Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Barleycup Tart

Last year I seriously cut down on my caffeine intake and now I just drink a couple of cups of tea or coffee a week. These days I seem to be very sensitive to caffeine and if I have a cup of coffee too late in the day, I just won’t sleep at night. I don’t want to cut it out completely, but I do have to keep an eye on just how much I drink. With this in mind, I was sent a jar of Barleycup to try.

I’ve swapped my lunchtime coffee for Barleycup and I’ve hardly noticed the difference. Barleycup is made from roasted cereal grains and chicory roots and is free-from caffeine and contains no artificial additives. Barleycup is also gluten-free and certified by Coeliac UK.

Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Barleycup Tart

Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Barleycup Tart

Not content with just drinking it, I wondered if it would be any good to bake with. It turns out that it was. I made a variation on a chocolate and coffee tart, I made a deliciously indulgent Chocolate and Barleycup Tart which was every bit as good as the original. Here’s my recipe…

Chocolate and Barleycup Tart

Ingredients:
For the pastry –
4oz plain flour
2oz butter, cubed
A pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons of cold water
-or- a packet of ready rolled shortcrust pastry

For the filling –
150g single cream
2 tablespoons of sugar
150g good quality dark chocolate
2 tablespoons of Barleycup powder dissolved in 4 tablespoons of boiling water

Method:

Tip the flour, salt and butter in a large mixing bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Use a knife and stir in just enough cold water to bind the dough together. Do this gradually as you don’t want your pastry to be too wet. Once you’ve made the dough, cover the bowl and chill it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so before rolling out.

Or if you’re using shop bought, ready rolled pastry, take it out of the fridge half an hour before you want to use it.

Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 5 or 190°

Take your pastry and roll it out to the thickness of a pound coin. You can either roll it out on a floured surface, or between two pieces of baking parchment. I find the baking parchment method quicker and a lot less messy.

Grease a 20cm tart tin and carefully put the pastry in the tin, pressing it against the sides. Let the pastry hang over the sides of the tin, you can trim it later. Prick the base all over with a fork. Top the pastry with a sheet of baking parchment and cover with baking beans, bake in your pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.

Remove the baking beans and parchment and pop back in the oven for another 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once cool, carefully with a sharp knife trim the pastry so it is flush with the top of the tin.

Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Barleycup Tart

While your pastry is cooling, warm up your cream and sugar in a saucepan. Finely chop the chocolate and once the cream is simmering, turn off the heat and add the chocolate to the pan. Leave for a minute and stir until the mixture is smooth. Add in your Barleycup mixed with water and stir until combined.

Carefully fill the tart case with the Barleycup and chocolate mix, level it off and make an artistic swirl or ripple on the top if you want. Put your tart in the fridge for a minimum of two hours, or overnight if you wish.

To serve, garnish with raspberries or chopped nuts. It is very rich, so a little goes a long way.

I can confirm that Barleycup is a great coffee substitute in baking. It works really well, adding a slight bitter note and complexity to the tart. I’ll definitely be baking with it again, I wonder what a Barleycup and walnut cake would be like?

Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Barleycup Tart

Note: I was set a jar of Barleycup to bake with. I have not been otherwise compensated for this post.

 

Kids Crafts: How to make a cheery Daffodil flower

With the first signs of spring slowly making an appearance, and with St David’s Day around the corner, what better craft to make than a cheery daffodil or two. This lovely daffodil craft is perfect for toddlers and small children to make. It’s very simple to make and little ones will be as pleased as punch with their efforts.

St David’s Day is on 1st March and is a day of celebration of both St David’s life and the Welsh people and their culture. St David is the patron saint of Wales and on 1st March it is traditional for Welsh people to wear daffodils or leeks, both of these are the symbols of Wales. The wearing of a daffodil on St David’s Day was made popular by the Victorians, in Wales it is also known as “Peter’s leek” and its Welsh name is “Cenhinen Bedr”.

Kids Crafts: How to make a cheery Daffodil flower

Daffodils are a lovely, bright, cheery spring flower, they’re hard to find at other times of the year. Bring a bit of sunshine in with this cheery daffodil craft!

How to make a cheery Daffodil

You will need:
Some yellow paper or card, card is better
Green lolly sticks or straws
Some yellow or orange mini muffin cases
Bostik Glu Dots

Kids Crafts: How to make a cheery Daffodil flower

How to make your daffodil:

Using a pencil, draw the outline of your flower on your yellow card and carefully cut it out. An adult might want to help with this part.

Using the Glu Dots, stick the green lolly stick or straw to the back of the flower.

Kids Crafts: How to make a cheery Daffodil flower

Using another Glu Dot, stick the mini muffin case in the middle of the flower. Now admire your pretty daffodil!

It’s as simple as that. They look great, we’ve made a few and stuck them around our kitchen. They’re a cheery reminder that spring is nearly sprung and that winter will soon be behind us for another year.

Check out my other craft tutorials here!

 

Kids Crafts: How to make a cheery Daffodil flower

Children’s Books: Five Fabulous Cook Books for Kids

Cooking isn’t really something which happens in schools much these days, so it’s even more important to get children cooking at home. I learned to cook by “helping” my Grandma in her kitchen. She was a school cook and a pâtissier, so I learned to love cooking and baking from her. I’m as keen as mustard to pass on some of that love to my son. Thankfully he loves cook books almost as much as me, he likes to go through them with me and pick out things we can make or bake together. Here are five of our favourite cook books for kids…

Children’s Books: Five Fabulous Cook Books for Kids

Five fabulous Cook Books for kids

Jolly Good Food: A children’s cookbook inspired by the stories of Enid Blyton by Enid Blyton and‎ Allegra McEvedy. This gorgeously jolly cook book for kids contains 42 recipes designed by chef Allegra McEvedy; each inspired by Enid Blyton’s stories; do you fancy a picnic with the Famous Five or a midnight feast with the Malory Towers girls? This is an easy to follow, fun cook book, perfect for Blyton fans young and young at heart!

I Can Cook by Sally Brown and‎ Kate Morris is the spin-off book from the popular CBeebies series I Can Cook. I Can Cook and presenter Katy Ashworth have been inspiring pre-schoolers and their parents for years. The series and this book are a great way to get children and families talking about food and cooking up a few recipes of their own. The book contains over 50 recipes to try at home. Packed with simple step-by-step pictures and easy to follow the instructions; kids can learn to make all kinds of delicious meals, such as cheesy lasagne, breakfast muffins and chunky banana bread. It’s the perfect first cook book for little ones!

Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. My friend Liz recommended this book to me, her girls love to cook up a Gruffalo themed feast. This book contains 24 recipes, each inspired by the goings on in the deep, dark wood. If you’ve always wanted to try Gruffalo Crumble, then this is the book for you!

The River Cottage Family Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and‎ Fizz Carr is one of my favourite cook books full stop. It’s written for slightly older children and contains easy to follow recipes which are family friendly. The fish pie recipe is the best one ever and my family will happily devour it in one sitting! The book explains a little more about food, where it comes from and gives some tips on getting the best out of your ingredients. I’ts the perfect gift for cookery curious kids!

Children’s Cookbook: Delicious Step-by-Step Recipes by Katharine Ibbs and‎ Catherine Saunders is an excellent and comprehensive cook book for children. This book contains over 50 simple recipes and helpful tips and tricks, which will have you whipping up brilliant meals in no time at all. This children’s cook book has a lovely varied selection of recipes, it might be just the thing to get children to try new things and explore different kinds of food!

What areyour favourite cook books for kids? Do you cook with your family? What’s your favourite recipe?

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy my other children’s book round ups!

Children’s Books: Five Fabulous Cook Books for Kids

This post contains affiliate links.

Toy Review: Zak Storm – Zak’s Hover Vehicle

Zak Storm seems to be one of my son’s current obsessions. If you’ve not heard of him yet, he’s a “Super Pirate” who goes on lots of amazing adventures. My son loves him and he was so pleased when I downloaded the free Zak Storm app and gave him the new Zak Storm Hover Vehicle to play with.

Toy Review: Zak Storm - Zak's Hover Vehicle

Surfer dude Zak is taking part in a surfing competition when he is suddenly sucked by a giant wave and ends up in the Bermuda Triangle. Zak finds himself as the captain of a ship called The Chaos. Zak and a band of misfits (among them; an Atlantean princess, a Viking, an alien, and a ghost boy) and his talking sword Calabrass; he travels across the Seven Seas, to find his way home. I confess, it took me a little while to get my head around this, but to my son it’s a cool pirate show, which is all I needed to know.

Zak’s Hover Vehicle takes his surfing skills to the next level and features a missile launcher for when he has to do battle. The figure included is the “Blazz Zak” posable figure, which is dressed in his signature pirate gear, he also carries a Calabrass sword for fighting his enemies.

Toy Review: Zak Storm - Zak's Hover Vehicle

Zak’s Hover Vehicle costs around £14.99 and is suitable for ages 5+. It would please most Zak Storm fans. My son enjoyed posing the figure on the vehicle as well as shooting the missile across the room.

We were also sent two bags of Zak Storm Collectible Coins (£4.99 each). Each bag contains four plastic coins, each around the size of a £2 coin, with a pirate motif on the front, and on the back there’s a QR code which you scan into the app.

Toy Review: Zak Storm - Zak's Hover Vehicle

The Zak Storm Super Pirate app is free to download (find it in the iTunes store or on Google Play). You scan the QR codes into the app and each coin awards you gold coins; special powers, weapons, health it or opens up new levels in the game.

He had the most fun with the Zak Storm app. We downloaded it and let him play with a few days before we gave him the Hover Vehicle and coins. The app has great game play and features Zak and his crew battling to reclaim the Seven Seas from Skullivar – the Pirate King. We don’t usually let him play for very long on the iPad; but the app had him engrossed and engaged for quite some time.

Toy Review: Zak Storm - Zak's Hover Vehicle

If I’m honest, I think at £14.99 the Hover Vehicle is a bit expensive for what it is. I’d happily pay £9.99 for it, so if you spot it at that price, grab it. However, if you throw in the app and a few bags of the coins; then I think as a package of sorts it is good value. I’m pretty sure my son would happily play on the app with the coins and the vehicle for hours if we let him.

Zak Storm is a connected play experience, where kids can watch, play and level-up. They’ll enjoy an exciting new kind of mobile gaming experience! I can say that my son really enjoyed playing with the vehicle, coins and the app. Together they would give hours of entertainment for any Zak Storm fan.

The Zak Storm Hover Vehicle and Collectible Coins are available from a range of toy shops, including Smyths.

We were sent these Zak Storm products for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Five ways to take some time out of your busy day

Where you’re busy working and looking after a family, if you’re anything like me, you’ll put yourself and your well-being in last place most of the time. I’m a spa junkie and a few times a year I’ll book a day and take myself off. Despite this, I know I need to take 10-15 minutes time out each day to keep some semblance of personal sanity in between spa visits.

If I’m being honest, it’s not always possible for me to take a full 15 minutes, sometimes I forget to put me first for just 1/96th of a day and the habit slips.

Part of my problem, and quite possibly yours too, is that I’m available to other people; friends, family, kids, the internet, every waking hour and sometimes in my non-waking hours too. It’s advisable to turn off phones, tablets and laptops at least an hour before bed. Apparently the blue light can stop us winding down properly and interfere with our sleep patterns. I’m terrible at doing this, but I’m going to try a bit harder.

Five ways to take some time out of your busy day

Here are my five ways to take some time out of your busy day. 

Meditate. I love to meditate. I don’t sit cross-legged on a rug, I generally make myself comfortable on the sofa, or curl up in bed and listen to a mediation app. Andrew Johnson has a great “Power Nap” meditation which lasts for half an hour and is usually enough to wind me down and then power me back up again. I’ve recently downloaded a couple of other apps – Calm and Headspace which are great for shorter bursts of meditation. Even just five or ten minutes can be enough to save your sanity; it’s important to let a little bit of peace and calm into your day.

Read a book. Finding 15 minutes during your day to sit down with a brew and a book. It’s a much better use of your time than you’d think. Transporting yourself to a fictional place and forgetting the state of the house for a few minutes can leave you refreshed and ready to crack on with whatever is waiting for you on the other side. Reading a book before bed is also an excellent way to wind down and stops you scrolling on your phone.

Have a bath. Have a bath, not just any bath, but one with nice fragrant oils or bubbles. Enjoy it in a room lit by candlelight with the door locked to stop invading children is a thing of beauty. I’ve had that kind of bath less than a handful of times over the past few years, but when I have, it’s always been incredibly relaxing. I have friends who manage this every night and their lives are genuinely enriched by having a peaceful bath before bed. Lucky them hey!

Listen to some music. sometimes I’m too agitated to focus on some meditation, so instead I listen to music. Music has the power to lift me up, calm me down, help me process anger or frustrations; it can make me sing and dance,  and it generally raises my spirits. Choose some music to fit your mood or give you what you need and lose yourself in it. For just 15 minutes sit and appreciate, or dance your socks off around the house. Whatever you need.

Go for a walk. I have a dog, so going for a walk is part and parcel of my day. Getting some fresh air, a bit of exercise and physically removing myself from the laptop and the mess in the kitchen does wonders for my mood. I know it’s not always easy to leave home to go for a walk; but even getting off at an earlier bus stop, or going for a quick walk during your lunch break can work wonders.

These are simple things that with a bit of effort you could fit into your day. So what have I done today to give myself some time out? I read a book for a while after lunch in front of the fire, and tonight I will be falling asleep listening to the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Their music sends me off to sleep a treat, I say that in a good way!

How will you take 15 minutes time out today?

Five ways to take some time out of your busy day

If you enjoyed this, you might also like these 28 Self Care habits to stop anxiety in its tracks!

Winter in Abney Hall. PLUS Save Abney Cafe!

Abney Hall in Cheadle is one of my favourite places to visit. It’s a little gem, tucked away and hidden from those not in the know. It is popular with families and dog walkers and I’ve been going there since I was a baby. It’s one of our most lovely green spaces locally, it’s a wildlife haven, it’s fabulous for families and dog walkers, and is home to a little gem – The Abney Cafe.

Winter in Abney Hall. PLUS Save Abney Cafe!

I grew up pond dipping and climbing trees there. I swam in the stream, played pooh-sticks on the bridge, and my son does the same things I did and he loves it there too. I’ve visited the pet cemetery and wondered about the lives of the horses, dogs and cats buried there, obviously adored by their owners who lived in Abney Hall years ago. I think Abney Hall is now offices, but it’s still a beautiful building in equally lovely grounds.

Winter in Abney Hall. PLUS Save Abney Cafe!

We visit Abney Hall regularly. I sometimes slip in and take the long route home after I’ve been in Cheadle. If I’m by myself I’ll stop for a brew and a bite to eat. If we’re walking the dog we’ll stop at the cafe for some refreshment. It’s the only cafe in a park I’ve ever been to where the dogs have a whole exciting field to run about on while you drink your coffee and have a sit down.

It is a great cafe. It’s an oasis and a community hub for locals in search of a hot cuppa. The welcome is warm and everyone is friendly. A stop at Abney Cafe is something I look forward to on our walks there. It’s the warm, welcoming heart of the park and Abney Hall will be much poorer if it loses the cafe.

Winter in Abney Hall. PLUS Save Abney Cafe!

Sadly it seems this small community cafe is one of the smaller victims of Carillion going bust. The cafe owners were renegotiating their lease when the firm went bust; left in limbo Stockport Council called time on their lease and they have until 1st March to clear out.

When I visited earlier today, Steve the owner was prepared for the fight. I chatted to him over a coffee and a steady stream of visitors came in for a coffee and to talk to him about what could be done to save Abney Cafe.

If you want to help save Abney Cafe and this important community hub, please email Councillor Sheila Bailey.

You can also give the Cafe Facebook page a like and keep up to date with cafe news there. There will be a gathering of support at 11am on Sunday 18th February. Bring along the whole family and your dogs to show your support!

Winter in Abney Hall. PLUS Save Abney Cafe!

Thank you for reading!

Winning Recipe: Thrifty Smoked Haddock & Leek Tart

A quiche or a tart is quite often my go to when I’ve got a few ingredients which need using up. My husband is very fond of a bargain and often comes home with a bag full of heavily reduced items all of which need using asap. This thrifty Smoked Haddock & Leek Tart was created after one of his supermarket bargain hunting expeditions and was so delicious even my fussy 7 year old said it was yummy.

I call this a winning recipe, that’s because it won a pie competition on the Daisies & Pie blog – bagging me a night away with a friend in Birmingham!

Winning Recipe: Thrifty Smoked Haddock & Leek Tart

Thrifty Smoked Haddock & Leek Tart

Ingredients:

For the pastry –
225g plain flour
100g butter
2-3 tablespoons of cold water
Pinch of salt
– OR – (and no one will judge you) a sheet of ready rolled shortcrust pastry

For the filling –
1 large smoked haddock fillet (skin on)
1 pint of milk
10 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 leeks
1 knob of butter
2 heaped teaspoons of mild curry powder
2 medium eggs
100mls double cream
Salt & pepper

Method:
Make the pastry by rubbing the butter, flour and a pinch of salt together until it’s like breadcrumbs, then gradually add the cold water until it forms a firm dough. Bring the dough together on a floured surface and roll out until it’s about the thickness of a pound coin. Or just use a sheet of ready-made pastry – no one will judge you.

Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed tart tin and carefully lay in the pastry, taking care not to tear it. Roughly trim off the excess pastry, this can be tidied up properly later. Cover with a piece of greaseproof paper and top with baking beans or similar, you need to blind bake your pastry so you don’t get a soggy bottom. Pop into a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes at 200°. After 15 minutes, carefully lift off the greaseproof paper and (incredibly hot) baking beans, please be careful. Pop your pastry case back into the oven for a further 10 minutes. Then remove and set aside to cool.

Once cooled carefully trim the edges with a sharp knife. Doing it this way will give you a nice clean edge.

To make the filling put your milk, bay leaves and peppercorns into a saucepan. Lay in the smoked haddock fillet and slowly bring to the boil. Once the milk reaches boiling point turn the heat off and let it sit in the hot liquid for 10 minutes or so.

In the meantime, slice your leeks and cook them in the butter with a twist of salt and pepper. Once the leeks are soft and cooked through, stir in the curry powder and set aside.

Drain your haddock and discard the bay leaves and peppercorns. Carefully remove the skin (the skin holds it all together while it cooks so it doesn’t all fall apart, trust me it’s easier to keep the skin on until it’s cooked) and check the fish for bones. Try not to break the fish up too much while you do this.

To assemble the tart put a layer of leeks on the bottom, then the smoked haddock and then top with the rest of the leeks.

In a bowl whisk the eggs and cream together, season and carefully pour over the leeks and haddock. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes at 200° keeping an eye on it. Your tart needs to be golden brown on top and cooked in the middle.

Serve with new potatoes and a salad. Can be eaten hot or cold. Delicious!

Winning Recipe: Thrifty Smoked Haddock & Leek Tart

Toy Review: Flush Force Collectibles – Series 1

If you’re of a nervous disposition, or if you dislike toilet talk, please look away now. Generally children like disgusting things. They like to do disgusting things and talk about disgusting things, and as one of those disgusting children who had the misfortune to grow up; secretly I love these disgusting things too. This week my 7 year old son got his hands on some of the new Flush Force Collectibles and our house went toilet mad!

If you’ve not heard of Flush Force before, they are toilet based collectibles. There are 150 characters to collect from the grossest gang around, including rare and super rare Flushies; plus a range of toilet based accessories. I did warn you.

Toy Review: Flush Force Collectibles - Series 1

The Flush Force characters come inside sealed toilets. Lift the lid on the tank, fill them with water and shake, shake, shake. If the water changes colour you’ve found a rare character. The pocket money priced collectible, which is known as Flush Force Number 2 is a small toilet which contains two characters. It costs just £2.99 and is as joyfully gross as you’d imagine.

(Brace yourself).

There are two other packs you can get to give your collection a boost. The Filthy Five Pack (£5.99) which sees five filthy creatures clogging the toilet. To see which mutants you have, fill the toilet’s tank with water and shake. If the water turns green you have a rare clogger, if it turns purple you have found a super-rare unflushable!Toy Review: Flush Force Collectibles - Series 1

If five of these disgusting collectibles isn’t enough, the Bizarre Bathroom 8 Pack (£10.99) contains 8 gross collectibles. Each Flushy belongs to its own group. You might get a Squirmin Vermin, Grimy Grubs or unflushable Putrid Parts! It’s always a surprise to see who is lurking inside. All you do is fill the tank and shake to reveal your which of the 150 collectibles you’ve discovered lurking in the toilet bowl.

Lastly, you need somewhere to keep your collection, the Flush Force Collect-A-Bowl (£14.99) is probably my favourite part of this Flush Force collection. It’s a bigger toilet which when you flush it, it plays a range of different disgusting noises; from your standard flush, to several different kinds of trumps. The toilet bowl is large enough to store your collection and comes with four exclusive Foul Floater Flushies. We’ve had so many laughs playing with this noisy toilet.

Toy Review: Flush Force Collectibles - Series 1

Flush Force is aimed at children aged 4+. It’s perfectly pitched for my 7 year old. It’s pretty gross, the characters look suitably disgusting and have names to match. The “flush to reveal technology” as they call it is very clever, though we are yet to discover a rare figure. There’s also a free Flush Force App you can download which allows you to explore the fictional town of Flushville and play some gross games.

As collectibles go, Flush Force is disgusting, but that’s probably why my son loves it.

Flush Force is available at Smyths, TRU, Argos, The Entertainer, Tesco, ASDA, Sainsburys, Toymaster and independent toy shops. More information can be found on the Flush Force website.

Toy Review: Flush Force Collectibles - Series 1

We were sent these Flush Force collectibles for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Easter Crafts: Make Colourful Easter Egg Suncatchers

This month Craft Merrily have set the Bostik Bloggers the task of creating a craft for Easter. I’ve been looking at suncatchers for a while and I thought they’d be just the thing for those bright late winter days we’ve been having lately. Easter lends itself to glorious splashes of colour, so we made some colouful Easter Egg Suncatchers to cast some jewel coloured sunbeams across our home.

I printed a couple of Easter egg shapes out on acetate and cut them out. You can draw your own, but I’ve made my template available for you to download, which might make things easier for you. Here’s how we made our Easter Egg Suncatchers.

Crafts: Make Colourful Easter Egg Suncatchers

How to make Easter Egg Suncatchers

You will need:
An Easter egg shape cut out of acetate or clear plastic
Selection of craft jewels or acrylic gems
Bostik White Glu
A piece of ribbon for hanging

Method:
Cut out your Easter Egg shapes and using a hole punch make a hole at the top. Thread a length of ribbon through the hole and tie a knot in it.

Crafts: Make Colourful Easter Egg Suncatchers

You can have a design in your head, a pattern or colour-scheme that you like, or you can glue the gems on randomly, whichever you prefer. Glue them onto the Easter Egg shape using a dab of glue on the back of each one.

Crafts: Make Colourful Easter Egg Suncatchers

Once you’re happy with your design, leave your Easter eggs to dry for a couple of hours. Once they’re dry, hang up at a window and prepare to be dazzled when the sun shines through your window.

Crafts: Make Colourful Easter Egg Suncatchers

Here’s the dazzle on our wall from the sun shining through our suncatcher!

These suncatchers are such a lovely simple craft, they’re perfect for tots and right up to bigger boys and girls. My 7 year old really enjoyed decorating his. We were both thrilled when the sun came out and shone through our suncatchers, casting a wonderful dazzle pattern on the wall.

Check out my other craft tutorials here!

Easter Crafts: Make Colourful Easter Egg Suncatchers

I am a Bostik Craft Blogger and I was sent the materials to create this craft from Craft Merrily. 

Review: Sunday Lunch at The Courthouse, Knutsford

I love a good Sunday lunch. It’s not just the roast dinner with all the trimmings, but the sitting down with the family, eating and enjoying each other’s company which makes it special. Every few weeks we like to go out for Sunday lunch, for me it’s nice to eat something I’ve not cooked and for the boys, it’s nice for them to dodge washing up duty. With that in mind, we headed off to Barristers Restaurant & Bar at The Courthouse in Knutsford, Cheshire for Sunday lunch and a drive out in the country.

Review: Sunday Lunch at The Courthouse, Knutsford

The Courthouse is a Grade II listed property. Previously it was Knutsford Crown Court and was later used by The Ministry of Defence before it closed and lay empty for seven years. Since then the building has been carefully restored and transformed into a contemporary restaurant and bar.

Barristers Restaurant & Bar is beautiful. It’s light and airy and really unusual, but in a good way. They’ve kept all the original layout of the court and worked around that, so you could find yourself sat in the dock enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail.

We ordered from the Sunday Lunch menu. I began my meal as I almost always do, with soup. It was a rich and delicious roasted tomato soup served with a fresh bread roll and very good salty butter. I’m fussy about soup, but this was perfectly seasoned and bursting with fresh, juicy tomato flavour.

Review: Sunday Lunch at The Courthouse, Knutsford

My better half went for the Bloomer Shrooms; creamed chestnut mushrooms, roasted in garlic and served on a thick slice of toasted bloomer. It was a very hearty portion of well cooked mushrooms and an excellent start to the meal.

The small boy ordered a milkshake and a kid’s portion of fish and chips. The chips were top notch; crisp on the outside and so fluffy inside. They were the best chips I’ve tried in a long time (I snaffled a few off his plate when he wasn’t looking).

Review: Sunday Lunch at The Courthouse, Knutsford

Onto the main course, and as it was Sunday it had to be roasted rump of beef served with roasted potatoes, celeriac puree, a giant Yorkshire pudding, seasonal vegetables, glazed Chantenay carrots, wilted greens and gravy. It was a huge plate of food and my husband doubted he would be equal to the challenge. The Yorkshire pudding was so impressively big you could have worn it as a hat. He said, and I believe him, that it was the best roast dinner he’s had in a very long time.

Review: Sunday Lunch at The Courthouse, Knutsford

Being a veggie there’s never a vast selection of dishes to choose from when I eat out.  There were a couple of dishes to choose from and I opted for the Courgette Linguini which was tossed in a Regato cheese sauce and spiked with chilli, lemon and coriander. It was a beautiful plate of pasta. I liked the addition of the chilli which cut through the cheesiness of the sauce. It was the perfect pasta dish for the cold, slightly snowy day we were enjoying.

Review: Sunday Lunch at The Courthouse, Knutsford

It was busy in The Courthouse, most tables were taken. In any other restaurant I perhaps would have found the hubbub too much, but the layout is such that the tables are well spaced and there’s noise, but not so much that you struggle to hear your companions speak. There is background music, but it’s quite low and doesn’t intrude at all. I found this quite refreshing and very conducive to great conversations.

We were very taken with The Courthouse, from its beautifully restored lines, its nod to the contemporary, delicious food and fabulous atmosphere. We found it hard to pick holes in anything during our visit. You know you’re having a good meal if everyone around the table is already discussing when to return.

Barristers Restaurant & Bar at The Courthouse in Knutsford serves modern British seasonal menus, smoothies and cocktails throughout the day. Afternoon tea is a speciality and Sunday lunch is well worth booking in for. They’ve got a great looking fixed price menu for Mother’s Day (11th March) too.

For more information about The Courthouse in Knutsford, visit their website.

Review: Sunday Lunch at The Courthouse, Knutsford

We were invited guests of The Courthouse and were not asked to pay for our meal. All images and opinions are our own.