London Pub Meal

When I first arrived in London I caught up with a friend from back home and he suggested that we go to a pub for dinner as we had quite a few months of catching up to do. We ended up checking out one of the two larger chains of pubs in London – the one we ended up going to was a William Morris.

As we were planning to spend a while in the pub catching up I ended up ordering a pitcher of a cocktail to try out and settled on the ‘Woo Woo’ (£9.69) which contained ‘Archers peach schnapps, Smirnoff vodka, cranberry juice’ and was a very easy to drink cocktail.

For dinner I ordered the chicken and bacon pasta (£6.79). The pasta was as expected for the price – a little over cooked, flavours were a little lacking but overall it was edible and did the job of being food for dinner.

While the meal did nothing to inspire me for the price I could not complain and the drinks were very cheap too. I would probably head back again but only for the prices and with good company.

Lunch @ Mr Greek, Toronto

My last day in Canada was spent with my extended family having lunch at Mr Greek. I ordered the Greek Style Chicken Penne which was ‘Marinated fire-grilled chicken fillet, roasted pepper, fresh basil and pennon a light garlic cream sauce with a side or garlic bread‘ ($13.95). The dish came with a choice of sauces between the garlic sauce that I picked, a rose sauce or a fresh homemade zesty tomato sauce. The meal was very filling due to it’s size and the flavours balanced out nicely.

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Greek Style Chicken Penne ($13.95)

We spent a while in the restaurant as it was our last meal together before I had to head back to London. The waitstaff were wonderful and not pushy at all with us remaining for a few hours. I would happily go back to this restaurant as I would love to try their Gyro’s which looked amazing!

Mr. Greek on Urbanspoon

Recipe: One Pot Pasta

This is a recipe that I was introduced to by my dad and have made many times since. It is such a simple recipe to make and very versatile. Matha Stewart has a recipe called one-pan pasta that I used as inspiration the first time I made this dish. Since then I have created this dish depending on the content of my fridge and pantry.

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Step 1: brown onions and garlic with some oil in the pan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Garlic cloves thinly sliced (to personal taste).

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Step 2: Add all the ingredients in and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Ingredients:

  • Pasta
  •  Tin of diced tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Stock
  • Optional ingredients from fridge or pantry – In this batch I added asparagus, green beans, kidney beans and ham.

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After 20 minutes the liquid will have been absorbed or boiled off you will end up with a flavoursome pasta dish. A trick I like to use is to cut out the salt in the dish and use stock instead of water for added flavour.

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And voila the finished product!

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What have I been drinking recently?

I was looking back over my most recent posts and realised that even though this blog started to chart my development and interest in wine that it had drifted away from that. So here is a post to make up for that sad little fact! Over the past 3 or so months I have been quietly sipping my way through a range of drinks and here are some of the highlights!

Wine:

Dom Perignon 2003 vintage

Dom Perignon 2003 vintage

I cracked this bottle of champagne on my last night in Perth when I was having a farewell dinner with family and friends. It was a very lovely tipple to have and received positive comments from everyone on the night. After holding on to this bottle for a little over a year this was the perfect occasion to crack it open, surrounded by good friends and family!

Moet and Chandon 2002 vintage

Moet and Chandon 2002 vintage

I opened this bottle of wine that I received for my 21st when I was having brunch with some girlfriends from university. I really enjoyed this champagne, it was smooth and perfect of sipping on while eating pastries, fresh fruit and other nibbles. I would happily have another bottle of this in the future!

Lambrusco sparkling

Lambrusco sparkling

This was a cheap bottle of bubbles from Marks & Spencer was what I ended up picking up with a friend to celebrate landing my first teaching contract in the UK. It was a sweet sparkling wine that was easy to drink and a cheap celebration until I received my first pay check.

Villa Maria 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

Villa Maria 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

I was feeling a little homesick a few weeks ago and ended up picking this up from my local corner wine store. Villa Maria is my favourite of the bigger wine brands from the Marlborough region.

Chianti 2010

Chianti 2010

I was in the mood for a red one night and popped into my local Tesco. I saw this Chianti on special and decided to give it a try. I was not overly impressed with this wine and it is not one that I will likely try again in the future.

Isla Negra Rose and Echo Falls White Zinfandel Rose

Isla Negra Rose and Echo Falls White Zinfandel Rose

When my new housemates moved into my flat we decided to get to know each other over a few bottles of wine on our first weekend living together. A quick run to my local Tesco with the instruction of Rose and I selected these two, one sweet (Echo Falls) and the one dry (Isla Negra). The Echo Falls was quite enjoyed all round, it was not overly sweet but just sweet enough be enjoyed by myself and my housemates who prefer sweeter wines. The Isla Negra was also a nice wine but dryer and more acidic than the Echo Falls. Overall the Echo Falls was the winner of the night.

Villa Maria 2012 Rose

Villa Maria 2012 Rose

While I was still in my Rose fad I picked this one up one evening to try. I was quite impressed with the wine and it had a refreshing finish to it. I will pick this one up again for sure!

Trivento 'Tribu', 2013, Malbec

Trivento ‘Tribu’, 2013, Malbec

I tried the Tribu Malbec at a wine bar in London, called Gordon’s Wine Bar which was was a funky bar that had lots of seating down a side street that you could use after purchasing your wine from the bar inside the building. The wine was a great drop also, being a Malbec it was a safe and delicious choice.

De Bortolli * Syrah Gamay

De Bortolli Syrah Gamay

Before I left Perth I had one last pizza night with my friend K. This was something we started back in university where we would have Broadway pizza’s and a bottle of wine and unwind from the past semester and exams. This time around I picked out the Shiraz Gamay that I brought back from my trip to the Yarra Valley last year (blog post here). The wine was very nice and I really have enjoyed all the Gamay’s I have had so far.

Other Alcoholic Drinks:

Peach and Apricot Rekorderlig

Peach and Apricot Rekorderlig

I discovered a new Rekorderlig flavour when I arrived in the UK. This one was quite nice, not overly sweet and very easy to drink as all the Rekorderlig ciders are. If this flavour makes it to Australia, give it a try and you will love it!

Woo Woo cocktail

Woo Woo cocktail

My first night out in London was with a friend from back home who had moved over to London before I did. I ended up ordering a pitcher of a cocktail to have while we caught up over the past few months. The Woo Woo consists of Archers peach schnapps, Smirnoff vodka, cranberry juiceand was very easy to drink.

Maracuja Pie cocktail

Maracuja Pie cocktail

This was  a cocktail I had at Breezes on Como called the Maracuja Pie cocktail, which consisted of ‘vanilla vodka, fresh passionfruit, vanilla Galliano, pineapple juice and a crumble dusting.‘ The cocktail was delicious and one that I will have again for sure! You can read the full review of the meal here.

sipping on Fosters

sipping on Fosters

I went out with my flatmates around London one long weekend to wander around the different tourist sites. For lunch we stopped at a pub and my flatmate ordered a pint of Fosters which I felt the need to have a sip of being an Australian. Have to say that I was not sold with Fosters, personally I think there are much better beers out there.

Crabbies Ginger Beer

Crabbies Ginger Beer

Instead of the Fosters however I ended up ordering  ginger beer after being told they were out of the Vasse Felix’s Classic Dry White that I originally ordered. An easy drinking ginger beer that I would have again, it’s no Matso’s but will have to do until I can find someone who stocks in in the UK or return home!

Strongbow cider

Strongbow cider

I was craving cider and ended up picking up a 4-pack of Strongbow cider one Friday night to celebrate the end of the week. Strongbow is a basic cider and not one I tend to gravitate towards unless I need a quick cider fix as it’s not a flavoursome cider but it did the job in this case after a long week at work.

Porn Star Martini and Hollywood cocktails

Porn Star Martini and Hollywood cocktails

The Porn Star Martini cocktail consisted of Mango, passion fruit, orange, lime, Absolut Vanilia and the Hollywood cocktail consisted of Southern Comfort, sweet raspberry, blueberry,  açaí berry. The Porn Star Martini was my favourite on the night and

 

Lunch @ Breezes on Como, South Perth

Before I left Perth I went out to lunch with my friend Miss J. Miss J suggested we try out a new restaurant and after a look in her entertainment book she settled on Breezes on the Como. When we arrived we were the first ones in the restaurant and the only ones for most of our meal, which did not bother us as we had plenty of chatting to do before I left.

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Maracuja Pice cocktail ($14.9)

While we looked over the menu and decided what we wanted to have for lunch we ordered a round of cocktails. I selected the Maracuja Pie cocktail, which consisted of ‘vanilla vodka, fresh passionfruit, vanilla Galliano, pineapple juice and a crumble dusting.‘ The cocktail was delicious and one that I will have again for sure!

We ordered some cheesy garlic bread to share as a starter. I ordered the Cordon Bleue for my main, while Miss J ordered the Linguine. I quite enjoyed my dish, it had an interesting array of flavours that to my surprise worked very well together. Miss L also enjoyed her meal, saying it was nice and quite filling.

Overall the restaurant and food was nice. The service was prompt. The atmosphere was lacking, although we did have a mid-week lunch. I will be back for the cocktail when I return to Perth if they still have it on the menu and perhaps I should coincide it with dinner and see how the atmosphere compares to my lunch.
Breezes On Como on Urbanspoon

Farewell Sunset at Cottesloe Beach

Summer Wrap is a series of my highlights and favourites from summer. A collection of eating,drinking and dining that captures the sunny warm weather of a Perth summer to a ‘T’. This two part post was the inspiration for this series as I have recently been looking back over this past summer and all the things I have enjoyed doing in and around Perth to do with drinking and dining.

This is the last post in the series as it was my last summer activity before I left for the UK. For my last day in Perth I chose to spend it with good company celebrating my favourite parts of summer in Australia. The highlight of the day was watching the sunset at the beach.

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My last sunset at Cottesloe Beach

My last day in Perth was spent with good company celebrating at one of my favourite summer spots – the beach! While I was sitting with my friends on the foreshore watching the sun set after having a swim we all found that we were craving hot chips and a milkshake as the perfect snack. We found that Red Spoon did frozen yoghurt milkshakes and with some hot chips and sauce from Amberjack’s Fish and Chips we then settled in to watch my last Australian sunset for a few years.

Hot chips and a milkshake

Hot chips and a milkshake

I thoroughly enjoyed the view, food and company and think that I will have to spend many more evening like this when I return to Perth. I have recently been receiving reports that the weather is beginning to cool down in Perth so before it gets any chillier I would highly recommend this as a fantastic way to spend an evening!
Amberjacks on Urbanspoon
Red Spoon Cottesloe on Urbanspoon

Summer Wrap: Girls Day in the Swan Valley @ The Cheese Barrel, Swan Valley

Summer Wrap is a series of my highlights and favourites from summer. A collection of eating,drinking and dining that captures the sunny warm weather of a Perth summer to a ‘T’. This two part post was the inspiration for this series as I have recently been looking back over this past summer and all the things I have enjoyed doing in and around Perth to do with drinking and dining.

Before I left Perth I made plans with some girlfriends from university to do a day trip out to the Swan Valley so I could visit the Swan Valley one last time before I left. On the day we all piled into a car, cranked up some tunes and headed out for the Swan Valley which was about a 30-40minute drive up Roe Highway from where we all lived.

All packed into the car and ready to drive.

All packed into the car and ready to drive.

When we arrived in the Swan Valley the first port of call was the Margaret River Chocolate Company’s Factory. We walk around the Chocolate Factory checking out the samples of chocolate, picking up a few pieces of chocolate for friends and family before heading over to check out Providore. At Providore we found a range of preserves, chutneys and prepared meal packages. There was lots of sampling of different preserves on offer and most were given a big thumbs up. There was also a quick sampling of the white wines from Coward & Black that Providore had for tasting, with the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc being the favourite.

After our time at the Chocolate Factory we made a quick stop at Yahava Koffee which had a lovely patio to sit under and enjoy a drink as you looked out over the vineyards and countryside. Some of the girls check out their coffee samples. I passed on on the coffee sampling and instead chose to marvel at the tranquil view from the shade of the patio. The reports back were that they took their coffee very seriously and if you want to visit to invest a portion of time to truly give this place the chance to impress you with their knowledge of and range of coffees.

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Quick photo op in the vines at Olive Farm Wines.

By now it was lunch time and we were in need of a feed after our busy morning of driving and tasting. I had requested that lunch involve cheese and so we headed over to The Cheese Barrel for lunch. When we arrived we chose to sit at a table inside as it was a very hot day and the air conditioning inside the Cheese Barrel was lovely. A quick look at the menu made us realise we had no clue where we wanted to start so we opted to pick one of their platters. We ended up settling on the ‘Gather and Share’ Platter ($57.50) to share between the 5 of us. To go with the platter I selected a Phoenix Organic Ginger Beer ($4) as I was on driving duty that day. Others chose between a glass of Olive Farm Sparkling Brut ($9.50), a ginger beer or lemon lime bitters from Phoenix Organic.

The ‘Gather and Share’ Cheese Platter consisted of  ‘6 premium cheeses (3 soft and 3 hard) elegantly printed with Parisian baguette slices, lavish bites, premium leg ham, quiche paste, marinated olives, pan de high and seasonal fruit slices’. One of the soft cheeses was meant to be a blue cheese, however as I was the only one in the group who ate blue cheese and not a great deal of it the lady at the counter was more than happy to substitute a different soft cheese for us which was greatly appreciated.

The cheeses in clockwise order from the top were:

1. Labuche d’Affinois
2. Rouzaire Camembert
3. Mountain Man
4. Queso de Murcia Al Vino
5. Quickes Cheddar
6. Queso San Simon

Cheeses 3 (Mountain Man) and 4 (Queso de Murcia Al Vino) were the overall favourites however all the cheeses were enjoyed and finished off along with all the other delicious toppings that the platter came with! I have enjoyed a few platters from the Cheese Barrel and this one again did not dissapoint!

We ended our time in the Swan Valley with a stop at Mondo Nougat for some ice-cream as we drove home. The strawberry ice-cream they had turned out to be very sugary and not to anyones liking so we passed on the ice-cream and had a look around the shop before hopping back in the car and heading home.

A few more hours would have been lovely but many of us had afternoon plans to get back to. To make a full day in the Swan Valley I would suggest checking out some of the wineries in the region such as Sittella and Olive Farm Wines.

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