Saturday, 1 September 2018

La Belle Assiette - book a private chef to cook dinner for you.

Do you love entertaining and serving great food to friends but don't like all the hassle of shopping, cooking and washing up afterwards. 


Well we have a solution for you, say hello to La Belle Assiette, the easy book private chef service where  a talented professional chef comes to your home and serves dinner to your party. 



The chef does all the shopping, preparation, cooking and washing up for you in your home (or holiday home), all you need provide is a kitchen and the drinks for your guests. Nothing could be easier. Leaving you free to relax and enjoy the company of your guests and enjoy great food without any stress.




How it works
  • Your chef buys the finest ingredients
  • They cook in your kitchen
  • They serve each dish
  • They clean up before they leave
Menus start at around £39 per head and can be tailored in discussion with your chef, so catering for special dietary requirements is not a problem. All the chefs you can book have been validated by diners so you are assured of a high quality experience.
La Belle Assiette was founded in 2013 by two friends, Stephen and Giorgio. Paris is where it all started. Parisians love to entertain at home, so sending chefs into their kitchens was a no-brainer. Four years on, they are proud to have become Europe's leading chef service.
Despite the very French name , La Belle Assiette has been overwhelmingly accepted in the UK. Our chefs are welcomed into people's homes and trusted to deliver, time and again. 




We were lucky enough to experience chef Michael Thomas for our dinner party recently, a talented chef with over 17 years experience of fine dining and high quality catering reasonably local to our home. We had agreed the menu by telephone a couple of weeks earlier after Michael suggested a number of delicious sounding seasonal menu's and also discussed my requirements for a gluten free meal. All was no problem and a creative fresh flavoured menu was created.

Starter 



Gin cured salmon served with a celeriac slaw, pickled cucumber and avocado cream. Finished with pea shoots, smoked rapeseed oil and fresh dill.

Main


Trio of pork:  pan fried pork fillet, braised pig cheeks and pressed pork belly. Served with fondant potato, celeriac puree and jus, finished with a broadbean pesto.

Dessert



Lemon and elderflower cheesecake served with lemon curd, meringue, fresh berries and elderflower jelly.

We can thoroughly recommend the La Belle Assiette service and especially Michael Thomas our chef, the evening went without a hitch and our guests thoroughly enjoyed their evening and the food was amazing.





The La Belle Assiette service is great for a special occasion or that special meal whilst away on your holidays at your holiday home.




The validation dinner service was provided on a complementary  basis to enable a review of the chef and the La Belle Assiette Service to be undertaken, all thoughts, opinions and views are our own. We were not expected to give a positive review of the service.




Friday, 20 July 2018

Summer Sunday lunch at the Olive Tree Brasserie, Preston


We are in the middle of a heatwave here in Lancashire so it really did feel a little like Greece when we recently visited the Olive Tree Brasserie in Preston for lunch.

We had been invited along to enjoy lunch on their summer menu, as we visited on a Sunday we could also choose from their "roast menu" or their prix fixe lunch menu.

We choose a drink from the extensive cocktail menu to enjoy whilst browsing the food menu's. As one of us was driving we plumped for an unusual beetroot and lavender white lady as our cocktail and ordered a mocktail too.

I thought the lady would be pink but as you can see its a gorgeous creamy combination of gin, Cointreau, beetroot shrub, lavender syrup, lemon juice and whites. Perfectly balanced in flavours, it could have so easily been girly and sickly but instead it was deliciously summery.


The designated driver ordered a mocktail, a refreshing summery blend of lemon and mint, not too sweet and served over crushed ice. Loving the paper straw by the way as well. 


We ordered our lunch from the a la carte menu which has been subtly changed for the summer however it still features all of the modern Greek classics you know and love.  For starters we ordered Garides Saganaki and Keftedes.


The Garides Saganaki dish when it arrived wasn't what I was expecting, I thought it would be grilled prawns sprinkled with feta and a tomato sauce, but this was more of a prawn and tomato stew, slightly spiced and full of delicious vegetables with chunks of salty creamy feta. Wow very impressed, just needed a spoon !


Mr LF chose the Keftedes for his starter, the tasty and hearty pork and beef meatballs were served in a rich tomato and herb sauce, the portion size was great for a hungry chap but for those of us with smaller appetites may be a little on the large side.

For my main course I chose the Solomos souvlaki, another hearty dish a skewer of chunky moist salmon pieces, served on a bed of  red quinoa, greek slaw - which essentially if red cabbage coleslaw but with a tzatziki dressing and sweet potato skordalia. I enjoyed the dish but couldn't finish it as quinoa is very filling and I found a lot of the elements at sweet end of the flavour scale.




Despite being here to review a summer menu our other mains choice was the Vodino stifado , a rich tasty and aromatic meltingly tender beef stew with Greek potatoes. Perhaps more suited to a winters day but tasty all the same and thoroughly enjoyed by the diner.

On to our delicious desserts to complete our meal 


First up was Loukoumades , Greek sweet donuts with a white chocolate dipping sauce, tasty fluffy hot doughnuts with a runny white chocolate dip to dunk your doughnuts in.



I chose the ice cream selection for my dessert, my choice of three flavours so I went for the classic Neapolitan , pistachio, strawberry and chocolate, wonderful on a hot sunny day when it was 30C in the shade, that's hot, really hot for Preston. The ice cream was well flavoured and disappeared quickly.


For more interior atmosphere shots check out the post of our earlier visit to The Olive Tree here



We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and would definitely recommend a visit, So if its Modern Greek food your after why not check out the Olive Tree Brasserie, branches in Preston, Lytham, Stockton Heath , St Annes and Chester. Bookings advised. 


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, 10 June 2018

NEW - Beech's Gourmet Packs - taste test !


We love chocolate here at Lancashire Food, so we were delighted to receive some sample flavours from the new Beech's Chocolate Gourmet pack range for taste testing. 

The packaging is sophisticated and ideal for a gifting occasion, the range comes in 12 varieties  including fudges, truffles and covered specialities. We chose 

Cacoa Truffle Roasted coffee - a decadent, rich indulgent  truffle with a rich coffee flavour, our favourite.

Dark Chocolate coated Ginger Pieces - Delicious dark chocolate with a warm rather than hot ginger centre. The ladies at my WI committee enjoyed sampling this flavour.

Milk Chocolate Coated Honeycomb - creamy milk chocolate covering chunky pieces of crunchy chewy honeycomb.



You can purchase Beech's Chocolate online or in high quality retailers.

Please also see previous post for Beech's Chocolate here and here

We were sent the samples 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.



Saturday, 9 December 2017

Winter Menu at the Olive Tree Brasserie, Preston.

We had a fabulous lunch last Sunday at the Olive Tree Brasserie in Preston, wonderful food and great service. The brasserie serves Modern Greek inspired food in a fabulous setting, the interiors are particularly special, especially at night.


Modern Greek food, served in  a contemporary setting in the fabulous Grade 1 listed Victorian shopping arcade in the heart of the city, we just had to indulge in some exterior shots of the Miller Arcade as it wonderful and this is where you will find the Olive Tree in Preston.


The Olive Tree also has branches (see what I did there) in Lytham St Annes and Chester too.


More detail indulgence of the Miller Arcade before we get on with our review. Its just so beautiful and is currently seriously under used. The upper floors are magnificent.


On escaping from a cold blustery wintery Preston in to the warm brasserie we just knew we were in for a treat, the Christmas decorations were tasteful and complemented the contemporary decor, it was quiet when we arrived but we were early and that's great for us as we can take a few interior shots without disturbing other diners. Things soon got busier as other diners joined us to eat lunch.


Lots of  urban chic decor, dark wood, funky lighting and lots of glassware, cool and contemporary are what you can expect. Classy without trying too hard.



The menu is extensive whether for food, wine or cocktails and has something for everyone and helpfully includes translation of the Greek terms used so you can be confident of your choices. The cellar of the Olive Tree is also a cocktail bar called Elia which is open in the evenings. As we visited for lunch I can't comment on this but have friends who have partaken and they love the bar area, its also handy for a pre dinner drink too.


This is my mocktail (as the designated driver) an Earl Grey Iced tea - it was very tasty and refreshing but could maybe have been a little colder,it had a good earl grey tea flavour and contained peach puree, lemon juice and sugar.


On the waiters recommendation we chose an appetizer of Greek marinated green and black olives, mild green chillies and ciabatta to have whilst our food was cooked for us, the olives were great. We both love olives, I particularly enjoyed the black ones. Also pictured in this shot is Mr LF's Fine and Dandy Cocktail but more of that later.



For one of our starters we  ordered Marida, whitebait and aioli with a beautifully dressed lambs lettuce salad. A delicious start to the meal, crispy and light, the portion size was very good and well complemented with the aioli, to cut the richness of the fish.

Our other starter was Manitaria Skordata, roast mushrooms, cream and garlic served with toasted ciabatta. This dish was very popular with Mr LF who loved the creamy garlicky sauce and the dinky little pallets that they used for serving the dish on.


I chose a Classic Greek Moussaka as my main, this the second best Moussaka I've eaten and the best was in a beachside taverna in small fishing village on the West coast of Mainland Greece about 25 years ago whilst on holiday, eaten in blistering August heat, so pretty stiff competition to any dish served in a wintery Preston. This version had potatoes, courgettes, aubergines and a rich beef mince in tomato sauce and a creamy bechamel sauce, maybe if it had been lamb it might have been number one, who knows....


A shot of the wine cages in the cellar


Now that Fine and Dandy cocktail


Fine and dandy cocktail - Havana 3 year old, Havana Especial, Dandelion and Burdock syrup, Dandelion and Burdock bitters, lime juice and whites. A taste revelation and very much enjoyed by Mr LF who loves the traditional flavours of Dandelion and Burdock and he also loved that his cocktail was served in a heavy crystal glass, very masculine.





Mr LF's main was Lavraki - two  pan fried sea bass fillets, accompanied by a feta potato cake herby, perhaps a little too herby in this case, a delicious sweety silky parsnip skordalia (garlic and parsnip puree)and lots  kolokithakia (courgette fries). Overall very tasty just slightly let down by a heavy hand with the thyme in the potato cake.

So now it was time for pudding, our waiter informed us that two of the options were unavailable as they had sold out of the Saturday night. But we still had plenty of choice, Mr LF has loved Turkish Delight since he was a child so was happy to order the Loukomia - sugar coated Turkish Delight, the menu promised some with a chocolate coating, so we were a little disappointed as was looking forward to trying this classic flavour combination when they didn't appear in the dish when served.


Our other choice was the Sokolata tahini brownie, with haynoto syrup (Greek liqueur) and deliciously creamy hazelnut ice cream. So a rich dense nutty chocolate brownie with tahini, boozy syrup and ice cream. Very scrummy and a very large piece, so much so that we had to take away some of the Loukomia as we couldn't finish it all.


All in all, we had a great time and the food was very very good, going Greek for a change was good fun. The Olive Tree also have a good lunchtime offering of a limited menu for a bargain price and even a Greek Roast on Sundays too. So check out their website and book yourself a table.


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, 6 December 2017

Seasonal Favourites at Twin Lakes Velo Cafe, Croston


There is a definite nip in the air now and things are starting to feel a little Christmassy so for our last Clandestine Cake Club outing we made a welcome return visit to the Twin Lakes Velo Cafe in Croston. The Cafe is aimed at cyclists but everyone is welcome including hardy cake fans like our members. Our theme was Seasonal favourites and once again we had some great cakes enjoy with a warming brew.

The cafe is a hidden gem with two gorgeous lakes outside which create a wonderful calming view,  the cafe is cosy inside and serves a great range of food and drinks. Thanks to all the team for hosting our event.


Tea and cake, what more can one want, Gluten free Ginger Zinger cake.


White chocolate and cranberry cake



Gluten free Clementine, almond and pomegranate cake 


Gluten Free Ginger zinger cake



Astrids festive no bake cake


Pear and mincemeat cake 


Apple and Mincemeat cake

We also had an alternative christmas bundt cake but I didn't get a picture sorry Helen.



Some of our members enjoying a chat and a great range of cakes


Smiling faces enjoying the treats we have to share, thats what cake club is all about.


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