#MartyEats: Pan-Roasted Chicken with Dijon Mushroom Sauce and Brown Rice*

I love cooking, especially trying out new recipes, so when I was recently contacted by Trisha from HelloFresh asking if I was interested in collaborating with them, I jumped straight at the opportunity. They've recently released a new tool, called the Flavour Generator. So, what is it? It's pretty cool, actually! You choose the cuisine you prefer (Indian, British, Mexican, Italian or Middle Eastern) and then you pick the flavour - spicy, sweet, tangy, herby, or something you've never tried before. The generator then chooses one or two dishes that fit into this category, and off you go! My only criticism is that there aren't enough options meal wise, but perhaps that's because I have a very picky Mum (I'm currently back to living with my parents, explanation in the next blog post) who doesn't eat a lot of things. If I was cooking for myself or friends it probably would have been slightly easier. 

Anyway! We decided to go for British food with a spicy flavour (which again, quite daring for Mum, she's not a fan of too much spice). The generator gave us thyme and mustard as the undertones of the dish, and the two dishes were Pimped Up Pan Haggerty and this beauty you'll read about here. We agreed on this because, well, you can't go wrong with chicken & mushroom. 

The recipe has a level of difficulty (ours was 1, how adventurous of us), a nutritional values list and the breakdown of ingredients. I wish the ingredients weren't in ounces, but nothing a quick Google search can't fix. 

WHAT YOU'LL NEED (2 servings) :

340g of chicken breast

56g of sour cream

1 cube of chicken stock 
7g of thyme
255g of brown rice
2 cloves of garlic
115g of button mushroom
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
salt, pepper, olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Bring a medium pot of water with a large pinch of salt to a boil. Thinly slice the mushrooms. Mince or grate the garlic. Strip the thyme leaves off the sprig and roughly chop.
  2. Cook the rice: Add the rice to the boiling water and boil for about 30 minutes, until tender. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Pat dry the chicken with a paper towel, then season on all sides with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until browned, but not yet cooked through. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven for about 10 minutes, until just cooked through.
  4. Heat another drizzle of oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add the thyme and garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook, tossing for 5-6 minutes, until browned. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add ½ cup water and the stock concentrate to the pan. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Nestle the chicken in the sauce while it reduces. Bring to a simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until reduced by half. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the sour cream and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. At this point, Mum and I thought it'd be best to use more sour cream next time - just a tip! We all agreed it needs to be a little creamier.

  6. Finish and plate: Thinly slice the chicken and serve on a bed of brown rice (although as you can see we decided to do that before we added it to the pan). Drizzle with the Dijon mushroom sauce and enjoy!

We all loved this recipe and we'll definitely be making it again. Next time though, we'll make sure it's more creamy and we'll add a little bit more chicken. Do you think you'll be trying Hello Fresh's new Flavour Generator? Have a look at the tool and let me know what you'd choose to make! 


*This post was in collaboration with Hello Fresh in exchange for an honest review and a Hello Fresh box of my choice.

#MartyTravels: StayCity Aparthotels York Review

Hello hello! As you saw in my previous post, whilst I was in York I had the pleasure (debatable, I guess - blog post as to why shall soon follow) of staying in two hotels. One of them was Hotel Indigo, and you can read about my stay here. The other one was StayCity Aparthotels. I booked last minute (literally the night before) via Booking.com and made my way there on Sunday morning. My check in wasn't until 3pm, but I thought I could at least leave my bags and then go off on a wonder around York. The staff however was super lovely and since my room wasn't ready yet, they just put me up in a different one, #winner. I left my bags and off I went. I came back after my Ghost Trail (yes, I did that, no, it wasn't weird) and because I was super hungry I decided to cook myself some food. What a bad idea that was. Somehow I managed to blow a fuse in the room! Of course that's something that would happen to me. The receptionist came up, we fixed the fuse, everything seemed to be working. Apart from the oven. And I needed the oven. So we tried to fix it, tried a few different options, but they've decided to move me to another room and give me an upgrade, just for the hassle. Again, #winner. 

I was a fan of the hotel from the start. The reception is cool, I like its vibe. The staff were probably one of the nicest people I ever met. I chatted to them as to why I was in York and why I was staying in a hotel, and they gave me many a tip as to where to go, what to see, and what to do considering my situation. 5/5 on the staff there, StayCity York! Give them a pay rise! 

I didn't take photos of my original room, as I was in a rush and just wanted to get out of there and sight-see. It was essentially the same, minus the lounge area situation. So you get the idea. 

As soon as you walk into the room, you're welcomed by the lounge and the kitchen (please excuse the quality of the photos, they're taken on my phone and my camera is broken because I dropped my phone lol of course). It's the perfect size of a flat - and to be honest, I'd happily live in a place like that, but then again, I like small apartments. But that's the whole point of it, it's supposed to feel like home, and I loved that. I won't lie, I didn't sit at the kitchen table. I chose the sofas instead (which I believe are actually sofa beds? I don't know, I had no need to check that out), in front of the TV - which also has Netflix on, another #winner. One 'complaint' I could possibly have is that I'd rather have a TV in the bedroom rather than in the lounge, I like watching TV in bed. But honestly, who really cares. It's not of great importance. 

I really liked the simplicty of the apartment, especially the kitchen. You're provided with a microwave, a dishwasher, a fridge freezer and an oven, and all the utensils you can potentially need on a short stay in a hotel - I asked for a baking tray and I got one, so even if there's something missing you can always give reception a shout. The bathroom was also super nice, I loved the overhead shower! Again, it was a short stay, so I can really say is - the shower worked, it was great, I felt clean afterwards. 10/10.

The bedroom was very simple, but again, I like that. I love the contrast wall and the wall art, which also featured in the lounge. Just a cute touch. The bed is huuuuuge, so I star-fished for days (well, hours). There's also a wardrobe (where the fuse box is, in case you were wondering!) and a mirror. And bedside table, of course. The standards. 

Here's a cute lil pic of me being super happy in my new hotel room, feat. my newest obsession aka these New Look shorts

I will 100% be staying at StayCity again, whether that is in York or in one of their many other locations. The staff was outstanding, despite problems, and the room was great. And the price isn't too high, either. I was very impressed with it, considering I was booking last minute I was worried I wouldn't be happy with my choice, but I kind of wish I stayed there the whole time, I think it would have made my stay even better. Have you ever stayed at StayCity before? 


Marty xx

#MartyTravels: Hotel Indigo York Review

Over the past weekend, I had the pleasure of staying at Hotel Indigo in York, England. It is a beautiful, four-star boutique hotel, situated about 10 minutes away from the Minster. It has its own bar & restaurant, No.88 Walmgate and the prices are fairly reasonable. I stayed there on Friday and Saturday night, after which I relocated to StayCity Apartments (reasons as to why will follow in my last post this week). However, Hotel Indigo is definitely one of my favourite hotels I've ever stayed at. The staff were super lovely and helpful, and the service was immaculate. 

I was staying in the Standard Bedroom, which boasts a King Size bed, a 40 inch TV and an amazing bathroom with a rainfall shower. There's also a station for you to make your own tea or coffee, although I opted for the hot chocolate. My favourite part was definitely the bathroom though, I loved the white tiles and the contrasting pattern tiles in the shower were amazing. 

Please excuse the quality of the photos - they were taken on my iPhone, as I didn't bring my camera with me. As you'll see from my York roundup, I wasn't planning on staying in a hotel at all. I am, however, very glad that I got to experience Hotel Indigo, and I'm already planning on staying with them again, perhaps in Barcelona, if I  do end up going in September. They have several locations and all the hotels embrace the local culture, which is why I liked the decor of it so much. It actually somehow felt very Yorkshire. I don't know why; maybe because this was my first time up North (yes, really). You'll be able to read all about my (somewhat disastrous) weekend trip to York at the end of the week. 

On Saturday morning I also ordered breakfast, which was ah-mazing, as you can see. I believe it was £9.95 (+ service). I also ordered a BBQ Pulled Pork & Red Onion Pizza for dinner that night (similar price), but the lighting was bad so I didn't bother taking a photo - but it also tasted wonderful.

Overall, I'd definitely recommend staying at Hotel Indigo - whether that's in York, or anywhere else out of the dozens of their locations. I'll be coming back whenever I get the chance. Have you ever stayed at Indigo, or been to York for that matter? Let me know in the comments below! 

Love, Marty x

#MartyEats: Turtle Bay New Menu Review*

Turtle Bay Norwich has launched a new menu, following feedback from the customers. I personally didn't have any problems with the previous one, but I'm always happy to try new food! Maya very kindly invited me to come in and review it, so the meal was free of charge - the first time this has happened to me, a bit mind blowing really. We had fantastic service from the head waitress, whom I believe was called Evelyn, and Tom also checked on us a few times. But then again, the staff is very attentive to all their customers, so it was a no-brainer.

If you've never been to Turtle Bay (I haven't even heard of it until it opened here in Norwich last August), it's a restaurant full of Caribbean inspired dishes and drinks. Turtle Bay’s famous Jerk Chicken, Curried Goat, and other favourites are all staying on the menu, but 15 new dishes and 7 new drinks have been added the menu now has more veggie/vegan options than before. As my friend Lillie and I had plans to go out for cocktails that evening anyway, we decided to kick off our night with those exactly. We tried the Rum Negroni and Roots Culture. The negroni was very strong - not a surprise, since it contains Old J-rum, Campari, red vermouth, served over ice. Lillie and I were both fans of Roots Culture, however. Supposedly it was on the menu before, but I don't remember seeing it. It contains Uncle Wray overproof rum, strawberry liqueur, raspberries, lime, and lemonade. We had way too many of those. Both cocktails are priced at £7.15, or they're 2-4-1 during Happy Hour!

(Rum Negroni - left, Roots Culture - right)
For a starter, we decided to go with the Just Jerk Sharing Platter, which, by the way, is really filling. At only £13.95 it's definitely worth it. It comes with marinated chicken wings, glazed pork ribs (which I think we didn't actually get...), jerk beef riblets, Jamaican beef patty, sweetcorn fritters, spiced popcorn and super green salad. The beef patty and fritters were out favourite, but the salad was a little disappointing. It was dry, that's all. Could've done with some dressing. Turtle Bay also offer a Vital Veggie Plater. This has sweet corn fritters, crispy okra, jerk pit grilled mushroom & peppers with coconut glaze, pepper roti, bara flatbread spiced curried chickpeas & cucumber chutney, herb mayo & super green salad.

A new burger menu has been added. And if you know me, you know I'd be all over that. This features a Jammin’ Lamb Burger (which I decided to go for) alongside four others including the brand new Two Way Chicken Burger, a new Mushroom and Goats Cheese Burger, as well as the favourite Jerk ‘n’ Pulled Pork Bun. I'm a massive burger fan so I'll definitely be going back to try the rest. The lamb burger was great, pit grilled and came with Caribbean slaw and spiced fries. You also have the option of going for the salad, which well... I didn't go for haha. The burger is priced at £10.95 and it's definitely worth the price considering it already comes with the sides. The only downside was that the bun fell apart, but that's not the end of the world.

Lillie decided to try the Slow Braised Beef Rib, another brand-new dish featuring ‘Jacobs Ladder” short rib of beef. You can choose your own choice of glaze; classic (spicy), pineapple (fruity), and coconut (creamy) which is the one Lillie went for. It comes marinated in sweet onion chutney, served with sweet potato fries, and watermelon, lime, and coriander chow salad. She said she really liked it, and she devoured it like a champ. 

Lastly, the dessert. My favourite part of every meal. Despite being extremely full from our starter and the mains, we knew we had to try the sweet stuff. I went with the Passion Pie - a passionfruit meringue pastry served with passionfruit sauce. Yum. Sickly, but oh my god how yummy. Will definitely have again. Lillie is a big cheesecake fan, so her choice was the Banana and Toffee Cheesecake, which was also amazing. The desserts are priced at £4.95, which is reasonable considering I couldn't even finish my portion.

As I've already said, the food and the service were fantastic, so I'll definitely be heading back soon. I really want to try the Two-Way Chicken Burger and Bajan Beef Cheeks One Pot. I really recommend the Norwich branch, as I've not been in a friendlier restaurant for quite a while now.

Have you ever been to Turtle Bay? What dish do you recommend?

Love, Marty x

*Turtle Bay invited me for a review and the meal came free of charge