Azulejos Adventures in Porto

Azulejos Adventures in Porto

I’m not gonna lie…. My main purpose of visiting Porto was to take in those azulejos.  If you’ve seen pictures of Porto (and other parts of Portugal) you’ve seen the beautiful, blue and white tiles that done the facades and interiors of buildings and churches. 

It was King Manuel I of Portugal who brought azulejo tiles from Seville, in Spain, to Portugal, during the fifteenth century. Azulejos were very common in parts of the in Seville and Grenada (Areas heavily influenced by Moorish architecture and art). The word azulejo comes from the Arabic word al zellige which means “the polished stone”.

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Picnic Perfect Muffaletta

Picnic Perfect Muffuletta

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[This is part of a paid collaboration with Leerdammer]

YAY to summer and yay to picnics.  I preset to your the Picnic Perfect Muffuletta featuring @leerdammer. Despite its goofy sounding name, it’s a serious sandwich that has wow factor when you serve it up.   

The muffuletta is a New Orleans classic that was invented in the 1930s.   

It could not be simpler. You hollow out a loaf of crusty bread then layer in Cheese and meats then top it with a herby olive relish (I’ve popped the recipe in the link in my bio). Then put the bread lid firmly back on and wrap it in cling film.  You need to wrap it pretty tight to compress all the filling.   You can make it up to three days in advance.

Not a fan of olives?  You can replace the olive relish with a pickle or even piccalilli.  One this you can’t skimp on is the meat and that delicious Leerdammer. 

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Middle Eastern Meatfree BBQ

Middle Eastern Meatfree BBQ

[This post is part of a paid collaboration with Naked Glory]

Summer feels like it is officially here.. So I’m firing up the BBQ (on my patio) and I’m cheating on meat with this Middle Eastern Meatfree BBQ with Naked Glory. Now, Naked Glory sausages are great on their own… but I’m craving a little escapism to warmer shores.

I’ve made a glaze with chilli, pomegranate molasses, cumin, sumac, paprika and oregano to give the sausages a smokey sweet heat.

bbq, meatfree, recipe, summer, summer recipes

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Jersey Royal Crush

Perfect Salt & Vinegar Chips (At Home)

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[This post is part of a paid collaboration with Youngs Seafood]

My favourite pub lunch (after a Sunday roast obvs) has to be Fish and chips. With pubs closed I recreated that lunch at home. I enlisted the help of Young’s Seafood to do all the hard work of doing the fish. I picked their new Tempura Beer Batter Cod. The fish has this incredibly thin crispy coating as you’d expect from tempura, but the flavour of a classic beer batter.  DELISH.

With the fish tackled it was time for me to focus on making some incredible chips from scratch. Nothing against frozen chips.. but I wanted to share a technique that I hacked off YouTube that makes incredible chips..  

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Fried Mozzarella sandwiches

Fried Mozzarella Sandwich (Aka Mozzarella in Carrozza)

It’s no secret that I adore I miss travelling… So I’m spending this time looking at past travels and what I loved about them. I keep coming back to Venice… the canals, the colours and the Cicchetti. Specifically the Fried Mozzarella Sandwich.. AKA Mozzarella in Carrozza I had whilst sipping an Aperol Spritz.

If you have not had Mozzarella in Carrozza before you are in for a treat. It’s roughly translated to mozzarella in a carriage.. and that’s what it is… Its kinda the love child between a grilled cheese sandwich and a savoury french toast… but with… you guessed it Mozzarella. These Fried Mozzarella Sandwiches could not be any easier or more delicious to make.

Traditionally they just have cheese… but in Venice, they have a slice of parma. Being extra, I’ve included a bit of basil because I love the stuff. Feel free to omit.

Best served with an Aperol Spritz whilst sat on a canal. But sitting near any outside space will suffice in the UK.

eggs, food52, inspiredby, recipe

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What I love about Deptford

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This July completes my 20th year of living in the UK, specifically London. It’s safe to say that London has become my home.  In those 20 years, I’ve lived all over the capital.  From Surbiton to Hampstead to The Docklands to Bromley to Peckham and finally Deptford.  As much as I loved all of the areas for different reasons…  Deptford has really become to feel like home.  Completely ironic after proclaiming that this would be one of the last places I’d like to live when I accidentally got lost here in 2012.

How wrong about that was I?

What do I love about Deptford?  Read on…

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Wagamama Katsu Curry Fakeaway

[This post is part of a paid collaboration with Aldi ]

When Aldi challenged me to recreate some of my favourite meals… One had to be the ICONIC Wagamama Katsu Chicken Curry. One ingredient that makes Katsu curry stand out is that supper crunchy panko bread crumb coating on the chicken. I hear you ask…. does Aldi sell Panko bread crumbs, Nah… But no panko is no problem.. Just fake your own for this Wagamama Katsu Curry Fakeaway. ⁣

Buy a loaf of white toast bread and pop it in the freezer. Once the slices are frozen solid, sauce off the crusts and then grate on the coarse side of a box grater. Then dry the crumbs out in the oven in a really low heat. Thank Me later. ⁣

The ingredients for this meal set me back £6.64 and it left ingredients to use another day. ⁣

I’ve popped the recipe and a how-to video below! Kanpai

copycat, fakeawy, recipe, takeaway

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Creamy Boursin Potato Salad

Creamy Boursin Potato Salad

[This post has been sponsored by Boursin]

Despite the dreary weather we are having… BBQ & Picnic Season is here. So I present to you my Creamy Boursin Potato Salad. I love a potato salad in the summer… but sometimes it’s nice to have one that’s a little creamier, tangy and full of herbs.

This potato salad fits that bill. Besides the creamy Boursin texture setting this apart, I really love the crunch that the celery and the hits of acid the capers provide. Use whatever extra herbs you may have at hand for the garnish… Parsley, Dill and Chives would be divine… Mint or perhaps basil would take it in another welcomed direction altogether.

I think you will find that this is a lovely year-round recipe.

boursin, recipe, salad, summer

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Arena Flowers Peonies

Arena Flowers Ethical Subscription

Lockdown has reminded me to not forget the little things that bring joy… One of those for me is flowers. So when I came back to my flat from a cycle to find a box of flowers from the newly launched Arena Flowers Ethical Subscription, its safe to say I was thrilled.   I mean who does not love a surprise. 

I was even more thrilled and filled with joy when it was full of Peonies. MY FAVOURITE FLOWER. ⁣the box was full of peony buds, eucalyptus and a little sachet to mix in the water to give the buds life, like the flowers were about to give me over the next week 

⁣Subscriptions are just £20 per delivery… and that is an incredible bargain for the quality of these blooms.  My flat smells INCREDIBLE. ⁣

⁣It’s not only the price that’s incredible… But the ethos and ethics behind Arena Flowers is incredible too  

floral delivery, flowers

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Cacio e Pepe Eggs

Cacio e Pepe Eggs

It’s no secret that I adore eggs…   So when I find a new way to cook them I’m like a kid in a candy store.  A fabulous friend shared a post by Food52 on all the different ways to cook eggs and one piqued my interest. 

That was cooking eggs in (Heavy) Double Cream or as they eloquently call it Caramelized Cream Eggs (via Ideas in Food) They described it as life-changing in the way you cook eggs and in fact the way that you look at ingredients.  They dropped the word luxuriously and I was completely sold.  

I’ve cooked the eggs a couple of time exactly as Food52 suggested and each time it was divine… But it got me thinking about flavouring the cream with things and the first thing that came to mind was Cacio e Pepe. With that creamy black pepper laced sauce… I love it so…

So this take on Eggs in Caramelised Cream was born.  It has no cheese in it… but when the cream caramelises it takes on a very similar flavour and its DIVINE! 

eggs, food52, inspiredby, recipe

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Ole & Steen Cinnamon Social (Kanelstang)

Ole & Steen Cinnamon Social (Kanelstang) Recipe

One of my favourite IF NOT MY FAVOURITE baked good has to be Ole & Steen’s Cinnamon Social.   I don’t know what it is that makes me obsess about it so. Is it the buttery brioche-like bread?  The swirls of warming cinnamon.  Perhaps the secret custard that gets baked in.  Or is it the glaze on top?  Who cares? Because I absolutely love it. 

Since lockdown, I’ve been lost without my cinnamon social… so I decided to take on and try and make the Cinnamon Social myself at home.   Now the Ole & Steen Cinnamon Social Recipe is not out there to google and find.  So I had to put my detective hat on and do some research. 

After a little bit of research, I found the proper danish name for the Cinnamon Social.  Its called the Kanelstang or cinnamon twig.  I guess because it looks like a log. 
Most of the recipes were in danish… so I based my recipe on this one from Valsemollen.dk as the finished product look most like my beloved Ole & Steen Cinnamon Social. I’ve popped my version of Ole & Steen Cinnamon Social Recipe below.

baking, copycat, fakeawy, Kanelstang, ole & steen, recipe, takeaway

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KFC Style Popcorn Chicken

KFC Popcorn Chicken Fakeaway

[This post is part of a paid collaboration with Aldi ]

When Aldi challenged me to create a Fakeaway… I had a couple of ideas. The first one was to honour the colonel himself and create some finger-licking good KFC Popcorn chicken and all the sides.

I spent just over £7 to make this spread and it fed two hungry mouths… plus there are loads of the ingredients left over for other uses. ⁣

The Star of the show was the American BBQ seasoning as I think it was a good nod to the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices in one jar. Another secret was to marinate the chicken in greek yoghurt and pickle brine overnight. Trust me it makes it epic. ⁣

copycat, fakeawy, kfc, recipe, takeaway

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Restaurant Quality Ingredients Delivered

Wolf and Lamb Delivery – Restaurant Quality Ingredients Delivered.

As much of a lover of modern advances and conveniences… I’ve never been a fan of online grocery shopping… There is something about perusing over the perfect tomatoes, selecting that sensational steak and getting inspired by something that has just come into season. 

For the time being those days are gone…. Well not really gone, but have lost a little bit of their sparkle.    Well, that sparkle was shining again when I received [gifted] this delivery from Wolf and Lamb Delivery.   I mean who does not love Restaurant Quality Ingredients Delivered to their door?

Home Delivery, Lockdown, Restaurant Quality Ingredients Delivered

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The Tastiest Holiday Romance – Jersey Royal, Creme fraiche, Rosemary & Brown Butter Pizza

Have you ever fell in love when you were travelling?  I mean change your life kinda falling in love?  A love Like never before kinda love?

That happened to me on my recent trip to Malmo Sweden.  I’ve always fancied getting up close and personal with a swede (the person not the veg) when I visited.   Never in a million years would I have thought that I’d travel to Sweden and fall completely head over hills with an Italian. An Italian hussy that’s loved by most people in the world. 

Brown Butter, Jersey Royals, Pizza, recipe, Travel

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Boursin Stuffed Dough Balls

[ This post is part of a paid collaboration with Boursin]

Today is all about dough balls…homemade Boursin ones, in fact! All too often dough balls are relegated to a starter or side dish, but I think that this delicious twist on a classic dish deserves to be the star of the show. ⁣

These cheesy Boursin stuffed dough balls will have any pizza demoted to a side dish. Serve them with your favourite pizza sauce, garlic butter or probably just more of that tasty Boursin Velvety for dipping… because there is no such thing as too much of a good thing. ⁣

bread, fakeawy, pizza dough, recipe

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Hotel Catalonia Porto

Hotel Catalonia Porto – The perfect spa hotel for your stay in Porto

Are you hunting for the perfect hotel for your weekend in Porto?
A hotel that has a pool, spa, sauna and gym?
A hotel that is super hospitable like offering you a cocktail and nibble on arrival?
A hotel that’s super convenient to most everything you would like to see in Porto, without being in a cramped date hotel?
A hotel that’s spacious and well equipped?

If you answered yes to any of those questions… I have found the perfect hotel in Porto that fits that bill. Say Hello to Hotel Catalonia Porto. Catalonia Port is part of the Catalonia Hotel Collection of Hotels throughout Europe. They have loads of hotels across Spain… but this is their first foray into Portugal, I would assume that my experience will be similar at most of their locations.

Design Hotels, Hotels, Hotels with Pools, porto, Portugal

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Sweet & Sour Chicken Fakeaway

Sweet & Sour Chicken Fakeaway

[ This post is part of a paid collaboration with Peperami ]

It’s funny what lockdown does to people… I’m obsessed with cleaning… I miss the gym hardcore and I’m craving things I don’t normally crave like Sweet and sour chicken.

So when Peperami.tv challenged me to create a fake-away using their Pep’d up Chicken bites… It was a no brainer. I had to make a Sweet & Sour Chicken Fakeaway. The easy answer would be to chuck the bites in a sweet and sour sauce. In reality, I was craving Hong Kong-style sweet and sour chicken with that crispy coating. But I could not figure out how to make it work.

I did not want the chicken to dry out as its already cooked…. Then it hit me to break the rules (on the packaging) and freeze the bites. So when you cook the chicken bits, the coating crisps up and the bites just heat through.

Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself.

chinese, copycat, fakeawy, hongkong, recipe, sweetandsour, takeaway

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Southern Style Katsu Sando

Southern Style Katsu Sando

[ This post is part of a paid collaboration with Paxo/Bisto ]

Unless you have been living under a rock… it’s impossible to miss the Katsu Sando. I love them and with this lockdown, I’m missing them like mad so I thought I’d make them at home and created a Southern US Style Katsu Sando.

I fakeaway’d this Sando with the help of Bisto Southern Style gravy & Paxo Southern Fried Bread Crumbs.⁠ ⁠ They are kinda easy to make, heaps of fun to eat and so insta-worthy.⁠ ⁠

chinese, copycat, fakeawy, hongkong, recipe, sweetandsour, takeaway

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The Art Of Blending In When Travelling.

I’ve always been told that the best way to travel is to experience places like a local.   Now the best way to achieve that is blend in.  The benefits of blending in and acting a bit less like a tourist and more like a local never be underestimated.

Blending in can afford you a more intimate look at the local culture, one that may not be granted to outsiders.  If you look and act like a tourist then you will be treated like one. If you want to walk the walk, it’s going to have to be their walk. And don’t assume that your custom is their custom.

More important than that is safety. Most criminals can spot tourists from dress, mannerisms, and the way they act a mile off.  Blending in will not make you completely impervious from pickpockets and scam artists,  but it can help protect you.   That said, you will still need to keep your whits about you even if you blend in. 

Blending In, Local, Stay Like A Local, Travel Tips, World Travel

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Hotel Ottila – The perfect hotel for your stay in Copenhagen.

Are you hunting for the perfect hotel for your weekend in Copenhagen?
A hotel that has style, without being achingly hip?
A luxe hotel that won’t break the bank?
A hotel that’s super convenient to most everything you would like to see in the City, without being in a cramped date hotel?
A hotel that has a unique history and new lease on life?

If you answered yes to any of those questions… I have found the perfect hotel in Copenhagen that fits that bill. Say Hello to Hotel Otilla.  Hotel Otilla is part of the Brochner Hotels collection of Luxury hotels in Denmark.  They have several hotels in Copenhagen, I would assume that my experience will be similar at most of their locations.

copenhagen, Denmark, Design Hotels, Hotels, Luxury Hotel

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Sea Containers – Seafood by the Seaside errr Thames Side

Eating all the seafood at Sea Containers Restaurant seems like the right thing to do… no?

I’ve always loved the rooftop bar (The 12th Knot) at Sea Containers  , I don’t know why I’ve never ventured to the Thames level restaurant before. Maybe because I think that it’s attached to zhuzhy hotel, where I thought the food would be style over substance.

Design Hotels, Hotels, London, london hotel, seafood

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Mama Shelter – The perfect hotel for your weekend in East London.

Are you hunting for the perfect hotel for a weekend in London? 
A design-led does not feel like it’s a flat pack hotel? 
A hotel that won’t break the bank? 
A hotel that’s very close to the east end of London?
A hotel that has a brilliant food and beverage offering? 
A hotel that makes you feel like a pop-star in training?

If you answered yes to any of those questions… I have found the perfect hotel in London that fits that bill. Say hello to Mama Shelter London.  Mama Shelter is a collection of lively, unique and quirky places to rest your head, fill your bellies and wet your whistels around the globe (Think Los Angeles, Paris, Rio, Prague and Now London to name a few) 
The group  already boasts 1813 rooms, 13 restaurants and 1170 employees in 12 cities and 7 countries.

Design Hotels, Hotels, London, london hotel, Luxury Hotel

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The Savoy Hotel Beaufort Bar

Whenever anyone suggests having drinks and nibbles at @TheSavoyHotel my mind automatically assumes that it’s at the Iconic American Bar. ⁣Little did I know about the Beaufort Bar at The Savoy Hotel. The bar is a black and gold art deco oasis.

The Beaufort Bar is tucked away off of the Thames Foyer at the Savoy. The Beaufort Bar at The Savoy Hotel opens its magnificent doors at 5pm. The Beaufort bar itself stands on the hotel’s former cabaret stage.  It goes without saying when you enter there is a real sense of theatre, magic and Drama with a capital ‘D’. ⁣⠀

Cocktails, London, Luxury Hotel, Must Do London, The Savoy

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Breakfast at Fortnum’s at the Royal Exchange

I love a good breakfast… and breakfast at Fortnum’s at the Royal Exchange is bloody good.  I’ve had a long love affair with F&M… When I first moved to the UK I had a Sunday ritual to buy little bits for my cupboards like jams, biscuits, and chutneys.   The thought process behind that was if it’s fit for the queen, it’s good enough for me.⁣⠀

Cocktails, London, Luxury Hotel, Must Do London, The Savoy

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Eating to improve your mood – Haddock, Spinach and Mushroom Frittata

I’ve always been a firm believer that the food we eat can help to influence your mood. Feeling sad + Eat Pizza = Feeling happy. Feeling Celebratory + Eat a Burger = Feeling Celebratory. Feeling Stressed + Eating a packet of Doritos = Feeling Stress-free.

I’m kind of joking, but not. I know that throughout my life I reach for those fatty, salty, starchy, carby meals whenever I feel like I need to adjust my mood. They totally help in the short term without a doubt, the pleasure that I derive from eating them is immense. Though as I grow older (yeah that) I’m looking to be able to adjust my moods from foods in other ways.

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Savoury Oat Porridge to start the day.

Breakfast is probably my favourite meal of the day. You would think that I’d be up every morning cooking up an epic start of the day… Truth is I usually skip it or have something really simple like a boiled egg. Despite my American roots and love of sugary cereals, doughnuts and maple syrup covered pancakes, they really don’t do it for me for breakfast. I like to start my days eating with something savoury.  Like this Savoury Oat Porridge.

Which comes to think of it… is why I probably don’t get along with traditional porridge. Those hot wet oats are normally made enjoyable with swirls of maple syrup or dollops of jam. If its sweet, it’s not for me…. that was until I discovered savoury oat porridge.

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My Favourite Poke Bowls in London

Oh Gawd, I love a good poke..    Nope, not talking about that thing you used to do to strangers on Facebook to get their attention.   

I’m talking about Poke bowl. Those pretty little-layered bowls of sushi grade fish, rice and toppings. Next to burgers and ramen, I never tire of getting face to face with a bowl of poke.  Not only are they visually stunning to look at they are so darn delicious! 

What I love most about it is being able to feel like I’m eating a tray of sushi without all the fiddly work of eating every single piece.    I love how fresh it tastes and how you can customise it to your exact specifications.  For the record, I cannot have poke without avocado!  

Read the List of my favourite Poké Bowls. 

 

Pasta Alla Gricia

Pasta alla Gricia

Pasta alla Gricia may be the most underrated of all the four types of classic Roman pastas. The world loves a carbonara, probably the most dare I say pedestrian of the four. Every food lover in London gets their knickers in a twist over cacio e Pepe. Not being shady, I like it too… so much I created a fried egg recipe that tasted like it. I don’t really love the tomato heavy Amatriciana, but that’s just me.

My favourite has to be Pasta alla Gricia. Its super simple to make you need 3 ingredients pasta, pecorino and guanciale. With simple recipes its important that you get top-quality ingredients. All of my Italian groceries come from the ICONIC Lina Stores in London. they have been supplying Londoners with Italian groceries and deli items from their Soho shop since 1944.

Keeping with being very 2020, Lina Stores have launched a grocery delivery service. You can get almost everything Italian delivered to your doorstep in London. From fresh pasta, sauces, cheese olives, bread, rice and cannoli.

They deliver nationwide now so rejoice!

eggs, food52, inspiredby, recipe

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