Brunch Review 2: Sopwell House

Your country home from home- Sopwell House

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One Saturday we ventured out to the Hertfordshire countryside (which actually isn’t that far away from us) to enjoy a delicious breakfast at Sopwell House. Sopwell House is a luxury hotel that is set amongst 12 acres of countryside. They have over 100 rooms, two restaurants, bars and a health and wellbeing centre.

We were not able to book breakfast we were just told to turn up before ten o’clock as that is when it is their busiest time. We arrived a little before 9:30AM and were taken to the breakfast restaurant. We were able to pick the table of our choice and as soon as we were seated the impeccable table service began.

The service at Sopwell House was faultless. The waiters and waitresses were very efficient and incredibly polite they really did make our visit even more enjoyable. We were served tea and coffees and were told to help ourselves to the breakfast that was on display in front of us.

There was so much choice including; Yoghurt, berry compote, selection of cereals, dried fruit and seeds, assortment of pastries, smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers, full English breakfast, freshly baked bread to toast, jams and spreads and also an array of hams and cheeses.

As you can imagine we didn’t know where to start and we basically worked our way through the entire selection, we were one of the lasts ones in the restaurant when it reached 11oclock.

We thought the breakfast was charged fairly at £17.50 per person. The only thing we were slightly confused about was the fact you were allowed to dine in your robes but then again it is a spa hotel and they do want you to feel like you are home from home so we will let them off.

We would love to return to Sopwell House for a Spa weekend as we were blown away by the quality of the breakfast. we can only imagine how relaxed and refreshed we would feel after an entire weekend of pure relaxation.

Refined sugar free banana bread

We really wanted to bake some banana bread one Sunday afternoon when we were browsing the fruit and vegetable isles in the supermarket. Most supermarkets bag up banana that are about to go out of date and sell them for about 20p bargain!

Banana bread is great because you can eat it at any time of the day! Well you can with this banana bread because it is sugar free and still tastes so delicious! The bananas are sweet enough and become even sweeter once cooked so you wont even notice the lack of sugar.

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Ingredients
3 ripe bananas
200G oat flour (we just blend oats that we already have in the cupboard)
30g chopped walnuts
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml milk of your choice
1tbsp coconut sugar (optional)
5g Oats

Method
Pre heat your oven to 180oc
Line your loaf tin and grease with some melted coconut oil
Blend the oats until they are fine and resemble flour
Mush 2 of the bananas in a mixing bowl
Slice the remaning banana
In a separate bowl mix your oat flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and walnuts
Once combined add the mashed banana and half of the slices banana and stir
Pour in the milk and stir
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin
Place the remaining sliced on top of the mixutre
Sprinkle the handful (5g) oats and coconut sugar on top
Bake the banana loaf for 30 minutes until cooked throughout
When cooked let cool and enjoy

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Brunch Review 1: Muriel’s Kitchen

We are on the hunt for the best places to go for brunch in London and Greater London and couldn’t think of a better topic to blog about. As you can probably already tell we are absolute foodies and we would say breakfast is our favourite meal of the day, you can read our blog post about it hereAt the weekend going for brunch is ideal because it means a later breakfast and you can go all out on a big meal to start the day.

We read about Muriel’s Kitchen on The Culture Trip so when we were in the area before a blogging event we just had to take a visit. We tried to book a table online but it was fully booked (we would recommend booking in advance at the weekend), however decided to risk it and turn up. We had to wait around 15 minutes for a table because the whole place was jam packed but it was worth the wait.

Firstly we ordered drinks with Rachel opting to try a juice and Annie going for the bottomless filter coffee (£2 is a bargain!). The juice was delicious and very refreshing and we like the little touch of the cucumber on the side.

We then ordered the toast to share, this came with butter and a whole jar of jam!! The bread was very tasty and there was certainly enough for us to share whilst we waited for the main event! It was so hard to decide what to order for the main brunch. We had watched all the dishes come out the kitchen whilst waiting for a table and were eying up a couple of dishes. As Rachel doesn’t like eggs it was a bit easier to decide, (most brunch dishes always include some form of egg!), and choosing the pancakes was a clear winner. It was harder for Annie to decide however in the end she also went for the pancakes.

When they arrived, our faces and gasps of ‘wow’ even made the waitress chuckle. The presentation wad impressive and the portion size even better! We do not know how the pancakes were made  but they were so fluffy and a bit cake like and had berries in them too. They were then topped with berry coulis, icing sugar and greek yoghurt. We were then given a very generous jug of maple syrup to pour over. I don’t think we need to write any more about because you can just drool over the pictures instead!

We are advocates of brunch and love trying out new places to go. This was definitely a great place to start our hunt for the best place for brunch in London and Greater London. Where would you recommend we try next?

Oaty Breakfast Muffins

Having suffered from digestive problems for over 2 years the last suggestion from the doctors was to follow the low FODMAP diet. This has been a bit of a shock to the system and my first worry was that I wouldn’t be able to eat anything!! However doing some more research, reading lots of blogs and chatting to others on twitter it’s not as bad as it seems. Okay I need to now buy gluten free products and follow a lactose free diet too and cut out certain fruits. However I can eat Greek yoghurt, which is a firm favourite of mine!

I came across a recipe for breakfast muffins and adapted it to suit my new diet. I omitted the flour, and blended oats instead to make a sort of oat flour. This recipe uses honey instead of sugar and also the blueberries add some sweetness to the muffins too!

 Hope you enjoy these, they are the perfect breakfast treat!

2 large eggs
150ml pot Greek yoghurt
50ml sunflower oil
1 banana, mashed
100g blueberry
4 tsp runny honey
1tsp vanilla extract
200g oats, blended (gluten free if necessary)
1 ½ tsp baking powder (gluten free if necessary) 
1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
Handful oats for the topping

1)      Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with large muffin cases.

2)      In a jug mix the eggs, yoghurt, banana, honey and vanilla. If its lumpy then blitz  using the hand blender

3)      In a large bowl mix together, the blended oats, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and blueberries, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

4)      Mix together, but do not over mix and then divide the mixture between the 12 cases.

5)      Sprinkle on the oats and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, ensuring when a skewer is inserted is comes out clean

6)      Leave to cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

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You could also make these with raspberries or any other type of berries. You could also add a scoop of unflavoured or vanilla protein powder to the muffins for the ideal post workout snack!

Banana bread baked porridge

We absolutely love experimenting with oats, especially when we are making our porridge (also known as oatmeal in the USA). Porridge is the perfect winter warmer on a cold February morning helping us to refuel after a morning workout.

We love banana bread so we decided to make our very own banana bread baked porridge. This recipe is absolutely delicious and we would recommend making it as soon as you can. We do put nuts in this recipe but if you have an allergy then it still tastes delicious without.

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Ingredients
50g Oats
1 ripe banana
50ml milk of your choice
30ml water
3 walnuts chopped

Method
Pre heat the oven to 180oc
Mash your banana in mixing bowl
Add in the oats and walnuts and then stir until combined
Pour in the water and milk and continue to mix
Place in the oven for 25/30 minutes until the oats are cooked and the colour is golden brown.

Let us know if you decide to make the porridge and please send us photos as we love to see them!

Dao Vegan Cafe – Sihanoukville 

I am absolutely loving the Cambodia food here however sometimes you want something other than rice and noodles 3 times a day!

So when we came across the vegan cafe on our arrival to Sihanoukville  you can imagine the sheer delight on our faces. We just had to go for breakfast, we skipped the free breakfast before the boat trip and headed to the cafe.

The cafe was situated right by the pier above another cafe with views over the sea. The menu was amazing so much to choose from it was hard to decide. I went for the pancakes which were incredible but two of the girls had avocado and spinach on toast and the other had banana and peanut butter on toast which both looked equally delicious.

The food tasted super fresh and healthy and just what we all wanted! We all also enjoyed fruit smoothies which were incredible.

I would recommend this cafe to anyone visiting Sihanoukville! 

BLOGMAS Day 4- Baked Christmas Porridge

When someone says breakfast porridge is the first thing that comes to our mind. We cannot get enough of the stuff especially during the winter months when the mornings are so much colder. We have experimented with porridge a lot over the past year and even have a porridge series on our blog (recipes include Peanut butter and jelly & a taste of autumn).

We knew during blogmas we had to create a porridge recipe, we have mixed it up a bit though and gone for a baked porridge. This is the first time we have ever cooked baked porridge but oh my goodness it was delicious and we will definitely be having it more often.

It does take slightly longer to cook than ordinary porridge, so we will probably have to save this for the weekends when we have much more time on our hands.  We hope you have fun recreating our recipe and let us know what you think!

Ingredients
50g Porridge oats
30ml Milk of your choice (may need more depending on the size of your bowl)
Drizzle of water
Red currants fresh or frozen (we used frozen)
Chopped mixed nuts
½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
½ tsp Ground Ginger

Method
Pre heat the oven to 180oc
You will need an oven proof dish we got ours from tiger
Place the oats and nuts into the dish and stir so ingredients combine
Scatter the red currants on top
Pour your milk on top of the mixture and top with water
Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes