As you walk towards the busy Bristol Waterfront, opposite the fountains and the Bristol Hippodrome you will find Aluna. A Bar and Restaurant priding themselves on providing a truly unique experience. We headed to the Bar Entrance and were met with a thriving yet relaxed atmosphere. It seemed the perfect place to let off steam from a manic week.

We were shown through to our cosy table, tucked away in the corner of the restaurant. I honestly couldn’t get over the gorgeous, unusual design of Aluna. I was definitely taking tips for my own interiors. The velvet seats were so comfortable and the lighting was perfect, giving it that much needed relaxed atmosphere. The walls are filled with copper/golden mirrors and old-fashioned prints. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before so it’s hard to describe. You’ll just have to go and see for yourself.

Aluna Bristol Review

Aluna Bristol Review

Aluna Bristol Review

After reading through the extensive menu we settled on our first drinks. Sam had the Lava Lamp, an orange based cocktail and I went for the Raspberry Sling from the Mocktail menu. The mixologists really live up to their name of ‘Social Scientists’. Sam’s Lava Lamp cocktail arrived bubbling away, like its name would suggest, and stayed that way for a good 15 minutes. Absolutely fascinating to someone like me that doesn’t have a clue how these things work. My Raspberry Sling was divine, it was a sweet, but mildly bitter homemade lemonade.

Whilst we were enjoying our cocktails, we browsed the menu and decided on our food. There was a vast menu, with things from pasta dishes, to burgers, to Thai curry and Lobster to choose from. There was plenty of choice on the Asian and European inspired menu. Even for a fussy vegetarian like myself. I chose the Bruschetta Pomadoro to start and Sam had Nachos topped with chicken. Although I was tempted to ask for a vegetarian version of the Nachos which I’m sure they would have done but I always get Nachos so I thought I’d try something different. I was pleased I did, the Bruschetta was lovely, a perfect combination of flavours with the tomatoes, rocket and olive oil. But I must say the couple of Nachos I stole from Sam’s plate were pretty good too.

Aluna Bristol Review

Aluna Bristol Review

For our mains, I had a tough choice between the Thai Vegetable Curry and the Jerk Vegetable Wrap. I chose the latter but swapped my chips for sweet potato fries [of course]. Sam had the Aluna Burger but was tempted by the Lobster. My wrap was thoroughly enjoyable considering some of the fillings were those that I wouldn’t usually go for, such as courgettes and olives. The only thing I would say is that it wasn’t very spicy, which is ideal if you’re not too keen on spicy foods. But I would have liked a bit more of a kick to mine. The sweet potato fries were divine, they made the meal for me.

Aluna Bristol Review

Aluna Bristol Review

We were both absolutely stuffed, but in true us style, we couldn’t resist dessert. Especially where chocolate brownies and cheesecake are concerned. Sam and I are almost identical with our dessert choices which is strange considering we’re polar opposites when it comes to most other foods. Both cheesecake and chocolate brownie are our favourites so we just had to order both and go halves on each. And oh my they were gorgeous.  My mouth is watering thinking of that chocolate brownie, absolutely delicious, melt in the mouth, rich chocolate. But if I thought that was dreamy, the cheesecake was even better. A perfect creamy cheesecake, with the perfect crunchy base and a bittersweet mango topping.

It was time for one last cocktail before heading home. Sam wanted to try the Aluna Secret Concoction as he was told this one was set on fire. I had the Mixed Berry Mojito, again from the Mocktails menu. Honestly who needs alcohol when the mocktails taste this divine? The Aluna Secret Concoction lived up to expectations and filled the restaurant with fire as it was bought over to our table. I tried to get a photo but it all happened so quickly. This one smelt of roasted marshmallows and tasted like strawberry milkshake apparently. Different to any cocktail Sam had ever had before, he was really fond of this one.

One of the main things worth noting about Aluna is the price. Aluna has the looks and feels of quite a luxury restaurant. The atmosphere is wonderful – despite it being Saturday night, their busiest time of the week, we were really able to sit back and relax. And the staff were second to none. All of this considered, I was more than impressed with the prices at Aluna. My wrap was only £9.95 and Sam’s burger was £11.95. Desserts started from £4.95 and starters the same. They even have a 2-course lunch menu for just £9.95 so I’ll definitely be going back to try some of the other things on the menu.

Have you eaten at Aluna before? Would you pick any of the foods/drinks we tried?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

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Collaborative post. As always, opinions are 100% my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information.

And we’re on to part two of my Vegetarian Meal Ideas series. I’m literally [hate myself for using that word] going to take photos of everything I make and try to get all the recipes live for you. As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’m cooking so much more recently and really starting to enjoy it. Vegetarian Chilli is something I regularly order when I go out to eat, it’s one of my favourites. I thought I’d attempt my own version, and my gosh, as much as I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, it was the best one I’d ever had. I posted the photo on Twitter and so many of you asked for the recipe I though I just had to post it. Although I’m my own worst critic and hate this photo of it. I’m sure I’ll come back and change it soon enough.

Vegetarian Chilli Vegetarian Meal Ideas

Ingredients:

Serves 4

1 yellow pepper [diced]

1 large red onion [diced]

1 clove garlic [finely diced]

1 tin mixed bean salad [I buy this at Tesco]

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 red chilli [finely chopped]

1 green chilli [finely chopped]

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp cumin

Chilli powder to taste

Rice/grains to serve

Method:

Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 

1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Add the diced pepper and onion and simmer on a low heat for around 10 minutes until starting to soften.

2. Prepare and start to cook your rice/grains before continuing with the chilli. I accompanied my chilli with Tricolour Quinoa on this occasion.

3. Add the tinned tomatoes, beans, chilli, garlic, spices and everything else to the pan with the peppers and onions. Cook on a low heat for around 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce starts to thicken. You may need to add a little boiling water at this point if the sauce thickens too quickly.

4. Add any more spices/flavours/salt/pepper to taste. You may want to add chilli powder or extra herbs such as coriander.

Enjoy…

There really isn’t much to this recipe at all. I know cooking from scratch can seem a little daunting at first but it’s really a case of putting everything in a pan and hoping for the best. And a bit of trial and error of course. I’ve been told that dried/fresh coriander is a nice addition to this dish but I personally couldn’t think of anything worse. But it’s all down to personal preference. Depending on the strength of your chillies, this dish is already quite hot, but there’s the option of adding chilli powder if necessary. I usually add mine to my personal portion as I like a lot of spice. The paprika gives this a lovely smokey flavour, the cinnamon makes it sweet and chilli makes it hot, such a perfect combination. In my opinion anyway.

Please send me photos if you have a go at making this Vegetarian Chilli, I’d love to see them.

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

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Since moving into my new house [I know I know, I still need to get the after photos live] I’ve been doing so much cooking. And really starting to enjoy it again. To begin with it felt like a bit of a chore, but now I’ve got into more of a routine, and my cupboards are usually fully stocked, I’m really loving it. I’m sure I have a similar recipe on my blog, but this Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry is one of my favourites. I posted this photo of it on Twitter and a couple of you asked for the recipe. So without further ado, here’s an easy, made from scratch, Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry. Of course you’re welcome to use the pre-made sauce jars to make it even easier.

Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry

Ingredients:

Serves 4

1 large red onion [finely chopped]

2 cloves of garlic

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 green chilli [finely chopped]

1/2 red chilli [finely chopped]

1/2 pint of water

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp cumin

A pinch of cinamon

1 yellow pepper [diced]

2 large sweet potatoes [diced]

1/2 can of chickpeas [drained]

A handful of chopped herbs

Rice/quinoa/grains to serve

Chilli powder to taste

Method:

Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 30 minutes

1. Place diced sweet potatoes in a pan of cold water and bring it to the boil. Then leave to simmer and soften for around 10-15 minutes, whilst you’re preparing the sauce/other vegetables.

2. Whilst your sweet potatoes are cooking. Heat 2tbsp olive oil in a large pan. Then add your onions and peppers. Cook on a low heat for around 10 minutes until they start to soften.

3. Add your tinned tomatoes, garlic, chickpeas, chillies, and all other spices/herbs to your pan. You can be experimental with this bit. I don’t think I ever use the exact spices in any of my curries. Flavour to taste, adding chilli powder if you feel it needs an extra kick. It’ll all depend on the strength of the chillies (and how hot you like it). Drain the sweet potatoes and add them to the mixture.

4. Before you move onto the next step. Remember to start cooking your rice/grains so they’re ready at the same time as your curry. On this occasion I used long grain rice but I also accompany my curries/chillies with Tricolour Quinoa.

5. Cook on a low heat for around 15/20 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. Adding the boiling water if required if you feel the sauce is thickening a little too much. I usually end up adding around 1/2 a pint of water in the cooking process. It makes the curry go further too.

Enjoy…

Cinnamon is one of my secret ingredients when it comes to hot curries/chilli etc. I find just adding a little [half a teaspoon] gives it that perfect initial sweetness. Ready for the spice from the chilli powder to kick in afterwards. Although I’ve marketed this curry as vegetarian as part of my vegetarian meal ideas series, it is also suitable for vegans. I sometimes add spinach to this curry which is a nice addition.

Have you made anything like this Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry before? Will you be giving this a go?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

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As many of my regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of the LighterLife Fast 5:2 diet. I’ve been using the products regularly for around 6 months now, since January this year. And in that time have also taken part in their #ICanDoThat campaign with my Mum for Mother’s Day. As a part of this challenge, Mum also started the LighterLife Fast 5:2 diet and was immediately hooked (especially to the Chocolate Orange Shakes). I thought as we’ve both been using the products for a fair few month’s now it would be nice to answer a few questions about the diet, for any one that is considering trying the products. Please leave a comment if you have any further questions and we’ll be sure to answer them.

Go Ape Forest Of Dean LighterLife Fast

Vegetarian Meal Plan with LighterLife Fast

What are your favourite products?

Ami: I mention these again and again but I love the Strawberry Shakes and the Nut Fudge Bars. I also love the Strawberry and Apple pieces from the Light Bites Snack range.

Mum: My favourite by far is the Chocolate Orange Shake, then the Chocolate Raisin Bar. I love the Lentil Masala Snack Pot too.

How many times do you Fast? Which days?

Ami: It’s a 5:2 diet so you Fast for two days and eat normally for the other five. I tend to fast on a Tuesday and Thursday. I don’t want to limit myself on Friday’s/weekends as these are the days I often eat out.

Mum: I think what I’m doing in the day and pick the ones I’m less likely to indulge on. For example, if someone is making a cake at work, I choose a different day to Fast.

How is LighterLife Fast different to other diets?

Ami: The products are lovely and it’s not just shakes like many other diets. It’s nice to be able to have chocolate and crisps as part of a balanced diet. I really don’t feel like I’m fasting.

Mum: It’s just so easy to fit around normal life whether at home or away. It’s so quick and easy to follow.

Are the meals complicated to make?

Ami: They take no time at all, Shepherds Pie only takes around 2 minutes in the microwave.

Mum: They take maybe 5 minutes, at the most.

How much weight have you lost?

Ami: I’ve lost around 6-7lbs so far but I haven’t been sticking to the diet as religiously lately and my weight has been yoyo-ing a little. I lost 4lbs in one week on LighterLife Fast.

Mum: I’ve not lost any weight but stayed the same whilst being on it. Despite over indulging at times. I didn’t want to lose any weight but I do feel less bloated.

 How much does it cost?

Ami: Products can be bought at Superdrug here and there’s usually some really good offers on, including the current buy one get one half price offer, meaning it costs around £15 per week.

Mum: About £15 per week.

Do you feel hungry on your Fast Days?

Ami: I did initially, I think it may have been a shock to the system but after the first couple of days I really started to enjoy it.

Mum: I don’t feel hungry at all.

Can you exercise on a Fast Day?

Ami: I treat them like a normal day, just make sure you keep well hydrated.

Mum: I do exercise on a Fast Day but unlike other diets I’ve tried I don’t feel lethargic and have as much energy as I usually would.

Is there much to choose from?

Ami: SO much to choose from. I was amazed, there’s soups, pasta, spaghetti, chocolate bars and so much more.

Mum: There’s loads of choice. (You can view the range here).

Can you Fast whilst at work?

Ami: I find Fast Days just as easy at work as I do at home. Some meals require a microwave but you can always stick to the pots, shakes and bars if you don’t have one available.

Mum: The diet is very easy to follow while at work. The Fastpots are the easiest products to have.

Have you had any side effects? 

Ami: Nope, nothing that I can recall.

Mum: No side effects at all.

Do the products actually taste nice?

Ami: Yes I genuinely enjoy them, especially my favourites mentioned above. The bars (especially the Nut Fudge and Crunchy Crispy Peanut) seem like treats to me. I have the shakes on non Fast days as I enjoy them so much.

Mum: Yes, definitely. I didn’t think I’d like the Shepherds Pie but it’s one of my favourites.

What are your tips for someone starting the 5:2 diet?

Ami: Try all of the products, even if you think you probably won’t like them. I was surprised how much I enjoyed some of the products that I wouldn’t usually choose.

Mum: Just think about your life and commitments then choose a day where they are more likely to stick to it.

Have you tried the LighterLife Fast 5:2 diet? Do you have any other questions to ask?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

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This month’s Degustabox was a BBQ theme. What’s not to love about that? And it really is jam packed with food and drink products perfect for that Summer BBQ. Sam bought me a new picnic basket recently, and I bought some melamine plates/bowls so I can’t wait to fill it/them with copious amount of food and head to the park, or beach, for a BBQ. I can just imagine it now. I’m hoping there’s more of a summer to come. You wouldn’t think it with the amount of rain we’ve been having recently!  I can’t wait to dig into this month’s box, and there’s still time to order yours. Remember; use UFDHB for £7 off your Degustabox Monthly Food Subscription Box.

Degustabox Monthly Food Subscription Box BBQ Theme

Kicking off this month’s BBQ themed box are three cook sauces/flavourings. A Capiscana Brazillian Chilli and Coconut Sauce and two Schwartz Spice Mixes (BBQ Pulled Chicken and Spicy Buffalo Wings). The Chilli and Coconut Sauce is Vegan and the Schwartz ‘flavours’ are Vegetarian. The recipe card in the Degustabox suggests using these for Sweet Potato Wedges which I’ll definitely try and I’m sure Sam will enjoy them on his chicken. Likely to be accompanied by one of the two Westons ‘Rosie’s Pig Ciders.

My favourites in this month’s box are the two Haribo Summer Frenzy Starmix/Tangfastics bags. I was going to buy these the other week but managed to resist. But obviously someone wanted me to try them. Berry flavours are my favourite when it comes to anything so I couldn’t wait to open the Starmix Berry Mix. Which of course you can see I did considering the ones in the above photo were the only ones left. And I left them purely for the purpose of the photo. I’m surprised I haven’t opened the cute little Walkers ‘Scottie Dogs’ yet. Eyeing them up as I’m writing this though…

There were lots and lots of drinks in the Summer BBQ Degustabox. But then what’s a BBQ without a few drinks? I don’t drink alcohol so I was pleased to see many different non-alcoholic options alongside the Westons Cider. There was a little bottle of Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine (which was in another Degustabox and I wasn’t too keen on), a Berrywhite Cranberry and Apple drink and two Enrj Energy Juices which look lovely. Although I bet they’re full of sugar.

You won’t be surprised to hear that I was pleased to see two items from the ‘Light Bites’ Snack Range amongst the other products. Especially a Superfood Fruit Bar. I’ve been working with LighterLife Fast for quite a while and have been lucky enough to try all of their products so I was happy to see a couple of my favourites.

I’ve been snacking on the Original O’s Cumin and Sesame Nibbles throughout the day recently and I’m really enjoying them. Especially dipped in my favourite Red Pepper Hommous but they’re lovely on their own too. The last product in this month’s box are the Spoon Apple and Peanut Granola. I’m loving all this cereal in the recent Degustaboxes. This is a ‘heathly’ Granola with none of the nasty, unnatural ingredients. I’m really looking forward to trying this. I’ll be enjoying it with my favourite Alpro Almond Milk.

Do you subscribe to the Degustabox Monthly Food Subscription Box? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

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