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macaroni ham 'n' cheese.

An indulgent twist on the classic macaroni cheese – perfect for the colder nights and rainy weekends. Cosy up with a comforting bowl of mac ‘n’ cheese, featuring the extra treat of slow cooked ham. From Fire & Smoke, their low and slow fired grilled hams are packed with mouthwatering flavours that are delicious as part of a recipe or on their own. Ideal for creating the ultimate American inspired dish, their glazed pork joints are grilled over crackling flames and then wood smoked for extra flavour. Along with a creamy cheese sauce and pasta, this recipe makes for the ultimate comfort food!

christmas is just around the corner: introducing co-op's festive irresistible range.

Christmas spices, mince pies, mulled wine and lots of cheese... Christmas is just the best time for food. Party food in particular is always a treat! I love a good spread of festive favourites, ready to delve into whilst catching up with friends and family. I went along to discover what's in store for Central England Co-op for the merriest of seasons - and had my first mince pie of 2016. (Well, that's assuming I haven't forgotten about all the leftovers I ate back in January). 

Like Co-op shops themselves, the lovely team have aptly opted for the tagline "Christmas is just around the corner." And it's true, December 25th really is just around the corner. I for one can't wait to open the first door on my advent calendar...

chocolate orange macarons.

'Tis the season for chocolate oranges! And what better recipe than to sandwich indulgent Terry's chocolate orange infused buttercream between light and crisp chocolate macaron shells. A perfect sweet treat or homemade gift idea for the festive season. Although they're not Terry's... they're mine.

pink grapefruit & gin basil smash.

A fragrant, tangy and zesty cocktail recipe that gin fans will love. Featuring Fentimans new botanically brewed Pink Grapefruit Tonic Water, this gin cocktail meets aromatic fresh basil with bittersweet grapefruit tonic for a refreshing and colourful drink. 

The newest Fentimans flavours range from the likes of Ginger Beer & Muddled Lime to Rose Lemonade. As a gin lover though, I couldn't wait to play around with their great quality tonic waters in my cocktail recipes. The pink grapefruit in particular muddles together fragrant juniper berry, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass along with natural citrus flavours, quinine and grapefruit juice, making it the ideal match for your favourite gin. 

#abowlshared with butterkist.

As much as I like (love) dining out, planning brunch dates and going for cocktails, there's something to be said about a cosy night in. With the Danish influence of hygge [pronouced hoo-guh] lending itself to being wrapped up indoors with friends and family, it's hard not to get on board with the cosiest lifestyle trend around. The concept is all about being comfortable, homely and happy all through the year, but I feel it's even best enjoyed around the colder months. Think chunky jumpers, slow cooked meals, curling up in front of a good film and spiced Autumnal drinks. Bliss.

When Butterkist got in touch to test out their newest popcorn varieties with a girls' night in. #ABowlShared was the perfect excuse to embrace ultimate hygge with a film night a couple of warming popcorn hot chocolates. Plus, salted caramel popcorn... who could resist?

chocolate afternoon tea at cuppas of rothley, leicestershire.

Love chocolate? Love afternoon tea? Live in the Midlands? This place needs to be next on your hitlist. For £13.95 per person, Cuppas of Rothley serves up a chocoholics afternoon tea in a 1940s inspired setting. The vintage style tea room, set in the lovely Leicestershire village, has a handful of charming chairs and tables where diners can enjoy traditional afternoon teas as well as lunch, brunch and light bites. 

butternut squash and red pepper ravioli in a sage butter sauce.

butternut squash and red pepper ravioli in a sage butter sauce

I love making homemade pasta. There is just such a richness to the finished result, which makes it a very special treat indeed. It’s a labour of love and I always enjoy thinking up ideas for ravioli and tortellini fillings as well as sauces for fresh spaghetti and pappardelle.

In creating a recipe with Bertolli, it made sense to use it as an opportunity to embrace real, fresh pasta and Italian inspiration. On their recipe page they have a whole host of warming and wintry pasta dish ideas too. From classic spaghetti bolognese to macaroni cheese with prosciutto and leeks, I was drawn to their inviting Penne with Butternut Squash, Rosemary and Chilli. I was instantly inspired to recreate a dish with the same delicious flavours.

In this case it had to be Autumnal; with sweet butternut squash and roasted red peppers at the centre of the dish. The luxurious, silky sauce is enriched with Bertolli with Butter and flavoured with aromatic sage and the crunch of toasted butternut squash seeds. Their butter is so versatile too, making for great pasta dishes, as part of cooking or simply layered on some warm, crusty bread. Here the buttery sauce adds extra flavour, which laces the ravioli beautifully. It’s also part of the filling mix, for that extra hint of luxury. 

aubergine, tomato and potato bake.

A super simple veggie recipe - whether it be a make-ahead meal, midweek tea or weekend comfort food. This vegetarian bake layers up courgette, aubergines, spinach and a tomato mix with sliced potato and a creamy cheese topping. The recipe can easily be made gluten free, if you use gf flour in the cheese sauce, and is a great way to tot up your five a day too.

middletons steakhouse grill and restaurant, leicester.

A new addition to the Leicester foodie scene, Middletons Steakhouse Grill and Restaurant is the new resident of the old bank by St. Martin's Square. A beautiful historic building just a stone's throw from Leicester Cathedral, the steakhouse prides itself on "Fine Cuts & Fine Drinks." With five other steak restaurants around the UK, the team have revamped the lovely, old Leicester building for their latest venture.

sausage and squash macaroni cheese: british sausage week.

Celebrating the great British banger with British Sausage Week. From 31st October - 6th November 2016, foodies, food bloggers and budding chefs alike are encouraged to experiment with new recipes which feature the humble British sausage. Keeping with the Autumnal vibe, I've rustled up a welcoming macaroni cheese with hints of butternut squash throughout and great quality Red Tractor Lincolnshire sausages on top. 

Lincolnshire sausages traditionally contain a hint of sage, making them the perfect aromatic counterpart to earthy root vegetables. The mac and cheese adds extra comfort, whilst the butternut squash goes towards your five a day - for much needed vitamins in these chilly months. A hearty meal that would be great to make for family and friends. What do you think?

creamy tarragon mushrooms on potato rostis.

A brilliant brunch recipe featuring a creamy mix of mushrooms, fresh thyme and sweet tarragon. A brunch recipe and it doesn't contain avocado, eggs or salmon? Am I feeling okay? Actually I'd forgotten how much I love potato rosti and how they are the base for any ideal breakfast setting. 

On the third and final recipe of my series with Albert Bartlett, today we're talking Elfe. Rather than the crazy Purple Majesty or cute Apache potatoes, these look a lot more like your regular Joe. These white but slightly golden potatoes have a lovely creamy texture which makes them really versatile. Here they formed the base of my weekend brunch...