Thursday, 14 November 2013

Blog move

This blog has now moved to

Please come on over and keep reading!


Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Chopping Challenge

Did you know that chopping your vegetables and adding them to your pots can be made easier? I had no idea either until the lovely people at offered to send me a Chop2pot by Joseph Joseph to try.

The idea is's a chopping board which folds up into a scoop shape, meaning you just pick up the board and easily transport your ingredients. So simple, yet no-one else has thought of it.

The Chop2Pot before use - the handle goes up to make the chopping surface secure

In action!

It's a new favourite in our household!

You can find the Chop2pot here: 

Friday, 30 August 2013

Yolk Hero - Giveaway

I love baking...well who doesn't?! And now, with the return of the Great British Bake Off it seems like the perfect time to run a giveaway for something which makes baking just that little bit easier...

The Yolk Hero is the solution for those of us who always seem to end up with a bit of shell in our cake mixes when separating eggs, or whose yolks just seem to drop into those carefully separated egg whites.

It's a fun little fellow, perfect for brightening up your kitchen gadget drawer. So enter the competition below for a fun, mess free way to separate your yolks.

Don't worry if you don't can always buy one, like I did here: src=gpute&gclid=CMP1kq20pbkCFcfJtAodjAoAkw

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 5 August 2013

Say cheese

Remember the squidgy soft triangles of Laughing Cow Cheese from packed lunches and break time snacking from your youth? Well, they've grown up...
The Laughing Cow has recently launched a new range of light cheeses targeting those with a more selective cheesy palate - Light Emmental and Light Blue Cheese.
There are few things which aren't improved with a touch of cheese - from pasta and sandwiches to salads and soups and these squares are not only light in calories, but so easy to use. If you are watching your weight or just love cheese a little bit too much, these are the perfect solution to adding creaminess to dishes without the added calories.
The Emmental had a soft but distinctively nutty flavour, while the blue cheese, although it didn't look blue at all, definitely had a hint of Cropwell Bishop or Stilton in the flavour.
These really are a fantastic fridge staple - for kids and big kids!
Find out more here:   
Disclaimer: I was kindly sent these to try by Laughing Cow. Thanks lovely ladies :-)

Monday, 29 July 2013

White Chocolate Mud Cake

It was my sister's birthday this weekend, which meant I was in charge of making a decadent birthday cake to celebrate.  As it was sunny outside, I thought I'd forget the traditional chocolate cake and go for a white chocolate mud cake with strawberries.  I followed this recipe from the Pink Whisk:

A great recipe, very indulgent and delicious. I didn't use any chocolate in the icing, as felt it was already pretty packed full of white chocolate, and I don't think you'd notice the difference...but apart from that I followed it exactly.

I'll definitely be making this one again - for a special occasion. Note the ice blocks in the image below (I don't recommend making a white chocolate collar for a cake when it's really hot outside!)

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Desert Island Dishes - cookbook review

Thanks to the Maldon Salt team, I had a great cookbook to review this month - Desert Island Dishes.

The book was launched this year to celebrate 130 years of Maldon Salt and has recipes from the World's Top chefs including Rick Stein, Albert Roux, Jason Atherton, Gary Rhodes and many many more and with a foreword by Jay Rayner. Big names showing their love and versatility of Maldon salt.

Maldon is a top pick for chefs, and even for home cooks like myself. Nothing really compares - the all natural flakes really do just taste better and add extra flavour to all your dishes.

The cookbook takes you through a variety of recipes which all feature salt (obviously) but which vary in ease - meaning there is something for everyone.

Chocolate truffle recipe
Stuffed Seabass with fennel
Recipes vary from the pretty simple to follow, to a little more advanced, but of course, all contain the very important ingredient - Maldon Salt.

Available from book shops now

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Byron Burgers

London has gone burger mad. From Shake Shack to Five Guys, there seems to be a new burger place opening every day.  But sometimes, it's good to go back to a classic. Byron Burger has been a fixture on the London burger scene for a good few years now and there's one reason for that...It does burgers well.

Oh and the onion rings....

The only slightly disappointing thing is that, as we all know, we are a cider making nation and the very best cider is on our doorstep - Herefordshire or Somerset ciders can't be beaten...yet Byron import an Australian one?? Think they need to review that one!

Monday, 17 June 2013

A fresh start to the day

Waking up is never easy…but I’ve recently been introduced to two things which help make my morning a little bit happier.
The Green Machine by Naked Juice

Everyone says there is no better way to start the day than with a green smoothie. Not many of us have the inclination or time to get out the juicer, make a smoothie and then wash it all up before going to work, which is why this is a great start to the day. Packed with lovely fruit as you’d expect, it also has some more exciting ingredients guaranteed to keep you going through the day such as Spirulina, Broccolli, Spinach, Blue Green Algae, Wheat Grass, Barley Grass and parsley.  Find out more here:

Emmi’s Caffe Latte in Caramel or Skinny

Refreshing and creamy drink. Perfect as a morning pick me up or a snack in the day.  Caramel is delicious – as you’d expect. What you wouldn’t expect is that their new skinny version would taste just as good.  You’d never know it was lower in calories. Follow the link here for their twitter account and to find out more:
Thanks for sending me the samples lovely Naked Juice and Emmi.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Best Tapas in London?

When I was invited down to Alquimia restaurant in Putney following the launch, I really wasn't expecting much...which sounds a bit harsh. But tapas is tapas, right? How wrong could I have been.

I can honestly say that the meal I had at Alquimia was the best Tapas I've ever had...including in Spain.

Don't be put off by the appearance of the outside of the looks small and insignificant, but go through the doors and you are welcomed as one of the family to experience a really authentic and delicious tapas menu.

There were plenty of choices on the menu, so me and my sister (my dining companion on this review) asked them to just bring us what they thought we should try and they went all out.

Every dish was fantastic, well thought out, presented with care and most importantly - delicious.

Try the tuna tartare - something I'd never have gone for...but which was amazing.

I'll be back!
Paletilla ibérica "Paletilla ibérica"

Freshly carved Iberico Ham

Tuna Tartare - something I never would have ordered but that was stunning

Patatas Bravas

Chorizo Riojano “a la sidra” Spicy chorizo from Rioja with cider

Calamares fritos a la andaluza Fried squid Andalucian style

Gambas a la plancha con ajo-aceite Grilled prawns with garlic oil

Torrija de vainilla con helado de leche Spanish vanilla sweet bread with milk ice cream

A most amazing drink - milk infused with rum, spices and orange - I could have drunk a pint of this!

Alquimia on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Foodie goodies

I've been sent some lovely goodies to try recently. New Kallo rice cakes - in Blueberry and Caramel. Tasty and a great treat for mid afternoon snacking.

Truvia baking blend - i'm looking forward to trying this one soon, following my baking disasters earlier this year using other sweetner alternatives

A selection of Linwoods milled seeds - as i'm allergic to nuts, I didn't actually try these - but the other half enjoyed them on his cereal.

All new and available in stores now.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Fire & Stone, Covent Garden

I was reminded by a friend that one of my first dates with my husband was at Fire & Stone, and as I sat in the restaurant I began to remember how much of my twenties was spent in the restaurant - it was always the 'go to' after work to meet with friends, celebrate birthdays and generally just enjoy good pizzas and drink, while not spending too much.

So, I don't know why I haven't been in a while!

We went on a Thursday night and it was packed. So definitely worth booking a table if you can. You can book online, so no excuses.

We both opted for pizzas from the specials section, but they have a large variety of pasta too and the two surrounding tables both tucked into some delicious looking pastas.

I love the combinations of toppings at Fire & Stone.Really different and the bases are lovely and crisp.
The Canberra pizza is roast chicken breast, garlic and rosemary potatoes, marinated mushrooms, mozzarella, sour cream and topped with sweet chilli sauce.
The Madrid pizza is spicy chorizo, prawns, roasted red peppers and garlic, mozzarella, garlic mayonnaise and chopped parsley.
Gorgeous combinations, really flavoursome and filling!
However, we managed to make room for some dessert with the Fire and stone ice cream sandwich and the warm Belgian waffle. Yum!
Waffley goodness
Ice Cream Sandwich

Find out more and see the full menu on

Thanks to Fire & Stone for inviting me for a review meal.

Fire & Stone on Urbanspoon


Quark has had a bit of a renaissance recently since the Dukan diet arrived on the scene and people have been snapping it up to make their high protein pancakes. But for me, its something I've never really thought about trying.

So when The Lake District Dairy Company sent me a hamper jam pack full of Quark and ingredients to make a moussaka and a cheesecake as designed by The Fabulous Baker Brothers, I was keen but dubious.

Delicious hamper of Quark goodies
Lake District Dairy Co. Quark

A week later and I'm a convert. Lower in calories than creme fraiche or cream, using Quark seems to be the way to get something deliciously creamy for a lot less calories - the cheesecake was literally half the calories.

So thanks for introducing me to Quark!

Find out more at

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Darcy's Restaurant St Albans

It's always a good sign when I don't have time to take pictures of the food, as I'm too busy eating...but that's exactly what happened when we visited Darcy's restaurant in St Albans.

It's the second time we've visited and the second time was just as good as the first.

We began with cocktails downstairs in the bar area, then headed upstairs for the main meal.

We started with a sharing platter of Duck Gyoza, salt and pepper squid and miso soup - a really good start to the meal.

I then opted for the special fish dish which was pollock wrapped in chorizo and my other half went for the meat special, the pork belly.

Finally, to finish off the meal, my dining partner chose the dark chocolate and honeycomb bomb, which looked amazing. A massive cone shaped chocolate creation.

Chocolate bomb
I chose the After Eight dessert cocktail - mint baileys mixed with mint choc chip ice cream. Incredibly decadent, but worth visiting just for this!
Another great meal thanks to Darcy's - we'll be back!
Take a look at Darcy's here:

Chocolate and Coffee tasting

Chocolate and coffee..the perfect combination?

I was thrilled to be invited to the Lindt and DeLonghi coffee and chocolate tasting in London a couple of weeks ago, as who doesn't love that combination.

The event was held at Kettners, in one of the private rooms upstairs, which was a bit of a bonus as i'd always wanted to see inside this old London staple. On arrival we were greeted with Cherry Espresso martinis which had been designed for De'Longhi by Rebecca Seal - so good.

I'd always had a fondness for Espresso Martinis but if you use a cherry vodka, rather than a plain have a delicious cherry flavoured Espresso. Give it a go!

Once settled in the tasting room we were introduced to Robert Henry, expert Barista from De'Longhi and Stefan Bruderer, Lindt's Master Chocolatier, who led us through the tasting process. Pairing decaff coffees and regular coffees with the range of Lindt chocolates, we were shown how the two complement each other perfectly.

Pairings included:
  • Lindt Excellence White Vanilla with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Long Black
  • Lindt Excellence Extra Creamy with Brazil Fazenda Passeio Long Black
  • Lindt Excellence Dark with a touch of Sea Salt with Brazil Cerrado Decaf Espresso
So give them a go at home!
The new De' Longhi Primadonna S range machines were on display throughout the event and used to give us our delicious coffees. Such lovely looking machines. I've already got a De' Longhi espresso machine in blue in the kitchen, but i'm already adding these to my wishlist - mint green please if anyone is thinking of buying me one!

It was a great event which led me to think about chocolate as more of 'an event' - why not pull out some bars when entertaining guests and see which pairings they like best.

For further information on De'Longhi and Lindt pairings, visit the new pairing website:

Monday, 29 April 2013

Bill's restaurant - St Albans

My friend first introduced me to Bill's, when we met for a drink in Covent Garden. Great place to meet friends, in a fun environment.  I loved it from the first visit and have returned on many an occasion. I've also tried the one in Soho.

So, I was excited to see the new St Albans venue open recently and my husband and I went along to give it a go. The new restaurant has replaced the rather short lived restaurant, Baroque, on Chequers Street, right in the centre of town and just down from Jamie's Italian.

The restaurant mirrors the other Bill's restaurants in London, with the same quirky set up, menu and buy from the shelves. We went on a Tuesday night, and it was already packed with a variety of people...proving its initial popularity.

Staff were friendly and helpful - nothing was too much trouble. So we started our meal in a good frame of mind.

We ordered a Bill's Burger and the mac n' cheese and weren't disappointed. We split both and there was certainly enough! Great food, lovely drinks and great service.
Delicious burgery-ness

The mac n' cheese

Bill's Beer

Pink lemonade
Bound to be a favourite in St Albans.

Visit: for further information

Friday, 22 March 2013

Healthy Snacks - A Weight Watchers post

Yes, yet again I'm attempting my yearly membership to Weight Watchers. I've been doing it for four weeks now and it's all going to plan at the moment. I'm a bit of a snacker, to say the least, so I've come up with some easy, tasty Weight Watchers suitable snacks.

One of the great things about Weight Watchers is that fruit is completely free - so the first stop is always a banana, some berries or an orange. Point free and naturally good.

However, if i'm looking for something which feels a bit more of a treat, then the new Sakata crackers are pure genius. I was sent some to try recently and since then they've been a permanent addition to my shopping basket.

These little Japanese crackers are packed full of flavour and a very small 2 points per row (yes, that's per row...not per cracker) so you can indulge guiltfree. Available in lots of different flavours, but favourite has to be seaweed and soy sauce.

Take a look at this link for more

And finally, I think i've discovered the ultimate dessert - A healthy Eton Mess. Simply mix a punnet of raspberries with a crushed meringue (individual meringue - 1 pro point) and a small tub of Total 0% greek yoghurt (2 pro points) for a really decadent feeling dessert, without the guilt. It's my new favourite. Especially after a roast dinner!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Cookbook round up

I admit it. I've got a problem. I'm addicted to cookery books. I've now got around 90 in my collection and it's still growing. I love flicking through recipe book pages, copying the recipes or just getting some inspiration.

So I thought I'd share some of my most recent additions with you.

Bit of a mixture - First off the Hairy Dieters book by the Hairy Bikers. I watched the TV show and pretty much ended up buying this one alone for the pizza base pies - genious idea of replacing pastry with pizza base, knocking the calories down. It's an easy to use, simple recipe book. Not beautiful but practical.

On the other end of the scale we have the incredibly beautiful cookbook by Rachel Khoo, The Little Paris Kitchen. This is a gorgeous book to flick through in the evening but the recipes are really stand out too. I loved the Croque Madame recipe, which puts the eggs into little bread shaped cups. Delicious start to the weekend and perfect hangover food.

The Skinny French Kitchen by Harry Eastwood is another lovely book with fabulous photography and mouth watering recipes. It's typical french recipes with a skinny twist...think missing out the double cream...

We've only tried one so far, the boeuf bourguignon, but it certainly came out with an amazing flavour.

Finally, I succumbed to buying Gwyneth's book, Notes from my kitchen table in advance of her new book launch in April. I've not attempted a single recipe yet...but I will do!

Oh I love cookbooks.