11 July 2016

The Urban Chocolatier, Bradford

This weekend was Bradford Festival, always a wonderful time to visit the city and see what weird and wonderful things are going on. And since I was in the area, it seemed only polite that I should drop into our newest Dessert eatery to load up on sugar.

It seems like ages ago now that I first spotted the signs for the upcoming opening of The Urban Chocolatier, and I've been looking forward to it since! The sweet-filled place is easy to find just inside the entrance of the new Broadway Shopping Centre (which is actually not all that new now I guess, but I will continue to describe it as so for at least the next seven years).

A quick perusal of the menu and a peek in the display cabinets confirmed what I had hoped - this place is set to be heaven for anyone possessing a sweet tooth! The cake slices available are huge, and are joined on the menu by an impressive array of waffles, crepes and cookie-dough desserts. Milkshakes, smoothies and freak shakes also appear alongside teas, coffees and hot chocolates.

But I'd gone in with ice cream in mind, and I wasn't disappointed with the options available!

Traditional flavours like strawberry and chocolate are of course of offer, and can be found alongside less common gelato flavours like Ferrero Rocher and Bounty.

These are all available individually, with a great array of various toppings. My less sweet-loving other half opted for a simple scoop of the honeycomb gelato, which was apparently delicious.

I figured that, my first time here, I should order one of the massive sundaes. If something worth doing, and all that. There were a few I was tempted by, but settled on the Salted Peanutella - a mountain of chocolate, caramel and peanut gelato, topped with cream, smothered in Nutella and finished with a salted caramel truffle.

The chocolate truffle was AMAZING, but to be fair the whole thing was pretty brilliant. I finished every scrap, despite its epic size - and I don't regret a thing.

On the downside though, my sundae was a fairly whopping £9.95, so it's not an experience I'm likely to repeat too often - definitely more of a once-in-a-while treat. (Most of the sundaes were prices at £7.95, I just wasn't paying enough attention to the menu - too distracted by thoughts of sweet things!) This could have definitely been shared by two people though, making the price and the amount of food more palatable! A lot of the other desserts seemed to come in a bit cheaper too (around £6 seems to be the price for most of the waffles/crepes, for example), so I obviously just went a little overboard with my order!

I'll be back again before too long - I need to try one of those immense milkshakes next!

8 July 2016

Degustabox June 2016 - BBQ Box

Summer is here, the sun is out (sometimes!) - it's definitely barbecue season!

Thankfully, the heroes at Degustabox have crammed this months box filled with top items for summer entertaining - including the perfect drinks and accompaniments for those food-filled sunny afternoons!

Haywards Silverskin Onions (RRP £1.89) - My dad is a huge fan of all things pickled, and meals at his are always served alongside a range of jars. This lil jar of pickled onions was my gift to him, on the understanding that he has to cook for me soon.

Branston Spicy Tomato Relish (RRP £1.65) - Obviously this was included because it's SO good on barbecued burgers, but to be fair it's really good on a whole bunch of other stuff too - my sauce of the summer!

Amoy Coconut Milk (RRP £1.99) - I've not used the coconut milk as yet as including this in a meal will take a degree of cooking concentration that I just don't have after work in the evening! The weekend is just around the corner though!

Schwartz Homemade Burger Mix (RRP £1.49) - This is a packet of stuff to make your home made burgers even tastier. I haven't made home made burgers in years (lazy!) but this gives me the perfect excuse to give them another go!

Zeo Cloudy Lemonade (RRP £2.75) - Cloudy lemonade is THE BEST THING on really hot days, and as the Zeo one as all natural ingredients and is low in sugar, I don't have to feel too bad about letting the kids have some too!

Sacla Pesto Pots (RRP £2.79) - I love Pesto. Love it. But sadly, not everyone in the house shares my adoration so I often find that a full jar won't all get used in an appropriate time frame. These little pots are perfect as there'll be less waste!

Butterkist Yogurt Coated Popcorn (RRP £1.49) - Many happy childhood memories include the amazing Butterkist toffee popcorn, which is still one of my favourite treats. The new Yogurt coated version is not as good as the tooth-rotting toffee variety, but is still grand and certainly feels a lot healthier!

Bakedin Mug Brownie Mix (RRP £1.50) - It may surprise no one that this was my favourite product in the box this time round. The mug brownie took less than two minutes to make and created no washing up other than the one mug. The packet suggests a scoop of ice-cream for extra awesomeness but I didn't have any handy so had it on it's on, and it was still pretty darn awesome!

Wychwood King Star lager (RRP £1.70) - I do like lager, and think it's a great barbecue beverage, but I wasn't blown away by this one unfortunately. I'd drink it again, but wouldn't go out of my way to do so.

Miracle Noodles (RRP £2.49) - These are WEIRD! Like, I'm sure the actual product (a totally healthy noodle alternative) isn't actually that weird, but the packet sure feels it. Its full of water, which makes it feel like one of those weird kids squidgy toys you get in museum gift shops, and the noodles look a *bit* like they might attack you in your sleep..... but I'm sure they're grand once cooked!

Smooze Fruit Ice (RRP £2.50) - This is a freeze-at-home juice / ice lolly thingie that my little ones just adore - the mango and coconut flavour is exotically refreshing, and it's all natural ingredients too!
Perfect for a post-barbecue dessert that's not too heavy!

Destrooper-Olvier Waffle Crisps (RRP £1.10) - I love these Belgian butter biscuits! They're crisp and light and ever so tasty - a great accompaniment to tea, coffee, or ice cream (but brilliant just on their own too!)

A Degustabox subscription means a box like this one full of tasty treats will find its way to your door once a month. At £12.99 including delivery I think they're great value, as the RRP of the products inside always adds up to way more than the subscription costs, but for an extra good deal you can save a huge £7 off your first box if you enter the code BLDEG15 when purchasing!

3 July 2016

Eastern Afternoon Tea at Creams, Leeds

As much as I love Afternoon Tea (and I really really do!), there's one often-included element that I could usually do without - those bloody salmon sandwiches!

I understand that a lot of people like smoked salmon, that it's an integral part of the indulgent treat that is Afternoon Tea. But it's just not very nice.

So it's a real joy to come across an afternoon tea with alternative savory offerings - where I don't have to awkwardly ask to keep that slimy nonsense off my plate, or to cover the offending article with my napkin so as to disguise the fact that I'm a complete food philistine.

This was the joy I felt when I discovered Creams in Leeds, and their three different Afternoon Tea menus - two of which have not the slightest mention of smoked salmon anywhere!

They do of course offer a  'British Afternoon Tea', which comes with the obligatory salmon alongside other traditional sandwich fillings, fruit scone and selection of cakes. This option was the one favoured by my dining companion (the delightful Jess of Jessica In Your Ear, seriously this girl is one of the very best!)  who doesn't share my aversion for fishy things.

I on the other hand was torn between a couple of more exotic options. I was very much interested in the Arabian Afternoon Tea - lemon pepper chicken salad or falafel and halloumi salad taking the place of the expected sandwiches; hummus, olives and pita bread where you'd usually find scone, but still with the usual patisserie selection.

It was the Eastern Afternoon Tea I finally settled on though. I liked the sound of the chicken tandoori naanwich much more that horrible salmon! The naanwich - which is also available with a kebab or falafel and halloumi filling - was a grand toastie-type thing. Not your typical classy afternoon fare, but pretty darn tasty!

Next up was the served-hot vegetable samosa. Crispy on the outside, just the right level of spice, and served with a lovely chilli sauce - a great savoury addition!

I did think I'd miss having a jam-and-cream topped scone wth my Afternoon Tea, but by the time I'd worked through the provided cakes I think I was all done for sweet things! Alongside my bite-size profiterole and delicate macaron was a whopping slice of red velvet cake. I swapped half my cake for half a slice of Jessica's very chocolatey slice. Variety is the spice of life and all that, plus a full slice of the chocolatey one could very well kill a man.

All in all, it's a bit of an odd place. The beautifully sophisticated interior seems at odds with the plastic menus and the option to order chips with your afternoon tea (which I absolutely did, by the way). Essentially though, they brought me a three-tiered stand of food that I really enjoyed eating, and a massive pot of tea, so I'm a very happy customer!

Creams can be found at The Core Shopping Centre in Leeds, where each of the Afternoon Tea menus can be found for £14.95 for one, and are available alongside a wide selection of other tasty treats!