Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Red's True BBQ, Leeds

There are some food experiences that I just know from the word go that I'm going to share on here, Red's True BBQ was one of them. Situated right near the Corn Exchange in Leeds, Red's is an American style BBQ restaurant offering different types of meats smoked low and slow with glazes and rubs. They go on an annual pilgrimage to the Southern States of America to meet and learn from the worlds best BBQ joints to bring back stacks of new ideas to keep it as authentic as possible for us UK heathens who don't really have a clue what a proper BBQ really is. 

Red's has definitely taught me a few things about how BBQ-ing should be done.



Firstly, the menu is immense and it does take a while to get your head around it; we had a really helpful server who showed us the ropes and gave us some recommendations because we were a little bit overwhelmed with choice. We decided to order a couple of things from the 'Little Plates' menu just to eat while we were deciding which turned out to be a very good call because we got a little taster of what was to come. The service was lightening fast, they were literally with us within about 5 minutes of ordering which I was really impressed with.


On the left we have the BBQ Rib Taster which is a selection of Red's legendary pork ribs, they are so unbelievably tender, moist and tasty; definitely the best ribs I've ever tasted. On the right there's the BBQ Wrapped JalapeƱos, we chose these because it was something different that we'd never tasted before. They were definitely tasty but a little too hot for Jason to handle (I know, it's a jalapeƱo but he insisted the one he had was hotter than any he'd had before), so hot that he had to ask the server for something to cool his mouth down because the Diet Pepsi he had wasn't cutting it so she recommended a milkshake (more on that later). 

We eventually decided on a selection of meats from the 'Meat Combos' list because neither of us wanted to leave feeling like we'd missed out so here goes...


Beef Long Ribs, Mashed 'Taters, Giant Onion Rings 

I've never tried beef ribs so after the pork ribs were so amazing in the starter this was an obvious choice especially as the server recommended them. They were melt-in-your-mouth tender smothered in the amazing Red's Unholy BBQ sauce. I think ribs can be a little thin on the ground where meat is concerned and they can often be more bone than anything else but these were the total opposite; so much meat! The mashed 'taters with white gravy were a gorgeous alternative to fries and I felt like I was really getting an authentic taste of how they do it in Southern America; white gravy is an odd concept but it totally works. As for the onion rings, don't be fooled into thinking 'there's only two, that's not enough' because they are massive; I didn't actually eat any of them but Jason said 'They were really crispy, probably double fried and the onion inside was huge'.


Black Angus Beef Brisket, 7oz Pulled Pork, 2 Mild BBQ Wings & Corn on the Cob

This was what is known as a 'Meat Combo'; three types of meat plus a Divine side. I'm going to start with the BBQ Wings because they were probably my least favourite and what I would leave out next time; they are massive on the face of things and different to any other wing I've had (they're usually tiny, aren't they?) but the amount of meat on them was a little disappointing, what was on there was tasty but there just wasn't enough. The Brisket however was plentiful and so, so moist. It's obvious that it's been cooked as low and slow as possible because it was so flavoursome and just melted in my mouth. The Pulled Pork was to die for; the server said that it was a really popular choice and I can totally see why. If you wanted to make more of a meal of the pulled pork you could do because there was an option to have it with slaw, crackling and apple sauce (I've just eaten and the thought of that is making my mouth water).

Alongside your meats there's a selection of sauces available on the table which I was really impressed with and it meant that for the first time in a long time, I didn't feel the need to ask for mayo (I also thought it would be a cardinal sin to ask for such a thing in a place like Red's). My favourites were probably Kansas City BBQ and North Carolina BBQ (who knew there could be so many variations of BBQ sauce?!), the Judas Ketchup would be a good one to try if you're a red sauce lover because it's a sweeter take on the regular stuff which makes it a perfect combination for the meats.




There wasn't really anything that tickled my fancy on the dessert menu but I was glad that we had the milkshake for pudding because it was really nice and creamy. Jason chose the Banana and Peanut butter one and it was just what we needed as something sweet after a meaty main. As you can see, it was served in a milk bottle which although simple, was a really good idea I thought!

The bill came and it was just under £60 which although quite pricey, I thought was fairly reasonable considering what we had eaten and drank. We left the server a nice tip (American style!) because she was so nice and helpful and I walked out knowing that I would definitely be back as soon as I could because it was a brilliant eating experience both in environment and quality of food. 

Leeds city centre isn't the only Red's True BBQ, they also have restaurants in Headingley, Nottingham, Manchester and Shorditch. You can view the full menu online which I highly recommend before you go because it'd be less overwhelming if you had an idea of what you might want to try before you get there.  

Have you ever been to Red's True BBQ?

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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Slimming World Picnic Ideas & Low Syn Scotch Eggs Recipe

Last week me and Jason took Jasper to Dalby Forest for a day of family time and relaxation, we went for a little walk and we got ourselves sat down in a little picnic area next to a stream (Jasp loves water so it was an obvious choice for us). Picnics are notorious for being full of naughty foods which aren't exactly Slimming World/healthy eating friendly; sausage rolls, crisps and cakes are all obviously loaded with calories but there are ways that you can enjoy some really tasty picnic food without spoiling your healthy eating plan. 


We had a proper bag full of food filled with all kinds of different food both sweet and savoury; that's what I love about picnics, you can graze for hours on lots of different things. Here are some ideas that you could use this summer if you're thinking of doing a healthy picnic:

- Box of fresh mixed salad (a must to get your speed foods in, I much prefer to cut my own rather than using bagged stuff but it's completely up to you)

- Hard Boiled Eggs

- DIY sandwiches (we used Kingsmill Wholemeal Thins which are a Healthy B); you could either fill them with salad and meat from the BBQ or you could bring your own sandwich fillings, I did both because I made some light egg mayo at home - it was so nice!

- Sugar free drinks (we got some big bottles of sugar free flavoured water)

- Slimming World Scotch Eggs (see below for recipe)



Slimming World Scotch Eggs 
These are so easy and they work out at only 1.5 syns each

Ingredients:
- Tesco Healthy Choices Cumberland Sausages (1 syn each)
- Cooled Hard Boiled Eggs
- Smash (optional, it can be seen as a 'tweak' but for the amount you would use I wouldn't worry too much, you could also use wholemeal breadcrumbs but this would need to be synned or used as a healthy B choice)

Method:

- Squeeze out all the sausage from the casing into a bowl 
- Take a lump of sausage and mould it around the egg (this is a case of practise makes perfect, some will have more sausage than others but the effect is the same)
- If you want, you can roll it in either wholemeal breadcrumbs or smash but this isn't necessary.
- Place on a baking tray, spray with Frylight and bake for around 30 minutes turning frequently

Some will turn out better than others and I know that some of mine maybe didn't have enough sausage around them but they still all tasted really nice. Depending on how much sausage you use for each the syn value may be different, all you'd need to do to work it out is see how many scotch eggs you get from a pack of 8 sausages at 1 syn per sausage then divide it equally to get the syn value. 

There are lots of variations of this recipe on the internet, a quick search of Google will find lots of different ones with slight differences and additions to ingredients.


- The meat we had for the BBQ was pork loins, the Tesco Healthy Choices Cumberland Sausages (1 syn each) and fillet steak but you could have any variation of syn free meats and you can technically eat as much as you want until you're full!  

- Low syn crisps (we got Hula Hoop Pufts which are 3.5 each (15g bag) but other options are Quavers (4.5 for 16g bag), French Fries (4 for a 19g bag) or Skips (4 for a 15.5g bag).

- Babybel Lights (you can have 3 for a healthy A choice, winner!)


- If you can fit in anything sweet the obvious choice is fresh seasonal fruit; we had strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

- Hartley's 10 calorie jellies are only 0.5 syns each, as long as you can keep them cool before you eat them they're a great pudding choice.

We were so full when we'd finished our little picnic but we didn't have one ounce of guilt afterwards because it was all healthy and well within our syn allowance for the day. Just shows that you can do pretty much anything when it comes to eating out with family, it's just all in the planning!

Do you have any ideas for a Slimming World picnic?

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Thursday, 9 July 2015

What's in my bath?

There was a time when the side of my bath had serious over crowding issues but just recently I've managed to have a good sort out around my bath (Jason's still moaning about the amount of stuff on there but I like choice so what can I do?!) and I've been using some pretty decent stuff so I thought I'd share them with you...


Treacle Moon Iced Strawberry Dream Bath & Shower Gel (£1.99)* - It's Wimbledon isn't it so there had to be something strawberry-esque in my bathroom. Just like every Treacle Moon product I've ever used this smells absolutely gorgeous; sweet and creamy, basically everything you'd expect from a strawberry bath product. It's on offer in Tesco at the moment for £1.99 along with lots of other Treacle Moon stuff!

Soap & Glory Whipped Clean Shower Butter (£7.00) - Not one of the products that springs to mind immediately when thinking about Soap & Glory but this is every bit as good as the other raved about products. Instead of it being a gel kind of shower product it's actually a butter which creates a nice gentle lather and again it smells absolutely incredible, the scent is actually Pistachio, Almond and Sweet Vanilla... it's amazing, honestly! As I've mentioned before my skin isn't particularly dry so the moisture from this is actually more than enough to leave my skin feeling really nourished and silky smooth. I'm all for a multi-tasking product so this is a definite winner for me, it isn't cheap but it's worth every penny as a treat. 

Bruzz Hygienic Nail Brush* (£9.99) - I know you'll have probably looked at that photo and thought what the heck is that blue thing that looks like it has teeth?! Well it's a new generation of nail brush which cleans the top, tip and underside of your nails all in one action which makes it so much easier to keep my nails clean. I have no idea where it comes from but I always end up with dirt in my nails which I find pretty repulsive so this is what I've been using and I really like it. It's fully sanitisable because you can remove the bristles (unlike normal nail brushes which end up looking grubby quite quickly), it smells like vanilla and it's nice and gentle if you have weak nails/sensitive hands.

Venus Spa Breeze Razor (£4.98) - This has been my razor of choice for a good year or so now, I used to just use cheap disposable ones but they always pulled and irritated my skin so when these were released I decided to try them. They have 3 blades with a built in shave bar which means that you don't technically need shaving gel, I haven't stopped using shaving gel but the shave bar definitely makes this the most gentle razor I've ever used. I don't think I'll ever go back to disposables now because although this can be expensive it's honestly the best I've ever used.

What's among your current favourite bath products?

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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Combination, Blemish Prone Skincare - Elemis Exfoliator/Face Mask

I'm usually a creature of habit when it comes to face masks, I generally don't go for anything but clay because clay is the most well known formula for helping to calm skin down and reduce redness and inflammation but they are also well known for making a bit of a mess during application and they can take a bit of getting off. Recently I've been trying out a couple of face masks from Elemis which are completely different to what I would have normally have gone for so it's been nice to have a bit of a change. 


The first one I tried was the award winning Papaya Enzyme Peel (£23.60)* which is an exfoliator made with papaya and pineapple fruit enzymes to help 'smooth and clarify the complexion'. I think whenever I hear 'peel' or 'exfoliant' I instantly think of chemicals which I know would probably put some people off using such a product (although I have to point out that an occasional chemical exfoliant should be absolutely fine), but this one relies on natural fruit enzymes which makes it perfect for sensitive skin. 

First of all, it smells amazingly fruity which makes it a pleasure to have on your skin; 10-15 minutes of relaxion with this on my face really is heaven. The creamy consistency makes it easy to apply and also easy to wipe off when you're done, I didn't feel any tingling with this one and it didn't leave any redness when I wiped off which surprised me because lots of exfoliants have sort of irritated my skin before they've made any positive difference. Straight after removing it my skin felt really smooth, especially my nose which is a place in particular where I struggle with blackheads. 

The mask I've been trying is the Fruit Active Rejuvenating Mask (£23.20)* which again uses fruit extracts from strawberry and kiwi fruit. Incidentally this is great to use after the Papaya Enzyme Peel and it's great for tired, dull skin which is in need of a boost to give you a glowing complexion. It's the same creamy consistency but maybe slightly thicker with it being a mask; this one does tingle a little bit when you apply it but it's nothing to worry about, in fact I quite like it because it feels like it's 'doing something'. (the only time you should worry is if it feels like it's burning, that's not good and you should wash it off immediately!). I felt like this one was a less suited to my oily skin as it seemed to stimulate the oil in my skin which is presumably how it achieves the 'glow' after use but for me it made my skin produce a little too much oil. I have no doubt that this would be great for dry skins but unfortunately this one isn't for me. 

Although the mask wasn't suited to my skin, overall I'm really impressed with my first experience with Elemis products. The quality shines through and I can totally understand why they're one of the top spa brands in the country, I would recommend the Papaya Enzyme Peel to anyone even if you've got sensitive skin an and the Fruit Active Rejuvenating mask would be fab if you struggle with very dry skin because I do think it'd do a brilliant job of putting some life back into your skin if it's feeling a bit lacklustre. There's actually an 20% off event on the Beauty Expert website at the moment so if you were looking to try something Elemis (or you need to stock up on a favourite), now would be the perfect time!

Do you have any favourites among the Elemis range?

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