gin basil fizz.


Hope you had a lovely Christmas and are looking forward to next year! Especially for New Year's Eve, I've rustled up a super simple cocktail recipe combining a couple of my favourite drinks components - gin and Prosecco. This fizzy gin cocktail recipe is lifted by fresh basil to bring out the spirit's botanicals. Cheers!


shining a spotlight on motorpoint arena's hospitality package, nottingham.


Whether a beloved band just announced their latest live dates, you're sporting mad or you're a lover of laughs, why not see your favourite music, comedy and sports events in style with a hospitality package? I go to a lot of music gigs, I've seen my fair share of stand ups and recently went to my first London show, but I've never given them the VIP treatment. (Except the time I won a competition to meet Blink-182 at Nottingham Arena about 15 years ago...) So when the now Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham asked if I'd like to experience their hospitality package, Spotlight, of course I obliged.


pigs in blankets mac 'n' cheese.

pigs-in-blankets-mac-and-cheese-recipe

Now we’ve opened the first door of our advert calendar, dropped a few hints about pressies and booked that wreath making class. Is it finally December? The season for all things jolly, decking the halls and jingling bells. With that comes some of the best food back in the supermarkets too. Sprouts? Love them. Chocolate log? Can’t get enough. Pigs in blankets? An absolute must.

pigs-in-blankets-mac-and-cheese-recipe

But when you aren’t conjuring up your Christmas roast, how else can you enjoy some classic pigs in blankets. I’ve created a festive twist on an American classic with this Pigs In Blankets Mac 'n' Cheese recipe. What more could you want in your macaroni cheese than extra little morsels of sausages wrapped in bacon? Bliss. Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftover cheese board too. Not that there is ever any leftover cheese in our household…

christmas tree bakewell biscuits.

christmas-tree-bakewell-biscuit-recipe

With glowing glacé cherries, the subtle hint of almond essence and the signature drizzle of white icing, these delicate Christmas biscuits encompass the best of a Bakewell tart. Great for festive buffets, homemade gift ideas or to keep in your biscuit tin throughout December, these cute Bakewell inspired biscuits are the third of my festive recipes from my Christmas collaboration with Central England Cooperative. And if you like the sound of these, you might fancy making my Cherry Bakewell Mince Pies.

christmas-bakewell-biscuits

christmas lasagne: with turkey, brussels sprouts, bacon and a cheesy stuffing sauce.

Christmas lasagne

Combine your love of pasta and the decadent ensemble of a Christmas dinner to make this delicious Christmas lasagne. Although it may make Italian cuisine purists wince a little, the mix of turkey mince, nostalgic scent of sage, sautéed Brussels sprouts, smokey bacon lardons and cheesy stuffing topping just works. If you aren't a fan of Brussels, you could always switch them out for carrots or extra onions. But, why would you want to? If you're tempted by this festive combination, you might like my other Christmas recipes with Central England Cooperative from my partnership with them last year, including this Pigs in Blankets Macaroni Cheese.


hot chocolate orange.


Now it's almost December. is it okay to talk about the C word? I mean chocolate, of course. There's something about chocolate orange that gets all those festive feelings going for me. And with the night's drawing colder and darker, what better time to curl up with a hot chocolate, a cosy blanket and a nostalgic Winter film?


This tangy and indulgent hot chocolate recipe (should it be coined hot chocolate orange or orange hot chocolate?) is super simple to make and uses all the ingredients you'd find in your local Central England Co-op store. Even the decorations! I was super impressed by the baking aisle in general, with lots of lovely cake decorating items from Co-op and known brands, as well as lots of types of sugar, flour and confectionary. This delicious drink can also be made vegan, as the dark chocolate already is and you'd just need to substitute the dairy for a nut or oak milk and cream of your choosing. Enjoy!

my best foodie destinations in soho and chinatown, london.


I love exploring what London has to offer - especially when it involves food! One of my favourite areas for restaurants, bakeries and cafes is Chinatown, nearby the bustling atmosphere of Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Covent Garden and Soho. From beautifully made bao buns to delicate dumplings, I'm in awe of anything Chinese or Japanese inspired. 

The thing is, I live in the Midlands and London isn't always on the cards. I love to visit on the Leicester to London St Pancras line but it's not always cheap - think £70 return before you've left the platform. So when Sn-ap got in touch to let me know they've started a new Leicester to London route with single fares starting from £5-7, I hopped at the chance. Hopped on a bus, that is. 


cheesy pumpkin pasta bake.


A comforting recipe that encompasses three of my favourite things; Autumn, pasta and cheese. This super simple seasonal dish only requires a few ingredients, and can be made with butternut squash once the pumpkin season is over. Perfect to make or bake ahead and eat over a few days, simply warming up for a welcoming midweek meal. Heavenly, autumnal and just a tiny bit indulgent as it actually features low fat Quark. Plus, whats wrong with a little extra cheese when you're getting your five a day, right? Balance.


sunday roast at the windmill inn, brascote.

sunday-roast-windmill-inn-brascote-review

Who doesn't love a Sunday lunch, really? So many combinations, so many traditions. Whether you're a veggie, meat eater, Yorkshire pudding obsessive or insist upon roast potatoes every Sunday... everyone has their favourite way to enjoy a roast.

A local pal and I have since decided to start a little Sunday lunch club. I mean, it's just us and every roast we can eat in Leicestershire. But it's going well so far. One I was particularly fond of recently was The Windmill in Brascote. I'd been recommended the restaurant a few times, so it felt about time to venture out.


bistrot pierre, nottingham.


For a French inspired experience in the heart of Nottingham, Bistrot Pierre and their new seasonal menu is a must-try. Established in 1994, Bistrot Pierre bring French style cuisine to your table, freshly prepared and at an affordable price. The restaurant straight away hits you with a Francais feel, with vibrant retro prints, low lighting and framed mirrors, reminiscent of Parisian cafes. 

The menu has all the classic French dishes, from Minute Steak to Potato Dauphinoise and Camembert to Beef Bourguignon, with French wines to boot. However there are also dishes from further afield, with hints of France here and there. Think Eton Mess, Deep Fried Brie and Spicy Prawns. They even have a Sunday Roast, which proved popular, as well as truly surprising me.


garden cinema and pizzas at the bull and swan, stamford.


Freshly made pizza? Check. A favourite film? Check? Twinkly lights and cosy surroundings? Double check. Now at The Bull and Swan in Stamford, you can enjoy their comfy garden cinema with a slice of inviting Italian goodness from their new Pizza Potting Shed. That's if the weather behaves. Though they put the film on no matter what, so if you have strong willpower, a strong appetite and a strong brolly, you can still come along.



white chocolate and raspberry cookies.


Delicious, freshly baked cookies with a cuppa. I love white chocolate in cakes, cookies and biscuits and just find it's the perfect accompaniment to raspberries. Bake until golden with a slightly crispy edge and gooey white chocolate - perfection!


parma ham wrapped steak with parmigiano reggiano potatoes


When you add Parmigiano Reggiano to a dish, for me it evokes feelings of luxury and authenticy. Not many Italian dishes I make now don’t include it, whether it’s stirred into a glossy Carbonara sauce, shaved onto a salad or the finishing touches on my favourite pasta dishes. But I wanted to try something new, how would it fare alongside a beautifully cooked fillet steak, with juicy tomatoes and Parmigiano Reggiano roasted potatoes. And of course, Parma ham from the same region. Unsurprisingly, it uplifted the classic steak and chips to a new level, feeling like an indulgent date night dish, or one to try at the weekend or special occasion. 


If you aren’t already familiar, Parmigiano Reggiano is a traditional cheese dating back hundreds of years. But it was in 2008 that the European courts decreed that it is the only cheese legally allowed to be called Parmesan, down to it’s DPO status and Parma-Reggio origin. From the cheesemaker right through to the delis, the famous cheese is said to be “made” not “produced.” The time and care taken to create such a distinct flavour shows too - I rarely add salt to any dishes when I know I’m using Parmigiano Reggiano as an ingredient, as the salty and piquant notes sing for themselves.


same delicious mr kipling slices, exceedingly less sugar + giveaway.


Ever fancied one of your favourite Mr Kipling slices with just a few less calories? For those who still enjoy a sweet treat but are looking to cut back a little on sugar, their latest addition could be just your cup of tea. Mr Kipling have brought out their famous Angel Slice and indulgent Chocolate Slice recipes, just with 30% less sugar. And guess what, they still taste dreamy too.

Packed up in individual snack packs, the alternative treats are just the ticket for on-the-go or with an emergency cuppa. If you scroll on, you can find out how you could win a hamper to try for yourself, thanks to the lovely Mr Kipling family.


king prawn and vegetable pilaf.


A really simple seafood recipe which is light, healthy and flavoursome. Above all, it's really easy to rustle up. There are lots of interpretations of the pilaf, ranging from Central Asian or Middle Eastern areas, namely Turkish to Persian. I'm no expert, but, in simple terms, what defines this from a Spanish paella or Indian biriyani for me is the use of rice and choice of ingredients. So this cheat recipe uses the likes of warming cardamom, cinnamon, lemon, turmeric and cumin for that distinctive colour and flavour. I've read they sometimes feature saffron too, if you're feeling fancy.


cherry cava granita.

Jerte Picota Cherry Cava

Perfect for this beautifully sunny British Summer we're having; ice cold frozen cherry Cava granita. The ideal mix between a cocktail, cold drink and dessert, this delicious cherry infused recipe is both refreshing and tasty. Oh, and so simple too! Impress your guests by making these Spanish inspired frozen Cava granitas beforehand and finishing with a deliciously juicy Jerte Picota Cherry or two.

The Picota Cherry story begins in the beautiful Spanish valley of Jerte, 200km west of Madrid. The area is famous for the incredible annual cherry blossom of over million trees - it must be a beautiful sight to see as the colour of the valley transforms from a dazzling white to colourful bursts of red and green.! The Picota Cherry blossom and harvest follow a 100% natural growing season, which is why the arrival of the Picota Cherry changes each year. In 2018, you can now get them in Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrison's and Aldi from July - but be quick, they may only be around until August.

You can also be in a chance of winning a picnic hamper with Jerte Picota Cherries! Each hamper includes two delicious punnets of cherries, a bottle of Cava, flutes, a cherry pitter and napkins. Scroll down for the granita recipe, as well as to find out how to enter...

Cherry Cava Granita
Jerte Picota Cherry Cava Recipes

parmigiano reggiano crusted salmon with mozzarella, basil and tomato salad.


Beautiful Parmigiano Reggiano PDO cheese, an Italian inspired caprese salad and lightly seasoned salmon make this Italian style dish ideal for enjoying on these long Summer evenings. Enjoy with a cold glass of crisp Pinot Grigio to balance out the classic salty flavours of the cheese, aroma of basil and sweetness of the plump Vittoria tomatoes. 


Exclusively produced in the Northern Italian provinces of Parma, Modena Reggio Emilia, as well as parts of Mantua and Bologna, Parmigiano Reggiano PDO is a much coveted cheese. It hails from the plains, hills and mountains between the rivers Po and Reno, where the long and natural maturation makes for its distinctive fruity, nutty and yet salty taste with the crystallised texture. Cheese masters and inspectors actually say that cheese must pass “two summers”, as the transformations that determine the changes and flavour in Parmigiano Reggiano PDO are more intense in summer because of the heat.

The Parmigiano Reggiano crusted salmon recipe is simple, and would be lovely paired with potatoes, roast vegetables and your choice of salad alike. Here of course it had to be with mozzarella, basil and tomato salad, for that fresh flavour of Italy.

say hello to tiger prawn and chorizo spaghetti with fresh vine tomatoes.


HelloFresh has taken the UK by storm with their fresh, flexible and friendly approach to food. Encouraging seasoned cooks to challenge their tastebuds and newbie foodies to try cooking at home, the ingredients are pre-portioned with recipes cards to make midweek meals and weekend treats as easy as they can be. You simply customise your weekly menu and choose your delivery time to cook your favourite seasonal food from scratch.




When HelloFresh got in touch to try out one of their recipes (believe me, it was a tricky decision) I went for one of my favourite flavour combinations. Smoky chorizo and seafood! Tiger Prawn and Chorizo Spaghetti with Fresh Vine Tomatoes, to be precise.

There's a little story behind this one too. This was inspired by Head Chef Patrick's trips to a little Spanish eatery in Borough Market, where he became best friends with the head chef and started to work in the kitchen at weekends. Like me, his favourite recipes included the beautiful Iberican combination of seafood and chorizo. Who can blame him? In just 25 minutes, here's how you can make it too.

5 ways with picota cherries.


It's finally Jerte Picota Cherry season - where the glorious Spanish beauties are ready to be picked and enjoyed simply as they are or as part of a tasty Summer recipe. I've put together five deliciously decadent ways to enjoy cherries from some of my favourite fellow food bloggers. For those who love the mix of sweet and savoury, like to experiment with cocktails or make homemade jam - there's something for everyone!

The Picota Cherry journey starts in the stunning Spanish valley of Jerte, 200km from Madrid. The Picota Cherry blossom follows a completely natural season and harvest, which is why the arrival of the Picota Cherry changes each year. The area is known for the amazing and colourful annual blossom of over million cherry trees. For 2018, you can now get them in Sainsbury's, Morrison's, Tesco and Aldi from July - but be speedy, they may only be around until August!