my Flyte drink and around 30 minutes later I didn’t feel as tired as I normally did. I didn’t feel super-energetic either but the little lift I got was enough to get me out of my mid-morning/afternoon slump.
The day I tried Flyte when not working out and just being at home I felt like it gave me a little bit of energy to sustain myself longer than usual. As a full-time mum with two kids under five, I am always exhausted and this drink helped see me through to the evening. I was pleasantly surprised. I wish I had a little collection of Flyte drinks lying around for days like these because they did keep me going.
The flavour: out of the three flavours I tried, the berry flavour was my favourite followed by the tangerine then the lemon. The taste is very light and fruity; it was really nice because I was expecting that sharp sugary taste like how energy drinks normally are.
Flyte enery drinks are made without added sugars and sweeteners and contain natural -fruit juices which is much healthier and better for everyone. One of the other reasons why I dislike energy drinks is the sugar content. Being a previous gestational diabetes sufferer, I am very conscious about my sugar levels. With Flyte, I know that I can enjoy an energy drink without having to worry about spiking my blood sugar levels.
Comparison of Flyte as a coffee alternative: as a BIG coffee lover and drinker, I don’t think I will be swapping my morning cappuccinos Flyte but that’s mainly because I am not an energy drinker. If you love drinking energy drinks then this drink needs to be on your shopping list. It’s healthier, cleaner and full of natural ingredients so why say no?
I would happily purchase this drink if I wasn’t in a coffee and was looking for something refreshing and light instead of a soft drink. For me it makes a great soft drink alternative and I look forward to seeing Flyte energy drink more readily available in the local stores.
NB. I was sent three complimentary Flyte energy drinks in exchange for this blog review post. All words, content and photos are my own – photos that are not mine are credited respectively.
Being on my fitness journey, I have learnt that being healthy is not about restricting yourself or cutting out foods, it’s about making better food choices but also allowing yourself to eat freely from time to time. That is what makes healthy eating more sustainable.
I don’t believe in all the ‘clean eating’ stuff, I’m more of the flexible IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) eating kinda gal. 🙂 Even sometimes macro counting goes out of the window for me. I still make conscious decisions to watch my carb intake – not because I don’t want to eat a lot of carbs – but because of my gestational diabetes diagnoses in both pregnancies I just want to err on the cautious side of things.
Last week I visited this lovely new steak restaurant, Beefeater Woolwich. Woolwich Arsenal has undergone a series of redevelopments to sass up the area. Not a bad thing as it’s nice to bring fresh people to the area but I can’t help feeling like eventually my lovely rough-around-the-edges town will become fully gentrified. Last year’s Marks and Spencer relaunch was nice to witness because there’d always been an M&S in Woolwich so it was welcomed back with open arms. However I am not so sure if the same can be said for some of the other new food places that have cropped up there.
First Impressions Beefeater in Woolwich is located on the main road underneath its Premier Inn hotel counterpart. I suppose quite a few of the hotel residents would dine here are its the closest restaurant to the hotel (Nandos is second) that opens late enough for food in Woolwich. From the outside, the restaurant looks quite modest and blends in well with the surroundings, only the giant signage gives away their location. My table was booked for 6:30pm and by then it was already dark outside so luckily the brightly lit sign helped me find my way to the restaurant entrance.
I went along as a lone diner as my dining partner (my sister) had to drop out at the last minute. I didn’t mind but felt a little apprehensive because I have never really dined alone and just had visions of being seen as a loner whilst everyone else was sitting with their friends and family eating, laughing and having fun. Much to my surprise, it wasn’t that bad. I was greeted by a lovely member of staff who escorted me to my table. I told her I was dining alone and she sat me opposite the open kitchen and said that the booth is popular with people who dine alone and work/business diners who need to use their laptops whilst lunching/dining. That made me feel a little bit more at ease.
The interior decor has a modern rustic look with wooden panels and a mix of leather sofas and fabric chairs. I really liked the industrial-inspired lighting and beef cuts hanging decoration. I also loved my view of the open kitchen, I would definitely ask to be seated in the same place I sat.
From hindsight, the options I chose may not appeal to everyone but I really enjoyed my dishes. After speaking with my sister, she made a big deal about not combining seafood with steak – I didn’t know that was even a thing but there you go. Lesson learnt. The food was good, the portions were very generous and the price was affordable. I would definitely recommend Beefeater Woolwich to anyone who is local, travelling to the area or staying nearby. It’s our first steak restaurant in the area and I am sure they will become a popular choice for families wanting to eat out.
As soon as I was sat down, the host took my drinks order; I don’t drink so just went for a diet cola and a glass of water. For starters, I ordered the garlic prawn pan – I really fancied something not too heavy and you can’t really go wrong with grilled prawns. The starter took about 7-10 mins to arrive and it was lovely, hot and well presented.
The prawns were cooked well, not overdone nor under-cooked and I used the bread to dip the sauce that was in the pan. It tasted fresh and slightly buttery, I couldn’t really taste the garlic so my suggestion would be not to be scared of using a bit more to bring out the garlic flavour – after all, it is called garlic prawn pan. It took me 5 minutes or less to demolish the dish. I was hungry. It tasted good and I wanted more. There was decent amount of prawns in there and not a measly amount like 3-4 prawns which you can sometimes get in other restaurants. My plates were cleared relatively quickly by my waitress as I waited for my main course. I opted for the Beefeater Surf ‘n’ Turf with the prawn and lobster sauce and swapped my triple-cooked chips for sweet potato chips.
“All our steaks are served with half a slow-roasted tomato, grilled mushroom, Lamb’s lettuce and unlimited triple cooked chips.” Beefeater menu
I had my steak cooked medium-well and it came out beautifully. The steak was tender, juicy and not bloody at all but still nice and pinkish inside. The king prawns were also very tasty but less can be said for the prawn and lobster sauce. I knew I should’ve chosen the peppercorn sauce but wanted to be different. All I could think was the saying “stick to what you know” because that really would’ve been the best option. The sauce didn’t taste much like prawn or lobster but more of just a mild creamy sauce. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t fantastic either. The flavour of the sauce was just not strong enough.
I ordered creamed spinach as a side which I’ve had at restaurants before and loved but this time it was a little more overdone than I would’ve liked. The spinach did not have the texture as I was used to – it was more like an okra texture – good thing I love okra! I’ve never tried making creamed spinach but I guess it’s not easy as it would be so easy to overcook spinach. It was still tasty nevertheless so it didn’t bother me too much.
The grilled mushroom was amazing – the taste was lovely and cooked perfectly. I didn’t think the mushroom would taste that nice but it did! The sweet potato chips were nice but I wished they were presented in a small bowl instead of on the main plate. I love chips that have a crunch on the outside but about 80% of my chips were either soggy or soft due to the moisture of them. Perhaps sweet potato chips soak up more juice than triple-cooked chips so I don’t think other diners would have the same problem. If I had this dish again I would ask for my chips to be served in a separate bowl. I left the salad leaves and grilled tomato as I’m not a fan of them but they looked tasty and fresh.
I was really full after finishing the main course. I did really struggle to eat all of my chips but ate the majority of them because I don’t like to waste food and didn’t want to be hungry when I got home. I had to think twice about ordering dessert and was stuck between choosing the lighter chocolate torte and the chocolate brownie. With the recommendation of the host, I went for the brownie. Calorie and macro counting had already gone out of the window by now so I wasn’t bothered – I just wanted something nice and sweet to end my evening.
The host gave me some breathing time before taking my dessert order which was great. It gave my belly enough time to settle and make some room for something sweet. 🙂 When the brownie arrived it looked amazing, it was very well presented. The chocolate brownie slice was of a generous portion and so was the ice cream. The chocolate sauce drizzle looked so pretty and executed with precision. I tucked into my brownie and was not disappointed.
The brownie was rich, soft and moist on the inside and slightly firmer on the outside – like how brownies should be. The ice cream was very milky and mildly vanilla flavoured which complimented the richness of the brownie. A well-balanced dessert I thought. A coffee would’ve been great for after dessert but as I was getting tired, I decided to skip the coffee and head off home.
I like this place. It’s good food, well priced for its portion size and has a lovely family-friendly atmosphere. I would definitely go back again.
Toddler snack brand, Organix have teamed up with Chessington World of Adventures Resorts to offer little explorers (and adults too!) a chance to go free. You can find the vouchers on the packaging of Organix snack packs, I found mine on the Organix Goodies bars. Each voucher entitles one adult or one child free entry to the park and the Gruffalo ride with one full paying adult on the day. The voucher can’t be used in conjunction with any other offer and full T&Cs can be found online at Chessington.com/organix.
We’re planning to use our voucher this Halloween half term as Chessington has some spooky special events on this October. I’ll write up a post shortly on our trip to Chessington if we end up going. 🙂
To celebrate their new partnership, Organix have come up with this little healthy recipe, a Gruffalo themed muffin tin meal so little ones can recreate the story with their food…
Sliced Organix Goodies Apple & Date Fruit Bar (Terrible Teeth)
Sliced roast chicken breast (Roasted Fox)
Or for a vegetarian option, replace the chicken breast with 18g sliced cheddar cheese, cut into triangles (Terrible Claws)
How to Make:
Prepare your ingredients; make the potato wedges using the recipe below, cook the peas, lightly steam the carrot, chop the fruit bar into 5 pieces, slice the chicken breast or cheddar cheese if using.
Place small portions of each ingredient into silicone or paper cupcake cases.
Pop them on a platter, plate or into a 6 hole muffin tin to serve.
Simple Potato Wedges Recipe
250g new potatoes
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to season (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200°C (Gas mark 6/390°F).
Scrub the potatoes in cold water then pat dry. Slice each potato into 4 or 6 wedges, (depending on potato size).
Place in a roasting tin and drizzle over the olive oil. Season with a little salt and pepper if using.
Shake the tin until the potatoes are coated in the oil.
Put the tin in the oven to cook for 20-25 minutes, taking out and shaking every 10 minutes to help the potatoes cook evenly.
Take out when slightly golden and enjoy!!
NB. This is collaborative post. The above recipes were provided for me by Organix to raise awareness for their latest campaign with Chessington World of Adventures Resorts. The photos have been provided for me by the PR team and other images have been credited respectively.
A warm welcome…
A few weeks ago I was invited to World Vision’s launch for their new campaign, Share A Meal. As it was a food event that included a live cooking demo with British Bake Off finalist Selasi, I decided to invite my bestie and pastry-chef-turned-mumpreneur Dinah (@DinahsDesserts) who’s a BIG fan of the guy.
‘Share A Meal’ is World Vision’s latest campaign that’s all about bringing people together with food, sharing each other’s good company and helping out others at the same time. The Share a Meal launch was held in Covent Garden. There was a speech from the fundraising director of World Vision as well as a speech from Great British Bake-Off star, Selasi Gbormittah. Selasi spoke about his experience in Uganda and meeting the people in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement.
He mentioned about their living conditions and the food shortage which was very shocking – the food crisis meant that every person could only have the following rations for the whole month:
6kg sorghum/maize grains
1/5kg corn soy blend
300ml vegetable oil
… and that’s it. Nothing else – no meat, no poultry, no fish.
It’s not really a meal at all, if anything it just about meets the basic needs for the body’s macronutrients (grains for carbs, oil for fat, and legumes for protein). I wouldn’t like to live on this kind of diet but for those South Sudanese refugees there’s really no other option for them. Men, women, children and even babies are all subject to this diet which is why a lot of the younger children are suffering from severe malnutrition. Selasi explained to us that they do try and grow their own fruit and veg but what’s produced is only half-decent enough to eat. He also joked that when he cooks at home he enjoys seasoning his food but when he was at the settlement the only form of seasoning that was available was salt and the people had to add a lot of it to make the food tasty as the taste of sorghum is very bitter.
Live cooking demo with Selasi Canapés and drinks were flowing once the speeches had ended. Dinah and I got a chance to speak to many people including the digital/social media team of World Vision who put on the fabulous event as well as a couple of the ambassadors of the charity. Just before Selasi wrapped up his speech to start cooking, he said something that everyone in the room agreed on which was “everybody loves food” and boy, is he 100% spot on!
Selasi showed us how to make a simple yet tasty dish, chicken satay sticks. They were very tasty and easy to make – it took about 15 mins in total (about 5mins prep and 10mins cooking) and had everyone waiting eagerly to have a bite.
“Share A Meal is a delicious opportunity for you to get together with others this autumn, to share good company, good and conversation – and to help vulnerable children at the same time.” – World Vision
Share A Meal with The Greenwich Mummy! I will be hosting my own Share A Meal event mid-October – the date is still to be decided but it will either be the 2nd or 3rd weekend of the month and I will be rustling up some good homemade Vietnamese food of course! I have to take it back to my roots for such an event.
I will be posting the full recipes on the blog during that week and hopefully vlog the meal for you guys too! I’ll also be going live on social media for the meal so don’t forget to watch it on my Instagram live at @mannyngo.
It’s so easy and for such a great cause. As Selasi said, everybody loves food so this is an event that bound to go down a treat. Gather your friends and family together, cook a meal then perhaps get them to donate what they think the meal would be worth. Even raising just as little as £10 can help a lot…
[ £10 ]
could help train three volunteers to support new breastfeeding mums
[ £32 ] could help a mum learn to prepare nutritious and healthy meals for her family
[ £93 ]
could train a new village health worker, to reach vulnerable new mums and babies in the most remote communites in Uganda
Just download the Share A Meal pack from the World Vision website. While you’re on there you can also enter the competition to share a meal with GBBO Selasi himself. 🙂 Fancy that! I’m sure my bestie Dinah has already entered… *wink wink* (PS. she may kill me when she sees that last comment.. love you girl!)
get involved here
NB. This post was written to help raise awareness for World Vision’s new campaign, Share A Meal. All of the words, opinions and content are my own with World Vision press photos credited respectively.
In a world full of choices especially when it comes to food, you’re basically spoilt with choice. This can sometimes make buying the most simplest of things difficult.
Olive oil is something that I’ve onlyrecently discovered funnily enough as I have never previously thought about cooking with it. I always assumed it was used for dressings only. However, when I started looking into it, olive oil has a multitude of uses but you need to first figure out which kind you need. For example, extra virgin olive oil is best for dressings and dips, not for cooking or baking.
Jamie’s Italian came up with fun and useful infographic which breaks down the different kinds of olive oils available, the types of tastes and flavours they have and where the majority of the good stuff comes from.
I mainly use pure olive oil as I mainly use oil for cooking/frying/sautéeing and rarely for anything else. I am yet to purchase extra virgin olive oil for dipping bread and drizzling on salad although I may have to think about doing so as salad dressings can be very calorific whereas a simple dressing made up of olive oil, lemon (or basalmic vinegar) and black pepper is not only tasty, it’s also cheaper, easy to make and healthier.
Olive oil: thebuyers guide
If you liked the infographic above, don’t forget to share it!
I don’t always make vegetarian meals even though I did wish I made more of an effort to. LO is not a big meat fan – unless it’s oven cooked (fish fingers/chicken nuggets/turkey drummers), or meatballs with spaghetti you couldn’t get him to even touch it with a barge pole.
When the founder of Mister Paste, Ian (you can read more about Ian and his company in an interview post I wrote here) got in touch last month to inform me of his new sauce I was more than intrigued to try it out. Mister Paste’s vegetarian line of food had been recently accredited by the Vegetarian Society and was exhibiting at the Just V Show in Olympia.
So let’s talk about the mango sauce… it’s a lovely rich sauce that reminds me of Nandos’ mango and lime marinade (due to the kaffir lime leaves and mango sauce) and the consistency a Chinese sweet and sour sauce. It’s rich, sweet and tangy sauce is delicious, on the recipe printout included in the pack mentions that you could add fresh mango chunks but the sauce has so much flavour (made from real mango puréed, you don’t need to). I had made two dishes with the sauce; one for myself with Quorn cubes and the other with pan-fried salmon for the family as they’re not a big fan of Quorn.
The sweet and sour mango sauce and other ingredients come in vacuum-sealed bags. All I had to buy was my choice of protein (salmon and Quorn), one red pepper, fresh coriander and lemon. I added in fish sauce instead salt as well as black pepper for seasoning and taste. I loved the chilli flakes that came with the pack so much that I bought extra. 🙂 I didn’t add all the flakes because otherwise the children and Daddy P wouldn’t have been able to eat it so it was more of a sweet and tangy mango sauce than a spicy one. But that suited our taste buds just right.
I had also originally planned the dish to be made with jasmine rice but we had egg noodles left over from when I was planning to make salmon teriyaki so we used that as a sub instead. I imagine that the dish would’ve been just as delicious with rice but somehow it felt a bit healthier and lighter with soy-tossed egg noodles. Daddy P who was initially sceptical about a fruity and savoury sauce admitted that he enjoyed it. I certainly did and so did the kids and my sister who was over for dinner.
Mister Paste’s sauce packs are literally an all-in-one product. The packs provide you with not only the sauce but the ingredients to go with it (all measured out for you) and comes complete with instructions on how to use it which is quintessentially the recipe on how to make the dish. Any ingredients that may be an allergen are highlighted in bold so you know exactly what goes in it.
I am very thrilled that the company’s vegetarian line has been recognised and accredited with an awarding body. It’s a statement to show everyone that Mister Paste really knows his stuff and can deliver high-quality sauces and pastes to vegetarians, non-vegetarians and those in-between like me! 🙂
Last month I was invited to a wonderful event. SodaStream had just launched their new range, the Fizzi and had linked up health chef Lizzie King to put on an evening soiree for guests to sample her delicious sugar-free cocktails (and mocktails). As a non-drinker I was a bit unsure if it’d be wise for me to attend but then thought why not?! Just because I don’t drink alcohol doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a beverage. I was also very intrigued on what type of mocktails could be made sugar-free as they are usually loaded with sugar.
The event was held at the Clerkenwell Grind. A lovely urban place to go for drinks and nibbles. The event was held downstairs in an intimate little bar area. I was treated to a lovely drink on arrival – I picked the Watermelon Cooler and all I can say is WOW! It tasted amazing!! Fresh watermelon juice, a hint of mint, all topped up with sparkling water from the SodaStream Fizzi machine. I literally downed my drink, it tasted that good. I also met another mummy blogger there and we started talking. She was also a non-drinker so I felt much better. 🙂 We chatted away about babies, blogging and had a good laugh.
Then a second round of mocktails came, this time it was a peach bellini. I was sceptical if it’d be nice and… I was right. It didn’t taste nice. The combination of fresh peaches juiced (which was heavy and bitty) with light sparkling water was something I wasn’t used to. I was not a fan of this combination especially after having the watermelon one. I didn’t finish my bellini mocktail but politely drank enough.
Lizzie King floated about the event, looking amazingly polished in a beautiful white dress teamed with red lips and natural makeup. She looked absolutely stunning. I’ve had a look at her cookbook on Amazon called Lizzie Loves Healthy Family Food and it’s got some really nice recipes that I’d like to try out.
Halfway through the event, Lizzie thanked everyone for coming and spoke a little bit more about her recipes including the mocktails. She explained that she wanted to create something the whole family could enjoy which wasn’t loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients. The #sparklingsummer drinks recipe book has 5 interesting recipes to try including the two I tried (the watermelon one and peach one). There’s also a cocktail and mocktail guide at the end of the booklet to show you how to get the best mix.
Before the end of the evening, I had a bit of fun with all the different SodaStream machines. I tried the entry level range, the Fizzi (pictured above) which was super easy to use and I loved the traditional push button function. All the other machines had an automatic button function. The sleek design of the Fizzi would look great on anyone’s kitchen worktop. At the end of the event, I received my very own SodaStream Fizzi complete with a #sparklingsummer drink recipe book to try out at home. I was over the moon!
A month on, all I can say is that I am still in love with my Fizzi machine. It’s like having sparkling water on tap! 🙂 The kids still love their water and squash with water but now LO can ask for “fizzy juice” (sugar-free dilute squash with sparkling water) and I don’t have to feel guilty about giving it to him. I’ve hardly had soft drinks since I started my health and fitness journey but now I can enjoy a little bit of fizz without feeling guilty.
With our Fizzi machine, we use it on a daily basis. We just can’t get enough of it! I’m yet to host a house party to show off my mocktail skills but I’m very happy that in the meantime I can offer friends and family both still and sparkling beverages. All of the machines have a gas canister that needs to be changed when it runs out. I have used mine daily and I think there’s still quite a lot of uses left which makes the Fizzi an economical purchase. The canisters are available from Argos and I’ve been told by the SodaStream team that empty canisters can be returned to the Argos stores for safe disposal.
If you’re looking for a new useful gadget in the home and are a fan of sparkling drinks, I highly recommend purchasing the SodaStream machines. Prices start from £99.99 for the new ranges but I’ve found older models on Google from just £40… a bargain. 🙂
Last month I wrote a review on two Mister Paste’s curry pastes that I tried out and boy were they tasty. This month I’m launching my new series “Let’s Talk…” which is all about interviewing small businesses to help support them, raise awareness for their business, and learning more about them.
To kickstart my series, we’re discussing about food so what better way that to interview the founder of Mister Paste, Ian…
1. Tell us a little bit more about yourself
“Spend most of the my working life in computing but then owned a Singaporean restaurant in the city for 4 years and following that ran a frozen yoghurt booth, creating my own flavours, inside a deli.”
2. Why did you decide to start up Mister Paste?
“When strapped for time, i used to use bottled sauces but I got fed up with the gloopy sauces and not being able to really tailor the taste to my liking. Knowing that they already pasteurised (i.e. cooked) and full of preservatives to be able to sit in a warehouse or on a shelf for up to 1.5 years, I started thinking about a way to get raw and preservative free sauces to the time strapped cook at home to really give that “made at home” taste. I also got fed up not knowing just how spicy a sauce would be and thought it would be good to be able to control that at cooking time. I then happened upon vacuum sealing at home and saw this as my route to getting raw clean food to the market. I could then make the paste, vacuum seal it for freshness and then also package sachets of added ingredients like chilli so you can control the heat to your level.”
3. How authentic are your pastes in terms of taste?
“As with all recipes, they are particular to the recipe writer and close as possible to the authentic taste. If you search out a recipe on the internet you will find tens of “authentic” recipes for the same dish that are all different.”
4. Where do you get your inspiration from for your paste recipes?
“I looked at what are the most known dishes ordered in restaurants and used them for the basis of my initial range of curry pastes. As for the sauces, I’ve not seen them in any restaurants so they are ones I have found and Developed the recipe for my own taste and hope that many will also share my taste. I’m lucky that i have friends who are Thai and Indian who were willing to taste test and comment my recipes.”
5. What’s your favourite paste (from your range) and why?
“It’s hard to choose a favourite curry but if i would like eat beef, I’d choose rendang and for chicken I’d pick vindaloo. For the sauces, I’d choose the spicy,sweet and sour mango which is due to be launched soon.”
Bonus Question: Do you have any other plans for Mister Paste in the future?
“Future plans at the moment are a) to get more people to visit and buy from www.misterpaste.co.uk and b) to add more recipes and also add some snacks like prawn crackers with a home made sweet chilli sauce.”
Love a good curry but don’t know how to make your own paste? Or maybe, like me, you just don’t have the time?
Fear not because help is at hand. I love all these companies that deliver fresh food straight to your door – Hello Fresh, Fresh Fitness Food, and a new fresh curry paste company that I discovered last week called Mister Paste.
A former work colleague told me about Mister Paste (it’s her partner’s business) and she asked if I would like to try out some of their products – of course I said yes! 🙂
1) because I love food and 2) because helping out other small businesses is a good thing
She sent me a link to her partner’s website and I checked out the large range of pastes and sauces available. The site was really easy to navigate around and I was surprised with how cheap the pastes were as they’re made fresh. I chose the portion option for two people as I knew LO and Baby Girl would just be eating from our portion.
So I chose two curry pastes that I am very fond of; Thai Green Curry and Rogan Josh. For me, the balance of spices, sweetness and saltiness has to be on point in order for me to consider the recipe being a fantastic one. I had very high expectations for these curry pastes that I was going to try.