Tag Archives: food

Life lately – it’s been a while!

It’s been a little while since I’ve sat down to write a blog post. There have been a couple of big reasons for this. 

Let’s get the negative one out of the way first…I’ve been lacking in inspiration. Yup I’ve been having a few head scratching moments and come up blank. 

My other excuses are far more positive and mainly due to a lack of time. Back in February I gained a promotion at work. This has meant switching from a part time role to full time. I’m still learning how to juggle without dropping too many balls. Let’s just say family, work then sleep have taken priority in that order. Blogging has taken a very firm back seat. 

I’m not complaining though I promise. I love my job and feel I’ve finally found a company to work for that fits who I am. I hope to grow with them and work towards gaining another promotion when the next opportunity arises. At the moment I’m like a sponge trying to soak up all the new skills and knowledge I can get. That’s probably why my brain has switched off from blog post inspiration. 

I’ve also found having this to focus on hugely beneficial when it has come to dealing with my feelings surrounding my mums death. It seems strange to me that she has been gone for over two months now, that it’s been a whole month since her funeral. The hardest thing to come to term with is that Death is so final and life will carry on regardless. All these great things are happening in my life and Yet I can’t tell my Mum. Mmmm….

Mother’s Day was an interesting experience. I was very anti the whole occasion and kept yelling at every promotional email, TV advert or instore display to F-Off! How inconsiderate of them? Did they not know I had just lost my mum and that it was like a slap in the face? 

Well off course not…don’t be a prat Katy! Grief  does that to you sometimes though. 

Wow that got a bit deeper than I intended! 

Back to the positives…

The kids have just broken up from school for the spring holidays. I have a weeks annual leave coming up so that means time to do some fun stuff. We have a trip planned to London Zoo and I hope to finally see Beauty and the Beast. (Still pissed off at Primark that I didn’t get my chip mug #chipgate).

I did buy some pretty bedding from Primark though, mainly because I haven’t had time to wash my old sheets. Lazy I know! I told you I’m still getting used to working full time. 


After not seeing the Hubby for about three days post Westminster attack (the pitfalls of being married to a police officer) we managed to cram in a lunch date. Byron burger is fast becoming one of my guilty pleasures. Their new menu is so so good. 

I had the limited edition Korean inspired Kimicheese burger  which involves Korean BBQ glaze, bacon, Freddar cheese, crispy onions, kimchi cucumbers, Gochuchang sauce and Ssamjang mayonnaise. 


I didn’t stop there either I also had the Gangnam fries which come with Freddar cheese sauce, jalapeños and Gochuchang sauce. 

Book wise I’ve just finished reading Bridget Jones Baby. If ever I feel I haven’t got my shit together I reach for a bit of Bridget she makes a mess of things far more than I do!

I’m currently reading Reap the Harvest by Margaret Dickinson. This falls into the saga genre and is that last in a trilogy that spans three generations of women who lives centre around a coastal farm in Lincolnshire. This book is set in the 50’s, previous books weee set in the 20’s and 30/40’s. 

So that’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to recently. I hope to be a little bit more productive throughout April.

Food Glorious Food | Chop Block Chelmsford 

This post is long overdue. It must be at least 6 weeks since I went for dinner at Chop Bloc in Chelmsford with my two closest girl friends. 

The photos from that evening have been sitting on my phone waiting for me to do something with them for far to long now. Fortunately today’s #BEDM prompt was food glorious food, so it has given me that nudge to share those photos with you my thoughts about the restaurant. 

Chop Bloc specialises in steak and burgers all sourced from UK Hereford cattle. If you’re not a beef fan don’t worry as there are alternatives including vegetarian options. 

The menu does lean towards the pricier end of the scale as you have to order vegetables and sauces seperately but I can honestly say my steak was perfect.  

I suggest visiting mid-week as the set menu option, which you can view here provides much better value for money. You can opt for either two or three courses  at 21.95/25.95. 

Salt & Pepper Suid
300g Runp Steak
Chicken, Bacon & Avocado Burger


Eton Mess
I did feel the Deserts were a little disappointing in comparison to the rest of what we ate. They were okay, just nothing spectacular. 

The steak though was great and would definitely go back on a week night (I can’t afford the weekend prices 😁). 

I also want the opportunity to try out the cocktail bar upstairs, I’ve heard good things but no one was drinking that night. That’s a lie It was just me, I had a large glass of wine! 

Bye for now, Katy x

The Dalek Birthday Cake

My youngest is a HUGE Doctor Who fan. So when asked what cake he wanted for his birthday party he had set his heart on a Dalak cake. Not your average cake available from the supermarket no, he wanted a 3D sculpture. Bugger!

Okay, this called for a DIY job! A bit of research and some design work I came up with a plan. 

 With the help of some internal supports I built what resembled a wonky wedding cake. Yes right now it looks a bit of a mess but but this provided me with a good base to start shaping.

 

This is the final shape I ended up with. The base I cut so that it was the hexagonal shape of the bottom of the Dalek. I then created a sloped front. 

I covered the cake in a thin layer of butter cream  to even out the surface and to provide a a sticky surface to adhere the fondant Icing to. 

 

 I like to use Renshaw Decor-ice ready to role icing when making my cakes. It comes in a wide range of colours and is very soft and mailable. 

For the Dalak I used 4 packets of teddy bear brown, 1 black and 1 grey.

For the rivets I used Galaxy Minstrels as they are the perfect size and shape. 

The eye stork and guns provided a challenge. After trying a few different things I opted for using a wooden skewer as the base and just shaped icing around it. 

An electric whisk paddle provided the perfect gun. The original Daleks had very similar looking guns. 

I’m so pleased with how the cake turned out. It passed Jed’s critique well so I consider it a success.  

 

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The Essex Wine School – Brentwood Launch Evening

This write up is long overdue, but better late than never I suppose. Maybe?? 

A little over a week ago I had the opportunity to attend a taster evening showcasing the launch of The Essex Wine School in Brentwood. My husband joined me for the evening which was great as we don’t get to go out for the evening together very often. Yup perils of being a parent. This was the perfect date night. 

 
 The Essex Wine School is run by Neil Bull, a WSET (wine & spirit education trust) approved provider. His enthusiasm makes for a fun evening educating attendees about wine that is not just of high quality but accessable and affordable too. 

Classes are held in Chelmsford and Colchester with Brentwood launching as a new venue at the Essex Arms. 

We had a taster of some of the different courses available which meant we tasted a champagne, wine and Gin. We were also treated to a tasty buffet. 

Courses vary from a wine tour, cheese and wine pairing or gin tasting to Christmas champagne, port and cheese matching. 2016 will also see the addition of a beer and food pairing class. For the full program of upcoming evenings and how to book then head in the direction of their website Essexwineschool.com. Courses start from £22.50 for an introductory evening. 

As The Essex Wine School is not affiliated to any individual wine merchant or retailer you will not be sold wine or have your details past on to any third parties. 

This also means that the wines you will taste are the best quality wines from accessable sources. Don’t be surprised to see a wine from a local vineyard or from a national chain such as M&S or Waitrose. 

The highlight of the evening for me was tasting the Gin. I had never had Gin before and I’m not going to lie I was very nervous about trying it. 

  This was no “mother’s ruin”, no but a sophisticated artisan gin. A twist of orange peel elevated the appeal of the drink further. I may have to partake of a cheeky gin and tonic again in the future. 

If you are looking for the ideal Christmas gift for that tricky person they also offer gift vouchers.  

I was lucky to win a gift voucher on the evening. This is for the opportunity to attend another class. That’s a future date night with the hubby sorted. I just need to decided between wine and cheese or gin tasting. Though I actually am considering booking up on both anyway as they are such fun and entertaining evenings. 

Once again thank you to Neil for an entertaining evening and to Alice Langly for inviting us. 

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Pinterest v Real life – Sugar free Banana & Peanut Butter Icecream 

Who doesn’t love Icecream? Not many of you, I’m sure. What do you do though when your trying to be good and cut down on your sugar intake? All that shop bought stuff tastes great but it’s full of refined sugar.

I’m constantly scouring Pinterest for inspiration when it comes to finding exciting sugar free food. This is where I first came across Icecream made with banana. Ok it’s not strictly Icecream as there is no dairy in it but the end result claims to be a very satisfying frozen yet soft Icecream like desert minus all that sugar and dairy. The sweetness comes from the bananas.

Typically I have had many a failed attempt at things I’ve seen on Pinterest. Is that just me? It doesn’t stop me trying though. Game for an experiment I decided to give banana Icecream a go. I’m delighted as on this occasion it worked brilliantly.

It was super easy to make, and you don’t even need an ice cream making machine just a food processor.

Ingredients

4 bananas

1 tablespoon of crunchy no added sugar peanut butter.

2 teaspoons raw cacao powder.

To make your Icecream it is simple it just takes a little bit of planning and preparation.

Peel and slice the bananas and then freeze in a sealed bag.

 Once frozen empty into your food proccesor and pulse to start. I found pulsing works best to break down the initial solidness of the frozen banana otherwise my food processor developed a life off it’s own and moved across the counter. No one on Pinterest told me that would happen! Perhaps it’s just my food processor? Let’s just say it was an interesting experience. Anyway I digressed sorry!

Once your banana starts to break down you can safely switch to auto. You will need to stop and scrape down the banana with a spatula  every so often as it creeps up the sides.

Continue mixing until you have a creamy texture. Then add the rest of your ingredients and mix again until evenly combined.


Ta Dah!  Your done and can transfer into a freezable container to pop back into the freezer for a firmer texture.

This was a great hit with the kids especially as it’s suitable for my son who is diabetic and it totally counts towards 1 of your 5 a day. I’m going to have to experiment with different flavour combinations now.

So in terms of Pinterest v Real life this was a win. Not like my courgette  spaghetti but I’ll save that story for another day. I’m planning on doing a regular Pinterest v Real life feature on the blog as I quite often have some hilarious fails but also I occasionally surprise myself. What do you think?

OXO cupcake corer – A handy baking gadget 

I love baking and I love a gadget! Today’s post puts those two things together as I had the chance to try out this handy gadget from OXO.

What is it? This handy little contraption is a cupcake corer. It’s one of those gadgets that I hadn’t even considered as a necessary part of my baking equipment before.

Until now I have replyed on a knife to core my cupcakes for filling which is usually quite an awkward and lengthy process. This gadget makes that process quick and easy.

All you do is gently push the tool into the middle of the cupcake whilst twisting and then pull it out again.

To release the removed core you simply push on the top of the tool and it pops out. Easy!

You are then ready to fill you cupcake with whatever filling you choose. I chose to use lemon curd.

You can either completely fill the cavity  or like I have done here or pop the cap back in ready for icing. Edit

I love this gadget it is simple and easy to use and provides a professional finish to your cupcakes. Priced at £6 available from House of Fraser it is a great little investment.

I’m looking forward to trying lots of different flavours. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Davina McCall 5 weeks to sugar free – Review

A couple of months ago I picked up Davina McCalls 5 weeks to sugar free recipe book. I have a son that is Type 1 Diabetic so I am always looking for inspiration when it comes to providing him a low sugar diet that is still exciting.  

 Now I have had the chance to try out several of the recipes I thought I would share my thoughts with you. 

The variety of recipes is great with some exciting mains and some great treats. It even contains a recipe for sugar free ketchup. 

I will point out that these recipes are free from artificial sugar rather than being completely sugar free. It uses ingredients such as honey and real maple syrup in it’s place. To make these recipes more diabetic suitable I substituted such ingredients with Agave syrup. It has a much lower GI number so is better for maintaining stable blood sugar levels, and doesn’t compromise on consistancy or flavour. 

The recipies are easy to work with, you don’t need any special skills. What I like also is she doesn’t use fad ingredients, just good wholesome food. 

Below are some of my attempts at reproducing some of the recipes.

 

Chocolate Mousse
 
 
Pork & Sweet Potato Chilli
 
This came out with a bit too much liquid I suggest halving the amount suggested in the book. 

 

Shepherds Pie with Sweet Potato toppjng
 
 
Peach Crumble
 
 
Roast Chicken, Chorizo and Chickpea Tray bake
  
Coconut Flapjacks
 

If you are looking for some healthy recipes and trying to reduced the amount of refined sugar in your diet I highly recommend this book. Don’t be afraid to substitute the recipes with Agave syrup if you want to make them for a diabetic it works well. 

This is available on Amazon right now for £8.00

Are you trying to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet? Do you have any exciting sugar free recipies I should be trying?  Feel free to leave you links to any on the comment section below. 

  
 

3 Great places to eat in Newquay Cornwall

We have recently returned from our family holiday to Newquay in Cornwall. We had a great time visiting the Beaches, Eden Project and eating out out at some really great restaurants. 

I thought It would be a great idea to share with you the restaurants that we had the best experience with. 

First up is The Boathouse situated on the edge of Newquay harbour. We   had spent a day on the beach and were looking for somewhere for an early dinner. We kind of stumbled across this restaurant as we hadn’t any set plans, it really was a great find.  

  

This is a very high quality fish restaurant. On the outside it didn’t look anything too special but remember that old saying ‘Never judge a book by it’s cover’.

  
Inside it is pretty small but extra space can be found in the form of a covered veranda overlooking the harbour. This is where we had our meal. We didn’t have to worry about being cold whilst the sun was setting because there are outdoor heaters for cooler evenings.  

 
Food is reasonably priced, you can check out the menu here

We shared a lobster & crayfish salad  £9.95, well I say shared I may have accidentally eaten all the lobster myself.

  I then had the crab claws roasted in garlic butter & white wine priced at £13.95.  My husband is not a huge fish fan so he opted for the Cornish Rib-eye steak. 

 
These were super tasty, just be aware they are messy to eat. Not first date food, fortunately 15 years on the Husband has seen worse ha ha! 

Kids are catered for with a menu offering main meals at £4.95. Though this I have to say is very limited, the choice is either a traditional fish & chips with peas or a cheese & tomato pasta for non fish lovers. The portion sizes were very good as you can see from my daughters fish & chips below.  

 
Now the best bit about The Boathouse I’ve save till last. Just check out how fresh the shellfish is. Yup you pass the live lobster and crab tanks on your way in! I was on my way back from ladies at one point and passed a chef carrying a large crab still wiggling on his way to the kitchen. 

 
It is definitely an experience eating here, the surroundings are beautiful and would make a romantic date night venue as well as catering for families. One I would highly recommend a visit to.

Now if fish isn’t you thing, and your more of a pasty and cream tea type of person then this next place is perfect for you. 

Pauline’s Creamery is located on the main high street in Newquay. It is a traditional bakery with tearooms above the shop. 

  

Now Pauline’s Creamery is in my opinion how bakeries should be, everything where possible is made on site, including the pasties. 

 
The cakes were amazing, Jed’s face when his chocolate fudge cake arrived was so funny. They are huge!! You can actually have these delivered via courier for special occasions. 

I’m kicking myself that I didn’t actually take pictures of the bakery itself the counter display will have you craving a cream cake. 

The last place I have to share with you is Zacry’s at Watergate Bay Hotel. This is a fine dining restaurant with stunning panoramic views of the bay. To see a sample menu you can do here

There isn’t a set children’s menu but they offer smaller portions and can adapt any dish to suit your child’s taste. 

My batteries ran out on my camera phone by this point so I was unable to take pictures of the food. 

I did manage to get some shots of the restaurant surroundings though.  

   
I may have of a lack of pictures of the food itself but you will just have to trust me on this one. The food was stunning, with focus on locally sourced produce but with a twist of American flair provided by executive chef Neil Haydock. 

I had Monkfish on a bed of Samphire, it was so good. I certainly couldn’t  recreate it at home. The romantic side of me wanted to try out the Samphire when I saw it on offer as it had been featured in the war time novel I was reading at the time. 

This is not a cheap meal out but if you are looking for something in the Watergate Bay Area that is extra special do check this place out. Most people think of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant when looking for places to eat in this area but this place really can hold it’s own. 

Have you any suggestions for places to eat next time I am in the Newquay area? I would love to here them. 

Thanks for stopping by Schoolrunbeauty.com, don’t forget to follow on bloglovin to keep up to date with my latest posts. 

  

Indulgent Cherry ‘n Chocolate Brownie Recipe

A couple of weeks ago I attended the #bloggerslvehub food and drink festival. If you want to read more about that you can do so in the post here. One of the brands I met there were Opies Foods. I had a lovely chat with the rep about their products and was particularly intrigued by the Cherries in Kirsch and the Pickled Walnuts. After leaving my details with her I was contacted by email with the kind offer of a selection of Opies ingredients to try out at home and some recipes to help me. 

 After conferring with the husband we opted to make these cherry and chocolate brownies. This is such an easy brownie recipe and tasted incredible, both warm and gooey, and set firmer a day later. If you are a fan of the classic black forest gateaux then you are going to love these. Let me warn you though these are positively sinful and definitely fall into the occasional treat category, certainly not for everyday.

  Ingredients

  • 180g/6oz plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 240/8oz plain chocolate
  • *1 jar Opies cherries in Kirsch, drained (keep the Kirsch to use at a later date, it is far too good to waste)
  • 120g/4oz unsalted butter
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 450g/16oz sugar

Makes 16 Squares

Method

  1. Break the chocolate into squares, then melt along with the butter in a glass bowl over simmering water. Set aside.
  2. In a seperate bowl beat together eggs and sugar until light and fluffy, but not stiff.
  3. Add the chocolate mixture to the bowl of eggs and sugar and mix till it is evenly combined.
  4. Fold the flour, salt and baking powder into the mixture until fully mixed.
  5. Take a greased and lined deep square baking tin and spread half of the cherries evenly across the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add half the brownie mixture spreading it evenly over the cherries.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6.
  8. Bake in a 160c/Gas mark 3 oven for approximately 40 minutes. I like a crunchy top with a gooey centre.
  9. Allow to cool in the tin before removing and cutting into squares.

*PR samples have been sent to me for use within this post.

Cereal Lovers – No added sugar cereal that actually tastes good!

As promised in Tuesday’s post, which was all about the bloggers food festival, I have a food brand discovery to share with you.

One of the brands I met were Cereal Lovers who were very generous In gifting me some samples of their full range of cereals.  
Now, your probably thinking this is just granola right? True, but where this brand of granola is different is that it is made with no added sugar. Any sugars that are present are from naturally occurring sugars in the fruit juices that are used to flavour them, not the usual sweeteners such as syrup and sugar.

Let me put this into some figures for you, a 30g serving of the blackcurrant and apple flavour contains 20g of carbohydrates of which 3.3g is sugar.

My son is a Type 1 diabetic so for him this is the perfect cereal.  With some natural yogurt and strawberries this makes a lovely balanced breakfast. As the cereal Is high in fibre and low in sugar it really helps to maintain even blood glucose levels.



I have tried this granola myself aswell and can honestly say that they do not compromise on taste. My favourite flavour is the simply orange granola, it is really tangy.

As they are so tasty these granola can be enjoyed by anyone who wants a healthier breakfast alternative not just if you have to watch your sugar intake.

You can purchase these cereals directly from the cereal lovers website. Priced at £3.95 for 400g. Ok I won’t lie, this is a bit pricier than other granola but I’m happy to pay this for my sons  special dietary needs.

Do you like Granola? Is reducing your sugar intake important to you?

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