Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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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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Greenvale Potatoes

Greenvale Potatoes

Some people may say a potato is just a potato but I beg to differ, I think different potatoes suit different dishes, some are good for mashing some for baking and some are good general all rounders.

When I was approached and asked to give Greevale Potatoes a try my answer was a no brainer, we are a family of potato lovers and I knew we would be able to give them a good test over the festive period.

Greenvale Potatoes are an all rounder of a potato meaning they are great mashed, baked and boiled so to put them to the test I mashed, baked, slow cooked and boiled them to see if they really could do what they say on the packet.

Christmas lunch

On Christmas Day I used the potatoes two ways, mashed and boiled and the results were great.  Sometimes it’s really difficult to get a really good mash from a potato as some types are just not good mashers.  Greenvale Potatoes make a lovely creamy mash which doesn’t require any extras to be added although I can’t resist a splash of cream and a grinding of black pepper.  When the potatoes are boiled you get a lovely earthy taste rather than the taste of nothing that you often get with a boiled potato.

Game Pie In Slow Cooker

During the festive period I also made a Game Pie filling in the slow cooker and used Greenvale Potatoes which kept their shape during cooking and added a great bulk to the dish.

Haggis and Mash

Mash was used again to accompany our Haggis and this time we left it as it was and didn’t bother adding any extras and it still tasted delicious.

Mashed Potato

The potato shown above is the inside of some baked potatoes before cheese and spring onion was added, the skins were perfectly crispy and the insides as you can see were extremely fluffy.

Would I buy them again? Yes, I have.  In my opinion these are a brilliant potato and whether you are wanting to cook crisp and fluffy roasties for a traditional Sunday lunch, smooth velvety mash, a steaming jacket or simple boiled potatoes, GreenVale Farm Fresh potatoes are perfect for them all. The potatoes are available nationally in Tesco, Ocado and through Booths in the North West for around £2.50 a bag.

*I received the product mentioned free of charge, to review from my own perspective. All words, experiences and opinions are entirely my own*

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Rose and Crown Warwick

Now that we have the little boy keeping us busy in the morning and taking up all of our time we don’t get to spend that much relaxing time together, so myself and Mr Gourmand try our hardest to make the most of the weekend we usually start with an early Saturday morning breakfast. We have been really lucky recently with the quality of the breakfast places we have visited so we thought lets have a wander over to Warwick and see if they have anywhere to compete with our current favourite in Leamington.

We had a look at a few reviews and decided on The Rose and Crown. This place was lovely inside, very professional staff, nicely decorated, and more importantly very busy – so busy that we weren’t sure if you had to wait to be seated or seat yourself because the staff were running around keeping the hungry public happy!

drinks-rose-and-crown-Warwick

We ordered a couple of coffees and an orange juice for Mr Gourmand while we poured over the menu. What a fab way of presenting the condiments, and who can resist a small bowl of smarties! The menu was quite expensive, a little more than some of the places visited recently, but you have to try somewhere and see if its worth it don’t you!

condiments-rose-and-crown-warwick

breakfast-rose-and-crown-warwick

Breakfast time, and unsurprising we went for the full English and the Vegetarian – to be honest I feel this is a really good test of a breakfast eatery. The full English must use good quality sausages and bacon, the eggs must be done well, and to be honest if that part is done well, then rest is just a bonus! The Vegetarian is a bit more tricky. This is usually a test of how inventive the cafe and chef want to be. After all, its easy to throw on some fake bacon and Linda Mcartney sausages, but in my opinion, that is not good enough. As you know I’m not a vegetarian I just don’t eat pork so I actually want the Vegetarian breakfast to explore a few options and become its own distinctive meal, not just a fake full English with no imagination and ‘non meat alternatives’!

Mr Gourmand looked a little bit huffed when his arrived. The quality was there, the taste was there, but to be honest the portion size was not. It was also missing something like beans to play with and mix in with the glorious bread. He remarked how tasty it was, but sadly in the back of his mind I could tell he was comparing to somewhere else, and I couldn’t blame him. It was quite a bit more expensive than his current favourite Leaf.

vegi-breakfast-rose-and-crown-warwick

I was rather impressed with the vegetarian breakfast, I have no idea what the item that resembles stuffing actually was but it was so delicious that I actually want to go tomorrow morning just so I can sample it again!  As you can see there is no fake bacon or sausage here, to be honest it wasn’t needed as the unidentified item and fried bread more than makes up for the meat.  The scrambled egg was creamy and cooked in a pan rather than blitzed in a microwave and the beans tasted like Heinz which always gets a thumbs up from me.

The breakfast here is a little more expensive than our usual place of choice so I couldn’t justify coming here every weekend for breakfast, I would place this in my top 5 places for breakfast in Warwickshire though and I’m looking forward to our next visit.

If someone can tell from looking what I had on my breakfast I would be most grateful.

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