Saturday, 22 November 2014

Morphy Richards Sauté and Soup Maker

Morphy Richards Sauté and Soup Maker

I have finally given into temptation and bought myself a soup maker.  After doing my research I opted for the Morphy Richards Sauté and Soup Maker.  You need to do your research when it comes to prices, they vary from supplier to supplier, £99 directly from the manufacturers website, £69 at Curry's etc.  The cheapest I managed to find it was £59 from Amazon.  You can also get the non sauté one for £20 cheaaper.


It really is as easy as they claim. Since receiving mine on Tuesday we have had soup everyday.  One thing though they claim your soup will be ready in 21 minutes, not the case if you are using root vegetables.  I had to run it for another 21 minutes to ensure that the vegetables were cooked and the soup had a creamy consistency.

Today I decided to make roasted peppers and garlic soup.  I cut up the peppers and roasted them in the oven along with tons of garlic still in their skins.  Chopped in some celery, chicken stock cube, squirt of tomato and basil puree and finally a couple of twists of the pepper grinder.  

Once the pepper and garlic were roasted I simply added them to the soup maker (ensure you peel the garlic before adding) along with the rest of my ingredients. Add water to the max mark.

Put the lid on and select the mode you want to use.  As there were no root vegetables this soup only took the 21 minutes.

And in under half an hour you have the yummiest nourishing homemade soup.  If you buy yourself any gift this Christmas, make sure it is a soup maker.  I have never eaten so many vegetables, it can only be good for my health.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Christmas has arrived in Hertford

Christmas has arrived in Hertford  

The Snug in Hertford, a hidden gem

I have driven past The Snug every day after work and never gone in.  Well that won’t be the case again.  Danielle and I received an invite to sample their Christmas menu on Thursday evening, the 20th of November.  We dragged David with us, as we did not fancy having to make him a meal before we hit the town.  We arrived to a warm welcome and were immediately made to feel at ease by the Manager Kyle, who is a lovely friendly guy and a brilliant host.   The evening started well with a lovely glass or two of Prosecco, you can’t go wrong with that. 

The purpose of the evening was to sample their new Christmas menu, and Wow did we do that.  We started with their festive platters which were piled with delicious nibbles which make a great addition to their cocktails. The platters include: Potato skins with turkey, cheese and caramelised onion topping; chicken wings tossed in a Bourbon and cherry glaze; mini sausages in a honey and mustard glaze; fig and Wensleydale & cranberry skewers; miniature prawn cocktail; bacon and Brie quesadillas and chutney and Brie bruschetta.  Our table cleared the platters in minutes and we all agreed they were delicious.

The nibbles were followed by their new Christmas burger. A first of its kind as a homemade 7oz British Beef Burger is topped with turkey, Cheddar cheese, smoked back bacon, bourbon & cherry sauce and pickles, served with a side of pulled pork in BBQ sauce and skinny fries.  It is sure to satisfy even the heartiest of appetites. They also have Rib-Eye steaks on offer too, along with creamy penne pasta and a Vegetable Medley.

Thank goodness after all the gorgeous food, we had a reprise and a chance to sample and make their new Christmas cocktails.  The Snug Bar has created two festive cocktails which combine the best premium spirits with recognisable Christmas flavours. Danielle was behind the bar in a flash to try her hand at cocktail making, she still needs a bit of practice with the making of them but needs no help when it comes to the drinking of them.  

If you want to try your hand at making them here are the recipes for their two festive cocktails:



20ml Raspberry Vodka
10ml White Cacao
5ml Minttu (or Crème de Menthe)
10ml Grenadine
50ml Cranberry Juice


Shake all ingredients together and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a candy cane straw



10ml Brandy
10ml Apple Schnapps
10ml Cassis
10ml Goldschlager
50ml Apple Juice


Shake all ingredients and double strain into a Martini. Top with foamed milk and sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and serve with a mince pie!

One of the guests suggested they heated this one up and I must say it was a brilliant suggestion.  It had that warm Christmassy feel and taste about it.

Cocktail making and drinking over it was time to sample their desserts.  These had a divided opinion around our table, we all had our favourites, and mine was the eggnog cheesecake, a creamily decadent dessert to top any Christmas do.  David and Danielle loved the Terry’s Chocolate Orange Sundae, a combination of Vanilla Ice Cream, chocolate sauce, layered with crushed chocolate orange pieces and topped with whipped cream.

The Snugs Christmas nibbles menu costs £10 per person, a fair price for what you get.
If you are looking for a warm and a truly snug venue for your Christmas functions or just looking for a place to entertain friends, I can highly recommend you give The Snug in Hertford a try.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Review: Granny Smith's Tea Shop - Foxholes Farm


Star Rating: Food : 4 Stars Service : 3 Stars

Date of visit: 27 August 2014

Longtime overdue in Hertford, Foxholes Farm Shop have recently expanded their shop to include a delightful tea shop; Granny Smith's Tea Shop.  I have been shopping at Foxholes ever since arriving in the UK six years ago and have always loved their wonderful produce.  I was blissfully unaware that the tea room had opened until my friend Lynn and I decided it was time for a catch up lunch with our other dear friend Caroline.  We all met when we were serving on the PTA at Sele School and have formed a brilliant friendship.  Lynn suggested we go to Granny Smith's as she had been there recently and had thoroughly enjoyed it.

They serve a Traditional English High Tea, comprising of a choice of 10 fine Teapig Teas, finger sandwiches and home made cakes. They also have a delicious cream tea with a freshly Baked Scone, Devon Clotted Cream and Strawberry Jam.  When you have eaten your full you can have a gentile meander around their farm to meet all of their baby animals, they also have a children’s play area.  The tea shop is not very big, but you don't feel cramped when seated.  It is self service, the lovely lady behind the counter was very friendly and helpful.

Now let's get down to the food, they have a great selection on their menu.  Lynn had a Ploughman’s @7.95 served with crusty bread, Foxholes Butter, Salad Garnish, Ploughman’s Pickle, Pickled onion & Apple and Foxholes Saddleback ham.  Lynn did not want the bread so they gladly substituted this with added salad.  This is one of the first ploughman's that I have seen in a long time that actually looked like it had some substance. Normally you find them adding so much lettuce and hardly any nice goodies.  Not this one, Lynn had this the last time she was here and loved it. 

Caroline went for their Homemade Quiche of the Day @6.95 an individual tartlet, made with their hens eggs, served with a dressed mixed Salad.  As you can see from the picture well worth the price, and the salad was not just a plate of lettuce.  Next time I go, this will be my choice.

Me being the usual piggy that I am, I wanted some meat so went for their Chilli Con Carne @ £6.95 on their specials menu, served with a mixed salad and sour dough bread.  Yummy is the only word that I can use to describe it.  The mince was so sweet and the bread delightful.

Overall Experience

Delightful and a definite must, I will be dragging David their very soon.  Yes it is small but who cares.  They are holding a supper club on the 18th of September at a cost of £39 pp for a five course meal, so give them a try.

London Road, Hertford, SG13 7NT

Tel: 01992 552900


Rating Guide

5 Stars - Perfect
4.5 Stars - Exceptional
4 Stars - Excellent
3.5 Stars - Very good
3 Stars - Good
2.5 Stars - Average
2 Stars - Bad
1.5 Stars - Very bad
1 Star - Dire

Monday, 25 August 2014

Review: The Cock & Dragon


Star Rating: Food : 4 Stars Service : 4 Stars

Date of visit: 19 August 2014

The Cock and Dragon, in Cockfosters, is dated back to 1798 and is ideally located near the Tube Station and is opposite Trent Park. Inside the pub is very relaxed with a separate traditional bar area and contemporary Thai styled restaurant where they serve authentic Thai cuisine. The bar is stocked with British Cask Ales and fine wines from around the world. 

David and I decided to make use of our Tastecard before it expires next month.  This gave us 50% off our food bill for two people.  I was in the mood for Thai so we searched their website and found this little gem, that I would not normally have found on my own.  When you walk in you think you are in the wrong place as it looks like a normal pub.  But a surprise awaits you round the side, behind the bar.  You walk through the doors and a whole new world opens up to you. The decor is stunning and the service on arrival was very welcoming.

I ordered a bottle of their house white, as you all know a meal for me is not complete without a bottle of chilled white wine.  David went for green tea as he was as usual our designated driver.  I unfortunately did not take photo's as at that stage I had no intention of reviewing the place as it had been a while since my last review and needed something inspirational to kick me into action again.  This place did the kicking, but only after finishing my meal did it dawn on me to write a review.

To start with we ordered their Tiger Platter @ £10.50Pork ribs, chicken satay, beef satay and duck spring rolls. Served with sweet chilli and satay sauces. All I can say is finger licking good.  I did not want to share this, but alas I had to be social.

I ordered the Kaeng Daeng @ £7.95, Bangkok's famous Thai red curry with lime leaf, coconut milk, peppers and pineapple.  Kau Khai @ 2.95, Thai fragrant coconut rice.  This was probably one of the nicest's red curries I have ever eaten.  Well worth you giving it a try.

David ordered The Weeping Tiger @ £11.95Grilled sirloin steak marinated in oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil served with a spicy Thai dressing with a side order of been sprouts that was not on their menu but they gladly made for him as he does not like rice or noodles.  He said that it was delightful and would definitely try it again.

Overall Experience

Well you already know that I loved the place as it has inspired me to blog again. I will be going back and would highly recommend you give it a try. The whole meal for the two of us with my bottle of wine cost just over £42.  This is where the Tastecard starts to pay for itself and I think that I will be renuning my membership next month, thanks to my sister-in-law Janet who gave it to me as a Birthday present last year.

Chalk Lane, Cockfosters, Barnet, EN4 9HU

Tel: 020 8449 7160

Cock and Dragon on Urbanspoon


Rating Guide

5 Stars - Perfect
4.5 Stars - Exceptional
4 Stars - Excellent
3.5 Stars - Very good
3 Stars - Good
2.5 Stars - Average
2 Stars - Bad
1.5 Stars - Very bad
1 Star - Dire

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Third Hertford Food and Drink Festival

October 10th 2014 to October 12th 2014

Hertford Town Centre and Castle Grounds

The 3rd Hertford Food and Drink Festival will be held over three days this year.
On Friday initial plans include cookery master classes, pop up restaurants, wine and whiskey tastings
On Saturday head into town for live cookery demonstrations, an Open Day at Hertford brewery with McMullens and a variety of food markets and activities.
On Sunday head to Hertford Castle for Beer festival and world food fayre on the Castle lawn.
The provisional Festival programme is listed below.
2014 Hertford Food and Drink Festival Provisional Programme
11pm to 12 noon Loch Fyne Cookery Classes- details to be confirmed
 2pm – 5.00pm.  “A Beer-Tasting Walk in Hertford”.  Led by guides from the Campaign for Real Ale.  Learn about and taste the differences in Britain`s beer styles. Tickets £12 including a half-pint of beer in each of five town centre pubs.  Meet at the Woolpack, Millbridge. Tickets available from Hertford Tourist Information Centre.
2pm. Food Glorious Food Walk featuring doughnuts, ice houses, millers, markets and Tudor banquets. What better way to finish than with afternoon tea in the Salisbury Arms? Tickets £8.50 from TIC, 10 Market Place Tel 01992 584322
Visit one of our Pop Up Restaurants
Joe Davis, Masterchef  Quarterfinalist, will be hosting a fine dining evening at Giambrone's with an exquisite menu using only the finest ingredients available in the deli and  shop.
Tickets: £35 for three courses and a glass of Prosecco on arrival. Bookings available from 6.30pm
Menu will need to be pre-ordered once a booking has been taken.
For more information please email or call 01992 503777
 Alley Katsu  pop up curry restaurant  runs from the Manic Munchies premises in Post Office Walk from 6.00 to 9.30pm.
 Enjoy and learn about drink
Whiskey tasting night with food matching at Old Barge with a talk from our resident expert at 8pm. Tickets £10 available from the Old Barge 01992  581871.
7 pm to 9pm Introduction to Wine Tasting by Hertfordshire Wine School at Town House, Fore Street. If you like wine but want to know more this evening is for you. We will taste at least six wines from around the world, learn how wine is made and look at major grape varieties in a relaxed setting. Booking essential.  
Grape Expectations - Tasting­ alternatives to Everyday Wine Favourites hosted by Laura Vickers, wine writer and editor of .and The Mayor of Hertford, Cllr Miss Chantal Geall in Hertford Castle.
 Tickets are £20 covering  8 wines and a cheese board. All profits from the event will go to the Isabel Hospice and Hertford and Ware Street Pastors. Tickets available from Mayors Secretary on 01992 528072 or
Cookery Demonstration Stage & Marquee in Parliament Square hosted by Joe Davis,  BBC Masterchef quarter finalist from Hertford
10.00-11.30 Mayor’s Children’s Cake Decorating Competition with help from Linda Smith, the SugarSmith and Cynthia Stroud of Pretty Gorgeous Cakes.
11.45- 12.30  Joe Davis – The Private Chef- demonstrates
12.30- 13.15 Andrei Lussmann of Lussmanns restaurant demonstrates
13.15- 14.15 Joe Davis and winner of Hertfordshire Mercury competition go head to head;
14.15-15.00 Carl Clarke of Hertford House demonstrates Chop House specialities
!5.00-15.45 HRC  catering students demonstrate their skills
15.45-16.30 Theo Micheals , Masterchef semi-finalist demonstrates on stage
16.30-17.15 Finale with chef from Loch Fyne 
McMullen & Sons Limited Hertford Brewery Open Day 10.00am until 4.00pm
  • Brewery tours with our Head Brewer Chris Evans: 10.30am/11.30am/1.30pm. Tickets available from the Hertford Tourist Office. 
  • Beer Tasting and Food matching from 10.00am until 12.30 in the McMullen Yard.
  • Join us for Lunch 12.30pm our training and Development Chef Lee Brooks will be cooking Lunch for 10 guests with beer and wine included. Tickets £15 available from the Hertford Tourist Office.
  • Afternoon Cream teas from 3.00pm in the McMullen Yard, charity donation on the day.
  • “Ever thought of joining the Food & Drink Industry?” Come and meet our team at McMullen’s for an informal chat and snack, to discuss our career opportunities.
  • Tasting Stalls throughout the day will showcase some of our great suppliers and ingredients.
All donations for tickets and on the day are to support "Future Living Hertford" the newest free to access addiction day care service moving into Vale House in the autumn.
 Future Living Hertford offer a holistic programme of support for clients with all manner of addictions, including therapeutic interventions, art therapy, our garden project and a range of re-training opportunities within the community. Their philosophy is to be there for as long as their clients need them.
 Enjoy the Saturday Markets
 Special Farmers Market  (extended opening hours  from 9am until 3pm);
 Saturday Charter Market 9am to 5pm with special Food and Drink Festival section in Maidenhead Street;
 Community Market in Bircherley Greeen Shopping Centre to 2pm
 And around the town
 Treasure Hunt - What’s the Missing Chef cooking?
 Identify the dishes and celebrity chefs displayed in the windows of town centre businesses to find the missing chef and meal for a chance of winning a prize (kindly donated by Waitrose). For entry form and further information contact the Town and Tourist Information Centre, Market Place or
 Apple Day - Squeeze your own fruit juice at the Quaker Meeting House, Railway Street from 11.30am to 4 pm. Come along and try the apple press, learn about the town’s fruity heritage and get the children involved in lots of free appley activities including an apple treasure hunt'. Organised by Transition Hertford
 ‘Library Bake Off’ borrow a recipe book from Hertford Library, Dolphin Yard, Maidenhead Street. Use it to bake a cake and enter the cake in a competition to win vouchers from Lussmanns restaurant, hotel and Sainsburys. The cakes will be judged by Cynthia Stroud of Pretty Gorgeous Cakes  of Hertford at 12 noon on Sat 11th Oct
 Hertford Food Swop in Andrews Room Hertford Museum 10.30-12 noon Monthly meeting of local food enthusiasts - swap your home made produce for items cooked, baked, grown, brewed or foraged by others-
 Leaf Café Old Cross @ 2pm The Humble Bean - A book and craft activity for under 10s looking at the journey, coffee and cocoa beans travel from the plant to the cup and then sampling the finished product! We will be making our own maps and reading about other food journeys as well.  Cost £2.50 per head.  Spaces are limited so book early to avoid disappointed. Tickets available in store and TIC.
Giambrone’s  9am to 5pm  To celebrate their first year anniversary of trading Giambrone's will be running in-store promotions over the weekend to say thank you to their customers. Children will be entertained throughout the day with fun activities and a face painter between 12-4pm. They will  be running a raffle to win a luxurious hamper of Italian goodies - with all proceeds going to the Mayor's Charities 2014.  For more information please follow the shop on Facebook  (/giambronesitalian) / Twitter or Instagram (@giambronesdeli).
Mudlarks Garden Café, Railway Street, 2-5pm
From Plot to Plate:  Come along and learn how to turn the autumn harvest into a mouthwatering feast. No charge
 11am.  “How Hertford`s Pub Scene Was Shaped”.  A circular one-hour guided walk in Hertford Town Centre led by Les Middlewood in conjunction with Hertford Museum.  Tickets £4 including a donation to Hertford Museum.  Meet at Hertford Theatre, The Wash.  Tickets available from Hertford Tourist Information Centre.
 Hertford Castle Beer Festival with Street Food stalls on lawn ofHertfordCastle  between 12 noon  and 6pm with live music.
 Castle Open Day 12 noon to 4pm. Head down to Hertford Castle to enjoy live brass band music, bouncy castle and see inside the Castle …… dungeons and all
Giambrone’s   10am to 4pm To celebrate their first year anniversary of trading Giambrone's will be running in-store promotions over the weekend to say thank you to their customers. Children will be entertained throughout the day with fun activities and a face painter between 12-4pm. They will  be running a raffle to win a luxurious hamper of Italian goodies - with all proceeds going to the Mayor's Charities 2014.  For more information please follow the shop on Facebook  (/giambronesitalian) / Twitter or Instagram (@giambronesdeli).
 Leaf Café Old Cross@ Cakes Galore - we will be reading Cake Girl by David Lucas and running a cupcake decorating session.  Tickets £4 per head (£3 siblings). Spaces are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.  Tickets available in store and from the TIC
 Harvest Lunch from 12noon to 14.00pm at St Andrew’s Church SG14 1HZ following family Harvest Festival at 10.30am.
The timings and content of the events listed are subject to change.