Archive for Food

Madeleines with Madeleine

So in my first year of university, in the heat of exams, with stress level rocketing and study blues slowly settling in, I came across Manna Tea Rooms. I drank one of the most beautiful Malteser milkshakes I have ever experienced in my life and I have never looked back since.

I’ve tried introducing every person I meet to this beautiful Malteser milkshake and they don’t take me seriously, they don’t understand how truly amazing this milkshake is – I realise I may be coming across as slightly dramatic, but seriously, it’s an actual taste sensation.

Manna Tea Rooms is a lovely little cafe opposite Portsmouth cathedral, with friendly staff and great food. So two years later, with my sister Maddie (hence the extremely witty blog title. That was all her by the way) in Portsmouth for the day, I finally had a chance to take her to this cafe and force her to drink the delicious Malteser shake, and boy, was she excited. I watched tentatively as she took a sip of her milkshake, excited to see her reaction and yeah, she pretty much enjoyed it. Although it wasn’t quite the reaction I expected. I think I put too much pressure on her. My bad.

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But the fun doesn’t stop there. After eating some pretty good toasties – pulled pork (yum) with crisps and salad, we saw a notice advertising Spanish hot chocolate served with Madeleines to dunk. How could we refuse that? Would be rude not to really.

With no shame, we placed our order and waited expectantly, ignoring the chocolaty sicky feeling in our stomachs. And then they arrived. I practically fainted at how good they looked. Thick, gloopy chocolate filled to the rim with delicate little Madeleines on the side, designed to look like hearts, perfectly dunkable and perfectly delicious, or as Ross Geller describes them “lighter than air”. And they really were.

By this point, we were basically a human chocolate fountain,  so feeling a bit of a chocolate high, we ignored the enticing calls of the cakes and brownies on the counter and paid the bill ready to escape the safe haven of chocolate land and head into the freezing, rainy Portsmouth streets. Good job we had that hot chocolate to keep us warm, hey.

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Fajita Friday

Fajita Friday is my favourite kind of Friday. And Fajita Friday seems to be happening more and more often recently.

I’m just going to put this out there – I am not a very good cook. Well, actually, not to blow my own trumpet but I have improved greatly since my first year of university where my ability to mess up cheese sauce was a given. But now, not only can I cook a cheese sauce to perfection (most of the time), I can now follow step-by-step recipes to put together things like coriander chicken curry and lasagne and roast dinners. I know, be impressed. Let’s just not talk about last week when I attempted to make a fried egg only to burn it and subsequently set off the fire alarm. Oops.

Anyway, moving on.

Fajitas are one of my favourite meals and they are pretty hard to mess up. So, one night me and my housemate, Megan, decided to host a Fajita Friday Wine night. We spent a week getting overly excited about eating masses of food and drinking large quantities of wine, planning our menu for the night and getting even more excited. The week dragged – a week of lectures, the occasional jog along the sea front (I’m a changed women, what can I say. Living by the sea is obviously doing something to me) and a week of boring meals which seemed like dog food compared to our delicious Friday night plans.



Friday finally came around so after spending the day being good students doing work, and not watching Lost (cough), we made our way to Asda to stock up on what we needed for our Mexican dinner. We then spent the latter part of the afternoon preparing nachos with lots of cheese and peppers, ready to put in the oven once our guests arrived and of course, the delicious fajita mix. We chose the lazy boy option of buying a ready to make pack so everything was ready to go just in time for our first guest, Katie to arrive. Equipped with a bottle of wine, chocolate cheesecake and Dairy Milk Oreo, we allowed her into the house and had a quick catch up over a frozen cocktail. Our final guest, Louise, arrived with another bottle of fancy wine (ooo posh, not like the usual £3.00 drivel we usually buy…) so we heated up our food and tucked in.


We ate a lot of food. A lot. Once everything was finished, we sat back with bloated stomachs, groaning and complaining that we could never eat another thing again before wondering how soon we could crack open the chocolate cheesecake. After a quick trip to pick up some more wine, which was flowing fast, from the corner shop we switched on X Factor and guzzled down the cheesecake and it was pretty much the most delicious thing ever. Good job Katie, you can come again. I couldn’t stop eating it even though I was the fullest I’ve ever been in my life. I felt like Bruce Bogtrotter.

As we drank our wine and shouted at the X Factor judges for making stupid decisions, we wallowed on the sofa like post food binge sloths, making plans and wondering whether it was acceptable to start digging into the Dairy Milk Oreo. It definitely was.

Fajita Friday should be every Friday.





Brunching at Bill’s

With my sister home from spending the summer working in Malta, we decided that a reunion brunch was on the cards. So, after a moment of deliberation of where to go – one of our usual jaunts or something new, we decided to head to Bill’s, somewhere my Mum nor sister had ever been before. Located on the corner of Mill Lane, Bill’s offers a wide range of breakfast, lunch and dinner options as well as a lots of tasty drinks – from fancy wines to fruity smoothies and brownie milkshakes (seriously yum).

With my Mum’s murmers of “oo never been here before” and “oo I wonder what it’s like“, we we were led down the never ending restaurant right to the end before we were seated by a window seat overlooking the Hayes. I love Bill’s – with funky decor, topsy-turvy seating and a fresh outtake on popular foods, it makes for a warm and inviting atmosphere where you can leisurely scroll the menu in order to choose the perfect dish – whether you fancy something brunchy or something lunchy.

I chose the Homemade blueberry and buttermilk pancakes which were quite frankly the most delicious pancakes I’ve ever had, and I washed it down with freshly squeezed orange juice.

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Whilst my mum also went for the pancakes, my sister decided to go for a standard sausage bap, or as Bill’s call it, the cumberland sausage served in sliced white farmhouse bread. I hear that that too, was delicious but I can’t verify that completely as I was too bust wolfing down my pancakes to even try some when she offered. I didn’t even hear her offer to be honest. I was far too engrossed in my food.

Bill’s is average in price – maybe not the best place to go if on a student budget but for a casual catch up with the family it is definitely the place to be (especially if the mother is paying – yay, free food!) (sorry mum, thanks again). However, I can already tell you that once I am home for Christmas I am almost definitely going to head back there to test out the rest of the menu (what student budget?). With great service, friendly staff and amazing food, Bill’s is up there with one of my favourite brunching places in town (and I love a good brunch, me).

Ladies Who Brunch

Just a quick post in amongst the tales of my interrailing adventures. My first food related post which is quite exciting. It’ll be the first of many. I go out for food a lot. I probably shouldn’t seeing as I am a poor woeful student but pfft, a girls gotta eat, right?

Late morning, me and two friends decided to head to the outskirts of Cardiff city centre, Pontcanna to be exact, in order to have some brunch. We were heading to Cafe Brava, a small cafe which offers a wide variety of breakfast and lunch options. We sat down in our seats next to the window and were given menus by the waitress and then instantly panicked. The choice was too much, I was struggling to choose between the lunch or breakfast options for a start, let alone actually deciding what dish. We spent around fifteen minutes, attempting to narrow down our choices before deciding that we may just have to come back next week in order to indulge in the cuisine we were rejecting (what a shame). After we made our choices, we sat back and relaxed, sipping on our milkshakes and ultimately downing the entire thing in around ten minutes because it was so addictive. The milkshakes are seriously good. They even come in cute little milk van milk bottles which makes the drinking experience so much more fun.
We discussed, you know, the housing prices and the state of so and so’s lawn and whatever else ladies who lunch discuss as we waited for our food to arrive, sucking up the dregs of our milkshakes and wondering whether it was acceptable to order another.

We spent the rest of our time eating our food. I had ordered a breakfast muffin which was jam-packed with bacon, fried egg and sausage. Diet? What diet? Actually, that’s a lie. I was never on a diet. I like food too much.

So all in all, Cafe Brava is a lovely place to head if you’re after a casual catch up with friends. Located close to Pontcanna fields, it means that you can eat as much as you want and then go walk it off afterwards! Perfect! 2014-09-06 13.55.07 2014-09-06 14.24.28

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