Lazy Tapas

Warning: this post contains a lot of wooden boards.

Tapas is a no-brainer in our book. These don’t require much work in the kitchen but are a real crowd pleaser. You can be really creative or just keep it simple, and most of it doesn’t require a huge amount of proper cooking, it’s more about assembly. Think of it like flat-pack but for food.

For people who love to pick at yummy things over a few glasses of wine it’s the ideal dinner party dish (or rather, many little dishes) or just something really tasty when you’re at home for the evening..

Today’s tapas dishes (as there are sure to be many more cropping up on Cooks & Eats soon) are:

Meatballs in a tomato, garlic and shallot sauce, with garlic & parmesan bread


For the meatballs – make a quick tomato sauce by frying onions & garlic until translucent, add tinned tomatoes, herbs of your choosing and seasoning. Cook this down for 40 minutes on a medium heat, with the lid on. Add to your small dishes with your cooked meatballs (buy these, life is too short). We buy frozen Ikea ones. See – it IS like flat-pack.

For the bread – make a garlic butter by bashing garlic and some good sea salt until smooth (try with the flat side of a large knife or in a pestle & mortar) mix with parmesan and butter until smooth-ish. Slice a baguette (but not all the way down so it stays together) and insert your butter mixture.  Wrap in foil and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes. Note that you might need to amend the cooking time if you’re using a part-baked baguette.

Bruschetta with goats cheese and caramelised onion chutney


Slice up and lightly toast a french stick under the grill. Slice the goats cheese. Assemble (not the Avengers). Pop under the grill again until the cheese goes a bit bubbly, then top with caramelised onion chutney. These are little, gooey, cheesy bites of joy.

Prawns in garlic butter


Fry your prawns, with a shit load of butter and garlic. Un-cooked prawns are much better than ready-to-eat ones here. Frozen fresh ones work well, as they haven’t been cooked at all yet and you don’t want to over cook them once you start sautéing in the garlic butter. Serve with crusty bread for mopping up the buttery goodness.

 Croquettes with aioli


Easy peasy. Buy frozen from Lidl, bung in the oven and arrange on posh wooden board with aioli (sprinkle with paprika to look fancy) and a wedge of lemon.

There you have it – easy tapas. Enjoy!



Kitchen & Crust

Thought I was going to The Stock Exchange Bakery, but got a bit confused as it wasn’t written anywhere. Turns out they’ve changed their name to Kitchen & Crust, so that explains that one!


Lovely little place for an afternoon coffee & cake, but they also do a Brunch / Lunch menu. It’s SO popular in here, I managed to get a table but people came and went the whole time we were there who couldn’t find a seat. If you’re lucky, you’ll get one, and I think they take bookings for brunch too. It’s a great ambience; with a few tables, an area with bar stools in the window, then some comfier corners. They have a range of papers and cookbooks to browse and whilst it’s really busy, it doesn’t feel too manic.

I’ll get the only tiny criticism out the way first (this is a very positive blog,  I generally thoroughly enjoy everywhere I go, so if you’re looking for scathing reviews and critiques, you won’t find them here!). The service was pretty slow to order, they were rushed off their feet and probably could’ve done with more staff.

I was craving nutrition when I arrived, so ordered a Super Green Smoothie made up of spinach, apple, avocado, lime, basil and spirulina (that’s a high protein algae dontcha know) which was delish.  Once my chum Sammi arrived, I was obviously after sugar again and had a frothy chai latte and a bakewell slice. Honestly the sugar addiction is a real thing. I pretty much only ate sugar on Saturday.

Sammi went for a salted caramel latte and a rock-solid piece of tiffin, and it was smiles all round. I want to go for brunch next time as their eggs looked egg-cellent (sorrynotsorry) and the Croque Monsieur gave me serious food-envy as they smelled so wonderfully cheesy. Tres Bon!

Love a coffee date and highly recommend this little venue!

Mary x


Tincan Coffee Co

I have a confession to make. I am a Starbucks fan. I know that isn’t the Bristolian way, and I promise I go very rarely, but I like it. Plus I’m a sucker for a festive drink.

However, I have been to Tincan Coffee Co on North Street, Bedminster, a number of times and it’s a really cool place.  It’s a fairly typical coffee shop vibe, but it feels fresher, newer and has a pretty slick feel. They have an impressive ethos too; produce is local, milk is organic and they use 100% compostable, recycled materials for their cups & stuff. They’ve just opened up another venue on Clare Street which I popped into on the way to work this morning.

Now be prepared, as I’m about to gush about this place. I only had a Hot White Chocolate and was in there for a mere few minutes, but my chain coffee shop days are behind me.

The Manager (I think he said his name was Sam), is super friendly, and was engaging as soon as I walked through the door (it was early, and quiet). It’s reasonably priced, the decor looks good, and he gave me a chunk of white chocolate to try so it’s a winner in my book.  The Hot White Chocolate was creamy and like a little hug in an environmentally friendly cup. Sugar for breakfast FTW.

See ya later red cups, there’s a new coffee shop in town.

Mary x


The Lazy Dog

We thought we’d try The Lazy Dog, on Ashley Down Road, for a Friday date night/first week back at work pick-me-up. They don’t take bookings, but we headed up on the off-chance, and we were lucky to get a get a seat*! It’s very popular, although when we arrived it was mostly just people having a drink (it is a pub, after all). The atmosphere had a modern pub feel to it, it was cozy and friendly, nice and informal (just how we like it). Oh and there are lots of pictures of dogs, as well as it being a very dog-friendly pub. I met a nice Border Terrier so added points for that too. Am a sucker for a pooch.

*I didn’t realise there was an upstairs seating area too. Duh.

The pub has been around for donkey’s years (it opened in the 1850s, history fans) and is owned by the same people who run The Windmill, Windmill Hill and The Pipe & Slippers, Stokes Croft. The bar is in the middle of the pub, with a few tables surrounding and then several more intimate booths. There’s a garden as well, but it was dark and raining so we didn’t venture out there. It’s January, let’s stay inside as much as possible.

Now for the important bit. The scran. This is way more interesting than your standard pub food, with an ever changing menu by Head Chef Elisabeth Julienne (of previous two-Michelin starred restaurants in Spain, no less). They had a selection of small plates and then loads of mains to choose from.

We shared a small plate of cod, parsley and garlic tempura with aioli (£6) to start which was delightful. Really light batter, wonderfully garlicky ailoi, good portion size. Washed down with a very nice Shiraz too. Yes I know a white wine would’ve been better suited to cod, but I don’t care. We don’t play by the rules here.


For the main, I plumped for the duck leg with mash, kale and duck sauce (no I don’t know what was in that either, but it made me think of that catchy song that was out a few years ago by Duck Sauce, where they just said “Barbara Streisand” over and over again) which was £11. Let me tell you, kale never tasted so good, and it’s January, so we’re supposed to be eating kale anyway. The duck was gorgeous. Rich, tasty and tender, paired wonderfully with mash. Who doesn’t like mash?


Brad went for the fried buttermilk chicken burger, with fries & pickles (£10). The chicken was tender and came in a bouncy brioche bun. Crispy fries and a very generous amount of pickles too. Good sauce as well, he thinks it had cardamon in which is an interesting touch. It defeated him unfortunately as was a rather large portion!


Other mains included a rabbit & asparagus risotto, whole fried plaice, lamp rump and The Lazy Dog burger, among others so there’s a wide choice.

Overall, we’re really glad we went as the food is surprisingly good, it’s definitely more gastro-pub than pub, with a nice laid-back feel. Recommended!