Strada Kids Party at the Birmingham Mailbox

Half term week had a special treat for Joe and I when we were invited to a special party at Strada in the Birmingham Mailbox. It was a lot of fun, with pizza making and activity packs for the children, and Prosecco and fine food for the adults. The children also got the chance to try dishes from the Strada Squad menu, a menu that has been specially approved by a panel of children acting as taste testers.

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Joe took a turn with the camera

Joe took a turn with the camera

The day started with the pizza making session. Pizza bases and a range of toppings were provided and the children all had great fun designing their own pizza. Joe was really happy to be one of the first to finish, using chicken, pepperoni, ham and cheese and tomato. It really did look delicious, and this was proved once it had been baked – he literally ate every morsel.

Waiting to make Pizza

Waiting to make Pizza

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Joe's pizza - ready for the oven

Joe’s pizza – ready for the oven

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Ready to eat.

Ready to eat.

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The adults weren’t left out when it came to food either. Strada has a daily set menu that offers two courses for £9.95 and three courses for £11.95. I chose the Chicken Liver Pate, which was a smooth pate that came on toast, with crispy Parmesan shavings. It was delicious, with the cheese adding a lovely flavour to the pate. I also liked that the pate was smooth – I struggle with the coarser varieties.

Delicious chicken pate

Delicious chicken pate

Enjoying a glass of fizz

Enjoying a glass of fizz

For our main courses, both Joe and I opted for steak. I was shocked that Joe was still eating, but he has the appetite of a horse lately, and really enjoyed his first experience of steak, which had been chargrilled. The steak was accompanied with French Fries which were lovely, well seasoned and crispy. My steak was a British Rump which came with skin on fries. I had it medium and really enjoyed it, especially teamed with the fries. The steak was a good quality cut, and was both tender and juicy.

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After two courses I was feeling rather full, but was really glad that I had chosen a dessert. I love Ice Cream, and often find it a great way to finish a meal, as it is light and refreshing. The Affogato though, is something I have never tried, vanilla ice cream drenched in a shot of hot espresso. The contrast, as the hot liquid falls on the freezing ice is just amazing, and when the ice cream starts to melt, the coffee creaminess is so delicious. Definitely something I would love to try again.

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Joe should’ve been all pizza’d out, but wanted his favourite dessert, the chocolate and hazlenut pizzetta, which is like a warm chocolate pizza. Due to eating so much, he wasn’t able to finish it, but loved the flavour and the fact that this is a dessert you can easily eat with your hands.

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We had a wonderful afternoon at the Strada party, the food was lovely, staff very friendly and helpful, and Joe loved the company of the other children. If you are looking for a family friendly restaurant where both kids and adults will be satisfied, check out your local Strada.

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“My entry for the Fire Label best dressed baking award.”

 

Brewers Fayre launch range of activities for half term fun

It’s coming very close to the first half term holiday of 2016, and with family fun and dining in mind Brewers Fayre have put together a range of child friendly activities. This means that as well as filling their faces with scrumptious grub, kids can also get rid of some of the surplus energy that school usually takes care of.

01.08.2015. Cadgers Brae Farm Brewers Fayre.

If you haven’t already done so, it is definitely worth checking out your local Brewers Fayre. Many branches have been refurbished to add a soft play area so that children can play safely whilst mom and dad enjoy a well deserved rest. There are also a range of Beano themed table top activities, including colouring in sheets, puzzles and activities, and also free balloons (and what child doesn’t love a balloon, every time we open our boot it seems yet another balloon floats out…anyone else?).

Burleydam, South Wirral General view of The Burleydam, South Wirral.

Burleydam, South Wirral

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For the half term holidays there will also be fun discos on both Friday 19th and Saturday 20th February at selected Brewers Fayres. The Toddlers disco will run from 9.30am – 3pm while the Kids will run from 3.30- 7.30pm at a cost of £3 per child. There will also be the great value menu which includes the ‘Daytime Value offer’ which runs from 12 – 6pm Monday to Friday and means guests can enjoy two starters for £2.50, two mains for just £10.99 and two desserts for £2.50. There is also the range of buffet selections with different themes for each day of the week, running from 5-8pm.

Last Saturday we went along to enjoy some of the delights from the menu at the Walsall branch of Brewers Fayre, and we were very impressed with the friendliness and service, and the food that we chose. As it was lunchtime, we opted for a sharing starter of Loaded Nachos. These are delicious, great if you don’t actually want a meal but a snack with drinks.  The fully loaded crispy corn tortilla chips were covered with melted mozzarella & cheddar cheese, gooey cheese sauce, guacamole, salsa and cool sour cream. The addition of Chilli made these a real warming dish, great for a rather cold day. We were also given a side of Jalapenos especially for the hubby, who enjoys spice. I love Nachos and these were amongst the best I have had, totally packed with flavour and filling.

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For mains Pete decided to try the Chilli Cheese Dog that he had been tempted by on our last few visits. When it came out I have to say it look impressive, loaded with spicy chilli, melted cheese, jalapeños, a drizzle of tomato sauce and served with chips and coleslaw. This was another hearty dish – a total bargain at just £8.79, with the right combination of heat and flavour. Pete added a side salad too, and said this was a dish he would definitely order again.

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I chose the South Western burger. This was a tasty, breaded spiced chicken fillet, topped with spicy mayo and served with crunchy colelsaw and chips. I loved this, the spicy mayo had the heat of chilli, and the coleslaw was also really good, chunky and homemade with a mixture of cabbages, rather than the small crunch variety you often get, The portion of chips was also plentiful, and these were proper chips, rather than fries, always a good thing in my view. A portion of onion rings was the final addition, and this was huge (I think it was 12 onion rings for £1.99, which is, quite frankly, cheaper than the average burger and fast food bar.)

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Once again we really enjoyed our meal at Brewers Fayre, and would certainly not hesitate to recommend it to readers or friends based on either food or service. So, if you are looking for affordable, family friendly fare this half term, you know where to go.

 

 

Can you pair your food with the right wine?

Whether you be preparing a special meal or dinner party for friends, or dining in a fancy restaurant, the chances are that good that wine will be part of the experience. But when it comes to pairing wine with your meal – how do you do? Do you simply chose a wine that you enjoy, not worrying whether it is of the red or white variety so long as it’s one you like? Do you just opt for a house variety to keep the price lower? Or do you genuinely try to match your meal – whether it be chicken, red meat or a vegetarian option to a wine that will truly compliment what you are eating?

If. like me, you have no real knowledge when it comes to choosing wine, then the latest infographic from Roberson Wine could come in very useful. (You can see it in more detail here.)They have put together a guide to pairing food with wine, which not only says which colour wine works, but also suggests a type of wine – i.e. steak and beef are best paired with a full-bodied red like a mature Bordeaux or a rich Rioja, whilst Spicy Asian food works well with a crisp white like a Riesling that is, of course, best served chilled in a wine fridge.

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The guide also suggests where it is best to spend the most money on a wine, with salad working well with a lower priced refreshing white wine. If you are splashing the cash, do it when the food is also a luxury item – Champagne and Lobster are a real match made in heaven, perfect for a special occasion or celebration.

When it comes to wine, do you have a favourite pairing with a certain meal? Would you consider yourself an expert or a novice when it comes to choosing a tipple? What is your favourite wine/meal combination? Would love you to leave a comment below with any hints and tips you may have picked up.