Yes Pie-Minister

I love quirky food… anyone who knows me knows that!

So imagine my excitement when Pieminister contacted me to see if I would come along to the press launch of their new Cardiff restaurant on St Mary’s Street last Friday.

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I spent the whole week building it up in my head, tweeting them constantly and hyping it up to my ‘plus one’ Jack who didn’t quite understand the concept at the beginning, like most people I’m sure.

So how do I begin to explain Pieminister… Well it’s not so much gourmet Greggs as Sweeney Todd meets fine dining (not the dead people part, just the pies) although when Commercial Minister Chris came around to speak to us I had to ask whether moving in to a unit just a few shops away from old style barbers ‘Keep The Faith’ was just a happy coincidence… He laughed and assured me it was!

We were greeted warmly by Marketing Minister Claire who told us we could go and have a look around and then order some food and drinks.

When you walk in you are immediately greeted with a chilled out bar feel, with a mix of booths and tables it lends a very relaxed atmosphere; perfect for a girly lunch or even a first date.

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The downstairs is simply crying out to be used for private/large parties, it’s beautifully cosy with lots of lights hanging from the ceiling and a mix of tables and booths.

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Back upstairs we both ordered a Thatcher’s Cider which was both crisp and sharp.

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For food I opted for the Matador… A pie filled with British Beef Steak, Chorizo, Butterbeans and Olives, accompanied by Sweet Potato Fries and gravy… Perfect for dipping the fries into!

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For the first time all evening we were completely silent, content with our comfort food and drinking in the atmosphere in the room. After finishing we both sat back and took a big sigh… these are the best pies ever! (I should point out that at this point I was slipping into a pie-induced coma!)

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With fresh and locally sourced ingredients you just can’t go wrong and with Pieminister’s ethical values you know you are always guaranteed something that’s kind to you and others too.

Pieminister’s promise to their customers is that they insist on 100% free range British meat (sourced locally), 100% free range eggs, Non-hydrogenated fats and fresh herbs & vegetables… the ultimate in British pie baking!

After being disappointed at the lack of desserts to try, Commercial Minister Chris arranged for us to try some of the famous Pork Scratchings and some apple sauce from the kitchen. They did not disappoint… Super crunchy with a soft yet slightly chewy edge and an incredible flavour, we will most definitely be back for some of these.

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If I only had one criticism of the evening it was that a couple of team members were rather uninterested and one was actually quite rude. I’m someone who champions customer service! It’s the difference between people going out or just ordering things online. Even more importantly in a restaurant where direct service is more heavily needed than in a retail store. I’m going to put this down to first night nerves coupled with the stress and pressure of all the press being there, so I’m going to reserve full judgement until I’ve been back.

Ultimately the evening was amazing though and so was the food and I can’t wait to go back and see how they’re all doing now that they’re officially open to the public.

To find out more visit http://www.pieminister.co.uk

#liveandeatpie

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Way of Wagamama

I was recently invited to spend an evening at Cardiff’s Wagamama with Executive Chef Steve Mangleshot to help develop our taste buds and recommend other dishes for us based on what we normally like.

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We were all asked to submit our favourite dish prior to the evening so that Steve could begin building up a profile for each of us and then on the evening he was joined by Food Psychologist & Nutritional Therapist Dr Christy Fergusson who helped explain what our favourite flavours mean about our personality. Apparently my lack of desire for any kind of vegetable means something’s seriously wrong with me …haha!

The new campaign #wayofwagamama is all about getting people to try new dishes, as generally waga-goers find their favourite dish and then stick with it. With the change in the iconic placemats, featuring pictures of food on them for the first time ever, the hope is that when people see the food and what’s in it they may change their habit, or so Steve hopes.

The first dish which came out for me was the Teriyaki Chicken Donburi. Full of texture and colour it looked very appealing, although I knew I would be pulling all the carrots and leaves off (I know it’s bad but I just don’t like the taste). The chicken had a slight glaze on it which wasn’t too heavy, just enough to coat the chicken. Steve started making his rounds and began asking everyone what they liked and didn’t like… Next up… Me… Eeeeeek… I dipped my head sheepishly and admitted that although the noodles were beautiful and the chicken cooked to perfection, I found it a bit bland for my taste buds

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“NO PROBLEM!” Shouted Steve, “Let’s fix that!” and within minutes he returned with two small dishes… One was filled with Hoi Sin sauce, the other with Soy Sauce and I could mix and match until I found a flavour that suited me perfectly. The addition of a bit of a fruity flavour suited me down to the ground and I admitted I would definitely have this dish again.

In between gorging on all the amazing food we were chatting to Dr Christy about our favourite foods and I discovered that cheese actually has something in it which makes it addictive which explains why my Babybel obsession sometimes gets a bit out of control.

The next dish which came out was very much of Steve’s instant creation. I admitted to him that although I submitted my favourite dish as Ginger Chicken Udon that I normally request for almost everything to be taken out. I have the mange tout, bean sprouts and onion removed just leaving noodles, chicken and ginger, simple but a classic!

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So when he brought my next plate out he completely changed my way of thinking about Wagamama dishes. I’ve always thought about what I can take out, but never what I could change up or add in as an alternative. Out from the bustling kitchen came my very own Chicken Pad Thai with little dishes including mint and crushed peanuts, I was being given the chance to make the dish my own and tailor the flavours to suit me… LOVE IT!

By this point I’m sure you can imagine I was starting to feel a bit full as were the rest of my fellow bloggers, but Steve had one final surprise up his sleeve… Dessert… He whispered.

Again this dish was going to be a creation of Steve’s own and was a complete surprise to us and as it turned out we were the first people to try this, it’s not even on the menu yet although I’m sure it won’t be long until it is… Welcoming the Katsu Curry Ice Cream!

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A smooth, light and creamy texture with all the heat and fire you get from a Katsu Curry, it’s the perfect guilty pleasure. Your head is screaming that you couldn’t possibly like this, whilst your taste buds are screaming MORE, MORE, MORE!

The evening drew to a close and we started saying our thank-yous and goodbyes, knowing we were all leaving needing a well-deserved nap.

My advice to all waga-obsessives during this campaign is don’t be afraid to try something different and don’t be afraid to really ask the staff what they like, they know their stuff!

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To find out more visit www.wagamama.com

#wayofwagamama

Look of the Irish!

So I decided to have a bit of a play with some of my Elf products to create an unusual St Patrick’s Day inspired look!

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I started off by sweeping black eyeshadow from my palette all over the lids and in the crease.

Then I got my new green duo stick and used the eyeshadow end from the outside-in on my lids and the used the eyeliner end to line all the way around my eyes.

After a sweep of eye-enhancing mascara on top and bottom lashes, I then added the dramatic lashes to the bottom of my eyes to create an avant garde look, although it also looks a bit creepy doll-esque!

I finished the look with a slick of glittery lip gloss… My very own pot of gold hehe!

For everyone asking… My green polka dot bow hairband is from Peacocks

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