Food · Manchester

Fancy a Brooklyn Brewery Beer?

 

 

If somebody says to you “give up your night to drink free Brooklyn Brewery beer” you might be a bit sceptical.  You’ve had the standard Brooklyn lagar in a can or a glass bottle, and the dark larger may not have tantalised your taste buds.

I am exactly the same.

If that is the case for you too, then do not wipe Brooklyn Brewery off of your taste pallet just yet.  Whether it is for: sitting down with your mates for a beverage or ten, having that ‘one last drink’ as you throw yourself face-first into a ham and pineapple pizza (pineapple DOES go on pizza for the record) at an after party or just need that something to help you unwind after a stressful day of doing nothing – Brooklyn Brewery has the answers.

At the end of April 2017, employees of Yard & Coop were luckily invited to an intimate tasting session with Brooklyn Brewery representative, Chris Moore.  At the meeting Moore delved into the rich history of Brooklyn Brewery, explaining that the company’s founder had escaped death several times in various countries before the venture was even a thought and that when the New York Mafia come knocking you seriously have to show them who is the boss.

Alongside swerving through the archaic foundations of Brooklyn, Moore had brought us a selection of the brewery’s finest delights to sample.

Now, imagine: a variety of bar tenders, the front of house staff and managers on their day off, swarming around a table filled with sweet treats and alcoholic elixir’s we have never tasted before.  Win, win – a recipe made in heaven.  Alcoholic beverages are one of our main passions in life.  We are not working in a Northern Quarter bar and eatery for any old reason, you know.  We like to drink.

One of the first beers Moore pulled from his box of tricks is well-known and celebrated Brooklyn Lager’.  With a surprisingly fresh bitterness hugged by a floral and dry taste, the Lager is the Brooklyn Brewery signature.  You can find it throughout bars across the country and, if you do not spot anything you know on a menu – sure enough hiding in there somewhere will always be Brooklyn Lager.  A safe bet for a craft beer.

The Brooklyn Lager won’t appeal to everybody, however.  With its distinct taste and dark colour, it carries the same motto as Marmite – you are either going to love it like the feeling of having a full fridge at Christmas or hate it like your housemate using up your milk.  So if that is the case, then Brooklyn is not for you, right?

WRONG.  Oh, so wrong.

 Moore pulled a variety of bottled beers and cans out of his bag including:

  • Brooklyn Scorcher IPA
  • Brooklyn Brown Ale (my favourite of all the beverages)
  • Brooklyn American Ale
  • Brooklyn Sorachi Ace
  • Brooklyn East India Pale Ale

If you are an avid New World Trading Co. fan (IE. The Botanist, The Oast House, MCR Smugglers Cove, LIV) then you would have seen the Brooklyn East India Pale Ale stacked high on its ventures shelves.  The only Brooklyn Brewery offerings that was brought to the event in a can, the pale ale packed a serious punch – it is unbelievably juicy, thirst-quenching and ripe, but it is not for the faint hearted!

An all-rounder which would be perfect for those after-the-night-out drinks (as I previously mentioned) is the Brooklyn American Ale.  Unlike most heavy ales which you have to nurse your body to be in the mood for, this 4.5% ale is completely different.  Light-tasting, gentle and easy-going with crisp tones: the Brooklyn American Ale is perfectly paired with any food flavour, and makes drinking to drink fun.  You do not have to get drunk to have fun drinking (I definitely need to remember this mantra…)

 

The main attraction, for me however, came surprisingly in the form of the Brooklyn Brown Ale.  Now, I am a Geordie girl.  And other than that MTV show what are Geordies famous for?  Newcastle Brown Ale.  What does not taste nice?  Newcastle Brown Ale.  What has changed my complete perspective on brown ale (maybe) forever?  Brooklyn Brown Ale.

Nicknamed ‘the roasty’, this Brooklyn offering incorporates its British heritage with an American twist.  Brown ale that boasts six malts caressing layers of sweet toasted caramel, bitter cocoa and strong coffee – all blended together to create this rich and enticing beer.  The sheer volume of substance in the ale warms the pit of your stomach, changing your idea that Brown Ale is not just something you have to snidely avoid, even if it is on offer in a night club’s fridge.  42nd Street in Manchester, I’m looking at you.

Riveting, inviting and seriously tasty: if I can urge you to do anything this month, it is try to nab yourself a taste of Brooklyn.  Do not play it safe – go big.  If the American Ale sounds your thing then take the plunge or if you want something a little bit different to nag your mates about buying, go for the East India Pale Ale.

Whatever your tipple, make it Brooklyn Brewery.

Ella Scott
@ellalascott

Food · Lifestyle

A dairy-free Nutella: Sweet Freedom Choc Pot

Being dairy-free for me is bloody difficult.  Not only do I constantly crave chocolate, want Nutella on toast at all times of the day and feel the need to have the Not Chicken Nuggets from work (Yard & Coop, NQ) in and around my mouth more than would be deemed acceptable – quitting dairy is (and will probably always be) an uphill struggle.  However, to make the ban a little bit more tantalisingly sweeter I have discovered the moreish Sweet Freedom Choc Pot.

I’ve self-enrolled myself in the Sweet Freedom family for a couple months now.  See my raving post on the Choc Shot here. And obviously, I have been buzzing about the idea of a dairy-free Nutella-alternative since the brand announced earlier this year that it would be hitting ASDA shelves.  Upsettingly however, my local ASDA have JUST got the choc pot in stock extremely recently!

That’s going straight in my bahsket.

The details:

Sweet Freedom prides themselves on the ethic of ‘I do not’ and ‘no way’.  This means all of their products (including the Choc Pot) contain and are free from:

  • Chemical processing
  • Palm Oil
  • Dairy, gluten, nuts and GMOs
  • Preservatives

Their products are made naturally in the UK, and are suitable for the veggies and vegans striving among us.  Basically – its super good stuff and ANYTHING is better than a product promoting the dairy industry.

The Ingredients:

Listed on the 250g pot, the ingredients are as follows:

  • Apple extract
  • Grape and carob extract
  • Water
  • Cocoa
  • Natural Flavouring
  • Rapeseed Oil
  • Sunflower lecithin

Shall we compare this to the list of ingredients on a Nutella pot?

  • Sugar
  • Palm Oil
  • Hazelnuts
  • Fat-reduced cocoa
  • Skimmed milk powder
  • Whey powder (milk)
  • Emulsifier: Lecithin and Vanillin

If you’re not sold already just on the ingredients list alone then let’s dissect the Nutritional information.  Each element listed is per 100g of substance.

Choc Pot:

Energy kJ: 1143
Energy kcal: 272
Fat: 8g
Fat of which Saturates: 3g
Carbohydrates: 43g
Carbohydrates of which Sugars: 38g
Fibre: 7g
Protein: 3g
Salt: 0g

Nutella:

Energy kJ: 2278
Energy kcal: 546
Fat: 31.6g
Fat of which Saturates: 11g
Carbohydrates: 57.6
Carbohydrates of which Sugars: 56.8
Fibre: N/A
Protein: 6g
Salt: 0.114g

Now I’m not being funny – but it doesn’t take a mathematician to put two and seven together to produce the outcome that the Choc Pot is WAY better for you than Nutella.  Obviously, both are a calorific treat but come on, if I can have chocolate spread on a crumpet for breakfast and not feel as guilty as I usually would, which one am I going to select in the supermarket?

Taste test:

For some (me 80% of the time) it’s more about the taste than anything.  Obviously, the sugary, heavenly smooth and sickly substance of Nutella is a dream.  It’s so bloody good and in reality, I am always going to be in love with that little jar of heaven.  But deep down I know the Choc Pot is the all-around winner.

While Nutella you can gulp down serving after serving, the rich combination of ingredients and smooth dark chocolate cocoa component seriously only allows you to have a teaspoon full of Choc Pot.  You don’t want any more than that.  It might not be as sickly as Nutella, but it is as satisfying.  It’s like Cadburys VS Lindt.  Both are heavenly, but one is a lot easier to swallow a bar whole than the other.

I absolutely love it.  It’s seriously changed the way I see toast in the morning (dat look of love doe) and I genuinely feel SO much better about indulging in a spoon for a little taste of something sweet.  Does it make me sad that I am enthusing about chocolate spread?  Pitting the both against each other?  Maybe but maybe not.  Seriously though, try it for yourself – you won’t be disappointed!

Get ya mitts on the Sweet Freedom Choc Pot chocolate spread now, available in selected ASDA and Boots stores.

E x

 

Food · Manchester

The Oast House, Spinningfields, Manchester

Okay so imagine the city of Manchester.  Got it?  Picture it?  Okay, now imagine the city of Manchester with the sun.  Seriously, miracles do happen: sometimes it is actually sunny in Manchester.  Honestly, it doesn’t rain all of the time!  So anyways: it’s sunny; you have the day off work; you’re hungry and your taste buds are craving a bevy… Where can you possibly go?  Why The Oast House of course!

Sandwiched in a sun-trap, around the corner from The Alchemist, Spinningfields, Australasia and running parallel to Spanish tapas giant, Iberica, is The Oast House.  A vintage building which was once used to roast hops in the 16 centaury turned BBQ and outdoor drinking heaven, The Oast House is owned by The New World Trading Co., better known as the people who brought you The Botanist.  Who knew drinking from watering cans could be so cool?

Side note: if you can go to any Botanist, go to the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne rooftop restaurant/bar above Jamie’s Italian, that setting is B-E-A-uuuuutiful.  Hands down my favourite venue in Geordie Land.

Open from 12 pm until 12 am on weekdays, and up until 2 am on the weekends, there’s always time to guzzle prosecco and stick a pie in your gob at The Oast House.  However, if the sun is shining get down early, even though there is an abundance of benches, cushions and even steps to perch yourself on outside, they fill up even quicker than you can shout “Get me a G&T!”

I introduced The Oast House to my two friends from Liverpool who were in Manchester for the weekend.  We dived straight on the idea of food.  As soon as someone says “let’s get food!” is it ever possible to say no?  I and Paddy went for the famous hanging kebabs, while Caitlin kept it extremely British and went for a good ol’ Steak and stout pie.

 

The three-piece Lamb kofta kebab, coming in at £12.50, was served with a pot of slightly-spicy peri-peri sauce (which was dribbled on by the waitress) as well as a gigantic basket of ‘properly’ seasoned chips.

I opted for the hanging( Chicken kebab (£11.50).  Served as a hanging skewer, the kebab was stuffed with succulent, melt-in-the-mouth chicken, chargrilled baby Portobello mushrooms, red peppers and onions.  While the kofta kebab had peri-peri sauce, mine (like the other hanging kebabs) was served with a sweet chilli and ginger sauce.  This tasted exquisite over my chips.  Chips and buttery sauce, the picture of health evidently.  Miss Universe 2017 coming at cha’.

Steering clear of following the crowd, I was sceptical about Caitlin ordering the pie.  A good pie is bloody hard to find, even Pieminister can miss the mark sometimes!  However, apparently, the Steak and stout pie was as good as it gets.  Priced the same as the chicken kebab, the meat pie was an edible sized portion, served with mushy peas, proper pub gravy and a choice of chips or mash.

The Oast House food was simply stunning.  Each of our dishes was demolished in an instant, however, flavours were savoured and positive comments were passed around the table.  We left The Oast House full, but not overly stuffed – which is always a good sign.

Service was impeccable, with bar staff offering drink recommendations when I was being one of those customers, and floor staff were chirpy, thankful and happy to help.  They were definitely feeling the sun rays and managing to effortlessly weave their way through the ever-growing crowd, so serious hats off to them!

A definite thumbs up from me Oast House and The New World Trading Co.  You’ve got yourself three new regulars… All we need now is that Spanish sun all year round!  Next up to try is the Manchester version of The Botanist, has it got anything on the Newcastle branch?

E x

Food · Manchester

Livin’ in a Vegan paradise: V-Rev, NQ, Manchester

So, my new year’s resolution of sticking to vegetarianism/transitioning to veganism might have become a little bit misty (bacon, it’s ALL your fault!) but there’s a one-stop-restaurant proven* to: boost your confidence of being able to eat super tasty and tantalising vegan food while still feeling you’re not missing out on meat at all.  Hi V-Rev, just take ALL of my money, please.

Situated on 20-26 Edge Street, in Manchester’s thriving Northern Quarter, V-Rev sits with its colourfully quirky interior and seriously good food menu.  Boasting the ideology of serving good grub made of “all plants, no pain”, V-Rev – formerly V Revolution – is serving food from Tuesday to Sunday, every week, from 11am to 11pm.  There’s always time for a slice of vegan heaven.

The food menu itself is extremely diverse hosting items such as: ‘Macaroni & Michele’s High School Reunion’ (Beefy patty; mac n cheez; chipotle cola bbq sauce and pickles) £8.25; Lobsta Salad (Lobsta in herb mayo; baecon; ice gem lettuce and tomato) £7.25 and Vietnamese Fries (Fries; Sriracha Mayo; Hoisin Sauce; Crushed Peanut and Coriander) £3.25.

Following on from food, if you’re fancying an evening bevy or a boozy lunch then V-Rev is the answer.  Offering a host of: IPA’s such as Mad Hatter RedXRum £4.50; Cocktails like Srira-Cha Cha Slide (What a name!!) ; £6.00 and enough red, white and rose wine to shake a stick at, there seriously is something for everybody to wrap their lips around.

If you’re not into having a drink however, their soft drink range is also extremely extensive.  Me and my boyfriend, Matty, both played it safe and opted for Fevertree Ginger Beer however, we’ve pinky promised we’ll have a swig of the Strawberry Creamsicle Milkshake £4.25, next time NEXT TIME.

Our service was efficient and friendly and within no time we were sipping and supping.  My main event consisted of: the Hell-vis Presley (Beefy patty; cheez; baecon; peanut butter; banana; pickles and baeconnaise) £8.25 with a side of hands-down-the-best-ever Mac & cheez (Rice macaroni with cheez sauce) £2.95.  B-E-AUUUUUTIFUL food, I couldn’t even fault the taste if I tried.

Matty went for the classically named Barbecute Without the ‘E’ £8.95 (Beef patty; cheez; pulled porq; chipotle cola bbq sauce; coleslaw and onion rings) and mouth-watering Chilli Bowl  (Smoky chipotle; beefy mince and three bean chilli) £2.25.

While my burger tasted brilliant and was smothered in thick peanut butter, the presentation in the ‘Almost Famous’ plastic basket really devalued the food for myself.  Sauce from my burger leaked through the holes where the paper wasn’t placed properly, as well as my mustard making a HUGE mess on the table.  I just don’t believe that the plastic dish fitted in with V-Rev’s cool, slick and sophisticated vibe.  Is it just me?

Apart from the above however, the food, service, deco and overall feel of V-Rev itself was brilliant.  A restaurant definitely worth the hype and 100% worth scoping out for your fix of vegan R&R, V-Rev is a brilliant edition to any Manchester foodies artillery.

Ella

Food · Manchester

Koffee Pot: The best brekkie in Manchester

Bored of Spoons’ below-par ‘big breakfasts’ and tired of paying a whopping 25 squids for a Black Dog Ballroom Bottomless Brunch? (all the b’s, b, b, b)  The answer to your basic brekkie requirements lay at Koffee Pot, the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

The wicked restaurant, decked out in a cool seventies-meets-modern-day vibe, has an enormous cult following in Manchester due to: its classic no-fuss, no thrills menu, its enthusiastic staff and the restaurant taking into consideration and catering for the needs of the ever-growing vegetarian and vegan community.

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As I wasn’t feeling as greedy as usual (food, you are seriously my one true love) and as I am trying to transition into being vegan (I just can’t give up the poached eggs and avocado!!) I opted for the hearty, v-friendly breakfast.  Paying just a measly £8, a price just a tad more than that Fallowfield eatery’s ‘vegetarian large breakfast’, my Vegan brekkie consisted of:

  • 2 scrumptious veggie sausages, jam packed with tasty vegetables. Linda McCartney, who?
  • A little portion of baked beans
  • Pan-fried, succulent mushrooms. Literally melt-in-the-mouth, Koffee Pot mushrooms are DA BOMB
  • Large hash brown
  • Spinach – probably the only downside to the Vegan brekkie is the spinach. Slightly overcooked and something I personally, just don’t enjoy.  Wack it in a smoothie so I can’t taste it then brilliant.  Otherwise, not so much.  I’m still getting to grips with this ‘go green’.
  • Grilled tomatoes
  • I also opted for the upgrade of a potato cake, which was only an extra quid. Absolutely scrumptious!

Each breakfast also comes with two slices of toast and butter (or sourdough if you’re feeling fancaaay) and a builders brew (mine was soya).  Even though I forgot that Vegans don’t eat butter, the Koffee Pot kitchen didn’t.  The toast was brought out already buttered with soya spread, which I thought was so wonderful.  They really did cover every single bloody base.  Hats off to you guys!

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Koffee Pot isn’t just for vegans and vegetarians, obviously, and it isn’t just for breakfast and brunch.  Their vast menu includes SO MUCH CHOICE, gimmie all the foods!! Shakshouka – Baked eggs in tomato sauce with sprinkled feta cheese (£6.50), KP Salt Beef Bagel (£6), Streaky Bacon-topped Buttermilk Pancakes (£6.50-£8) and so much more.

Sticking to the meat game, my brunching partner of-the-afternoon and boyfriend, Matty, opted for Koffee Pot-favourite, The Floppers.  The original dish, priced at £14.50, includes:

  • 2 sausages
  • 4 streaks of bacon
  • 2 fried eggs
  • A portion of haggis
  • A portion of baked beans
  • Both white and black pudding pieces
  • KP-classic mushrooms
  • A potato cake
  • Spam
  • Grilled tomatoes
  • 2 hash browns.

Pheeeeew.

Having an awkward taste pallet, we were graciously allowed to swap both the white and black puddings, spam and beans for an extra sausage, two rashers of bacon and an extra potato cake.  It was lovely that Koffee Pot would allow The Floppers to be customised to the extent of essentially changing main components of the dish, without making any kind of fuss about it too.  On top of the already vast amount of food, the breakfast came with two slices of toast and a builders brew too… I had two cups of tea in the space of maybes fifteen minutes?  Nice swan, Ella.

The entire experience was definitely excellent value for money and insanely tasty, my tastebuds have been tantalised and I am forever now craving the taste of Koffee Pot.  Until next time, KP, where I will get a few beers in me, some falafel and maybe even some cake!

 

E x

 

Food · Lifestyle

PG Tips Strawberry Cupcake Green Tea

Banish the four teaspoons of sugar in your tea and wave goodbye to those mini cake wrappers you have brashly shoved down the back of your bed – PG Tips have created a sweet but insanely healthy alternative to shovelling down sugar, in the form of tea.  A sweet aftertaste with properties such as speeding up metabolism and lowering blood-sugar levels: introducing PG Tips Strawberry Cupcake Green Tea.

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 Yeah, you read that right STRAWBERRY CUPCAKE GREEN TEA.

 I received a little PG Tips envelope through my letterbox with my delicious sample of Strawberry Cupcake Green Tea concealed inside, and within ten minutes I was already guzzling it down.  I just could not help myself.

Taking form in the classic PG Tips pyramid bag, the green tea was instantly plucked from the foil wrapper (to keep fresh) and dunked straight into some freshly boiled water.  Now I was going to have coffee, but the prospect of this tea was so much more inviting!

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With the refreshing tea only needing to infuse for roughly 1-2 minutes, it has never been easier to consume some goodness, whether you have just awoken from a broken sleep or a hungover nap: 2 minutes, bam, and green tea.

“Sometimes it’s easy to forget to drink enough, especially when we’re all so busy.  Luckily, green tea is 99% water, and green tea can contribute to your daily fluid intake”

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The aromas coming from the Strawberry Cupcake-infused cuppa were divine.  Super poignant and luxurious, the smells wafting from the tea were warm and sweet yet still rejuvenating for the soul.

Comparing tastes to smells there was a huge difference.  Where you expect it to be sickly and overpowering, the taste is smooth and calm, with a definite hint of the Strawberry Cupcake flavour on the back of your throat.  Satisfying your sweet tooth cravings while doing the best for your body, this tea actually makes you want to drink it, not make you feel like you have too.

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Honestly, go and get you shoes on; go and get your jacket on (who cares if you’re still in your PJ’s?) and get down to your local supermarket and GRAB SOME Of THIS BLOODY TEA.  I am about to do exactly the same (I might swap my shorts for some long pants though; it’s a bit cold right now in Manchester) because this has revolutionised my green tea experience.

Ella Scott

 

Food · Lifestyle

Baby, it’s Still Cold Outside: Sweet Freedom Choc Shot

 

636203508068330635_afterlight_editIf you’re a hot-chocaholic (is that even a word?) like myself, and you’ve embarked on a vegan lifestyle, or are trying to cut dairy out of your diet, then you bloody well know how difficult it is to find a hot chocolate that caters to your needs.  As if by magic however, my prayers have been answered and a vegan hot chocolate alternative has been showered on me from the heavens, in the form of Sweet Freedom’s ‘Choc Shot’.  

Opting for the original Choc Shot, (I’m itching to get my hands on the Orange Spice and the Coconut flavours, now!) I found the liquid chocolate to be easier to make than my usual go-to Cadbury’s (nobody likes the gritty, bubbly bits of powder sliding around the top of their favourite mug, do they?) and the taste far more poignant and strong.

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Dropping three (or four if you like your hot chocolate super chocolaty) teaspoons into my hot soya milk on the hob turned the milk a gorgeous light brown and tasted absolutely divine once slightly cooled!  And, with only 14 calories a spoonful and 95% fat free, you literally cannot go wrong.

As well as acting as a hot chocolate, the “always sweet, always natural” Choc Shot doubles up as chocolate sauce for your porridge or frozen yogurt, if you fancy treating yo’ self.

The Choc Shot not only caters to vegans and. vegetarians, but also to those with a gluten allergy and nut intolerances, while also boasting the fact it contains no GMOs.   Alongside this, the ingredients of my current favourite food (Food? Drink? Substance?)  are simply: fruit extracts (apples, grapes and carob); water; cocoa; rapeseed oil and natural chocolate flavouringWinner, winner, nut roast dinner!

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So, if you’re looking for something to tantalise your tatsebuds without having to upset your moral code, or are pretty much just looking for a new hot chocolate product to try, the Sweet Freedom Choc Shot range is definitely, 100% for you!

E x