Restaurant Reviews El Torrero Tapas Bar and Restaurant Newcastle upon Tyne UK

El Torrero has become a favorite with Newcastle diners since it opened a couple of years ago. At weekends it’s advisable to book but you can usually get a table without booking during the week. My favorite time to visit is a long drawn out Sunday afternoon where you can enjoy dish after dish without feeling rushed.

El Torrero is situated a stone’s throw from the busy quayside area but don’t let that put you off; El Torrero is in a class of its own. Simple decor with wooden floors and ornate lighting up in the high ceiling create an easy style that is sophisticated without being over the top. This place is perfect for bigger groups but also ideal for intimate dinners. There is a bar area at the back where you can wait if necessary until your table is ready; this area is partitioned off so you can also go there just for a drink and many people do come here just for that reason on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The menu consists mainly of tapas dishes but there are also three types of paella available. You must either order paella in advance or be prepared to wait around 50 minutes and order a few tapas dishes while you wait. If you do this, however, be warned that the dish of paella, designed for two to share, is enormous, so leave room for it and don’t overdo the tapas. The tapas menu is vast and varied, offering vegetarian, fish and meat plates. The meatballs (albondigas) come in a gutsy sauce with a nice kick to it and whatever else I try I always order these. There are some great chili peppers stuffed with minced cod and a delicious salad of marinated roast vegetables, dripping with herby oil.

There is a great selection of breads so that you are sure not to waste a drop of the beautiful sauces your tapas dishes come in and various kinds of olives to nibble on as you await your first dishes. If you want, you can ask that the dishes do not all come together – it’s your choice.

There’s a good wine list, starting at very reasonable prices and a selection of local and bottled Spanish beers.

Desserts are available and tend to be of the highly calorific and sticky kind, with a few being typical Spanish puddings. I usually prefer to finish here with a coffee but occasionally the Creme Catalan ice cream gets the better of me!

Service is good, staff are friendly and are happy to explain anything on the menu; oddly it seems like the quieter it is the more difficult to get the attention of a member of staff.

El Torrero is a particularly good place to eat in a group because the whole way it’s done is very sociable, sharing dishes and sampling what other people have requested. A good way is to order a couple of plates of each and then everyone digs in. It’s maybe not for those who like to eat quite formally and have possession of their own meal, but the food is so delicious you’ve got to try it!

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Relation between Soft Drinks Advertisements and Childhood Obesity

Advertising is always important when related to influencing consumer preferences. Particularly, when consumers are children, who are more susceptible to appealing advertisements and effective promotion of food products, advertising can have a really direct effect on how children perceive dietary habits, and even worse, on what they consume on a daily basis.

Scientific research confirms that both adults and children, who spend time watching TV exhibit poor dietary habits, decreased physical activity, poor health conditions and obesity. This happens primarily because watching TV is basically a sedentary activity that puts metabolism to sleep thus significantly reducing metabolic rates. However, watching TV is always associated with eating a snack, a pre-packaged meal or a fast food meal and drinking one or two cans of soda; and the consumption of such types of foods increases directly as people get exposed to relevant advertisements.

In this context, there is a direct correlation between soft drinks advertisements and childhood obesity. This is sustained primarily by the fact that the more children watch TV, the more their food choices change, preferring soft drinks over milk. The food industry emphasizes on high-calorie foods and low-nutrient products on its TV advertisements and this is what children see, get influenced by and want to eat or drink. Besides, for children and for many adults, a hamburger and a cola meal from the local fast food sounds tastier than a healthy meal with vegetables and soup.

Children are also stimulated by similar preferences of their peers. If their friends at school drink a can of soda every day, then this is a trend that has to be followed. And this stimulus is further increased by TV advertisements. Typical teenagers consume at least two 12oz cans of soft drinks per day, which equals to 350 calories and 20 teaspoons of sugar or 20 percent of the total amount of calories when the recommended amount for children is 10 percent. Considering that children consume sweets and sweetened fruit drinks during the day, the total amount of calories increases to 43 percent!. So, basically, nearly half of the daily diet of American children is based on added sugars and sweetened snacks, instead of milk and nutrient drinks, which makes nutritional deficiencies a sad reality. And there is absolutely no doubt that advertisements contribute to a great extent to children’s eating and drinking preferences.

Besides, The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on School Health has suggested that the excessive consumption of soft drinks in schools contributes to childhood obesity. During the 1990s, large beverage companies were running advertisements on Channel One that was playing 24/7 in the school classrooms targeting 8 million children at elementary, middle and high school. Besides, advertisements of large fast food chains (Burger King) were hosted in school hallways leading to huge contracts with Coca Cola and great profitability for all parties involved. Apparently, marketing and advertising impact did their job more than successfully in these cases.

Because of all the above, today childhood obesity is a huge problem in the United States. Statistics report that 20% percent of preschool children are obese because of poor dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle (TV and fast food meal combination), which will result in a 50% of American children being obese in 2010. Apart from having become a national epidemic, obesity is also the culprit for developing all types of cancers as well as heart diseases, osteoporosis, kidney failure, central nervous system problems, metabolic abnormalities, hypertension, and migraines, among others.

In order to deal with this huge problem and anticipate childhood obesity, large beverage companies have agreed to stop targeting their TV advertisements at children under age 12. This was a decision that was taken partly under the threat of rulings on soft drinks advertisements and partly out of sensitivity for dealing with childhood obesity, both in the U.S. and Europe. Besides, soft drinks sales have been banned from Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Miami schools.

One thing that should be taken into consideration is that children are not able to evaluate advertisements and decide on what is the best food or drink for their health and future life. Parents are responsible for their children’s choices, and particularly for those choices that are related to health issues and healthy dietary habits. Soft drinks are particularly responsible for many unfavorable health conditions and especially the increased likelihood of obesity. Therefore, parents are the ones to guide their children to replace milk over soda, thus maintaining the adequate calcium levels in their blood and lower the risk for osteoporosis. In any case, no matter how aggressive or direct the impact of soft drinks advertisements are on children, parents are the ones to pay particular attention to food and drink preferences and increased requests for particular foods. This is probably the only way to fight childhood obesity.

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Recipes using Canned Salmon Salmon Olive Salad Salmon Casserole Salmon Stuffed

Canned salmon comes loaded with nutritional extras. While you may want to pick out and discard the skin and liquid when using the salmon in a salad, be sure to save them, along with the soft bones, for use in mixed dishes such as casseroles. Although they don’t look their best in the can, they are edible and are a excellent source of calcium and phosphorus.



Romaine or leafy green/red lettuces, torn in pieces
Black and/or green pitted olives
Canned salmon, pulled apart into chunks
Finely shredded red cabbage
Finely shredded carrots
Cooked peas
Optional: Feta (goats) cheese
Optional: Fresh strawberries, halved or quartered

This salmon salad was created with both adults and children in mind. For adults, mix all the ingredients together and serve with your favorite dressing. Brianna’s Poppyseed Dressing is an excellent match with the salmon, olives and other ingredients.

Children, particularly toddlers and preschoolers may prefer not to have their foods mixed, so place the ingredients in separate piles on a platter. Let them choose what they will include in their salad. Also, cut the lettuce in very small strips for the children and tear the olives in half. For those little ones who don’t like dressing, offer them plain or lemon yogurt.


You’re all familiar with a basic tuna fish casserole. Substitute salmon for tuna for an appetizing change, and enhance the recipe with additions such as lemon peel and a touch of hot sauce.



2 14.75-ounce cans salmon, liquid drained and saved
2 10.75-ounce cans cream of celery or cream of mushroom soup
2-1/2 cups of cracker crumbs (saltines or “Ritz”), divided
3 eggs, beaten
Up to1/2-cup lo-fat or skim milk
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, divided
1 scant teaspoon lemon peel, finely chopped
Optional: 1-2 drops Cholula hot sauce (or use your favorite)

1. Add enough milk to canned salmon liquid to equal 1/2-cup.
2. Combine all ingredients, saving 1/2-cup of cracker crumbs and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley.
3. Pour mixed ingredients into oiled casserole dish.
4. Mix remaining cracker crumbs and parsley; sprinkle on top of casserole.
5. Bake at 375-degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.


Bumble Bee Foods offers a variety of recipes using their canned salmon. One of my favorites is an appetizer, a party favorite that appeals to adults and children. You can use the filling itself as a vegetable dip.

(Makes 28-30 appetizers)

7.5 ounce can Bumble Bee Pink Salmon
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2-cup diced water chestnuts
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2-teaspoon dill weed, crumbled
28-30 cherry tomatoes, cleaned

1. Drain salmon.
2. Combine all ingredients, except tomatoes, until blended.
3. Cut top off each tomato. Carefully scoop out seeds. Turn upside down to drain on paper towels.
4. Stuff tomatoes with salmon mixture.

If you’re taking this dish on a picnic, take special care to keep it cold. Fill a large bowl partway with ice, then set the plate of Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes on top of the ice or gently force a smaller bowl of the dip into the ice and surround it with vegetable sticks laying directly on the ice.

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Recipes using Canned Salmon

I love canned salmon. When I open a can, I could take a fork and eat it as is. But, first, I clean all the little bones and stuff from it and start my salmon patties:

1 can salmon (cleaned and drained)
1 small onion chopped
2 eggs slightly beaten
soft bread crumbs, approx. 1 cup
flour for dredging
oil for frying

Mix all ingredients except the flour and oil which will be heating in an iron skillet. Make patties and dredge them in the flour. Place in oil and fry ’til they are brown. Some people make a bechamel sauce to serve with them but we use tartar sauce or the kids prefer ketchup. Also, some people prefer to use cornmeal instead of flour for the dredging but, since, I like mine with cornbread, I feel like that would be just too much.

Mother used to scramble eggs for us, adding a small can of flaked salmon. Now, that is such a good dish but, with toast or biscuits, it is a wonderful breakfast.

Salmon and cucumber sandwiches to me are delicious. Just use a small can of salmon, peel and slice the cucumber and put on two slices of your choice of bread that has been smeared with mayo or ranch dressing. Of course, salt and pepper the cucumber if you so wish.

Some people are fond of crab quiche.  When crab meat is not available, salmon can come in quite handy.  It adds a flavor to the eggs that is similar to the crab and makes for a different dish.  Substitute salmon for crab.  You might like it.

1 pie crust

6 eggs

1 cup salmon (cleaned)

1 cup grated cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)

1/2 cup milk or cream

salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients and pour into prepared pie shell.  Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly – approximately 45 minutes.

I hope you like, at least, one of these….

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Recipes for Inexpensive Meals

Sauteed Bok Choy with Grainy Mustard and Mayo
Serves 4

This is a quick,easy, and delicious side dish that pairs best with poached or broiled fish or chicken, and takes less than 10-15 minutes of preparation and cooking time. Best served over steamed rice. Keeps well in the fridge and equally yummy as leftover goody for the next day’s lunch.

2 lbs or approx 2 large bunches bok choy, washed and rinsed, stem end removed
2 Tbs sesame oil
1 Tbs olive or vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1 tsp grainy Dijon mustard
2 Tbs sliced almonds
1Tbs low fat mayonnaise
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Heat shallow pan and add sesame and olive or vegetable oil. Saute garlic until fragrant and slightly caramel in color. Do not brown or toast the garlic, unless you have a devilish craving for bitter food. Add the bok choy leaves and cover pan. Cook the bok choy until wilted, but still bright green in color. Add the grainy Dijon mustard and low fat mayonnaise and toss until thoroughly mixed. Toss in the almond. Mix thoroughly. Transfer to serving dish and while warm.

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Recipes Yogurt Milkshakes

You Go Girl – Organic Cinnamon and Banana Yogurt Milkshake

When you buy organic you deserve a hand. You go girl! Go Organic! Give me a “O”! Give me a “R”! Give me a “G”! Give me an “A”! Give me a “N”! Give me an “I”! Give me a “C”! What’s it spell? ORGANIC, Go Organic YEA!

This is a milkshake that I make for me and my girls for a late afternoon pick-me-up.

If you have some over ripe bananas in the house this milkshake is a great way to use them up.


3 ripe organic bananas

2 cups of organic whole milk

6 oz container of organic strawberry yogurt

1/4 teaspoon of organic vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon of organic cinnamon powder

Peel your bananas and cut out any bad brown spots. Place them in the blender.

Add the milk, strawberry yogurt, vanilla extract and cinnamon to the blender.

Blend on high for 2-3 minutes. Since you are using whole milk the mixture will get very light with air incorporated into the cream that is naturally in the whole milk.

Serve in a glass with a fun crazy straw. Your kids will drink it up and ask for more.

Food safety warning note:

Only read this warning if you have a strong stomach and are not easily grossed out.

Milk and yogurt are two items that you should always buy as organic at the supermarket. Have you ever heard of the cow growth hormone rBGH that non-organic farmers are injecting into their cows to make them produce more milk per day? The company that manufactures it is called Monsanto and they do not want you to know about their nasty little growth hormone called rBGH. You see rBGH causes the cows to produce excess puss in the milk which is not healthy for the cows or for you drinking the milk. Cows being injected with rBGH do not live as long and have higher incidences of the disease mastitis. Mastitis is inflammation of the mammary gland in the cow’s udder, typically due to a bacterial infection which produces pus in the milk. Monsanto has even passed a gag rule that organic milk products can not explain about rBGH but can only say organic milk is produced without the use of rBGH hormones.

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Recipes Water Chestnut Appetizer

An age old family recipie for outstanding appetizers your guest will beg you for the recipie for. Reveal at your own discretion, but I have decided to give Helium readers this gift.

1 Can Whole Waterchestnuts
1pkg Bacon (not cooked)
1 Heinz Ketchup Bottle
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar

Take waterchestnuts and wrap a piece of bacon around each one. Pierce with a tooth pick. Line up in baking pan with enough depth to catch the grease in the bottom. Set oven for 350 and cook one half hour. Take out and drain off the grease.

Take the bottle of Heinz and add both sugars together and stir up mixture..pour over the waterchestnuts and cook for 30 more min. Take out of the oven and serve.

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Recipes Yellow Rice and Pink Beans

This is a great recipie for spicing up long grain and wild rice. I don’t believe that all cooking needs to be from scratch so I start with 2 Box’s of Uncle Bens Long Grain and Wild Rice and add fresh ingredients from there.

Crazy Wild Rice

2 Box’s long grain and wild rice
1 yellow zucchini
1 green zucchini
1 large portabello mushroom
1 Serrano pepper
1 can drained stewed tomatoes (small cut)
1 Tablespoon of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Prepare the wild rice according to the instructions and set to the side.

cut up all fresh veggies to bite size and cook in the EVOO frying until a little crust forms, then add the stewed tomatoes and cook for an additional 1 to 2 Min’s.
Add this to the rice and be prepared for a crazy wonderful taste. You can leave out the Serrano pepper and any kind of pepper you like if you are worried about the heat.

You can also add any kind of meat to make this a main dish rather than side dish and vegetarians can add fried Tofu. Enjoy

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Recipes Sweet Ham Glaze for Uncooked Bone in Ham

I bought an uncooked pork ham for my Christmas dinner and I created this sweet glaze to top it with. Now personally I used a food injector to inject the meat full of the juices as well put the remaining in the bottom of the pan.

What you will need:

2 1/2 cups orange juice
2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
2 1/2 tbsp melted margarine or butter
1 1/2 tsp of honey
1 tsp cherry juice
10-10 Marachino cherries
15-20 whole cloves


First you will want to score the top of the ham in a diamond shape pattern. You can create this by cutting a row of lines in one direction across the top of the ham then come back in another row of cuts in an x pattern. Next put a clove at the center of each x. Combine all other ingredients in a bowl mixing well.

Using a food injector inject the mixture in various places in the ham (at least 15 spots). Pour remaining mixture in to bottom of roasting pan. Using a toothpick place the cherries on top in various places. Cook covered at temperature recommended ( I use 350 degrees).

Remove cover every 30 minutes and inject in 2-3 spots and also use a turkey baster and coat the top several times. You may add water to the pan if the mixture should start to harden or run out. You should not have to do this very much, however, as the pork produces more juices.

When there is only about 30 minutes leave it to cook uncovered and cook for the remainder of the time basting 3-5 times.

Note: If you do not have a food injector a baster alone will work fine as well I like the injector because it adds that much more flavor and moisture to the ham.

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Recipes White Chicken Chili

There are times when the weather calls for something hot like soup or chili. Traditionally chili is thought of as having some form of ground beef in it, but what happens when you find yourself out of ground beef? There is a solution that could be in your kitchen already if you have been looking for alternatives.

This chili recipe uses chicken instead of ground beef so you have no need to make an extra trip to the grocery store. Most of the ingredients are already in the kitchen, and the recipe can be used as a multi-purpose meal solution.


1 pound ground or cubed chicken (ground chicken is sold in pound tubes for convenience)

½ C minced onions

2 cloves fresh garlic

2 jalapeno peppers

2 – 15oz cans of white beans (drained)

1-tsp salt

1-tsp ground pepper

1-tsp cumin powder

½ tsp oregano

2 tbl olive oil

chili sauce or powder (amount depends on preference)


Remove seeds from jalapeno peppers and dice. Grate or crush garlic cloves and combine with peppers. Place chicken in crock pot with onions, garlic, and beans. Add water to cover then stir in spices and chili sauce. Leave until done.

Substitute banana peppers in place of jalapeno peppers when making for small children or those that prefer not to have the heat of the chili.

You can add corn kernels this recipe. You can also use this dish as a filling for tacos or as a dip for nachos if you prefer.  Add sour cream and mozzarella cheese to top chili. It can be served with crackers, corn bread or muffins depending on the family preference. Leftover chili can be baked into muffins; follow the directions on the package for preparation, fill muffin tins just under half way and add a tablespoon of chili. Bake as directed.

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