COOKING WITH FRESH MEX [Ad]

Serious question time – is there anything better than Mexican food?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always be a lifelong pizza gal (I’m not forgetting about you boo), and generally I’m a fan of most cuisines from around the world because let’s face it, I just really like FOOD, but there really is just something fabulous about Mexican food. For me it’s all about the super fresh produce, layers of deep smokey flavours, and of course, a good old whack of belly-warming spice.

When it comes to comfort food it just doesn’t get better than a good burrito or a big old pot of chilli, and one of my favourite places to get my tortilla wrapped fix is Fresh Mex in Aberdeen. Since 2015 they’ve been working their asses off to rightly assume their throne as the head honchos of Tex-Mex food, serving ‘nacho’ average grub to the masses from their burrito bar in central Schoolhill, Deliveroo, and more recently also from the Adams bar on Holburn Street.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed that since the start of this crazy Lockdown, all of our fave restaurants and diners have been putting their heads together to come up with amazing and inventive ways for us to be able to enjoy their dining experiences and amazing products at home, and not one to miss out on the trend, Fresh Mex have come up with a pretty fabulous way for you to have some fun in the kitchen and create some awesome Tex-Mex recipes of your own at home. Enter Fresh Mex Seasoning Kits!

The kits…

Fresh Mex have taken all of the classic seasonings and spices that they use in their flavoursome recipes and created these incredible and easy to use aromatic kits that can lend themselves to just about any Tex-Mex recipe, so when they got in touch and asked me to have a go at creating some of my own recipes at home, the answer was a resounding , , sí!

Here are the two seasoning kits and what they’re all about:

TEX RUB – SWEET & SMOKEY SEASONING KIT – £2.50/50g

‘Bring the authentic taste of Texas to your table with our quick & easy to use Tex Rub! Just add our seasoning mix to meat or vegetables to create a dish that’s bursting with FRESH, sweet and smokey flavour.’

MEX RUB – SWEET & MILD SEASONING KIT – £2.50/50g

‘Bring flavour inspired by the bustling streets of Mexico to your kitchen with our quick and easy to use Mex Rub. Just add our seasoning mix to meat or vegetables to create a dish that’s bursting with FRESH fiesta flavour!

Both kits are free of artificial flavours and preservatives, and are vegan friendly, hurray! The possibilities are endless with these expertly assembled mixes, but for me it there was only ever going to be one option…BRUNCH! The meal that combines two of my favourite eating experiences, breakfast and lunch, made all the better with some smokey and spicy paprika filled goodness, and washed down with a Fresh Mex Lime Lager, this was going to be a pretty perfect Sunday.

Now of course these rubs are going to be insanely good for meat and fish dishes, but as always it’ll be veggie all the way for me, and it’ll just just as bloody good, I guarantee it 😉

The recipes…

HUEVOS RANCHEROS (V)

If you ask me, Huevos Rancheros (or ‘ranchers eggs’) is about as close as it gets to perfection when it comes to a delicious Sunday brunch. Traditionally eaten for breakfast by Mexican farmers, this is a hearty dish designed to keep you fuelled up for a hard days work – but is equally good for if you plan on doing nothing more than sitting on your ass sipping a few cold beers on a sunny afternoon – we don’t judge.

This is an incredibly flavoursome baked egg dish consisting of a rustic tomato and bean base, usually served on a tortilla, but for the purposes of this recipe I’ve skipped the tortilla in favour of a side of tasty AF sweetcorn fritters (stay tuned for the recipe for those!).

Preparation time – 5 mins

Cooking time – 30-35 mins

Serves – 4

Ingredients

Flatlay of ingredients needed to make Huevos Rancheros using the Fresh Mex Sweet and Smokey Tex Rub
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • FRESH MEX Tex Rub
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes (or passata if it’s all you had in the cupboard like me!)
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 1 tin of mixed/black beans (any will work!)
  • fresh coriander
  • 1/2 lime
  • 4 large eggs
  • To Garnish – 1 medium avocado, 1 spring onion, coriander, sharp cheddar cheese

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C
  2. Bring a couple of spoons of vegetable oil to a medium heat in a large pan. Finely dice the onion, garlic and chilli and add to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is nice and soft.
  3. Chop the fresh tomato and yellow pepper in to roughly 1cm pieces and add to the pan along with a decent whack of roughly chopped coriander. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Time to get the Tex Rub involved! We went with about 1 1/2 tbsps because I love a lot of flavour, but this is a powerful mix so start small and taste as you go along if you’re not feeling too brave,
  5. Add tinned tomatoes and your drained and rinsed beans along with a fat squeeze of lime and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer your tasty mix to an ovenproof dish, crack your eggs on top with even spaces between them (i.e one per quarter if you’re using a square dish). Season eggs with salt and pepper and whack the whole lot in the oven to bake for about 15 minutes (just check that your eggs are cooked – they should still be a little runny!)
  7. Once cooked, garnish with slices of fresh avo, chopped spring onion, grated cheddar and more fresh coriander, plus an extra sprinkling of your Tex Rub for good measure and serve immediately!

SPICY SWEETCORN FRITTERS (Vg)

One of my all time favourite brekkies is a stack of golden sweetcorn fritters topped with avo and a poached egg with a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce, you just can’t beat it. It’s sweet, it’s savoury, and it’s just flippin’ delicious. When it came to dreaming up my perfect Tex-Mex Brunch, I knew that these tasty little cakes of goodness were going to be the perfect accompaniment – with a Fresh Mex twist of course!

Get to work on these guys while your Huevos are baking away in the oven.

Preparation time – 5 mins

Cooking time – 6 minutes

Serves – 4 (or two if you’re extra hungry!)

Ingredients

Flatlay of ingredients needed to make sweetcorn fritter recipe using Fresh Mex Sweet & Mild Mex Rub
  • 200g sweetcorn
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • coriander
  • Dairyfree (or regular!) milk
  • plain flour
  • salt & pepper
  • FRESH MEX Mex Rub
  • To garnish – lambs lettuce, cherry tomatoes, coriander, lime wedges
  • To drizzle (optional, but tasty!) – mayo & yogurt (vegan or regular), lime, Mex Rub.

Method

  1. Finely dice the chilli and spring onion and crush the garlic. Roughly chop a small bunch of coriander and add everything to the sweetcorn in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl, make a batter mix by adding about 50mls milk to about 100g seived flour and mix until smooth. Season with salt & pepper and about 1 tbsp of your Fresh Mex Mex Rub and mix again.
  3. Add the batter mix to your fresh ingredients a few spoons at a time – (my ‘measurements’ are rough as hell so better to start slow and judge it as you go along!) Your mixture should be thick enough to hold together without being too runny or sloppy.
  4. Bring about 1cm of vegetable oil to a high heat in a large flat pan, and when hot, carefully spoon your mix in to the pan, evenly spaced apart. Your fritters should be about 12cm in diameter.
  5. Fry for about 3 minutes on the first side until golden then flip and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes on the other side. Remove and allow to sit on some kitchen roll for another minute before serving.

Optional but awesome… While your fritters are sitting, scatter some lambs lettuce and some sliced cherry toms on to a serving platter. Serve the fritters on top. In a small bowl, mix a spoon of light mayo, a spoon of low fat yogurt, a large squeeze of lime and 1 tsp of your Smokey Tex Rub and mix well. Drizzle over the fritters, add a couple of lime wedges and go to town on those bad boys!

As a wee extra (because I love me an excessive amount of food lube!) we whipped up a delicious Avocado and lime dip to serve alongside everything. Just add 1 medium avo, about 100mls low fat greek yogurt, two garlic cloves, the juice of a whole lime, a small bunch of coriander and some salt and pepper to a blender and job’s a good ‘un! Oh and don’t forget to sprinkle a little of your fave Fresh Mex spice rub to serve 😉

Now all that’s left to do is gather your crew round the table, crack open a cold Lime Lager, dig in and enjoy! This really is the perfect brunch for sharing with friends or family, so get stuck in and have a good time.

Recipes cooked using Fresh Mex seasoning kits. Huevos Rancheros, Mexican spiced Sweetcorn Fritters, avocado and lime dip.

If you want to give creating your own Fresh Mex recipe a go, you can pick up the seasoning kits, either by ordering online, or you can pick them up at a whole host of locations by clicking HERE. You can even order the super refreshing Lime Lager here too!

If you give this recipe a try or come up with some of your own, I’d love to know so don’t forget to leave a comment.

Until next time

B x

Note – the products in this post were gifted, but the opinions and recipes are my own!

RHUBARB, PEAR & GINGER JAM

Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb. It seems like the stuff is everywhere you look right now – one of the wonderful things about this time of year. Is it just me or is it one of the most underrated veg (yup – not a fruit!) out there when it comes to comfort food. Think crumbles, pies, cakes, anything that you want to smother with custard (or ice cream if you’re a weird custard hater like me) on a rainy afternoon. Even those delicious rhubarb and custard sweets that I had a mild obsession with as a child, it’s one of those nostalgic flavours, and let’s face it, it’s just bloody tasty stuff.

Homemade rhubarb pear and ginger jam in a jar. Bowl off granola topped with yogurt and cereal.

Recently I drank a bottle of the most delicious Rhubarb and Ginger gin liqueur – YES I DRANK THE WHOLE BOTTLE DON’T JUDGE ME. In fact if you must know, I drank it for breakfast the weekend on my birthday, turning thirty-three is hard ok?!

Anyway… it got me to thinking about this huge rhubarb patch in our garden which I’m ashamed to say has gone neglected for the last few years since we’ve lived here – shocking I know! I suppose it’s one of those things where I’ve always had good intentions of harvesting a batch and whipping up all manner of delicious desserts, but never quite got round to it and next thing you know it’s always become overrun with snails and eventually withered away. Whoops!

Well not this year. Since I’ve spent about ninety-six hours watching cooking shows in the last month alone and and this colourful and easily foraged treat seems to pop up in every other dessert at the moment, I decided not to let it go to waste this time around, I decided to cook some bloody rhubarb!

Hand holding a bunch of fresh rhubarb picked from a garden

Just a bunch of GIGANTIC rhubarb freshly picked from the garden – all snails gently removed…

Make sure you fully remove the leafs as they are actually toxic, and will definitely not make for a yummy pie.

Rhubarb is at it’s peak in April and May, so if you still have any in the garden, get it while it’s still good!

Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves here – I am no Mary Berry, so my first attempt at rhubarb cookery had to be something simple, and you can’t go wrong with a good old fashioned jam…right? Read on for my ‘recipe’ – a term I use very loosely as let’s face it, I don’t actually have a clue what I’m talking about and I can’t be arsed to use proper measurements, so if you do feel like giving this a bash, I’d recommend tightly crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.

The Recipe…

Preparation time – 15 mins

Cooking time – 45 mins (ish!)

Ingredients

  • Three large rhubarb stalks ( I told you I don’t measure shit so don’t be asking for grams!)
  • Two small pears
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup water

Method

  • After removing the leaves, wash the stalks thoroughly and chop in to 2cm(ish) chunks. Now at this point if you were following a proper recipe, you’d coat in the sugar and leave for a couple of hours, but since we’re following the patented Becca Walker ‘can’t be arsed’ method, I didn’t bother pissing around with that, so it’s your call if you do or not. If not go ahead and chuck in to a pan!
  • Chop the pears in to large chunks (they’ll take break down much quicker than the rhubarb).
  • Add the sugar, lemon juice and ginger. I used the lazy stuff out of a jar – do you see a theme developing here? Heat until the sugar dissolves and is boiling gently. I should probably mention that you should be using about twice the amount of sugar, and that it should in fact be proper jam sugar which contains pectin (a thickening agent), however in an attempt to make this recipe ‘low sugar’, my logic determined that if I used half the sugar, added water and just cooked it for about three times as long it would turn out just fine. Probably.
  • Add the water and boil gently, stirring often for 30-40 minutes – or until thick and sticky!
  • Ladle in to a jar, allow to cool fully any enjoy!

Moroccan style bowl filled with granola topped with yogurt and homemade rhubarb jam

So there you have it, an idiots version of a half arsed rhubarb, pear and ginger jam, but if there’s one thing I do know it’s that this stuff tastes bloody fantastic! It’s great on pretty much anything, but my particular fave is to top any kind of granola (I used apple and cinnamon) with some natural yogurt and a nice big dollop of jam as a delicious and healthy breakfast.

Maybe I’ll learn to follow proper recipes one day, but until then I’ll just keep winging it, and I sincerely hope that they might work for some of you guys too!

Until next time,

B x

ROSEMARY & SEA SALT FOCACCIA WITH CARAMELISED ONION CHUTNEY

It hasn’t gone unnoticed that home baking has become the new cool thing to do during lockdown, with everyone trying their hand at producing home made delicious treats to stuff our idle faces with to our hearts content, if only to pass the time away; Myself included.

So much so that in the first two weeks of lockdown I had whipped up no less than about six different kinds of breads/cakes/bakes – anything that I could shovel in to my increasingly large belly, or punt off on to Grant as a ‘treat for work’ to make sure that if I was going to get good and plump, I wasn’t going to do it alone.

Baking has become like sickly sweet crack to the masses, we all can’t get enough of this wholesome and gratifying activity – if you can actually find any flour that is, right now there’s more chance of spotting a fucking yeti taking a stroll through the park to get his daily exercise.

Since showing off a few successful recipe attempts on Instagram (because if it didn’t make the grid, did I even really bake it..?), some of you have asked me to share my baking ‘expertise’, and even though I’ve ripped most of them straight from Google, I figured why not. I’ll indulge my smug Delia Smith charade and dish out my recipes like hot cakes. Or bread. Whatever.

While I am far from achieving master baker status (ahem…), I like to think that I know a fair bit about food, stemming from ingesting impressive, if not alarming amounts of the stuff like a pro for many years now, so I suppose it makes sense to take a step from my usual role of reviewing culinary offerings in to proving that I can actually produce something not entirely crap myself.

So here it is, my first recipe blog, for anyone who cares. Starting with a pairing that is delicious, savoury and simple, and one that you’ll find yourself returning to for ‘just one more snack!’ all day long.

NB. I take absolutely no responsibility for the amount of calories that may be ingested subsequent to recreating these recipes. I’ve enough to worry about with the state of my own currently gargantuan arse at the moment, let alone anyone else’s.

ROSEMARY AND SEA SALT FOCCACIA

Preparation time – about 30 minutes if you’re as slow as shit like me.

Cooking time – 1 to 2 hours (plenty of time to have a snack while you wait for it to prove and cook).

Serves – I’ll leave that up to you. There will be no judgement here.

homemade sea salt and rosemary focaccia bread

Ingredients

  • 500g strong white bread flour, aka gold dust, plus extra for dusting. Or gold dusting. (I’ll get my coat…)
  • 2 tsp table salt
  • 1 sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 80ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling (got to get those calories in)
  • 150-250ml of warm water
  • vegetable oil or oil spray, for oiling
  • fresh rosemary
  • sea salt

Method

  1. Dust a large flat baking tray with flour.
  2. Chuck the flour into a big old bowl, add the salt and yeast, then add the olive oil, plus enough warm water to make a soft but not sticky dough. If it’s sticking to your hands like treacle then you’re doing it wrong. Go easy on the water, adding a bit at a time. If you pour it in faster than the first post lockdown pint down your gullet, it may appear to be fucked, but you can fix this. Gently kneading by way of scooping up the dough, scraping any sticky bits on the surface and slapping it back down again for a few minutes will see the dough begin to become ‘pillowy’ and more manageable. The more water that can be added (the full 250ml is great) then the lighter the bread will be. But it can take some perseverance. Also resist the temptation to add more flour as it will make the dough too heavy.
  3. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until your puny weak arms feel like they’re going to fall off, on a lightly floured work surface. The dough will feel stretchy when pulled. To test if it is ready, make a ball with the dough then, using a well-floured finger, (pardon me vicar…) give it a good poke (no more than a ¼in). If the indent disappears by way of the dough springing back then it is ready to shape. If the indent stays, knead for a few minutes longer.
  4. Shape the dough into an oval and place it on the prepared baking tray. Flatten it out to about 30cm long and 20cm wide. Cover the dough loosely with oiled clingfilm, making sure it is airtight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.
  6. Leave the dough in a warm place for about an hour, or until it has almost doubled in size. Then flour up that index finger again and poke holes in the dough at regular intervals, about 4cm apart, in rows across the dough, pressing right down to the bottom. Shove some sprigs of the rosemary into the holes. Sprinkle some sea salt over the dough and bung in the top of the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the bread is well risen, pale golden-brown and looks tasty as hell.
  7. Remove from the oven, drizzle with the remaining olive oil in a wanky/artistic manner and leave to cool on the baking tray. (DON’T SHOVE IT IN TO YOUR GOB RIGHT AWAY OR YOU’LL BURN YOUR FUCKING MOUTH OFF YOU GREEDY PIGGY).

*Adapted recipe, originally from BBC Good Food.

CARAMELISED ONION CHUTNEY

Preparation time – 5 minutes

Cooking time – 1 hour 30 (ish)

Serves – who the hell cares, it’s chutney FFS. This made a jars worth for me.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp chilli & garlic oil (or olive oil, or butter – whatever you have to be honest).
  • 3 big fat onions, thinly sliced ( I used white, red would work too)
  • 150g brown sugar – or muscovado if you want to be a prick about it.
  • 50 grams granulated sugar
  • salt
  • 150mls white wine vinegar (would probably be better with red but white was all I had so fuck it)
  • A fat glug of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • Sprinkle of chilli flakes
  • Sprinkle of dried rosemary (technical terms…).

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and soften the onions over a medium-low heat for 25-30 mins stirring regularly, until gloriously gooey and awesome. DO NOT LET THEM BROWN/BURN OR IT WILL TASTE LIKE CRAP. They should reduce by about half.
  2. Chuck in half the sugar, crank up the heat a bit , and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are just starting to colour. Lower the heat, then add the remaining sugar, a pinch of salt and all the other ingredients.
  3. Simmer, until bubbling away nicely on a medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, or until the chutney has reduced and thickened to a dark caramel colour, stirring occasionally to check it isn’t stuck to the bottom of the pan and completely buggered. If it’s turned to tar too soon, add a little water and leave to reduce again. To test if the chutney is ready, drag a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan – it should take a few seconds for the juices to re-cover the bottom of the pan.
  4. Spoon the hot chutney into a jar, let it cool fully then bung in to the fridge.

*Actually my own recipe and not one ripped off of someone else for once.

Slices of home made rosemary and sea salt focaccia with a jar of caramelised onion chutney

So there you have it! Freshly baked delicious crisp focaccia with sweet and sticky chutney. Add a chunk of whatever kind of cheese you fancy (but brie is especially good…) in to the equation and that is one happy little snackcident right there. Also try topping a burger or hotdog with the onion chutney at your next back yard isolation bbq for a bit of a taste sensation. You will not regret it!

Happy home cooking folks, and don’t even think about blaming me if you totally screw any of these up.

See you all on the other side when we’re all ready to apply for the next season of Masterchef.

B x

Charlotte Tilbury – my must have products

We all know that I’m the biggest fan of budget beauty and drugstore brands, because let’s face it, there’s nothing like the buzz of those rare occasions when you spend a fiver on a product and discover that it delivers every bit the same quality as it’s high-end alternative. I absolutely love a bargain and will go for the cheaper alternative nine times of of ten if there’s an option, but like most of you I’m sure, I have a weak spot…a crush if you will, and her name is Charlotte.

If the urge to splurge is upon me, Charlotte Tilbury has fast become my go to for true luxury. The high-end price tag is always completely justified, from the quality and powerful efficiency of the ingredients through to the insanely luxe and covetable packaging, in my books, anything CT is guaranteed to please. I am HOOKED.

For those of you (and I doubt there are many) still holding virgin status when it comes to Charlotte Tilbury, I’ve put together my top six must have, can’t live without products to get you started.

Now let’s get one thing straight – this was NOT an easy task because everything Charlotte touches is absolute gold (literally) and there are many other products that I also adore, but these picks have made the list because they’re universal, easy to use and can be incorporated in to anyone’s daily routine – no MUA experience necessary.


THE BASE…

Charlotte’s Magic Cream – 15mls, £25.

Bold statement time – this is probably the best moisturiser I’ve ever used – and believe me when I say that I have tried and tested a LOT of skin care in my time. Seriously though, whether it’s the combination of the eight ‘supercharged’ ingredients’ or some sort of witch-craft, this cream will instantly transform your skin and provide the best base imaginable for applying makeup. Skin feels plumper, smoother and immediately more nourished, plus it’s got SPF too! I can’t stress it enough when I say that I LOVE this product.

Flatlay photo of an open pot of the Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte's Magic Cream

The fabulous thing about shopping at CT is that most products are available in travel sizes which is always a winner for me. With skin as temperamental as mine, there’s nothing worse than forking out a fortune on a product that doesn’t work for you, so this way you can try a smaller size before you buy.

Charlotte’s magic cream is also available in 30mls (£49) or 50mls (£75). I bought this cream as part of the super cute Bright Magic Skin Glow skincare duo set, which bags you the 15ml Magic Cream alongside a full size Brightening youth glow for just £40 – an absolute steal! Speaking of Brightening Youth Glow…

Brightening Youth Glow Primer – 40mls, £39.

While this priming product may seem to be aimed at more mature skin, I’d recommend it for anyone with tired, dull or uneven skin that craves a moisture boost. Packed with some of my favourite ingredients, including rosehip oil and niacinamide, Youth Glow contains a cocktail of skin clearing, radiance revealing beauty faves which will not only give you an immediate glow, but will work improve skin tone over time.

Apply liberally and allow to soak fully in for instantly luminous skin that blurs imperfections and pores, leaving skin ready for flawless foundation application.

Top Tip: The soaking in part is important as I find that applying foundation too soon afterwards can lead to a little separation when the two products mix.

THE FACE…

Airbrush Flawless Foundation – 30mls, £34.

If I had to choose one foundation to wear for the rest of my life, there’s a strong chance that it would be this (Fenty Pro Filt’r is hot on the chase with this one!).

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush flawless foundation in shade 3

Sweatproof, waterproof, basically lifeproof, and good for your skin too..?

Sounds to good to be true right? Well believe it, because this foundation really does have it all. The reason it’s so completely fabulous is that it’s a ‘hybrid’ product, made with both cosmetic finish and being awesome for your skin in mind in equal measures. Airbrush Flawless is infused with ‘Charlotte’s Magic ingredients’, (click the link for the technical jargon) all aimed at refining the skin, minimising pores and wrinkles and boosting hydration.

As for the finish, it’s soft focus, demi matte, weightless and really will last all day. While described as full coverage, personally I’d say it’s more medium – full, but it makes your skin look so good that the coverage is ideal anyway. Fabulously glowy when combined with either the Brightening Youth Glow or the classic Wonder Glow Primer.

Beauty Light Wand Spotlight – 12mls, £29.

It would be plain rude not to include a highlighter in this list and CT has got us covered with the Beauty Light Wand ‘Spotlight’. Super easy to apply thanks to the soft cushion applicator which evenly disperses the liquid product, it’s ideal for dabbing on to the high points of the face and then either simply patting in to the skin with finger tips or gently buffing in with a complexion brush.

The finish is dewy, light reflecting and just bloody gorgeous.

I have this in the shade ‘Candlelit’ which suits my pale skin perfectly. This came as part of the Hollywood Beauty Glow kit (£30) which also includes a 15ml Wonderglow primer, so this is a fab way of saving money and trying out a couple of new products at once, but the Beauty Light Wand is available to buy individually in all six shades (Pillow Talk I’m coming for you next!).

THE EYES…

Eyes To Mesmerise Cream Eyeshadow – 7mls, £22.

Cream eyeshadows…always a bit of a risk, right? I’m always a little dubious of the staying power and resistance to creasing, but when I saw these little babies from CT, I knew it had to be worth a go.

The shade ‘Rose Gold’ instantly caught my eye as it’s been popping up on social media everywhere lately. Guaranteed to not only be awesome for making my dark blue eyes pop, this was sure to be an essential for my kit for use on clients if it delivered what it promised to when it came to wear.

IT DID NOT BUDGE ALL DAY LONG.

The product is a little more sheer than expected given that the promo videos make it look like one effortless swipe gives a full colour pay-off, (but then don’t they always?!) but a couple of layers later and it is simply gorgeous. Easy to blend with either finger tips of a soft crease brush, this product is definitely a winner for me.

THE LIPS…

Pillow Talk Matte Revolution Lipstick – £25.

Ok, it’s time to address the elephant in the room here. Yes I blogged about the Matte Revolution lipsticks before (read the full review HERE) and while I liked them a lot, I didn’t LOVE them, but I’m going to put my hands up and say that I am fully converted, and it’s all thanks to this shade.

Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in the shade Pillow Talk

The iconic Pillow Talk. It’s a worldwide bestseller for a reason.

I always adored this universally flattering shade – like no BS, it suits absolutely everyone, however the reason that it wasn’t a full on knock out for me was that i felt it needed a bit of layering and that it didn’t give me all day wear. HOWEVER… since switching up my lip prep routine and adding the right liner, it’s safe to say that I’m as obsessed with it as the rest of the nation. I mean if it’s good enough for the mighty Jamie Genevieve to wear on her wedding day, it’s good enough for me.

Top Tip: Yes the CT liner is fab and is the obvious choice to pair it up with, but if you’re looking to save a buck or two, the Barry M Lip Liner in shade ‘Russet’ will do the job just as well, and for only £2.99 😉


What are your favourite Charlotte Tilbury products? Leave a comment and let me know!

Until next time,

B x

ABERDEEN RESTAURANT WEEK AT SIBERIA BAR & HOTEL [Ad]

Over the years that I’ve been frequenting Siberia, it has had many incarnations, all of which have at some point or another provided me with somewhere to eat, drink, have one too many a late night, and even work in. I must have eaten there a hundred times, but when I was invited to review the menu for Aberdeen Restaurant Week I knew I’d be trying something new and exciting, because if there’s one thing that this bar does well, it’s constantly bringing fresh new tricks to the table.

If you’re yet to get the low down on what Restaurant week is all about, head to my previous blog post which gives you a full overview HERE.

As one of Aberdeen’s most popular and thriving bars located right in the centre of lively Belmont Street, I’d find it hard to believe that there are too many of you that have never visited before, but just in case, here’s the vibe.

With a laid back, open and airy industrial feel, paired with modern furnishings and quirky-cool features, the atmosphere is always on point here, and the bar staff to match.

This bar and eatery is just as popular on a Saturday night when the vast array of flavoured vodka shots are flowing as it is on a chilled sunny afternoon while friends enjoy cold cocktails on on the outdoor terrace.

They will be offering both a separate two courses for £10 lunch, and three courses for £20 dinner option, and wanting to sample as much as possible, we showed up for dinner on a relaxed Monday evening. With a full menu change only recently having taken place, it was fab to see some brand new off menu items coming together to create this ARW offering.

The Starters…

If there is only going to be one veggie option, veggie haggis and oatcakes is a bloody good one in my books. Although missing the promised shredded beetroot which would have added a nice tang, the dish was still well balanced and tasty, with just the right amount of spice coming through in the kick of an aftertaste. A little whisky sauce would have gone a long way to counteract the natural dryness of the oatcakes, but overall this was a flavoursome starter that I would happily eat all over again.

Predictably Grant went for the Cullen skink, an all time favourite of his – so much so that he considers himself to be quite the connoisseur, so his opinion is usually pretty bang-on when it comes to this Scottish classic.

Adding a twist, the smooth creamy sauce was served solo in jug, ready for pouring over a freshly cooked fillet of smoked haddock which was resting on top of a pile of leeks and potatoes. Listed as being served with popcorn clams (which I mistakenly presumed to be a crunchy wee battered version, no?!) I was informed that the clams were actually blended in to the soup, which seems a little redundant, but didn’t make this starter any less tasty. Having a wee taste of Grant’s, I fully agreed with him with the smokiness and seasoning was absolutely on point, and the fish well cooked, flaky and delicious.

The Mains…

This is the part where I get to be all smug and pretend that I opted for the super healthy choice by going for the Scottish Bhudda Bowl – a generous bowl filled with Scottish pearl barley, root veg, whisky sauce and veg crisps. This certainly was a feast for the eyes and the presentation as with everything else so far was beautiful. Spiralled carrot and crisp beetroot made for great texture while the barley was wholesome and filling.

Expecting creamy whisky sauce which is a fave of mine and would have transformed this from a lunchtime to an evening dish, what came with it was more of a mustard vinaigrette, which for me, a bit like the avocado, didn’t really work with it. It was also a bit of a shame to see the same mini turnips that had featured on the starter, which means that if you are vegetarian, you are being served the same element twice, but overall this was still a flavoursome and healthy dish.

Grant chose the Breaded Lemon Sole, and purely on sight, this is a mouth watering plate. Crispy, golden fish resting on top of the chunkiest handcut chips, served with tangy home made tartare and roasted tomato ketchup, and a pea puree.

Siberia have taken a classic fish and chips and elevated it to restaurant standard with care and attention. For once me and my big gob have absolutely nothing else to say about this, other than that it was absolutely Delicious! I predict that this will without a doubt be the best seller during ARW.

The Desserts…(and cocktails)

Now I’m not normally one for a dessert, but one thing that lures me in every time is a sticky toffee pudding. This homemade pud with lashings of toffee sauce served with a quenelle of salted caramel ice cream hit the spot perfectly. It would have been rude not to go the whole hogg and try out a cocktail too, so for me it was the Mint choc chip to wash it down with and round off the meal perfectly.

Why have an After Eight when you can have an After Eight flavoured cocktail, right?

Although fit to burst after his main, Grant rose to the challenge to bring you guys the most extensive review possible and tried out the Mocha profiteroles with vanilla pod ice-cream. Not being a coffee lover I avoided stealing a bite of this one, but he assures me was sweet with just the right amount of coffee induced bitterness. It was well flavoured and garnished beautifully with micro mint and toffee discs.

Grant chose the Elderflower French 75 (which I absolutely did have a taste of) to accompany his pudding. This fresh and tart cocktail worked perfectly to cleanse the palette at the end of the meal and cut through the sweetness of his cream filled dessert.

Don’t forget that Siberia is one of over forty local Restaurants taking part in the latest instalment of Restaurant Week by offering amazing menus and events throughout the week so to get all the goss and plan your eating journey for the week, head to www.aberdeenrestaurantweek.com.

Have a fabulous restaurant week everyone, and don’t forget to share your food journeys with us throughout the week by using the following hashtags:

#COMEDINEWITH US

#ARW2020

Until next time food lovers!

B x

*This blog post is in paid partnership with Aberdeen Inspired, but as always, all views are 100% honest and my own.