Returning back from my travels and improving my mental health!

I’ve not posted anything for a while now. It’s not because I’ve been lazy, nor busy at work, but I just wanted a break from EVERYTHING!

I experienced a slight change in my mental health recently. I was beginning to get anxious, stressed, and sometimes depressed. I wasn’t sleeping right which lead to a slight lack in performance at work too so I decided I needed to make some changes to my lifestyle and daily routine.

A friend of mine had recently booked his stag do / bachelor party in Las Vegas and invited me to join them. Having felt pretty down recently I decided to snap his hand off at it, but to also extend the initial 5 day trip for a 3 week adventure with a friend!

We went to Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco and then drove the coast to Los Angeles and spent a week there exploring too. The past 3 weeks have been the best 3 weeks of my life, and I’ll be sharing all of the food I’ve eaten and it will hopefully inspire to put my own take on each dish so keep an eye out for future posts!

Having experienced minor anxiety and depression recently, I’ll be making a few changes to my lifestyle routine and including these in my new routine.

Some of these will include:

  • Attending the Gym with a 10 week training plan
  • New diet
  • Headspace – mindfulness and meditation
  • Yoga, Pilates and body balance

I’ll be posting more around the above topics as opposed to just food blogs so please let me know if there is a topic that interests you!

Until then, keep an eye out for some of my next posts!

Thanks, Ped x

Review: Kings British BBQ Extra Tender and Soft Jerky

I wanted to share a review of the beef jerky I picked up over the weekend. Beef Jerky isn’t a usual snack for me but I’m trying to cut down on chocolate and crisps so these are an alternative.

Beef Jerky has never appealed to me too much however as I’ve been training quite a fair bit recently, I’m getting a littl more concious of what I eat. One of my biggest downfalls is when it comes to snacks. I stuff myself full of chocoalte and crisps when I’m hungry so I’ve decided to try and replace this for healthier snacks.

These beef jerky snacks can provide a good protein serving per bag (over 20g) although this particular flavour does contain quite a bit of salt.

Snacks like these don’t usually look the best but these look quite appetising. They look like dried pieces of fillet steak to best describe them.

These taste abolutely great – In fact they are the tastiest beef jerky I’ve ever eaten and I’ve gotta be honest these will be a new snack for me!

  • Gluten & Allergen free
  • Air-dried
  • High Protein
  • Manufactured in the UK
  • 100% British & Irish Beef

If I can cut out a few chocolate bars and bags of crisps per week by replacing them with these I’ll be getting a better in take of protein too.

Verdict: 9/10

Click the packer to get this amazing Jerky for less than £1.50 per pack!

Romantica Italian Restaurant – Mere Green Review

Romantica Italian Restaurant is based pretty close to home to me. Situated in Mere Green, Sutton Coldfield. It’s current ranked #2 on TripAdvisor for the area, and this was the first time I’d visited the restaurant, despite hearing positive reviews previously.

We attended the restaurant on warm, sunny Saturday afternoon. It was better weather than usual and this was of a lunchtime so it was a little more quieter than usual. The staff were very welcoming and attentitive when I’d arrived.

Garlic bread with tomato and mozzarella

We had Garlic Bread with tomato and Mozzarella to start. Not only did this look fantastic it tasted immense and packed with a punchy garlic taste but not too overpowering.


(Penne pasta, chicken,
prawn, white wine parsley and cream sauce)

For the Main Course I had Penne al Pollo e Gamberetti (or Penne pasta, with chicken, prawn, white wine parsley and cream sauce)

Despite looking a fairly basic pasta dish this was very creamy with a sweet taste of white wine, that really complimented the chicken and prawns.

I will be definitely visiting here again.

For more info visit: http://www.romanticarestaurant.co.uk

Verdict: 9/10

Breakfast at the Ivy

The Ivy Full English Breakfast

Breakfast is one of the best meals of the day, but one of the meals that you rarely eat out. I was chuffed when our company had decided to have a meeting over breakfast, at The Ivy, Birmingham.

This new restaurant has popped in just off Temple Row replacing the old Louis Vuitton shop. A historic restaurant that screams class, tradition, and britishness.

The Ivy in Birmingham takes after its big sister restaurant in London. The interior decor oozes class, but a contemporary feel that doesn’t feel overwhelming. Upon our arrival we were pleasantly greeted by a member of staff where we were shown to our table whilst we ordered drinks.

The restaurant was empty, and we were the only diners in there at around 9am on a sunny Thursday morning in September.

The smiling waiter came over and greeted and showed sense of humor as he lifted my colleagues heavy silver plated teapot. He joked and smiled as he then served me a cappuccino.

Onto, the breakfast orders my colleagues ordered Eggs Benedict, and Eggs Royale. I couldn’t help but ordering the full english breakfast as I was intrigued to see how they would try manage such a big expectation on my behalf.

The eggs Benedict and Royale arrived and looked tremendous. I’d definitely consider ordering on my next visit if I was to return. However, when the full english arrived at my plate, my gosh was it a good-looking breakfast.

The waitress and other staff couldn’t do enough for us whilst we were seated but then again, we were the only people in there. The food was fantastic, and all four of us were impressed by our visit to The Ivy.

The Full English Breakfast cost £13.50, which I appreciate is pretty steep. However, considering I don’t eat breakfast out much the food was exceptional, the service second to none and I can’t wait to return.

Question is, do i have the full english again or try the eggs Benedict/Royale?

If you’re in Birmingham, then I’d definitely recommend The Ivy, if you’re looking for a high-end brekkie!

Verdict: 8/10

The Ivy is located Temple Row, Birmingham

The Ivy, Temple Row, Birmingham

Scottish Mussels in White Wine and Cream Sauce

Mussels tend to be available all year round, and usually when I pop to the fish counter at my local Waitrose or Sainsbury’s, this is the only thing they tend to have left!Although it’s probably just as cheap to buy the packet ones nowadays, however I always like to experiment from fresh!

Mussels is a great main course, however I prefer to have this dish as a starter, as it’s not overly time consuming and it doesn’t need to much prep!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5kg Mussels
  • 2 White Onions or Shallots
  • Good knob of butter
  • 1 Garlic Clove Crushed
  • Handful of parsley, bay and thyme leaves made into a bouquet (use a little bit of string and tie them like a bunch of flowers)
  • 100ml white wine (I used left over Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 100ml Double Cream
  • Handful of parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • Loaf of crust bread, to serve
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Picking your mussels

When buying my mussels, try to avoid the broken shells. If you can, pick ones that haven’t been chipped or smashed at the ends, and they’re usually fresher when closed. Make sure you buy enough per person, as it tends to be a fairly light dish. Aim for around 400/500g per person for a main meal, and half of that if you’re doing a starter, or using with another dish (I will be posting a pasta one with mussels soon!). Also, as pictured served with some crusty bread and butter to mop the bowl up with after!

How to prepare the mussels.

To prepare the mussels, you need to give them a good old scrub in cold water to remove excess sand and any barnacles. Throw away any that then float to the top – I don’t know why I’ve just always been told that! Any open mussels need a firm tap with a knife. Discard any that don’t close (the dead ones!). Remove the hairs that around the shell (the beards) – by giving it a pull.When the mussels are finally clean, chuck them in a bowl of fresh cold water until you’re ready to cook them! I always keep changing the water they’re into, just to get rid of any sand or salt.

Always eat them on the same day! Shellfish must be eaten on the day of purchase unless frozen.

To prepare the sauce:

  1. Heat butter in a large pan, then soften the garlic and onions in the butter with the bouquet of herbs
  2. Add the mussels and wine, turn up the heat to medium – high, then cover.
  3. Steam them open in the sauce for around 3-4 minutes whilst stirring occasionally
  4. Remove the bouquet, add the double cream and some more chopped parsley and remove from the heat.
  5. Pour into a preheated bowl and serve with lots of crusty bread!

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Thanks for reading my blog. Please like, comment, share and follow.

Cajun Cod

Cajun cod, new potatoes and steamed vegetables

I recently visited a restaurant whilst in Spain, and on the menu I’d noticed Cajun Cod! I’d never eaten it before, so when I returned I couldn’t wait to try it out! I eat cajun chicken a lot, but not sure why I’d not tried it with cod. I’ve been missing out!

Below is the recipe for a similar dish I now eat regularly. Check it out and I promise you wont be disappointed!

The Fish:

I used fresh cod fillets from Waitrose in this pictured dish, however I’ve also used frozen cod fillets from Aldi before, and as the Cajun spice packs so much flavour, they are still very tasty! Obviously fresh will taste better

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

  • 2x Fresh skinless, boneless cod loin
  • 300-400g Fresh new potatoes
  • Garlic clove crushed
  • Good knob of butter
  • Fresh parsley
  • Chantenay carrots
  • Green beans
  • Tenderstem broccoli
  • Mini corn
  • Cajun spice
  • Salt & Pepper
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Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 200C
  • Place new potatoes in steamer, along with carrots and steam for 25 mins
  • Prepare cod fillets by rubbing in Cajun spice, salt, pepper and wrapping in foil
  • Place cod in the oven for about 20 mins
  • Place corn, tenderstem broccoli and green beans into the steamer for 15 minutes
  • In a bowl, mix butter, chopped parsley and a bit of crushed garlic
  • When the potatoes are cooked, add to the above bowl and mix
  • Remove fish from the oven when cooked, and slightly flakely
  • Serve on a hot plate with butter potatoes and veg.
Steamer.jpeg

I always use a steamer for my veg. I use a Morphy Richards 3 tier steamer as it’s pretty cheap and does a great job! Apparently steaming your veg keeps more nutrients than boiling, so it’s a no brainer for me really

Thanks for reading my blog. I’m very new to blogging and would appreciate any comments, feedback or even a follow!

Thanks. Ped x

Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce Review

Sweet Baby Jesus…. I mean Ray’s

I would typically review a bottled sauce as a blog. However, this sauce is far from the usual……

I’m not a massive BBQ sauce fan. All my friends eat it and it would be their preferred choice. I’m more of a ketchup man if I’m honest. But only with things like chips and junk food. Sweet Baby Ray’s on the other hand is exactly what it says on the tin! (Or bottle) s.

THE SAUCE IS THE BOSS!

Here I’ve used the sauce on my Chicken Bacon and Cheese Brioch’s. I dont eat KFC so this is my home made version of it. If you’d like me to share my recipe for this please comment below.

Verdict: It’s by far the tastiest BBQ sauce I’ve ever had. It’s not in all supermarkets but there’s a link below where you can get a couple of bottle

Rating: 9/10

Thanks for reading. Ped x