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smoked wood pigeon salad.

with all the hot weather we're having (well a bit hit and miss this last week) i've been trying to think of recipes which are quite light but still satisfy my appetite. this hasn't always been successful as i love a hearty evening meal and have lately been eating things like fragrant but healthy curries and seafood pasta dishes. 

when i had my field&flower produce delivery, for which i'll be writing a round up post on soon, i decided to be a bit daring and try out cooking with wood pigeon. a mix of the deep but smokey game flavours, salty lardons, bitter walnuts and fresh salad i actually felt full up. this is one of my most adventurous recipes to date so i hope you enjoy!

love highcross food: a summer of food in leicester.

from vibrant mexican street food to delectable sushi and inspiring italian to stacked up gourmet burgers... you can travel the world flavours at the outdoor food court at highcross in leicester. but with the hustle and bustle of end of season sales, bags full of bargains and that new dress you've gone especially into the city centre for - how often do you plan an evening out to enjoy al fresco dining in that part of town?

this weekend saw the launch of #lovehighcrossfood. a calender of summer foodie events at st. peter's square in highcross leicester to get people smiling, talking and thinking about paying a visit to one of the lovely restaurants there. 

one of the most obvious changes is the colourful edible themed garden around the square. (note themed: made me chuckle at the notice saying the food isn't real - imagining someone trying to climb the tree for a plastic pineapple). i hope to see lots of people getting involved with social media on this one - tweets and instagrams galore of all the edible (not edible) trees and most importantly picture of their meals with the hashtag #lovehighcrossfood :)

so what's in store? i went along on saturday 27th and there were all sorts of things going on; including samples of patisserie valerie's sweet treats, chilacas mexican street food, nando's wings, a vintage ice cream bicycle serving leicestershire ice cream, ping pong tables and a set menu offer at carluccio's.

but don't worry you haven't missed out! here is a calender of events and offers up until 23rd august...

poppa wan's show-stopping twice-cooked melting pork: a recipe in pictures.

eek when i was bought the gok cooks chinese book i felt like a little kid getting a new toy! i sat up reading through all the recipes and looking at all the delicious pictures not knowing what to make first; hoisin duck and pancakes, sesame prawns, the amazing sounding oriental salads, dim sum... then i saw this melting pork dish and knew from the name alone that i had to try it out. i'd ordered some meat from field and flower for that weekend and hadn't decided what to make with the rolled and boned pork belly yet.

so since i don't want to give away too much about the wan's family secrets, here is a recipe in pictures of poppa wan's show-stopping twice-cooked melting pork along with sesame carrot salad adapted from the book.

midlands foodie meet up at peter pizzeria, loughborough.

after the fun foodie meet up at kayal last month, we naturally decided to arrange another. getting to talk about food for a good few hours and not being embarrassed to take pictures of each other's meals - what foodie wouldn't like that? so since last time the loughborough foodies came over to leicester, this time i made my way to loughborough to try the newly opened peter pizzeria on ashby square. there were a couple of new faces too - local baker louise who created the "something divine" chocolate dessert on the peter pizzera menu and chocolatier dan of loughborough's chocolate alchemy. 

steamed pork dumplings.

i absolutely love the type of meals with lots of little dishes - dim sum, tapas and sushi especially. i recently bought a bamboo steamer basket as i've always wanted to try making my own dim sum. i loved the idea of making something again with the stack of rice paper wrappers i bought in chinatown - having made vietnamese summer rolls the other week. so this is a bit of a mix and match of my favourite asian inspired flavours to make these steamed pork dumplings.

i bought this bamboo steamer set with two tiers from amazon for £9.99. i could've maybe picked one up at a local chinese supermaket - though the three near me all close around the same time i finish work :( so what next?

gousto food box review.

lately i seem to be discovering lots of foodie delivery boxes - a brilliant idea for busy families, working couples, a one off treat for a bbq and beyond. but which one to choose? the way gousto works is you firstly select the size which suits your lifestyle, then pick the recipes you like the look of from their weekly list. the box was packed with special ice packs which kept the food cool even in my back garden whilst i was at work (i would've been so sad if a leicester fox ran away with my goodies!) and i loved how some of the ingredients had a little pun on the packet... thyme to cook!

packed with local, organic and seasonal ingredients, it was impossible to decide which two of the meals to pick. i tried to go with more challenging recipes which ingredients or combinations that i'd not tried before. so i should say that there were clear time scales on each description and i probably went with the recipes with lots of prep which took around 30-45 minutes - there are quicker ones! :)

the dishes i chose were thai beef chilli and lime wraps and garlic chicken with creamy kohlrabi mash.

homemade red wine venison ravioli.

my lovely pasta maker has had a little break lately - i seem not to have made anything italian inspired in so long! i recently discovered the somerset produce from field&flower - with everything from classic british sausages to the more unusual game cuts - and thought this would be a brilliant opportunity to try out a posh ravioli with some delicious venison. i ordered a few different meats which will be posts to come. but for now, how did i make it? :)

yo! burger: rice, but not as you know it.

ahhh when i saw that yo! sushi were bringing out a limited edition yo! burger, so many questions went through my head. what flavours are there? would the rice "burger bun" be crunchy or springy? what are the sides like? and most importantly... what filling should i go for? a tough decision between the prawn and salmon, with other delicious sounding flavours including chicken, tofu and tilapia, i went for salmon :)

for £8, you get kimchi salmon on a bed of lettuce, topped with kimchi pickled vegetables and shredded nori served with either nori crackers or soya beans, daikon slaw and misochup. not bad for under 400 calories hey?

summer fun with the waitrose bbq range.

how lovely is the weather lately? it just makes me want to buy lots of summer dresses and have a bbq every weekend! so when the people of john lewis asked if i would like to host a party and try out their waitrose bbq food and a pizza stone it couldn't have come at a more perfect time. i got up super early last saturday morning and excitedly whizzed over to my local to see what treats they had... couldn't believe it was near on 20 degrees that early in the morning.

i went for the 3 for £10 offer of chorizo style sausage whorls, honey and mustard pork kebabs and lamb shish kebabs, 2 for £5 packs of veal and parmesan burgers, tasty dips, mixed salad and some veggie options for my friend alice :) there are a few other bits and bobs that appear in this post (sneaky pimms in the corner there) that i added to myself or rustled up from bits in the cupboard.

treacle tart.

aside from the classic bakewell, a treacle tart has to be up there as one of my favourite. years ago my dad used to take me  and my sisters to the crusting pipe in covent garden where they did (perhaps still do) the best treacle tart i've ever tasted. i hadn't actually put much thought into how to make one before now, though when i came across the james martin recipe on bbc good food i thought i'd give it a go. also, it's just the perspective that makes that dollop of cream look so massive... honest.

coast to coast restaurant, leicester.

last week i was invited to the launch night of the newly opened coast to coast in leicester's highcross. located in a bustling outdoor food court amongst the likes of yo sushi, wagamamas, cafe rouge,  handmade burger co and carluccio's, i was really excited to see what the american bar and grill had to offer. we were greeted with surprise cocktails; a refreshing regular mojito and one with a raspberry twist, whilst we nibbled on olives and mulled over the menu.

elderflower and kiwi daiquiri.

it seems summer is finally upon us... dusting off that barbecue, queuing at ice cream vans, strawberries and cream and fruity cocktails. so i thought i'd try out a little something. here i present you... a refreshing elderflower and kiwi daiquiri. 

my housemate made a gorgeous cocktail the other weekend made up of bottle green elderflower cordial, gin and lemonade so i thought i'd experiment with the bottle green sparkling elderflower i was recently sent. i realise daiquiris aren't strictly fizzy but the kiwi fruit accidentally gave the drink a texture similar to a strawberry daiquri :) i also used rum as a base ingredient but you can of course make a virgin adaptation sans rum. 

so how do you concoct one... or two?

vietnamese summer rolls with a peanut and chilli dipping sauce.

somewhere along my instagram news feed amongst tasty tapas, carefully decorated cupcakes and plates brimming with full english breakfasts, i remember coming across a picture of some vietnamese summer rolls. i looked up a few recipes straight away and learnt that i needed to search for a pretty key ingredient... rice paper wrappers. so when i headed to london the other weekend something i remembered to search for some in a soho supermarket :)

i based my recipe on one i found on the channel 4 food website by simon rimmer; there are a few altered ingredients and these quantities feed 2 greedy people around four rolls each :) he also includes a sauce though i made this peanut and chilli dipping sauce recipe up myself after a little experimentation.

the rice paper wrappers should look something a little like these. but what else will you need?

dishoom bombay breakfast, covent garden, london.

a full breakfast menu with an indian twist; an unlikely combination. could it work? i ordered a chocolate chai whilst i perused the likes of bacon naan rolls, breakfast lassi, fire toast and akuri which is spicy scrambled eggs. decisions decisions! there are even bloody marys for those who are feeling a little delicate. i'd been to dishoom and experienced their dinner menu before so they had a lot to live up to...

the chocolate chai was, as you'd expect, a mixture of house chai tea and dark chocolate - luxurious and infused with spice. the only thing is i did need caffeine quite badly that morning. request for chai mocha please? :)

so since i couldn't decide i went for bombay omelette and sausage naan roll - hoping the naan would be sort of like a side. it wasn't - so i was pleasantly stuffed by the end! the bombay omelette consisted of "a crazy-paving omelette of chopped tomato, onion, coriander and green chilli served with tomatoes grilled on the vine and fire toast". 

the omelette was delicately seasoned, the tomatoes perfectly grilled and the sauce was like a spicy tomato dip. the fire toast was tasty but a bit too much for me as i'd also ordered the naan! silly emily! though not bad for £5.90 hey?