Tag: dinner

Simple healthy meals with Cook

It’s no secret that I hate cooking. From thinking up a menu to preparation to washing up afterwards, I’m not a fan of cooking, though I do like the eating bit! A few months ago, we discovered Cook. I’m not really sure why it’s taken so long for us to use them, but boy am I glad we did. Like most people, my partner and I are busy, work a lot and don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. While we’d happily get take away pretty much every night, we know that’s not a great idea for our Β£’s and lbs! This is why Cook is such a great idea. There are lots of healthy options, both for vegetarians, pescetarians and carnivores. They do sides, lunches and desserts (not that we’ve tried them. Yet!) Here are some of my favourites:

Virtuous Veggie pot Chickpea Curry Red Lentil and Mixed Bean casserole Vegetable Lasagne

Most meals take about 50 minutes in our oven, which gives us plenty of time to shower, get Poppy sorted, get ourselves sorted, whatever we need to do. One of the reasons I like Cook food is that it cooks in the oven. We’ve only recently bought a microwave so it’s a great way of having a healthy ‘ready meal’. They’ve also got some new dishes out, including a Chinese range, which I’m looking forward to trying and I might even treat myself to a cheeky dessert this weekend!

This isn’t a sponsored post – I just love Cook!

{Review} Jacobs Inn, Oxford

Like lots of people who’ve been and enjoyed the food at Jacobs and Field in Headington, I was really excited to learn that the guys behind it were opening at much larger premises in Wolvercote, Oxford. And so, in the summer of 2013, Jacobs Inn opened its doors. Naturally, I was keen to see what veggie offerings they had so it wasn’t long before we headed there for breakfast.

We arrived on a Friday morning and sat outside in the sun. The garden area is lovely, with pigs and chickens to entertain you – one of the chickens was making a bid for freedom while we were there and the waitress had to catch it up to return it to its home! I opted for the porridge, while my OH enjoyed the Salt Beef hash. And enjoy he did. He had a huge portion of really well cooked beef and veg. He really enjoyed it so much that he still talks about it! And I really liked my porridge! It came with bananas, honey, cinnamon & hazelnuts sprinkled on top. It was delicious! The only disappointment I had was the tea. I was expecting a pot, but was brought a cup of hot water and a separate tea bag. I was gutted – I am a tea addict and love two cups in the morning, which you can get out of a pot. As everything else is kind of old school at Jacobs Inn, I had expected a tea pot.

porridgeDespite my disappointment with the tea, it hasn’t stopped me going back since! My Mum joined my OH and I for dinner there on a Wednesday evening. We had quite high hopes after such a successful brunch and the menu looked great. However, we were all disappointed at various stages of the meal. I initially asked for a glass of the homemade lemonade, but sadly, they’d sold out. Oh well, not the end of the world, plus the weather was great that week so I can understand that. They have plenty of alternatives to enjoy anyway. I then asked for the Fennel and Cherry Tomato Crumble Gratin. It was the only veggie option in the main meal section and it looked delicious. Sadly, and rather annoyingly, it was sold out. Now, in all fairness to Jacobs Inn, I am a fussy veggie, so the other options didn’t really appeal. But if you’re going to only have one main veggie option, it might be an idea to get a few more bits in. The waitress tried to big up the salads, but a salad isn’t going to cut it for my dinner! A lunch, maybe, dinner? Not a chance! I settled on grilled leeks & goats cheese on toast, a side of skinny fries and we all shared the coleslaw. My Mum & OH both ordered the chilli jam ham.

LeeksMine was fine. The leeks were cooked well, but there were loads of them and not enough cheese. I’m not quite sure about the portion sizes of the sides either – the portion of skinny fries was huge, which was very good. But the portion of coleslaw was tiny! They cost the same, so I’d like more coleslaw please! Both my Mum & OH were disappointed with their ham as it was more like a thick slice of bacon than ham with some chilli jam just spread on it. We had all thought a joint of ham would be cooked with the jam on the top and a nice thick slice would be served, but that’s not what they got. It looked a little sad to be honest!

Brownie

Then it came time for dessert and I told my waitress that if they didn’t have the brownie I wanted, there would be tears! Fortunately, they did and it was delicious! Recently, a lot of the brownies I’ve eaten have been over the top – too much chocolate so that it’s really sickly. But this was perfect. Just moist, nicely warmed and a generous portion, without being overwhelming. It saved the meal!

I’ll definitely be going back to Jacobs Inn. I’ve read a lot of other reviews from people who have had a fab time there. The place has a great feel and the service is excellent. I love how they’ve redecorated it, especially the loos! They’ve not been open long so they’re still finding their feet. I just hope the next time I go, they’ve got more veg in so those of us who don’t eat meat aren’t left feeling left out. If else fails, get the skinny fries and the brownie!

A Crafty Chai in Manchester

Malmaison Bar

So this weekend saw myself & my OH heading up north to Manchester. I had to go for a work thing on Saturday morning, so we jumped on a train Friday morning to make the most of it. We’ve been to Manchester before, so we couldn’t resist staying at Malmaison again. (I booked early & got a deal!) I love the Malmaison chain. They’re so luxurious! Once we’d checked in, we headed out for a bit of lunch – straight to the Northern Quarter. If we lived inOklahomas Manchester, this is where we’d live. It’s quirky, full of indie shops & cafes. Just my style. My OH is legendary for finding great, funky cafes so we went straight to Oklahoma’s. It didn’t disappoint. Not only do they sell great food & chai here, they also sell great gifts and cards.

I had a chai (obviously!) with a goats cheese sandwich. Both lush. It’s the kind of place you could sit in for ages & no one would bother you.

After lunch, we went for a wander. We popped into a few independent book shops & record stores. Before long, our tummies were crying out for something to eat & our feet were wanting to be rested. There were a few options to go to but we decided on trying somewhere new. So we went to the Nexus Art Cafe. We weren’t disappointed! It’s got a real shabby chic feel to it, & again felt like a fab place to curl up with a good book. I’ve been a real healthy eating kick recently so when I saw the huge slices of brownie, I knew I’d earned it. It was delicious & rich. I couldn’t finish it. My OH went for an almond slice & massive hot chocolate. We were happy travellers!

Brownie

Friday night saw us eating at the vegetarian restaurant Bistro 1847. (See my separate review here). The biggest problem came with breakfast the next morning. We didn’t want to eat at the hotel, as they cost Β£13 each! But not many places were open early & my course started at 9.30am! Starbucks got our business. I’m not against Starbucks – it’s where my love of chai started; but their coffee isn’t the best & the chai can be different at every store. However, I’ve never had breakfast there before so we gave it a try. I had the porridge with a fruit compote & it was pretty good. I wouldn’t make a beeline for it again, but if there was no other option I woulnd’t mind it.

Cornerhouse

After my course, we had time for lunch before our train in the afternoon. Again, my OH came up tops with this little find: Cornerhouse. It had such a great vibe & the service and food were outstanding. The food I would usually go for weren’t on the menu, which is good as it meant I had to try something new. I went for the selection of dips, with crusty bread & shared the sweet potato wedges. Wow! If you’re ever in Manchester, visit this place. It is awesome! You could spend the whole day here.

Malmaison Bar

All in all it was very lovely trip, with great food, wine & company! While we didn’t shop or sight-see much, we did plenty of walking. Enough to burn off all the wine that we consumed…and there was plenty of that! x