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How To Start A Food Blog – Domain & Hosting

HowToStartAFodBlog - an introduction

How To Start A Food Blog Guide: Hosting & Domain Name

If you are new to the world of creating websites then it can be somewhat scary. There are so many different terms and a lot of information that can cause some confusion. Don’t worry though, it’s not as hard as some may thing to get their food blog online.

The first thing you will need is hosting and a domain name. I know what you might be thinking – “what exactly is hosting and a domain name?”

Website is like a building, Host is the land and domain is the addressThink of your future website as a building….(bear with me)


The hosting is the land in which your building is built on.

The domain name is the actual address of your building.

So before you can build an incredible building, you need somewhere to put it and then an address for it.

The good news is that most companies where you get hosting from, you will usually be able to get a domain name as well. I would recommend getting them from the same place as it makes it easier for managing and renewing.

Picking A Domain Name for your food blog

The domain name is the first thing you need to think about and is actually VERY important. The domain name will become your own brand and will represent you and your website. You need to therefore make sure it reflects what you/your site is and what the visitor will find when they get there.

I would recommend writing down what you want on your food blog, will you be focusing on specific cuisine, a specific type of diet or having anything and everything on there.

For example if you are going after a specific cuisine you might go for domains such as;

  • PerfectPizzas
  • IngeniousItalian
  • CreativeCurryRecipes

If you are going after a specific diet then you might want a domain such as;

  • VegetarianVentures
  • VeryVegan
  • DietingJourney

You may also want to go on your location and incorporating that into your domain name, for example;

  • LondonFoodie
  • FoodFromTexas
  • RecipesFromRussia

One thing I would always recommend is make it personal to you, after all this is your space on the internet to put what you want…enjoy the freedom!

What Hosting Company To Choose?

Godaddy Is a recommended host for a food blogOnce you have your domain name chosen you now want to look for the company that will host your food blog and provide you with the domain.

I have always used GoDaddy when it comes to hosting. I have used many companies in the past and have been happy. GoDaddy for me however has always been my number 1 choice. It’s a big company, they offer decent prices and it’s very easy to add onto your hosting if needed.

More often than not you also get a domain name for free when you join, which does save you a little money in the long run.

GoDaddy also run a number of deals to save you even more money on your first year. This does change from time to time but keeping an eye on their deals page is the best way to see what is on offer at the moment.

What Hosting Package do you need from GoDaddy to start your food blog?

GoDaddy offer two hosting packages that you might be interested in. Their normal website hosting and WordPress hosting. I would personally recommend going for the normal website hosting. It’s the same price and I have never had any issues with it.

There are also a number of packages, depending on how big your website is and how much traffic it will get. Depending on what your finances are like I would either select the Deluxe or Ultimate as these will offer you more room to grow.

You don’t need to pay for a full year, you can pay per month. They do offer a free domain if you pay for the entire year. It’s worth bearing in mind that a domain name is not too expensive to justify this.
What About Email?

I also have the email package from GoDaddy as I do like to have it all in one place and their email platform is fairly simple to use.

By getting it all in one place, it’s pretty easy to set up and ensures you have your domain name in your email address.

The email packages are fairly cheap, I would recommend going for online essentials or business premium.

Remember it is easy enough to upgrade if you find the one you currently have is too small. If you do go for the lowest one, just upgrade when you either need to or have the funds to.

Renewals

Renewals are VERY important to remember. I once forgot to renew my domain name and it was very stressful!

Domains usually need renewing once a year, unless your buy it for longer periods.
Web hosting will often renew once a month, you can however pay for more months up front.
Email is the same as the hosting.

You can set GoDaddy to auto renew with the card details you have on file, this can be incredibly useful.

Once you have your domain and hosting, you are all set to install WordPress and get your site live. Which is what we will be doing in the next section.

Click Here to view current GoDaddy Deals to get your domain and hosting

Please note the above link is an affiliate link so I do earn a commission if you do decide to order from GoDaddy. I am declaring this to show that I am being honest and truthful in my post. I do use GoDaddy for my food blog as well as other websites I have had in the past.

The fact that I do get a commission does not alter my view of them.

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Caribbean Food Week 2016

What is Caribbean Food Week?

Caribbean Food Week 2016

Caribbean Food Week is a week long celebration of Caribbean food and drink, it is during August 22nd and August 29th. If you are around the Brixton area then I would check out the 2 day event (26th/27th), you will be able to experience street food, cooking demonstrations, live music and what I expect to be an excellent Caribbean market.

I have personally not had the opportunity to try much Caribbean food, other than a couple of trips to Turtle Bay in Nottingham. I have never cooked Caribbean food before so when I was offered a hamper in order to make some great food, I jumped at the opportunity!


I was gifted a Hamper by Grace Foods UK, it arrived at work in a hamper. I opened it up right away and was really impressed with what came. The food items aside, I received a couple of hats, blow up palm tree, party poppers and some mini deck chairs…everything you need for a good party!!

In terms of food items, I received seasoning of different kinds, Jerk sauce, BBQ Sauce, hot sauce, Coconut milk, tin of Callaloo, Tin of mixed pea’s and many more! Just look at the image below!!

Caribbean Food Hamper I received to take part in Caribbean Food Week 2016 - Nice collection from Grace Foods UKMy Own Caribbean Themed Night!

The concept of this year’s Caribbean Food Week is street food, I therefore wanted to think of recipes that could be turned into street food. Something I could imagine walking down the street or the beach, order and enjoy whilst soaking in the sun or the sights!

I spent a good few days planning what I was going to cook, as I said before I have not done any Caribbean food before and wanted it to be good. The weather was perfect on the Saturday so thought why not do a nice barbecue with a few extra dishes done in the oven.

I therefore decided to pick up some pork loin and chicken drumsticks and gave these a good marination of the Dunn’s River Jamaican Jerk seasoning that Grace Foods provided, these would be perfect on the barbecue along with some skewers.

Enjoying my Caribbean Themed BBQ - Making some incredible Caribbean Food - AmateurChef.co.uk

Caribbean Food – Chicken and Pineapple Skewers

I purchased some nice diced chicken and put this into a bowl, I had some Dunn’s River Hot and Spicy Jerk Chicken Fry Mix and poured this onto the chicken and rubbed it all together to ensure it all got a good coating. I then got some pineapple that was chopped and chopped up some red onion.

I put this onto the skewers, chicken first, followed by pineapple and then red onion. I repeated this until all skewers were full, I then popped them in the fridge until they were ready for the BBQ. I have to admit the pineapple went so well with the chicken, something I’ll repeat again!

Chicken & Pineapple Skewers
Author: Martyn
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 450g diced chicken
  • 2 tbsp Dunn’s River Hot and Spicy Jerk Chicken Fry Mix
  • 1 Tin of chopped pineapples
  • 1 Red onion
Instructions
  1. Place the diced chicken into a bowl and pour over the spice mixture
  2. Give it a good mix with your hands to ensure its all covered
  3. Chop the onion into roughly 2 cm squares
  4. Thread 1 piece of chicken, pineapple and onion onto a skewer and repeat until have a good 6 pieces of each
  5. Repeat on all skewers, depending on how many wish to make
  6. Cook on BBQ or alternatively cook in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees
  7. Cook for between 30-40 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

Caribbean Food – Beef Patties

When doing a search for Caribbean street food, I kept coming across beef patties and they looked incredible so wanted to give them ago!

The recipe is in two parts, the first is creating the pastry and then making the filling. I decided to start on the filling, the filling needs to cool before putting it into the pastry. First of all added 2 tbsp of oil into a pan and added 1 finely chopped onion along with 2 pieces of garlic. I left these to sweat until they were soft and transparent.

I then added 500g of minced beef and stirred it into the onions until fully browned. To give it a little extra flavour I added a beef stock cube and allowed this to melt into the meat. I added a couple of handfuls of frozen peas to give it that little extra flavour. Finally I seasoned with Dunn’s River All Seasoning.

I then drained off excess water and removed from heat, putting it to one side to cool down.

Now the pastry is again something I have never really done much of before, it was actually a lot easier than I expected! If you have been worried in the past about making it, don’t be!

The first thing I did was placed the flour into a bowl and combined this with some of Dunn’s River Mild Curry Powder, this gives it just that extra little taste. I thought it would be overpowering but it wasn’t, in fact I was tempted to add in some more!

I then added a little salt and the butter, this bit means getting your hands dirty. I continued to mix the flour and the butter together until it became the same texture as bread crumbs. I then added the water and continued to mix until it became fully formed and you can roll it into a ball. If it is still to dry, try adding some extra water.

Once done I rolled it out to be roughly half the thickness of a pound coin, too thick and it will have a lot more pastry than filling. Once rolled out get circle cutter and cut out circles out of the dough, I didn’t have one the size I wanted so used the top of a mug.

Get a spoon and place the filling in the centre of each circle, fold over one side to meet the other forming a semicircle/moon shape. Pinch the edges with a fork and then cover over with a beaten egg.

These were then placed in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees and cooked for around 30 minutes, or until it is golden brown and fully cooked.

Beef Patties
Author: Martyn
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 500g Beef mince
  • 1 Beef Stock
  • 2 handfuls of frozen peas
  • 2 tsps of Dunn’s River All Seasoning
  • 250g of plain flour
  • 2 tsps of Dunn’s River Curry Powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60g butter
  • 60 ml of Water
  • 1 Egg Beaten
Instructions
  1. In a sauce pan heat up oil and add chopped onions and garlic, cook until soft and transparent
  2. Add the beef, stir and cook until browned
  3. Add 1 stock cube and allow it to melt into the beef
  4. Pour 2 handfuls of frozen peas, 2 tsps of Dunn’s River All Seasoning and stir until fully combined.
  5. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes on a medium heat
  6. Drain any excess liquid and put to one side to cool down
  7. In a bowl place the 250g of plain flour with the Curry Powder
  8. Add a pinch of salt and the butter, give this a good mix with your hands until the texture becomes the same as bread crumbs
  9. Add the water and continue to mix until it combines and forms a ball, if you require more water then add a bit at a time.
  10. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it’s roughly the thickness of a pound coin
  11. Using a circle cutter, cut into individual circles. If you don’t have one then the top of a mug will also do.
  12. Once the filling has cooled, spoon the filling into the centre of the dough.
  13. Fold the circle from one side to another to corner a semicircle/moon shape
  14. Press the edges down with a fork
  15. Brush the beaten egg over the pastry
  16. Put all of the patties into a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for roughly 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Caribbean Food – Callaloo Quiche

The pastry making is not done yet and to make things a little more complicated, I decided to make the pastry a little different this time so I couldn’t double up on the last recipe. This time the pastry needs to be made first as the filling doesn’t need to be cooked, so it will all cook together.

I had never heard of Callaloo before so I had to Google exactly what it was. It is actually a Jamaican type of spinach, which is perfect as I love spinach!!

In a bowl I added 250g of plain flour along with a pinch of salt and then a good 8 tbsp of butter. I then put my hands in and gave this a good mix until like before it becomes a similar texture to bread crumbs.

I then added a good splash of milk and gave this a stir with my hands until I could shape it into a ball. If it’s still crumbly then you want to add a little more milk, if you do add too much don’t worry as you can drain it off.

I then popped the dough into a bowl and covered it and then placed it into the fridge for around 30 minutes. (although it probably ended up being around 45 minutes by the time I got to look at it again!!!)

I then made the filling by heating up some oil and put in some finely chopped onion, garlic and a red bell pepper that I had cut into squares. I cooked these until they were nice and soft, which took roughly 15 minutes. I then placed this into a bowl and added a couple of hand fulls of chedder cheese, 120ml of milk, 3 eggs and then half a tin of Callaloo. This then wants a good stir to make sure its all fully combined.

I then got a muffin tray and rolled out the dough to be roughly 0.5, cut it into circles and placed into the muffin tray. Fill each of the dough trays with the filling mixture and then sprinkle over some of the cheddar cheese.

Place in a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees for roughly 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Callaloo Quiche
Author: Martyn
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 250g Plain Flour
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 8 tbsp of Butter
  • Slash of Milk
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 handfuls of cheddar cheese
  • 120 ml milk
  • 3 eggs
  • Half tin of Callaloo
Instructions
  1. In a bowl add the flour, salt and butter.
  2. Give the flour and butter a good mix with hands until it becomes the texture of breadcrumbs
  3. Add a splash of milk and continue to mix until it forms a ball, if still crumbles add a dash more milk.
  4. Place in the fridge for roughly 30 minutes
  5. In a saucepan heat oil
  6. Place chopped onion, garlic and bell pepper into the saucepan and cook for 15 minutes or until soft
  7. Place mixture in a bowl with 120 ml of milk, cheese, eggs and the callaloo. Give this a good stir to ensure fully combined.
  8. Roll out the dough to roughly 0.5cm thick and cut into circles.
  9. Place each circle into a muffin tray and spoon the filling mixture
  10. Top with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese and place in a preheated oven at 220 degrees
  11. Cook for roughly 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown

Caribbean Food – Rice and Peas

As well as meat dishes I wanted to make a couple of sides, Rice and Peas was the first thing that came to mind. This dish was incredibly easy to make and doesn’t take very long at all, perfect for when you’re in a hurry.

In a saucepan of water add long grain rice, along with some salt and then add a tin of Dunn’s River Caribbean Peas & Beans and allow this to shimmer. Once the rice is soft and cooked, drain out the water and place in a serving bowl.

I then fluffed everything up with a fork and then seasoned with Dunn’s River All Purpose Seasoning, this gave it a little extra flavour.

Rice and Peas
Author: Martyn
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Long Grain Rice
  • Tin Of Dunn’s River Caribbean Peas & Beans
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dunn’s River All Purpose Seasoning
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan of water add long grain rice and pinch of salt
  2. Add tin of Dunn’s River Caribbean peas and rice to the rice
  3. Leave to cook until rice is soft and cooked
  4. Pour into a bowl and fluff with fork
  5. Add Dunn’s River All Purpose Seasoning

Caribbean Food – Pineapple Salad

With the day being so nice, you sometimes cannot beat a nice salad and this one is perfect. The combination of salad and fruit really gives it an incredible flavour and would recommend giving it a go.

This salad uses a nice honey dressing, which I think gives it a little extra flavour. I don’t usually use salad dressings, but after this I think I’ll have to more often!!

The first step was to make the salad!

There is not a specific type of salad leaves that you have to use, instead use whatever leaves you like. In a bowl place the salad leaves add some sliced spring onions, plum tomatoes halved, cucumber sliced and then finally a red bell pepper and yellow bell pepper sliced. To give it that something special I then took a full orange and halved each orange segment and added it to the salad. The pineapple however really adds a lot of flavour to the salad, I simply used a tin of pineapple chunks (don’t throw away the juice!)

Give everything a good toss to make sure it is all mixed up nicely, now its time for the dressing.

In another bowl add a tbsp of olive oil and combine this with 1 tbsp of honey, give this a stir. The next step is to juice 1 lime into the sauce and then put a good 2-3 tbsp of pineapple juice into the dressing. Give everything a good stir and gradually pour over all of the salad to ensure its fully covered, finally give the salad another good toss and serve….yummy!!!

Pineapple Salad
Author: Martyn
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Bag of salad leaves
  • 1 Spring onion
  • 6 Plum tomatoes
  • Quarter of a Cucumber
  • Red bell pepper
  • Yellow bell pepper
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Tin of Pineapple chunks
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2-3 tbsp of pineapple Juice
Instructions
  1. In a bowl add the salad leaves, spring onion, cucumber, plum tomatoes and the peppers and give them a stir
  2. In another bowl add the olive oil with the honey and stir
  3. Add juice of 1 lime and the pineapple juice and give the dressing another stir
  4. Pour onto the salad and then give the salad one final toss

I did also make some nice Caribbean cocktails such as Mojitos, which will be coming in a later post so keep an eye out! 🙂

Myself and everyone else really enjoyed the Caribbean themed night and BBQ and it has really inspired me to try even more Caribbean food in the future.

I would again like to thank Grace Foods UK for the hamper and encouraging me to try something different. Dont forget Caribbean Food Week is 22nd August – 29th of August, if you are around Brixton then please check out the event!!

Dont forget if you do decide to do some Caribbean food to celebrate or are at the event to tweet with the hashtag: #CFW2016

Check out Grace Foods UK below to find some of the very best ingredients!

W: www.gracefoods.co.uk
Twitter: @caribbeanfoodwk (#CFW2016)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/caribbeanfoodweek

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Knife Skills – What are the different knives?

Have you recently bought yourself a knife block and looked at a number of them and wondered what they do….

Or even looked at a chef using their knives and wondered how you could ever become so skilled with a knife.

Learning good knife skills does take a lot of time and practice, as well as being shown good techniques. One important element is to ensure that you are actually using the right knife for the job, using the wrong knife can make the task a nightmare.


This article is going to hopefully explain to you what each knife is and what its used for.

Knife Skills – What Makes Up A Kitchen Knife

There are 9 elements to any type of kitchen knife;

Point – Often used when piecing and is where the blade edge and spine meet
Tip – The tip is the front part of the blade and is usually used to do delicate cutting
Cutting Edge – The edge is where you would typically cut with
Heel – The heel is the opposite end to the point
Bolster – Where the blade and handle meet, it is often the bolster that does the weight balancing
Tang – The metal of the blade that is inside the handle
Rivets – These connect the handle to the tang
Handle – Where you would hold the blade
Spine – The straight/non sharp part of the blade – opposite end to the cutting edge

The 3 Types of Blade Edges

There are typically 3 main blade edges;

Straight – Usually incredibly sharp and used to cut meat/vegetables
Serrated – Slice soft products that have a hard crust – IE breads
Granton – Cuts moist items as the grooves reduce sticking

Knife Skills – Know your knives, which is the right knife?

Paring Knife

Typically used as an “everyday” knife, often used for peeling potatoes, vegetables or fruit.

Turning Knife

The curved blade makes the turning knife ideal for peeling, it is also great for removing “eyes” from potatoes

Boning Knife

Struggle to remove the meat from the bone? The boning knife features a thin and curved blade to help do just that. More flexible boning knifes are often used on fish.

Filleting Knife

This flexible yet thin blade is ideal for filleting meat as it allows you much more movement, making delicate cuts as well as easily removing the skin

Utility Knife

This blade can be used in many situations and due to the stiff blade it can be very durable. It is usually used to chop and slice fruit, vegetables as well as small meats.

Chinese Chopper

Choppers are sometimes mistaken for cleavers although they cannot cut through frozen meat or bone. They are ideal for slicing different cuts of meat away from the bone.

Cleaver

This tough knife is a butchers friend, often used to cut through cuts of meat.

Santoku Knife

The wide blade allows for scooping of chopped food and is often used for preparation of meat, fish and a wide range of vegetables.

Chef’s Knife

Looking to work in the kitchen? This knife will certainly be one of the most common knifes that you would use. It is usually a strong blade that has been weighted well, allowing for perfect control. It is used for most chopping and slicing tasks.

Bread Knife

This blade is fairly self explanatory, the serrated blade makes it the perfect knife to cut through breads. It can also be used on other products that have a harder outside and soft inside, for example tomatoes

Palette Knife

The palette knife features a flat and blunt blade, it is often used to slip between the pan and food easily such as pancakes or omelettes

Carving Knife

The carving knife features a thin blade to offer precision carving, allowing you to carve thin cuts of meat such as poultry or roast dinners.

As you can see there are a good number of knifes and if you have brought a knife block you may not have all of these, although you will often have the most common. If you are serious I would recommend getting a good collection of knives made out of decent quality metal.

Check out the infographic below to see what each of these knives look like.

Knife Skills - Know Your Knifes. One element of learning good knife skills is to know the different knifes available and what they do.

The infographic was provided by Nisbets, check them out for Catering Equipment and Catering Supplies

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How To Start A Food Blog – Introduction

HowToStartAFodBlog - an introduction

How To Start A Food Blog Guide: Introduction

If you have an interest or passion for food whether it’s eating out or cooking your own meals, you may have thought about starting your own food blog. It can be very daunting starting something new, even more so when you have not done it before.

I have been creating websites and blogs for over 15 years and this one (http://amateurchef.wpengine.com) is my main hobby. I know how scary it can be starting something like a food blog, therefore I wanted to create a series of articles to teach you how to start a food blog.

These articles will hopefully teach you everything you need to know from creating your blog, adding content, generating traffic and how you can build a following on your social accounts such as twitter.

What Do You Need?


There are two key things you need when doing a food blog;

  1. A Desire For FoodThis does go without saying to be honest, if you don’t have a passion for food then you will struggle to have a successful food blog. It’s the passion that shows in your writing and your pictures, if you’re not interested in it then there really is no point in doing it.
  2. Realistic ExpectationsThere are thousands of food blogs online and there is no guarantee that it is going to make you an income. This is not to put you off but to try and get your expectations to be a little more realistic, it takes a lot of time and effort to create a successful food blog.

Having said that if it is a hobby after all it doesn’t matter how long it takes, as long as you find it enjoyable. It naturally helps to earn some additional income but I do think if the main reason you are doing it is for financial gain then you could be waiting a long time.

Will Starting A Food Blog Cost Me Anything?

To be honest you can create a food blog without spending a penny, however the least I would recommend you getting is a domain name and a hosting account (which are fairly inexpensive).

I would also recommend investing in a premium wordpress food theme as well as a recipe plugin but these again do not cost too much. Other than that as long as you have the ingredients and a way of taking pictures of your food then you are good to go!

Ill run through the hosting and domain name in the next article, this one is more of an introduction to food blogs to give you a better understanding of what it entails.

So What Does A Food Blog Entail?

The amount of work it entails does depend on how much time you have available, the more time you have the more you can work on it. I have a full time job so do find it hard to dedicate the time I want, although it is a bit of an obsession so I do as much as I can.

Generally you will want to create a post on your blog at least once a week, if you have the time available then post more. As long as you are posting quality content and not just posting for the sake of posting.

The focus of the blog does determine what you will be posting, if you’re wanting to do a recipe blog then the majority of your posts would be describing these recipes, showing the ingredients/method and then some yummy pictures of the food.

Whereas a restaurant review site would have less if any recipes but would focus on reviewing restaurants and it’s food that you have visited.

As well as posting on your blog, I would recommend joining the community of foodies and the best way of doing this is via social network sites. I personally love social media as I find it an excellent place to talk to other foodies as well as attract people to my blog.

The most popular social networking sites would be, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Spend some time whenever you can to grow these social accounts by following like-minded people, sharing useful content and joining in conversations that you are interested in.

I don’t claim to be an expert in all areas as I am learning as I go along, I just hope that I can pass on anything that I do learn and that it will be beneficial to you.

I will continue adding new sections on How To Start A Food Blog, every so many weeks so keep an eye on the next post. If you would like to be notified when the next post is up then please put your email in below.

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As well as updating you on any new posts I make on how to start a food blog, i’ll also email you with anything else that I think will be useful for you and your blog.

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The McDonalds Experience

Courtasy of http://nottinghamlocalnews.com/

Courtasy of http://nottinghamlocalnews.com/

I was recently contacted by a PR company, offering me the opportunity to visit McDonalds Clifton and experience what it was like at the restaurant and how it has changed over the years. I thought “why not”, I do like to eat McDonalds and have often wondered what it is really like back in the kitchens.

On Arrival I met the PR company, 2 fellow bloggers, the franchise owner, business manager for that restaurant and a man from the McDonald’s head office. Everyone was very friendly and the staff at McDonalds Clifton were more than happy to answer any questions. We were offered drinks and then sat to go over what would happen over the next couple of hours.

It’s crazy to think how much McDonald’s has actually changed and I don’t think I have really thought about it until I was sat talking about it. Now you go into one of the many restaurants and you can either pay at the tills or use one of the new kiosks, there are tables for the adults and children to help keep them entertained and at this restaurant there is even table service!!!


One thing that has to be said is that the food that they serve has never changed. I for one love the Big Mac and the recipe has never changed to lower costs, the portion sizes of fries from what I remember has always remained the same. Something that many companies seem to change in order to save on money.

It was interesting to learn about the staffing at McDonalds as they hire both part time and fulltime, however unlike many companies they work their hours around the staff. If someone only wants to work one shift a week then they can, if someone wants to work every day then they can as well. Perfect for people looking for additional work or for students looking to earn a side income whilst studying.

I have used the new kiosks at McDonalds a few times now and personally think they are an excellent addition. I have nothing against getting served at a till but it’s nice to just nip in, select what you want and pay for it – which is probably why I love self service at Tesco!!

McDonalds Kiosks - new kiosks to allow you customise your order

We were given a little tour of the kiosks and actually learnt a thing or two about them. If you have not used them before then i’d really recommend giving them ago. You select what burger or happy meal you want and it will then ask if you want the burger alone or as part of a meal. You can then select your side whether you want fries or salad and then finally the drink that you want.

One of the things I loved was how you can actually customise your order and food in the kitchen is actually made on a order basis and not mass produced and left on the back waiting for someone to pick them up. If you get a drink you can choose to have no ice, select fries and you can remove the salt or if you want to make a change to the burger then you can do this as well. I personally love the pickles but many people don’t, now you can select to have these taken off your burger.

They were also talking about in the future you will be able to customise your food even more by being able to add additional items to it, really improving the customer experience and getting exactly what you want.

You can also see the difference with the whole restaurant area and how they are trying to make it more appealing and less stressful for diners. The introduction of tables is one of these changes which I expect has helped families keep their children entertained whilst waiting for the food, no doubt people of all ages use them since you can connect to the net or your favourite social media site.

mcdonalds Clifton Tables - with fun tablets

After having a chat and a look around the dining area we were shown back to the staff room, which they called the crew room. Here we were given our very own hat, apron and name tag – which I really appreciate and and was a nice touch. Look at how good they look below 🙂

Visit to McDonalds Clifton - Given Hat, Badge and Apron - http://amateurchef.wpengine.com

We went through a couple of health and safety things, and then put our new apron and hat on ready to have a look around the back of the restaurant. The first place we had a look at was the store cupboard which kept all the dry stock such as sauces, paper cups etc. We looked in the walk in fridge which was very cold and then went into the walk in freezer, which believe me was incredibly cold!!

We had a quick look outside where the bins and stored, what really impressed me is how much McDonald’s seem to do about recycling. Literally everything is recycled which I think is really good. They have cages for the boxes, bins for just food. Oil is typically something that you cannot throw away, it needs to be disposed of properly. The lorry that delivers new oil takes the old oil away in metal crates and this is then recycled to become fuel for the lorry that collects it, perfect!

One thing I did notice was how clean all the areas where, even the outside which you imagine could be dirty as no one really see’s them but it was kept very clean and tidy.

Now that we had a look around the back it was time for us to get our hands dirty (in a good way not with dirt! :)) and get in the kitchen to make our own Big Mac. On entering the kitchen we had to wash our hands, all staff have to wash their hands every 30 minutes which I think it’s a good system.

We were shown how to make a Big Mac from toasting the bread, adding the secret Big Mac sauce which comes in an impressive sauce gun, adding the onion, lettuce, pickles, cheese and then finally the meat. It’s all done in a specific order and the measurements are exact, 3g of onions and 14gs of lettuce. I enjoyed eating my very own made Big Mac and I have to say it tasted pretty good!

Heres me making my own Big Mac 🙂

McDonalds Clifton Visit - Making my very own BigMac - Yummy - http://amateurchef.wpengine.com McDonalds Clifton Visit - Making my very own BigMac - Yummy - http://amateurchef.wpengine.com McDonalds Clifton Visit - Making my very own BigMac - Yummy - http://amateurchef.wpengine.com McDonalds Clifton Visit - Making my very own BigMac - Yummy - http://amateurchef.wpengine.com

This was the end of the tour and I have to say I really enjoyed it and want to thank everyone that showed us around and staff for making us feel welcome, even though I am sure we were getting in their way at times!

I do think McDonald’s has come along way, I cannot comment on any other Restaurants as I have not seen them but the McDonalds Clifton restaurant was very clean and the staff seemed to really enjoy their jobs.

We all know that McDonald’s is not going to win any prizes for the healthiest food award, just like many similar restaurants. They have however gone in the right direction by providing alternatives such as fruit and salad as well as displaying the nutritional information on the menu and product packaging. This at least gives people the power to decide if having one of their meals is suitable for their diet.

I personally don’t see any harm in eating this kind of food, if like anything it’s all in moderation 🙂

Again I want to thank the people at McDonalds, those that organized the event and the staff at the McDonalds Clifton branch.

Do do, do do do, i’m lovin it 😛

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Mighty Fine Honeycomb Chocolate

Honeycomb chocolate bar from Mighty FineI love honeycomb and have tried to make it a few times in the past, each time it didn’t come out right. Still I won’t give up, eventually I will get it right hehe. There is something about honeycomb that I find so Moorish, if I have a meal out and see it in a dessert I usually have to get it 🙂

I recently received a bar of honeycomb chocolate made by Mighty Fine and thought id write about it. The bar I received I did receive for free, however I wanted to confirm that I am NOT getting paid to write this article.

The chocolate I received was a bar of Salted Caramel chocolate honeycomb which is hand made by Mighty Fine, who happen to be London based. The honeycomb is made with real honey which gives it a nice light yet crisp crunch.


The honeycomb has a thin layer of chocolate which is made from high quality chocolate such as Belgian milk chocolate. As it is a thin layer you get a big taste of honeycomb with a small amount of chocolate, that way the chocolate is not overpowering.

Honeycomb chocolate bar from Mighty FineThe price of the honeycomb chocolate is not to bad, the bar I had worked out at £1.79 but you can get get tasty honeycomb dips and even honeycomb boxes. I am sure after having this bar of chocolate a Crunchy won’t taste the same 🙂

Bee’s are important and more of us should care about the decline in the Bee’s. Mighty Fine do donate 5% of their profits to Friends of the Honeybee, they focus on trying to halt the decrease in the number of Britain’s honey bee’s.

Where to Buy Mighty Fine Honeycomb?

If you are wanting to give these chocolates ago you can buy them from Harvey Nichols as well as a number of shops and delis around the UK. You can also buy them online via their website – www.mightyfine.co.

Check out their Facebook and twitter

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MightyFineKitchen
Twitter: @BeMightyFine

What To Use Honeycomb with?

I know what you’re thinking, isn’t it just a chocolate bar? Well yeah but a very tasty one 😛 You could however make some really nice desserts with a little of the honeycomb, drop it in some yogurt, mix it with some ice-cream or simply break it into crumbs and use it as garnish for some nice desserts…yummy!!!

Honeycomb chocolate bar from Mighty Fine

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Food Bloggers Fundraising Dinner For Stroke Association UK

Food Bloggers Fundraising Dinner For Stroke Association UK

Charity to me is important and I do think we should try to give to charity when we can. Understandably everyone has different charities that they like to give to, usually because they were affected by what the charity is trying to raise money for.

I learnt about a charity event that was being organised by Adam Hayes (@AdamHayes900), who is a Stroke Survivor so understandable wants to help get more people aware of act FAST (Face, Arms, Speech, Time – http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/recognizing-stroke/act-fast ). It is this that can really save a lot of people’s lives.

Rach and I were keen to be a part of this event as soon as we heard of it, her granddad was a great man and suffered from a number of stokes. We felt that the Stroke Association is a great cause to support.


The Rum House had an excellent section where you could purchase Rums made by them, as well as them sponsoring several of the raffle prizes. They really seem like a great company, so would recommend people to check them out!

The event was held at the NCN Adams Restaurant, which if you don’t know is one of the NCN colleges in Nottingham. They have their own culinary school teaching their students the great art of food 🙂

There we had a 3 course dinner which was cooked by the students as well as front of house being handled by the students as well. They do open the restaurant out to the public as it gives the students a great introduction to world of hospitality and cooking.

This was the first time that I have been to the restaurant and was therefore not sure what to expect. The food to me was very good and was actually better than some restaurants that I have been to, so a big well done to them!!

What Did I Have To Eat?

There were 3 options to choose from, Rach had the crispy pork belly whilst I tried the crab and salmon. I felt that both were plated really well, the crab was quite a large portion but to be honest it was very light so was not too filling.

The Pork starter came with 3 cubes of crispy pork belly, I stole one of them from her so I could get a good taste of it. The Pork was cooked very well, the fat had rendered down so it didn’t have that large chewy piece of fat. The top was nice and crispy and to me had the perfect texture as it was not too hard to bite into.

Crab Salad Dish served at Food Fundraising Dinner for Stroke Association Crispy Pork Belly Dish served at Food Fundraising Dinner for Stroke Association

For the main I enjoyed a nice lamb cutlet and lamb shoulder, it was cooked perfectly pink which gave it plenty of flavour. The dish came with rosemary potato fondant and the rosemary added a really nice touch. If I was to be really picky the food was more to one side than in the centre of the plate but it did taste incredible.

Rach had the mushroom wellington, she doesn’t usually have the vegetarian option but wanted something different. She did say there was a lot of flavour in it and the pastry was really nice, her only complaint was that it could do with some sauce.

Lamb Cutlet Dish served at Food Fundraising Dinner for Stroke Association Mushroom Wellington Dish served at Food Fundraising Dinner for Stroke Association

The dessert in my opinion was the best, it was a passionfruit panna cotta with honeycomb on the top. The honeycomb was cooked perfectly and tasted very nice along with the passion fruit. It was a nice light dessert and ended the meal perfectly.

Passion Fruit Panna Cotta  served at Food Fundraising Dinner for Stroke Association

In between the main course and dessert there was the charity raffle with some incredible prizes. The prizes were donated by local restaurants such as 3 course lunch, gift voucher to a meal etc. It really made me realise how generous some of the restaurants in Nottingham and Birmingham are.

I would just like to thank Adam again for arranging the event, it was an incredible night and was for an excellent cause.

If you are looking to raise money for charity, I would recommend the Stroke Association. They do some incredible things and educating people about FAST, really can save lives.

Please check out the links below for more information on the Stroke Association, NCN Adams Restaurant, the Rum House and Adam’s Twitter 🙂

Stroke Association Website: https://www.stroke.org.uk/
Stroke Association Twitter: @thestrokeassoc 
Adams Restaurant Website: https://www.ncn.ac.uk/about-us/our-facilities/adams-restaurant-and-brasseries 
Adams Restaurant Twitter: @ncn_Adams
The Rum House: http://www.rumhouse.co.uk/
The Rum House Twitter: @rumhouseuk
Follow Adam: @adamhayes900

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Get ready to YUM with Yummly

yummlybuttonI love collecting recipes, whether it’s ones that I have put together or recipes that I have come across and want to give a go as they look and sound yummy. My kitchen drawers are filled with bits of paper that I have used to jot down recipes, if only I had somewhere online to keep them….

If you follow me on Pinterest then you will know that I tend to pin or repin recipes that I think look amazing and/or those that I want to try. I have recently come across a site that focuses purely on recipes and saving those recipes…(like your own virtual recipe book).

You simply join up and browse through the recipes or use the handy search function to find recipes based on specific ingredients or types of food. You can then view the ingredients and then usually go to the recipe makers website to view the method.


Each recipe has a “YUM” button that allows you to save it to your recipe box, giving you the
ability to save all the best recipes that you want to try.

As I have said I recently joined, and you can too!

Don’t forget once you do sign up you can also add all of my recipes to your recipe box 🙂

Sign up to Yummly here – http://www.yummly.com/how-it-works/

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Steakhouse Nottingham – My Top 5 Steaks!

Steakhouse nottingham

Courtasy Of Soulville Steakhouse

Nottingham has some incredible restaurants with such a great diversity of cuisines. One of my go to meals when I’m out for a meal is steak, it’ usually on a lot of menus and really allows you to compare which offers the best tasting steak.

To me the key to a good steak house is how the steak is cooked, if I ask for it rare then I expect it to come rare. At the same time though there should be no redness as it should be well sealed but keep the taste.

What Makes A Good Steak?

Below are my top 5 steaks in Nottingham, but I thought it would be good to know what to me makes a good steak. This will depend on individual so can only go on what I think 🙂

Does It Come Cooked As I Would Like?


I have had a number of steaks and nothing annoys me more when I order a steak and tell them how i’d like it and it comes completely different. I usually ask for my steak rare because that is exactly how I like it.

Is Any Blood Showing?

Many people believe that when you order steak rare it will ooze with blood/red juices, this should not happen. A steak that has been cooked well should be seared properly to keep those juices sealed in.

The Entire Plate Comes Together?

Many places that I have been to they focus on the steak but then the chips don’t taste very nice or the mushroom is not cooked enough. The steak is naturally the main event but it’s the entire meal that makes it a nice experience, I like to have chips that are tasty and not burn as well as a sauce that adds to the steak but doesn’t take away from the natural flavours.

Here are my 5 favourite places that I have eaten Steak in nottingham, let me know what you think of them or even suggest your own recommendation. They are in no particular order, so enjoy them all 🙂

Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse

I have been to MPW Steakhouse Nottingham 3 times and had the fillet steak twice, both times it tasted incredible. It is not the cheapest with a 8oz steak costing £31 but I would honestly say its worth every penny, perfect for a special occasion.

I am not usually a fan of big chips but they were very tasty and cooked to perfection.

The last time I went I ordered the Blue Cheese sauce and it was very tasty, it had the perfect balance of blue and really made the dish even nicer than it did without.

I asked for my steak rare and came out just as I asked for 🙂

Website: http://www.mpwnottingham.com/

Marco Pierre White Nottingham 1

Harts Nottingham

Harts is an incredible restaurant and I have had enjoyed a couple of their dishes one of which was their fillet steak. It was a little different to many places that I have been to as it didn’t come with chips but sautéed potatoes. Before you scream at the screen and demand that steak should come up chips, give it a go – believe me it’s very nice.

The steak came just as I had asked and was sealed and cooked perfectly. It came with a nice peppercorn sauce which had a little kick but was not overpowering.

Website: www.hartsnottingham.co.uk

Harts-Nottingham-Main

The Riverbank Bar & Kitchen Nottingham

I don’t have a imagine of the steak I had here but I wish I did, you would be able to see exactly how good it was. Like the other places I had treated myself to a fillet steak and for a 7oz one it works out at £26.95, which I think is very reasonable. The steak comes with the traditional mushroom, tomato, leaves and thick cut chips or fries (depending on what you prefer)

The steak that I had here has to be one of the best I have had in Nottingham, which is why it has made my top 5. Even after several years I can still remember how amazing it was and how it had impressed me so much with the taste and cooking ability.

Website: www.riverbanknotts.co.uk

Soulville Steakhouse

I don’t think there can be a list of top steaks in Nottingham without mentioning Soulville, after all that’s what they do!! They do fillet steak in 3 different weights, I had the 9oz which works out at £20.95 and comes with the traditional mushroom, tomatoes and chips – very good value for a nice cut of meat.

If you like steak then Soulville is a place you have to try.

Website: http://www.thesoulvillesteakhouse.com/menus/2618469

Bear and Lace Nottingham

Bear and Lace is a fairly new restaurant but even though it is new I cannot deny that the steak they produce is incredible. Rach had ordered the steak and I had stolen a little of it, it was very nice!

The fillet steak was 7oz and came with mushroom, chips and confit tomato. The price was £24.95, which I think is reasonable.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/bearandlace/

Bearandlacereview4

If you are looking for a steakhouse in nottingham then I really don’t think you can go wrong with the above 5, these are my personal top restaurants for steak. In all 5 restaurants I had ordered the same cut of meat although the weight did vary, each was cooked perfectly to how I like.

They may not be the cheapest but to me they are incredible and would recommend each of them, if you was to have a nice meal out.

I would love your comments how these 5 restaurants, please feel free to comment below 🙂

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Being A Nottingham Foodie

Nottingham-restaurantsIf you are looking for a city within the UK to visit as a foodie, i’d have to recommend Nottingham. As I have gotten more and more into food and showing off my passion for all things food, I have noticed just how much of a foodie city Nottingham really is.

Wide range of cuisine

One of the great things about being a foodie in Nottingham is the amount of different cuisines there are. No matter what you fancy you will generally be able to find a restaurant that serves that type of food.

If you are wanting Indian then there are some great restaurants on Maid Marion way such as Memsaab, The Cumin, Anoki and 4550 Miles from Delhi.


There are some excellent steak houses around Parliament Street, Marco Pierre White and Soulville Steakhouse.

Looking for something French then Nottingham has some brilliant places which include French Living and Petit Paris.

I am sure there is not a cuisine that you couldn’t find in Nottingham! 🙂

Restaurants in Nottingham

Interestingly many consider Nottingham as a “foodie” capital, with 12 out of the 15 chains having a restaurant in Nottingham. One of the great things about Nottingham is that it’s not just chain restaurants, there are a good number of independent places to eat out as well.

I am a big fan of the independent restaurants, as I do think it’s important to have diversity and something different to other cities. I want to be able to go somewhere for a meal and it be something new and different, not just the same plate of food from an exact copy of the restaurant in another city.

For example a couple of Nottingham’s excellent restaurants include Michelin starred Sat Bains, World Service and Hart’s. With a number of new, quirky places such as Bear & Lace and Curious George.

Being a Foodie in Nottingham is generally not affected by budget, whatever your budget you will be able to find excellent places to eat and enjoy.

Food Shows

Nottingham is host to a number of excellent food shows, these are spread out through the year and often feature demonstrations from well-known chefs, whilst also allowing businesses to show of their local produce.

Recommended shows to visit include;

http://livingheritagefoodfestivals.co.uk/nottingham/

http://www.greatfoodanddrinkfestival.squarespace.com

https://thegreatnottinghamshireshow.wordpress.com/

INTU Victoria Centre Development  

intu-victoria-centreNottingham has seen a big increase in the amount of restaurants it has in the city centre thanks to INTU and the development they have put into the Victoria Centre. I for one love the improvements and think the centre looks so much better now.

I have thought for many years now that Nottingham has always been lacking a shopping centre with a good amount of places to eat. With the new improvements to Victoria Centre, we now have an entire area full of new places which include;

  • Coast to Coast
  • Ed’s Easy Diner
  • Joe’s Kitchen
  • Tortilla
  • many more! 🙂

Where Should A Foodie In Nottingham Eat?

If your are not familiar with Nottingham and you are wanting to find the perfect place to go as a foodie then Id recommend the following areas within the city centre. Its important to note that there are some excellent places outside of the centre, including Sat Bains which is located in Lenton.

Maid Marion Way

Harts-NottinghamMaid Marion way has some excellent places to eat and is the perfect place to go if visiting the city as there are a couple of hotels near and around it. Near and around here you can visit excellent places to eat such as;

  • Harts
  • World Service
  • Memsaab
  • Chino Latino
  • 4550 Miles from Delhi
  • Chutneys
  • Bear & Lace

Hockley

tarn-thai-NottinghamHockley is the other side of the city to Maid Marion Way, it’s not a massive walk but not always ideal late at night when you have had a few drinks. There are a few excellent places to eat around Hockley such as;

  • Tarn Tai
  • Cape
  • Restaurant 88
  • Pitcher & Piano (Not exactly Hockley but close)

I personally like Hockley because of some of the bars near and around. The Boilermaker is to me one of the best places to go for cocktails, its table service and very chilled out and relaxed.

Corner House

cornerhouseCorner House is probably one of the busiest areas in Nottingham as its home to Cineworld, Casino and Crazy Golf. Its also got a good number of hotels nearby as well as a nice range of bars and restaurants. Places to eat that I would recommend around here include;

  • Prezzo
  • Nicholsons
  • Saltwater
  • Chiquitos
  • Cosmo
  • Marco Pierre White
  • Red Hot Buffet Shack

I hope this article has shown you just how great Nottingham is if you love food, if you already live in and around Nottingham then which are your must go to restaurants?

If you are not from Nottingham then I would fully recommend it for a night or two out, so you can enjoy some incredible food from some excellent places to eat. If you do or have visited, i’d love to hear what you thought in the comments below.

Sources:

http://www.nottinghampost.com/city-high-food-chain/story-26255684-detail/story.html

http://www.experiencenottinghamshire.com/eat-and-drink

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