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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Birmingham Oktoberfest

I recently joined Yelp the review site and was really pleased to be invited along to an event by Vicky, the Birmingham Community Manager. It was at the Birmingham Oktoberfest- our own version of the massive Munich beer festival!

 
A giant muddy tent in a car park on a windy Sunday afternoon doesn't sound that promising, and it did look a little bleak when we went in. We were sat on a long bench right at the front by the stage. The tables and benches were a little grubby, I assume from the previous day. This soon stopped being important once I started drinking!
The beer was pretty expensive to say the least. My 1.5 pint was £8.50. It did last a long time and saved 50p on buying half pints...! Only one type of beer was available, it was cold and tasty. I also had a cider which was ok.


The food wasn't great, I had schnitzel and fries. The fries were good but the schnitzel was very dry and tasteless. It filled a gap but was disappointing for £10.



Our server was Derek who seemed to be having a great time and whizzed back and forth from the bar with drinks for us all afternoon.
Onto the best bit...the entertainment! The band weren't an oompah band but sang some German songs and encouraged crowd participation, everyone shouting German phrases after every song! Later, they performed what I'd call party classics- I Will Survive and so on. It ended up with everyone dancing at the front by the stage, exactly the best way to spend your Sunday evening.
Once the band got into the swing of things, I didn't mind the price of the beer so much. As long as you accept that the price of the beer and food is subsidising the super entertainment you will have a great time. I had such a fun time and do hope it returns next year- though I won't be touching the schnitzel...!



 



 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Review: Lindt Hello! Range

Today's Song: Ben Howard- Keep Your Head Up

I'd spotted this range on a few food blogs and had been meaning to try them for ages....especially the Salted Caramel!! So I was excited when I got invited to participate in their BzzAgent campaign. Of course I rushed to accept!

I think I've mentioned it before, but BzzAgent send you goodies to try (shampoo, chocolate, washing powder, you name it) with some money off vouchers to pass on to friends. In return, you review them and spread the love- if you like the product. This is the fourth one I've had and it's a good way to try some new things.

So, my expectations were high from the start. I received Strawberry Cheesecake, Caramel Brownie, Salted Carmel, Cookies & Cream and Crunchy Nougat bars. Mouth watering yet? Mine was!

 
As I am a kind and an excellent girlfriend, I shared some with Edd. We split the small Cookies and Cream and Strawberry Cheesecake bars in half and had half each with an espresso (oooooh). Out of these two, the Strawberry Cheesecake was my favourite, it had a real taste of strawberry and the creamy feeling felt very decadent. The Cookies and Cream was nice but not overwhelming.
 

 
The bigger bars lasted quite a long time, I had a couple of squares each day after dinner. I could have eaten the whole thing of course, but they were so nice I didn't want it to go! In order of deliciousness from nice to AMAZING...
 
*Cookies and Cream- nice, but nothing special.
 
*Crunchy Nougat- I liked the crunchy bits!
 
*Caramel Brownie- this was a real treat. The brownie has a lovely rich taste.
 
*Strawberry Cheesecake- as previously mentioned...
 
*Salted Caramel- the one I was most looking forward to and definitely the most delicious. A good quality runny caramel with just the right amount of salt.
 
 
I highly recommend picking these up as a delicious treat or as a gift for a friend.
 



Sunday, 5 October 2014

September in Food

Today's song: First Aid Kit- Stay Gold

I'm really excited this weekend because I just booked tickets for First Aid Kit at the Symphony Hall! It's in January so it will be like Summer in Winter. A lovely post-Christmas treat.

September was quite a foodie month, or maybe I just managed to take lots of photos! Being back at work meant lots of treats needed, but I am trying to avoid all the cakes that get bought into the staff room...

Zizzi

 
As a little back to work treat, Edd and I visited Zizzi for tea! I had a 50% off code from o2 Moments which made it quite a bargain indeed. Edd had pasta of some kind (pasta bores me) and I had this exciting seafood hanging skewer...thing. I 've had something similar from The Lost and Found before. This was gorgeous, especially those yummy potatoes at the bottom.
We followed up by sharing Zizzi's dessert special- a CHOCOLATE, STRAWBERRY AND MARSHMELLOW PIZZA. It was such a treat!



Birmingham Independent Food Fair


 
I'll be blogging properly about this soon but basically Edd and I attended a very exciting food fair at Millennium Point a few weeks ago. The ticket price (five quid) included samples of food and drink from lots of delightful independent traders.
 
 
Comedy soup


 
Hahahahahhaaaaaa- so easily pleased.
 
 
Digbeth Dining Club

 
I finally made it to the Digbeth Dining Club! This is an exceptionally cool place...every Friday several street food vendors gather under a railway arch in Digbeth, making a link between post-work drinks and a night out. I had a giant hot dog from the pictured Big Daddies Diner and lots of Brothers Toffee Apple Cider.

 
 
KFC

 
 I felt almost obliged to buy this as I had been salivating at the poster of it on my way to work for weeks... It was very very nice, though the pulled chicken may as well have been pulled pork. The coleslaw made it really, it was fresh and crunchy.


The Keg and Grill



The Keg and Grill is a pub which has just opened near me. It was called The Gough Arms but closed a while ago. I was pleased to find it reopened and especially pleased to find that they serve delicious Indian food! Edd and I popped along on a Monday evening for lamb Biryani, Tandor Grill and delicious naan. So happy to have a cosy pub with tasty food on my doorstop!

Hello Fresh

 
I've mentioned Hello Fresh before, they send the exact ingredients you need to make delicious meals. Now I've had three boxes from them (soon to be four) I'm part of the Rewards club so they sent a little gift! I love the bag and I've spotted James Martin using that oil on Saturday Kitchen!
 

 Schweppes Elderflower Tonic water

 
This is a great idea- elderflower, gin and tonic is a delicious combination. Usually I use elderflower cordial, but combining two of the ingredients ready to go is perfect. I could have done with a touch more elderflower in this tonic!

Caramelised Fig and Honey cupcakes

 
Found this recipe on Pinterest (of course). I wanted to make something a bit different and I haven't done cupcakes for ages. When they were finished they were...ok. They needed a bit more of a kick, cinnamon or something to cut through the sweetness.

Recipe from Style Me Pretty.

Harry Bromptons Iced Tea

 
This was in my Flavourly box. I love Iced Tea so an alcoholic version is a great idea. Included was a leaflet with cocktail ideas on it. I tried it with gin, cucumber and lots of ice.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Review: Bulmers, Brothers and Aspalls Cider



On a recent trip to Morrisons to pick up some tea, I spotted these exciting ciders which I've never seen before! I do like a good cider (none of that Strongbow nonsense) and I particularly enjoy new items!

Brothers Cloudy Lemon

I love Brothers Toffee Apple, there's something so cosy about it, without being too sweet. This cider was a good combination of lemon and apple, not too sweet or acidic. I still prefer Toffee Apple!

Bulmers Indian Summer

Edd had this bottle and I tried a little. This is only 2.8% so a nice easy drink. It contains ginger and cardamon which are perfect for this time of year. I don't think I would drink a whole bottle of it but if you like those flavours you will love it!

Bulmers Five Fruit Harvest

Another autumnal offering from Bulmers. This was my second drink and my favourite of the two. It contains apple, pear, plum, quince and grape! It was delicious and a real taste of autumn.

Aspalls Premier Cru Cyder

Aspells is my favourite cider and I'm always happy to see it on tap at a pub. Edd chose this one because we hadn't seen it before and the percentage was quite high. It had a strong cider flavour- dry rather than sweet. This is a great cider, but not for the casual drinker!

Do you like to drink cider? What is your favourite?

Monday, 8 September 2014

Back to school

At this time of year many of us get that 'back to school' feeling, even if we left education long ago. I certainly still had it when I was working at the cinema and of course it can't be avoided now I'm a teacher.
As we come into September I get an urge to buy clothes more strongly than at any other point in the year. Autumn is my favourite time of year for clothes. In the winter I am usually full of cold and just don't care. I love the idea of summer dressing but the weather is so unpredictable that I often end up wearing that floaty skirt only once.
Autumn however is where I come into my own. Macs, leaf colours, wool tights, brogues, not cold enough for jumpers...yes, all this I can deal with!
So here are some of the Autumn bits and pieces I have been eyeing up...and have bought!


Oasis


  • Longer Length Climbing Bird Shadow Dress
     
    Oasis
     
     
    Bold Printed Slim Fit Cotton Trousers
     
    La Redoute
     
     
     
    Pure Cotton Checked Dress with 3/4 Sleeves
     
    La Redoute
     
     
     
    Marks and Spencer
     
     

    Wednesday, 27 August 2014

    Snapping through the Summer

    Today's song: New Order- True Faith

    Warning! This post features a picture of fish!

    Ah the Summer Holidays! Everyone has an opinion on them. Mine is that they are pretty great. That might be because I get six weeks off though...

    As the holidays are coming to the end I decided to share some pictures from my phone showing the things I've been up to.

     
     
    Clearing out my classroom. I'm in the same classroom next year but it has been refitted over the summer. New furniture etc. I'm excited because the new furniture is moveable and so my layout can be more flexible. The bad news was that I had to move everything out of the room and now it needs to be moved back in! I tried to go in yesterday but the caretaker told me it wasn't ready- slightly stressful with only 3 working days left before the start of term. Never mind, it will all be worth it in the end.
     
     

    Getting my first Hello Fresh box. Hello Fresh are a great company who send the exact ingredients to make three meals for two people. This means there are no left overs hanging around in your fridge. They release the recipes for the following week before they take your money so you can choose whether to have the box or not that week. It's £39 for three meals for two people. I have had it twice so far and will probably continue to have it as a treat maybe once a month. The produce is good quality, the meals are easy to prepare and delicious. My favourite so far has been butterflied chicken with sweet potato.

     
    Eating Go Ahead snacks with BzzAgent. I've been part of a few campaigns with BzzAgent recently. The Go Ahead one has been one of my favourites as I discovered Chocolate Orange thins! These are such a great snack if you are feeling like a treat. I will be picking some of these up to have on my break at school.
    I'd really recommend signing up to BzzAgent if you enjoy discovering new products too.
     
     
    Settling into the new flat. Edd and I are now homeowners! The flat still isn't quite as we want it but we are certainly settled in. I was excited when Halifax sent us a little new mortgage gift pack containing chocolates, wine and a handy tool kit. How thoughtful!
     
     
     
    Feeding the ducks. If you live in or around Birmingham you may have experienced the joy of Cannon Hill Park. It's got a lovely arts centre, tennis courts etc etc. My friend and I spent a lovely sunny afternoon feeding the ducks!
    
     

     
    Baking. I haven't done as much baking as intended this summer but I did make Gin and Tonic cupcakes from this lovely blog. Using tonic water in sponge is a revelation.
     
     
     
    Mini golf. I'm a pretty big mini golf fan. This is also at Cannon Hill Park and it's a lot of fun. You can do 18 or 36 holes. Believe me, 36 holes takes some time! You've got to love a mini golf course that includes waterfalls.
     
     
    Birmingham's best food? Birmingham's most recent Michelin starred restaurant is also number one on Trip Advisor at the moment. Edd and I had the 5 course tasting menu last summer (before it got a star, we're cool) and returned this summer, basically instead of going on holiday. It's not cheap but it is incredible. My favourites were the brown shrimps, the wood pigeon and the dark chocolate. 
     

    Le Monde. Another foodie treat this summer was at new fish restaurant Le Monde in Brindley Place. I believe there is also one in Cardiff. They specialise in fish but also have a great selection of meat and vegetarian options. I had scallop and prawn skewers to start and then this beast of a fish. You can have it deboned and filleted but I was feeling badass. We both left with huge smiles on our faces so it was pretty darn good.

    Wednesday, 4 June 2014

    Santa Maria fajitas and corn chips

    Today's song: George Ezra- Budapest




    I recently received an exciting parcel from BzzAgent. It contained lots of goodies from Santa Maria (previously Discovery ). Now I love Fajitas so I was really excited to get stuck in!




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    Last week, I decided to have Chicken Fajitas as a half term treat. They're super easy to make...

    1. Chop some chicken and a red onion. Mix with the Fajita seasoning sachet and oil.

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    2. Fry chicken and onions until browned and then add a sliced red pepper. Fry for about 5 minutes and check chicken is cooked through.

    3. Heat your tortilla wraps in the microwave.


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    4. Build up your fajita!



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    We used the salsa that Santa Maria had sent. It was chunky and flavourful. We also had some guacamole in the fridge! I usually have lettuce on a fajita but I'd forgotten to buy any, boo.

    I also decided to add the exciting corn chips from the packet. These are an interesting concept. Heat, Spice and Shake Corn Chips are plain, but you can add whichever of their flavour sachets you like. They'd sent me the Smokey BBQ. Basically you heat the chips in the microwave and then add the flavour sachet. It was a bit annoying because there were no heating instructions so you just have to keep checking. They were tasty anyway, and added a good texture to the fajitas.


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    The fajita seasoning sachet flavour was 'mild' but I thought it had a bit of a kick! I like that but it isn't that good if you don't like spice. I suppose you wouldn't be having fajitas in that case. Overall, I really enjoyed my fajita meal and the chips were a great addition.

    The only item I didn't use was the Five Peppers seasoning grinder- I'm going to use it tomorrow to season my lamb salad!

    *Goodness me these photos are dreadful. Sorry about that, I was over excited! Foooood.

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