England Lunch

Handmade Burger Co.

Handmade Burger Co.

Westgate Arcade Peterborough, UK PE1 1PY

The most exciting words a foodie could probably hear are “the best ever”. It’s written in the foodie code that the best food must be sought out. Imagine my delight when I heard about this burger spot called Handmade Burger Co. that a guy had claimed to be the best burger they had ever had. EVER! That is a huge claim. Burgers are like the All American food and I have had some damn good burgers. Finding good food in England has become somewhat of a scavenger hunt. We sat out on an adventure on a cold and rainy Saturday to visit the mall. Out of pure luck we stumbled upon the Handmade Burger Co. and you know we had to make a pitstop.
The Handmade Burger Co. Has over 40 selections of burgers to choose from. Examples of their choices are a peanut butter and bacon burger or the Milano burger which sports pesto and mozzarella. Some of the same options are included on their chicken burgers also. There is a small feature of vegetarian burgers but one of their biggest sellers are their dirty burgers. It was a hard to decide between a specialty burger or a dirty burger but today the specialty burger won out.


Have you ever heard of Halloumi cheese? I hadn’t either until I saw it on a foodnetwork show.  However since it is a mainstay in Britain I suspect I’ll be seeing a lot more of it.  Halloumi cheese is probably the only cheese that you can actually grill, fry or barbecue.  It has a high melting point which allows it to be cooked in ways other cheeses just can not stand up to.  My best reference point for texture is probably tofu but man oh man this cheese is amazing.  I decided to try the Halloumi fries with mango salsa as a starter.  The Halloumi fries were amazing, there was some juice at the bottom of the serving cup that was just heavenly.  The mango salsa on the other hand is more of an acquired taste.  I personally didn’t care for it.  It was a tad bitter and had a nice spicy kick to it.  In my opinion the two didn’t pair well together but the fries stand well on their own.

Hand Pressed

Each burger is made with Scottish beef which is hand pressed and then cooked fresh in house everyday.   After pouring over the menu several times we decided to skip out on all the exciting options and go for something more traditional.  I opted for the avocado and bacon burger and the mister chose the blue cheese and bacon burger.

My avocado Bacon was pretty good.  The avocado tasted fresh, the red onions were nice and the HBC burger relish they used was a nice surprise.  It tasted like a fancy type of ketchup with cherry tomatoes but with the consistency of a jam.  I pulled the bacon off as I didn’t particularly care for it.  It was much too soft for my liking, besides when I think of bacon on my burger it is nice crispy slices slices of bacon.  The burger was stacked pretty good.  In fact I tried to get a solid bite in and couldn’t lol.  We both ordered a side of chips but I had mine dusted with rosemary salt.  Those were some good fries…I mean chips.   My husband loved the caramelized onions on his burger and felt it balanced out pungency of the blue cheese perfectly.

America’s Burgers are still the best burgers I’ve ever had, BUT the Handmade Burger Co holds the number one spot in the UK at the moment.  You can’t beat the price or the options they offer.  Next time I visit I’m going to give either the veggie burgers of the chicken burgers a whirl.  Until you can make a trip to HBC here’s a burger for you!20180120_135340.jpg

Dinner England International

Pho Restaurant Cambridge, UK

Pho : Vietnamese Street Food

1 Wheeler Street.  Cambridge, CB2 3QB

Right in the heart of Cambridge is a vibrant and bustling atmosphere.  There are clothing shops and restaurants galore, not to mention the prestigious University of Cambridge.  I found myself joining new friends in a nice hole in the wall type restaurant named Pho a Vietnamese street food restaurant.  And if you hadn’t guessed by the name, the serve Pho (pronounced fuh).   It was down to the bones chilly for this southern belle so a nice big warm bowl of Pho was perfect.  Pho which is the national dish for Vietnam is a big rice noodle soup with herbs and meat (if you choose).  I love soup but I’m no pro at making pho, it is almost an art to get that much flavor packed into a broth.  12 hours of making broth is more than I can usually dedicate unless a crockpot is involved.  I did give it a shot once and it turned out amazing.  You can see my rendition of Homemade Pho by clicking the link.  Now enough about me..let’s get this meal started.

Nem núóng

I started with what I thought would be a small appetizer. Turns out this portion was extremely filling.  I ordered the New Nuong because there was one ingredient that caught my eye – lemongrass.   The nem nuong dish is homemade pork and lemongrass meatballs served with lettuce and herbs to wrap and dip and a side of peanut sauce.  As I’m typing this, I realize I ate them wrong lol.  I never wrapped them in the lettuce or used the mint.  I only dipped them in the peanut sauce.  Perhaps it would have had an effect on the flavor, perhaps not.  What I was really missing was the lemongrass flavor.  I kept waiting for it to hit me and it never did. The meatballs were fried and were a little dry for my liking but that’s the chance you run with pork I suppose.  The peanut sauce was amazing, it has a slight sweetness to it that complemented the peanut flavor very well.  If you are wondering should you order this or would I order it again…well yes.  They weren’t horrible just lacking on the lemongrass flavor a bit and slightly dry.  As a home cook, I understand that each batch will turn out slightly different so next time they could be really moist and full of lemongrass flavor.

Goi con

The second appetizer we ordered were some summer rolls. They were very simple rolls made with herbs, vermicelli and pickle served with a side of peanut sauce and your choice of chicken, prawns or vegetables.  Personally they were mediocre at best.  I’ve had better summer rolls but perhaps that is just the additional sauces that I used.  Unless you love summer or spring rolls, I’d go with a different appetizer.


Pho Bo Combo

Dinner was much stronger than the appetizers.  My Pho was warm and delicious.  Pricing was generous here which you don’t always see so I decided to get the most for my money.  I got meatballs, steak and brisket.  I also added enoki, shiitake and button mushrooms because I love mushrooms! I added a few bean sprouts, cilantro and culantro to my pho then topped it off with a squeeze of lime juice, sriracha and hoisin sauce…YUM!  I was given a huge ladle and some chop sticks to eat with.  Since the Pho is served with long rice noodles, things got a little messy but I didn’t mind.  This was my first time trying pho with meatballs, the size of their meatballs is crazy.  It took me two to three bites to finish each one.  I thoroughly enjoyed my pho and I recommend you try it when you visit.  And quite frankly, if your name is Pho and you serve pho, your pho better be off the pho-king chain lol.  Honestly it was great and I would get it again and again and again.



Ca-ri which translates into curry I suppose was what my husband ordered.  He has been on a bowl kick as of late so this was the closest thing to a bowl they had.  Boy did he hit the lottery with this dish. This picture isn’t the best and it most certainly does not do this dish any justice what so ever.  My husband said this is the best curry he’s ever had in his life.  Sad face, I guess mine just got replaced lol.  Seriously, this curry is freaking amazing.  The flavors literally burst in your mouth.  He was stingy so I only got one big spoonful but it was the best spoonful of curry I have probably ever had.  Throne officially handed over…for now.  I am determined to figure out how they packed in so much flavor. The menu doesn’t offer much of a description other than it is a Vietnamese curry with vegetables and mushrooms, topped with nuts and served with broken rice.  My next visit I will be ordering this dish and I suggest you do too.
With 25 locations throughout the UK, finding a Pho restaurant shouldn’t be too hard. You can dine in or order out either way I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.  If you’d like a peek at their full menu the link is here.   They offer a vegan, gluten free and kids menu. I love a restaurant with multiple options, especially ones for kids. Go out and give Pho a visit soon.


Dinner Kid Friendly MettleFork Kitchen

Chicken and cheese tortellini soup

Tonights meal was a really quick and easy meal I’d love to share with you all.  I had stocked up on some fresh pasta from the Tesco because all of their pasta variations looked great. My original plan was to just throw some Alfredo sauce on top because my husband had asked for a quick and simple pasta.  If you’ve gotten to know me, then you know I rarely do quick and simple.  If you’ve been reading you are well aware I’m on a soup kick and I’m trying to work out recipes for my upcoming cookbook.  I’ll let you know now, this one is definitely making a feature.  Since this wasn’t my original plan I had to run out to the store and grab some chicken.  I was sooo close to grabbing some breasts to cook and dice up and then I saw it,  the last roasted rotisserie chicken in the store.  I took it a sig that this was destiny.  By using the rotisserie chicken, the flavor would be so much better and the cook time so much quicker.  I grabbed it and some extra broth and made my way back home.

The base of this recipe started with mirepoix which is the french version of the trinity – Carrot, Celery and Onions.  I sautéed that first before adding in the remaining ingredients.  All in all start to finish this recipe only took me about 30 minutes with minimal dishes. I know, I know I said I rarely do quick and simple which was not my initial plan.  I however, could not have asked for a better soup with so much flavor bursting from each spoonful in such little time.  The carrots were supple, the tortellini was fresh and cooked to perfection.  The chicken was so tender it literally fell off the bone as I was preparing it.  When it all came together it was holy matrimony. As an added bonus I had 2/3 of a whole chicken left for a second meal.  My only regret in making this recipe was not making a bigger pot so feel free to double it.

Chicken and Cheese Tortellini Soup

2 cups Roasted Chicken                      3 cups mirepoix – (carrots, onion, celery)

32oz chicken broth                              1 Tbsp butter
1 pkg cheese tortellini                         3 cloves of garlic minced
4-5 fresh basil leaves                           2 Tbsp Tuscan seasoning (if available)
2 cups of water
In a large stockpot melt 1 Tbsp of butter and add mirepoix.  Saute mirepoix for 4-5 minutes until it the onions and celery start to become translucent and slightly caramelized.  Next add the minced garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes be sure it doesn’t start to burn.  Then add in the chicken broth and allow it to come to a rolling boil.  Add chicken and basil allow to cook for 5 minutes.  Next add 2 cups of water and 2 Tbsp of Tuscan seasoning.  Add tortellini and allow to cook until pasta doubles in size and floats about 5-6 minutes.

  • You can substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth and remove the meat to make it vegetarian friendly.
  • If Tuscan spice isn’t available mix equal parts – 1Tbsp of basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and parsley then add 1 tsp of salt, black pepper, garlic powder and lemon pepper and onion salt.



A hop across the pond

Hello fellow bloggers, family, friends, followers and soon to be framilowers…(Friend, Family, Follower, Blogger) it has been awhile since I have written but for good reason. My family recently made a HUGE move! We moved to England! Exciting right? Well to be honest it was both exciting and scary. For starters I was without 99% of my kitchen for over a month. I literally had 2 pots to pans and 3 plastic spoons to work with. Now don’t get me wrong, a good cook can make magic happen in the most dire of circumstances. I had a pantry and freezer full of food that I was determined to get rid of…big expectations with mediocre ambition. Most nights it was just easier to eat out and it gave me more blogging material. As soon as I get settled I’ll be back to being you more experiences from Europe. I look forward to this foodie adventure.

Dinner MettleFork Kitchen

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone.  I’m not sure about everyone else but this past year has been a complete whirlwind for me.  The New Year reminds me that so many wonderful things can happen in such a short time.  This past year I finished my Master’s Degree and welcomed a new baby girl into my family.  As if that wasn’t exciting enough,  I decided to start my food blog and ended the year by moving across the pond to England.  What!  When I look back at those major events and the not so major events, I’m amazed by what I was able to accomplish.  I hope 2018 brings many more personal victories for not only myself but for you, my readers.