Review – The Riverfront

Last week Fi and I joined the parental units for an evening of theatre at the National. We are all a bit obsessed with the National Theatre, due, in equal parts, to the stunning river location and the ever changing selection of superb and entertaining plays. I highly recommend seeing a play there if you can. Anyway before we headed into the Olivier Theatre to watch A Small Family Business we headed for food. Obviously. I mean it’s what we do!

We decided to meet (and eat) at a new favourite of ours, The Riverfront. The Riverfront is part of the BFI and is situated right under Waterloo Bridge, which also happens to be next to The National Theatre – handy that! The building has glass walls so you can spend hours just watching the world pass by, and there are deckchairs outside if that’s what you fancy. It was raining (of course) so we headed inside and got situated with ginger beer and Victorian lemonade – we are British after all! 

Now to the food. Well we decided to share a tomato bruschetta and a baked provolone cheese with honey. Both of which we’ve had before and loved. The tomato brushetta is made form heritage tomatoes, so you get the lovely orange and yellow tomatoes involved too. Nom nom. Add the provolone cheese is seriously to die for with the most amazing crusty, chewy rind on it. For mains I can definitely recommend the pulled pork and bacon burger. It comes in a delicious brioche bun with a mini bucket of chips on the side. The rest of the party sampled the beef burger and the fish and chips. From previous visits we can also suggest sampling the Caesar salad and the sausage and mash. Basically this place is all about good British food, done very very well.

Another quirky thing to mention is that as this restaurant is situated in the BFI you get announcements to let you know when films are about to start – such a clever and fun idea.

Lau xx

Advertisements

Chocolate Crunch

revisiting childhood banner

So here it is our inaugural childhood recipes post. I hope you’re all ready and raring to go and intrigued about the recipe that’s coming your way!?

The very first recipe in the Gnome Gnotebook is something called Chocolate Crunch, which I confess I have no recollection of ever having made in my life, which means sadly I can’t share any wondrous stories of baking this as a child. A slight fail on the first recipe we have to make in this new blog series, but I’m not one to cheat and ignore this recipe. Instead we got stuck into the recipe on Saturday and gave it a whirl.

The result? Um totally delicious and I’m devastated that I have never tasted this wonderful chocolate crunch before. It really is delicious (in both its raw and baked forms) and I will most certainly be making in the future! It’s a simple tray bake recipe and tastes like chocolate biscuits. Always a winning combination.
If you fancy giving it a whirl yourself you will need:

  • 1lb plain flour
  • 2oz cocoa
  • ¾lb margarine
  • ¾lb caster sugar
  • A dash of Vanilla essence

cc_ingredients

And it couldn’t be easier to create this scrumptious baked item…

  1. Melt the butter and vanilla essence in the microwave until it’s of an oil consistency
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in another bowl and then stir in the melted ingredients.
  3. The mixture should form a biscuit type mixture.
  4. Press the mixture into a greased tin so it’s about half an inch thick
  5. Bake on 160°C for 15 minutes until the top is no longer wobbly!
  6. When the tray bake has cooled, remove from the tin and cut into squares and eat.

cc_ready to eat

This truly was delicious and so simple to make, so I can see I’ll be making this an awful lot in the future!

– Fi xx

Coffee and Walnut Cake

It’s time for another cake recipe. Yep, it’s been all about the sweet stuff recently! I’ve been talking about making a coffee and walnut cake for ages and ages, mainly because it’s my youngest sister’s favourite cake ever.  Plus I now like coffee which means it’s a cake that I want to actually make (and then eat now), whereas previously I just wasn’t bothered! So with Easter upon us, and knowing that Becca would be home with us for the celebrations, the four day weekend seemed like the perfect time to get baking. Trust me guys this is a good recipe that you can make with your basic store cupboard ingredients. It’s super easy with as it’s just a slightly amended Victoria sponge cake, but it looks gorgeous and tastes so good.

Ingredients – 

For the cake
175g softened butter
175g brown sugar
175g self-raising flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp strong coffee powder (i used espresso granules) mixed with 2 tbsp boiling water and then cooled

For the Icing
100g softened butter
200g icing sugar
9 walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease two circular baking tins
2. Cream together the butter and sugar

3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between. Add the vanilla and whisk again

4. Sift in the flour and baking powder and then gently fold into the mixture

5. Add half of the coffee mixture and fold in again
6. Now divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 20-25 mins

Once the cakes are cooled it’s time to make the icing.

cooling cakes

7. Beat together the butter and icing sugar into a smooth icing
8. Add in the remaining coffee and mix well. Have a taste of the icing and add more coffee as needed – we added about half the same again as we like the taste of coffee a lot!

coffee buttercream
9. Use half the icing to sandwich the cakes together and then spread the remaining half on the top. Now top with your walnut halves.

cofefe and walnut cake

Happy Baking. Lau xxx

This recipe originates from The Baking Book by Dorling Kindersley.

Peanut Butter Brownies

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you’re all having a fabulous Sunday morning and that the Easter bunny was super kind to you. I’m rather happy to be tucking into an absurd amount of mini eggs this morning – whilst still in my pajamas of course. Lucky me!

As it’s Easter, and that’s a LOT to do with family and chocolate – at least if you’re not religious and me, I thought I’d share a chocolatey recipe that is one of our family’s favourites – the humble peanut butter brownie. I made these yesterday for a barbecue and surprise surprise we’ve got only a couple left – they’re that good. We’ve mentioned these in the past but never shared our slightly amended version of the Life is Peachy recipe. So we thought it was high time we did – enjoy this Easter gift!

Ingredients

  • 150g Dairy Milk chocolate
  • 100g smooth peanut butter
  • 175g margarine
  • 325 caster sugar
  • 120g self-raising flour
  • 3 eggs

photo 1

Melt the chocolate and margarine and then stir in the peanut butter until the mixture is smooth

photo 2

Add the caster sugar and combine
photo 3

Now add the self-raising flour and mix thoroughly

photo 4

Crack the eggs in and combine until smooth

ready for the oven

Pour into a greased brownie tin and bake on 160 degrees for 40 minutes. Then EAT them all at once (go on you know you want to!)

Delving into our childhood recipes

This battered book is my mum’s trusty recipe book. (Isn’t the cover just awesome?!).

Mum's recipe book

As a child the sight of this book being pulled off the shelf and my mum flicking through it in the kitchen would instantly make me smile. It meant I’d get to crumb flour and butter in a bowl, flatten batter with a fork or lick the bowl clean!

This book is synonymous with fun times spent with my mum, sisters and, if I was extra lucky, my Nanna and/or Grandma.

This is one item I’d run back into a burning building for. It represents
hours spent with my mum having so much fun and generally making a mess.

I spotted this on my mum’s shelf on a recent trip back home and it sparked all these memories and got my thinking about some of those recipes from my childhood – Victoria Sponge, Scones and Hungarians – and when I last made any of them. When I realised it was a while back I decided to start a regular post on the blog and share these recipes with you all. It’ll be great to take a trip down memory lane to the family recipes of my childhood and I can’t wait to see what recipes I’ve forgotten! So starting later this month we’ll be sharing recipe number one. I do hope you’ll join us and enjoy the Harvey/Evans family recipes.

Do you have something similar that you remember from your childhood or hope your kids remember from theirs?

– Fi xx

Discovering cheaper supermarkets

Since our younger sister started her second year of University she has been raving on (and on and on) about shopping at Aldi. This cheap food shop obsession is shared by Fi too, as she frequented Aldi herself when she was at Uni. I on the other-hand was all about Asda, as the cheaper shops of Aldi and Lidl hadn’t made their way down to Leicester when I was there. Anyway when the three of us had a sister getaway to the Peak District earlier this year we headed to Aldi for all of our food shopping – If I’m honest the fact that I was with two huge fans meant I didn’t really have much of a choice! So we went to Aldi and stocked up on everything we needed; garlic bread, crisps, sweets, lots of cereal, drink and £3.50 worth of pork to make this pulled pork recipe.

Since this weekend and the discovery of delicious cheaper ingredients I have been obsessed with both Aldi and Lidl, which is perfect as Fi and I have just discovered a new Lidl that has opened up in our London neighbourhood. Talk about perfect timing, right?!

The other day we did a quick food shop and spent a total of £15 on the following items; tortilla wraps, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms, grapes, strawberries, spinach, blueberries, melon, bacon, yogurt, biscuits, croissants (chocolate and plain), Easter chocolate and toilet roll. Yes, all for £15! Now you know if we’d gone to our usual supermarket it would have been at least £20.

The thing about supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi is that they are all about unknown brands, rather than the big names you see everywhere else. Now I’m discovering that these brands are just as good, if not better than their well known counterparts. We’ve also managed to find our favourite Portuguese biscuits in our local Lidl, now that’s exciting and dangerous all in one!

So if you have one of these supermarkets I’d definitely encourage you to go check it out. Have a wander around and see what’s available. Here’s a couple of points to remember if you are heading shopping.

1. Be prepared to weasel your way around people or walk quite slowly around the shop. The aisles are quite narrow – I guess to fit in more stock, so it can be irritating if you want to zip around quickly.

2. Remember that you can’t pay by credit card, it’s cash or debit card only.

3. Also when you get to the till it’s all about being quick. So throw everything back into your trolley, pay and move along to the packing area to arrange all your bags.

4. Also remember to bring your own bags or be prepared to pay for what you need. But remember you’ll be packing your bags away from the till, so you won’t know how many you’ll need until then.

Happy shopping. Lau xxx

Super-Simple Turkey Enchiladas

Greetings lovely friends, how are you today? I hope this Thursday is treating you well? Today I thought I’d share one of our staple meals, which *shock horror* we’ve never shared with you lovely lot – our turkey enchiladas. How remiss of us, how can you ever forgive us? I really hope that one day soon you can!

Anywho we made this a few days ago and it really is the yummiest recipe around and, as it’s this blog, it’s also simple indeed! It’s one of those recipes that you can make without having to visit a supermarket, or at least we can as we ALWAYS have all the ingredients to hand. And I promise you that it’s the most brilliant recipe to warm you from the inside out on any dreary January day! Read on to find out how you make it and what you’ll need. Oh and if you fancy making a veggie version check out our bean enchilada recipe here.

  • tortilla wraps
  • cheese
  • spices – 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp chilli pepper
  • two turkey breasts
  • A jar of passata
  • A couple of tins of kidney beans/lentils/chickpeas
  • soy sauce
  • A selection of veg – we always do mushrooms and peppers
  1. Start off by frying your turkey (cut into thin strips) and chosen veg in a smidge of soy sauce
  2. Meanwhile heat up the passata, tinned beans/lentils, etc and spices
  3. Grate your cheese
  4. Once the turkey is cooked and the veg softened add to the sauce which should have reduced and be smelling AMAZING!
  5. Spoon some of the sauce into your serving dish (a lasagna bowl works a treat)
  6. Then take your first wrap and spoon in two spoons of the turkey/veg/sauce mixture and sprinkle a touch of cheese over. Then roll up and pop into the serving dish
  7. Fill the rest of the wraps in the same way until you have a full dish. We usually manage four wraps with the above ingredients, but it really depends on how full you fill them!
  8. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top of the rolled up wraps and finish with any left over grated cheese
  9. Pop into a preheated oven (180 degrees) and cook for 20 minutes until the edges of the wraps are crispy and the sauce is bubbling.
  10. Best served with a side of salad plus some guacamole or Nando’s Perinaise.

See I told you it was super easy, didn’t I! Let us know if you give it a whirl! So what are your go-to/fail-safe recipes? Does anyone else have enchiladas as one of theirs?

– Fi xxx