Acorn – what an experience!

Acorn – what an experience!

It took me a while to write this blog¬†post. I kind of got caught up with everything else going on, kept pushing this out to “tomorrow”. Finally, that “tomorrow” is today! ūüôā I told myself that I really need to write this up simply because it is a well deserved review on a very memorable dining experience I had while touring Bath.

It was an absolute pleasure dining at Acorn, a modern vegetarian restaurant that uses seasonal ingredients to serve each of their exquisite¬†dish.¬†The menu changes all the time since they only use seasonal ingredients.The restaurant offers the option of choosing two or three courses. I chose the three course (of course!)¬†with wine pairing and so did my partner. We both picked different items on the menu just so both of us could¬†try more dishes. ūüėĬ†I would suggest you do the same if you and your dining partner don’t¬†mind sharing. It’s the most awesome way to dine out. Hence why I love going out with big¬†groups when it comes to dining! ūüėÄ

First courses –

Carrot & Cashew¬†p√Ęt√© with pickles, salad and spelt crisps. I seriously thought I could eat this all day long. I’m not a huge fan of carrots. I think I only eat it because I was told that it has a lot of carotene which is apparently good for the¬†eyes. ¬†This on the other hand was phenomenal! The sweetness from the carrots and the nutty flavour of the cashew were just a perfect blend! I’m not even a vegetarian and I was still going nuts on this! I think this is the best p√Ęt√© I’ve had to date… forget about all the meaty p√Ęt√© because those don’t compare when it comes to compete with this delicious piece of art!

Chioggia Beetroot Slivers with aged cashew puree and local salad. This restaurant love their cashews and I can’t deny the fact they did a good job with this. The puree was palatable, it¬†has a light nutty taste to it. It wasn’t¬†as intense as the p√Ęt√© dish. It went well with the beets and salad without¬†dominating the flavour of the dish. This was enjoyable, however, between the two choices for first course, I would choose the¬†p√Ęt√© without hesitation. ūüôā

Second courses –

Smoke field mushroom with potato galette, salt baked celeriac puree and market greens. The mushrooms were very flavourful, the texture reminded me of dehydrated mushrooms. If I wasn’t told it was smoked, I wouldn’t be able to tell¬†how it was cooked just by tasting. I like mushrooms in general but smoked mushroom was fairly new to me. The mushrooms was glazed in rich mushroom demi-glace. I think the glaze helped making the¬†mushroom “juicy” and definitely added a touch to its presentation! The puree was again tasty. I don’t think there was one dish at this restaurant where I didn’t¬†enjoy the puree yet. ūüôā

Calabrese Broccoli & Confit Jersey Royals with spelt grain warmed in a smoked almond and olive oil emulsion, lovage and pickled cabbage. Seriously, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I ordered this dish. The dish was¬†definitely on the hearty¬†side because of the almond olive oil emulsion. The¬†term “emulsion” was new¬†to me so if you are clueless as well then read this or watch a video from serious eats or any other food network. I’m sure there are tons out there that explains this. I enjoyed the creamy, almondy flavour of spelt soaked in emulsion and loved the chewy texture. It kind of reminds me of my daily breakfast, bircher muesli, in a way. ūüôā

Desserts –

Compressed Cheddar Strawberries with pine nut parfaits, shredded basils and pepper. ¬†The pine nut ice cream is AHHHHHHHHHH….. MIND BLOWING good! Yes I am an ice cream addict but this WAS¬†heavenly. I got an non ice cream addict to back me up on this. ūüėČ That must count as something right? I’m not sure where the cheddar part of the strawberry comes from because I didn’t taste anything cheddar. At first I thought it was a type of strawberries but it wasn’t. The strawberries were good and went well with the pine nut. The highlight is¬†still the ice cream! It is a MUST try if they have¬†it on the menu.

Poached Rhubarb with thyme meringue, panna cotta, spiced gel & rhubarb sorbet. This is an interesting dessert because it just has so much going on here. I felt¬†like I was having three desserts in one! I enjoyed each on their own. I also tried to combine them in one bite and I didn’t think they all went together very well. The spiced gel was unique but¬†probably my least favorite part of the dish.

There is popular restaurants like Sally Lunn in Bath where¬†I find it odd that people rave about a place that serves large hamburger buns pretty much!¬†¬†To verify this, of course I had to go try it myself.¬†To¬†my expectation and own taste bud, it was very overrated!¬†Rick Steves has said that “it is unique but a completely forgettable experience!”, I totally agree and actually don’t even find it that unique! So if you have that planned in your schedule. I would suggest you to not waste your time/stomach space on eating hamburger bread and book yourself a table at Acorn¬†and enjoy some quality food! I’m only writing about this because I had such a great experience. I rarely do restaurant reviews but this was an experience definitely worth mentioning! ‚̧

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PERRRRRFect Scone Recipe!

PERRRRRFect Scone Recipe!

I’ve made scones before and they were¬†pretty good¬†BUT this latest trial¬†of mine was just PERFECT.¬†They¬†were so scrumptious that a few were gone when they were still piping hot! ūüėģ I’ve simplified the recipe a lot and think I’ve used the exact right amount of butter to give the perfect soft moist crumbliness¬†without indulging in any more butter than I¬†really need to. They had the right amount sweetness where most of the sugar still comes from the natural fruit instead of raw sugar crystals. I just love these scones and don’t think these would last anywhere if I just put them out.

Here’s the simple list of ingredients –

  • 1 1/2 cups of pastry flours
  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of baking soda or 3 tbsp of baking powder (it’s usually 1:3 ratio¬†for soda:powder)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 5 tbsp of unsalted butter (use cold butter)
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 1-11/2 cup of blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F / 220 C.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients first (first five in the list).
  3. Take out the cold butter from fridge and cut it to small pieces and mix it into the dry ingredients. Then mix in the blueberries and lemon zest.
  4. Next, pour¬†in the milk and yogurt. Here’s the key, start folding the dry mix into the wet mix¬†using a spatula. This mix shouldn’t be a smooth dough mixture in the end, we are not making bread. ūüôā¬†If you mix it too much, there will be more gluten produced in the process and in turn will taste more spongy. I don’t know about you but that’s not how I like my scones.
  5. Make a pizza shape and leave them an inch tall. Cut them into 8 to 12 pieces depending on how big you would like them.
  6. Place them on a baking sheet, keep them an inch apart.
  7. (Optional) Sprinkle some sugar on top of each scone if you would like a sweet crunch to them.
  8. Place the tray in the oven and set the timer for 13 mins, depending on the size of the scone it may take less than this so keep an eye on these after 10 mins. They are done when they turn golden.

Give it a try if you are curious and let me know how your batch turns out. I would love to hear feedback/suggestions! ūüôā

  

     

Spiked Parfait!

Spiked Parfait!

This IS a perfect date night dessert! ūüėČ

So I call this date night dessert but really it can be made for any occasion even for a night in by yourself! I made this for myself last night as an experiment and I was surprised¬†how tasty¬†it turned out and not to mention¬†how quick you can whip this together! It looked so pretty that I had to take a few pictures¬†of it to show you! ūüėÄ

You only need three ingredients:
  • Ice cream – I used Talenti Strawberry ice cream, I think vanilla is always a safe bet and will taste great as well.
  • Fruit – in this case I thought raspberry would go well and it did!
  • Here the key ->chocovine¬†(chilled)!! This Dutch chocolate red wine blend is darn amazing¬†to use not only as a dessert beverage but also as syrup for your favorite ice cream! ūüėÄ ūüėÄ

Scoop spoonful of ice cream and layer some fruits in between. Drizzle or pour in the chocovine depending on how much you like¬†it. ūüėõ Serve it in a bowl or in a champagne glass like I did, doesn’t it look so good?! ‚̧

This is not only the best of two worlds but three! Ice cream + chocolate + red wine… Do I need¬†to say more? XD

Jet Lag – A Blessing in Disguise

Jet Lag – A Blessing in Disguise

I used to hate jet lag and cringe every time I think about my trip return. As I’ve gotten older (against my will!) and my responsibilities grew (inevitably with life), I realized I get¬†a lot¬†more done if I just get up¬†earlier¬†in the morning by an hour. You can argue that you get the same amount of work¬†done at night when you sleep late. I used to think the same except my efficiency proved me wrong AND there were¬†always last minute obligations¬†that¬†interrupted my evenings of productivity.

SO¬†I figured out the easy part,¬†I prefer to get up early in the morning. Now the difficult task,¬†I can’t sleep early enough. I may have succeeded a few attempts¬†of getting in bed early¬†but I was never able to sustain it. Yeap, I felt¬†good for a day about sleeping early and next day I go back to my “good” old routine. It seemed that my body was just wired to go to sleep past¬†midnight! o_O This was a vicious cycle that was almost impossible for me to break. Well, that was until my most recent trip!

After I got back from my recent trip, instead of complaining about my¬†jet lag, I started to appreciate it because it helped me break out of my late night sleeping habit! ¬†HARRAY! ¬†It looks¬†like I’ve been¬†able to sustain it pretty well this time. The trip¬†was to UK which has a time difference of 8 hrs with Pacific Time Zone. So around 5pm, I was starting¬†to feel tired and by 8pm I was¬†ready to pass out! The first day was¬†extremely difficult¬†to stay awake but I knew I had to stay up until a reasonable¬†hour or else I’ll wake up ridiculously early and won’t be able to get back to sleep. On the first day back, I fell¬†asleep a little past 9pm and I was able to sleep until 5am without waking up. Next day, I went to sleep at 9:30pm and woke up around 6. The day after I was able to sleep at 10:30pm and got up at 6 as well. I find my¬†body/mind functions very well with 7:30-8 hrs¬†of sleep so anything additional would be somewhat of a waste in my opinion.¬†Everything I¬†used to do such as workout, read, late dinner, well I took this opportunity to change them up a bit. Late night dinner became¬†early dinner (or rather ON time dinner), end of day workout became¬†early morning workout, reading/learning is also a lot more effective in the morning than at night! ¬†ūüôā

Haven’t thought about how to deal with jet lag¬†from other continents yet but I would probably attempt the same routine. Now days, I feel totally recharged in the morning¬†and I’m getting a lot more done¬†before noon and¬†THAT FEELS¬†GREAT!¬†ūüėÄ

There is always something positive to every unpleasant situation and this is the benefit I got out of jet lag.  A blessing in disguise, shall we agree? XD

ICE CREAMMMMM

ICE CREAMMMMM

If anyone were to ask me or ask anyone who knows me well – what puts a smile on her face or can turn her gloomy day into a brighter one?

…it’s got be ice cream/gelato!

IMG_4969 So I finally got an ice cream maker a couple of weeks ago and I was so excited! I think I was giggling so much that my better half was even laughing! So right away, I started googling for recipes and interestingly enough, I came across a ton of recipes that do not require an ice cream maker! O.o How did I not know this?

This made me¬†wonder if I really needed an ice cream maker. Of course, the best way to find out is by making it without using the machine. ūüôā So I did and it turned out surprisingly well. The texture is good but I think I need to play around with the ingredients proportion a bit more to get the ideal taste I like. I didn’t make it that sweet so if you want this to be sweeter then add more agave nectar/honey to it.

IMG_4952
Here’s my ingredients list :

  • One large frozen banana
  • 1/4 of medium ripe avocado
  • greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsps agave nectar or honey
  • 1/2 tsps almond extract
  • 1/4 cup ¬†or more pistachio nuts
  • 1/8 tsp xanthan¬†gum (optional)

I mixed everything together in a blender until smooth. Pour it into a container and added a few of the pistachio for garnishing. Then put it in the freezer.

I took it¬†out at 1 hr mark and churned it by hand. This helps break down any ice crystals. Its also a good time to eat it if you like it as a soft serve. I usually prefer my ice cream on the more frozen side. ūüôā

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I made another batch of mixed berry frozen yogurt with even less ingredients ’cause I got lazy. ūüėõ

It’s just frozen bananas, mixed berries and greek yogurt! I would suggest you put in some honey or agave nectar if you like your cold treats on the sweeter side. This was more on the tarty/sour side. But very refreshing!

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In the end, I decided to return my ice cream maker. There’s probably better use of that¬†kitchen space for something else. PLUS how did people make ice cream back in the day when there was no ice cream machine¬†and yet it tasted just as delicious?! I know it’s just more work but hey, food taste better when you work for them… IMHO! ūüėÄ

Weeknight easy recipe!

Weeknight easy recipe!
Do you like nutty sweet citrusy treats? Do you like quick recipes? if you say yes then this is definitely something you want to read on!
Here are the things you need (most of these are optional in my opinion with only half that are necessary).  I had limited ingredients that yield to 8 cookies so use the below measurement according to the number of cookies you want to bake.

  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnut (must)
  • 1/6 cup or 3 tbsps sugar (must)
  • 2 tbsp¬†unsalted butter (must)
  • 1/8 whole wheat flour or any flour you have (must)
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp milk/heavy cream
  • a bit of kosher salt

1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix together hazelnut, flour and orange zest together.

2) In a saucepan, combine sugar, butter, honey, salt and cream/milk together. Dissolve the sugar and bring the mix to boil.

3) Pour this hot sauce into the hazelnut mix.

4) Drop table spoonful of the mixture onto baking sheet and flatten them out a bit, space them out at least two inches apart because they will spread out!

5) Pop them in the oven and set the timer for 7 mins, they burn fast so check them often!


They are super delicious and easy to make. They go perfect with coffee/tea or eat them plain like I do! ūüôā You can also crush them and put them on top of ice creams! ūüėÄ

Crumbly deliciousness

Crumbly deliciousness
ummm ummm Ummm scones…I promise these rhubarb fig scones are delicious and if they are not…well…you must not have followed the recipe well. ūüėõ

The only problem you will have with this recipe is you won’t be able to stop eating them!

IMG_4240Here’s what you need

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried figs chopped up
  • 1 cup of rhubarb chopped
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1) Mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, butter, sugar, baking powder, salt) then mix in figs and rhubarb.IMG_4216

2) Mix together cream, milk and vanilla extract together.

3) Slowly pour the liquid into the crumbly mix. You will get a very chunky dough. ūüôā

4)¬†Divide the dough up into two portions and make a round pizza shape. Don’t flatten it too much, keep it at least an inch tall and cut it into eight pieces. I think it gives the best result.

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5) Now pop them into the oven that¬†was¬†preheated to 400F and you get to enjoy the fruit of your¬†labor in 18-20 mins! ūüėÄ

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They are¬†absolutely delicious! Eat them plain or with jam/butter and a glass of milk or tea. Ahhh… I love this recipe! <3<3