Sunday 30 April 2017

LITTLE GEMS: Home Comforts Plus Eating Out at Porta & Australasia

Hello! Welcome back! How are you? Good week? Busy week? Mine has been pretty non-stop as usual. I have been eating at home quite a bit this week so most of the food this week has been comfort food.

Above here is my ultimate comfort food for me. Vegetable broth with rice noodles and fried lettuce. Weird right? Ha ha! I absolutely love it though! Takes me back to being a kid!

Next lot of comfort food... avo toast! Even more yum :)

Roasted veggie pasta on Wednesday night. This is so easy but so tasty. Simply roast your veggies in the oven and then stir them into some freshly cooked pasta with some basil dressing and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Amazing!

Summer in a bowl... acai bowl with frozen raspberries and homemade almond butter. All the best toppings too with granola, goji berries, mulberries, bee pollen and cacao nibs... even more comfort food :)

I then decided to make some energy balls as a quick and healthy snack. These are so tasty, made with dates, almonds, chia seeds and almond butter. They last really well in the fridge too.

Quick snack at work. Couldn't resist some raspberries at 95p and a jazz apple. Loving having M & S around the corner.

Friday night we went for dinner at Porta in Altrincham and had the tastiest meal! Above is the tomato bread. It looks pretty insipid but it tastes so fresh. The bread is warm and crunchy and the tomatoes were sweet. Nice! 

Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad

Crispy Calamari

Patatas Bravas

Chargrilled Prawns (Delicious ones at that!)

Padron Peppers

Chocolate Mousse, Americano Coffee and a Mint Tea

Soo rich but sooo good!

It's hubby's birthday tomorrow and so we had a lovely family meal and I decided to bake a cake. This was designed by hubs himself (hence it's so decadent!). I didn't actually have any myself because of the dairy, but let's just say it went down very very well :)

This is a pavlova with dark chocolate shards inside. Topped with whipped cream, fresh strawberries, crunchie bar and raw cacao powder. Wow!

I've started drinking the matcha tea now instead of coffee. I don't really drink coffee (as I'm sure you're aware it sends me loopy!), but I might have one once or twice a month. This is my fav one at the moment, by The Tea Makers of London. I find it gives me the same caffeine kick but without the weird 'come down' I get from coffee. You should give it a try if you find coffee just doesn't suit you.

Then, finally tonight after a day at work, we went for dinner to Australasia in Spinningfields. I've not been here in maybe 18 months or more so it was nice to go back for a change. My treat as part of hubby's bday pressie and it was actually really nice. Above its the watermelon infused water.

Edamame Beans

Roasted aubergine, soft shell crab and beans

Here is the asparagus with teriyaki sauce, tiger prawns, broccoli in XO sauce and the black cod

The black cod was superb. I've not had this in so long and I forgot how much I love it. The sweet miso dressing totally makes it though.

Americano and a mint tea (as always!)

Plus two very indulgent desserts. The mango souffle and the chocolate 'bomb'. 

I am literally stuffed to the brim after all that food! It was so yummy though. It's always nice to go back to a restaurant that you've not been to in a while. I can so easily get stuck staying in Hale/Altrincham/Alderley that I don't go into town as much as I used to. I need to work on that so much more I think!

I hope you've all had a lovely week and enjoy the rest of the Bank Holiday weekend. Let's hope the sun stays out for a few more days!

Thanks so much for reading,

Big love,

Em x

Wednesday 26 April 2017

FIVE FAVOURITES: My Top 5 Tips On How To Eat Healthy

So, firstly I would like to reinforce to you all that I am by no means a nutritionist (yet!) and so these tips are just things that I have learnt myself along the way. Let's get on with it...

There are quite a few people that I talk to who would love to eat 'healthier' but are just not too sure where to start. What is eating healthy all about? Eating 'healthy' is different to everybody. Everybody has different nutritional needs to everybody else. You should however, know if your diet is relatively good or bad.

Does that make sense? Ha ha! The first thing that you need to do ideally is to eat as many plant based foods as possible - and as natural as possible too. If a lot of the food that you're eating comes from a packet - pre or part cooked, then maybe look at learning to cook from scratch a bit more. Cut out pre-made sauces and learn to make your own.
Exceptions? If you're desperate, then pre chopped vegetables can come in handy when you're in a rush or feeling lazy. Don't know what to cook? No inspiration? Get a load of fresh mixed veggies, drizzle a small amount of olive over them with some freshly ground pepper and pop them in the oven. Super quick and easy - plus freshly made too. Serve on a bed of salad perhaps, a little lemon juice and some fish or meat (if you are not a veggie) - or if you're like me...? Just eat as is, roasted, caramelised and tasty!

When I say supplements, I'm not talking about in pill form (not that I have anything against them), but look more towards fresh produce. Start introducing some freshly made juices (not out of a carton!) or smoothies into your diet. Smoothies are super quick and easy to make, plus they are FULL of nutrients. Focus on mostly veggies (around 70% veggies and 30% low sugar fruit). Bung it all in a smoothie maker with a cup of water and you're good to go! Why not try some spinach, kale, cucumber, lemon, romaine lettuce and an apple or some fresh pineapple? Easy peasy!

I wouldn't ever recommend transitioning your diet overnight - it can be a bit too stressful. Instead, maybe try cutting out processed sugary food first and start to replace them with other things such as a couple of dates, healthy energy balls etc. and then gradually reduce the amount of processed sugar over a few weeks. I would recommend cutting out more processed foods though. Anything that has been pre-made can have a lot of preservatives, chemicals and nasty ingredients in. 
Always be careful of cutting out a particular food group as it might not always be necessary. For me I no longer eat meat or dairy (bar the odd bit of cheese here or there). I personally could never cut out carbs (and would not want to either!). I would be weak and feeling like I have no energy if I didn't have them in my diet. I just try and choose the best options for my body - brown rice pasta, sourdough bread, sweet potatoes etc

Don't feel like you have to go it alone and don't ever feel like this is some weird world that you know nothing about. It's so so simple and there are so many blogs, books and you tube videos out there to learn from. Choose some books that you think could be relevant to you and sit and read. Get yourself inspired and start cooking! Whatever you do, don't be scared! This is fun and you will feel great with it. So embrace the change, get excited about learning new recipes and try and make it as fun as possible.

This is a new lifestyle! Don't look at it as a 'diet' that ends once you're back off holiday or Christmas is over (yes I dropped the C-Bomb in April ha ha!). Keep it going and enjoy the changes you see in your mind, body and health. 
Try not to restrict yourself so much you feel unhappy, it is all about learning to balance your new lifestyle. You can have a treat here and there, just not all the time.

I didn't want this blog to be me telling you what to eat and what not to eat. We are all individuals and so I can't speak for us all. Just try not to label yourself too much. Give yourself some time to try new foods and cooking methods and learn from it. It's all trial and error at the end of the day. If you eat something and you feel good from it, keep doing it. If you cut something out and you see an improvement that benefits your heath, embrace it! Just remember, we are all unique and what works for one person might not for the other. Get some good old fashioned books and get learning!

Thanks so much for reading

Big love,

Em x


Sunday 23 April 2017

LITTLE GEMS: Party, Party oh and Party! The Garden, Grand Pacific, Yo Sushi, The Stockyard, The Mere Golf Club


Happy Sunday everybody! I hope you're well and have had a good week. 
It's been a bit of a weird one for me, not a massive amount going on but then this weekend it's been party party! Anyhoo, here are my pics from the week...

Start as you mean to go on right...? Pancakes on Bank Holiday Monday - Yum!!

These are my fav pancakes. Gluten and dairy free American style pancakes with homemade berry compote. These were delish!

Amazing acai bowl with toppings galore!

Sneaky breakfast with my Mamma at The Garden in Hale

We both went for the Harissa Hash and it was so so good! This has got to be my fav breakfast there!

Avo toast... just because!

Late night dinner for myself this week. Brown rice pasta with mushrooms, peas and artichokes. This was so delicious with a drizzle of truffle oil. It's my new addiction I think... even overtaken my green pesto pasta!

So... this was the second acai bowl of the week post a fab yoga practice :)

Nipped to the TC and got a quick snack at Yo Sushi. I adore their salmon and avocado hand rolls

Erm... so snack number two ha ha! Crispy homemade potato wedges. I think I've managed to get the technique down pretty well now to baking wedges! I will share my recipe very soon with you all 

So, party number one started on Friday night. I had a lovely night out with the girlies for Miss P's birthday at Grand Pacific.

There was eight of us so there was lots of food on the table. I kept trying to get pics of everybody's food (and I think they thought I was nuts too ha ha!). Above are the chicken gyozas and a mini snap of my salad.

Here is the asparagus and crispy egg and also their sushi bowl

Finally, here is my salad. It's the Gado Gado Salad. It was ok, it had a massive amount of sauce on though... to the point it was almost swimming (oh and it was that vinegary I got a blister in my mouth - yeh, not so great!). I've been so looking forwards to trying this place out and I will go back and do a proper post on it. It was so beautifully done though, I will be giving it another try!

Sexy Ladies!

Life is all about 'balance' and this sums it up so well! Fancied a little snack on Saturday as it was so warm and so I had a bit of ice cream. This is probably my fav combination, soya ice cream with frozen raspberries and cacao nibs.

So, party number two was at The Mere Golf club. We went to an amazing charity event for Human Appeal and they also had the comedian Paul Chowdhry there (who was HILARIOUS!). If you ever get chance to see him, I would highly recommend it. Unfortunately they were a bit funny with us taking pictures so I decided to keep my phone away for the night. It was a lot of laughs though!
On Sunday though after work I was invited to one of my gorgeous friends birthday party at Great John Street Hotel Rooftop. We had such a lovely time and the sun was so bright! Here is one of the sexy cakes from the party. I couldn't think of a better place and day to choose. Happy Birthday Rosie :) 

Then, tonight we decided to go and get some dinner at The Stockyard in Hale. I've not eaten here in quite a while and I needed some good, dirty, comfort food ha ha!

We sat downstairs as it was so busy upstairs. I know I've done a post on here before, but I thought I'd take some pics in any case. They had a live singer on too who was really good. 

Chillin' ha ha!

Wowsers! This was massive! We decided to share nachos and a burger (as I can't eat the whole burger to myself!) It was really good, only qualm was that they have changed the nachos so they are smothered in cheese sauce and not melted cheese. Hmmm... it was ok, but I would prefer the melted cheese instead though. Plus a 'halfway to vegan' burger with sweet potato fries! Nom nom nom! 

So how was your week? I hope you had a good one!

I'm off to bed now after all these parties and food but thanks so much for reading!

Big love,

Em x

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