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    Monday, 16 July 2018

    CADBURY IS LETTING YOU DESIGN ITS NEXT CADBURY DAIRY MILK BAR - THIS IS NOT A DRILL

    This summer has been a bit insane hasn't it?  I mean we've had a never ending heat-wave, we all thought football might actually have been coming home and if the stars align correctly, a Cadbury Dairy Milk bar designed by YOU could be hitting supermarket shelves!

    Yep. Those clever folk over at Cadbury are giving YOU the chance to make all your dreams come true by creating your very own Cadbury Dairy Milk bar to go on sale to the general public. Did you hear that? That is the sound of my childhood dreams coming true!
    So how does it all work? Simple. You head over to the Cadbury Inventor website where you can choose up to three ingredients to add to your bar (it's the magic number after all)...you give them all a good old virtual mix, put a name on your handsome creation and leave a little message detailing why your bar is a winner!

    The chocolate experts at Cadbury will then shortlist three potential winners who'll be invited down to Bournville (AKA chocolate heaven) to make their dream bar a reality! All three standard-sized bars will go on sale for a whole year before the public votes to crown the Ultimate winner! And that lucky bugger will also win a year's supply of their very own creation! Someone sign me up!
    So what would I create? Well, there are over 90,000 possible flavour combinations so you can REALLY let your imagination run wild! I mean I could take inspiration from my favourite cocktail the Espresso Martini and create a dreamy Vanilla, Hazelnut and Coffee number?

    Hmmm, decisions, decisions...I suppose I could upgrade my favourite Cadbury Fruit & Nut bar with Pistachios and Cranberries?

    But I think I'll settle for a combination of my absolute FAVOURITE flavours. Tangy passionfruit, creamy white chocolate drops and some rice crispies for added crunch! A classic combination of What Larsy Loves -  now if someone could hand me that year supply of chocolate, that would be grand...
    If you fancy seeing your name up in lights (or your bar on supermarket shelves), all you need to do is head to the Cadbury Inventor website to enter! You've only got until 31st July to enter so you better get moving! 

    * This post was sponsored by Cadbury

    Tuesday, 10 July 2018

    VENETIAN SMALL PLATES AT POLPO, FARRINGDON

    I'm going through a real 'late to the party' stage with my restaurant reviews at the moment. I mean it took me ages to discover Herman Ze German - and this next one has been on my 'to-go' list for so long, it's almost embarrassing!

    Plus, it only really got ticked off the list by accident. Tom and I met for a drink after work in Farringdon, decided to grab a bite to eat, looked across the street and there it was: Polpo!
    I'm sure you're fully aware of Polpo. It's been around since 2009 and is the brain-child of Russell Norman and Richard Beatty. They've now got five restaurants spread out across London and it receives rave reviews from customers due to its great value dishes and high quality food.

    The menu is designed tapas style with everything being served as soon as it's ready so you can tuck in as soon it arrives at your table...
    You have to order the meatballs. Huge, dense, meaty lumps of beef & pork swimming in tomato sauce & topped with parmesan cheese (£6.80).
    Then there's the wafer-thin Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Pizzette (£6.50) and Nduja & Mozzarella Arancini balls (£4.20). All the Arancini are served in pairs so I'd recommend ordering the Pea, basil & robiola version too if there's a group of you. 
    We absolutely loved the grilled pork & sage skewers (£7.50). Super light with a smokey char and a delicious germolata dressing.
    Perfect served alongside a generous portion of roasted new potatoes with rosemary salt (£4.80)
    My favourite dish though? The sautéed Tiger Prawns (£9.20) - served in their shells with chilli, garlic and the most incredible seafood juices. 

    All you need to round off a perfect meal is a traditional Italian pud - in the form of the decadent Tiramisu (£5.30) or Rhubarb Panna Cotta (£6.50)! So simple but so delicious.
    How I've managed to avoid this restaurant for this long - I have NO idea. It's heading straight to the top of my recommendation list so if you're looking for great value, delicious sharing plates in London. I suggest you get yourself down there!

    Polpo
    3 Cowcross St, Clerkenwell
     EC1M 6DR

    Polpo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Saturday, 7 July 2018

    RECIPE: PAIN PERDU WITH BLACKBERRY COMPOTE

    God bless the weekend. Honestly, is there anything better than waking up on a Saturday morning with no alarm clock and no real plans for the day ahead?

    For me, weekend mornings call for leisurly breakfasts. Breakfast that you spend a little more time making. Breakfasts that are a little more adventurous than your mid-week porridge. Breakfast that are worth getting out of bed for. And my favourite breakfast for such occasion - pain perdu with blackberry compote of course?!
    Okay so pain perdu is just a posh name for french toast but like I said, it's the weekend, we can be a little fancy. You can have it with pretty much any topping but for me, it HAS to be warm blackberries.

    This recipe doesn't use any old Blackberries though - no. This recipe was created using Driscoll’s® Victoria Sweet Blackberries. They're grown throughout the UK by specially selected growers, meaning each berry is handpicked at the peak of ripeness to ensure the best flavour is captured in every single berry.

    They're also naturally sweeter than normal blackberries (which can be quite tart) so you don't need to use as much sugar when cooking with them! AND they're packed with antioxidants, Vitamins C, E and K, as well as fibre and protein! What more could you ask for?!
    What you'll need
    For the compote
    150g Driscoll’s® Victoria Sweet Blackberries
    100ml water
    30g Caster Sugar

    For the Pain Perdu
    4 slices of brioche (cut about an inch in thickness)
    2 Eggs
    50g Caster Sugar
    100ml Milk
    What you'll need to do
    1. Pour the caster sugar & water into a saucepan and cook gently over medium heat until the sugar becomes golden and starts to melt. Make sure you keep stirring so it doesn't stick! Once melted, add your blackberries and allow to simmer on a low-heat for 5 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, crack your eggs into a shallow dish and add your milk & remaining caster sugar before it all a good whisk.
    3. Once thoroughly stirred, dip each slice of brioche into the mix and fry in a lightly-greased pan until a lovely golden brown colour on each side.
    4. Plate up then spoon over the warm blackberry compote.
    5. Pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy! I can't think of a better way to start the weekend!
    Driscoll’s® Victoria Sweet Blackberries are available from May to October and can be found in the premium ranges of all major supermarkets, as well as in specialist health stores such as Wholefoods!

    * This post was sponsored by Driscoll's Blackberries
    For more great recipe inspiration, visit the Sweet Blackberries website

    Sunday, 1 July 2018

    WHY YOU NEED TO GET DOWN TO DELICATESSEN IN HAMPSTED ASAP

    Do you know the tell-tale sign of a good restaurant? When it's packed, on a mid-week evening, with local punters. That's how you know a restautant has created something truly special.

    It's almost like a community. Hoards of people coming through the door, being greeted by the waiters like they're old friends. And that's exactly the vibe I got when I visited Delicatessen in leafy Hampstead last week and exactly the reason why I know I'll be going back, time and again.

    The restaurant is run by Executive Chef Or Golan (who previously worked under the master that is Ottolenghi) where he serves up incredible modern Israeli cuisine...

    all washed down with glasses of deliciously crisp Israeli wine.

    It's a great restaurant for a date or special occasion so worth dressing up for!
    What I'm Wearing: Blazer, Bodysuit*, Jeans, Sandals, Handbag

    All the food is Kosher (obvs) and made for sharing. Be sure to arrive hungry as the portions are HUGE (even by my standards) and you won't want to miss a single dish!

    There's expertly sliced Beef carpaccio topped with truffles & artichoke salsa (£12)

    And a wafer thin seabass version, absolutely bejeweled with fresh herbs and nuts


    You have to try the slow cooked and pulled salt beef schnitzel (£12)...

    and the tanned aubergine (£9) which comes served to your table in a huge saucepan. It's got the softest, creamiest texture and tastes divine topped with tahini, figs & mixed nuts.

    The Yemenite Kubaneh (£6.50) is a traditional pull-apart, yeast based bread - served here with fried peppers, tahini & grated tomato, ready for dunking into its delicious accompanying sauce.

    Houmous fans are in luck as there's two on offer. The first is served with whole chickpeas (masabacha style) with tahini & harissa for a little kick...

    and the second is topped with confit lamb and crackling (£11) - a meat lover's dream.

    Both come served with warm, pillowy breads so you can scoop up every last bit. 
    We also tried the chicken pastilla - made with flaky golden pastry and dried fruits. It's sadly been taken off the menu now but there's still plenty of incredible dishes for you to try.

    It's not just mezze-style dishes at Delicatessen though. There's also the option for more robust main courses too. 

    I loved the Moroccan chicken meatballs (£25) which come served in a silver dish with fresh Jerusalem artichoke, chunky lemons and basmati rice.

    The chicken thigh shawarma is also fab (£26) and comes served piled high on a seared laffa bread with sumac onions.


    I'm not usually a huge duck fan but I really enjoyed the seared duck breast here. It's served with a celeriac puree and heritage carrots (£28) and is nothing like the fatty duck dishes I've tried before.

    Veggies are also well catered for with a menu packed with falafels, mushroom gnocchi and this incredible golden cauliflower dish topped with tahini & smoked chilli (£8).

    The real main event though is for the meat-eaters and it comes in the form a giant mixed grill. For £75, you're presented with a tray filled to the brim with chicken thighs, lamb chops, rib eye steak....

    ...meaty Kebabs...

    merguez sausages and rich, silky bone marrow - ready for digging out and spreading on bread. They say it's for two people but I'd say there's more than enough for at least four of you to fill your boots, making it well worth the price tag once divided between you.

    After all that, you'll be tempted to skip pudding - but don't! If there's a few of you - definitely go for the Delicatessen mixed desserts platter (£40). You get a portion of four desserts and plenty of spoons so you can all tuck in...

    There's decadent warm churros with sugar cinnamon and hot chocolate sauce...

    Traditional Malabi with passion fruit, rose petals coconut and nut brittle... 
    and my favorite - the deliciously light Basbousa cake made with polenta and served with tahini semifreddo, mint jelly and raspberry & lemon coulis. What an incredible way to round off an incredible evening! 
    All in all, an evening of incredible food, delicious wine and great service - what more you could you want from a restaurant?

    They’re open from 12pm-11pm Sunday to Thursday, close at 4pm on Fridays and shut on Saturday. Oh and if you live close enough – they all also offer Deliveroo! I suggest you get down there ASAP!

    Delicatessen
    46 Rosslyn Hill
    Hampstead, NW3 1NH 

     * I was invited to the press dinner