Saturday 30 July 2016

Summer eats: Where to eat al fresco / outside in St Albans, Hertfordshire

Best places to eat outside or al fresco in St Albans, Hertfordshire
Craft & Cleaver

I'm just going to come out and say it - this summer hasn't been that bad. I mean sure, it's probably raining right now. But we've had a decent run of sun, right? Have we had to get the opaque tights out for a few weeks? NO WE HAVE NOT.

So therefore, I proclaim this a decent summer. Well, it's the least 2016 could do, really. But it opens up so many exciting opportunities! Like a reason to buy summer dresses! BBQs! Beer gardens! Al fresco dining! And on the subject of that, I thought I'd do a little compilation of my favourite al fresco dining spots in St Albans. So if the sunshine DOES continue, we can all eat outside like we're on holiday or something.

But hurry, because there's probaby only about thirty seconds left of sunshine this year.


Tuesday 26 July 2016

Review: Kashmir Restaurant. Delicious Indian food in Putney, London

Kashmir Restaurant in Putney, London
Kashmir Restaurant in Putney, London
Kashmir Restaurant in Putney, London

When I visit London, I tend to stick to the more central parts. I really don't live far, so I'm there quite a lot, but even so, I don't stray off the beaten path that often. And to me, Putney counts as straying - it's a little further out than I'd usually go, but actually it's pretty well connected. After visiting the restaurant I'm about to tell you about, I called my sister (who lives in Windsor) to let her know about this place that was just one train away from her. My point is that it's worth exploring sometimes - you might find some gems.

Kashmir restaurant in Putney is one such gem. It's about five minutes walk from Putney rail station, and is a lovely, intimate restaurant in the traditional Kashmiri style. This is Indian food, and while you can get your Tikka Masala or Rogan Josh, there are also a lot of other dishes available that you might not have seen before.


Saturday 23 July 2016

Glastonbury 2016: The best food stalls

It already feels like a million years since I came home from Glastonbury. Do I always say that? I think I might. It always feels so far removed from the real world to me – I don’t read newspapers, don’t use a smartphone – it’s a total bubble, enhanced by the whole ‘back to nature’ vibe of sleeping (practically) outside and not showering.

This year was amazing. Muddy, but amazing. Probably the most tiring one I’ve been to, and as such maybe not my favourite ever (nearly losing one of my beloved walking boots from Spartoo in the mud was the opposite of a highlight), but the music was fantastic, the company was brilliant and the food… well, you can probably guess. So here’s my annual roundup of what I ate this year, although it may read a little like a greatest hits of 2014 and 2015. When the mud is a foot thick everywhere you go, it’s a little less tempting to explore lots of different stalls and a little more tempting to go back to the ones that you know are going to be good. And they WERE good.


Monday 4 July 2016

Battle of the falafel and houmous salads with Greggs

Greggs Balanced Choice Taste Test Battle of the Falafel Salads against M&S, Pret, Boots, Starbucks

I am a creature of habit when it comes to lunchtimes. In the winter, I buy soups. In the summer, I buy salads. I tend to find a couple that I like and fixate on them, eating them every day until I can’t bear to eat them any more. For someone who loves food and loves variety, I am surprisingly happy to eat the same thing day in, day out.

When Greggs emailed me to ask if I’d take part in a lunchtime taste test of their new salad range, I was really up for it. It can be tricky doing food reviews when you’re trying to lose weight, so here was something that wouldn’t derail my good intentions and would push me out of my lunchtime comfort zone. The test was simple – I had to pick one of Greggs’s new Balanced Choice salads (Falafel and Houmous, Teriyaki Chicken, Egg and Ham and Chargrilled Chicken) and compare it with a similar salad from four different competitors – Starbucks, Pret a Manger, Marks and Spencers and Boots. I chose the falafel salad for two reasons:

1. All the competitors sold falafel salads that I could compare it to
2. I bloody love falafel.

Greggs armed me with £5 gift cards for each store and off I went. Starting with...

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