Sunday, 23 November 2014

Have a Snuggly Christmas & Snuggle Up at The Snug Bar

The Snug Bar group (my nearest is St Albans but we visited the one in Hitchin for the menu launch) are offering a fun, simple and impressive Christmas Menu this year.

Mr R and I were invited to try out some of the Christmas menu items recently at the Hitchin Snug Bar.  We sat with a lovely parent blogger and her husband and really got into the holiday spirit!

We delved into the alpine dressing up box and took pictures,
We learned how to make two festive cocktails, a Candy Cane and an Apple Pie. You can book your own Christmas Cocktail Class and learn the secrets of the trade with a group of friends for some real festive fun this December!
We tried the festive sharing platters, potato skins with turkey, cheese and caramelised onion topping; chicken wings tossed in a Bourbon and cherry glaze; mini sausages in a honey & mustard glaze; fig and Wensleydale & cranberry skewers, miniature prawn cocktail; bacon and Brie quesadillas and cranberry & Brie bruschetta. 
There was also a vegetarian festive sharing platter which consisted of Mixed Italian olives; vegetable quesadillas; potato skins with goats cheese and caramelised onion topping; fig and Wensleydale & cranberry skewers; mixed mushrooms in Diane sauce and crumbled blue cheese; beetroot and rocket layered salad; and cranberry and Brue bruschetta.
We got to try the Christmas Burger – a 7oz British beef burger, topped with turkey, Cheddar cheese, smoked bacon, Bourbon & cherry sauce and pickles served with a side of pulled pork in BBQ sauce and skinny fries!

The festive Snug Christmas desserts include Eggnog Cheesecake, The Snug Trifle and Terry’s Chocolate Orange Sunday, all very yummy and indulgent.
They have a selection of different festive menu’s and suggestions to get you and your friends and family in a real Christmas mood.  You can follow The Snug bar on Twitter (@THESNUGBAR) and on Facebook (
Thanks to The Snug Bar Hitchin for a lovely evening.  I was not paid to review or write a positive review. As usual all opinions and photos are my own.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Parma Ham Specialist Programme Awards

I was a guest of The Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma for an evening of celebration when Terroni & Son’s, London’s oldest delicatessen hosted the Parma Ham Specialist programme 2013 and they were awarded the ‘Crown Anniversary Slicer’ in celebration of their dedication of Parma Ham.
Terroni & Son’s, established in 1878, offers a wide range of Italian food and drink. Located in Clerkenwell next to St Peter’s Italian Church they are known throughout London’s Italian population.
Terroni & Son’s have shown a fantastic devotion to and knowledge of Parma Ham which saw them named the UK Specialist 2013.  The Parma Ham Specialist programme is set to expand in 2014 open to anyone who meets the strict requirements.  The winners get a range of branded materials to promote the ‘specialist’ status and also gets to be awarded the iconic slicing machine.
The evening I attended started as it meant to go on with lots of Prosecco being offered as your glass started to empty and platters and platters of dainty appetisers all showcasing the delicious Prosciutto de Parma. The award was presented to Terroni & Son’s by the acclaimed Italian chef, Aldo Zilli.
Prosciutto de Parma is an all natural product without the use of any artificial rubs, seasonings or salts and is aged for a minimum of 12 months before being given the brand of the Ducal Crown which shows off its identity and guarantee of its region of origin.
Prosciutto de Parma is the perfect addition to any appetiser platter, perfect to wrap around fruit, breadsticks or grilled asparagus or added to risottos or pastas.

I did not receive a payment to attend this event and as always all opinions and photos are my own.






Sunday, 16 November 2014

Big Cup Little Cup - Online coffe and a great discount!

I have recently written about CafePod, the little coffee pods that are compatible with my Nespresso coffee machine.
This week they sent me some coffee from their online sister company called Big Cup Little Cup.
Big Cup Little Cup are offering an online service for their coffee pods where some are made for the little cup (espresso) and others for a big cup (lungo). They can offer limited edition and small batch artisinal coffees.
This month they have a limited edition called Reindeer Rocket – a full bodied coffee with a hint of intuitive chocolate with a strength of 9, a perfect full bodied lungo. Brazilian Arabica beans and Southern Indian Robusta beans make a bold and powerful cup of coffee that lingers and finishes with a smoky flavour on your palate. Perfect to warm you up after tidying the leaves in the garden!
Why not pop over to their website and you can get a lovely 15% discount on your first order! Just enter the exclusive code:  HEIDI15 at the check out.
Thanks CafePod and Big Cup Little Cup for the samples to try.
I was not paid to write this and as usual all opinions and photos are my own.



Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Restaurant Review - 21 Covent Garden

Earlier this year, on my birthday, Mr R and I went to Covent Garden and reviewed a fab upstairs bar called The Print Room.  Downstairs in the restaurant called 21 Covent Garden they serve authentic Italian food and delicious cocktails. I was asked to pop in and try the menu. I had an event to attend but as Mr R was on holiday he met me in London, we went to The Tower of London to view the moat of poppies, which we got to get a good look at just before the heavens opened up and it started to rain!

We headed to Covent Garden, had a nice wander around and finished up at 21 Covent Garden for our meal.   There are two entrances, one on the ground just by the entrance to The Print Room, the other is accessible from the underground restaurants and gift shops.  These underground places stretch way under Covent Garden.
21 Covent Garden weaves itself under the passages of old offering loads of little nooks and crannies to have a quiet meal for two or a group of friends. There is however room to cater for 80 diners without it looking large and sprawling.
They have a small menu but what is on it is really well thought out and good value for money. For our starter we decided to share a salami platter. There were three types of salami in three long rows with little bits of cornichons and cocktail onions dotted around. This came with a basket of breads.
The pace was nice, We were neither rushed nor ignored. We both tried to guess what the other would have for a main course and each guessed correctly! Our main courses arrived, we tucked in along with our glasses of wine (we don’t usually order a bottle if it is just the two of us because Mr R prefers red wine and I usually prefer a crisp dry white.
Mr R has a serious face as he checks out the wine menu!!
I had the Cornish Crab Linguine which arrived in quite a large dish and I was full to the gills (small fish joke) when I finished. It was creamy with great big chunks of crab meat and a background of the crab throughout each mouthful.
Mr R ordered the Salt Marsh Lamb Ragu which came in it’s own little casserole dish, hot and steaming with a thick piece of home made bread on the side.  The meat just fell apart from long slow cooking and the potatoes, carrots and celery were so tender.
The problem only came when we wanted to order pudding! We were both too full to have a pudding although they all sounded enticing such as:

We settled on one Affogato to share, an espresso coffee to pour over a lovely scoop of vanilla ice cream. This is one of my favourite puddings when I am full – it acts as a sort of digestive after the meal.
I think I will have to pop in for dessert and coffee next time I am in Covent Garden!

I was not paid to visit or write a review of 21 Covent Garden and as usual all opinions and photographs are my own.









Saturday, 8 November 2014

Win Tickets to the Foodies Festival Christmas

Win two tickets to the Foodies Festival Christmas the 28th, 29th and 30th November 2014 at The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London E1. You will find loads of Christmassy fun for all the family such as:-
-Michelin star and top chefs cooking live
-Drink masterclasses with champagne, cocktails and craft beer
-Street food and feasting tents
-Artisan markets, Pudding Hall and Wine and Cheese Villages
-Hands on Cake and Bake Masterclasses
-Ski bars, Pop-up Breweries and Vintage Soda Bar
-Ceilidh dancing, Christmas quizzes and live entertainment
- Whiskey Arena
- Producers Grotto
- Elf Cookery School for the little ones and much much more

To win just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Deadline to enter this competition is 17th November 2014 midnight GMT.
  • Tickets are valid on one day chosen by winner.
  • Children under 12 go free.
  • Competition open for UK residents only, you must be 18 or over.
  • Winner will get one pair of complimentary tickets.
  • Tickets are non transferable, no cash alternative available, one pair of tickets per winner only.
  • Winner will be picked by Random Number Generator.
  • All tickets will be scanned on entry to the show.
  • Winner will receive tickets directly from Foodies Festival
If you don't win you can always get a special deal on tickets

Foodies Festival Christmas
The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane
28,29,30th November

 Foodies Festival Christmas transforms The Old Truman Brewery into a food and drink wonderland, it's time to book your tickets and save yourself up to £20 on a pair of tickets.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Perfect Gift - Etheringtons Butchery Academy

I was asked if I would like to attend and review a day course at The Etheringtons Butchery Academy in Cornwall.  Great idea but how about Mr R does the course and I take the photos and write the blog!  Great was the response and so the planning started.  The Falmouth Oyster Festival was coming up in October and I thought it would be a great weekend to do both.

We arrived in Falmouth after a five and a half hour drive on the Thursday afternoon, booked into our hotel and set out to see what the Oyster Festival was all about and Friday we explored the beach as well as the festival.

But up bright and early on Saturday and we headed to the tiny village of Wheal Rose to the home of Etheringtons Butchers.  Our day was to be a pork butchery course with a cornish pasty made on site followed by sausage making before finishing.

We met Frank, our butchery instructor for the day who could bone and roll a shoulder of pork in 49 seconds! We both took a little bit longer than that.

When we arrived I was surprised to learn that not only were we the only participants for the day but that I was going to work too.  We both had half a pig in front of us
A quick lesson in the tools of the trade we would be working with, the proper way to steel a knife - it's all in the sound, and then getting kitted up with our chain mail safety gear.
Mr R looking fetching in chain mail!!
Frank got us to inspect our piece of pork for sharp pieces of bones and then getting to know the pork.
We systematically worked our way through learning all sorts of hints and tricks as we went along.
The shop (where you can get your hands on a wide range of beautiful pieces of meat is attached) and needed a chined loin of pork. Frank promised the shop one and set about guiding Mr R through the process!
Final touch putting the little 'hats' on the bones before sending the loin into the shop.
The final piece of work was to bone and roll a shoulder of pork.  We each did this with a friendly rivalry as to whose butcher's knots were the best. (I think mine were!!)
A quick break for a Cornish pasty lunch made on the premises then back to work!
Nothing is wasted and all the pieces of pork we cut off were put to one side to make sausages.
It was easy to use the machine and fill the skins,
The skill came later when we learned how to tie them into the bundles you see hanging in the butcher shops.  My finger nails were a bit too long and I was scared I would rip the skins and the sausages were quite heavy towards the end.
The day had to come to an end (Mr R was proud to see his joint of pork on display in the shop) but we had such a good time, Frank was a great instructor and taking home our boned and rolled pieces of shoulder and a bunch of sausages was a really experience.
If you are looking for a fun and unusual gift then contact Etheringtons, they can send you a gift voucher and make the booking process really easy for you. Make a weekend and stay in a nearby B&B for a really lovely, foodie treat, there is loads to do in Cornwall.
Many thanks to Etheringtons for treating Mr R and myself to a really fantastic day.  As usual all opinions and photographs are my own.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Thermos Overnight Coffee Challenge

Thermos brand flasks have been around for years, since 1904 in fact. I remember when I was younger, when the inside was a silvered glass container which broke if you knocked it. Now they are the leaders of the durable stainless steel flask and vacuum insulation technology.
Now a days Thermos are state of the art for keeping your hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold.  I have often wanted to buy a flask, looked at the price of the Thermos and bought a cheaper item only to wish that I had bought the Thermos, the best, in the first place.

I was recently invited to take part in the Thermos Overnight Coffee Challenge. Arriving at Prufrock Coffee in Central London where we were first taught all the hints and tips to be a top Barista (read Mr R's account coming soon).

When the event finished we were given a large Thermos flask (1.2L vacuum insulated beverage flask) with coffee brewed at mid-day and challenged not to open it until the following morning and to report whether the coffee was still hot. It should be because the flask keeps liquids hot for approx 24 hours.
As difficult as it was, I resisted the urge to see if the liquid was still hot!  The following morning we tried the coffee. It was warm but not hot.  I was disappointed but I had an inkling as to why it was not.  The amount of coffee in the flask was only about half capacity.
I decided to do my own coffee challenge. Firstly I filled the flask to the top with boiling water and put the top on. When the kettle boiled again I tipped out the boiling water and filled the flask with my coffee. Lid securely on and flask put to one side on the work top and left until morning.

The result the following morning .............. Coffee as hot as when it was made! The trick is to warm your flask and fill it with your hot coffee, tea or soup.

Many thanks to Thermos for the 1.2L flask and for the 470ml insulated travel tumbler we got to take home. I know these will keep us supplied with hot drinks on the allotment for years to come!

For more details find them on Twitter #OvernightCoffee

I was not paid to write a positive review and as always all opinions and photos are my own.