Saturday, 30 March 2013

Happy Easter! – Cadbury

Happy Easter! Probably the only real reason why everyone loves Easter is because of the chocolates. This causes half of every supermarket to be filled with bunnies and eggs of all types and brands.

Cadbury is the obvious captain of the team – no supermarket is legitimate without their range of Easter chocolates. Cadbury is the staple brand of Easter.

These notorious sugar-bombs are everywhere between January 1 and Easter Day. They come in bite-sized versions, ice cream bars, splat-shapes, McFlurries, and everywhere else you never thought they could go.

Hey, look, they still care about the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

These eggs can be eaten in at least two bites, and are as substantial as a chocolate bar. Once bitten into – if you don't break a tooth – gooey, sweet fondant says hello, like an verbally-advanced baby in a cradle.

The yolk makes its appearance after some disgraceful licking, or another bite.

However, you don't really want to eat loads of these. Put simply, a creme egg is liquified, flavoured and coloured sugar surrounded by a layer of milk chocolate. You eat it because it'll only be here for three months, but they're not something I would kill to have.

Although not much better health-wise, I prefer the Caramel Egg over the Creme Egg. You get caramel in chocolate bars all the time, and they are a familiar flavour – they have great flavour. The fondant in a Creme Egg is sweet, but flavourless.

This is a really bad, good chocolate treat, if you know what I mean.

My sister bought one of these to experiment having them placed in her wedding favour goodie bag, and I ended up taking it home afterwards.

The pastel-coloured eggs are realistically speckled, and have a matte, powdery texture, resembling an actual egg, except for the fact that it's a quarter of an egg's size.

Much like a fat m&m, a Mini Egg is milk chocolate covered with a thin, candy coating. These are easy to pop in your mouth one after the other after the other after the other after the other, and don't disappear in your mouth as quickly as an m&m. You get to bite and feel some chocolate melt in your mouth before it all goes away.

Happy Easter, and watch those chocolates!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

La Creperie Bretonne Part 3

Click here for part two.

La Creperie Bretonne is becoming a weekend ritual for Emma and I, and this particular weekend, it was a must.

It's zero degrees here in London, and snowing. April begins in a week and here, it is snowing. It's not even good, fresh snow which leaves everything white and fluffy like a scene from 'Home Alone', it just makes puddles everywhere and comes with wind which makes your thighs feel like ice blocks.

I also needed a good lunch because I had a Skype session with my family in the morning which got a little emotional. (If you really needed to know, they were having a post-eldest-sister's-wedding-cum-dad's-birthday-dinner, during which Dad sang two love songs to my mum with my second brother on guitar, all of which I got a live-stream of) I braved the cold as quickly as possible and barged into La Creperie Bretonne with puffy eyes and a runny nose, making sure the first thing I got was a hot chocolate. (£2.10 for an reasonable, average-sized mug)

I got bacon and cheese Ciabatta (£3.something) which was a reasonable size, served with crisps.

This was average, really. The filling just fell short of enough, and the bacon was not mind-blowingly flavourful like bacon is supposed to be. There just wasn't enough goodness in the filling.

It's okay Emma, you tried.

Emma got a 'Mexicana' Panini, which apparently contained 'chic & mozz', but we spent the whole meal wondering whether it was salmon instead of chicken.

 Either way, after trying a little bit of this, we both concurred that the paninis by La Creperie Bretonne are one of the most satisfying things you can ever have. Crispy and fluffy, buttered bread with cheese seeping into it, just like the previous panini from a few weeks ago, with soft, tasty filling. The thing is, the colour, texture and flavour of the meat in the filling was, I swear, something like salmon. Either that, or the texture of the chicken was so soft and tender, with unique flavours. Whatever it was, the filling simply tasted amazing, with a hint of chilli to add a kick into every bite.

L-R: Emma's crêpe and mine. Each design represents our life ambition – Emma's fate is headed towards spaghetti-making, and I have a true flair for assembling scaffolding.

Emma and I ordered a single chocolate crêpe (£3.50 or something like that) to share, but the waitress kindly served the crepe to us, divided and decorated separately.

I much preferred the maple syrup crêpe which I got in the previous visit. The chocolate drizzle and filling tasted cheap, and didn't have enough cocoa fragrance. However, the crêpe was warm and yummy, freshly made on the spot, glass wiper crêpe spreader and all.

At one point, we both found ourselves nodding along to a song which was playing in the cafe, and Emma whipped out this really nifty iPhone app called Soundhound, which instantly recognises the music which is playing. The music wasn't even that loud, but the app could miraculously pick it up. (To be fair, the cafe was quite empty.) The song was 'Latch' by Disclosure. I downloaded the app there and then, and tried it on the next song – the app quickly told me that it was 'Release Me' by Agnes. I felt like time-travelling caveman who had just realised that he could press a button to get light.

La Creperie Bretonne

113 The Broadway
St Margarets
United Kingdom

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Loon Tao + Dumplings Legend

I love Chinatown – it has Asian supermarkets which loyally contain my instant noodles and Hello Panda biscuits. It also boasts rows of Chinese restaurants with names as stereotypical you can get.

Loon Tao Chinese Restaurant (Loon Tao = Dragon Island)

It had the shortest queue among most restaurants on a Saturday evening, when my company and I were wandering around Chinatown hoping to get some decent Chinese food for dinner.

The interiors were nothing much – hanging red lanterns and random oriental posters up on the wall – it was a very simple place. I seemed to be the food consultant of the evening, explaining that, yes, porridge was indeed savoury, er yes I guess it's sort of like rice pudding, and that Singapore noodles is a phony dish. The latter is fried vermicelli noodles with curry powder, which is virtually served no where in Singapore. This dish is like improvised mi-fen with the wrong ingredients within reach of the chef. It is a legit, edible and tasty dish, though. I got a simple beef porridge (a.k.a 'congee') with peanuts which tasted good and authentic, although no porridge can ever surpass my mum's home-made beef porridge.

The restaurant served the staple deep-fried appetizers such as spring rolls and prawn toast, which were not too popular in Southeast-Asian menus.

Overall, the food was tasty and not a bad quality, with reasonable prices and lots of helpful staff walking around. We were served free slices of really good, juicy orange after the meal. Loon Tao is definitely a reliable place to go in Chinatown.

31 Gerrard Street
Soho, London
United Kingdom

Loon Tao on Urbanspoon

Dumplings' Legend

The Dim Sum in Dumplings' Legend is of high standards for a Chinese restaurant in Europe. The famous pork soup dumplings (£6 for 8 dumplings) were good, but could have been served hotter, like most of the dishes I had. The Pork buns (3 for £2.50) and crystal prawn dumplings (8 for £6) were good. What I think was Fried Vermicelli Noodles & Hofen with mixed seafood and scrambled eggs had a few hard, uncooked bits, and the sauce was over-gooey – that dish did not impress me. Otherwise, Dumplings' Legend is a great place to go for acceptable-quality dim sum with a wide variety of dishes.

15-16 Gerrard Street
Chinatown, London

Phone: (020) 7494 1200

Opening hours:
Mon-Thu 12:00-00:00
Fri-Sat 12:00-03:00
Sun 12:00-23:00
Nearest Tube Station: Leicester 

Dumpling's Legend on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 16 March 2013


Pho is a Vietnamese street-food franchise here in London, and if you perform a quick Google image search, the only thing you see are bowls of beef noodle soup, which is said to be their speciality.

The one I went to last weekend is situated in 'The Balcony' – a very glamorous food court with a wide variety of international cuisine – of Westfield's Shepherd's Bush.

I got a "Pho Xao Thit Ga" (£7.75) which are flat wok-fried noodles with peanuts, bean sprouts and greens, and pretty fierce chilli for England's standards. My noodles were meant to contain chicken and shrimp, but somehow they got lots of chicken into my noodles and no shrimp at all. Heck, I was hungry and didn't bother to request a change. (edit: There's an extra "Tom" suffix after the name of the dish if I wanted mine with prawns, which my sister probably missed out when ordering. Okay.)

The noodles were very tasty, and the ingredients were generous. The spiciness level was definitely above that of the average apprehensive-when-it-comes-to-spicy-Asian-food English person, but it was manageable for myself – my spiciness-tolerance-level isn't that high either.

My sister got the famed beef noodles. (edit: there are about 8 types of beef noodles on the menu and I don't know which one she got) I have no idea why the dish is the star of the menu, it really was nothing much. The beef balls were pretty good, but the soup was average. Maybe it's because I've had better ones from Southeast Asia itself, and that the dish is a rare treat in this part of the world?

I've never had much Vietnamese food anyway, but I'm going to start paying more attention to it. The contrasts of flavours in Vietnamese cuisine is slightly sharper than, although similar to, Thai food, which is quite delightful to the taste buds.

Ariel Way
London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
London W12
07824 662320

Graze #2

Click here for part one.

I found my second Graze box waiting for me when I got home on Friday evening. I don't remember why, but I remember feeling a little bit down that day.

I opened the box and could not help feeling better when I see four little punnets with cute illustrated fonts and doodles on them, each containing a yummy-looking snack.

Apple & Cinnamon flapjacks - A big YES to this one. I love the hint of cinnamon, and can feel little apple pieces, which don't overpower the almighty golden syrup taste. I've labelled this snack as "Love", which means that Graze will send me these flapjacks more often.

Informative page in my booklet

Cookies & Cream - Creative, but a little bit strange. This snack contains mini chocolate cookies, white chocolate buttons, (there were only four) raw hazelnuts and sunflower seeds. The sunflower seeds created a dull background flavour which had nothing to do with the cookies & cream concept, but I enjoyed the white chocolate. The cookies were alright, and although the hazelnuts were probably meant to compliment the chocolate flavours, the fact that they were raw and just there in the box didn't do much for the overall combination. Still a good snack, but just doesn't fit its title that well.

Boston Baguettes w/ BBQ Relish - The 'Baguettes' were crunchy breadsticks with salt and tomato seasoning, and the dip was a good-quality BBQ sauce with tomato chunks. It was delicious, and a good snack to have with just 84 calories to make you feel better about having it fifteen minutes before dinnertime because they were just sitting there on your table for no particular reason.

Toffee Apple - Thank goodness, this one survived the weekend and made it to school on Monday.   I felt that the apples had a strange texture – a dried exterior with rubbery, semi-moist insides. The taste of the apples dipped into the toffee isn't too bad, though, a pretty good snack.

Come on guys. Just order a free Graze box using that code, and I get £1 off my next box! These boxes are really lovely, the snacks are just so satisfying.

Monday, 4 March 2013

La Creperie Bretonne Part 2

Click here for part one.

I didn't take a picture of the crêpe which I had for lunch, because I gobbled it up in what felt like three seconds.

This was my second time in La Creperie Bretonne, the humble café situated next to the St Margarets Railway Station. I'm with Emma this time, who also happens to be the lucky recipient of my best Drawsomething attempt ever:

I can't believe I didn't take a picture of my crêpe pancake, but you should have seen it. It was big and drizzled with light-coloured maple syrup and powdered sugar, with a light, spongy texture despite its thinness. Emma thought it was rather sweet, but I really enjoyed it.

Emma had a Chicken and Mushroom Panini, which was cut into quarters and served with potato chips.

It was so. Good.

The white bread was grilled to perfection – crispy (but not too crispy) on the outside, with dark grill-lines, and the chicken and mushrooms were simple but tasty, and there may have been some cheese in it which caused a real melt-in-your-mouth effect.

It's hard to resist dessert in a café with a display cabinet. I chose some sort of honey layered sponge cake, while Emma got a classic Billionaire Shortbread Slice.

The cake wasn't made by the café, as there was a label with a brand name in the display cabinet which started with an "M", but I simply can't remember what it was. (Update 11/16/13: This is called Medovik, and is a Russian Honey layered cake.) Anyway, this was one of the fluffiest cakes I've ever had. The fork squeezes the cake about three quarters of the way down before anything is cut. The cake is moist and delightfully fragrant, and the icing on the top creates a nice...

I never know what the word for it is. It isn't a crunch, but you can still hear something when you bite into icing.

... er, texture. 

A Millionaire Shortbread Slice can almost never go wrong. For those who are unfamiliar with this British/Australian triple-threat, it is basically a layer of shortbread, soft caramel and chocolate, all combined into a calorific slice of death. The texture of the layers go brilliantly with each other, with slightly crunchy chocolate, smooth caramel and soft, crumbly shortbread. It is decadent.

La Crêperie Bretonne hasn't disappointed me yet, and I can't wait for my next visit. 

La Creperie Bretonne

113 The Broadway
St Margarets
United Kingdom

Click here for part three!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Galaxy Cookie Crumble


The next time you go into a shop and see this and wonder if you should buy it, the answer is yes.

Nothing can go wrong, really, when it comes to chocolate and cookies.

Or cookies in chocolate.

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