Thursday, 22 June 2017

Beechs Truffles - All you need is love and Chocolate ......




All you need is Love and chocolate, a perfect sentiment and one I couldn't agree more with. So we were delighted when our friends at Beechs Chocolate sent us some of their delicious new truffles to taste test. (Tough job I know !)



Packaged in a luxurious box of 9 truffles, we taste tested the Anglesey Sea Salted Caramel and the Champagne truffles from their new truffle range.



Anglesey Sea salted caramel truffles , gorgeous thick decadent milk chocolate with a rich soft oozing caramel centre, with a distinctly salty edge, dusted with cocoa. My personal favourite and very very moreish. I was delighted to see the sea salt was from Anglesey, I am assuming Halen Mon which means "Anglesey salt". 


Luxury Champagne Truffles, rich creamy milk chocolate with a luxurious well flavoured centre, definitely champagne, then dusted with icing sugar, these were great and would make a perfect gift for someone special.





Available to order from Beech's Fine Chocolates or  through carefully selected retailers including QVC. There is also a Prosecco truffle included in the range.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Summer in the city - lunch at Turtle Bay, Preston


Turtle Bay, Preston sits in the heart of the city near to the Harris Museum and next to the iconic flag market, famous for its warm and friendly relaxed vibe, Turtle Bay is a popular spot in the city and we were recently invited along to sample their new summer menu.

Harking back to the days when the venue was a record shop ( yes I'm that old ... and yes I remember it as a record shop) part of the interior is decorated in homage to its roots, I loved this area, each Turtle bay has similar relaxed Caribbean styling to its decor, rough plasterwork, bare concrete, sheet steel and of course the colours of the Jamaican flag.

                                         

Later in the post there are more images of the fab interior, which screams summer and warm tropical breezes, which put us in a sunshine mood despite it being a typical Lancashire June day outside i.e. 14 degrees and overcast. The welcome was warm and friendly and the team eager to please.

So lets get down to the the food and drinks, the menu has been tweaked to reflect the change in season and the hopefully rising temperatures. 

Drinks - Mr LF was disappointed to discover that the Guinness West Indian Porter he so loved last time we visited was no longer on the menu, so instead he chose the Jamaican Pale Ale, brewed by The Bay especially to complement the jerk dishes at Turtle Bay. 

                                                          


I chose the Elderflower cooler, a refreshing mocktail with elderflower cordial, cucumber ribbons, fresh mint and lime juice topped up with soda and lots of ice. Delicious and very summery.

                                                     

On to the food, starters -  the Classic chilli beef patty for Mr LF, a crisp turmeric spiced pastry parcel, with a ground spiced beef filling and scotch bonnet chillies, served on a plank with baby gem lettuce cups of cooling house mayo.

My choice was the Jerk Pit chicken wings, three wings of chicken, spiced and marinated for 24 hours before being pit grilled,  the skin was a little flabby but  overall a tasty dish served with a choice of glaze, I plumped for pineapple. Sweet spicy and tasty, and very messy... no knifes and forks here.


Mains now, Jammin Lamb burger, a pit grilled lamb and mutton burger, served on a sweet pineapple glazed bun with crispy baby gem lettuce, sliced tomato, fresh mint and onion salad, herb mayo accompanied with spicy fries and Caribbean slaw. Juicy lamby and tasty, but  it wasn't very spicy.




My choice was the Avocado, butternut squash and mango salad, I chose pit grilled garlic and chilli prawns to up the protein content of my dish, I was slightly disappointed (only 4 prawns but they were whoppers) and not very spicy but well cooked. The salad made me smile with crispy gem lettuce, sugar snap peas, beets and juicy avocado and mango, coconut shavings and a citrus lime dressing, very summery and colourful.

                                                   

Dessert time, well it would rude not to, Mr LF loved the sound of the Cayman upside down rum cake, this is Turtle bays equivalent of sticky toffee pudding, warm vanilla rum cake, with rum caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. 

             

I liked the sound of the Spiced Rum and chocolate pot with coconut ice cream, Richly spiced decadent chocolate mousse served with refreshing coconut ice cream, the portion was very large and not very glamorously presented but it tasted very very good, just a little large portion wise given the richness of the pudding. I loved the enamel dishes used , they just look so rustic

                    


Here are more interior shots for you to enjoy
                                


                                         

So That's all Folks ! until next time

                                        


Turtle Bay Preston,
Crystal House,
Birley Street, 
Preston, 
PR1 2AQ

We dined on a complementary basis after being invited to give a review, all thoughts, views, opinions are our own. We were not expected to give a positive review.


Sunday, 30 April 2017

Gusto, Lytham St Annes - Spring Menu Launch evening

We were recently kindly invited to Gusto in Lytham for the blogger launch of their spring menu, on a decidedly unspring like evening we experienced a lovely dinner of gorgeous Italian food.




Gusto is situated on Dicconson Terrace in the  heart of the town and is in a tastefully converted period property, the decor and ambiance is a relaxed Milanese in style. The restaurant has a lovely bar area were you can enjoy a drink or cocktail before your meal and loads of cosy dining areas all of which are tastefully furnished, The soundtrack is laid back jazz and helps create a warm relaxed environment to enjoy the food and company. We particularly liked the eclectic mix of black and white photography throughout the restaurant.





We experienced the restaurant on a reasonably busy Tuesday evening and would imagine that at weekends you would be best booking to secure the table of your choice.


A lovely wood fired pizza oven was visible in the open kitchen from our table.


As this was a review evening a special menu had been prepared. 

To start the evening a delicious sharing platter - The Grande Board was placed on the table to share.


Featuring creamy goats cheese, smoked provolone and dolcelatte, humus, rocket, nocellara and black olives, sun dried tomatoes, prosciutto, salami sopressa , coppa and rosemary focaccia on an olive olive wood serving platter. A great to start to our evening, may only suggestion of an improvement would be to ditch the hummus and replace with some grassy extra virgin olive oil and some sweet and deep balsamic vinegar, to dip you focaccia in.



Our chosen starters were Gusto Dough petals with Garlic butter, enjoyed by Mr LF and novel twist on the standard garlic bread, my calamari was lovely, light crispy, tasty and not in the least bit chewy and accompanied by a tangy lemon mayonnaise. Our accompanying Garganega Pinot grigio a perfect balance to our choices.



Next up where our mains, a crispy pan fried sea bass for Mr LF, served on a bed of creamed spinach and as a side some crispy rosemary and garlic potatoes Mr LF really enjoyed his fish cooked to perfection and plenty of it, for me Baked Aubergine Milanese, served with rocket salad and a spicy tomato sauce, warning portion size was huge, two great slices of aubergine, soft and creamy aubergine in a crispy breadcrumb, and topped with cheese and slices of tomato. The rocket salad could may be have done with a little balsamic just to cut the cheese in the dish. Very enjoyable but the portion size beat me.



Our Dessert choices were a lovely light yet moist and creamy Tiramisu and a creamy wobbly traditional panna cotta served with balsamic strawberries.

A lovely meal in fine company, Gusto is a small select chain of restaurants who's aim is to make everyday exquisite.

They have a great a la carte menu which you can view here and they have a great value lunch , dinner  and Sunday set menus too. Plus they also have "create your own pizza" for the kiddies (complete with chefs hat).

The website is here, they are also active on Instagram, twitter and facebook too.




We dined on a complementary basis after being invited to give a review, all thoughts, views, opinions are our own. We were not expected to give a positive review.


Sunday, 23 April 2017

Lunch at The Walton Fox, Bamber Bridge.


Just after the Easter break we popped in for lunch at the The Walton Fox, part of the Vintage Inns chain in Bamber Bridge for a spot of lunch after their recent refurbishment.


 The decor is a cool relaxed country style, ideal as an informal dining venue with friends or family.

The extensive menu provided lots of choice and I noted they also have frequent specials and offers throughout the year. They have in the week time a "fixed price lunch" of 2 courses for £10.95 / 3 courses £13.95


The welcome was warm and  friendly and the service attentive without being overbearing, We also experienced good sized portions, all the food was hot and attractively served and at good value prices.


I choose as my starter the Oven baked button and portobello mushrooms, served in a garlic and cheese sauce with rustic breads, a tasty dish , lots of mushrooms which I love and well balanced with the sauce. I shared my starter with Mr LF and he particularly enjoyed the bread.



For mains I chose the Smoked haddock kedgeree fish cake which was served with roasted vine tomatoes, broccoli, basil dressing and some delightful baby herby potatoes. The fish cakes were lovely with large chunks of smoked haddock and just a hint of curry flavours.



Mr LF chose a pie (he always does !) in this case the steak and mushroom one, rich slow cooked beef and mushrooms in red wine topped with a puff pastry top, served with creamy mashed potatoes and roasted carrots and braised cabbage. The beef was a little chewy but the sauce was very tasty. We do like to see cabbage served a vegetable, an unsung hero in my opinion.


To finish our meal we shared the "Pudding Tasting platter" a spiffing idea in in my opinion and one I am surprised you don't see on more menus, this one featured a handsome slice of apple pie with a dinky jug of creamy custard, Melba mallow mess , a delicious combination of meringue, cream, marshmallow fluff , peaches and raspberries. Classic vanilla creme brulee, creamy wobbly creme with a cracking burnt sugar top. Belgian chocolate brownie with smooth creamy vanilla ice cream and of course 2 spoons !!  Yummeee.....


A perfect end to the meal, we left pleasurably satisfied and very pleasantly surprised.


We dined on a complementary basis after being invited to give a review, all thoughts, views, opinions are our own. We were not expected to give a positive review.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Tolkien Inspired cakes at Townhouse Coffee and Brew Bar, Preston

For those of you in the know, the 25th of March every year is Tolkien reading day, so as we held our last cake club on this date, I decided that we would have a Tolkien inspired cake theme.


Our lovely members ever inventive came up with some fantastic cakes which fitted the theme perfectly.



Bilbo's Tea cake
Anglo Saxon shield and seax cake
Evil Eye ginger cake
Magic lemon cake
Beorns Honey cake
Chocolate "ring" cake
Chocolate orange ring cake
Blueberry lavender shire cake








Our lovely venue was the Townhouse Coffee  and Brew Bar on Friargate in Preston town centre. Our hosts were fabulous, so welcoming and lovely attentive service, they couldn't do enough for us.



We thought the decor was great and loved the book swap area, the menu was also fabulous and featured some lovely dishes and the drinks were great, they have Origin coffee ( as chemex, aeropress, pourover and expresso) and Birdhouse teas. Please pay them a visit while you are in town. They are open Monday to Saturday.


We love independent coffee shops and their individuality, fresh flowers, quirky decor and great service with a smile.


Individual pots of tea and cute little urns of milk




You can find the Townhouse Coffee and Brew Bar at 62 Friargate, Preston . They are on facebook



Cosy corners to relax and lose yourself in a book







Says it all really .........



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