Big Stevie Cool

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Monday, 12 November 2018

Post Box | Ponteland | Lunch Review

*This is a collaborative post


Me and Mrs. Cool were in Ponteland this week to have lunch at the Postbox in Ponteland, we were also planning on a trip to Belsay Hall only to find out that it is now closed during the week during the winter months (annoying!). However we still made it to The Postbox, this is a great little cafe with a lot of character, the interior is very homely with paintings of Newcastle landmarks like the Tyne Bridge and St. James Park. 
We ordered a black Americano each while we looked at the menu. I loved the mugs the coffee comes in, very in keeping with the post box theme. Also because the coffee was in a proper mug it stayed hot right until we finished our meal.
We both decided to choose from the new sandwich menu which has a good selection and you can choose which type of bread your sandwich is made from. Our sandwiches came with a salad and vegetable crisps, Mrs. Cool and myself both love veg crisps and this was a nice change from the regular ready salted crisps you get with sandwiches at other cafes, the salad also has a really nice dressing.
Mrs. Cool went for the Northumberland Cheese and Pickle sandwich on White Farmhouse Bread. We've been married for 12 years and I'm only now finding out that Mrs. Cool likes Pickle. Mrs. Cool also loves local produce and the Northumberland Cheese made her mind up for her. She said the sandwich had the perfect balance of cheese and pickle. 
I went for the Tandoori Chicken on Ciabatta. The filling was lush and tasted home made and not your bog standard sandwich filler. The ciabatta was really good too and slightly toasted. Mine came with mango chutney and mint yoghurt which was great for dipping my crisps into like mini poppadoms.
The Postbox also have a selection of cakes and tray bakes available, so we decided to share a slice of Lemon cake for dessert. The portions are really generous and one slice was perfect for us to share. The cake was sooo good, nice and moist with plenty cream (or is it icing?) and the lemon flavour was spot on. 
I really loved The Postbox, our lunches were really good and the service was great too. As well as Breakfast and Lunch, The Postbox now also has an evening menu called The Night Cafe. Some of the dishes sound really good like the Market Meat Sharing Plate and I think we will have to return to try this new menu. 

Well, that's all for now.

S


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Post Box | Ponteland | Lunch Review

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Monday, 5 November 2018

Dining Options at Matfen Hall


*This is a collaborative Post

This November Mrs. Cool and I celebrate our 12th Wedding Anniversary, we decided to mark the occasion with a stay at Matfen Hall in Northumberland. We spent all day and night at the Hotel and Spa so were able to try the menu at all of the Dining Experiences available at Matfen Hall.

Breakfast - The Conservatory Bistro
Breakfast is served in The Library or the Conservatory but the menu is the same in both. We chose The Conservatory, there is a continental buffet with fruit and yoghurt as well as a selection of pastries and toast available. Cooked items are also available from the menu, Mrs. Cool went for the Northumberland Breakfast which is two Pork and Leek Sausages on Eggy Bread with Black Pudding and Caramelised Apple. Mrs. Cool said the apple was really on point and made the dish. I went for the Eggs Florentine, I really love eggs for breakfast and Florentine is one of my Faves. The Eggs were perfectly poached with runny yolks and the hollandaise was really good too.


Lunch - The Keeper's Lodge
For lunch we went to the Keeper's Lodge which is the Bar at the golf clubhouse and serves GastroPub style food. Mrs. Cool had the Mac n Cheese which was very cheese with extra sprinkled on top and it was a huge portion. I ordered the Spicy Squid Rings, these weren't battered like calamari but did have a lush spicy coating and were served with a salad with a honey and mustard dressing and came with Sweet Chilli dip and Garlic mayo. The squid was cooked perfectly, all nice and succulent, I liked it best with the Garlic Mayo.


Afternoon Tea - The Library Restaurant
There are few different Afternoon teas on offer in The Library, Mrs. Cool had the Classic Afternoon Tea which was a selection of finger sandwiches with various fillings along with two scones with cream and jam and an assortment of Afternoon Tea pastries and cakes. I went for the Gentleman's Afternoon Tea which was an open Ham and Dijon Mustard sandwich with a pork pie, a scotch egg, two scones (one Cheese and Pancetta and one Fruit) and a Raspberry Rum Trifle. Everything was great but the best bit were the scones, still warm and lush and crumbly. The Library is also has 2 AA Rosette rating so if you're looking for fine dining this is the place to go for your evening meal.


Dinner - The Conservatory Bistro
For our evening meal we chose The Conservatory. Mrs. Cool started with the Deep Fried Squid with Spicy Chilli & Garlic Mayo and then had Beetroot and Goats Cheese Salad. The squid was really good, perfectly cooked and well seasoned. Beetroot and Goats Cheese is one of Mrs. Cool's favourite flavour combinations (Mine too) and this salad was tasty, perfectly seasoned and a drizzle of olive oil. It was also very satisfying even for a lighter dish. I started with the Haggis on a tasted slice of bloomer with a fried Egg and then had Char-grilled Sirloin Steak with Peppercorn sauce. The Starter was amazing, I love Haggis and I've said many times about my love of eggs and this was the perfect combo. I don't usually order steak as I think I can cook a perfect steak at home and it'll be a lot cheaper but it's it's not your anniversary everyday so I decided to indulge myself and I'm glad I did. The Char-Grilled aspect to this steak really gave it an incredible flavour and the peppercorn sauce was really unctuous and gorgeous. We were getting pretty full by this point so decided to share a dessert, The Conservatory has a Handmade dessert of the day for us it was Strawberry Panna Cotta, this was the perfect end to our meal as it was lush but not heavy so we weren't stuffed.


I think the Conservatory was my favourite as our Dinner here was really the stand out meal for me. All of the food was incredible though and if you're staying over at Matfen Hall then you won't be disappointed with any of the food available.


Well, that's all for now.

S


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Dining Options at Matfen Hall

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Thursday, 25 October 2018

Exploring the North Tyneside Coast with Tyne and Wear Metro


*This is a collaborative post

Growing up in Wallsend in North Tyneside, Tyne and Wear metro played a big part in my life. Whether it was going to spend my pocket money in Eldon Square or Monument Mall as a teenager or travelling to Whitley Bay or Newcastle for nights out with my mates in my late teens and early twenties, the Metro was such a convenient mode of transport. Where I live now (in Northumberland) doesn't have a Metro line but does have some great bus links to Metro stations. I was recently asked by Tyne and Wear Metro to visit some of the bars and restaurants in various locations in and around Metro stations and to try out their Pay as You go Pop Card.
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Monday, 22 October 2018

Monday Munchies: Pigs in Blankets Mac and Cheese


It is never too early to start thinking about Christmas snacks. I've already had a few mince pies and I'm getting ideas for what to have leading up to the big day. This week I rustled up this little festive corker, this will serve four and maybe my new favourite Yuletide treat.

Pigs in Blankets Mac and Cheese Recipe by Big Stevie Cool
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Thursday, 18 October 2018

5 Horror Films to watch with teens this Halloween


Halloween is just around the corner and it's time to decide which scary movie to watch when all the Trick or Treating is finished. I've decided to compile a list of horror films I enjoy that I think would be ok to watch with your teenage kids. I have a love/hate relationship with the horror genre, I really love a good horror film but most of the time I'm disappointed as most horror films (especially more recent ones) are pretty boring and predictable. These choices are films I'm ok with letting my 12 year old son to watch, the list may be controversial as contains a few 15 rated films and one which is rated 18 but I look at the BBFC rating as more of a suggestion than an actual age limit.
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Monday, 15 October 2018

Date Day in Craster | Northumberland



It was time for one of mine and Mrs. Cool's regular date days and after mix up with our National Trust cards scuppered our planned visit to Cragside we decided to visit Craster instead. Craster in Northumberland is one of my favourite places on Earth. Dunstanburgh Castle is my favourite Castle in Northumberland (probably my favourite anywhere) and I love the walk along the coast from Craster to Dunstanburgh. We didn't have our walking boots on so we didn't do the mile and bit walk this time so instead we decided to have lunch at the Jolly Fisherman.
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Monday, 8 October 2018

La Yuan | Newcastle | Sichuan with Style


I love Chinese food but I'm usually disappointed when we get a Chinese at home. There is never anything exciting, Chicken Curry, Duck in Pancakes, Sweet and Sour Chicken... BORING! Well this little gem of a place is a million miles away from a Chinese take away. La Yuan on Gallowgate in Newcastle is something very special. Bringing dishes from the Sichuan Province of China, La Yuan has some of the best food I have had in Newcastle. The restaurant itself is really slick with a contemporary interior and it has a great location in Newcastle City Centre within a few minutes walk of some really good bars.
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