Restaurant Reviews the Kerala South Indian Restaurant London UK

If you love Indian food, don’t be put off by the signs saying that the Kerala does a bargain lunchtime buffet. In my experience, these can be trays of unidentifiable slop and I steer clear of the place. However, the Kerala also offers a wide menu of southern Indian specialties – choose from Syrian Christian dishes (meat dishes), Malabar Biryanis, coastal seafood dishes, Keralan vegetable curries and dosas from the Coral coast (steamed rice pancakes, plain or filled).

There are mild, medium and hot curries available, but the staff are very helpful if you want to check just how hot your meal will be.

My partner started with the dahai vadai – a curious kind of bean donut, we think deep-fried, sitting in a bowl of freshly spiced yogurt – the contrast between the spices and the coolness of the yogurt was great. I started with a mini dosa (a crisp pancake) filled with a beautifully spiced mixture of potato and onion, dotted with mustard seeds. It was fantastic and set my mouth tingling while we waited for the main courses to arrive.

I had the king-fish and green mango curry – huge pieces of meaty fish (similar to swordfish) in a delicious deep reddy-orange sauce – initially rather mild, more flavor than heat, but this was quickly replaced with a good strong kick! My partner tried the king prawns in a rich masala sauce – the prawns were monsters and so tender while the sauce was perfect, nice and spicy and just hot enough. We shared a portion of lemon rice (several kinds of rice available) and a portion of appam – a kind of steamed rice bread, crispy around the edges and soft and squashy in the middle, ideal for mopping up every last drop of the sauce!

The other mains offered a selection of chicken, lamb, mutton and fish and the veggie curries included more unusual vegetables that don’t make it onto the menu in most Indian eateries – beetroot featuring in several dishes.

Desserts included the traditional kulfi and lassi (a fruit yogurt drink), but I went for the fried plantain with honey and two scoops of subtly fragranced coconut ice cream. Dripping with honey and showered in cinnamon, this was the most fantastic pudding I’d had for ages! My partner was daring and went for the green gram payasam – a kind of milk pudding with green lentils, jaggery, nuts and sultanas. The aroma was gorgeous and he gave it the thumbs up. Sadly, my nut allergy meant I couldn’t sneak a spoonful!

There is a decent wine list and a good selection of bottled beers, including Kingfisher and Cobra. We sat outside where there are three tables, but inside seems pleasant, although fairly dark, even during the day. Service was good, friendly and prompt.

This was the best Indian meal I have eaten in the UK I can’t wait to go back and sample more from the menu. Do yourself a favor and ignore the buffet – the a la carte menu is great value and not to be missed! Total price? Three courses for two people including beers and side dishes – about $60!

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Restaurant Reviews Freyas Restaurant at Aspers Casino Newcastle upon Tyne UK

Freya’s Restaurant is part of the Aspers Casino Complex in the hideous eyesore that is “The Gate” in Newcastle upon Tyne. You must be a member to book a table but membership is free and you can join on the spot so long as you have an item of photo ID with you.

The casino chain Aspers belongs to Damien Aspinall (also owner of the terrific Howletts Animal Park in Kent) and the restaurant is named after the daughter he has with Geordie-made-good ex-Byker Grove actress and model Donna Air.

The restaurant is situated on the upper floor which is also where you’ll find the gaming areas. There is a comfortable bar downstairs where you could enjoy drinks before or after dining. We wanted to a book a table for dinner and then have a drink but the receptionist said we needed to book directly with the restaurant ourselves; given the high standards the casino claims to have I was surprised she could call up and do this for us.

The restaurant is hidden away in a corner and I guess that most visitors to the casino miss it in their rush to part with their money on the gaming tables. As you enter there is a tiny reception hatch where a very smiley and pleasant young lady greeted us. On a quiet Monday night only two tables were taken and so when we arrived for our meal we had our pick of the restaurant.

The decor is modern yet quite soft and comfortable, various shades of browns and creams and some huge mock palm leaves made from cream fabric suspended from the ceiling (actually much nicer than I have made them sound). The lighting is muted and, if anything, just a little too dim. I like to enjoy the visual impact of food as well as the taste but just about all of our dishes looked brown.

“Freya’s” serves up a short but varied menu with 10 starters (including lobster linguine with smoked bacon, chili and garlic 6.50, Persian Feta Salad with golden beets, watermelon and tomato 4.50, and minestrone of green vegetables with cannellini beans and parmesan oil 3.00). For 7.95 we could have had half a dozen oysters or a dozen for 15.00. If you can’t choose you can choose four items from the list of entrees; “Freya’s tasting plate for two” costs 11.95.

On this occasion, however, we proceeded directly to the main courses. In the face of stiff opposition from the roast loin of lamb with braised haricots (12.50), I plumped for the pan fried calf’s liver with sage, onions, crispy bacon and Marsala wine; priced at 8.50 it was the cheapest of the mains.

With it I had the meanest portion of potato gratin with thyme and Tallegio; it was tiny but delicious. The liver was perfect very pink inside and it melted in the mouth. The crispy onion rings were divine and the fried sage leaves were a lovely touch. The Marsala sauce was just right the perfect balance between sweet and tangy.

My companion chose from the eight fish dishes available pan roasted sea bass with avocado and parsley salad and grilled courgette flowers. To go with it he picked the garlic and rosemary roasted potatoes; this was a much better portion than my side order. All sides are priced at 2.25. The fish was wonderfully moist but was a very small portion. Sea bass is always a popular choice with us and this is possibly the smallest portion we’ve had served to us.

Other options on the fish menu include pepper-crusted yellow fin tuna with pak choi and ponzu dressing (10.50) through to whole lobster priced at 30.00. Steaks are always on offer; a rib eye costs 13.50, a t-bone will cost you 15.50. All steaks are served with a red wine sauce and caramelized onion compote.

We chose a bottle of Chilean Cabernet/syrah priced at 12.95 and it proved to be a good choice, quite robust but not too oaky and able to cope with the desserts too. I had the tiniest sliver of dark chocolate tart with olive oil ice cream (4.00); I was intrigued by the idea of olive oil ice cream but when it came I was not convinced that it was not just some ordinary, but quite delicious, vanilla ice cream. The tart was rather ordinary and I would have expected it to be quite bitter. The pastry base was a shade too thick.

The other half picked the “artisan” cheese board; there were three English cheeses, one blue, one medium Cheddar and one goats’ cheese with a selection of oat biscuits, celery, grapes and a lovely tangy green tomato and apple chutney. It would have been nice to know exactly what the cheeses were.

Wines started at 11.25 and finished with Laurent Perrier Rose at 68.00.

The service was always polite and friendly but it was hard to get the attention of the staff at times. On a positive note it did mean that the waiting staff were not continually fussing round trying to keep your glass filled and checking you are enjoying every last morsel.

However, when it did matter they were nowhere to be seen and our plates were not cleared until fifteen minutes after we had finished our main courses the main courses that took thirty-three minutes to arrive from the time of ordering! They did not apologize for the length of time it took for the mains to arrive.

Overall “Freya’s” is a stylish and fairly comfortable place to dine but it needs to work a little harder on customer service. The food is just about there and the choice is excellent. If there is one other thing I would change it would be to have a screen between the restaurant and the rest of the gaming area because every now and again you get a whiff from the hot-dog stand and you hear the chink of coins falling out of one of the slot machines.

I will go back to “Freya’s”; the food is good, it’s reasonably priced and I’m sure they can iron out the problems.

Note – prices correct in 2007; menu will differ according to season and chef’s choice

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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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Restaraunt Reviews the Olive Garden in Mesa Arizona

Several months back I was visiting Mesa, Arizona with my family, and being we are not very familiar with the Mesa area, we were in search of a good place to eat out and looking for opinions from friends and relatives. After getting lost for about two hours we stumbled upon the Olive Garden and decided that we were to tired and hungry to continue to look for anything else so we decided to give it a try. I was either just extremely hungry or that was the best food I’ve ever eaten! So on my most recent trip to Mesa, Arizona I simply had to go back for more and the second time around proved to me that my assumption of it being the best food I’ve ever eaten was correct. I am planning my third visit there in April for my parents 35th wedding Anniversary and I think it will be a wonderful place to take them for such a special occasion. I think it would be very special to them having a surprise dinner there at such a wonderful place with all the family there. Both my first and second Dinner at the Olive Garden, I was accompanied by 8 of my relatives, all of which commented that it was the best food they have ever eaten while dinning out. After also mentioning it to several of my friends who live in the area I found that the Olive Garden there in Mesa, Arizona has a reputation for being on of the better Olive Gardens in their chain of restaurants. Not only for their excellent food but also the tremendous job the waiters and waitresses do. I was very satisfied with the service and it’s a wonderful atmosphere! I think its an excellent choice of dinning for a business meeting, Anniversary or any other special occasion.

If you like fish, you will love their Salmon! Their salads are so beautiful I’m afraid to eat them and mess them up….what a work of art! But once you get past the beauty and dig in they are astounding! Absolutely delicious to say the least!

If your from Mesa, Arizona or anywhere in the Mesa area or if you will be in Mesa anytime visiting, I recommend finding that Olive Garden and making it a part of your trip to have dinner there. You wont be disappointed!

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Restaurant Reviews Coco Southsea UK

Whilst shopping in Southsea, it’s so convenient to flock into Costa or Heidi’s if you are ready for a rest, a coffee and a sandwich, but venture a little further afield and you will find Coco, where all things are delicious and hand made, usually from local produce too. Turn left at the end of Palmerston Road (just opposite St Jude’s Church) into Marmion Road and you will find Coco on a corner at number 59, opposite Waitrose’s car park. The fact that it is packed with people on a Saturday is testament to its worth and shows that it pays to walk an extra couple of hundred yards from the shopping precinct.

Having queued to place your order and paid your bill, you can then decide whether to find a table downstairs or up and wait for your food and drinks to be brought to you. I have always sat downstairs, and the only disadvantage here is that it can be quite draughty in winter. I’ve heard people say that the upstairs area is actually more pleasant, but if I can avoid stairs and they are quite steep here I usually do. The tables downstairs are easily big enough for three people, four at a squeeze. In warmer weather there are one or two tables out on the pavement if you prefer the fresh air.

I’ve been to Coco’s twice on a Saturday for late lunch. The first time I had savoury tart with salad, quite small but more than enough for me, for 3.95. On the second occasion I decided on roast pear, ham and stilton salad, but it was after 3pm and by that time goat’s cheese had replaced the stilton. My son was with me and ordered the same with a honey, vanilla and banana smoothie. The smoothies are heavenly, but I thought I should try the coffee for a change and decided on a cappucino. My other son joined us too, but having thoughtlessly had breakfast before coming out (at 2.30pm), he just ordered a bottle of water. Nobody seemed to mind. The bill came to 17.70.

After a few minutes the cappucino came along with a chocolate shaker; a few more minutes and the waiter brought the smoothie. It must have been about a twenty-minute wait altogether for the salads, but the place was packed. The salads were served on large, heavy square plates that were each filled with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, two large slices of ham rolled up, two warm pear halves with a scoop of cheese in each, and liberal portions of cheese scattered among the lettuce. I do love stilton, but the goat’s cheese actually seemed perfect with the pears and ham. The pears were slightly crunchy for my liking, but it may be that some people prefer them that way. It was very good food, very fresh and beautifully presented; for most it would probably be just the right amount, but I’m afraid I was unable to finish the salad. Not for want of enjoyment, I have to say.

I usually like coffee without any sugar, but the first sip of my cappucino left something to be desired so I put just one sachet of sugar in and sprinkled plenty of chocolate on top. That did improve the taste, but it wasn’t up to the standard of for example Cafe Rouge, whose coffee has never disappointed me. I probably should have gone for a smoothie, except that it would have been more filling and I might have eaten even less of the salad. Coco’s smoothies for me would make more sense if I wasn’t eating anything.

I noticed that three young women were at a table just with coffee and tea when we arrived, and an hour later they were still there; this is a good sign that even at the busiest times you are not made to feel that you have outstayed your welcome. Neither do the waiting staff pounce on your empty plates as soon as you have finished, making you feel that it’s time to give up your table. Some people come and go quickly, others linger and enjoy the convivial atmosphere of the weekend. I have once been just for a drink on a weekday afternoon, around half past four, and the place was much quieter then.

When you queue to place your order you will find an array of handmade cakes and brownies ogling at you from the counter, but so far I have not given in to temptation. You can choose from twenty flavours of ice cream, or have a milk shake made with this ice cream. For those with allergies, Coco’s serves dairy gluten-free ice cream, gluten and dairy-free cakes, and soya shakes. You can have breakfast at Coco’s any day of the week except Sundays, whereas the restaurant is open for dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings only. You would need to take your own wine.

The ladies and gents are both upstairs just one of each so this is not really a place for disabled customers. I did visit the ladies and found no fault with it in terms of cleanliness; the only drawback is that the washbasin and hand-dryer are both inside this one toilet, so this could mean quite a wait. I did catch sight of a high-chair while I was upstairs, so babies are obviously welcome.

Just a few yards down at 98 Marmion Road is Coco Chocolatier, part of the same firm selling handmade chocolates, some of which are dairy free and vegan. I have so far confined myself to window shopping here, but if you want some really high quality chocolate, I’m sure this is the place to go.

I can imagine that Coco will become a regular haunt, not least because we were told off on our last visit to Costa for asking as to the whereabouts of a latte that we had paid for but had not been served. But there are more than enough positive reasons for visiting Coco too it’s a pity that they do not have larger premises, as I can see that many others feel the same way. It’s a special kind of place.

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Red Lobster Coupons

Red Lobster is a seafood restaurant chain primarily based in America with over 700 restaurants to date.  It is part of the larger Darden restaurant chain, which also comprises of Olive Garden and other major restaurant chains. Red Lobster is best known for its fish dishes including lobster, shrimp, crab steaks, salmon, pike, and other salads, soups, pastas and steaks. One of the most popular foods in Red Lobster restaurants is the famous Cheddar Bay Biscuits.  If you happen to be a fan of Red Lobster restaurants and their cuisine, then you can save money on your next meal by using Red Lobster coupons.  There are many ways to find Red Lobster coupons and these are outlined below.

Possibly the best way to guarantee savings and discounts at Red Lobster restaurants is to join the Fresh Catch Club.  Membership to the Fresh Catch club is very simple to obtain and it ensures that members receive details of Red Lobster coupons and promotions available in their local restaurants.  Those who are interested can sign up with their email address on the official Red Lobster website. Regular emails are sent to members including printable coupons for use in specific Red Lobster restaurants as well as a special birthday discount once a year.

There are online coupon sites which specialize in coupon codes for restaurants like Red Lobster. Retail Me Not and Coupon Mountain are two such sites which do from time to time offer Red Lobster coupon codes.  However the availability of these coupons does vary so it is important to keep checking these sites on a regular basis.

Another less common way to find Red Lobster coupons is eBay.  eBay features many Red Lobster coupon codes for sale. The most common coupons here are $3 and $4 money off coupons. Many sellers advertise these coupons in bulk so for the price of a few dollars you can have around $30 in savings. However it is important to be cautious when purchasing coupons and to ensure that you are buying from a trusted seller and that the coupons are not expired.

Red Lobster coupons expire so it is a good idea to keep searching for new coupon codes.  These coupons can help you and your family have a cheaper meal the next time you dine at Red Lobster.  However please be sure to check that the coupons you find are valid for the Red Lobster restaurant you are visiting.

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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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Restaurant Reviews Cafe Rouge Gunwharf Quays Portsmouth UK

My introduction to the Cafe Rouge chain of restaurants was in Chichester, and I still prefer its atmosphere to the larger one at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth. However, since I moved back to Southsea, it does make more sense for me to visit the Cafe Rouge in Gunwharf.

I’d arranged to meet up with one of my sons late one Friday afternoon after we both finished work, and we decided to go for an early evening meal but didn’t want to spend a fortune. Gunwharf Quays was within walking distance, and as it was around 5p.m., we found Cafe Rouge to be almost empty and had plenty of choice of tables. The tables are, however, pretty close together and at peak times it would be difficult to have a private conversation. My son had been there with his partner a couple of weeks earlier following a firework display, and as it had been so crowded they had had to sit very near the entrance in an area which I think is normally reserved for those just having a drink.

Having picked our table, up a few steps and by the back wall, we were brought menus and informed that the two main courses on the ‘Specials’ board were no longer available: these were rack of lamb and a fish dish of some description. They were soon erased and replaced by a starter of snails and an apricot tart, but no new main courses perhaps these were being held back for a later time in the evening.

I noticed that along with the a la carte menu I had been given a ‘Prix Fixe’ menu which neither myself nor my son could remember having seen on previous occasions. With this set menu you could have two courses and a drink for GBP9.95, which seemed like very good value considering the drink alone would be around GBP2.00. On leaving the restaurant, I noticed a board stating that before 5p.m. you could have two courses for GBP7.95 or three for GBP9.95, but we had arrived just too late. I was a little surprised that of the three main courses offered on the set menu one was pancakes and another omelette a little too eggy – but I suppose for the price you would not expect steak or fillet of fish. The third choice was Flammenkuche, a pastry base topped with bacon, onions and creme fraiche. We both liked the sound of that and decided we would have main course and dessert from the set menu with a starter to share from the a la carte menu. Two courses would have been fine for me, but my son had hardly had anything to eat all day, or so he said!

The waitress soon came to take our order and explained that with the set menu we could have either a soft drink, a glass of house red or white wine, or half a pint of beer/lager. We both chose fruit juice and then ordered the bread sticks with dips as a starter to share from the a la carte menu. When we asked for the Flammenkuche as our main course, the waitress seemed very surprised that we had not been told that this was no longer available, and I did think it a little strange that they had run out of three main courses by 5p.m. However, we had another look at our set menus and decided to go for vegetarian pancakes with courgettes, peppers and creme fraiche accompanied by chips and salad, rather than the gruyere cheese omelette with salad. For dessert the choice was between Normandy apple tart with custard and vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce, and we both decided to order the tart there and then perhaps in case they ran out of it in the meantime!

Drinks and the starter were very soon served, and I was certainly glad that we had ordered just one starter between us. There were six breadsticks, warm and very soft, served on a wooden board with three dips: houmous, tomato salsa and creme fraiche. A small portion of salad finished it off. The breadsticks were like tiny baguettes and I was only able to manage two of them. The price for this starter is GBP4.45, but it is ideal for sharing. We weren’t in a particular hurry and had plenty to talk about, but we were a little surprised that for some time after we had obviously finished nobody came to remove the board. The place was still by no means busy, but I began to wonder if I was going to have to catch the eye of one of the waiting staff to let them know that we were ready for our main course.

Eventually, however, a waitress emerged from the kitchen with our pancakes and was probably a little taken aback that our table had not been cleared. She asked if we would like any sauces or black pepper, and I requested some tomato ketchup which I always like to have with chips. The pancakes turned out to be a very good choice: they were soft in the middle and crisp at the edges. Although the chips were just the kind I like small, thin and crisp I didn’t eat too many as I was saving room for dessert.

There was no delay in clearing away our plates this time; my son ordered another fruit juice and we said we were ready for dessert. The tart came on a large white plate with the custard poured around the outside rather than on top of the tart, which is a nice way of doing things if you like to savour the taste of the apples on their own. We certainly both enjoyed this.

We decided not to have coffee on this occasion, although I must say, as an ardent lover of coffee, that this is the one place where I always find it has a wonderful taste. Our bill was brought promptly and came to just over GBP26, which I think is excellent value considering we had three courses each and my son had an extra drink.

Before leaving I visited the ladies which I always find to be very clean my one gripe is that in Chichester you have to climb a steep flight of stairs. There is, however, a toilet for the disabled as well as baby-changing facilities.

I know the set menu wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it was fine and I think it serves very well as a lunch menu. We have in the past enjoyed a variety of main courses at Cafe Rouge, including seafood casserole with salmon, dory and mussels, saucisses de Toulouse, steak with Calvados sauce, pasta and poulet breton. I can also recommend their heavenly lemon sorbet if you want a light dessert.

It does help if you are an Edith Piaf fan, as her music is almost always playing at Cafe Rouge. Personally I also enjoy the naive works of art and the assortment of wall lamps that are dotted around. A former French colleague of mine, however, was not impressed by spelling and grammatical mistakes in the excerpts from the menu that are painted on the walls!

One comment I feel I should include is that I have in the past used Tesco Clubcard vouchers at Cafe Rouge. In Chichester, they were very happy to accept them, and even took them as payment for drinks whereas strictly speaking they should only be exchanged for food. One evening at the Gunwharf Cafe Rouge, however, the manager complained to me that he lost out on them and was obviously not keen to accept them. I did feel that he should have taken this up with Tesco themselves rather than voicing his opinion to his clients. I seldom shop at Tesco nowadays, so I am unlikely to find myself in this situation again.

I know that some people feel that Cafe Rouge is not authentic French cuisine and as such is disappointing, but I think for a chain restaurant that calls itself a cafe it serves good food in a pleasant atmosphere. I am sure I shall return many times, and I would recommend others do so too.

1. Cafe Rouge Portsmouth, Portsmouth – Restaurant Reviews, Phone …
2. Watermelon Health Benefits
3. The 10 Best Restaurants Near Gunwharf Quays – TripAdvisor

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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….

1. Canned Salmon Recipes –
2. Natural Diuretic Foods
3. 7 Ways to Eat Canned Salmon for Dinner | The Kitchn

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