Tag Archives: Review

Royal Pug Leamington Spa

The Royal Pug serves such delicious food it’s surprising we don’t visit there more often but with an abundance of delicious eateries in town you can be forgiven for forgetting about old favourites.

We had eaten an early breakfast so thought it would be a good idea to have an early lunch, well not too early it was 12pm. just.

Neither myself or Mr Gourmand were hungry enough for what we consider to be a proper meal so we decided to just have a sandwich however we hadn’t anticipated that a sandwich at the Royal Pug would not be a small affair.

royal pug

 

Mr Gourmand couldn’t resist the Pulled Pork sandwich with a side of purple slaw.  Served in a brioche bun and cooked with sautéed apple, the pulled pork was most delicious and certainly hit a spot.

Fishfinger Sandwich, Royal Pug

I had the fish finger sandwich which was also served with the purple slaw.  It was around the time the chopping board was placed in front of me that I regretted ordering side dishes.  There was no way I was going to finish the inch thick bread and giant fish fingers.

Chips, royal pug

In true Gourmand style we ordered sides of sweet potato and skin on fries. The sweet potato fries were hands down the winner in the side dish stakes. It was a case of eyes too big for belly for me however Mr Gourmand did manage to polish them off without breaking a sweat.

The only downside about the visit for me had nothing to do with the food it was the serving dishes.  I like plates. I like plates of different sizes and shapes as long as it’s a plate of the china variety.  Chopping boards are as the name suggests for chopping, I don’t have anything against the little dipping pots but the little mini fryers and chopping boards are just a no no in my humble opinion.

 

The Royal Pug can be found at 141 Regent Stree, Lemington Spa, make sure you’re wearing your elasticated pants before visiting though.

 



Zizzi Kenilworth

After our disastrous visit to the Zizzi branch in Leamington Spa we decided to use the £20 voucher we had been sent at the branch in Kenilworth which is the next town to where we live.

If I’m being completely honest I wasn’t expecting a great deal, I was praying that the food would be of a higher standard as it was nothing more than diabolical during our last visit and I knew it couldn’t really be any worse.

We had booked a table for 12 and when we arrived we were the first ones there and were given a choice of where we wanted to sit, the restaurant was extremely light and airy and we picked a table next to a window and close to the door should we need to take Baby Gourmand outside when he became cranky which does happen often.

Baby Gourmand

After having a good read of the menu we ordered our starters, Bread sticks, Carrot and Cucumber for Baby Gourmand as part of his children’s menu.  He was more interested in the colouring pencils at first but soon got stuck in to the breadsticks which he devoured with gusto.

Risotto Balls

Mr Gourmand picked the Arancini (£5.45) which he had previously eaten at a hotel in London, Arancini are risotto balls with mozzarella, peas & a breadcrumb coating which was served with a chunky tomato pepperonata dip.  The risotto balls needed the chunky dip as they were lacking something but that didn’t stop Mr Gourmand polishing them off.

Garlic Bread

I really liked the sound of the Garlic bread with Mozzarella (£4.95) I was surprised when the dish arrived at how big it was, I had expected a really small bread but this was enough for two people.  The caramalised balsamic onion was delicious, really sweet and decedent, I would order this again if I saw it on a menu.

spag bol

Once the starts were out of the way our main courses arrived, I had ordered Baby Gourmand the Bolognese again, it wasn’t as thick as I would have liked but it was a lot better than the portion we received at the Leamington Spa branch which was the consistency of a thin soup.

pepperoni pizza

Mr Gourmand hadn’t enjoyed the pizza he got during our last visit to Zizzi but decided to give them another try and ordered the Classic Fiery Nduja pizza (£9.95) which contained pepperoni, spicy Nduja sausage, green chillies, Fior di Latte mozzarella, riserva cheese & basil.  Mr Gourmand really enjoyed this, the base was good and although the toppings were a little sparse they were very tasty and had a good amount of spice.

Prawn Pizza

 

Mr Gourmand thought my choice of main course was a little risky but I really liked the sound of the Classic king prawn diavola (£10.75) so ordered it any way.  I must admit that I was a little disappointed when the dish arrived, I had expected butterfly king prawns as the menu suggested which when I have had them many times before are more of a flat prawn with the tail on, the prawns on my pizza just looked like regular supermarket king prawns, deveined straight out of the packet.  Putting the appearance of the prawns aside, the base was cooked to perfection, it does look like there was quite a lot of chilli on the pizza but it was just the right amount without being too hot.

baby gourmand dessert ice-cream cone

Surprisingly we all had room for dessert, Baby Gourmand had vanilla ice-cream with popping candy and three mini cones.  He hasn’t really had ice-cream before but seemed to enjoy it however I think the popping candy experience was a little lost on him.

Ice-Cream

Mr Gourmand didn’t want anything too heavy so picked an ice-cream or Gelato if you want to be specific.  Not wanting to be boring he went for the honey, sea salt and mascarpone (£4.45) which was a little bit special, it was sweet, salty and incredibly creamy.

tiramisu

It was a no brainer for me when it came to picking a dessert, Tiramisu every time. The Tiramisu (£5.25)which is an espresso & liqueur-soaked sponge with layers of mascarpone & cocoa.

Has my opinion of Zizzi changed?  Yes it has, I was in two minds about returning and I’m really glad that I did.  It’s good to know that the standard of food isn’t always as bad as it was during our visit to the Leamington Spa branch, the space issue we encountered during my last post was not an issue during this visit, in fact there was so much room we could have had three prams round our table.  The staff could not have been more attentive at Kenilworth and I would not hesitate to return.

 



Panache – Warwick

Panache Balti in Warwick is hands down our favourite local Indian restaurant, it’s delicious. Fact.  We have visited several times and it’s our chosen restaurant of choice for a takeway (like last Friday night).

We have wised up a bit when it comes to dining out at an Indian restaurant, in the past we would sit and munch our way through several poppadoms followed by starters, mains and sides and always wondered why we could only eat a forkful of our main dish before admitting defeat.  Now we may have 2 poppadoms skip the starters and sides and go straight on to the main course.

The restaurant is situated about 5 minutes walk from Warwick Castle so would be a perfect place to visit if you have popped to Warwick for the weekend.  I love the décor inside, one wall features a huge drawing of the castle and I could just spend ages looking at it.

I’m not sure what it is that keeps us going back time after time, obviously the food is delicious but Panache seem to just take it to another level in terms of flavour.

 

Panache_indian

 

Panache is a small restaurant and we have been only ever visited before 7pm so have never had to wait for a table, I’d imagine that it gets very busy on an evening so  booking is probably recommended. There is a great variety of dishes and a few things I’ve never seen on a menu before like Mini Gourmand’s favourite dish of Paradise Chicken (£8.50) which is basically chicken tikka pieces cooked in a rich sweet creamy sauce flavoured with mango puree, dry mint, bay leaf, almond, coconut powder & mint sauce, if you like korma or chicken tikka masala then you will love this.

Panache_Rice

I’m a bit of a creature of habit when it comes to Panache as I always go for the mixed Biryani (£10.75), my answer when questioned about this is always “Why wouldn’t you?”  If it’s not broken don’t fix it.  It’s a simple dish consisting of chicken, lamb, prawns, king prawns, mushrooms & pan fried omelette and depending on the chef you sometimes get pieces of pineapple.  It’s far to big a portion for one person so we usually share it or take a container of food home.

Panache_Byriani

panache_naan

We usually alternate between a Peshwari Naan or Keema Naan (£2.50) depending if Mini Gourmand is with us or not, Baby Gourmand is partial to either.  The Naan bread is always hot, filled throughout and huge!

panache

Grandma Gourmand is quite partial to a lot of heat from her curry and can quite often be found ordering a Naga curry (£8.95) which is cooked with aromatic flavoured spicy hot ghost naga from Bangladesh.  I do have to admit that although it’s spicy it really is always delicious, it seems to have different levels of both flavour and heat which I’ve not found in a curry before.

Don’t get me wrong I do love some of the other Indian restaurants Warwickshire has to offer but Panache is just a little bit special to me.  You can find Panache Balti on Just Eat for takeaway food or the restaurant is at 5 Saint Johns, Warwick CV34 4NE



Gousto Box

Last week I purchased our first Gousto box, it’s not something I would usually use as I like to visit my local butcher on a weekly basis and I grow my own veg but I was interested to see what this box was about and I knew that if I was intrigued by it that some of my readers would probably have been too.  It’s always a bit of a risk signing up to a subscription service so I thought I’d give you a completely honest and Impartial review of the service.

Signing up to the service couldn’t be easier, you visit the Gousto website, choose 3 recipes, select how many people you will need portions for 2 or for 4 people, Enter your post code, choose your delivery day and click “Continue”.

If you have a discount coupon, you can apply it to your first delivery in the next step, before you click “Proceed to Checkout”. Complete the checkout process by entering your delivery and billing information. You will get a welcome email when you’ve successfully subscribed.

There are 4 types of weekly boxes available at the moment:

  • Meat box for 2 people – £34.99 per week
  • Meat box for 4 people – £49.99 per week
  • Veggie box for 2 people – £33.99 per week
  • Veggie box for 4 people – £47.99 per week

You can pause or cancel anytime. There’s no club fee and no annual fee, you only pay for the food you get delivered. Whenever you’re on holiday, simply skip those weeks using the calendar function in your account.

When pausing or cancelling deliveries, be sure to do so before the cut-off time of the delivery, which is always at noon on Sunday before the delivery.

I have to admit when it came to selecting my choices there were only two dishes that I really liked the look of, it was hard trying to select the third dish and I took a bit of a risk as I wasn’t completely convinced I had made the right choice.  I loved the look of the Chicken Cashew stir fry and the Kedgeree and my third choice was a Beet burger.

gousto box

My delivery was scheduled for Wednesday and arrived via courier, as I knew it was coming I made sure to stay in all day but it’s not something you need to worry about as you can leave delivery instructions when you order.

The box was well insulated and the ice packs inside were still frozen which I was impressed with, the box can be recycled and I was impressed that brown paper bags were used instead of plastic.

gousto box inside

The box contained everything I needed to make three meals for two people except for oil, salt and pepper.  I was impressed at how well everything was packaged, everything looked fresh and nothing was spoiled or broken

gousto notice

I popped the ingredient list on the fridge so I knew exactly what was needed for each dish and when it needed to be used by.  I found this list incredibly helpful and it’s something I might start doing with my weekly meal planning to ensure I have everything I need for each meal.

cashew chicken

 

The first dish I cooked was Chicken Cashew stir fry, I dislike following recipes so this was a challenge in itself!  I found the recipe incredibly straightforward although I did raise my voice a couple of times when I realised how many dishes and pans I ended up using to prepare/cook the meal.  I was initially sceptical that we would be full after looking at the portion of rice and chicken as I would usually use twice as much.

chicken cashew stir fry

The end result was extremely satisfying and I was surprised at how much food I had made after my initial worry that we were going to be starving after we had finished our meal, if any thing I was really really full up.  My only criticism if you want to call it that was that the dish was very salty, I hadn’t added any salt to the meal as I don’t usually use it so I think the salty taste must have come from  the stock cube.  Both myself and Mini Gourmand thought that this tasted as good if not better than some Chinese takeaway meals we have had so I will definitely be cooking this recipe again.

kedgeree

The second dish was one of our family favourites, Kedgeree.  I was really looking forward to cooking this as some of the ingredients and the method was completely different to the one I use.  I’ve never added roasted tomato to kedgeree, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever used tomato in this dish at all. I was worried that using the whole pack of parsley might have been too much, I would usually use a sprinkle of coriander.

kedgereedish

I personally thought this was fantastic, I loved the addition of roasted tomato which added a delicious rich flavour, the chunky fish was great and it wasn’t overpowered by parsley like I had initially anticipated.  Mini Gourmand practically inhaled hers which I think speaks for itself.

beetroot

The final dish was the one I was a little worried about, if I’m honest I wasn’t looking forward to cooking or eating this one.  Both myself and Mini Gourmand love beetroot but we couldn’t visualise how this Beetroot Burger was going to taste at all.

beetroot burgers

It just goes to show that you should never judge a book by it’s cover, we were both pleasantly surprised by this dish. I cooked my chips in the actifry as I find it doesn’t take as much oil but that’s the only time I swayed from the instructions.  The tarragon mayo was absolutely delicious, I could have eaten a bowl full, the caramelised onions were to die for and the burgers were just delicious.  Who would have thought beetroot and tarragon would have gone so well together, it was like a marriage in my mouth.

 

Overall we were really impressed with Gousto, apart from the saltiness of the first dish we found that the portion sizes were perfect, the ingredients were just the right amount kind of like when you get a can of gin and tonic, it’s just the perfect amount but when you fiddle with a bottle of gin and a bottle of tonic you can never get the measurements right.

Would I use it every week? No I wouldn’t because it doesn’t suit our family needs at all, for a family of 3 one of which is a toddler the cost of the box just isn’t affordable for us however as a treat now and again for myself and Mini Gourmand I would definitely purchase a box.

We were discussing the box and when it would fit into our lives and we decided that if we knew in advance that we would be having friends over for a few days it would be more cost effective to order a Gousto box than to go out for a meal, or if were had just moved into a new property and didn’t want to go out and purchase lots of bottles and jars that we would only need a teaspoon out of then Gousto would be great.

gousto box discount

Gousto box is a fantastic idea, there is no doubt about that, if you would like to give it a try please feel free to use the money off code that was on my box, you could save yourself £20!



Zizzi Leamington Spa

The very first time I visited a branch of Zizzi was around 2008/9 when I was working as a mystery diner, I had been assigned the branch in Newcastle upon Tyne and it was such a bad experience that I never ventured back until 2011 when I was invited out for a friends 22nd Birthday, I remember the food was good, the service was on point considering we had a table of 15 and the overall experience was a very good one.

We decided that instead of going for Sunday Lunch yesterday that we would pay a visit to Zizzi as the menu looked good and as we have seen children in there before that it must be fairly family friendly so I booked a table online for 12:30pm.

We arrived at the restaurant at 12:25 and although I’d already booked, they didn’t have an up to date booking list at the front desk which was fine as they were quite quiet although I wouldn’t have been very pleased if it had been busy and I hadn’t been able to get a table, you have to plan outings like this with military precision when you have a toddler you see.

There were already a couple of tables on the left hand side with prams and pushchairs so we selected a spot on the far right so we be out of the way should it get busier.  Our drinks order was taken by a very polite server  and we perused the menu.

Baby Gourmand_Zizzi

 

Baby Gourmand started with Carrot sticks, Cucumber and Bread sticks which was part of the £6.75 Bambini kids menu, this was the perfect starter to keep him entertained until his main meal arrived.

bread_Zizzi

Mini Gourmand and I decided to skip a starter as we have been to similar chains in the past and the food is usually very filling so we opted for the Italian bread bucket which contained Freshly baked focaccia bread & dough sticks with olive oil & rosemary.  The bread bucket came with a bottle of balsamic vinegar and we made use of the olive oil that was on the table already, we both found this delicious and were quite excited to receive our mains especially if the taste and quality of some simple bread was so good.

That’s when things went downhill.

pizza_Zizzi

Mini Gourmand had ordered the Classic Pepperoni Campagna topped with Pepperoni, ham, mushrooms, mozzarella & thyme but as she’s a big eater she went for the larger Rustica base for an extra £1.50.  The pizza may have been larger on the board but it was so thin that the edges had burnt, Mini Gourmand wasn’t a fan of this style of base at all, she found the combination of cheese and topping wasn’t quite right, there was big chunks of topping in parts and very little at other sections.  She found the pizza lacking in flavour and was rather disappointed with her choice.

risotto_Zizzi

I had thought about getting a pizza and at the last minute changed my mind in favour of the Risotto Pesce which contained King prawns, mussels & squid rings in a tomato, chilli & white wine risotto.  I very rarely eat risotto unless I make it myself I was quite excited to try this.  I had my first mouthful and found I couldn’t taste anything but butter, I quickly gave Mini Gourmand a forkful to make sure my taste buds hadn’t died but I was right the dish didn’t have any real flavour just a very buttery taste.  I then made the biggest mistake I’ve ever made when eating an Italian dish, I picked up what I thought was a piece of red pepper only it turned out to be a chilli and not a nice chilli a really really hot chilli.  I’m a fan of spice, chilli and heat in my food, I love making curry and use chilli in stir fry, bread and a whole host of other dishes but never have I eaten something that packs so much heat, my mouth was on fire and between that, the lack of flavour and the buttery taste I was finished after 4 mouthfuls, I passed my plate over to Mini Gourmand who was so hungry she would have eaten anything!

pasta_Zizzi

Poor Baby Gourmand suffered the most with his dish pictured above.  This was not minestrone soup but actually pasta Bolognese like I have never seen it before, it was so watery I had to decant the slippery pieces of Penne into a spare bowl.  The least said about the taste of this the better, I think the picture speaks for itself.

I shared Arthur’s picture on instagram and was asked why I didn’t send it back? The restaurant had filled up (more about this later) and there only seemed to be two or three members of staff  serving staff who were rushed off their feet add into this a hungry toddler who would have screamed the place down if his food had been removed it  was best to just let him eat it.

When our server came to take the plates she asked if everything had been ok? I told her that it hadn’t actually been great, none of us had enjoyed our food and I told her I thought Baby Gourmands dish was diabolical, I’ve never actually seen Bolognese like it in my life!  I then told her I wasn’t sure how I was going to vacate the resteraunt, you see while we had been sitting the place had filled up and we had been boxed in to a corner with our pushchair.  It would have been hard enough for a person to squeeze out never mind a child in a pushchair, the server replied that we would have to fly with a laugh.  Our server did offer to have a word with her supervisor but to be honest the restaurant was so busy and we had just had enough at this point that we declined as we just wanted to pay and leave.

We paid our bill, £41 which really wasn’t worth it at all and tried to work out how on earth we were going to get out, not one member of staff came over to help us and we were pretty much struggling.  There was no way that we were ever going to get out so I decided that the best course of action would be to fold down the pushchair and lift it over the 3 tables that were in our way.  The other diners helped us to get out and we made it to the door and still not one member of staff came to ask if we were ok.

One thing I would just like to point out is that it wasn’t just us who seemed to be having a bit of a bad time, a table to the side of us were not happy to have their main course delivered a couple of minutes after their starter and the table behind had sent their food back once and we could hear them after new dishes were brought out complaining about the quality of the food, they looked to have ordered Bolognese, I hope they didn’t have the same sauce as Baby Gourmand!

I don’t imagine we will ever be returning to this chain and I’m actually annoyed with myself that I wasted £41 on food and service that was substandard.

**Update** Zizzi have been in touch via email with the following reply

“It certainly doesn’t sound like our usual high standards of service were achieved and it was disappointing to hear about the quality of the food you and your guests ordered. All customer feedback I receive is logged and collated, I’ve also asked the Operations Manager to share your comments with the team to ensure we’re offering a friendly and efficient service at all times. At Zizzi we pride ourselves on delivering exceptional service and fantastic d ishes but it does seem we have let you down on this occasion.

I can assure you this has been dealt with at restaurant level and has been circulated around Head Office through a Weekly C omplaints Report to ensure everyone stays updated with what’s going on in all our Zizzis. This h elps us improve our service in the future.

I really appreciate you taking the time to let us know about this and by way of apology for your visit, I’d like to send you a £20 Zizzi gift card that you can use at any Zizzi, at any time within the next 18 months.”

I have accepted their offer and will in fact visit again to see if any improvements have been made.

Have you visited Zizzi before? Did you have a good experience?



The Townhouse Leamington Spa

townhouse decor

 

The Townhouse pub is situated on George Street not far from the South Side of the river in Leamington Spa, it’s not on the main shopping road so would require a bit of searching if you’re not local to the area.  The deco inside has a real vintage feel about it and has my favourite J.H Lynch prints of the Mysterious and exotic lady known as ‘Tina’.  I love the exposed bulb light fittings although they do make your eyes go fuzzy if you look directly at them!

candle

 

Tables are adorned with retro candles with hardened red wax, something you might expect to see in an Italian resteraunt (or my kitchen).  The furniture is mis matched which only adds to the quirky vibe that the Townhouse exudes.

Neither myself or Mr Gourmand had visited the Townhouse before but we had heard good things about the place from friends who had visited one of the open mic nights so we figured we would give the place a try.

Staff were very friendly and accommodating and the pub is family friendly although there is a step at the front door so bare this in mind if you have a pram or pushchair with you.

Broccoli bake

 

Mr Gourmand and I took advantage of the £5 lunch offer which consists of a very decent sized meal and a drink.  It’s always a risk when you visit somewhere new for lunch as to what you are going to receive so we ordered blindly.

With a good selection of food available Mr Gourmand opted for the Broccoli and Cauliflower cheese which was served with chips and salad.  The Broccoli and Cauliflower cheese was bathing in a delicious creamy cheese sauce and topped with what seemed like a whole packed of melted cheese on top.  The meal was extremely delicious and satisfying.

sandwich

 

I really fancied something different to what I would normally order and picked the Roast Beef and Horseradish sandwich served with chips and a side salad.  The Roast Beef was pink in the middle which is exactly how I like it, the slices were thick and plentiful.  The horseradish sauce was creamy and had a good heat to it which is just what I like, there is nothing worse than mild, smooth supermarket horseradish that has no flavour.

The beef was served on a warm ciabatta which had been buttered, I just managed to finish it all but I did let Mr Gourmand sample the beef as his eyes were drooling at my huge sandwich.

£5 doesn’t usually get you much even in a fast food eatery so if you’re in the Leamington Spa area, need lunch and have a spare £5 to spend you won’t go wrong visiting The Townhouse.



The Kids Only Cookbook By Sue Quinn

cookbook

Mini Gourmand is almost a teenager and is often asking if she can use the kitchen to cook a dish, I’ve tried to show her basic cookery skills but I worry about her when using sharp knives, hot ovens etc.  The Kids Only Cookbook is filled with safety information and advice when cooking and is packed with 50 simple, delicious and fun recipes containing easy-to-follow captions and 300 photos in a unique cartoon-style to inspire children of all ages to get busy in the kitchen.

inside_cookbook

I particually like the sections which show a how to, each project is original and creative and inspires adults never mind children!  Kids will learn as they go along; each recipe contains a culinary technique such as beating, whipping, piping or baking and ‘Adult alerts’ appear throughout the book and ensure the recipes are all easy and safe to make. This is a book which will become treasured as it helps children to discover the endless fun to be had in the kitchen and to learn skills which will stay with them for life.

Mini Gourmand particularly liked the way the book was written and the colours used, phrases are used like “Epic Fail” which is one of Mini gourmands favourite set of words when something goes wrong!

We were not only provided with a copy of the book but also a kick’n’roll tin can to make ice cream, unfortunately Mini Gourmand went to Portugal on holiday with her grandparents with her camera and memory card containing her video of ice cream manufacture.  It was really quite simple : pack a large tin can with ice and rock salt, insert a sealed ziplock bag containing cream, sugar and vanilla and kick it to the park or the beach…within 25 minutes…homemade ice cream!

Mini Gourmand has already made a number of dishes out of this great book, I had a couple of pictures saved on my phone and have made the video below to give an idea how easy it is for children to follow the instructions themselves.

video

Once Mini Gourmand returns from her holiday we will share our ice-cream making with you, for now though you can see how it’s done in the video below.

tincan

We currently have post it notes stuck on the pages of the book that we wish to cook dishes from, I will try to either get pictures or video footage of Mini Gourmand cooking these dishes.  On our current to try list are Chinese Fried Rice, DIY Fish Parcels, Sticky Toffee Pudding In A Jar, Fancy Lamb, Sherbert Dips and Rocky Road.
If you are looking for present ideas for children age 7+ this would be a perfect choice and hopefully the child in receipt of the book might make you a thank you dish!

*Disclaimer* I was provided with a copy of this book for review purposes, as always my reviews are honest and impartial and all thoughts are my own.



Sozzled Sausage – Leamington Spa

The Sozzled Sausage is a bar in Leamington Spa that we have passed on numerous occasions, often when taking Mini Gourmand to Lantern Corner for sweets if she behaves, which is not that often! Anyway, we all decided to pop in for a quick bite to eat not so long ago, and we think this place is something special!

sausage

Mr Goumand had the sausage sandwich (£5.00) which was simple, tasty, excellent bread, nice side salad and amazing onion rings! oh my gosh those onion rings were good, so light and crispy and maybe, dare I say, the nicest onion rings I had ever tried!? tough call but for the moment, and unless my memory tells me otherwise by the time I finish writing this post I’m standing by that statement….the nicest onion rings I have ever had!

fish and chips

Mini Gourmand had the fish and chips (£7.50)! obviously feeling a bit peckish on this occasion. Huge portion and it looked very nice, I must admit I didn’t get a chance to try it because one minute it was there, a full fish almost bigger than her head, and the next, gone, just like magic. I’m not bothered, I’ll have it next time I visit!

chicken burger

I had the Chicken Burger (£7.50) which was amazing. The bread, which I think came from a local shop, and the juicy chicken breast was out of this world, I couldn’t even finish it, it was that big and filling. Another tough call but again I’m going to make it, the best chicken burger I have ever had!!?? Oh and yes, the onion rings are the second nicest I have had, after some I made for Mr Gourmand a year or so ago…..where is that recipe again!?

You can find the Sozzled Sausage at 141 Regent Street, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, United Kingdom CV32 4NX



What’s For Dinner Tonight?

Those clever people at Schwartz have developed a new 2 in 1 range which takes the hassle out of cooking, who wants to spend hours midweek preparing rubs and herb mixes when you can prepare a dish in less than 10 mins?

We were sent two packets from the 2 in 1 range, Mediterranean Chicken Pasta and Garlic & Thyme Roast Chicken.  The new 2 in 1 range offers easy to use recipe mix sachets in one handy pack: One sachet flavours the main dish while the other contains a seasoning for a side dish or topping.

cheesy pasta

The Mediterranean Chicken Pasta and Cheesy Crumb Topping has a blend of herbs and spices which includes: Paprika, Turmeric, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Parsley, Oregano, Basil and Cayenne Pepper.

The dish takes approx 10 mins to prepare and 4 mins to grill until browned.

pasta

The pasta was a delicious alternative to our usual pasta bake recipe, I don’t usually use chicken in pasta recipes but it turned out to be a very filling meal.  Vegetarians could omit the chicken and use a variety of vegetables like courgette and aubergine with the yellow pepper.  Mini Gourmand loved the crispy crumb topping and thought it was a lot more interesting than just grated cheese.

roast chicken

The Garlic & Thyme Roast Chicken with Crispy Roast Potatoes are exactly what they say on the packet.  Some delicious flavours are used including Rosemary, Garlic, Paprika, Parsley, Nutmeg, Chilli, Marjoram, Cumin and Oregano.

The dish takes seconds to prepare and based on my size chicken took just over an hour to cook.

chicken

The family enjoyed this dish the most out of the two.  The rub for the chicken added a great flavour and the seasoning for the roast potatoes was subtle but delicious.

I was really worried about serving the two dishes to Mr Gourmand as he is very anti packet food, I watched his face closely while he tasted the dishes to get an idea of what he thought of the food.  He admitted that although he isn’t a fan of packet mixes, the Schwartz 2 in 1 sachets really were delicious.

*This post is an entry for BritMums ‘What’s for Dinner Tonight?’ sponsored by Schwartz.  Sign up to get your own sample at www.schwartz.co.uk/2in1freepack *



Leaf – Leamington Spa

Leaf

Myself and Mr Gourmand love a breakfast in the morning, Mr Gourmand more so than me. He’s got this really annoying habbit of wanting to go out really early for his favourite meal of the day because during his studies he used to meet friends really early for breakfast as a way of motivating them all to start working first thing, and for some reason even now, all these years later, he likes to go out super early for a nice breakfast. Weird guy.

When we first moved to Leamington we popped into Leaf for a cold drink on a super hot saturday afternoon, we really enjoyed it and promised to go back, but for some reason never did. Anyway, during a recent shopping trip into Leamington centre, Mr Gourmand was wandering outside a shop waiting for me and was gormlessley looking through the window of Leaf, the breakfast menu immediately caught his eye, so the following week we went in to try it out.

Leaf is lovely inside, very relaxing and bright. The place has two distinctive parts, a bright and airy entrance with seating near the window looking out onto the shoppers of Leamington, then at the back is an orangery type space with a large roof light where the piano player sits and plonks out tunes……..chopsticks, probably, maybe.

Right, time for the food.

leaf_Breakfast

A Full english breakfast was Mr Gourmands unusual choice, for some reason he always goes for something smaller than a full english, then is gutted if he sees someone else with it and it looks better than what he decided on. So, this time he finally learnt from his mistakes and went for it. Wow was he impressed! Not massive, but the quality was outstanding – he even said it was certainly the best he could remember having. The sausages were quality, just as they should be, the bacon was out of this world, almost smokey like it had been done on a bbq!? Yum, he described it as delicious. As I am writing this he has just looked over my shoulder and has insisted we go again this morning….ok then, why not.

leaf_vegi_breakfast

I went for the Vegetarian Breakfast which was also amazing, the vegie sausages were excellent, so much better than the usual cardboard tasting things, in fact really quite similar to real sausages! As you guys know, I’m not a vegetarian, just don’t eat pork, so unless a place does beef sausages this is my only option, and boy what a good option it was! Everything oozed quality, the bread, the tomatoes, the eggs, even the nice cress touch added something unexpected from what was really an exceptional meal.

baby gourmand

Baby Gourmand even sat watching Top Gear on the tv giving us perfect peace while we finished our yummy food. Mini Gourmand even came to meet us, sadly too late for breakfast though….silly girl, that’ll teach you for being embarrassed to be seen in public with us!