A Vegetarian Afternoon Tea at The Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath.

Can you think of anything more quintessentially British than enjoying a splendid afternoon tea in the Royal Crescent Hotel which is nestled in the heart of historic Bath’s crescent? Unless The Queen and Mr Bean were sat at the adjacent table.

I visited The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa for the first time a few weeks ago with my sister and it’s just as grand and luxurious as one would imagine and I cannot wait to share my wonderful dining experience with you all.

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We were promptly lead through the house, into the tranquil gardens and taken into the foyer of The Dower House restaurant where we were offered the choice of eating indoors or choosing one of the many tables outside. Seeing as it was such a beautifully sunny and warm day we opted for the latter. The resident robin even joined us at our table on many occasions throughout our visit. You’d hasten to forget you were in the middle of a beautiful, busy and bustling city as it was just so relaxing and quiet in the grounds of the hotel.

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We were seated at our table and handed some menus to choose which type of afternoon tea we’d like and which blend of tea we want to accompany it as well. The Royal Crescent really do cater for everyone with their choices of afternoon teas. First up was the Royal Crescent Afternoon Tea (£37.50 per person) which they say is designed more for those with a savoury palate. The sandwich choices you receive with this are:

  • clarence court egg, smoked cheddar, spring onion and mustard cress.
  • Roast beef with a horseradish mayonnaise and watercress.
  • Corn fed chicken and a basil and lemon hummus.
  • And finally a smoked salmon sandwich with a lemon and chive cream cheese.

The savoury options for this particular afternoon tea are:

  • Smoked salmon toast, smoked paprika, lemon zest and topped with caviar.
  • A bite sized sausage roll topped with a honey and onion seed glaze.
  • Bath chap (which is a cut of pork) with a mustard mayonnaise, pickled radish and sorrel.
  • Cucumber filled with a caraway spiced goats curd and topped with a charcoal emulsion.
  • Saffron and honey yoghurt topped with mackerel tartar and a fennel and red onion salad.

This afternoon tea is then simply finished off with an individual verrine topped with a crescent biscuit, a warm scone, Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry preserve and a bath bun with cinnamon butter.

If you have a sweeter palate or want to opt for the more traditional afternoon tea, the Authentic Afternoon Tea (also £37.50 per person) This offers all the same sandwiches as above but rather than getting a plate of savoury minis you get seasonally changing homemade cakes, pastries and sweet delicacies.

If that’s not all they even offer a children’s Afternoon Tea (£19.50 per child) which I think is the sweetest idea. The thought of a little party of children dressed up in posh frocks and polished shoes having a fancy garden tea party makes even me feel gooey and smiling like the Cheshire cat.

My sister opted for the Royal Crescent Afternoon Tea and I chose to have the vegetarian one with a copious amounts of earl grey to wash it all down with. I really liked that, if you’re having an afternoon tea with someone you don’t necessarily have to have the same one. Makes life a lot smoother for those with dietary requirements as they also cater for those who are vegan or nut/gluten intolerant as well.

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The dainty finger sandwiches I had were filled to the brim of these delectable fillings:

  • Avocado, guacamole and mustard leaf.
  • Roast red pepper with a basil and lemon hummus.
  • Cucumber, dill, black pepper and lime
  • And finally it was a little tomato and chutney sandwich.

They were delightful, fresh and different to what you’d usually get with an afternoon tea which I really enjoyed.

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The savouries I had included in this afternoon tea were delicious and so different to what I was expecting. Starting from the top item at the back was a bite sized mushroom and truffle sausage roll topped with a honey and onion seed glaze. The depth of flavours from the rich umami flavours from the truffle and mushrooms to the sweet, delectable hit from the honey at the end really finished off this little treat.  To the right of that was a warm truffle, brie and grape tart. Brie and grape is just a marriage made in perfect food heaven, combine that with a warm, buttery pastry and you’ve got yourself this little bite of happiness. Beneath that is a savoury choux bun, something of which I had never tried before and was really intrigued by. It was filled with a mouthwatering tomato, basil and lemon cream making it such a lovely and delicate light bite. Next from that was a thick slice of cucumber, which had been partially hollowed out and filled with a caraway spiced goat’s curd and topped with a charcoal emulsion. This too was something I had come across nor tried before and was eager to try it for myself. It was refreshingly cool and wonderfully unique to something you’d expect to adorn your plate. I loved the addition of the very on trend charcoal emulsion as well. Last but definitely not least was the saffron and honey yoghurt you can see in the glass jar on the plate. The silky smooth yoghurt was topped with feta cheese, ribbons of red onion and a fennel salad. Before I start to sound like a broken record I can honestly say I’ve never tasted anything like the things I tried here. The amber hued yoghurt had the subtle floral flavours of saffron combined with the saltiness of the feta and the tartness of the red onion it was completely sublime. I don’t think I could have wolfed it down any faster!

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A close up shot of the saffron and honey yoghurt pot.

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The warm truffle, brie and grape tart in all its glory.

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In between the savoury and sweet tiers we had these delightful lime posset verrine’s topped with a crescent biscuit. It was gorgeously creamy and tangy serving as the perfect palate cleanser.

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Now moving onto the pinnacle of an afternoon tea, it’s not complete without scones with jam and clotted cream. Their warm scones were perfect, so you can just tear them in two with your hands. Whether you eat your scones with jam and cream or cream and jam; these’ll go down a treat.

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If these are new to you as well they are sweet enriched dough buns, studded with sultanas, sprinkled with sugar and a sugar lump placed in the middle.

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As you can see the sugar lump hidden inside the bath bun still remains nearly completely intact. These are perfect with lashings of jam and cream or slathered in cinnamon butter.

I absolutely loved my visit to The Royal Crescent Hotel and am definitely thinking about when I’ll next be returning or even sampling some of their main restaurant menu.

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Best Brownies EVER.

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I won’t lie, these are the only tall, dark and handsome things on the internet you’ll ever really want and need in your life right now. They’re sweet, they’re rich and they’re bad for you but above all, they defo won’t let you down or ghost you like Reece from tinder might do. (No offence to any Reece’s from Tinder). I actually discovered these from my Mum who usually sticks to a Jamie Oliver recipe with her twist on it. Obvs that recipe was before he turned all melodramatic about 2 for 1 pizzas and whether or not a vimto has one or more sugars in. This recipe is certainly not the healthiest, not a pinch of superfood in this and it’s so delicious.

I am not one to toot my own horn but this recipe is quickly becoming my go-to for impressing people with my fine kitchen skillz.  Because I want to be a bit of a Rahul from Bake Off about this all and I want you all to actually like me and be my friend consider this my way of baking this for you…kinda. The method to these are a little bit different to any of the ways I’ve baked brownies, or any other baked good for that matter, so even though it might seem a little bit mental…stick with it. k?

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You will need:

  • 250g butter,
  • 1tsp coffee granules,
  • 200g dark chocolate,
  • 80g cocoa powder,
  • 65g plain flour,
  • 1tsp baking powder,
  • 4 eggs,
  • 360g caster sugar.

HOW TO:

First off, line a square tin or any shaped tin of your choice, with parchment paper or grease it with butter and preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.

Then I put the butter into a microwave safe jug or bowl and heat it for 30 seconds at a time until it is fully melted. You could do this on top of the stove or even in a bain marie if that is easier for you. To the melted butter add the coffee granules you don’t taste the coffee element by adding this it just helps to enhance the richer, chocolate flavour. Add your chopped chocolate to this mixture at the same time as the coffee too, letting it mingle with the hot butter, leave it for about 2 minutes or so and then come back and stir it all together until it has all melted and is a smooth, glossy chocolate liquid. At this stage it’ll still be really warm so you could either put let it cool somewhere, place it in the fridge for short intervals making sure it’s not in there too long in case it’ll set. I actually use the very unorthodox method of putting the plug in my sink and putting cold water in. Just enough water that it comes up to where the chocolate mixture is in the jug, allowing no water actually into the mix.

Whilst that is cooling I crack the eggs and put them in a stand mixer, if you don’t have one of these you could use a hand whisk it might just take you a little longer but think of the muscles you’ll be using! Slightly ironic thought that for a brownie recipe but hey. To that I add in the sugar. If you want a richer, fudgier, more of a molasses taste, I’d suggest using a darker or demerara sugar. I used caster sugar.

I mixed it for about 5 minutes or so until the eggs and the sugar were lovely and combined and plenty of air was whipped through so it had pretty much doubled in size.

When the chocolatey, buttery mixture was cooled whilst the mixer is on a slow speed Ioured in the chocolate a little at a time careful not to knock any of the air out and gradually added more and more until it was all fully combined.

Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder a little at a time, folding it through gently.

Once it’s all fully combined you can pour it into your prepared tray or if you wanted to jazz it up a bit and add chopped fruit like cherries or some crushed nuts, oreos, peanut butter cups (shout out to Reece from Tinder we knew we wouldn’t have seen the last of you just yet) or a handful of pretzels now is the perfect time to mix it through or push some into the top of the batter once it’s in the tray.

I baked it between 20-25 minutes, checking it halfway with a skewer. I found to get that extra crackly top is once it’s out of the oven, hold it about 8 inches above a cooling rack and drop it down on the surface several times. My dog wondered what on earth I was doing but it helps to crack the top surface (of the brownies not your kitchen work tops).

Leave to cool and then cut into little chunks. ENJOY. ❤

 

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Look at that crackly top tho?????

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I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

MUCH LOVE. x

Dinner at Zizzi’s.

Italian food is one of my favourite cuisines, I wouldn’t be surprised even if it was one of the UK’s favourites when eating out. Most High Street’s in Britain will have at least one Italian place! I for one could 100% live off of pizza, pasta, breads and gelato, I mean if it wasn’t for the fact I’d wake up the size of a house of course. I’ve mentioned before how when I’m going out to eat, I live for looking up the best places to go and eat on Tripadvisor, usually I’d opt for somewhere that’s an independent place or somewhere that does a bit different.

However out of all the chain restaurants, Zizzi is honestly one of my absolute favourites. By the way this is not a sponsored post in the slightest, I just really want to sing their praises! They have a really fun, authentic and fresh menu serving really exciting foods for a whole host of tastebuds. I love that their vegetarian AND vegan menu has more than one option each and is all such delicious food. Oh and did I mention at the moment (until the 28th of October I thiiiiink???) they have a cracking 3 course meal offer for £15.95. How amazing is that?! Me and mum went their for a leisurely lunch and I’ll share with you here what we had.

So me and mumsypops actually went to Zizzi in Dorchester’s Brewery Square. It’s a really cool new food quarter and cinema section so it’s perfect if you’re planning on a cinema night and you’re spoilt for choices with some fab dining spots. We had our pooch with us so couldn’t sit inside the restaurant but the kind servers were really accomodating and let us sit in the outside eating section.

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This was my starter and doesn’t it look delicious and carby and like you could eat a whole bucket of them right now???? They’re called Little Soul Breads and they were incredible. They’re little dough balls of heaven, topped with garlic and salt, baked until they’re crusty on top and like a little soft fluffy cloud in the middle. We had a choice of dips but went with a garlic butter and a white bean and basic pesto. DIVINE.

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So obvs if I’m going out for pizza and see something with goat’s cheese on it, I’ve pretty much already decided on that in my mind! So when I saw this goat’s cheese, mozzarella,  caramelised onions, a sprinkling of pine nuts and juuuuust a bit more cheese and basil.It was amazing. I love the fresh saltiness the goat’s cheese adds combined with the tangy sweetness of the caramelised onions it was really well balanced.

I have such a sweet tooth, if I go out for dinner, I am mainly thinking about going out for dessert. Pudding is my absolute favourite and if I could eat it for every meal without getting diabetes or piling on the pounds then I totally would. Judge me if you want, but who would say no to Crème brûlée or ice cream for breakfast?! So I was super buzzing for us to have our puddings. To be honest by this point we were both feeling quite full but because we already ordered it at the beginning we had it anyway. Such troopers aren’t we!?

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So me and Mother dearest both decided to get ice cream. You can even see her in the top image helping with the shots for the ‘gram. CUTE. Mum got the chocolate sea salt, coconut chocolate ripple and the raspberry and mascarpone ripple. I went for the chocolate sea salt, raspberry mascarpone ripple and the honey seasalt and mascarpone. Each one of these was so rich, flavourful and smooth. I wish they would sell me a tub of the chocolate sea salt one, it was bliss! I love the combination of saltiness and sweet.

I am a huge fan of Zizzi as you can tell by this blogpost of appreciation! I’m so keen to get back to one so I can check out their recent menus. They’re always sprucing them seasonally oh and, did I mention they have a great selection of cocktails, mocktails and funky soft drinks! Sooooo shall I book a group table for us or do you want to?

 

Redroaster – Brighton.

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen anywhere like this place in real life before. It felt like I had crossed into a parallel universe where I was actually *IN* Instagram. And heck no I wasn’t complaining, I’ve never felt so cool and on point in my life. The decor inside Redroaster was a cool mix of clean white tiles, golds, coppers and marble textures and delicate hanging plants. It felt edgy, botanical and just really cool. We were lucky enough to be able to sit outside as the weather was glorious even at about 8 or 9 in the morning when we got there.

I ordered a vegetarian shakshuka and an iced coffee and it was delightful. I felt quite smug as I sipped my coffee watching the hustle and bustle of the commuters passing by to their jobs as I had an enjoyable morning breakfast. It was the first time I had a shakshuka and I really liked it. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a Middle Eastern / North African dish made of a thick, spiced tomato sauce, spiked with onions, peppers and poached eggs. Sounds delicious and savoury right? Beforehand I’d have much preferred to have had a sweet breakfast plate but I must say I think my taste palette is finally growing up a bit.

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The one I ordered usually comes with chorizo but I asked for that to be removed or whether the dish was possible to be made more veggie friendly and the waitress and kitchen seemed more than accommodating for that. Jewelled with black olives and edamame beans it gave the skillet a lovely richness and umami flavour. I don’t usually like olives, mainly because the ones I’ve tried have always tasted like they’ve been steeped in salt and I just found the texture quite unpleasant but I think they added a lot of flavour to this dish. On top of that it had very generous handful of crumbly feta decorated over the top. Feta might be my favourite cheese. Contrary to olives, I really love the fresh, saltiness feta holds. It reminds me of summer holidays gorging on Greek salads.

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Speckled and freckled with a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds with two slices of warm, buttery toast for dipping in and serving it up with. This dish is the perfect comfort food. It was full of flavour, but wasn’t too overpowering. Plus I felt so full for the rest of the day too so what more could you want with a brek out?? ALSO did I mention they have their own blend of coffee? The iced coffee I had was LUSH. It was smooth and had citrusy notes so I felt like I didn’t actually need to add any sugar which I would normally do.

Would I go back to Redroaster? Yes. I loved the laidback ambience, the menu contained things that I’d never seen before and that sounded really interesting. Would I order the shakshuka again? Possibly. Nothing against the dish itself I thought it was really nice but there were other things on their menu I’d also like to try. From raspberry croissants to the veggie english breakfast with an avo mousse. They both sound like things I DEFO want to eat/inhale.