Madeleines with Chocolate Sauce

Madelines….They. Are. Delicious.

I recently bought a Madeleine tray from my local hardware shop. They are not something you see much in English shops, being French. So when I saw it I jumped at the opportunity. Only costing £12 I was well chuffed.

I recently watched a cookery series by Gordon Ramsay called ‘Ultimate Cookery Course.’ I really enjoyed it and it was great as he didn’t swear either! I bought the book to accompany the series and saw his recipe for madeleines and decided to make them for breakfast.

Having travelled to France I was surprised to discover they are not something as common as I once thought. Everyone seems to eat brioche, perhaps it’s a regional thing I’m not sure.

They were delicious and I have to say it was very satisfying having got up early especially to make this little sweet treats. They don’t keep well so it’s best to eat them fresh that very morning.

Here’s the recipe I used Madeleines By Gordon Ramsay

Viola….

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I heated 100ml of double cream until it was boiling and turned the heat off and added 200g of good quality milk chocolate and whisked well to form a chocolate dipping sauce. C’est tres bon!

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These little cakes are great for a leisurely weekend breakfast or if you have family or friends round for breakfast. You can make the batter in advance the night before, leave it in the fridge and then prepare your Madeleine tray, add the mixture then bake them.

Hope you enjoy these, I love their shell shape, so pretty. Just the thing I want to see and eat in a morning.

Stephy x x

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Afternoon Tea

An English tradition of afternoon tea has to be one of my favourite things. The cake being the highlight of course and the company you share it with.

I recently arranged an afternoon tea for some friends to visit a beautiful hotel called Netherwood Hall, in Grange Over Sands, UK. It was great to get together in a stunning setting overlooking Morecambe Bay.

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The views were breathtaking and we were fortunate to have lovely weather, not something you can always guarantee in England.

We enjoyed drinks on the terrace.

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Followed by retiring into the salon and having our relaxing afternoon tea. We didn’t sit at a large table – there was 12 of us – so we just sat on comfy sofas and enjoyed a beautiful, relaxed afternoon tea.

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Afternoon tea with a view…..

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To finish it all off we even had this beauty to demolish….

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A delightful afternoon with friends. I will definitely try to arrange this again at such a special location.

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Netherwood Hall Hotel is the place to be; for afternoon tea.

Stephy x x

Pesto Pasta with Spinach and Broccoli

After all the amazing food I ate in France, along with the many cakes, I have decided to go a little healthier. I believe it is good to have treats so I’ll still be baking cakes but it is lovely to eat colourful foods, fruit and vegetables to make you feel good.

I trawled Amazon for various healthy cook books and I stumbled across this gem ‘The Medicinal Chef’ by Dale Pinnock. His approach to cooking is extraordinary. He uses healthy food but makes it interesting, so you don’t really deprive yourself of anything. Just eat good food that’s healthy.

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The book contains different categories that target certain health issues including;

– Skin
– Heart
– Respiratory System
– Digestive
– Wellbeing
– Mental Health & Nervous System
– Joints & Bones

Within these categories he names health issues and informs you of the best foods to eat for the condition. It’s very interesting and it definitely works.

Here is a recipe taken from the book, a healthy tea, a real crowd pleaser. When I made it everyone had clean plates so it must have been tasty! In the recipe he only adds spinach but I added baby florets of broccoli and found that worked well.

Pesto Pasta with Spinach and Broccoli

Serves 4

Ingredients

– 180g Walnuts
– 50g Fresh Basil leaves
– 2 Garlic cloves
– 1tbsp Flaxseed
– 3tbsp Grated Cheese
– Olive Oil (In the recipe it said 1tbsp I found this was not enough so I probably added 8tbsp or more. Just get it to the consistency you most prefer. I like it quite loose, not too stiff. )
– 350g Spelt Pasta
– 3 Handfuls Spinach
– 100g Broccoli, in baby florets

Method

In a blender blitz the walnuts, fresh basil, garlic, cheese and add the Olive oil gradually to form a paste. I like mine fairly loose but if you like it a little thicker, add less oil.

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When the pasta and broccoli are cooked drain them and put them back in the pan mixing through the pesto and add the spinach to wilt it down.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Check out Dale Pinnock cracking chef, proving we can eat healthy but tasty appetising food.

Stephy x

Brasserie Georges, Lyon

Brasserie Georges is in the heart of Lyon city centre, conveniently situated near the train station. It was established in 1836, building an excellent reputation for first class service and gourmet food. A friend recommended this restaurant to me; what a recommendation.

Whilst in France of course, I sampled multiple patisseries and boulangeries but not eaten out in a traditional, historic restaurant. I was so pleased to have had the opportunity to visit Brasserie Georges.

We booked a table, as you can imagine it is very popular, so it gets busy. We were greeted by kind, attentive staff and were seated promptly. The menu was excellent with traditional French dishes, some local to the area and more less adventurous dishes – basically pleases all diners.

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The menu was written in French and English, this made it much easier!

I ordered a Sirloin Steak (rare) with dauphoinse potatoes, a pepper sauce and green beans. Of course, a glass of red wine to accompany the meal.

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The dauphoinse potatoes were trés bon! I was very chuffed with the portions too; very generous!

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Of course, bread to mop the plate of the sauce. My plate was clean by the time I had finished. ‘Compliments to the chef.’

As the meal was large I didn’t want a huge dessert but craved something sweet to finish the meal off. I ordered a café gourmand which is an espresso with a selection of small pastries. Perfection!

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A tasty end to an exquisite meal. Mercì beaucoup Brasserie Georges!

If you’re ever in Lyon, sorry correction; when you are in Lyon, as you must visit, please, please go to Brasserie Georges to experience good food, good wine and good service! Viola.

Stephanié x x

Betty’s Tea Room, York

I’ve always wanted to visit Betty’s in York, UK. A very traditional tea rooms established in 1919, it’s quintessentially British, from the service to the staff attire.

Due to it’s high standard and excellent reputation it gets exceedingly busy. When we went they were queuing out of the door today! Foreseeing this, I pre-booked a table in their Belmont Rooms, on the first floor. We were sat down much quicker, avoiding queuing in the cold.

We were made to feel very welcome; sat on a beautifully laid table. The staff couldn’t be more helpful, so respectful and attentive. We felt very special and well looked after.

I ordered Betty’s Earl Grey Tea. It was so lovely; served in a traditional tea pot with the leaves and a tea strainer – as it should be in my opinion.

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We were then presented with an exquisite afternoon tea stand with sandwiches including; coronation chicken, roast ham with a sweet whole grain mustard, egg with cress and prawn. They were extremely tasty, freshly prepared and they were more than willing to bring more if required. I thought about it but looking at the rest of the stand I wanted to make sure I had enough room for the cakes! After all that’s what it is all about the sweet treats. Hehe.

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I then sampled the stunning homemade sultana scones with jam and clotted cream – need I say anymore. An absolute pleasure to eat!

Then the highlight (in my opinion) the patisserie cakes.

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The fruit tart was particularly good but my ultimate indulgence was the Black Forest macaron with a rich, chocolate cream filling with fresh cherries and an alcoholic kick at the end. Divine.

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We had a delightful afternoon, the ambience was fabulous, with a lady playing the piano, it was extremely relaxing. If you’re ever in York you must visit Betty’s, to experience a traditional and friendly food experience. There are not many like Betty’s around these days sadly. We are swamped with franchises setting up coffee shops and cafés, don’t get me wrong I like some of them but feel we should maintain our traditions and heritage in the classic and individual tea rooms of English history and culture. I understand you pay the price but it’s a small price to pay when you receive an excellent service and a day you won’t ever forget for being so lovely!!

Please note Betty’s also sell cakes, bread, souvenirs and gifts which are worth looking at. As well as being a fabulous tea rooms they also sell excellent produce, perfect for a gift or to take home for yourself.

Betty’s Tea Room a must to visit and the perfect way to spend my New Years Eve. Have a lovely evening everyone.

Stephy x x

Mega Sandwich- Chicken , Avocado and Rocket

One of the many pleasures in life is a proper sandwich to keep you fuelled through the day. I’ve become a little obsessed with avocados recently. I think I’ve been watching too much Nigella, as I know she is a huge fab of them and cooks regularly with them.

I love their marbled pea green colour, very vivid and a healthy food, high in good fats. I was struggling to think of how to use them other than for guacamole and then I thought how about as a sandwich filling?

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It was so delicious!!!! Mmmmmm….
I used a chunk of ciabatta bread, cut it in half length ways and put in my avocado (not mashed but still quite chunky) well seasoned with a hint of cayenne pepper for a kick. Next I added sliced cooked chicken and a good handful of fresh rocket. You could even add mayonnaise if you wanted.

It was sooooo tasty and now a favourite sandwich filling. Great to enjoy yourself or for packed lunches and lunch guests. A heathy, guilt-free option.

Enjoy! Stephy x x

Brilliant Brunch

I really enjoy meeting up with friends and visiting cafés and restaurants. I adore a good natter over a good coffee and good food – what could be better?!

As it turned out we had a lazy morning ( well day really) and headed out for brunch. It didn’t disappoint.

There’s a local bar/café which served food in the day and evening but also has a bar so at weekends is popular for it’s social night life. Although I’ve been in for drinks with friends I’ve never really been in the day for a bite to eat.

I ordered the Eggs Florentine; that is a poached egg with hollandaise sauce, on a toasted muffin with spinach. As opposed to Eggs Benedict which is served with ham instead of spinach.

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It was beautifully presented and was a welcome treat. Included in the price was either tea, coffee or juice which I thought was very reasonable too.

I’ve since visited and enjoyed the Greek Salad…very good value for money, as I do find salads can be over priced for what you get. However this was not overpriced and you got plenty!

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My Review

RATING: 8/10
ADDRESS: 2 Breck Road, Poulton-le-Fylde, England.
COMMENT: Friendly service, lovely menu and provides a good café by day and a good transition to bar by night.