Zouk Tea Bar and Grill – Manchester

I was invited to sample the new Spring/Summer menu at Zouk Tea Bar and Grill  and as you probably know by now, me and the Bloke adore Indian food so we eagerly agreed.

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Zouk has a warm, welcoming and contemporary feel, with a sheltered terrace area with seating and hookahs outside. Inside is a small bar area for anyone wanting cocktails, mocktails, lassi or tea, rather than food. I can attest to their amazing mango lassi and Spring Fling cocktails. We were not so smitten with a strawberry based mocktail which we both agreed tasted oddly like savoury tomatoes! The kitchen runs along one side of the interior with tables and large booths on the other as well as upstairs. I liked how spacious and comfortable the dinning area was as I find that can massively add or detract from the overall experience, especially considering my disability needs.

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I’m always impressed when I see a restaurant has an open kitchen as it means the chefs are proud of the manner in which they cook their food and don’t have anything to hide. It was also nice to be able to see a large amount of fresh produce being used and fresh bread being made.

P1000501I’m always interested to see how many vegetarian options are on the menu at any eatery which has ‘Grill’ in the tittle. The already existing menu has a limited amount of vegetarian options, with an odd lack of very popular paneer, mushroom, daal or saag based veggie Indian dishes. The Spring/Summer menu will be available from April and will hopefully include a larger range of interesting vegetarian options.

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For starters we had Channa (chickpea) Masala, which was for me, a nice change from Channa Daal (although the Bloke would have preferred Daal) as well as Vegetable Pakoras. The Masala had the right amount of spice and the yoghurt gave it a rich texture. We were surprised that the pakoras, rather than being a mixture of gram flour and vegetables, were in fact individual slices of vegetable coated in a spicy gram flour batter. I liked how light these were and thought they were perfect as a starter.

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For our main course we had Aloo Gobi and Bindi Dupiaza with rice subtly flavoured with cinnamon. Aloo Gobi, a mixture of cauliflower and potatoes in a Punjabi style sauce is an absolute classic and this did not disappoint. The cauliflower was cooked perfectly, not too al dente or too soft. Bindi Dupiaza is an ochra based dish in a garlic, tomato, onion and green chilli sauce. This is usually not a popular dish among vegetarians as it’s so easy for the ochra to be over cooked to a soft slimy consistency but not at Zouk. The ochra was cooked perfectly and the heat in the sauce did not overwhelm the flavour but added to it. As vegetarians me and the Bloke always have to pay more attention to where our protein will come from, not necessarily in our starter but always in our main course. Zouk’s veggie mains had no protein! Although we left feeling full and content I was a little hungry again three hours later and was glad that I’d had a glass of thick lassi with my meal. Maybe if we’d have had a larger portion of Channa (chickpeas) for our mains instead of just as a starter this could have been avoided.

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For desert we had Mumbai Mess; a lot of cream topped with beautiful sweet but sharp raspberry sauce and a tiny bit of crumbled biscuit but no overall substance. We also had cold chocolate brownies which were pleasant but would have been better and probably gooier in centre if served warm. We then tried the cinnamon topped churro-style sticks served with chocolate sauce which were utterly delicious! I was a little surprised and disappointed that there were no popular Indian deserts on offer, especially at the lack of pistachio kulfi.

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Zouk is a place I would look forward to visiting on a Friday night for their extensive range of cocktails. It’s a place we would be happy to visit with a group of friends if most of them ate meat. It is not a place we, as vegetarians would specifically choose to visit ourselves, unlike other restaurants in central Manchester which cater for both diets more successfully. We may change our minds when viewing the full Spring/Summer menu so I will keep you updated.

Chrissie

My Lifestyle Lately – January

I thought I’d start this up again as it’s a nice way for you to get to know the person behind the blog and it’s a nice way for me to remember what I’ve been up to.

Lotus Vegetarian Kitchen

Me and the Bloke celebrated new years eve by visiting Lotus a vegetarian restaurant in Withington which is often overlooked due to it’s location. We love it there, the food (which includes the most amazing mock meats) is superb. Then we came home and watched The X Files and Grimm and enjoyed an awesome firework display by a neighbouring family from the comfort of our sofa!

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The Bloke cooked us a New Years day meal which was even better than Christmas day’s with Quorn roast, al dente green beans, carrots, broccoli, sprouts, mashed potato, Yorkshire puds, stuffing, roast potatoes and veggie sausages.

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You know those thrifty programmes where they tell you to look in your parents or grandparents loft (attic) where you will almost certainly find hidden treasure? Well not exactly anything of value but I did find this vintage rucksack which would be perfect for festivals. Weirdly, no one has a clue how it got there!?

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I’ve added to my collection of the weirder kind of Funko Pops and bought Deadpool, The Cheshire Cat and Alien. As you can see Deadpool is the only person looking figure in my little collection.

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 I love it when it gets all foggy at night and makes everything under the street lights look all eery.

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I was emailed by vegetarian restaurant 1847 offering 50% off, yup half price! So obviously wanting too support Manchester veggie eateries we thought it rude not to book a table.

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The Bloke managed to get these cool shots of the beautiful super moon and I (using the same model of camera) managed to take a big fuzzy orange blob which I won’t bother showing you lol

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I’ve been trying to drink only gluten free beer lately but my local Coop run out so I bought this Brewdog beer (which isn’t one of their gluten free ones) instead. It’s the most fruity and refreshing beer I’ve ever had. Such a shame it isn’t one of their gluten free offerings.

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I’ve discovered an online shop called EMP which apart from stocking some amazing rock chick apparel also do Funko Pop! and other random cool stuff. I’ve been in need of a mug for ages so bought this kawaii version of Deadpool.

So to some up my purse is a bit lighter and my belly is a lot fatter ^_^

Chrissie

Bundobust Indian Vegetarian Restaurant & Bar – Manchester

Bundobust has arrived in Piccadilly supplying us hungry Mancunians with vegetarian Indian street food and craft beer. The name comes from an Indian-English mash up of the words collaboration and riot, which the decor and food suggest – in a good way! The Owners Mayur Patel and Mark Husak have created a simple canteen style space with a lot of personality where you would feel comfortable nipping in by yourself for lunch or with a large group of friends for cocktails.

Bundobust Manchester review

Bundobust Manchester review

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A lot of the furniture is made from recycled wood and the cutlery and food pots are made from vegetable cellulose which is biodegradable – genius!

Bundobust Manchester review

This giant skylight adds so much atmosphere and natural light, even on a rainy day.

Bundobust Manchester review

Even though I like the privacy of booths, there is something rather humbling and honest about sitting next to your fellow man on a wooden bench, tucking into tasty food together.

Bundobust Manchester review

The menu is traditional, yet original and inclusive of Southern and Northern Indian street food, with dhal, dosa, bhaji and chaat. I was surprised to see an ochra dish, a burger option and a dish with bhaji in a warm yoghurt sauce, things I’ve never seen on an Indian menu in Manchester before. There are vegan options and a surprising amount of gluten free options to choose from as well.

Bundobust Manchester review

I went for the aforementioned Bhajji pot and a Chaat pot consisting of samosa pastry, crispy noodles, chickpeas and sauce. The Bloke collected a paneer and mushroom kebab which was smothered in the most wonderful combination of sauces and also the Puri with tamarind sauce and crunchy dry noodles. The flavour combination in each dish worked perfectly together and the dishes we chose seemed to all compliment each other, so we mixed and matched throughout our meal.

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Perfect street food at reasonable street food prices. Portion sizes are decent-to-large and such good value for money. The range of craft beers, gluten free beers and creative cocktails on offer are really impressive.

My favourite place to get good value-for-money Indian food was always This & That, now it’s Bundobust food and a gluten free beer please!

Chrissie

*I attended the pre-opening of Bundobust as press and therefor did not pay for food or drinks. This does not bias my opinion in any way. Honest as always.

Pastel Goth Inspired – Outfit of the Week – Version 2

Pastel goth fashion

The first time I tried this outfit I wore 90’s style goth tights which were pretty opaque on the bottom, then had a black band and then were less opaque with a black line going upward, creating a grungy faux suspender pattern. Due to the camera flash making them look real, they made my outfit look less ‘relaxed pastel goth’ and more ‘Rocky Horror Show’! So I’ve worn totally opaque tights this time lol

Pastel Goth Sweater – Similar here @ Bajues Best

Quilted Faux Leather Skirt – Similar here @ Miss Guided

Black Opaque Tights – Similar here @ Next

Patent Ankle Boots – Similar here @ asos

Chrissie

It’s My 3rd Blogversary! Thank You ^_^

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An absolutely mahoosive thank you to everyone who has been with me since the start or found this blog a while ago or have just discovered it. Your comments and likes have spurred me on to keep blogging and have been the highlight of my day when I’ve been having a bad one. Your support and enthusiasm has made me feel like I’m actually good at something when Dyspraxia has made me feel otherwise. You have made me laugh (with you, not at you), you’ve been as excited about geeky things, urban things and cruelty free things as I have and really made me think about life with your observations and advice. You are all awesome!

It is so strange to think that three years I finally took peoples advice and started a little unassuming blog. A blog which turned into something that a lot of lovely strangers actually started to follow and commented on and then some of my fave brands which I’ve used for years started to gift me their products to review and invites started arriving for blogger events, meals and cocktails!

The most surprising thing however, is that I’ve actually kept this up for three years and yes, people leave but new people follow every week. When ever I’ve felt bored because of illness or Winter weather or I’ve felt lonely, this has been a little sanctuary that I can visit, with a cuppa and snuggly wrap around cardigan, which always makes me smile.

To anyone who’s followed this blog for a long time, I appreciate you putting up with the early days of back-to-front structured sentences (thats how my thoughts sound in my head) and under or over exposed photo’s. I never realised that as a blogger I would become a copy writer, an editor, a photographer of all sorts of subjects, a photographic editor, a creator of layouts and an organised (gasp!) person capable of meeting deadlines, tagging and scheduling blog posts and the owner of several busy and successful social media accounts. Phew!

To anyone reading this who isn’t a blogger, why ever not? Give it a go, what have you got to loose? Even if you only get a small amount of followers, you will still have a creative journal of your life and maybe learn some new skills along the way.

Now give me some cake!

Genuine thanks from the bottom of my heart

Chrissie

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Making blogging events look glamorous since 2013.

Dinner at the Metropolitan – Didsbury

On Friday we decided to go for a drink and then for a meal. We visited The Metropolitan as they have a chilled atmosphere in the pub and a nice restaurant offering several interesting and well considered veggie options.

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I wish I’d have known how nice the outside area was before now, as we’d have visited regularly over the Summer with cocktails from the incredibly well stocked bar. As you can see, I was eyeing up the cakes from the moment we sat down in the restaurant lol

Starters

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Goats cheese and chive hash brown with apple puree and mixed leaves. This was absolutely lovely. The apple puree really complimented the goats cheese and was a nice twist.

Mains

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Asparagus tagliatelle, asparagus spears, Gran Moravia cheese, white wine & asparagus sauce. I very rarely see a mains with a white sauce as a veggie option so I was really looking forward to this, so much that I started eating it before remembering to take a piccy – oops! The sauce was delicate and well balanced and the asparagus was al dente just the way it should be. The only addition I would have added were pine nuts possibly. 

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I love skin-on sweet potato fries so ordered them as a side. The portion size of my mains and the side were so generous, I had to ask for a doggy bag for half of the fries!

Desert

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Lemon posset with lemon shortbread biscuits. This was delicious! Imagine the thickest, creamiest, smoothest cheesecake you’ve ever had. The biscuits were crunchy and buttery. I’ve tried a lemon posset and biscuits before at Greens restaurant and this was as amazing as that.

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The bloke ordered the same starter and desert as myself but chose sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce and ice cream. He said it was perfectly cooked on the outside and slightly gooey in the middle and really complimented by the sauce and fresh berries.

The only negative aspect of the night was that every time I ordered a cocktail I had to wait ages for it to arrive and flag someone down to inquire about it. I ordered one straight after my starter and had finished my main dish by the time it had arrived! Oddly, later as I went to the bar I got served instantly and was asked by two more people if I was being served. Maybe best to go to the restaurant on a weekday instead!

Chrissie

 

A Spontaneous Kind of Day

Yesterday I spent the day with my Dad and then the Bloke treated me to a spontaneous tea at our favourite not-so-local The Greenfinch in Didsbury.

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I requested a gluten free Vietnamese curry (which is naturally vegan), we shared a giant cone of onion rings and I had this amazing watermelon cheesecake!

Chrissie

1847 Vegetarian Restaurant

I’ve reviewed 1847 Vegetairan Restaurant twice before, first in 2013 and second in 2015 but it’s such a great restaurant I think it’s worth a mention every time I visit.

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I was hoping to get a cocktail down me before my starters had arrived, as my body was a little tense and needed to relax, however the drinks order was taken with the food order and both cocktail and food arrived around the same time. Some might say this is an improvement on the way most restaurants take orders. I was surprised to see the only cocktails on offer were either gin based or vanilla vodka based so hating gin I ordered a vanilla vodka, rhubarb and Prosecco creation, which was sweet and really refreshing.

1847 Manchester review

For my starter I ordered aubergine rolls stuffed with buckwheat, soya yoghurt (which tasted incredible), parsley and sorrel. The bloke ordered the Spring Pie, puff pastry stuffed with smoked cheddar, beetroot, greens, marrow served with cress & marjoram pesto.

My first thought when our starters arrived was “Restaurants are still using slates?” and then “My god the high pitched screeching of cutlery on slate is physically going to be painful to me” but only two minor screeches ensued so it was totally fine. Both of our starters were well balanced, a little sweet, a little savoury and thoroughly enjoyed.

1847 Restaurant Review

With my mains I ordered an American chardonnay which was really quite different to any white I’ve tasted before, fruity and slightly biscuity. Such a change from crisp fruity wines.

I ordered my usual ‘fish’ and chips (halloumi cheese) with mint peas and lemon curd and the bloke ordered herb breadcrumb oyster mushrooms, sautéed asparagus and quinoa with a roasted garlic sauce. Yes he’s got into quinoa finally! We ordered a side of roasted vegetables, with the sweetest, flavourful radishes I’ve ever eaten. I really liked that the peas were al dente and not mushy peas this time but I also noticed the portion size of the halloumi had been reduced. As traditional fish and chips often come with a slice of lemon, I wished the lemon curd had a little more zing and less sweetness but that’s just my palette. The coating of the blokes mushrooms tasted so wonderful I should have asked what the flavours were.

1847 Restaurant review

The bloke ordered the 1847 brownie, which he really enjoyed but wished it were a little more gooey inside. He didn’t think the chilli brittle was strong enough in flavour until I told him if it were any stronger it would over power everything else. He’s such a chilli freak! I went for vanilla ice cream which was simple but beautiful.

I was incredibly impressed to see so many vegan and gluten free options included, often both together in the same dish. I stupidly forgot to ask for gluten free batter on my halloumi but I don’t feel bloated today at all, which is a nice change.

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1847 Vegetarian Restaurant, 58 mosley street (entrance on booth street), manchester, m2 3hz.

Tel 0161 236 1811

Monday-Friday: Midday-3pm & 5pm-10pm
Saturday: Midday-10.30pm
Sunday: Midday-8pm

Chrissie

V Revolution Manchester – Vegan Cafe

 

For the record let me state I’m a part time vegan. I do add honey to sweeten things if it’s already in the cupboard, I do buy leather shoes but also lots of pleather ones and I eat pizza with real cheese sometimes and fake cheese a lot of the time. Glad we cleared that up.

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The best way to describe V Revolution in the Northern Quarter is to say it’s a vegan version of a 50’s American diner, with a retro look and really creative junk food. There’s no juke box but the staff play seriously good tunes all day ranging from rock, hip-hop and dance. iPod’s on shuffle maybe?

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I think this menu is fab, even though it oddly lacks an option for fries or onion rings on the side. Me and the bloke chose the Barbecuban Missile Crisis which came with nacho’s.

The crispy onions (the little brown pieces) added a really nice crunch to what was a very tasty, slightly soft and incredibly slippy burger. The ‘cheese’ melted and tasted like regular cheese and the burger was a great consistency also. Both me and the bloke agreed it would have been easier to eat if the slaw was on top of the natcho’s rather than pilled on the burger. I liked the taste of the facon but would have preferred it fried so it was firm rather than floppy.

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There were four indulgent looking cakes at the counter but I didn’t get a slice as I would have preferred something a little lighter like a scoop of vegan ice cream. The staff had prepared lemon infused water and there were also a selection of teas available. I chose jasmine tea which was lovely and refreshing, the bloke chose of cup of builders tea and didn’t moan about the soy milk for once! I was able to stock up on a range of meat and cheese substitutes while I was there, which was really convenient!

Rating ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

V Revolution, 88 Oldham street, Manchester

Open 12.00pm – 6.00pm (except Tuesday)

My Lifestyle Lately

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Visiting Tampopo

I’ve never given Tampopo a chance before as I thought it was just a noodle bar and I have a fear of messily slurping in front of strangers. However, after browsing the menu outside I realised they have an extensive selection of veggie options. Traditional flavours such as green tea, sesame, cinnamon and lychee combine with Western ingredients to create something unexpected and unique. Something that made me really respect this brand is that one of the desert pastries is fried on a grill where meat is frequently cooked so it’s not marked with a V on the menu. Most places wouldn’t even consider that one grill for everything is a problem for vegetarians.

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Finding Emoji Lip balms in Superdrug

How cute are these!? Even better…There’s ten of them! I bought the monkey because he’s adorable and banana scented, the señorita as she’s my favourite (and smells of exotic cocktails!) and the kissy face as it’s water melon scented. Am I the only one who wishes there was the smiley poo that was er, chocolate scented? ^_^

 

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Watching The Huntsman: Winters War

I went with the bloke and two of our mates to see this for my birthday and was really getting into it, until around a third of the way through where the pace seemed to slow to a near standstill. A ‘comedy’ element was introduced in the form of dwarves (the mythical kind) and a lot of petty arguing ensued between the characters. There was an action scene in the middle of this complete with a forced emotional ending but it was so predictable I was bored.

There was a point where the dwarves had some obvious expositional dialogue which sounded so mind numbingly boring I was utterly relieved when the main threat suddenly re-appeared and their plans were abandoned. Action ensued which was throughly enjoyable and the film was not predictable at all from that point onward. If you can ignore the pacing issues and the patchy tone of the scenes which lurch from the dramatic to the comedic and back again, then you should be able to enjoy this film. I’d suggest watching this with friends at home so you can have snacks and a good chat about it together whilst it’s playing.

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Snacking on Vegetable Festival

I discovered an Asian wheat and dairy free version of a Pot Noodle. It comes with an utterly useless spawk making it more of an in-convienience food but tastes very similar to tasty szechwan soup. Perfect for a quick snack if you bring your own folk.

 

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Rocking out at MASH Guru, Macclesfield

My old mate Pete and his Mrs have become the awesome owners of MASH Guru, a very funky bar with live music and independent ales. ‘A fine blend of New York Speakeasy, Berlin underground and 70s Porn Lounge, shaken not stirred. Mash is a bar with attitude, eclectic, electric and unexpected on every front.’ I couldn’t agree more!

 

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Drinking Mr Basil (bubble tea?)

I found these in my local Bargain World for a £1 each. They really remind my of bubble (boba) tea with the squidgy little beads but it doesn’t mention tapioca anywhere in the ingredients. They are both really refreshing but have a sweet taste and contain a lot of sugar so don’t mistake them health drinks!

 

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Reading The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge

I liked and admired the young female protagonist which was the reason I kept on reading but I felt Hardinge took too long to introduce ‘the lie’ tree to the story and that it was under utilised overall. The genre is gothic-murder mystery but the story lacked momentum with the suspense element building too slowly in my opinion. I found that I didn’t care for the victim and I didn’t find the suspects interesting enough to care if they were the murderer either.

 

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It’s Alive!

I’m still marvelling over the fact I kept the bloke’s picture plant alive for 12 months and it’s doing better than ever. They are swamp plants so they have to sit in water constantly but drink it really quickly. The Bloke’s on for probably the seventh generation of Collard Dove’s who visit and chill everyday. My head bob to them means “There’s food out, come down” when they are weighting in the tree and my head movement to the right means “I know you’re new little dude but you’ve landed at the middle window you need to move over to the right one, where the seed is.”

 

Cranes Cider                             Cranes Cider

Enjoying Summer

Although I’m usually out and about it’s been so hot I’ve just been spending a lot of my time at my folks lounging in their back yard. They’ve planted it out beautifully and it’s a great place for OOTD shots or just chilling in sun with a magazine and a drink. Appropriate then that Cranes gifted me three bottles of their fruit cider! First of all, I love the packaging they arrived in and the pretty labels on the bottles. I found the Strawberry and Kiwi to be a little too sickly sweet in the heat. The Rasberry and Pomegranite wasn’t as sweet and was my favourite flavour. The original Cranberry, although very tart at first, was the one I’d be able to drink repeatedly as it was very refreshing.

 

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Trying blue cheese pizza

I was sober and challenged to try blue cheese on a pizza the other day, I said yes because, well, pizza. The result was a pizza with an incredibly rich depth of flavour which I really enjoyed. Ingredients: Gorgonzola cheese, red onion, sun dried tomato, Kalamata olives, green olives, vine ripened tomatoes, sweetcorn, Elmental cheese, very small amount of jerk BBQ sauce.

Chrissie