Food & Adventures

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Porterhouse Butcher and Grill at Fenwick Foodhall

A few months ago I was a little bit sad as I found out that Ko Sai at Fenwick Food Hall was closing down. I loved the little Thai street food place and had been many times, but I need not have worried as it has been replaced by something rather special.
Credit: Porterhouse Butcher and Grill
Porterhouse Butcher and Grill is an amazing little gem in the centre of Newcastle. It's part of Fenwick Foodhall so there is a proper butcher shop where you can get all the quality meat you want (I'll come back the meat in a bit). There is also a Bar and a seated restaurant, The restaurant serves meat straight from the butchers counter and as their website says Porterhouse has a philosophy of "We cook what we sell, we sell what we cook". I love this kind of of ethos from a restaurant and you really get the impression that everyone there is really passionate about the quality of their produce.

Anyway, back to the meat. The butchers counter is fully stocked with all the cuts you could possibly want. We didn't buy anything from the counter this time (we were just there for lunch), but I will definitely be going back next time I'm in town. The menu focuses on a few Steak dishes but also has a wide selection of other mains, small plates and a raw/cured selection. The menu changes on a regular basis so keep checking their website for the latest update.

All of the steak dishes come with a side of fries and and a selection of mustard and bearnaise sauce. The chips were incredible and had a real meaty flavour, I assume there were cooked in beef dripping (it makes all the difference).

All the steaks are cooked medium but you can ask for it to be cooked to your liking (please don't ask for well done, I would be disappointed in you if you did). Mrs Cool loves a bit of meat and she went for the Sirloin Steak.

I love an egg when I have a steak so when I saw the Minute Steak with two Fried Hens Eggs on the menu I knew I had to have it. The Steak was perfection and the eggs had runny yolks (always a must) and mine came served with HP sauce.

I you're a meat lover you have to try this place. The food is amazing and the price isn't too bad either. We had two steak mains with chips and two bottles of Coca-Cola and it came to £46 including tip.

Well, that's all for now.



Thursday 14 September 2017

5 Things that happen when you and your partner both work from home

Working from home can be great, you don't have the rush hour commute to work, you can take a break whenever you want and you choose your office environment such as furniture and decoration. It’s not all sunshine and roses though, especially when both you and your partner use the house as your office. Living and working in close proximity can lead to disagreements from time to time. I’ve compiled a list of the top five things that Mrs Cool and I are most likely to lock horns about:

1. One person is always tasked with making the coffee. 

I’m a recent convert to coffee but I am a bit of a coffee snob and my preferred drink is an Espresso. I enjoy them so much I decided to get myself an Espresso machine a few months ago. Mrs Cool is happy to have instant coffee (although she only likes the expensive kind) but she prefers an Americano. Our machine isn’t hard to use and can easily make an Espresso and an Americano at the same time but it seems to be beyond Mrs Cool as it’s always Muggins here who has to make the coffee.

2. Someone always hogs the office desk 

Mrs Cool started working from home long before I did and it was Sam who decided to get an office desk. However now we both often work from home there can be a bit of a race to get set up at the desk first. I often lose this race and am relegated to the dining table, I think it won't be long until I get my own desk and I have my eye on a few here.

3. You can never decide what music to listen to

Me and Mrs Cool have very contrasting taste in music. Sam likes acts like Girls Aloud, Sia and Rhianna where as I like The Rolling Stones, AC/DC and Oasis. This is one area where I usually get my own way. I have a subscription to Apple Music so can stream all the music I want, I am a nice guy though and I will sometimes let Mrs Cool pick a playlist.

4. The WiFi always gets clogged up

If you both work online you must invest in good home broadband. We used to get frustrated by our WiFi and there is nothing worse than trying to upload a video or blog post when your WiFi signal freezes due to your other half using up all the bandwidth. This is not so much of a problem anymore as we upgraded to Fibre Broadband and most providers will have unlimited packages. I would advise you to get it as it is a godsend. It also helps when work is done for the day and you want to watch the latest season of Narcos on Netflix while the kids are on YouTube or playing on Xbox with their mates. 

5. You can never agree on the right temperature

This one causes the most arguments in our house as me and Mrs Cool are polar opposites when it comes to a comfortable temperature. Mrs Cool is always turning the heating on and is happy to sit in sauna like temperatures and I am always too hot and have been known to have a window open even when there has been snow lying on the ground outside.

Do you work from home with your partner? What do disagree about? 

Well, that’s all for now.


*This is a collaborative post.

Monday 4 September 2017

Monday Munchies: Death by Chocolate Orange Cake

I like to think of myself as a good cook but I very rarely bake. I make the odd pie now and then but I've never made a cake. With the return of Great British Bake Off, I really like the new series by the way (anything with Noel Fielding is a winner for me), I decided to challenge myself to bake a cake and I roped the kids in to help.

I scoured our many cook books to find some inspiration and settled on Death by Chocolate Cake from Mary Berry's Baking Bible. I didn't follow the recipe exactly as I wanted to put my own spin on it.


For the Cake:

275g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1½ level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ level tsp baking powder
215g caster sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
3 large eggs, beaten
225ml sunflower oil
225ml milk
1 small capful of orange extract

For the Icing:

225g Terry's chocolate orange
225g Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate
200g unsalted butter

To Finish:

1 Terry's Chocolate Orange, separated into segments


Start by pre-heating your oven to 160°C (140°C Fan). Grease two 20cm cake tins with butter and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a mixing bowl and then add the caster sugar. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the golden syrup, milk, oil and eggs then mix until smooth. Mary Berry says to mix with a wooden spoon but that seemed like a right faff. I have a food mixer and it only took a couple of minutes using a silicone creaming beater, it worked a treat and saved a lot of hard work (I'm all about skipping hard work).

Pour the cake mix evenly between the 2 cake tins and bake for 35 minutes or until you can insert a wooden skewer into the centre of the cake and it comes out clean. Turn out the cakes and leave to cool on a wire rack while you make the icing.

Melt the chocolate, Mary Berry says to break the chocolate into pieces and put into a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, again I found a shortcut by putting the chunks of chocolate into a Pyrex jug and microwaving it for 20 seconds at a time until it was melted. Once the chunks are all melted add the butter and stir until it's all mixed.

Once the cakes are cool, pour a third of the icing onto the first cake and spread it evenly. Add half the Chocolate Orange segments around the edge to decorate. Place the second cake on top and then pour the remaining icing on top and smooth it over the top and sides with a palette knife (I was a bit rubbish at the sides but it was still ok) then add the remaining Chocolate Orange segments around the edge.

Baking a cake was a lot easier than I was expecting it to be so I think I'll be trying a few more in the future.

Well, that's all for now.


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