Monday, 13 February 2017

Birthday celebrations at The Brierley, Acklam Hall - Middlesbrough

This month marked a very special birthday for my Mum, she turned the big 5-0. To celebrate this we had to do it in style and the only way we know how is to have afternoon tea. Having already visited Acklam Hall for an Easter afternoon tea last year, we decided it would be the perfect location for this milestone day.

Before it was time to get dolled up and eat scones, I rushed to town to get some decorations for the table and cakes that had specifically been requested by the birthday girl. After legging it around town, I picked up what I needed and jogged back to the car, trying very hard not to lose the helium balloons I'd just purchased.

Thankfully, Mum was running late so this gave me time to hotfoot it to Acklam Hall and set up the table before her and my sister arrived. I'm glad I took the time to do this as she was very surprised and loved the setup.

Afternoon Tea, The Brierley, Acklam Hall - Middlesbrough - Teesside

Afternoon Tea, The Brierley, Acklam Hall - Middlesbrough - Teesside

Afternoon Tea, The Brierley, Acklam Hall - Middlesbrough - Teesside

Afternoon Tea, The Brierley, Acklam Hall - Middlesbrough - Teesside

We all chose the 'Lady Anne's tea' with a slight variation on sandwiches as we are mega fusspots. We settled on cream cheese, ham, grated cheese and egg sandwiches, oh how boring of us. We each had two scones, one plain and the other fruit which were lovely and warm. The plate of cakes of the top looked full to the brim. There was certainly something that each of us was going to like. My favourites were the chocolate opera cake and the chocolate orange macarons. Luckily I took the macarons home and had Mum's too, super bonus as they were AH-mazing.

We had a fantastic time, especially since my little nephew was there too, hanging out with us girls. He didn't have any of the food as he is only just 6 months, but he certainly enjoyed his first taste of a yoghurt as he chatted his little head off.

After copious amounts of tea, and as we started to tuck into the dessert plate, the lovely waitress appeared from across the room with the four cupcakes I'd snuck in earlier all with candles alight. I made sure my sister was singing along as Mum blew out the candles, again delighted that we'd added an extra surprise.

Overall Acklam Hall, or the Brierley as the restaurant is called, couldn't do more for us. I always find booking over the phone to be super easy and its followed up with an emails you can't forget your reservation. The building itself is stunning and is the perfect background for a delicious afternoon tea.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Leek, Potato and Kale Soup recipe

We all need some warming dishes to keep us going through these cold, dark months. Using up some leftover vegetables, I whipped up this delicious soup providing warmth and lots of goodness. Based on this recipe from the BBC food community, I made a soup that I'm sure will become a recipe I make over and over again.

For this recipe you will need:

3 leeks (washed)
4 potatoes (peeled)
1 litre of vegetable stock
3 good handfuls of kale (washed, cut into small pieces with stalks removed)
Splash of milk

First you will start off washing your leeks, slicing them longways and then cutting them into small slices. Put a pan on the hob with a splash of olive oil, whilst this is warming cut the potato into smallish chunks and add to the pan with the leek.

Cook for 5 minutes stirring intermittently to ensure nothing sticks to the pan or is burnt. Add the stock, stir well and cover for around 10 minutes, or until the potato is soft. When cooked through remove from the heat and liquidise with a immersion blender. Don't fully blend as it's nice to keep a few chunks of potato throughout. Make sure to season with salt and pepper to your taste.

Put your soup back on the heat and add your kale in. First leave this sit on the top with the lid on to steam through, then stir in after a few minutes. When you're happy the kale has softened, add a splash or two of milk to make it more creamy and then serve.

This soup is certainly a Winter favourite in our house and I'll be making it again soon!

What do you think, will this be on your to try list?

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Pre-match day date at The Fork in the Road, Middlesbrough

This weekend my boyfriend and I decided it had been too long since we'd been to a Boro match together and got tickets to see Saturday's game. We wanted to make a little day of it so said we would go out for food. You all know how going for food makes me happy and when he asked me where to go, I instantly said The Fork in the Road.

Opened just before Christmas, The Fork in the Road is a not-for-profit business that focuses on offering opportunities to those who need help getting back into employment including recovering addicts, ex-offenders and the long-term unemployed. The Fork in the Road adds another restaurant to Middlesbrough's bustling food scene. Located just off Bedford and Baker Street, its in the perfect location for a great night out.

We visited at lunchtime, around 1.30pm on a Saturday, and were attended to brilliantly. There were a number of members of staff walking the room ensuring everyone was happy with their food and happy to help if anything extra was needed. We were handed the lunch menu and were pleasantly surprised with the great choice. I'm quite a fussy person when it comes to food but this menu catered brilliantly and there was many options I could have picked.

The Fork in the Road Middlesbrough Food Review Restaurant Teesside

The Fork in the Road Middlesbrough Food Review Restaurant Teesside

The Fork in the Road Middlesbrough Food Review Restaurant Teesside

The Fork in the Road Middlesbrough Food Review Restaurant Teesside

The Fork in the Road Middlesbrough Food Review Restaurant Teesside

In the end I decided to go for the Pie of the Day which was Steak and Blue Cheese. Matt went a little healthier and chose the Belly Pork and Chorizo Salad. It took a while for our food to arrive but I think it was down to the fact that I chose the pie! When it did finally arrive we were both happy with the presentation and of course the taste of our chosen dishes.

I was apprehensive about the fact my pie had blue cheese in it as I know it can be overpowering. This pie had the perfect balance with the cheese just adding something a little extra. It was quite a rich pie but it was softened by the fact I had mash and a selection green vegetables to accompany it. Matt really enjoyed his salad and was pleased it was topped with a perfectly poached egg.

Before I wrap up and tell you that you all must visit The Fork in the Road, I must comment on the decor. They've really done a great job of making the restaurant feel elegant and modern whilst also keeping elements of Middlesbrough's heritage. I love places that play an ode to our location history instead of trying to modernise everything. I would definitely have a lot of their style elements in my home. I know I've been rabbiting on about the decor for a while but I think it definitely adds to the experience of a restaurant as its all about the atmosphere as well as the food.

I'm thrilled that we have yet another fantastic restaurant in Middlesbrough that I can tell everyone about. If you are in the area and looking for a delicious lunch or a yummy dinner, I can't recommend The Fork in the Road enough!
© gingerbread smiles.

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