bakewell tart cheesecake.


In the Midlands we're pretty spoilt for food. With Leicestershire as the home of Melton Mowbray pork pies and Stilton cheese, breweries in Burton-on-Trent and the amazing curry houses in Birmingham and Leicester, there really is so much to choose from.

A particular favourite of mine is the Bakewell tart, or pudding, which hails from the Derbyshire town with the same namesake. The puddings and tarts are a little different in recipe and texture, but they both have that delicious medley of almonds and cherries that I can't get enough of. If you've read my recipes or scrolled through Insta before, you'd know I'm pretty obsessed with any adaptation of my beloved tart. So when Leisure cookers challenged me to make a twist on a classic regional dish at my next dinner party, I knew I had try a Bakewell cheesecake. My mixer and range cooker are my best friends in the kitchen so I couldn't wait to get started.


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.



raspberry and pistachio baked doughnuts with a white chocolate drizzle.


Fluffy and delicious doughnuts with one of my favourite flavour combinations – pistachio, raspberry and white chocolate. I’ll let you into a secret though, these aren’t really doughnuts of the deep fried kind. Essentially, they are a simple sponge mix in my trusty doughnut baking pan. So easy to make – with satisfyingly pretty results. If you saw my pumpkin spiced doughnut recipe, you’ll know I just love to decorate these little delicacies. So I had to make a summer version right away...



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!


an evening with private chef mark baines, la belle assiette.


Ever dreamed of have a your own private chef to cook a personalised meal in your home? Whether you're a fan of fusion cooking, a beautiful British banquet or are looking for a rainbow of vegetarian flavours, La Belle Assiette might be for you. Hire a private chef with La Belle Assiette offer a range of professional private chefs across the UK, all you need to do is choose a cuisine from a local chef and book securely online. What's more, they do they washing up. Sold?



The headquarters are based in Paris, known for its fine cuisine and high end chefs. La Belle Assiette, translating as "The the beautiful plate" or "dish" bring this to the comfort of your home. Once you've picked your menu with the chef, all you have to do is invite the guests, provide the tipple and put your best gladrags on. You'll even get sent some lovely printed menus ahead of the date to dress your table. As one of his first diners, we had the pleasure of being hosted by Chef Mark Baines, based in Leicestershire, for an evening of fabulous food. It was his La Belle Assiette Validation Dinner, so on this occasion the menu was complimentary.


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.


dumpling time, san francisco.


If you're fond of beautifully fluffy bao, rows of gyoza and oodles of noodles, then Dumpling Time has probably been on your restaurant radar for a San Francisco food trip. From open faced siu mai to steamed har gow, these guys know their dumplings and they do them well. When we spent a week in the Californian city, I just knew this had to be on the ever-growing list.


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.

the stable, birmingham.


Dorset born, Dorsey bred. At The Stable, they're proud of their pizza and savvy about their cider. Whether it's colourful, innovative pizza toppings or seeking out the latest cider blends, their casual dining atmosphere makes their locations a fun place for large parties, date days or birthday gatherings. I recently went along to try out their Summer offerings before a local gig in Birmingham, and it couldn't have been a more perfect setting.


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.

9 foodie must-dos in costa brava.


Found in Catalonia in the North East of Spain, Costa Brava is a beautiful coastal region that boasts leafy hills, colourful buildings, gorgeous views and an excellent foodie culture. Being by the sea, there are lots of fresh seafood and fish dishes to indulge in. That's not all. Think stunning wine blends, with great pairings, as well as exceptional olive oil and sweets.

I went along as a guest of Jet2holidays to explore what the Catalonia region had to offer. With really reasonable flights from 9 UK destinations, I went from East Midlands to Girona, taking around two hours and costing from about £40pp. It really would make such an easy city break, only using one day holiday to enjoy three full days in the area. But what did I get up to on that long weekend?


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!


smoked salmon, ricotta and asparagus tart.


Although the weather can't make it's mind up, Spring is finally in full swing. And that means one of my favourite ingredients is in season... asparagus. Perfect with seafood and fish, the colourful asparagus adds an extra something to this smoked salmon and ricotta puff pastry tart. It's super quick and easy to make too; you can have it for a light lunch, make ahead for picnics or for dinner with a side salad. Tulips optional.


chorizo and smoked cheddar tarts.


It's starting to show signs of... dare I say Summer... and that can only mean one thing. Picnic food, BBQs and cocktails in the sun. Of course it was going to be food. My first picnic recipe of the year happens to be these delicious chorizo and smoked cheddar tarts. Great to make-ahead for picnics, on the go or for a light lunch (I did all three with these). And guess what, they're super simple too.