28 September 2014

A Fishy Business

In my previous post I told you a bit about the personal challenge I've set myself. I'm getting tough in the gym, eating right and generally being a good girl. I've no idea where the will-power is coming from to be honest! But every good girl deserves a treat day and Friday was such a day; a glass or two of bubbles were in order.

Mary and I headed to The Wright Brothers Oyster House located in the bustling foodie square that is Kingly Court, Soho. You can either sit in the bright, open bar area at the front of the restaurant or head to the more relaxed dining room towards the back. 

Within minutes of arriving, we were happily sipping on our glasses of Prosecco Vapparetto. Champagne, Prosecco and Cava; the perfect accompaniment to our impending seafood and I was in my element! 

I don't often go out for a shellfish dinner. I can't remember the last time I had a winkle.  It was time to reintroduce some shelled seafood into my life and what better way to do it than with The Wright Brothers' House Platter. Shell-on Atlantic prawns, whelks, winkles, mussels and those all important oysters were beautifully presented to our table.

It was a messy business, I won't lie, but everything tasted as fresh as could be and it was hard to fault. Some of those pesky winkles were rather difficult to extract from their shell but that was half the fun of it. The prawns were deliciously juicy. As far as oysters and I are concerned, the jury's still out. I don't quite get them. Do you chew? Do you not chew? If you don't chew then what's the point? Opinions on this are welcomed in the comments section below!

Then along came the Fish Of The Day. It was Brill fish; grilled to perfection and served up simply with herbs, butter and olive oil. 

We also had the crab meat which was served in its shell with olive oil and lemon.

It was certainly a delightful meal and not an inch of fishy flesh was left on that Brill by the time we'd finished with it! 

We concluded with a little blue cheese...

...then were off into the night to continue the fun.

No prizes for guessing where we went. Yes, it was back to our new favourite haunt, Forge!

As far as treat nights go, this had been a definite goodie.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! 


26 September 2014

A Quick Apology!

I've not been posting as much as I was.  I'm sorry about that.  I will tell you for why...

For years now, I've been banging on about how I want get into the best shape of my life; get a great work-out routine going, take up some new activities (rock climbing, anyone?) and start eating really well. I've always had a pretty good diet but going out to restaurants and bars two or three times per week was never going to get me very far down the road when it comes to a body fitness challenge.

As well as re-evaluating my workout routine - I've never done so many squats in my life - my personal trainer, Sarah, suggested I try a low carb, high fat diet. You may have already read lots of recent articles about how fat is good for you...it's the carbs and the sugar combined with the fat that's bad. The only carbohydrates I am eating I get from fresh organic vegetables and the increased fat intake means things like meat, fish, cheese, olive oil, butter, eggs, nuts, avocado and - my favourite - chicken skin are all encouraged. That doesn't sound too bad, does it? The best thing is that it keeps you feeling so wonderfully full up that any snacking goes out the window! This way of eating trains the body to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates (ketosis) and I'm already seeing the results and feeling great. 

If you happen to be interested, I've been a geek and set up a separate Instagram account to following my progress and diet. You can find it @ketocaz (link here).

For those more interested in the 'out and about' posts, of course I can still have my treat days and I have lots of great things to write about in the pipeline! (not to mention Vegas again in December!). 

Lucky for me, there aren't many carbs in a glass of champagne ;)

Have a fantastic weekend everyone x


23 September 2014

A Clucking Good Lunch At Forge

Forge was already fast becoming one of my favourite new London venues. With its impressive wine menu, quality cocktails, classy décor and crazy downstairs dance floor, it's one of those rare 'all-rounders' in which I've already spent two fantastic nights since it opened in the summer.

Now, following a lunch visit last week, I'm pleased to say I can add great food to that list too. Officially favorited!

The somewhat tarnished reputation of its predecessor, Abacus, is but a fading memory.

I was meeting up with two of my favourite people, Mary and Paul. We were celebrating Paul's last day at his job before moving to pastures new so a good meaty meal and champagne were in order!

Following many minutes of menu studying combined with chatter, it was the peanut butter, coconut lemongrass & green chilli chicken skewers, the chicken & Spanish chorizo skewers and a warm grilled mackerel salad with fennel, apple & toasted walnuts that we decided upon.

All so well cooked, full of flavour and much enjoyed by each of us. My mackerel with it's perfectly crisp skin was delicious. It's great when a menu has some healthier options for those of us trying to be a little more disciplined.

My fish had been a delight but it was the bird that was the winner!

Both Paul and I ordered the half fragrant spiced chicken - marinated in fennel seeds, cumin and coriander - fresh from the Forge spit. It is presented before you on a tray complete with a bottle of home-made barbecue sauce, chilli and coriander corn, apple and fennel slaw and, normally, thick cut chips which I'd swapped for wilted spinach and portabello mushrooms.

I loved it. It was the fragrant, marinated skin of the tender chicken that made it special. I could easily have eaten a whole one of those juicy chooks.

Mary chose the exceedingly saucy Coca-Cola glazed gammon. A tasty looking piece of pig if ever I saw one.

The time flew by as we enjoyed our food and our bubbles! 

Forge can be whatever you want it to be; a decent meal, a wine bar or a nightclub open 'til the early hours. On Friday they're hosting a Gatsby night complete with tap dancers and flapper girls - no doubt it will be a fun-filled, glamorous night! I'm sure you'll find us there, sipping champagne with Mr Gatsby himself. How could we resist?


20 September 2014

The Gooiest, Most Chocolatey Brownies EVER

Did that title get your attention? Good!

Well, you'll be pleased to know I didn't just write it for page view purposes. I believe I have the recipe for the most luxurious, rich and delicious triple chocolate brownies going and I have lots of photos of them to boot. I make the brownies with only the very best ingredients and the amount of time I let them bake in the oven is calculated meticulously in order to achieve that perfectly soft, divine texture.

I can't share the recipe with you though I'm afraid. If I did, I'd have to kill you (and people might stop paying me to bake them...)

Mmm, gooeyness....

Yesterday morning, I was up at 5.30am preparing one hundred of them for a birthday party. I've had my own little baking company for some years now and the chocolate brownies are easily one of my most popular items. Unusually though, today I was baking for a party I was actually attending! 

The birthday boys had hired out an incredible warehouse-style space called Skyloft By Altitude London. It's right at the top of the Millbank Tower in Westminster and has stunning views over London. I arrived nice and early with my big box of brownies then, with my delivery complete, proceeded to enjoy the evening and the complimentary champagne!

It was fantastic to be able to see the guests' reaction to my brownies first hand. All through the evening I had people coming up to me asking if I was the 'brownie girl', telling me how many they'd eaten and how much they enjoyed them!

I was a happy lady. Not only down to the brownies being such a success but also because I was enjoying my first alcoholic drink in two weeks. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I'm writing this blog post with a slightly aching head! Time for a nap, I think...

If you are partial to a brownie, live in the London area and would like to place an order with me, feel free to drop me a line! cocktailsandcaroline@yahoo.co.uk


16 September 2014

Opening of the Jimmy Choo Townhouse

I've been lucky enough to get some lovely event and venue invitations thanks to this blog. I'm not quite sure how that happened but I appreciate every single one of them. Every now and again, though, there's a special one that arrives in the form of an email or a letter through the door. One that makes my tummy flip a little.

 Just like when I received an event invitation from Jimmy Choo!

Jimmy Choo; my favourite shoe designer. The beautiful white sandals I got married in. The Swarovski jewelled ankle boots I jumped for joy at finding in Bicester Village. The brand I named my dog after!

Sunday was the opening of the expanded and renovated store on New Bond Street. With three whole floors full of dreamy shoes and luxury bags, the event promised its guests champagne and afternoon tea. 

What was not to love?

As I walked over the JC threshold, the first display I saw was the limited edition Candy bags. With a red phone box design, they were specially created to celebrate the opening of the new store. They're certainly a bold and patriotic statement piece. I often wish I could buy clutch bags that cute and small but to be honest, I always have far too much stuff! Where on earth would I put my camera?

I was offered a glass of champagne and presented with a selection of divine canapés.

You may recognise the cake designs and plates from the Berkeley Hotel Fashionista Afternoon Tea

They were truly delicious; as good as they look. The scones were fabulous too! Jimmy Choo officially do great afternoon tea.

The invitation to the event had no plus one so I arrived alone, initially feeling a little out of place amongst all the trendy fashion bloggers. These uneasy feelings were short-lived though and before long I was mingling and we were lusting together over the stunning shoes and bags surrounding us.

Here are a few of my personal favourites...

I so rarely see any creations in Jimmy Choo I wouldn't be over the moon to own. They get the combination of glamour and elegance just right.

Of course, I wore a pair of my own Choos for the occasion. It was only right!

As a proud Essex girl, I always feel very at home in white stilettos!

On the ground floor there were three girls from Nars providing complimentary manicures. I had to get involved! I chose a colour that perfectly matched my jacket. 

Shoes, bags, cakes and champagne - a few of my favourite things all in one place! Inevitably, I had a fantastic time and was so pleased to have been invited along.

And as if I hadn't been spoilt enough, on my way out I was handed a Jimmy Choo goodie bag. Sunglasses, perfume, Nars make-up and a few more of those wonderful biscuits. 

I returned home that night one happy and very spoilt lady!

Do you own a fabulous pair of Jimmy Choos? Any above that took your fancy?