A dinner experience like no other, I recently was privileged enough to try the Tasting Menu experience at Pied A Terre. The restaurant has one magical Michelin star and is located in the middle of Soho – right by Goodge Street Station. Scroll down to the photos for a course by course visual feast and read about the experience below…

A light seafood mousse with seafood cracker.

Canapés to start: A light seafood mousse with seafood cracker.

Canapés to start, Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full Of

Canapés to start, beetroot and celeriac puree.

Asimakis Chaniotis is the man behind the menu and the executive chef of the restaurant, which is owned my restaurateur David Moore, who is regularly, greets and serves guests front of house. I’m not entirely sure where to start with the dining experience, as it was completely overwhelming and delicious.
Pied A Terre is understated from the outside, but was beautifully dressed for the festive season, and the shiny red Michelin placard placed outside. I attended with a fellow journalist and blogger, and we were treated to the 7 (!!) course tasting menu, PLUS 2 rounds of canapes and a palette cleanser. And bread. Wowza, yes.

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full Of - Gluten free bread at Pied A Terre

Gorgeous gluten free bread, with greek dipping oil.

The attentive waiters poured us still water, before swiftly bringing these little morsels over to the table. The kitchen was already aware I was gluten and dairy free, and we received these dainty fish mousse canapés and a beetroot and celeriac puree.
In front of us they also placed some delicious gluten free bread, and some dipping oil for me instead of tarragon butter. The oil was deliciously thick, and later when I met Askimakis, he told me it was from his hometown in Greece, located just above Athens. This fact alone shows the love and attention that goes into every ingredient, and its source is particularly important to authentic flavour.

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full Of

A palette cleanser before the tasting menu began, a fresh fennel salad.

We were then served a palette cleanser of fennel salad and this was all before course one of the tasting menu had even begun! Treated to seven delicious courses, which you can see below, I was blown away by the sheer quality and attention to detail of the food. Literally – food art! And it tasted pretty good too.

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full Of, Pied a Terre

Mylor prawns with dashi (Japanese cooking stock), yozu, soy and wasabi. Yumm!

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full Of, Pied a Terre

Poached duck egg yolk with fresh rocket salad and butternut squash.

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full Of, Pied a Terre

My favourite course – Octopus with squid ink, sweet pepper puree and spring onions.

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full Of, Pied a Terre

Cornish plaice with courgette and baby onions. Simple and delicious.

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full Of, Pied a Terre

After all that and this was the main course!! Roasted partridge two ways with red cabbage and cranberry (no bread sauce for me!)

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full Of, Pied a Terre

When you can’t have cheese or crackers – what else? Vegetables! With sweet puree.

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full Of, Pied a Terre

Palette cleanser before dessert, delicious sweet raspberries with raspberry puree.

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full Of, Pied a Terre

And finally – dessert!! Blood orange with mandarin, mango sorbet and a meringue dome. Divine.

Overall, I have to say one of the most impressive elements of our meal was the sommelier – Oliver Christie. He handpicked the wine for each of our courses, and tailored them depending on what dish we had (some of mine which were allergy friendly were different to my pals!) He gave us each one, let us enjoy it, and then came back to tell us more about it. Did you know the signature smell of a Reisling is a sniff of petrol? Or that the Japanese white wine that came with our first course was one of the best I’ve ever tasted? (It was a 2016 Koshu Kayagatake for the wine buffs amongst you – listen to me sounding like I know what I’m talking about!) He presented such information in a fabulously informative way and really made the experience go that one step further. And knew so much about all the wines on a thirty page wine list!! I just about manage to pick a Pinot Grigio from Sainsburys supermarket shelf…
Head chef Askmakis also took us downstairs to the kitchen, which was amazing to see the end of service take place, even if it was just for a second. A dining experience like no other, I would strongly recommend a special dinner at Pied a Terre, particularly the Tasting Menu Experience with wine pairs. It’s not a cheap night – at over £100 a head, but worth it for something really very special.
I would definitely family and friends back to sample the A La Carte.
BRYONY HOPKINS, A BELLY FULL OF BRYONY

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Long gone are the days where we all have time to sit down and properly enjoy breakfast on a weekday. I am finding that my breakfasts are becoming increasingly flighty and I know I am not the only one! Sometimes I find myself eating a nut bar for breakfast and I’m ALWAYS so dissatisfied and hungry after about an hour!
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These are a few of my favourite and easy on the go breakfasts. Prepped in advance, these can be eaten at your desk, in the car, on the train – well; they can be eaten pretty much anywhere! make sure you scroll to the bottom for the most versatile and delicious recipe of them all!
 Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seeds are an absolute powerhouse of goodness and so its no surprise they are classified a superfood. High in zinc, calcium, iron and many other vitamins, this breakfast is an excellent way to kick start the day. Prep this the night before and store in the fridge for the morning!
3 tablespoons chia seeds
250ml almond milk (although any other nut milk would work!)
1 tbspn date syrup or honey
1 tspn cinnamon
Suggestions for the topping: nut butter, desiccated coconut, fresh fruit, pumpkin seeds, dried nuts and fruit

This couldn’t be simpler. Mix the chia seeds with the milk in a jar or airtight container. Add the date syrup or honey and the cinnamon. Mix together and then leave in the fridge overnight (or for 8 hours until it’s set). Top with whatever you fancy in the morning – I like fruit and desiccated coconut!

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Overnight oats to the left and chia seed pudding on the right

Overnight Oats
Another super easy breakfast that can be prepped and stored in the fridge overnight for grab and go in the morning. Try this super simple base recipe and adapt the toppings!
100g of coconut yogurt
150g rolled oats
150ml of coconut milk
1 tbspn chia seeds (optional)
2 tbspn of sweetener (maple syrup, honey, date syrup)
1 tspn of cinnamon or ginger

Combine all the ingredients together and put in an airtight container in the fridge. Leave for 4 hours or preferably overnight!
Top with: granola, fresh fruit, dried fruits and nuts, nut butter, coconut or jam!
Granola
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Granola will take a little longer to prep but it is so worth it to have this in the fridge. Once baked and cooled, granola can pretty much go with anything. Can be served with yogurt in a Tupperware to take to work or even on top of your chia seed pudding or overnight oats! Here is a super simple granola recipe to get you going.
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2 tspn coconut oil
125ml maple syrup
2 tbspn honey
1 tspn vanilla extract                                                                            
100g macadamia nuts
200g rolled oats
50g pumpkin seeds

100g pecans

100g cashew nuts
100g dried fruit
50g flaked coconut

Heat the oven to about 180C.
Mix the coconut oil, maple syrup, honey and vanilla in a large bowl. Tip in all the ingredients, apart from the coconut and dried fruit and mix.
Tip the granola across a baking tray (use two if need be).Bake for 20 minutes and then add the coconut and dried fruit. Bake for another 5-10 minutes until beautifully golden brown (and your kitchen smells divine!)DON’T LET THEM BURN! Keep checking and turning in the oven whilst cooking. Let cool and store in an airtight container. Serve with fresh fruit or yogurt!
BRYONY HOPKINS, A BELLY FULL OF BRYONY

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This Friday 7th April is World Health Day – but what does it actually mean to be healthy? For me, being healthy is having a handle on practical things you can do to make your life easier and make you feel better about yourself. If you feel better about yourself, your body and your emotions, then surely that is a one way ticket to feeling healthier.  So where should you be looking to feel healthier? You should be looking at YOU!
Perhaps you could start by asking yourself some of the following questions…
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Okay maybe this is an alarmingly obvious question, but often we neglect to ask ourselves. How is your health? Are you on an even keel, or are you particularly tired? Are you in any pain or rundown? Are you feeling in good shape? Are you feeling happy with your body? There is often no easy ways to answer these if you have a chronic condition. Like me, suffering from Crohn’s Disease, I’m never quite sure how my health is! But I can recognise when I am over worked, over tired and stressed and I know that these are vital keys which can unlock a whole host of problems for me! It might be worth also giving my Listening to Your Body article a read, to help you get more in tune with your body! Answering all of these honestly will get you straight on the path of figuring out what tweaks you need to make to your lifestyle to start feeling healthier.
What are you eating? Is it making you feel good?
This can be a hard question to answer but I think it’s vital to start working out where you’re at with happy and healthy eating habits. Essentially – it’s not just about what you eat, it’s also about how you feel about eating. Our emotions are strongly linked to our eating habits – I think we’ve all reached for chocolate or ice cream when we’re feeling low.

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I switch to really easy foods when my stomach is playing up – like this simple turkey noodle soup

So really this question is about honestly asking yourself if your food choices are making you PHYSICALLY happy. Sure, chocolate may feed an emotion, but how do you physically feel after? For me, I love cheese (like, really love cheese), but it was making me so bloated and giving me terrible stomach pains. Despite the fact I loved it, I knew I had to cut it out and it turned out that it was dairy entirely which was causing me problems. Sure it takes willpower to cut out something you love, but if you feel better afterwards it’s a no brainer! I discovered this by writing a food diary and documenting all the things I had eaten that day and how I felt afterwards/later at the day. I think this is a fabulous way to get in sync with how your body is reacting to what you put in your mouth. Evaluating and understanding what you’re eating and how it’s making you feel is the first stop to feeling better and healthier about your diet.
Are you exercising?
We are absolutely barraged with advice on how we should be exercising these days. Running, weights, HITT, yoga, Pilates… but really you need to find w

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Me pre yoga at The Life Centre, in Notting Hill, London

hat works for you. I find it completely overwhelming sometimes, and that’s even before people have started telling you what they do to stay fit! You have to go with what feels right for you and not what everyone is telling you. I have friends who do PT sessions – but I sure as hell couldn’t think of anything worse! Instead, I signed up for a beginners yoga class and learnt the basics. It’s good for all of us to exercise – but there’s no point doing a fitness regime you hate.
Are the people around you making you happy?
Another hard question to answer, but it’s worth considering what your support network is like around you and do they actually make you happy?! This could be a colleague you always talk to or a friend who drains the life out of you… if you’re not getting anything out of a relationship, is it a relationship worth having?
How do you relax?
Arguably, I think this is the most important question of them all! How do you get your ‘me time’? It might well be exercising – or it could be reading a book, watching your favourite TV programme, meditating or practicing mindfulness.  Whatever it is, make sure you’re making time to actually do it! A relaxed soul is a happy soul – and a happy soul is a healthy soul!
Happy World Health Day 🙂
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When I was a child, we used to go on camping holidays to northern France and play in the gorgeous french sunshine. I have so many happy memories of exploring northern France, in particularly Brittany, where we would ALWAYS round off the day with a crepe (or actually, sometimes start the day with a crepe!)
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Since I’ve gone dairy and gluten free, I don’t think I’ve eaten a crepe or a pancake. When eating out, there has never been the option for a flour or milk free crepe – and so it seemed clear that I needed to get in the kitchen to create one!
This recipe is absurdly simple – the main ingredients being just banana and eggs. The cacao replaces the chocolate that I used to gorge on when I had a chocolate filled crepe in France – and the pomegranate provides a wonderfully sweet crunch.
Ingredients 
This recipe makes six pancakes. They are dairy free, gluten free and vegetarian. 
For the pancake:
3 eggs
2 bananas
1 tbspn desiccated coconut
2 tspns raw cacao powder
Coconut oil/olive oil (1-2 tspn)
For the toppings:
Date syrup/maple syrup/honey
Pomegranate seeds (I bought a ready made packet of them from a high street supermarket)
Method

  1. Take a medium sized bowl and mash up your bananas  with a fork, until they form a sticky pulp. Try and get the pulp as smooth as possible – but a few little lumps do add a little texture!IMG_4541
  2. Add your 3 eggs, tablespoon of desiccated coconut and two teaspoons of raw cacao powder. Mix everything together – this is your pancake batter!
  3. Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil (or you can use olive oil) in a medium frying pan on a medium to high heat.
  4. Once your oil is hot, fill a small ladle of mixture and place into the frying pan. If you hear a big sizzle, then turn your heat down a little. (A small sizzle is expected!)
  5. Fry for about a minute to 2 minutes on each side – or until they are turn brown. The cacao powder will mean they naturally brown them, so monitor closely so they don’t burn!
  6. Repeat this process until you have finished your batter, and begin piling them in a stack on a plate. Don’t worry if they are all different sizes – that’s part of the fun!
  7. Once you’re done, now it’s time for toppings! I sweetened mine by drizzling over date syrup, but you can also use honey or maple syrup. Now take your pomegranate seeds and sprinkle all over the pancakes – the more the better!
  8. Tuck in and enjoy!! 🙂

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*Created for Inghams Foodie Finds campaign!*

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This recipe is 100% inspired by my recent holiday to the gorgeous Caribbean island Dominican Republic. We spent two whole weeks consuming all the food in sight – a lot of it Latin America themed food. One night at the resort, we had this amazing stir fried sweetcorn dish. They fried it up on a huge flat iron oven right in front of us, with loads of olive oil. It tasted amazing and I was determined to recreate it on returning to ye ol’ England.
So here is my vegan, vegetarian and gluten free Tex Mex rice bowl recipe.  I’ve split it up into three tex mex layers – rich tomato kidney bean mexican rice, the paprika fried sweetcorn and topped with a big dollop of homemade guacamole. It can be whizzed up super quickly and makes a delicious on the go lunch the next day. The beauty of the layers is you can mix and match with other bits for other meals!
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

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This is such a delicious weekday dinner

Serves 2. Gluten free, dairy free, vegan and vegetarian.
Ingredients 
For the Rice
1 packet of microwave brown rice (you can get these for around 50p in a supermarket and I am queen of speed – but feel free to boil brown rice from scratch)
1 red onion
2 large garlic cloves
400g (1 can) red kidney beans
2 tbspn tomato puree
1 tspn dried oregano
1 tspn chilli flakes
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to season
Coriander to garnish
For the sweetcorn
150g sweetcorn (1 can)
1/2 sweet red pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
2 tspn of paprika
3 beef tomatoes
For the guacamole
1 avocado
Handful cherry tomatoes
Juice of 1 lime
Glug of olive oil
Method

  1. Everything needs cooking at once with this recipe so do your chopping first! Chop your red onion, half the yellow pepper, half the sweet red pepper and the 3 beef tomatoes into small pieces. Slice up your garlic finely or crush with a garlic crusher.
  2. Get a large frying pan on a medium to high heat with a large glug of olive oil. Add the red onion and garlic when hot and stir until they start to soften.
  3. When soft, add two tablespoons of tomato paste, the chilli and the oregano. Mix together – it’ll start to look a bit like a paste. Add the can of kidney beans, with the water, and stir together. Bring the heat down to simmer.IMG_4028.PNG
  4. Get another smaller pan on a medium to high heat with some olive oil. Once hot, add the peppers, tomatoes and the can of sweetcorn. Mix together and then add 2 teaspoons of paprika. Keep on this heat, stirring regularly.
  5. Season your bean and tomato mix and you can add your packet rice. Turn the heat up a tad and stir in. If the mixture is thick, add a little water.
  6. Whilst your rice and sweetcorn mix are frying – it’s time to make your guacamole! Chop up an avocado until mushy and chop your cherry tomatoes into tiny pieces. Chop roughly together on a chopping board until combined and then add to a bowl. Squeeze in the juice of one lime, a teaspoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of black pepper and mix together. Put your guac to one side!
  7. Check your sweetcorn mix – you want it so the yellow sweetcorn pieces start to look a little charred, that’s where some of the smoky flavour is! If ready, take off the heat.
  8. Squeeze the juice of one lime into your rice mix, stir and take off the heat.
  9. Serve with the rice layer at the bottom, a generous layer of sweetcorn mix and then a massive dollop of guacamole! Sprinkle some chopped coriander on to garnish. Enjoy!

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