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happy chinese new year!

happy chinese new year - 2014 the year of the horse! here is a photograph back from when i visited kowloon bay, hong kong, back in christmas 2008. a fascinating place that i'd love to return to. first i need to get over my growing fear of flying and save up to visit somewhere i've always wanted to visit... japan! 

as i have a real love of chinese and east asian cuisine, i thought i'd put together some of my chinese inspired blog posts. now just to pick what to make tonight...

homemade sushi: maki for cheats.

homemade sushi with a rather interesting new tool; a maki maker which helps you to load up your sushi filling as well as slice the rolls into perfect little discs. i got this for christmas from my mum - yet another brilliant foodie gift! 

bella italia, leicester.

last week i went along to try out the new menu at my local bella italia. usually favouring family run local restaurants over brands, i was more than impressed by the overall bella experience right through from a overflowing antipasto platter to indulgent brownie dessert.

filo bakewell tarts.

another experiment with my all time favourite dessert; filo bakewell tarts. as you can see i replaced the sweet shortcrust pastry with filo sheets to create a crunchy base to hold in the frangipane. let's ignore the amount of butter and sugar in the recipe and call these skinny bakewell tarts :)

foodie penpals.

after seeing foodie penpals on twitter i just knew i'd love to get involved. each month, you receive a penpal to create a foodie box for and someone who makes up a box for you. with a £10 limit, it was really fun to put a surprise box together based on what you knew about them over twitter and emails - throwing in something local for them to try too. this month, i got kim from london to buy for, whilst anne of random things through my letterbox got me :)

homemade tapas.

last week a made some little tapas style bites from a new book i bought with birthday vouchers. quite literally named the little tapas book, the recipes are divided into meat, fish and vegetarian with some dips and sauces thrown in along the way. i went for lamb and filo cigars, prawn fritters and a made up recipe of feta and black olive stuffed sweet peppers.

angelina, paris.

a must-go parisian patisserie for those in search of sugary, chocolately heaven is la maison angelina. with a few venues dotted around the french capital, i paid a visit to their rue de riviloi based shop and tea room on my recent trip to paris.

caravan, king's cross, london.

if you're ever in need of an awesome brunch whilst waiting for a london train, head on over to caravan nearby king's cross for a menu packed of british breakfast delights. whilst down in the big smoke the other week, my friend grace took me here for a brilliant saturday brunch. be warned, it can get pretty busy so head over early. but it was worth the wait. 

mackerel and beetroot potato salad.

i found this mackerel, beetroot and potato salad recipe on the bbc good food website and just wanted to share how it turned out. the element that took the longest was boiling the potatoes - after that it's just a case of throwing the chopped ingredients together with a simple lemon and olive oil dressing. 

school of wok: flavours of china and dim sum delicacies.

last weekend i went along to school of wok in london for a dim sum delicacies course that tested my tastebuds, sharpened up my knife skills and expanded my knowledge of chinese cuisine. 

this cookery course was everything you could ask for; including a tour around china town, learning how to shop for and select the best ingredients, where to find kitchen tools and how to use them, knife and preparation skills and of course the best lesson ... on how to devour a chinese feast with a glug of specially paired wine.

wasabi and watercress pesto salmon.

a japanese inspired alternative to classic pesto which works well with fish, this recipe can also be adapted for a vegan, vegetarian or dairy free diet. my favourite way to use this pesto is to mix with panko breadcrumbs and sprinkle on salmon. for a vegetarian version you could try out with tofu or aubergine and for a vegan version you could omit the parmesan cheese in the recipe. 

amalfi white, melbourne, derbyshire.

with an italian brasseire restaurant, prosecco and cocktail bar, an opulent ballroom and even a cookery school, the newly opened amalfi white in melbourne has something to allure your tastebuds for all occasions. over the festive period, i happened to visit twice and found this out for sure. my dad, who often spends christmas abroad, booked a weekend lunch sitting to enjoy a family meal before he went off to sunny madeira. coincidentally, myself and school friends arranged an evening catch up over cocktails just days after. 

happy new year!

happy new year! wow it's 2014 - how did that happen? to mark the start of a new year on the blog, i thought i'd do a month by month round up of my 2013 recipe posts. hope you enjoy :)


for christmas i was lucky enough to receive perhaps one of my favourite presents to date - a pasta machine! so january, and the rest of the year really, was full of many attempts at homemade pasta.