Pancake Day in Leeds: Where to Go

Ah it’s that time of year again. Wednesday 14th February, otherwise known as Valentine’s Day. The shops are full of red roses, greetings cards with quotes about unconditional love, heart-shaped chocolates, and…wait a minute, this can’t be right, there’s something we’re forgetting here.

Oh yes, that’s right. Why is everyone getting so excited for Valentine’s Day, when it’s Pancake Day before then?! Personally, I’d say Pancake Day is by far the better day out of the two. I mean, come one, there are pancakes everywhere, and for those of you giving up sugar for Lent, it’s the last opportunity to indulge and fuel your body up with sugary goodness before Easter. In a sense, Valentine’s Day is just being mean as there are chocolates everywhere, yet if you have set yourself a no chocolate lent, then where’s the love in that?

So, to help some of you forget the pains of Valentine’s Day and focus on the joys of Pancake Day, I have found a few pancake events in Leeds that look great. Whether you are a northern resident and in easy reach of Leeds, or fancy a day trip, perhaps one of these places will catch your eye.

  • Le Chalet – This beautiful French tearoom in the city centre always looks so pretty when I walk past, with macarons arranged around the windows. If you book to visit on Pancake Day, you can pay a small amount of money and get unlimited pancakes! Sounds delicious!
  • Dry Dock – A familiar sight for the students of Leeds, this unmissable venue is having a pancake week! From as little as 25p a pancake, it’s perfect if you are craving pancakes, but also trying to have a #FreeFebruary
  • Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen – I have not been here before, but they are offering up a delectable feast of pancake toppings.
  • Monsieur Déjeuner – A lovely French café in Headingley, which I have had the pleasure of visiting. Serving proper crepes as part of their everyday menu, you can enjoy one of these at any time!

Right then my friends, are we all in agreement that Pancake Day wins the February festivities? I certainly think so.  

Megan x

 

Advertisements

Hollows Farm Vintage Tearooms, Leicester

*I decided to write this post. It is not in collaboration with anyone.*

I feel like you would only know about Hollows Farm Vintage Tearoom if you lived nearby or a friend told you about it. That’s how my family have came across this little gem. My mum heard about it from a friend at work and although this sweet place is down the road from us, we didn’t know it existed until then! So, I thought why not spread the word, so that Hollows Farm can be enjoyed by all!

I guess you would not think to drive down a farm track, but tucked down a country lane just off the Desford crossroads sits this pretty tearoom.

It definitely has the right to have vintage in the name. As soon as you walk through the door, any vintage-obsessed heart would swoon. From the delicate flowers on the wall, to the matching china cups and teapots, the interior is calming and makes for a wonderful atmosphere to treat yourself.

If I don’t already have a reputation for enjoying a spot of tea and cake, I definitely will have now. To be fair, the past few times have been at the suggestion of my parents, so I can always blame them for me eating lots of cake! I have to say though, I do not regret the cake at Hollows Farm because it was delicious!

The array of tea and cake on offer is fantastic. I’m a traditional English Breakfast kind of girl, but if herbal or fruit tea is your thing, then this is still the place to come. Choosing the cake was the difficult part. All the classics were an option such as Victoria Sponge and Lemon Drizzle, but there were also treats such as a chocolate gateau and an Oreo cake. You can imagine having to make the decision was very hard, but in the end my mum and I both went for the chocolate and orange layer cake, which was certainly no mistake. The only way I can think to describe it is Terry’s Chocolate Orange in cake form!

IMG_20170329_120808

I need not say more 

If Terry’s Chocolate Orange in cake form does not make your mouth water (why wouldn’t it?), then have a visit to Hollows Farm and experience this lovely place for yourself.

Megan x

 

 

 

 

Restaurant Review: Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant, Leeds

I was completely social media absent yesterday because my mum came to visit me and we spent the day in Leeds. Of course, that means that I have not blogged/posted about my weekend at all yet, and believe me there is a lot to talk about! I will get onto the main reason for this post, which is reviewing Gino D’Acampo’s news restaurant in Leeds, but first of all, here are few highlights from the weekend. Unfortunately, like the majority of the time, the weather has been pretty rubbish today, so I did not get a chance to take photos.

The Tetley:

I will admit I did drag my mum all over the place. After I met her at the station, we went to The Tetley, a contemporary art exhibition and learning space across the canal. The building was originally a brewery, so the building has an interesting interior, set over several floors. Sadly, there was a lot of scaffolding inside due to works being done, so it was hard to appreciate the true beauty of the building. The main reason for going to The Tetley was the International Artists Book Fair. This was a quirky little event, showcasing various pieces of art revolved around books and paper. We also stopped off for a morning cup of tea at the Tetley Bar and Kitchen. I have heard good things about the restaurant and judging from the menu, this place is definitely on the list of future places to eat!

Wedding Outfit Shopping: 

My cousin is getting married in April and I bought my dress yesterday! I will not reveal the dress yet, but I am so excited for the wedding, and look forward to shopping for accessories. I will give you a hint that I bought it from Next and they did very well!

Girl Gang Leeds presents: Cool for Crafts Arts Markets: 

This Girl Gang is different to the one set up by Jemma from Dorkface. If you haven’t heard of Girl Gang Leeds, check out their website to see the amazing stuff they do! To cheer myself up in the midst of grey clouds and heavy rain, I decided to go along to their craft market and got see some lovely products, made by female makers.

Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant: 

Now onto the main event! Mum and I decided to eat at Gino D’Acampo’s new Leeds restaurant. It is situated opposite Jamie’s Italian, a firm favourite of mine and I expect the competition between the two will be high, as the prices are similar too. If anything I would say Gino’s menu has a bit more variety and any blogger will love it due to the marble interior and pale blue seats.

I was really impressed with the set lunch menu. It was 2 courses for £16 or 3 courses for £20 and there was a great selection to choose from. Me being me, I chose a main and a dessert. I went with my usual, fettuccine bolognese, but also that it is one of my favourite Jamie dishes and I wanted to compare. Whilst it was not as rich in red wine as Jamie’s (this may disappoint some), it tasted really fresh and homemade.

I feel like people assume I spend my whole life eating rich chocolate desserts. This is not the case, it just so happens that recently I have come across a few! Yes, I could always say no, but when the warm chocolate fondant stuffed with chocolate truffles and served with vanilla ice cream is on the set menu, there is no choice. I just has to have. My mum and I did share if I’m trying to make myself feel any better.

I really recommend Gino’s if you are looking for a restaurant with good food at an affordable price!

Megan x

Restaurant Review: The Grey Lady, Newtown Linford

If you haven’t already gathered, I am definitely one for comfort, whether that is clothing or food. My Instagram profile is proof of this. I am a roast dinner and apple crumble kind of person and have never been too fussed about going to restaurants that serve what I would regard as ‘posh food’.

However, this weekend we had a family gathering as a very belated birthday celebration for my uncle. We of course wanted to go somewhere special to eat and The Grey Lady in Newtown Linford was one of the suggestions to pop up.

The restaurant is perhaps not your choice for an everyday place to eat, but it is affordable and offers exclusive, sophisticated dining.

Whilst I was unsure if there was anything that I would like to eat there, the restaurant is lovely. The interior is really calming and as we were a bigger party, we got a room to ourselves, so it did not feel noisy. The room was beautifully decorated, with champagne bottles covering the walls and lighting suspended from antlers. I was even impressed by the toilets, which had individual towels for you to dry your hands on and Rituals hand lotion and soap.

Moving on to the actual food, I did like quite a few things on the menu.

Before we had even been served our choices from the menu, the waitress gave us all a small glass of hot tomato veloute with a rosemary foam. Although you drank it, it was like tomato soup and a nice way to begin the meal.

For my starter, I had smoked ham hock, with potatoes, hollandaise sauce and poached duck egg. I have to admit that I am not too keen on the texture of egg, so my dad did eat that part, but the rest of it was absolutely delicious and it was the first time I had ever had purple potatoes! The presentation was stunning as well and definitely worth photographing, despite the low light.

img_20170114_200407

For my main course, I went vegetarian. The vegetable lasagna with garlic bread wafers, chargrilled lettuce and balsamic glaze was gorgeous and just the right size. I could not have eaten any more!

img_20170114_203021

Sadly, after two courses, we were very full and could not manage dessert, despite the fruit crumble and dark chocolate brownie looking very tempting. If I go to The Grey Lady again, I have to choose a main and a dessert!

I highly recommend The Grey Lady for any of you seeking high-end cuisine at an reasonable price. With a stunning setting next to Bradgate Park overlooking the Charnwood countryside, The Grey Lady is a fantastic dining experience.

Megan x

 

My Top 10 Christmas Food and Drink

Hello everyone! Sorry for the lack of posting over the past couple of days, but I was not feeling too great so spent most of my time curled up on the sofa. How good was the Strictly final though?!

I would usually do a video today, but I felt in the mood to write and I am also going to see the new Star Wars later, so do not have time to film and upload!

I have not done a foodie post in a while and as it is Christmas, what better time than to talk food and drink! I will be giving you the run through of my Top 10 Favourite Christmas Food and Drink, to get you in the mood for a festive feast. Only one week to go now!

  1. Turkey

turkey-532962_960_720

Deciding whether to count Christmas dinner as one point was hard, as there is something special when everything is combined together on the plate. However, there are just too many delicious items in a good old Christmas dinner that they have to be acknowledged in their own right.

Let’s start with the piece-de-resistance, turkey. For some odd reason, we can only have a proper roast turkey at Christmas, but I think it would be so much nicer if they were available all the time. Combined with cranberry sauce and stuffing, this does make for a fabulous annual treat!

2. Pigs in Blankets

is09al5ww

Again, a once a year food even though the majority of the population absolutely adore sausages wrapped in bacon. Some may say they are the best part of Christmas dinner. I think it is a tough call, they are so yummy! Whilst I would love to eat them more often, they again are a lovely thing to look forward to and the taste seems much better if you have the power to wait.

3. Yorkshire Puddings

55dmi0003rf

No matter what people might say, you cannot have a proper roast dinner without Yorkshire puddings. Get rid of this only with roast beef nonsense, for they are a Christmas dinner staple. Nothing better than a gravy soaked Yorkshire pudding!

4. Roast Potatoes

is09b04b6

How on earth people can have mashed potato with their Christmas dinner I will never know. Roast potatoes are the Christmas carbohydrate and that’s the end of that. Cooked properly in goose or duck fat and they are heavenly.

5. Mince Pies

star-17111_960_720

Whilst they may be an acquired taste, mince pies have to go on the list. I feel a lot of people say they do not like mince pies or Xmas pudding etc. without ever having tried them. I will admit I am one of those guilty people. However, I now love when I see the first mince pies in the supermarkets.

Although I will say that your standard mince pie is not my favourite. My mum makes these delicious Mary Berry Frangipane Mince Pies, which are just out of this world. I am saving myself until they come out of the freezer next weekend.

6. Chocolate Yule Log

Chocolate Yule Log

You may notice a few chocolate things creeping in the next five. Let’s face it, I am the biggest chocoholic and Christmas is full of chocolate. Think I will be attempting my own yule log this year!

7. Alcohol Free Drinks

punch-1866144_960_720

Christmas can be hard if you are a no alcohol person like me, as the mulled wine and prosecco are out in full swing. However, there are several ways to drink something special. Try making your own punches with some fresh fruit and different cordials. We are also loving brands such as Bottle Green and Shloer, as they offer some ‘posh’ drinks that are non-alcoholic.

8. Hot Chocolate

hot-chocolate-1782624__340

Continuing the festive drinks, there is nothing more warming that a steaming mug of hot chocolate. To be honest, I am not a fan of cream or marshmallows, so I love a no fuss hot chocolate where you taste the actual liquid straight away instead of battling your way through a mound of cream and no doubt end up with a white moustache! This is the perfect winter warmer though.

9. Gingerbread

Gingerbread men

Whilst perhaps not a great favourite of mine, there is no denying the joy that these festive biscuits bring. Whether it is gazing in awe at giant gingerbread house, or getting stuck into some baking with the family, there are a lovely companion to a cup of tea.

10. Chocolate

is09ao740

My final food on the list is simply chocolate! Advent calendars and Christmas selection boxes mean that chocolate is unmissable throughout the season. Quite right too!

 

So there we have it. My Top 10 Christmas Food and Drink. Let me know what would be in your list!

Megan x

 

Continental Cafe, Syston

If you are ever in Leicestershire and want a cosy little cafe to enjoy a full English breakfast, lovely lunch or perhaps just a tea and cake break, the Continental Cafe in Syston is a wonderful place. With good prices and friendly staff, the cafe is a great find and perfectly situated in Syston town centre.

It provided the perfect escape from the grey, wet weather yesterday, with the interior being calming and inviting, and the cooked breakfast and tea was excellent fuel for spending the rest of the day in Nottingham.

I enjoyed my brunch in the cafe’s extension, which is only a couple of years old and it is a really peaceful area, just tucked away from the main cafe and ordering area. You can enjoy afternoon teas here too.

img_20161109_111537

I think what I like most about the cafe is the decor, with the Parisian feel being a major attraction for a Francophile like me. The cafe even boasts its own ‘Petit Sanctuaire’ for any couples wanting to have a romantic lunch date.

img_20161109_110627

img_20161109_111522

Gorgeous Parisian decor

img_20161109_112120

Cosy window seat

If you want to find out anything else about the cafe, check out their website http://www.continentalcafesyston.co.uk/ or discover my contact page to ask more questions.

Megan x

INTERVIEWING LIZ COTTAM @ THE NEW ELLINGTON!!

It is finally here!

Today, I got to interview Masterchef 2016 semi-finalist Liz Cottam for Lippy, the student magazine at Leeds. I hope to get my article finished soon, so that everyone can read the interview!

I visited Liz at The New Ellington Hotel where she is doing a guest chef residency and got to watch her doing a TV shoot for Made In Leeds before interviewing her myself.

First of, the hotel is gorgeous. Really modern and sophisticated, but not too big, so it felt very exclusive.

 

Being allowed into a professional kitchen was an amazing experience and made even better when I got to watch the Made In Leeds presenters cook one of Liz’s dishes.

The dish they made was fish pie with butter poached halibut, lobster bisque, smoked salmon mousse and creamed potatoes and I have to say the end results looked incredible!

 

Whilst Liz was being interviewed by the presenters, I went next door to the hotel for a tea break to finish working on interview questions. This was when I discovered Cielo!

York Place, which is where the hotel is, is probably one of the best culinary streets in Leeds that I have found. The New Ellington, Cielo, My Thai, Latin Bites and Miah’s Kitchen all inhabit this street!

Going back to interview Liz was fantastic. She gave me really detailed answers to use in my article and she is a lovely person!

Megan x

(P.S. coming up on blog this week will be Soap & Glory tour bus at uni and Northern Craft!)

 

 

 

Cielo, Leeds

As part of my day today (you will find out about the main event soon), I decided to visit Cielo on York Place, to have a tea break (from the main event!)  and finish some work. Cielo is a coffee company in Leeds with a few different cafes located in the north.

I’m not a coffee drinker, but I think it was the coolest tea I have ever had!

img_20161012_123740

I wanted to take the milk bottle back with me! Blueberry muffin was heaven!

Cielo have a few foodie items of interest, mainly cake, but also some paninis and salads as the café is located in a popular business area, so is great for a working lunch.

 

img_20161012_130910

Leeds seems to have a lot of cake!

The little shop section in Cielo was intriguing, particularly a pink book about the best coffee and tea places in the north. That may have to be a future purchase!

img_20161012_130840

 

Go to Cielo now and get awesome tea, coffee and cake for a very good price!

Megan x

 

 

Restaurant Review: Le Mistral, Nottingham

Bonjour mes amis! Here is my review of Le Mistral, a lovely little French restaurant in the heart of Nottingham, with two other branches in Derbyshire and Sherwood.

Since blogging, I have started to become more adventurous about where I go to eat, intrigued by quirky independent restaurants as opposed to nationwide chains such as Nando’s and Pizza Express.

Le Mistral fit the bill perfectly to have a family meal out with my brother. Although in the city centre, the restaurant is set back in a courtyard, making for a lovely quiet and intimate dining experience.

When we first arrived, I couldn’t help but produce a small smile. Le Mistral was like stepping into a restaurant in France, with lots of French themed decorations. Fantastic if you are a Francophile like me!

img_20161008_124953

A little piece of France

img_20161008_125223

Our lovely table

Price wise, it is amazing value for money. We chose to have the fixed price lunch menu, which was £11.95 for two courses or £13.95 for three courses, so it is well worth a visit!

Having such a sweet tooth, of course I decided to have a main and dessert, but my mum and dad decided to have a starter instead.

 

img_20161008_132651

Pan-fried wild mushrooms in a garlic, white wine & fresh tarragon on French toast, topped with wild rocket

 

I couldn’t go to a French restaurant and not suss out les pommes frites! For this reason, I had to have le burger! It was definitely homemade, cooked to perfection, with the added flavour of peppers and onions which were packed inside. The bacon was also beautifully crispy, exactly how I like it, and the frites were gorgeous!

 

img_20161008_134514

Yummy!

 

Dessert was a no brainer, the Tarte Tatin was a must!

 

img_20161008_142604

Presentation gets a 10/10

I would thoroughly recommend Le Mistral for anyone wanting to capture an authentic French experience in the middle of England!

Megan x