Quorn Pizza

I love Pizza.  I love eating pizza and I love making pizza but quite often after a very busy day I really don’t have the time or energy to make pizza dough which doesn’t help me at all on the days that I really fancy a pizza.  I managed to find a great alternative to my much loved pizza which requires only 3 ingredients, on this occasion the ingredients were purchased from Tesco and can be seen below.

ingredients

By using a cheese and Tomato flatbread I already have my base ready, a few slices of quorn pepperoni and mozzarella and it’s ready to bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes not the 12 that I left mine in for on this occasion.

pizza

 

This is the perfect quick meal that goes from fridge to table in less than 10 minutes and even the busiest of person has 10 minutes.  I’ve tried lots of different taste variations including using left over chilli, pasta sauce, chicken and sweetcorn, anchovy and olive, goats cheese and red onion and Chinese chicken and beansprouts.  You can swap the base for crumpets, muffins, wraps, naan bread or even plain bread. Who doesn’t love Pizza toast?

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Special K Granola

 Special K recently launched its first ever granola, we’re a family of granola lovers and like all variations of it, I quite like to snack on it straight from the bowl, Mr Gourmand likes yoghurt on his and Mini Gourmand likes to add fresh berries. New Special K Granola comes in two varieties Raisins and Red Apples and Cranberry, Pumpkin Seeds and Almonds.  I have to be honest and say I don’t prefer one over the other, they are both very different and both very delicious.  I’ve been having the Raisin and Red apple granola for breakfast and using the cranberry one as a snack during the day.  I find if you wish to snack on granola its best to weigh it out into a little tub so you don’t over eat (it’s very easily done).

 special k granola

You may have noticed the limited edition tea towel that my granola is sitting on,  this is exclusive to Special K, and hand designed by illustrator, Charlotte Farmer, I also have a beautiful tote bag which has been accompanying me on my recent shopping trips.

granola apples

The Raisin and Red Apple Granola contains Red Apples, Barley, Wheat, Rye, Grapes and Spelt so that’s 5 whole grains along with vitamins and fibre.

granola nuts

The Cranberries, Pumpkin Seeds and Almonds contain Cranberries, Barley, Oats, Wheat, Rye, Almonds, Spelt and Pumpkin Seeds giving you 5 whole grains, fibre and vitamins.

Both varieties of Special K Granola contain 30 per cent less fat than most other granolas so you can eat this as part of a calorie controlled diet without feeling guilty.  If I’m completely honest I forgot this granola was made by Special K when I was eating it because it doesn’t taste like a lower fat product at all.

If you can’t get fussy children to eat cereal a top tip from me is to add it to flapjacks or muffins, I’m lucky that Mini Gourmand likes to eat all sorts of cereal now she is older but I did used to struggle to get her to eat anything that wasn’t coated with sugar when she was younger and found that I could disguise whole grains in fruity muffins and flapjacks as a breakfast or lunch box treat.

Special K Granola is available to purchase in all major supermarkets with a RRP of £2.99 for a 370g bag.

*Competition*

Would you like to win a case of each of the Special K Granola?  All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me what flavour combination would be your favourite if you could design your own granola.  Leave a way of contacting you either email address or twitter name. this competition ends on the 17th of March where I will film Mini Gourmand pulling a name out of an empty Special k  granola bag.

Prizes will be sent direct from the brand

 

*Due to my site unavailability due to hosting issues I have extended the competition until 23rd March 2014*

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Wagamama – Leamington Spa

When we moved to Leamington Spa Wagamama had only just opened and as Mini Gourmand had never visited before I took her for her first meal and she has been hooked on Chicken Katsu since then.  Fast forward 18 months to Mr Gourmand and Baby Gourmand’s first visit to Wagamama.

wagamama bar

When you enter through the revolving doors you are greeted with a fabulous bar area which is the only one outside of London, there are a selection of tables at the window where you can choose to sit or wait for friends which look directly out onto The Parade which is perfect for people watching.  I believe this branch serves a selection of cocktails however we were not provided with a bar menu so I’m unable to comment on those.

deco wagamama

The interior is extremely light, spacious and has a fantastic vibe.  Decor is neutral and there is a lot of beautiful lighting.  My favourite feature is the huge ornate mirror above the fireplace, I imagine that the room that houses the restaurant was originally a ballroom when the building was all a hotel.

wagamama interior

One good thing about Wagamama is that it is extremely family friendly, on our arrival we were asked if we needed a high chair and were supplied with crayons and a colouring sheet, I originally thought Baby Gourmand would be far too young for crayons but he surprised us by doing a little scribble, then trying to munch on the crayon like a carrot stick.

baby gourmand wagamama

Our waitress Laura took our drinks order and left us to peruse the menu. I hate the menu in Wagamama, don’t get me wrong there isn’t actually anything wrong with it. My problem is that I want to eat at least 8-10 things on there during each visit and although I’m a gourmand by name and nature it isn’t actually possible to do so which makes my decision really difficult.

wagamama

After taking time out to laugh at Baby Gourmand pulling faces we were ready to order our food.  We’re a family of sharers so decided on two starters each, a main course each and 1 side which was originally a healthy option for Baby Gourmand to munch on.

Ebi Katsu

Mini Gourmand’s choice for one of the starters was the Ebi Katsu (£6.95) which  is basically deep-fried prawns in panko breadcrumbs. served with a spicy chilli and garlic sauce and garnished with a wedge of lime.  Even Baby Gourmand enjoyed this starter although he did try to shove the whole thing into his mouth including the tail so Mr Gourmand had to extract it and deliver it in smaller portions.  The prawns were delicious, breadcrumbs were crispy and the chilli sauce was perfect in flavour and strength.

Chilli Squid

My choice for a starter was the Chilli Squid (£5.75) which is basically deep-fried squid seasoned with salt and shichimi. served with a chilli and coriander dipping sauce.  Baby Gourmand made sure he tucked into this starter too although he didn’t sample the dipping sauce.  Mini Gourmand commented about how so many restaurants just can’t seem to get squid right meaning it’s either tough or isn’t cooked enough.  The Chilli Squid from Wagamama was perfect, tender, delicately spiced and the dipping sauce added both a sweet and sourness to the dish making it one of those dishes you wish you had ordered two of.

Chicken katsu Curry

A creature of habit, Mini Gourmand ordered the Chicken Katsu Curry (£9.50) chicken breast deep-fried in panko breadcrumbs served with a curry sauce and sticky white rice. garnished with dressed mixed leaves and japanese pickles.  I always wish she would try something else from the menu but I suppose the saying goes if it’s not broken don’t fix it and she always has a satisfied look on her face after cleaning her plate.

Mahi Mahi Curry

Mr Gourmand wanted to try something new and different so went for the Mahi Mahi Curry (£9.95) which was grilled mahi mahi fish in a spicy curry sauce with sweet potato, red and green peppers and mushrooms. served with rice and garnished with coriander cress.  Not wanting to miss out I had a mouthful and was pleasantly surprised because it was so delicious, the sauce had a delicate spice but was also slightly sweet.  Baby Gourmand gave the fish a thumbs up by demanding more of it, the boy has a real love of fish and seafood so it seems!

Teryaki beef soba

I decided to go for something different and picked the Teryaki Soba Beef (£13.95) which was grilled teriyaki beef on a bed of teppan-fried soba noodles with curry oil, mangetout, red and spring onions, beansprouts, bok choi and chillies with yakitori and teriyaki sauce. garnished with coriander and sesame seeds. Steak is another favourite of Baby Gourmand so we shared this dish.  The flavourings worked together so well on this dish and the steak was cooked to perfection, It’s the first time I’ve gone for a noodle dish at Wagamama and I will definitely be back for more after sampling this particular one.

Wok fried greens

I actually ended up eating most of the Wok Fried Greens (£4.25) that we had ordered for Baby Gourmand as he decided that he preferred the meat on this occasion and the green stuff was for wimps.  I actually thought the tender stem broccoli and bok choi, stir-fried in garlic and soy sauce was a delicious if not simple dish and could have quite happily had this as a main course with some steamed rice.

Our total bill including drinks came to £58.90 which is more than acceptable for the amount of food and drinks we consumed.

We left Wagamama with full stomachs and smiles on our faces, mainly because Baby Gourmand had behaved himself impeccably.  The staff at the Leamington Spa branch were attentive and extremely friendly and I would not hesitate to go back again.

If you’re ever in the Warwickshire area and fancy some good food, cooked well which is good value for money you will be very welcome at Wagamama Leamington spa, the old regent hotel, 95 parade royal, leamington spa, CV32 4AY.

*I received vouchers towards part payment of my meal.  All words are my own and as always my review is honest and impartial*

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Spaghetti Hotdogs

spaghetti hotdogs

 

After looking at numerous pinterest pictures featuring spaghetti hotdogs I let curiosity get the better of me and prepared them for dinner one evening much to everyone’s disgust. What is so wrong with spaghetti hotdogs? Mr Gourmand said they looked disgusting and Mini Gourmand said she couldn’t understand why anyone would want to eat them!

I prepared a quick tomato and basil sauce to pour over the top and plates were clean before I could even blink.  I’ll admit that they don’t look the most appetising and the lighting in my kitchen hasn’t helped matters but they were delicious.

To make spaghetti hotdogs you basically need a tin/jar of good quality hotdog sausages (we had chicken ones) and raw spaghetti.  Thread the spaghetti through the slices of hotdog, boil in a pan until the spaghetti is cooked and there you have it.

I suspect that young children will love this dish, it would make great party food and could be used at Halloween for some ghoulish dish.

If you do decide to make this dish please let me know what you think of it!

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Villandry – Bicester Village

I love nothing better than browsing the shops of Bicester Village in Oxfordshire and no visit is complete without going somewhere for a bite to eat.  On this occasion our place to eat was Villandry.

Villandry is a spacious restaurant with ample seating for such a large shopping village although you may have to queue at peak dining times.  The menu is extremely varied and all sorts of diners are catered for.

salad

Grandma Gourmand doesn’t have a huge appetite at lunchtime. I obviously don’t get my greedy tendencies from her. She opted for the Roasted baby beetroot & goats cheese salad (£10.20) with watercress, fresh orange, pine nuts dressed with orange & mustard dressing.  Goats Cheese is a particular favourite of Grandma Gourmand, she is rather partial to it and thought that the flavour combination of the salad was just perfect, she even went as far to say it was one of the nicest salads she had eaten in the UK.

burger

A creature of habit, I went for the Classic 8oz 100% beef burger dressed with lettuce and tomato relish (£12.95).  The coleslaw was divine, that’s the only way to describe it, I could have quite happily eaten a bowlful.  The chips were a nice accompaniment but if I’m honest the burger was so big I didn’t really need the chips.

I’ve never actually been able to have a dessert at Villandry as I’m always too full after my main meal but the ones I have seen really do look delicious, next time I’ll have to try a smaller main so I can indulge.

Villandry is situated at 26b-c Pingle Drive, Bicester

Opening hours are: Sunday – Friday 9am – 10pm Saturday  8.30am– 10pm

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The MAD Blog Awards

I returned from my annual skiing holiday on Saturday and when I logged on to my social media accounts after a week without my laptop you can imagine my surprise when I had received a tweet from @madblogawards to say my food blog had been nominated for Best Food Blog, I have no idea how many votes I have received so far but this is a huge achievement for me and I would be so grateful if any of my readers who think I’m deserving could visit the MAD Blog Awards site and nominate me.

My lifestyle blog has also been nominated in two separate categories which are Best Baby Blog and Best Blog Writer so if you fancy sparing another couple of votes this would be really appreciated.

To vote for my food blog please use the url: http://www.madamegourmand.co.uk

To vote for my lifestyle blog please use the url: http://www.madamegourmand.com

 

nominated

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Panache Balti House – Warwick

We like curry, you like curry, the whole nation likes curry – now please visit Panache Balti House in Warwick – you will not be disappointed!

curry6

Panache is quite a simple place with a small number of seats, some interesting wall art work describing the history of Warwick, and most importantly, some of the finest curry I have ever eaten! I can not stress this last point enough.

Byriani curry

I went for the Special mixed Biryani (£10.75) which was a delicious cocktail of chicken, lamb, prawns, king prawns, mushrooms & pan fried omelette – amazing! The Biryani sauce was tremendous, nicely spiced, not bland like they can be, and very much a brilliant curry sauce in its own right!.

curry2

Mr Gourmand asked the waiter for his recommendation which was the Naga lamb tikka (£9.50) Cooked with aromatic flavoured spicy hot (ghost naga) from Bangladesh & India with a blend of fresh herbs & spices. This meal was hot, almost addictively hot, with a perfect mix of spices and succulent lamb – a very, very good recommendation!

curry4

Mr Gourmand chose the Keema fried rice (£2.75) to accompany his main course, and it went together perfectly!

curry3

As we hadn’t been here before we naturally ordered far too much which included a Garlic naan (£2.50) and;

curry1

a Vegetable paratha (£3.00), delicious, but far too much….so we took it home for laters…yum!!

Panache is excellent and you can bring your own beer or wine, please try this place, and if this is the benchmark to curry houses in Warwick I really can’t wait to try another one!

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Bandstand Tea Room – Leamington Spa

Myself and Mr Gourmand recently got caught out by a freak thunderstorm close to the Pump Room gardens in Leamington Spa and decided to jump into the first coffee shop we good which was the Bandstand Tea Room. As you can tell from the photographs, The Bandstand Tea Room, named after the band stand across the road, is a quaint little place with decorative wallpaper and delicate ornamental features fitting for a fine tea room in York or Edinburgh.

interior

There was a great selection of teas all housed in pretty silver jars, I particularly liked the shabby chic cabinet that housed them.

cakes

There wasn’t huge variety of cakes, but the ones on offer were home made, nicely presented and looked delicious.

chocolate cake

I went for the Chocolate Cake as recommended by the waitress which was an incredibly indulgent, rich, chocolaty delight, that truth be told I struggled to finish – at this point Mr Gourmand jumped in to finish what I plainly couldn’t! The ratio of buttercream to cake was good, this is something that some places get so wrong but on this occasion it was perfect.

latte

Mr Gourmand went for a Latte to wash down the chocolate cake he stole from me and his own cake.  Next to the latte you can just see a glimpse of the Victoria Sponge Mr Gourmand ordered. He does order some odd cakes, but I think he chose wisely this time as it was beautifully light and delicious! although it looks like the cake was filled with just a bit too much buttercream it was actually a perfect amount and very light and airy.

arthur coffee

Look at Baby Gourmand’s face, even he was glad to get out of the cold rain!

Overall we had nice cake and coffee which is all you can ask for, however it was a little pricey and certainly fell into one of the most expensive coffee shops in Leamington, but for those special occasions when you really fancy the best cake, I would go again. The chocolate cake was a bit special!

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Sip – Leamington Spa

sip

Sip is a fairly new addition to Regent Street in Leamington Spa, we don’t often venture this far when shopping on a Saturday so it was just by chance that we stumbled upon it.

Sip_inside

With exposed brickwork, fancy lighting, bare wood and glass cabinets the interior is very appealing.  Jazz music played in the background and staff are very friendly.

sip

We ordered a flat white, an americano and two pastries.  The coffee was delicious, the best we had tasted in a while.  We were both served a glass of water which NEVER happens anywhere else! The pastries were good also and overall this is somewhere I would chose to go to again.

I like coming across these little places and wish SIP all the best and look forward to visiting again very soon!

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The Fat Pug – Leamington Spa

The Fat Pug is one of those hip places where all the cool kids go offering a range of real ales and a capsule home cooked menu, of course it’s family friendly and dogs are welcome too.

We’ve passed on numerous occasions but it’s either been too early or late for lunch, but last week when we were on the way home from looking at a new car we were just in time for a spot of lunch.

pepperoni pizza, Fat Pug

Mr Gourmand would probably eat Pepperoni Pizza for every meal. Fact. When he spotted the Margherita Pizza with the optional extra of Pepperoni there was no question that this would be his choice of meal.  The pizza was described by Mr Gourmand as delicious which was quite surprising to me as he usually has some sort of complaint about pizza that hasn’t come from an Italian restaurant, he enjoyed it so much he was talking about what toppings he would have next time we visit!

fish and chips fat pug

I couldn’t resist trying the Tempura battered fish and chips with home made tartar sauce and minted mushy peas.  The fish that I was served was actually more of a whale than a fish as you can see from the picture, the batter was extremely light and superbly crisp on both the outside and inside which I was pleased about as there is nothing worse than cutting through crisp batter on the outside and finding it’s all soggy inside.  The tartar sauce was chunky, tangy and creamy which complemented the fish so well, the picked onion was crispy and sharp just as they should be.  My only criticism was that the minted mushy peas were a little on the watery side and this really is just personal taste, I like my mushy peas to be thick.  This was a mammoth meal and even though I had baby Gourmand helping me with the peas and the fish I still managed to leave food on my plate.

After a couple of real ales and a relaxing chat about how much we liked the pub we decided to make our way home, we were really impressed with the Fat Pug and have made plans to go back again soon for breakfast as the menu sounds delicious so keep a look out for the blog post coming soon.

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