Friday, 29 June 2012

Kitchen Crushes 3.0

This week's Kitchen Crushes have an '..oh I do like to be beside the seaside...' theme. It didn't start out that way, I promise, but it's obviously the way my mind is creatively day dreaming today.  

1. I've started eating eggs and soldiers for breakfast again. I'd totally forgotten how much of a simple pleasure this was.  Packed full of Vitamin D, eggs are like a nutricious power-house and really give me a spring in my step in the morning (which we all need from times to time, let's me honest). These egg cups are by Charlotte Macey who hand makes pretty textiles, homewares and gifts. They would be perfect to serve my soft boiled eggs in - so cute and perfectly designed. You can buy them online here  direct from her studio (I love the yacht one!)

2. I saw this necklace and it reminded me of fairground rides and amusement arcades by the seaside.  It's called 'Paris scene necklace' (so I have no idea why it evoked memories of seasides!) and is from one of my favourite online shops 'The Prettiest Things' who make really random and uniquely fun jewellery.  I think I'd wear this necklace to a summer evening dinner party.

3.  My kitchen interior crush of the week - cornflower blue, hues and clean white painted wood.  You can't go wrong.  And the simple shelving is an organised winner.  There's even fresh eggs on the table!

4.  I love this print by Showler and Showler from  It's simple and fun.  If I had the kitchen on the left, I'd hang it up on the wall.  In this imaginary 'cornflower blue life' I'd probably have a yacht too.

With all these thoughts of beaches, fresh sea air and food, all I need is a long weekend in my favourite St Ives, Cornwall.  Maybe The Little Leaf Guest House has some vacancies?  Can you think of anything more lovely than eggs and soldiers for breakfast, overlooking the sea?  No, neither can I.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Have you ever eaten a Goose Egg?

Nope, neither have I.

On first inspection I thought it must be Easter (again) but then I realised that the egg was indeed a real Goose Egg.

Waitrose is the first to stock these guys and by the look of stock levels, they're selling quite well.  Must be because they are alleged to make a really nice bouncy sponge in cakes.

Healthy start to the day - finished up with a healthy dinner

I wish every day was as healthy as this.

This was...

1 tin of peach halves
5 strawberries
200g Greek Yogurt
Splash of vanilla soy milk (or almond milk - whatever works for you)
Tiny squeeze of lemon

Add a few sprinklings of oats to make this shake go from 'Bamb' to 'Wham!'

Mix it all up in the blender.  How easy is that?

This was the start to my day.

Still on the healthy vibe, I had a great chicken and avocado sandwich on rye bread for lunch (sorry, I ate it all before I realised that maybe I should have snapped it for the blog.)  Then for dinner I got all Ottolenghi inspired and whipped this up...

It was a bit of a 'wing-it' production, but turned out well. Mainly because you can't go wrong with peas, spinach and goat cheese.


1 garlic chopped
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 chopped leak
1 bunch of green cabbage leaves (kale?)
4 asparagus spears chopped
a cup of peas (frozen will do!)
A hand full of spinach leaves
a hand full of chopped mint
a small knob of butter.

1) Fry off some garlic in a wok (with a little oil).

2) Add the chopped leak, some green cabbage and the peas and asparagus.

3) Add about 50ml water and watch it all steam away and cook up (or 'blanch' as chefs like to say).

4) When the water's all steamed away you can keep stirring and stir in the spinach leaves.  Add a small knob of butter and the chopped mint. Stir, stir, stir.

5) Serve up straight away before the spinach has wilted too much.

6) Sprinkle some shavings of goat cheese on the top.

A healthy, nutritious meal, full of lovely green veggie vitamins and minerals.... what's not to enjoy here?!

...Greens never tasted SO good!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Lunch with Yotam Ottolenghi - Plenty for everyone!

Sometimes you eat something that totally blows your socks off so much that, not only do you go back for second’s, but you go back for third’s too. 

This has only happened once before that I can remember.  I was travelling around New Zealand and the tour driver cooked the most incredible Moroccan lamb (New Zealand Lamb is in-cred-i-ble) – everyone went back for 3rd’s and I still don’t know what the guy put in it (I’ve been trying to replicate it ever since).

I was bought the Yotam Ottolenghi book Plenty for my birthday last year and I still hadn’t got around to cooking anything from it.  Sure, I’d lusted over the amazing photography of his vegetarian delights – but there was so many of his dishes that looked great, I didn’t know where to start.

Thankfully, the decision was made for me when I was faced with an empty cupboard this weekend, albeit a tin of chickpeas, a few carrots, a bag of spinach (ok the recipe calls for chard, but spinach is a very close relative) some coriander (that was almost going over) and some Greek yoghurt.  Ah ha… I could try something chickpea’y from the Ottolenghi cookbook! 

…and Bob’s-your-uncle, the Chickpea Sauté with Greek yoghurt recipe on page 211 sounded almost too perfect for these ingredients to be married in. (I just had to pop to the shop to get some caraway seeks, but it was well worth the long walk!)

'Plenty' is published by Ebury Press and available from all great bookshops!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Yotam’s work, he’s seriously shaken up modern vegetarian food on the back of his restaurant successes.  His recipes are clearly influenced by a few cultures; Thai, Indian, Lebanese, Iranian - it’s a modern fusion of tastes using fresh herbs and vegetables.  Basically, if you’re a cool, modern, hip vegetarian who owns a Mac or the new iPad, you’ll probably be totally comfortable cooking up Yotam’s innovative dishes.

The Sautéed Chickpea and Greek Yoghurt was so fantastic I am not ashamed to say that I made a whole pan full and polished the lot off in a 3rd sitting.  I’m not a vegetarian, but if the new wave vegetarian food is this good, then I might just join the gang.

If you do anything this summer – go and grab the book and enjoy Yotam’s healthy, tasty, plentiful food ideas for yourself!

My take on Yotam's recipe - turned out so well, this will be my new lunch of champions!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Kitchen Crushes 2.0

It's that time again where I swoon over kitchen fodder and pretend that I'm renovating my imaginary kitchen and looking for inspiration.  In my dream world today, these are my current kitchen crushes.  I've got a pastel vibe going on.  I love a pop of colour teamed with clean white - simple but so pretty and modern.

1. Like everyone I have 'storage' issues in my kitchen and would love a display cabinet that's at eye level where I can see all my kitchen goodies like this one from Apartment Therapy (I'm sure they've got something similar to this in Ikea too).

2. I should tell you that I love John Lewis.  I can't really afford their stuff usually, but they have a massive clearance sale on at the moment and I spied these storage containers.  I can store tea bags and sugar in these dudes.

3. I love this necklace from Truffle Shuffle.  Sure, it's got nothing to do with cooking or kitchens, but in a fantasy world I would be wearing this 'flump' retro sweet inspired necklace while baking cookies.

4. Last but not least a really pretty kitchen renovation, again from Apartment Therapy.   Just goes to show how you can incorporate colour into a kitchen without making it look too in-ya-face.

Next week I might be brave and tidy my kitchen and show you all where I make n' bake!

A day out in Bath Spa

The Romans famously brought Spa waters to the city of Bath back in the day and they're still going strong.  I've never see the Bath Spa waters before (you never get around to these things when you live nearby to tourist spots!) but last week I had some relatives over and we decided to check out the Roman Baths and be tourists for the day.

You could, if you wanted to, drink some of the sacred water. I didn't fancy it myself, it was warm and a bit strange smelling. So I opted for a superior coffee instead from my favourite specialty coffee shop in Bath, Colonna and Smalls. Bath knows how to do a good coffee and freshly baked cakes are found everywhere.  They even have a Ben's cookie shop which often has queues out the door.

On the way back to the car (our parking was almost up and I didn't want to get slapped with a ticket!) there was a cool little tea shop I discovered down a side street (Bath is full of cool side streets you can explore). I'll have to pop into next time I'm in town  - I especially loved the name, 'The Bath Bun'.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Food and Drink Festival Favourites!

The Montpellier Food and Drink Festival 2012 just rocked into town!

It's one of my favourite tongue-tantilising events of the summer, full of lovely food produced by talented foodies from around the county and beyond.

I got to try lots of 'freebie-bites' going around the event that I didn't need any lunch.  I had a few too many free 'trial' scoops of ice cream flavours (I had a neapolitan cocktail of tastes on my tongue for the rest of the day).

If you missed it, here are some of my favourites snaps from the event.  what a lovely colourful selection of sweet treats there were!

1. I can't remember who made the macaroons but just look at the lovely colours!

2 and 5. I Love Patisserie - made by Tracey Dugan in Herefordshire.

3. Crumpet cupcakes.  They looked amazing and I wanted to try one, but by this time I was on sugar overload and so my friend tried one for me.  She loved it!

4. A lovely array of Jams...

5. Frasers Fudj. Fraser of Fraser's Fudj is an 11 year old wonder-kid!  He's the mastermind behind this fudge company  - the burnt butter fudge is particularly special and I think that this very clever young chap is certainly an Alan Sugar of the future. I can see in the year 2020, Fraser and his fudge company (that derived from his grandfather's fudge recipe books) will be a household name!

I also bought a lovely honey and mustard dressing from a chap from Stainswick Farm.  Possibly the yummiest honey and mustard dressing I've tasted in a long time - beats my current favourite from Marks and Spencers - so I just sloshed some on a quick salad for lunch.  Yum.

There's another food festival on this coming weekend called the Love Food Festival (there's also another one on 1st July here) that I might pop along to and get some more food inspiration and treats.  I.just.can't.wait.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

A quick wrap snack!

Here's my roasted vegetable wrap snack for you to make and enjoy yourselves!  It's a vegetarian's feast, (or if you like meat you can also put some chicken in this wrap and it's still yummy!)


Tesco finest red onion chutney

1 handful spinach leaves

2 Carrots, chopped and roasted

1 Capsicum/Bell pepper chopped and roasted

Crumbling of goat cheese

Salt and Pepper

You can roast up a ton more vegetables and incorporate them into lots of other yummy dishes throughout your working week - a risotto, some quinoa, cous cous, a tart, a fritatta.. the list is endless - or just leave in the fridge to pick at for snacks!

I've just thought, this is more like a vegetable burrito than a wrap, isn't it?  Well, burrito or wrap, it's delish!  Try it and it'll put your average boring sandwich to shame.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Veg Day

You know when you go on holiday, roast in the sun for a few days, and feel so much better from getting a good sun tan?

Well, vegetables are happier roasted too!  Roasting veg makes it sweet and sticky and so SO tasty - if you haven't already tried it, roast some carrots with some olive oil, salt and pepper.  Sweet? Oh yes.  Healthy? Oh yes.

So this morning I chopped up some lovely colourful vegetables and roasted them all.  Then it was my plan to make a lovely roasted vegetable wrap with spinach, caramelised onions and feta.  I know it sounds so good doesn't it?  And I was so looking forward to it too, but then I remembered that I had eaten the one key ingredient yesterday evening.  Oops.

No worries, I thought.  I will just pop to the shop and buy some, right?  But oh no!  They didn't have any left.  Dammit.

Tomorrow I'll go back to another shop and I WILL make this wrap!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Chocolate and Raspberry Pie

I promised you a Chocolate Pie and here’s what I conjured up!  A Chocolate and Raspberry Pie!  Oooh… Ahhh….  (rich chocolate and juicy raspberries are a match made in heaven!)

In most cases I like to promote healthy food and healthy living (blah blah blah) because it’s awesome, but healthy recipes don’t have to be boring and sometimes you can throw a curve ball and have a treat.  Life is boring without treats, right?

The great thing about healthy eating is making things yourself and ‘controlling’ what goes into it – i.e. in supermarket bought prepackaged stuff, is sometimes full of weird stuff and packed with sugar, salt, additives, preservatives etc… (you get the drill).  So when you make something yourself you know exactly what’s gone into it and you can also make sure the freshest ingredients are part of it too.  (This goes for treats too.)

This chocolate tart is pure wonderment.  It’s like, so beautiful - if it were a movie star it would be on the red carpet at the Golden Globes wearing an Vivienne Westward gown. And the best thing is that it takes hardly any ingredients and no time at all to prepare. It’s the perfect dessert for dinner parties (not that I’ve had a dinner party for a LONG time.. hmm maybe it’s about time I had one!)

If you use the 70% dark chocolate (instead of the milk chocolate) and fresh from the field raspberries, there’s some goodness in this scrumptious pie for you too.

Serves about 6

150g plain chocolate (if you like rich dark choc use 70% solids or if you want it sweet, use regular milk chocolate)
250g fresh raspberries
50g butter
100ml double cream (and an extra 100ml left over for serving mixed with 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp vanilla)
1 premade sweet short crust pastry case (I got mine from Tesco for 79p, yes really)  but you can make shortcrust pastry yourself, I use Ina Garten’s recipe).

…Chop the chocolate and butter up into squares (makes it quicker to melt).

…Put into a bowl with the cream and put the bowl over s saucepan simmering with boiling water (this will warm the bowl and melt the chocolate) - Stir until just melted.

…Don’t over-stir or over-melt otherwise the chocolate will burn and split.
Take it off the heat when it’s almost all melted and let it rest for 30 mins or so.

…After 30 mins give it a stir again and pour into the pastry case.

…Lay the raspberries neatly around the top.  Ahh so pretty!

…Then pop into the fridge to set for a wee while, so that the chocolate sets. 

…When it’s ready, slice it up and enjoy with a dollop or whipped double cream (whisked up with 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp vanilla) you’ve got left over.

Simple.  Delicious.  Not so healthy, but it’s been a rainy dull week, so treat yourself girlfriend!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Chocolate saves the day!

Yesterday it rained.  And then it rained some more.  Seriously, is this supposed to be summertime?

So in a desperate plea to cheer up the rainy day, I decided that there was only one thing for it; make a chocolate pie. So that's what I did.

As if I needed an excuse to make something chocolately, right? Well my excuse was that I had some chocolate bars left over from a cake I made and the best before date was July 2012. So I needed to save these lovely chocolate bars from going over fast!

The method and more photos are coming up... just to wet your appetite, here are the ingredients and a photo of the ingredients pre-pie.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Kitchen Crushes


I have to put my hands up and admit I quite have a thing for kitchens... and the whiter they are, the better!  My kitchen is white, but it's not as groovy as these, no way.  So I thought I'd share my kitchen crushes with you this week.

1.  I totally love this oven glove by Rachael Taylor designs, you can them buy here at the Bouf store, so cute!  2.  A lovely white kitchen via Pinterest - I love the way the hob is on the breakfast bar so you can chat to your friends and family while you cook!  (if you know the source please let me know!)  3. Another cool white kitchen from freshome here.  I could see myself standing at the bright window here drinking a cup of tea, while soaking up that all that sunshine!  ...and 4.  the groviest kitchen 'thang' I've seen in a long time - the Kitchen Bull from Torolengo here

Tell me your kitchen crushes!!

I also have a crush on a juicing machine and an espresso machine at the moment.  It's such a tough choice which to buy!  Do I give in to coffee or healthy juices?  In the cafe I used to work at we made this amazing breakfast juice which was more of a smooth juice mixture - we called it a 'Smuice'!  It was so creamy and smuicey! Mmm, so refreshing too....

I think the new addition to my kitchen appliance family will be a juicer!