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cookery classes from hobby cooks.

For creative cookery classes in the midlands, be sure to call upon the lovely Anita Chipalkatty for her culinary expertise. From children's cookery workshops to fun hen nights for foodies, Anita of Hobby Cooks is available for training in tasty recipes, along with nutritional information and top cheffy tips. I went along to her kids' cookery class at northampton's in-toto kitchens to see what it was all about. cue seriously cute children cooking with a helping of colossal kitchen envy. 

otters smokehouse & deli, oakham, rutland.

On our recent trip to the beautiful Beech House near Rutland, I paid a visit to the quaint town of Oakham. nestled in the heart of the county, the streets are lined with independent shops and country pubs. current holder of the Britain in Bloom horticulture award, it's the sort of place you could have some fabulous charity shop finds, eat a locally sourced deli platter and drink a pint from a regional brewery all in one day. And that's exactly what we did, stopping off at Otters Smokehouse & Deli for lunch.

the botanist, london.

Smoked Salmon Hash
Maple Bacon Pancakes

With sleek black canopies, beautifully large windows and The Botanist etched in striking typography, this established eatery can be found at No. 7 Sloane Square in the affluent district of chelsea. Here you'll find a menu of brilliant breakfasts, light lunches, pre theatre menus and cocktails galore. I went along to try their brunch menu last week, and may have ended up with something a little more interesting than my usual avocado and poached eggs.

Hot Chocolate

sesame salmon wonton noodle soup.

If you come by often, you'll know I love trying out JapaneseThaiVietnamese and Chinese inspired recipes, such as sushi, gyoza, spring rolls, pad thai and summer rolls. To celebrate the 2015 Chinese new year of the sheep this Thursday, I fancied trying my hand at a wonton soup; complete with oodles of noodles, lashings of coriander and my favourite combination of sesame salmon. There are a few elements to this dish that take time to prepare, but they can be done in advance and are worth it when they come together.

chocolate, coconut & cardamom tart: baking with malibu.

Coconut Chocolate Tart
Malibu Chocolate Tart

inspired by sweet indian dessert flavours of coconut, pistachio and cardamom, this malibu infused chocolate tart is actually vegan and gluten free. i brought it to my friend's house for the sweet course, after a delicious indian banquet of freshly made pakora, tandoori salmon and potato and pea curry. i could eat it all over again. anyway, on to the recipe...

bakewell tart pancakes.

Cherry Jam Pancakes
Bakewell Tart Pancakes

If i'm honest I'm usually a classic lemon and sugar kind of girl. However, if push came to shove, it probably wouldn't take much for me to devour a stack of freshly cooked pancakes whatever the sweet flavour combo. With a love of Bakewell tarts, I wanted to experiment with the nutty almond and cherry flavours that usually make up my favourite pud, but in pancake form. And so I present to you a Bakewell tart inspired pancake recipe.

Cherry Bakewell Pancakes

the bay tree, melbourne, derbyshire.

found in the market town of melbourne in south derbyshire, the bay tree is a popular choice for evening dining, champagne breakfasts and afternoon tea. my family and friends love it there, and we've been many times for their beautifully made breakfasts and endless tasting menus at the weekend. the residents seem to adore it too, since its always bustling with happy locals who have booked far in advance for a table.

valentine's white chocolate fudge.

Homemade White Chocolate Vanilla Fudge
Heart Shape Fudge

love is in the air! and so are valentine's recipes. brimming with heart shaped bakes, buckets of pink food colouring and lustful red ribbons, february 14th is the perfect excuse for food bloggers to serve up soppy recipes to make for your loved ones. so here i present to you white chocolate vanilla fudge, complete with heart shape and charming pink bow.

beech house, clipsham, rutland.

I mentioned earlier in the week about my gorgeous meal over at The Olive Branch in Clipsham. We went there for our anniversary in January, and made a long weekend of it with a stay at their sister hotel, Beech House

Nearby Rutland Water, the boutique hotel houses six rooms all with a slightly different but subtle theme. They range from small double apple, through to larger aubergine, family suite chocolate and lavish double cream, Complete with roll top bath. 

create a cake with patisserie valerie

did you know you can now create custom cakes over at patisserie valerie? i know right, total game changer. from choosing a vanilla or chocolately sponge to your (ahem, i mean their) favourite colour ribbon, make your (their) dessert dreams come to life with this new step by step tool.

the olive branch, clipsham, rutland.

The Olive Branch Clipsham Starter
The Olive Branch Clipsham Main

The Olive Branch in Clipsham has been on my foodie bucket list for a while. Having read endless fantastic reviews as well as a list of awards spanning the last 15 years, I was keen to try it out for myself. Found in the tiny county of Rutland, nestled to the east of Leicestershire, the most recent accolades to join the trophy shelf include Pub of the Year and Leicestershire & Rutland Dining Pub of the Year, which they also won in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. Pretty impressive, right?

vegan and gluten free shortcrust pastry.

gluten free pastry recipe
gluten free flour

an easy vegan, gluten free, eggless and dairy free shortcrust pastry recipe which i couldn't wait to share with you. i was recently tasked with bringing a dessert for a dinner party, where one guest didn't eat dairy and another leads a strictly gluten free diet. more on the indulgent chocolately tart filling later, for now i want to tell the world about this almost one-size-fits-all tart recipe, which can be left plain or made to be sweet shortcrust. enjoy!