Tim Horton’s Lunch Menu

So Tim Horton’s launched a new lunch menu this week and I was invited along to try it, I was not sure after checking the menu but once I confirmed the chicken served at the Birmingham branch is halal I was there like a speeding bullet 😉

It’s in the city centre, a short walk from New Street station/Grand Central on New Street itself – a little further up from the Apple shop.

My complimentary meal

My complimentary meal

My complimentary meal included Tim Horton’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich served with a pot of potato wedges, a dipping sauce and a drink. I also ordered some Chicken Tenders on the side as they sounded delicious, they were good and appreciated by my chicken tender expert, Ammara! That came with a choice of 3 dipping sauces – I had the chipotle, BBQ and ketchup. For the drink I chose a cold brew iced coffee with maple syrup, it was so good I would go back just for this! I’m a normal hot coffee drinker so for me to go iced was unusual but I loved it.

Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Crispy Chicken Sandwich

The food did not disappoint – it all came super fast even though the store was really busy and the queue was snaking out of the main door! The staff were friendly and efficient even with the crowd of customers and the quality of the food was not compromised. Everything was prepared to a consistently good level.

5 Chicken Tenders

5 Chicken Tenders

Potato Wedges

Potato Wedges

Chilli Con Carne

Haven’t shared a Slimming World friendly recipe for a while, so I thought I might as well post this one as I haven’t made this in such a long time and this is not in my recipe list!

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I have been having some major house building work done since March this year and we have been without a kitchen all this time. Cooking has been extremely difficult! So this is how we have been coping. We have 3 bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor. We turned the smallest bedroom (hubby’s office) into our kitchen with a table top electric hob, a small fridge (big enough just for the essentials like milk, cheese, butter), a microwave, slow cooker and my trusty Tefal Actifry. My youngest daughter’s bedroom has been turned into our living room. We moved her bed and most of her furniture away so we could put the sofas and TV there. Luckily we had our loft conversion done a couple of years ago so we gained two bedrooms and a bathroom there so all the kids (I have 3 daughters) share that space. Our main bedroom is also hubby’s office for the time being.

I have to admit the work has taken much longer than we anticipated, we did have a few problems along the way which delayed the work but it looks like it will be end of September/ early October before we can start using the downstairs space again and I cannot wait!

I can’t wait to share with you once it is complete, in the meantime, if you are on Instagram please follow me on there for my house renovation updates and other bits and bobs about me on @Rahema_m.

Anyway, back to the recipe! Hope you enjoy this simple chilli recipe. We had it served with boiled rice topped with cheese and jalapenos, but it is lovely on a jacket potato too. As always, if you make this or any other recipes featured on my blog, feel free to tag me in your creations. I love seeing your versions of them x

Serves: 4

Syns: FREE

Time Taken: 60 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Chilli Con Carne

Chilli Con Carne

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • Tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • Tin red kidney beans
  • Spray oil

Method

Spray a pan with spray oil of your choice and fry the onions until soft with the cumin seeds. Add hot water to the pan if needed to stop the onions from sticking to the pan.

Add the garlic, chilli flakes, paprika, ground cumin and mixed herbs. Stir well and cook for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the mince and brown it off on a high heat. Crumble the stock cube over it and mix well. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and tomato puree and cook the mince on a low heat for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain and rinse the red kidney beans and stir them into the mince and cook for a further 10 minutes. Add some water to the mince if it is too dry and season to taste.

Serve with plain boiled rice.

Jamaya (Solihull) Review

My Rating: 4.6/5

Family Friendly: Yes

Address: 45b Mill Lane Arcade, Touchwood Shopping Centre, Solihull, B91 3QW

Parking: Yes, Touchwood Car Park (parking fee applies)

Payment: Cash and Cards accepted

Jamya interior

Jamya interior

My friend suggested going to this relatively new restaurant the other day and I’m so glad she did. It’s located in Touchwood in Solihull town centre, where they serve authentic Jamaican food and everything is halal. As soon as we walked in the door we were welcomed by Hassan who was a friendly host and reassured me that the food was halal.

Jerk Pit Feast Out

Jerk Pit Feast Out

We decided to choose from the ‘Sharing is Caring’ section of the menu and opted for the Jerk Pit Feast Out, which consists of a whole jerk chicken, festivals, gravy and 2 bottomless soft drinks.

What is a ‘Festival’ – a fried dumpling, despite its slightly sweet taste it is often served as a side dish with jerk chicken and it goes so well. I was apprehensive at first but I loved them! They went so well with the chicken and the gravy.

There are 3 spice levels to choose from – Mild Jerk, BBQ Jerk and Proper Jerk. We opted for the proper jerk hot chicken and it was just right for my friend’s palette who is not used to spicy food. We also ordered a side of cassava chips. The chicken was cooked to perfection and was finger licking good. The best chicken I’ve had in a long time! It was succulent and juicy, and the skin was crispy just like I love. I have to admit this was far superior to Nando’s peri peri chicken.

The ordering system is pretty much like Nando’s, you order at the till with your table number and the waiters bring the food out to you.

My only criticism of the place were the drinks – they were a bit flat but it was quickly rectified once we let the staff know of the problem. The staff ensured we were enjoying the meal.

As well as chicken, you can order buffalo wings as well as fried wings, burgers, wraps, and vegan options. There were limited dessert options and a kids menu. Drinks wise they serve soft drinks, Jamaican juices, frozen cocktails and alcoholic drinks.

Jerk Pit Feast Out

Jerk Pit Feast Out

Cassava Chips

Cassava Chips

My Rating

My 4.5 rating for Jamaya is based mainly on 3 criteria, but I factor in additional observances such as cleanliness, location etc.

Food: 4.8/5

Service: 4.6/5

Atmosphere: 4.0/5

 

 

Farro’s (Birmingham) Review

My Rating: 4.5/5

Family Friendly: Yes

Address: 402-406 Stratford Road, Sparkhill, Birmingham. B11 4AD

Parking: Yes – but limited. Easy street parking available nearby; try Beach Rd, Alfred Rd or Fulham Rd for proximity.

Payment: Cash and (thankfully) Cards accepted

Farro’s is new to Birmingham and the 2nd restaurant of its branded Grillhouses, the first being in Nottingham. Opened on the 16th August 2019 it serves a blend of Portuguese and Italian inspired food – and they do burgers and steaks too.

Farro’s is located in an imposing converted pub right at the junction of Warwick Road and Stratford Road in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham. For those of you familiar with Brum you might recall the once mighty ‘The President’ buffet restaurant was on this site for many years before it closed and dereliction followed. I’m glad to say the site has been refurbished and the blight of broken windows and dumped rubbish is gone. The exterior is bright & breezy with a large new courtyard complete with a Birmingham Bull, a kindred spirit to the one outside the Bullring perhaps?

farros board

We parked on a side street as the main car park is relatively small and was already full. As we arrived into the lobby we were swiftly greeted by the front of house manager who took our name and advised us that being a Saturday evening and having requested a table for 5 we’d have to wait up to 30 minutes. Happily the wait was shorter than expected but it did give us time to absorb the atmosphere and observe the hive of activity represented by the waiting staff flitting from kitchen to service to tables and back again.

Once ushered to our table we were provided menus and quickly realised that ordering was exactly Nando’s style. Bottomless drinks as standard with a single refill area.

farros menu

Menu

Starters

We had the lamb chops which were succulent, perfectly cooked if a little towards the rare side on parts but still downright tasty. Served with a nice mint sauce.

farros lamb chops_

lamb chops

We also punted for the garlic bread with mozzarella, which was generally well received but seemed to lack a bit of garlic for something with garlic in the name!

Mains

Avoiding the build your own burger and steak options this time around we opted for the following:

The Sizzler (mixed chicken & beef in small strips), presented on a hot platter and cooked with onions and peppers it was literally sizzling when it arrived on our table and remained piping hot for a good while afterward. I

farros sizzler chicken beef

sizzler – chicken & beef

found the beef to be lovely (although my husband complained he had to work at it) and like the chicken it was flavoured nicely with the juices from the onion and pepper mix.

The Sizzler menu has great flexiblity as there were chicken, beef, lamb & prawn only options with the ability to mix any of them.

The peri peri chicken we had was also piping hot and we had to let it cool a little before tearing into it. We opted for medium spice (I would go up a spice level next time if eating with the family, it simply wasn’t a medium for us) however the flavour from the rub was excellent and gave it the edge over many other peri peri restaurants.

farros peri peri full chicken

peri peri chicken

I would have preferred if the chicken skin was crispier, but that’s my personal preference. It came with a side of chips but we also ordered an extra side of sweet potato fries which were the best ones I’ve had so far. They were perfectly cooked. Delicious.

We also ordered the lasagne which was not as creamy as you normally get in other places which is a good thing, often the bĂ©chamel sauce overwhelms everything else layered into a lasagne. The kids found it easier to eat as it wasn’t too heavy.

farros lasagne

The margherita pizza was stone baked and it was enjoyed by all. We didn’t try any toppings on it but the kids rated the pizza as one of the best they’ve had so far, next time we’ll go all out! We always prefer the stone baked pizzas to the usual you get from your local pizza joint, which is one of the reasons we miss La Favorita so much.

farros margherita pizza

The general atmosphere of the restaurant was nice and buzzing, it is quite spacious overall with plenty of seating and good separation between areas. The music was in the background so you could easily hold a conversation without shouting at each other. Male and female toilets are in separate areas but below ground level down a flight of stairs, they were clean and had a dedicated wudu area as well as a separate prayer room for men and women. There is a disabled toilet available on ground level.

Desserts

Although we didn’t order any desserts this time, the options to chose from were quite limited. The usual waffles, sundaes and old school desserts feature on the menu. It would have been nice to see Portuguese and Italian desserts on the menu such as Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese custard tart) or Tiramisu.

Drinks

Bottomless drinks to choose from as well as juices and mocktails. Cold water, ice and a mixed option available too. I had the Pina colada which is my favourite mocktail and it did not disappoint.

My Rating

My 4.5 rating for Farro’s is based mainly on 3 criteria, but I factor in additional observances such as cleanliness, location etc.

Food: 4.6/5

Service: 4.0/5

Atmosphere: 4.8/5

 

farro's steak options

farro’s steaks options

farro's exterior

farro's ordering

farro’s ordering

farro's entrance

farro’s entrance


English Curry Awards 2019

Last night I attended the English Curry Awards event held at the Birmingham Conference and Events Centre. Now in its 9th year, the evening event honoured those who work their hardest to perfect every meal and provide the best possible dining experience.

English Curry Awards

English Curry Awards

It was a well organised event by Oceanic Consulting. The atmosphere was fun and buzzing, and the host Tommy Sandhu kept us entertained.

The food on the night was catered by Saffron Events UK and it did not disappoint. Everything was delicious.

Saffron Events UK

Saffron Events UK

Thank you to the team at Oceanic Consulting for inviting me to the event, I’ll love to be there again for the next one!

Below are the winners for all the different categories, some that I’ve not heard of before but will be visiting at some point for sure. Have you visited any of them? Do you agree with the winners? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Be sure to check out my highlights of the night over on my Instagram page @rahema_m

Huge congratulations to all the winners:

  • Outstanding Restaurant of the Year – Prana Indian Restaurant (Cambridge)
  • The Best of Manchester Award – Asha’s Restaurant
  • The Best of Birmingham – Pushkar Cocktail Bar and Dining
  • Best Team of the Year – Indique (Manchester)
  • Best Restaurant Design & Ambience – Taj Tandoori (Cambridge)
  • Vegetarian Restaurant of the Year – Chai Paani (Leicester)
  • Nepalese Restaurant of the Year – The Great Kathmandu Restaurant (Manchester)
  • Bangladeshi Restaurant of the Year – Little Bangla (Oldbury)
  • Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year – Navadhanya (Cambridge)
  • Street Food Restaurant of the Year – Dhaba at Fifteen (Norwich)
  • Best Customer Service – Rumi by Bukhara (Liverpool)
  • South Indian Restaurant of the Year – Tharavadu (Leeds)
  • General Manager of the Year – Heritage India (Leicester)
  • Special Recognition Award – Calcutta Club (Nottingham)
  • Pakistani Restaurant of the Year – My Lahore Cafe (Birmingham)
  • New Restaurant of the Year – Dehli 6 (South Shields)
  • Curry Entrepreneur of the Year – Sam Alhuwalia (Horley)
  • Curry Queen of the Year – Bollywood Junction (Milton Keynes)
  • Critic’s Choice Restaurant of the Year – Shikara (Whitley Bay)
  • Takeaway and Home Delivery of the Year – Chutney Express Takeaway (Birmingham)
  • Chef of the Year – The Original Third Eye (Manchester)
  • Caterer of the Year – Anu Caterers (Basingstoke)
  • Most Wanted Restaurant of the Year – Urban Tandoor (Bristol)
  • Restaurant of the Year – Spice Lounge Restaurant (Mildenhall)

British Halal Food Festival – Birmingham

I attended the first British Halal Food Festival in Birmingham yesterday and it did not disappoint! I’ve been to the London one a couple of times so was super excited that there was going to be one in my home city and didn’t want to miss out.

Whether you’re a foodie or not, it was a lovely family day out and plenty of halal food choices to choose from.

I went along with my family, there were 8 of us. 6 adults and 2 children under 11.

The actual venue (Digbeth Arena) is quite large and all the stalls were outdoors. There was a tent set up with some tables and chairs where people could eat or take shelter when it was raining for a short while in the morning! The sun did come out though and it was a beautiful day for the rest of the day.

The atmosphere was fantastic – it was busy and buzzing, which meant that some of the queues for the food stalls were quite long! But we found the food we had queued up for was all worth the wait.

There were plenty of food cuisine to choose from – Indian, Greek, Jamaican, Japanese, Portuguese, Mexican to name a few. I was expecting more sweet/dessert stalls but the ones that were there had amazing food. The churros were by far the best ones I’ve had! And I’ve eaten plenty in my time 🙈 my other favourite food there were the chips. They were so nice (obviously I wasn’t counting any calories or watching what I was eating).

There was also a henna stall by a super talented henna artist, a mocktail stall, pick & mix sweets stall and some other non food stalls too.

One criticism that I have is that the event stage in my opinion wasn’t in the right place. It was situated near popular food stalls so there was a lot of people queuing up nearby and lots of noise making it difficult to hear and even see what was going on on the stage. The benches for people to sit on were not stable, one collapsed on the floor with a pregnant lady sat on it! She was fine though, but had the stage been in an area a little away from food stalls, it would have been better.

Apart from that, it was all good! Prices were not as extortionate as we were expecting, they were set out at a reasonable level.

Overall it was a great experience that could have been enhanced with maybe some live music. However, I would still recommend visiting the next one in Birmingham.

P.S. Apologies for the quality of the photos, we were too busy enjoying the food to take better photos! Just wanted to still give you an idea of what the food looked like though.

Arroz de Marisco (seafood rice)

Arroz de Marisco (seafood rice)

Meat & Eat Beef Sandwich

Meat & Eat Beef Sandwich

Chips

Chips

Jerk Chicken with Rice & Peas

Jerk Chicken with Rice & Peas

Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger

Rainbow Cake

Rainbow Cake

Churros

Churros

Pasteis de Nata

Pasteis de Nata

Bulgur Wheat Salad

I love bulgur wheat and this is a very easy to make recipe. It is perfect for a picnic, lunchboxes or a side dish. You can add any fillings of your choice and change the herbs if you prefer. 40g of feta cheese is a healthy extra A choice, so bear that in mind when adding your cheese. As always, feel free to tag me in your creations. I love seeing my recipes recreated.

Serves: 4

Syns: FREE, when using cheese as part of your healthy extra A choice

Time Taken: 20 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Bulgur Wheat Salad

Bulgur Wheat Salad

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of bulgur wheat
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 oxo vegetable cube
  • Diced red onion
  • Diced cucumber
  • Diced pepper
  • Tin of chickpeas (drained)
  • Chilli flakes
  • Chopped fresh parsley and coriander
  • Feta cheese

Method

Put the bulgur wheat in a pan with the boiling water and crumble the oxo cube to it. Cook on a low heat, covered, until all the water has evaporated and the bulgur is cooked.

Whilst the bulgur wheat is cooking, prepare and your veg and herbs you want to add to it.

Once the bulgur is cooked, use a fork to fluff up the grains and let it cool completely before adding the veg and herbs.

Mix through some feta cheese and season to taste

Ramadan 2019 Meal Planner

I posted a poll on my Instagram today asking if people wanted to see my meal plan for this Ramadan, and the majority said yes so here it is!

I have included below my main food plan for Suhoor and Iftar.

I will open my fast every day with water and a variety of fruit – watermelon, berries, mango, grapes etc. and one date (3 syns for each Medjool date). After praying I will eat my main meal with coffee and try to drink as much water as possible (I aim to drink 6-8 glasses of water, not all in one go! This will be drunk throughout the night up until Suhoor). I don’t intend on eating a dessert, although I will be making it for my family. I will be using my syns on dates instead or within my meals and I may have a cereal bar or a chocolatey treat with a coffee.

Hope this helps those following Slimming World plan. For my Food Optimising guide through Ramadan please click here.

Ramadan 2019 Meal Planner

Ramadan 2019 Meal Planner

Ramadan Mubarak x

Fish & Coconut Curry

A really simple and easy curry to make – I normally use frozen basa fillets (I let it defrost before using). The syns in this recipe come from the coconut milk, please check the syns if you use a different brand. I get the coconut milk tins from B&M Bargains (4 for ÂŁ1 – a real bargain!) and it is just the right size. Each tin is only 7 syns, divided by 3 of us works out at less than 2.5 syns per serving. I used to buy the bigger tins of coconut milk and only use half a tin and throw the rest away, so I’ve stopped doing that. This curry is lovely served with coconut rice if you don’t mind using more syns.

Serves: 3

Syns: 2.5 syns per serving

Time Taken: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Fish & Coconut Curry

Fish & Coconut Curry

 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g passata
  • 1.5 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (methi)
  • 1 veg oxo cube, crumbled
  • 165ml tin Full Moon coconut milk
  • Firm white fish fillets

Method

Spray a pan with plenty of syn free spray oil and cook the onion till lightly golden. Add hot water if the onion starts to stick to the pan.

Add the chopped garlic and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the fenugreek leaves, curry powder, crumbled up oxo cube and passata and cook the spices down for about 10 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and the fish fillets and cook on a gentle heat. Try not to stir the fish too much or you’ll end up with broken pieces. Instead, gently shake the pan when you need to.

Served with boiled basmati rice and a speedy salad.

Banana & Date Smoothie

I know a lot of people usually struggle to eat Suhoor (pre dawn meal during Ramadan) so here is a recipe that although is quite high in syns. it is still within the recommended daily syns allowance. I like to use unsweetened almond milk for this recipe for a nutty flavour but you can use any other milk of your choice. Just remember to check what the health extra allowance is for the milk you’re using. Top tip: try to use the ripest banana you have as this will make the smoothie even sweeter without having to add any extra syns for sweetening the smoothie.

Banana & Date Smoothie

Banana & Date Smoothie

 

Serves: 1

Syns: 13 syns plus part of healthy extra A choice

Time Taken: 5 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana, chopped
  • 3 Medjool dates
  • 200ml unsweetened almond milk
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

Method

Remove the pit from the dates and mix all the ingredients together. Serve immediately.