This is my semi-regular review column where I share the foodie related things i’ve loved in the last month (or two). As a food blogger one of the main perks is being sent lots of products to try out, so I like to round-up the ones worth a try, and leave out the ones that are a bit naff.
Hasselhachers Hot Drinking Chocolate
Definitely a luxury product at £5 a pack, however what you’re getting here are flakes of 100% Colombian cacao with no added sugar or nasties. You simply heat up a cup of milk, spoon in some flakes, let it melt then stir until frothy. We get through quite a lot of hot chocolate in this house so it was good to test a new product out. I love that we can choose how sweet to make it. Matthew and I drank it straight, but for the boys I added a tiny spot of sugar as they’re not keen on really strong chocolate. The tasting notes state “fruity and flowery aromas and flavour with nutty malt notes”. If you’re really into your chocolate in the same way that you are coffee, then this product is definitely for you. It’s a whole world away from instant!
I reckon a pouch of this with a classy mug would make a cracking Christmas present for a teacher at the end of next term.
£5 for 250g stand up flaked pouch, available in Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose and M&S
9 Bar Breakfast Bars
Arlo has been the biggest fan of these energy bars, grabbing a sneaky one out of my product sample box every time he comes into the kitchen. But when you look at what’s in them, I really don’t mind! Each bar is packed with a blend of seeds including sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and hemp which are both nutritionally dense and contain a wide range of nutrients. Matthew’s also a fan as they’re a quick energy hit on his way out of the door to work. They’re approved by both the Vegetarian and Coeliac Societies with a huge range of flavours. The favourite in this house is Cashew and Cocoa.
£1.90 for a pack of 4, available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrison, Waitrose and Holland & Barrett
OXO Good Grips Herb Mincer
Chopping herbs is a bit of a chore when your knife skills are decidedly clunky like mine. This nifty device is basically a set of circular blades that you draw back and forth over herbs to get them swiftly chopped up ready for scattering into your recipes. It’s small, easy to clean and part of the OXO Good Grips range which i’ve long been a fan of for its great design and functionality.
£12, available from John Lewis
Vitamix Professional Series 750
I’m going to dedicate a larger post to show this splendid gadget off… but just wanted to share that so far this new and improved model is a bit quieter, very good looking and even has a handy cleaning function. We’re already getting along famously, and my smoothie loving husband is certainly a big fan. First adventure was making nut butter with roasted salted almonds… unbelievably good. Will report my full findings in the coming weeks.
£650, available in Harrods, Selfridges
Since we moved to this part of West London over nine years ago, Ealing has really started to transform from a bland little town centre with barely anywhere decent to eat out, to somewhere far more enticing. True we live in London and have a gazillion different places to try if we hop on a tube or bus, but it’s great when the immediate area can offer some culinary interest.
I thought I’d include a little round-up of some of my favourite places at the moment:
Lunch at Papillon
Without fail, if i’m meeting someone for lunch in Northfields, it will ALWAYS be at Abel’s cafe Papillon, ALWAYS! It’s chic interiors, freshly prepared food, exceptionally good value prices and friendly staff make it hard to compete with so it’s always bustling with customers.
My personal favourites are the Croque Fume, Quiche of the day, Soup, Veggie Club Sandwich or the Halloumi Salad.
Papillon Cafe, 147 Northfields Avenue, London W13 9QT
Bistro Night at The Clock Tower Cafe
I went with a gaggle of girls to try out the new Bistro Night at Hanwell’s little gem The Clocktower Cafe. Morna’s been running the place for over a year now, and along with her brilliant team have turned it into a bit of a local hotspot. By day it’s a fabulous place for coffee and a freshly baked cake that ends up turning into lunching on an imaginative menu of salads and sliders. By night Morna opens up for private parties and special events with a truly magical quality. Supperclubs, Jazz Nights and now the start of Friday Night Bistro Nights.
It’s amazing value, the food is divine and the cocktails even more so. The pretty pomegranate adorned halloumi salad was wonderful and the Limoncello Gin Fizz really quite remarkable. Book yourself a table for the next one…
Takeaway Pizza from Ital
This little takeaway pizza place around the corner from us opened up earlier in the year, but we only got around to trying it this week. It took over from a very rundown looking takeaway joint that had been on the Avenue for decades. I heard whisperings that the new pizza place was pushing out authentic style pizzas and couldn’t resist giving ordering a couple.
The crust was crisp and thin, but definitely not flimsy. The toppings generous but not sickly. We ordered online and it was delivered swiftly in smart unbranded boxes. This place totally exceeded our expectations and we’ll definitely be going back for more.
10 inch pizzas from £6.90
190 Northfields Avenue, London W13 9SJ
Cocktails at Turtle Bay
This Caribbean restaurant only sprung up in Ealing Broadway recently where the grim old Post Office used to be. It’s part of a larger chain so I wasn’t expecting it to be any great shakes if i’m honest. However on a night out with my lovely next door neighbours we had a brilliant experience! There was a happy hour for the delicious cocktails and chilled red stripe beer on tap as the perfect antidote to wash down the super spicy menu. We shared lots of little dishes then launched into the bigger menu. Fun, beach vibe interior, perfect when you’re in the mood for a party! It was chucking it down with rain outside but we felt like we were in a beach shack in the Caribbean – a far cry from the hours wasted in the dreary Post Office queue…
Menu highlights: Sweetcorn Fritters with Hot Sauce, Chilli Fried Squid, Jerk Chicken and the most incredible Sweet Potato Fries i’ve ever had! Cocktail wise I’d opt for the Bay Caipirinha.
Starters £4.95, Mains from £9.65, Cocktails £6.85 or 2 4 1 during happy hour (12-7pm and 10pm-closing)
Disclosure: None of the West London establishments listed above knew I was going to write a review about them so they were independent visits paid for by myself.
Thank you to the PR companies who sent me free samples to try – I was not paid to write about them but only include products I would genuinely recommend to my readers.