Tuesday, 17 May 2016

REVIEW: Benito's Hat, Goodge Street

Throughout May, Benito’s Hat are celebrating all things Mexican with their #MakeMayMexican campaign. During May the Mexican restaurant group are hosting a series of events, including quiz nights, culinary masterclasses, weekly giveaways and a special tamale menu, which will be hosted in all of their 6 sites. Well it would be rude not to get involved wouldn't it!

Despite my already killer hangover we were greeted at Benito's Hat in Goodge Street with that Mexican speciality: tequila. I would love to say I downed mine but to be honest I sipped it, cried a bit then drank my beer instead. Alex smashed his down, complete with special salt and lime, claiming the title of best hungover tequila drinker for the day. Many congrats to him.

More importantly we tucked into some delicious grub which incidentally probably did more for my hangover that the aforementioned alcohol. We kicked proceedings off with some gorgeous gauc and chips. Handmade in each store the guacamole is your classic mix of avocado, lime, red onion and tomato. Although the chilli could have been more pronounced it was definitely very tasty and we ordered a second round to polish off the tortilla chips.

Our very kind waitress took over the ordering process and brought us a tamale platter - something I have never heard of before. A tamale is a traditional Mexican dish made from a form of dough steamed in corn husks with a variety of flavours added to it. My tamale was packed with peppers, sweetcorn and salsa verde with melted Monterey Jack cheese whilst Alex;s featured slow-simmered pork and guajillo salsa with more cheese. Both had a smooth, soft textured with a kick of herb or chilli flavour to brighten up proceedings. I wasn't completely enamoured by the masa but it was still an interesting thing to enjoy. 
Alongside the tamales was a STUNNING dish of black beans with feta. We later learned that this dish is seasoned with dried avocado leaves which bring a distinct aniseed note to the plate. We were really taken with this little bowl of yumminess and have tried to recreate it at home using the dried avo leaves. We also enjoyed a vibrant and colourful slaw with pomegranate and chipotle. The chipotle was quite overpowering and strong which made it difficult to eat at times, but still tasted really delicious. The fresh salsa of tomatoes, raw onion and coriander finished the platter which gave plenty of fresh veggie goodness.  

Overall I really, really loved my visit to Benito's Hat. Alex and I have already planned to go back as soon as uni has finished for a celebratory meal. The location, the food and the overall vibe of the Goodge Street location made us feel like we were on a very happy holiday. I cannot wait to share more experiences with you but for now I give Benito's Hat a very happy final review. 

Sunday, 15 May 2016

REVIEW: Brunch at The Jam Tree, Chelsea

Today we revisit one of my favourite brunch spots in south London: The Jam Tree in Chelsea. Having previously visited the Clapham location I was really excited to try out the Chelsea location which did not disappoint. 
When: Saturday afternoon, from 12 noon
What we ate:
  • 1 cowboy breakfast
  • 1 central American breakfast
  • Sweet potato fries
  • two soya cappuccinos
  • one flat white
  • one orange juice
  • one organic apple juice
  • The overall service was fantastic but as things got busier naturally the service slowed down.
  • The coffee was fresh and awakening. Similarly, I don't usually opt for a juice alongside coffee but both were lovely and fresh.
  • Both breakfasts were well portioned - not too much and not too little.
  • Both breakfasts were surprising and things we had not experienced for breakfast before which was really exciting.
  • My black beans were packed with flavour and worked perfectly with the avocado.
  • The scrambled eggs were lovely and creamy which worked nicely with the spicy black beans.
  • Alex's meat filled dish was packed with plenty of different flavours and textures. The two meats had two different BBQ sauces - one spicy one sweet - which was a nice addition and brought added flavour to the dish. 
  • The BBQ baked beans were sweet and sticky and the little bits of bacon brought added meatiness - like the dish needed it!
  • The eggs were cooked well with the yolk providing more sauce.
  • The sweet potato fries were absolutely DELICIOUS. Super crispy, super sweet and with a sprinkling of rosemary at the end. Wonderful. 

  • With both dishes we felt that the tortilla could have been crisp to provide more texture, which was really needed in my veggie dish.
  • The two dairy elements on my Central American breakfast of curd cheese and sour cream were a bit overwhelming and I would have like something a bit different.
  • The bacon in Alex's dish could have been much crisper. The hashbrown was also only fried on one side which was a little disappointing. 

 Overall I really enjoyed visiting The Jam Tree in Chelsea. Sitting in the garden sunshine was wonderful and the exciting breakfasts were really unexpected. I would have liked a little more textured in my breakfast, but the high ratio of avocado to everything else was an absolute winner!

This meal was kindly paid for by The Jam Tree. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

REVIEW: Indigo Nutrition Super Powders and Raw Chocolates

Indigo Herbs is on a mission to help people on their journey to a healthy lifestyle with affordable products packed full of the healthiest ingredients. From organic raw chocolate kits to maca powder, herbal tea blends, barley grass powder and more. Established in 2004 in Glastonbury, Indigo Herbs are a one-stop shop to a healthy lifestyle.
This weekend I treated myself to some raw chocolates. The kit comprises of 100% pure raw chocolate ingredients, including raw cacao powder, raw cacao butter, raw agave nectar and pure raw vanilla powder to produce nutritious and delicious raw chocolate. Raw cacao is a great source of magnesium, which helps to strengthen bones and improve circulation, and iron, which helps to oxygenate the blood and reduce fatigue. These chocolates would make the perfect 3pm snack and pick you up for the rest of the day. 

I chose to make both raw chocolate bars and an even healthier treat: orange segments dipped in raw chocolate. You could use this raw chocolate set to make chocolate drizzles, chocolate bars, raw chocolate desserts and more! What chocolate treat would you make with this raw chocolate set?


  • Melt the cacao butter in a bain-marie over a simmering saucepan of water. Once fully melted, add in the vanilla powder and stir until fully combined. 
  • Tip in the raw cacao powder and stir until fully incorporated. The mixture will become a rich brown liquid which looks absolutely divine! At this stage you could skip any sweetener and enjoy a 100% pure dark chocolate, otherwise tip in the whole bottle of agave syrup. This takes about 100 stirs to fully incorporate into the mixture. 

  • Next, decide what treats you want to make! I tipped 3/4 of the mixture into a low set mould to create a giant chocolate bar.
  • I used the rest of the chocolate mixture to create dipped orange segments - almost like a healthy Terry's Chocolate Orange! Cut the orange into segments, making sure to remove the entire peel. 
  • Dip these segments into the chocolate mixture then place on a cold plate. Pop into the freezer to set overnight.

The next morning transfer your orange segments into the fridge and enjoy! I had these as a late morning snack with a coffee. I had so much energy for the rest of the day and the flavour is absolutely delicious. 

Let me know if you make these gorgeous chocolates or if you have tried Indigo Herbs yourself.  

Monday, 18 April 2016

RECIPE: Thai Taste Vegan Curry with Fluffy Brown Rice

Thai Taste, who produce a delicious range of sauces, pastes and meal kits made in Thailand by Thai chefs, invited me to take part in their April recipe challenge! As well as using the best quality, natural and authentic ingredients, Thai Taste sauce sets are really convenient and allow you to cook restaurant-quality food within 30 minutes at home. Can't complain at that! 
It's Thai New Year this weekend so to celebrate I have created a classic green thai curry but with a twist. This vegan delight is packed with nutritious vegetables and drench in a gorgeous green curry sauce. I wanted to create a dish that was authentic to Thai flavours while being health orientated, packed full of veggies and ultimately delicious. Here are some of the health benefits of my Vegan Green Curry:
  • Coconut milk: this dairy free milk alternative is rammed with healthy fats and gives a creamy consistency to the dish
  • Fresh coriander: Packed with vitamin C, vitamin K and protein - wooh! Coriander also contains a small amounts of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin, niacin and carotene.
  • Fresh lime: Limes help to improve digestion in the same way as fresh lemon.
  • Carrots: Help you to see in the dark... sort of! The vitamin A and C are helpful for this function while the fibre helps to improve digestion. 
  • Sweet potatoes: Every vegan foodie's favourite vegetable! Sweet potatoes are classified as fibre, not a carbohydrate like white potatoes, and have plenty of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin B6. 

  • Thai Taste Green Curry Kit
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 lime
  • a handful of chopped coriander
  • 1 cup of brown rice, cooked according to packet instructions 

Finely chop the red onion. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil to a large saucepan or Dutch oven and fry the onion gently for 5 minutes.
Chop the carrots and sweet potatoes into 2cm cubes then add these to the pan. Fry for 3-4 minutes.
Add in the Green Thai Curry paste and a tablespoon of coconut milk. Fry off for 5 minutes to release the gorgeous fragrance.
Add in the rest of the coconut milk and a splash of water.
Allow this to simmer for 10-15 minutes, ensuring the sweet potato is cooked all the way through. 
Add 1/2 the juice of a lime and the sachet of herbs from your Thai Taste kit then simmer for another few minutes.

  • Serve a ladle of curry per person with plenty of brown rice.
  • Finish the bowl with more fresh lime and chopped fresh coriander

I also added two handfuls of peas to the curry just before the end of cooking for added greens. You could switch in the root vegetables for your favourite veggies, ensuring they are always cooked through. 
Let me know if you make this recipe at home and check out the Thai Taste range here

Friday, 15 April 2016

REVIEW: Wedge Issue, Clerkenwel

When you get invited to review a restaurant dedicated to pizza and beer, it's really hard to say no. And why would I! The Wedge Issue bring proper pizza and craft beer to Clerkenwell Road. Wedge Issue offers classic New York–style thin crust pizzas made from three-day proofed dough. The tomato sauce is made solely from crushed sweet San Marzano tomatoes—nothing else added, in the ancient Neapolitan method, which perfectly blends old world pizzas with new world techniques. But, what truly sets Wedge Issue apart from other pizzerias is that each pizza is bespoke - you decide and they deliver the deliciousness.

Not only does Wedge Issue offer super pizza it’s renowned for its great Beer offering, sourced from local brewers Weird Beard (West London), Anspach and Hobday (South London), Pressure Drop (North London) and East London Brewery. So something for everyone really! Enjoy this review.
Wedge Issue, Clerkenwell
Friday night, from 8pm
What we ate
1x The Clerkenwell Pizza
1x The Maribel Pizza
Rocket and vegetarian Parmesan salad
Garlic bread pizza with mozzarella
What we drank
2 pints of Honey Blonde
1 pint of Weird Beard Saison 14
1 pint of Curious Brewing IPA

Oh! Where to begin! We started our meal with a garlic and rosemary pizza strips, drizzled with olive oil and dusted with mozzarella. We didn't realise this would be a whole round of pizza but it was incredibly moreish! There was a good balance of soft cheese and rich garlic flavour while the rosemary gave an herbal note. The base was well cooked and tore apart really easily. 

My pizza, The Clerkenwell, is a vegan option with a tonne of gorgeous roasted vegetables. The pizza was covered in peppers, courgette, mushrooms, onions and artichoke which was delicious against the San Marzono tomato sauce. I opted to have mozzarella rather than vegan cheese but I felt there could have been more cheese to help hold all the vegetables together... towards the end the pizza was falling to pieces a little bit! 

Alex's pizza, the Maribel, was wonderful spiced and rich with meaty flavour. The slices of spicy chorizo were lovely and crisp around the edges which contrasted with the smattering of mozzarella and sprinkling of ricotta cheese, which brought a hit of saltiness. Alex added some sweet roasted onions which gave a sweetness to the pizza and worked really well against the San Marzano tomato sauce.

And finally, our side salad of rocket and vegetarian parmesan cheese brought a hint of freshness to our table. The vegetarian cheese was really similar to normal parmesan which I appreciated. There was a lovely light vinaigrette dressing which gave a slipperiness to the dish.
Overall I loved my visit to Wedge Issue! It's so nice to have an impressive pizza restaurant that serves delicious pizza in a non-Italian setting. The addition of craft beers gives a pub-like feel which made the whole atmosphere really relaxed - perfect for Friday nights!

Thank you to Wedge Issue for hosting this review. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

BRUNCH REVIEW: Coin Laundry, Exmouth Market

Okay, okay.... it's another brunch review!

In my last breakfast post I said it was my last, but lucky for you readers I have a few more up my sleeve! Although these posts do not come under the 'Around London in 50 Breakfasts' series, they are equally as good and I hope to create a new series soon.

Today we visit Coin Laundry, a 1970s inspired pub-restaurant that serves up retro food through the morning, afternoon and into the night. We visited for a weekend brunch on a lazy Saturday several weeks ago and found the whole experience absolutely delightful! Enjoy this review. 
Coin Laundry, Exmouth Market
Saturday morning, from 10:30am
What we ate
Chicken kiev with butter leaf salad; chips and curry sauce; onion bhaji and egg bap
What we drank
Bucks Fizz; cappuccino; flat white

  • Frankly the whole experience at Coin Laundry was a highlight. The space is massive and tastefully decorated in a 1970s style which was really fun.
  • The waiting team at Coin Laundry are really lively and chatty, making plenty of recommendations and advising on each dish.
  • I really enjoyed my egg and onion bhaji bap. The soft white roll was filled with a herby green sauce, perfectly fried egg and crispy onion bhaji that was not at all greasy. The bhaji was lightly spiced but the egg and bread flavour was much more prominent.
  • Alex's dish of chicken kiev with butter leaf salad was MASSIVE. The kiev was pretty statement and took up most of the plate. The chicken was well cooked and moist whilst the rich, buttery garlic sauce offered a richness to the dish. The butter leaf salad was nice and fresh and made a nice break from the richness of the chicken.  


  • I hate writing lowlights, but, there were two things that could have been a little better at Coin Laundry.
  • Our shared side dish of chips and curry sauce was really tasty, but the curry sauce was very runny. I would have loved a thicker sauce, perhaps made with coconut milk, that would really coat the skinny chips rather than slip off.
  • And finally, my fried egg could have been a little less cooked. The yolk was pretty set and I would have really loved a runny yolk to contrast the dry bread and soft onion bhaji.

Overall I absolutely loved my time at Coin Laundry! I cannot wait to revisit and try out the mushroom voule-a-vent benedict (how epic) and their banging cocktails on an evening.

Thank you to Coin Laundry for hosting this visit. All opinions are my own. 
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