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This is Lizzie-Boy! Lizzie-Boy is my bud and in this photo enjoying her tea on the Coolest Riverboat Café we have ever visited in our lives for Breakfast…in Lincoln! Big Respect to our waitress Christine who’s kindness and dutiful attention (to us and our full English Fry Ups) could not be out shone by any Café Running Captain in all the seven seas…or rivers. I’m going to describe things about Christine’s Café that some would interpret as flaws and massive discomforts, but honest to goodness for every tiny thing that wasn’t perfect about this boat, only made Mine and Lizzie’s experience a marvellous thing to remember and a setting we wish to make many more memories at.

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Today I visited my girl Lizzie in her hometown of Lincoln for some well craved Breakfast this morning. So Lizz tells me a tale of a boat and sail and a Cook, kind of Captain of things, to who, Lizz and me, maybe, ’cause we were hungry ladies, will greet us and treat us like kings…she didn’t actually rhyme when she told me about this café on the River Witham, but the jist was she’d walked past it a bunch of times and had always been curious and never gone in. So today we did.

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The boat was a freezing clutter fest! Pictures, knick-knacks, ornaments galore and clashing in everyway possible. We were the only ones in the boat at first, but come half an hour into our breakfast the boat was heaving with regulars from the town, and we totally get why, and if you visit so will you. We sat middle way between the door and the counter and observed the various Slate Chicken Shaped Menus and hilarious joke boards about fishing. Being the proud pig-out monsters that Lizzie and I are, we instantly wanted the Big Fry Up each, but Christine’s wise words steered us towards the modest middle sized versions which came with – 3 slices of toast, beans, mushrooms, hash browns, sausages, tomatoes, bacon, fried eggs and two large pots of tea…If anyone ever needs proof of heaven…Christine is selling it all for under a tenner on the Moonraker Floating Tearoom on the River Witham.

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The heating was off, and there was no radio, but Lizzie and I were all wrapped up in our winter woollies and nuzzled into the seat cushions. As for music, we were in luck, for there was an army of water fowl right outside our window doing a re-enactment of pearl harbour alongside the distant accordion song of a street performer. Women, Wine and Music, that was us at 10:30 this morning, minus the women, the wine, and technically music, we were treated like kings. We nattered and noshed for what felt like forever, the food took us home to our own mamas tables, all flavour and no finesse, and that is what you want for breakfast!

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So what it wasn’t all Starbucks Granola with Soya Milk served on Silver Back Gorillas who specialise in Silver Service, it was great, we were really taken care of by Real Honest People and had a Real Good English Breakfast. You could tell that Christine took great, and well deserved pride in her ship which I felt played a great part in the jolly atmosphere; the boat rocked when we ate, and our food was all at different temperatures (all edible don’t worry), our pots of tea went on forever, my chair was backless so I went back to back with an old man who clearly thought I was the back of the chair and the whole package was a brilliant way to begin our day.

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If you go to Lincoln, you can’t miss her, so don’t. Rating out of 5 = 4.

Ferry Meadows Cafe

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Ever since I was a child I have been visiting the 500 acres that make up Ferry Meadows Country Park and Café in Peterborough for playing, strolling, creating and (as always) eating, and last weekend Papa and I took it upon ourselves to return to the merry venue of my childhood for some simple, decent café grub.
With these kind of places you never go in expecting cakes that Mary Berry baked, or Sandwiches Jamie Oliver created, you go in knowing you’re going to get good portions, good flavours, good hospitality and good atmosphere surrounded by good people, and shock horror that’s what we got and if you visit you will get the same as well.

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Nothing fancy or over the top, but sometimes that’s all you want, and that’s all me and dad wanted after an hour and a half of walking through the fens in the rain, so Pop’s nicked my debit card so I had no choice but to let him pay for our lunch, which was Gammon, Chips and Egg followed by a slice of Carrot Cake with a cup of tea (dad’s), and a Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich followed by a slice of Banana Bread and an Ultimate Hot Chocolate (moi).

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The servers were all school dwelling teenagers, nervous, voice-breaking sweeties really, who were clean dressed, very polite and VERY generous with the whipped cream for my Hot Chocolate (Score!) The Café was bustling with all sorts and walks of life and death that gave the atmosphere its own class; dog walkers, cyclists, couples young and old, and my particular favourite – table shaking tots who had had one too many Hot Chocolates and could no longer rationally control the sugar slowly taking over their bodies therefore leaving them in a state table shaking sugar brain-washing until they (or mum) regained control…(some kids just can’t handle their Coco.)

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There were classic tunes from the Noughties playing e.g. Gangster’s Paradise by Coolio and I’m a Barbie Girl by Aqua which of course did not alter the very in-depth, intellectual, never silly conversations I regularly have with my father over a session of face scoffing, nor did it sway the appreciation Pa and I both shared for our nosh. Granted, there are very few things one could do wrong with our order, and yes their menu was limited and perhaps it could of been a café from out of space with amazing this and that and blah blah blah that doesn’t matter, for I am not the sort to pick apart a place that isn’t posing as anything other than itself. All of Nene Park (the area Ferry Meadows resides in) is glorious full stop, but perhaps I’m biased because it’s the countryside I cherished from my youth. The café is charming, the food is enjoyable and the kids running the show will do their best to make your day. Make a day of it Gang, here’s the address:
Ferry Meadows
Ham Lane
Peterborough
PE2 5UU

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Edins Deli Cafe

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Edins Deli Café, 15 Broad Street Nottingham, a continental snack paradise in the glorious Hockley District of Notts. Without question My Favourite Place to Eat…Ever. Offering everything and anything you could want at anytime of the day and the night, to stand out in this particular area of Nottingham is not an easy task, but time and time again I find myself around the Broadway Cinema, (which it sits directly opposite) and I know for a fact I will pop in for the Best Coffee on Broad Street, served to me by the kindest staff, and will sip away listening to the funniest music, this week’s tunes favouring non descript German Swing.

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By myself, with my fella, with my friends and family, many a time have I chosen Edins to eat and if you’re ever in Nottingham, you just HAVE TO GO. This week I went with one of my buddy Helen for Rare Rump Steak and Chips, and Cream of Leek Soup followed by Ham Hock Risotto. As always it was packed and the Chef was hurrying away in his cute little kitchen behind the counter as smartly dressed waiters and waitresses tended to everybody. Helen had already looked at their online menu (http://www.edinsnottingham.co.uk/EdinsMenu.aspx ) and made her choice before we met, but I always enjoy the surprise of their daily specials and 2 course deals for £5.95 (before 5pm.)

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The picture of the empty plate was where Helen’s Steak and Chips were, but she ate it all before I could take a picture. The original plan had been to go for a pudding afterwards, Helen’s sights were on the decedent Chocolate Fudge Cake and mine was on EVERYTHING else, favouring towards the Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding, regrettably we ate so hastily due to such happiness that we got very full and nearly fell asleep therefore removing any possibility of fitting cake inside. Our mission was to return to Edins another time for a “Pure Cake Day” to make up for the missing out of our visit. This plan has got a personal plan in motion for me to re visit Edins enough times so I can dedicate each visit to one specific food/cuisine type so I can confirm my complete adoration for this café (and have loads of excuses to keep going back.)

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This plan will require 8 visits in total to complete – Pure Cake Day, Today’s it Tapas, Wakey Wakey Eggs & Bakey (Breakfast, which is all sourced from Local Farms), Sunday Brunch, Of Course 2 Course (which technically I have already done but will definitely do again…in the name of science), Big Up Baguette Day (sandwich selection), Individual Dish (main courses), and lastly Plate of the Day and a Glass of House Wine for £5.

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The atmosphere, the décor, the music, the light in the room, the staff, the whole package including the food is charming and relaxing. They stay open late for pre-club drinks and have a function room to hire for prices more than agreeable. Returning to mine and Helen’s meal, for my tea and 2 courses it cost £7.95, and for Helen’s Steak & Chips and a Glass of Coke £11.95. To consider its surrounding competition such as Lee Rosy’s Café, The Brewdog Bar, Dolce Italian etc I think Edins deserves a big thumbs up for surviving so very well. I have no criticism what so ever and will be sure to keep you all posted on Eat At Edins 8 Times Quest.

Trust it, it’s Rustic – Orange & Peanut Butter Cookies

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Once again, a recipe not a review, but I hope you guys enjoy this just as much. When I was a wee lassy, my mother and I would bake all the time and she was the Goddess of Peanut Butter Cookies. This is my tribute to her, those glorious days, and my first steps into the world of The Kitchen.

Prep Time – 20 minutes
Cooking Time – 25 – 30 minutes
Ingredients
* 100g Crunchy Peanut Butter
* 100g Butter or Margarine
* 100g Light Brown Sugar
* 2 eggs
* Zest of 1 Orange
* 100g Plain Flour
* 1 tsp Baking Powder
* 100g Jumbo Peanuts

Method
Ok, this again is super duper simple, as with most of my recipes it’s all about throwing it in, mixing it up, splatting it down, cooking it rapid, and eating it quickly, there is nothing neat or intentionally precise about these cookies, so have as much fun and personal spin on it as you like because you can’t go wrong.
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Step 1. Get your oven HOT! Or, preheat it to 180 degrees C, 350 degrees F or Gas Mark 4. In a bowl beat together your peanut butter, butter and sugar so it resembles smooth peanut butter.
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Step 2. Add your eggs one at a time so it becomes wet and gloopy, then sift in your flour and baking powder.
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Step 3. Zest your orange and add it into your flour mix with the jumbo peanuts, saving a handful of nuts for decoration, and mix until, Voilà! You have cookie mix!
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Step 4. Get yourself a baking tray and line it with greaseproof paper, baking parchment, or lightly coat it in oil, or sprinkle some flour over it, anything you have that ISN’T FOIL, that will stop our cookies sticking, and get yourself a big old spoon and press the mix onto your tray.

Keep in mind these babies are going to GROW, they are going to spread, and if you are a perfectionist and are really after neat round cookies, give your mix plenty of space and maybe add a touch more flour just so they hold shape better. If you don’t mind a couple of uglies for your biscuit box proceed as normal.
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Step 4. Sprinkle a couple of peanuts on the tops of these cookies and put the tray in the middle of your oven and leave to cook for twenty five minutes. If you like your cookies to have more chew than crunch then take them out after twenty minutes, if you like your cookies with a bit of bite, leave them in for 30. Once cooked, take them out the oven and leave them on a wire rack to cool (or shove them straight into your face as soon as they leave the oven because you can’t wait that long.)

ENJOY!
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Posh Lemon, White Chocolate & Blueberry Cheesecakes

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Ok, so this is not a review this is merely me mucking around in the kitchen; these babies are uber easy to make, light and tasty, and unless you hate lemon, white chocolate and/or blueberries or cheesecakes in general, I think everybody will like ‘em!

Makes 3
Prep Time – 20-25 minutes
Chilling time – 45-60 minutes
Ingredients
* 12 amoretti biscuits
* 2 tbsp butter or margarine
* 250g Cream Cheese
* 200g Lemon Curd
* 200g White Chocolate
* As many Blueberries as you like

Method
If you can call this a method, it’s literally experiment until you’re happy.
Step 1. In a bowl or tub put in your Amoretti biscuits and crush with a rolling pin, or alternatively, whizz up in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs.
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Step 2. Whilst you’re smashing your biscuits, melt your butter or margarine in a microwave, or on the hob over a medium heat and then combine with your biscuit crumbs.
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Step 3. Press your biscuits into 3 ramekins making the base for your cheesecakes and then put them in the fridge to set.
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Step 4. Over a Bain Marie (bowl over hot water in a saucepan) or in your microwave, melt your white chocolate and then mix in your cream cheese and lemon curd, leaving 3 heaped tsps worth of lemon curd out.
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Step 5. Spoon HALF your chocolate mix over the biscuit bases in your ramekins and save the other half which we will use in just a second.
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Step 6. Fetch the last of your lemon curd and mix with 1 tsp of water. Then in a saucepan over a low heat or in your microwave, melt the curd until its really runny, and then pour into the centre of your cheesecakes.
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Step 7. With the remaining half of your chocolate mix pour over the lemon curd. Now, for your blueberries, I used frozen, but there’s no harm in using fresh, if you do use fresh blueberries however, I would advise for this next step that you add 1 or 2 tsps of water to the saucepan or the bowl for the microwave, to help the berries out, give them some moisture and stop them burning.
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Step 8. I used a big handful of blueberries, but you can use as much or as little as you like. If using frozen berries, chuck them into a warm saucepan over a low heat, and warm through until they are no longer frozen but NOT SQUISHY. If your using a microwave, defrost them in as short a time as possible, making sure they still hold their shape. Once your berries are defrosted, spoon them over your cheesecakes and then return those beasts to the fridge and leave to set for at least 45 minutes.
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Step 9. Having patiently waited for the cheesecakes to set you may now scoff your face and enjoy! Hope you like them gang!
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Happy Halloween from the Barley Mow

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October 31st, a day most of us remember for fond childhood memories of skipping through the streets as a ghoul or a witch with promises of treats and tricks. A time for dressing up and impressing, parties, and of course eating! I read the Americans keep the seeds of their Jack O’ Lanterns for Salting and Roasting, we Brits stuff our heads in water barrels filled with apples and apparently The Ainu Germans used to make Soul Cakes for the dead for their journey to the otherworld.

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Coincidentally October 31st is also my Grandma Jean’s birthday, so as dutiful Daughter and Granddaughter, Mumsy and I decided to take GJ out for lunch yesterday to The Barley Mow Public House in Hartford, Huntingdon. Regrettably, Ma and GJ were not as ravenous as I, so a whole Suckling Pig and a bathtub sized Pumpkin Pie was out of the question, instead we agreed on 3 large glasses of Shiraz, 3 rounds of Sandwiches, Crisps and Coleslaw, 3 Puddings with Cream and 3 Black Coffees, all for £50. Bit steep in price perhaps, but not too steep to keep me from coming back.

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Sarnies = Ma had Crispy Bacon and Brie, GJ had Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese, and I had Crayfish and Lemon Mayonnaise. All our sandwiches were on Healthy Wholemeal Bread, which was warm from the oven and cut thick like I like.

Puddings: By now you’ll all know my weakness for sweets, and yesterday I was nearly brought to my knees at the original and delicious selection available. Blueberry Brioche, Banoffi Roulade, Clown Ice Cream, Gooseberry Flapjacks, Apricot Bakewell Tart and Strawberry Waffles. All came with a side order of either Cornish Ice Cream, Pouring Cream or Custard. We all chose Pouring Cream to accompany Ma’s Strawberry Waffles, GJ’s Apricot Bakewell Tart and My Gooseberry Flapjacks. Each dish was decorated with Chocolate Sauce and Apricot Coulis, typical Halloween colours that I thought added a nice touch to the puddings and gave another layer of mature flavour. Each treat was a joy from the fork to your guts, rich with butter and extremely satisfying. I will be recreating all these puddings at home in the near future for me and my fella’s pleasure, and I can promise the next time you visit The Barley Mow Public House you’ll want to do the same.

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The interior was typical traditional family, beige and orange walls, giant IKEA flowers and clocks, spacious yet sociable and lots of windows letting in all that winter sunshine (ha!). The two servers were polite and attentive to everyone visiting the House and on first names terms with the majority of the loyal, old boys wetting their whistles on dark ale by the bar. I can’t remember if there was music in the background, for me, Ma and GJ were in deep conversation over the subject of my Sister in South Korea and her first experience with her class of 13 boys taking rescue dogs walking in the park. For me the conversation you have with your company can be greatly affected by your setting. In this setting we were comfortable, high spirited and having a gay old time. We settled up and left around 3pm, full and extra happy because GJ couldn’t simmer down on the good time she’d had.

So, next Halloween, or your Gran’s birthday, or any other time throughout the year, should you pass the Barley Mow, I would strongly suggest you take yourself in. Rating out of 5 = 4.

Mum’s final thoughts: Ooh it was so nice.

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The Cheesecake Shop

If you’re a Nottingham resident and sugar toothed monster like me, not only will you know it well, you’re bound to love it, the one the only Cheesecake Shop! Image

A treasure cove of some of the most delightful desserts you’ll ever enjoy. My partner Tom and I have been visiting the store on Woodthorpe Drive in Mapperley for many years and were thrilled when a 6th store at Carrington opened because it was right next to our house. For this review however we returned to the shop of our courtship in Mapperley on Sunday 13th October 2013 for some breakfast, Black Forest Gateau and Strawberry Field’s Cake (champion start to the day.) ImageImage

Obviously they were not presented half eaten, Tom and I were just too eager to get our faces fat with the delicious cake that we totally forgot I was reviewing them. As always the slices were just right in portion, decked to the nines with berries and citrus fruits, and glazed with what I think was an apricot jam on the strawberry fields and a raspberry jam on the gateau. The sponges were so light and flavorsome and no cake is ever the same, and when accompanied with two black coffees and a blueberry smoothie for less than £12 for the whole shebang you know you’re laughing mate.Image

What’s also really funky about this place is that they also cater for events such as weddings, birthdays and other special occasions offering their own crafted cakes and puddings suitable for your celebration, (and if memory serves their cakes that serve 200 ppl cost roughly £200, that’s like £1 a person for cake!) BARGAIN BOSH.

Also for all you non sweet tooth’s out there, do not despair, for the cheesecake team have come prepared, offering wide selections of cafe lunch time favourites from quiche to soup, spuds and sarnies, salads and savoury pastries etc. Further more, they also have a breakfast selection served until 11am, so if you do decide to go there for actual breakfast (unlike Tom and I) there will be traditional and continental options available to you; I would recommend the granola with fruit, yoghurt and honey, Tom is all about the British Fry-Up.

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Running for over 20 years and swimming from the other side of the world I think this joint is nothing but the product of business success. Never have the staff been anything less than marvellous and professional, never has the food been poor or devoured in less than 5 minutes and grinned about for 8 straight hours afterwards (mild exaggeration,) and never would I steer anyone away even if you don’t like cake. The Cheesecake shop can cater to you whatever you’re after (provided its cafe orientated requirements not like surfing gear.) If you get the chance go and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.

Tom’s final thoughts: It’s got cheesecake which is good. *thumbs up*. Image