30 August 2016

The Potting Shed, Bingley - A New Menu and Lots of Gin!

I do try to not repeat myself too much on the blog, and I know I've rambled before about how much I love the Potting Shed in Bingley, about how good the food is, about their amazing beer garden,.. but there's loads of NEW and EXCITING things happening over at The Potting Shed to tell you about!

First up, there's a brand new branch opening over in Beverley - exciting news for residents of East Yorkshire for whom Bingley might be a bit of a trek! The original site will take some beating of course (I love the view of Bingley's rooftops from the upstairs window!), but it does look pretty sweet!)

Another recent bit of excitement at Bingley was the arrival of the Hendricks Pop Up bar at the Gin Garden Terrace. My lovely brother, my guest for the evening, had kindly offered to drive - giving me the opportunity to try a couple of their cocktail offerings!  

The Chelsea Rose was lovely but the actual cocktail was slightly overshadowed by the AMAZING gothic tea cups that it was served in - I really need me a set of these!

Though, I'll admit to being more of a fan of rum that gin, so the Sailor Jerrys based concoction was more up my street!

The drinks were great, really great, but the main reason I was there was of course, the food. I'd gone in hungry, but I was not prepared for the wave after wave of amazing dishes put in front of us!

I love the sheer variety of foods available at The Potting Shed - I live in a houseful of fussy eaters and here there's something for everyone! Everything was grand, but the chicken goujons (the biggest I've had!) were a particular favourite around the table, and the pizza burgers (topped with mozzarella and pepperoni) went down a treat too. I liked the concept of the Yorkshire burger - a burger served between two Yorkshire puddings and topped with Yorkshire blue cheese and local bacon - more than I liked the actual result, but it's still definitely worth a try once at least!

I felt foolish for my bragging about my ability to consume dessert under any circumstances when the Oreo cheesecake was dished out and I really struggled to finish my portion! This was delicious though and would have been the perfect end to a lovely evening if I'd just stopped one burger earlier (maybe two...)

The Potting Shed is definitely the place to be in Bingley (and now Beverley too!) and I'll definitely be back again as I wont feel complete until I actually finish one of their desserts!

Great big thanks to The Potting Shed for inviting us over and feeding us so well!

5 August 2016

Degustabox July 2016

I always look forward to the arrival of my monthly Degustabox, but usually I have a couple of hints of what to expect when exploring the contents. I may not always know exactly what products will be included but I usually have a pretty good idea about brands and sometimes it's possible to make a pretty educated guess from that alone.

This time, however, the goodies within were kept a complete surprise - so the whole receiving and unboxing become a much more exciting treat! Like a mini foodie Christmas!

Here are the mystery goodies I found in my box this month:

Sarson's Balsamic Vinegar (RRP £1.99) - My boyfriend uses an inordinate amount of vinegar. He puts it on everything. He dips sandwiches in it. Its disgusting. He can go through one of these sized bottles of Sarson's malt vinegar in a week. Balsamic vinegar, which is perfectly appropriate for dipping and drizzing, he wont touch - so this one is all mine!

Rowtree's Fruit Pastilles Infusions (RRP £1.29) - I fully meant to take these home to share with the kids but I opened the packet to try them and before I knew it, they were all gone! #oops These were great though, felt ever so slightly more 'grown up' than devouring a full packet of regular Fruit Pastilles!

ALO Aloe Vera Drink (RRP £2.45) - The taste of this was really nice actually, very sweet - but I don't think I could get used to the 'bits' in it (aloe vera pulp), no matter how good it is for you! It didn't help that one of my colleagues likened the bottle to a snowglobe - you shake it up and can see all the pulpy bit floating about in the bottle! Would be great at anyone that doesn't have my reservations about bumpy bits though!

Jodans Swiss Style Muesli (RRP £2.79) - I know Jordans are a well-loved name in the quality cereals world, but I'm not a big fan of Muesli so I made a gift of this to my dad who loves the stuff and he assured me it was delicious!

Itsu Crispy Seaweed Thins (RRP £1.00) - These seaweed snacks are super healthy - low in calories and packed with iron, zinc, B12 and iodine - so I'd love to say that I like them, but sadly it wasn't to be! A couple of people in the office found them more palatable then I did, so these have been distributed amongst those healthy types!

Felix Gerkhins (RRP £2.15) - Another one I've donated to a more appreciative home - my brother and his family love these!

Bahlsen Choco Leibniz (RRP £0.40) - My dad used to get these biscuits regularly but I haven't seen them in a while so it was really nice to see them pop back up in my life! The handy mini-pack of two biscuits will help prevent me getting through too many too quickly! The chocolate coating is thicker than you'd find on most biscuits - delicious!

Seabrooks Lattice Food Heroes (RRP £1.99) - Seabrooks make the best crisps, and I'm not just saying that because they're from Bradford, We used to visit the factory on school trips. Some of their better flavours of old can be a little tricky to track down but it's nice to see new products too! We all loved the Chorizo lattices in the office!

Rejuvenation Water (RRP £1.89) - I've had this amino-acid-enriched flaroured spring water before, but I wasn't overly keen on the previous flavour. The sweet Spanish Orange variety is right up my street!

Cracker Drinks (RRP £1.50) - I thought I'd have to fight the kids for the juice but turns out they weren't overkeen on the idea of coconut in it, so I had it all to myself! I loved the tropical combo of Pinapple, Coconut and Lime, made me think of sunny exotic beaches rather than the grey Yorkshire summer I was drinking it in!

Brookside Chocolates (RRP £3.40) - Sadly I never got to try these as I passed them to the children on the back on the car on a long drive and by the time we reached out destination they were all gone! They loved these chocolate covered berries and have been asking if we can get them again!

Berrywhite Sparkling Drinks (RRP £1.59 each) - These were my favourites of the drinks included this month, especially that Lemon and Ginger one!

QCumber (RRP £1.35) - I wasn't entirely convinced by the idea of a cucumber based drink, but this was actually surprisingly nice - light and refreshing. It's be perfect for a number of cocktails but as I had mine at work it was sadly alcohol-free!

If you sign up now with the code BLDEG15 you can save a whopping £7 off your first box, that's even better than half price!

3 August 2016

The Story of My First Ever Big Mac

Up until the grand old age of 35, I had never had a Big Mac.

We were never taken to McDonalds as kids, and my later teen years were marred by vegetarianism. I was probably in my mid-twenties before I'd ventured to one of their many restaurants for anything other than a milkshake. 

Even in more recent years, where my visits to the famous fast food chain have become more frequent, I've still never been overly tempted by their flagship product. That middle bit of bread just didn't seem *right* to me, and I was a little wary of that unusual sauce colour too...

But when I had the opportunity to check out the new changes to one of their Leeds restaurants, including the chance to make my very own Big Mac, I figured it was about time for me to see what all the fuss is about! 

Before we got the the food though, it was time to meet the McDonalds team to learn about the new upgrades and dispel any McDonalds myths ('what's really in the fries?' people have been known to ask... the answer is simply, and obviously, 'potatoes').

This was followed by a tour of the restaurant, so we could see the new changes in action. My favourite of the recent developments is the capacity for touch screen ordering. I love this! I don't really like talking to people at the best of times. I'm awkward and easily flustered and generally a bit socially inept. So trying to order at McDonalds, where its loud and and fast and busy and I have to deal with the complicated orders of several people in one go while figuring out what I want myself can be a little... overwhelming, (This probably sounds a little dramatic, its not actually that bad - but certainly not as easy and calm as the screen!) 

The touch screen makes it so much easier for ordering anything 'awkward' too - particularly helpful for my sauce-and-salad hating other half as we can simply amend the orders to not include the less desirable items (no more pickles!) The orders are send straight to the kitchen, where everything is made to order! The new ordering system is also great for fully seeing all your options - its easy to request carrot sticks or melon bags instead of fries with your meal, for instance: something I wouldn't have done before in the aim of making ordering at the counter as smooth as possible. If you liked the traditional ordering method though, don't worry - that's still available! 

Once we had our head around the ordering, we had a tour around the storerooms and kitchens so we could see how those orders get turned into hot meals! A brief visit to the freezers was particularly welcome, as our visit was on an extremely hot day. You probably wont be surprised to hear they go through a LOT of food supplies... my favourite McDonalds fact of the day was that these guys sell more coffee than Starbucks AND Costa together!

Then, after a quick demonstration, it was time for us to don our aprons and hats and have a go at making our very own Big Macs. I kindly volunteered Jamie to go first (sorry Jamie!) before I had my go. I like to think mine turned out ok, especially for a first time!

The proof of the pudding is in the eating though of course, so how was my first ever Big Mac? Pretty darn good actually! It's great to know my fears were unfounded and I'm sure this wont be my last! I was also presented with a Chocolate and Honeycomb Frappe (after previously being visibly giddy about it's awesomely creamy appearance!) and it was every bit as good as I'd hoped!

Big thanks to McDonalds for being so hospitable and making me expand my food horizons! (And also apologies for the lack of photos - I promise I took plenty but then managed to destroy them all!)

* Compensation has been provided for this post (financially and foodily)