Sunday, 29 November 2015

Jamie Oliver's Recipease Cooking Class

This week I was lucky enough to be invited along to Recipease in Notting Hill by Far Fetch for a networking evening for bloggers. A night of learning to cook Mexican street food and getting to chow down on it all afterwards was my idea of a good time. If Mexican food isn't your thing, don't panic they offer lots of different classes so I'm sure you'll find something to suit your taste.

Recipease is located a stones throw from Notting Hill Gate tube and has a very prominent plot right on a corner. The building itself is completely glass fronted and incredibly modern so if you choose to eat there you'll have an uninterrupted view of the west London Streets below. Upon stepping inside the buzzing atmosphere was undeniable, maybe it's the open plan set up that contributes to that feeling, but it certainly put me in a great mood from the get go and I was excited to start cooking.

Jamie Oliver's Recipease

We made our way upstairs and laid eyes on our work stations for the evening, the beautiful granite worktop is set out in a large square in the centre of the room with sleek black hobs that honestly looked so high tech we had to ask the chef how to switch them on! You're able to lock your bag etc away in a locker so it won't be getting in your way whilst you're trying to cook, then you gather around, glass of prosecco in hand to watch the chef demonstrate your first couple of tasks. In our case this was the spicy corn salsa, soft corn tortillas, and sticky chipotle chicken or veggies for the vegetarians. Demo over we were sent back to our stations to create street food magic in our pairs. 

Jamie Oliver's Recipease

All of your ingredients are set out on a chopping board at your station, so it was a little on the confusing side to try and remember which ingredients and how much were to be used for each dish, a little recipe card would have been handy just to jog your memory, especially as it's quite loud in there so unless you were directly in front of the chef it was pretty hard to hear what she was saying. Onwards and upwards we managed to make our corn salsa, make and press our tortillas and get our chipotle dish underway. Then we gathered back around to watch the next stage; making our tomato salsa, guacamole, and spinach and feta filling.

Jamie Oliver's Recipease

We descended back to our hobs to hungrily make the remainder of our meal. Try as we might our food didn't look quite as pretty on our boards as the chef made hers, but we couldn't wait to get stuck in. Behind us were some large rustic wooden tables and benches where we took a seat to devour our creations and boy were they good. 

Jamie Oliver's Recipease

The evening was really fun, and the food was definitely tasty. There are just a couple of things I think Recipease could do to improve the experience: 

  • The previously mentioned recipe card to follow so you don't have to worry that you forgot to add ingredients to your dishes. 
  • A knife that actually cuts, I understand that some people that may do this class could quite well be a little stupid and chop off their finger with a really sharp knife but mine was struggling to cut a tomato and spring onion! 
  • Lastly is some kind of recipe sheet of all the food you've made to take away with you. Some of the ingredients were pre done for you to save on time such as the chipotle sauce and the marinade for the chicken so it would have been lovely to have this in a recipe so you can recreate the dishes at home.

Other than that I had a lovely evening and it's a wonderful way to spend a unique evening with your friends. I'm very grateful to have been invited along by the Far Fetch outreach team, they were lovely and so friendly.

Notting Hill Gate
W11 3QB
020 3375 5398

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Hostess with the mostess

With all the entertaining we do around Christmas time I thought I'd do a round up of some great items to keep things looking extra special this festive season.

1. Noel table runner from Marks & Spencer £19.50 this runner would look lovely down the centre of the table either over a plain white table cloth or on its own if you have a lovely wooden table. Perfect to keep things simple on a buffet table if you have having an open house or a festive get together.

2. Silver rope napkin rings from Marks & Spencer £15.00 another beauty from M&S, these beautiful silver napkin rings would look stunning with the contrast of red napkins, or you could go with a frosty theme and team them with white or silver napkins and frosted foliage.

3. Metal Trivet from H&M home £7.99 this gorgeous snowflake shaped trivet would look lovely sitting in the middle of your table awaiting a hot casserole dish, surround it with plenty of tealights to really set the mood for your dinner party.

4. Glass glitter swirl placemats, Star by Julien Macdonald from Debenhams £19.20 if monochrome is your thing then these beautiful place mats are definitely for you. They would look stunning against a white tablecloth, teamed with crisp white plates and black and silver accessories. This would most certainly make your dinner party pop.

5. Snowman stacking mugs from Dunelm £9.99 these mugs are super cute for the holiday season, keep them out by a hot chocolate station throughout Christmas so people can help themself to a warming drink.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Christmas Street at Intu Lakeside

Christmas is most definitely creeping up on us, the shops have all donned their Christmas apparel and Intu Lakeside is no exception. This year they are debuting their new Christmas street which is located outside the ground floor Marks and Spencer food hall, by car park 9. The normally bare expanse of space has been given a Christmas makeover and will be lighting up the faces of children throughout the festive period (and maybe the face of the odd adult too!)

Christmas Intu Lakeside
Intu Lakeside Christmas street

The area is full of kiddie rides and German market style food stalls, which makes it the perfect place to stop off for a festive snack before your Christmas shopping commences. You can soak up the Christmas atmosphere whilst enjoying a cup of mulled wine, or hot chocolate for the little ones which they can personalise by adding a variety of flavoured syrups and toppings to. Then they can run off and play in the snow with Elsa and Olaf in the Frozen snow globe!

Giant Frozen Snow Globe
Lakeside shopping centre Christmas, Michelle Louise Love

To save yourself the hassle of long queues to visit Santa in his grotto, you can now book your time slot online. This is a godsend for those with small children who don't appreciate waiting in line for ages before getting to meet the big guy to tell him what they want under their tree this Christmas. There are even some great little additions in the grotto halls to play before meeting Santa. A special little device that scans you to see if you've been naughty or nice and sends the results electronically off to Santa will keep kids and adults alike occupied until it's their turn to go in, along with a little machine to send your Christmas wishes off to the north pole.

Intu Lakeside Christmas Grotto

The grotto is really interactive, so different from the garden sheds of my childhood! Upon entering the grotto you will be greeted by lovely elves who really immerse you into the Christmas story and are clearly all about making sure the kids leave with a smile on their face and belief in their heart. I think that our job as adults is to make Christmas magic for kiddies for the few short years of childhood and that is truly at the heart of the staff here at the Christmas Street.

Michelle Louise Love, Christmas
Intu Lakeside Christmas Grotto
Intu Lakeside Christmas Street
Intu Lakeside Christmas Street
Intu Lakeside Christmas Street

Sweet treats are a plenty, you can choose from chocolate covered mallow to gingerbread men as big as your head and all sorts in-between. Perfect stocking fillers or teacher gifts or maybe even something nice for when you get home and put your feet up with a cuppa after all the shopping you've done.

Christmas, Michelle Louise Love

Intu Lakeside Christmas Street

The Christmas street is open daily until Christmas Eve, as is the Grotto and tickets are £6 per child. More info can be found on the Intu website here.

I may be an adult but I enjoyed my trip to the fab festive area and think it's worth a look when you next head to Lakeside.

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