So long farewell

I’m sure everyone has noticed that we’ve been pretty absent around these parts lately. The fact that there’s been no new post since 25th June will tell you that. Sorry for that, but the pair of us were feeling a little bit lost when it came to writing here. Along with CBE we both also have individual lifestyle blogs which meant that we were running three blogs between us and it just wasn’t working. Something had to change. So we decided to take a step back for a couple of weeks and soon realised what we wanted to do, and since then we’ve been making it happen. 
So what have we been doing I hear you ask? Well we’ve been creating a whole new blogging space that will combine our previous three blogs, including this one. This and That is now live so head on over there to read all about our adventures. There’ll be recipes, travel memories, running chatter, book and restaurant reviews along with other rambling posts.
Hope to see you there.
Lau & Fi

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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

Franco Manca

By now I’m sure everyone knows that I love pizza – and if you don’t then where have you been? I swear I must have some italian blood in me from somewhere. Pizza is all kinds of awesome. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this, I can’t be can I? I mean there’s something so right about the perfectly soft yet crispy dough smothered in tomato sauce, sprinkled in cheese and piled with toppings, don’t you think?

So yes, I love pizza, which is why it surprised me when I discovered a pizza place nearby that I haven’t been to. I know it totally shocked me too. But it’s true. I was in Balham with Fi to meet a friend for lunch and said friend suggested we go to Franco Manca for pizza. When someone tells you it’s the best pizza they’ve ever had? Well obviously you jump at the chance to eat there. So it turns out that this friend of mine, she knows good pizza. Yippee for me as it was so so good.

The menu at Franco Manca is very small with six pizzas and two salads, plus daily specials. But you can customise your pizzas with extra toppings as you wish. I like this though as it meant I didn’t have too much to choose from, too much choice is always an issue for me. I ended up going for number 6, the tomato, cured organic chorizo (dry & semi-cured) and mozzarella. My two lunch companions chose number 4, a ham and  mushroom pizza. The service was super fast and our pizzas arriving within 10 minutes. Now I know pizza cooks quickly but this seemed amazing to me, especially as I was sitting next to the kitchen so I literally watched them make and then bake my pizza. So the pizzas arrived and they were so so good. Like mouth watering and delicious and so moorish. I didn’t want to stop eating! Plus they look pretty scrummy too.

20140427_145417

So if you are ever in London and happen to see any of these places then go in and start eating straight away.

Now if you after reading this you really want pizza, take a look at this homemade pizza post.

Lau xxx

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.

Baking for Easter

Easter is quite possibly my favourite time of the year as it seems to signal the start of the summer and outside dining. I love the opportunity to get together with all the family and chill out in the garden, plus it brings with it the possibility of a barbecue as well as a fabulous roast dinner on Easter Sunday. Never mind the easter egg fun.

This Easter my sisters and I have decided to cook out amazing pulled pork at some point over the four days for the parental units to enjoy. Plus I’m planning on trying out a coffee and walnut cake as I’ve never made one. But before that point we get to make all the yummy sweet stuff that contains easter treats. You know what I mean, all the creme eggs and mini eggs that appear in the shops as soon as Christmas is over. Well it would be rude not to include those in some sort of baking wouldn’t it. So that’s what this post is all about – Baking with Easter sweets!

Hopefully you are all well aware of the awesome mini egg blondies that we made last year. If not then what are you waiting for? Check them out right here, right now. So these have been made again because they are just totally awesome and Fi has an actual real life obsession with mini eggs.

So yes, we made mini egg blondies, but we also decided to try making creme egg brownies. Now different versions of these have been all over the internet and on twitter, so it really was high time we had a go ourselves. They honestly couldn’t be easier – mostly because I used a packet brownie mix – sometimes you just have to cheat!

Here’s what you do –
1. Create your normal brownie batter – I used the Ghiardelli brownie mix because it’s totally awesome.
2. Throw in 10 mini creme eggs to the mix.
3. Pour the whole lot into the brownie tin.
4. Chop another 8 mini creme eggs in half and lay these gooey side up on the top of your batter.
5. Bake as per normal brownie instructions.

Creme Egg Brownies Creme Egg Brownies

Creme Egg Brownies

See, easy peasy and don’t they look amazing? I promise you guys, these actually taste like heaven. Seriously the gooey levels are epic in this. These beauties ended up at work and they all disappeared in record time. I think that’s a good sign, right?!

Now you give them ago and let me know what you think.

Lau xxx

March foodie round-up

It’s the end of the month again – where does the time go? So as it’s the end of March it means it is time for a quick foodie round up. Yay for that! So without further ado here’s a run down of everything that has been cooked, baked and eaten in the marvellous month of March.

Cooked & Baked
cheese strawspastry pinwheelschicken & mushroom soup piemini egg blondies, creme egg brownies, mug cakes, chocolate and banana cake (coming soon) and lemon and lime poppyseed cake (also coming soon).

Eaten
Harrison’sBrasserie Zedel, Nachos @ the Marquis of Anglesey, La Meridiana in Horsley for carb loading before a half marathon, Carluccio’sNineteen Ten, Iced coffees galore, the biggest pizza ever from Costco, Ikea meatballs, chips and gravy – EPIC!, Post marathon roast chicken, The Riverfront, brunch at Del ‘Aziz (again) and our first barbecue of the year – hooray!

 Here’s to some equally awesome baking and eating in April!

Lau 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