A Night at Christmas

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 19 mince pies christmas eve

Every Christmas growing up I was surrounded by family. Normally many grandparents, my parents, between 3 and 5 sets of aunts and uncles, many cousins, a few cats and one dog.

Now being an adult the cousins are grown, family moved away the Christmases are a lot smaller but we get to enjoy more food and drink especially with me getting to create more for the dinner table at my favourite time of year.

I loved the big family dinners and all the funny stories that have come up because of so many people in one house. The breaking ovens, the silly puddings which were in fashion that year, who cried, who laughed and who accidentally threw the gravy down themselves.

One of my favourite Christmas memories of being a child is me with all my cousins piling in to the living room and on to the sofa to watch Christmas specials on TV after the big feast.

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Can you imagine one DFS sofa, 10 children all on high on loads of food and super sugar from all the puddings we had. It was never comfortable, always annoying with so many boys fighting and us piled high to fit on. Although it was uncomfortable, with us all ending up with bruises and even a bite mark once they are the memories I now love from Christmas.

I love to think about me and my cousins all fighting for the best position on the sofa to watch Dr Who or whatever the big TV show or film was at Christmas. It reminds me of a time of togetherness, silliness but above all family.

What uncomfortable Christmas yet fun memories do you have?

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Disclaimer – This post is in conjunction with DFS but all thoughts are my own.
Visit their website to find out more about their great range of DFS Sofas

Love Wimbledon Winter Wonderland

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Christmas has arrived in Wimbledon and this is definitely highlighted by the Love Wimbledon Winter Wonderland. Wimbledon Broadway is closed and the street is filled with a host of stalls, attraction and entertainment. I loved the food stalls (of course!) there was delicious sourdough bread from Franco Manca who also had hot slices of pizza for sale, LusoBrazil were selling their delicious baked goodies along with their incredibly popular brigadeiro and custard tarts. There was a super cheese stall, an iced biscuit stall, fudge, olives, bruschetta, blueberry liqueur, doughnuts and even a super selection of curry from Khanage.

Make sure you visit Love Wimbledon’s website to find out more about what is happening in our town.

www.lovewimbledon.org

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It was incredible to watch the ice sculptures being chiselled and chain sawed.

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It doesn’t need to be Christmas for us to buy delicious cheese but it’s an excuse we will take

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Delicious pizza-to-go with squash and fresh rocket. Yes it was good!

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Love the chilli garlic and olives.

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I loved the giant snowglobe!

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Brazilian pannettone – what a super gift to give this Christmas from LusoBrazil

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I want to make cocktails with this blueberry liqueur!

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So fascinating to watch ice being carved.

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Brigadieros are the most delicious treat!

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Super candy floss!

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Doughnuts are so tasty!

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A simple classic delicious bruschetta

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We have to love have such happy penguins!

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Franco Manca with their most delicious sourdough bread. An enormous loaf for £7.

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It’s a super day when you can get a slice of pizza from Franco Manca and look around the rest of the stalls.

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Super delicious curry from Khanage!

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Beautiful rice!

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What’s a Christmas event without hazelnuts!

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Custard tarts – a beautiful treat

San Lorenzo – At A Glance Review

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San Lorenzo, founded in 1969, is a historic and delicious part of Wimbledon’s history and present. It’s still run by the same family who pride themselves in authentic Italian cuisine bursting with flavour. The restaurant at the bottom of Wimbledon Hill opposite the library is made up of four dining rooms and beautiful courtyard perfect for Al Fresco dining in the warm summer months.

  • A beautiful main dining room with spacious tables and giant pieces of art on the wall makes it a feast for the eyes while you wait for the feast for your tummy.
  • What we ate; for starters we enjoyed the Calamari Fritti (fresh fried calamari with chilli tomato dip) and the Melanzana (grilled aubergine, buffalo mozzarella, parma ham, oregano). The calamari was crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and a stunning mouthful to enjoy with the chilli tomato dip. The grilled aubergine with mozzarella and Parma Ham has to be one of the best dishes I have ever had. These simple yet pure flavours are classic for a reason and these were prepared in a way to enhance the flavours and make  delicious unified dish.
  • The main course consisted of Zuppa Di Mare, a fresh seafood soup with calamari, prawn, shellfish and sea bass. Along with the Ravioli made with buffalo mozzarella and pomodoro and olive oil. The soup of the sea was strong and filled with large pieces of fish, prawn and shellfish which made it look so rich, sustaining and succulent. Pasta is the classic dish and with my love of mozzarella it was my obvious choice. It was stunning. It had a beautiful flavour of tomato and the cheese in soft, delicate and freshly made pasta.
  • Dessert had to be the Italian classic Tiramisu. One of the best desserts in my opinion and San Lorenzo didn’t disappoint. Creamy custard, coffee, cocoa on top and served with fresh fruit. What could possible be better!
  • Check out the
  • A wonderful restaurant perfect for families, romantic dinners, meals with friends, birthdays and so much more. San Lorenzo caters for all and it’s this family, up-scale yet very accessible and inviting atmosphere which makes people return time and time again.
  • The main dishes are go between £10 (for pizza) and £30 for a whole Dover sole, so they have a dish to suit every budget.
  • Set menu for 2 courses is £18 and 3 course meal is £24. For such brilliant and tasty food the price for their set menu I think is wonderful.
  • Will I be going back – absolutely!
  • I can see why and how from the food, service and atmosphere it has been a hugely popular restaurant in Wimbledon for so long. I expect it to be making incredible food in SW19 for a long time to come.

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Make sure you visit San Lorenzo. As well as dinner they are also open for lunch!

38 Wimbledon Hill Road, London SW19 7PA

www.sanlorenzowimbledon.com

Butternut Squash, Chorizo And Tomato Tart

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An absolutely wonderful autumn treat.

The rich and smoky flavour of the chorizo compliments the earthy taste of the squash. It is super quick to make and tastes so good!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Butternut Squash, Chorizo And Tomato Tart
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash
  • Olive oil
  • Herbs de Provence
  • Salt & pepper
  • Fresh chilli (optional)
  • 350g ready rolled puff pastry
  • 300g cherry tomatoes sliced
  • 75g thinly sliced chorizo
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Peel, seed and chop the butternut squash into bite size
  3. cubes.
  4. Put the butternut squash in a baking tray and drizzle
  5. with the oil, sprinkle with the salt, pepper and herbs and add a little fresh chilli.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until soft.
  7. Set aside to cool.
  8. Unroll the puff pastry and leaving a 2cm boarder around
  9. the outside, add the chorizo first and cover with the
  10. butternut squash and tomatoes.
  11. Drizzle with a little more oil and bake for 20-30 minutes
  12. until golden brown.
  13. Serve and enjoy straight away.

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It doesn’t keep very well so eat it and enjoy it straight away.
Luckily I’ve never had a problem with left overs when it comes to this dinner!

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 I first created this recipe for my food news page in Time & Leisure magazine.

CAU Wimbledon – At A Glance Review

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  • Beautiful location, light and airy, calming and feels like al fresco dining. Grass prints on the wall and blue skies and clouds on the ceiling, gold ornate lighting to act like mini sun’s around the restaurant.
  • Very knowledgeable friendly staff – brilliant at recommending not only the food but what the best drink would be to enjoy with it.
  • We ate the Buenos Aires Burger, Wild Rice Superfood Salad with onion rings and triple cooked chips
  • We drank Alhambra Reserva beer, Virgin Mojito & CAU Cooler
  • Loved the booths
  • Large portions
  • Cooked well and beautifully prepared and presented
  • Fresh food full of flavour
  • Fast service
  • For all ages – family friendly but also nice for couples. Casual but also has a relaxed fine dining atmosphere highlighted with the delicious and well presented food.
  • Roughly £25 per head for a main, side and a drink
  • Would we go back – Yes

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CAU
33 High Street, Wimbledon Village, SW19 5BY

www.caurestaurants.com

Healthy Halloween Snacks

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Create a really fun, quick, artistic and healthy Halloween snack. Take satsumas or small oranges and wash them to remove some of the grease on the skin. Let children use marker pens to draw on pumpkin faces and leave to dry for an hour.
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Then, peel and eat – a spookily healthy treat, that is perfect for children and big kids too.
I created this for my food news page for the Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Putney & Barnes issue of Time & Leisure
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The Burger Shack at The Loft, Wimbledon

I visited a fabulous new restaurant at the roof terrace bar The Loft in Wimbledon. The Burger Shack is, not so surprisingly, all about the burgers and here is my At A Glance review.

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  • The Loft is a cosy, modern and friendly bar with a bright and colourful roof terrace and Burger Shack restaurant in the heart of Wimbledon.
  • A relaxed restaurant which takes pride in its proper grown up burgers with a fast food twist.
  • The best side and definitely one to order has to be the curly dirty fries. Succulent pulled pork on top of fries with avocado, sour cream and fresh red chillies. I don’t need to say more.
  • Relaxed atmosphere, big comfortable seats, bright and colourful but remains light and airy even when very busy.
  • Brilliant service and friendly staff.
  • There is a good range of large portioned and tasty meals including a vegetarian option. With the restaurant being called the Burger Shack their speciality is well cooked burgers although there are a few other main meals on the menu to tempt you.
  • Average price of a burger and 1 side £20
  • Presented like a fast food meal wrapped up and on trays which makes the meal a bit more fun and usual.
  • A great place to chill out with friends after work but also would work for a date night.
  • Nothing else like it in the local area it’s very fresh and fun. Takes it’s style from quirky East End London bars and restaurants.

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Burger Shack at The Loft in Wimbledon. 33 Wimbledon Hill Rd, London SW19 7NE

Celebrating Oktoberfest with a Beer Cocktail

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Oktoberfest is starting a littler earlier this year (September 17 – October 3) and it is the perfect time to try new beers and really enjoy the huge amount of beers available. As a cocktail obsessive I love that beer can also be used in a cocktail. I know it sounds weird but it’s true!

I decided to recreate a rum (my favourite spirit for a cocktail – did someone say daiquiri?) and Guinness cocktail for Oktoberfest called The Diving Header. It is sweet and the spices from the rum really come out but without messing around with the rich Guinness taste. (if you already thinking ahead to Christmas it would make a great combo for homemade Christmas puddings to soak the fruit in).

It is a lot lighter than a Guinness on it’s own and perfect if you like the taste of Guinness but would prefer it a little lighter. It’s a nice trio of tastes which can easily be adjusted to the taste you want. I really liked it with a little extra rum and less Guinness.

I also added a little vanilla and a squeeze of lime to mine – worked a treat!

Try The Diving Header cocktail from theBar.com

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I loved the mix and tones of the colours in the drink. I will definitely be drinking this a lot during Oktoberfest. Some might say it’s more girly but I think its more tasty! A beautiful mix of flavours with a nice sweetness and spice.

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If beer is not your thing but cocktails are take a look and see all the cocktail recipes at theBar.com

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Disclaimer this is a sponsored post. All images and opinions are my own.

Paul Bakery Picnic – At A Glance

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Spending the August bank holiday weekend in the sunshine is always a dream and weather permitting it might happen this year!

Paul Bakery have bought out a picnic which you can pick up in store when you want it which is perfect for grabbing when the sudden moment the sun pops out and a picnic with friends and family is on the cards.

  • Simple picnic – 2 sandwiches, 2 packets of crisps, 2 drinks and a box of mini macarons
  • Your choice of sandwiches from what they have in the store on the day. Really loved that they have you the choice
  • For £20 for 2 it was a lovely treat and the portions were good for a lunch
  • We ate the mozzarella, lettuce, tomato and pesto sandwich and the Coppa ham, Comté cheese, olive paste with lettuce and tomato sandwich both we would have again
  • The mini macaroons were a wonderful pudding
  • Although it didn’t look like a lot of food for a picnic the sandwiches, crisps, drink and treat all worked very well together texture and taste wise and we were left happily full.
  • A silly highlight was the red and white French tablecloth which was included in the picnic bag – it made the picnic feel like we were enjoying our lunch in the South of France rather than a London park
  • I would definitely get a Paul picnic again – it was quick and convenient

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Find out more www.paul-uk.com

Carluccio’s Picnic – At A Glance

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Carluccio’s have launched their own picnic bags this summer and I spent the afternoon in the sunshine trying out all the dishes the picnic had to offer.

  • A beautiful range of dishes and large portions for £45
  • Says it’s a picnic for 2 but easily can cover 4 mediumly hungry adults thanks to generous portions
  • The food was fresh and the flavours complimented each of the other dishes perfectly
  • A holiday to the Mediterranean in one picnic
  • Vegetarian option available

The picnic included;

  • Anitpasti including olives, roasted peppers, artichoke and meats including chorixo and salami
  • My favourite – the chicken, rocket, green beans and tomato salad
  • Fresh focaccia
  • Brushetting with fresh ricotta, mint and pea shoots
  • Soft goat’s cheese salad with beetroot, asparagus, walnuts, radish with baby spinach
  • Strawberry and pistachio cake
  • Fig, hazelnut and chocolate biscotti
  • Plus drinks

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Find out more www.carluccios.com/picnics Order 24 hours in advance.

Disclaimer I was given a Carluccio’s picnic to try – all opinions are my own.