Two Plus Dogs

Two Plus Dogs

Lifestyle and Dog Friendly Living

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Quality food in Cambridge: Restaurant 22

Quality food in Cambridge: Restaurant 22

If you are looking for quality food in Cambridge Restaurant 22 is the place to go. It has been far too long since our last visit and since then this superb establishment has gone from strength to strength. Gaining both local and national acclaim (all […]

Dog Friendly Cottages in Norfolk: Cow Parsley Cottage

Dog Friendly Cottages in Norfolk: Cow Parsley Cottage

Finding beautiful yet truly dog friendly cottages in Norfolk can be tricky. Dog friendly Cow Parsley Cottage, Kettlestone however manages to bring together the best comforts of home with a touch of luxury. Location: Based a few miles inland from the North Norfolk Coastline, we […]

Great Places to Eat in Rutland, The Olive Branch

Great Places to Eat in Rutland, The Olive Branch

Following a recommendation from fellow foodie friends we discovered The Olive Branch in Clipsham as one of the great places to eat in Rutland. A good place to catch up over a plate or two of delicious food.

My starter- Chicken & Leek Terrine with Mushroom Ketchup.

Using homegrown or locally sourced seasonal produce, this place is quality. Pre-Christmas, we had the choice of the a la Carte, festive set lunch, or the Lunch for Less menu. On this visit Mel opted for the value Lunch for Less menu (£17.50 for 2 courses and £4 for the third).

Main Course- Sea Bream detailed below.

The Food:

We start with a complimentary chunk of bread from the amazing local Hambleton Bakeryserved with lashings of butter.

great places for lunch in Rutland
Beetroot and Goats Cheese Starter.

Then to the starter. A generous portion of lightly whipped goat cheese paired classically with earthy beetroot. This was a fresh start to the meal.

Bubble and Squeak Soup.

Other starters we enjoyed included the bubble and squeak soup, and cornfed chicken and young leek pressed terrine. This was served with mushroom ketchup and toasted brioche. We move happily on to the main event.

main course lunch for less
Mel’s Main- Chicken Breast detailed below.

Mel’s main, a perfectly seasoned chicken breast served with fondant potato, parsnip puree, button sprouts, bacon and sage was plate-licking delicious.

Other delicious dishes we enjoyed included classic chunky fish and chips with homemade mushy peas, and the lighter choice of pan fried sea bream with a potato cream, smoked leeks and chives (pictured above).

To finish a great meal came great desserts. The Christmas Pudding Parfait served with mulled figs and satsuma ice-cream. The ice-cream cut through the richness of the tart with a burst of citrus. This was the absolute essence of Christmas flavours.

The desserts were all very enjoyable (yes, I tried a little of each). My favourite, a slice of dark and orange chocolate delice, topped with a sweet caramel popcorn. Served with a refreshing blood orange sorbet, this was truly decadent.

All in all a fabulous meal. The quality of the ingredients, cookery and service made for one of those food experiences that brings you back time and time again. If you are looking for great places to eat in Rutland, look no further than The Olive Branch.

To read about more great places to eat click here.

Vegan Laksa recipe: Baked Butternut Squash and Cashew Nut

Vegan Laksa recipe: Baked Butternut Squash and Cashew Nut

This vegan laksa recipe is satisfying and tasty. A perfect meal for a cold, dark night. Serves 2. You Will Need: A blender 2 sticks of lemongrass- outer layer removed 3 cloves of garlic peeled 10cm piece of fresh ginger  1 red or green chilli […]

Brilliant Cookbooks for Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes

Brilliant Cookbooks for Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes

If you are looking for brilliant cookbooks for vegetarian and vegan recipes look no further! We love having plenty of vegetarian or vegan days in our house so here are some of our favourite books for cooking up a meat-free storm: 1. The Happy Pear […]

Great spa days in Bedfordshire- Y Spa.

Great spa days in Bedfordshire- Y Spa.

Y Spa Bedfordshire

Y Spa:

If you are looking for great spa days in Bedfordshire, look no further than Y Spa . Tucked away in the Wyboston Lakes Resort, on the outskirts of St. Neots, this place is a must. I love a spa day with friends (see my review of the lovely Bedford Lodge Spa) and Y Spa is one of my favourites places to meet, catch up and unwind.  

Facilities:

I have visited many times. Mostly because I love great spa days and the facilities here are so luxurious. From the warm outdoor spa pool on a cold day, to the heated water beds, this is a great place to unwind and recoup. 

I only took photographs where appropriate and respectful to the other guests privacy. For more pictures of the facilities can be found on the Y Spa website, or Facebook page

egg chairs

My lovely spa partner and I made a beeline for the fabulous waterbeds. These are cosy beyond belief, but there are only three so you may have a little wait.

For the first time we tried the pictured egg chairs. I am not sure if this is their actual name but you can see why we named them this. They are extremely comfortable, and they spin. Great for a cheeky joke!

great spa days in Bedfordshire

Treatments:

For those having treatments, the dimly lit treatment waiting room welcomes you. 

Y spa cafe

Food and Drink:

Lunch (included in our package) is generous and tasty. There are a selection of hot and cold options, for example jacket potatoes, salads and pasta dishes. There are also dessert options, for example fruit, or cheeky tarts and cakes. 

The spa cafe (pictured) also offers a selection of herbal tea, warm and cold drinks. They also serve cakes and snacks. 

Y spa products

Products:

The spa use (and sell) a range of quality products including one of my cruelty free favourites Elemis

Great Spa Days and Stays in Bedfordshire:

Y Spa offer a wide range of spa stays, days or demi-days. My favourite packages are the Afternoon Tea  or the Sundowner Spa. These are good value packages and a great way to catch up with friends. 

See you (as soon as possible) Y Spa! 

Eating Out in Cambridge- SmokeWorks

Eating Out in Cambridge- SmokeWorks

Tasty, well-priced BBQ food when eating out in Cambridge. Quality meat, cooked to perfection. Also offering delicious vegetarian and vegan options.

Chocolate and Nut Cake Recipe- A Yule Log is Not Just for Christmas.

Chocolate and Nut Cake Recipe- A Yule Log is Not Just for Christmas.

If you like a chocolate and nut cake recipe this one is for you. You need little excuse to make this delicious, rich chocolate and hazelnut yule log. This really is a chocolate lovers dream so not only for Christmas!

ingredients yule log

You will need: 

  • A Swiss roll tin (25cm x 30cm) lined with baking paper

For the sponge: 

  • 4 eggs
  • 75g sifted icing sugar
  • 75g SR flour
  • 2 tablespoons of good quality cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar

For the hazelnut buttercream: 

  • 100g butter
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of crushed hazelnuts (crush extra to decorate the top)
  • a splash of milk

For the chocolate buttercream: 

  • 100g of 70% dark chocolate
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 100g icing sugar
  1. First preheat your oven to 180C/ 350F/gas mark 4
  2. Separate the eggs, setting aside the yolks. Whisk the whites in an electric mixer  to stiff peaks. Add a pinch of salt. Gradually whisk in the icing sugar and egg yolks until light and pale.
  3. Sift in the flour, cocoa and vanilla bean past and fold everything together with a metal spoon. Be careful to keep the air in the mix here!
  4. Spoon the mixture in to the lined tray and cook for 8-10 minutes until springy.
  5. While your sponge is cooking, place a large piece of baking paper on a flat surface and sprinkle with caster sugar. When the sponge comes out of the oven carefully tip it upside down onto the paper and remove the bottom, baked baking paper. Still hot, fold the roll with the paper inside as this will stop it cracking and sticking. Leave to cool. *you can fold along the short or long side depending on how wide you want your log. We folded along the short side. 
  6. Next your hazelnut buttercream, mix the butter with the icing sugar until light and creamy then add the crushed hazelnuts.  Unroll the cooled sponge and spread evenly. Re-roll and place in the fridge to set.
  7. To make your chocolate buttercream, melt the chocolate and allow to cool slightly. While the chocolate is cooling, mix the butter and icing sugar until creamy. Add the chocolate and mix until fully combined.
  8. Spread the chocolate buttercream completely over the cooled log (including the ends). Use a fork to make textured lines and decorate as you wish! We used more crushed hazelnuts.

yule log

Merry Christmas everyone! I am a HUGE fan of the combination of chocolate and nuts so love this cake recipe.

To see our other recipes and food reviews click here.

What Whippets Need- A Wish list for Whippets

What Whippets Need- A Wish list for Whippets

We love buying presents for those pointy faced whippets don’t we? So, when the festive period arrives we most definitely want to treat them with a little gift (or two, or three…). Here are ideas for what whippets need (and want) as shared by many […]