Scones at Patisserie Valerie Oxford, Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie review

A Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea review

Afternoon tea is one of the numerous pastimes that makes me rather proud to be British – it is a fabulous tradition. After a busy week at work, what better way to unwind than with good company, deliciously quaint sandwiches, and a selection of delicious treats?

The best thing about Patisserie Valerie is that it offers quality afternoon tea for two, nationwide – they are literally everywhere. Being my thrifty self, I indulged in a Groupon voucher (please, stop presenting me with so many good offers) and saved myself over 20% off the original price!

What is included in the Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea?

So, what did we get in our Patisserie Valerie afternoon tea for two? Check out the menu below:

  • A selection of finger sandwiches: cucumber, smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg mayonnaise and cress, ham, spinach and mustard and chicken, pesto and sunblazed tomatoes
  • Two mini vegetable quiches
  • A selection of mini cakes: mini Victoria sponge, 2 mini chocolate éclairs, mini carrot and walnut cake, mini mixed berry mousse slice and mini chocolate mousse slice
  • Four homemade scones (two plain and two fruit), clotted cream and a selection of preserves
  • A pot of tea or two hot drinks of your choice

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So, what did I think of the Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea?

My initial reaction was how wonderfully it was all presented, there is such an array of food on offer so it is all pretty indulgent. A nice touch is that sandwiches are made to order and there is also vegetarian options available.

However, I will truly be impressed if you manage to finish it all. There was far too much there for us to eat, and our lovely selection of mini pastries were beautifully packaged and taken home with us to indulge in later.

I found the staff to be a little brash, but this may have just been the Oxford branch. Some venues even cater to bubbly-fanatics and offer a glass of prosecco alongside your afternoon tea – go on, treat yourself.

Have you tried the Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea? Where is your favourite place to have afternoon tea?

Stephanie xox

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Spinach, Chickpea and sweet potato curry recipe

Ingredients:

♥ One sweet potato

♥ 1/2 tin of chickpeas

♥ 1/2 tin of spinach

♥ 1 tin of chopped tomatoes

♥ Half an onion diced

♥ 3 spoonfuls of curry paste

♥ Two tablespoons of olive oil

♥ Cup of wholegrain or white rice

The perfect simple vegetarian curry

Dice your sweet potato and onions and place the two tablespoons of olive oil into a frying pan at a moderate heat. Add the curry powder and the drained chickpeas, spinach, and chopped tomatoes, stirring the contents before leaving it to heat and simmer for up to 30 minutes (ensuring your sweet potato is cooked through).
Place a cup of your desired rice to boil for 10 minutes and voila chickpea, sweet potato and spinach vegetarian curry with rice!

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Total cooking time: 30 minutes

What do you think of this simple curry recipe? Do you enjoy vegetarian curries?

Stephanie xox

 

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Hopkinson Vintage Antiques and Art Centre in Nottingham do vintage clothing, accessories and homeware like no other. Beautifully filled to the brim with four floors to explore, each visit you are guaranteed to find something you will fall in love with.

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However, on a quest for somewhere new to enjoy lunch, me and Lauren of The Original Blonde Journalist, decided to take a bite at their Tea Bar. Which is situated at the entrance to Hopkinson’s vintage haven (we managed to eat before exploring, you should be proud of us).

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The interior of Hopkinson’s is just beautiful. Quaint with mis-matched vintage chairs and cutlery. It is very relaxed, very charming and very vintage.  The menu is simplistic, a brunch (beans on toast will set you back £3), lunch and swift bite place. It includes pita bread pizzas, light bites (Antipasti Platter or cakes, depending on whether you are feeling savoury or sweet), jacket potatoes, soups, sandwiches/toasties and afternoon tea (always a good shout in my opinion).

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We were greeted by a cheery and lovely floral dressed waitress. Who quickly took our order and chatted away merrily to other customers. Service was slow but the atmosphere was so nice it did not matter to me and Lauren. If you are hoping for a swift service though you may have to opt for fast food, in Nottingham that is never an issue.

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I ordered a mozeralla, chicken and pesto toastie and diet coke and Lauren a ham and cheddar (it was not) sandwich and sprite.  Lauren was very disappointed on discovering her order was wrong and instead of her beloved cheddar she was greeted with large slices of mozzarella. She spent a solid minute convincing me that it ‘tastes like egg’ before I eventually sampled and unfortunately had to agree – it was bad.

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Overall, the Hopkinson Tea Bar was a disappointment and it truly saddens me to say so. It was nice but nothing spectacular considering the inflated price. The ingredients seemed cheaply sourced, even the granary bread failed to impress. Sorry Hopkinson but I shall only be returning for your non-edible and vintage items, which you do oh so perfectly.

Where do you head for your lunch and vintage?

Stephanie xox

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How to make a skinny pizza recipe

The ‘skinny’ pizza is a low-fat, healthy and delicious alternative to the usual cheese and dough loaded affair  – and it is made with just a few simple ingredients!

Gather the following together:

  • White or whole grain tortilla (depending on  your preference)
  • Tomato purée
  • Low-fat soft cream cheese
  • Your choice of toppings (I opt for vegetarian such as sweetcorn, pepper, and onion but the possibilities are endless, get imaginative)

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Skinny pizza recipe instructions

  1. Place your tortilla on a baking tray and smooth over a tablespoon of purée and follow with the cream cheese. Spread these evenly.
  2. Add your toppings as desired. If you are using meats, then be sure to have them cooked if required beforehand – vegetarian skinny pizza gets my vote every time. 
  3. Simply pop into your preheated oven at 200 degrees for a couple of minutes.
  4. Voila, you have a skinny pizza, low in calories, which is swiftly made and very filling. Plus, there is no guilt if you eat the entire thing!

See this recipe in The Currys Student cookbook, which is available to download for free here. It is packed with delicious, easy to make and nutritious recipes – not just for students!

What do you think of this healthy alternative to pizza? Would you try it?

Stephanie xox

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Bake cakes without eggs or butter recipe

As a  busy working girl, I often find myself often lacking the ingredients I need to create any real baking miracles.

However, this doesn’t stop the cravings and I find myself in the kitchen at odd hours attempting to do so nevertheless. So, without both eggs and butter (I don’t eat it anyway so often a useless investment) I set off to make my cakes.

Browsing around online I took the influence for this recipe from a variety of sites and tweaked it till I was satisfied. This recipe is perfect to adapt to suit a whole range of dietary requirements.

  • 1 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 2/3 cup of soft brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Teaspoon of vanilla extract (for vanilla cakes)
  • 1/3 cup of sunflower oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa (for chocolate cakes)

Instructions for perfect simple cakes:

Firstly, preheat the oven to 180 degrees before you begin mixing. Take the plain flour and salt and sift together in a large bowl and mix until smooth. Add in the soft brown sugar and continue to stir until you get a creamy texture before adding the rest of the ingredients. Place the mixture in cases or a tin and leave to bake for around 25 minutes or until firm to the touch. Allow your delicious cakes to cool before decorating and enjoy!

How often do you change traditional recipes? What do you think of this one?

Stephanie xox

 

BBCOOKIES

A Byron Bay cookies Review

I have always loved Byron Bay cookies having purchased them from some of the nicest coffee shops in Oxford for years. Getting the chance to review them in all their glory certainly could not be missed! I tried both the ordinary and gluten free alternatives* for the majority of their cookies and here is what I discovered!

I also was lucky enough to try the gluten free cookies also. Now although delicious, I found these less tasty than the others. However, they make a fabulous alternative and are made with the same impeccable quality. I merely found the taste of the biscuit to be noticeably different.

So, what do I think of Byron Bay cookies?

White Choc chunk and Macamdemia nut (original and gluten free)
This is my favourite of all the cookies, a lovely mix of thick white chocolate chunks and wholesome macadamia nuts. The perfect blend of savoury and sweet. I have always been a lover of white over milk, and the soft nuts really compliment the melt-in-your-mouth white chocolate and crumbly biscuit.

Triple Choc Fudge Cookie (original and gluten free)
Now this is a chocolate lovers dream, packed full of chocolate and fudge and making it incredibly moist and moreish. I found this gluten free version to be not as soft as its alternative. It had a strong chocolate cocoa taste and it felt a lot more dry in comparison. However, the fudge and chocolate pieces remained plentiful and delicious!

Dotty (original and gluten free)
One of the most amazing cookies, not only thick chunks of chocolate but sugar coated chocolate drops on top also! This is what I used to crave as a child and I have to say my mother never said no to one either! The gluten free option is a triple choc cookie with the addition of choc dotty choc drops. Surprisingly it is not as chocolate smothered and proves great with a strong cocoa taste.

Strawberry and Clotted Cream Cookie with White Choc Chunks ( gluten free)
Now this was delicious. The smell of strawberry, strong and sweet with the addition of thick pieces of the fruit. The clotted cream was not as evident but this may have been overpowered by the sweet taste of the fruit and my adored white chocolate chunks!

Sticky Date & Ginger with Walnut Cookie (gluten free)
It is always nice to have a non chocolate option too! This cookie has a strong smell and taste of ginger with the sweetness coming from the dates. It has a really festive feel and the walnut is wonderfully crunchy! I will definitely be on the hunt for these this Christmas!

As you can see Bryon Bay have an incredible variety in terms of ingredients, taste and dietary needs. What is better on a cold day than a warm drink in hand and a lovingly made cookie?

Have you ever tried Byron Bay Cookies? Which flavour would you pick?

Stephanie xox

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