Monday, 27 July 2015

Nonnas Restaurant Chesterfield

Nonnas Restaurant
When trying a new restaurant I always have high expectations, when it is an Italian restaurant the hope is even higher. 

During our recent visit to Chatsworth House we stumbled across Nonnas a stylish Italian restaurant that we had popped in to get a coffee for our journey. We thought that the restaurant looked so nice that we would book lunch there for the following day. 

Nonnas Restaurant
Stepping through the doors of the restaurant all signs are positive, Nonnas houses a cafe, bar and restaurant. 

We are quickly seated at a booth in the main restaurant whilst we peruse the menu. As we are already rather hungry we opt for some fresh Italian bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 
Nonnas Restaurant
It's Sunday, so our choices for mains are made easy, Nonnas restaurant offers a Sunday roast with one meat (£13) or two meats (£15). The choices of meats on the day we visited were lamb and gammon
Nonnas Restaurant
The meal arrives looking delicious but strangely served on a wooden chopping board, the meat is accompanied with Yorkshire pudding, green beans, carrots, potatoes and mash. 

Whilst the meat was delicious the overall delivery was definitely style over substance. For me the chopping board was a strange way to present the roast and we could see that the plating up took considerable time for the chefs, whilst the food sat getting cold under the pass.

The accompanying garnishes on the board were also an odd addition with one having the taste and consistency of a cucumber raita and the other a fruit chutney but was not discernible enough to tell. 

The gravy was served within a white enamel mug that didn't pour and for me was a pointless addition. 
Nonnas Restaurant
Restaurants really frustrate me that try too hard and totally forget their customers. A number of dinning guests had ordered the Sunday roast as we had, all struggled in the same way to pour the gravy and not one completed the two garnishes. Why continue to serve food in this way if your customers are giving you a huge clue that it is not working?  

Our accompanying dining companion fared better with his choice of tagliatelle, slow cooked sausage sauce, chilli, bay leaf (£10).
Nonnas Restaurant
The pasta had the perfect balance of chilli and sausage in tomato sauce.  

Overall a really disappointing meal and one I certainly would not repeat, which is a real shame. 

This beautiful looking restaurant has huge potential but is chaotic in its service, with no one really being clear of their role. Whilst the food has the possibility to be excellent with a few presentation tweaks, the restaurant needs to be far more responsive to the visual clues that customers give in the way of feedback.

131 Chatsworth Road
S40 2AH

 photo foodieforce_32.jpg

Monday, 20 July 2015

Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House
In the UK warm weather is a scarcity, so when it shines most of us head for the outdoors. Last Saturday the weather did exactly that so with little hesitation we decided to head to Chatsworth House, which is a breathtaking stately home in Derbyshire.
Chatsworth House
The house has one of Europe's most significant art collections. So if you are into history or art you definitely need to take a look.

The house is set in 1822 acres of beautiful gardens, parkland, farmyard, adventure playground and a farm shop.

Chatsworth House
Chatsworth House
Chatsworth House
The display greenhouse houses some wonderful ornamental plants.
Chatsworth House
Chatsworth house

The gardens have been a highlight of ours for many years, as the setting is breathtaking, housing some of the oldest trees in the UK and a wonderful array of old and new sculptures.
Chatsworth House
Modern Sculptures
Modern Scultptures
The cascade is an iconic stone stepped fountain which is 300 years old. 
Chatsworth House
As the water trickles down it makes a wonderful and calming sound. We have spent many a wonderful afternoon picnicking watching children absentmindedly playing in the water.

Another beautiful water feature is the squirting Willow tree splashing water from its fountain branches. 

Chatsworth House
On a warm day this is the perfect place to have a cool down, perfectly positioned in the shade to eat a yummy ice-cream. 
Chatsworth House
The emperor fountain though for me is the highlight of the whole garden. It is one of the highest fountains in the world reaching heights of 90 metres. 
Chatsworth house
Today in order to preserve energy it runs at half the possible power but is still a sight to behold and the squeals of children getting wet as the wind carries the water is a delight to behold.

Another favourite is the rookery created by giants, where there are gigantic stones standing tall and proud 45 feet with a wonderful waterfall.

Chatsworth House
Chatsworth House

This year Chatsworth worked with Laurent-Perrier and garden designer Dan Pearson to create a show garden  at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. They were successfully awarded best show garden, quite the achievement for a first time outing well done Chatsworth and Laurent-Perrier.

On a visit you can easily while a way a good few hours just in the gardens, so if you are visiting make sure you arrive early and stay for a whole day to make the most of your visit. 

As a foodie the day wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Chatsworth estate farm shop. 
Chatsworth House
The shop houses a bakery, butchers, fish counter, delicatessen, fruit and vegetables. 
Chatsworth Farm shop
Chatsworth Farm shop
The butchers offers a wonderful selection of beef, lamb (Available mid May), venison (Available November - March), grouse (Available August -December) and pheasant (Available October - February) straight from the estate. 

Chatsworth House
Over 60% of all the products are produced or prepared on site. It is the perfect place to pick up all your supplies for Sunday lunch. 

On our visits we always seem to end up leaving with a wonderful cake. 
Chatsworth House
I'm not sure how it makes it into the basket but you certainly won't hear me complaining. 

Chatsworth House never fails to disappoint, it is the perfect day out for all the family and definitely worth a visit

What's your favourite way to spend a hot summers day?
Chatsworth House

 photo foodieforce_32.jpg

Friday, 10 July 2015

Beauty Favourites

;Favourite cosmetics
I'm really not quite sure where the last few months have gone but they passed me by in an instant. Whilst the months might have whizzed past there have been a number of beauty and make-up products that I have been loving and thought you might like me to share. 

Skincare loves:
As I have previously shared in posts unless a skincare routine is quick and easy you can count me out. I will probably regret this attitude as I get older, when my collagen reduces and I start developing fine lines, but for now I don't have the energy or time for anything time consuming. 

1. The first item I have been enjoying is The Body Shop Drops of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask (£22).
The Body Shop
I have Corinne to thank for getting me hooked on this product. I should start by saying that the texture and consistency of this product is a little odd, it is bouncy and gooey like marshmallow. 

I've been using this product for about three months now and have been loving how moisturising it is. I suffer with dry skin and this product really has made a difference to the appearance and texture of my skin. My skin has lost its dull appearance, is smoother and soft to touch. 

You only need a tiny amount of the product and I suggest using it at least half an hour before you go to bed as it takes a while to seep into the skin and no longer be sticky. It has a wonderful fresh scent and the best part is you leave it on over night to work its magic and you don't have to think about it.  

As someone who has to wear sun cream everyday, having an inbuilt UV protection in a moisturiser will always get my vote. 

When I first tried the Millionaire Moisturiser in the Lush shop I loved the smell of the product first and the fact that it left my skin with a healthy pearly sheen. When I found out the price however for such a small amount of product this seriously put me off. 

It was a good few months until I actually purchased it and I am pleased to say that I have been loving it. A few things to note you need the smallest of amounts and I mean pea size. You really do not want to be plastering this on, a little goes a long way. If you have oily to greasy skin then this is not the product for you. The Shea butter and oil contents are very high and the product will just sit on the top of your skin and not sink in. 

This product really is a dream for those of us with dry skin, it has evened out my skin tone and has really bought my skin back to life. Because of the shine effect I prefer to use mine after a bath in the evening. If you wear make up in the day then this effect would probably be a nice addition to have 
underneath your make-up. 
Body care love:
I really like products that have a dual use, this product can be used in both the bath and shower. It is great for the bath after a hard days work, for relaxing the muscles and smells divine with scents of rosemary, mint and geranium. 

In the morning in the shower the opposite is true it is invigorating and perfect for waking me up. I will definitely be repurchasing this.  

Make-up loves:
I don't need make-up to make me feel good or beautiful but every now and then I do like to have make-up on for a night out. My use of make-up is very minimalist, so the products below are my go to favourites. 

1.Benefit Erase Paste (£20.50).
I have black bags under my eyes that a panda would be envious of. 
black bags
No matter how much sleep I get and the amount of water I drink they still remain. I blame my parents, genetics and Orange is the New Black. 

Benefit Erase paste has been my best friend for hiding them. My preferred method of applying is my fingers and working it in and it does a great job of reducing the appearance of my black bags. 
2.Benefit "That Gal" Primer (£22.50). 
Erase paste is followed up with the "That Gal" Primer, I use two twists of the product and place in three locations my forehead and both cheeks. Then using my fingers in a sweeping motion in the shape of a three I work it in. It adds a lovely glow to my skin that brings my face to life. 

3.Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick (£32.50). 
Bobbi Brown
I use the shimmer brick as an eye shadow and as a blush on my cheeks. It is an expensive product but lasts me for at least a year. 

4.Benefit High Beam (£19.50).
High Beam
Now there are lots of dupes of this product but they are in my option definitely not as good. I use the high beam just below my eye brows and cheeks as a highlighter. It is a great way to finish off a make-up look. Again a bottle will last me for ages. 

What are your beauty favourites? Are there any products that you just can't live without? Share with me in the comments below

 photo foodieforce_32.jpg

Monday, 6 July 2015

Bloggers to watch

Top Bloggers
Last week when the country hit the hottest temperatures in a decade, the thought of getting on a tube to head to Holborn I have to be honest was not an appealing one. That's with food involved too.

I was heading to Holborn because a week ago I got an exciting email from About Time Magazine who had hand picked 25 bloggers to watch in 2015. I was delighted that I was one of them and despite the heat, looking forward to joining another 24 foodies for an evening of fun and food was too much to resist. 

The evening was being hosted at Café Rouge in Holborn, who were launching a new food and cocktail menu. 
Cafe Rouge
Now don't laugh as the new menu was quite ironical given the temperature, we were trying out their new sharing plates for Christmas! Yes you heard me right Christmas (in July!).

I'm pleased to share that there was no turkey, brussel sprouts or all the trimmings in sight; instead delicious sharing platters. 
Restaurants Holborn
Charcuterie, olives, rocket with feta cheese has to be one of my favourites, so this dish was always going to be a winner. 
Restaurants Holborn
Smoked salmon is an interesting option for a Christmas menu, for me it screamed Summer. It was lovely and refreshing. 
Restaurants Holborn
The highlight out of these four dishes had to be baked Camembert cheese, such a naughty treat but delicious.
Restaurants Holborn
Pigs in blankets are always a Christmas treat that I look forward too and these were an eagerly welcomed. Personally I would have enjoyed the sausages with honey and mustard, but delicious all the same. 
Restaurants Holborn
Waldorf salad is not something that I would naturally choose in a restaurant but this was a nice change. There is something yummy about gooey cheese and apple. 
Restaurants Holborn
My final offering was Salmon, asparagus and tomato, this dish combines three of my favourite things and is wonderfully light. 

Despite the phenomenal heat I had a lovely evening munching away whilst chatting to other bloggers who share my passion for food. 

Thank you About Time Magazine and Café Rouge for inviting me. I look forward to seeing what makes the final cut for your Christmas Menu. 

Give Café Rouge some foodie inspiration, what would be on your perfect Christmas feast? 

 Click to add a blog post for Café Rouge on Zomato Square Meal

 photo foodieforce_32.jpg

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. 

 photo foodieforce_32.jpg