Monday, 22 May 2017

Food prep Sunday

Yesterday, after writing my meal plan for the week, I decided to pop to Aldi and pick up the food we would need. There were a few things that would involve me spending a little extra time on them before they would be ready for the upcoming week. With my Sunday afternoon I got stuck into the kitchen and started preparing some grub.

First up was granola. I've made this simple granola twice now and it has been delicious. Just as good as store-bought but with the simplicity of just being oats. This recipe is from Southern in Law and is super cheap, quick and easy to make!

homemade vanilla granola food preparation southern in law
homemade vanilla granola food preparation southern in law

Next up was a new recipe that I'd not tried before. I always struggle to have a healthy, nutritious breakfast and recently I've been wanting to get more protein in my diet. Whilst browsing Pinterest I came across this Strawberry Cheesecake Chia Seed Pudding. From The Foodie and The Fix, this recipe involves putting everything in a blender (except the chia seeds, oops) and then putting it in a jar to set overnight. Doesn't seem too difficult does it! I put this into My Fitness Pal and with the cheeky extra of cottage cheese (which you can't taste) each serving has 18g protein! It does have quite a bit of sugar due to the strawberries and sweetener (I chose honey) but its all natural... Tried this for my breakfast today and it is lovely!

strawberry cheesecake chia pudding

Whilst cooking up all my treats I also put together a big tub of fruit salad. We tend to buy lots of fruit but never manage to eat it all. To combat this, I cut it all up into a tub and stick it in a fridge. I find if it's already prepared for you, you tend to eat it.

Now on to a little bit of savoury. I've made roasted chickpeas before but hadn't thought much of them. Recently I was watching Healthnut Nutrition on Youtube and she was preping some chickpeas which she really seemed to love... We have many abandoned tins of chickpeas in the cupboard so I thought it was about time to let them see the light of day. Using Healthnut Nutrition's recipe I whipped up these tasty crunchy chickpeas to snack on. The key to these is definitely leaving them in for quite a while to ensure they get the crunch. I put garlic powder, paprika and cayenne pepper on mine, kind of like flamin' hot flavour monster munch.

roasted chickpeas healthnut nutrition

Last but not least was something I made up last minute due to the fact we didn't buy any treats to have with a cup of tea. I knew I wanted to make these so bought plenty of bananas and two bars of dark chocolate. I split six bananas in half and coated them in melted dark chocolate. When they had set, I stuck them in the freezer and we were able to enjoy dark chocolate covered frozen bananas. They are so good! I would insert a picture but they aren't the prettiest. You imagine a banana covered in chocolate... 

So that was my afternoon of food prepping, what do you like to make for the week on a Sunday?
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Thursday, 18 May 2017

The afternoon tea that embodies Teesside - Skelton Mill Tea Rooms

The humble parmo. I've spoken about my love for it before and explained what one is. A parmo is a Middlesbrough 'delicacy' which includes fried chicken, bechamel sauce and CHEESE! In Middlesbrough it will be hard for you to find someone who doesn't like the parmo. Recently my Mum came across an afternoon tea that included one rather than the usual sandwiches. That's like two of my favourite things combined into one which meant I had to visit and try it out.

Located around 10 minutes from Middlesbrough, Skelton Mill Tea Rooms is just off a country road surrounded by greenery. As well as the tea rooms, on the site they have glamping pods and a vintage/shabby chic shop.

Having booked our time slot and pre-ordered our afternoon tea, it wasn't long before we were presented with a stand full of gorgeous food and a plate of chips. The staff were super friendly and couldn't do enough to ensure we were happy.

With our parmo and chips, the tea rooms included two pots of garlic sauce, a bowl of salad and some buttered bread. Although I had not long had my breakfast, I practically wolfed down my portion as it was really tasty and something so different for an afternoon tea.

After the parmo it was time for the scone. As I'm not one for fresh cream, and they'd already pre-creamed the scones, they kindly gave us another scone (raspberry and white chocolate) for me to have with butter and jam. This was the perfect consistency for a scone, very light but also solid enough to ensure it didn't crumble on my plate. The flavours of this one were really nice and complemented each other perfectly. I'd definitely be back for 'cream tea' if it included these scones.

Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review
Skelton Mill Tea Rooms and Bistro Parmo Afternoon Tea Review

Last but not least was the cake. In my opinion the selection of sweet treats wasn't the best with only a small chocolate cake and a little jelly and custard, but to be honest by this point I wasn't bothered. The parmo and the scone filled me up, so I was happy with the delicious food I'd already had. Having said that, I did spot some delicious cakes on the sideboard, so I definitely think I'd pop back just for cake!

Myself and Mum thoroughly enjoyed our time at Skelton Mill Tea Rooms. The staff were exceptionally nice, the food was so good and the price was very reasonable. For our parmo afternoon tea for two it was only £20! Usually you'd pay that much per person at some places.

If you live in the area I would definitely say you need to visit if you are fond of the humble parmo.

For more afternoon tea reviews, click here!
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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Taking tea with Valerie - Patisserie Valerie afternoon tea

Among my friends and family, I'm known as someone who goes out for food quite often. Anywhere someone is interesting in going, I've probably been and can give an in-depth review, or direct them to my blog (#pageviews). So when Christmas rolled around, Matt's Uncle decided it would be a great idea to buy us an afternoon tea for two at Patisserie Valerie, which has not long opened in Middlesbrough. Having only ever been for cake and a warmed croissant sandwich, I couldn't wait to try their afternoon tea.

After an especially busy period at work, I took a random Friday off and we ventured to Durham for the day to redeem our afternoon tea. From where we'd parked, we walked up the stairs to ground level and Patisserie Valerie was staring us right in the face.

We ventured to the cafe around 2.30pm, after a wander around the town, trying to spot the Marvel Avengers cast, and were seated immediately. Our afternoon tea didn't take long to come out and it looked packed with yummy treats.

Afternoon tea Patisserie Valerie Durham Middlesbrough Review
Afternoon tea Patisserie Valerie Durham Middlesbrough Review
Afternoon tea Patisserie Valerie Durham Middlesbrough Review
Afternoon tea Patisserie Valerie Durham Middlesbrough Review

We switched out a few of the sandwiches and were left with chicken, sun-dried tomato and pesto, egg mayonnaise and ham and mustard. As an extra in this afternoon tea, we both had a small, warm, vegetable quiche which was a lovely addition. Having worked our way through the sandwiches, which were very fresh and tasty, we were on to the scone level.

We had a plain and a fruit scone accompanied by four different mini pots of jam, clotted cream and butter. The scones were the perfect mix of firm, yet soft, and when accompanied by unlimited cups of tea, were great.

Finally we reached the top level, the cake! It was a bit disappointing that we only had one of each type of cake, apart from the chocolate eclair, which meant we had to split the small servings of cake. I tried the chocolate and the carrot which were both very nice.

Overall for a 'chain' cafe, this afternoon tea was of a very high standard. Patisserie Valerie pride themselves on their top-notch cakes, and their afternoon tea didn't falter on creativity or quality. For £25 for two, this afternoon tea is very reasonable and could be taken whenever you fancy it.
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