What's on the menu?

What's on the menu?

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Biscuit Scale Of Sexual Attractiveness


In reverse order of attractiveness we introduce

The Biscuit Scale Of Sexual Attraction


1. Garribaldi Biscuits.
You peruse the aisles looking for something, take one look at a pack of Garribaldi Biscuits and move straight on. The fact that some people know them as 'Dead Fly Biscuits' says enough. Definitely not good on the eye. 

2.Millionaire chocolate Shortbread.
We'd all like a little bit of luxury in our lives but the millionaire chocolate shortbread is a bit too pretentious. It's too busy shouting 'look at me' to realise actually it's just a regular piece of shortbread with a sickly top layer that isn't so appealing. You certainly don't want seconds!
Is your man a slice of millionaire chocolate shortbread?

Monday, 18 June 2012

Jamie's Italian Nottingham. A bit of a treat

Jamie's Italian Restaurant Review- Nottingham

Jamie's Bar- Jamie's Italian, Nottingham
I love Italian food so any opportunity to get out and about which arises and gives me the opportunity to eat out is a bonus. I had recently planned to meet a very nice woman for a date and decided that I'd treat myself to a pre-date dinner at Jamie Oliver's Italian Restaurant in Nottingham to start the night well and hopefully calm my nerves. (She only wanted a drink- honest)

I started with one of the fantastic looking meat antipasti dishes that looked fantastic on the menu. The parents had said that the last time they were in Jamie's Italian they were really taken back by the antipasti wood boards and wished they'd had on between them. The meat was fantasic!
Meat antipasti at Jamie's Italian, Nottingham
For main course I went for one of the simple choices off the special's board. Walnut pesto. It looks like a simple tagliatelle but tasted fantastic. The walnut makes a great base for a pesto so I might even try to make some of my own.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Larch Farm, Ravenshead Review. A great option for a Nottingham Fish Lover

I'm a big fish lover however aside from Loch Fyne there's very little specific options around Nottingham for someone that really loves fish on the menu. There's usually 3-4 fish courses no matter where you go and they're usually fairly standard choices.

Larch Farm Restaurant and BB is situated just off the A60 in the affluent village of Ravenshead.

Larch farm advertise on the main road their prime catch seafood. Whether it's mussels, scampi or salmon they have something for everyone

My Starter.
Scallops with Chorizo and Lemon Salsa
Scallops with Chorizo and Lemon Salsa at Larch Farm, Ravenshead
Awesome huge slices of chorizo topped with some large succulent scallops and drizzled with lemon salsa to provide saltyness from from the chorizo and zestyness from the salsa. A gorgeous starter although for me there was maybe a little too much salad. I know people that could have had this as a main on it's own!

Main Course
Jumbo Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas 
Jumbo Fish and Homemade Chips with Mushy Peas at Larch Farm, Ravenshead
A huge piece of fish of over a foot long (this is a giant, not a regualar plate) which came out in what appeared to be more of a tempura batter than the usual batter you'd expect. Coupled with soft moist cod this was one fantastic pieces of fish. The chips were more like chip-shop chips and to me could have done with a little longer in the fryer,

Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Clock Warehouse Pub Shardlow- 2 For A Tenner Review

Heading out to meet a friend from the Derby area recently it was questionned- where could we meet for a drink and a bite to eat on a Friday evening. I remember going down the Canal at Shardlow, Derbyshire with the family when I was little but would never have been able to remember where prior to a recent cycling training ride which took me through Shardlow and over the Canal past The Clock Warehouse.
The Clock Warehouse, Shardlow. An old converted mill on the Trent and Mersey Canal
From the exterior this does not look like a run of the mill chain pub despite being run by Marstons the Clock Warehouse has a real character. It also has fantastic access to the nearby Heritage Centre Museum next door and is very close to Shardlow Marina so you can really make the most of a visit.

Lots of pubs and restaurants seem to want to offer two meals for a set price these days and if you're out on a budget it means you can get exceptional value for money. Sometimes the menu can be a little bit limited but if you're willing to have a slightly limited choice it allows a meal on a budget.

I personally ordered a Traditional Beef Burger (without salad) and this bad boy came out
Awesome size Traditional Beef Burger at the Clock Warehouse, Shardlow

I would estimate that my burger must have been about 8oz. It was huge and tasted fantastic. I've had pub burgers before when they've been more like a flat patty- Not here.

Add to it some fantastic chunky chips that came out piping hot, crispy on the outside and ultra fluffy on the inside and you have a fantastic pub style meal.

My fellow diner went for their Farmhouse Pie and was also quite shocked by the size
Farmhouse Pie at the Clock Warehouse, Shardlow
The only negative for us was that we didn't attend on a better evening where we would have been able to have gone for a walk down the canal and seen the beauty of the area. I'm sure we'll return at some point in the summer for a review of that too!





The White Horse Cafe. Searching for Nottinghams best takeaway food

Searching for Nottinghams best takeaway food

The White Horse Cafe. Radford, Nottingham
The White Horse Cafe, Radford, Nottingham
The old White Horse Inn Public House in Radford has been converted into a cafe, takeaway and sheesha bar while maintaining it's beautiful old style pub frontage
The Old Pub style frontage of the White Horse is from it's former days as a public house
While it looks impressive from the main road and in stark contrast to the modern surrounding student accomodation of Raleigh Court and the Opal complex, a cafe and restaurant is ultimately judged on it's food. The White Horse Cafe specialises in Curries, Pizza and Kebabs to help try to satisfy the local students appetite for economical yet hearty food.
Home style Chicken and Lamb Curries feshly prepared at the White Horse
I love a nice simple lunch. especially when I'm at work so often tend to go for a home style curry. The White Horse always have a good selection on offer as well as home style lamb and chicken options which are extremely popular in takeaways around the Radford area.

My Homestyle Curry from the White Horse, Nottingham

Homestyle Chicken Curry from the White Horse Nottingham

When you look at the curry above you can definitely see a lot of one thing- chicken. The portions of curries from teh White Horse aways have a good healthy amount of meat which is what I personally look for in a Curry. I'm looking for flavour and i'm looking for a healthy amount of meat

The home style curry tastes great. It is slightly on the spicy side. You can pick out a couple of pieces of green chillies in the photo above and these clearly add a kick to the curry

Overall a nice lunch time Curry.

Directions to find the White Horse Cafe from Google


View Larger Map

Monday, 7 May 2012

How to best start a day in Nottingham shopping

Nottingham is a fantastic city for shopping, whether you want to hit the main department stores in Victoria Centre or the Old Market Square, the major chains of Clumber Street or hitting the designer shopping area around Bridlesmith Gate there's no better way of starting a day's worth of shopping than breakfast and coffee.

My personal favourite is Cafe Nero on Bridlesmith Gate. There's a nice atmosphere in there and the barista's are really friendly unlike those usually found in Costa and Starbucks. Cafe Nero on Bridlesmith gate also serves the best Italian Double Espresso in Nottingham in my opinion.

Double Espresso and an Almond Croissant from Cafe Nero, Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham

Enjoy your coffee before you start your shopping in Nottingham

Saturday, 21 April 2012

A homemade English Pesto recipe. Cheap and easy pesto

I absolutely love Italian Food and in particular making my own pesto's to serve with pasta however have to admit that making pesto can get on the rather expensive side.
Today I decided that I would try and make a more English version of Pesto. Traditionally pesto is made with Parmeggiano Reggiano hard cheese but I had some grated Cheddar cheese left in the fridge which was calling to be used. Especially as I thought I still had some Parmesan Cheese in the freezer from a previous meal but didn't!.

Ingredients you'll need for my Homemade English Cheddar Pesto Recipe (serves 4 people)
1 Bunch of Fresh Basil Leaves (one supermarket bag worth so about 30g)
1 Bunch of Fresh Sage Leaves (one supermarket bag worth so about 30g)
50 grams of Grated Cheddar Cheese
25 grams of Walnut Pieces (or any other nut of your choice)
50 ml of Olive Oil
All the ingredients you'll need to make an English Pesto
The simple steps to making your English Pesto
1. Remove the large shoots from your basil and sage bunches
2. Chop the remaining sage and basil leaves into relatively small pieces and transfer to a blender
3. Add the grated Cheddar cheese and Walnut pieces to the blender
4. Pour about half the Olive Oil into the blender and commence blending
5. Slowly pour the remaining Olive Oil into the blender between short bursts of blending until the misture flows through the blender and becomes a relatively thick puree.
6 Now you have your English Pesto 
Your blended |English Cheddar Pesto 

The Next question is- What to serve your English Cheddar Pesto with?
I love pesto mixed into pasta. Today I served ith mixed into some potato Gnocci however find it to be great with Tagliatelle as well especially if you want to add small pieces of chicken. 
My English Pesto Served with Potato Gnocci

Today I decided to serve my pesto with Vietnamese River Cobbler which was on sale in the local Tesco for a relatively low price. Vietnamese River Cobbler is similar in look and taste to Cod and serving a light white fish with a strongly flavoured pesto sauce is always a good idea to me.

Here's the finished article
Vietnamese River Cobbler with English Pesto and Potato Gnocci

Vietnamese River Cobbler with English Pesto and Potato Gnocci 
Making your own Pesto on a budget

  • You can simply make your own herb garden to effectively grow your own pesto. A bunch of basil and a few other choice herbs can be used to add additional falvour elements. 
  • Most people already have a large bottle of Olive Oil at home
  • Cheddar is relatively inexpensive and as i've proven can be used for pesto
  • Nuts keep for ages so have some handy in a cupboard. 

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Graduate Bar and Kitchen: Nottingham's Newest Pub

The Graduate Bar and Kitchen, Nottingham

Off Ilkeston Road near Nottingham University
The Graduate Bar and Kitchen, Radford, Nottingham
Newly open on the edges of Radford and Lenton, Nottingham is The Graduate Bar and Kitchen. Smart looking and open for business from the many local students and residents it looks a great spot for a few beers on the way into Nottingham for a night out, or a few after work drinks.
The Graduate Bar. Sandwiched between Lidl and Wok&Go facing Ilkeston Road, Nottingham

The bar is set on the ground floor of the towering and Impressive Opal complex set back off Ilkeston Road which has also developped recently with the addition of a Lidl Supermarket, Domino's Pizza and a Wok&Go Noodle Bar in addition to the White Horse Cafe and Sheesha Bar across the road.
Opposite The Graduate Bar is The White Horse- great for takeaway's!

Full Review of The Graduate to follow
We will have a full review of the bar, the food and the menu coming up in the next couple of weeks. It would have been sooner however someone from the area decided that it would be a good idea to break into the bar after their first night of trading on Thursday 19.04.2012. There would have been a review here if the Graduate had been open for business Friday lunchtime instead of cleaning up or sorting out new locks. It's such a shame that someone clearly doesn't appreciate a new service in the area. 
The Graduate Bar is part of the large student accomodation complex- Opal 1
Opal 1, St Peter's Steet of Ilkeston Road Nottingham NG7 3EH 
The Graduate Bar and Kitchen Address
St Peter’s St
Radford
Nottingham
NG7 3EH

Detailed interact below to help you find The Graduate Bar and Kitchen


View Larger Map

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Restaurant 360 Arinsal Review; The former chef's views

So! What is one of the most asked questions and most talked about aspects of a holiday? One of the things that can potentially make or break a trip?

Don’t know? Well for me it’s the food! if you have good food and good wine it can really  influence your  feelings on the holiday, like wise if you get a bad meal it will colour the  rest of your experience and how you relate this to your family and friends back home.

A good mate and my self have recently returned from Arinsal in Andorra set deep in the Pyrenees between Spain and France where we were skiing for the week. This area of the Pyrenees is quite heavily influenced by the Spanish Catalan culture, especially its food, so Liam and my self decide to try the local dishes and went for a “traditional Catalan meal”

Restaurant “360” from the out side is very unassuming, looking more like a cafĂ© than a restaurant, inside it looks more like the restaurant its billed as with a classy looking and comfortable interior with way more space than the exterior shows.
The View from the terrace at Restaurant 360 looking down the resort of Arinsal with the Pyrenees in the distance


On entering you are greeted by the waiter if though somewhat surly looking is actually quite friendly and informative. You also see the kitchen area directly in front of you on entering a sort of open plan and glass screened area where the chef smartly attired in a black jacket is busy working.

So to the food, the menu – for me at least! was as follows


                                                -Aperitif-

Toasted French bread topped with roasted peppers

-Starter-

  Pan-fried belly pork on a terrine of cabbage mash

Main course

           Pan fried trout with local vegetables

Dessert

     Apple Tarte-Tatin with cream


For drinks we had a bottle of the house red.

            So the Aperitif- this was simply presented with a balsamic reduction that was very complementary to the dish as a whole. The roasted peppers were surprisingly served cold, chilled in fact! Where as I expected them to be warm, slightly oily in texture they were full of flavor and a distinct taste of assorted herbs. With the balsamic reduction – a feature through out the meal- went well with toasted bread which was essentially a toasted slice of baguette.

           The starter of pan-fried belly pork and the cabbage mash was simply a strip of pork  laid over a round flat “mash potato” I say mash as it was more like  crushed potato with a trace of  cabbage and a little something  extra that I  couldn’t quite identify. The pork was tender and full of flavor and not to salty as some lesser quality meats can be for this cut. The cabbage didn’t overwhelm the flavors’ so there was a good even balance to the different tastes.
Pan Fried Pork Belly with a Cabbage Mash from Restaurant 360

          Main course- the pan-fried rainbow trout served with a selection of vegetables and a new potato! The trout was served headless but on the bone. The vegetables were pretty non descript- a little on the soft side for Al’dente but otherwise OK. A single new potato was served as well- personally I would have liked more potatoes maybe herb roasted new potatoes possible with a hint of garlic!! But that’s a personal preference. The trout was the main part of the meal and was very well cooked, the skin was crispy but not burnt and the meat itself peeled away from the bone with little effort the flesh was a beautiful pink colour and firm but not difficult to separate from the bones. It could have maybe had an additional 30 seconds cooking but certainly no more than that. The earth flavor of the trout with the balsamic reduction- obviously a favourite of the chef’s choice in garnish, again showed that it made a nice contrast to the delicate earthiness of the trout against the sharp contrast of the balsamic vinegar.
Restaurant 360 Arinsal
Pan-fried trout with vegetables at Restaurant 360, Arinsal


           Now the desert, I have to say that this was a bit of an anti climax and probably the most disappointing aspect of the meal. The Apple tarte tatin- a French classic and one that separates the men from the boys in the kitchen.  Overall the desert was “nice” but not exceptional or amazing in any way, the apples were not sharp but it wasn’t over sweet. The pastry was a little tough- a side effect on puff pastry that is chilled and re heated.  A small cone of what was obviously a can squirty cream accompaniment was not enough. I would have expected a Chantilly cream or a creme fraiche and in greater quantities as a companion to this classical desert.
At Restaurant 360 Arinsal, Andorra
Apple tarte tatin- a French classic at Restaurant 360, Arinsal
           My overall impression is that this was a good meal and worth the 20€ price per head, especially as it came with glass of house red where the waiter ended up leaving us the bottle. The wine it self of Spanish origin was not to dry and a great accompaniment to the meal. Regretfully I didn’t get the name but being a more local Spanish wine rather than a mainstream export so your much more likely to get  a wine of  good report than relying on the  larger wine producers and staying with the  known same old names.



          This was our second meal here and was definitely worth the 2nd visit. As a whole the service was quick enough to make you feel that you were not waiting to long but not rushed despite the waiter having 3 other larger tables in at the same time. I would recommend (and did in fact do so to other skiers in our group) a visit to 360, and more importantly would go back again myself.


          360 is situated on the main road through Arinsall, less than 100 yards from the gondola to the pistes . Its right next door to the Hotel Ayma where we stayed so not a difficult place to find.



Roll 

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Fantastic Exotic Mushrooms at Bakewell Market

Here are a few images taken at Bakewell Easter Bank Holiday Market that we really thought needed to be shared. The Oyster Mushrooms (Yellow Oyster, Grey Oyster and Pink Oyster) look fantastic and almost alien in their appearance. 
Yellow Oyster, Grey Oyster and Pink Oyster Mushroom's from Bakewell Market
They almost look too good for cooking!

Friday, 13 April 2012

The Best Places For A Picnic in Nottingham And Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire's Best Picnic Sites


We can have some great weather in Nottingham majority of the time and when the warmth and sunshine comes it's really time to head out to the great outdoors. What better way to spend a balmy summer evening or Saturday afternoon than with a picnic?

You might want to impress a partner or potential partner with a romantic picnic. Or take the kids out for an active picnic- there's an option for you locally in Nottinghamshire mentioned below.

Great places for an urban picnic in and around Nottingham

In every city there are often many green places that serve as an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of a city centre. Nottingham has a number of great places to escape the city while still being within it.

1. The Arboretum for an urban picnic in Nottingham

Situated on the tram route north out of the city centre is The Arboretum. If you take the tram disembark at the High School Tram Stop and walk downhill for 150 meters- The Arboretum will be on your left hand side. The Arboretum is a green flag award winning park which has it's own small lake and aviary The Arboretum dates back to 1852 and is a popular site for Nottingham students to catch some sunshine on hot summers day's. A map of the Arboretum can be found here. Be aware that the tram travels up Waverley Street when you look at the map of The Arboretum.

The arboretum has it's own wooded area for some shade on a hot summers day and it's well kept by an excellent team of gardeners which makes you proud to be from Nottingham.

2. Nottingham Castle for an urban picnic

If you're coming to Nottingham as a tourist you cannot leave without a visit to the famous Nottingham Castle. The grounds are a fantastic opportunity for an urban picnic whether you bring something from home or pick up a sandwich to enjoy on your way through Nottingham.

Nottingham Castle offers a great vantage point to look over the southern side of the city due to it's elevated position. It also features a museum and art gallery to make the most of your visit.

3. Wollaton Hall and it's grounds for an urban Nottingham picnic

Despite being close to the centre of Nottingham, Wollaton Hall is a fantastic destination for a picnic. It's very popular with local Nottingham University students Wollaton Hall is a Nottingham picnic institution.

A large country park and lake allows plenty of opportunities to wander, take in the fantastic gardens and find a quiet spot if that's what you're looking for- you might even be able to spot some of the local Deer.

The Hall itself can be a little bit of a let down so it's best to stay outdoors while at Wollaton Hall for a picnic.

4. Burntstump Country Park- a great place for a picnic and a cold beer in Nottinghamshire

Situated almost equidistantly between Nottingham and Mansfield just off the main A60 road is Burntstump Country Park. On the site of the country park is The Burntstump- a public house where the adults can grab a cold beer or wine to relax while the children play.

Burntstump has lots of options for an active picnic. A large wooded area for hide and seek style games, cricket on the wicket (pictured) football and there's also a playground area too.
Excuse the sign- Burntstump Country Park is a great place for family picnics, games and a cold beer from The Burntstump Pub in the distance. 
Great idea's and places for an active picnic in Nottinghamshire

5. Sherwood Pines Forest Park- great for cycling and picnics.

Sherwood Pines is pretty much the best place in Nottinghamshire for cycling and an active family. With the high ropes course of Go Ape on site as well as a huge selection of walking and cycling trails you can easily spend a whole day up at Sherwood Pines whether it's you and a partner, or the whole family.
Sherwood Pines- Great for family cycling and active picnics

Sherwood Pines is easy to get to, has lots of parking (although you do have to pay), on site bike hire from Sherwood Pines Cycles is available if you don't have bikes for the whole family too to help you work up an appetite for a picnic or even bringing your own barbecue.

If you're feeling lazy too after a tiring morning of cycling there is also a very nice cafe serving a selection of sweet and savoury treats in case you don't fancy a picnic or simply want something extra.

The cafe at Sherwood Pines for if you don't want to prepare a picnic
The best places in Nottinghamshire for a romantic picnic

Where are the most romantic places in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire for a picnic? Obviously it depends on what you class as romance and romantic so the below options address various scenarios.

6. Romantic places for a picnic in Nottinghamshire for historians and poets- Newstead Abbey.

If you love nature Nottinghamshire has a wealth of potential picnic sites. One of the best has to be Newstead Abbey which is both romantic and beautiful for a walk around and picnic by the lake or close to the historic main building. Many Nottinghamshire residents dream of getting married at Newstead Abbey and the site has a strong aura due to being the former residence of the notorious poet- Lord Byron
Nottinghashire picnic sites
Newstead Abbey courtesy of Lee J Haywood CC Flickr 

7. Romance and nature in Nottinghamshire. A picnic in Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood country. 

Robin Hood and Maid Marion is a mythical folklore love affair which has resonance in Nottinghamshire. Sherwood Forest can provide romance for both nature lovers and the romantically inclined towards the spirit of Robin Hood and Maid Marion. Head up to the Major Oak and Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre at Edwinstowe for a fantastic experience. It's best to head south out of the main grounds of the Major Oak towards the craft centre and the cricket green to avoid the crowds. The map below shows the craft centre at Edwinstowe which is a great place to head North and explore the section of Sherwood Forest where you'll find the Major Oak while avoiding the usual tourist crowds. View Larger Map


And one you may not have thought about

Why not have a picnic in your own back garden- it'll be a quick sprint inside when the heavens open!
If you're looking for a baking idea for your picnic why not consider these Sesame and Linseed Biscuits?
Sesame and Linseed biscuits are great for a picnic
Do you have any suggestions we might have left off?

Monday, 9 April 2012

The Search For Perfect Cheese On Toast; Calveley Mill Burner

There's a simple brilliance to Cheese on Toast as a snack. It's heavy enough to almost class as a meal, stodgy enough to eat at the end of a boozy night out and easy enough to make that even the most culinary challenged individual can achieve. Here's my search for the perfect cheese on toast

Calveley Mill Finest- Burner Cheddar with mixed peppers and garlic
A recent trip out to Bakewell culminated in a trip around the local bank holiday market and a session of obscure cheese sampling on a local market stall. The cheese sampling session led to the discovery of Calveley Mill Burner Cheese. A cheddar made with garlic and chillies.
Calveley Mill Finest- Burner Cheddar with mixed peppers and garlic up close
And here's how Calveley Mill Finest Burner Cheddar looks on toast
Burner Cheddar with chillies and garlic on toast- yummy
As part of a search for the ultimate cheese to go on toast Burner Cheddar ticks plenty of boxes. It has a fantastic sharp texture that marks out it's cheddar while having a strong kick from the chillies and garlic which some might find a little overpowering as the chillies are relatively strong. I personally loved the taste it has a sharpness that you can often find by adding Worcestershire Sauce to your cheese on toast without the mess or sourness. 

Try it for yourself and let us know.

The search for the ultimate cheese on toast continues. I really like Burner on toast however.

Bakewell Tart or Bakewell Pudding: Which is best? And what's the difference between?

Mr Kipling make's exceedingly good cakes and makes dreamy looking Cherry Bakewell's too from which the light glistens off the icing sugar top. However Mr Kipling's Bakewell's are not actually from the picturesque Derbyshire town of Bakewell less than an hours drive from Nottingham and divert from any traditional recipe by offering an icing sugar topping. Also many people out there may not actually have heard of a Bakewell Pudding- let alone know the difference. 


If you're in the Peak District it's worth a trip out to Bakewell to test both tart and pudding to see which is best.


What's the difference between a Bakewell Tart and a Bakewell Pudding?
In simplicity it comes down to the use of a particular type of pastry


Pastry use in a Bakewell Tart/ Bakewell Pudding
  • Bakewell Puddings are made using flaky pastry. 
Medium Bakewell Puddings from The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, Bakewell.
  • Bakewell Tarts are made using shortcrust pastry
A traditional Bakewell Tart from The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, Bakewell
If you're off for a trip to Bakewell there are four main places you really need to visit and sample traditional Bakewell's: The Bakewell Tart Shop and Coffee House, The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, Bloomers of Bakewell and The Bakewell Pudding Factory.


Bakewell Pudding and Bakewell Pies
The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, Bakewell

Taste Test: The Bakewell Pudding Factory Bakewell Pudding.

Bakewell Pudding Taste Test
A traditional Bakewell Pudding as made by the Bakewell Pudding Factory(Bakewell Pudding Parlour)
Eating a traditional Bakewell Pudding is quite a messy experience. As you can see from the photograph above there is a large amount of visible flaky pastry which is soft yet seems to go everywhere and adds a dry outside to the Bakewell pudding. 
The moist jam filling has migrated up through the topping
Dissection of a Bakewell Pudding- The moist jam filling has migrated up through the topping
The central section of the Bakewell Pudding is succulent and moist. The Jam layer spread on the base prior to cooking has migrated up through the centre mixture to provide moisture and a distinct flavour throughout the centre of the Bakewell Pudding to provide a unique taste throughout the filling of moist almond and strawberry jam.
After visits to all of the Bakewell Pudding makers in Bakewell, Derbyshire we plumped for the produce of he Bakewell Pudding Factory as we walked in and were really impressed by their counter and the options we had available and their Bakewell Tarts and Bakewell Puddings looked the least commercially produced. Their appearance was much less uniform than those of other establishments. From personal experience good food and cake doesn't have to look like perfection as the taste is what makes the real difference.

Which is best? A Bakewell Pudding or a Bakewell Tart?

As a cake lover it's hard to make a preference. The consistency of a Bakewell Tart throughout with it's uniform shortcrust pastry is hard to beat on a purely visual standpoint however in terms of taste the migration of the jam up through the filling which happens in a Bakewell Pudding during the baking process results in a uniquely moist flavour that has to be experienced with a trip to Bakewell and the Peak District. 

If ever I'm in Bakewell I'd choose the Pudding every time!

A few more photo's from The Bakewell Pudding Factory/ Bakewell Pudding Parlour


Traditional Bakewell Puddings from the Bakewell Pudding Factory


Close up of the filling of a Bakewell Pudding from the Bakewell Pudding Factory
A traditional Bakewell Tart as made by the Bakewell Tart Shop and Coffee House





Sunday, 8 April 2012

Restaurant 360 Arinsal, Andorra- Catalan Food Night Review

Catalan Night At Restaurant 360


Whoever came up with the phrase
"when in Rome-do as the the Roman's do"
must have known a good few things about dining out while abroad.

Some Brits like their home comforts: Sunday dinner, a Bacon Sarnie for breakfast and Heinz Ketchup. Whereas the inquisitive food tourist is always looking to try the local fayre where possible.

So when in Catalunya really there's no option of not eating Catalan food.
Restaurant 360 is the Andorran Ski Resort of Arinsal's best reviewed restaurant if you go by the reviews on the tripadvisor website and therefore had a lot to live up to but the offer of booking a Catalan Night with a 4 course meal with a glass of wine of beer for a reasonable sum of 20 Euros per person.
Despite being heralded as the best restaurant in Arinsal, Andorra the exterior of Restaurant 360 is rather unassuming and kiosk-like. Therefore it doesn't give the impression of fine dining- even the menu's are just plasticised sheets of A4 paper too so be prepared not to be blown away initially.
The unassuming exterior of Restaurant 360, Arinsal Andorra

A review of 

Catalan Night At Restaurant 360

Drinks- Catalan Red Wine

The offer in place for Catalan Night was a glass of red or white wine, beer or a soft drink. As two of our party chose red wine the restaurant fantastically gave us a full bottle of Catalan red wine to share. A very nice bonus!

Entrees- Escalivada

The Catalan equivalent of Bruscetta. Toasted bread with a topping of roasted eggplant, red peppers and onions. Drizzled with olive oil, garlic and topped with capers. I have to admit I'm not really a fan of bruscetta but the escalivada was easy to devour and very, very heavy on the garlic. Not sure I'd order it if the choice to do so existed on a menu although it was a nice entree into Catalan food.

Starter- Escudella Catalan Broth

Escudella (shortened from Escudella i carn d'olla) is a traditional Catalan Broth characterised by containing meatballs. As a meat lover this traditional Catalan Broth is my idea of food heaven as a starter. The meatballs were slightly on the spicy side while the broth itself also contained what I believe were small pieces of  veal. 

Main Course-  Grilled Catalan Sausage with White Beans and Alioli 

Catalan Sausage at Catalan Meal Night
Grilled Catalan Sausage with White Beans and Alioli at 360, Arinsal
The Catalan people love their sausages (botifara). Traditional Catalan Sausages are made of a simple combination of Pork and spices. The Catalan sausage at Restaurant 360 had a relatively dry texture with a slightly rugged spiciness which complimented the taste. It tasted fantastic when combined with a strong alioli (garlic mayonnaise) and white beans which were so soft they were like a combination between tiny white potatoes or gnocchi pasta. Well worth sampling for a meat lover. 

Dessert- Crema Catalana

Catalan Creme Brulee at Restaurant 360. Arinsal
Crema Catalana (Catalan Creme Brulee) at Restaurant 360. Arinsal
Similar to Creme Brulee, Crema Catalana features a light custard base which is often flavoured additionally with lemon or orange zest and additionally flavoured with Cinnamon. The Crema Catalana at Restaurant 360 featured a very mild creamy and heavily vanilla flavoured base which simply melted into the tongue and was a delight to sample.Main Course- Grilled Catalan Sausage with White Beans and Alioli




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The Cheesecake Shop- A Nottingham Food Institution

When you think of regional food you don't really think of Cheesecake. However The Cheesecake Shop has cafes in Carrington, Colwick, Mapperley and Wollaton as well as cafes outside the Nottingham area at Long Eaton and Loughborough and if you've never been before is well worth a visit for their goodies.
Nottingham cheescake and cafe
The Cheesecake Shop at Long Eaton. 

Here's a Quick Review of the Cheesecake Shop in Nottingham

The Nottingham touch comes in the manufacture. All that gorgeous, scrumptious, delicious, to die for cheesecake is made right here in Nottingham down on Daleside Road in Colwick.

Gorgeous cheesecake to die for at The Cheesecake Shop
Caffe Latte Cheesecake form The Cheesecake Shop
Really the only thing that's missing is a Cheesecake Shop in Nottingham City Centre. Maybe even in the Market Square or somewhere that could also have an outside seating area for those lazy summer days where you want to make the most of the sunshine. As The Cheesecake Shop in the UK is a franchise system maybe my dream could be a reality if someone really fancies opening their own cafe in Nottingham City Centre


You can choose to sit in and eat. Slices of cheesecake are a rather expensive price of around £3.00 however in terms of taste and presentation it's a cut above the rest and you'll likely not get something that matches this in many local restaurants. Your cheesecake usually arrives surrounded by fresh fruit, drizzled with a fruit coulis and dollop of fresh cream- no squirty rubbish!.


Take your pick of flavours from some of these cheesecakes
  • American- Rich and creamy vanilla.
  • Jamaican Cheesecake- deeply chocolatey
  • Toffee Swirl- a family takeaway favourite with delicious caramel and toffee topping
  • Strawberry- Continental style traditional cheesecake with strawberry topping. Yummy
  • French Vanilla- mild and very easy to go back for a second piece 
Or choose other cake styles such as:
  • Tiramisu- Italian three layers of divine tastiness
  • Tropical Torte- Traditional sponde with tropical fruits for a summer taste explosion like being on the beach at Montego Bay
  • Strawberry Fields Torte
  • Black Forest Gateaux- Chocolate and Cherries- Wunderbah!
  • Lemon Meringue- zesty lemonyness to wake your taste buds
As well as savouries to satisy those without such a sweet tooth!


The Cheesecake Shop franchise actually began in Australia of all places and has slowly made it's way around the world as well as expanding slowly throughout the East Midlands here in the UK- who knows where it could go next? Here's hoping for central Nottingham.
Cheesecake Shop Nottingham
More Gorgeous Cheesecake
And before you ask- "why don't I open up a cheesecake shop franchise?" I'm not sure I would, I love the cheesecake however would like a little more creative flair than their franchise style brings.