George Foreman Evolve Grill – Cactus Kitchens London

I was recently invited to go to the Cactus Kitchens in Clapham which is co-owned by Michel Roux Jr and is the film studio for Saturday Kitchen as part of a small band of Food Bloggers for the launch of the new George Foreman Evolve Grill.

On arrival at the event, we were taken upstairs to the Cookery School which is on the top floor of this converted church and which has an incredible space and light as well as beautiful original feature beams where we were welcomed with glasses of Prosecco and canapés of cream cheese and smoked salmon served on savoury cheese waffles.

We were introduced to the lovely team from George Foreman and the members of the PR company before being shown to our work stations where we each had an Evolve Grill to use to create our dishes that we’d eat that evening.

To start, we created a tasty dish of sesame crusted tuna steak served on an light and fresh Asian salad base.  Using the sear function of the George Foreman ensured a perfectly cooked crust to the tuna steak.

Following on from our starters, we changed the bottom grill plate to the deep baking pan and created a fresh tasting beetroot and broccoli pizza.  The base of the pizza was perfectly cooked and crispy whilst the top of the pizza, under the heat of the top grill plate ensured that the cheese was melted beautifully.

To follow we created light and fresh yellow plums skewered with rosemary sprigs, over which we poured a delicious honey, orange and liqueur syrup.

We were also treated to a taster of an incredibly tasty sirloin steak with a Hollandaise sauce as well as the some American style waffles and fruit.

To top off the evening, we were each given the George Foreman Evolve grill that we’d been using to take home and were invited to have a look around the Saturday Kitchen film studio, where we duly posed for our ‘Omelette Challenge’ photo.

Spurred on by the versatility of this amazing machine (my first ever George Foreman), I then ordered a set of the waffle plates (£14.99) for collection from my local Argos.  Needless to say, Sunday saw us eating waffles and fresh fruit for breakfast!

Since then, I’ve grilled chicken, steaks, bacon and toasted sandwiches on the grill plates, made a sweet & sour chicken in the deep baking pan and have had waffles most weekends for breakfast!  I think I’m in love with my George Foreman Evolve and how clean and versatile this piece of kitchen equipment is.  No more cleaning fat splashes from the tiles at the back of the hob when preparing chicken or steaks, or from the top of the grill when making bacon in the oven.

The Evolve is a 5 portion, family sized, grill with removable plates which you can easily place in your dishwasher to clean after use.  It comes with a pair of non stick grilling plates which are angled to allow fats and juices to run off and which are caught in the trough that you place at the front of the machine.  What’s different about this grill though is that you can easily, with the twist of a lever, adjust the foot so that the grill is horizontal, making it perfect for toasting sandwiches and for grilling vegetables or fish.  Not only this, but the bottom grill plate is easily and quickly changed for a deep baking pan, in which you can cook omelettes, pizza and tray bakes.  Ordinarily the George Foreman grills heat up to 220℃, but this new Evolve machine has a digitally variable temperature selection which includes a 90 second, 260℃, sear function allowing you to quickly sear your steaks to lock in that all important flavour.  An additional feature is the digital 20 minute timer which you can set and leave until it reminds you when your food is cooked.

An optional extra purchase available for this grill is a pair of non stick waffle plates, allowing you to make an incredible, quick and easy, tasty breakfast in no time at all. These also go into your dishwasher for easy clean up after breakfast.  Of course, waffles aren’t just sweet treats, but can be made into a savoury base for canapés or teatime snacks.

I attended the event as a guest of the PR company for George Foreman Grills.  As part of the event we were each given the George Foreman Grill that we had been cooking on that evening, free of charge.  The waffle plates I purchased personally.

Restaurant Review – Byron Hamburgers – Greenwich Promenade

One Sunday evening, in London, my husband, daughter and I, all with healthy appetites and ready for dinner, found ourselves in Byron Hamburgers on the East Pavilion, Greenwich Promenade.  A busy area of London next to the Cutty Sark; an iconic tourist hotspot in the Capital.

Requesting a table overlooking the river Thames looking towards the Docklands, we were shown up to the roof terrace and invited to take our seats by our friendly waitress.

On taking our order, we enjoyed the views until our drinks and starters of tortilla chips with a tomato salsa and guacamole arrived.  Whilst both dips were very tasty, I did find the salsa to be on the watery side.
The hamburgers we ordered; a Classic for my husband comprising a 6oz burger, served with lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayonnaise whilst my daughter and I chose a Byron burger – served with dry cured bacon, mature cheddar cheese, iceburg lettuce, red onion and ‘Byron’ sauce.  We chose all of our burgers to be well done (the norm is for them to be served medium, unless otherwise requested by the customer).

For our side orders we chose Fries which were served thin & crispy, Onion Rings made from thick slices of battered onions served in a crispy batter as well as Courgette Fries; fingers of courgette coated with batter and fried until crispy on the outside.

The Scottish beef is freshly ground and served on a soft and airy bun.  The meat is succulent and tender whilst remaining moist. The staff here are attentive and friendly without being pushy and obtrusive.  I’d certainly recommend this branch to anyone in the area; it’s well worth a visit.
Our meals were paid for personally. I was not invited to dine at Byron Hamburgers, nor have I received compensation for this review.

Mastering the Art of Matching Chocolate & Coffee

Two things every girl loves; good quality chocolate and fresh, wonderful coffee. I was invited to an event to learn the art of pairing chocolate and fresh coffee in one of the private dining rooms of Kettners in Soho, London where we were guided by Master Chocolatier Stefan Bruderer of Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate and Expert Barrister Robert Henry along with the De’Longhi Primadonna S range of coffee machines

We were given tips on how to properly ‘taste’ the coffee which included slurping(!) from the cup, tasting the chocolate, allowing it to melt onto the tongue, then to take another drink from your cup. It’s amazing how different the coffees taste when infused with the warm, melted chocolate. The flavours of both just come to life in your mouth! I admit that I’m not a lover of Espresso; in fact I’m more of a creamy latte kind of girl. However Robert tried his best to convert me and taught me when to drink it and how to taste the coffee. I will openly admit that my view of it has now changed, but it’s still a bit too strong for me.

Stefan didn’t have to convince me of my love for Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate however, as I’m already a very big fan. From their Excellence range of Extra Creamy milk and their White Vanilla, through their flavours of blueberry, strawberry, orange, chilli or sea salt to the rich darkness of their 70, 85 or even 90% Cocoa.

We were introduced to several types and varieties of coffee from different parts of the world, from Cambodia to Bolivia and from Brazil to Ethiopia. We were taught how the caffeine was removed from coffee to become decaf which is so popular today. Surprisingly the Espresso coffees we were introduced to were all decaf, but they were rich in taste and left nothing out.

It’s amazing how the different types of coffee, with their distinct flavours pair differently (and perfectly) with the different types and flavours of chocolate. For example, the White Vanilla paired beautifully with an Ethiopian Long Black, whilst a Brazilian Cerrado Decaf Espresso matched the Excellence dark chocolate with a hint of sea salt incredibly well.

The De’Longhi Primadonna S coffee machine is an amazing piece of equipment which grinds the beans and produces your different coffees, and includes a ‘personal’ preference setting to remember just how you love your coffee. Sadly though, however much I would absolutely love one of these machines (which incidentally are available exclusively at Harrods or in John Lewis), at £1195.00, it’s a little out of my budget.

With thanks to Stefan, Robert, Lindt & Sprüngli, De’Longhi and the teams at Kettners & Clarion Communications for a very lovely & informative evening. With thanks to all the coffee & caffeine for a sleep free night too!