COCONUTS ORGANIC VEGAN ICE CREAM // NEW PRODUCT

Thank you to Tremplin Marketing for the following content

Coconuts Organic is a fabulous vegan ice cream that genuinely tastes as good as the dairy! Made with coconut cream and unrefined coconut sugar and just a few other natural ingredients to this base, It’s certified organic, officially vegan, and probably the best non-dairy ice cream you’ll taste!

With Christmas and Veganuary coming up, they have loads of delicious flavours; Mint Choc; Creamy Coconut; Rum ‘n Raisin…..and lots more!

Coconuts Organic (formerly Coconuts Naturally), the vegan ice cream made famous on BBC Dragon’s Den, announce a significant step in the growth of the business as they secure Tesco listing. From June 17th , Coconuts Organic will be available in more than 600 Tesco stores around the UK, with two brand new flavours (Choc Orange Swirl and Double Caramel) exclusive to Tesco. The timing of the store listing will coincide with the official rebrand when Coconuts Naturally will become Coconuts Organic – the same award-winning, all-natural ice cream, but with a new name and striking packaging! Launched in 2015 by entrepreneur Cecily Mills, the Cornwall-based business has achieved more than 100% sales growth every year in its first three years (partly thanks to the ever-growing customer appetite for vegan products) and has firmly established itself as a dominant player in the free-from category. Commenting on the announcement; CEO and Founder, Cecily Mills said; “Securing a listing with Tesco UK is a real milestone for the business, and we are so excited to share our two new flavours with Tesco shoppers. This has been a huge year for us – starting out with a successful crowdfunding campaign, and now the rebrand, new product launch and coming on board with Tesco. For me personally, it feels like a huge achievement to have Coconuts Organic in supermarket freezers across the country.” In addition to the Tesco listing, Coconuts Organic is currently available UK-wide, via Ocado and in independent stores and cafes via two national distributors. Internationally, the product is available in Dubai. The brand is also developing its international expansion plans, with a particular focus on the Middle East and Asia.

JAGERMEISTER FLOATING BAR // HALLOWEEN EVENT

Thank you to ZINC for the following content

JÄGERMEISTER FLOATING BAR “THE DARK SPIRIT”  SETTING SAIL THIS HALLOWEEN

A cursed canal cruise with cocktails

Jägermeister UK in partnership with Ladies & Gents bars, are summoning up an unearthly phantom boat, named “The Dark Spirit”, to sail the canals of London this Halloween.

Setting sail twice daily from Camden, the macabre barge will wind its way along London’s ancient canals and through the mysterious 1km long Victorian-designed Islington Tunnel. 

Onboard, the talented team from Ladies & Gents will reward brave souls with an assortment of ice cold shots and delectable cocktails showcasing the intricate flavours of the dark spirits’ 56 different herbs and spices. 

The boat can hold up to twelve people per sailing and is fully enclosed to protect the precious cargo from elemental forces. There’s a wood burning fire aboard to keep guests (both alive and undead) from the chills. 

Tickets cost £20 and include two hours on “The Dark Spirit” floating bar plus two cocktails. Additional cocktails will be available for £5 each. 

Tickets are on-sale now via Design My Night for 23rd October – 3rd November. 

Let’s Get Dark! 

Tickets:

https://www.designmynight.com/london/bars/camden/ladies-and-gentlemen/a-cursed-canal-cruise-with-cocktails

About Jägermeister
Mast-Jägermeister SE is firmly rooted in Wolfenbüttel, Lower Saxony. Here, and only here, the company produces Jägermeister, the herbal liqueur with the stag – and the biggest German spirit brand. First invented over 80 years ago, Jägermeister is based on a secret recipe of 56 different herbs, flowers and roots. In 2018, Mast-Jägermeister SE sold more than 7.5 million 9-litre cases of Jägermeister in over 140 countries. What means Jägermeister reached ninth place in the definitive Impact International rankings of the top 100 premium spirits, underpinning its position as the world’s most successful herbal liqueur. 

About Ladies & Gentlemen bars
Ladies & Gentlemen Londons favourite five star dive bar is well known for its epic parties, micro distillery, experimental kitchen and of course a lock in or two. Over the last 6 years L&G bars at their Kentish town, Camden Road and floating bar based in Kings X have focused on the forgotten art of hospitality and above all fun. Owner William Borrell has been included in the Evening standard top 100 influential people shaping the UKs hospitality scene with his unique approach to bars, pops up and special projects.

TURTLE BAY // NEW MENU

Thank you to Cab PR for the following content

Turtle Bay launches a new menu with more options than ever before, including Caribbean brunch for the very first time!

Curry Aubergine, Mr Fabulous’ Jamaican Patties, Five Alarm Chicken Curry – just some of the mouth-watering dishes you can get your hands on – and sink your teeth into – on the brand new menu at Turtle Bay.

For the first time ever, diners can start the day at Turtle Bay with a scintillating selection of breakfast items packed full of Caribbean flavours, such as Curry Goat Hash and Blackwell Breakfast – porridge served with a shot of Blackwell Rum. Other brunch offerings include dishes like curried chickpeas, jerk sausage and sweet plantain for both adults and ‘Little Turtles’ to enjoy.

Some of Turtle Bay’s specialities and iconic dishes will remain (so fans don’t need to panic) but in addition the new menu features a variety of reimagined dishes, and fresh new and exciting delights to try. There will be a selection of sharing platters and classic Caribbean curries to choose from. Inspired by street vendors from across the islands, cutters are Caribbean-style tapas dishes – perfect as a starter, for sharing or as a side. Not forgetting the fiery jerk flavours and scrumptious soul food that Turtle Bay is renowned for.  

There are even more veggie and vegan options than ever before too, as the new menu features a mouth-watering selection of dishes including Chilli Smashed Avocado Salad, Jerk Tofu a Vital Vegan Platter and more. 

Even the puddings on the new menu pack a punch. From the Chilli Chocolate Brownie to the Caribbean Mess, Banana Toffee Cheesecake, Fiery Root Ginger Kickin Ice Cream and more, these sweet treats are not to be missed, especially when you can sample two for £9, three for £13.50 or four for just £17 – get your spoons at the ready and prepare to tuck in!

Turtle Bay’s new lunch meal deal is available Monday to Friday between 12pm and 3pm, where diners can choose any burger or roti, plus one side and homemade soft drink for £10. Set menus will also be on offer all day Sunday to Thursday, with options to feast on two courses for £12 or go the whole hog and devour three courses for £15. 

Turtle Bay is all about slowing down, hanging out and feeling good, and this is exactly what its new menu will deliver. With the ultimate food freedom, customers can ‘lime’ away the hours in the restaurant, from 10am until late into the evening.

Go to www.turtlebay.co.uk to see the new menu and set your taste-buds on fire. 

LIVE DOSA // CHRISTMAS MENU

Today, we have another Christmas menu for you! Live Dosa is a really lovely family owned & run restaurant in Chelmsford. The team here will do all they can to accommodate & make you feel welcome, so again, another one to consider over the festive period.

BEERWULF – THE SUB // PRODUCT INFO

We have recently been lucky enough to receive The Sub, a product from Beerwulf that is designed to give you the perfect pint from the comfort of your own home. We are yet to try the product out (waiting for the right time!) but before we get reviewing, we wanted to share a little info on the product & provide more of an insight on the product & what it offers. Thank you to Beerwulf for the following content;

“Discover your new favourite gadget, The SUB. Bring the bar home with pub quality pints. The stylish design and small footprint of the home draught appliance means you can proudly tap premium beer from any countertop. All your favourite beers such as Heineken, Lagunitas IPA, SOL Birra Morreti and some more crafty ones available in 2L kegs. The SUB is easy to us, fun and a real conversation starter. Perfect for BBQ’s, watching sports at home, lazy Sunday lunches and Christmas soirees, they are the perfect addition to any home. Just plug in and you’re ready to play.”

With all this in mind, we are very excited to try out The Sub!

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BANANA TREE // CHRISTMAS MENU

Christmas Party-booking season is upon us & it can be very daunting not knowing where to go! Whether it be a Christmas catch-up with friends or an office party, it really can be baffling & often difficult when working on a budget at such an expensive time of year. We have taken it upon ourselves to find some of the best menus & best deals out there, & to start, we have the wonderful Banana Tree. We have visited this restaurant & we thoroughly enjoyed it, so we are confident in saying that their Christmas Menu is definitely one to be considered.

POP! PEANUT BARS // PRODUCT REVIEW

A little while back we very kindly received a box full of POP goodies! The box contained a variety of POP peanut bars, flavours including raisin & dark chocolate, peanut butter & dark chocolate, & coconut.

Each of the bars were delicious & crunchy, & made a fantastic mid morning snack, thanks to them being fabulously filling!

We also LOVED the packaging & the branding behind POP – the bright colours are very appealing, & very striking – you would definitely spot the bars on a shop shelf!

Thank you to the team at POP for getting these out to us – we are excited to these guys grow!

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BESOS // NEW PRODUCT

Thank you to Mediaworks for the following content

New alternative liqueur set to wet the whistle
The alcohol market is set for a new delightful tipple to excite consumers as Besos, the alternative liqueur, is released. Unlike rival brands in the sector, Besos is a palate pleaser that is free of dairy, lactose, gluten, soya and nut, and doesn’t curdle when mixed. With a smooth and smoky finish, this Spanish plant-based brandy provides a distinctive taste. Also available in the Besos range is chocolate flavour — ideal for a cosy night in or a gift for a loved one.

Peter Smith, Managing Director of Besos, commented: “With no allergens, Besos de Oro is the ideal choice for anyone looking to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. We’re proud to provide a drink that can be enjoyed by all members of the public, no matter what their choice of lifestyle or dietary requirements. For over half a century the Irish Cream Liqueur has been the favourite tipple for millions of people all over the world, but times change — as do cultures, beliefs and fashion. Besos has taken this family favourite and made it the drink of the moment. Forget lactose intolerance, gluten, nut and dairy problems. Forget cruelty to animals — Besos has solved these issues and shown it’s possible to mix ethics, allergy free and scrumptiousness in the same glass.”

The liqueur has an elegant design too, with each bottle packaged in a sleek, modern and crisp casing. Produced in the North East, it has now been launched on the new Besos website for £20.

For further information and the latest Besos news, follow the alternative taste of Spain on Facebook and Instagram.  

BAILEYS PINA ALMANDA // COCKTAIL RECIPE

Thank you to Taste PR for gifting us with a bottle of Baileys Almande & for the following content

Ingredients
[1.7 units per serve]
50ml Baileys Almande
50ml Coconut milk
60g Fresh pineapple chunks
25ml Pineapple juice
25ml Captain Morgan White Rum
1 x Fresh pineapple, whole (for garnish)
Crushed ice

Method
– First, prep your garnish: cut fresh, whole pineapple into slices and then into triangles. Top the glass with one pineapple triangle and one pineapple leaf & have the crushed ice ready in the glass
– Add 60g pineapple chunks to blender
– Add 50ml coconut milk and 25ml of fresh pineapple juice
– Add 50ml Baileys Almande, 25ml Captain Morgan White Rum
– Blitz well and strain 
– Pour over crushed ice into tall glass

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BAILEYS ALMANDE PASSIONFRUIT & CHILLI MARTINI // COCKTAIL RECIPE

Thank you to Taste PR for gifting us with a bottle of Baileys Almande & for the following content


Ingredients
[1 unit per serve]
75ml Baileys Almande
75ml Passion fruit syrup
50ml Pineapple juice
¼ teaspoon chilli powder
1 Passionfruit, whole (for garnish)
1 x Chilli, whole (for garnish) 
Cubed ice

Method
– First, prep your garnish: Cut the whole passionfruit into two halves, add a small slice to the chilli pepper and slot securely to the rim of the glass
– Add 75ml Baileys Almande, 75ml passion fruit, 50ml pineapple juice & pinch chilli to shaker with lots of ice
– Shake well and strain into coupe glass
– Float passionfruit half.
– Top tip: if you don’t have a cocktail shaker at home, you can use a clean jam jar with a lid, or the container of your blender

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BAILEYS ALMANDE ICED COFFEE & TAHINI TWIST // COCKTAIL RECIPE

Thank you to Taste PR for gifting us with a bottle of Baileys Almande & for the following content

Ingredients
[1 unit per serve]
75ml Baileys Almande
100ml Coldbrew coffee
100g Muscavado sugar
50g Coconut milk 
1/2 teaspoon Tahini paste, smooth
Cubed ice

Method
– For the caramel: blend 50g coconut milk with 1/2 teaspoon tahini paste, & strain
– Add 100g muscavado sugar to a medium pan on medium heat
– Stir in coconut milk and stir for one minute
– Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes and allow to cool
– Add
– Fill glass halfway with coldbrew coffee.
– Fill remaining half with Baileys Almande
– Drizzle over another spoonful of tahini caramel
– For added wow factor and to really impress your guests, drizzle melted vegan white chocolate around the rim of the glass

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COPENHAGEN // ESSEX FOODIES ABROAD

Back in August I visited the very beautiful (& expensive) city of Copenhagen. The city offered plenty of sights & some beautiful food. Below are the various dishes enjoyed throughout the trip!

The trip of course started with the classic airport Wetherspoons breakfast. Here we have eggs royale & American breakfast. (Wetherspoons – Windmill, Stansted Airport).

Lunch at Sole D’Italia, Copenhagen – spaghetti carbonara & spaghetti bolognese. Such a photogenic lunch!

Margarita pizza from Gorms Pizza @ Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen. One of the nicest plain pizzas I’ve ever had albeit expensive for what it was coming in at around £16! I highly recommend checking Gorms out.

A delicious Danish pastry from our hotel, Osterport. All of the food served for breakfast here was fantastic, a great variety & just very tasty! My favourite was definitely the fresh pastries – warm & delicious! We stayed on a B&B basis, & I would suggest doing this if you ever think about staying in Copenhagen as going out can be quite pricey. The hotel which we stayed at charged around £10 per person per day for breakfast which I thought was very reasonable, when realistically if you popped out for a coffee & pastry, you’d be looking spending around 6 quid or so anyway.

Next up we have dinner here in Malmo, Sweden. Malmo is only a short train journey from Copenhagen so we spent an afternoon here, & we had dinner in a lovely Indian restaurant called Green Chili. The food here was perfect, & was similar in price to Copenhagen.

And last but not least, lunch at Kayak Bar, Copenhagen. We stopped off here a couple of times as it is such a cool place! Again, it’s a little bit on the pricier side but that is to be expected with cities. The food here was very simple, the menu was limited but it was very nice! This is definitely somewhere nice to sit of an evening & enjoy some light food & powerful cocktails!

BAILEYS ALMANDE // NEW PRODUCT

Thank you to Taste PR for the following content & for gifting us with a bottle of Baileys Almande. A series of Baileys Almande cocktail recipes will shortly follow on our blog – keep your eyes peeled.

Dine alfresco with Baileys Almande and tips from Rosie Birkett

Fresh air, a gentle breeze, and sunshine on the skin. Everything about summer makes us want to be outside. To make the most of the warmer weather, the Baileys Almande team has teamed up with Rosie Birkett, food writer and lover of all things alfresco, for her expert advice on how to celebrate the season of sun by eating, drinking, and dining in the open air.  From how to style your space, to what food and drink to serve, Rosie’s got all the advice needed to turn even the smallest of spaces into a seasonal retreat – including food pairings with three delicious new cocktails featuring Baileys Almande – a dairy-free liqueur that blends beautifully with the finer flavours of summer. The collection is made up of favourite timeless drinks, that are indulgently light-tasting, dairy-free and don’t compromise on taste. So whether you want to host an intimate get-together with friends, throw your home open to all the neighbours or make your nearest and dearest feel like they’re in an at home oasis, here are Rosie’s top tips for bringing those outdoor moments to life this summer: 

1.Make the most of what you have
Whether it’s a doorstep, balcony, garden, or tiny terrace, almost any outdoor space can be transformed with a little bit of love. The first step is to choose your space so you know what you’re working with, then you can start to add to it. If you have a space that’s a little wilder or more overgrown, play to that. I love to use the wildness of my garden as a backdrop and work with the naturally beautiful shapes of the leaves, trees, moss and herbs growing. 

2. Prepare in advance
Make the most of your alfresco moment with friends by getting as much prepared in advance as you can, so that you can relax and enjoy the day. I like to choose dishes that I can make in advance – an orzo salad can be made in the morning and will sit happily in the fridge until needed. There are loads of cocktails that can be whipped up and prebatched in advance too. Put a new spin on traditional cocktails by making them dairy-free – try a Baileys Pina Almanda. All the ingredients can be blended together and then chilled, ready to be poured over ice after dinner, as a fun, light twist – just as tasty as the classic colada. 

3. Have fun with flavours
When it comes to what you serve, have a think about how your drinks and food can work together. Cocktails are surprisingly versatile thanks to the vast range of flavours they can cover. For instance, a vibrant and zesty Baileys Almande Passion Fruit Chilli martini cocktail works amazingly with a fruit dessert. One of my favourites at the moment is peaches with this twist on a martini cocktail, an absolute classic. As peaches and cherries are bang in season, I’ve roasted them together to bring out their flavour and sugars, and topped with a cardamom spiced crumble with toasted almonds and pecans, spooned over gorgeous clouds of sharp, creamy coconut yoghurt. This works really well with the deliciously light taste of Baileys Almande.

4. Set the scene
Once you’ve chosen your space, a few little touches can really bring it to life – add cushions, chairs, a table, candles, and plants to transform the area. If your alfresco gathering is going to stretch into the evening, think about lighting for once the sun sets to add atmosphere and ambience. I love to mix and match by repurposing old jam jars for tea lights, using lanterns and thick church candles and playing with festoon lights, stringing them up on a wall or fence. 

5. Set the table 
You can build a lovely collection of tableware without spending a fortune. Keep an eye out in second hand shops and in the homeware sections of bigger stores for nice pieces of glassware, plates and platters. You can mix up second hand pieces with a few newer, smarter bits. It doesn’t all need to be matching – I have a really eclectic mix, and a little goes a long way. Reusing milk bottles for cocktail vessels can bring a retro feel to the table too. 

6. Finish in style
Leave your guests with a lasting impression with the end of meal coffee by creating something visual – it’s easier than you’d think. Try a Baileys Almande Iced Coffee & Tahini Twist, where iced coffee is topped with creamy layers of Baileys Almande. As the liquid mixes it creates an insta-worthy swirl in the glass that guests will love. I like to add vegan chocolates to pair with this coffee cocktail. The chocolates are super simple to make, by adding melted cacao butter, cacao powder and maple syrup a filled with a ganache of almond butter, with a dash of Baileys Almande. The deep, dark, fruity notes of the chocolate works wonderfully with the sweet creaminess of the cocktail for an indulgently light tasting, dairy-free alfresco treat. 

LIVE DOSA – POTHICHORU EVENING // UPCOMING EVENT

Live Dosa is a Chelmsford restaurant which have had the privilege of being invited to a couple of times. The last time we visited was for their 5th anniversary celebrations, & they really did pull out all the stops. Food was perfect & the entertainment was incredible – these guys know how to put on a party! On the 13th & 14th November they will be holding another event evening which we would recommend checking out! All details can be found below.

MERSEA MUDCAKES // PRODUCT REVIEW

Last week, we received some delicious brownies from local company Mersea Mudcakes. The brownies arrived to us via the post, in a really cute little branded box, so we knew exactly what the package was! Inside of the postal packaging was another box containing the box. Delicately padded too with shredded tissue paper, the whole package was just very cute & thought through (perfect for a gift!)

The brownies inside also looked just as good, (if not better!) The brownies we received were salted caramel flavour – definitely one of our favourite choices. The brownies looked perfect – they were thick, chunky & looked perfectly spongey just as brownies should. What made them even better was their taste – no doubt about it! They were rich & chocolately, so one square piece was I would say more than enough. The salted caramel flavour was light but nice, every other mouthful offered a little hint of the flavouring – delicious. With this all in mind, I would without doubt like to try out Mersea Mudcakes other offerings!

The package as a whole was fantastic, the way the brownies were boxed up & presented was really lovely & gave a good first impression, & then the brownies themselves just topped it all off!

A huge thank you to Miriam @ Mersea Mudcakes for sending these out to us, they were very warmly welcomed!

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LINDA MCCARTNEYS // PRODUCT REVIEW

Following one of our recent posts on National Hotdog Day, we were very kindly gifted with some vouchers to use towards Linda McCartney’s vegetarian range. As someone that eats meat daily, I was a little sceptical of what the products would be like but I’m quite open minded & willing to try out new foods, so this was the perfect opportunity to do so. I did a little research to try & find the cheapest place to get my hands on the products, as the vouchers offered £2 off per product, & ideally I didn’t want to have to add any money on. Upon investigation, I found that Tesco were actually stocking the range with prices starting from £2 – spot on! So I got myself down to Tesco & stocked up on a variety including the following;
– vegetarian red pepper & chorizo sausages
– vegetarian red onion & rosemary sausages
– vegetarian mozzarella 1/4lb burgers
– vegetarian pulled pork 1/4lb burgers
I’m yet to try each product, I’ve only got round to trying the red pepper & chorizo sausages as of yet & I have to say, I’ve been really pleasantly surprised. The sausages are packed full of flavour & (sounds quite strange) have a nice texture to them – meat sausages can sometimes be a bit gritty, these are not at all, I can see why people go for them! I’m excited to try the rest of the products out, I won’t be going veggie any time soon but I could certainly incorporate veggie substitutes into my diet!

Thank you to Taste PR for gifting us with the vouchers.

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BAHLSEN PICK UP! BARS // PRODUCT REVIEWS

A little while back we were gifted with a handful of packs of Bahlsen’s Pick Up! bars. The bars are made up of a biscuit outer layer filled with a chunky slab of chocolate – delicious!

These were not something I’d tried before but am now addicted to! They’ve become a staple in the home treat cupboard as well as a little office pick me up. They are the perfect size too, & compliment a cup of tea very well. These will certainly be purchased again – I’ve seen them on offer in Tesco for a pound so it’s a no brainer really. Many thanks to both Bahlsen & Taste PR for getting these out to us!

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THE OJOS FOODS // PRESS RELEASE

Thank you to The Ojos Foods for providing us with the following content

THE OJOS FOODS LTD, LUTON

The Ojos Foods – Gold Fork Award Winner

The Ojos Foods already winner of 3* Stars, has won The Golden Fork Award and been nominated for the Supreme Champion Trophy with their premium Cured Beef “El Abuelo Maragato Halal”. These achievements put The Ojos Foods and El Abuelo Maragato amongst the elite. Only 20 products were selected for the The Golden Fork Awards including well known high street names and El Abuelo was the only Spanish Product.

The Ojos Foods were nominated again in the prestigious GREAT TASTE AWARDS 2019. These awards, held in London since 1994, are considered the “Oscars” of food. This year, 12,772 products have competed from more than one hundred countries. This year, four of The Ojos Foods Spanish products have been recognized:

The unique cured beef, El abuelo Margato Halal, is the only Spanish product to be awarded the prestigious 3 stars and Golden Fork Award 2019. Using the best “know how” and made only with natural ingredients the cured beef delivers a GASTRONONICAL MASTERPIECE, described by the experts as “Tender, sweet, velvety… simply phenomenal”.

The Ojos Foods starred winners are:

El Buey – 2* – Described as “The flavour is delicate, clean and very appealing, the fat offers sweetness and interest, adding depth. A delightful product made with care and attention to detail, the judges found it hard to fault this product”

Omeya Halal Beef Salami – 1* – Described as “Rich dark colour and good distribution of fat. The texture is moist and meaty and there is good mouth feel – not greasy. There is a perfect balance of seasoning and sweetness and a pleasing warmth of pepper at the end”.

Chorizo de Geras -1* – Described as “A fine looking Chorizo, beautifully prepared and presented. The fat content is good, the paprika heat well judged and the gentle smoke adds further pleasure. The fat release brings a succulence to the mouth. The finish is balanced and long.

Almost 13,000 products entered the Great Taste Awards, with the judges selecting only 20 to make it to Golden Fork Award Final. “When a company is considered a “multi-Great taste winner” it means that the black and gold star label adds much more value to your product in terms of credibility, when we talk about product quality. This opens doors to new buyers and translates into sales” explains Encina Barragan, The Ojos Foods Business Owner.

BELLA CAFE & LOUNGE // BRUNCH REVIEW

Last weekend we visited the lovely Bella Cafe & Lounge (formerly known as Bella Gelato) in Rayleigh. The restaurant is conveniently located just off of the high street, with parking very close by.

At first glance we could see that the cafe/restaurant was exceptionally busy, which indicated something was definitely right here! We arrived & were very quickly shown to our table.

We soon placed our orders, & our breakfasts of choice were the Lebanese breakfast & the traditional breakfast, & our drinks of choice were the chocolate milkshake & coco loco smoothie. Our drinks naturally were first to arrive & they looked amazing! The chocolate milkshake was thick & delicious (& polished off in minutes) whilst the smoothie was exotic & bursting with sweet flavour. Both drinks were very generous on size, & the glass that the smoothie was presented in was in the shape of a pineapple – a really cool touch. Our breakfasts arrived fairly quickly as well considering how busy the restaurant was which was great & definitely shows that the team here work fantastically together & under pressure, so hats off to each & every member of the team! Both breakfasts were huge & looked beautiful on their plates. The Lebanese breakfast was delicious – somewhat similar to a traditional breakfast but with a few pleasant twists, including spicy sausages, poached eggs sprinkled with a little spice, flatbread & outstanding grilled peppers & halloumi. Everything about this dish was incredible! The halloumi especially was cooked perfectly – I would go as far to say that this was probably the best halloumi I have ever had. I would hands down take this breakfast over a traditional fry up any day of the week! The other breakfast was a traditional breakfast, & was unquestionably delicious! Again, everything was cooked perfectly, especially the wonderfully photogenic & instagrammable poached eggs & I’m told the sausages were something else! We followed our breakfasts with a couple of coffees & a brunch ‘dessert’. Our coffees of choice were cappuccino & latte, & our desserts of choice was the strawberry pancakes. After such a filling breakfast, we opted to share a dessert as we knew we wouldn’t be able to get through one each – we definitely made the right choice in doing so because the pancakes were again very, very filling. Both coffees were lovely & smooth, & worked perfectly with the pancakes. The pancakes were outstanding – drizzled with white chocolate & served with fresh cut strawberries, everything about these pancakes was perfect. Absolutely faultless.

I would most definitely return to Bella, the service we received was fantastic, & the food was incredible – not only to eat but also get photos of, as it was so well presented! I’m certainly going to be visiting again, I’m intrigued as to see what the rest of the menu offers throughout the day. Thank you so much to the team here for inviting, warmly welcoming us, & looking after us!

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BANHOEK CHILLI OIL // PRODUCT REVIEW

We have recently been gifted with premium product Banhoek’s Chilli Oil – delicious chilli oil made in South Africa. We are very excited to try this in many ways! So far we have used this a couple of times, firstly smothered over corn on the cob & secondly, used to fry some tomatoes along with some added chilli flakes – fiery & extremely tasty!

We’re looking forward to trying this out in various ways, & we would love to know how you’d use the product – feel free to leave a comment!

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KULA CAFE // BRUNCH REVIEW

A couple of weeks back we were lucky enough to be treated to a lovely brunch at Kula Cafe – a cute little cafe located right in the heart of London’s bustling shopping district, Bond Street. The cafe itself is situated on James Street, along with many other cafes, bars & restaurants, the perfect spot if you’re looking for lunch whilst shopping.

We were given menus on arrival, & as the day was beautiful we decided to take a seat outside. Seats outside are quite limited, so you’ve got to be ready to pounce as soon as one becomes free. At first, the cafe didn’t appear to be too busy (I think we’d probably missed the breakfast-time rush) but soon began to fill up both outdoors and in – although we were advised that the cafe does get so much busier – I can only imagine how hectic this must be!

Shortly after arriving we placed our order – and on our menus were;
Drinks
– salted caramel & toffee frappe
– Hollywood diet juice
Brunch
– egg florentine halloumi
– halloumi omelette
(we love halloumi here at Essex Foodies!)

Both drinks were delicious! The frappe was creamy & sweet, whilst the juice was fruity & refreshing. Both drinks were of a medium size which was perfect, too much frappe can be too sickly & too much fruit juice can be acidic, but the sizes here were fine & lasted us throughout our visit.

Both of our brunches were also delicious, we were blown away by the sizes of the portions & their generosity on ‘extras’ on the plate. The omelette was served with with a salad garnish as well as a slice of toast, definitely more than enough to set you up for a day of shopping! The omelette itself was completely full to the brim with cheese (no complaints here whatsoever!), & layered with perfectly cooked halloumi – my friend enjoyed this dish & she completely rated it. I went for the eggs florentine halloumi, which was a dish made up of poached eggs, hash brown, Hollandaise sauce, avocado, sauteed mushrooms, halloumi & salad all served on a bed of toast. I was honestly not expecting the dish to be as huge as it was, but I soon managed to work my way through it! Everything about the food was perfect, it looked lovely, was full of flavour & was very filling & kept us going throughout the day without the need to snack on anything – ideal if you are up in London for the day really. I would also say that this give you great value for money, some places would charge extra for the sides of toast & salad but Kula include these, certainly worth noting.

Once we’d finished our ‘mains’ if you like, we were then surprised with a massive Eton Mess waffle! This dessert was humungous but again, we soon found our way through this between the pair of us – my advice here would be that if you do visit, be aware that these desserts are really, really big & would easily be enough for 2 people.
The waffle itself was fluffy & fresh, & all the toppings were again fresh & worked beautifully alongside the waffle. The waffle was stacked with whipped cream, ice cream, meringue & fruits including strawberries, raspberries & blueberries as well as a fruity sauce. It was nice to have refreshing toppings to it rather than it be overloaded with rich chocolate for example (especially with the weather).

The pair of us were astounded by the quality of the food at Kula, everything that we had was superb. Not only was the food very photogenic, but it was tasty – there are no other words for it in all honesty! We would most definitely visit here again, & would recommend trying out Kula if you are ever close by!

A massive thank you to all at Kula for welcoming & looking after us!

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KAPOW SAUCE // PRODUCT REVIEW

The lovely people at Kapow sauce recently reached out to us & gifted us with a bottle of their fantastic, versatile sauce. The sauce at first glance doesn’t give much off in the sense of what flavour it is or what it is meant to resemble, however upon further investigation (looking through the website https://www.kapowsauce.com/), you will discover that the sauce offers a sweet, smooth taste followed by a spicy kick.

With the sauce being so versatile, you can use it in many ways, such as a dipping condiment, to a marinade or even a pasta sauce. At Essex Foodies, we are keen to try it in as many ways as possible, so we will have a post to follow displaying in the many ways in which we have tried it, for the time being here is what we have used it for/with thus far

First off, we tried as a dipping sauce paired with M&S’s Meat’zza & garlic baguette. The dip was perfect with the meat’zza and gave it the oomph & kick that it lacked.

A solid 10/10 paired with the Meat’zza – cannot wait to have this again!

Keep your eyes peeled to see what we will be trying Kapow with next.

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SHAKEN UDDER MILKSHAKES // PRODUCT REVIEW

We have been recently been lucky enough to be approached by a local marketer, who very kindly managed to get us some of the Shaken Udder milkshakes sent out. Shaken Udder milkshakes are produced very locally so being able to review these was definitely something we could not turn down! I’d already seen & heard all about these milkshakes (they are very popular at my place of work & are always picked up along with a meal deal).

We received some cartons of the chocolate flavoured milk, which I would describe as rich, creamy & full-flavoured. The cartons I have to say do look rather small however you should not let this deceive you as one carton is more than enough – any more & it would’ve been far too rich for my liking, plus little cartons are handy for on the go (or even for lunch boxes). The cartons are also really cute & feature a little joke on the back (just like Penguin bars!)

After trying Shaken Udder for the first time, I am definitely inclined to try out more flavours & I look forward to doing so.

A huge thank you to both Nikki & Shaken Udder for getting these out to us to review.

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JAGERMEISTER // MULE COCKTAIL

Thank you to KINC for the following press release

‘Mix it Up for Summer’ with the Jägermeister Mule cocktail
A light and refreshing mix of Jägermeister with Ginger Beer

This summer Jägermeister is introducing the Jägermeister Mule, a refreshing mix of Jägermeister, ginger beer, cucumber and lime with slightly spicy after notes. The cocktail is the brand’s meisterful reinterpretation of the classic Moscow Mule, with a twist. 

Florian Beuren, UK Brand Ambassador at Mast-Jaegermeister UK explained. “The flavours in the Jägermeister Mule work together in harmony to create a really refreshing serve that lets the signature taste of Jägermeister come through. Ginger is one of the core five ingredients in Jägermeister so the ginger beer works well to amplify this. The addition of lime and cucumber balances the fiery tones of the ginger resulting in a simple yet complex serve.”

The cocktail is now available at some of the most exciting bars in the capital including Night Tales, Aqua Shard, Tramp, NT’s and Liquorette amongst others, plus you can find it at over 800 bars across the UK. 

Jägermeister Mule is also perfect for creating an exciting but simple serve at-home to enjoy during pre-drinks, with a special brunch, or at a summer BBQ. In supermarkets limited edition bottles will come with a free ginger beer voucher plus a guide to creating the perfect Jägermeister Mule at home.

Jägermeister Mule Recipe 
What you’ll need:
50ml of ice-cold Jägermeister
Ginger Beer
Lime
Cucumber
Ice 

Method:
– Toss a handful of ice cubes into a nice long glass
– Pour over 50ml of ice cold Jägermeister, without spilling a drop
– Fill to the brim with your ginger beer of choic
– Make it fruity with a wedge of lime, squeezed in for maximum taste
– Top it off with a slice of refreshing cucumber
– Jägermeister

About Jägermeister:
Jägermeister, the unique herbal spirit known for its iconic bottle was developed by Curt Mast from a secret recipe 80 years ago. A blend of 56 different herbs, blossoms, roots and fruits from all over the world, this undisclosed recipe has not changed since it was first made. The pure and natural botanical ingredients are extracted in their raw, unprocessed form through a gentle, weeks-long process of cold maceration to create Jägermeister’s base. The base, housed in more than 400 oak casks, then “breathes” for one full year to guarantee a high-quality finish, and authentic taste. Jägermeister contains 35% alcohol by volume. Made by Mast-Jägermeister SE and family owned to this day, the liquid launched in Wolfenbüttel Germany. 

Best served as an ice-cold shot at -18C, or as a long drink in the popular Jägermeister Mule – a concoction of the herbal liquid, ginger beer and lime. With irreverent perfectionism at its core, the brand has steeped its roots in the music industry through its festival activation, JägerHaus, and ongoing partnerships with Soho Radio and Reform Radio. 

BANANA TREE // NEW MENU REVIEW

The marketing/Instagram team at Banana Tree recently reached out to us to inform us of their new menu & invited us down to get our opinion on it – an offer we could not refuse!

We visited a few weeks ago now, & were very impressed with what was presented to us. Banana Tree is somewhere that I have visited previously so I knew what to expect, & had an idea of what sort of thing would be on the menu. I visited with my Mum who had not previously been. So first up, we had the prawn cracker basket which is served with a sweet chilli dip. The crackers were undoubtedly a hit with us, we didn’t leave a single one, & the sweet chilli sauce was the perfect condiment to pair with them, it gave a subtle kick to the crackers but didn’t overpower them. For our starters, we had the vegetable spring rolls & Mekong prawns. Both starters were served up very efficiently & were piping hot when they reached our table – perfect. The spring rolls were fresh & crunchy, served with lettuce wraps that completely complimented the dish. The prawns were perfectly cooked – the prawns themselves melted in the mouth, & again the chilli salsa really worked well with & complimented the seafood. As a whole we thoroughly enjoyed our starters & would certainly go for these again, I would also suggest getting them as sides maybe if you like picky bits along with the main course. Looking at the menu, the starter dishes are varied & I think there is definitely something for everyone on the menu, you’ve got the bulk standard dishes such as chicken satay which you can’t go wrong with, as well as the more adventurous dishes that not everyone would probably go for. All in all, we were more than happy with our starter choices.

For mains, we each had a main dish along with a side. Between us, we had;
– Blackened chilli beef with chilli salsa
– Classic sweet & sour stir fry with crispy chicken
– Soya noodles with beansprouts
– Egg fried rice

I have to say, I was very impressed with the beef, as I’ve said before in previous posts, beef can be a tough one to crack but this was perfect, the meat was soft & not chewy in the slightest, a win all round! The noodle dish paired perfectly with the beef also. I was also a little cautious with the beef dish as it was notably a spicy dish on the menu however the beef itself was fine & wasn’t spicy at all – it was only the salsa that had a kick, so nothing to worry about if you ever order this!

The sweet & sour chicken was exceptional! It was full of flavour, loaded with lovely vegetables that gave a crunch to your bite & the chicken was tender, just as it should be. We both loved this dish & would order again & again – it’s a classic that you can’t go wrong with.

Each of the side dishes were also perfect, the noodles were tasty & filling, but also not overpowering in flavour & neither were they too salty or heavily doused in soy sauce – definitely the best thing to pair with a meat dish to bulk it up a little. The rice was also lovely, this was very, very filling but tasty & fluffy, just as rice should be!

What we liked the most about our main choices was that they could be shared, you’re not just limited to what you ordered. This also fits in with what I said about the starter dishes – you could definitely order these & enjoy them alongside your mains.

The main courses were a solid 10/10!

Last but not least were desserts. The dessert menu offers some traditional Indo-Chinese delicacies, so not necessarily things you’d always go for or even heard of, but we came across the warm chocolate Indo-fondant and each enjoyed one of these. The dessert was delicious! It was lovely & warm, rich & sticky, & was very well complimented by the coconut ice-cream served with it. This dessert was simply one of the best we’ve had in our time of reviewing. In particular, we really enjoyed the ice cream. This was creamy & full of exotic coconut flavour.

We really enjoyed our time at Banana Tree & loved the food! We would certainly recommend checking them out. Banana Tree also offer a vegan menu so there really is something for everybody to enjoy. Thank you to all of the team that looked after us on our visit, & for the marketing team for inviting us, we look forward to returning!

PLANT POPS – POPPED LOTUS SEEDS // PRODUCT REVIEW

A little while back Essex Foodies were gifted with a selection of these intriguing little snacks – & what a treat they were!

Plant Pops are a healthy popped lotus seed snack in a variety of 3 flavours, including;
– Himalayan Salt
– Smoked Chilli (a huge hit in my office!)
– Peanut Butter

The popped seeds are light & airy with not a lot to them, making them very more-ish, but with such low fats, this is not a problem – you can keep eating them!

At first I was a bit sceptical – any sort of healthy snacks would never be my first choice, give me crisps any day of the week, but these were a game changer & totally exceeded my expectations. Finally a healthy snack I would say yes to!

These are most definitely worth a try, especially if you’re a grazer (like myself), you can snack guilt-free.

Thank you to Plant Pops for getting these out to us!

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COOKIES & CONES // DESSERT BAR REVIEW

We have recently been lucky enough to be invited down to Cookies & Cones in Leigh-On-Sea. Cookies & Cones, as you may have guessed by the name, is a dessert bar – serving a variety of cookie doughs, waffles, sundaes & much more.

On our visit we had the pleasure of indulging on waffles & cookie dough desserts, along with some sweet & flavoursome coffees. I visited along with my Mum & our choices were –
(Myself) – White chocolate chip cookie dough served with Lotus Biscoff ice cream, biscuit crumb & sauce (I am a HUGE fan of Biscoff!) & white chocolate shavings, washed down with a caramel latte.
(Mum) Waffle served with chocolate ice cream, white chocolate sauce, sprinkled with hundreds & thousands, & washed down with a cappuccino.

Each of our desserts were perfect & just the right amount, I think sometimes desserts can be a bit too much, especially with waffles, I can only ever manage to eat about half before feeling too full & bloated, however Cookies & Cones have got this right & give you a slightly smaller waffle than average – no complaints at all!! It’s a shame to waste, so this was much more preferable to myself & Mum. The cookie dough was also the right amount, & the contrast between the warm cookie dough & the cold ice cream was very complimentary. Our drinks were also perfect – my latte was deliciously milky & wasn’t overpowered by the caramel syrup (I think sometimes the syrups can ruin coffees if too much is used!) & Mum’s cappuccino was perfectly frothy.

The pair of us thoroughly enjoyed our desserts & drinks, & were very well looked after by all member of the team, who were all so accommodating! A huge thank you to Cookies & Cones for inviting us down & for making sure everything was perfect for us.

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DUSK // INTERNATIONAL FINE DINING AWARD

Congratulations to Dusk on winning this fantastic award. We had the privilege of visiting this exceptional restaurant when it first launched & can totally see why it has come this far so soon. Thank you to Avocado Media for supplying the following press release.

PRESS RELEASE
DUSK Restaurant scoops Global Hospitality Award

DUSK Restaurant in Brentwood, Essex, has scooped a prestigious LUXlife Magazine Global Hospitality Award for fine dining, within months of opening.

Following a soft opening in June ahead of a glittering official launch at the beginning of July, the restaurant and shisha lounge as quickly established itself as one of Essex’s top destination venues, and is busy throughout the week and fully booked every weekend. Having already generated thousands of social media followers, it is apparent from customer comments that DUSK has become the place in Essex to go and be seen.

A unique venue, DUSK provides a multi -purpose hospitality destination, offering dinners a selection of world cuisines, with a choice of fine, casual and private dining experiences with live music and entertainment in the popular alfresco shisha lounge.

The award for Best Fine Dining Shisha Experience, came as a complete surprise for venue co-owner Sharif Uddin, who had not known the venue had even been nominated.

“I knew we were doing something right, because of the overwhelming positive customer feedback, the packed tables and the fact that we already have a top four restaurant of over 3,000 listings on TripAdvisor – for any cuisine – in the whole of Essex. But to win such an accolade, so quickly. came as a complete shock,” he said.

DUSK’s executive head chef Steve Gomes is no stranger to winning top awards.  He received two AA Rosettes for his former restaurant, Moksh – the first Indian restaurant in Wales to achieve this. He was named ‘Ethnic Chef of the Year’ at the Craft Guild of Chef’s Awards and represented Wales on BBC2’s Great British Menu. He won ‘Curry Chef of the Year’ at both the Welsh Curry Awards and the English Curry Awards. He has held the title of ‘Best UK Indian Chef’ with the Cobra Good Curry Guide for a large part of a decade; and was crowned the ‘Outstanding Asian and Oriental Chef of the Year’ at the House of Lords.

“This latest award is a great achievement for the entire team in delivering a unique fusion of Mediterranean and Asian cuisines, using the finest produce sourced locally,” said Gomes, adding, “It’s also a great testament to the adventurous nature of the people of Essex, who have taken to our cooking style with such enthusiasm.”

LUXLife awards coordinator Edward Faulkner commented: “DUSK has demonstrated excellence and commitment to the hospital industry.  We showcase the individuals and enterprises who offer outstanding gastronomic delicacies.  The awards acknowledge the best establishments offering sumptuous cuisine from across the globe.” 

Published quarterly, LUXlife covers all aspects of highend lifestyle, including the finest, food and drink, hotels and resorts, health and beauty, automotive, jewellery, art and technology from around the world.  It is distributed globally to an affluent readership of 280,000, attracting over 1.8 million views in the past year. www.lux-review.com

With three discrete dining areas each with its own menu, the restaurant, which caters for up to 400 customers, has been transformed with an investment of almost £1million by restauranteurs Sharif Uddin and Shakil Islam.

Sourcing the finest produce from local farmers, butchers and fish mongers, Gomes has designed a menu which requires a second reading to appreciate fully. The ‘Fish and Chips’ is in fact John Dory in a premium batter, with rose infused ketchup, grape tartar sauce chips and a peas mouse.  Another signature fish dish is Black Cod, pan-fried and served on a bed of cherry tomatoes and garlic, topped with rhubarb aioli, infused with CO2 essence, served with steamed rice.  A unique Turf and Surf, pairs lamb shank with lobster. 

There is also a DUSK Till Dawn dish, featuring a prime marble 3-5 wagyu ribeye steak, with a stilton cheese sauce, quail’s egg, roasted potatoes, sautéed pakchoi and C02 tomato gazpacho.

For vegans, there is a Tofu Shashlik with almond milk roux, served with rice and chips – and special versions of the Momo, Ratatouille, Hakka Noodles, American Chop Suey, and on Sundays, a Toad in the Hole.

No alcohol is sold on the premises, but customers may bring their own.  There is no corkage charged – representing a considerable saving for connoisseurs of fine wines and premium spirits. The bar stocks the largest range of alcohol-free drinks in the UK and serves a vast array of mocktails, still and sparkling wines, and beers.

The extensive shisha menu features Savacco, Sarbuzz and Al Fakher flavours, priced from £25. The premium Shapes Shisha costs £130, with a £15 premium for the ice upgrade.

Inside DUSK there is space for around 130 diners to sit in the main restaurant, with an occasional pianist and an open kitchen barbeque area. Outside, there is another 150 seats in the alfresco dining area in pergola with detachable roof where people can smoke flavoured shisha and eat from the street food menu.

For weddings and private functions, there is a separate banqueting room overlooking the golf course, which can cater for parties of more than hundred dinners.

Business partners Sharif Uddin and Shakil Islam, own five other Essex venues. The portfolio comprises Aladdin’s shisha lounge in Ilford, Empire shisha lounge in Romford plus and three Kushi Indian restaurants in Lakeside, Canvey Island and Gidea Park.

With parking for over 500 cars, a short distance from junction on the M25 (J28) and served by a fast train service from London’s Liverpool Street Station.

Stephen Gomes is a Welsh executive chef and TV television personality, originally from Mumbai, he is renowned for his molecular gastronomic take on Indian recipes. He is a fourth-generation chef, His father, James Gomes, worked at India’s first five-star beach hotel there, before working in, USA and UK, as an executive chef in hotels and restaurants. Stephen’s grandfather served as a chef on board a battleship during World War II.  His great grandfather was Head Chef at the Eastern Shipping Company during the Raj.

In 2015, he was awarded two AA Rosettes for Moksh; the first Indian restaurant in Wales to do so. He was named Ethnic Chef of the Year at the Craft Guild of Chef’s Awards 2015.  In August 2015, Stephen was chosen to represent Wales on BBC2’s Great British Menu. Other accolades including the Ethnic Chef of the Year Award at the UK Craft Guild of Chef’s award 2015; Goldstar Welsh Curry Chef of the Year at the Welsh Curry Awards 2014; and Goldstar English Curry Chef of the Year at the English Curry Awards 2013. He has held the title of ‘Best UK Indian Chef’ with the Cobra Good Curry Guide for a large part of a decade. At a ceremony at the House of Commons, Stephen Gomes was crowned the Outstanding Asian and Oriental Chef of the Year 2017.

Lounge/Shisha Dining (last order 23:00)
CLOSED MONDAYS (excludes Bank Holidays)
16.00 – 23.55 Tuesday – Thursday
16.00 – 01.00 Friday – Saturday
13.00-00.00 Sunday

A la carte Restaurant
CLOSED MONDAYS (excludes Bank Holidays)
18:00 – 22:30 Sunday – Wednesday
18:00 – 23.00 Thursday – Saturday
13.00 – 22.00 Sunday

Restaurant: Over 12s Dining Only
Shisha Lounge: Strictly Over 18s
Bring Your Own Alcohol Venue no Corkage
Vegan/Gluten Free options
Smart/Casual Dress Code Restaurant
No hats, No tracksuits, No sportswear
No alcohol sold on premises

DUSK
Ongar Road
Brentwood
Essex
CM15 9SS
T: 01277 424 987
enquiries@duskbrentwood.co.uk
www.duskbrentwood
@duskbrentwood

THE HALL (LAKESIDE) // LAUNCH

Intu Lakeside have recently undergone a bit of a renovation & are bringing lots more than just shopping to the centre, including this fantastic new food hall. We were lucky enough to be invited down to the launch day & be among the first to try it out.

The event was invite only, & on arrival our names were ticked off on the guestlist before being shown inside. We were then given a voucher (to the value of £10) which could be spent in any of the 6 eateries in The Hall, & presented with a much appreciated glass of fizz.

The 6 street food inspired eateries at The Hall include:
– Baoziinn Chinese
– Fanny’s Kebabs
– Burger & Beyond
– Fundi Pizza
– Mother Clucker
– Curry On Naan Stop

My friend whom I visited with chose to eat from Curry On Naan Stop, & I opted for Mother Clucker.

Each of our meals were great – there was a bit of a wait for both however this was to be expected with the venue being new, & how busy it was, however staff did everything they could to cater for all & made sure everything was perfect. I even managed to blag some extra chicken in my burger for waiting, & my friend managed to get her hands on some free fries – win win all round! We will be back for sure to try out the other stalls!

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SACLA // PRODUCT REVIEW

At Essex Foodies we have recently been lucky enough to be gifted with a small selection of rich & tantalizing Italian ingredients from the team at Sacla – a massive thank you to Sacla for getting these out to us!

In our package we received the following;
– ‘Nduja pesto
– Red pepper pesto
– Truffle pesto
– Tomato & olive intenso pasta sauce

We are of course looking forward to trying each ingredient out & sharing our creations with you. Keep a look out to see what we will be pairing each ingredient up with.

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DR LEGBAS EMPORIUM OF COCKTAILS & CURIOSITIES // LAUNCH

As part of our ongoing reviews with The Royal Hotel, we were invited down to this spooky cocktail evening. The hotel have now launched a monthly event whereby you can enjoy absinthe-based cocktails along with ghost stories in the basement of the hotel, better known as Dr Legbas Emporium.

The evening was certainly an experience & most certainly one to attend in the coming months if you’re into your spooks!

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BAHLSEN BISCUITS // NEW PRODUCTS

“Sometimes when you’re on the hunt for your favourite biscuit, you just want to get straight to the point and know exactly what it is you’re eating. 
Bahlsen Biscuits realised that maybe people weren’t quite getting it when it came to its delicious biscuits First Class and Messino, so they’ve had a shake up and are now very fittingly Luxury Jaffa Cakes and Praline Squares – it doesn’t get much more self explanatory. 
The zesty richness from the Luxury Jaffa Cakes, and the smooth hazelnutty centre sandwiched between chocolate and a wafer of the Praline Squares creates two unforgettable treats that you won’t want to miss out on.”


Thank you to Taste PR for the content on this post.

FAIRFIELDS FARM CRISPS // PRODUCT REVIEW

Essex Foodies have recently been gifted with a selection of crisps from Essex based Fairfields Farm. Fairfields Farm is a family run farm dedicated to the production of crisps situated in Colne Valley, North of Colchester. The farm sees the entire production of the crisps take place including the potatoes grown & harvested to being hand cooked & package all on site.

The selection we were very kindly gifted offered a fantastic variety of flavours of which included;
– Sweet chilli
– Bacon & tomato
– Sea salt & Aspall cyder vinegar
– Cheese & onion
– Lightly sea salter
– Sea salt & black pepper
– Tomato & herb lentil bites
– Jalapeno & lime lentil bites

We’ve not yet managed to munch our way through all of the packs but once we have, we will give a run down of our favourites & more of an insight of our thoughts.

For more information on this brand & to order yourself please follow this link – https://fairfieldsfarmcrisps.co.uk/.

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THE LEATHER BOTTLE // RESTAURANT REVIEW

Last Friday Essex Foodies made a trip to this wonderfully cosy pub set in the pretty & picturesque village of Blackmore. The pub is super easy to find, & took around 15 minutes to reach from from Chelmsford by car – so not too far out at all. Upon arrival & at first glance, the first thing we noticed was just how (with cars) busy it was – this was not a problem for us as we had a table booked, however with this in mind, if you plan on visiting (which you should do once you’ve finished reading this), I would strongly recommend booking just to make sure you are not left waiting.

So first off, we were shown to our table which was inside & looked out onto the gorgeous beer garden – the garden being in full swing all thanks to the wonderful sunshine we’ve seen recently. We ordered our drinks & had a glance over the menus – we were given the evening menu & the specials menu. The menus I would say offer typical pub dishes but with a modern & much more gourmet approach – simple but to an exquisite standard.

After glancing over both menus, we soon came to decide what we were going for – both my starter & main I chose from the specials menu, & Mum opted for both courses from the evening menu. Everything on the menu sounded fantastic but there was just something about the specials that just stood out for me, so on the menu for myself, there was to start – haddock & leek fishcakes followed by the chicken wellington, & for Mum there was the prawn & crayfish cocktail to start followed by a main of beer battered haddock & chips (definitely always a winner on a Friday evening!)

The kitchen wasted no time in getting our starters served up, both plates arrived within around 10-15 minutes which was perfect.

As you can see from the above photographs, the food was remarkable! Mum commented on the size of her prawn cocktail & said that it was huge – we tend to find that normally with prawn cocktails you get less of the fish & definitely more of the lettuce, however this was not the case at all here – there was more than enough, & the bread was also generous with 3 slices on the side. Another thing that Mum was really pleased with was, believe it or not, the butter! I can vouch for this also though – most places will normally serve you really hard butter that doesn’t spread at all, this was perfectly spreadable & didn’t contribute to any holes in the bread! It’s the little touches like this that really do make a difference & you do notice.

The fishcakes that I had were impeccable. They were light, fragrant & very more-ish. The haddock was a good choice as the main ingredient as it’s not overly (as silly as it sounds, a fishy-fish) but gives a nice subtle flavour which is very well complimented by the fresh taste of leek. If these were a main at the restaurant, I would definitely go for them.

On to the mains! As you know, I went for the chicken wellington & Mum the beer battered haddock & chips. I think the pictures below say it all really! The haddock & chips was a roaring success with Mum – she loved every bite. The fish made a welcome change to the usual cod, it was delicate & flaky, with a crisp & fresh batter. Chips were second to none! You cannot beat a good pub chip. The meal itself is available in either small or large, Mum went for the small & this was plentiful, especially after a starter. At first glance she did question whether it would be enough but this soon changed as she quickly became full.

The chicken wellington was tender, juicy & delicious. The chicken itself was wrapped in prosciutto ham & spinach enclosed in a perfect & glossy pastry casing. I would absolutely recommend trying this dish, it was slightly unusual & made a change from beef wellington but in a good way! The chicken was served on a bed of wild mushroom sauce which was lovely & rich, & with green beans & new potatoes. I personally find green beans can be a tough one to get right & they can often ‘squeak’ but these did not – they were perfect & not a single thing was left on my plate! Even the potatoes were cooked to perfection.

After finding a little more space in our tummies, & after eyeing up the menu we of course decided to go for desserts.

I was torn between desserts – sticky toffee pudding is my all time favourite (I love to try & have this everywhere so I can find the best) & my go to, but with the weather being as gorgeous as it was, I could not miss the opportunity to go for the summer-fitting mango cheesecake. Mum followed in my footsteps & went for the summery eton mess. We were both delighted with our choices. Both desserts were fruity & tangy, & in all honesty, the right amount after the other 2 dishes we’d had. The pair of us would definitely pick these desserts again & again.

Another fantastic little feature is that the pub also boasts an extensive gin menu which also gives guidance on which tonic to pair to each gin – perfect with or without dinner!

We unquestionably loved our evening here, so much so that Mum booked a table whilst we were there & was back over the same weekend – this doubtlessly shows just how favourable we found this place to be. Everything was spot on, even down to the tiniest detail such as the butter (as mentioned). The pub offered such a warming & cosy atmosphere, & this was on a hot summer’s day so I can only imagine just how lovely it would be in the winter – I’m certainly excited to make a visit over Christmas as I think this will be lovely, & I will certainly be back before then anyway!
To put it simply, The Leather Bottle offers good, honest food & exceptional service & this is really everything I look for when it comes to planning an evening out. Thank you so much to all at The Leather Bottle for welcoming & looking after us, everyone here is a real credit & should be proud of their work! We look forward to visiting again soon in the very near future.

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BALTI NIGHT // TAKEAWAY REVIEW

Last weekend, this award-winning takeaway based in Braintree very kindly provided a meal for myself & a couple of friends. My friends are already huge fans of this Indian takeaway, & are very friendly with & know the staff there, so after mentioning Essex Foodies to them, Balti Night very generously invited Essex Foodies to try it for themselves. As my friends already eat here regularly, this review will be based on just what I ate & experienced.

So first off, we ordered our food in the shop itself, so we got to see firsthand just how busy it was. The shop was packed with queue just starting to form outside of the door, & continued to stay busy whilst we were there. The phones were also relentless, with each line answered the entire time we were in the shop. I would say that we were in the shop itself at around 7.45pm, so I would imagine that it only got busier as the evening went on. I think the demand here speaks volumes & shows exactly why this takeaway has picked up as many awards as it has, which leads me on to mention just how many awards this place has won & been nominated for – their walls are completely dominated by various certificates.

On to the food, on the menu for me there was;
Mixed starter, which consisted of hot onion bhaji, chicken seekh kebab, meat samosa & crispy king prawns
Poppadoms (goes without saying)
Chicken tikka chilli masala
Pilau rice
Saag paneer (my favourite Indian dish, something I order every time!)

So that was really my typical sort of order asides from the main – I would normally play it safe with a korma or dry chicken tikka, but seeing as this was going to be reviewed & written about, it was really best to mix it up & go for something slightly different – & I can safely say that I think I should definitely do this more often, & starters I would normally go for tandoori prawns, or a dry tikka starter but the mixed starter was recommended so this is what I went with.

The starter certainly allowed you to try what I would say are probably favourites – I enjoyed each & every one, the seekh kebab is not something I would ever think to pick, but this was a nice surprise, the meat was tender & bursting with tandoori flavour, likewise meat samosas would not be something that I would pick either but after trying them here, I think I have been converted! The hot onion bhajis were crispy & provided a nice warmth, & finally the prawns were cooked to absolute perfection, they were soft but with a nice crisp bite to them. The starter gave me an insight to what the rest of the meal was going to be like.

Main – so typically I’d normally go for a meat dish with rice & a side or two, depending who I’m with & if I’m sharing! In this case, the food was not shared, it was everyone for themselves – (not all bad, more for me, ha!)
The pilau rice was the perfect accompaniment for the chicken tikka chilli masala as it played the offset when the chilli became too much, however saying this, I would say that the chicken tikka chilli masala was in no way too hot, it could just have a little bit of a kick to it now & then – I’m normally a korma girl but this was by no-means too much for me. I would order this again for sure. Saag paneer – I’m a sucker for a saag paneer & I think I’ve completed my quest in finding the best. The dish here from Balti Night was rich & creamy, with the biggest chunks of paneer I’ve ever scooped up (my mouth is salivating thinking back on it!) With each mouthful, I wanted more.

I would doubtlessly say that Balti Night has claimed top spot for my favourite Indian takeaway, it’s a shame that they’re based in Braintree & I’m Chelmsford, or I’d be ordering lots more! These guys work tirelessly & it’s clear to see why they’ve received so many awards & why their shop is as busy as it is.

Thank you so much to the guys here for inviting me down & for allowing me to review them – I will most definitely be putting my order in when I’m next in the area & I know that my friends will sure as hell be ordering again in the very near future!

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DUSK // RESTAURANT REVIEW

Mid-July saw the opening of one of Essex’s hottest, most prestigious restaurants, which we were thrilled to be invited to. The evening promised glamour & sophistication, which it undoubtedly delivered.

Upon arrival, you get a feel for what the restaurant is going to offer – the cars parked to the front of the restaurant say it all & leave little to the imagination.

The venue itself boasts various different rooms/lounges, including a main dining area, a function room, shisha lounge & bar plus grounds overlooking the stunning Bentley Golf Club. We were lucky enough to be given a guided tour around the venue, & each & every aspect of it is simply stunning – certainly somewhere you could hold a wedding party reception, or perhaps a work-do Christmas party. Once shown around the premises, we were led to an outside decking area, overlooking Bentley Golf Club, to enjoy more drinks & delicious canapes. Each of the canapes we tried were outstanding, our favourite of the selection were the chicken tikka bites (which a few of the staff also told us were their favourites).

We were also lucky enough to be treated to a three-course meal & drinks (please be aware that the venue does not sell alcohol, however there are no objections to bringing your own). The menu was set, so the only choice to be made was chicken or beef – you had the options of butter chicken or roast beef for mains.

The menu offered a starter of prawn, green apple & lemon cappuccino, mains of either honey lemon roast beef served with baby yorks, twice fried chips & summer berry gravy or butter chicken with rice & freshly baked naan, & a trio of desserts which was made up of chocolate delice, lemongrass brulee & almond croquant & pistacho ice cream.

All aspects of the meal were incredible – the food was mouthwatering, & the presentation second to none, even down to the cutlery, everything was perfect & aesthetically pleasing. The ingredients used are certainly some of the best – the prawns were some of the best I’ve ever had – the starter consisted of just 3, however they were plump & juicy, just the right amount for a starter dish. The beef was also cooked to perfection, sometimes beef can be a tough one to crack & can often be quite chewy or laced with fat, however this was melt-in-the-mouth. My Mum went for the beef dish & she loved it. I went for the butter chicken & have to say, I think this was probably the best butter chicken I’ve ever tried. The dish itself was not the typical mild butter chicken, but had a fiery twist to it – a real winner. Desserts were also a huge success, they were not something we would typically pick off of a menu however both of our plates were cleared, so there’s not much else to say on that front. As the food was to such a high standard & ever so tasty, I would certainly return to see what the rest of the menu offers.

Thank you to Dusk for inviting us along to their launch & a huge, huge thank you to each & every member of the team who did everything they could to make the evening what it was. We loved every second of our evening & would quite firmly state that the food here is probably one of the best we have yet reviewed!

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PAGO FRUIT JUICES // PRODUCT REVIEW

Recently at Essex Foodies, we have been lucky enough to receive a fruit-juice filled package from the lovely people at Pago. The contents of the package included a selection of individual fruit juices complete with a cute Pago branded glass (the exact size to fit in one bottle of juice in fact!)

The selection of fruit juices included;
– Cloudy apple
– Cloudy cherry
– Multi-vitamin tropical
– Tomato (perfect for a Bloody Mary for those who love a cocktail or two!)

Each of the thirst-quenching juices have been delicious, & in all honesty, very more-ish (especially the tropical for myself.) Each juice is also individual so there is no hassle of using within a certain amount of days once opened. One thing that we are also very happy about is the fact that the bottles are glass meaning they are completely recyclable (yay!)

Thank you very much to Pago for getting these out to us, we have most definitely enjoyed each & every flavour!

You can find out more about the brand & order online here – https://www.pagofruitjuice.co.uk/

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GRAND TRUNK ROAD // RESTAURANT REVIEW

A while back, we were approached by a marketing agency who offered us the chance to dine at Grand Trunk Road, a restaurant located in the heart of South Woodford. Naturally, we were delighted with the request & soon found ourselves booked in. A couple of weeks passed & soon enough, the arranged date came round.

At first glance, the road where the restaurant is located seemed quiet & as if there wasn’t a lot going on, neither (from the outside) did the restaurant look very busy which put a little doubt in our minds, however this was all about to change. The door opened to reveal what is definitely a hidden gem.

The restaurant was at full capacity with not an empty table in sight, proving that it really is what’s on the inside that counts. The restaurant was dimly lit, giving the place a real chilled out feel and a really pleasant tone – perfect for an evening of cocktails & gorgeous modern Indian cuisine.

Upon arrival, we were kindly greeted & shown to our table, then presented with the drinks menu. I had already decided that I wanted to go for a cocktail – it was just a case of making the difficult decision of which one. I chose to go for Calcutta Night Rider, a vodka based cocktail, & lethal if I may say so! As with all cocktails, this was so easy to drink & I could’ve definitely drunk them all night long! My Dad played it a little safer than myself & went for a Cobra beer.

Once our drinks had arrived, we made our food order, & then indulged on a Poppadom Basket complete with chutneys. The poppadoms were light & crispy, just as they should be & the different chutneys were full of flavour & left a sweet taste in our mouths. We chose to share a starter from the Grill & Tandoor section of the menu & our starter of choice was the Bangali Basket – a medley of different fish dishes, comprising of a grilled King Prawn, salmon, seafood cake & seared scallop. Each sample of fish was fantastic, not a single bit went untouched. The component that stood out for both my Dad & I was the salmon, it was genuinely the nicest & probably best cooked salmon the pair of us have both ever tried. The fish itself was of good quality, very thick & meaty-almost, & the flavour was just spot-on. If I’d had known how good the salmon was going to be, I would’ve chosen this for main course. All of the other components making up the fish starter again were of very good quality & more than satisfied the tastebuds. This leads me onto the mains, where we each picked a separate main but shared rice & bread. For mains, I opted for Amritsari Butter Chicken & Dad the Kabul Ka Hiran Tikka (Venison), & we shared Zaffrani Pulao Rice & Missi Roti. One thing that we liked about the menu & the dishes was that it wasn’t your typical Indian with the usual suspects, but a much more modern & with a twist Indian cuisine.

My main of butter chicken was thick, rich, creamy & pleasantly mild. It didn’t look a lot size-wise but once I started to get through it, I quickly started to feel myself feeling full. I did however manage to finish the bowl! In hindsight, I think we would’ve been better off having a rice each as I found I had a lot of sauce left with nothing to accompany it. Overall for me, this is without fail something I would have again. To say that Dad enjoyed the venison would be the understatement of the century – I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone as thrilled as he was to see a venison dish at an Indian restaurant! To be fair, this is not something I’ve ever seen before, so I loved that Grand Trunk Road’s menu was slightly unusual. Dad described the dish as cooked to perfection & highly recommends it to anyone that visits the restaurant.

Following from our mains, we indulged in some delicious desserts. I went all out & even went for a dessert cocktail too, so I took pleasure in devouring a slice of almond & orange cake which was perfectly light & fluffy, & offered subtle citrus-y hints with a sweet crunch, washed down with a full-bodied & very potent espresso martini. Dad went for a classic slice of chocolate cake, which was luxuriously rich & fit for a king! As with the rest of the meal, not a single mouthful of either desserts were left. They were each very different from each other but both heavenly.

We both rated this restaurant very highly, & Dad went as far as to say that this was by far the best Indian restaurant he has had the pleasure of dining at, which is very bold statement. I certainly loved it here too, & would definitely recommend giving this place a visit – I think if you were to visit you would be captivated by what the restaurant has to offer.

Thank you very much to each & every member of the team at Grand Trunk Road who made our evening what it was, & a special thank you to Chef Sharma who took time out of his working day to come & speak with us, & give us an in-depth insight into his career of which he is so passionate about, & last but certainly not least, thank you to Plus 1 Communications for setting this opportunity up for us.



UPCOMING REVIEWS & EVENTS

July has been a fantastic month here at Essex Foodies HQ – we’ve had countless offers this month & so little time to squeeze each review in! It can prove difficult to try & fit in all reviews around working a 9-5 job too, but thanks to everyone’s support, every day we are a day closer to becoming a full time business ourselves. This month we have already carried out a handful of reviews with more yet to come. Here’s a breakdown of what the next couple of weeks will have on offer;

Restaurant reviews
The Leather Bottle (Blackmore)

Launches
The Hall (Lakeside)

Product reviews
Fairfield Farm crisps
Kapow sauce
Pago fruit juices
Plant pops: popped lotus seeds

+ lots more posts coming your way.

As August approaches, we know that more & more places will start taking Christmas booking/launching their Christmas offers – if you’d like these shared, get in contact.

Please do keep an eye out for all of our posts as always & if you do have any enquiries, or you’d like to get featured, or maybe you’ve got a restaurant/product you’d be interested to see reviewed please do not hesitate to get in contact – we respond to all enquiries we receive within 24 hours – our channels are always open, you can email us essexfoodies@gmail.com or alternatively, fill in the enquiries form on our contact page.

ESSEX FOODIES ABROAD // MALTA

I spent Christmas (2018) over in Malta, staying at the Labranda Riviera Hotel in Mellieha on a half board basis, meaning breakfast & dinner was included. Most of the time, I think hotel food can be quite boring & basic, however I have definitely learnt that this isn’t always the case – Labranda boasted such a variety of foods, including all different cuisine stations in the hotel’s restaurant. Below are some photos I managed to get whilst on my break over Christmas.

Chinese cuisine from the East Winds restaurant – genuinely so delicious! Could’ve easily mistaken this for takeaway food, it was that good *drool*
Breakfast time saw the usual cooked foods along with cereals, fruits & meats/cheeses. I particular enjoyed the thick, fresh breads on offer & most of the time made up a breakfast of scrambled egg on toast.

GIGGLING SQUID // NEW MENU PREVIEW

Early last week, we were given the fabulous opportunity of previewing Giggling Squid’s new menu. This was certainly an offer that we simply couldn’t say no to. I’d always heard great things about this restaurant but just had never got round to actually visiting, so when I received an email offering us a place at the preview, there was only ever going to be one answer, and that answer was YES!

The evening was one of the more formal evening’s Essex Foodies had been to, however it was very insightful & interesting to find out more behind the restaurant & business itself, as well as future plans & developments.

The purpose of the evening was for Giggling Squid to show off their new menu & what they had been working on – & it did not disappoint. Their menu is hugely extensive & really does spoil you for choice, although we were very lucky as we got to sample pretty much all of the starters. As you will see from the below photos, there was plenty on offer.

The menu itself was extensive & left nothing to be desired – you’ve got dishes for those that prefer something slighty more plain, & you’ve certainly got dishes for those that are a little more adventurous! Giggling Squid also offer a fantastic & very fairly priced lunch menu which comes in at around a tenner (per person) for a Thai tapas lunch – perfect if you want to get to try dishes.

When it came to mains, each guest could choose a main dish plus a side – I opted for crying beef with a side of noodle & bean sprouts. I was very pleased with my choice – the food was simply fantastic! It was cooked to perfection & certainly satisfied my tastbuds. All of the other mains looked amazing too & I think I would be right in saying that there was definitely a little food envy in the air!

The food was beyond expectation – both in flavour & presentation. Not only was each dish was powerful & bursting with flavour but also looked fantastic too (personally I think noodle-y type dishes are not always photogenic & can be difficult to get decent pictures of). Because the food was so tasty, I would most definitely recommend & would 100% return.

Desserts were also exceptional – we shared a few between the table & everyone enjoyed what they tried.

There was also one other thing that really stood out on the evening which deserves a mention & that was how busy the restaurant was & stayed. We visited on a Tuesday evening & the restaurant was bustling & didn’t die down at all. Even by the time we left (around 9.30pm), the restaurant was still packed. To me, this is a huge achievement & proves that Giggling Squid isn’t lacking in demand. I feel that nowadays restaurants during the week tend to depend heavily on set menus to bring in custom – Giggling Squid is a whole different kettle of fish.

Thank you to all at Giggling Squid for inviting us along & allowing us to sample the new menu – we loved it! We will definitely be back again in the near future, make sure you check them out too!

NATIONAL HOT DOG DAY

Wednesday 17th July sees in National Hot Dog Day, & both Linda McCartney & Big Easy have teamed up to create the perfect vegan hotdog available at Big Easy restaurants or at home. Keep reading to find out more!

There’s something for everyone this National Hot Dog Day, with Big Easy and Linda McCartney’s ‘Not Dog’

 Introducing, the Linda McCartney’s X Big Easy Texan Vegan Corn ‘Not Dog’

Linda McCartney’s and Big Easy have created the ultimate in vegan dining with the launch of the brand new Linda McCartney’s X Big Easy Texan Vegan Corn ‘Not Dog’. Available for a limited time only and perfect for getting stuck into this National Hot Dog Day (Wednesday 17th July), the Not Dog is Big Easy’s first EVER vegan dish. Created by the experts in all-out American dining Big Easy, as a challenge from Linda McCartney’s, they have taken on the icon of the hot dog, making it meat-free. Made using Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Sausages, the new Big Easy Texan Vegan Corn ‘Not Dog’ is inspired by the classic Corn Dog from the Texas State Fairs of the 1940s. Taking seriously succulent vegetarian sausages, dipped in corn batter and deep fried to a golden brown, fully loaded with smoky BBQ sauce, tangy chilli jam and topped with crispy onions in a soft bun. Lip-smacking taste, that’s 100% vegan. 

This tasty collaboration sees Linda McCartney’s; the well-loved vegetarian brand founded by Linda McCartney, the original punk-pioneer of meat-free eating, come together with Big Easy, the original pioneer of BBQ and all things American restaurants to shake up the norm, taking on the iconic dish to prove just how indulgently irresistible meat-free eating can be. The hunger-busting ‘Not Dog’ has been created to offer veggies and vegans an option on the menu, as well as helping encourage Londoners to enjoy more meat-free meals! 

Linda McCartney paved the way almost 30 years ago for today’s vegetarian movement. As the original meat-free pioneer, she inspired a generation and her legacy continues to reach far and wide today, with vegetarian and vegan eating fast becoming a norm.

Available at all Big Easy restaurants in Chelsea, Covent Garden and Canary Wharf starting from American Independence Day 4th July through to 21st July, you can chow down on the ultimate vegan feast. The dish costs £8 and £1 of every dish will go to the Trussell Trust food bank charity.

Head in to your nearest Big Easy on National Hot Dog Day (17th July) to be in with a chance of getting your Not Dog Where each Big Easy will be giving away the first 50 Not Dogs ordered for FREE. Or, if you can’t make it into one of the restaurants, follow Big Easy’s recipe below to make your own at home. You can pick up Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Sausages from all major supermarkets.

To be in with a chance of winning a year’s supply of Linda McCartney’s share your creations on Instagram tagging @lindamccartneyfoods using #thelindanotdog this National Hot Dog Day!

The Linda McCartney’s Texan Vegan Corn ‘Not Dog’ by Big Easy

Makes 2 double size hot dogs 

Ingredients
4 Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Sausages
2  Large hot dog buns 

Corn Flour Batter 
75g Plain Flour
45g Yellow Cornmeal
1 tbsp Sugar
1/2 tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 tbsp Vegan Egg Replacer
1 tbsp water
125ml Oat Milk
Sunflower oil

Seasoned Flour
50g Plain Flour
1tsp Cayenne Seasoning
1 tsp Paprika Seasoning
Pinch of salt & Pepper

Tobacco Onions
1 Sliced White Onion
2 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
100g Plain Flour

Garnishes
1tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
Chilli Jam
Vegan Barbeque sauce  

Method

  1. Firstly, make the Corn Dog batter by combining the plain flour, yellow cornmeal, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Then add in the egg replacer with the water and gradually mix in the oat milk until you get a smooth batter.
  2. Next, make your seasoned flour by mixing together the plain flour, cayenne, paprika, salt & pepper in a bowl. Roll the Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Sausages in the seasoned plain flour to cover the full sausages. Set aside to cook later.
  3. Next make your tobacco onions, by thinly slicing an onion into half-moon shapes and tossing them well in plain flour and Old Bay seasoning. 
  4. In a large pot over medium heat, add enough sunflower oil to come halfway up the sides and heat to 170c. Dip the Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Sausages into the corn batter mix and then fry in the oil until golden brown – around 5 minutes. Ensure you turn the sausages throughout cooking to ensure an even cook and golden colour. Once cooked, remove the sausage from the oil and place on kitchen towel to absorb excess oil.
  5. While the corn dogs are resting, cook your tobacco onions. Use the same pan of oil as you did for the sausages and add the onion mixture to the oil and deep fry until golden brown – around 4 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain. 
  6. Serve two Linda McCartney’s Corn Not Dogs in each of your hot dog buns, topped with crispy Tobacco onions, Chilli Jam and Barbeque sauce, Garnish with fresh coriander. Enjoy!

Check out Instagram for more delicious inspiration: @lindamccartneyfoods or visit  lindamccartneyfoods.co.uk.


ROYAL HOTEL // AFTERNOON TEA REVIEW

Last weekend Essex Foodies were lucky enough to be treated to an afternoon tea with fizz courtesy of The Royal Hotel in Southend. The afternoon offered everything you’d expect from an afternoon tea – delicate finger sandwiches, melt-in-the-mouth scones, deliciously rich cakes, as well as endless amounts of tea/coffee & the odd tipple.

Upon arrival, we were shown to our table overlooking a very busy Southend Seafront (thanks to the warm weather), & were served up a luscious glass of prosecco, neatly finished with a decorative raspberry. The prosecco went down a treat (as did it all!)

Next to arrive were our hot drinks – I opted for tea & Mum went for coffee. Each of us were given a large pot with our drinks of choice which were regularly topped up – service here was smooth & faultless, the girls waiting on us were so on the ball & made sure we never went without, or never left waiting.

Shortly after, the sandwich/cake stand arrived, & it looked incredible. On the menu there was;

sandwiches
– chicken mayo (my favourite by far)
– salmon & cream cheese
– egg mayo
– cucumber & cream cheese

scones
– fruit
– plain

cakes
– white chocolate tart
– strawberry bevarois
– Carribean cake

Despite there being plenty, we managed to get through everything! The sandwiches were perfect – the bread was fluffy & soft, & the sandwiches were not overloaded with filling meaning they weren’t too sickly – so top marks all round on the sandwich front! The scones again were perfect – they were still warm so you knew they had been freshly baked, & once you had sliced into them, they just crumbled – divine! The cakes were of course a hit too – they were sweet & complimented the savoury tastes very well. My favourite dessert was the white chocolate tart – it was light like a mousse but offered a depth of flavour. Again, top marks all round! Everything that was served up was eaten, so to me this speaks volumes. The Royal Hotel have certainly got the afternoon tea down to a t (pardon the pun!)

You will see from the photos below also how gorgeous everything looked – from the hotel itself, to the food. I would say that this is the perfect place for a girly treat.

A massive thank you to The Royal Hotel for having us, especially to Matt (Director) for inviting us along, & to all of the girls that looked after us on the day, everybody was so forthcoming & friendly & made it a very pleasurable experience. We can’t wait to come back!

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LIVE DOSA // ANNIVERSARY EVENT

Earlier this week, we had the absolute privilege of attending Live Dosa’s fifth year anniversary celebrations – so first off, thank you so much to Fazila & family for inviting us back to be part of the special celebrations & secondly, a massive congrats to these guys on their fifth year – they are clearly doing something very right! The restaurant was absolutely rammed, which was absolutely fabulous to see (& very well deserved).

The evening started with a prosecco reception which was definitely welcomed by all. We opted to sit outside with our drinks, as the sun was beaming! Once we had finished our drinks, we were led to our table inside where we were greeted with some delicious appetisers. It was a really nice touch that the appetisers were ready & waiting on the table – it’s definitely nice to have something to nibble on whilst waiting.

Following from appetisers were starters – & of course there were going to be dosas! If you’ve not tried a dosa, you need to! They are a large crepe stuffed with a potato masala filling, & they are amazing. Saying that, everything on offer was outstanding, I particularly love the onion bhajis here, they are perfectly crispy & full of fresh flavour, & my friend particularly enjoyed the chicken pudina – made using fresh mint from the garden.

Next up were mains – there were four different main courses on offer, so there was something for everyone! Mains were served with basmati rice & appam – the perfect sides to accompany the hot & powerful curries. Our favourite of the four mains was definitely the chicken curry (Chicken Pirattal) – it was warming with a fiery kick, but not too intense – exactly how a curry should be. The other dishes were nice but not dishes that we would choose ourselves – having said that, we did give each of them a try. On offer there was Mix Seafood Roast, Erissery & Nadan Parripu.

Once the tables had been cleared, the fun started! Desserts were served, & entertainment began. Fazila made a lovely speech, thanking everyone for their support over the years which was lovely & very touching – you can really tell how passionate the family are about cooking & their restaurant. A massive, massive congratulations to them & a happy fifth birthday to Live Dosa! Entertainment came in the shape of traditional Southern Indian dancing, firstly performed by Fazila’s daughters (this was adorable, the girls absolutely loved it, their little faces were glowing), and secondly by performer Suzanna Harrington. The dancing was energetic & got everyone in the party spirit!

As always, we had a fantastic evening at Live Dosa, & it’s so refreshing to see an independent restaurant doing so well for themselves. Thank you to Fazila for inviting us to the special celebrations, & a big thank you to all of the team for looking after us. We look forward to the next milestone celebrations!

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ROUGHS // PRODUCT REVIEW

A little while back, Essex Foodies were sent samples of these creative little vegetable crisps, promising one of your five a day in just one tin – sounds amazing, right? Who would’ve ever thought crisps could become (a healthy) part of your daily diet?! The crisps are presented in a neat little tin (think tin of beans) instead of the usual plastic packaging, to help protect the environment which in our eyes, is absolutely the way forward.

The crisps are available in 3 flavours which are;
– Beetroot & goats cheese
– Red pepper & walnut
– Tomato & feta

All of the above absolutely pack a punch in flavour, perfect if you like a strong flavoured crisp! If you’d like to request a sample of the crisps to try for yourself, you can do so by following this link – https://satisfiedsnacks.co.uk/product/free-samples/.

UPCOMING EVENTS & REVIEWS

Word on the street, Essex Foodies tells you all the best places to eat!
It would seem that recently here at Essex Foodies we are being approached more & more which we of course are thrilled about & love! This month alone we have 5 reviews booked in which we are really looking forward to! In the near future you can expect to see reviews on;

– Live Dosa (Chelmsford)
this review will be based on their fifth year anniversary event
– The Royal Hotel (Southend)
this review will be based on Afternoon Tea
– Giggling Squid (Billericay)
this review will be based on their new menu
– Grand Trunk Road (Woodford)
this review will be based on their new menu
& last but certainly not least
– Balti Night (Braintree)
this will be a takeaway review

There will also be a few more reviews popping up which we are keeping under wraps for now, but do keep your eyes peeled!

If you do have any enquiries, or you’d like to get featured please do not hesitate to get in contact – we respond to all enquiries we receive within 24 hours – you can email essexfoodies@gmail.com or alternatively, fill in the enquiries form on our contact page.


THE MOUNT // LAUNCH PARTY

A few weekends ago, Essex Foodies visited The Mount, a cosy bar on Chingfound Mount. The bar has recently been taken over by new management, & to celebrate, held a fantastic launch party which we were invited along to. The evening saw free flowing drinks along with samples of their food menu so you could get to know a little bit more of what The Mount is about.

As foodies, we of course were delighted to try some dishes from the menu! However, as we weren’t aware there was going to be food on offer, & had eaten prior to arriving, we didn’t get to sample everything, although by the standards of the food that we did try, we are certain everything else on the menu would be more than up to scratch. The dishes that did try were;
– Chicken & chorizo pasta
– Beef burger
– Fish & chips

All of the above were absolutely outstanding, in particular I liked the pasta – perfectly cooked with just right amount of sauce to pasta ratio! Other dishes on offer included various pizzas (which looked amazing) along with humous & crudites. Had we not already eaten, we would’ve given more a go!

All in all, we had a very pleasant evening at The Mount, & we look forward to seeing where it goes next. We have noticed on Instagram, there are more & more event nights taking place, so this is definitely one to watch – even if you’re not looking for something to eat!

Thank you to management for inviting us down & thank you to all the team for looking after us.

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THE RUBY // TAKEAWAY REVIEW

On Friday evening, Essex Foodies were treated to a delicious takeaway courtesy of The Ruby, which is an Indian takeaway based in Braintree. It had already been agreed what we would be taking away & this was the signature Kati roll – Special Murghee Roll. The roll is a wrap filled with chicken tikka, onion bhaji & salad, so a couple of Indian takeaway classics in the convenience of a wrap.

My friend & I each had a roll of our own, which at first we did question whether this would be enough but as soon as we started tucking into the roll, we realised it would definitely be enough. The roll was absolutely brimming with flavourful chicken, onion bhaji & salad! The chicken itself was very tender & tasty, & the salad was fresh & crunchy, whilst the onion bhaji provided a bit of crunch – all perfectly complimenting each other.

The rolls were absolutely delicious & left nothing to be desired whatsoever! The size of a roll is definitely adequate for one person, you wouldn’t need anything else to go with it (unless you wanted to, of course). In all honesty, this wouldn’t have been something I would’ve chose personally to have as when it comes to takeaways, I’m more of a picky-eater, & would rather a bit of everything, however saying that, now that I have tried the roll, it would be something that I would have again. I think that it’s also a good value option too in that if you were ordering for one person, this would literally be all you’d need, & you’d only be paying for one dish – saving £££.

Both my friend & I really enjoyed our rolls & our hunger was definitely satisfied, so thank you to The Ruby for sharing their signature dish with us – we look forward to ordering again & sampling more of the menu (which I have included below) & can be viewed here – https://www.theruby.co/menus/.

#AD #GIFTED

DELIGHTFUL DESSERTS // WAFFLE BAR REVIEW

Yesterday evening Essex Foodies had the pleasure of indulging in crepe-based goodness at the Hornchurch branch of Delightful Desserts, & oh, how tasty it was!

As expected, our desserts were rich & saucy, whilst our drinks were lovely & refreshing. I enjoyed the fabulous fudge crepe, along with a vanilla frappe, whilst my friend went for the Kinder crepe, washed down with a raspberry iced tea.

Both crepes were served with ice cream & cream as standard, which I thought was great – normally when you go to a dessert place, it’s one or the other, so to have both is a winner in my eyes! Both crepes were also served very generously with their toppings – I couldn’t actually believe how much fudge was on my crepe, & the Kinder crepe had I would say equivalent of two Bueno bars generously spread over the light pancake. One thing we did notice too was how well presented the crepes were, considering how messy they must be to prepare, we were very impressed. We both loved what we chose & would most definitely choose to have these again. 

Our drinks were a huge huge hit too, the frappe I had was smooth & creamy, but not too rich & not overpowered by the vanilla flavouring, & I’m told the tea was fruity & sweet, & simply refreshing, especially alongside a rich dessert. 

We were also very impressed by the extensive menu – the were plenty of waffle/crepe toppings to choose from as well as many, many different variations of drinks to choose from. One other thing I noticed on the menu too was the option for a half-waffle – genius!!! A whole waffle can definitely be too much so I love that Delightful Desserts have given you the alternative to take a smaller portion for a smaller price! There is also a coffee companions menu offering smaller treats, perfect for a mid-morning coffee break.

Overall, we had a very pleasant experience at Delightful Desserts (Hornchurch), there was plenty to choose from & the desserts & drinks were very enjoyable. Thank you to all staff for their generosity & hospitality, we look forward to visiting again soon.

PASTA // APPRECIATION POST

If there’s one dish you know you can’t go wrong with, it’s gotta be pasta, where it’s plain or smothered in sauce, it’s sure to be delicious. Pasta always seems to be one of the cheaper options on menus too, so what’s not to love? Here we’ve created a post dedicated to the delicious dish in its many variations, from all over.

Pasta della casa – Zizzi, Chelmsford
Spaghetti carbonara – La Rocca, Chingford
Mushroom cream – The Edge, Hilton Dubai Creek, Dubai
Garganelli Tiffany’s – Tiffany’s Bistro, Sliema, Malta
Creamy sirloin penne – O’Picado, Westcliff
Wild mushroom & spinach tagliatelle – Leigh Bistro, Leigh On Sea
Blue cheese pasta – Linos, Bratislava, Slovakia

STREET EATS’N’BEATS

Street Eats’n’Beats takes place in Chelmsford on 24th August & promises fun for the whole family. With a variety of delicious street foods on offer along with cocktails, & live entertainment, what better way to spend your bank holiday weekend?

Tickets for the festival are available here – https://www.streeteatsnbeats.com/events/street-eats-n-beats-2019

& for more information, please see below the official press release

ESSEX FOODIES ABROAD // BRATISLAVA (CONTINUED)

It wouldn’t be fair to only post about one eatery that I visited during my trip to Bratislava, so here I have compiled everywhere that I managed to check out.

LINOS
This was the first place we tried – we enjoyed lunch here after arriving & unpacking! Food & drinks here were very cheap, I think it cost equivalent of around £6 each for a meal & drink. I enjoyed a blue cheese pasta dish & my friend had a club-style sandwich. We were both impressed, but in particular with how cheap it was.