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Give Me Leeeeeeoooon!

I first ventured into Leon when we moved to London 2 years ago. I was AMAZED by the food on offer… and even more amazed at the price. Then the food came and you guess it, it was indeed AMAZING. So amazing that we went and bought the Leon cookbook as soon as it hit the shelves.

You can buy the Leon Cookbook on Amazon here.

We were even that quick that our copy was signed and sealed by the genius that is Allegra herself.

Anyway, I’d like to share a recipe that we frequently cook, from this wonderful cookbook, at home. This is called ‘Simon And Karen’s Harmony Supper’, may also be known as  Leon BOOM SOUP. This soup is perfect on a Monday so you can throw in all the left over veg from your Sunday lunch (I do hope you cook Sunday lunch!)

This recipe serves 2 – with some leftovers.

1 Medium sweet potato – peeled and sliced into circles.

600ml Chicken stock – fresh is best, but we use the Knorr Stock Pots (they’re amaze). If you use stock cubes, try and use less cube than the packet says, it’s usually quite salty – yack!

2-3 Tablespoons root ginger – depending on the fire you like! We use loads in this recipe.

2 Chicken breasts off the bone chopped into chunks – you can leave these out. We usually do unless we have some chicken or turkey lurking in the fridge!

1/2 Head of broccoli – cut into pieces.

100g French beans – topped and tailed.

A small handful of coriander, chopped.


How to make it.

Put the sweet potato, stock and ginger into a deep, wide pan and bring to a rolling boil for a couple of minutes before turning down to summer for 5 more.

Now put the chicken pieces in and keep cooking for a further 5 minutes. (You can brown this off beforehand if your like me and like your chicken a little bit more cooked…). Keep cooking for another 5 minutes.

Add the broccoli and beans, stir well, season and cook for a final 3 minutes.

Finish with the fresh coriander.


I like to also hoy a little bit of soy and chilli flakes into the mix as it’s served on the table.

Give it a whirl, once you’ve had this beautiful boom soup you’ll never look back!

You can buy the Leon Cookbook on Amazon here.

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Filed under cooking, Entertainment., Everyday Life., Fashion Trends, Fashion., Judy Pink, leon restaurants, London, Uncategorized, www.clairebriston.com

Vapiano’s London.

Went to VAPIANO’s on Saturday after shopping in the West End. This is one of our fave eateries when we’re in that neck of the woods. The food, atmosphere and and price point is amazing. I understand that not everyone will like Vapianos (self service, sit where you like affair) but do not knock it until you try their fresh pasta or pizzas – they are out of this world. AND CHEAP too. My faves are the Salame Pizza (£5!) or the Bolognase with Penne Pasta (not just a normal Bolognese btw, its amazing and beyond tasty!), while James loves the same pizza and a pasta that has fresh figs and meat in? LUSH.

It’s all completely fresh made how you want with extras or whatever you don’t like taken out – plus you get to see the chef’s make your dish right infront of you! ;o BOOM. YUM.


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Filed under Everyday Life., Judy Pink, London

Our bitter disappointment at As You Like It and a rubbish evening….

Before I carry on from my previous blog, and the fact I got back from London 2 days ago, I MUST tell all about our ‘run in’ with As You Like It in Jesmond (although its blatantly Sandyford and they just want to sound posh), Newcastle.

We have been visiting As You Like It for around 8 months and have left with a beaming smile and a very full belly everytime. As You Like It as a restaurant is very very special, the interiors are amazing, and the food is spectacular (all local produce). The food and drinks are expensive, but the atmosphere is beyond anything you’ve experienced before, so its usually well worth the trek and entering with a full purse.

Like with the majority of restaurants, anywhere in the country, perhaps the world, you cannot book a table for less than a party of 6 people. Even though we know this, when we’ve been previously we’ve tried booking a table, especially when we’ve had family up, but As You Like It have always said ‘sorry but we cant accept reservations for less than 6′. Even last time James’ mum and dad visited for a special meal, I rang and they STILL wouldn’t accomodate a table of 4, and just said to ‘come along and we’ll sort you out when you arrive’. AND THAT WAS A SUPER BUSY DECEMBER SATURDAY EVENING… we STILL got a beautiful table after waiting around 30 minutes… and that was at about 8:30pm, so clearly it was really busy.

SO this Saturday (16th Feb), we obviously didn’t try and book a table, but got to the restaurant at 7pm! SUPER EARLY to make sure we could get a table at some point in the evening… we didn’t mind having to sit at a table in the bar and drink until a table was made available either. But we got to the front entrance and were greeted by ‘kerry’, who told us we were not getting a table without a reservation! I WAS MORTIFIED. She reckoned that you could book a table, any time of the day, any day of the week, for ANY AMOUNT OF PEOPLE, and she also reckoned that had been commonplace for “around 6 months”; which was a blatant lie. She was unaccommodating, and unhelpful. She did not offer us a seat at the bar to wait and frankly, her service was below par. James suggested us coming back in an hour or so, or waiting around, but she held her reservations clipboard close to her chest and shuck her brassy blonde hair at us. RUDE.

SOOOOO… i called up As You Like It about 20 mins later and asked if there would be any tables available later in the evening, she said there would be a few tables available in the Cabaret Lounge, but these seats were not even offered to us at the time of our visit. Making us even more angry, and to be honest, upset. All i’ve been thinking about the past few weeks is “i cant wait to go for our special meal at As You Like It!”, and now all I want to do is ruin their reputation if i’m honest! We’ve talked non-stop to our family, friends, and even the general public about how amazing the restaurant, food, interiors and the ‘service’ is. Now i just feel a bitter resentment to the restaurant, and indeed the “Vibrant Ventures” chain.

So we were starving at this point, having only had scrambled eggs on toast and a bottle of bucks fizz alllllll day. We couldn’t get a taxi, it was absolutely beyond freezing, and by the time we finally got into town, most places were fully booked. We ended up at Prima on the Quayside… we got a table after 20 mins, so we were like ‘PHEW!’. The table we were given was next to the door, and with people in and out smoking, it was FREEZING. I kpet my coat on because I was that cold. We finally got another table just opposite, it was still cold, but bareable. We had our starter, then our main came. I’d ordered Sirloin Steak Al Pepe, and James had ordered Sirloin Steak Dianne. However, James’ was correct, but I was given 2 SMALL, may I add, medallions, which were also £5 more expensive. The foreign waitress took the dish away and said my new steak would be ten mins or so…(since when did steak take more than 5 minutes anyway!??) so James had to eat his as it was going cold so quickly… we had no apology at all, just lots of stares from other waiters and the manager! horrendous. After such a shit evening all we wanted was the bill, but everyone kept walking by, it was left to the chef behind the pizza oven to shout a waitress over! THEN we get the sodding bill and we were charged for the medallions! FURIOUS. After eventually squaring up the CORRECT bill, and still without an apology we left without leaving a tip.

I am now in the process of writing a strongly worded letter to As You Like It. I probably sound really petty about it, and it shouldnt have ruined our night like it did…. but it was a special occasion, and we were given appalling service, PLUS we were LIED TO! you never know, we might actually get something out of it;o fingers crossed anyway! ha.

Ms. Judy Pink.

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Filed under As You Like It, Everyday Life., Finance., Food & Drink., Jesmond, Newcastle, Prima Pasta, Quayside