Friday, 3 July 2015

Independence Day

Independence Day
With the really hot weather in London this week, memories come flooding back of tropical paradises that I’ve visited, one of my favourites is the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui. So when invited to come along to Hilton's wonderful restaurant Trader Vic’s on Park Lane to sample a special Independence Day inspired menu I was off before you could say ‘Aloha’.
Trader Vic's
You might think it strange for a true Brit to want to celebrate the 4th July, but we too can celebrate the event in which we finally had independence from the Americans. Joking aside, with wonderful food and a sound knowledge of making great Mai Tai cocktails, Trader Vic’s is a wonderful place to have a little fun.

The Independence day menu is £49 for three courses. 

Our meal began with tender BBQ spare ribs. 
Trader Vic's
They were huge in size, if you like ribs in which your meat drops off the bone then these are not the choice for you. I however love to pull the meat off the bone so they were perfect.  

Other options for starters, curried cauliflower soup (given the temperature outside this was definitely not an option) and Maryland crab cakes.
Trader Vic's
The crab cakes were perfectly cooked and the addition of the summer leaves and Tartar sauce the perfect accompaniment. 

For mains you have a second chance at ribs, Mongolian short beef ribs with roasted bell pepper mash and corn on the cob. 
Trader Vic's
This is a homely and very comforting meal. I thoroughly enjoyed the mash potato with the addition of the bell peppers delicious.  

The other main on offer which was my clear favourite was BBQ Monk fish wrapped in Parma ham and served with spiced ratatouille. 
Trader Vic's
The dish is beautifully presented with the spiced ratatouille, that was perfectly cooked and the Parma ham added the perfect saltiness to the dish. 

For the vegetarians amongst us, they also served chargrilled symphony of vegetables, with sweet potato mash and herb oil. 

Now although rather full at this point, to miss out on dessert would be a real shame, especially during a celebration. 

Dessert offerings come in the form of Dobos Torte (layered chocolate cake and crunchy caramel). 
Trader Vic's
The thin layers of sponge make this a delicious lite and tasty dessert. The crunchy caramel was a great addition. 

The other offering is banana fritters, now I have a love hate relationship with this dessert. 
Trader Vic's
As an option Banana fritters certainly would not be first on my list of desserts, but if done well it can be a good way to round off a meal . The fritters were perfectly cooked and I am pleased to say had not been drowned in oil. 

If you are in London and looking for somewhere to celebrate Independence day, then the Hilton's Trader Vic is the perfect place to enjoy yourself. 

Wishing all my American readers a wonderful 4th July. What plans do you have to celebrate Independence Day?

Click to add a blog post for Trader Vic's - London Hilton On Park Lane Hotel on Zomato Square Meal

4th july
*We were kindly guests of Trader Vic's, however in no way did that affect this review we had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed celebrating independence day. 

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Friday, 26 June 2015

Interior design ideas for your home

Interior design
House and Interior Show Olympia

The way we are living is changing, with smaller spaces to live in British homes it is important to be creative with design.This post is for anyone who wants inspiration on creating a beautiful looking home and garden.  

Outside of food I love architecture and interior design. Architecture and interior design done in the right way can make a space both practical and beautiful. But good design can really bring a building to life. 

Below are some buildings that whilst they may not be conventionally beautiful to me are stunning because they use the space and design in an interesting way. 
Recently when I saw that Kensington Olympia had a new exhibition 'house', I knew instantly that I really wanted to go. The show was divided into three areas: 

  • Interior and exterior design
  • Gourmet food 
  • International art and antiques

I thought it would be nice to share some of the highlights from the day. 

Interior and Exterior Design:
I have admired David Harber and his work for a number of years. This is partly because he came to sculpting later in life, which encourages me to keep alive my desire to make bronze statues in the future, rather than just being a pipe dream.

David uses water, light, and three dimensional design to make the most beautiful works of art for any size garden.
David Harber
Many of the exhibitors showed off the best of British design and talent. But I specifically liked the winners of this years Design Guild Mark awarded for excellence in furniture design.  
Beautiful furniture
The Hat Tree designed by Ben Fowler and made out of beech is not only beautiful but highly practical. 

The Windsor Rocker designed by Katie Walker is made from one continuous piece of wood. It is reminiscent of the original Wheelwright Windsor chair. 

British designers really are among some of the best in the world. 

Taking one of the most iconic objects of the second world war, the Spitfire; Huw Edwards Jones has built an amazing Spitfire memorial table using restored propellers from the actual aircraft.
Interior design
I couldn't help but love this next table that reminded me of past fun I've had building and designing in the Minecraft world (does anyone else see a sheep?).
Gourmet Food:
Many a stand were letting you sample their foodie wares, and it didn't take me long to head over to this side of the exhibition to see what was on offer.
dips and sauces
Some of the samples were of such high quality that after having a small feast, I waited patiently for them to put out fresh taster plates.
It would have been rude not to try more than one of each type! 

I also bought enough sausages to keep me going till next years show.
Heck Sausages
You might have thought that after my mini tasters that I couldn't possibly have been hungry, but the legs were getting a little weary so I decided on a rest in a section that just happened to serve afternoon tea. 
Afternoon tea
Certainly not the Ritz, but a welcome break for tired legs and well received. After all the eating we headed to the next exhibition to walk the food off. 

International Art and Antiques:
The Arts and Antiques exhibition was running in conjunction with the 'Home' show and had some lovely exhibits that would happily adorn my house if the lottery fairy ever blesses me.
We had a wonderful day and since my visit have been actively adding ideas to Pinterest. If you get a chance to go next year then I would highly recommend it; however, you might have to gently nudge me away from the free tasting samples to try ones for yourself.

What's your favourite room in your house? If you could redesign your home or a room what would you do?

I would love to read your comments. Share any design tips you have. 

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Friday, 19 June 2015

Chicken and Prawn Rosso pesto Pasta

pasta recipe
Italian food is a favourite and is something that I love cooking at home. Tomato pasta dishes that pack flavour and are quick to make always win through. Today I am sharing my chicken and prawn (shrimp) Rosso pesto pasta. 

For this recipe you will need the following ingredients:
Pasta Recipe
It serves four as a main meal, takes twenty minutes to prepare and thirty minutes to cook. 

So let's crack on:
1.Take one onion and chop. 
Pasta recipe
2.Chop one red and green pepper.
pasta recipe
3.Chop Two gloves of garlic.
Pasta chicken and prawn recipe
4. In a large saucepan heat a teaspoon of oil on a medium heat and add the onion, peppers and garlic. 
Best pasta dishes
Gentle fry for seven minutes. 
5.Whilst the onion, pepper and garlic is cooking chop the two chicken breasts. 
Best pasta recipes
6.Add the two chicken breasts to the onions, peppers and garlic. 
Pesto Pasta recipe
7.Cook the chicken for ten minutes and then add 25 grams of wild mushrooms. 
Pasta Recipe
8.Gentle fry the mushrooms for three minutes. 
9.When the mushrooms have been mixed and slightly softened add a teaspoon of hot sauce. 
Pasta recipe
10.Whilst the ingredients continue to cook. Add 40 grams of tagliatelle pasta to a pan of boiling water with a good pinch of salt. Cook for ten to twelve minutes or as directed on the packet. 

11.Returning to the chicken add 170 grams of raw peeled prawns (shrimp) to the chicken. 
Pasta Recipes
12.Gentle cook the prawns, when completed add the pesto Rosso sauce and stir through all the ingredients.
Pasta Recipe.
You can make your own sauce if you like it is easy enough to make, I personally like the jar option because it makes the meal a super quick meal. 

13.When the chicken and prawns (shrimp) are coated in the Rosso, chop five basil leaves and add to the frying pan with the other ingredients. 
Pasta recipe
14.By this stage the pasta should be cooked. Take two dessert spoonfuls of the pasta water and add to the chicken and shrimp. The water will help to bind the pasta to the sauce. 

15. Add the drained pasta to all the other ingredients and stir in until all the pasta is coated. 
Pasta recipes
16.You are now ready to dish your wonderful meal up.
Pasta Recipe
Sit back relax and totally enjoy the wonderful food that you have made with your own fair hands. Nothing is quite as satisfying.

Do let me know if you would like me to do more cooking posts in the comments below. If there is something specifically that you would like me to cook let me know. 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. Hope you have some fun plans. 

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Monday, 15 June 2015

National Picnic Week

National Picnic week
This week (Sat 13th- Sun 21st July) is National Picnic weekso on FoodieForce I thought I would share some of my favourite places to have a picnic in and around London. 

Picnicking is one of my favourite Summer pastimes. It is a great way to get together with friends and family to play games and share some wonderful food. 

The Royal Botanical gardens has to be one of the world's most famous gardens. For me I can easily while away a whole day wandering around the peace and tranquil gardens.
The Palm House is one of the largest surviving Victorian glasshouses in the world and is such an architectural masterpiece
Kew Gardens
The waterlily house has the world's largest and the smallest water lilly's in the world. 
Kew Garden's
The largest water lilly measures a hulking one meter wide. The smallest water lilly no longer exists in the wild and Kew gardens have saved it from extinction. 

I love the Chinese pagoda which stands tall in the grounds and is the perfect place to have a picnic. 

Fancy visiting? Tickets cost £15 for adults and £3.50 for children (4-16 years)

2. Hyde Park:
One of eight Royal Park's in London. The park covers 350 acres and houses the Princess Diana Memorial. 
Hyde Park
It is a brilliant place to have a picnic and is near Buckingham Palace, Changing of the Guards and Harrods

Fancy a foodie treat visit Harrods amazing food hall to get some yummy goodies for your picnic. 

A short walk from Crystal Palace Station, Crystal Palace park has been a love of mine for many year's, my parents used to take me there as a child. With a lovely lake to walk around, small farm and children's playground it is the perfect park for all the family. 
Crystal Palace
It even has prehistoric dinosaurs. 

Next up is Richmond Park, a National Nature Reserve and the largest of the Royal Park's in London. Lovely open spaces with free roaming beautiful herds of Red and Fallow Deer. 
Richmond Park
The park was originally created by Charles I in the 17th Century as a deer park and has great architectural and historic interest. It has many beautiful places to stop for a picnic and play ball games with friends and family. However, don't pick the mushrooms or ride your bicycles too fast or you might find yourself having a private picnic with the special park Police force.

All this talk of picnics and summer has me lusting after some new goodies for eating outdoors. Below are some of my favourites:
I am loving the Marks and Spencer wicker picnic basket with cups, plates and cutlery £55. 

Want a cheaper option Wilkinson Amber picnic hamper £20 comes with cutlery, ceramic plates and two mugs. 

Add some pretty straws £2.99 and fun games with this vintage tin alley game £19.95. 
Outdoor eatting
The best part of eating outdoors has to be the potential BBQ opportunities. Want to brighten up the experience, look at these beauties created by Jamie Oliver £69. 
Jamie Oliver
BBQ ideas
Get the taste of summer with some foodie inspiration to make the perfect salad here

So whatever you have planned for National Picnic week make sure you enjoy the great outdoors. 

Where is your favourite place to have a picnic? 

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