Terrace Chapters at the Royal Horseguards Hotel

Last Monday I was invited down to the Royal Horseguards Hotel for an early evening of cocktails and canapes on their terrace.

Royal Horseguards HotelThe Royal Horseguards Hotel is located near Embankment tube, in a building that was once the Headquarters of the Secret Service. It’s a stunning building, with a great view of the river and the London Eye – it would be great to see what the riverfront views from the bedrooms are like!

Royal Horseguards Hotel
Royal Horseguards Hotel
Royal Horseguards Hotel, LondonI was invited along for the launch of the latest Terrace Chapter – a collaboration between the hotel, chocolate connoisseurs Hotel Chocolat and Taittinger champagne. The terrace chapters are themed, and this latest chapter is all about Wimbledon.

Royal Horseguards Hotel Wimbledon Terrace ChapterBerries, Royal Horseguards Hotel, Wimbledon Terrace ChapterThe Wimbledon chapter runs for the month of July, when guests can enjoy a picnic basket and some Taittinger champagne on the terrace. I love the Wimbledon theme – strawberries, cream and champagne, what could go wrong?

Eton mess, Royal Horseguards HotelEton Mess, Royal Horseguards HotelRoyal Horseguards Hotel Eton MessTo celebrate the launch, the hotel set up an Eton Mess station for us, which was amazing. The canapes were also surprisingly delicious – beef with horseradish and gravy, mojito chocolates from Hotel Chocolat, and an amazing array of sorbet champagne cocktails – it all made for a great beginning to the week!

Mojito chocolates, Royal Horseguards HotelRoyal Horseguards HotelBeef, royal horseguards hotelI really enjoyed the selection of canapes and the champagne cocktails – my favourite involved a strawberry sorbet with champagne as part of the overall Wimbledon theme for the chapter.

Cocktails, Royal Horseguards HotelChampagne Cocktails, Royal Horseguards HotelCocktails, Royal Horseguards HotelCocktails, Royal Horseguards HotelIf the food at the event was anything to go by, you’re in for a real treat! The afternoon picnic is pretty reasonable for the area, too, at £59 for a picnic for two.

Royal Horseguards HotelRoyal Horseguards HotelRoyal Horseguards HotelTo find out more about the Royal Horseguards Hotel and their terrace chapters, be sure to visit their website here.

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Have you ever been to the Royal Horseguards Hotel? Comment below, and be sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

I was invited along to the Royal Horseguards Hotel, but as always, all opinions are my own – I wouldn’t blog about it if I didn’t love it!

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Summertime Virgin Mojito

It finally feels like summertime, which can only mean one thing – mojitos!

DSC03877Mojitos are my go-to cocktail in the summer months, so I was thrilled when the lovely people at the Body Shop got in touch about their new Virgin Mojito range.

Body Shop Virgin Mojito RangeLime and Mint Body Shop Virgin Mojito RangeI’ve tried the body butter, body scrub and body sorbet and the range smells incredible. The lime and mint really come through, with a little hint of cucumber – although that isn’t listed – and it’s a really fresh, summery scent. I’ve always loved Body Shop body butters in particular, and the virgin mojito one is no different. It’s thick and creamy, but with a light scent, meaning it’s not overpowering.

Lime and Mint Body Shop Virgin Mojito Range

To celebrate the launch of Body Shop’s Happy Skin Virgin Mojito range, I’ve come up with a virgin mojito recipe for the summer months.

Summertime Virgin Mojito
 
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Virgin Mojito Recipe - refreshing and basically guilt-free, the perfect drink for the summer months.
Author:
Recipe type: Cocktails
Cuisine: Cocktails
Serves: 4 Tumblers
Ingredients
  • 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons demerara sugar
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • Handful of mint leaves
  • Soda water
  • Ice
Instructions
  1. At the bottom of each glass, grind the mint using the juice of half a lime, and half a spoon of sugar.
  2. Once the leaves have broken up a bit, add half a tablespoon of agave syrup.
  3. Top with soda water and ice, and a few extra mint leaves to serve.
Lime and MintIt’s really refreshing, and you really don’t miss the alcohol that much, making it the perfect drink for summer nights – particularly during the week!

Body Shop Virgin Mojito Range

What’s your favourite virgin cocktail? Have you tried any of the Body Shop’s latest range? Comment below, and be sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

This post was made in collaboration with the Body Shop, who sent me samples to review and reimbursed the cost of producing this post. As always, all opinions are my own – I wouldn’t blog about it if I didn’t love it!

 

Gluten-Free Afternoon Tea London Bus Tour

A few weeks ago I was invited along to BB Bakery’s afternoon tea bus tour, along with several other food bloggers. The BB Bakery afternoon tea bus tour leaves from London’s South Bank and passes several iconic landmarks, including the Royal Albert Hall, Harrods, Buckingham Palace and, of course, Big Ben!

London Eye

 

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Almost as exciting as the view is the fact that they offer a gluten-free afternoon tea option – and it’s glorious.

BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus TourBB Bakery Gluten Free Afternoon Tea Tour - Meringues, Chocolate Tart

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Scones, sandwiches, meringues and chocolate tarts – all gluten-free, and served beautifully on plates suction-cupped to the table, to avoid spillages along the route!

BB Bakery Gluten Free Afternoon TeaBB Bakery Gluten Free Afternoon Tea Tour - Gluten Free TartBB Bakery Gluten Free Afternoon Tea Tour - CupcakesBB Bakery Gluten Free Afternoon Tea Tour - Macaron

The food was incredible, as was the tea – and the view wasn’t half bad either, although I couldn’t say I was paying as much attention as London deserves due to the company! I was sat with my favourite Aussie food blogger Food Porn Nation, fellow gluten-free blogger Immy May and YouTuber Hayley. Be sure to check them out!

BB Bakery Gluten Free Afternoon Tea Tour - Meringues, Chocolate TartBB Bakery Gluten Free Afternoon Tea TourBB Bakery Gluten Free Afternoon Tea Tour - With HCM, Food Porn Nation, Islandbell and Immy MayI had a great time on the BB Bakery Tour, and highly recommend it – find out more about it here!

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Many thanks to the team at Rennie for inviting me on the tour. Rennie helps people enjoy the foods they love without discomfort of heartburn.

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Jukai, NYC

A little over a month ago, I headed home for a week long, unbelievably overdue trip to my hometown of New York. It was such a fleeting visit that I spent most of my time meeting up with friends for drinks at old haunts, spending time with my family and stocking up on essentials in Sephora – nothing particularly blog-worthy in my opinion, with the exception of the tasting menu at Jukai, located in basement-level in midtown Manhattan.

Jukai, NYCJukai NYC - Oysters

For the quality of the fare, the tasting menu at Jukai is an absolute bargain at $55 per head. As expected, the menu varies depending on season, as well as the catch of the day, but the oysters – served with ponzu, spring onion, and lime – as well as the homemade tofu (in the assorted starters), the Chef’s choice sashimi (which included an amazingly fresh yellowtail and maguro tuna) were outstanding, and seem to be a semi-regular fixture on the menu. In terms of the quality of the sushi, I haven’t found anywhere in London that compares to the quality of the fish found in New York – it’s definitely worth keeping in mind for your next visit.

Jukai NYC - OystersJukai NYC tasting menu

The fillet steak was perfectly cooked to my liking (the rarer side of medium rare) – although the only drawback from the meal was the bland and unmemorable broiled fish, which escapes notice almost entirely.

Jukai NYC - SteakJukai NYC Tasting Menu - uni and ikura

As a rule, I tend to be all about the starters and the mains – I don’t have a sweet tooth, and could quite happily do without. But I’m so glad I went against my usual nature at Jukai – the white sesame blancmange and black tea pannacotta have easily become one of my favourite desserts of all time, although the white sesame blancmange has the edge over the latter, as it has the nuttiness of sesame but with all the creaminess and texture of a traditional blancmange – a true culinary feat.

Jukai NYC, SashimiJukai NYC, Sashimi

With the meal, we had a sparkling rosé from Long Island. I’m ashamed to admit that when it was recommended to me by my waiter, I grimaced – I am not the biggest rosé fan, and I know absolutely nothing about Long Island wines. It was, in fact, really pleasant, and a great accompaniment to the meal – I stand corrected! It’s worth keeping an open mind at Jukai – the gambles certainly paid off for me.

It’s worth booking a table in advance, especially for the tasting menu, as this cosy little basement venue gets quite packed – but in terms of ambience (very modern Japanese), quality of food and value for money you would be hard placed to find better.

Jukai, NYC

Jukai is located on 53rd Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, Manhattan, New York.

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Gluten-free Kinako White Chocolate Cookies

My mother is an excellent cook. I mostly got my love of cooking and food from her, especially when it comes to Japanese cuisine. I was lucky enough to grow up in New York, where there is an abundance of Japanese supermarkets, making sourcing ingredients like dashi (stock), tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) and nori (dried seaweed) really simple. When I went to Manchester for university, I found myself really stuck in terms of finding the basics I was so used to at home. Luckily, there are a few more options in London, like the Japan Centre in Piccadilly Circus or Atariya. They both have great selections, but they’re either completely rammed (Piccadilly is always horrendously crowded due to all the tourists) or quite far out (the end of the Northern line, for both Atariya locations), and getting home can be a massive hassle when you bulk buy rice and other basics, like I do.

Kinako White Chocolate Gluten Free CookiesSo I was completely thrilled when I was contacted by the lovely team from the Japan Food Hall, a Japanese online supermarket based in the UK. They have a great selection of products – everything from Japanese candies and snacks to sauces and mixes for dishes like sushi or hotpot. The website is clear, easy to use, and has great customer service (they even sent along a few snacks and treats with my first order!) It’s perfect for getting all the essentials, without the expense of lugging it all across town.

Kinako White Chocolate Gluten Free Cookies

One of the first items in my order was a bag of kinako, or roasted soybean flour. I love kinako, which is usually eaten with a little bit of brown sugar with roasted mochi, a Japanese rice cake. Kinako flour is gluten free, and has a rich, nutty flavour, which makes it great for incorporating it into Western-style desserts in new and interesting ways. I really like topping vanilla ice cream with it, or having it with some Greek yoghurt, honey and blueberries. For this recipe, I combined some of that nuttiness with some rich white chocolate, in a gluten-free and egg-free biscuit recipe that goes perfectly with a steaming cup of matcha tea.

Gluten-free Kinako White Chocolate Cookies
 
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Kinako flour is gluten free, and has a rich, nutty flavour, which makes it great for incorporating it into Western-style desserts in new and interesting ways. I really like topping vanilla ice cream with it, or having it with some Greek yoghurt, honey and blueberries. For this recipe, I combined some of that nuttiness with some rich white chocolate, in a gluten-free and egg-free biscuit recipe that goes perfectly with a steaming cup of matcha tea.
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Cuisine: Japanese Fusion
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 80g Kinako (roasted soybean) flour
  • 200g Crushed white chocolate
  • 200g Gluten-free flour
  • 125g Butter
  • 50ml Maple Syrup
  • 200ml Agave Syrup
  • Maldon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Matcha tea powder and hot water (optional, to serve)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flours until fully incorporated.
  3. Using a stand or hand mixer, fold the remaining ingredients with the exception of the chocolate.
  4. Stir in the remaining chocolate pieces with a spatula until evenly distributed.
  5. Using a baking tray lined with parchment paper, spoon out the dough.
  6. Leave space between each biscuit as these will spread!
  7. Top each biscuit with a pinch of sea salt, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden.
  8. These are crumbly when hot, so take care when placing these on a cooling rack.
  9. Let them cool – they should be quite chewy, with a creamy flavour.
  10. Serve with some matcha or Darjeeling tea.
Kinako White Chocolate Gluten Free CookiesKinako White Chocolate Gluten Free CookiesI absolutely love using traditional Japanese ingredients and using them to take a new spin on the classic British afternoon tea. For summer, I’ve been thinking of matcha cheesecakes, cucumber maki rolls instead of cucumber sandwiches and roasted hoji-cha tea – with some sparkling fruit sake, of course!

Kinako White Chocolate Gluten Free Cookies

Japan Food Hall have a great selection sure to get your creative juices flowing – and until May 31st you can get free UK delivery when you use the code ErinFreeDelivery3105. Japan Food Hall deliver throughout Europe, so if you’re outside the British Isles you can use the code to get £6 off your total order. To find their site, simply click on the link below, or find links to their social media site at the end of this post!

Let me know what you end up getting – I’d love to hear your ideas!

JFH_Logo_WhiteOnGreen

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This post was in collaboration with the Japan Food Hall – all opinions are fully my own, and I wouldn’t blog it if I didn’t love the service! What recipes and ingredients will you try? Comment below, and be sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!