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    Monday, 29 June 2015

    GUEST POST - THE LIFESTYLE DIARIES: BUTTERMILK CHICKEN RECIPE

    Hola señors y señoritas! I'm currently on a beach somewhere in Mexico so I've enlisted the help of some lovely bloggers to guest-post for me while I'm away. First up is the lovely Lauren from The Lifestyle Diaries who has kindly shared a delicious recipe for her Buttermilk Roast Chicken. So let me hand over to Lauren and let her talk you through...

    Roast chicken has to be one of the most comforting meals you can have; there’s just something about the crispy skin and the really tender meat that is very heart warming and homely. I also happen to have an oh-so-easy recipe for this delicious home cooked meal.
    It’s an edited version of Nigella Lawson’s original recipe – I just prefer using a whole chicken instead of drumsticks and I use a little more of some ingredients to make it sweeter. I promise you, this will give you the most tender meat and the best crispy skin that there is!

    You’ll need:
    • 1 large chicken
    • 2 cups buttermilk
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 1 tbsp. crushed peppercorns
    • 1 ½ tbsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. ground cumin
     • 2 tbsp. maple syrup

    Place your chicken in a large freezer bag, and cover it with the olive oil and the buttermilk. Add the garlic cloves, salt pepper, cumin and maple syrup on top of the chicken and give it a good squish around.
    You can either use rub the chicken using the bag or you can get stuck in and use your hands! Either way, make sure that all of the chicken has been rubbed in the marinade and that all the ingredients are nicely mixed around.

    Leave the chicken to marinade for at least two hours or, ideally, overnight. After the chicken has absorbed all these delicious flavours, preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a roasting dish with tin foil.

    Take your chicken out the bag and place it in the roasting dish; then squeeeeeeeeeeze all the marinade out of the bag and into the dish as well. Pop two more tablespoons of olive oil in the dish and place the dish in the oven. 

    Roast the chicken for at least an hour (the actual time will vary depending on the size of your chicken), until the juices run clear. The skin will be blackened in some areas – don’t worry about that, it’s one of the tastiest parts of the dish!

    Serve with a delicious side salad and some really crusty bread – preferably outside in the summer sun with friends and family. Simple, delicious and an all round wonderful summer dish.

    Also the leftovers make incredible sandwiches! Just add a little tomato chutney and serve on really good quality French bread.
    Thanks, Elle Bloggs for having me to guest post on your lovely blog – it’s such a pleasure to share this recipe with you! If you’ve enjoyed my recipe and want to see a lot more of these, plus some restaurant reviews, some serious wanderlust and more about my lifestyle adventures, you’ll find me at The Lifestyle Diaries and on Bloglovin. I hope to see you soon!

    Saturday, 27 June 2015

    FOCUS ON: EGGS

    As far as I'm concerned eggs are a super-food. You may have seen my post recently where I was raving about how eggs are cheap, versatile, nutrient dense and delicious and I wanted to go a step further and include them in my new 'Focus on' series where I take a closer look at different food types and discuss them a little more depth.

    As you'll know, I love eggs but there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding our yolky friends so i'm hoping to clear up some of those myths.

    Why are eggs so good for you?
    First off, eggs are packed full of high quality protein, but they also contain vitamins D,A, B2 and B12 which contribute towards healthy teeth and bones. Eggs are also good for satiety, meaning they keep you fuller for longer, and with a medium egg only containing around 70 calories they are a godsend for dieters! Eggs are also very low in saturated fats.

    Will eating eggs will give you salmonella?
    This is one of the most widely believed falsities surrounding UK eggs. I say UK, as if you buy eggs stamped with the little red Lion mark, you can rest assured that your eggs have been vaccinated against salmonella - and seeing as all eggs bought in UK retailers carry the Lion mark, you are pretty safe. Imported eggs don't follow the same quality standards as the UK so always looks for the Lion to be sure of quality and safety.

    I thought you can only eat X number of eggs per day/week?
    Again not true. There is now no limit on the number eggs which we can eat. It was once believed that the cholesterol in eggs was bad for heart health, but it has now been found that its saturated, not dietary cholesterol found in eggs, which has an effect on our blood cholesterol.

    What is a  double yolker?
    A double yolker is an egg which contains two yolks - my idea of food heaven! Double yolkers tend to come from young hens whose hormone systems haven't quite developed yet and are quite a rare feat. The British Egg Information Service estimate the likelihood as less that 0.1%. M&S have recently launched boxes of double yolkers which will set you back £".75 for a box of 6!

    If you'd like to find out more information on eggs, the Egg Info website is packed full of interesting facts, figures and research about eggs along with the Egg Recipes website where you can find lots of great recipe inspiration.

    * I was sent a kitchen gadget by British Lion Eggs in exchange for this post


    If you liked this post, you may also like: my shaksouka recipe or summer salad recipe

    Thursday, 25 June 2015

    LADUREE PARIS - MACARONS

    A trip to Paris wouldn't be complete without a visit to Ladurée so I thought the world famous luxury baker deserved a post in its own right. Laduree is famed for producing some of the best macarons in the world, known for its emphasis on single flavoured varities in candy coloured shells.   

    There are six locations in Paris, including the flag-ship store along the Champs Élysées. You can dine in the restaurant, but they also have a counter making it easy to purchase some delicious treats to take away with you afterdwards.
    Laduree Macarons
    Don't be put off by the daunting queue outside, the buying process here is a well-oiled machine. Your order will be taken, hand-selected and expertley packed into a beautiful Laduree boxes. There's a reason why Laduree is so well sought after, a great amount of attention & care goes into each order.
     Laduree Macarons
    Laduree Macarons
    Taking a peek into the cabinets of patisteries makes you feel like a child in a sweet shop again. Rows of perfectly hand-decorated cakes and pastries in uniform lines ready to be selected by hungry customers. The show-stopper for me was the Ispahan, a rose flavoured macaron filled with rose petal and lychee cream, and embellished with fresh raspberries, simply stunning!
    Laduree Macarons
    Laduree Macarons
    As it would have been rude not to bring a box home with me so I chose a box of six macarons containing rose, pistaschio, ginger, raspberry, lemon & red fruit flavours. It took very strong will power to refrain from taking the whole cabinet with me! I adore lemon so this was my favourite, light & airy whilst having a subtle sharp flavour.
    Laduree Macarons
    Laduree Macarons
    Laduree Macarons
     If you're not heading out to Paris anytime soon, you can still enjoy Laduree in the UK from one of the four London locations including Harrods:
    87-135 Brompton Road, London SW1X 7XL


    If you liked this post, you may also enjoy: Zesty Lemon Cupcakes or Oakley Court, Afternoon Tea

    Wednesday, 24 June 2015

    TOP PARIS FOOD SPOTS

    If you caught yesterday's post, you'll have seen that I popped over to Paris earlier this month for a little girlie weekend away with my mum. You also might have noticed that yesterday's post was distinctly missing food. Obviously I wouldn't go all the way to Paris and not snap any food pictures for you, so here I've rounded up my favourite Paris food spots!

    The Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame
    The French equivalent of a cheese and ham toastie. Why does everything sound so much more refined in French? Simplicity is what makes the Croque Monsiur so beautiful - two slices of bread with layers of ham and thinly sliced Gruyère. Add a fried egg on top and you've got a Madame. We found a little Bistro, Cafe Kleber, to eat and watch the world go by..
    Le Relais De L'Entrecote
    You'd be hard pressed to find a bistro in Paris that doesn't serve Steak frites, and the steak frites at Le Relais De L'Entrecote is so good people are prepared to queue right round the block for it. There's only one dish on the menu, all you tell the waitress is what you want to drink and how you want it cooked. Make sure you leave room for seconds as the waitresses will fill your plate with more steak and fries as soon as you clear your first round 
     
    Charbon Rouge
    If you're not willing to queue for your steak, Charbon Rouge is the place for you. Just a few doors down from Le Relais De l'entrecôte, you can stalk off here if the queue is too long. On offer is a good selection of meats, cooked on the charcoal grill, along with side dishes including roasted veg, salads and of course frites. Think Argentine steak house in the heart of Paris and you're on the right track.
    Crepes
    Another food you can find on nearly every French corner is the crepe. Street vendors sell them filled with nutella, which you can gran and go, but it's worth stopping in a bistro to sit down and try the more decadent flavours such as this cherry, ice cream and kirsch beauty below. My mum went for the grand marnier which was set alight before tucking in - a deliciously naughty treat!
    Angelina
    Any blog post about the food in Paris is bound to feature Angelina in its line up. Famed for it's decadently rich hot chocolate, which comes complete with a saucer of whipped cream, Angelina is home to some of Paris' most beautiful cakes. Go for something a little less sickly with the French Onion Soup which comes with a croûton laden with molten Gruyère cheese....and I suppose it would be rude to not try a cake or two...

    Is there any Paris foodie favorites which I missed off? Let me know in the box below!

    If you liked this post, you might also like: London Snacks or London's Best Foodie Market

    Tuesday, 23 June 2015

    A WEEKEND IN PARIS

    It's hard to believe that you can get across the channel and over to France in less time than it takes me to get to Liverpool to see my boyfriend. My mum & I decided to exploit this fact by taking a little girlie trip across to Paris earlier this month. 

    I haven't been to Paris since I went to Euro Disney with the Brownies so I was really excited to see everything the iconic city of romance had to offer. My mum and I got a really cheap deal on a hotel by the Eiffle Tower using LastMinute.com's Secret Hotel's, it was an ideal location for us to be within walking distance of much of Paris.
    Paris-eiffle-tower
    Paris
    My mum is terrified of trains so we did a lot of walking, as in 20km of walking every day, but another really good way of getting round the city is on the Batobus. For 16 euros, you get a hop-on hop-off pass to board the boat which does a loop of the seine, stopping at nine iconic locations. It makes it so easy to get around the heart of Paris, starting at the Eiffle Tower, down to Notre Dame and round towards the Louvre and the Champs-Elyees.
    paris-palais
    Paris-arc-du-triomphe
    Paris-champs-elysees
    Paris-Notre-Dame
    Paris-Notre-Dame
    Paris-Notre-Dame
    Paris-Notre-Dame-Bike-Ride
    We hopped off at Notre Dame so we could get one last look at one of the infamous 'Love Lock' bridges before the padlocks are removed. Couples have been attaching padlocks ingraved with each others initials for years, but as of earlier this month Paris officials have begun removing the locks due to fears of the bridges collapsing. I'm such an old romantic so I wanted to put a lock on the bridge before it was too late. I bought a padlock from a local shop and 'locked' Tom & I in before throwing the key into the Seine- it's probably been removed by now but the sentiment is still there!
    Paris-Notre-Dame-Lovers-Bridge
    Paris-Notre-Dame-Love-Lock-Bridge
    Paris-Notre-Dame
    I loved walking around Paris. The architecture is beautiful and the city is so relaxed. The thing I found most contrasting with London is the lack of people rushing about - at home everyone is in a rush to work or to a meeting whereas in Paris, the business district, Le Defense, is outside the city so you don't find as many people rushing frantically to and fro. It's also refreshing to see a city which isn't littered with skyscrappers across the skyline.
    Paris-review
    Paris-architecture
    Paris-architecture
    Paris-Louvre
    Paris-academy-music
    We had such a lovely weekend in Paris, I got to see so many of its iconic landmarks and my mum and I got to spend some quality time together, gossiping and exploring the city. Some of you may have noticed that this post has a distinct lack of food, which is unline me, so tune in tomorrow and take a look at how we ate our way around the French captital...

    If you enjoyed this post, you may also like my posts on New York: here and here

    Sunday, 21 June 2015

    HOTBOX, SHOREDITCH

    I think the weather gods must have heard me rain dancing lately because the sun has finally decided to rear its head for British summertime. And what do British people do when the sun comes out? They BBQ of course - but since I don't have a private garden, I went to Hotbox in search of the tastes of the grill....

    Tucked away, inconspicuously on Commercial Road, you'll find Hotbox. Tom & I walked past twice before actually 'finding' it so if you intend to go, look for the big black doors and you'll know you're there.
    The restaurant was empty when we arrived dead on 6pm and we were seated on high stools facing the window. I had wanted to sit on the communal benches in the main area but as the restaurant began to fill up, I was glad we had our own little area - plus I got the benefit on natural lighting!

    Food wise, there's no real starters as such so we both opted for the Hotbox selection so we could sample most of the dishes off the menu. For £21 you get to try the beef short rib, pork rib, chicken thigh, hot link sausage and pulled pork. 
    The meat was all very juicy, with a big smoky flavours, ( I loved the chicken thigh) although by the end it all started to have the same taste! They don't serve any ketchup at Hotbox (booo) but you can get a selection of hot sauces to go with your meats.
    I wanted to love HotBox, it has the formula to be my perfect restaurant, but for some reason I really didn't. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad in the slightest; the food was good and the service was okay (not worthy of the 12.5% charge) but there was just something a bit off on the day I went.

    Maybe we just caught them at a bad time, but it felt like we rushed out the door and the waitress wasn't too bothered about whether we were enjoying ourselves or not. I'm glad I've been, I enjoyed the food but I just wouldn't go again....

    46-48 Commercial Street, London E1 6LT
    Click to add a blog post for Hotbox on Zomato
    Square Meal