The Plough in Harborne- Restaurant Review

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Apologies for the inconsistency with when I post, but here is a small restaurant review on a pub type venue, ideal for the casual brunch, or the more sophisticated evening meal; a venue also accomodating for the children!

My friend and I attended for a spontaneous lunchtime meal and were lucky enough to catch their £9 meal deal.

For just £9 we were served a drink and this (above) elephant sized calzone! Delicious! Stuffed with succulent caramelised onions (which you should know by now, are my favourite!), salted olives and tender chicken under the crisp dough covering, my personalised calzone definitely filled me up. A slightly messy meal to consume .i.e. not first date material perhaps, but then again, who cares when it tastes so good.

Overall, a venue where you truly get your moneys worth, with a buzzing ambiance to top it off: a Harborne social hub, where everyone seems to bump into someone they know.

-afoodexplored

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The Hairy Biker’s Trout Almondine (Recipe Review)

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Just a quick recipe review as I have not done one in a while. My mum has introduced me to a new favourite dish of mine, the Trout Almondine (menu on link) as instructed by the Hairy Bikers. 

The sour capers, and strong citrus flavours add flourish to the otherwise delicate, more subtle flavoured trout. Although I have not tried it, fish can always be replaced with others to experiment with flavour and texture; perhaps salmon, for a more lean cut, or even sardines with rice to add saltiness to the strong flavour concoction of this recipe- just a few idead to get your imagination rolling!
 A quick evening dish, cooked in under an hour, which can of course be served with a variety of vegetables for all those vegetable obsessed cooks (like my mum!) out there.

-afoodexplored x

Harborne kitchen (the Revamped Butcher’s Social)

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Finally(!!) as promised, I have managed to dine at the new and improved Butcher’s Social! (Now named Harborne Kitchen) What a treat visiting a restaurant, on the verge of michelin star status, for my dad’s birthday.


Entrées: the fluffiest, (I know… what a formal description) lightest butter ever (almost like a foam), accompanied homemade sourdough bread; a required dense accompaniment to the butter. The bread, I was informed, was produced using lager?!

Starters: fish skin sticks (a better version of pork crackling in my opinion… I’m sure this was nothing to  do with the novelty of spray on rose vinegar accompanying it); a  velouté (above, far right)- a coriander creme fraiche kind of dish- smooth on the tongue.

Mains: Deliciously tender pork balls (above); soft, lightly salted chicken; homemade ravioli, filled with soft fish filling(below); it was all refreshingly washed down with the unique seedlip “Garden” mocktail,   cleansing my tastebuds.

To accompany the sweeter, (reminding me of haribos)”Tropical” mocktail…dessert! Whether the soft crumbly venana layers (below) or the lavender infused honeycomb delight, the desserts did not disappoint.

To conclude, a very high end restaurant, ideal for treating the family to some meticulously prepared dishes, all served with genuine smiles and enthusiasm. Choose between the constantly improved set or choosing menu, and enjoy a wonderful night.

-afoodexplored x

Luna 36, in Soller, Spain (Restaurant Review)

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Situated in the beautiful, family orientated town of Soller, Spain, Luna 36 is a must try restaurant, (menu on link) whether you wish to try delightful tapas dishes, or a more substantial main meal of butterfish, or beef, perhaps. They even have chicken lollipops for the children (photo below)! Simple and not overly packed with flavours. 

The brightly, creatively displayed dishes (as with the calamari salad below) are only representative of the beaming, radiating service you will receive on entry.

The tapas were all superb, from the sweet, refreshing ceviche (a popular seafood dish in the coastal regions of Latin- America), to the more savoury, exceptionally soft shrimp salad. From the huge (and I mean double the size of shop bought ones in the UK!) mussels (below), flavoured with Thai curry sauce, a nostalgic moment for me, as a reminder of my wonderful travels to Thailand a few years ago, to the slightly smoked tasting octopus, I definitely recommend endulging in them all, if you can manage! Particularly any specials, which during our visit, included salty, creamy, battered turbot wings! An unexpected treat!

But let’s not forget dessert…

As a lover of creme brulee, I am always reluctant when trying new brands, however I was not disappointed with this crispy, sweet topping and light, creamy filling; a perfect ratio of both, too!

If you cannot already tell, I feel thoroughly lucky my family and I came across this restaurant; we even went twice within the week! Don’t just take my word for it though; go visit! And definitely book in advance…

-afoodexplored x

Su Gigante in Sardegna, Italy (Restaurant Review)

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The restaurant Su Giganti, situated amongst the beautiful hills of Sardegna, Italy, is a restaurant (attatched to a hotel) which serves desirable, fresh, locally sourced seafood for a reasonable price.


From the range of starters, (from the more simplistic, classic, sweet honeydew melon combination with parma ham (photo above), to the more adventurous calamari dish) as a family, we shared the mixed seafood starter platter. The best feature was the refreshing, vinegar soaked octopus. Yum!

Seafood highly featured in my family’s meals. (Can you tell we are seafood lovers?!) The softly grilled seabass was delicious, and was accompanied by prawns, octopus and squid (what a range!) in the mixed seafood dish.

 In contrast, more andante pasta accompanied the fresh, high quality lobster for two (one portion depicted below). Warning: only to be tackled by those with patience to extract the lobster from the shells. No work, no reward! In my opinion, it was definitely worth the effort!

A highly recommended restaurant if you find yourself exploring Villasimus, Italy and looking for a good variety of meals. It is suitable for a family of all ages, and a perfect taster of the food Sardegna has to offer.

-afoodexplored x

Stuffed Pepper Recipe Trial (Sardegna twist)

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Having just spent a week in Sardegna, Italy, I cooked this Mediterranean Stuffed Pepper Recipe, (click words for link to recipe) with a Sardegna twist (photo above).

Fregola pasta (originated from Sardegna) replaced the cous cous, which was meant to be inside the lightly fried, juicy peppers; subtle tasting, soft mozarella complimented the dish, despite bitter feta cheese having been recommended in the recipe: the olives provided the required sourness instead.

I would use this dish to accompany a refreshing side salad, or as a main dinner dish, depending on the size of peppers purchased; as you can see, the ones we bought were rather large! Two halves were perfect for a single portion.

It’s a simple, quickly prepared dish. A combination of a variety of textures, colours and tastes; a dish which is very adaptable to accomodate different tastes. Highly advise you to consume under the blissful summer sun, either on holiday or in the comfort of your own home.

-afoodexplored x

Revolución de Cuba, Liverpool (Restaurant Review)

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With Liverpool hosting this years Clothes Show, a few friends and I spent a weekend visiting tourist locations, such as the Beatles Museum, and the Tate Museum, all within walking distance from this quirky restaurant, situated in one of the hearts of Liverpool, (the Albert Docks) Revolución de Cuba.

With live music playing, and a buzzing, bubbly, summer ambiance, we were naturally drawn to this place, and, whats more, when seated, we listened to a fautless music playlist, ranging from Wham, to the Beatles, from Michael Jackson, to Prince and even a little bit of Drake. We danced whilst the sun faded!

The photo above is just a snapshot of the food this restaurant has to offer; the tapas varies from creamy, nourishing, ham and cheese croquettes, to the more intriguing, subtly mohito flavoured, battered prawns.

The meals were very filling, especially my burrito, packed with the most tender pork. However, there was room for dessert, or course! A creamy, baked cheesecake for me, please! (Below)


And we can’t forget drinks. Our evening was replenished with many refreshing mocktails (a minty, raspberry and apple mohito anyone?!), some fruity daiquiris (similar to those childhood slush puppies, used to dye the tongue an unnatural blue, but without the colouring effect!) and a few subtly flavoured punch bowls, all presented in unique displays of tin cups, bronze bowls and interestingly shaped glasses; perfect to instagram! 

I can’t recommend this restaurant anymore: a pleasurable experience to top off a trendy Liverpool visit!

-afoodexplorer x

Peel and Stone Bakery 

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On Harborne highstreet, there is a delightful bakery called Peel and Stone. With a constantly changing menu of delightful treats on sale, as well as freshly baked bread varieties, it is the perfect place for a quick shop.

 Downstairs, there is a cosy, slightly urban restaurant, where the food is of the same high quality as the shop floor. The garlic bread resonates in my head as being  particularly soft textured; just remember to chew on parsley after, to rid that pungent garlic aroma, so as not to offend your fellow diners!

Below I have described some of my favourites products from there:

Firstly, their sourdough bread, (different varities shown in both photos) which have a unique hint of sourness. The quite dense, bouncy, crumpet like texture is particularly complementary with a warm, soothing soup. 

Their breads are also superbly frozen; some say they even taste better after defrosting!

My ultimate favourite, however, is their almond baklava croissant (in the forefront of the first picture) as its sweet, subtle, marzipan taste, and soft yet slightly chewy texture, is an unbeatable combination. Despite not being a huge fan of marzipan, this croissant somehow satisfies my taste buds.

Overall, I highly recommend this bakery if you are ever in the parameters of Harborne: go and try their savoury breads or sweet brownies, croissants and more, which are all produced to a very high standard.

-afoodexplorer x

Apple and Cinnamon Upside Down Cake (recipe review)

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A few weeks ago, I decided to bake this upside-down cake recipe (click word recipe for link) that  I found online. Upside down cakes are beneficial in the sense that toppings are less likely to be burnt and you can recognise more clearly whether the cake is fully baked (it will spring back at the touch).

The end product was super soft! Extremely nourishing with a soft texture and succulent apples (as I accidentally used pink lady apples instead of the intended cooking apples my mum bought, whoops!). It’s final appearance consists of caramelised apples creating a golden brown appearance for a warm, autumnal feel.

If you wish to try the recipe I just have a few tips before you do. When making the toffee to cover the apples, slow cook the sugar and butter, of which you only need very little: about 1/10 of butter on the recipe is needed. For the cinnamon lovers out there (like me!), sprinkle a generous topping of cinnamon over the apples. For the cake, use plain flour. When separating the egg whites and yolk, if some yolk ends up in the whites don’t worry, the whites should still foam up, at which point you can fold them into the cake mixture. To prevent yolk and white mixing, however, you can separate one egg at a time into a small bowl before combining all the whites together. 

Overall, I highly recommend this recipe! I loved it! 

-afoodexplorer

Pizza Express and Paradice (not a spelling error, I promise!)

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A teacher training day (i.e a day off school) meant a trip to Pizza Express with two friends was achievable. No lie, we were counting down the days until our lunch date.

As we arrived, feeling rather grown up eating at a restaurant without adults, we were immediately ready to order, having pre decided our meal in our  elated anticipation.

I ordered my favourite: garlic bread with mozzarella for starter and padana pizza for main. I must comment, I may have had a slight (euphemism) pronounciation difficulty when ordering.

Despite my struggle and slight embarrassment, when the food arrived it exceeded expectations. The sweet, succulent, caramelised onions, combined with the soft spinach and the desired, bitter goats cheese was delightful. 

For dessert, after struggling with split payments and voucher usage at Pizza Express (I recommend downloading the app VoucherCodes for a number of offers) we decided to visit Paradice, a gelateria on Harborne high street, Birmingham. With a range of intriguing flavours, and variety of treats available, we were spoilt for choice. 

Below is my choice: warmed chocolate brownie accompanied with rocky road and strawberry lace ice cream. Only £5! Although the strawberry lace ice cream will only appeal to specific taste buds, it was intriguing to try. The brownie and rocky road ice cream are must haves for the avid chocolate fans out there, though.

My friends both chose the melted cookie and vanilla ice cream displayed below. The 20minutes preparation time was definitely worth the wait for the melt in the mouth dessert!


I highly recommend Pizza Express and Paradice for an indulgent treat if you happen to be in Harborne.

-afoodexplorer x

P.S. I am also planning on posting another Paradice blog if I am able to try some other desserts!