Wine Tasting at Veeno

Wine Tasting at Veeno

 

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A few weeks ago an exciting email popped into my inbox. An invitation for myself and a friend to try the Selezione wine tasting at Veeno in Harrogate. Exciting on two counts. Firstly, I like wine as much as the next classy lady. Secondly, although I have had many wonderful opportunities via this blog they are rarely so easy that I can walk home from the venue. (Also as a bonus it let me consider what level of wine drinking I feel is appropriate for my hen do next year). I invited my friend Amelia along as she is a fellow foodie, wine enthusiast and all round good egg.

Anyway, back to the wine. Veeno is situated in the heart of Harrogate and while it is part of a new development, the interior definitely gives the feel of a cosy wine cellar. This intimate setting would be perfect for a date, a girls night (like I had) or as part of a larger party. The setting was very relaxed and everybody who worked there was extremely friendly, enthusiastic and knew a lot about wine.

Veeno was established in 2013 by two Italian men in Manchester who loved and missed the Italian Aperitivo. All the wines come from the family vineyard (Caruso and Minini) and there is certainly a sense of pride in the Sicilian wine and food. The business is founded on the Italian idea of relaxing with wine and nibbles after work. Something I think us Brits should get on board with! There are currently 17 Veeno locations across the country and I do highly recommend you visit if you love wine and Italian food.

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The Selezione wine tasting is perfect for those who want to try a range of wine colours – two whites, two reds, a rose followed by a dessert wine. Each wine is paired with a meat or cheese from the Spuntini board of meats and cheeses. Our sommelier (who I seem to remember being called Jake) was helpful and friendly and guided us through the wine tasting experience, but in a relaxed manner. Perfect for a Friday night.

The first wine of the night was a lovely The first wine was a white, a Grillo (“Our Driest”). This was a very dry white but the fantastic thing was that unlike some wines on the drier side it had a fresh, rather than cloying after taste. This was paired with creamy buffalo Mozzarella. We both loved this one the most. Amelia actually ended up buying a bottle of this to take home – needless to say we were impressed!

The wine that followed was “The Wine of Love” Zibibbo. This is one for true Romantics as it was the wine one of the founders Granfathers was drinking in the vineyard when proposing to his wife. This is slightly more of an acquired taste. A very citrussy wine with elements of Earl Grey tea. This was certainly an unusual wine. It was paired with the pecorino and I must say, the saltiness of the cheese cut through this wine nicely.

The whites were followed by the lovely “House Rose”. This was paired with some delicious Speck. I never would have considered pairing a rose with ham (except when I’m sitting at home drinking wine and eating snacks in my pjamas). This wine was crisp and refreshing and I could have gladly drank this all night.

We then moved onto the red wines. I must admit that I have only recently started to like red wines. However the “Experts Only” Perricone was enough to convert me. Although this wine was paired with a delicious Bresaola, we were given some dark chocolate to try with this wine. A revelation as it brought out rich flavours in both the wine and and the chocolate.

Our penultimate wine “The Richest” made from a Nero D’Avola Riserva. Paired with gorgonzola this wine was indeed rich, with different levels of flavour. The smell and taste of this wine were phenomenal and perfect for relaxed drinking. Probably not one I could manage in a great quantity as it was somehow filling. Certainly one I’d recommend to true wine lovers though.

To finish we were given a dessert wine (although not the one in the book as they had run out of this). It was an unusual dessert wine as it was not as sweet as other dessert wines I have had. Nevertheless it was delicious and somehow tasted a bit like cider. I had this with a piece of delicious Tiramisu. Amelia was given lemon sorbet due to dietary requirements (which Veeno were lovely and accommodating about).

As I mentioned above, we were delighted with the level of service we got as well as the fantastic food and wine available. We were already planning our next visit part way through our wine tasting experience.

Click here to find out more about the different Veeno locations across the UK.

There are multiple wine tasting experiences available. Click here to find out more.

We were invited to review Veeno in exchange for a review. However all opinions are our own.

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Something for the weekend: George’s, Leeds

Before I properly start this blog post there are 2 things you need to know:7

  1. The photo quality does not do this restaurant justice.
  2. It is embarrassing that after nearly 5 years of blogging that after 5 minutes D took better photos than me. Bravo my darling, bravo.

If you’re looking for a venue that can produce a classic British dish and put a contemporary twist to the same high quality; Georges is probably the place for you. This place came highly recommended to us from several of Dane’s work colleagues and upon visiting, we could see why. This place is a fun cross between a seaside town and a cocktail bar, with the restaurant booths being decorated like beach huts which was a lovely touch.

We visited on a Friday night after work as D was reviewing Miss Vincent at the Key Club. The staff were lovely, really attentive and pretty interested when D told them they’d be appearing here! The food came really quickly, essential for us as we didn’t really have time to linger. I definitely got the impression that it wasn’t the sort of place you’d be rushed out of though as the cocktail menu was impressive and extensive.

I wasn’t really paying attention when I ordered my drink and was delighted when the below concoction appeared in front of me. This is a Candy Baby – a non alcoholic cocktail. The first time in around 15 years i have had candy floss.

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Dane samples the wild ocean hake in onion bhaji batter. He raved about this, and the batter really was like proper onion bhajis. This was the perfect spin on British fish and chips, but obviously also allows you to enjoy some Indian flavours at the same time.

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My eyes were slightly bigger than my stomach (which they often are after a day in the labs at work) and I ordered a stacked fish burger with cheese croquettes. Both burger and croquettes were delicious. The fish was beautifully cooked. I wasn’t so struck on the deep fried gherkin and picked onion though. (This is more personal preference rather than the way it was cooked). I did feel like I slightly over ordered, and I would say that never time I would order a lighter side with this burger as it was pretty sizeable, and I could not finish everything.

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If you happen to be in Leeds (or Newcastle/Nottingham) and you want somewhere that will appeal to those who want a more traditional menu, without ignoring those who like trying new things this is the place for you. The menu is pretty varied, there are options for meat lovers, and those who want a lighter meal.

We arrived at the music venue, perhaps not the oldest in the audience, but definitely the fullest people there!

Thank you to the staff who were so friendly and really made us feel welcome.

I’d love to return to try some of the exciting looking cocktails. I’m sure we will be returning soon.

For more information on Georges including booking information click this link.

If you’re interested in the band D was reviewing this link takes you to one of their music videos.

Have a great weekend!

Fill n’ Flip Pan Review – Cheesecake brownie cake

Fill n’ Flip Pan Review – Cheesecake brownie cake

I admit I am a sucker for a baking gadget or novelty baking tin. As such I was delighted to try a Fill n Flip Pan from the Create and Craft company. I keep seeing all of these beautiful cakes with a deep layer of filling so I was keen to try a recipe for myself. For my first attempt I tried a brownie recipe – heavier cake recipes tend to work better in more unusual shaped tins. (Also, who doesn’t love cheesecake brownies?)

I know my cake isn’t the most well decorated masterpiece but I always like to think my baking is pretty rustic. Dane actually made a point to tell me how much he liked his cake and it was pretty popular when I took it into work – I think the deep fill means you can add contrasting flavours and really experiment with your baking. I found the cake tins so easy to use and my two cake pieces fit together really well. The tins themselves are incredibly well made. Although you need to grease them to make them non stick, the cakes come out really easily which I suppose is exactly what you want from a cake tin.

To make your cheesecake brownie you will need:

For the cake

4 eggs

315g soft brown sugar

125g cornflour

250g dark chocolate

150g butter

35g cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

Cake release spray or extra butter for greasing

For the filling

280g light cream cheese

50g icing sugar

1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam

 

Grease your cake tins. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Beat your eggs and sugar together until fluffy and leaves a trail on top of the mixture. Use a sieve to add in your flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Melt your chocolate and butter together and slowly fold into the batter.

 

Pour into the cake tins and bake for about 30 minutes until a skewer comes out of the thickest past of the cake clean. Remove from the cake tins and set aside to cool.

To make the filling beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla. Spread a thin layer of jam onto the bottom layer of the cake. Add the cream cheese filling into the inner hole of the cake. Press together the two lake layers. Serve to anybody who deserves a treat (including yourself).

 

Thank you to Love Cooking for sending me such an amazing produce. I will definitely be using this again in further baking ventures.

The Fill n Flip Pan is available here.

I was sent the Fill n Flip Pan to review but all opinions are my own.

Walkers Bugles (playing with my food)

Walkers Bugles (playing with my food)

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As I child I was frequently told off for playing with my food (its probably why I started enjoying baking to be honest!) Anyway, the rerelease of Walkers Bugles allowed be both to appreciate some fine crisps and also the above image of a 5ft 8 dragon and castle structure. That’s certainly impressive given that it is 5 inches taller than me! Made with 21500 Walkers Bugles and taking over 200 hours to make, I do marvel at the patience that went into making this.

We got sent some Bugles and while I attempted to make my own structures, I will wholeheartedly admit that I was even more impressed given that I had trouble stacking more than 2 of the things together.

Anyway, here are some fun pictures I created (I decided to give up and go 2D). Massive thanks to D for his Lego Avengers Crisp village suggestion!

Also, you just can’t eat Bugles without making your own claws! (I am the bad influence on my friend’s children).

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Walkers Bugles are available to buy in all good supermarkets. I was sent some Bugles to create these images but all opinions are my own.

Hello Fresh week 2

Hello Fresh week 2

So last week I discussed my initial thoughts on Hello Fresh so I thought I would give a final run down. I was a tiny bit irked last week that the box this week came with 3 cans of food. Not that I have an aversion to canned goods – its a cheaper way of eating fruit and vegetables in some cases. I think it was partly because I am pretty intolerant to certain pulses and left them out of one of the recipes entirely. Still, everything tasted great and I will consider future purchases when we’re busier or need cooking inspiration.

I must admit we both adored the quick roast dinner recipe; the gravy was just lovely and sweetened both our Mondays a treat.

I think possibly the nicest thing about these recipes is that they are so stress free. I think they’re so easy to follow and suit a variety of abilities. Also I actually did these boxes without checking what was in them and I found we actually tried new things without the bias that way.

So the pros of Hello Fresh (and similar boxes):

  1. All of the ingredients (except oil and salt and pepper) are provided in the exact quantity required.
  2. Recipes are easy to follow, even for beginners. Nothing takes too long to cook.
  3. They encourage healthy eating. The meals are pretty low calorie, they’re keep you fuller for longer and have lean protein and contain fruit and vegetables.
  4. The food is delicious and encourages customers to try new recipes.
  5. They come in a range of sizes so suit different family sizes.
  6. The packaging is well designed.
  7. They discourage food waste.
  8. It has to be said – good portion sizes. There were a couple of times when I thought “surely this won’t feed us both”. But yes, the classic box for 2 provides a decent meal for a hungry 6ft3 man and his girlfriend.
  9. I actually learned some useful tips from the recipe card.
  10. The food is all pretty local.

The cons are:

  1. I do think, even with the offer these aren’t cheap for what they are if you’re generally a clever shopper. We still had to do a partial food shop – although by the second week I didn’t end up buying as much so it might depend on your lifestyle.
  2. The portion sizes are generally ok but some are a bit nuts. A pasta dish I made was supposed to serve 2 but we both had it for tea/dinner and then lunch the following day. Also we got sent a massive broccoli and it was all supposed to go in one dish. I enjoy my vegetables but I felt that was a bit excessive.
  3. Having to dispose of some of the packaging can be tricky. We know people moving house who are taking the boxes and have a friend who needs packaging material but depending on your local council’s approach to recycling this could be a pain.
  4. Currently they can’t cater for all dietary requirements. Although the box also comes in a vegetarian option and can offer some dietary requirements its not suitable for all allergy sufferers or vegans.

And finally, I do think its worth stating if you do sign up you can pause delivery if you don’t fancy the weekly box on offer or you fancy repeating some recipes you’re sent. We actually both really enjoyed the meals we cooked and I look forward to getting the occasional box. However I love cooking and I did miss the spontaneity of meals, but it felt pretty reassuring on nights I had to work late knowing there was a nutritious meal waiting for me.

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Hello Fresh – Week One

Hello Fresh – Week One

Hello Fresh has become immensely popular of late and for good reason; it provides customers with healthy, easy to follow recipes in more or less the exact quantities required. So when a Hello Fresh sales representative came to my door I decided to give it a whirl and do a review for the first two weeks. (I do have to admit I did keep talking to the man because D had literally just got out of the shower!)

Anyway, the first box was pretty lovely. We had a steak ginger and beef stir fry, a Moroccan salmon salad and a pasta dish with lemon and tarragon. The stir fry and salmon in particular were a success and we will definitely be repeating them again.

Now D and I were discussing our first impressions and we both agreed the food was delicious, and as the cook of the household I noticed how nice it was to just have everything you need for a recipe without having to pop out to the shop for some forgotten ingredient. However, I do think it kills some of the spontaneity of cooking. I like to throw ingredients I think will work together to see what happens. However, during a busy week it was absolutely wonderful to go home and have a healthy meal on the table in less than 30 minutes without really thinking too much.

I will post a full run down after we have finished our second box but we have been really impressed. I don’t think this is something we’d opt for on a weekly basis but like I said before, it makes eating healthily on a busy week seem a lot more appealing.

I also think this might inspire less confident chefs to try new things. Sending ingredients in smaller quantities gives budding chefs a chance to cook with new ingredients without the pressure of having a lot of something left in their cupboard that they may dislike. The service that the company provides is actually amazing. Our box came on the hottest day of the year and everything remained cool and nothing spoiled. The communication of when the box was going to be delivered and where it had been left was very well organised too. Overall I am impressed so far.

Have you tried Hello Fresh or anything similar yet? Or do you have any other box subscriptions you want to recommend?