Madame Gourmand
26. 05. 2015

So last week was basically a write off for me hence the lack of posts on my blog.  We started off the week with an overflowing sink which meant that washing dishes downstairs was impossible as we couldn’t get rid of the water.  The washing machine couldn’t be used either as it was shooting water up through the sink.  On Tuesday we discovered that the switch that powers our electric hob and oven wasn’t working so we called our letting agents again to report the problem.

By Wednesday we were sick of takeaways so I decided to improvise by using my slow cooker and actifry meaning that last weeks meal plan didn’t get followed at all.

On Friday both our plumbing issue and power to the cooker problem was sorted so this week we are eating most of the dishes from last weeks meal plan.

I realise I’m a day late with this post, the bank holiday has thrown me off! This week The Gourmand family will be eating:

Monday – Homemade Pizza

Tuesday –  Chicken and Garlic kebabs with wraps and salad

Wednesday – Eating out in Winchester

Thursday – Salt and Pepper tofu with vegetable rice

Friday – Chicken and Vegetable risotto

Saturday – Tuna and Olive Spaghetti

Sunday – Roast Beef

 

And that’s our meal plan for this week, pop back next week for Meal Planning Monday.

Meal planning monday

18. 05. 2015

Mr Gourmand is away with work for some of this week (3 days) so on those days I will be either cooking for 3 of us or just myself and Mini Gourmand depending on her schedule.  I’m not doing well when it comes to emptying my freezer but I just don’t fancy any of the meat or meals in there at the moment.  One drawer is filled with casseroles, curries and soups made for Baby Gourmand so I’ll try and remember to defrost some for his lunches this week.

This week The Gourmand family will be eating:

Monday – Takeaway as I’m unable to use my kitchen thanks to my washing machine leaking all over the floor flooding the kitchen and my sink being blocked.

Tuesday –  Chicken and Asparagus risotto

Wednesday – Salt and Pepper tofu with vegetable rice

Thursday – Homemade Pizza

Friday – Tuna and Olive Spaghetti

Saturday – Grilled Halloumi and Rainbow Salad

Sunday – Roast Chicken

 

And that’s our meal plan for this week, pop back next week for Meal Planning Monday.

Meal planning monday

15. 05. 2015

If you’re local to Warwickshire you probably know all about The Jabberwocky which supplies awesome street food to the region in the form of gourmet toasted sandwiches.  Toasted sandwiches I hear you say, but there isn’t anything special about them!  You would be wrong if that’s what you think because when I think of The Jabberwocky and the sandwiches they offer, the words special, awesome and out of this world have all come out of my mouth after eating them.  Anyone who knows me will know that The Reuben would be my last meal whether it be a sandwich, burger or hotdog and The Reuben toastie from the Jabberwocky is my favourite – I can taste it now. Delicious.

So you may be wondering why the title of this post is The Mock Turtle when I’ve been talking about The Jabberwocky? Well The Mock Turtle is the younger sibling of The Jabberwocky, Leamington Spa’s newest street food restaurant and café.  I’m so lucky to live here in Leamington, we have some fabulous cafes and restaurants and it’s nice to see a good one out of the town centre.

queensway court

You can find The Mock Turtle on the ground floor of Queensway Court on The Queensway which is a new independent living apartment complex however it’s open to the public and isn’t exclusive to the residents.

I was invited to pop down and sample The Mock Turtle for myself, It’s actually a perfect space for families to visit especially in the café area which is extremely spacious and could fit a lot of pushchairs if you were popping down with an NCT birth group or nursery friend meet ups.

Mock Turtle space

Baby Gourmand loved using the space to roam around in although if the café was full of older residents I’m not sure how they would react to my whirlwind as he does sometimes give the impression of being a caged animal when he is let loose.

Mock Turtle dining room

If you’re after something a bit more substantial than a toastie or piece of cake The Mock Turtle also have a restaurant where you can order a more substantial meal and I’ve heard they do an awesome Sunday roast.

We opted for a late lunch so decided to eat in the café rather than the restaurant, Baby Gourmand was enjoying himself too much for formal dining.

mock turtle

Mock Turtle Board

I love the comfy chairs in the café which are incredibly inviting and surprisingly comfortable, I could quite happily have sat there nursing a baby.  The modern look of the counter area is sleek and a little industrial looking which I love, you can see everything happening, the menu is easy to read and the cakes and sweet treats are well displayed.

 

chicken parm Italian summer

 

We decided to share two toasties, the Italian Summer (£3.50) which was mozzarella, roast peppers and basil pesto and the Chicken Parm (£4) which was chicken, mozzarella, garlic, slow roasted tomatoes and parmesan.  Both sandwiches were incredibly delicious and neither myself or Mr Gourmand could decide which one we liked best.  Baby Gourmand was partial to the Italian Summer which surprised me as he is a garlic fiend so I assumed he would prefer the chicken.

I love the caramelised taste of the bread, it’s like eating sweetened fried bread which I love.  The fillings complemented each other so well and each component inside of the toastie could be tasted.

chips

The chips (£2.50) Where do I start? They were delicious.  Utterly delicious, hot, sweet and seasoned perfectly.  They reminded us of chips we used to get from Roberto’s Italian restaurant in Newcastle evoking fond memories of home.  It’s funny how food can do that sometimes isn’t it?

Coffee cake mock turtle

We had to finish off with a piece of the delicious coffee cake (£2.50). Moist, flavourful and the perfect ratio of cake to buttercream.

You can’t get more child friendly than The Mock Turtle, I can see it becoming incredibly popular with parents meeting up and families in the school holidays and at weekends.  There are high chairs available but if your children are anything like Baby Gourmand they will prefer to play on the floor with their toys or sit on the comfy chairs like a ‘big person’.  I’m looking forward to our next visit to The Mock Turtle which won’t be long as I’m craving the toasties already!

queensway court

There is plenty of parking as shown.  It is a little confusing when you first arrive in the car park as to where the café actually is, we saw the chalkboard as we turned in but couldn’t see any signage from the carpark.  You actually just walk through the entrance doors and you’re in the café foyer so don’t be put off if you’re passing and can’t see where to go.

Disclaimer: I received a gift voucher to use as part payment.  All words, opinions and experiences are my own.

 

 

 

 

13. 05. 2015

Pact produce delicious coffee which is roasted in small batches at the Pact Headquarters in Bermondsey (UK) and shipped within 7 days. The coffee isn’t ground until the last possible moment before being sent out which ensures it is as fresh as possible.

I no longer have my own coffee grinder but that’s not a problem as Pact will grind the beans for you, they do this minutes before it’s sent then seal the coffee in special valve bags that keep the coffee fresher for longer.

pact coffee

You can select how you want Pact to grind the beans to suit the coffee machine you’re using at home (fine for espresso, coarse for cafetiere and everything in between).  You will be presented with a selection of coffee to suit your personal tastes and you can pick the one that suits your tastes.

Pact Irmas Pereira

My first pack of coffee was the Irmas Pereira Espresso – Chocolate chip cookie.  Mr Gourmand thought that the coffee was too mild for him the first time he tasted it, I do think this was down to a measuring issue as we had previously been using a very strong coffee which knocked your socks off and I used the same amount with this one which is milder.  The second time I made the coffee I added more and we were both rather impressed with the creamy taste.

The coffee has a mellow creamy flavour and reminds you a bit of eating biscuits as there is a sweetness without it actually being sweet if that makes sense? There is a slight chocolate aftertaste with a small amount of acidity which balances the coffee out really well.  I don’t use this for my morning coffee as it just doesn’t have the hit I need first thing in the morning after a broken sleep thanks to Baby Gourmand but I do have a couple of cups during the day once I’ve woken up and I’m ready to enjoy the taste.

pact coffee

Each bag of coffee will cost you £6.95, except the limited edition bags, which are £8.95, postage and packing is included in the price.  Pact is technically a subscription service however you can cancel at any time. You can pause, reschedule and even bring forward deliveries and Pact will email you at least 24 hours before they send out your coffee to give you a chance to cancel the delivery.

Pact are customer focused, I have received several emails and even a phone call although I was out when they called and couldn’t take it, this proves that Pact really want to make sure you are happy.

After you receive a coffee delivery from Pact they will send you an email asking whether you enjoyed it, if you didn’t let them know why and what you look for in a coffee they will send you a replacement or, if you’d rather, they will give you a 100% refund. Now that’s good customer service!

Pact deliver to any address in the UK with a postcode and the packs fit through 90% of UK letterboxes, meaning no waiting around for the postman.  I’ve subscribed to quite a few different coffee companies in the past and 9/10 I had to go to the sorting office to collect my package as it just didn’t fit through the door which can become rather annoying.

If you fancy ordering a bag you can visit the Pact website here

 

Disclaimer: I wasn’t asked to write this, I love the brand and the coffee and thought my readers might too!

11. 05. 2015

I’m really not feeling inspired at the moment when it comes to meal planning, I think I’ve been so busy recently that I can’t seem to find the time to come up with new dishes to feed my family and because of this we are either eating the same/similar things or eating what I consider to be junk food although others would see it as comfort food.

I’m going to start sitting down with my mammoth bookshelf of cookery books and try to find some form of inspiration, I have a few clean eating books on my Amazon wishlist so I may need to make a few purchases to help with my new healthy eating plan.

This week The Gourmand family will be eating:

Monday – Turkey Fajitas

Tuesday –  Cheese stuffed Jacket Potatoes with salad

Wednesday – Paprika Chicken with Salad

Thursday – Homemade Pizza

Friday – Home made Burgers in Brioche Buns

Saturday – Salmon with New Potatoes and veg

Sunday – Hake, truffle mash and baby vegetables

 

And that’s our meal plan for this week, pop back next week for Meal Planning Monday.

Meal planning monday

 

09. 05. 2015

 

Gourmet Burger Kitchen

The Leamington Spa branch of Gourment Burger Kitchen is so new that when I visited it wasn’t officially open to the public.  Set up back in 2001, Gourmet Burger Kitchen has 60 branches across the UK each serving 100% prime beef burgers and sauces made from scratch daily.

This was my first visit to Gourmet Burger Kitchen and it certainly wont be my last.  Unlike a lot of places the service was fantastic from the moment we walked through the door until we walked out after finishing our meal.  You can have the best food in the world but if the service isn’t on point it doesn’t give you a reason to return.  As Mr Gourmand was on babysitting duty I took one of his work colleagues Mr Strider along with me instead.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen

The interior is a modern/industrial mix, I personally preferred the wooden tables to the metal ones but that’s just my personal opinion.  It seems very trendy now in the restaurant world to use recycled painted tins as cutlery holders and Gourmet Burger Kitchen have picked up on that trend.

mural Gourmet Burger Kitchen

My favourite part of the restaurant just has to be the mural on the back wall designed by artist Damilola Odusote, it’s a map of Leamington Spa and fits in so well, I’d imagine it makes a great talking point if you’re sitting close enough to see it properly.

I’m not sure if the ordering process will be the same when the restaurant actually opens but during our visit we were given a menu and told when we were ready to order we could place our order at the bar.

Our server explained that if we downloaded the Gourmet Burger Kitchen app we could start collecting points to claim a free burger.

Gourmet burger kitchen

I think the app is a fantastic idea, I noticed that you can also use it to order takeaway food which I may have to try at some point.

The menu is nothing short of awesome, I found it incredibly difficult to pick what I wanted to order which isn’t unusual for me to be honest.  I was torn between two burgers, the Lamb Ma Goa and the Taxi Driver but as Mr Strider had chosen a lamb burger I figured it made more sense to go for the beef myself.

Chelsea gourmet burger kitchen

We made our way over to the bar area where we were served by Chelsea who asked for my customer id so she could log my order on the rewards app, it gave her access to my name which made the service really personalised.

nuts

After ordering we were given small glasses so we could help ourselves to monkey nuts which we enjoyed while waiting for our drinks and food, I really like this idea of freebies before your food arrives.

Elderflower Fizz

I ordered the Elderflower Fizz (£2.35) which was incredibly refreshing and topped with fresh citrus fruit and mint leaves.

peanut butter milkshake

Mr Strider ordered the Peanut Butter Milkshake (£4.50) which was made with real ice-cream, the milkshake looked so thick you could stand a spoon up in it.  It did look like a dessert and even if I could stomach that much dairy I’m not sure how much of it I would have been able to consume with my burger, Mr Strider managed to polish it off no problem.

taxi driver

When my burger arrived I was astonished at the sheer size of it and started to wish I hadn’t ordered a side dish.  The Taxi Driver (£9.95) is a 100% beef burger served in a brioche bun stuffed with American cheese, an onion ring, Cajun relish, smoked chilli mayo, dill pickle and salad.  I must say this has to be the most delicious burger I’ve ever eaten.

Taxi Driver gourmet burger kitchen

What made this burger so delicious was the fact the beef was cooked to perfection, not undercooked and not overcooked just a little bit pink to keep it nice an juicy.  This was a mammoth burger, so filling I only managed half of it and Mr Strider had to finish it for me!

Lamb Ma Goa

Mr Strider ordered the Persian Lamb burger (£8.95) which was a speciality lamb burger served with pan fried halloumi, harissa mayo, rocket, pickled onions and relish all enclosed in a brioche bun.  Mr Strider was asked how he wanted hislamb cooked to ensure it was the perfect burger to suit his tastes.

The sides at Gourmet Burger Kitchen are a little bit special, they range from stacked house onion rings to homeslaw and that’s before we get started on the potato variety sides.

truffle fries

Being the Gourmand that I am, I couldn’t resist the Truffle Cheese fries (£3.95).  In hindsight ordering this dish was a bit gluttonous of me and when I tasted how rich and decadent the truffle cheese sauce was I knew there was no way on earth I was going to finish this dish by myself and had to call on Mr Strider again to help me out.

skinny fries

Mr Strider was rather sensible with his side ordering and went for the Skinny Fries (£2.95). Speciality sauces at Gourmet Burger Kitchen cost £1.25 and Mr Strider had the smoked chilli mayo and baconnaise which came highly recommended to complement his fries.

GBK

 

The restaurant filled up pretty quickly however the staff seemed to be completely unfazed which was great to see.  I wish Gourmet Burger Kitchen the best of luck in Leamington Spa, I know they won’t need it though as the people of Leamington love gourmet burgers and I’d imagine the next time I visit it will be me waiting in a queue at the door to get in!

 

 

 

04. 05. 2015

This wee Meal Planning Monday is based around the contents of my freezer!

Having a long weekend has meant that I haven’t shopped the way I usually would over the weekend.  I did realise on Saturday that I have an awful lot of food in the freezer consisting of mainly meat from the butcher or fish from the fishmonger so I’m going to try and use as much as I can this week.

 

This week The Gourmand family will be eating:

Monday – Seafood salad with homemade sour dough bread

Tuesday – Roast Beef with baby new potatoes, kale, spinach, roasted carrots and cauliflower

Wednesday – Leftover beef burritos with quinoa and brown rice

Thursday – Fish curry

Friday – Salmon en croute with salad and new potatoes

Saturday – Homemade Pizza

Sunday – Pub Lunch

 

And that’s our meal plan for this week, pop back next week for Meal Planning Monday.

 

Meal planning monday

03. 05. 2015

This is the most delicious Broccoli and Cauliflower bake you will ever eat. Fact.

I was inspired to make this after Mr Gourmand ordered something similar for a pub meal, it was crunchy, creamy and decedent and because I was so envious that I had ordered a plain old sandwich I decided that I just had to recreate it for myself at home and make sure it was even better than the one Mr Gourmand had devoured.

I love adding leeks to my broccoli and cauliflower bake as it adds a depth of flavour but on this occasion I didn’t have any, you can also add a couple of anchovies to the sauce which sounds rather odd but really does work.

 

Ultimate Broccoli and Cauliflower Bake
Creamy, Crunchy and Decedent.
Servings Prep Time
4 People 30 minutes
Cook Time
1 Hour
Servings Prep Time
4 People 30 minutes
Cook Time
1 Hour
Ultimate Broccoli and Cauliflower Bake
Creamy, Crunchy and Decedent.
Servings Prep Time
4 People 30 minutes
Cook Time
1 Hour
Servings Prep Time
4 People 30 minutes
Cook Time
1 Hour
Ingredients
Vegetables
Cheese Sauce
Topping
Servings: People
Instructions
Cook the vegetables
  1. In a very large saucepan, cook the cauliflower in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Then add the broccoli and cook for a further 3 minutes. Drain well and place in a large ovenproof dish.
Make the cheese sauce
  1. Melt the butter in a small pan. When it is foaming add the flour, and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly. Take off the heat and add the milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly to get rid of any lumps. Once half the milk has been added return the pan to the heat and add the mustard and the remaining milk. Keep stirring and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes or until thickened and smooth. Add 75g of the cheese and some salt and pepper then take off the heat.
Combine and Cook
  1. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and sprinkle the top with 25g cheese. Cook in the oven for 35-40 mins until bubbling.
Recipe Notes

This broccoli and cauliflower bake can be made the day before serving and kept covered in the fridge. You need to allow an extra 5-10 minutes cooking time if cooking from cold.

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How are you finding my new printable recipe cards? Let me know by leaving a comment.

29. 04. 2015

I first came across the recipe for crustless quiche after reading Life according to Mrs Shilts where she shared her slimming world friendly recipe. I don’t follow slimming world so I changed the recipe slightly to suit my tastes and the results were amazing.

To make the crustless quiche you will need a 12 hole muffin tin and an oven which you should preheat to 180 degrees.

I’ve made these little quiches using anchovies and tuna, chicken and brie and smoked salmon and the result is always the same.  Delicious.

I like to eat the quiche on their own as a snack and Mini Gourmand and Baby Gourmand like to eat theirs with baked beans for lunch.

 

Crustless Quiche
This crustless quiche recipe makes 12 portions, eat two as a high protein low fat snack or add salad for a more substantial lunch.
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Crustless Quiche
This crustless quiche recipe makes 12 portions, eat two as a high protein low fat snack or add salad for a more substantial lunch.
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 muffins 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Dairy
Vegetables
Fat
  • 12 Sprays Coconut Oil Any oil will work but I find spray oil is easiest
Herbs
Servings: muffins
Instructions
Egg Mixture
  1. Add the eggs and cottage cheese to a bowl and mix well.
  2. Add the herbs and feta cheese and place to one side.
Vegetables
  1. Chop the vegetables into small pieces
  2. Spray a 12 hole muffin tin with oil and add the vegetables.
  3. Carefully pour the egg mixture into the muffin holes, pay attention to the lumps at the end which are the feta and cottage cheese, use a teaspoon to add them to the muffin holes.
  4. Bake for around 20 minutes or until the quiche is cooked through and leave to cool on a wire rack.
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You can use any vegetables in this recipe and you could even add some cooked meat if you wanted to.  I’m going to try red pepper and goats cheese next as a flavour combination.

27. 04. 2015

It’s been quite a long time since I participated in Meal Planning Monday but I’m determined to write down my meal plan on a Sunday evening in the future to allow me to schedule the family meals.

I’m currently training for the pretty muddy 5k (race for life) so I’m trying to cut out the sugar and saturated fat and keeping my calories down so I can burn off some of my fat – and there is a lot of it!

This week The Gourmand family will be eating:

Monday – Thai turkey koftas with salad

Tuesday – Tempura salmon with paprika wedges

Wednesday – Homemade Pizza

Thursday – Kedgeree

Friday – Lasagna

Saturday – Mushroom risotto

Sunday – Roast Beef with all the trimmings

 

And that’s our meal plan for this week, pop back next week for Meal Planning Monday.

Meal planning monday