Tagged: food blogger

Coast to Coast Christmas menu preview event

c2c7I know it’s only October and you’re all still thinking about what to wear to Halloween, however Christmas isn’t as far away as you think so you need to get prepared!

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!

c2c11I 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 wc2c14as 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.

c2c12After 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 thc2c1e 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,

Sam x

Tried & Tested: American pancake recipe

pancakes 2Pancake Day 2014 may have already come & gone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have them anymore…

These doughy treats are perfect as a yummy breakfast, weekend treat or dessert and really easy to make.

They can also be quite healthy if you add low-fat toppings to them (I went for butter and syrup though, oops).

When preparing for Pancake Day, I decided that I was going to try American pancakes rather than big flat ones this year as I’m all about change in 2014.

I also had American pancakes when I visited Vegas last year and they were literally the best thing ever.

 I found a recipe on bbc.co.uk which I have included for you below.

I was going to double the mixture, because  it didn’t seem like it would make many when I read only 135g of flour was going to be used. However, I’m so glad I didn’t as it made tons! I made 14 in the end before I just couldn’t be bothered to cook anymore, but there was still a bit of the mixture left even after that.

Unlike normal pancakes, which are usually just flower, egg & milk, with American pancakes you add a bit of sugar too, so they are sweeter already, as well as butter.

The resulting pancakes (which can be seen above right)  were gorgeously fluffy and really tasty – so I can definitely recommend the recipe below.

I usually have Nutella on my pancakes, but I decided to go for traditional maple syrup  and butter, which has become my absolute new favourite (and much better than it sounds).

If you want to make it healthier though, why not adding blueberries to the pancakes or have them with strawberries and natural yoghurt?

Let me know if you try out the recipe or what you like on your pancakes!

Sam x

Ingredients

  • 135g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 130ml milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 30g melted butter (allowed to cool slightly)

Method

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar into a bowl
  2. Gently melt the butter over simmering water in a heat-proof bowl.
  3. In a jug, lightly whisk together the egg & milk, then whisk in the melted butter.
  4. Combine the flour mixture and milk mixture until you have a smooth batter. Let this stand for a few minutes.
  5. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add some spray oil. Add four small dollops of mixture onto each quarter of the pan, but don’t allow them to touch. If you want to make bigger pancakes, reduce the amount you cook at a time. Wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble, then turn it over and cook until both sides are golden brown and the pancake has risen to about 1cm thick.
  6. Repeat until all the batter is used up.
  7. Put on those yummy toppings & eat!

Healthy recipe #1: BBQ Chicken Fajita Salad

fajita saladSo currently I am trying to be extremely healthy because for once in my life I actually do want a toned summer body, rather than squirming every time I have to go near a strappy top and a pair of shorts.

This means that I am exercising every day – either a the gym or doing my exercise DVD at home. However, we all know that you can only burn so much off with exercise and that you have to eat right too.

So, it’s time for the salads again! I know what you’re thinking, BORING. Believe me, when people used to say that they were eating salad for lunch, I would literally not understand how they managed to eat a whole plate.

However, salads don’t have to be boring! There are so many yummy ingredients out there now, that they can literally be once of the most exciting and tasty dishes out there.

What you must watch out for though is that if you do start piling on too many things to your salad, it is going to be just as bad (if not worse) than having a plate of chips.

Now I am a HUGE fan of mexican food fan, so I decided that my first salad in a while would have to incorporate this, which is why I went for BBQ chicken mexican fajita.

What you will need: 

  • Chicken (One breast per person)
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions (white or red)
  • Red or yellow peppers
  • Fajita seasoning
  • BBQ sauce
  • Italian-style/baby leaf salad

Method: 

First of all cut the chicken up into strips and then gently cook on a low heat using a few sprays on low-fat cooking spray oil. My favourite to use is Frylight’s sunflower oil verson. Once the strips have just started to cook, add in all of the other ingredients, plus a few more sprays of oil and gently turn until the ingredients starts to brown.

Next sprinkle some of the fajita seasoning on. Don’t add too much though, otherwise the flavour will be overpowering. Turn this down to a low heat.

Whilst the chicken and vegetables are finishing off prepare your salad. Italinan-style or baby leaf salad will come in a pre-washed bag, so there is no need to wash it again. Don’t use iceberg lettuce for this recipe, as it won’t have the same effect. You should then dress the salad with some vinegar, as well as a little sprinkle of salt.

By now, the chicken & vegetables should be fully cooked. Just place a typical serving onto the salad and t zig-zag on some of the barbeque sauce (my favourite sauce to use is Hp’s Barbecue Classic Woodsmoke Sauce).

And there you have it – your yummy and healthy meal is served!

Added extras

I wanted to be really healthy, so kept my salad quite plain. However, if you’re feeling a little more naughty or adventurous, you can also add a dollop of guacamole or creme fraiche to make your salad even more Mexican. Or why not try a few tortilla chips too – these can be crushed if you like.

Also, you will notice in the picture of my salad that there are in actual fact no peppers. This is only because I thougjt I had some at home, but I didn’t (boo). I would definitely recommend including them though.

So there you have it, a tasty BBQ chicken fajita salad! let me know what your favourite salads are & keep your eyes peeled for more healthy recipes on the blog

Sam x