2/21/2018

Lindt Chocolate Orange No Bake Cheesecake | Just Add Ginger


chocolate cheesecake and linst chocolate bar

chocolate cheesecake and linst chocolate bar

Since moving into the new house almost a year ago, we have been waiting for just the right opportunity to play hosts at a dinner party again. Sure we've had a couple of small gatherings, summer BBQs and house parties, but both Ryan and I love showing off our culinary skills so much that a big dinner was high on our list of priorities. 

Fortune would have it that we agreed to host Christmas dinner. Everyone in Ryan's immediate family were all getting ready for a wedding on the 27th and my parents were already going to be here. Plus with it being our first Christmas as our own little family unit we didn't really want to be anywhere else but home - it just all made sense. 

Ryan volunteered to take care the main bulk of the the cooking (he had a brand new gadget - a sous vide - which he was / still is obsessed with) so I offered to sort out the pudding. 

Wanting to be in keeping with the season I trawled the internet for good crowd-pleasing no-nonsense desserts. Then I came across this one on the BBC Good Food website. Incorporating a seasonal chocolate of choice and with a recipe that wasn't too unfamiliar to me, we headed to our local supermarket to stock up.... 

Only to find that several of the ingredients I needed were unavailable! With a disaster looming in the horizon I quickly made the decision to substitute a few things. And actually, it turned out beautifully. 

chocolate cheesecake slice and lindt chocolate bar


Substitutions: 

16 Hobnobs 16 Chocolate Chip Hobnobs 
225g Terry Chocolate Orange 225g Lindt Chocolate Orange

The creaminess of the Lindt added a rich and decadent flavour to the cheesecake filling that was creamy but not heavy. There was not much difference in taste in the base, but every now and again you would get an extra hit of chocolate.

This cheesecake went down a treat with everybody and has been my most successful dessert to date. It easily served six of us with some left over so is definitely perfect for dinner parties or if you are having guests over. Making the filling does get a little bit fiddly, but the end result is well worth it. 

If you decide to give this dreamy dessert a go, let me know in the comments!

2/18/2018

Spitroast Kitchen Crosby* | Just Add Ginger


Whenever I hear about a new local coffee shop or eatery, I get really excited. Being mum to Eric means being constantly on to go. He is so full of beans that a day spent at home generally just consists of me chasing him up and down the living room because all he wants to do is cruise around the furniture, attempt to climb the chimney and generally cause chaos. So the more we get out the house, the better...

...Especially if it's somewhere I can combine mum duties, food and catch-ups with friends. Even though I love and am incredibly lucky to be in the position to be a full-time mum now, it can be really isolating. Having outings that involve human contact, free entertainment for E (he is so nosey and loves to look at everyone and everything around him) and the ability to appreciate good food whilst he is distracted are always something I look forward to.

I was kindly invited down to Spitroast Kitchen* for lunch this past week. Supporting local and independent businesses is something I always try to do and having never visited before, I was really keen to head on down, tuck into some food, and see what it was all about. I'm always adding to my list of places that are accessible, baby-friendly and serve good quality so I was really hoping this ticked all the boxes. Seizing the opportunity to meet up with one of my mummy friends, on Monday afternoon, a - somewhat grumpy Eric - in tow, we packed up and headed on out.

spitroast kitchen crosby menus

Located on South Road in Crosby Spitroast Kitchen is really easy to find. You can either chance it and see if you can spot a parking space on the road, or if not, there is a car park about a five minute walk away. I will say that it is a bit of a squeeze to get a pram or pushchair up over the step and into the restaurant on your own (a lovely staff member saw me struggling and came to help), but once you are inside, there is loads of space to negotiate a buggy. 

The restaurant has a really relaxed atmosphere about it, with a big open kitchen, bare-brick walls and an eclectic, well-curated mix of industrial-inspired decor that isn't overwhelming on the eye. It's a space that was airy and light in the day but would look great for evening dining experiences too. It wasn't overwhelming or pretentious, and the demographic of diners there ranged from families to friends and a few couples too.

Once we were seated (our table was at the back - lovely and big, with plenty of space for two babies, a highchair, prams et al) there came the agonising decision of just what it was we were going to eat. With both a lunch and main menu to look at, there was a lot to choose from. And it all sounded delicious. 

green plant - spitroast chicken crosby interior

spitroast chicken crosby interior

Wanting to get a full appreciation of the food that Spitroast offers I decided to order from the main menu, opting for a rotisserie roast chicken 'drum & thigh' with sweet potato chips and a greek yogurt dip. My friend opted for the chicken pesto pasta which had been high on my own list of dishes to try (yes - I was secretly hoping she'd let me sample some).

As someone who will always like having options, it made me really happy seeing that the main menu gave you the chance to build your own menu, allowing you to pick your own chicken portion then add one or more sides. It's not just a concept that suits those with varying appetites but is also something that takes into account diners' budgets too!

chicken and sweet potato fries

bowl of pesto pasta

There wasn't too long a wait for the food but by the time it came out I was so hungry I couldn't wait to tuck in - the smell in Spitroast was making my mouth water so much! Both dishes were a treat for the eye, with the chicken having been particularly well plated. The staff were really accommodating and at our request had brought out a bowl where we could put a very small portion of the pesto pasta for Eric to try (I always like to include him in mealtimes and let him have a little taste of the food we are having). 

I don't think my chicken could have been more perfect of it tried. Super crispy skin and juicy succulent meat it was probably some of the best I had ever tried. If I had put a knife to it I think it would have glided through with ease it was that well cooked. It was also the perfect size for a lunchtime meal and would be ideal for those with small appetites at teatime too. The seasoning on the meat was balanced perfectly too. The dip was a refreshing accompaniment but in all honesty I didn't need it for the chicken, instead using it mainly for my chips.

And the pasta? That was lovely too. A really decent portion size for the price, with a good chicken to pasta ratio (yes I did get to try some). Eric was a big fan too, chomping away on several pieces of spaghetti and just generally having a whale of a time people watching. 

If it wasn't for the fact that I wanted to leave room for dessert I wouldn't have left a crumb on my plate. Spitroast had nailed it

nutella cheesecake slice

And as for pudding? We have a saying in our house - 

If you're going to be a bear be a grizzly. 

So that's just what I did. Without a second glance at the dessert menu I ordered a slice of homemade Nutella cheesecake and oh my god it was like a little slice of heaven on a plate. Not wanting to make my friend feel guilty (she chose not to have dessert) I tried to hide the delight on my face but I think I totally failed. It was just too yummy. 

In my eyes Spitroast Kitchen completely smashed it. They deliver on good quality food, excellent presentation and great service. I felt completely at ease being there with a baby. No request was too much and I would 100% go back there again. My friend even booked her and her other half in for Valentine's Day as we left - she, just like me, was really impressed. 

Supporting local independents is so important, especially when you're living in a world of chain restaurants. And with branches both in Crosby and on Smithdown Road, rotisserie fans in Liverpool, you really have no excuse. Get yourself down to Spitroast Kitchen and tuck into one of the many tasty dishes they have to offer - I promise you you will not regret it one bit.

*I was kindly invited down to Spitroast Kitchen Crosby to enjoy a complimentary meal for myself and a guest. This does not affect my opinions. They are my own and always 100% honest. For more details, please see my disclaimer.