Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Slimming World Friendly Recipe- Mexican Enchilada Lasagne

I love Mexican food and Enchiladas are probably one of my favourite dishes. A really popular recipe of mine is 'I can't believe it's not enchiladas' dish, which swaps tortilla for cannoli pasta. Once baked the texture is really similar to the real thing, so much so that you won't believe it's not a real enchilada!

This is a twist on the dish, and it's much less fiddly to make.  Syn free (if using cheese as your HE A). I cooked the enchilada filling in the slow cooker all day, but you can also cook the filling in the oven. 

Extra Easy Syn Value:- Syn Free

Healthy Extras:- A

You will need:-

4 chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cartons passata
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 whole green seeded and finely chopped (leave out if you don't want spice!)
1 tsp sweetener
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 red onion, finely diced
1 pack dried lasagne sheets
160g extra light cheddar (remember to allow 40g per serving as a healthy extra)
1 tub fat free cottage cheese mixed with 1 tsp of smoked paprika 


To make the filling put all the ingredients apart from the pasta and cheese in the slow cooker/large oven dish and cook on low for 7 hours in the slow cooker or a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F/gas for 45 mins, or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove the chicken breasts from the pot and pull apart and shred with 2 forks. Split the passata, pepper and red onion sauce in half and set one half to the side. Mix the shredded chicken in with the other half of the sauce.

Place a layer of the chicken mixture then a layer pasta sheets in an oven proof dish. Take a few spoonfuls of cottage cheese and spread over the lasagne sheets. Repeat until all the mixture is used.

Top with cheese and bake in the oven for 30 mins or until the pasta has cooked and the cheese is bubbling.

Optional:- top with chillies for extra spice!

L x

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Review: The Rum & Crab Shack

One of Exeter's newest offerings, away from the new Queen Street dining development, is the Rum & Crab shack.  Nestled in the Princesshay area, near Cathedral green, it's in a great central location. They boast a wide range of cocktails and an eclectic menu predominantly featuring, you guessed it, rum & crab.

We were invited to try it out for ourselves and we visited on a Wednesday evening.  The venue is pretty small but even on a Wednesday was packed with customers.  We were really impressed with how vast the menu was, and the good selection of rum based cocktails.  I had been recommended to try their speciality rum, Dead Man’s Fingers Cornwall. It is their own small-batch, house, spiced rum with flavours with cinnamon, nutmeg and orange notes- delicious!  I also tried it in the house cocktail, Dead Mans Grip. A rum sour of sorts, with their house spiced rum, lemon, lime, egg white, passionfruit and a splash of Benedictine. It was strong!!

I was a little worried at first that the menu would only be crab based, but there are lot's of options available ranging from crab to sirloin steak.   There is also other seafood on offer like lobster and fish steak. I chose to go for Buttermilk Fried chicken for my starter, served with with BBQ Boston beans.

The chicken was beautifully cooked with a delicious coating, yet succulent in the middle. The beans were a great accompaniment.

Nick chose to have tempura battered squid rings with a house chilli dip.  He really enjoyed them, although he was disappointed that the chilli dip was more of a sweet chilli and didn't have too much spice.

For mains I was determined to have some crab and the dish that appealed to me most was the crab nachos. Nachos loaded with crab meat, salsa, corn, spring onion and melted cheese.  The serving was huge and double layered!  The only thing that disappointed me was that the dish was completely stone cold when it was served, even the melted cheese.  This took a lot away from it and meant I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

I tried something that I have wanted to try for ages as my side.  Mac n Cheese croquets. They were really delicious and just as tasty as I had imagined.  It is literally how it sounds, mac n cheese, breaded and fried!

Nick had the spicy rice-based dish, Jambalaya, with tiger prawns, crab, chorizo and shrimp.  Again it was a really generous portion size which Nick struggled to finish.  There was quite a lot of prawns, crab, shrimp and chorizo throughout the dish but the rice was very stodgy, almost in one solid lump, but tasty none the less.

Overall the meal was nice and we enjoyed our evening. I would really like to go back and try some more of the cocktails!

Food *** Service ***** Atmosphere ****
L x

Review: Afternoon Tea at Mercure Exeter Southgate Hotel

On a warm Saturday afternoon in September Nick and I met up with fellow foodie, Chris from Eating Exeter, for an afternoon tea. We were invited for a joint review of The Southgate Hotel in Exeter, and it was a great chance to have a proper natter over some delicious tea, treats and Prosecco!

This was not your ordinary afternoon tea featuring boring scones and jam though!  I was amazed at the great selection that was enough to satisfy both the sweet and savoury tooth.

I am not normally a fan of scotch eggs or pork pies.  Mainly because I have only tried cheap, cold, plain ones from the supermarket. These were freshly baked and still warm, and appeared to be home made.  Perfect, flaky pastry with a delicious filling and soft scotch eggs with piccalilli on the side! A perfect start!

The open topped sandwiches were divine! Smoked salmon and cream cheese plus roast beef with a horseradish cream.

There is something quite special about a warm scone with cold cream and jam!  These certainly didn't disappoint!  Light and fluffy scones that should only be served the Devonshire way...(cream then jam).

The cakes were certainly very special. Chocolate brownies, coffee and chocolate cake and vanilla cheesecake. The brownies were possibly the nicest I have tasted (and I have tasted a lot!).

It was a perfect few hours grazing on delicious treats, in a lovely central setting with great company!

Food ***** Service ***** Atmosphere *****

L x

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

The Olive Oil Buyers Guide with Mozzarella Sticks Recipe.

Although I rarely eat it nowadays, I think olive oil has an amazing flavour. I must admit that I never realised how many varieties there are!  Check out this great guide to olive oil from Jamie's Italian.


One of my favourite, naughty, recipes are my mozzarella sticks. I really love the flavour that frying them in olive oil gives them! Pure olive oil is best for this as it's perfect for frying!

You will need:- 

1 pack Mozzarella, I used Tesco Mozzarella for Pizza as it is firmer and square shaped.
Dried Breadcrumbs
Salt & Pepper
2 eggs & dash of milk


Chop the Mozzarella into 1.5cm thick rectangles.

In one bowl put the flour. In a second bowl mix the eggs and milk together.  In a third bowl put the breadcrumbs with a generous serving of salt and pepper.

First dip the mozzarella into the flour, then the egg mixture and the coat in breadcrumbs.  Repeat this process until the cheese is completely covered by a layer of breadcrumbs.

Once all the sticks are coated, put in a deep fat fryer for about 60 seconds on 190 degrees, or you can bake them in the oven for 10 mins at 200 degrees, or until the breadcrumbs are golden.

Serve with a dip of your choice!

L x

Jamie's Italian now deliver with Deliveroo!


Saturday, 10 September 2016

Absurd Bird VIP Event


The exciting new Queen Street development is attracting restaurants from all over, including some really young and interesting brands.  One of those is Absurd Bird, promising to bring their passion for chicken and deep south soul food. They currently have 2 restaurants in London and are excited to be joining the South West. We were invited to a special VIP event at Exeter Cookery School to meet Exeter's newest addition, and learn about some of the delicious food and cocktails on offer.

We were welcomed with a special moonshine cocktail! Made with their own moonshine, cider and apple juice it was a really refreshing welcome! They offer their own brewed moonshine and beer as well as an extensive list of cocktails. 

Chef gave us a demonstration of some of the dishes Absurd Bird has to offer, including a cheese spinach and artichoke dip.

Dirty bun, which is fried chicken with spicy mayo and a pickle served in a bao bun.

I am very excited about the jalapeno macaroni cheese! Topped with a delicious crunchy top. 

We then had to get stuck in and recreate some of the dishes ourselves! Nick and I teamed up with Chris from Eating Exeter.

Our creations didn't get judged the best, I blame Nick for putting the garnish in our sauce and Chris for chopping the cucumber too large!

It was a great evening and I'm really looking forward to it opening soon.  Stay tuned for more updates!

L x

Gourmet Burger Kitchen Comes to Exeter

Excitement is growing as the latest restaurant prepares to open in Exeter’s Queen St. Dining.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) is the second business to launch in the city’s new stylish £12m dining destination. The popular restaurant will seat customers over two floors, overlooking Queen St. and the barrel-vaulted Higher Market.

Set up by three Kiwis in 2001, GBK prides itself on serving a variety of handcrafted burgers that combine 100% prime beef with the freshest ingredients. The brand now has over 70 restaurants across the UK and the branch at Queen St. Dining will be the first in Devon.

When the doors open on Monday 12 September staff will give away 100 cheeseburgers from midday on a first come, first served basis. Diners are advised to get to the restaurant early so they don’t miss out!

We went to a special preview evening prior to the restaurant opening.  The burgers are huge! It's clear that this will be a very popular addition to the area.

L x

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Slimming World Friendly Recipe- Creamy Chicken & Chorizo Pasta

I posted an image of this meal on my Instagram & Facebook pages and asked if you wanted the recipe...it was a resounding yes!!

This is a deliciously creamy sauce that is really simple to make.  The chorizo provides a lot of flavour without having to do much yourself! This recipe made 4 potions, so we had an evening meal and enough for lunch the next day between the two of us. If you don't want to use a few syns on chorizo you could swap for a low fat, flavoursome sausage.

Serves 4

Extra Easy Syn Value- 4 Per serving

Healthy Extras- None

You will need-

120g of not-too-fatty chorizo
1 level tbsp chicken gravy granules
4 Skinless chicken breasts, sliced
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
1 Yellow pepper, sliced
1 onion
1 tub quark
Enough pasta for 4 people


Fry off the mushrooms, peppers and onion in a large frying pan on a medium heat.  While that's frying bring the pasta to the boil in slightly salted water.

Add the chicken and chorizo to the frying pan and fry until chicken cooked through.

Add the quark and gravy granules with 4 tablespoons of the pasta water. Reduce the heat to low and mix until a smooth sauce is formed.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the frying pan and mix together.  Serve with salad!

L x