family meals

American Dining at Ed's Easy Diner

Did I ever mention that my family and I love an American diner? Many years ago, when I first moved to the UK, I would drag Husband around London looking for acceptable American fare. I needed to know where I could get burgers, milkshakes and pancakes if I had an urgent craving. Fourteen years ago, there were only a handful of places to get American-style food. Nowadays, they are everywhere. There are now more American restaurants and diners in London than I have fingers and toes. One place we have frequented a few times is Ed's Easy Diner.

If you're not familiar with Ed's, it is a chain of 1950s-style American diners. They have booths, as well as  tables, cute jukeboxes and  My family and I last went about five months ago. My son has recently become obsessed with cheeseburgers, and we're all fans, so it makes life easier to eat at restaurants where they serve cheeseburgers. Recently, the people from Ed's invited us for a family meal to check out their new junior menu.

Dining out with kids is made so much easier with a great children's menu. Ed's Junior Bites is made for kids 10 and under. For £5.95, you get a main, side and a drink. One issue I have with many children's menus is that there is enough food for my 4-year old, but my 8-year old ends up still hungry. I would rather the kids had more proper food and less dessert. At Ed's, my 8-year old was properly full while my 4-year old had food remaining. Take note other restaurants!

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Sunday Lunch at Formans

This weekend we had a family lunch in east London to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday. I love trying out new restaurants so I was eager to visit Formans Restaurant in Hackney Wick. The restaurant is located in the H. Forman factory (they are the oldest curers of salmon in Britain).  The factory was designed into a salmon-like shape (see my last photo).

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My Christmas Cake Photo

We don't like traditional Christmas cakes in our household. So every year I make a different kind of cake. Last year we had a Madeira cake. This year we had Red Velvet Cake with Lactofree cream cheese icing. I had been afraid that the kids would not like cream cheese icing, but they loved it. As I was trying to take photos of the cake, I saw a few that stood out. Dubz was in the background, furiously stuffing huge pieces of cake into his smallish two-year old mouth. Such a silly, funny little man. We had just eaten a huge dinner, after a day of eating yummy treats, and he was eating cake like he was starving.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, filled with delicious food and the people you love most in the world.

 

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Burger Challenge

We've only recently started going to restaurants again. Dubz has been at that tricky stage where he just wants to walk and run and not actually sit down for more than five minutes. So eating out has been a challenge. But now that he is 2 1/2, he is getting more accustomed to sitting down and not trying to climb around on tables. So we ventured out at the weekend to take part in another challenge: the Battle of the Burgers at Thyme restaurants.

There are six special burgers to choose from. And they are not small. I chose the BBQ Smokestack (pictured above). How could I not have a beef burger that has bacon and an onion ring? I love onion rings! The burger was yummy, but the patty was too big for me. I couldn't quite finish the burger (or my chips), so I do wish it was a bit smaller. Although I am American, I like British portions.

Husband chose the Union Jack burger. There is no photo because after I took a photo of my burger, his burger was not fit to be photographed. It's a beef burger with bacon and an egg. He enjoyed it and managed to eat it all. This was not a surprise.

The burgers are £12.99 each, but that includes fries, coleslaw and dipping sauce. You can also order a Brewdog craft beer that has been picked to compliment the burgers. The kids' favourite part were the ice cream sundaes for pudding. We were really impressed with the service (we dined at the Putney Premier Inn) and the prices. We were worried, that as the only family with small children in the restaurant, we would disturb the the other diners. But everyone seemed quite understanding.

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Battle of the Burgers is taking place at Thyme restaurants until the 7th December 2014. Share a photo of your favourite burger, alongside its hashtag and tag @premierinn on Twitter or Instagram. There are 50 vouchers to be won (each worth £20) and winners will be chosen at random. I have voted for the #bbqsmokestack. Who will you vote for?

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We were given a complimentary meal for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

 

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When the lovely people at John Lewis Oxford Street invited Moozles and me for a day of pizza-making and pizza-eating, we were thrilled. We love eating pizza. And regular readers of my blog will know that I love John Lewis.

John Lewis wanted to celebrate their new Italian restaurant - Rossopomodoro. And they very kindly showed my daughter, along with some other blogger kids, how to make pizza dough. As the dough needs at least a couple of hours to rise, we got boxes in which to take home our dough. And the very talented pizza chef made us yummy pizzas.

The kids had a great time, and we all got to eat some delicious pizza. We were also able to order other items for lunch, so I had to try the courgettes (what Italians and Americans call zucchini - my favourite vegetable). Moozles also enjoyed chomping on bits of basil as there were pots on the tables. I would definitely eat here again. Not only was the food delicious and the decor modern and light, but the prices were comparable to Pizza Express.

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We brought home our dough, which had had about five hours to rise. Husband made some tomato sauce while Moozles stretched and rolled out the dough. She loved this. And her little brother wanted a go, so we gave Dubz some of her dough to make a teeny tiny pizza. After adding some mozzarella and fresh basil, the margherita pizzas were ready. Sadly we don't have a cool pizza oven, but the pizzas turned out really well and they were almost as delicious as the ones from Rossopomodoro.

We have decided to start making fresh pizza once a week. We already have a pizza cutter (which is so useful we use to cut/slice loads of things). But I would like to also get this pizza stone. Not only are they supposed to help the pizza cook evenly, but this one can be used to display the pizza on the table. John Lewis have some other great tableware to choose from.

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John Lewis invited us to Rossopomodoro to enjoy pizza yumminess for the purpose of this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

 

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Yo Sushi Leamington

We visit my in-laws in Leamington Spa quite regularly. And we were lucky to be there last week for the opening of the new Yo! Sushi. Yo! Sushi is my daughter's favourite restaurant. Moozles loves sushi and especially loves seeing the food come by on the conveyor belt. Her favourite sushi is the Yo! Roll (raw salmon and avocado surrounded by rice and smelt roe).

Now you might be thinking, 'Who cares? I don't like raw fish.' Well, you don't need to eat raw fish at Yo! Sushi. In fact, you don't need to eat any fish at all. Just ask Husband (the man does not like fish, not even fish fingers!!!!). Yo! Sushi offer warm dishes such as chicken, beef, fried rice and noodles. There are even vegetarian options. Husband especially enjoyed the Beef Tataki (basically rare beef). I wish I had taken photos of the food, but everything was so yummy that nothing lasted very long.

I had brought snacks for my two-year old, Dubz. He had never tried sushi before and I thought he might share some of his father's silly tastes. Seeing my son wolf down raw tuna and salmon -- oh how it made my heart soar. Moozles better be prepared. We might have to start bringing her brother along on our sushi dates.

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If you live in/nearby Leamington Spa, pop on over to Yo! Sushi for yumminess. They're located on Livery Street. The food is delicious and the service is fantastic. And don't worry if you have children, they have high chairs and a menu noting items that children might like.
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I nabbed our free meals at Yo Sushi through a Facebook offer for Leamington customers. I wrote the post out of my own desire to let people know that Yo! Sushi rocks!
 

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Last week I received £80 worth of Morrisons vouchers in the post from Britmums. Luckily I was not being recorded as I danced quite a silly little jig in excitement. I had never shopped at Morrisons before our holiday in Dorset last month. Two of our holiday cottage's closest supermarkets were Morrisons and after two shopping trips I was impressed with their selection and price. Morrisons have recently reduced the prices on thousands of items so we were interested to see how far the £80 would get us. We normally spend £100 on groceries per week, so we were expecting to get all of our weekly essentials and then some. So on Saturday afternoon, along with Husband and the two demons kids, we went to the Morrisons in Wimbledon. 

The Wimbledon Morrisons is bigger than I expected, considering it is right on the high street. I was worried that the prices might be higher, due to its central location, but we found many of the items on our shopping list were discounted, which made our £80 go farther than expected. I especially liked the vegetable misters and the lady making fresh pizzas. I thought the fishmonger and butcher were well-stocked, but the bakery section was quite small. We bought items for the next day's barbecue as well as family essentials such as milk (organic and Lactofree), free-range eggs, cereal, bread, fruit and vegetables. We also bought some ready meals. Husband does most of the cooking and he's going away for his first business trip (he'll be gone for six days!) so I thought it would be handy to have some quick dinners.

A few of my best buys include the Morrisons wholemeal bread (800g loaf for £.59) which was delicious, one box of Shreddies (500g box for £1.15) and six soft white rolls (£.32). We also found a bottle of Gordon's Gin, which was cheaper than in Ocado, Sainsburys, Asda and Tesco (70 cl for £12). This couldn't come at a better time as we had just finished our last bottle of gin. Our total came to £77.90 and we used the remaining £2.00 to pay for our parking. We were impressed by the quality and will definitely be popping into the Morrisons the next time we're on Wimbledon High Street.

BBQ:

Two packs of Pork Hamburgers £1.56 + £1.36 = £2.92 
One pack of Free-range sausages = £2.50
One pack of free-range bacon = £2.50
Organic courgettes (two in pack) = £1.29
Six soft white rolls = £0.32
Total:   £9.53
Per Person:  £2.38
 

Husband made Cheeseburgers with bacon. This was our first time trying pork burgers and they were delicious! We ate everything but had two sausages left over, which Husband sneaked into a bap later. We already had lettuce, tomato and cheese for the burgers, as well as condiments. We grilled courgettes as these are my favourite vegetables and I could eat them everyday. Here's how:

Grilled Courgettes
Slice courgettes into long ribbons, lengthways.
Lightly oil courgettes with 3-4 tbsp of olive oil.
Season with salt, pepper and garlic.
Grill courgettes for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Serve warm. 

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I often post recipes/tutorials of food that I like to bake/make, so some people may think I am a good cook. I was even nominated for a MADS Best Food Blog. But I have a confession. I am actually not a very good cook. Some may even say I'm a terrible cook. Of course, if they did say that, I would take my whisk and throw it at their head. Anyway, last week, while my 5-year old Moozles was eating the pasta with pesto that I so quickly lovingly made, she told me that I was the 'best cooker ever'. I asked her what dishes she most liked. She replied, 'pasta with pesto' and 'hot dogs'. So you can see that I am no culinary master. By the way, I 'make' hot dogs on Fridays as I am tired and the kids think it is a fun dinner. So get off my back.

Anyway, Husband does a lot of the cooking, but I have a few easy dishes in rotation that help get me by. So I thought I would start a weekly post, as part of Tasty Tuesdays, to help all you not-so-great cooks out there. We'll first be starting with Quesadillas, which is a Mexican dish. Queso means cheese in Spanish. Being from California, we eat a lot of Mexican (authentic and Tex-Mex). This is a great dish to make when you only have five minutes to make dinner. Tortillas normally keep for about a month, so they are a great item to keep in your cupboard. I normally make with just cheese for the kids, but we sometimes add ham or else I use leftover chicken from a roast (which I shred and bind with mayo and cheese). When Moozles was two she called these Cheese Diyas.

Cheese Quesadillas (feeds two small children)
Two tortillas
Grated or sliced cheddar cheese

Add cheese to one tortilla. Lay another tortilla on top. Saute in frying pan on medium heat, no oil or butter needed. Flip over after 1-2 minutes. Do other side until equally browned. That's it.    

                                













Lunch or dinner is ready. Very quick, very easy. And if you want to eat it as a family, it tastes quite nice with a side salad. And we sometimes have guacamole and sour cream for dipping.

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