Friday, 29 May 2015

Four local foodie favourites

I love to visit local farmer's markets, food fairs and festivals. Discovering and supporting new independent businesses that operate from within the North East makes me really happy! I visit my local farmer's market at Stewart Park, have been to the Bishop Auckland food festival and also Living North live twice now. I want to get out and visit more so I can see what great foodies we have here in the North East!

I've picked out a few businesses to introduce you to that have become some of my favourites! A few of them I've mentioned before on my blog or on twitter. I've bought their products numerous times now and would go back again for more.

Pudding Parlour - I've written about these lovely cake makers before in my Living North Christmas haul post in which I bought the ferrero rocher cake! It's delicious, so chocolatey and fluffy! There have so many amazing sounding cakes, I'm going to have to try them all!

The Pudding Parlour - North East Local Food Businesses

The Gingerbread Mam - I first came upon the Stockton-based Gingerbread Mam when I attended the Butterwick Hospice's Ladies Afternoon Tea. At this she sold her products but also gave a small talk about how she got started and her future plans, it was really interesting. Best of all she passed around free samples! I picked up a ginger syrup sponge and loved it! When I saw that she'd be at the Living North Spring event I made sure to pick up another.

The Gingerbread Mam - North East Local Food Businesses

Geordie Banger Co. - When I'm at food fairs, I can't resit some local produce. I've had Geordie Bangers before after winning a twitter competition and I really enjoyed them. It's hard to get these as they are based in Newcastle but at the Living North Spring fair I decided to stock up! I've tried all the packs I picked up now and and they were very tasty!

Geordie Banger Co. - North East Local Food Businesses

Geordie Banger Co. - North East Local Food Businesses

Spicy Monkey - Based out of Durham, this company makes many curry sauces and chutneys that you can use at home. They are made with fresh ingredients and taste amazing. I've tried the medium monkey curry and mango chutney and they are both winners!

Spicy Monkey - North East Local Food Businesses

Have you tried any of these? Which ones do you like? Any others you'd recommend that I try?
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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Feasting at the Fat Hippo Underground

I've already professed my love for a good burger, but as I've previously mentioned my favourite burger resides in London! Far to far to feed my addiction. In my search for something a little closer I ventured to Newcastle's Fat Hippo Underground.

Fat Hippo Underground Newcastle Burger Restaurant North East Review

Fat Hippo Underground Newcastle Burger Restaurant North East Review

Fat Hippo Underground Newcastle Burger Restaurant North East Review

Fat Hippo Underground Newcastle Burger Restaurant North East Review

Fat Hippo Underground Newcastle Burger Restaurant North East Review

Fat Hippo Underground Newcastle Burger Restaurant North East Review

Fat Hippo Underground Newcastle Burger Restaurant North East Review

Hidden in what looks like a cellar, accessible via a door on Shakespeare Street in the centre of town, is the trendy burger restaurant. When we arrived, on a Saturday afternoon, I expected it to be busy but it was fairy quiet and we got a table straight away. After browsing the menu I knew that I'd be going for something similar to a cheeseburger, which in the Fat Hippo was the American. It came with triple fried handcuts whilst Mum ordered the Italian Job, breaded chicken with mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto mayo in a massive panini bun which came with normal fries. We also got a portion of onion rings.

As we were in Newcastle for S Club 7 on the night we decided to indulge in a naughty slush. I picked the Berry Smash which had vodka, passoa and grenadine and Mum picked Last of the Summer Slush which included gin, limoncello and elderflower. Both were blitzed with ice to create a slush consistency! So nice and refreshing.

When the food came we were amazed by how much we got. There was so much, we knew we'd never be able to finish the lot, especially including the onion rings! My burger was delicious! So juicy and flavoursome. All the sauces and toppings made it so tasty. The chips were amazing as well coupled with Fat Hippo's signature burger sauce. Mum enjoyed her chicken burger but I think it was all a bit too much considering we had the onion rings to eat as well!

Overall the food and the drinks were great and the restaurant decor was brilliant. When I am back in Newcastle I'd definitely visit again!

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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Living with a trainer addict

Living with a trainer addict funny list tips post

Today's post is designed to help you through living with a trainer addict. Trainers aren't everyone's cup of tea so you may not be affected by this addiction but if you know someone who can't walk past a shoe shop without dragging you in for a look at the new releases, then this post is for you.

I do indeed live with a fully fledged trainer addict. Specifically Nike. He has over 25 pairs, nearly one for every day of the month. His collection includes a shoe in every colour under the sun, all different 'types', some limited edition, but all with the overriding purpose of covering your feet. Through my experience of living with this addict I thought I'd give you a few tips if you are in the same situation...

- Make sure to nod and agree when they show you their new possible purchases. They are obviously brilliant and nothing like any of the other pairs they have...

- Don't mention another trainer brand in their presence. It's like blasphemy and they may not speak to you for the rest of the day.

- When people ask about their addiction, make sure to defend it and say "it's not THAT bad!"

- Try to learn the names of the types of trainers. It will just be easier when they real off some random words. At least you know what they are talking about.

- Start to accept that anything under £80 is no good. You've got to spend above that before you get anything half decent. Apparently.

- Always compliment their new sneaks. Even if they look hideous in your opinion and are possibly brighter than the sun. They make them happy, that's good enough.

- Don't ever imply they have too many. Unless you fancy being kicked out of the house or excluded from the family.

- Don't be offended if their phone is full of pictures of trainers with little or no images of you (if you are a couple). Just accept it and move on, you can't change it.

There is however one perk when living with an addict. Seem involved enough and they might buy you a pair too.

Do you live with or know a trainer addict? Let me know. Maybe we can start a support group?

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Monday, 18 May 2015

The marvellous wonder ingredient - Greek Yoghurt

For anyone who is dairy intolerant, look away now. I'm going to confess my love for Greek yoghurt. An alternative to regular yoghurt, Greek yoghurt is so versatile and has many benefits for your health. Typically it has double the amount of protein compared to normal yoghurt and is lower in salt and carbohydrates. Whilst trying to be healthier I have started to include Greek yoghurt much more into my diet. I've been getting creative finding ways that I can use Greek yoghurt in meals. I thought I'd pass on this knowledge by showing you how you can incorporate it more into your diet!
Using Greek Yoghurt in Meals Healthier

In cooking instead of cream! I recently decided to make a curry using a curry paste and on the label it asked for double cream. I didn't have any in the house and wasn't prepared to buy any so I thought I'd try and substitute some Greek yoghurt that I had in the fridge. I got it out a little in advance so it was at room temperature to try and ensure it wouldn't curdle when I added it to the hot pan and it worked brilliantly. I added it a bit at a time which gave a great creamy texture to the curry without all the calories of double cream!

Using Greek Yoghurt in Meals Healthier Curry

As a dip! One of the main ways I use greek yogurt is as a dip. Before my health kick I was a big fan of mayonnaise. Since Greek yoghurt came into my life I've been using it as a substitute. Now when I have sweet potatoes I make sure to have a side dip of yogurt.You can mix this with different herbs and spices to create a different taste.

Instead of sour cream! When I make fajitas these days I tend not to buy sour cream, instead I use yoghurt when putting together my wrap. It does the same job in cooling down the spicy chicken but makes it a healthier dish.

Using Greek Yoghurt in Meals Healthier Fajitas Sour Cream

As a breakfast, dessert or snack! I was recently given a meal plan that advised I could have Greek yoghurt with fruit for breakfast with nuts. I jazzed this up a bit with what I had in the kitchen and created this: Greek yoghurt with strawberries, walnuts, almonds, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds - full of protein and good fats! You could even mix up something different for dessert like: Greek yoghurt with banana, chocolate drops and a dollop of almond butter. If you are just wanting a simple snack, some yoghurt with fruit and nuts would be perfect!

Using Greek Yoghurt in Meals Healthier Breakfast

In a smoothie! This is where people typically use Greek yoghurt which is great! It adds lots of protein amongst the other bits you blitz up to make a smoothie.

I hope these ideas will make there way into your diets! I can't wait until my holiday this year when I will get to go to a Greek island and taste real Greek yoghurt. Obsessed.

Which ideas are your favourite? If you have any more ways I can use yoghurt let me know!

Source for some of the information used in this post

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Friday, 15 May 2015

Tea party with Degustabox

I love a good cup of tea. With a biscuit. Oh and some cake. Why not throw in chocolates whilst you are there. Oh look a perfect tea party. Gather round and join me whilst I enjoy some Degustabox treats!

Degustabox April 2015 - Reviews - Afternoon Tea Party

Degustabox April 2015 - Reviews - Afternoon Tea Party

Degustabox April 2015 - Reviews - Afternoon Tea Party

Degustabox April 2015 - Reviews - Afternoon Tea Party

Degustabox April 2015 - Reviews - Afternoon Tea Party

Degustabox April 2015 - Reviews - Afternoon Tea Party

Degustabox April 2015 - Reviews - Afternoon Tea Party

At my tea party there was cups of Irish tea, amazing American cookies, Italian chocolates and some home made cakes.

Barry's Tea - A brand I'd never heard of until my Degustabox turned up at the door. Being an international box it was great to discover some new brands from overseas. I'm pretty much a Yorkshire Tea girl through and through so getting me to try this tea was tough. When I did get a cuppa I enjoyed it. It was nothing super special that would get me to change my tea of choice, but a lovely cup of tea nonetheless.

Debeukelaer Cookies Bakery (Creamy Cookie) - An exciting packet to discover stashed in my parcel and a welcome one. When I finally got round to trying these treats (after the hoards of photos) I was a little underwhelmed. The gooey middle was certainly brilliant, almost like nutella, but the cookie was a let down. It wasn't soft and squidgy like I would have liked, it was quite dry.

Kinder Chocolate with cereals - Whenever I find chocolate in a Degustabox I am very happy. This box didn't disappoint with two bags of different Kinder chocolates. I used the Choco-Bons to make the cupcakes and shared around the cereal ones which were a lovely change from normal chocolate flavours.

If you would like to try out a Degustabox, use this code when registering to recieve £3.00 off your first box! H6NZ2

*April Degustabox was sent to me free for review

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Monday, 11 May 2015

A day out in North Yorkshire

On a dreary bank holiday weekend, myself and the boyfriend decided we'd get out of the house and travel to Richmond. Neither of us had been there before so we thought it would be a good place to adventure around.

Richmond, North Yorkshire, Castle, Views, Day out

Richmond, North Yorkshire, Castle, Views, Day out

Richmond, North Yorkshire, Castle, Views, Day out

Richmond, North Yorkshire, Castle, Views, Day out

Richmond, North Yorkshire, Castle, Views, Day out

Richmond, North Yorkshire, Castle, Views, Day out

Richmond, North Yorkshire, Castle, Views, Day out

Richmond, North Yorkshire, Castle, Views, Day out

Richmond, North Yorkshire, Castle, Views, Day out

Richmond, North Yorkshire, Castle, Views, Day out

As we were peckish we of course went for a cup of tea and a scone, and maybe some cake. We explored the shops, including MacKenzie Thorpe's art gallery, did quite a bit of walking and visited the castle. The grounds of Richmond Castle were lush and green with many kids running around. You could walk up to the top of the tower which gave a brilliant view of Richmond and the surrounding towns. We had a lovely little day out and would recommend visiting if you live near by!

Have you been to Richmond? What's your favourite place to visit?
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Friday, 8 May 2015

Kinder Choco-Bon Chocolate Cupcakes

I used to be really obsessed with subscription boxes. Every time a new one popped up I'd be all over it. Now that I am older and a bit smarter with my money I like to research them before I commit. A few have caught my eye recently but one I've always liked is Degustabox. I've had this a couple of times in the past and loved all the new food I had to try! I really enjoy getting a massive box filled with full sized products sent to my door once a month. Some people don't seem to get the excitement I feel when I receive it, but for me it is about trying new foods from upcoming and established brands.

I recently was sent a box to review which happened to be their international box and it was filled with all sorts of amazing goodies which I will be posting about. One product that caught my eye was the Kinder Choco-Bons. I've always seen people make cakes with other treats inside, so I thought this was my chance to do the same. I'm not much of a baker, I'm more of a cook, but I thought I'd give this a go. Boy was I glad I tried!

Kinder Choco-Bon Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - Degustabox

Kinder Choco-Bon Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - Degustabox

Kinder Choco-Bon Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - Degustabox

Kinder Choco-Bon Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - Degustabox

Kinder Choco-Bon Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - Degustabox

Kinder Choco-Bon Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - Degustabox

Kinder Choco-Bon Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - Degustabox

Kinder Choco-Bon Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - Degustabox

Kinder Choco-Bon Chocolate Cupcakes

You will need (will make 8 cupcakes):
85g/3oz self-raising flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
55g/2oz butter, softened or soft margarine
55g/2oz caster sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
8 Kinder Choco-Bons

For the icing (will make enough for 12 cakes):
150g unsalted butter
280g icing sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
6 Kinder Choco-Bons

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Put 8 cupcake cases on a tray.

2. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Mix in the butter, caster sugar and the egg. Continue beating together until smooth.

3. Spoon a little mixture into the cupcake cases using a teaspoon. Put one Choco-Bon into each of the cases, squishing into the mixture to ensure coverage. Put another dollop of the mixture on top if the Choco-Bon to cover it over.

4. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until risen and firm to the touch. Leave to cool for 20-30 minutes before icing.

5. For the icing, measure out the butter and beat until soft and pale. Sift in the icing sugar a bit at a time, mixing it in well to ensure light fluffy icing, until it is all included. Add two tablespoons of cocoa powder to make it chocolatey.

6. Cover the cupcakes in the chocolate buttercream. Break up the remaining Choco-Bons with a knife and sprinkle over the cakes.

Kinder Choco-Bon Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - Degustabox

Kinder Choco-Bon Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - Degustabox

Kinder Choco-Bon Chocolate Cupcake Recipe - Degustabox

What do you think? Will you have a go making these?

Degustabox are offering readers of my blog £3.00 off their next Degustabox. Just use the code H6NZ2 when registering to redeem this discount!

*The April Degustabox was sent to me for review
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Monday, 4 May 2015

Let's make Mexican fajitas! Easy spice mix!

Do you ever really fancy fajitas but don't want to pick up a ready-made spice mix? Fancy trying to make your own but don't know what spices to use? Well I'm here to help! With the assistance of pinterest and a few at home trials, I've got a great recipe for great fajitas! This recipe uses spices that you will, hopefully, have lying around the house. I don't know about you but I much prefer to know what I'm putting in my food. The mixes that are available to buy in the supermarket can have all sorts of nasties and unknowns but with this recipe you will know exactly what you are eating with no sneaky added extras!

Now I don't want to tell you what to put into your fajitas as that is your call. I usually put in chicken, mushrooms, pepper, onion and if I'm feeling crazy some tomatoes (with the juicy bits left out).

Mexican Fajita Spice Mix Healthy Recipe

Mexican Fajita Spice Mix Healthy Recipe

Mexican Fajita Spice Mix Healthy Recipe

Mexican Fajita Spice Mix Healthy Recipe

Mexican Fajita Spice Mix Healthy Recipe

The spice mix is as follows, and please feel free to add extra if you want a bigger flavour of one spice! I'm very lenient with my mix and it ends up just an approximation of the below with me pouring all the spices in, still tastes just as good!

Serves 4

1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil

- Cut your chicken (or other meat) into chunks. Put in a bowl with the above to coat and then cook!

Now you know what you have to do... Organise a Mexican night and get this fajitas rustled up! I hope you enjoy the recipe. Let me know if you try!
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