time flies when you're being a mum

Time to Eat tagged with 'family time'

Fun with food and the occasional healthy recipe for baby and mum


Saturday 19th July

14 Jul, 2014

This Saturday, 19th July from 10am – 4pm, Cramlington is hosting its 1st food festival at Manor Walks. There’s loads of things going on including food stalls and full on Summer Classic cooking demonstrations from the surrounding restaurants! There will also be lots of lovely stalls with local crafters, so it should be a great day out if you can get along.

For those of you who don’t know the area, Cramlington is the next town along from where I live in Blyth. I’ve mentioned before (quite a few times!) that Blyth has a bit of a bad reputation, but Cramlington, on the other hand, is like our classy cousin. The fact they are hosting what sounds like a really lovely Foodie Festival, doesn’t surprise me at all!

Manor Walks in Cramlington

As you can imagine Cramlington has some lovely shops, but as a new town Cramlington’s shopping area, Manor Walks, was built at a time when architectural design was somewhat questionable. However, last year it had a pretty sexy facelift which included building a massive cinema and a whole bunch of restaurants. Including, Frankie and Benny’s.

I love a bit of Frankie and Benny’s. I didn’t think it was possible to crave a baked potato, and Mike thinks it’s positively crazy I would even chose a baked potato over chips, but sometimes all I want is a Frankie and Benny’s baked potato with loads of butter (plus a rack of spare ribs and some corn on cob, obviously).

I’d always thought of Frankie and Benny’s as a date night destination, I guess purely because we’d sometimes go before the cinema so therefore never had the kids. When Manor Walks invited us to go as a family to do some pizza making we jumped at the chance. (The irony is because I’m doing the slow carb diet, I didn’t get my baked potato. Shows how ‘good’ I’m being!!)

Cramlington’s Frankie and Benny’s

Last weekend we were in Brighton and we didn’t want to take Gabby out of school on the Friday, so this Friday we hadn’t seen her for almost 2 whole weeks. When we were finally reunited as a family again, it was with high spirits that we set off into the sunshine just before 5 to go to Manor Walks for our dinner.

Cramlington Foodie Festival - Frankie and Benny's part of Manor Walks in Cramlington http://mumsdays.com/cramlington-foodie-festival/

Cramlington Foodie Festival - Frankie and Benny's part of Manor Walks in Cramlington http://mumsdays.com/cramlington-foodie-festival/

Our lovely waitress went to great lengths to make us feel welcome and obvious is well trained in the art of serving families as she put through our order for starters and drinks (of which mine was the biggest glass I’d ever seen. Well, almost!) almost before we’d even sat down – it was like she’d read my mind!

Cramlington Foodie Festival - Frankie and Benny's part of Manor Walks in Cramlington http://mumsdays.com/cramlington-foodie-festival/

Hugmongous glass – it’s as big as Gabby’s arm (who incidentally didn’t get the memo to pose – too busy enjoying her kiddy cocktail!)

Our waitress also kindly put up a highchair, however because we were in booth and he’s Mr Independent now, Reuben didn’t want to be in it. He was perfectly safe with Mike wedging him in so, in hindsight, I should have just taken it off!

When the garlic pizza bread arrived a little miracle happened… Reuben ate it despite it having green stuff on the top!!

Cramlington Foodie Festival - Frankie and Benny's part of Manor Walks in Cramlington http://mumsdays.com/cramlington-foodie-festival/

Then came the main event…the pizza making! The kids got to decide on their toppings and then ‘decorate’ their pizzas. Gabby loved doing this and for about 3 seconds so did Rueben. I was thinking it would be like a sensory exercise for him and got really excited at one point because he put a bit of mushroom in his mouth… But because it was mushroom and not chocolate or whatever else he thought it might be, he then rejected the whole exercise and went back to drinking his cocktail and eating ice (for any new visitors, Reuben is a really fussy eater *sobs*). So Mike and I decorated his pizza.

Cramlington Foodie Festival - Frankie and Benny's part of Manor Walks in Cramlington http://mumsdays.com/cramlington-foodie-festival/

A little wait longer and our food arrived and there was a LOT of it! Reuben ate Mike’s chips, Mike ate his chicken and sweetcorn and some of Reuben’s pizza and Gabby ate her pizza but we still had well over a pizza to take home with us at the end!

Cramlington Foodie Festival - Frankie and Benny's part of Manor Walks in Cramlington http://mumsdays.com/cramlington-foodie-festival/

Cramlington Foodie Festival - Frankie and Benny's part of Manor Walks in Cramlington http://mumsdays.com/cramlington-foodie-festival/

Just lemme eat!!

I ordered wine and got stuck into my salmon and salad (because I was being good, remember, although that dressing wasn’t good – I’d forgotten to ask if it came with anything!), which was delicious and I certainly didn’t leave any!

Cramlington Foodie Festival - Frankie and Benny's part of Manor Walks in Cramlington http://mumsdays.com/cramlington-foodie-festival/

The whole meal took about an hour and a half and I think it was probably one of the first meals I felt really relaxed with Reuben there (except for the times we’ve resorted to Peppa Pig, which I think people judge you for!). Sitting still at a table isn’t fun at all unless you like food, which Reuben doesn’t. So I think he did really well at what is traditionally the witching hour.

He enjoyed standing on the seat running his back along the bumps of the Chesterfield style booths (more frowns!), he was generally entertained being in the restaurant with the hustle and bustle (and no one minded if we had a little walk about), he liked the garlic bread and chips, and he LOVED the ‘cocktails’. Gabriella on the other hand is much easier to please but then she’s a big grown up girl! So, yes, it was a lovely way to spend the Friday night together as a family and I’d definitely go back with them.

Then it was home to bed for this little man, but not before he popped his balloon the second he walked in the house and got cross with me for not fixing it! Can’t win ’em all!

Cramlington Foodie Festival - Frankie and Benny's part of Manor Walks in Cramlington http://mumsdays.com/cramlington-foodie-festival/

Thank you to manor Walks and Frankie and Benny’s for hosting us for this lovely meal – I hope you have a wonderful day on Saturday and Cramlington’s 1st Foodie Festival is a massive success!!

Have you been to the new Manor Walks yet? What did you do and what did you think?!

25 Feb, 2014

Moules Mariniere

Last week I do believe we might have been in heaven. Aside from the fact that as soon as we arrived in our little, coastal holiday cottage in the boarders of Scotland, Reuben got his fingers squashed in a door (all the doors were fire doors), this place was perfect. We spent lazy mornings reading and eating, afternoons rock pooling, and lazy evening eating and drinking (Dry January is definitely over! I managed 6 weeks)…in this case, Moules Mariniere!

Moules Mariniere!

The house looked directly onto this beautiful rocky beach and as soon as the tide was out, so was Gabby foraging.

Moules Mariniere!

Gabby and Reuben’s cousins came for a visit on the Wednesday so we enlisted their help to find mussels and within half an hour we had enough for our tea!

Moules Mariniere!

I’ve never cooked mussels I’ve found before, so this next bit was somewhat nerve-wracking! The Rick Stein recipe I found was a) sooooo easy, and b) gave us confidence that we weren’t going to kill ourselves. Rick spends most of his time foraging and the recipe includes how to prepare the mussels, which my hero, Mike, spent the best part of an hour doing! So I figured we were in good hands.

Moules Mariniere!Cleaning Mussels for Moules Mariniere! One hour later…

Moules Mariniere!

Still cleaning mussels for Moules Mariniere!

But for all the effort cleaning mussels takes, the actual Moules Mariniere bit is a synch…

Moules Mariniere!

(serves 4)

{This isn’t a direct copy of Rick’s recipe – it’s slightly altered for what we had!}

You will need…

  • 1.75kg mussels
  • 15g butter
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 onion
  • a good handful parsley
  • 100ml white wine (the rest of the bottle is for you. You’re welcome)
  • 120ml double cream

1. Melt butter in a pan large enough to fit all the mussels in then add the garlic and onion (I also added most of the parsley now) and soften.

2. Add the wine and the mussels, and turn up the heat and steam with the lid on for 3-4 minutes

3. Add the cream and that’s it! Serve with extra parsley sprinkled on top and loads of crusty bread to mop up the delicious sauce.

It was literally divine. I hope this gives you the confidence to give it a try next time you’re near the beach! Or Asda.

What’s your favourite Mussels recipe?Moules Mariniere or something a little spicier?

 

I’m linking this in with Tasty Tuesday and All About You!
Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

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