Saturday, 21 January 2012

What's on in January: Newcastle Restaurant Week

Like most, I started January with the best possible intentions. A copy of the latest Weight Watchers magazine, a clear out of the alcohol cupboard, solemn promises to myself that I'll be looking svelte and gorgeous in a bikini by June.

Also similar to most, I expect that the sentiment will be dashed by the end of the month. But really, could there be a worse time to deprive yourself?

If you're looking for ways to add a bit of excitement to an otherwise dull January, or an excuse for falling off the dieting wagon with a bit of style, pencil in Newcastle Restaurant Week. Running from 23rd-29th January, the event involves over 20 of the city's top restaurants, mostly offering 2 courses for £10. My personal favourites from the list include Blackfriars, Cafe 21 and Pan Haggerty, though I also intend to try out a few places that have been on my 'to do' list for a while now. On a more serious note, it's also an affordable opportunity to support the local restaurant scene during these tough times.

For a full list of participating restaurants, check out the Get into Newcastle website. Booking in advance would be sensible.

I'm taking full advantage and I've booked a table at two restaurants throughout the week already. Everything in moderation, eh?

Monday, 16 January 2012

My first Veg Box Company purchase

On Saturday I received my first fruit and veg box from The Veg Box Company, a local business specialising in delivering locally sourced produce to homes and businesses in the north east.

I ordered the couple's fruit and veg box, designed to feed 2 people for a week with up to 13 varieties, and priced at £12 including delivery. I received:

A large cauliflower
A large garlic bulb
A large turnip
2 large sweet potatoes
2 onions
6 large potatoes
8 carrots
3 parsnips
3 large handfuls of mushrooms
2 tomatoes
3 pears
2 oranges
2 apples
A 16 teabag trial pack from Victory Tea

All in all, a good selection and lots of staples that most households will use on a daily basis. I buy most of my fruit and vegetables from the supermarket or when I get the opportunity, from local greengrocers and markets. Having your fruit and veg delivered straight to your door is a bit of a risky proposition, as you can't have the usual root-around for the best looking items, but it's convenient and was actually quite exciting. Or maybe I just need to get out more?

So far, I'm more than happy with the selection and the quality of the items in my veg box. But the true challenge is this: can I incorporate all the items into a week's worth of meals, without wasting anything? I've got a penchant for deciding to eat out at the last minute and cooking things on a whim, rather than putting too much forethought into what the next day's menu will include. So I've set myself the challenge to make this a week of wasting nothing, attempting new recipes, and most definitely getting my 5-a-day.

Check back next week to see how I get on.

The Veg Box Company