Christmas is a time when you meet up with friends and loved ones who you don’t get to see as often as you like the rest of the year, so it is important that you do this somewhere special. With literally every restaurant around offering a Christmas menu, it’s hard to know which one to pick!
That’s why Coast to Coast have been previewing their festive menu to show what they have to offer this year and I was one of the lucky few who got invited down to test it out!
I went down to the restaurant’s Portsmouth branch to do this on Tuesday of this week (Oct 7). I was greeted at the door by the lovely staff and offered a cocktail of my choice straight away. I went for the Russian Spring Punch which was recommended to me by the restaurant’s top bar tender Joyce Brabban, which was really really good!
I didn’t really need a drink off the menu though, as straight away Joyce got to work making us all the yummy cocktails from the Christmas menu. Amongst these were the Chocolate and Orange Martini, which tastes just as good as it sounds by the way and a warm cider that will warm you up a treat on those winter nights. Next up came eggnog. Now, I know what you’re thinking, eww egnog, but seriously don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. It was actually probably my favourite – creamy, smooth and perfectly festive – I will definitely be drinking that again! There was also a bucks fizz-style drink, which is a perfect lighter alternative if you don’t want to be too indulgent.
Next up came the starters. Executive chef Andy Hamilton, who is one of the stars behind the Christmas menu, brought us out a plate of Goats Cheese Bruschetta Bites – which were ciabatta topped with the goats cheese, pesto and the restaurant’s special bruschetta mix. Not being a fan of goats cheese or pesto, I skipped these, but they did look amazing and everyone else at the event certainly seemed to be enjoying them! There are also many other starter alternatives on the menu, including spicy calamari, BBQ chicken tenders, chorizo & mozzarella baked mushrooms and a Christmas tomato and cannellini bean soup!
After these were devoured, it was time for the main event – Christmas dinner! As you’d expect, it is the classic turkey breast complete with cranberry sauce and all the trimmings including roast and mashed potatoes, pigs in blankets, pork and sage stuffing, Chantenay carrots and green vegetables. It will also topped in a rich gravy which was really delicious and elevated the dish even more.
If you are a bit bored of turkey come Christmas time however, there are other options available including baked salmon fillet, mushroom risotto and sweet chilli chicken skewers. There is also a maple bacon burger, which Andy brought us out to try, however I was just too full from all the dinner and cocktails already. Other guests at the event who tried it however were delighted with it – saying the maple bacon was gorgeous.
After all, I was saving room for dessert – which was an Oreo Cookie Cheesecake. I’m not the biggest lover of cheescake ever as I sometimes feel it can be too rich, however this was light enough that I ate the whole (generous) piece – even after that big Christmas dinner! Coast to Coast definitely don’t skimp on the Oreo either considering that the while biscuit base is made from Oreos and you also get some on top too. The cheescake also comes with Oreo ice cream, which has been made especially for Coast to Coast, and a good serving of cream!
After all that I didn’t think there could be anything more, however Joyce came over and brought us yet another Christmas cocktail to try – called ‘The Snowman’. This is an extremely creamy cocktail featuring liqueur and even comes complete with a snowman face made out of Oreos, matchmakers and a little carrot nose! This is the perfect indulgent treat at the end of the meal for grown ups who like to be a bit silly (like me).
And that was it! Full to the brim with food and drink, my belly was extremely happy. I can honestly say that you definitely won’t be disappointed if you book a Christmas meal with your family, friends or colleagues here. The food is tasty, original, perfectly festive and there is tons of choice from just the standard options you would expect.
I am also a HUGE cocktail fan and I can honestly say that the drinks I had on Tuesday were literally the best cocktails I ever had, so even if it’s just a Christmas catch-up you’re after, definitely find you’re spot in the Coast to Coast bar for drinks!
If you are after the full Christmas menu, it will coats a reasonable £24.95 for three courses or £19.95 for two. The cocktails are around the £6-7 mark each, but great value for money considering the quality and work that have been put into them. So what are you waiting for? Contact your nearest Coast to Coast today and get your Christmas party sorted!
(Early) Seasons Greetings,
Considering incidents such as the horse meat scandal, people want to know what is going in their food and that it is good for them.
This is why I was so delighted when Frank food company contacted me about trying their new snack bars. These healthy treats are gluten, nut and dairy free, are suitable for vegans and are a source of protein. They also contain no ‘nasties’ – with the main ingredient dried fruit – so they basically couldn’t be more healthy if they tried.
As well as this, they come in an array of yummy flavours – ‘Double Chocolate’, ‘Orange & Chocolate’, ‘Oat & Chocolate, Blueberry & Chocolate’ and Strawberry & Chocolate’. As you can see, these all contain chocolate, which definitely pleased me, considering what a chocoholic I am.
But so they actually taste nice? Honestly my answer is yes. Considering this is my first vegan product that I’ve tried, I was extremely pleasantly surprised. Considering it is made from all healthy ingredients, it still feels like a treat. It also is a nice to not feel overwhelmed with sugar whilst eating a snack and have something that is more wholesome, but still tasty.
I would have to say that the ‘Blueberry & Chocolate’ ones are my favourite. To be honest, I didn’t think this flavour would work very well, but I was pleasantly surprised about how the two mixed and finished the bar in record time!
When it comes to the texture of the bars, I would say they a far more like a chocolate bar than a cereal bar because they are soft and crumbly whilst still being firm.
With huge celebrities, such as Beyonce, now endorsing the vegan trend, it makes products like these even more important for those who want to be healthy but still have a varied and tasty diet.
Let me know if you try the snack bars or similar products and what you think of them.
It is definitely a thumbs up from me!
US designer Chris Campbell has created a whole line of dessert-based shoes that look good enough to eat! From ice cream, to chocolate Oreo and cupcake-themed shoes, you will be licking your lips when you see these awesome shoes that the designer is now stocking in his Florida shop, The Shoe Bakery.
Mr Campbell uses 3D designs and actual baking tools to make the designs seem as realistic as possible. Each pair is hand-crafted and takes around three-to-six weeks to complete, as the designer adds the likes of ‘sprinkles’, ‘icing’ and ‘cherries’ to the shoes.
In fact, the designs are so good that Mr Campbell said he has had to convince people they actually aren’t sweets. He told dailymail.co.uk this week: “People think they are edible all the time. When we first came out with our shoes, most of our time was spent explaining to people that they are not edible.”
Also talking about his idea for the designs, Mr Campbell said his inspiration came from the fact he love cake so much, adding: “One day I thought why not combine those loves together and bring something new into women’s fashion and that’s how the Shoe Bakery was born.”
Considering how much work is put into each pair of shoes, they are quite reasonably priced, starting from £60. The top pair will cost a little more at £200 however. You can even get your own pair custom-made to a specific design, according to perezhilton.com.
As well as women’s shoes, there is also a youngster’s range, so mummy and daughter can have patching pairs – how cute!
What do you think of the range? Let me know below or catch me on Twitter @sammyloubelle.
This is my first post where I am actually using it though!
Basically, I’m sure you will have guessed but this is a cookbook full of yummy treats to make, which all feature Nutella. I thought I would start from the beginning with my creations, however the first recipe was for Nutella & fruit club sandwiches, which was too easy.
The second recipe was for mini coconut Nutella palmiers, however I didn’t really fancy coconut, so on I went. Finally, third time lucky, I stumbled across the orange creme whoopie pie recipe. ‘Yes ‘ I thought, this is definitely the type of thing I am looking for.
I’ve never eaten a whoopie pie, so didn’t really know what to expect, however it looked yummy on the picture, so I was ready to give it a go!
How did I get on?
Well… I did *okay* for my first time. Basically, the recipe that I have included for you below tells you that the mixture will make 15 whoopie pies. So in my brain, I thought okay, 15 pies, means 15 spoonfuls of the mixture on the baking tray, right?
Wrong! That only makes seven (quite large) whoopie pies, when you put the two halves together. So basically, I didn’t fully read the recipe and was having a severe blonde moment (even though I’m not blonde).
So yeah, as I mentioned above, mine came out rather larger than I originally planned, which meant they were quite filling. However, they still tasted nice!
The orange creme went a bit wrong for me as well. When making it, I melted the butter, then took it off the heat before I put in the other ingredients, whereas you’re supposed to put them in whilst it is still simmering. This meant that my mixture didn’t really thicken up that well, however I just rectified this by adding in some plain flour.
Would I make it again?
Yes, I will definitely be making these whoopie pies again, because I want to see what they would be like smaller like they are actually supposed to be!
The only thing that I might do is just use chocolate or vanilla buttercream for the filling, instead of making the orange creme. I didn’t dislike the creme in the recipe, but it was very time-consuming and wasn’t really worth the wait in my opinion.
If you used your own buttercream, the whole process would be so much quicker, as the pies themselves only take 10-15 minutes to cook.
You could also just add some orange flavouring to your chocolate icing, if you still wanted an orange taste for your pies.
Could I taste the Nutella?
In all honestly, not really. However I usually slather it on or eat is straight from the jar so I’m probably immune from the taste when it is used in smaller quantities now.
It is still a nice recipe though and makes for great whoopie pies (if you get the sizing right!)
So yes, that was my very first baking experience with my Nutella cookbook! Not without its hiccups, but like would probably be boring if it was perfect, right?!
Let me know if you try out the recipe (included below), or if you have the Nutella cookbook too!
Until next time…
Orange creme filling:
- One orange
- 75g unsalted butter
- 50g caster sugar
- One egg
- 75 Philadelphia-style cheese
- 125g plain flour
- One teaspoon of baking powder
- 40g unsalted butter
- 40g caster sugar
- One egg
- 100g nutella
- 20g cocoa powder
- 100ml semi-skimmed milk
- pinch of salt
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (Gas 4)
2. Make the orange creme filling. First grate the orange zest and then squeeze it’s juice into a bowl. Next melt the butter in a separate bowl over a pan of simmering water. To this, add the sugar, egg and the zest & juice. Beat this mixture, still over the heat, until it thickens. Remove this from the heat and leave to cool. After this, add in the cheese and chill the mixture for at least one hour.
3. To make the whoopie pies: Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until you have a smooth mixture. Add to this, the Nutella, the egg, cocoa powder and milk. Mix this well and then add the first flour mixture to it.
4. Place THIRTY (*winks) spoonfuls of the mixture onto a baking tray covered in parchment paper (or which has been greased). Bake for 10-15 minutes. Leave this to cool and spread on the orange creme mixture when both are ready.