Now I’m just chasing time
With a thousand dreams I’m holding heavy
And as we cross the line, these fading beats have all been severed
It’s only just begun

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Wagamamas Winter Menu

I was recently invited to the PR evening at Wagamamas to sample their brand new winter menu and instantly knew I’d be in for plenty of treats!

We arrived on the evening to a whole host of press and fellow bloggers all gathered along a lengthy table at one end of the restaurant.

The restaurant is laid out with a Japanese feng shui style of living; clean, wooden long tables give the sense of diners to eat as a family – everyone sits and eats together.

We started off with their new ultra-flavoursome juice which incorporates beetroot, orange and carrot juice all into one glass. Personally I would have preferred if it had either been made more sweet with extra carrot, or been made more savoury by adding chilli or red pepper. For me, the drink couldn’t quite decide what it wanted to be… I decided to stick with my red wine.

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First on the menu…the two new ramen dishes!

The first was filled with noodles and a vegetable broth, heaped with generous amounts of stunningly cooked crispy duck and chilli. This was a personal favourite for me, with plenty of spices and flavours it gave off just the right amount of heat to keep you toasty warm in the cold winter months.

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The second is a polite nod to all the vegetarians who visit which includes a whole host of seasonal mushrooms such as oyster, chestnut and shitake with silken tofu studded throughout which makes it a very hearty dish indeed.

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You will always find different types of Ramen wherever you go, but for any kind of noodle including spaghetti, they should be smooth, ‘slurpable’ (in Japan you are suppose to slurp loudly so the chef knows that you are enjoying it) and will separate from each other.

Next up, the side dishes…both of these were absolutely fantastic!

We loved the texture of the new gyoza. The dumplings were steamed to perfection so that you only had to gentle bite them to be met with slow cooked pulled pork, served with spiced black vinegar and ginger sauce on the side…yum!. These simply melt in your mouth and I could easily eat a whole plate of these to myself.

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The winning side however was the dish of steamed broccoli and pak choi, stir fried with heaps of soy sauce and garlic. The flavours complimented each other so well in this dish and the crunch of the broccoli made it perfect for swirling around in the sauce… They were cooked well and were delicious!

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Now we were on to our last 2 main dishes…we were getting rather full by this point!

When they arrived we were wowed!

The first was a beautifully presented plate of grilled fillet of white mahi mahi fish surrounded by mini sweet potatoes and peppers and lightly coated in a spiced curry sauce. The flavours of the fish were amazing, and this fish is generally pretty gamey…but for me, the texture just made it taste overcooked.

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The next was a popular favourite, the Kare-Lomen which has been returned to the menu after apparent uproar from loyal Waga-goers! This dish is a super yummy coconut and lemongrass soup, filled with ramen noodles, beansprouts, cucumber, coriander, lime and topped with either grilled chicken or prawns. This was definitely my favourite dish of the whole evening and it seemed many others around me agreed. Full of heat, the depth of flavours is almost overwhelming, this dish will not disappoint!

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In between these dishes we were presented with some of their new exclusive beer. Now, I’m not a beer drinker so was rather dubious about trying this…but this is so unique, this beer is flavoured with green tea leaves and yuzu. A delicious combination, we almost could taste hints of vanilla on the end of our tongue… Makes a change from ordering a glass of coca cola I suppose!

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We were at the end…finish line in sight…then out came dessert *sigh*… we clearly have a separate stomach just for dessert though so it’s fine!

Freshly prepared warm pancakes filled with a date and orange sauce clung to a generous scoop of cinnamon ice cream…this dish simply tastes of Christmas!!!!

All in all, I think this new winter menu is going to go down a storm! I highly recommend anyone enjoying a day out shopping to cosy up in Wagamamas and enjoy these dishes, available now!

Travel The World With Marks & Spencer!

So I was lucky enough to be asked to trial Marks & Spencer’s new ‘Flavours of The World’ range. This range will allow you to take an appetizing international journey of taste, without even needing to leave your desk.

I came home with inspiring products from across many different regions and was really excited at the possibilities of how to use them… A foodie by nature, I was already thinking of recipes in my head.

I started with the White Truffle Honey which I used in two ways. The first I used as a drizzle with buttermilk pancakes (my flatmate approved of these)… the second was used as a glaze for roast carrots which came out absolutely amazing…Just brush a bit over them about 5 minutes before you’re going to take them out of the oven. This is perfect with sweet or savoury!

To drink I had some of the French White Peach Nectar which I was dubious of at first as I’ve never tried that flavour in a drink before, I have to say though I was pleasantly surprised. Sweet, yet not overbearing, this fruity drink will leave you suitably refreshed.

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I also nibbled on the mini pastries from Italy which had an apricot jam filling, these are perfect if you want to host your own vintage tea party as they go perfectly with a cup of tea. These little darling mini-puds are soft, just a little bit squishy and the perfect size for popping in your mouth in one bite.

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I was quite lucky in that I held my flat warming party last week and cracked out the Pineapple Chipotle Salsa…man oh man! This salsa packs one almighty punch, but the tang from the pineapple just adds a whole new dimension to it. We used it to dip tortilla chips in, although I would  definitely use this as a topping on nachos too.

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My personal favourites in the end though were the Salted Caramel Butter Waffles…they melted in the mouth, leaving your mouth tingling with the zip of sweet and the zing of salty and were slightly crisp for a nice snap…These are the winners in my eyes!

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This new range is very inspirational and is breaking the mould in terms of what we normally expect to be able to purchase from Marks and Spencer. 

With something for everyone, this range won’t disappoint.