Restaurant Review: Wagamama Ashton Moss

We were invited guests of Wagamama, and we were given a contribution towards our meal in exchange for our visit. All images and opinions are our own.

My son loves Wagamama and it’s somewhere I’ve been taking him since he was old enough to clutch a set of chopsticks in his little hand. He loves the food and would choose to go for a yakisoba at Wagamama over pretty much anything else in the world. Because of this, we are frequent flyers at our local Wagamama in Didsbury. When I was invited to visit the new Wagamama restaurant at Ashton Moss, I was excited to go, not least because it stands almost in the shadow of IKEA, and a trip there meant I could also legitimately fill my boots with tealights on my way home.

Restaurant Review: Wagamama Ashton Moss

We arrived at early tea-time on a Friday. Ashton Moss is a leisure park dominated by a cinema, but with a good amount of mostly chain restaurants around it. The Wagamama is the latest addition and was already busy and bustling. There’s plenty of free parking outside, though if you’re car free, then there’s a tram stop a few minutes walk away.

Restaurant Review: Wagamama Ashton Moss

We were shown to our table and given some menus to look over. Being a regular, I already had a pretty solid idea of what I’d like, but as I was visiting, I decided to try something new. But first, drinks! It was a warm day, and as I’d toiled over a hot laptop for the previous 8 hours, I opted for a cherry blossom lemonade – a cherry blossom and cloudy lemon syrup, with sparkling water and a sprinkle of dried rose petals. The prettiest drink on the menu, refreshing too, with a satisfying sherbety finish.

Restaurant Review: Wagamama Ashton Moss

To start, my companion and I opted to share the Bang Bang Cauliflower and the tempeh ssambap, which was a delicious heap of vegan tempeh with pickled Asian slaw. spicy kimchee sauce, nestled in a baby gem lettuce leaf. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was blown away by the fresh and zingy flavours. It’s definitely something I’ll be ordering again. I’m not sure I’m that much of a fan of putting the calorie counts on menus, but this was 266 calories well eaten. The Bang Bang Cauliflower was well cooked; soft but still with some bite, and coated in a nicely spicy sauce.

Restaurant Review: Wagamama Ashton Moss

The mains came quickly and I ordered the teriyaki vegan ‘chicken’ ramen. This has been my favourite thing at Wagamama this year. I’m a veggie and I can’t eat mushrooms, which can occasionally make things tricky. The teriyaki vegan ‘chicken’ ramen is a belting dish. It’s a steaming bowl of seasoned soya protein in a spicy teriyaki sauce, thick udon noodles, sweetcorn, bok choi and chilli sambal paste. The sambal is very hot, so I always ask them to go a bit easy with this. The broth is divine and really makes the dish sing, it’s exactly how good ramen should be, it’s comforting and delicious and very much the kind of thing you crave when you’re in need of comfort. It’s so good, it’s turned the head of many a meat-loving dining companion of mine.

Restaurant Review: Wagamama Ashton Moss

Speaking of companions, mine opted for the tantanmen beef brisket ramen, with Korean barbecue beef, half a tea-stained egg and kimchee. It was a fine looking dish, fragrant in all the right ways. The meat was good quality, the egg just a nudge runny in the middle (otherwise known as perfect) and the kimchee had all the crunch and spicy bite you’d expect. It was another winner.

Restaurant Review: Wagamama Ashton Moss

The service was friendly and knowledgable. Any questions we had about the food were answered cheerfully. The restaurant was busy, but at no point did we feel neglected as it can sometimes do if you’re somewhere busy.

We were fit to burst, but after a small break, I was ready to order dessert. Pudding is not something I usually think of getting from Wagamama, but I’ve since decided that was a mistake and something I need to rectify in the future. My companion opted for the chocolate and cherry kefir ice cream, a classic combination and one that didn’t disappoint. If I hadn’t have ordered my pudding, then I would probably have given the ice cream a good going over.

Restaurant Review: Wagamama Ashton Moss

I’d very much enjoyed my meal thus far, but my pudding was about to change everything, but in a good way. I was intrigued by the smoked chocolate caramel cake, so I had to have it. I wasn’t sure what it would be like, but I was presented with a delicious vision of smoked chocolate mousse, salted caramel, crushed biscuits, chocolate fudge brownie, chocolate ganache and vanilla ice cream. It was a serious pudding, and a seriously good pudding at that.

Next time you’re at Wagamama, I implore you to leave enough room for the smoked chocolate caramel cake. In fact, I’m tempted to return just for one, or maybe two of those to myself!

Restaurant Review: Wagamama Ashton Moss

Although Manchester is well served by Wagamama, and I’m spoilt having one just a mile from my front door, it’s lovely to see a new restaurant popping up at Ashton Moss. Ashton is perhaps best known for being the home of Manchester’s only IKEA, but now the tram network has stretched outwards into Ashton, it feels very much accessible, and with the cinema there, it does feel like a destination family night out for those living thereabouts.

When we arrived, Wagamama Ashton Moss was filling up, but the time we left, three courses later, it was packed and with a fast moving queue outside. It’s clearly a popular place for Ashton locals to visit already – and they’ve only been open for one month! If you love Wagamama, then you know what to expect in terms of good food and service, if anything, I hope if you’ve read this far, that you might be tempted to try one of the three sublime courses I had that night. Go on, I dare you to try something new, I know I did and I didn’t regret it.

If you want to find out more about Wagamama Ashton Moss, or check out their menu, it’s all on their website.

Christmas: 12 favourite festive cakes and bakes

I was chatting about baking to a mum in the playground yesterday, we discovered a shared love of fairly unusual continental recipes, the kind Paul and Pru would give to Bake Off contestants to try and baffle them into submission. It got me thinking about some of my favourite things I’ve baked and blogged, so I thought I’d choose 12 of our favourite festive cakes, bakes and makes and give them another airing.

I promise you they’re all easy, I lack the patience, time and skill to do anything too fancy and time consuming; but they’re all delicious.

Mincemeat Flapjack

One of the most enduring and classic flavours of Christmas is mincemeat. Mince pies are an undeniable Christmas classic, but I’ve been throwing mincemeat into cakes and vol au vents for a few years now. It’s too good an ingredient just to use in little pies. So I baked a hearty batch of mincemeat flapjack and they all but disappeared in an afternoon. They’re simple, they’re filling and most of all, they’re delicious.

12 of our favourite festive cakes, bakes and makes

Lebkuchen Cake 

Traditionally a moreish soft biscuit, I decided to attempt a German Lebkuchen Cake with considerable success. The recipe is easier than it looks to make and the results are truly scrumptious. It’s one of our favourite festive cakes!

12 of our favourite festive cakes, bakes and makes

Danish Butter Cookies

Because to me, and other children of the 80’s, Danish Butter Cookies are forever linked to Christmas, it’s at this time of year I tend to make them the most. A batch of cookies neatly wrapped in brown paper, or in a decorative bag or box make a lovely little edible gift for someone.

Christmas Recipe: Danish Butter Biscuits


Traditionally Joulutorttu are made with puff pastry and a special Finnish prune jam. However I made mine with a Christmas preserve, but it does need a good firm set jam. Try plum or prune conserve for authenticity. They look a bit tricky to make, but it’s ready-roll puff pastry and jam and  a bit of arty twisting of the pastry.


Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Slices

I like to make a big batch of these chocolate dipped candied orange slices at Christmas and give little bags of them as presents for people. They’re also a really nice treat to take away on holiday to nibble with a nice glass of good red wine in the evening.

Recipe: Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Slices

Mincemeat Filo Rolls

I do love mince pies, but sadly the pastry doesn’t love me. Instead of the usual shortcrust pastry pies, I make these alternative mince pies, with filo pastry and in the style of a spring roll. These Mincemeat Filo Rolls were really, really lovely.

Easy Christmas Recipe: Mincemeat Filo Rolls

Mulled Cider Jellies

Sometimes, and this is not very often, I mull too much cider and I’ll have some left. Sure, I could heat it up again later, but I fancied making something different with it. I thought I’d make some Mulled Cider Jellies. It turns out they make a really interesting, different and delicious festive dessert. You could make them just as well with apple juice if you’re serving them to children or people who don’t drink alcohol. It’s a very pretty dessert and just a bit different.

Christmas Recipe: Mulled Cider Jellies

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

This is an incredibly easy dessert, imagine a rich vanilla ice cream topped with Courvoisier soaked festive fruits. It’s utterly delicious, you can whip it up the night before, or make it up to a month ahead of the big day. It is delicious, incredibly simple and uses only four ingredients. I think we’ve found a winner!

12 of our favourite festive cakes, bakes and makes

Sticky Ginger Sponge Cake with Cinnamon Frosting

I love a bit of ginger cake and at this time of year it’s a lovely warming bake to make for the family. It’s sticky and spicy and you can dress it up for Christmas, or dress it down for every day cake eating if you prefer. This sticky ginger sponge cake with cinnamon frosting is special enough to serve for an occasion, or you could glitz it up a bit more and serve it as an alternative Christmas cake. It’s about as easy as can be.

Easy Recipe: Sticky Ginger Sponge Cake with Cinnamon Frosting

Cranberry and Pomegranate Jelly

Puddings at Christmas time can be a bit on the heavy side. All that booze soaked fruit and extra thick cream can get a bit much; plus if you’re feeding the whole family, Christmas pudding is not a universally popular choice. What is always, always popular is jelly. This is a jelly that everyone in the family can enjoy – cranberry and pomegranate jelly!

Recipe: Cranberry and Pomegranate Jelly

Peppermint Bark Buttons

Homemade treats make for really lovely gifts at Christmas. These Peppermint Bark Buttons are really fun to make and they’re delicious too.

Homemade Gifts: Peppermint Bark Buttons

Cinnamon & Raisin Shortbread

I originally created this shortbread recipe in 2013 in celebration of the Great British Bake Off; it’s been a favourite ever since. Cinnamon and raisin are a great combination and this lovely crumbly shortbread is a great bake all year round.

Recipe: Cinnamon & Raisin Shortbread

So that’s my little round up of my 12 of our favourite festive cakes, bakes and makes. What are your favourite favourite festive cakes, bakes or makes?

12 of our favourite festive cakes, bakes and makes

24 Summer meals your family will love!

After months of longing, summer seemed to happen almost overnight here. We went from a diet of hearty stews and stick-to-your-ribs meals, to light and breezy salads almost overnight. It always seems like a handbrake turn change of pace, the change from winter to summer eating; so I’ve been quietly noting what we’ve been eating over the last few weeks and made a list of our favourite summer meals.

Catering to such a picky household can be a bit of a chore. I’m a lactose intolerant veggie and the boy is quite capable of eating several large portions of his favourites in one sitting. He is however pretty picky about what he will eat and quite definite about what he won’t. We try to strike a balance between not eating pasta with pesto every night, and offering fairly healthy balanced meals.

Over the last month or so I’ve jotted down my meal plans on my phone. There were some big hits, such as the veggie chilli nachos which I’ve made several times due to popular demand. Veggie chilli is also excellent for sneaking extra veg into a slightly reluctant 10 year old. He’s also discovered the delights of spinach and ricotta, so we’ve had that a few times too.

He’s also stepped up his martial arts training, so needs a good protein boost on his training days, so prawns are a winner; plus they are so quick and easy to throw together with a heap of chopped cucumber, peppers and sweetcorn.

I’ve been trying to eat slightly fewer carbs, so we’ve been having tortilla pizzas on evenings when I’m short of time and cooking inspo. A swirl of sundried tomato paste, a scattering of cheese and some extra pepperoni for the boy. They take ten minutes and they go down a storm.

24 Summer Meals For your family

Asparagus and broccoli risotto
Burger on a bun
Chicken curry/ pea and paneer curry
Fish and chips/ veggie pie and chips
Frittata and patatas bravas
Fry up
Hot dogs
Jacket potatoes or jacket sweet potatoes
Lamb kebabs or falafels with salad and pitta bread
Prawn salad
Quiche, potato salad and salad
Quorn mince tacos
Quorn roast dinner
Sausage casserole and sweet potato mash
Seitan stir fry
Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti and veggie meatballs
Spinach and ricotta cannelloni
Spinach and ricotta lasagne
Toad in the hole
Tortilla pizzas
Veggie chilli and tortilla chips
Veggie sausage ragu

Of course, my menu isn’t entirely without stodge. We can’t exist on salady bits alone, but they’re all lighter and generally quicker meals which we all enjoy.

As for dessert, steamed puddings are out of the window and we are loving making and eating giant bowls of fruit salads which are such a healthy and colourful way to round off a family meal.

What are your favourite summer meals? Please comment below with your suggestions.

If you enjoyed this, you might also be interested in these 55 ideas for family meals.

24 Summer meals your family will love!

Celebrate Shrove Tuesday with JimJams Spreads

We were sent some JimJams Chocolate Spread to try with our pancakes. All images and opinions are our own.

We love pancakes, and it’s sad that Shove Tuesday, or Pancake Day is only once a year. Though with us being rebellious types, we sometimes crack and have an impromptu pancake day or two later in the year, just because pancakes really are the best thing ever.

There’s a lot of debate about how to top your pancake, or indeed what kind of pancake is the best. It’s hard to beat your standard thin, crêpe style pancake with lemon juice and sugar; but we often mix things up by having syrup or fruit, or even chocolate spread on ours. Basically, there are no rules, Pancake Day is a solid treat day and that is that.

Celebrate Shrove Tuesday with JimJams Spreads

However, even treat days don’t have to be terrible for you. Although you can make your own pancakes from scratch, if you’re busy then a packet mix can make life a bit easier. For a lockdown treat I whipped up a batch of Griddle Choc Chip Pancakes (which can be made vegan if you like). They are made using a wholegrain blend of wheat, organic rye and organic barley flour to give them a perfect fluffy texture and making them full of fibre; ideal if you’re making pancakes for the family.

Celebrate Shrove Tuesday with JimJams Spreads

I do like the thicker, American style pancakes. They are more filling and these choc chip versions are super-tasty and a real crowd pleaser. To top them, there was really only one option; JimJams Milk Chocolate Spread. It contains no added sugar and is only 50 calories per dessert spoon. Ideal if you want all of the treats, but less of the sugar.

JimJams spreads are available in a range of smooth, creamy flavours; milk chocolate; hazelnut chocolate, and new vegan no added sugar dark chocolate orange and dark hazelnut spread. JimJams spreads are made with 100% plant based ingredients and are designed to be kinder to your teeth, gluten free and around half the calories of other chocolate spreads.

Celebrate Shrove Tuesday with JimJams Spreads

JimJams spreads are currently on offer for just £2.00 a jar (normally £2.60) throughout February and are available at Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, Waitrose, Asda and Ocado. Find out more about JimJams spreads on their website.

30 tasty ideas for toasted sandwich fillings

Like many people who are working from home and homeschooling, I very quickly managed to run out of ideas for lunches. It it were just me I would probably have soup and some toast most days, but that sadly doesn’t cut the mustard with my family. Thankfully I found my ancient sandwich toaster and for the last few months I’ve been putting it through its paces and making toasted sandwiches on a regular basis.

30 tasty ideas for toasted sandwich fillings

I’m quite pedestrian in my toasted sandwich tastes. Cheese and onion or cheese and tomato are always a satisfying lunch to me, but lockdown has meant we’ve had to get creative to keep things interesting. So here are 30 ideas for toasted sandwich fillings you may or may not love…

30 tasty ideas for toasted SandwiCh fillings

Cheese and tomato
Cheese and beans
Pesto, ham and cheese
Cheese and onion
Cheese and pickle
Ham and cheese
Corned beef and beans
Brie and cranberry sauce
Brie and bacon
Tuna and onion
Tuna melt
Peanut butter and banana
Tinned spaghetti bolognese and cheese
Cheese and marmite
Cheese and pepperoni
Nutella and banana
Corned beef and pickle
Tinned macaroni cheese
Cheese, sweetcorn and spring onion
Beef and Stilton
Cheese, ham and mushroom
Cheese and chilli jam
Tinned mackerel in tomato sauce
Goats cheese with roasted red pepper
Goats cheese with crispy bacon and beetroot
Sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella
Goats cheese, honey and fresh thyme
Corned beef, tomato and onion
Mashed banana and strawberry jam
Spam and baked beans

30 tasty ideas for toasted sandwich fillings

If you’ve not got a toastie maker, or if you can’t be bothered to dig it out of the cupboard; I often make toastie s in the frying pan. I butter the outside of my sliced bread, fill it with whatever I fancy and then gently fry until both sides are crispy and the inside is hot and any cheese is melted.

What’s your favourite kind of toasted sandwich? Have I missed any favourites off the list? Do let me know in the comments.

30 tasty ideas for toasted sandwich fillings

Review: The EasiYo Yoghurt Maker

We were sent an EasiYo Yoghurt Maker for the purposes of this post. All images and opinions are our own. 

Making your own yoghurt at home is nothing new. In the 1980’s my Grandma used to make her own using powdered milk and a weird machine she’d got from somewhere. Yes it was as unappetising as it sounds. Thankfully, around 25 years ago EasiYo was invented and it’s popularity is growing; people are finding out how easy, economical and delicious EasiYo is.

Review: The EasiYo Yoghurt Maker

I was sent one of the shiny black EasiYo yoghurt makers to try out. The maker is a stylish black pod which makes 1kg of yoghurt each time. But what did my yoghurt loving boy think of it and just how easy is it to use?

The black maker is quite lovely to look at, it’s all sleek and shiny and doesn’t look out of place in a modern kitchen. I unpacked it and my box contained the black pod, the 1kg yoghurt jar and some instructions. We were given a few different yoghurt flavours to try.

Review: The EasiYo Yoghurt Maker

I thought I’d try the boy with the Greek style low fat yoghurt, which I thought would be lovely with a little drizzle of honey.

Making EasiYo yoghurt is incredibly easy and much quicker than I thought it would be. The instructions are on the back of each packet anyway, but you simply mix the sachet with water, give it a good shake and then put it in the pod which is half filled with boiling water. Leave it overnight and you’ve got 1kg of yoghurt to enjoy the next day. The yoghurt is ok for up to a fortnight in the fridge, so don’t feel you have to polish off a huge amount in one sitting.

Review: The EasiYo Yoghurt Maker

I made the yoghurt the day before we needed it, put it to one side and let the yoghurt maker work its magic. A little over 24 hours later (it works in 12 hours, but you can leave it for 24 hours and you get a better set) I opened up the yoghurt maker, tipped out the water and opened up the jar. The yoghurt had set firmly and looked really thick and creamy. I dolloped some into a bowl with some honey drizzled over the top and gave it to the boy as an after school treat.

Review: The EasiYo Yoghurt Maker

But what did he think? He polished the lot off and then began demanding seconds and even thirds of it. It’s thick, creamy and delicious and contains no artificial ingredients, is gluten-free, vegetarian and full of nutrients. I’m sold on EasiYo, and I think he is too!


It’s incredibly easy to make, and it makes 1kg of yoghurt at a time, which makes it really economical. Plus it’s pretty fun to make with the kids, especially ones who like mixing things up in the kitchen. There are a huge range of flavours and styles of yoghurt to choose from; from very low fat yoghurt to indulgent creamy yoghurts. We’re looking forward to trying them all out!

You can find more information about EasiYo yoghurt on their website.

Review: Nadiya’s Deluxe Baking Set for Kids

We were sent the Nadiya Hussain Deluxe Baking Set for Kids for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

The boy and I have been baking together for years, he’s keen to make and eat the fruits of our kitchen labours, but he sometimes finds some of my grown-up equipment a bit big or heavy to use. This is clearly a bit of a universal problem, as Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain has launched a range of kids baking kits, making it easier for kids to get involved in the kitchen with their own utensils.

Nadiya's Deluxe Baking Set for Kids worth £25

The new range of Nadiya Hussain’s Bake Me a Story baking sets come in three different styles – Deluxe, Savoury and Simple. Each set includes a set of special recipe cards from Nadiya’s new book and is designed to give children the confidence to bake from scratch.

The Deluxe Set we were sent costs around £25 and provides all the tools needed to bake the recipes that are included in the box. The set includes a whisk, spatula, rolling pin, 12 silicone cupcake cases, a sieve, 3 cookie cutters, a mixing bowl, measuring spoons, the all important apron and six easy to make recipes written by Nadiya.

Nadiya's Deluxe Baking Set for Kids worth £25

I was really impressed when I unpacked the box. The set is so good that most of it had made its way into general baking use in my kitchen. Even if I’m baking by myself, I will likely reach for some of the kit included, it’s so good. I was especially impressed with the cookie cutters, which have a silicone edge on one side, so when you are pressing out the cookies you’re not in danger of cutting your fingers too.

I also like the silicone cupcake cases, which are great for saving on waste. The rolling pin was as lightweight as it could get away with and was really easy for my son to use. Together we baked a batch of gingerbread biscuits and we both enjoyed using all of the colourful equipment provided.

Nadiya's Deluxe Baking Set for Kids worth £25

There are other sets in the range and they are all great for encouraging kids to get in the kitchen.

The Savoury set (costing around £19.99) again includes all the tools needed to make the recipes on the five included recipes and includes a spoon, measuring spoons, a chopping board, mixing bowl, apron and a safety knife and a fish slice.

For those taking their first bite at baking opt for the Simple Set (£14.99). This contains a rolling pin; whisk, spatula, three cookie cutters and six silicone cup case cases. Everything needed to make the three recipes included.

Nadiya's Deluxe Baking Set for Kids worth £25

Everything is designed to be safe for kids to use and fun too. Everything is easy to clean and dishwasher safe too. The Deluxe Baking Set has so much in it; and would make a great gift for an aspiring baker or keen cook. It’s made for children aged 4+ and it was just right for my 9 year old son. It wasn’t too babyish, it is just good quality baking equipment for kids.

Christmas Baking: Speculaas Biscuit Baking Mix

AD gifted. One of my favourite things to do during the run up to Christmas is visit the Christmas markets in Manchester. Along with copious amounts of mulled wine, I always seek out the stall which sells speculaas biscuits. They’re full of festive spice and they’re just delicious.

Speculaas is a type of spiced biscuit traditionally baked on or just before St Nicholas’ Day and around Christmas in many European countries. Speculaas are thin, crunchy, slightly browned biscuits which usually have an image or figure stamped on the front side before baking. The most common design I’ve seen is the windmill, which is why I often call them windmill biscuits.

Christmas Baking: Speculaas Biscuit Baking Mix

Vandotsch recently sent me a packet of Speculaas Baking Mix to bake with. The packet contained almost everything you needed to bake a batch of speculaas, just add butter! The instructions were really easy to follow, and they took just minutes to mix together. It’s important to have faith that the mix will turn into a decent dough once you start working with it. Do not be tempted to add water or milk or anything, this will just make the dough too sticky.

The Vandotsch Baking Mix contains all the lovely festive spices speculaas are known for. Packed with cinnamon, cloves and ginger, the biscuits are a real Christmas treat. I don’t have a windmill shaped cutter, so I used my Christmas tree cutter, which worked pretty well. I had some dough left over, so I rolled this up into balls, squashed them with the palm of my hand and made a few seriously delicious cookie sized biscuits, because they were thicker they were somehow even better.

Christmas Baking: Speculaas Biscuit Baking Mix

The Baking Mix is suitable for vegetarians and vegans (if made with a non dairy substitute). It is also free from artificial flavourings, colours or preservatives. They are gluten free too.

The pre-made Baking Mix costs £5.59 and there are options to buy the mix with a traditional style cutter too. These would make a lovely gift for a keen baker like myself. Vandotsch have all kinds of speculaas spice and baking mixes on their website, so it’s worth having a look to see if anything tickles your fancy.

Dining Out: Capocci’s Pop Up Restaurant, Media City

AD/Complimentary Meal. On Friday night I took my boy for a mother and son date night. We took the tram to Media City (Salford Quays) and went for a meal at Capocci’s Pop Up Restaurant which is located in the piazza near the BBC building.

Capocci’s is in what appears to be a converted shipping container. It’s under cover, but outdoors; so if you’re dining, please do take your big coat as Manchester is beginning to feel pretty autumnal already.

Dining Out: Capocci's Pop Up Restaurant, Media City

From breakfast to dinner, Capocci’s serve a range of traditional Italian recipes and the pop up is proving particularly popular with the locals. Capocci’s was pretty busy when we visited, with lots of people dining in, or ordering takeaway pizzas.

Dining Out: Capocci's Pop Up Restaurant, Media City

When we arrived, the boy was famished after a busy day at school, so we ordered our food straight away. He ordered from the kid’s menu, starting with pane all’aglio – caramelised garlic and mozzarella bread, followed by pollo Milanese – breaded chicken and pappardelle pomodoro. I ordered the burrata which came with a salad of grilled vegetables, followed by the pizza margherita classico.

Dining Out: Capocci's Pop Up Restaurant, Media City

Unfortunately there was a mix up with the order, so all the food came at once, which took a while to come out of the kitchen and my son was a bit beyond himself with hunger by the time it arrived. The waiter apologised for the mix up and offered us a complimentary dessert, more of which later.

Having so many dishes in front of us at once was quite over facing, and as a result the garlic bread mostly got left behind. It was nice bread, but without the cheese it definitely needed some oil or something to dip into.

Dining Out: Capocci's Pop Up Restaurant, Media City

The boy loved his chicken, it was beautifully cooked, with crispy breadcrumbs and lots of lovely fresh pasta. He left the tomatoes, but I snaffled those up. I was impressed to find such a grown up dish on the kid’s menu.

My burrata was absolutely delicious. Beautifully silky mozzarella with some of the loveliest grilled vegetables I’ve ever had. The dish was missing ingredients which were listed on the menu, which was a shame, but it was one of the tastiest things I’ve eaten in a long time.

Dining Out: Capocci's Pop Up Restaurant, Media City

My pizza was good. It had a lovely thin and crispy base and a thick layer of sauce and cheese. It was nicely priced at £7.95 and I can see why the pizzas would be a very popular takeaway option.

As we had been promised compensatory gelato, and gelato was the speciality of the house, we went ahead and ordered some for pudding. He ordered the coppa al cioccolato – chocolate and vanilla ice cream sundae with chocolate and caramel sauce, whipped cream and a chocolate flake. I ordered a scoop each of the raspberry and lemon sorbets. The gelato was very delicious, and well worth stopping by for if you want a sweet treat.

Dining Out: Capocci's Pop Up Restaurant, Media City

As we came to leave, our original waiter had left and not passed on the message about the mix up, so we were billed for our gelato; this rankled a bit as we wouldn’t have ordered it otherwise. I just settled the bill as it was quite late and I needed to get him home to bed.

The service was friendly and attentive; but the mix up over our order meant I had to manage a very grumpy and hungry boy for longer than I would have liked, and the rescinded offer of complimentary gelato wasn’t a great way to end the meal.

The food at Capocci’s was delicious. I would have liked to have seen more proper vegetarian options on the menu; but what I had was excellent and I would eat there again. It’s a really lovely spot to have a pop up restaurant, as the day turns to night, you get to enjoy one of my favourite views of Salford Quays – the lights from The Lowry and the Imperial War Museum glistening on the water. It’s a brilliant spot for a romantic dinner for two, or a family meal with the kids; plus it’s dog friendly!

Capocci’s Pop Up Restaurant is only in Manchester until 22nd September; so if you fancy it, it’s worth getting down to Media City pretty pronto! For more information and to take a look at their menu, visit their website.

We were given a (mostly) complimentary meal in exchange for this review. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: The Careless Collection – Artisan Chocolates

AD/Gifted Product. Masterchef 2018 finalist and pilot, David Crichton, has launched an exciting new range of handmade luxury chocolates – including a vegan selection and a bright pink ruby chocolate bar. The Careless Collection is a contemporary new range of handmade luxury chocolate bars in distinct flavours and vibrant colours.  Each recipe has been created in David’s development kitchen in Cheadle Hulme, offering unique flavour combinations for sophisticated palates. He sent me a box from The Careless Collection to try out.

His inspiration for the range came from the TV show when the contestants were tasked with creating a dish for an idol and he chose George Michael. Based on the song ‘Careless Whisper’ and the chocolate bar Wispa, he created two variations – one with a rich chocolate mousse and balsamic vinegar, and the other with salted butter caramel. He has since developed these two bars and added to the range.

The Careless Collection

The flavour combinations are something you might not have tried before, I know I certainly haven’t. Each box costs £12.50 and contains four bars. The box I received had a bar of each of the four flavours, which was a great way to introduce yourself to the range.

The Dark – Heirloom Ecuadorian Nacional 71% dark chocolate shell, filled with a salted butter caramel, olive oil and balsamic vinegar ganache. This is by far the richest bar in the collection, seriously good chocolate filled with an incredibly rich salted caramel butter. There are hints of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, but they are gentle and don’t overwhelm the chocolate. It is very rich and I love (really love) the slated caramel butter, I’d like a big jar of that and a spoon please.

The Milk – Single Origin Venezuelan 43.5% cocoa shell, filled with toasted coconut and lime. This smelled like a posh bounty bar, and tasted like a very posh bounty bar. The coconut inside was delicious and beautifully offset with the lime. It wasn’t too sweet either, which I sometimes find with coconut. This was one of my favourites.

The Ruby – Using a very unique, naturally occurring, ruby cocoa bean, the chocolate (which I’ve never tried before) really tastes of berries. The bar is filled with muscovado caramel, and a rich dark chocolate ganache flavoured with floral notes of rose and lychee. The rose was reminiscent of Turkish delight, but not at all overpowering. It was, I think my favourite, just because it was so unusual.

The White – 29% Cocoa butter white chocolate shell, with a unique blueberry, tonka bean and basil filling. The sweet white chocolate really brings out the cherry notes from the Tonka bean. The blueberry is subtle but it’s a delicious combination.

The Careless Collection is a truly artisan product, handmade and unique. They’re the kind of thing you’d bring out after dinner to share with friends; a real conversation starter and a great way to finish a meal. It’s worth noting that you don’t need to scoff the whole bar to yourself. I think they’re best cut up and shared with friends. Sharing is caring, after all.

For more information about The Careless Collection or to buy online, you can visit the website.

We were sent a box of chocolates for the purposes of this review. All images and opinions are our own.