Sunday, 22 January 2017

Brunch at the Rude Health Cafe, Putney

Last Sunday was flatmate fun day, which is exactly what it sounds like: a day of fun with my flatmates.

Whilst we spend a lot of time together normally, whether in the flat or off doing something (and have a tendency to book spontaneous holidays - see Germany), we decided to have a full day devoted to flatmate activities in the capital.

It was a depressingly dreary and drizzly London day, but that was actually perfectly fine for our plan: brunch, the Natural History Museum, burgers and an evening of chilling.

But today, dear friends, I want to tell you about the wonderful way in which we started flatmate fun day.
If you're into delicious, healthy food, you probably know about the brand Rude Health - they make the most scrumptious mueslis, porridge mixes and dairy-free milks.

I only found out recently but they actually have their own cafe in West London - what fun, thought I.
Despite the grey day, the cafe was upliftingly colourful and v busy when we arrived late Sunday morning.
Whether it's in my head or not, a green juice sure does make me feel healthy. I kicked things off with this bottle of goodness: apple, cucumber, kale, romalene and pear juice. It went down a treat.

We each ordered a dish from the menu full of genuinely delicious-sounding but healthy options like sprouted porridge with salted maple syrup and nuts, or shakshuka, and were told each dish would be served when it was ready.

Despite not really knowing what it was, Maddy and I both decided to go for the 'Dutch Baby' (baked sprouted spelt pancake). We were told it would be a 20 minute wait.

Jess however opted for the avocado toast, which subsequently arrived first.
Sweet Lord, it looked amazing.
Sourdough toast with avocado, beetroot, goat's curd, chilli and poached eggs. It tasted as good as it looked too - they'd been very generous with the avo and Jess loved the slightly spicy kick from the chilli.

Pleasingly, she hadn't made too much of a start before mine and Maddy's brunches arrived - it certainly hadn't been 20 minutes.
Feast your eyes on that!

Served in a little individual skillet, it was like one thick fluffy pancake topped with mascarpone, berry compote, crushed pistachios, fresh blueberries, banana and maple syrup.
It was unlike anything I'd ever had before and boy, was it good.
^the faces of two girls happy with their brunch choices.

Now, because this was brunch not just breakfast, we decided another course was in order. Slash we just couldn't resist all the amazing-looking baked goods on the cafe counter.
Between the three of us, we decided to share a slice of banana bread, a brownie and a couple of energy balls.
Now the banana bread, we all agreed, was stand-out delicious. Jess said it may have been the best banana bread she'd ever had and it was definitely in my top three (I have eaten a lot of banana bread in my time though.)

It was still warm, super moist, with a crisp top and the perfect balance between squidgy and fluffy in texture. 10/10 would eat again.
The brownie was incredibly rich so we were glad to be sharing it, but it was lovely - super dense with a nice crust.
I loved the energy balls, they were squidgy, just sweet enough and felt packed full of goodness.

Safe to say we were sufficiently energised for the rest of flatmate fun day!

My only tiny qualm with the Rude Health Cafe is that you have to go outside to go to the loo, which is a bit annoying when it's raining.

But aside from that we all loved it - I'll definitely go again.

Maddy, Jess and I were guests at the Rude Health Cafe but all opinions are totally honest.
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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Random rocky road

It was one of those Saturday afternoons when I wanted to make something delicious and sweet, but all I had in my fridge was houmous and wine. Hmph. (Could I be bothered to walk five minutes to the supermarket? That would involve taking off my slippers so I think not.)

What could I make that required next to no fresh ingredients?

Why, rocky road of course!
It was a case of rummaging through my kitchen cupboard, chucking some things together, improvving, and - amazingly - creating something really rather damn scrummy.

Enter, random rocky road. For a random mix of things it is.

But boy, am I pleased with my creation.
Whereas your traditional rocky road would probably contain biscuits and raisins, mine is bursting with granola, M&Ms and meringue. The textures are rather wonderful - each mouthful is crunchy, chewy and crumbly. Mega yums.

It's also nutty and tinged with chocolate orange flavour, which I rather love.

Melting chocolate can be a bit of a faff - there's the glass bowl over a pan on the hob method, but with that you have to be really careful not to let the bowl touch the water or else you're in trouble. And trying to melt chocolate in a normal microwave often ends in burnt chocolate which is just one of the saddest things in the world.
Fortunately, I have had a v shiny v fancy Panasonic NN-DS596B microwave to play with of late and I can tell you it is a dream for melting choc. It's epic as it's a microwave and an oven and a steamer and a bajillion other things at once.

It's also incredibly silent which makes an amazing change to the microwave in my flat.

Anyway chums, I hope you enjoy these - they're ridiculously easy to make and you can totally mix up the ingredients depending on what you have. Go wild. Life's too short to stick to recipes. Let this be your guide and be free.
I mean, these barely warrant a recipe, but here it is anyway. Makes 16 squares of deliciousness.


Ingredients

200g chocolate - I used half milk and half dark
2 tbsp agave syrup
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp chocolate orange Choc Shot
100g granola
1 tbsp M&Ms
1 tbsp mini marshmallows
4 mini meringue nests, crumbled
1 tbsp almonds
a pinch of salt


Method

1. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt slowly on a low heat, stopping to stir every 30 seconds or so. Mix in the agave, peanut butter and choc shot until smooth.

2. Stir in the granola, M&Ms, marshmallows, meringues, almonds and salt.

3. Pour into a 9 x 9 inch baking tray, lined with baking parchment.

4. Pop into the fridge for a couple of hours to set before slicing into 16 squares. Enjoy!

This post is sponsored by Panasonic as part of their #ExperienceFresh campaign.
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Monday, 16 January 2017

Fancy Funkin Chicken, Brixton


I'm not going to sugarcoat it - I think Fancy Funkin Chicken is a stupid name for a restaurant.

It sounds like one of those high street chicken shops you get in grotty areas of cities where the signs are always red, blue and white.

The thing is, Fancy Funkin Chicken (or FFC, as it will henceforth be known in this blog post) really isn't like one of those places at all.

New to Brixton, FFC's website says their mission is "to elevate the humble chicken into something a bit fancier". Now, I am all for that, but I don't think the name of the place is helping their cause in the slightest.

Name aside, I loved FFC. And it was a great spot for a January Tuesday evening catch-up with my dear chum and fellow South Londoner, Frankie.
The aesthetic of FFC is what I would call trendy stripped-down Brooklyn loft - think exposed brick walls, wooden tables, mismatched chairs, metal beams and neon lights in the window.

With a focus on cocktails and chicken, it's a good thing neither Frankie nor I are doing Dry January or Veganuary. We kicked things off with cocktails:
Also: sparkle is for life, not just for Christmas.

I had the passion fruit daisy: Tequila, Aperol, fresh passion fruit, Passoa liqueur and a splash of lime, and as a passion fruit-lover I highly enjoyed it.

Frankie had one of the two off-menu specials, and I actually really liked that there were cocktails on offer simply based on the ingredients they had.

As you may have guessed, you smart cookie you, the menu features a lot of chicken. The main three categories are burgers, wings and salads, but there are a few veggie options too.

Now, if you follow me on Instagram, you probably know I'm a bit of a burger nut. But despite that, I never get chicken burgers - I'm all about dat beef. My meal at FFC, however, made me think I may have to make more time for chicken burgers in my life...
Frankie and I both had the big cheese burger - you could choose whether you wanted chicken breast or thigh (we both went for breast), and our burgers consisted of chicken, triple cheese, bacon, caramelised onion and salad in a sesame bun, only I swapped out bacon for avocado in mine.
It. Was. Epic.

My burger was amazingly tasty and seriously exceeded my expectations. There was looaaads of cheese and I have to say I thought my addition of avocado was rather an excellent idea. 10/10 would eat again.

Alongside our burgers, Frankie and I shared a couple of sides.
Chilli cheese fries and corn fritters. I was concerned the fries would be too spicy for me but they weren't, they were delish actually. A huge portion too.

I loved the corn fritters even more though - I have no idea what they actually were but I suggest you get them - they were crisp on the outside, fluffy inside with sweet corny flavour. Yum.

We may have been totally full by this point, but as I always say: a meal is not complete unless it ends with something sweet (feel free to pin that to your pinterest inspiration board, guys).

Unfortunately, however, the puddings were both a bit of a let down and a bit of a wait (although granted, digestion time was not unwelcome).
I had the chocolate brownie, Frankie had the waffle.

My brownie was good and I enjoyed that it was warm, but the ice cream let it down - it had a nice flavour but was a bit icy in texture, not creamy enough in my opinion.

Frankie's waffle was unfortunately a bit disappointing in that it was weirdly hard rather than fluffy as one would hope.

Overall, it had been a fab dinner - I'll definitely be back for another cheesy chicken burger and corn fritters, but next time I'll skip the puds and have some chocolate at home instead.

Frankie and I were guests at Fancy Funkin Chicken but all opinions are 100% honest.
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Monday, 9 January 2017

Bargains, burgers and blockbusters at London Designer Outlet

The name "London Designer Outlet" is misleading. (And for the sake of this post it shall henceforth be known as LDO.)

You'd be forgiven for thinking LDO was like Bicester - namely a shopping centre of designer shops full of discounted stock.

But you'd be wrong.
 Whilst it is indeed a shopping centre full of outlet shops, it's hardly designer. The fanciest shop there is probably Kurt Geiger, and the majority are high street stalwarts - there's H&M and Claire's Accessories, for example. You getting the level I'm talking about?

I went along to LDO for the first time last weekend to find out what it's all about.

I travelled all the way up to Wembley - zone four, people! FOUR! - for a fun day with my glorious old pal, Jess.
Sure, it's slightly in the middle of nowhere and a somewhat random thing to have right by Wembley Arena, but we had a lovely time.

About ten minutes' walk from Wembley Park tube - and well sign-posted, which I appreciated - LDO isn't like most other shopping centres in that it's largely open-air - lovely when dry, a bit crap if raining.

Fortunately, however, it wasn't. It's a rather nicely-done shopping centre and looked particularly pretty when lit-up at night.

We had a peruse in several shops, but were disheartened to find - as is often the way with outlets - the stock that's there is mostly the rubbish stuff that hasn't been sold for a reason.
However we had a few very successful purchases: I bought some gorgeous chunky black leather heels in Clarks that were £20 down from £60, and Jess got a super cute flask from Joy.

There's also a Lindt shop, which is a rare find in the UK - oh my days, I wanted all the obscure Lindors.

We resisted, however, as we were off for a feast of a lunch.

There are tons of restaurants at LDO - largely the usual chains. However they also have a branch of the Handmade Burger Co, which is not a restaurant one stumbles upon too frequently. Naturally it was my lunch spot of choice.

We sat ourselves down and struggled to choose from the 40+ burgers on the menu - I exaggerate not.

The staff were delightful. After I popped my new Russell & Bromley bag (OMG I am in LOVE with it!) down next to me, the waiter came over with an extra chair, because "a bag that beautiful shouldn't be on the floor." That's my kinda man.

We placed our orders and hit the Diet Coke hard - free refills, people! Man, I go to town on free refills. Must've had at least five.

And soon our food arrived:
*hears hallelujah chorus in head*
For me, the Italian: a beef burger with Mediterranean sausage, mozzarella, red pesto, garlic mayo, rocket, tomato and red onion, except I asked for mine sans tomato and plus grilled peppers.

Amazingly, they got it right - I always ask for no tomato and nine times out of ten end up picking it out myself. The struggles.

It turns out I wasn't a huge fan of the sausage but the rest of the burger was diviiiiiine!
Jess had a bacon and avocado chicken burger, which she assures me was equally scrumptious.
Alongside our burgers we shared a portion of sweet potato fries because hello, sweet potato fries. And we were also a tad on the adventurous side with the Mexican chips.
Handmade Burger Co's chips are simply incredible and a bit legendary, and the Mexican ones are topped with melted cheese, chipotle sauce, hand crushed avocado, handmade Mexican salsa and jalapeños.

It was a tad on the spicy side for me (because I'm feeble) but delicious all the same.

After a smidge more shopping, Jess and I headed to the cinema on the top floor of LDO - I was so ready for a digestive recline.

Did we also get popcorn and chocolate though? Oops.

It's a Cineworld cinema and I was so amazed by the legroom. We went to see Passengers which I absolutely loved and totally recommend. J-Law and Christ Pratt tho.

I thought it really fun to combine cinema and shopping, which may sound like an obvious thing to do but I haven't done so in a while tbhqh. And I suppose the fact that there's so much at LDO - cinema, shops and eateries - makes it more worth going all the way up there.

It was also a lot quieter than central London, which is always good.

Outlet shopping is usually a bit hit and miss in my experience, but I'm super pleased with my shoes and had a great day.

Our lunch and cinema tickets were complimentary but all opinions are my own.
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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The 27 best things I ate in London in 2016

Happy New Year, amigos!

Another year has passed us by and I'm about to reach my one year anniversary of living in London.

I can't quite believe I've only been here a year - I love it SO much! I mean, I loved London before I moved but now I have no quibbles about it: London is the best city in the world.

And one of my favourite things about living in the capital? The food, of course!

My "places to eat in London" list grows faster than I can tick things off, but I ate some blimmin' delicious things last year. Granted, the below list says a lot about my tastes (I just really like halloumi, sue me (lol that rhymed)), but I hope it might give you some eating-out inspo.

Soz not soz to anyone who's just started a January detox.

Behold:

The 27 best things I ate in London in 2016


1. Halloumi, butternut squash and avocado burger at The Breakfast Club



2. Sticky banana cake at Rum Kitchen (full review here)



3. Smashed avo on cornbread at Salon

A photo posted by Rachel Hosie (@rachel_hosie) on


4. Tequeños at Brixton Food Court

5. Banana and date porridge at Dishoom (see full blog post here)



6. Halloumi burger at The Diner

A photo posted by thedineruk (@thedineruk) on


7. Houmous at Hummus Bros (review here)



8. Butternut squash cake at Sponge and Cream



9. Madeleine Shaw's quinoa burgers at Brown's Hotel



10. Guac at Coya (read all about it here)

A photo posted by COYA Mayfair (@coyamayfair) on


11. Chicken quinoa salad at Boma

A photo posted by Rachel Hosie (@rachel_hosie) on


12. Parmigiana at Rustiko (see the other yummy things I ate here)

A photo posted by Rachel Hosie (@rachel_hosie) on


13. Tamalero at Ceviche (Old Street)


14. Buttery ricotta ravioli with truffle at Tozi

A photo posted by Rachel Hosie (@rachel_hosie) on


15. Veggie burger at Cafe Fleur (full review here)



16. Burger (with added halloumi) at Blues Kitchen



17. Fried plantain at Zoe's Ghana Kitchen

A photo posted by Rachel Hosie (@rachel_hosie) on


18. Pizza at Pizza Pilgrims



19. Miso aubergine at The Gate (review)

20. Cocktails at Steam and Rye (not technically food, granted, but some of them are filling enough!)

A photo posted by Rachel Hosie (@rachel_hosie) on

21. Corn and courgette fritters at Brickwood


22. Halloumi burger at Mildred's



23. Truffle cheeseburger from Red Dog South


24. Pancakes at Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings (see full bottomless bellini brunch blog post here)

A photo posted by Rachel Hosie (@rachel_hosie) on

25. Truffle pizza at The Wellesley (for work, honest - allow me to explain here)

26. Sweet potato waffle at Pachamama



27. Black carrots with salted peanut brittle at Talli Joe (allow me to explain here)

A photo posted by Talli joe (@tallijoe) on

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY...

What should I eat in 2017? Please do let me know what I need to add to my list, and I'll do my best to eat it.

Have a delicious year, chums!
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Thursday, 29 December 2016

Glühwein and good times on a German Christmas market crawl round Bavaria

In my opinion, you can't beat Bavaria at Christmas.

It's my favourite place in the world but Germany's biggest state really comes into its own over the festive season - the castles, cobbled streets and colourful timbered houses make every town look like somewhere out of a fairytale, but when you add in Christmas markets and twinkly lights errywhere, I'm done. It's just too magical. I can barely deal.

It was amazing living in Bavaria in the run up to Christmas three years ago, which I was telling my flatmates all about one Friday evening a couple of months ago.

We'd opened a bottle of prosecco, as girls do, and before we knew it we'd booked flights. Lol.

December soon rolled round and we were off on what was essentially a Christmas market crawl.
I'd planned an itinerary (natch) which would see us spending each night in a different Bavarian town. The plan was to take Maddy and Jess to a few of my favourite places, choosing ones that would give them a rounded image of what Bavaria has to offer.

The train network is great and we kept our costs down by travelling with the Bavaria ticket (which also allowed for spontaneity and flexibility) so it was totally doable to spend each night in a different place.

After our first night in the lovely Park Plaza Nuremberg, we AirBnB'd, which was fab.

The original thinking was that we'd be able to save money by eating breakfast in, but lol German bakeries. Maddy and Jess tried Nussschnecken and pretzels and there was no going back.

What with spending each day somewhere new, there wasn't a load of time for sightseeing. I'm not going to lie to you - we essentially spent five days drinking and eating at Christmas markets. And it was ideal.

For that reason I'm not going to give you a huge spiel about each place (y'all know I did all that on my year abroad - see here), but rather I'm hopefully going to give you a feel for each location through the medium of photo.

Munich 

First up, we visited the capital of Bavaria, Munich.
We lunched in a cute cafe called Marais before hitting up the main Christmas market.
GAHH LOOK AT ALL THE GERMAN CHRISTMASSYNESS! I was so far beyond excited.
After a couple of Glühweins we took things up a notch with some Feuerzangenbowle: it's a traditional German drink made by setting rum-soaked sugar lumps on fire and letting it drip down into mulled wine. Yes it's extra strong and yes it's extra tasty.

We had dinner at a totally traditional and untouristy restaurant out of the centre called Alter Wirt Moosach: I obvs had schnitzel.

Regensburg

Regensburg is utterly charming. It's colourful, beautiful and incredibly cute.
We went for a wander and lunched at the oldest sausage kitchen in the world...
...before hitting up the market as the sun went down.
Apple and cherry Glühweins were on the menu here.
It was absolutely FREEZING - I'm talking minus six, people - so we all felt the need for a hearty, warming dinner. Enter, my old fave, Käsespätzle.
It is just the most comforting thing I've ever eaten. I always describe it as the German version of mac 'n' cheese but it's topped with crunchy onions and is just too good for words.

Bamberg

The next stop was Bamberg, a beautiful but increasingly trendy town.
It was charming even on a cloudy, freezing day, but caramelised marshmallow hot chocolates were so necessary.
This was the night we discovered amaretto Glühwein so it's safe to say we had a cracking time. Give it a try, you won't regret it.
Fear not though, we soaked it up with more sausage and carbs in the shape of Bratwurst and Currywurst. We may have also had crêpes afterwards but hey, we were on holiday.

Nuremberg

Stop four was the daddy of Christmas markets: Nuremberg.
Picking up another mug to add to my extensive collection, we perused the stalls, sipped drinks and ate yet more sausage whilst listening to a choir singing carols.
With my two wonderful pals, it was just pure happiness.
We even met Father Christmas!

Bayreuth

The final stop of the trip was my old home, Bayreuth, to see old friends (and re-visit my favourite restaurants, of course). And then it was time to fly home again!
Not before one final pretzel though, obvs. Bavaria, I miss ya already. Aaaaand I now really want some Glühwein - anyone else?
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