Prezzo to close in Weston-super-Mare

According to an article in the Evening Standard Prezzo in Weston-super-Mare is to close. Obviously it is closed now due to Covid restrictions, but is now not going to reopen.

Prezzo in WSM is part of the Dolphin Square development, we’ve already seen Pizza Express next door, shut. Loco Mexicana has moved from their unit to a new one on the seafront. T-Bone and Luda have also closed. That leaves just Costa at the back and Nandos on the corner still “open”. The Cineworld has closed due to Covid, as had clip and climb. Going forward what does this mean for the entire complex? 

Causal dining chains in Weston have taken a hit across the town, as Frankie and Benny’s over at Flowerdown has also shut.

An opportunity in the future for independent restaurants perhaps? Or will people travel into Bristol or up to Cribbs Causeway when they want to go out to eat in the future?

Brazilian Prato Feito

Over the last year I have missed going to street food markets, so have been reflecting on nice meals I have had in the past.

Back in March 2017 I went to the St Nicholas Street Food Market in Bristol. There is always a lot of choice in the market itself, but back then on Wednesdays there was a range of additional stalls on Wine Street which widens the choice.

Looking over the stalls I went to the Tia Julia Brazilian Food Stand.

Lots of nice choices, but I went with the Prato Feito. This was a dish comprising of a Brazilian style cuts of rump steak, flash fried on the griddle with onions, peppers and melted cheese. It was served with tomato salsa, pinto beans and rice.

The steak was full of flavour and very tasty, I really enjoyed this dish. I really liked the fact it was cooked to order, so I could see it being prepared.

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.

It’s back…

After lamenting on the blog that the Truffled Cauliflower Cheese from M&S had disappeared, it had come back.

On a recent visit to M&S I found it again, though it has to be said it was now in their Gastropub branding. I also think there was now more crunchy topping than before, but still same great taste.

Excellent.

Truffled Cauliflower Cheese is no more…

So the cauliflower dish I have been getting from Marks and Spencer seems to have been taken off the shelves.

The Truffled Cauliflower Cheese described as cauliflower in a cheddar cheese and truffle sauce, topped with a  cheese, mushroom and chive ciabatta crumb was rather nice, and quick and easy just needing thirty minutes in the oven.

It was a really nice dish, plenty of cauliflower, nice sauce, good flavour of truffle. Though I think it needed more topping, this was more of a personal preference than a criticism.

Alas the last few times I have been to my local M&S there is no sign of it on the shelves, which was a pity. I didn’t think it was a seasonal dish, as it was there well before Christmas. There is a normal cauliflower cheese dish, but that doesn’t look the same and I suspect I would be disappointed.

Time for a Coffee: Top Ten Blog Posts 2020

This year I have written 120 blog posts, last year I did 58 blog posts and the year before just 36.

With the lockdown I went out to eat a lot less than I have in previous years, however not going out, meant I had a little more time to play catch up finishing off reviews of meals I had eaten in 2019.

So at number ten was a blog post on the Rum Aero.

Rum Aero anyone?

Looking over old sweet wrappers (online and for a charity quiz as it happens) I realised how much I missed out in the 1970s and 1980s on various flavours of Aero.

In ninth place, having been top for both 2018 and 2017, dropped down a place in 2019, now dropping seven places was Sirloin for Beef Wellington? This was a response to the high ranking of another post about using sirloin steak in a Beef Wellington rather than fillet steak due to the way people were (at the time) searching Google. was Sirloin for Beef Wellington? This was my version of the classic Beef Wellington.

The eighth most popular post was from August 2020, about the closure of Frankie and Benny’s in Weston-super-Mare.

Well after blogging about the closure of Pizza Express in Weston-super-Mare, it is now rumoured, but not confirmed, that the branch of Frankie and Benny’s in Weston-super-Mare will not be reopening after closed for lockdown.

Seventh most popular blog post was Truffled Cauliflower Cheese from Marks and Spencers which was a review of some very nice cauliflower. It’s described as cauliflower in a cheddar cheese and truffle sauce, topped with a  cheese, mushroom and chive ciabatta crumb.

My top post from 2019 dropped five places to sixth, Chilli Squid from Wagamama was a post reviewing some squid I had in Leeds back in 2011. This looked fantastic, was beautifully cooked and tasted delicious. I really liked the squid and the dipping sauce added to the dish without overpowering it.

Ten years ago I tried some pasta from Sainsbury’s, Basil & pine nut margherite. Was the fifth most popular blog post dropping two places since 2019.

Climbing two places into fourth place, was Marks and Spencers Pork Medallions which was written back in 2009. I had cooked and enjoyed Marks and Spencers’ Pork Medallions with a cider and shallot sauce.

Lidl Coffee Ice Cream

In third place was Lidl Coffee Ice Cream which was a short review of the coffee flavoured tub of ice cream. They are not huge tubs, but what you get is a tasty creamy coffee ice cream, with a little chocolate in there as well.

The second most popular blog post was from February 2020 and was a recipe for a Gluten Free Chocolate Loaf Cake. This is a tasty rich chocolate loaf cake.

So the most popular blog post on Time for a Coffee in 2020 was Lidl Sol Mar Cod Croquettes which was posted in June 2020 about some fish croquettes I had picked up from Lidl.

Lidl Sol Mar Cod Croquettes

I really quite enjoyed them.

Quite refreshing to see posts from 2020 being half the top posts in 2020.

Christmas Gravy

Over the last few years I have taken a different approach to making gravy with our Christmas lunch.

In the past I would utilise the cooking pan that the roast meal had come in to make the gravy. It would have to compete for hob space with the vegetables and pan frying the brussel sprouts. It would all then be a bit of a stress to ensure everything was cooked and the gravy arrived on time.

I have started now to make the gravy first! This does mean I can’t use the roasting pan, so I create my own roasting pan.. I use a roasting pan, into which I add some chopped root vegetables. These are usually carrots, onions, parsnips, leeks, as well as some mushrooms. I also add some chicken, either wings or drumsticks. I add some olive oil and garlic to the pan. I then roast this in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, the idea is that the chicken is cooked and there are juices in the roasting pan.

Having taken the roasting pan out fo the oven I place it on the hob, if required I add some extra fat, usually butter and let this melt before adding a couple of spoonfuls of flour. This is then whisked into the melted butter and cooking juices to form a roux. I then add some port (or red wine) and chicken stock and let the gravy cook for a while. Strain and place in a saucepan. This can now be heated up later when you’re about to serve, you could even use the microwave if you are short of hob space.  I do find it easier to heat up the gravy than make it from scratch as I am about to serve hence making it first.

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.

 

So on this day two years ago….

On this day two years ago I was in London for various meetings. Over lunch I went for a walk around Covent Garden and enjoyed looking at the Christmas decorations. Since 2015 when  I started working at my current organisation I would go to London quite frequently and in December it is really nice to see the different ways in which they decorate Covent Garden and other places around London.

Covent Garden

Of course since the Covid-19 lockdown I’ve not been to work or meetings in London since March.

However back to 2018, so I headed towards Kimchee on the Strand to get some lunch. Since my previous visit a few months earlier they have changed dramatically how they sell and serve food. Before you would pick things up from the hot and cold units and then either (as I usually did) take it back to the office or there were tables you could eat at. However now there was a big kitchen area, you would place your order, get a buzzer thingy and wait until the food was cooked to order. I quite like getting freshly cooked food, so was happy to wait.

I ordered the Deopbap Chicken Bulgogi and the Pa Jeon. I then had to wait for my order. Deopbap Chicken Bulgogi was Korean BBQ Chicken in a rice bowl.

The grilled chicken marinated in a blend of ginger, dark soy and garlic, was coated in a sauce and served on a bed of rice and salad. It was quite tasty, but not really barbecued chicken. It was just okay and nothing special and at nearly nine pounds I thought it was overpriced and wasn’t value for money.

I really liked the sound of the Seafood Pa Jeon, a Korean savoury pancake. Pajeon is a variety of jeon with scallion as its prominent ingredient, as pa means scallion. It is a Korean dish made from a batter of eggs, wheat flour, rice flour, scallions, and often other ingredients depending on the variety.

However the end result was a greasy stodgy undercooked pancake with no real flavour. I couldn’t actually finish it. I certainly won’t be going again.

On a later visit to London in 2019 I found that the branch of Kimchee had closed down. I wasn’t too surprised as the essence of what they had which worked was lost, as well as the downturn in the quality of the food as well as more expensive dishes. It also took longer to get served and I am sure that had an impact on those wanting to pick something up quickly and head back to their workplace.