Sunday, 11 November 2012

A prize, a meal and a little Christmas spirit

Following the great HalloWine evening with Tesco Wine at Halloween my prize arrived mid week - a lovely bottle of Barefoot Merlot and a bar of Galaxy chocolate. That was definitely my kind of  prize.

Barefoot Merlot 750ml
Barefoot Merlot - beautiful flavours of cherry, boysenberry,
plum and chocolate; a lighter merlot.
We enjoyed this Barefoot wine with a Peri Peri chicken from M & S - the spicy chicken was perfect for this merlot. I'm not sure whether the food enhanced the wine or vica versa but it was a delicious meal.

The Galaxy chocolate was a perfect pud, savoured with a Nespresso Roma coffee. All in all a lovely meal very much appreciated by hubby and I.

Saturday saw us shopping in Leicester - not very successful as I could not find any trousers lond enough. It must be the latest styles of cropped legs but the main stores I shopped in before no longer have a tall section and most stores long is just not long enough. Online maybe the only answer.

A shopping trip for us in never complete without a trip to Cafe Rouge - I think by now I know the menu by heart although they do have some exciting new recipes. Tuna Nicoise was my choice and hubby chose a Poulet Baguette - both delicious as always. Stella Artois accompanied the meal and we both enjoyed a Cafe Gourmand dessert. It's a great way to have pud and coffee without over doing it; a hot drink of your choice and a mini dessert, either tart tatin, chocolate ganache or creme brulee. Americano coffee with creme brulee is always our favourite; their coffee is just delicious and the smooth brulee is just enough sweetness to finish any meal.

Today I have started the Christmas spirit - no, not a tipple but a preparation. Last year I made damson vodka which was a huge success. This time I am making Christmas Pudding vodka, all thanks to The Hairy Bikers festive recipe book 12 Days of Christmas. It is very easy to assemble - just waiting time needed. A definite Amazon, WHSmith or The Book People purchase - it has everything you need to know from the big day to parties to little extras.


To end another enjoyable weekend we popped into The Abbey - a Party at the Pub venue here in town. Our son is bartender there - cocktails are his speciality.

As we were only looking for a light lunch their Southern Fried Chicken Wrap and Ginger Glazed Chicken Wrap were perfect. Both filled with succulent chicken, salad and dressing, the wraps held together perfectly.

It's a great venue having a large open bar area but also a private lounge area that can be freely hired for small parties. Their Christmas buffet menus are a great alternative to the usual Christmas fayre but if it's a traditional 3 course meal you're looking for then they have that too.

Next weeks adventures include some home cooking using my many Hairy Bikers cook books, Christmas present ideas and of course a few bottles of wine.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Good Wine, Good Coffee, Good Food

Hubby and I visit Tesco Wine Fair every year, it's a great event and there is a wonderful online Wine Community for sharing tips, ideas and of course recommendations. On Halloween Tesco Wine held a great Twitter party - we had great fun sharing jokes, pictures and spooky themed wine ideas. I was very lucky and won one of their prizes - well done to the other Halloweeners who won too - it was a great night.

Tesco are offering 25% off wine and champagne at the moment if you buy six bottles. Although our cellar is fairly full we couldn't resist when visitng our local store. Our purchases were:

Tesco Finest Pouilly Fume - a crisp white delicious well chilled.

Tesco Finest Cotes de Gascogne - we have yet to try this !

McGuigan Cabernet Sauvignon - Australian - we had this in a restaurant
recently and now have a bottle to try at home

McWilliam's Hayfield Pinot Noir - Australian - we like this brand but have never tried this.

Fish Hoek Chenin Blanc 2010/2011 75cl
Fish Hoek Chenin Blanc - South African - I love their Sauvignon Blanc but have not tried their Chenin Blanc
Casillero Del Diable Cabernet Sauvignon - Chilean - we don't normally like Chilean wine but this was recommended and the Tesco forum so we bought a bottle to try - superb, a lovely deep red with a few spicy under notes. Next time we're trying it with chilli !!
Saturday saw us drive to Bristol to meet our daughter from the train as she has come home for a few days from Uni. We hadn't quite planned a trip south but had a lovely couple of hours in Cheltenham on the way home - a range of shops from high fashion to bargain buckets. A few bits and bobs purchased we realised the car needed moving because the ticket had run out and it was a limited time space - so we grabbed a coffee from my favourite coffee house Caffe Nero.

As I am following Slimming World I find it difficult to grab a snack but Caffe Nero do a lovely snack pot of fresh fruit (although it's not in every cafe). Americano, hot chocolate, caramel wafer and fruit pot to go we made it back to the car just in time. I did remember to get my loyalty card stamped at Caffe Nero so I am well on the way to my next free coffee.

We drove on through the Cotswolds and decided to call in at Stratford Upon Avon for a late lunch/early dinner. We like many of the brand restaurants; Bella Italia, Strada, All Bar One to name a few but my favourite is Cafe Rouge. I love France, the food, the wine, the people, everything and Cafe Rouge is perfect for me everytime.

I decided to try their set lunch which is a change for me as I usually have Salmon Nicoise. There was a good choice at great value.

Set Lunch Menu-One course for £7.95 or two courses for £9.95, available every day from 12pm - 5pm.


Chicken Liver Pâté

Smoked Salmon Crostini

Baked Mushroom Florentine


Tuna Niçoise Salad

Penne Pasta

Chicken Provençale

Omelette & French Fries

I enjoyed the pate followed by a delicious crisp tuna salad with potatoes, egg, anchoives and beans. Hubby and daughter enjoyed a bread board starter followed by half a roast chicken with french fries. Their fries are the best I have tasted and I couldn't resist pinching just one. Hubby is always impressed with their draught Stella, saying it is better than English pubs and almost as good as when we're in France. Every visit is enjoyable for us, Cafe Rouge is definitely our favourite.
I'm not sure where our weekends are taking us next; I'm sure they will be full as we're always busy.
Tips from this weekend:
Tesco Wine offer
Join Tesco Wine Community online
Caffe Nero loyalty card
Cafe Rouge Set Lunch Menu