LAURA’S CAKERY // TREAT BOX REVIEW

Click here to visit Laura’s page.

A couple of weekends back I received what I could only describe as the most SCRUMPTIOUS of deliveries. The very lovely Laura of @laurascakery very kindly dropped off a ‘treat box’ to me after a busy day at a farmer’s market. 
The box was made up of 4 different treats, all very traditional, but with such modern twists. Up on offer, there was…
– Jammie Dodger Rocky Road
– Freddo Cookie Dough Slice
– Millionaires Rice Krispy Treat
– Cornflake Brownie
As you can tell just by their names, they’re a bit of an edgier take on the classics. 
Every single thing was spot on – from their presentation, down to the last yummy crumbs, they just hit the spottttt! My favourite of them all was definitely the Jammie Dodger Rocky Road, the taste of this was just INCREDIBLE! I was also convinced that I could taste party rings in this but it turns out it was in fact iced gems! I loved this one the most simply because it looked MEGA, I can only imagine just how good this looks when it’s freshly made & ready to be sliced up! & also, it was soooo YUMMY! I love anything with white chocolate, & this was a fantastic way of mixing up the typical rocky road, it also meant that the treat wasn’t too sickly either, as white chocolate (I find) is nowhere near as rich as milk, in fact I probably could’ve worked my way through about 4 slices!!
The Freddo Cookie Dough slice was by far the cutest looking of all the treats (just look at his lil’ face!) The chocolate on this was indulgent & thick, & the Freddo DEFO too cute to cut through! (… I had to cut this one up because the cookie dough was very rich, & there was no way I was getting through a slice of this all by myself!) In hindsight, I think I should’ve maybe warmed this up to get the full cookie dough effect, nevertheless it was still delish! This one I know has also been a hit/is very popular as many of you replied to my story saying how adorable this looks.
The Millionaires Rice Krispie Treat… I LOVED the idea of this. Millionaires shortbread is amazing, don’t get me wrong but sometimes it can be slightly too much/too rich, so what a way to break it up, using Rice Krispies. You defo get the snap, crackle & POP with this, oozing with marshmallowy goodness. I would 100% recommend giving this a try, (not as rich = you can eat more!!) 
Aaand finallyyyyy… the Cornflake Brownie! This one was a straight up banger! I love a cornflake cake as it is, & I would’ve been more than happy just munching through the cornflake part on its own, but there was a decadent layer of chocolate brownie base & it was PHENOMENAL! The brownie was made just right, not too squidgy but not too tough, & just completed the treat perfectly!
All of the treats were an absolute delight to sample & I cannot wait to try out Laura’s other goodies!! (check her page/highlights just to see what other creations she’s come up with – you’ll be impressed, trust me!)
A huge thank you to @laurascakery – cannot wait to see what you’ll come up with next! [GIFTED]

THE CRICKETERS (WESTCLIFF) // RESTAURANT REVIEW

Our favourite day of the week at EF is definitely Sunday, as it is the day of good food & indulgence, so when The Cricketers invited us down to try their 3 course Sunday lunch, we were more than happy to oblige.

Now their Sunday lunch menu offers 3 courses at a shockingly low price of just £9.25 per person – seems too good to be true, doesn’t it? And at first, we did sort of wonder just what would be on offer, so naturally we had a peek of the menu to see what we would be getting ourselves in for, and we were pleased to see that there were things we were both happy with.

So, on a bit of a soggy Sunday afternoon we visited the pub – very easy to find, took only around 30/40 minutes from Chelmsford & was hard to miss upon arriving into Westcliff. There was residential parking close by too, so this really is ideal if you’d like to do a Sunday lunch on a budget.

When we entered the pub itself, it was very Covid-friendly – sanitiser readily available & tables really well spaced-out. The first thing we noticed too once we were sat was the fabulous gin menu. The menu was very handy & told you which gins paired with which tonics – perfect! We quickly got our drinks orders in, & both opted for a gin (would’ve been rude not to!) We were served by Giovanna, the bar manager who was ever so friendly & attentive.

Whilst waiting for our drinks, we had a quick glance of the menu. We had already decided what we would go for thanks to our prior nose, however the menu in the pub itself was slightly different & actually offered a couple more things, so there were some slight changes in our decisions.

Our drinks arrived, & Giovanna also explained to us what was in our drinks (dehydrated fruit) & the purpose behind it – definitely a nice little touch getting to understand just why these bits of fruit make it to your drink! At this point, we also placed our food orders, so for starters we went for the pub classic – prawn cocktail, & the lamb & halloumi skewer, & for mains we opted for the roast beef, & the steak & ale pie.

Our food arrived very quickly, I would say we waited no longer than ten minutes for our starters, which was fantastic, there’s nothing worse than being hungry & having to wait ages for your food. The portions were practical – they were small but the mains certainly made up for this. The prawn cocktail was nice & light. A substantial amount of prawns were served on a bed of salad along with four quarters of a slice of wholemeal bread. The prawn cocktail was thoroughly enjoyed & was really tasty. The lamb & halloumi skewer was enjoyable – personally I am not a huge lamb fan, as I find it is very hit & miss but I thought I would give it a go anyway. The lamb was nice, but I did find it a little fatty, however the halloumi definitely made up for this – the halloumi was perfectly cooked & had the right amount of ‘squidge’ to it – I would’ve been happy with just a skewer of halloumi, it was that good! The skewer was also served with a small salad that was coated in tzatziki – this was lovely & fresh, & worked really well with the meat & the cheese. What I also really liked about this being on the menu, was that it was something different from your typical pub food. We were both really pleased with what we received, & were really looking forward to what would come next.

Just like our starters, our mains arrived efficiently – this time, pretty much as soon as our plates had been cleared, the second lot of dishes made their appearance. Both main courses were served as ‘roasts’ so both had all the trimmings of veg including peas carrots & cauliflower cheese, roast & new potatoes, yorkshire pudding, plus gravy & dishes of mustard & horseradish. Our choices were the roast beef & the steak & ale pie. The pair of us were both really looking forward to seeing what the beef would be like – I’ve said before, beef can always go one of two ways, it will either be spot on or it can be really fatty/chewy. We were so pleased to try it & to discover that it was beautifully done! The beef was lovely & had a perfect pink centre. It was really well presented too on the plate & was very generous in sizing. Now, the half of the party that enjoyed the beef roast isn’t a fan of vegetables, but has now been converted due to the cauliflower cheese that was dished up with the roast, so something was done very right here (thank you Cricketers!) Absolutely nothing on this plate was left behind, which says it all really. And at £9.25 – we would’ve happily paid this just for this plate itself, never mind the starter & dessert! We would definitely recommend visiting based on this dish alone.
The second main was the steak & ale pie roast which was huge! The pie was filled with so much meat, & was served with all of the trimmings exactly the same as the roast beef. Unfortunately this time round, the plate wasn’t cleared, only because I was way too full! All of what was eaten was so enjoyable – in particular, the roast potatoes & the cauliflower cheese. The steak was also really good quality, it was lovely & tender.

Next up were our desserts. So there are only 3 things to choose from, so you are quite limited, however at such a low price, you can’t really complain. We shared both of our desserts, as we both wanted to try a bit of each, so our choices here were the cheese board (which has a £1.50 supplement) & the baked jam roll. Again, at such a low price, we didn’t expect a lot, however the jam roll changed everything. What a dessert! Served with cream, this piping hot dessert really blew us over – we were stunned at just how tasty it was! The cheese board didn’t really hold much hope once we’d tried the jam roll, but we still devoured it nonetheless! We enjoyed both desserts, but if we were to tell you to pick 1… it would always be the jam roll!



Thank you so much to The Cricketers for inviting us down – we were totally surprised with just how good the food was, & thank you to Giovanna for such fab hospitality. The pub also offers some themed nights (steak, Italian) which we would definitely consider to try also. We think this place is a gem & look forward to visiting again!

https://www.thecricketersbarandfood.co.uk/

[GIFTED]

ESSEX VEGAN WINTERFEST // EVENT

Thank you to Excellart for the following content

Vegan Christmas Wonderland at the Essex Vegan WinterFest

Enjoy the ethical festival feel-good factor at the Essex Vegan WinterFest this December. Colchester Charter Hall will be playing host to an exciting family Christmas food and shopping experience. Whether you fancy trying some festive food, are looking for new recipe ideas or are fed up with buying the usual gifts for the family and are looking for something that’s plastic-free, this event will have everything you need to create the perfect cruelty-free Christmas…

The 2019 Essex Vegan WinterFest will take place at Colchester Charter Hall on Saturday 14th December 2019 from 10.30am – 4.30pm. This unique WinterFest features over 100 fantastic stalls offering a wide variety of festive vegan produce, including Christmas cakes, mince pies and chocolate. There’s also clothing from Viva la Vegan, Wear Your Voice and Vegan Slogan Clothing, plus Ethical gift ideas from stalls like Seraphina Jewellery, Eden Perfumes (with Viva La Vegan) and Organically Epic. 

Hot takeaway food includes delicious dishes from Greek Vegan Deli, Home Kitchen, Vdogs and Veg Heads. There will also be free Bute Island Sheese samples to enjoy, plus food stalls, Deliciously Honest, Dinky Doos, Happy Cat Coffee, Honest Edibles, kt london, O’Donnell Moonshine, The May Bakery, The Olive Branch and Vegan Sweet Tooth London. There will also be all day informative talks and exciting cookery demos to inspire.

And in the true Christmas spirit, the event also helps local homeless people, whilst also helping to reduce food waste. Stall holders are asked to donate any surplus food at the end of the festival, and a group of volunteers distributes it to homeless people after the event, providing a hot meal as well as cold dishes.

The Essex Vegan WinterFest takes place on Saturday, 14th December 2019 from 10:30am – 4:30pm at Colchester Charter Hall, Cowdray Avenue, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1YH. Entry is from just £3 (under 16’s free) and this includes entry to all areas and activities. Standard tickets are purchased at the door on the day. VIP tickets, £15, include fast track entry and a goody bag full of vegan products, samples, discounts and offers can be purchased in advance but sell out quickly. For more information please visitwww.veganeventsuk.co.uk or www.facebook.com/VeganEventsUK

DUSK (BRENTWOOD) // WHAT’S ON