Cheap eats in Paris – L’As du Fallafel review

I’m pretty lucky that my mum lives in Paris, it means I regularly get to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world. One of my favourite things to do is visit all the amazing places to eat! Parisians do food well, from warm freshly baked croissants in the morning, to crusty homemade French bread sandwiches with soft, melting French cheese and paper thin ham… I could go on and on. However, if you want to try somewhere a little different, with fresh food and huge portions all at a reasonable price, then look no further than L’As du Fallafel.

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After strolling through the picturesque cobbled streets of Le Marais and spotting Sasha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher casually walking by, we stopped at L’As du Fallafel for some lunch. This is one my favourite places to eat in Paris; an Israeli falafel restaurant in the heart of the quaint Jewish district. This is a MUST try during your time in Paris and is inexpensive when compared to many other tourist traps close by.

If you want to avoid the queue I would recommend going for lunch (or getting a takeaway and eating on the go)! At dinner time you can sometimes be waiting over an hour for a table, but pop by at lunch and you shouldn’t be waiting more than 20 minutes for a table.

If this is your first time then you have to try the falafel, there are several other options on the menu such as chicken liver and schwarma all served in a warm pita bread, but the falafel is a good place to start. The pita comes stuffed with salad, red cabbage slaw, grilled eggplant and tzatziki; their homemade harissa is to die for and not too spicy, so make sure to add a generous helping!

falafel

The hustle and bustle, and authentic Israeli cuisine transports you to the Middle East. The falafel is light and packed full of flavour and spices, made using a secret recipe making this the best place for falafel in Paris, if not Europe! I mean what other food still looks amazing half eaten?

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You can forget fine Parisian dining in this place, food is served on plastic plates with plastic cutlery and eating with your hands is acceptable, if not expected!

L’As du Fallafel is closed on Friday evenings and Saturday’s due to the Jewish Sabbath so make sure you visit during the week or on a Sunday, you don’t want to miss out!

 

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A chocoholics dream: review of Chocolate House in Luxembourg

Whilst visiting the beautiful (but tiny) country of Luxembourg I came across a stunning little cafe that I had to share with you!

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I’m the definition of a chocoholic, therefore as I strolled past a bustling little cafe called the Chocolate House I dragged my boyfriend inside to see what they had to offer. My jaw dropped as I walked inside and saw the hundreds of chocospoons on display; solid blocks of high quality chocolate set on a wooden spoon that you melt in milk to create a beautiful hot chocolate.

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The flavours were endless: milk chocolate, cookies and cream, chili and orange, stracciatella, (I could go on and on). The cake display was full of giant, decadent cakes making me feel like I was attending the mad hatter’s tea party. Unfortunately after eating a ridiculous amount of food at the hotel breakfast buffet, the humongous slices of cake were a bit daunting, but we did try three of the chocospoons.

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The flavours we picked were Baileys, Hot Chili and Black and White. You pick your spoon, take a seat and then the waitress brings you a big mug of steaming hot milk, the rest is pretty self explanatory. As the chocolate melts it’s difficult not to eat it straight off the spoon, but the wait is definitely worth it! My boyfriend chose the Black and White spoon which was a bit too sweet for my liking. The Hot Chili spoon was beautiful; it was smooth, creamy and intensely chocolatey followed by a subtle heat from the chili. The baileys spoon was my favourite, the milk chocolate made for a sweet drink with the baileys making it a more grown up beverage.

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If you ever happen to be in Europe and pass through the charming little country of Luxembourg I would highly recommend visiting this chocolate gem.

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No grandes, no talls just big coffee…

I love relaxing in a nice coffee shop with a hot coffee and a piece of cake, but let’s be honest, my usual hangout Starbucks is overpriced and the coffee is nothing to write home about! It was after spending almost £10 on a frappuccino and ordered in cake that I decided to find a new coffee shop to spend my time!

Couch is a coffee shop on Ecclesall road with a branch on Campo Lane in Sheffield City Centre. When I walked past and saw it was open I thought I would give it a try. The interior is amazing, think patchwork antique chairs, big comfy leather sofas, wooden booths and mismatched dining tables and chairs. The cakes are all served under bell jars, and books and board games scatter the book shelves along the walls. It has a lovely homely feel to it, and it would be easy to lose yourself in a good book whilst watching the busy traffic on Ecclesall Road pass by.

The first time I went I ordered a snickers brownie and a cappuccino for well under £5. The brownie was a huge slice (I asked for the biggest bit) and it had peanut butter running through it and of course whole peanuts. It was beautiful and moist, and so chocolately and rich, but in no way too sweet or sickly. Let’s be honest, peanut butter and chocolate is the best combo ever. They have loads of different flavours of brownie to try, such as Double Decker and Mint Aero which are all on the ‘to do’ list! They also have a huge selection of cakes, but when it’s between a brownie or cake I’m always going to go for the brownie!

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Brownie and Coffee

We took our brownies to our table and waited for our coffees, promising to only take a little nibble and to wait for our hot drinks to arrive. Needless to say the brownie was all but gone by the time our drinks arrived. (This isn’t a bad reflection on the staff who made the coffee in a perfectly acceptable time, but more a reflection at my lack of self-control and greediness).

The coffee is smooth and drinkable, and doesn’t leave a bitter or unpleasant taste in your mouth like some other coffees from certain chains can. It’s served in cute tea sets in all different colours; say goodbye to coffees the size of your head, “no grandes, no talls just big coffee” as their website says. It also says “our mum says our coffee is the best, and mums don’t lie” and their momma definitely didn’t lie! It’s as good as any coffee I’ve tried in Italy or the south of France. So far it’s the best coffee I’ve found in Sheffield. The best bit? You can get one of these lovely hot drinks for £1 between 8-10 in the morning!

I went for a second time for a bank holiday brunch. The breakfast menu is extremely reasonable with a bacon sandwiches for around £3.50. I went for a smoked ham eggs benedict for under £5. The food comes served on chalk board like slates, which to be honest I think is a little bit unnecessary but it does go with the decor. The eggs benedict was amazing, it was the perfect hangover treat, they were very generous with the ham, and I had two thick slices on my English muffin, with two perfectly poached eggs and just the right amount of buttery hollandaise sauce. My friends who both got bacon sandwiches watched on in jealousy at my brunch, food envy etched onto their faces. My only complaint would be that all the food was on top of half a muffin and I think it should have been served over 2, but then again I’m greedy!

Smoked Ham Eggs Benedict

Smoked Ham Eggs Benedict

I paired this with a caramel cappuccino, and I was not disappointed.

If you’re a coffee lover but you’re fed up of spending almost £5 on your morning caffeine hit, then stop by at Couch. I mean, for £1 during happy hour it would be stupid not to!

Review of Peanut Hottie, the new peanut butter flavoured hot drink

Peanut butter lovers everywhere, take that spoon out of the jar; you no longer have to feel guilty when you’re scraping the last remnants of peanut butter off the side of the jar, 3000 calories later.

We all know peanut butter is a good fat, and great in moderation. However, if like me you keep a jar in your desk at work for the odd spoonful throughout the day (does anyone else actually do that?) then this new product on the hot drink market will make your day.

Being the peanut butter addict I am, when I read about a new, hot peanut butter flavoured drink called Peanut Hottie, I was ridiculously excited to try it.

I was lucky enough to get a sample sachet sent to me to review, and my colleagues can vouch that I was possibly slightly over excited when it came through the post. I may have even let out a small yelp.

Peanut Hottie

Being the good friend that I am, I reluctantly let my friend Lucy have a mug since she might even be more of a peanutbutter-holic than I am. (We once spent the evening sandwiching giant chocolate buttons together with peanut butter until we felt sick.)

Peanut Hottie

It smells just as it should, a lovely peanut buttery scent, and it isn’t like any hot drink I’ve tried before. It’s quite sweet, yet has a salty roasted peanut taste. It tastes indulgent like it should contain more than 83 calories.

My only criticism would be that it is slightly thin in consistency as it is only mixed with water. I think with the added creaminess of milk it would be perfect, more hot chocolate than tea.

Peanut Hottie

If you’re a peanut butter fiend and add it to everything from bagels to stir-fries you will love this new drink. It’s also caffeine free, suitable for vegetarians and contains no artificial ingredients. One sip of Peanut Hottie and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it before… or why you never thought of such an ingenious invention yourself.

My egg free, gluten free and vegan chocolate brownies

You will be mind blown when you bite into this moist, gooey and rich chocolate brownie, you will be even more surprised to learn that they contain no eggs, flour or butter. No one will know these are a healthy alternative! After experimenting with butter beans in my secret ingredient cookies I decided to try using chickpeas in my next recipe.

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The best bit about this recipe is that it is SO easy to whip up, it takes minutes. After browsing other chickpea recipes I found an amazing recipe for seasalt blondies here, which is where my inspiration for this recipe came from.

Not only are these brownies egg free and gluten free, if you substitute the chocolate chips for dairy free chips they are also vegan!

Recipe (makes 14-16):

♥ 1 1/2 cup of tinned, cooked chickpeas, drained.

♥ 1/4 cup unsweetened peanut butter

♥ 1 tbsp coconut oil

♥ 3 tbsp cocoa powder

♥ 1/3 cup maple syrup

♥ 1 tspn vanilla extract

♥ 1/2 tspn baking powder

♥ 1/2 cup chocolate chips of choice

Here comes the easy bit…

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°c.

2. Whiz everything except the chocolate chips up in a food processor.

3. Mix in chocolate chips.

4. Put mixture in a greased and lined baking tray and bake for 18 minutes.

I first discovered chickpeas made an epic brownie during the obligatory taste of the batter mix. As this is a vegan recipe there are no uncooked eggs to worry about so you can eat this ‘raw’ (not that it ever stops me anyway)!

Again, these taste incredible straight from the oven but you should probably leave them to cool before you try and cut them.

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These come in at around 90-120 calories a piece depending on the thickness and type of chocolate chips used, but they taste so indulgent and naughty, when they’re secretly good for you!

After taste testing these on two of my friends neither could tell they weren’t a traditional brownie, and both wanted another piece (to which I had to swat their hands away and hide my wonderful creation out of reach from prying hands).

One bite of these bad boys and you will be transported to chocolate, dessert heaven! The chickpeas give the finished brownie a beautiful nutty texture, and they’re packed full of goodness and nutrients. Enjoy!

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Peanut butter vs. PB2

Peanut Butter VS. PB2

Unfortunately living in the UK means I can’t get my hands on some of the amazing health foods available in America. This meant I had to fork out £11.69 for two jars of PB2 on Amazon. If like me you have a slight obsession with peanut butter and often find yourself eating it by the spoonful for a morning (and afternoon, and evening) snack, then I would recommend trying it out!

The nutritional info:

Nutrional Info

For every 2 Tbsp. of PB2 compared to traditional peanut butter you save 145 calories! And it has absolutely no saturated fat.

The best bit about PB2 is that it’s all natural with a minimal list of ingredients: Roasted peanuts, sugar, salt.

The best BEST bit about PB2 is that it tastes AMAZING.

It comes in a powder and the ratio is 2 Tbsp. PB2 to 1 Tbsp. water. You mix it up until you get your desired consistency…

PB2

…and eat it straight off the spoon with none of the guilt! Or you could put it on toast, and oh…my…goodness it makes for a delicious breakfast. It is possibly the best thing invented since peanut butter itself was invented.

Chocolate PB2

(chocolate PB2 is pictured in this photo.)

It even has little bits of peanuts once it’s been mixed up so it has a nice texture, and tastes just like normal peanut butter but without any of the fat!

Verdict:

Now here comes PB2’s ONLY downfall… It doesn’t come with all the great health benefits of natural, peanut butter as all the nutrients are taken out along with the fat. The fat in traditional peanut butter is a ‘good fat’ so I’m still going to be eating it for my breakfast, and it’s amazing to eat before/after a workout.

I’ll switch to PB2 when I fancy something sweet and not so calorific, possibly on the days where I’m not hitting the gym. I’m definitely going to try adding it to my baking/cooking, as all the peanut butter taste is still there, so watch this space for some yummy baked PB2 goodies coming soon!

My first attempt at chia seed pudding

After browsing various health food blogs and reading about the health benefits of chia seed I decided it would be worth a try.

You’ll soon come to learn that I have a ridiculous sweet tooth, I literally never get sick of sweet food; so when one blogger wrote that eating chia seed pudding for breakfast was like eating chocolate dessert, I was sold.

My first attempt was a bit of a flop. I added almond milk, stevia and cinnamon to the chia seed and left it in the fridge overnight. Although my clever placement of fruit made it look incredibly pretty, the taste was a huge let down. (Hence the massive dollop of peanut butter to cover the taste!)

Chia SeedIt has taken me 4 attempts but I now have the perfect recipe for the health conscious chocoholic like me. It is seriously good, it tastes creamy and chocolately and indulgent. You would never know this is a health food.

For one portion of pudding the ratio is 1 cup of nut/soya milk to 4 tbsp of chia seed.

Chocoholic’s Chia Seed Pudding:

– 4 tbsp chia seed

– 3/4 cup chocolate almond milk

– 1/4 cup coconut milk (NOT coconut cream.)

– 1 tsp cocoa or cacao powder

– Sweetener of choice to taste (I would recommend maple syrup to taste, but that’s just because I don’t like stevia.)

Mix it all up in tupperware box (or a pretty mason jar; a 0.5-0.8 jar will be around a single portion.) Give it a little shake and leave it overnight. You will have to give it a stir in the morning as the cocoa powder will have settled on the top. Add a drop more coconut milk to make the pudding your desired thickness and it’s ready!

chocochoaIt is the simplest recipe to prepare and only takes around 3-5 minutes to rustle up! Prepare it before bed and wake up to a seemingly sinful yet nutritious and filling breakfast.