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teppanyaki grill at home.

I love an excuse for a get together. dinner party, special occasion, food blogger meet up, date night, Christmas... it just so happens that food seems to be a focal point too. I was recently asked if i'd like to try out something from the vonshef range and was instantly drawn to the teppanyaki grill. All you need is a dinner table, your favourite south east asian flavours, stockpile of soy sauce and some hungry guests...

simple party canapés.

hope you all had a wonderful christmas. here are a few snaps of the christmas canapés which i made as a starter to the main event. sitting here eating a million selection boxes and working out what leftover turkey recipe to try next, it thought i'd post these up as inspiration for party food recipe ideas for new year's eve.

gousto box review + giveaway.

pick and choose perfectly portioned meal inspiration direct to your door with gousto. with meat, fish and vegetarian meal box options, all you have to do is choose the recipes you fancy, pick an available date and next thing you know there's a chilled meal box at your door with just about everything you need for three days of grub. 

midlands food bloggers festive afternoon tea.

Last weekend myself and another 9 midlands bloggers met up for an afternoon of tea, Tiny sandwiches, miniature desserts and an abundance of Instagram opportunities. Mostly though, it was super exciting to put a few faces to Twitter names and finally continue our foodie chats face to face. Off we headed to Hotel La Tour, With no sign of their festive afternoon tea menu online and a head full of Google images from previous reviews. 

christmas treats to make, bake and do.

what have you been baking and a making this festive season? there are still a few days left for you to dash to the shops and create some merry christmas treats for you to leave out for santa. here are a few of my christmas baking recipes to give you a little inspiration for things to gobble up or give away as gifts...

nice but not too naughty christmas chocolate mousse.

a cheeky little chocolate mousse that isn't as naughty as it looks. with ingredients such as low fat quark and fresh avocado, go straight to the top of santa's nice list with a chocolate dessert that even gives you one of your five a day. i know, right? this one has added christmas spices, a crunch of flaked almonds and scattering of cranberries for bonus festive points.

the festive tag.

everyone is loving these festive tags lately, aren't they? i should really be wrapping some christmas presents right now. instead i'm watching nigellissima, drinking a snowball and answering these rather christmassy queries. could i get any more festive? since both the lovely amelia of xameliax and michael of the bearded bakery both tagged me up in similar seasonal blog posts, i've merged the questions into one festive blog bonanza. enjoy...

charlie and the chocolate factory afternoon tea at one aldwych, london.

“I am the maker of music, the dreamer of dreams!”
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl. 

When I was at primary school, I remember reading Roald Dahl's books front to back until the ink wore off the pages and the covers were dog eared. Accompanied by the all too well known sketches from Quentin Blake, firm favourites were the BFG, The Twits and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. What child wouldn't be gripped by tales of fizzy lifting drinks, coloured changing caramels, edible wallpaper and everlasting gobstoppers?

To coincide with the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical in London's west end, One Aldwych has collaborated to create a magical afternoon tea, inspired by the whimsical delights of the book and, now, theatre show. And since it's christmas afterall, throughout December there's a festive afternoon tea twist on the usual menu.

pearl barley risotto.

i do love me a good risotto, namely with lots of garlic, sweet softened onion and an abundance of seafood. lately i've gotten into risotto with a twist, switching out the infamous arborio rice for some wholesome pearl barley. 

i've seen it in a few restaurants so thought i'd have a go myself, treating the pulses exactly as i would when making risotto. italians would probably shake their heads at this interpretation of a risotto but it really is super tasty with a little extra bite, plus it keeps you fuller for longer.

vegan christmas shortbread trees.

with our christmas meal, secret santa and christmas party this week, i'm fully feeling the festive spirit. we even put our first tree up - complete with retro coloured lights and gingerbread man decorations. if you prefer your christmas trees in edible form, this dairy free shortbread with christmas spices is for you. 

fiesta del asado, birmingham.

for those who see my constant stream of vegetarian meals and vegan baking over on social media, this review may come as a surprise. tofu and quinoa aside, i actually absolutely love a good quality rare steak, preferably rump or fillet, and choose my time to indulge. so where better for these sparing moments than at well received argentinian steakhouse fiesta del asado in birmingham? i was truly in for a treat.

chocolate orange nutella cheesecake.

if you hadn't yet tried the stunning nutella cheesecake a la nigella lawson, you seriously need to get involved. this week i made a chocolate orange twist on the cheesecake recipe with the fabulous new 6 in 1 aura hand blender from russell hobbs

a cheesecake was the perfect recipe to try it out on, since you need to blitz, whip and blend like nobody's business. what's more, the lovely lot over at russell hobbs sent me a personalised nutella. absolute happiness in a jar, with my name on it.

chung ying central, birmingham.

for oodles of noodles and delectable dim sum in birmingham, it is essential that you pay a visit to chung ying. with the original chung ying founded over thirty years ago, the family run business now has three bustling restaurants across the city all serving outstanding cantonese cuisine day and night. 

american candy by post with taffy mail + giveaway.

as if the prospect of christmas wasn't excitement enough, this week i've been riding on a sugar high thanks to sweet treats from taffy mail. passionate about pop rocks? got a niggling for some nerds? or a hankering for a hershey's bar? this is one mail order box for you. full to the brim with american candy, sweet treats, fizzy drinks and overly indulgent chocolate bars. yep, i'm definitely buzzing on all shades of e numbers right now. 

sweet success in christmas cake decorating.

i should probably say that the blog post title is a nod towards nottingham based bakery and sugarcraft shop sweet success who were kind enough to set me this christmas decorating challenge. not me bragging about the beautifully presented cake above. for that, i have their fantastic christmas cake decorating kit to thank, packed with everything i needed to create the perfect festive pud. including this little fella, who i'm going to call cupid.

raja monkey indian street café, birmingham.

"The old streets were a maelstrom of activity; with the hum of modernity ringing in my ears, I entered this cosy capsule of rustic indian charm..."

A vibrant street food café serving up inspiring Indian cuisine, you'll find Raja Monkey along stratford road on the outskirts of Birmingham. With the location emulating the look and feel of what street food is about, the inviting entrance brings a warm glow to the pavement, with its cosy seating, chalkboard of daily specials and bustling open kitchen on show.

vegan pistachio chocolate truffles.

these chocolates really are as easy as a b c, 1, 2, 3 and as simple as do re mi. with just three ingredients, the dairy free delights are really fun to make in a variety of chocolate shapes. wrap up as gifts for your vegan friends or keep the secret to yourself - the choice is yours!

christmas jammie dodgers.

it's that time of year again... time for christmas baking! i especially love getting festive ideas from fellow foodie bloggers, as well as browsing markets for cute christmas products and getting lost on christmas recipe pinterest boards. the mackays baking challenges are especially fun to follow, as their high quality, innovative preserves are such a pleasure to work with and the foodies are all really enthusiastic about their creations. 

this summer i made bakewell tart macarons with their premium morello cherry conserve. this season i was gifted their new mulled wine christmas jam and christmas marmalade with cranberries. with a newly purchased biscuit cutter and letter stamper i was armed with a plan... christmas jammie dodger inspired biscuits!