Dirt Health – NCL

Dirt Health – NCL

Dirt Health has being on my list for a long while now, combined with their incredibly appetising menu and a friend who frequents there far too often, (giving me serious FOMO), I knew this had to be the first place I visited when I returned. Dirt Health is situated on Chillingham Road in Heaton, somewhere that’s rapidly becoming the hub of all new cool independent eateries. So get yourself on a metro and head there!

Now before I get into the details, I want to take a minute to throw all the stereotypes out the window for ‘healthy food / clean eating places’. There is absolutely no reason why anyone cannot enjoy eating well. You don’t have to be gym honed, macro mad or a green juice gal or guy to ‘fit in’ here. Walking into dirt, there were families, middle aged couples, gym goers, foodies and young businessmen. It is for everyone, which is something Jess, the owner is so passionate about.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to brandish other healthy eateries over the realms of social media but, I get that not everywhere is welcoming and can make you feel self conscious if it’s not typically ‘your vibe’. But forget that completely Dirt emphasises the importance of looking after yourself and the planet. Basically, if you want to eat food that not only tastes great but makes you feel supercharged and refreshed while supporting locally sourced ingredients and packaging that helps the planet, then you should go. ASAP. The interior is also minimalistic but straight to the point, it’s inviting, cool, and like the food, fresh yet makes a statement.

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I love signage especially when it’s straight to the point
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Check out that ethos!

 

Moving onto the food because, that’s what we all want the lowdown on. Both the food and drinks menu’s are packed with so many options, think smoothie bowls, bulletproof coffee, superfood lattes, sweet potato pancakes, pulled jackfruit tacos and buddha bowls while also featuring daily/weekly specials. Now don’t quote me on it but I think inspiration derived from the more Australian style of healthy eateries, bringing a more fun and fresh feel to what is provided by others in this field in the UK. Now don’t forget desserts, theres so many raw treats like carrot cake and tiramisu, all the feels of an indulgent dessert but none of the guilt, clearly a win win situation. I think it’s also important to address that Dirt cater for all types of eating choices and lifestyle preferences, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, you get the idea. Also, for all you macro counters or just generally interested customers, they got you covered, every single thing from full dishes to sides are detailed with the total calories, carbs, protein and fats, so perfect if you’re wanting to stay on track!

The final thing I want to address is service, now if you read my previous post, you’ll know that I’m a stickler for service and think it’s hugely important in shaping my opinion on a place. The service is faultless, every member of the team knows the menu inside out and can help you with any suggestions or queries you may have, may sound a small thing but you’d be surprised how many places are let down by this. Feedback is welcomed and so is conversation, I had a great chat with the owner while I was there, all about the history, inspiration and future plans. The passion that comes across for Dirt by all the team is amazing and clearly is testament to Jess and of course to everyone that is involved, making it a really happy and positive place to visit.

Bulletproof coffee, iced matcha latte, shakshuka and crispy cajun chicken were what we devoured that day and they were all fantastic and bursting with flavour. I definitely could have chosen so many different dishes but, got to have a reason to go back right?

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Is it weird I admire the plates as much as I do the food? 

Katsuya

Katsuya

Hello!!

I cannot quite believe it’s June, love island is starting and summer is fast approaching, where did the time go?!

If you follow my instagram, you’ll know that I recently returned to Dubai. Dubai is so lucky with its restaurant scene, over the years, just like Dubai itself, it has expanded into something crazy but oh so exciting.

When I return to Dubai, I always like to visit some of my favourites, but I also stress the importance of exploring and trying a few new restaurants, and this time one of which was Katsuya.

Katsuya describes itself as Japanese cuisine with californian fusion and has many restaurants, sadly none of which are in the UK but if you happen to be visiting the likes of Las Vegas or LA then you should definitely check it out.

Katsuya in Dubai now has 2 restaurants (third coming soon!), one in Emirates mall and the other in the newly opened Jumeriah Al’ Nasseem which is part of the Madinat Jumeriah complex.

The menu is vast and full of flavour with plenty of options to suit differing tastebuds. Something I love about this cuisine is that it invites you to share the meal with others, so in my case, it translates as ordering as much as you possibly can and getting to sample all of it, instead of being confined to an individual starter, main, dessert (does this make me greedy?!). Katsuya also highlight in their menu the chef’s favourites, which is always quite useful when you’re visiting somewhere for the first time, not sure what to go for and simply if you want a change from your usual options.

All in all there were a good 15 dishes that came to the table and were taken away with nothing left on them, so safe to say, we chose well. But the stand out dishes for me are as follows;

Crispy Rock Shrimp – never in life have I tasted anything like this, the flavours and the sauce they were coated in were just unbelievable. You also get a lot for your money with this starter so definitely a good option to go for!

Chicken Karage – This Japanese crispy chicken is served with a yuzu aioli. The serving portion is small, so I definitely would recommend ordering 2 lots of this if this is your thing (I wish I had). Also quite possibly the best aioli I’ve ever had, such a unique warmth flavouring combined with a refreshing aftertaste, there’s nothing quite like it.

Tuna Ceviche Tacos – Really enjoyed these, if you’re not a red onion lover though, I would probably advise against them.

Wagyu Tobanyaki – Unreal just unreal, I’m talking melt in the mouth good.

Chicken Teriyaki – This was a really light dish, and also one of the less pricey options on the menu, but by no means did that translate in any way to the quality. This was really flavoursome yet simplistic, and something I think would go down well with even the fussiest of eaters.

Miso-Marinated Black Cod – This I always think is an absolute essential when dining with this cuisine, Nobu were previously my top rated for Black Cod but it’s safe to say they have now being replaced. This is a Katsuya signature dish, and it definitely held up to expectations, the sweet miso it’s coated in really took this to the next level.

Of course, a lot of other small plates were sampled such as Salmon and caviar sashimi, Japanese Mushroom Bops and Vegetable Tempura but like these and the others, although they were great choices and really enjoyable, they just didn’t quite hit the top spot for me.

The final thing I feel I have to address is the service; now for me, this is a quintessential factor in having a memorable dinner. The service was impeccable from start to finish, there’s some really cool quirks to the service upon arriving and I don’t want to ruin that for you, so I guess you’ll have to go and find out what they are!

Alice x

P.S If you wanna see some of the pictures from the meal, keep up to date with my instagram here

Busk

Busk

If you follow me on instagram here, you will know that this week I went to check out newly opened Busk.

It was a beautiful day in York which made a nice change to the rainy weather England has had of recent. Anyway, as Busk is situated in Fulford and I was in the central part of the city, the walk took me all of about 5-10 minutes from Fenwicks – not far at all for a good caffeine fix.

Now I am no interior designer, but I do appreciate design and it’s something I love exploring in my spare time. Busk is everything I want my own coffee shop to be like, a strong rich blue complemented by gold signage makes it stand out for all the right reasons. The inside is completed with drop down light bulbs at the window, that gives a warm, snug feeling, while using black light fixtures in the central space complemented by wood panelling as a counterpoint, all brought together by using a mirror style board to display the coffee and food menu.

The coffee used is by roost roastery, located in Malton, so local produce is always a win! It tasted great, full of flavour and went down super easy. I cannot comment on the food offering, which compromises oats, sandwiches, salads etc you get the idea but the cakes were fab, and there was A LOT to choose from; definitely an option for everyone.

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Their plans for expansion are really exciting but that’s not for me to inform you about, so get there yourself and hear all about it!!

Alice x

Biscoff Rocky Road – Easter Addition

Biscoff Rocky Road – Easter Addition

Hello!!

So Easter is fast approaching, for all of you that gave something up for lent, the finish line is near so well done and keep going; for those of you that didn’t (including myself), well, there’s always next year. With just over a week to go until most indulge in an easter egg or two, I thought it was only fitting to start the preparations with something sweet.

This weekend I was craving rocky road after some people on my social media feed had been busy baking, so I thought this week I’d jump in on the action. Personally, I’m not normally a rocky road fan, I don’t like it when it’s too biscuity and I also don’t like baking chocolate for things like this, I like to use the big brands like Lindt, Galaxy, Milky bar and Dairy milk. SO as they say, if you want something done well, then do it yourself and that is what I did.

Rocky road takes minimal time and effort, I think this took me tops 15 minutes from start to finish (lazy bakers, I got you), except the wait for it to set which feels like forever when you just wanna eat it. It’s also great because you can add in ingredients that you prefer, or you’re craving, so it really is such a universal recipe. Buuuut if you want one to follow, then keep reading and let’s get started.

What you need: – All these ingredients are readily available at most ‘big’ supermarkets.

  • Baking tin (I personally like to use a deep square brownie style tin, the recipe is pretty calorific so spread these ingredients out!!) and Baking parchment to line the tray.
  • 130g Lotus Biscoff Spread – The smooth one is best for this recipe, because you’re going to be melting it. 
  • 175g Lotus Biscoff Biscuits
  • 25g Maltesers
  • 1 Mars Bar
  • 400g White Chocolate – Milky Bar is my personal fave 
  • 50g Unsalted Butter
  • 125g Marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup of Raisins
  • 7 Glace Cherries Halved
  • Mini Eggs – or anything you want for the top decoration – Malteser mini bunnies would also be a good choice

What you need to do: 

  1. When you’re melting chocolate you’re playing with time before it starts to partially set, so I strongly advise making sure you have your tin lined with parchment and all your ingredients ready and measured before you start!
  2. Break up/Smash the lotus biscuits (how thick or fine you want this is totally up to you but I like a fairly chunky biscuit pieces) and maltesers and chop up the mars bar into chunks and put it all into a big bowl.
  3. Melt the butter until smooth – about 1 minute in a microwave.
  4. Melt the white chocolate until smooth and then fold in the butter in a large bowl. While this is happening also melt the lotus biscoff spread in the microwave this took me about 1 min 30 as it’s thick spread but keep an eye you don’t want it to burn!
  5. Fold the melted biscoff spread into the chocolate and butter mixture until all combined.
  6. Add all the biscuits/mars bar into the mixture and fold until all combined.
  7. After this, then chuck in the marshmallows, raisins and cherries into the mixture and fold – this is an arm workout within itself as the mixture starts to get thick and you need to make sure it is mixed well!
  8. Pour the mixture into the tin and decorate the top how you wish, for me it was mini eggs, but feel free to even melt more biscoff to drizzle over the top and top with whatever you fancy!
  9. Let it set for a couple hours in the fridge
  10. Cut into about 16-20 pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge, but of course, make sure you try some before you box it away!

 

So it’s as simple as that, let me know if you give this a go and what you think!

 

Alice x

 

 

A Bit of Everything Banana Bread

A Bit of Everything Banana Bread

So you may have seen on my instagram story this morning, that I decided to whip up a fresh batch of banana bread. As I’ve got older I’ve become increasingly bothered and conscious with exactly what I’m putting into my body and how I’m choosing to fuel it. I’ve always been lucky enough to have grown up around a balanced lifestyle but as we all know, uni isn’t always the healthiest period of your life and you can definitely slip up along the way! I’ve had a few issues over the years but there is NO POINT feeling bad or guilty about it, you just gotta move on and focus on making sure you’re healthy; mind, body and soul.

I still have a seriously strong sweet tooth so now I try and find ways to satisfy it without all the refined sugars etc etc but don’t get me wrong I am still the first one down the aisle when family bags of galaxy counters, golden eggs and dairy milk daim are on deal.

I have many different banana bread recipes from my own experimentation to good old recipe books, but my all time favourites takes inspiration from the Helmsley sisters but tweaked to suit what I like! SO here we go:

What you’re gonna need:

  • A nice medium sized deep loaf tin to cook this deliciousness in
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 1 Tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1.5 Scoops of Chocolate Protein Powder – this is optional, I hate protein powder with a passion I just cannot hack it but, I once put it in this recipe on a whim and COULD NOT taste it and was super pleased so now I always pop it in. I use women’s best
  • 40g Coconut Flour or 60 g if not using protein powder
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • 1.5 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 2 Tbsps of Maple Syrup
  • Raisins – I don’t measure this but I like to use a large handful
  • Coconut flakes – Again, optional, I just like to scatter it through the mixture if i’m wanting to spice things up a bit
  • Sunflower Seeds – small handful
  • Dark Chocolate Chips – I’ve used all sorts of dark chocolate but I find the Dr Oetker 70% dark work the best – You only need half of one of these packets but hey, if you wanna use more, I’m totally down for that too. 

What you need to do:

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC and line a loaf tin with baking paper.
  • Peel the bananas and mash until smooth.
  • Apart from the raisins, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds and coconut, whisk the dry ingredients together, then stir in the eggs, mashed banana and the rest of the wet ingredients using only 1 Tbsp of maple syrup and mix until smooth. Alternatively, if you have a food processor, chop the banana and put in the food processor then throw everything else in (except the ingredients already highlighted) and blend until smooth.
  • Take mixture out of food processor or bowls and fold in raisins and chocolate chips. At this point if you’re wanting to add some coconut in, scatter and fold through also.
  • Pour the batter into the lined loaf tin. Drizzle 1tbsp of maple syrup over the top and then scatter sunflower seeds and dark chocolate chips over the top, add some raisins too if you fancy!
  • Bake at 180ºC for 45-50 mins or until a knife comes out clean. Keep an eye though, dependant on your loaf tray it can sometimes quicker or longer (helpful I know).
  • Cool on a rack completely before turning out of the tin.

There we have it! This should give you 12 generous portions and store in an airtight container for up to a week – 10 days, I find it works perfectly with an iced coffee for an extra added boost (no syrups though) or a green tea; if you’re feeling healthy. For an indulgent treat, drizzle some warm nutella over your slice and serve with raspberries. Oh and try not to eat it all at once!

Alice x

Caffeine Kicks

Hello! It’s been a while right?

Things have been HECTIC recently, but I’m back now and that’s all that matters. So I’m kicking off with a brand new post all about coffee, because quite frankly I love it and I couldn’t imagine life without it, yes seriously.

Anyone that knows me, knows I’m a coffee snob, (there’s just no way of saying it nicely) SO that means I’ve become very good at whittling down my list. It’s nice sometimes to be able to go somewhere where you can go just for coffee and don’t feel the pressure by customers or anyone in general to eat something. I definitely have a solid set for Newcastle, Leeds and York; (Manchester and London I’m working on) so my first instalment is going to be about my home city of YORK!

York has really improved is coffee game over the past few years, once littered with chains, the independent coffee shops are growing by the day and some of the long standing ones are finally getting the recognition they deserve, from more than just the locals.

So let me give you a run down of my favourites aaaaannd because I’m such a great person I’ve organised this in a somewhat ‘coffee trail’ style list, thank me later:

1 – Stanley and Ramona

So to begin our journey we’re starting on Bishopthorpe Road. You know by now I love this place and if not, you can see my early post on Stanley and Ramona here. In short, the coffee is fantastic using a single origin blend and they offer a variety of different styles. Whether you sit inside or out it’s a great place to go on your own or with friends or family. IMG_7530

2 – Dyls

Walking down from Bishopthorpe road and over Skeldergate bridge is where you’ll find Dyls, after been closed for so long due to the nightmare floods in York we often experience, it is now finally back up and running. I have only been here once so far, but it definitely left a lasting impression on me. Apart from the beautiful decorated 3 floor turret style building (forgive me I don’t know the technical word and I really should all considering), and they’re great selection of Gins – which I will be returning for; their Mochas were absolutely delightful. Dyls do it right and chuck away all the powdered chocolate rubbish and bring in the top quality pure thick melted belgian chocolate of which you can choose from milk or dark. This 100% makes the difference and they have definitely placed Mocha’s well and truly back on the coffee options. Oh and the coffee that underpins the mocha also tasted great too, so all in all it’s a good choice to make.

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3 – Gatehouse Coffee

Gatehouse coffee is so great for all the aesthetic reasons, located on the walmgate bar, they have cold brew on tap – what a dream! I love to go to Gatehouse when friends are visiting purely because its something you don’t expect. If you head here I’d recommend wrapping up warm (weather dependant) and heading outside on to one of the two floors they have. The only downside is that the students of York tend to take up the inside seating during the week, which I can’t complain about as being a student myself I was definitely guilty of doing this in Newcastle. All that been said, Gatehouse is beautifully historic and ‘so York’!

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4 – Fossgate Social

This cosy little place on Fossgate is a great chill out space for a coffee stop during your day or evening in York. It does a bit of everything and that’s why I rate it, did anyone say Espresso Martini’s? Amen. Its terrace garden at the back is really cute too, perfect for those slightly warmer days because trust me, this place gets packed on every single floor!

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5 – The Dark Horse Espresso Bar

A new addition to the York coffee scene is The Dark Horse Espresso Bar which is located in the Shambles Market. Serving Allpress Coffee and some great sweet treats too, it’s bang on central for all your coffee needs, again you can choose to take a seat on the benches provided or grab and go which is what I tend to do, and a takeout coffee has never tasted SO good.

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6 – The Perky Peacock

I love Perky Peacock again due to it’s beautiful location on Lendal Bridge, another place visitors revel in because you don’t really get a great coffee in such a historic hidden gem. This one is now their main coffee shop and you can see why, they always have a plethora of options and have the knowledge backed up to support it also!

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7 – Rae & Webb

My final destination is on Gillygate and it is the one and only Rae & Webb, some argue it’s a bit of a walk from the ‘centre’ but I’d say different, it’s about 5 minutes, so get moving and head there! The owners are wonderful and you are always greeted with a smile, it’s a great chilled out vibe where you can literally watch the world go by; with great coffee too – obviously.

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So there we have it and here ends this post, let me know if you check any of these out next time you’re around and about in York.

Alice  x

*disclaimer* maybe don’t visit all in one day caffeine is dangerous if you have too much.

Stanley & Ramona

Stanley & Ramona

We’re 2 weeks into 2018 and more than likely you’re back into the swing of things, back to normality is good after the Christmas and new year festivities right? Part of my normality is a good coffee, and by good coffee I mean I’m a coffee snob (I hold my hands up) and incredibly particular and get really annoyed if I’ve paid for a bang on average coffee.

THAT IS NOT THE CASE at Stanley & Ramona. Located on Bishopthorpe road they have honed in on that craft and absolute smashed the coffee game out the window! Stanley & Ramona and its new owners have not being open too long but they have very quickly acclaimed the place of probably my favourite place to grab a coffee in York. So if you want to know more, read on…..

Lets start with the faces of Stanley & Ramona, two wonderful women, everything is made by them, from your latte to your cake to your breakfast plate. They are super friendly and knowledgeable about their craft and you are always greeted with a smile. The place has such a welcoming and calming vibe, whether you go with friends or on your own, they’ve created an ambience that fits for every person and every occasion.

As you can see below the interior itself is a combination of blue and yellow tones which just works perfectly so vibrant and fresh. The thing I love the most is what I term as the drinks feature wall. This is where the coffee and tea options are detailed and what I like the most is the fact that any specials such as guest coffees and syrups can be simply added by chalk. It just gives this really cool laid back vibe (if that’s even possible from a bit of writing?). If you’re going for take out, Stanley & Ramona are also good to the environment using all recycle and biodegradable cups and straws.
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Moving onto the sweet treats, every time I visit Stanley & Ramona I don’t think I’ve had the same thing twice, this is because they are so experimental in the kitchen. These days I think this is so important to have various offerings and change them up often, even if you have a favourite, you don’t want it all the time because then you get bored, at least I do. Stanley & Ramona also cater for all, they normally always have gluten free, healthy and vegan choices as well as a good old decadent piece of cake or brownie! Some of my favourites have included their butternut squash loaf cake, which completely changed the game for me in terms of vegetable based cakes, chocolate orange cake, their mince pies which were a household favourite when I brought some home this christmas and their brownies are TO DIE FOR, think big chocolate chunks! They also offer a brunch menu, which holds some classics such as avo toast and homemade maple pecan granola and yoghurt. My most recent visit saw me pick up apple and cinnamon flapjack, banana and nutella muffins and a chocolate brownie. Each and every single choice had so many flavoursome tones running through them and none of them were heavy or over facing, the perfect portion that leaves you satisfied but ready to go back for more next time you’re passing.

Saving the best bean till last (my jokes are terrible I know), lets talk about the coffee! Stanley & Ramona use single origin coffee over using a blend which you find is used to make most chain shop coffees. To strip this down to basics, single origin coffee tends to be more expensive than a blend but they are of much better quality as all the beans come from one country. Their coffee is amazing, perfect drinking temperature and my go-to latte or flat white are created with the perfect texture; the taste? Smooth with subtle aromas and notes coming through to leave you feeling very content with your coffee. If you’ve got an eye for detail you’ll also notice from my pictures that the plates and cups & saucers are matched to the interior, this pleases all my aesthetic needs!

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So if you add anything to your ‘to-do’ list this year, or want somewhere to try this weekend, then I highly recommend taking a visit here.

Have a great weekend, full of food and fun!

Alice x