The MacFactory Review: Mac and Cheese topped with what?!

The first two weeks of 2018 have been amazing for me so far. Especially for The Food Doll. On February 10th, I’ll taking part in What’s New Pop Up: Food. A food pop up exhibition in the heart of Shoreditch, where you get to try the hottest and newest food brands, bloggers and innovations. (You can get 10% off tickets with my code ‘FOODDOLL10’ at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/whats-new-pop-up-x-season-13-food-tickets-41584439177 )

To continue my blossoming year, I won a giveaway! This is huge because I never win anything, honestly.

The Mac Factory are a gourmet mac and cheese brand that I found on social media that really spoke to my heart. The love of my life and only thing stopping me from converting to veganism next to prawns, is cheese. As in, I really love cheese. Almost more than people. No… definitely more than people.

They boast some of the most delicious and crazy cheesy concoctions. I won a pot of my choice for myself and a friend (so two for me then.)

I haven’t been to Camden market during the day since I was in my late teens. It has changed with the times. When I used to think about Camden Food, I would think about the endless repeated Chinese food stands, where I would never have to buy anything. Just a quick walk through would fill me up with so many free chicken tasters that my stomach was bursting by the time I got to the end of the cobble market maze. Sometimes I would take the bait and fork over a modest £3 for a huge mixed box of anything and everything that could possibly fit.

These days, Camden has upgraded to the likes of the Kerb market which has a variety of cool modern food brands. I plan to take a trip back as I saw so many brands that I want to try.

I was greeted by a super friendly chef who called me gorgeous (that always goes down well.) He suggested that I try the hey mac-arena and the posh spice.

I decided to go for the hey mac-arena and the mambo italiano in the end.

Whilst he cooked my order fresh in front of me mixing handfuls of colourful cheeses and ingredients like a mad cheese scientist, he told me about a little about the company who have branches all over. I could see that they were popular; a queue quickly developed behind me as I resisted the urge to forget my home training and ask him for a handful of cheese to nibble on.

My orders arrived quickly and my gosh were they beautiful.

The hey mac-arena  was topped with flavourful green jalapeños, fresh sour cream, Mexican chilli and a stack of crispy nachos. This is a combination I never would have thought would be so delicious. I am very sceptical about chilli con carne style dishes and often find them sickly and overpowering but this was not the case here. The flavours were perfectly balanced. I was super surprised at just how much came in the pot and how filling it was. I am generally a slow eater but powered my way through this pot.

I saved the second pot for after my work meeting, having taken a couple of bites earlier. The mambo-italiano was laced in smoked pancetta, mushrooms, garlic and topped with their special sourdough parmesan and thyme crumble. ( I need to recreate their crumble. It was incredible and would taste out of this world over triple cooked fries.)

I was a little sceptical that the Mac Factory would be able to crack a tough cookie like myself, especially as I make amazing mac and cheese; but I was pleasantly proven wrong.

The Mac factory was a great experience, from the food, to the staff and location. They change their menu from time to time too and the menu varies depending on location. I saw a lobster Thermidor pot that is calling my name, along with a Bolognese and red wine variation at their Euston branch.

I definitely think this is a must visit and worth the trip even if you aren’t in the area. If you are a cheese lover like me, their pots of luck are a dream come true.

Thank you the Mac Factory!

The Food Doll.

Melt in the Middle Mozzarella Meatballs Recipe.

Italian is by far one of my favourite cuisines. Besides West Indian culture, a lot of my recipes are influenced from the time I’ve spent in Italy and being taught dishes by Italian friends.

I fell in love with homemade meatballs when they were made for me by an Italian friend. They were juicy, bursting with flavour and extremely versatile. I decided to combine this with my love of cheese and finding delightful surprises within my food. Thus was born this recipe.

Read below for the ingredients list and recipe.

  • 1 small pack of minced meat (I used beef but you can use any. For super tasty meatballs, use half beef, half pork.)
  • Blended brioche rolls or hard/stale bread
  • Garlic (2 cloves fresh or 1 teaspoon dry)
  • Rosemary (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Thyme (1 teaspoon)
  • Oregano (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 egg
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 Finely chopped onion
  • 1 Mozzarella ball.

Method.

Brown the chopped onions in some olive oil spray until translucent.

Drain off the oil and add into a bowl with your mince and seasonings; then mix well with your fingertips so that the mixture incorporates the seasoning.

Add your brioche or bread to a blender/nutri-bullet and blitz until at breadcrumb texture.

Add your brioche breadcrumbs and beaten egg to your mince mixture and combine until into a workable texture with your hands. It should be moist enough to work into ball but not soggy.

Spray some olive oil onto a tray and create meatball shapes by moulding the mixture in the palm of your hands. Ensure that these are equal sized. Try not to handle the mixture too much between your hands.

Once your meatballs have been mounded, cut your mozzarella into equal chunks.

Using your index finger, press down into your meatballs to create a dip.

Place your chopped mozzarella into the grooves of the meatballs and re-roll to enclosure the mozzarella chunk evenly into the mixture.

Finally brown your meatballs in a little olive oil in a frying pan until browned and crispy on the outside. You can either cook your meatballs fully this way or pop then into the oven as I do to finish then cooking.

Enjoy these meatballs by themselves, in a sauce or with pasta. The choice is yours!

The Food Doll. ❤

Pan Fried Sea Bass, Mediterranean King Prawns and Summer Vegetables Recipe.

Sea bass and prawns are two of my most favourite sea foods for not only their delicious taste, but their versatility. You can cook the most glamorous and delicious of meals in next to no time.

I developed this recipe to incorporate everyday items in your fridge and lack of time to create a beautiful but classy dish.

Read on for the method and ingredients.

Ingredients

  • Sea bass fillets (bones removed)
  • King Prawns shell on (cleaned)
  • Red Onion (roughly chopped)
  • Red Chilli (chopped and deseeded)
  • Lemon
  • Fresh coriander
  • Green beans
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Pancetta (optional/chopped)
  • New Potatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Vine ripened tomatoes

Method.

  1. Clean, peel and de-vein your king prawns before seasoning with salt, pepper, lemon and crushed garlic.
  2. Dredge the seasoned prawns in some flour and black pepper.
  3. Fry the prawns in a little olive oil until cooked throughout and crispy before draining on kitchen paper.
  4. Boil your new potatoes whilst partly cooking your green beans and put to one side.
  5. Taking two sea bass fillets per person slash the skin of the sea bass then season with a generous helping of salt and pepper.
  6. Add a little olive oil to a frying pan, add chopped garlic, chilli and the chopped red onion until slightly caramelised.
  7. Add your sea bass in skin down and allow to cook for about 5 minutes until the sides of the skin curl up. Flip the sea bass over and cook for another 90 seconds.
  8. Remove the sea bass and add your par cooked green beans, pancetta (optional) and tomatoes into the pan. Cook until the tomatoes are soft.
  9. On a plate arrange the plate as followed: a bed of the sauce left in the pan, the green beans on top and sea bass fillets above that. Place your new potatoes on the side and your king prawns besides that. Finish off with torn coriander and lemon on top.
  10. Enjoy!

The Food Doll.

Caribbean Vegan Curry Recipe.

I think it’s very easy to hear the word vegan and assume that the dishes may be bland or flavourless.

In the Caribbean, we have a particular type of cuisine called Ital food. Derived from the word vitality, it focuses on natural vegan foods that are bursting with flavour.

One of my favourite vegan dishes to make is a Caribbean Vegan Curry packed with delicious vegetables such as chickpeas, potatoes and tomatoes. This is also a great dish for meal prep as it can be eaten with a range of sides. Not to mention, super easy!

I usually have this with fried plantain, white rice and naan bread. Read below for the full method and ingredient list.

Ingredient List.

  • Chickpeas (1 can)
  • Chopped tomatoes (1 can or fresh equivalent)
  • Scotch bonnet tops (or two tablespoons of scotch bonnet hot sauce)
  • Jamaican sweet pumpkin (optional)
  • One large potato
  • 1 spring onion
  • Half an onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 lime
  • Spinach (half a packet)
  • Hot curry powder or mild curry powder
  • Jamaican curry power
  • All purpose seasoning
  • Thyme
  • Black pepper
  • Soy sauce

Method.

  • Sweat your diced onion and chopped garlic in a frying pan in a tablespoon of oil on a low heat.
  • Add your cubes potatoes and fry until translucent.
  • Add your spring onion and chopped tomatoes. Turn this onto a high heat until the mixture bubbles then turn down to a low heat.
  • Add the curry powders, all purpose, black pepper, thyme, soy sauce and whole scotch bonnet. Bring this to a high heat also for a few minutes then turn down to low and remove the scotch bonnets.
  • Add your chickpeas and cook for a further 10-15 minutes on a low heat.
  • Add your spinach and squeeze half a lime through the curry.
  • Serve with rice, fried plantain and naan bread.

Let me know how you got on with this recipe by sending me pictures on twitter @thefooddoll or tagging #thefooddoll on Instagram.

The Food Doll.

Mannekenpis. Are these really Holland’s best fries?

On my last city break with one of my best friends, I got the chance to finally try the infamous fries from Mannekenpis.

Despite visiting Holland over 15 times, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never tried what purports to be some of the best fries you may ever try in your life.


This time, I was determined to change that. My friend Sam-Rae (half of leading U.K. Podcast Pink Matter) and I, worked up and appetite and head into the heart of Amsterdam Centraal. Mannekenpis isn’t hard to spot at all. The queue trailing into the road is a dead giveaway. Located just a throwaway from Centraal Station and my favourite coffee shop ‘Prix D’ami’, Mannekenpis comfortably holds its authority as a must visit tourist destination.
We were super lucky and the queue flew by but with tens of fries toppings; you probably do need that time to decide what you want to have.
We opted for the medium size which was actually pretty large. I topped mine with ketchup and their special frites sauce which had a subtle tangy mayo taste to it.


Due to the high volume output of fries, you are guaranteed to get a fresh batch every time. Served in their signature blue cone; the fries were golden and crispy whilst being fluffy and hot inside. They had a really distinct delicious taste from the oil which made them incredibly moreish.


I would definitely recommend these fries as a must try if you are ever visiting Holland. They were very filling and at under 4 euros, they were a great bargain.

This time round, I throughly enjoyed the food I had in Holland and will follow up this post with a short guide of what we had and where.

The Food Doll.

Is this the Wurst Christmas Advert Ever? Gregg’s Slammed for Depicting Baby Jesus as a Sausage Roll.

This week saw bakery chain Greggs in some oven heat for replacing baby Jesus with their signature sausage roll in a recent nativity advert.
Its decision to use an image showing the three wise men gathered around a sausage roll, has been met with both criticism and humour from Twitter users.


With some slamming the outrage as over sensitive and choosing to see the funny side instead; the image has invoked an array of sausage and pork puns.

Greggs has apologised for any offence caused but will not be pulling the product from its shelves.

The advert for the £24 advent calendar has sparked a debate as to whether Christmas has truly become a commercial festive holiday.

Did you find the advert (as shown above) a mockery of Christianity or an example of lighthearted British humour? Tweet me @thefooddoll
The Food Doll. 

Missed out on the free Krispy Kreme’s? Deliveroo are giving out free donuts at 6pm! 

‘Donut’ worry if you didn’t manage to grab a free box of Krispy Kreme’s with Uber Eats. 

Deliveroo is fighting back with free donuts from Crosstown Dough & Doughnut at Cannon Street, Liverpool Street & Kings Cross from 6pm today.

Head over to deliveroo at 6pm to claim this sweet treat. You don’t need to download the app; just look out for the drivers at the above locations to claim your donut.

Subscribe to keep up to date with more free offers like this.

The Food Doll.

Krispy Kremes is giving away free boxes of donuts today! How to claim.

This is not a test. This is NOT A TEST!

To celebrate the launch of Krispy Kremes on Uber Eats, Uber Eats are giving away 36,000 donuts today.

The best part? They’re not handing out donuts one by one but by the box.


All you have to do is download Uber Eats or if you already have the app, simply open it up between 2pm-4pm and make your order.

There’s no catch and your box will be completely free!

If you were dieting…. sorry.

The Food Doll.

Meal Prep Series- Jerk BBQ Chicken Breast and Rice Peas.

As part of my meal prep and healthy eating series, I am putting together some quick, easy and healthy recipes intended to save time and money.
I work in the city and often work 7 days in a row. It is essential for me to cook lunch in advance to save money and dinner in advance as I don’t always have the time to do this when I get home from a long day.
One of my favourite recipes, is a quick adapted version of classic Jerk chicken and rice and peas. This can altered if you prefer BBQ or sweet chilli chicken by simply changing the sauce base.


Ingredient List:

Chicken:

Chicken breast fillets

Chicken seasoning (dunns river)

Black pepper.

Jerk BBQ sauce (or BBQ or Sweet Chilli).
Rice:

1/5th Scotch bonnet pepper.

2 cups of washed basmati rice.

1/2 tin of red kidney beans with water.

1/2 diced onion.

1 spring onion.

Thyme.

1 Tablespoon of creamed coconut.

A knob of butter or low fat margarine.

Dunns river every day seasoning.

Salt.

Method.

The Chicken.

Ideally, I always try to season any meat a minimum of two hours in advance or overnight however life doesn’t always allow this. 

To get the best flavour out of a short seasoning time, I score my chicken breast diagonally about 3/4 of the way through the fillet. This allows the seasoning and sauce to penetrate the meat whilst cooking and creates wells of flavour when cooked.


I kept the seasoning simple. Using a sheet of foil; add your pepper, chicken seasoning mix, jerk BBQ marinade (or swap with BBQ or sweet chilli if you wish!) add the dry seasonings first then follow this with the sauce.
Bring the foil around the chicken breast to meet in the middle and roll it downwards to seal. Finally, fold the sides upwards to create a pocket. This will allow tender cooking of your chicken breast in the sauce and it’s own juice.

Pop this into the oven at 180 degrees to cook for about 20 minutes.

Leave the rest for a few minutes before opening the foil pocket. (beware of escaping steam). The gravy can be poured straight from the pocket onto the rice.


You can alternate the sauces to create variety. Why not try a smoky barbecue sauce, a sweet chilli base or some garlic paste mixed with lemon juice?

The Rice.

The rice and peas is much simpler than meets the eye. For a traditional dinner, I would use a different recipe with additional ingredients and steps. 

For meal prep, wash two cups of rice with lukewarm water.


Put this into a pot and fill with the 1 1/2 parts water. I used 3 cups of water to my two cups of rice.


They key is to over season the water to hold the flavour. Add all the rice ingredients to the pot except the kidney beans which will be added later.


Bring the rice to the boil on a medium to high heat. Once brought to the boil, stir once cover and turn down to the lowest heat.
After five minutes, add half of the tin of kidney beans and pour in half of the kidney bean water. 

Steam until the rice is fluffy and box into containers for lunch or dinner. 

You can freeze the containers to eat or store in the fridge for a maximum of three days.

Enjoy! 

The Food Doll.

The Food Doll x Wraps and Wings

Running on 2 hours of sleep with a flight the next morning and having failed to pack, I decided to take a break from my usual healthy food choices to destress. My best friends had told me about Wraps and Wings, which they described as ‘BAD’, in the oxymoronic way of course.

Being only a stone throw away from me in the heart of Eastcote, I slid on through.

The restaurant was small and cosy with a very casual feel. It was a great group of casual family setting.

My restaurant tip is always to ask for recommendations from the staff who will tell you the most popular dishes as well as their personal bests.

I went for a wing mix of Jerk BBQ, Buffalo and Schezuan whilst my friend went for Jerk BBQ and extra hot Peri. We also had a buttermilk fried chicken wrap and burger with slaw and cheese alongside cheesy rosemary fries and chilli cheese fries as our sides with passion fruit lemonades.


The passion fruit lemonade was surprisingly more delicious and refreshing than I had expected. A must try if you like the fruit.


I wasn’t a huge fan of the rosemary fries by themselves hence my asking for cheese to be added which changed the dynamics of the dish completely. The chilli cheese fries on the other hand were tasty and flavourful. The mix of seasoned beefy mince, with onions and gooey American cheese was a winner.


The wings, the true star of the show, were full of flavour, a great size and tasty. The wings had a slight crunch to them under the sauce and the insides were juicy and well cooked. My favourite was the Jerk BBQ by far. The BBQ and Jerk flavours balanced each other well. A warning however, the wings are super spicy! If you can’t handle spice then ask them to make them mild.


The wrap and burger tasted a little underwhelming after having the wings but they were still nice. For my next visit, I want to try their signature dish which surprisingly, is a beef cheese burger.


Overall I really loved this venue, with the wings and the passion fruit lemonade being the true stand out areas for me. The meal came to around £15-£20 each and we had plenty to take away. The staff were also very sweet and helpful. A definite re visit for me.
Wraps and wings also do takeaway and are Uber Eats friendly.

 Check out their full menu online at http://www.wrapsandwings.com

The Food Doll ❤