Newcastle Eats - The Post Box Ponteland

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The Post Box up in leafy Ponteland is a bit of a rainy Tuesday haunt for myself and Kris.  For some reason or another, whenever I wake up to pouring rain I always seem to suggest the drive up to the pretty little village near Newcastle. Maybe it's become ingrained in my mind as the first two times we visited it was a bit stormy, so when I opened my eyes to grey skies and the pitter patter of rain I knew there was only one place I wanted to go.

The Post Box Ponteland

The Post Box Ponteland

The Post Box Ponteland

There's one big reason both myself and Kris are big fans of The Post Box, and that is their homemade veggie sausages. Oh my lord are they good!  Normally I would never dream of passing up a meaty sausage in favour of the veggie variety, but The Post Box have completely swayed me. Apparently the recipe is a well guarded secret and I can see why.  From what I can gather it seems to be a mixture of leek, onion, cheese and mashed potato rolled in breadcrumbs and fried. I mean, if that's not getting your mouth watering like a faucet then I dunno what will.

The Post Box Ponteland

The Post Box Ponteland

Breakfast at The Post Box Ponteland

For the purposes of pictorial variety we decided only one of us could order the vegetarian breakfast, we flipped a coin and I lost. Woe is me. Still, I wasn't short of options.  Torn between The Post Box Eggs (their take on eggs Benedict with pesto, hollandaise and haloumi) and the hash bowl I decided on the latter, it was the chorizo that won me over here.

Chorizo Hash at The Post Box Ponteland

Vegetarian Breakfast at The Post Box Ponteland

The bill came to just over £20 for two meals, two hot drinks and a large orange juice, which I think is pretty reasonable considering how delicious everything was. I left with a very full tummy and plans to return very soon.  Anyone with as much halloumi on the menu as The Post Box is always going to be in my good books.


Breakfast at The Post Box Ponteland

The Post Box,
11 Main Street,
Ponteland,
Newcastle Upon Tyne,
NE20 9NH

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Blueberry and White Chocolate Cake

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If there was ever a cake made for breakfast time, this is it.  Filled to bursting with white chocolate chips and juicy blueberries you'll be hard pressed to find a more decident breakfast treat.

Blueberry White Chocolate Cake

The soured cream in this cake creates a moistness like no other. I ate this cake over the space of a week and it stayed so squishy and moist.  I have to admit, this is one of my very favorite loaf cakes I've ever made. I can't wait to try it out with forraged blackberries over the next few weeks.

Blueberry White Chocolate Cake
I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did. In fact, I'm off to make another one for the weekend. Happy Baking.

Blueberry White Chocolate Cake

Blueberry White Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
  • 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large, free range eggs
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 150ml soured cream
  • 220g blueberries
  • 150g white chocolate chips

  • For the frosting :
  • 180g full fat cream cheese
  • 100g icing sugar
Cooking Directions:
  1. Line a loaf tin with baking parchment and preheat the oven to 175°C.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer down to low and add the eggs in one at a time, beating well between each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  3. Add half of the flour, the baking powder and half of the soured cream and beat to combine. Add the remaining flour and soured cream and mix again. Stir through half of the blueberries and all of the white chocolate chips, pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 1hr - 1hr 15minutes.
  4. Allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before transfering the cake to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  5. When the cake is cooled, make the frosting. Whip the cream cheese and icing sugar together until creamy and then spread over the top of the cake. Scatter with the remaining blueberries and serve.
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Chickpea & Chili Veggie Burgers

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If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have noticed that I enjoy a good burger.  They're my biggest weakness. I can be on the biggest health kick ever, but I crumble like a cheap Christmas card the second someone mentions burger and fries . Despite being president of the burger fan club, I hardly ever make them at home, and I certainly never even attempted to make a veggie burger.  I always thought it was best left to the professionals,  I was wrong. These chickpea chili burgers are some of the best veggie burgers I've ever had. Kinda like a cross between falafel and a burger, you can style them up however you like. Smothered in mayo and ketchup or maybe slathered in houmous and tzatziki. You can't go wrong!

Even the most hardened carnivore won't miss meat with these hearty handfuls.

These burgers freeze perfectly, so depending on the size of your food processor you can double up on the mixture and pop some patties in the freezer for another time. I've got six more just sitting, waiting for a rainy day. 

Even the most hardened carnivore won't miss meat with these hearty handfuls.

So, why not celebrate national burger day by whipping up a batch of these delicious chickpea chili burgers? Even the most hardened carnivore won't miss the meat.  

I simply can't wait to start experimenting with different combinations.  What's your favourite burger? I'm always looking for inspiration.

Even the most hardened carnivore won't miss meat with these hearty handfuls.

Even the most hardened carnivore won't miss meat with these hearty handfuls.

Chickpea Chili Burgers

Ingredients:
  • 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp hot paprika
  • 1 red chili, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1 large, free range egg
  • 80g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 brioche buns, toasted
  • 1 tomato sliced
  • 1 little gem lettuce
  • 4tbsp houmous
  • 4tbsp red coleslaw
  • 4 slices of cheese
  • Drizzle of chili sauce
Cooking Directions:
  1. Place the chickpeas, cumin, paprika, chili, half the coriander, the egg and some seasoning into the bowl of a food processor and whizz up to a chunky paste. Scrape into a bowl and mix in the breadcrumbs and the diced onions. Form into four burger patties and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot then turn the heat down to medium low. Fry the burgers for 5 minutes on each side. To serve, slather a tbsp of houmous on the bottom bun, top with a leaf of lettuce followed by the burger, slice of cheese, tbsp of coleslaw and a drizzle of chili sauce. Sprinkle with the left over coriander and sandwich with the top bun.
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Lemon Zucchini Loaf

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Sometimes you just have to say "to hell with the diet, I want cake for breakfast".  That's exactly what I thought earlier this week, so I set about to make an every so slightly better-for-you cake thats acceptable to eat for breakfast. That's where this lemon zucchini (or courgette to you and me) loaf was born.

Lemon Zucchini Loaf, who said carrots are the only vegetables allowed in cake?
 
If you like carrot cake you're gonna lose your mind at this zucchini loaf.  I absolutely love to add veg to cakes and bakes, it adds a moistness that simply cannot be beaten.  I mean, I made this cake on a Monday, we finished it off on Friday and it was still just as moist and delicious as the day I made it. Nowt that's what you want from a cake, if you ask me.

Lemon Zucchini Loaf, who said carrots are the only vegetables allowed in cake?

Lemon Zucchini Loaf, who said carrots are the only vegetables allowed in cake?

This loaf is so adaptable. I added grated lemon zest but you could substitute this for lime. Add a handful of poppy seeds or even leave the citrus out all together and throw in a teaspoon of cinnamon for a nice spicy number.  Plus, if you fancy making this baby dairy free, just sub in soya yogurt for greek yogurt and Bob's your mam's sister's husband.  They're all gonna be winners.

Lemon Zucchini Loaf, who said carrots are the only vegetables allowed in cake?

Lemon Zucchini Loaf, who said carrots are the only vegetables allowed in cake?


Lemon Zucchini Bread


Ingredients:
  • 225g grated courgette
  • 200g sugar
  • 120ml sunflower oil
  • 120ml plain, full fat yogurt
  • 1 large, free range egg
  • 3 lemons, zested
  • 220g self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder

  • For the frosting:
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 3tbsp lemon juice
Cooking Directions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 175°C, grease and line a loaf tin and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer add the grated courgette, sugar, oil, egg, yogurt and lemon zest. Mix together until combined. Slowly add the flour and baking powder to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin. Once cool, remove from the tin and set aside while you make the glaze.
  4. To make the glaze mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together to make a thick drizzle. If it's too thick add a little extra juice, too thin add more icing sugar. You want it to drip down the side of your cake. Drizzle over the loaf, allow to set for about 20 minutes and serve.
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Peanut Butter Pretzel Popcorn

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I'd like to consider myself a bit of a cinephile, a total homebody who's idea of a perfect night is spent on the sofa, curled up in front of a great film with a cat on my lap.  Those who follow me on Twitter probably already know that my genera of choice is horror, I was brought up on scary movies and it's an obsession that has only grown bigger with age. Now, if there's two things that go hand in hand, it's a great horror film and a overflowing bowl of popcorn.  It even works as something to hide behind if you're of the more squeamish natured.  Popcorn will protect you from Jason, I promise.


I always pop my own corn at home, store bought just doesn't cut the mustard with me. It never has the flavour punch I need, and don't even get me started on that awful sickly caramel number. Gross!  Not only is it super cheap to make your own popcorn but it's fast and the flavour combinations are endless.  One of my favourites is this peanut butter pretzel number. It's moreish, sweet and the pretzels add just enough crunch to stop you getting bored.  Perfect.

What is your favorite movie to enjoy with a big old bowl of popcorn? Any other horror addicts out there?


Peanut Butter Pretzel Popcorn


Ingredients:
  • 60g popcorn kernels, popped in hot oil.
  • 200g salted pretzels
  • 150g honey
  • 60g golden caster sugar
  • 125g creamy peanut butter
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 226g bag of mini Reeces peanut butter cups
Cooking Directions:
  1. Place your popped popcorn and pretzels in a large bowl, mix them together and set aside.
  2. Heat the honey, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large, heavy bottomed pan. Bring to the boil and allow to bubble for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir through the peanut butter until melted and runny.
  3. Pour the melted peanut butter mixture over the popcorn and stir to combine ensuring all of the kernels are covered. Stir through the Reeces Cups, season with a sprinkling of salt and serve.
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