Thursday, 19 March 2015

Refined Dining Restaurant - Vision West Notts

Last Friday evening I had the most unexpectedly amazing meal at a local college. We booked as an early Mother's Day meal for my mother in law as she'd said good things about the restaurant in the past and we knew she wanted us to try it.

The restaurant is called Refined and is based within the Vision West Notts College in Mansfield, Notts. The college has recently undergone a huge refurbishment and looks very modern from the outside. The restaurant and kitchen is run by students being over looked by a head chef and supervisors. The restaurant itself was a nice size and nicely decorated in a contemporary theme. During the week there is a Theme Night, Grill Night and the Friday Fine Dining. My husband booked through their website and I emailed letting them know about my allergies.

We were met at the main entrance by a student and walked down to the restaurant where we were welcomed and our coats taken. We were sat at the table and straight away asked who had the food allergies. I was given a separate Allergen Menu which covered all my options (all dairy, egg and gluten free).

To start we were served an Amuse Bouche which was a Seam Bream reduction. It had a lovely delicate flavour with a hint of lemon grass and a kick of chilli. This wasn't shown on the menu but the server assured me straight away that it was safe.

For my first course I choose the Vanilla Cured Confit Salmon. It was perfectly cooked and melt in the mouth. It was served with very tasty pickled cucumber which I loved. 

The second course was Borsch. I'd never heard of it before but it was described as a beetroot soup. I've only ever eaten pickled beetroot so didn't know what to expect but I actually really liked it. It was just the right size served in a little coffee cup. The server brought me out some bread separately that had been made. 

For my main course I chose the Roasted Loin of Pork. It was served with a lovely array of vegetables and a delicious meatball (not exactly sure what it was) which was rich and tasty. The sauce was very tasty and the pork cooked perfectly.

For dessert I had A Taste of  Raspberry. At last NO fruit salad!! It was two scoops of yummy Raspberry sorbet placed on some biscuit dust with a lovely sauce, fresh raspberries and a sweet crunchy shard. It was all amazing. More restaurants need to have these kind of desserts.

The meal was amazing and definitely as good, if not better than some of the top restaurants we have eaten at. I never once felt like I was sat in a college, it really did feel like a nice restaurant with a great atmosphere. The students were friendly, polite and very helpful. I was so grateful that they dealt with and catered so well for my allergies. I was impressed that they had been so creative whilst avoiding dairy, egg and gluten. As each course was brought out I was reassured it was free of dairy, egg & gluten. That goes a long way. I hope that these future chefs carry on producing great safe food for their customers when needed. For non allergy diners you are in for a treat with even more delicious choices.

I'd highly recommend a visit to this restaurant if you are in a area. Bookings can be made via their website. Refined Dining Restaurant


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Beanberry Coffee

I've never been a big coffee or tea drinker and since becoming dairy free all those years ago I've only drunk herbal teas (mainly Peppermint and Green). I had the odd coffee but back then I was put off with how the dairy free milks would curdle in the drink and split. I think at the beginning I was using soya/oat milk a lot which i never buy now. If I am having a "milky" drink I use Rice milk. In fact that's the only milk in my fridge. I do sometimes buy hazelnut milk which is great for hot chocolate.

Anyway back to the reason I was writing this post. During the week my husband stopped off for breakfast at a coffee shop called Giro in Esher. He had "the best coffee ever" and decided to bring home a pack of the coffee they used. We brought an espresso machine before Christmas and we've been using it daily. It has a steamer for milk too so the rice milk works great. I've started having a coffee after my evening meal some nights as a treat. We'd just been buying the usual supermarket brands unknown to us that there's a whole world of "proper" coffee out there. 

The pack he purchased was from Beanberry Coffee (an Artisan company roasting and blending their own small batches of coffee beans) and it was the Ethiopian  Rocko Mountain. The smell as I opened the pack was amazing. The back of the pack explains all about the beans and the flavours. We made a cup straight away. I had to agree it was the best coffee I've ever tasted too. A lot richer with more depth and flavour than a normal coffee. Delightful.

I then took to the Internet as you do to hunt them down. Living 3 hours from Surrey going back to Giro wasn't an option. To my delight they have their own website and online shop. I found it really interesting reading about all the different beans and the backgrounds to them. I decided to order 4 packets that I liked the sound of (one of which Beanberry recommended to me via Twitter). They arrived speedily the next day. Great service. I loved the little touch on the back of the pack saying roasted for my name.

We have tried a few of them already and they are so good. If you like coffee I'd highly recommend trying this company. They sell the beans in different grinds too according to your choice (Whole bean, Cafetiere grind,  filter grind & espresso grind). I can see myself re-ordering regularly. 

You can view their website here

I know this post wasn't the usual "free from" post but I felt I needed to write about them so I hope you enjoyed?

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Rewind Orlando 2013 Part 3

So here is the last post from my Rewind back to Orlando in 2013. Hope you've enjoyed reading them. I've enjoyed remembering all the yummy food we ate.

Part 1 can be found Here
Part 2 can be found Here

We ate tea tonight at a restaurant in the Disney Boardwalk area called Kouzzina by Cat Cora. Apparently Cat Cora is an American “celebrity chef” who was on the Iron Chef programme on Food Network. Anyway, her restaurant is Greek inspired. The chef came over to tell me what he could adapt on the menu to make it DF/EF/WF. We were given fresh bread (even wheat free ones for me) with two types of olive oil and olives. All very tasty. I had braised short rib with garlic and rosemary potatoes as my main. It was delicious. The meat was so tender and the sauce very yummy. Husnabd has a trio of different entrees. Spicy lamb burger, cinnamon chicken with orzo and Greek style lasagne. He loved his selection too esp the chicken.
(This restaurant has now closed and been replaced)

After the cinema I popped over to Babycakes to get a few slices of cake for snacking on :) yum 

This morning we had the best breakfast ever!! We ate at the Grand Floridian Cafe. Husband had a selection of pastries and a big pile of fluffy pancakes topped with maple syrup and orange & pecan butter. 
The chef made me the greatest Mickey waffles free from dairy, eggs & wheat. They were crunchy on the outside with a fluffy soft middle…mmmmm amazing :)

Last night we ate at Kona Cafe at the Disney Polynesian Resort. For starters Husband had Crab Cakes with a jalapeno dip, I had ribs with a BBQ glaze and Asian inspired slaw. Both agreed very tasty. We both had the same main, Teriyaki pineapple glazed New York strip steak on sticky rice with broccolini. It was gorgeous, another steak that just melted mmmm.

Fresh made cookies for round the pool :)

This evening we went to “Food Truck Friday” in a town called Celebration. Husband tried a few different trucks. He had a Cuban sandwich from the Twisted Cuban which was cuban bread, mojo roast pork, ham, pickles mustard and swiss cheese, then a Boss Hog from the BBQ truck which was pulled pork in a bun with homemade BBQ sauce and slaw. He really enjoyed both. I opted for Polynesian Chicken from the Wild Truck. Was delicious. Lovely slightly curried chicken with pineapple, peppers, carrots & onions on steamed rice. Yumeee!!

This was my “low lactose” meal on the flight home. The chicken and rice was quite tasty for airplane food. Not a bad effort by BA for both flights.
Husband had Steak with a rosemary jus and potato and a cheesecake for desert. Smelt nice!

I couldn't leave America without bringing a few of my favorite freefrom items back. I loved the daiya cheese as it acts and tastes very like proper cheese. I’m going to have to use it sparingly so I don’t run out quickly. Also loved the Bobs red mill pancake mix (Disney use it for their allergy free waffles too) so I stocked up on that too :) lots of other little goodies too :)