Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Win an Alfresco Sausage Supper Kit

BBC Good Food Show Summer is around the corner and this is my favourite show to showcase artisan producers. I would like to introduce you to a new brand which I have recently discovered,  Debbie and Andrews who sell a range of premium sausages such as their signature Harrogate sausages alongside the Kentish Apple and Cider and more unique flavours Corination Chicken and Curried Chicken and Mango. debbie & andrew's also sell a range of wheat, gluten free and dairy free sausages in a variety of flavours, which is great if you have an allergy. With so many interesting flavours, I am looking forward to trying the Curried Chicken and Mango sausages, this was voted as the fans favourite, so I can't wait to try this for a luxury breakfast. 
If you are heading to the BBC Good Food Show, pop over to their stand and try the range of samples. The lovely people at debbie & andrew's are giving 5 lucky readers a recipe book containing their favourite recipes a cool bag and 4 x vouchers worth £25 redeemable at Asda, Morrisons, Sainsburys and Tescos. To be in with a chance you have to follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway
  • Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget.
  • Join my blog and leave a comment (click on the left hand corner of the sitoin using Google Friend connector) this is an ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT. 
  • For additional entries, subscribe to my Youtube cannel, like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, Instragram and Google Plus.
  • All entries will be checked and verified.
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random.
  • The competition will run from 31.05.16 - 19.06.16
  • Winners will need to respond in 5 working days of being contacted.
  • The competition is open to UK residents, aged 18 or over.
  • Debbie and Andrews are responsible for sending out the Sausage Super Kit.
  • Please feel free to share the giveaway. 


Saturday, 28 May 2016

Top 5 Things to Do In Milan

If you've been following my Instragram, I'm at charlene_flash by the way, I recently visited Milan. Now, I originally planned to visit Barcelona, but due to my proposed dates that I wanted to travel, and this clashing with Barcelona Grand Prix, the next option was Milan. I visited Rome a few years ago and didn't want to visit again, scared of the astronomical prices and having visited many of the tourist sites, I wanted to visited another Italian, Milan, the fashion capital of the world is not only great for Versace, Miu Miu or Prada but there are some great "must see sights" that is worth a visit. Before, I share in detail where I would recommend to visit, Milan is accessible to English speakers. The majority of the shop owners, restaurateurs and general passer byers speak English and all the transport signs and instructions are in English and Italian so you'll be able to get around. Also, I found the Italians to be very friendly and helpful so there should be no evil glances heading your away. Compared to England, the cost of eating out is cheaper, although glasses of wine tends to be cheaper from soft drinks. Great if you love wine. Here are my top 5 things to do in Milan.
1) Visit Leonardo Da Vinchi's "The Last Supper" mural painting is one of the world's famous painting depicting the symbolic scene in the New Testament where Jesus has his last supper with his disciples. The painting is famous for characterising each of the disciples reaction after Jesus stated that he will be betrayed. What's so great about this painting is the intricacy and sheer size of the painting, it covers one wall in Santa Maria dell Grazie church. Whilst you are admiring Leonardo da Vinchi's work, take a look at Giovanni Donato da Montofano crucifixion painting also held in the same room. You only get 15 minutes to view and tickets are notoriously difficult, if not impossible to purchase last minute. Many guides and websites state that tickets must be purchased 3 months in advance as only 15 people are allowed to view the painting at any one time to preserve the painting. I booked a half day walking tour with Viator to guarantee an informative day and also to guarantee entry to the The Last Supper. As our guide informed us, it's easier to get a date in Milan than to purchase tickets for The Last Supper.  It really is a breathtaking painting, one which should not be skipped.

2) Milan Cathedral, also known as Duomo di Milano is an imposing gothic cathedral, the second largest in Italy, the third largest in the world. As soon as your eyes lay eyes on this imposing cathedral which took 6 centuries to make, you will marvel at the building works, it is simply breathtaking. My friend and I visited on two occasions, the first to enter into the cathedral which was included in our walking tour. Entry to services I believe are free, but if you want entry and you are not attending service this will cost 2 Euros. Admire the beautiful intricate cathedral, see the story of the New Testament in picture form and just adimtre its sheer grandeur. The 2 Euro ticket entrance also included entrance to the museum, unfortunately, I did not have time to enter. Tickets to enter the terraces of the Duomo, which is worth the long queues (about 1hr 15 minutes) and going past armed army soldiers, cost 11 euros to enter the terraces using the lift. Here admire the view of Milan city skyline from one of the tallest building, alongside the sharp and dramatic buildings. Make sure you take some beautiful pictures on the roof top, utterly breathtaking.

3) Hop On/Hop Off bus. Whenever I visit a new city, I have to book a hop on and hop off tour. What is a better way to see a new city then on the top decker on a bus with a slight breeze, sunny weather and camera at the ready. So far, I've booked this excursion at Rome, Miami, Berlin and Varaderro. The hop and off bus tickets cost 25 Euros for 48 hours. There are three bus routes, I chose the red route as it had all, what I consider the key sites, but if I had more time I would have checked out the other routes. It's probably worth taking a quick visit to the Milan Tourist Centre for advice on which route to take. 

4) Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle - Unless you've got some serious deep pockets, this is likely to be a window browsing visit only. One of the worlds oldest shopping malls in the world. All the designer giants have shops here: Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Miu Miu all have shops there. It's also a great location, right next to the Duomo and near the Opera House.

5) Venture out of Milan for the day and take a train up north and venture up to Lake Como. Around one hour train journey away and costing around 13 Euros return, view the spectacular views of the Italian lakes. Take a ferry ride to one of the many towns, people watch whilst you enjoying a glass of wine overlooking the lakes and mountains. Or if your purses can cope, visit one of the many designer shops.


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Rofuto Restaurant Review (Birmingham)

Rofuto launched on our Birmingham skylines last month, as part of the grand opening of Birmingham's newest Park Regis. My friend and I entered via the ground floor of the swanky hotel, which is worth to see the beautiful decor downstairs. The hotel had a worker specifically to press the lift buttons and we were taken on a journey upwards to the top floor of the hotel. The floor space of Rofuto is large; there is a bar area to the left of the restaurant, entered via a door and the rest of the restaurant is large with the chefs kitchen at the far side. I admired the seating area, a combination of cosy tables and bar stools, all have a view of the Birmingham city skyline, which is breathtaking. 
Image courtesy of Paul Fluffed
I'm not experienced in Japanese cuisine, I've had the occasion sushi and sashimi, mainly when I was in Rio De Janeiro as there was a large Japanese population, but do they eat hot food? I was about to find out, our lovely waitress ushered us to a window seat with views of a cloudy Birmingham skyline. We were asked whether we would like to order cocktails and snack on Edamame beans (£3). As there was a bit of discussion on some of their signature cocktails over on Twitter, my friend ordered the White Chocolate Martini and I ordered the Midnight Geisha (£9.50) which contains vodka, chambered, guava, raspberry, lime and lemongrass. 

For our starters I ordered the Crispy Chicken, Kimichi Sauce, Lime (£7.50) and my friend ordered the Crispy Duck and Watercress salad (£9.50). My chicken was gorgeously crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The flavours of the lime and kimichi really came through, there was a hidden hint of the kimichi which was great. My friend ordered the crispy duck and watercress salad, she commented on the beautiful presentation but that the duck was very pink (she doesn't like rare cooked meats). I sampled the duck and if you like your duck rare and to appreciate the flavour then this would be for you, I enjoyed it.

For our main course I ordered the Black Angus Fillet, Gobo Crisps, Garlic Ponzu and Truffle (£22) and my friend ordered the Chicken Katsu Curry (£16). As our main courses did not include any side dishes, we ordered Duck Egg Fried Rice (£4.50), Gohan Rice (£3.50), Sesame Spinach and Cassava Crisps £5 and Asian Slaw (£4.50). My black angus fillet, was amazing, beautifully sliced, perfectly cooked and wonderfully flavoured. The angus was so tender and moist, I wished there were more of it. My friend waited around 8 minutes (not that I was timing or anything) for her chicken katsu, I tried to wait before I dived in to my steak but couldn't resist starting without her. On a positive note, I sampled the chicken katsu which was good, crispy, flattened and light. The curry sauce was served on the side. 

My friend and I were contemplating whether to order a dessert over some sweet sake - Takashimizu Honjozo (£11).  I didn't know what sake was but it's a traditional Japanese made with rice wine. It's very sweet and very very strong, I had a couple of sips but as I was driving my friend gladly drank the rest.
For dessert, I thought I would try the robata pineapple and lemongrass  ice-cream (£5.50), as this is the perfect palette cleanser. I found the desert to be very refreshing and light, after the feast that I enjoyed. My friend ordered the Two Chocolate and Banana Fondant (£6) which the flavours of the chocolate and banana came through. It was rich and it was good.

I visited on a Wednesday, so expectedly the night was quieter than say if I visited on a Saturday. Also the "crowd" were slightly older than me (not that that's a bad thing) and businessmen. Would I visit Rofuto again? I would if I was celebrating a special occasion like my birthday or an anniversary. For me, this isn't what I would consider everyday dining (similar to Michelin star restaurants) but dining if you want a treat. 

Disclaimer: I was invited to review Rofuto restaurant, all opinions are my own.


Saturday, 21 May 2016

BBC Good Food Show Summer Ticket Giveaway

It's back with a bang. Of course I'm talking about BBC Good Food Show Summer,  the original and best food show in the UK from 16th June - 19th June. Plus it's indoors, hosted at Birmingham NEC. It doesn't matter what I've got on, I always manage to visit this food lovers paradise. I really enjoy meeting with Artisan produces and watching the chef demos for further culinary inspiration. This year the super theatre is back with the big names in the culinary world completing demos such as Tom Kerridge, Mary Berry and James Martin. Also, the BBC Good Food Show Stage is returning with the BBC Good Food Team, Cassie Best, Glynn Purnell and Rosie Birkett. There's also a new Chinese Pavilion which I am keen to try out, a lot of people enjoy eating flavours from the East and this Pavilion will specialise in teas, wines and spirits from the region. 

I of course will be documenting my time at the BBC Good Food Show using the hashtag #gfssummer, I can't wait to share all of my latest discovery.

I have one pair of tickets to give to one lucky reader of my blog. All you have to do is follow the below instructions:

  • Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget. 
  • Join my blog and leave a comment (click on the left hand corner of the site and join using Google friend connector) this is an ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT.
  • For additional entries, subscribe (and leave a comment) to my Youtube channel, like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, Instragram and Google Plus.
  • All entries will be checked and verified. 
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random.
  • The competition will run from 21.05.16 - 08.06.16
  • Winners will need to respond within 2 days of being contacted.
  • The competition is open to UK residents, aged 18 or over only. 
  • Tickets are general admission, excluding Saturday and entry to the super theatre. 
  • Please feel free to share the giveaway .
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, 19 May 2016

Introducing Grass Fields "Gaelle" Dress

Another day, another new fashion brand. Well, not quite new. More new to me. Grass Fields is a fashion brand which focuses on creating contemporary, eye-catching and well made clothing inspired by their African heritage.  I saw their iconic African printed dresses, skirts and jumpsuits a while back over on Instragram and was impressed by not only the African printed clothing but also the structure and design of the pieces. I had my eye on (yet another) colourful printed maxi dress as this would be perfect for showing off during my city break to Milan (on the blog very soon).

What caught my eye with the Gaelle dress was the A line style dress and how it nips you in the middle and puffs out further down. The dress instantly reminded me of the Victorian style corset dresses, the ones which highlighted your waist and then become gradually larger. As a lover of prints, I loved the colour combination; gold, black and green and the beautiful woven African prints.

Described as a floor sweeping dress, perfect with high heels, I teamed my dress with beige brogues for a more dressed down look. I think if you were shorter than me (i.e 5'8) you would need to wear this with heels as it will skim the floor and you may end up walking over it. I also liked the sweetheart neckline, I had to wear a black top underneath to protect my modesty, but if you have a smaller bust you may be able to get away with just wearing a bra. This dress is perfect for the upcoming long Summer days/nights and also is a must holiday dress. I don't think there will be many people rocking this dress this summer, many of their dresses quickly sell out and are not restocked, so be sure to treat yourself to this or another unique printed African style dress.

The website states that the dress had a back zipper closure, I did not notice this when I wore the dress and having quickly inspected whether this was there (for the blog post) it wasn't so maybe this an error on their website. The Gaelle dress retails at £120, which I think for the quality and the intricacy of the fabrics is worth it.

Disclaimer: I reviewed this dress because I loved the prints, I was not asked to review this product. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Eggs in Purgatory

I'm sure you don't need a recipe for Eggs in Purgatory, also known as Shakshuka. But, not one for doing things in half, I will share with you this recipe. Many recipes for eggs in purgatory uses tinned chopped tomatoes but this recipe uses fresh tomatoes and the taste is so much better compared to all the shakshukas which I have made before. I've been cooking a lot from Olives, Lemon and Za'atar by Rawia Bishara over the last couplee of months. I've been enticed by the charming recipes, fantastic stories and easy to cook dishes. A real positive of this dish is that it is vegetarian so you can please meat free eaters. I served my eggs in purgatory with pitta bread and homemade hummus, it's perfect for serving for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Serves 6
6 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 red pepper, cored and diced
1 green pepper, cored and diced
3 tablespoons tomato puree
3 tablespoons homemade hot sauce
1 tablespoon ground cumin, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground caraway
6 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 medium aubergine, about 500g, peeled, cut into 2.5cm dice and roasted or fried (optional)
juice of 1/2 lemon
6 medium eggs
Serve with Arabic or pitta bread.

Place the oil in a large frying pan, over a medium-high heat and sauté the garlic and shallots until they begin to take on colour, about 3 minutes. Add the red and green peppers and cook for a further 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and hot sauce until incorporated, about 3 minutes, then add the cumin, coriander, salt and caraway, if using and stir for 1 minus. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat and cook until the liquid is reduced and the sauce has thickened, 10 - 12 minutes.
Add the aubergine and lemon juice, raise the heat and bring to the boil. Break the eggs into the frying pan in a single layer, pushing the whites towards the yolk with a wooden spoon to keep hem intact. Cook until the whites are opaque and the middle of the yolk is still slightly runny. Scoop the eggs and tomato sauce into bowls and serve with the Arabic bread.


Saturday, 7 May 2016

Calisto Tagine Review

I visited the majestic city of Marrakesh in February and for someone who loves food and lots of it, there was an array of beautiful crockery which I had to take home with me. I brought a colourful tagine, multi-coloured and reminded me of the beautiful tiles that was everywhere. After I brought it, I asked the man whether it could go in the oven, he replied "decoration". I was gutted and didn't have the heart to return the tagine, so I was left with a tagine that was for decoration only. 
So, when the lovely people at Harbour Living shared their new beautiful Calisto collection with influences from Morrocco, I had to road test one of their products. There are is a large range of beautiful items from the Calisto collection such as the pitcher, mini bowls and platter plates, all available in black glaze or white glaze and I decided to road test their tagine.
With the tagine being the most associated cooking utensil with Morrocco, it was only appropriate that I rustled up some delicious dishes in their stylish white glazed Terracotta tagine (RRP £41.49. They also reminded me of the tagines that I saw on when I ate with locals ..........
 What I'm also impressed with is that the Calisto collection is that tagine is oven proof and can stand the heat up to180c whilst also holding up to 1.5 litres. If I was to have friends over and have a get together, I would definitely use this tagine, its beautiful enough to be a show stopper on the table. But what about every day cooking? I tested this out mid week to make a chicken and prune tagine. 
Here are the positives that I found from my road-test:

  • High quality tagine, feels superior compared to tagines that I have seen in well-known supermarkets.
  • Beautiful and stylish finish.
  • The tagine is quite deep so that it can contain a large amount of the delicious dish that you are cooking.
  • The tagine can go straight from oven to table.
  • My preference, the white  glazed finish is perfect for the Spring/Summer months and the black finish for the Autumn/Winter months. 

  • The only thing that I would say is that you will need to lower your oven shelf to the very bottom as the tagine is quite large. 
Disclaimer: The Calisto tagine was sent to me for review purposes, as always all views are my own. 

Monday, 2 May 2016

Foodies Festival Birmingham Ticket Giveaway

Foodies Festival returns to Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham on 3rd - 5th June 2016 for the second year and it looks set to be a great show. I do love a good food festival and having attended last year, this is a great affordable festival for food lovers and also for a day out for families. I reviewed my experience last year, take a read here. This year is likely to be bigger and better with the Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain headlining, alongside some well-known chefs from the area such as Acktar Islam (from the Lasan group) and James Wong (from Chung Ying).

Alongside the chefs theatre where top chefs will be cooking some of their favourite meals, there are other areas which you must check out such as:
  • Cake and Baking Tasting Theatre - bakers will be showing how to make show stopping cakes and Summer bakes. There is also a vintage tea room, where enjoy afternoon tea, homemade scones and cakes all served by vintage styles tea ladies and gentlemen.
  • Feast - Street Food. This is usually one of my favourite things about food festivals, trying food from all over the world. Visitors will not be disappointed with street food on offer from Japanese, Thai, Malaysian, Argentinian, Turkish, Indian, Korean, Mexican and African (wait where's the Caribbean food ?:-) ). There's also an emphasis on Brazillian food as Brazil is hosting the world cup; think the national dish Feijoada and the national cocktail Caipirinha. 
  • Shop - Artisan Produce. There's over 120 food producer stalls and I'm a big fan of purchasing artisan produce. I suggest you visit with some extra pennies and sample a range of great range of food products.
  • Sip - Drinks Theatre. For those that love cocktails and drinks, you need to visit this theatre. Learn from expert biologists and also participate in a blindfolded whisky challenges. 
  • Crunch - perhaps for the brave, sample a range of insects including grasshoppers, caterpillar, beetles and many more at the Vietnamese Street Food Stand. Not for the faint hearted. 
  • Childrens Cookery School - Little foodies can participate in pizza and cupcake making classes. 
  • Spice It Up Chilli- Eating Challenge - participate in the chilli eating challenge.
  • Live Music and Pop Up Bars. If you need to relax, then chill to live music and pop up bars. 
Ticket Prices range from £10 for a Friday ticket, £14 for a Saturday/Sunday ticket and £20.00 if you want to visit for all three days. VIP tickets cost £38, this includes a glass of champagne, priority entry to food and drink masterclasses, show guide and a goody bag. Children under 12 go free. 

The lovely people at Foodies Festival are giving away three pairs of tickets for 3 lucky readers of Food Glorious Food. To be in with a chance, follow the below instructions.
  • Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter.
  • Join my blog and leave a comment (click on the left hand corner of the site and join using Google Friend Connector. This is an ESSENTIAL requirement. 
  • For additional entries, subscribe to my Youtube channel, Instragram, Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter.
  • All entries will be checked and verified.
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random. 
  • The competition will run from 02.05.16 - 22.05.16
  • Winners will need to respond in 3 working days. 
  • Please feel free to share the giveaway. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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