Time to go back and visit Wagamama

The last place we went out to eat before the lockdown in March 2020 was Wagamama at Cribbs Causeway.

We had thought that places might close or be restricted, so took a final opportunity to go out and eat.

Though we have eaten out since that visit, wanting to go out and eat for Father’s Day my children decided that we would go to Wagamama. The fact that we couldn’t book a table didn’t seem to deter them…

We drove up to the Mall, and like on our recent visit a few days earlier the M5 was rather busy.

However we did mange to get their okay. We had decided to eat at 2pm, so we could miss the lunchtime rush. Despite that when we got into the Mall there was quite a long queue for Wagamama. Though I prefer not to queue, this time I knew there were very few alternatives around and my children had their heart set on going there, so we decided to wait. The queue actually moved quite fast and we took the time while we were waiting to peruse the menu.

I was really torn about what I was going to have. I did think about having the cod mokutan soba which I had back in 2019 and despite the initial dish being burnt the returned dish was much better. Interestingly back then I said

It was the kind of dish I enjoyed, but probably wouldn’t have it again on another visit.

I did quite like the idea of having it again this time, shows what do I know about what I like!

Another dish which caught my eye was the grilled duck donburi. 

tender, shredded duck in a spicy teriyaki sauce. mixed with carrots, mangetout, sweet potato and red onion on a bed of sticky white rice and topped with a crispy fried egg, cucumber and spring onions. served with a side of kimchee

Or the teriyaki sirloin steak soba.

grilled sirloin steak with soba noodles cooked in curry oil with mangetout, bok choi, red and spring onions, chilli and beansprouts in a teriyaki sauce. garnished with coriander and sesame seeds

In the end after much consideration and flip flopping I went with the  shirodashi ramen

slow-cooked, seasoned pork belly on top of noodles in a rich chicken broth with dashi and miso, topped with pea shoots, menma, spring onions, wakame and half a tea-stained egg

The rest of the family went with their choices, yaki soba, chicken raisukaree, gluten free chicken ramen and chicken and rice noodles.

As is typical at Wagamama for me, everyone else’s dish arrived well before mine, and I was waiting for while for my food. The others trying to be polite wanted to wait, but I didn’t want their food to go cold. Anyhow I can eat quite fast, so was okay with them eating.

This serving as food as soon as it is ready, does mean that you get your food fresh, reality is that unless you don’t mind eating your dish whilst others have none, it strikes me more as lazy planning than “serving food as soon as it’s ready”.

Finally my food arrived and though not quite as good as the pictures on the website it did look nice.

shirodashi ramen  slow-cooked, seasoned pork belly on top of noodles in a rich chicken broth with dashi and miso, topped with pea shoots, menma, spring onions, wakame and half a tea-stained egg

I had anticipated the slow cooked pork belly to be tender and soft, but actually was crispy, which I wasn’t expecting.

I did enjoy the ramen and it was very tasty and delicious.

I did think about having a beer with my ramen, but in the end went with a  jasmine flowering tea – flowering lily and jasmine green tea.

asmine flowering tea - flowering lily and jasmine green tea

It looked great and tasted nice, it reminded me of the flowering tea I had at Tea Monkey in Bath back in 2012.

I wasn’t going to have desert, but was persuaded to by everyone at the table, and it was Father’s Day. Though I did think about cheesecake, I went with the smoked chocolate caramel cake.

For some reason I wasn’t expecting to get a slice of cake! But I did, the cake was layers of smoked chocolate mousse, salted caramel crushed biscuits, chocolate fudge brownie and chocolate ganache, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

smoked chocolate caramel cake

Not as rich as it sounds and the ice cream added freshness and balance.

Overall we all enjoyed the meal, and the service was excellent.

Nice to be back.

Gluten Free Mini Chocolate Loaf Cakes

Gluten Free Mini Chocolate Loaf Cakes

These are tasty tiny loaf cakes.

I had seen these mini loaf cake cases in Sainsburys a few times, but I bought a pack to try them out.

cake cases

The recipe is based on the weight of two eggs

Ingredients

      • 3 standard eggs
      • Take the same weight of two of the eggs of soft butter
      • Take the same weight of two of the eggs in caster sugar
      • Take the same weight of two of the eggs in self-raising gluten-free flour
      • Vanilla essence
      • Two tablespoons of cocoa powder
      • Half a pack of chocolate chunks.

Cream the sugar and butter until you have a smooth consistency.

Beat the eggs, add some vanilla essence.

Stir the eggs into the creamed butter and sugar with some of 

the flour, until the mixture is smooth and consistent.

Then fold in the remaining flour and the cocoa until it is combined with the rest of the mixture.

Then stir in the chocolate chunks, leaving some to add to the top of each mini loaf.

Spoon into a the mini loaf cake cases. The mixture should be enough for five or six cases. 

Bake in a 180º normal oven or 160º fan oven for 25 minutes or until a metal skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

You can add fudge icing for extra decadence if you wanted to.

Missing some Heroes

Over on the Twitter there was an image shared of an old Wilkinson’s Christmas Catalogue.

What caught my eye was the carton of Heroes.

We have seen the return of the Crunchie, but alas no Picnie, Time Out or Fuse (remember them).

Of course if you go to Wikipedia you can find out what is currently included and what has disappeared over the years.

  • Fudge
  • Dairy Milk Caramel
  • Dairy Milk
  • Wispa (Added in 2015)
  • Twirl
  • Creme Egg Twisted (Added in 2009)
  • Eclair (Added in 2008)
  • Double Decker (Known as “Dinky Decker”, added in 2019)
  • Crunchie (Originally as Crunchie Bite. removed in 2008 but re-added in 2019 as Crunchie Bits)

Missing or removed includes

  • Bournville (Added in 2008, removed in 2013)
  • Dairy Milk Whole Nut (Dairy Milk with added hazelnut in the centre. Added in 2002, removed in 2008)
  • Dream (Removed in 2008)
  • Fuse (Removed in mid-2000’s)
  • Picnic (Removed in 2007)
  • Time Out (Removed in 2007)
  • Toblerone (Added for Christmas 2013, 2014 and 2015)
  • Nuts About Caramel (Cadbury’s Caramel with added hazelnut in the centre. Removed in Mid-2000’s)

I did quite enjoy when they included Toblerone.

May contain milk

If it may contain milk then it isn’t vegan. Just saying.

Saw this Galaxy vegan chocolate bar in the Free From aisle at Morrisons, where I was getting some gluten free stuff.

I did think that the only real ingredient in chocolate bars which isn’t vegan is the milk.

I can appreciate that it may not be possible to set up a separate factory, but seems a lost opportunity as I suspect many vegans will not bother with these as they don’t want to take the risk of accidentally eating a milk based product.

 

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Muffins

chocolate chip muffins

I’ve been meaning to try and make these for a while now, but kept making other things instead.

      • 125g gluten free plain flour
      • 25g cocoa powder
      • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
      • 1 large egg
      • 60g caster sugar
      • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
      • 100ml whole milk
      • 50g chocolate chunks
      • Dark chocolate chips for decoration.

Heat the oven to 180ºC or 160ºC for a fan oven.

In your muffin tin or tray add six muffin cases. 

Sieve the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a medium bowl. 

In a jug add the egg, sugar, oil and milk, then mix well together

Gradually pour part of the mix into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Then add some more, repeat until all the ingredients in the jug are combined with the flour, cocoa and baking powder.

Stir in the chocolate chunks.

Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cases and bake for 20-25 mins until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

Scatter a few dark chocolate chips on top of the muffins.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the muffin tray for 15 minutes and then remove from the tray.

Not 100% sure about the blue muffin cases, but you’re not going to eat them are you?

Gluten Free Choc Chip Cookies

Gluten Free Choc Chip Cookies

My son found a recipe online for choc chip cookies which we tried, though we replaced the standard flours with gluten free variants. These were nice, but they were a little too crisp and a little too sweet.

He then adjusted the recipe and the result was tasty chewy gluten free choc chip cookies. What I and my son liked about them was that they were very similar in taste and texture to the fresh (non-gluten) cookies you can buy at supermarkets that he use to enjoy before he went gluten free.

Ingredients

225g of unsalted butter
125g gluten free bread flour
125g gluten free plain flour
1 egg
1 egg yolk
100g caster sugar
120g light brown sugar
85g plain chocolate chips
130g plain chocolate chunks or chopped chocolate bar
One teaspoon salt
One teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Two teaspoons of vanilla essence

The adjustments we made to the original recipe was to increase the amount of flour, reduce the amount of sugar and swap the dark brown sugar for light brown sugar.

Melt the butter in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring frequently. The aim is to boil off some of the water off the butter. The recipe said to go ensure the milk solids got a nutty brown. I was a little wary in case of burning the butter, so didn’t probably go far enough. Once the butter melted and had turned slightly brown this was removed from the heat and cooled to room temperature.

Cream the liquid butter with the sugar, vanilla essence. The idea is to mix it until it is light and fluffy. The recipe calls for an electric mixer, ours was broken, so we did it by hand, which was hard work. Beat in the eggs until they are incorporated into the mixture.

Combine the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda.

Stir in the dry ingredients a third of it at a time until it is incorporated.

Using a wooden spoon fold in the chocolate chips and chunks.

Chill.

Place six small balls, about 2-3cm across, of dough on a baking tray and bake for 6-9 minutes.

This quantity of ingredients will make about eighteen cookies.

After cooking leave on the tray and then after three minutes move to a rack to cool further.

Eat!

Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cake

Though I do make my own cakes I sometimes use mixes, both for convenience, but also sometimes to try something new.

One pack we recently used, and really enjoyed was Betty Crocker Gluten Free Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake Mix.

Despite what you see on the box, you don’t get the icing, so you need to buy that as an extra.

As well as the mix you also need:

      • 125ml vegetable oil
      • 250ml water
      • 4 medium free range eggs

There are three steps:

      1. Mix the eggs, oil, water and cake mix gently together and whisk (by hand or electric mixer) for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy.
      2. Pour the cake mixture evenly into two greased cake tins.
      3. Bake in the centre of the oven for between 23-28 minutes or until a rounded knife inserted fully into the centre of the cake comes out clean. 

Once cool you can smother the cake with chocolate fudge icing.

It was rather good, and to be honest you wouldn’t know it was gluten free as it had the taste, texture and smell of a chocolate fudge cake even without the icing.

Rocking the Gluten Free Rocky Road

During the lockdown I have been making gluten free rocky road a fair bit.

In a large pan, gently melt 150g of dark chocolate, 50g of butter and 3 large spoons of Golden Syrup. The key here is gently, too harsh then the butter and chocolate will burn. Once it has melted then leave for 15 minutes. You need to leave it to cool down otherwise when you add the marshmallows they will melt.

Crush some gluten free biscuits. I usually use a 160g pack of gluten free digestives, but have used a 120g pack of Schär Viennese Biscuits as well (though these are a lot more crumbly than the digestives. You easily make your own biscuits instead. I also add 50g of gluten free chocolate rice cereal as well, for  added crunch. Then add 50g of small marshmallows. 

This mixture is then stirred carefully to ensure that all the ingredients are coated in the chocolate mixture.

Spoon the mixture into either a greased lined baking tray or a foil tray. Press down into the tray and ensure that it is evenly spread.

Then sprinkle the top of the rocky road with decorations. I use small marshmallows, white chocolate stars and fudge pieces.

Chill in the fridge and then cut into squares or slices.

Wow, delicious chocolates

We got sent sent a huge (expensive) box of chocolates that arrived in an even bigger box.

John Lewis & Partners Chocolate & Truffle Selection.

This was the John Lewis & Partners Chocolate & Truffle Selection.

71 white, milk and dark chocolates and truffles in a unique and innovative collection, carefully selected for the ultimate in chocolate indulgence. Each irresistible flavour combination has been made from a recipe exclusive to John Lewis & Partners.

21 flavours include: praline popping truffle, grapefruit and coriander, raspberry and hibiscus, mascarpone and lime, sloe gin ganache, coconut, rose and violet, butter caramel and passion fruit.

I don’t think I would have bought a box of chocolates like this, but I have been enjoying the chocolates. I’ve had posh chocolates before and not really liked them, these on the other hand are quite tasty. There are some strange flavour combinations in there, but they’re not overpowering.

Tasty and a lovely gift.

Gluten Free Chocolate Loaf Cake

Gluten Free Chocolate Loaf Cake

This is a tasty rich chocolate loaf cake.

The recipe is based on the weight of two eggs

Ingredients

3 standard eggs
Take the same weight of two of the eggs of soft butter.
Take the same weight of two of the eggs in caster sugar
Take the same weight of two of the eggs in self-raising gluten-free flour.
Two large spoons of cocoa powder.
Vanilla essence.

Cream the sugar and butter until you have a smooth consistency.

Beat the eggs, add some vanilla essence.

Stir the eggs into the creamed butter and sugar with some of the flour and the cocoa, until the mixture is smooth and consistent.

Then fold in the remaining flour until it is combined with the rest of the mixture.

Spoon into a loaf tin and bake in a 180º normal oven or 160º fan oven for 35 minutes or until a metal skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

I do use loaf tin liners in my loaf tin. Makes getting the cake out of the tin much easier.

Cool and then serve in slices.