Wild Mushrooms

I was staying up in Manchester. I was staying at the Macdonald Manchester Hotel. I had stayed at the hotel before in 2015, though back then I didn’t have dinner in the hotel. This time I was eating in the hotel.

After enjoying my Barnsley Chop, this time I went with the Wild Mushroom dish.

This was described on the menu as assorted wild mushrooms, asparagus, white truffle oil, port wine cream, mini fondants, puff pastry and tenderstem broccoli.

This dish had huge potential to be an outstanding plate of food, alas it wasn’t.

Well, firstly, I couldn’t find any mini fondants. the puff pastry was a little flat and I did struggle to find the wild mushrooms in the dish. Having said that I did enjoy the asparagus and the tenderstem broccoli. The sauce was nice, but I did struggle to taste the truffle.

Overall I did quite enjoy the dish, but this a mediocre plate of food and I wish it could have been better.

Airport Coffee

Well to be honest I had quite low expectations about the coffee I ordered from Soho at Bristol Airport.

However in the end it was okay, even quite good. I didn’t have a huge amount of time following a long queue in security. So with no queue at Soho and an imminent announcement about the gate, I ordered a macchiato.

It was prepared well, good coffee and some foam. I enjoyed it. It did mean that I didn’t need to order a coffee on the plane! Now that would have been a very different story.

It’s back…

I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoyed Lidl’s Italiamo Italian Style Coffee Ice Cream. So I was pleased to see that it will be back next week (from the 22nd September 2022) in their stores, along with the lemon and amaretto versions as well.

Italiamo Italian Style Ice Cream Coffee

Still good value at 99p a tub.

Nice smoked salmon starter

I was attending a team away day at Ashorne Hill Conference Centre and it was time for dinner.

As part of my job I will often attend events and conferences. Sometimes these will be in hotels and other times they are in dedicated conference centres. I usually have lunch, which usually defaults to some kind of buffet lunch. For some events and conferences I stay over and that means having dinner. I have had some outstanding food at some conference venues. I had been to Ashorne Hill Conference Centre before, last year I had an okay meal of crispy chilli beef, chicken, and cheese and biscuits.

So there I was attending an “away day” at the Ashorne Hill Conference Centre near to Leamington Spa. It was a lunchtime to lunchtime event, so there was dinner in the evening.

For my starter I went with the smoked salmon on a crumpet, with a poached egg and topped with hollandaise sauce and a chive crumb.

I did think the crumpet was an interesting choice, but overall I really enjoyed the starter. The smoked salmon was excellent, the poached egg was cooked perfectly and the sauce and crumb just added to the dish. 

A really lovely way to start a meal.

Chewy Flapjack

flapjack

This is quick and easy recipe that results in delicious, moist, sticky chewy flapjacks.

150g unsalted butter
75g brown sugar
75g golden syrup
200g of oats

In a pan melt the butter, sugar and syrup together. I find the easiest way to measure the golden syrup is to put the pan on the scales, zero the scales and then add the syrup.

Once the sugar, butter and syrup are bubbling take it off the heat and stir in the oats.

My preferred oats are the Mornflake Whole Jumbo Oats.

Place the mixture  into a greased tin (or lined using baking parchment) and bake in a 180ºC (160ºC fan)  oven for about 10-12 minutes or until the edges are browned and the mix is bubbling. If you cook for too long the flapjacks will be harder and not chewy.

I cool the flapjacks on a wire rack.

I quite like chocolate flapjack, so sometimes I melt a bar of chocolate and cover the flapjack.

Barnsley Chop

I was staying up in Manchester. I was staying at the Macdonald Manchester Hotel. I had stayed at the hotel before in 2015, though back then I didn’t have dinner in the hotel. This time having arrived late into Manchester, I decided to eat in the hotel restaurant.

It was a Monday evening, so I didn’t expect the place to be that busy. There were quite a few people eating in the bar, so I did think that there might be some people eating in the restaurant. When I arrived the restaurant was empty, but it was late, and I was hungry.

The restaurant is called The Scottish Steakhouse and if you go to the hotel website it says:

True to our Scottish heritage, the beef we serve comes from fully accredited Scottish farms and supplied to us by Scotbeef, suppliers to the highest quality retailers in the country. The beef is then traditionally aged for a minimum of 21 days on the bone and hand cut by highly skilled butchers using time-honoured techniques, delivering the perfect Scottish dining experience. 

However the menu actually says:

All our steaks are from the North West England! Straight from Dukesmoor Farm who have a range of superior and traditionally reared British cattle.

So, which is correct? Well who knows, I suspect the menu is now right.

Looking over the menu, I decided that I would have something from the grill. I do quite like a nice lamb chop, so went with the Barnsley Chop, which the menu said was served with grilled mushrooms and roast cherry vine tomatoes.

I did ask if the dish came with chips, I was told it came with fries, but did I want chips, I said I was happy with fries. I thought they might be extra. Well when I got the bill they were an extra, I didn’t mind as I wanted some fries, but didn’t appreciate the confusion.

My meal arrived promptly and looked very nice.

Overall it was a nice plate of food. The chips was nice, as were the mushrooms and tomatoes. The lamb was cooked well, was tender and tasty. I think the lamb could have been better seasoned, but that was a minor comment.

Thought the initial service left a lot to be desired, the service after the meal was friendly and excellent.

Breakfast Time in Wimbledon

I was staying in Wimbledon at the Hotel du Vin and staying overnight I had breakfast a couple of times.

Unlike a lot of hotel chains, there wasn’t a full buffet breakfast. You helped yourself to toast, croissant, fruit, and so on. However for hot food though you ordered off the menu. It was a similar story with hot drinks.

I did like the fact that I could order a “proper” coffee of my choice with my breakfast, so I went with a double espresso. This was much nicer than the filtered coffee you usually have at hotel breakfasts.

There was a fair few choices on the menu, Eggs Benedict, Avocado on Toast, Grilled Kipper. In the end though I went with the Classic Full Cooked Breakfast. This was Cumberland sausage, sweet cured bacon, black pudding, grilled tomato, mushroom and eggs (cooked to your liking). I went with poached eggs.

Having taken my order the breakfast was cooked to order. The kitchen was in the Orangery at the hotel, so I could (if I was closer) see my breakfast being cooked. My breakfast then arrived on the table.

Classic Full Cooked Breakfast

I have to say I was a little disappointed. The bacon didn’t look that appetising. However it was nice and fresh, and did taste delicious. I enjoyed the tomato and mushroom, the sausage and black pudding were good, and the eggs were cooked well.

On the second day I was there, I went with the same classic breakfast and this was much better.

Classic Full Cooked Breakfast

The bacon this time looked a lot nicer, but otherwise it was much the same as the day before (consistency is a good thing).

Overall, despite my initial (minor) disappointment, this was a nice breakfast. The continental selection was good, nice choice of jams  and butter. Excellent coffee as well.

Manky Cheese

I bought some brie from Aldi and when I got home I put it in the fridge. 

The next day I opened the pack and wasn’t impressed by the sight and smell of the brie. It was brown and smelt really bad.

It had been obviously badly stored at some point before it hit the shelves at my local Aldi.

I really should have taken it back for a refund, but didn’t. Partly as I no longer had the receipt, wasn’t going that way, and in the main as the cheese smelt really bad, now it was open!

So I won’t be buying brie from Aldi again anytime soon.

Citrus Brazilian BBQ chicken

This was one of those impulse buys from the supermarket, I was in Aldi and they had in their middle aisle deals some sachets of Schwartz Citrus Brazilian BBQ seasoning.

I got some skinless and boneless chicken thighs, these I then cut in half, trying to make the halves equal in size and weight, so they cook evenly.

I added a splash of sunflower oil to the chicken pieces and coated them. I then added Schwartz Citrus Brazilian BBQ seasoning.

In a hot frying pan, add a little sunflower oil.

Then add the chicken pieces.

I add some greaseproof paper on top of the chicken as it is pan fried to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked.

The Windsor Castle BBQ

The Windsor Castle

I was listening to some live music at The Windsor Castle and decided to have a burger from their barbecue.

The chef heated up the (recently) cooked burger on the plancha on the barbecue. This was then served in a roll with cooked onions. I then had to add my own cheese, lettuce, tomato and sauce.

It was quite a tasty burger, lots of nice flavours. 

I do think it was a little pricey at £5.50 for what I got (and what I had to do).