Autumn menu at Pizza Express

Partly to congratulate myself on being so organised, but mostly to try out the new menu, Mum and I went to Brentwood’s Pizza Express for dinner* on Tuesday night. Carb loading for an 8 hour flight the next day? Yes. Ha.
The restaurant is at Wilson’s Corner, and I’ve been a couple of times before, so we parked just up the road and dodged the rain just in time to get inside. Our waitress, Lisa, came to take our drinks order, and offered us some pre-starters. Mum had a little bowl of olives, and I had a large glass of wine 😉

For starters, I had the bruschetta, and mum had the new calamari with caesar dressing. My bruschetta was lovely, and mum’s calamari was gone so fast I can only assume it was good! At the moment, Pizza Express are doing a special pumpkin version of their infamous dough balls, which I’ll definitely be going back to test out!

 

I decided to have the new Risotto Mio for my main, which is technically one of the new starters, but they also offer it as a main portion. Chestnut & closed cup mushrooms in a creamy white wine risotto with parsley, garlic oil and pine kernels, finished with Gran Milano cheese, fresh parsley and truffle oil. It was huge, and delicious, and I wish risotto was more photogenic.

Another of the new items on the menu is the Pennette Bolognese, which Mum opted for. A rich beef, porcini mushroom, tomato and garlic Bolognese sauce with pennette pasta, finished with Gran Milano cheese and fresh parsley.
 

We also had a side order of the new Potato Nicciola, which are little fluffly baked potato balls, with cheese on top. Yum. Definitely a good choice.

Stuffed from our mains, we decided to split a dessert, so we went for the new Dessert Trio, three sweet treats to share: gluten-free Chocolate Brownie with fresh strawberry, Lemon Posset Crunch and two scoops of Primo Gelato with a chocolate straw. We switched the gelato for lemon sorbet, and it was lovely.
 

Completely full, we waddled back to the car and home, where Dave got a panicked phonecall from me worrying that I didn’t have enough jumpers, and would I need more socks? and then I went to bed to get up at 5am for the airport. Meep!

Our dinner was lovely, and I’m definitely planning to go back to try out the bits that I didn’t. I should mention as well, that Lisa was great. She was super friendly, and came to chat to us, and made good recommendations. I’ve got a little survey card to fill out – which I’ll do when I’m back home because it’s in my other bag – but I wanted to mention here how good she was. Hi Lisa!

Disclaimer* – I was invited to review the new menu at Pizza Express, but all writing (apart from the menu descriptions, obvs) and opinions are always my own!

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An Edinburgh Visit

Last weekend I had another little trip up to Edinburgh, after booking Florence and the Machine tickets for Rory, Sean, & I months ago. Thankfully, this trip didn’t involve any mega early mornings, or any megabusses, which made a nice change!!

I got to Edinburgh on Saturday, and headed up to Kirsty‘s lovely new flat in the sunshine, and met Fitz. So cute.

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Kirsty – Manu and Ashwati think Fitz looks like Toothless in the picture on the right!

We went out to The Black Fox on Leith Walk for dinner, and it was delicious. We all had pizzas, and shared some spicy cajun chips, washed down with a couple of rum & cokes. Lovely.

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Veggie pizza at the Black Fox

Kirsty had a girly cocktail night planned at her friends, and invited me along. We hopped in a cab and went to Miriam’s where we stayed, chatting and drinking Morrissey’s (I wish I could tell you what was in that cocktail, but I don’t know! We gave all the cocktail equally good names though – ha) until FOUR AM. No idea how that happened, but all the girls were lovely, and I am hugely jealous of Miriam’s vinyl collection.

On Sunday, I headed to the NMS because it is my favourite, and had some breakfast and a little mooch around, before popping to Primark to see if any of my pals were around. I went to meet Kirsty and Adam for some lunch at Treacle and had the biggest banh-mi sandwich I’ve ever seen.

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I lovelovelovelove this place.

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Roasted cauliflower banh-mi at Treacle

Post-lunch, we went back to Kirsty’s and decided that an evening in would be nice, being as we’d not gone to bed until almost 5am. Kirsty was knackered, so I curled up on the sofa with Rivka Galchen’s American Innovations. If you like short stories with female narrators, that give perfect, abrupt endings, this is awesome. I’d started it on the plane, and finished it before dinner. In what’s starting to sound like a super foody Sunday, Adam made veggie chili and homemade flatbread and it was amazing. (Adam, can I please have that chili recipe?!)
We watched Pride, and Kirsty cried at the end. If you haven’t seen it – do. It’s about the miners strike, and the lesbian & gay activist group that helped them. It’s so, so good.

Monday was Florence day, and I went to meet Rory and Sean after we all had outfit dilemmas because Scottish weather. After an hour on the bus to Glasgow, we went to find a new jumper for Rory and he was much happier. Haha. A quick bit of dinner, and we went off to the SSE Hydro, which is a much bigger venue than I expected! Florence was, obviously, amazing, and supported by The Staves, who Sean decided to fall in love with (“the middle one because she looks like the Scarlet Witch”). There was lots of dancing, Rory kept making friends with annoying drunk women, and those two are my favourite.

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Florence!!

We magically managed to get straight in a cab afterwards, and debated the difficulties of Rory being a white Scottish boy in a world that won’t accept that he just wants to dance like Beyoncé (“Fuck the highland fling; I want to dutty wine”), and also that slut dropping makes your thighs burn the next day. Very true. Ha.

Tuesday was my last day, so after cuddles with Fitz, I had a wander around town, and then met Kirsty for our now-traditional Taste of Italy lunch. Ha. It was yummy. A quick dash back to hers, and I went to get on the airport bus to go home.

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The Royal Mile in the sunshine, banana bread breakfast at Pep & Fodder, and Ryanair’s finest views

I had an awesome weekend; it was very much needed, and much less rushed than my mad 22 hour trip last month. I didn’t really get to catch up much with Kirsty last time I was up, so it was really nice, and Rory and Sean make me laugh until my stomach hurts. Edinburgh makes me ridiculously happy, and it was nice to have time to just wander around, and eat scones in the museum, and browse through the charity shops. Lovely.

I’m trying to make sure I have things planned to do, because it seems to be working much better for my head, to have things to look forward to, and it makes me much happier. Next month I’m finally going to Canada, and I can’t even think properly about how excited I am; then Ella Eyre with Polly in November; another quick trip to Edinburgh with Madden & Jack (and Francis if he ever buys his ticket!); and then maaaaaybe New York with Dave in January. It’s kind of a double edged sword, having friends in all different countries, but it does mean lots of trips. Ha.

Vegan Life : July/August

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I’ve just had a cup of tea and a read through of the latest issue of Vegan Life Magazine, and now I have designs on attempting to make vegan pizza. Moreover, I’m now pencilling a trip to Colchester in for the Vegan Fest next weekend, and desperately want to go back to Berlin after making food recommendations on Twitter earlier this week, and now reading about Berlin being the best vegan city (it totally is. I’d be vegan in a heartbeat in Berlin).

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Vegan Life are sharing some vegan pizza recipes over on their site – I’d love to know if you have a go at making one!!

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Berlin is best! TAKE ME BACK!!

Vegan Life offer subscriptions from £24.50 for 10 issues over 1 year.

**I was asked to become a Vegan Life blogger, and receive a digital subscription in return for my reviews and/or blog posts. All writing and opinions are, as ever, my own.