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carluccio's spinach balls with courgette and chilli penne.

Known as Penne Giardiniera, this classic spinach balls recipe is a popular dish on Antonio Carluccio's restaurant menu. Loosely translated as gardner's penne, this pasta delight is packed with a huge portion of spinach and secret courgette in the fresh and spicy sauce. 

Luckily for us, it can be found in the Carluccio's recipe book too - simply named Pasta. I bought the recipe book for my foodie friend's birthday. And since we both love making homemade pasta, it make sense to make this dish together over a glass of wine on a Friday night.

revolution, derby.

Revolution Derby
Revolution Derby Review

Radiant superfood salads, flavoursome pulled pork and warm baked cookies. This can't be Revolution, can it? With a fresh and fun menu with lots of colour, fresh additions and free from options, old Revs have revamped their grub offerings in a big way. I went along to the Derby restaurant for a catch up with an old school friend over a few of their famous vodka cocktails and a generous portion of the menu. 

Revolution Derby Desserts

thai crab cake noodles.

After my visit to Cromer, I had a fair amount of fresh Cromer crab to get through. We took as much as we could carry in my boot, with cool bags and ice, to enjoy the delights of fresh seafood here in the Midlands. Sadly for seafood lovers, the Midlands isn't best known for its coastline or catch of the day. The first thing I made was my favourite Nigella crab pasta recipe, but next in line was crab cakes. I decided to make them miniature to toss through some fresh egg noodles with lots of veg and oyster sauce.

the white hart, loughborough.

The White Hart Loughborough
The White Hart Loughborough Review

A couple of sunny weekends ago, my food blogger pal Alex joined me for a Saturday lunch at The White Hart. One of her (many) locals, Gingey can take all the credit for this little gem. We enjoyed a selection of their tapas menu, whilst planning an exciting new foodie venture we're in the middle of. More on that soon! For now, I'll leave you with a selection of tiny treats which are soon becoming the trendy British answer to tapas. 

seared tuna steak with lemon, chilli and garlic dressing and rainbow salad.

Light Summer evenings call for vibrant salads and low carb recipe inspiration. If you’re a regular on my little food blog, you’ll know I have a penchant for getting my five a day. I also lead a mostly pescatarian diet with lots of salmon, trout, haddock and king prawns making up my meals. I really enjoyed creating this #SummerTreats recipe for Rennie, who challenged me to intergrate as many colourful, delicious Summer ingredients as possible into one dish. 

For me, tuna steak is a real treat. It’s not something I have often and when I do, it’s an extra indulgence on the purse strings. Packed with Omega 3 and B vitamins, it’s a little healthier than my occasional Bakewell tart too… I teamed up the tuna steak with a rainbow salad of avocado, aubergine, green beans, tenderstem broccoli, edamame beans and red pepper for extra colour, flavour and nutrients. Not forgetting a zesty chilli, lemon and garlic dressing tossed through the salad and drizzled on top to finish!

cafe rouge, the mailbox, birmingham.

Cafe Rouge Review Birmingham
Cafe Rouge Starter

Found along the Old Birmingham Canal, The Mailbox has a whole host of fantastic restaurants just waiting for you to perch up with a glass of wino and enjoy dining al fresco. Of course, with so much to choose from, it’s equally as lovely to pick your favourite and dine inside. On the sunny Saturday evening we chose to visit the wharfside Cafe Rouge, it made total sense to enjoy a chilled class of Pinot Gris on the sun terrace. 

Cafe Rouge Starter Menu
Cafe Rouge Dessert Menu

Having missed the new menu launch as I was dining at nearby Strada, I was looking forward to seeing the newly revamped Cafe Rouge. Round the corner from Harvey Nics, The Mailbox branch has a fully stocked wine cellar, an authentic Parisian post box outside and is one of the few restaurants to have a private function room.

sesame king prawn skewers with chinese style potato salad.

This is a simple Chinese inspired BBQ recipe which can be easily made ahead and cooked at the last minute. The Chinese style potato salad and oyster sauce marinated prawns are a great twist on a classic, which demonstrate the deliciously versatile sauces from Lee Kum Kee.

Simply have your skewers ready and potato salad in the fridge - ready for your appetite!

afternoon tea at vinteas, leamington spa.

Vinteas Leamington Spa Review
Vinteas Leamington Spa Afternoon Tea

Let's get this out of the way, you're going to have a lot of teacup, teapot and plate envy in this post. When I went for afternoon tea at Vinteas in Leamington Spa, I was in total awe of their vintage style crockery collection. The tea, scones and sandwiches were pretty lovely too. If you're ever in the gorgeous Royal town of Leamington Spa, Vinteas is a must visit.

byron comes to derby.

Byron Derby Reviews
Byron Derby Intu Restaurant Review

If you're from Derby and you were wondering when you were going to get the chance to try deliciously juicy burgers and imaginative toppings, well, you're in luck. If case you haven't noticed it yet - the legend of Byron has reached Derbyshire. Found in the bustling Intu centre, you might recognise the high ceilings and industrial decor synonymous with Byron. Next time you go past - I urge you to pay a visit.

twenty tasty picnic recipes for the summer.

Picnic Recipes

Oh British Summer, how I love you. Everything seems better in the sun, doesn't it? Despite this crazy sunny, stormy, rainy, windy, oh, and sunny again, weather we're suddenly having, there's set to be another heatwave through July and August. That can only mean one thing - picnic recipes! I've put together a few of my own plus some other food blogger creations.


This weekend I packed up my new picnic bag from Next (complete with cheese board and proper cutlery) and set off to my local Leicestershire park for a feast. The sun had his hat on and I even treated myself to a tiny bottle of fizz for the occasion.

Crack open the Pimms and let's get started on the recipe ideas...

smoky sweet potato & mixed bean stew.

Sweet Potato Stew
Sweet Potato Bean Stew Recipe

The final of my three Domu challenges - to make a meal for a family for under £4. For this I created a smoky stew packed with pulses and extra vegetables. Not forgetting the secret weapon for making budget meals extra tasty - the trusty slow cooker! This sweet potato and mixed bean stew recipe came in at a savvy £2.72 and served four portions - so I knew I had enough dosh leftover for my favourite posh Red Leicester and sunflower seed bread too. 

tapas and cocktail class: rocket @ saltwater, nottingham.

Tapas? Cocktails? Fun with a group of lovely bloggers? This was a sure fire winning night. I went along to Rocket @ Saltwater at the top of Nottingham's Cornerhouse for a brilliant evening of cocktail making, tapas munching, photo snapping and general catching up with some of East Midlands' finest. 

aria bistro at the hyatt regency, birmingham.

Hyatt Regency Birmingham Restaurant Review

Found along bustling Broad St, the Hyatt Regency is a stylish and modern hotel boasting panoramic views of Birmingham, along with indulgent spa treatments and luxury bedroom suites. Having been to the Hyatt for their festive afternoon tea, where the mood had been cosy and candle lit, I couldn't believe the Summer transformation. With stunning architecture and a high, glass ceiling, the sunlight streamed through the windows whilst we enjoyed a sunny evening meal in their Aria Bistro restaurant.

Hyatt Regency Birmingham Aria Bitsro Review

cheeseburger macarons.

Cheeseburger Macarons

Miniature burgers, but not as you know it. These tiny bites aren't made of Aberdeen Angus and plastic cheese I'm afraid, but instead Nutella and a slice of cleverly coloured chocolate. With my trusty basic macaron recipe by my side, I thought I'd go all topsy turvy with a hamburger macaron recipe. Although I didn't add any greenery to the recipe (so it isn't your five a day I'm afraid...) so I guess it's a cheeseburger macaron recipe - easy on the salad! 

Hamburger Macarons
Burger Macaron Recipe

bakewell mess.

Bakewell Mess Recipe
Bakewell Tart Eton Mess

Yes it's another Bakewell tart inspired recipe again! Given the Summer season and Wimbledon this week, it seemed apt to try out an eton mess with a twist. This cherry Bakewell eton mess is made with almond infused whipped cream, homemade cherry and raspberry sauce, flaked almonds and... a cherry on top! 

the grove, cromer.

Set along the Norfolk coast, The Grove in Cromer is an independent hotel established in 1936, now with outdoor holiday cottages and glamping pitches. Fancying a weekend by the seaside, bloggers Charlotte, Alex and I went along at the start of June for a little British break. The weather was glorious and we enjoyed a day by the beach front eating fish and chips before returning to our cute cottage; Merryweather.