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Five Places That Prove Hobart, Tasmania is a Food Lover's Paradise

Lamb sausage roll and pumpkin salad

I'd heard on the grapevine before arriving in Tasmania that Hobart is a bit of a unknown foodie gem, but nothing could have prepared me for the unbelievable food I had for almost every meal during my visit. I indulged in brunch, lunch, dinners and desserts that have seared themselves into my memory as some of my favourite meals ever, and if there's one thing that would make me travel back to Tasmania - it's the food. A full post on the incredible Salamanca Market is to come, but for now, here's the other places my stomach fell in love with:

Three Places to Embrace Your Sweet Tooth in Sydney

Tella ball freakshakes from Foodcraft Espresso, Sydney

One of my overwhelming impressions of Sydney is how health conscious it is. Maybe it's because both times I've been I've stayed in Bondi which, although beautiful, has more places to eat avocado on rye than you can shake a stick at.

Cake and Hot Chocolate at Cafe Einstein, Berlin

plate of cakes and mugs of hot chocolate

Winter is magical in Europe. I mean, it's cold, but it's pretty. On my trip to Berlin I was hell bent on finding hot chocolate, mulled wine and anything else that would keep me toasty warm from the inside. After landing mid-afternoon, we set out for a snack and as luck would have it, we were staying a stone's throw from Cafe Einstein.

Pancake Day at My Old Dutch

pancakes my old dutch london

My hunt for pancakes on Shrove Tuesday went as follows:
  • Next level disappointment when my work canteen weren't serving them at lunchtime
  • Walking past two places in Soho that were selling them but I was already on my way to somewhere else
  • Realising that the event I was at definitely weren't going to surprise us with pancakes
  • Looking up places to eat near where I was out with the girls and seeing that most of them were at least a 20 minute walk away (and I'm lazy)
  • Hearing that the queue outside My Old Dutch was "a mile long"

Peanut Butter Cookies: My Mum's Recipe

peanut butter cookies

It's not that long ago since I wrote about how much I love home. I have a wonderful relationship with my mum and my love of food very much stems from her. Ready meals were extremely rare, takeaways few and far between, and the importance of home cooking was very strong. My mum's baking remains legendary amongst my friends (AJ forever craves her apple pie, Phoebe misses her banana cake all the way from Australia!), and I like looking through the recipe book she made for me when I moved to university for inspiration on what to bake next.

Baking With Kenwood and Debenhams

best food bloggers

So obviously I write this blog, but I've actually worked with bloggers for years. I've scared the crap out of them at the London Dungeons and danced like a loon with them at Bestival, because planning events for bloggers is always so much fun. When my own team were planning a night of baking with homeware designer Ashley Thomas I made the decision to not only help set up the event, but also to don an apron and get my hands dirty (after washing them first, of course!).

BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Tour Bus

I'm wearing:
Gold skirt - vintage
Leather jacket - Zara
Cami top - Primark
Scarf - H&M
Afternoon tea has become a bit of a cliche. How I feel about them is exactly the same as my previous mumblings on roast dinners: everyone thinks they can do one, and charge a fortune for it too. I'm a fiend for a scone and clotted cream; if I hit Cornwall in the Summer, Rodda's basically have to put on an emergency alert. I love the classics, but I do appreciate a twist on the norm (my favourite so far being the Marmite afternoon tea I went to in 2012), so when a wonderful friend of mine invited me to go on the BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Tour Bus with her, I practically leapt down the phone and hugged to within an inch of her life.

The bus picked us up in front of the London Eye and we took our place in the best seat in the house: at the front, at the top. There was a huge variety of the people on board including guys, families and a massive hen do, but everyone was in great spirits and the conductor did his best to get us all excited.

On each table is a map of where the bus would be taking us, but no voiceover to tell us information as we drove past as you would get on a regular bus tour. It was a bit of a shame, especially as our route was diverted due to a sporting event. Instead of just driving us down random streets it would have been nice to have had somebody tell us a bit of history or some fun facts to get us peeking out of the windows a bit more. We could have been on any old Routemaster through London in that respect.

However, the food was the obvious stand-out point. The logistics of serving food and hot drinks on a bus are plenty, and we were very amused by our tiered plates being nailed to table, and our drinks sitting in little cubby holes. Tea was presented in a thermos so it wouldn't splash everywhere, but that didn't make it any less difficult to drink it without burning the roof of your mouth when the bus suddenly stops!

The selection of cakes and sandwiches were cute and varied, if a little on the small side. Afternoon teas are known for indulgence, but as we were on a time limit with the bus tour we had to make sure we polished off what we could and there weren't any top-ups. I loved the smoked salmon blini and the chocolate macaron - both a good indicator of why you might want to pay a visit to BB Bakery in its static shop in Covent Garden.

The concept of a travelling afternoon tea tour bus is, frankly, genius. I have no doubt that it will continue to be very successful, if purely down to people like me who love a bit of a gimmick. It was a friendly, fun and delicious way to spend a couple of hours, and I do love to play tourist in my own home town.

You can book a slot on the BB Bakery bus here, and tickets cost £45

[Food] Make My Magnum at Selfridges

One of my favourite places in London is the Selfridge's food section. Yes, the denim department is amazing, and the rooftop bar open this Summer is pretty cool, but I love to wander around the shelves stacked with all sorts of exotic, never seen before tins and cans and bottles full of delicious mysteries. I'm definitely a taste hoarder; I see something with great packaging or a fun serving suggestion and I instantly want to buy it, regardless of whether I can actually use it or not. Having recently moved house I've realised how full-to-the-brim my cupboards actually are, but Selfridge's current pop-up demands to be eaten there and then, mainly because it will melt otherwise.

The Magnum x Selfrdiges pop-up allows you to have your own custom Magnum made for you right before your eyes. First step is your toppings, and there is plenty to choose from, from pistachios and rose petals through to goji berries and brownies. You get to pick three, so I went for cinnamon sugar, meringue and edible gold flakes. 

Then you get to pick between a regular vanilla ice cream 'base' or an Infinite Chocolate one. I figured with all the sweet toppings I'd picked that it would be best for me to go for vanilla, despite how much I secretly wanted the chocolate one.

You can then choose to dip the ice cream in either dark, milk or white chocolate. Once the ice cream has been covered (I went for dark), the toppings are shaken over the top so that they stick to the quickly drying chocolate. It's then drizzled in another chocolate of your choice (milk, in my case), and you've got your finished ice cream. And oh, I was one happy customer once I was done. I love Magnums as it is; my grandad always used to buy me one as a kid and then get angry with me when I could never finish it. This one wasn't any different either, although in my defense I had had a massive lunch. But a Magnum with dark chocolate, covered in sweet, crunchy toppings was certainly a good way to see off a Tuesday evening. 

The Magnum x Selfridges pop-up is open until 31st August and costs £4.50 per ice cream.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea

I was brought up on a healthy diet of Roald Dahl stories, and even as an adult I still revisit the quirky and bizarre fantasy world created by him for a quick read. Aside from The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was my favourite and when I saw this afternoon tea announced I was so excited. Hosted at One Aldwych, it's to celebrate the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical in London and the menu is enough to make your mouth water. Get ready to be jealous!

The menu had cute drawings of different characters from the book. I had the Gloop family which was pretty fitting considering how much I was about to wolf down.

We sat in beautiful high backed chairs and I tried to look as much like a golden ticket as possible in my favourite vintage skirt. I even did some Willy Wonka themed nail art, what do you think?!

But no-one cares about that, it's all about the food here. We started with a selection of sandwiches (no crusts of course), an amazing tomato tart and awesome mini leek and stilton quiches, all washed down with caramel tea which was surprisingly delicious.

And so to the sweets. Oh my god. There was chocolate caramel milk, candy floss, chocolate golden egg with vanilla cheesecake and mango filling and mini eton mess. That was one side. Then we moved on to scones with clotted cream and berry jam, blueberry brioche (my favourite from the day) and cocoa bean financiers - that's a really good brownie to you and me.

The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea is at One Aldwych until 31st December and is £29.50 per person. Book your reservation online here. You won't regret it!

Explore: An Evening on the Southbank

Living in North London and working centrally near Soho, I don't go south of the river that often. But whenever I make it over to the Southbank I'm always amazed at how much is going on and the masses of things to do.

We stumbled across the Real Food Market which was full of homemade and delicious delicacies from across the world. It was near on impossible to pick which ones to eat, from huge dishes of paella to goat's milk ice cream - I basically wanted to eat everything! I ended up plumping for chicken curry: half mild Malaysian, half hot Caribbean. The market is on every day during the Paralympic games so make sure you head there this week!

We then watched our dessert of churros and chocolate dipping sauce actually being made in front of us, being fed through a bizarre piping machine and chopped off into boiling hot oil before being dipped in cinnamon sugar. There was so many that we couldn't finish them and ended up donating the rest to some very excited kids!

As we wandered around some more I got very excited to see that we'd stumbled across the skate park that 'The Blind Banker' episode of Sherlock was filmed in!

The reason we were on the Southbank in the first place was to attend an open air cinema on the top of the National Theatre. It was completely free in association with American Express, and the film we went to see was 'The Red Shoes'. We settled down on deckchairs and had a great view over the Southbank before the film started at 9. As the sun set it got so cold, and just as the film started it began to rain! We managed to see out about an hour of the film before we started to get soaked through and decided to call it quits (especially as my housemate has the film on DVD anyway!). My two friends who came with me are the ones who also came to the Pyjama Party film marathon - we seem to always end up doing endurance cinema!!

What are your favourite things to do on the Southbank?
As of 20th November 2014, any products marked with an asterisk (*) have been provided as a sample for unbiased review