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    Thursday, 25 February 2016

    RAW PEANUT BUTTER ENERGY BALLS RECIPE

    Earlier this month, I came home to a lovely delivery from the team at Borderfields challenging me to come up with a delicious recipe using their range of rapeseed oils. 

    The team explained that rapeseed oil contains half the saturated fat of olive oil and a near perfect blend of omegas 3, 6 and 9 so I was immediately sold! Hearing these wonderful health benefits, I decided I wanted to create a healthy recipe for you guys so I set about creating these mini peanut butter energy balls. 
    This recipe is packed with lots of nutritious ingredients so I like to think of them as a healthy snack! You've got Omega-3 from the rapeseed oil, fibre from the oats, protein from your peanut butter and a whole host of benefits from the fruits and seeds. 

    They are perfect bite-sized portions making them ideal as a pick-me-up when you hit that 4pm slump! You can also use them as a great post-workout snack as they contain a great balance of carbs, protein and salt to give you energy and help repair muscles after excercise. 

    I based this recipe on a great one I found over on Smashed Peas and Carrots but there are so many variations which you could try with different nuts, dried fruits or coconut. I hope you enjoy and do let me know if you try it out!

    What you'll need
    1 cup rolled oats
    1 cup smooth peanut or almond butter
    1 tbsp agave nectar
    1 tbsp dried currants
    1 tbsp chia seed
    Handful cocoa nibs
    2 tsp Borderfields Rapeseed Oil
    What you'll need to do
    1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. 
    2. Once thoroughly mixed together pop into the fridge to chill (this makes it easier to shape into balls)
    3. Scoop out a teaspoon by teaspoon and shape into balls. You can adjust the size however you wish!
    4. Pop back in the fridge to chill then enjoy! I find these great with a cup of tea around 4pm!

    Tuesday, 23 February 2016

    GETTING LEAN IN 15 WITH THE BODYCOACH [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]

    If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen that I've been following the Body Coach's plan for the past few weeks!

    There's loads of talk about the plan on social media and I get questions about it all the time so I wanted to do a little write-up - plus I also wanted to do a little giveaway for any Body Coach fans at the bottom of the post too!

    You will have done well to enter 2016 without knowing who Joe Wicks - AKA The BodyCoach is. Joe started off with 15 second recipe videos on Instagram - where he coined the phrase 'Lean in 15' by sharing healthy recipes which can be ready in 15 minutes - and has since built a fitness empire spanning recipe books, fitness plans and brand link ups with New York Bakery and Uncle Ben's.
    I first stumbled across one of his Instagram videos and loved his attitude and adoption of the word 'midget trees' for broccoli! After Joe started sharing photos of the transformations people had seen following his 90 Day SSS plan, I became intrigued by the results so decided to sign up and find out more.

    To give an overview of the plan in a nutshell - it's split into 3 phases across a 90 day period - shift, shape, sustain. Each comes with it's own personally tailored recipes and exercises to follow - given to you by an assigned coach who you submit results to at the end of each phase to keep you on track.

    The two key components behind Joe's plan is a macro-balanced diet combined with HIIT exercise. You eat three meals per day plus 2 snacks and you have to commit to 5 high intensity work-outs which allow you eat a carb meal.
    Food wise - the portion sizes are HUGE and you're eating real food which you prepare from scratch - meals can be anything from thai curry or sausage casserole to build up bagels and protein pancakes. I've really enjoyed all the meals I've tried so far on the plan but be warned -  it requires a lot dedication in terms of food prep - I spend up to about 4 hours in the kitchen on a Sunday making my meals for the week ahead.

    The exercise can be quite tough but the sessions are short which suits me perfectly. The principle behind HIIT is that you go all out for short bursts which are couple with periods of rest to maximise fat burning. This means you're working at max intensity but for a shorter period of time. I usually get my HIIT sessions in by doing 30 seconds sprints on the treadmill followed by 30 seconds rest or by following one of Joe's workouts on YouTube.

    So far I'm only on Cycle 1 but I'll do a follow up post as I progress through the cycles if anyone's interested so you can see any results - but the main thing I've taken away from this plan so far is a healthier outlook on food. In the past, I've been someone who's really yo-yo'd with restrictive eating followed by binges and I've found this has taught me a lot about balancing nutrients at meal-time and embracing the occasional cheat.
    The plan I follow is specifically tailored to me but a great way of adopting the Lean in 15 recipe book. It launched around Christmas time and it's been a huge success. The recipes are a lot more accessible - some are the same as the 90 Day SSS but you don't have to worry about measurements and they taste AMAZING. I often cook things from the book for Tom and he has no idea that I'm giving him "diet food". 

    I mean my two FAVOURITE foods are in there. Burger and Burrito friendly diet. Yes please:
    As I said above, I'm a huge fan of the Body Coach so I wanted to give one of my lovely readers the chance to win a copy of his Lean in 15 recipe book so they can try some of the recipes for yourselves.

    I should also mention that this post is in NO way sponsored or endorsed by Joe Wicks or any of the BodyCoach team. I just genuinely like Joe's way of thinking so I bought the recipe book myself to give to you a guys as I think it's great and something you would really enjoy!

    GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED

    Thursday, 18 February 2016

    FULLY LOADED VEGGIE STIR-FRY WITH BLUE DRAGON

    If there's ever a go-to dinner in my house, it's got to be the stir-fry. It's fast, it's easy and it's a great way of using up any left-overs in your fridge! 

    But I feel sorry for the stiry-fry. They get stick for being boring but there's actually so much you can do with them. 

    I was challenged by Blue Dragon and the Foodies 100 to come up with a delicious recipe inspired by the far-East so I wanted to show that there is so much more you can do with your stir-fry!This recipe uses lots of clean, healthy ingredients and is a fab way to pack in your 5-a-day. I've used almond butter to pack in some good fats, some chilli flakes to rev up the metabolism and loads of vegetables for those all-important nutrients!  

    This recipe is meat-free but if you want to bulk it out with some more protein - you can add some chicken or prawns, or even an egg. The beauty of stir-fry is that there is no rules - whatever takes your fancy!
    What you'll need
    1/2 chopped red onion
    1/2 red pepper - cut into stripes
    2 florets of broccoli
    Handful green beans
    5 chopped mushrooms
    1/2 thumb size piece of ginger
    2 crushed garlic cloves
    1 tbsp smooth almond butter
    10ml Blue Dragon Soy sauce
    10ml Blue Dragon Rice Wine Vinegar
    2 nests Blue Dragon egg noodles
    1 generous pinch of chilli flakes
    Coconut Oil - for cooking

    What you'll need to do
    1. In a small saucepan, boil water and add your noodle nests to cook 
    2. In a separate pan or wok, melt the coconut oil and gently fry the ginger, garlic and onions.
    3. Once softened, throw in your peppers, mushrooms, beans, broccoli and peppers
    4. Add in your chilli flakes for a kick of spice.
    5. In a small bowl, mix the almond butter, soy sauce and the rice wine vinegar
    6. Throw your noodles into the frying pan and coat with the sauce
    7. Serve and enjoy!
    *This post is an entry to the Foodies100 Chinese New Year recipe challenge sponsored by Blue Dragon. The range of Blue Dragon products is available in all major supermarkets at an RRP from £0.69. To find out more, visit www.bluedragon.co.uk

    Wednesday, 17 February 2016

    A TASTE OF TOM KERRIDGE AT THE COACH, MARLOW

    There are some restaurants where my name is forever going to be on the waiting list. I've wanted to go to Tom Kerridge's Hand & Flowers for SO long but the thought of waiting a whole year for a table just seems insane. 

    Well what if I let you in on a little secret on how you can eat Tom Kerridge's food without any wait at all? 
    The answer is The Coach. The Coach is Tom Kerridge's second restaurant in Marlow - run by the same team that put the Hand & Flowers on the map. And the best thing is - they don't take bookings so you can turn up on the night and you're (pretty much) guaranteed a table. 

    I have to give full credit to my mum & stepdad for this one - as they were the ones that put it on my radar! So on their recommendation, Tom and I headed down there to get ourselves a little bit of the triple cooked chip action.
    Outfit Details: Jumper - M&S / Gillet - New Look / Leggings - American Apparel / Boots - Public Desire
    The menu at The Coach is obviously British and made up of lots of little sharing sized dishes. Our waitress advised that we order between 3-4 each so we dove straight in and started reeling off the names of every dish in sight....

    From creamy-light whipped duck parfait served with a plum chutney and toasted brioche (£7.50)...

    ..to a crispy cod and chorizo scotch egg (£6.50). A delicious twist on the British pub-grub classic...The real dish you want to order though is the chicken Kiev (£12.50). Perfectly crisp on the outside and oozing with garlicky deliciousness once you cut inside  Perfect with a glass of the crisp New Zealand Sauvignon.
    The surprise of the night was the sea breem (£12.50) which ended up on our order as the lamb special had run out. The skin was beautifully crispy while the white meat of the fish remained delicate and crispy - I'm so glad we didn't miss out on it!
    What's not a surprise is how good the burger was. British classics are what Tom Kerridge does best so the Coach Burger (£10) was a thing of beauty. 

    Stacked high with pickles, cheese, mushrooms and tomatoes - it was juicy, salty, thick and had to be approached with two hands - everything you could want from a burger!
    You can't go to a Tom Kerridge restaurant and not have the chips - so a portion (or two) of the triple cooked chips & bearnaise are a MUST. 

    They are bordering on roast potato territory with a thick crispy outside and soft fluffy centres....
    You'll be feeling pretty full by now but you HAVE to save room for pudding. The rhubard crumble with stem ginger ice cream (£6.50) is delicious (if a little too overpowering on the ginger for me)...
    ..but the lemon tart is a thing of pure beauty. Strong, sharp, citrus flavour cut through perfectly by a tangy raspberry sorbet. I could have kicked myself for agreeing to share...
    Our meal at the Coach was outstanding. Not only was the food delicious but the service was incredible. All the staff were welcoming, friendly and really knowledgeable - offering up recommendations and suggestions through out our meal.

    What's more - it was great value for money. All the food above, along with 3 large glasses of wine, 4 beers and service charge for £100. You really can't get better than that!


    The Coach
    3 West Street, Marlow, SL7 2LS
    The Coach Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Monday, 15 February 2016

    THE IVY MARKET GRILL, COVENT GARDEN

    Remember in my City Social post how I mentioned that I get to eat out a lot for my work. Well I've got another gorgeous meal to tell you about, this time at the Ivy Market Grill.

    I think most people are familiar with The Ivy. It was the place to be seen in the nineties and had a reputation for being one of the finest dining experiences in the West End which has a very particular dress-code and demand that goes along with it.

    If you're looking for somewhere a little easier to get a table and a little more casual, in steps the Ivy Market Grill - like the a trendier, younger sister.  

    We held an intimate lunch down in the private dining room of the Covent Garden branch - they also hold residence on the Kings Road and High Street Kensington. 

    The room itself is gorgeous - very spacious and dressed out in the iconic dark wood and blue tones that the Ivy is renowned for. 

    The Ivy is well known for its links to the arts world which the Market Grill very unsubtly nods at downstairs with signed photographs of some of theatre's icons adorning the walls. 
    In terms of the food - it was outstanding on my visit. We started with a smoked eel, fennel and rocket salad completed with chunks of fresh apple. 

    I love eel - I remember I used to eat cup loads of jellied eels when I was younger so it's always great to see this under appreciated fish being used by top restaurants. Beautifully cooked and perfectly balanced with the tangy green apple. 
    Main course was crisp sucking pork belly complete with black pudding, roast apple and roast potatoes. Pork belly must be one of the most featured dishes on this blog, I just love it! The rich jus was delicious and balanced out the whole plate perfectly. We also had a selection of seasonal vegetables served to complete the dish. 
    Pudding again was a real treat - apple parfait served with celery and roasted hazelnuts. I only tried parfait for the first time recently and it's fast becoming a favourite. It's deliciously light and refreshing and the frozen texture is a real surprise on first try. I also loved the texture of the hazelnuts and candied celery in this dish - really unexpected flavour combinations! 
    Our lunch at Ivy Market Grill was fabulous and I highly recommend you head down there. Obviously our menu was bespoke but I've seen some really brilliant reviews on other blogs including Angie and Laura so I'll be heading down again soon so I can sample the a la carte! 

    1 Henrietta St, London WC2E 8PS
      The Ivy Market Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Sunday, 14 February 2016

    DATE DAY #LONDONLEGEND

    As it's Valentine' Day, I couldn't think of a more fitting time to tell you about mine & Tom's date day - kindly organised by the team at Garfunkel's. 

    As February is the month of lurveeee...they offered to set up a day of sightseeing in London for us, along with dinner in one of their restaurants. So with that, we grabbed our coats, headed to London and spent the day being tourists. 

    I've lived in London 25 years and there's so many things I rarely (AKA never) do....like the London Eye. I remember going on it once when I was like 10 so this was the first place we headed to...
    What's the number one thing you need when you go on the London Eye? Good Weather. And hello - how lucky were we! We had clear views right across London. Everywhere from Wembley to Crystal Palace and right out past Canary Wharf into Essex. 

    We definitely spent a good ten minutes pointing out all our favourite landmarks like the Shard and St Paul's and if you really squint, you can see my house in the back of the picture....

    Next up on our agenda was a walk down the river to over to my favourite London landmark - Tower Bridge. I once heard that an American mistakenly bought London bridge - believing he was buying Tower Bridge and it wasn't untill it had een transported over brick by brick and erected  that he realised he'd bought the wrong bridge! I have no idea if there's any truth in it but I love to think it is! 
    If you want to do some legwork for your views across London then you an climb the stone steps to the top of the monument! Nestled near Bank, it only cost £4 to go up and you get a little certificate to take home afterwards to prove you made the 311 step journey to the top. While you aren't as high up as other viewing platforms in the city (cranes weren't around back when this baby was made) you are OUTSIDE so you can feel the wind in your hair, making the experience so much more 'real'.

    Be warned, the step are tight and there's only one way up and down so expect to squeeze past people on your trip to the top. If you're not good with heights, this might not be for you....I started to get vertigo somewhere near the top but persevere and the views will be worth it! 
    Outfit Details: 
    Bag: Mulberry / Boots: Cherry Drop Clothing / Leggings: American Apparel / Poncho: Zara

    We headed over to the Garfunkel's on Cockspur Street, near Trafalgar Square, to get some dinner. I have to admit, I'd never been to Garfunkel's before and I didn't have the highest of expectations but we were both really pleasantly surprised! 
    The menu has a mixture of American style dishes of burgers, ribs, steaks but there's also some British classics like pie & mash and fish & chips. We went for the sharing platter (£17.95) to start which covered off most of the main dishes on the starter menu. Think nachos, chicken tenders and chicken wings...

    Cocktails and main courses were spot on too. Tom had an INSANE burger - the 'Tower of London' (£14.95) stacked high with onion rings, bacon, cheese and salsa. I went for the chicken and rib combo  (£16.75) which was good - and served with a generous portion of fries and coleslaw. 
    Dessert was my absolute favourite course so I strongly recommend you order the pancakes! A delicious stack of warm pancakes covered in a fruity berry compote and vanilla ice cream (£5.50) - perfect as one portion with two spoons...
    Garfunkel's are giving away the chance to win a day out like our over on their social media channels so head over for more information! #LondonLegend #MyGarfunkels

    * Our London Eye tickets & meal were complimentary
    Garfunkel's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato