Saturday, 30 July 2016

Getting a slice of the action at Barbarossa Pizza Kitchen & Bar, Middlesbrough

In an effort to eat my way along the new hip and happening street in Middlesbrough, we popped into Barbarossa Pizza Kitchen & Bar this weekend. Situated on Bedford Street, this small restaurant was filled to the brim with hungry customers all keen to get a slice of the action.

The menu had a great selection of pizzas from meaty to veggie from flat base to calzone. All pizzas are customisable, you can add or take away toppings depending on your preference. Both my Mum and I went for 'No.12' a tomato base pizza with mozzarella, mushrooms, parmesan, truffle oil and salami. I decided not to get the salami and so did Mum, she added goat's cheese to her pizza. My sister went for 'No.2' a simple cheese pizza with glorious mozzarella.

Barbarossa Pizza Kitchen & Bar, Middlesbrough Bedford Street

Barbarossa Pizza Kitchen & Bar, Middlesbrough Bedford Street

Barbarossa Pizza Kitchen & Bar, Middlesbrough Bedford Street

Barbarossa Pizza Kitchen & Bar, Middlesbrough Bedford Street

Barbarossa Pizza Kitchen & Bar, Middlesbrough Bedford Street

Barbarossa Pizza Kitchen & Bar, Middlesbrough Bedford Street

It took a while for our pizzas to come out but as they are created fresh and baked in a proper pizza oven, I think we can forgive this wait. Whilst we were waiting our drinks were served. Barbarossa serve a selection of fizzy drinks made by Square Root London in Hackney. I chose a strawberry soda, whilst Kelly went for a lemonade and Mum a cream soda. I thought mine was was lovely, I've never really had a strawberry soda so it was nice to have for a change.

When our pizzas arrived they all looked amazing! Just out of the oven with fresh ingredients. There were pizza cutters and cutlery on the tables depending on if you wanted to eat with your fingers or not. When we tucked into our pizzas we could definitely taste the quality. They were delicious, definitely worth the wait.

Although Barbarossa is on the pricey side, I think it's definitely worth a visit. Fresh delicious pizzas, a brilliant selection of drinks and a great atmosphere.

Will you be visiting?
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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Why I buzz off Teesside, and why you should too.

People from Teesside don't aways have the best things to say about where they live. I personally have many good things to say about our little patch. When I was younger I was definitely not as passionate about the Tees as I am now. It's hard to understand what you've actually got in your town when you're young as you don't have the freedom to explore. My nights were spent on MSN or roaming the streets. I can see how I'd never find Teesside interesting when those were my pastimes.

Now that I'm older and I've had chance to explore Teesside, as well as many other cities in the UK, I can see the greatness we have here in the North East. Forget all the big busy cities, Teesside is where it's at.

Middlesbrough Newport Bridge Great Teesside

In cities I always get so irritated by how busy it is. So many people, so many cars, never getting anywhere and always feeling so squished in public transport. When I'm in Teesside I enjoy the quiet. Don't get me wrong, on a Saturday in Middlesbrough centre you can find me getting irate, but it's nothing as bad as being on Oxford Street or in Trinity Leeds.

Fair enough in comparison to cities, we may not have the most popular shops or common chain eateries but what we do have is creativity and entrepreneurship. The wealth of independent retail outlets and restaurants we have makes our area so very unique. So what you have a Byron and a Zizzi's, have you tried a Mohujos' Burrito, Songbird Bakery's cupcakes or Cena's amazing pizzas? No! Well get your bum to the North ASAP.

Cena Yarm Great Visit Teesside

Mohujos' Burrito Teesside Visit Great

Songbird Bakery Cupcake Middlesbrough Visit Teesside
Picture taken by Kirsty (Number Twenty Six)
If we ever do happen to be treated to a chain restaurant/store, you can bet we'll be super excited about it. Everyone in cities has everything at their finger tips, they will not experience the same joy we'll feel if we ever get a Jamie's!

When you've ventured up here you can stay and enjoy the fantastic views. Yes yes, I hear you, we have a lot of industry and to some people this can be ugly, but take a look in a different direction and you see wonderful greenery or the beautiful North sea. Teesside boasts some great seaside locations including Saltburn which frequently gets 'yarn bombed', Seaton Carew, Hartlepool and Redcar. Once you've indulged in a lemon top near the sea you can then hop in the car for twenty minutes and reach the North Yorkshire Moors.

Redcar Saltburn Seaside Visit Teesside

Take a trip up Roseberry Topping or pop up to see Captain Cook's monument. Once you reach their summit you'll get some amazing vibrant views of the local area and farm lands. It's truly stunning and you'd never realise you were so close to Teesside. Although dog walkers and hikers are usually a friendly bunch, the people of Teesside are always pleasant people to be around so you'll definitely find you start up a conversation wherever you go.

Visit Teesside North York Moors Captain Cook Monument Walk

On Teesside we're not shy of fancy places for a night away or a tasty meal. Wynyard Hall is probably  one of the most well-known Northern county homes but we've got some other gems including Crathorne Hall, Hardwick Hall and the most recent addition to the bunch, Acklam Hall which was previously an old school.

Acklam Hall Middlesbrough Visit Teesside

Acklam Hall Middlesbrough Visit Teesside

I must not forget to mention the two aspects of Teesside which really sell it. That has to be Middlesbrough F.C and the parmo. People in Middlesbrough have a real passion for the Boro. You have to admire the Boro's fighting spirit to get back into the Premier League and of course their heavy partying the night after. Northerners know how to get on it, thats all I'll say. When you've had a hard night the only thing that will make it all better is a parmo.

What's a parmo you ask? A parmo is a Middlesbrough delicacy which involves deep frying a chicken breast covered in breadcrumbs, slathering it in becamel sauce then covering it with cheese and sitting it under the grill to make it oozy and gooey. When it's done and you're ready to have it with the usual chips, salad and garlic sauce. You can't not have it with garlic sauce, it's like an unwritten rule...

Parmo Middlesbrough Takeaway Visit Teesside

I'll finish this post by mentioning the area's enthusiasm. Okay in recent months we've not had the best of times, but I think the majority of us are always looking for the positive. There may have been a loss but there is now room for a number of opportunities.

We've got so much to offer which I think people from outside the area, and sometimes locals,  don't realise. I'm always so keen to buzz about Teesside and get people to come and experience it. I think when you visit you'll definitely have a change of heart about the area.
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Sunday, 10 July 2016

My favourite foodie gals - The Hemsley Sisters

Before Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley burst on to TV this year, I'd really not given them a lot of attention. Yes, I had heard of Hemsley and Hemsley but never had I taken the time to delve in deeper and see what they were about.

I saw an advert for their TV programme a while back and decided to have a watch. It seemed like they would be making some meals that I would find appealing. I watched the first episode and I was hooked. Both Melissa and Jasmine have vibrant and friendly personalities that keep you glued to the TV. It does help that the food they are making looks delicious and is made with all good stuff.

Now I still haven't read into their philosophy about food, but how I see it is that they are making great food with healthy ingredients. They use lots of fruit and vegetables along with meat which can't be bad! As well as mastering savoury dishes they've also tackled dessert, making everyone's favourite with good wholesome ingredients.

Hemsley and Hemsley Cookbook TV review

Hemsley and Hemsley Cookbook TV review

Hemsley and Hemsley Cookbook TV review

After the show I decided to invest in their two cookbooks, The Art of Eating Well' & 'Good + Simple', so that I could try out their recipes for myself. The sisters' books are filled with lots of great recipes and tonnes of bright inviting images. From the books, I decided to make;

Pablo's Chicken. Involving covering chicken with blitzed almonds and spices to create a pretend KFC. Unfortunately I wasn't too keen on this as I'm not a fan of chicken on the bone but I do think this coating would be great on a chicken breast. Matt absolutely loved it!
- Chia Pudding. A great breakfast recipe which is dairy free. Using coconut milk, chia seeds and berries, this little pudding is super healthy.
- Cream of Tomato Soup. A great tomato soup recipe which is easy to make and full of nutrients!
- Courgette and Quinoa Bread. I made this and was excited to try it but in the end I didn't manage it. It smelt really weird with the quinoa but I do think this would be pretty tasty.
- BB Brownies. Filled with black beans, these brownies looked great and tasted okay. I used coconut oil in these and you could taste it which I wasn't too keen on. Next time I think I'll use butter which is an alternative they specify. I also didn't have enough maple syrup so they weren't as sweet as I would have liked. However with a layer of Nutella on top, they tasted great. A perfect fudgy texture!

Hemsley and Hemsley Healthy Cookbook food review
Hemsley and Hemsley Cookbook TV review

I love trying recipes that replace naughty, unhealthy ingredients with goodness. I've still got so many recipes marked up ready for me to try out. Even just following their recipes makes me start to think about what I could be creating in the kitchen! All the ingredients needed to make the recipes are either in your fridge/cupboards or easy to get hold of which means creating these recipes at home is easy peasy.

Of all the healthy eating cookbooks I've bought, I would have to say this is my favourite. Melissa and Jasmine know what people like to eat and have given them a way to eat it but also be healthy. I can't wait to see what they come up with next.
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© gingerbread smiles.

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