Serpentine Bar and Kitchen, Hyde Park

A couple of weeks ago Fi and I (plus the parentals and the mini sister) had tickets to see Kooza at the Royal Albert Hall. It’s the latest show from Cirque de Soleil and it involves all kinds of acrobatics and circus acts. As it was an afternoon performance we all decided to meet up earlier and have lunch beforehand. We wanted somewhere quick and easy, but new. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to try the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen, which (surprisingly) is in Hyde Park next to the Serpentine. It’s a place I’d heard of before and had been dying to try out, so I floated the idea and luckily after seeing the menu the rest of the Evans family agreed.

And it was simply perfect, exactly what we needed. We only had a small window of time to get there and eat, which was made shorter by certain roads in the park being closed, so we couldn’t park as close as we wanted to. So after a fast paced walk around the Serpentine we were seated in this little food haven, right next to the back entrance of Winter Wonderland – if i’d have known it was so close I’d have certainly made the most of it on my last trip there! Obviously it’s a great location, right on the water’s edge with glass walls so you can see out to the park and watch the geese and swans playing up to the crowd for bread while the flocks of pigeons swirl around their heads. It’s the sort of place where you could mull over a coffee for hours or, like us quickly wolf down lunch before heading out for a show.

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Lunchtime view – miserable day i’m afraid.

So back to the food, what did we have?

Well between us we ordered 2 club sandwiches, 1 mushroom risotto, 1 beef bourguignon and 1 fish finger sandwich (see the pics below). I had the club sandwich and it was scrummy. The ciabatta bread was a completely inspired idea. It came with chips and aioli which I love! But I think the meal of the trip has to be the beef, I had a cheeky taste and now know exactly what I’ll be ordering on my next visit.

Don’t you just love the plates. I was seriously contemplating taking one of these away with me! Also check out the handy condiment holders – an ingenious idea if you ask me.

Condiments in a cake tin

Condiments in a cake tin

We were tempted by the Benugo cake selection, but we had homemade cupcakes for snacking during the interval of the show (skinny blueberry lemon cupcakes, totally delicious and they went down well with the whole family!) so instead i’m definitely going to stop there next time i’m in the park for a coffee and cake to take away. I’d highly recommend you do the same!

Lau xx

Skinny Lemon Cupcakes by The Hairy Dieters

For anyone that’s trying to be healthier and more sensible this January after a December of excess (I definitely am!) there’s one problem with all this healthy eating and vegetables. The lack of sweet stuff, I don’t know about you but I have a massive sweet tooth and struggle to get through the day without something sweet. Be it a mocha or a slice of cake, I need something that hits that sugar craving. However it’s not so easy when you’re trying to be good as a small pack of m&m’s or a piece of cake can end up being a 1/3 of your recommended calorie intake for the day – not ideal!

So when I was watching The Hairy Dieters TV show in the first week of January and they were making lemon cupcakes that came to only 167 calories per cake I knew I’d have to give them a whirl. Yes I know 167 calories sounds like a lot but if you pop to any shop and buy a cake you’re talking 300 calories MINIMUM so this is definitely an improvement.

Having tried the cupcakes I have to say that it’s impossible to tell that they’re half the calories of full fat cakes, they are simply scrumptious. And what’s better is that when I got impatient and tried a cake before I made the icing I realised that the icing wasn’t necessary as the cakes are delicious enough. So in fact these little lemony cakes of scrumptiousness are less than 167 calories each, could they be anymore perfect!?!

So to make these lemon and blueberry wonders you will need:

200g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarboanate of soda
75g golden caster sugar
100g blueberries
The finely grated zest of one lemon
2 eggs (beaten)
150ml low-fat natural yoghurt
2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
50ml sunflower oil

Mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, blackberries and lemon zest all together and form a well in the centre.
Beat together the eggs, yoghurt, milk and oil until well combined then pour into the well of dry ingredients and mix everything together.
Divide into cupcake cases (we made 13 – weird number I know!) and bake in the oven for 16 minutes at 200C.
Leave to cool
Eat and enjoy……….and then eat another!!

My little cookbook problem

Recently it’s become abundantly clear to me that I have a problem. This problem is that I have an inability to not buy a book which piques my interest. It’s like an inevitability. As soon as I think ‘oh that’s a really good book, I want to make every recipe in there’, I know that five minutes later I’ll be the proud owner of said book. It’s like the wheels have been set in motion and things are out of my control! Which is how this has happened:

Yes our kitchen possesses three piles of recipe books, over half of which are mine, eek thing have clearly got out of hand! The most recent purchases stemming from my little ‘problem’ are The Hairy Dieters cookbook and Lorraine Pascale’s Fast, Fresh and Easy which I bought because I wanted to make the Lemon and Blueberry Cupcakes and Chocolate Orange Zebra Cake respectively. Granted both recipes are delicious, both books are brilliant, but did I really NEED to buy the books? I’m thinking possibly not. I’m sure I could have Googled the recipes and found something that would work just as well. That’s what I did at Christmas after all when I really, really, really wanted to make Nigella’s Sticky Gingerbread Cake and I managed to find the perfect recipe. It was online, it cost me absolutely zilch and the outcome were these scrumptious squares of gingery loveliness!

So I think that’s what I’m going to try and do this year – not a resolution as such, it’s too late for a resolution after all! – but a promise to myself. A promise that means I won’t spend a silly amount of money on books that I then only use once or twice and a promise that means I’ll consider carefully if I need that book. Who knows with the money I end up saving maybe I can purchase my all-time ultimate dream kitchen gadget – the KitchenAid Artisan Mixer!

– Fi xx

Festive Food

I don’t know about you and your family but when it comes to Christmas in the Evans house it’s all about family time, as we spend the whole time playing games, watching Christmas TV, going on walks and of course making and consuming delicious food together! As this is a food blog we thought we’d share some of the yummy stuff we eat over the Christmas period. Sadly we won’t have the recipes for everything we mention, as they aren’t our creations, but we promise to one day rectify that with some guest bloggers – I’m looking at you Mum and Dad!

20121231-203805.jpgChristmas Cake – Every year we have a Christmas cake, well I say we but I really mean me and occasionally Dad as we’re the only ones who like it. Lucky me! Also I say Christmas cake but we should really use that term lightly. As while it does contain fruit and it does get spiked with alcohol it’s not a traditional recipe as I don’t like normal Christmas cake. So Mum makes her special version of Christmas cake.


Mum’s Mince Pies
– These are a classic at Christmas time and are simply delicious. I think what makes them so lovely is that they don’t have pastry over the entire top so some of the mincemeat goes all gooey and caramelised, yum! I’m salivating just writing about them!

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Dad’s Sausage Rolls – Again another Christmas classic for our family. You know as soon as Dad has made the sausage rolls that Christmas is on the way! These are from my Nanna’s recipe which Dad has mastered absolutely perfectly with the crunchy pastry, sweet red onion and soft sausage meat.

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Christmas Dinner – This is my all time favourite meal of the entire year. The Evans family Christmas dinner consists of a super huge turkey, stuffing (inside and out of the turkey), roast potatoes, home grown roasted parsnips, roasted sweet potatoes, leeks in white sauce, carrots, bread sauce, sausages, bacon, gravy, cranberry sauce and of course the obligatory brussel sprouts! It’s tradition that you don’t get Christmas dinner in our house until you’ve been for a walk and then you can’t have any presents until you’ve had at least one brussel sprout. This tradition stems from childhood when my sisters and I HATED them (and pretty much all vegetables) and tradition has stuck , even after all these years!

Potato Salad – Again another tradition in the Evans family, we’ve had this for as long as I can remember on Christmas night with our cold meat. We don’t just have the leftover turkey but we also have a boiled ham and a roast beef joint. Oh it’s all so scrumptious!

Shortbread Biscuits – Lau makes these each year for us to share at Christmas, it’s usually what she eats instead of the Christmas cake as she’s not a fan of it – weird I know! Anyway this year we made star shaped ones, although they look a little burnt in this picture – more like gingerbread I think, but they honestly tasted delicious!

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Sherry Log – I make this each year for the big family get together that usually happens on Boxing Day and its definitely a firm favourite with all of the family. We’ve shared the recipe before so head to the Special Boxing Day Sherry Log recipe, we promise its easy and you won’t be disappointed!

So there you have it, this is the festive food that we make and share over Christmas, the most magical time of the year. So what about all of you, what festive food do you share over the Christmas period or what are the food traditions in your family at this time of the year? We’d love to know.

Happy New Year, Fi x