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Friday, 31 August 2012

Elysée

Last week my work colleagues and I went out for a lovely lunch for Roz's birthday. Elysée is a Greek restaurant close to our work on Percy street and the food is always fabulous. 
It's a family-run place, and the staff are always helpful and utterly charming. No request is a bother for them and they make you feel extremely taken care of. 

We had a lot of picky bits to share (which is the best way with food I think, then you get to sample everything). We started with grilled halloumi cheese, deep fried crispy calamari and warm pittas.  

They then brought out a fresh greek salad, stuffed vine leaves (Dolmades) with mushroom and parsley, and meatballs in a rich tomato sauce. We were getting quite full by this point, but we had to make space for the hot chicken and lamb skewers (Souvlaki) with cous cous and a wonderful stuffed aubergine with minced lamb and béchamel sauce (Papoutsakia). 



The Greek
The birthday girl!



Because we had our lovely Greek Art Director with us, we even got free watermelon which was a perfect crisp and juicy pallet cleanser. 



Elysée isn't too bad price-wise either, especially for the centre of London. We found the eight dishes for four of us more than enough (Morgan didn't eat) and the bread keeps coming. 
Their website is here - have a peruse at their a la carte menu to see all the other yummy things they serve. 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Poland

Last Friday the boyfriend and I hopped onto a plane to pay his homeland a visit. I've been a few times before, but I wanted to show you his lovely town. Wejherowo is nestled between the Baltic sea and lots of lakes, hills and forests in the North of Poland. There are lots of pretty buildings in the square, and lots of pigeons!



I am a big fan of the cukiernias - which are basically little cake shops, serving all sorts of fresh cream puffs, cupcakes and pastries... I had my nose pressed against the glass most times. 



Wejherowo was founded by Jakub Wejher in the 17th century and they have a monument for him in centre. 
On the third day we took a trip to one of the 'Triple Cities' - Gdynia.  The three consist of Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot, which are all popular places to visit just a short train ride away from Tomasz's family home. We've already been to the other two (and I'm sure I'll go back) so we mooched along by the boats and families enjoying the beach. 

We also went up into the woods to watch Wejherowo's local team play football in the Polish league (anything more technical than that and you will have to ask him!)

I'm even learning a little bit of Polish too (dzień dobry!) but it still takes a lot of alcohol to pluck up the courage to speak it in a room full of Poles :)
After a lovely long weekend I left the Polski to have a few more days at home, while I flew home back to London. What did you do this bank holiday?

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Peanut Butter Brownies

Love baking? Love having people crowd round and go "ooooh" and "ahhh" at what you have made? Then these are the brownies You. Must. Bake. 
Absolutely full of fat and soo bad for you it's unreal, but isn't that what makes a brownie a naughty indulgent treat, which makes them so good? Yes. Exactly. 
So for these, there are a few different recipes (I got my inspiration from here) and added my own twist to them.
You will need: 
1 packet brownie mix (plus whatever you need to make them, so oil, eggs etc - just check the packet)
1/2 jar peanut butter
Half block butter (told you they were fattening...)
1/2 jar Nutella
3 packets Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
1 big bar milk chocolate
Box of Rice Krispies (you won't need all of it!)




So, begin by mixing up your brownies according to instructions. Add the eggs, oil, water etc and beat well in a bowl. Then pop in the oven in a foil tray/ pie dish/ whatever you have basically for however long the box tells you to. Mine were in for 25 minutes. Make sure to grease the tray though, and if you have grease proof paper, then line with that, as it will make digging the brownies out later a lot easier. 







While they are baking, chop up your Reese's cups into little cubes and place to one side.





In a mixing bowl, break up your chocolate and melt over a pan of boiling water. Take care with the steam - it can get your fingers!






When it's all liquid, add your half jar of peanut putter (I use smooth) and the butter. Taste, and add more of each if you like it more nutty or buttery. Entirely up to you. 






Now I add my own twist - the Nutella! Stir it all in so it's a lovely, velvety smooth mixture with no lumps and bumps. Take off the heat and add the Rice Krispies. It's always a bit touch and go how much cereal to add, but you want it to still be fluid enough so it all sticks together. 15 tablespoons maybe?? But use your common sense.
  




Your brownies should be ready now, so take out the oven and sprinkle over the cubes of Reese's Cups and I add a bit more peanut butter here - this time I had a bit of crunchy so I used that. 



Now spread your krispie mix over the top and smooth out. Allow to cool before putting in the fridge, and leave to set for a few hours.


Once fully set, cut and serve to hoards of impatient housemates and co-workers. 




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