5 Medieval Fun Foodie Facts & No-bake Medieval Gingerbread & fun at Reading Museum in Reading Berkshire

That's probably the longest post title I have ever had ..... but it's the best way to describe this post!

As it is the summer holidays I am always looking for things to entertain my children and after exhausting our craft supplies at home we ventured out with a friend to the Reading Museum! During the school holiday's they always have various activities going on. One half-term we went on a trail looking and drawing local trees, we've made hats at another event, and sometimes just explored the museum!

The Reading Museum is full of local history and host various events; family, special events, and talks & tours. It's definitely a place to stop if you ever happen to find yourself in Reading! I like writing about local events and things to do in Reading, but this was a one-off event and although it can't be repeated at the museum I am going to share the recipe we made here and you can then make it at home with your little ones teaching them about life and food during those times.

Here are a few facts you could include!

5 Fun Foodie Facts during the Medieval Times: 

  1. Bread - if they (the people)  ran out of grain before a new crop could be harvested they would have to use old rye to make bread, but old rye could be contaminated with ergot a fungus that could cause hallucinations, gangrene, or death or possibly all three. 
  2. Poultry - Chickens weren't the only birds they ate. Today Swans are protected animals, but back then they were a delicacy for the rich with recipes for roasted swan or swan pie! They also ate loads of other birds such as peacocks, turtle doves, cranes, and blackbirds. 
  3. Bringing home the bacon - they ran wild and were quite vicious due to reports of them biting and killing people and back then animals would stand trial and if found guilty would be put to death and I assume cooked and eaten!  
  4. Travel - the majority of people aka peasants probably didn't travel very far, however the trade business during those times were booming! Silks from China, amber and furs from the Baltic, and spices from Asia. Christopher Columbus at the end of the Medieval times was on a trip to Asia and ran into what we know today is America. The spices used in this recipe would have been expensive and considered a real treat! 
  5. Pottage - Peasants ate pottage which was basically anything they had hanging around and cooked as a stew. Usually consisting of various root vegetables and sometimes meat. 

No-bake Medieval Gingerbread

1 cup breadcrumbs (brown/seeded)
4 tbsp water (warm)
2-4 tbsp honey
1 large pinch cinnamon
1 large pinch ginger

In the case of using a cup of breadcrumbs, we were given an actual plastic cup full of breadcrumbs so I would say an average mug would work too. Pour the breadcrumbs into a bowl and then add the honey and give a bit of a stir quickly to stop it soaking into just some of the bread. In the same cup mix 2 tbsp of water with the cinnamon, and ginger. Add the spiced water slowly to the bread crumbs, get your hands in there and mix together. The breadcrumbs should be moist, but not wet. When you can mold the breadcrumbs into little balls without falling apart then you can stop adding the water. Then leave in cupcake cases or on a plate.

If you want you can also decorate paper plates with medieval-ish patterns here are some great examples!

My mini-bakers and their friends had a great time making the gingerbread probably more then they were interested in eating it. They did try it, but weren't too fussed they were more interested in decorating their plates with medieval patterns (some not so medieval), and exploring the museum. Definitely give the website a look for other events and activities. Most events are free or like this one had a minimal fee and as it's all drop in, make sure you get there early to get a spot! 

*I paid for my children to attend the event and as stated above was invited on the day by a friend. For more information see my contact/policy page.
*Fun facts were found here, here, here, and here. If you want to know about Medieval Gingerbread check out this site!

Wrap it Up!! - Reading, Berkshire {restaurant review}

An article written at the end of 2015 says that Reading is growing faster then London. 

It stated that: Reading is expected to out perform most of the country in terms of growth in the coming years. A recent economic forecast by EY Economics for Business, a part of Ernst & Young which provides analysis for businesses says Reading will grow faster than London in the next three years.

In the next three years ... it's only the second year and this town has had some big changes. There have been big store openings (Ikea) and lots of improvements (rail station). There are these big changes and then there are the little ones like the many restaurant openings I have been invited to in the past 6 months! 

Tucked a way in a quieter part of town on Duke Street opened an alternative solution to the common question of what to have for lunch today?  

Wrap it Up! opened up earlier this year and I had an opportunity to stop in when I was wondering around town one day!

It wasn't hard for me to decide which wrap to try... I mean come on I am an American so I had to try the American smokey: slow cooked pulled beef brisket filled with Boston beans, crunchy gherkin slaw, grated Monterey Jack cheese, and crispy onions. 

The best thing about wraps is that it is literally your lunch (breakfast or dinner) wrapped up in one soft tortilla! The American one had it all for me, well seasoned beef brisket with the the softness of beef and the crunchy slaw it satisfied taste and texture! No extra sauce was needed, if you know me I like my dips and sauces, but this needed nothing else! 

The menu is full of creative and great sounding wraps! I can't wait to visit again and try something new, although I did love this wrap and would be tempted to get it again! They also have breakfast wraps and cater for offices - visit them or the website for more information! 


There is no denying that Reading is growing and I am all for that if it means more great places to get a bite to eat! If you have a day wondering around town like I did or need an all-in-one lunch for a quick lunch break why not give them a visit? If you do or already have let me know which wrap I should try next in the comments below! 

Wrap it Up! 
Unit 1 10-14 Duke Street

*I was asked to visit and provided with a voucher to try a wrap of my choice, no other compensation was given - all opinions are my own please see my content/policy page for more information. 

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Avocado Icing {Veggie Desserts + Cakes by Kate Hackworthy}

This week Kate Hackworthy had her very first book published Veggie Desserts + Cakes: Carrot Cake and Beyond! After having followed her blog for a few years and interacting with her on social media I was delighted to have the opportunity to check out her book!

There are no illusions that sugar and flour and all the things you need to bake exist in her recipes. In my review (in previous post) I mentioned in that Kate didn't write her book to hide vegetables away in baked goods, but to show how they can shine!

There were so many recipes to choose from and this one, even though it has more of an autumn feel, stood out to me. I love pumpkin and the spices used with it! I was unnecessarily weary of the avocado icing - I thought "this is never going to work."

It did.

It turned out beautifully. The avocado I had might have been on the small side and I did need extra icing sugar to get in into a spreadable consistency. It was when I could coat my spatula in the icing and turn it around without it dripping that I felt I had it right. 

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Avocado Icing 

125g unsalted butter, softened 
125g granulated sugar
2 large eggs
150g pumpkin puree (canned or puree cooked pumpkin or butternut squash)
2 tsp vanilla extract
175g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt 
100ml milk

Avocado Icing
1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
250g icing sugar 
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Heat the oven to 170C and line your cupcake pan with paper cases.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time and beating each one in well, then beat in the pumpkin and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.

Alternating, add one-third of the flour to the egg mixture and stir to combine, then one-third of the milk. Repeat until all the ingredients are combined.

Spoon the batter (I like using my medium ice cream scoop) into the cupcake cases until nearly full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

To make the avocado icing -
Puree the avocado with a hand blender until smooth and creamy, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the icing sugar and lemon juice and beat with an electric mixer until thick. You may need to add more icing sugar, depending on the size of your avocado, to get a thick piping consistency. Spoon into a piping bag and frost the completely cooled cupcakes as desired. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

*as I said above I needed to add more icing sugar - I didn't feel the need to pipe the icing I just used a palette knife to apply and smooth out the icing!

These cupcakes turned out great for me! The cake is nice and soft and has a great taste with all those great spices and pumpkin! The icing, as I mentioned above, I was weary of, but it turned out well! The avocado acting as the butter for the icing gave it an interesting flavor that complimented the pumpkin cake well!

Visit Kate's blog Veggie Desserts or see more of her delicious recipes on one of social media channels - Facebook or Instagram or Twitter

Check out how these other bloggers got on trying out Kate's recipes:

Chocolate Cauliflower Ice Lollies - on Recipes from a Pantry
Cavolo Nero and Orange Cupcakes - on The Hedge Combers
Beetroot and Vanilla Sorbet - on Natural Kitchen Adventures
Carrot Gingerbread - on Farmersgirl Kitchen
Carrot Gingerbread - also on Ren Behan
Avocado Lime Tarts - on The Veg Space (check out this post to win a copy of Kate's book!!)
Pea and Vanilla Cake with Lemon Icing - on Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary
Kale Apple Cake - on Tin & Thyme
Courgette Poppyseed Loaf - on Family Friends Food
Courgette Poppyseed Loaf - also on Baking Queen 74
Strawberry and Spinach Swiss Roll - on Foodie Quine
Pea and Mint Cupcakes with Rose Water Buttercream - on Kavey Eats

Veggie Desserts + Cakes: Carrot Cake and Beyond by Kate Hackworthy {review}

To be honest with you I've not ventured far into the world of baking with vegetables beyond the "normal" things like carrot cake and pumpkin pie. Kate's book has opened my eyes and my mind to the possibilities of the roles vegetables can play in my baking!

Kate Hackworthy is a fellow blogger and baker and after following her blog on social media for the last few years I jumped at the opportunity to review her new book Veggie Desserts + Cakes! Not only does she write for her own blog, but she always writes a column for Vegetarian Living magazine where she writes about healthy recipes for kids.

This book isn't an "how to hide vegetables in your baking to make it healthier" this is a book that showcases vegetables as the star of the show! With recipes for Kale and Apple Cake with Apple Icing and Avocado Chocolate Cupcakes with Cherry Icing and Sweet Potato and Salted Hazelnut Cookies there is no hiding that these recipes are still going to hit the sweet spot!

Those are just a few of the recipes I would love to try out! The chapters cover Cakes, Cupcakes, Cookies, Squares + Traybakes, Pies + Pastries, Frozen Desserts, and more Sweet Treats. All the things you can expect in a great baking book! I should know I have read many baking books over the years!

As with all book reviews I do I always like to make a list of recipes I'd love to try and with 60 original recipes choose from it's hard not to list all of them! But I've narrowed it down to these...

Kale and Apple Cake with Apple Icing
Beetroot Chocolate Bundt Cake with Earl Grey Icing
Pea and Vanilla Cake with Lemon Icing
Pear and Parsnip Cake with Salted Honey Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache
Cucumber and Lemon Cake with Gin Icing
Chocolate Mashed Potato Cupcakes with Espresso Icing
Avocado Chocolate Cupcakes with Cherry Icing
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Avocado Icing
Sweetcorn and White Chocolate Cookies with Blackberry Glaze
Sweet Potato and Salted Hazelnut Cookies
Pumpkin Gingernuts
Parsnip Coconut Macaroons
Sweet Potato and Pecan Brownies
Carrot, Parsnip and Coconut Flapjacks
Beetroot Seedy Squares
Black Bean Chocolate Brownies
Mascarpone Tart with Beetroot Pastry
Avocado Lime Tarts
Pumpkin Pie with Chai Cream
Beetroot and Vanilla Sorbet
Chocolate Beetroot Baked Doughnuts with Blueberry Glaze
Butternut Squash Cinnamon Rolls with Almond Glaze
Sweet Potato Dessert Waffles
Sparkling Carrot Lemonade

As you can see there is a lot of variety of baked goods and different vegetables to choose from! If you are looking for a new way to use up vegetables or just to try something new give Veggie Desserts + Cakes a look!! This weekend I will be trying out the Pumpkin Cupcakes with Avocado Icing and I can't wait to share with you how they turn out!!

This book offers so much and to get a taste of what the book is like visit Kate's blog Veggie Desserts or see more of her delicious recipes on one of social media channels - Facebook or Instagram or Twitter

*I was given a copy of Veggie Desserts + Cakes: Carrot Cake and Beyond by Kate Hackworthy to review by the publisher, Pavilion, Retails at £14.99 and available now from your local book retailers or online! All opinions are my own, I was not given any other compensation nor was I asked to give a positive review, please see my contact/policy page for more information.

Win a trip to Buenos Aires with Cau {Cau - Reading, Berkshire {review}}

Cau restaurants are giving away a trip to their homeland Buenos Aires and all you need to do to enter is to visit one of their many locations order any Hero dish on the menu, upload a picture with their special Insta-frame and hash-tag #BuenosHeros!

Cau opened up in Reading a few years back and I have to honestly say it's one of the best places in town to get a good steak! Therefore when they invited me in to try out some of their dishes from their menu marked with a "hero" stamp there was no way I could say no!

Best place to always start a meal is with a starter! My friend and I tried the Shrimp Chicharron, which is crispy fried shrimp in an aji amarillo sauce which is a sort of spicy cheese sauce. It was delicious and if you are a seafood lover like my friend and I definitely give it a go!!

The other starter we tried were the Empanadas (I still don't think I pronounce them right) one filled with Spanish chorizo & cream cheese and the other with Spinach, ricotta & date there were two other choices Spicy beef and Spicy creamed corn & Taleggio cheese. I have to say for the ones we tried they were good and I can with all confidence say to try the chorizo one it was so good!

Then of course came the main attraction - Beef! My friend went with Tapa De Cuadril one of their signature dishes cut from the top of the rump and served thinly slice and ash grilled, this apparently is how it melts in your mouth.

Unable to decide I asked the waitress for help and eventually with a little guidance I went with The ULTIMATE Steak Sandwich. And boy am I glad I did! This sandwich has everything you could ever want! Three types of beef - flash grilled tapa de caudril, salt beef, and BBQ brisket served in a toasted ciabatta with crispy onions, dill pickles (my favorite part next to the beef) with a spicy mayo and melty Monterey Jack cheese!

Not being able to leave with out a dessert I tried the Dulce Volcano. It is basically an old-fashioned chocolate volcano except it's not chocolate it's more of a caramel flavor and it's served with an amaretto cream which paired perfectly with it. (see my video on instagram)

The only thing not stamped with a "hero" sign was the Choco Blondie. If you don't know what a blondie is I am not sure why you are reading my blog, however if you don't it's basically a brownie made with white chocolate. They are generally super rich, but this one had just the right amount of sweetness and balanced with a peanut butter frosting how could you go wrong!

Everything we tried was stamped with "hero" and it was all so good I wish I was eating it right now! However there was so much more on the menu to try out!

Follow these steps to enter:
1. Take a selfie with their Insta-Frame (above)
2. Upload to Instagram using #BUENOSHEROES
3. Tag who you'd like to take along
4. Enter as many times as you want by ordering a hero dish when dining!! 

They will also be giving away weekly prizes - Find out more on how to win and the T&C's on their website for more information

The Oracle, Bridge Street,

If you have never been to Cau before now is the time to visit and try the amazing dishes - as an added bonus you can enter their Buenos Heroes competition!

*I was invited to Cau in Reading to try the Hero menu and to help promote the competition. I was not compensated in any other way - all opinions are my own please see my contact/policy page above for more information. 

Raspberry Strudels - with cream cheese & orange zest

Raspberries and orange are one of my favorite flavor combinations. Especially during the summer and especially during a cold and rainy summer like this one. In the winter when it's cold and rainy all I want are warm comforting foods. However, when it's the summer all I want are fresh comforting food that brings a little of the brightness missing from the days.

A lot of things I bake these days are inspired by something I've read or seen. These were just inspired by a craving. A craving, as I said above, to fill my day full of something fresh that would brighten the dreary day!

These were a bit on the tart side, so if you have a sweet tooth I would consider adding a little more sugar to the cream cheese to balance it out. Or add a sweet syrup or some ice cream or custard if you live in England to them. They are definitely better warm, in my opinion, but can be eaten cold!

Raspberry Strudels: 

makes 3
about 100g frozen raspberries
12 filo (phyllo) pastry sheets
about 100g unsalted butter, melted
280g cream cheese, whipped with 1 tablespoon sugar and zest of 1 orange

Heat oven to 200C and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Cover the pastry sheets with clingfilm and a damp towel. On a work surface lay the first sheet of pastry with the short side facing you, brush with the melted butter. Lay a second sheet on top and brush with butter before laying a third and fourth sheet on top. Gently spread 1/3 of the whipped cream cheese on top leaving a decent border around the edges. Then place a handful of the frozen raspberries in a couple of lines along the short end of the pastry. Fold the short end of the pastry nearest you up and then fold in the sides before rolling up. Lay seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat again until all the pastry sheets are used will make 3 in total. Use the leftover melted butter on the top and sprinkle a little sugar on top of each. Cut 2-3 slices into each as a vent before baking in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.
Enjoy warm with some ice cream!

How to roll: 

*check out my recipe for Blueberry Cheesecake Strudels
*or check out my recipe for Orangey Orange Cupcakes with Raspberries
*or check out my recipe for Orange & Raspberry Muffins

The Real Greek - Reading, Berkshire {review}

Tonia Buxton is the face of Greek food in the UK and presenter of the award-winning "My Greek Kitchen" TV series. Tonia has a passion for food, born from an early apprenticeship in her mother's kitchen, and has brought this passion to the development of our dishes at The Real Greek. (from the website)


It's amazing how towns and places are constantly changing, I have lived in Reading for 10+ years now and I have watched it grow! The Riverside at the Oracle is like our very own food court and I used to think it had everything I could ever ask for until I visited The Real Greek. It's a great addition to the Riverside and I think if you visit there you would agree!!

Never having experienced Greek food like this before I was very keen to try everything! However, my eyes were definitely bigger then my stomach and I will need to visit again to try some of the amazing looking and sounding dishes on the menu!!

The restaurant is only recently opened and they invited a handful of local bloggers and press to visit I was surprised that Tonia herself was there!! She is as lovely as she comes across on TV and she sat with us and helped us pick out some of the best things to try! We had a nice mix of the hot and cold meze starting with humous, tzatziki, green pea fava, accompanied with flat bread. (pictured above)

We also ordered the limited edition Watermelon and Feta salad first because my friend Alyssia, who invited me out, has never tried feta before and because it is Watermelon month (for a few more days)!! It was defiantly an interesting combination of sweet - the watermelon and salty - the feta cheese, but it was good!

I ordered the prawn saganaki which is tiger prawns in a rich tomato sauce, with spinach, pickled peppers and sprinkled with feta one of the dishes developed by Tonia! I ate those all to myself as Alyssia doesn't like prawns, but we shared a few other dishes. Falafel's served with pickled cabbage and a tomato salsa it all worked really well together!

Then from the grilled meze menu we tried the Med Chicken - grilled rosemary marinated chicken thighs served with grilled vegetables and the Pork Belly - slow roasted with oregano and paprika. Both were cooked perfectly and worked well with the variety of food we had ordered.

There is a lunch and a kids menu that I will definitely be checking out over the summer! There was so much more on the menu I'd like to try as well and a few of the dishes I'd love to have again! These are a sign, in my opinion, of a good restaurant! It's a bit of a tapas feel with a lot of different dishes making up one meal.

As for drinks I generally stick to water when eating out and that's just because I prefer it with my meals, but there is a great list of wines and other alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic including the iconic Greek soft drink, brand est. 1924, Orangeade! And if you are a coffee lover don't forget to try the Greek Coffee! 

At this point I was full. So, full I wasn't planning on eating anything else. However, dessert was insisted upon. I tried the Greek Filo Custard Pie and I am glad I did. It's a filo pastry filled with a unique custard cream and served with ice cream and cinnamon. It was to die for! I wish I was eating it right now. Alyssia went for the Caramel and Pecan Cheesecake which according to her was delicious!

We believe our menu and the atmosphere in our restaurants bring back the memories and the spirit of Greece. Eating in Greece is never rushed. We take our time, engage in discussion and love to share our food with friends and family. It is all about the experience! {from the website}

I have never been to Greece, but my experience at The Real Greek can be summed up by the above statement. Thank you to Alyssia for allowing me to tag along!

The Real Greek
The Oracle (Riverside)
Reading RG1 2AT

*Check out Alyissa's post here!
*My friend Alyssia from AlyssiaRose {lifestyle blog} was invited to The Real Greek to review it and she invited me along as her guest and it's just a bonus that I am a blogger as well! I was not asked to review and all opinions are my own for further information please visit my contact/policy page above.


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