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simple tuna puttanesca spaghetti.



An easy midweek meal combining my love of seafood, pasta and olives. The classic puttanesca. With wholemeal spaghetti, a tomato based sauce and a hint of chilli, this slightly salty pasta dish can be speedily made up of food cupboard essentials. It's not exactly the most authentic puttanesca recipe either, but it's my interpretation. Perfect for those days where you fancy a bit of comfort food but "you've got nothing in".



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?


pan fried lamb steaks with rosemary & mint butter and cous cous.


Founded in the beautiful region of Tuscany, Bertolli pride themselves on their love of authentic Italian cooking and great quality ingredients. Their latest addition, Bertolli with Butter and Olive Oil, is a rich blend of butter and specially selected olive oil. From everyday cooks to seasoned chefs, the new addition to the Bertolli family is the ideal fridge staple. 

The high burn point makes it perfect for pan frying and making sauces - however you prefer to get creative in the kitchen! The versatile butter block gives the subtle taste of butter whilst being able to withstand hot temperatures without burning. So I put it to the test with a recipe which combines all of these – pan fried lamb leg steaks, buttery vegetable cous cous and a homemade fresh mint and rosemary butter to finish. So how did I get on


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. 


Cherry Cava Granita
Jerte Picota Cherry Cava Recipes

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.


creme egg macarons.

Creme egg macarons recipe

Just in time for Easter... Creme Egg macarons! Made with two tone yellow and chocolate macaron shells, I've well and truly jumped on the Cadbury Creme Egg baking recipe train with these tempting treats. They're then filled with a classic Creme Egg buttercream to make an Easter inspired delight.

Creme egg macaron recipe
Creme egg macarons

the feathered nest country inn, nether westcote, oxfordshire.


Found in the heart of the Cotswolds, just a stone's throw from the likes of Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold, The Feathered Nest Inn boasts an exciting and modern European menu featuring local produce, as well as heavenly views of the rolling countryside. It's accolades are impressive too: Times Top 100 Restaurant, ​Gastropub of the year, and AA 3 Red Rosettes to name a few.


Inside you're met with a warm welcome, in more ways than one, with a polite but professional maitre'd, who shows you to a relaxed fireside seating area where you can flick through the menu to the homely sound of crackling logs. As we thumbed through the inviting dishes and discussed suggested wine pairings, we were asked about our dietary requirements and presented with gruyère filled choux pastries.


easter mini egg and malteaster bunny brownies.


An indulgent Easter brownie recipe, with melt-in-the-mouth Malteaster bunnies, crunchy Mini Eggs and sweet hits of white chocolate. This is my go-to (accidentally gluten free) brownie recipe, with an April twist. The secret is adding the bunnies to the top of the brownies right at the end, so they slightly melt whilst still keeping that signature crunch. Hoppy Easter!



violife: what is vegan cheese and what recipes can I make?



Have you ever tried vegan cheese? As someone who would consider themselves flexitarian, and an advocate of Veganuary, I've tried my fair share of both classic cheeses and dairy free options. It can be a really mixed bag, or mixed cheeseboard as it were, with some vegan cheeses melting better than others, some great in sauces and some you'd be happy to enjoy in a sandwich or as part of a plant based platter. Violife pride themselves on being 100% vegan and preservative free, with many products also free from soya and gluten.


Their dairy free delights don't just stop at cheese either, they range from chocolate spread to Camembert and sandwich slices to butters - perfect for planning vegan recipes! I've personally tried the Epic Mature in cheese sauces for veggie lasagne and enjoyed the smoky slices in a sarnie, but I was most interested in taking Le Rond for a test run...

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.


rose buttercream plant pot cupcakes.

Rose Cupcakes
Rose Cupcakes Recipe

With February as the month of luuurve, I thought I'd try my had at some Valentine's inspired recipes. I recently bought this rose shape nozzle which I just couldn't wait to try out. So simple to use with lots of different flower shaped nozzles too! I don't know about you, but I'd sooner have 12 flower pot cupcakes than a dozen roses? 

chocolate & honeycomb crunchie hearts.


February... the month of love! Whether you're planning a classic Valentine's Day or a cute night in with your Galentines, these chocolates make the ideal sweet treat for the occasion. They're super simple to make or give as gifts. Oh and if you like Crunchie bars, you'd probably be in. Crunchies are totally an acceptable Valentine date.


5 easy vegan recipes that I love

 



This year was the first year I tried Veganuary. Not only did it mean we reduced our meat intake for a month, we also found so many new recipes and meal inspiration that we still try weeks later. It was interesting to say the least to try out the dairy free cheese, with varying success. The meat substitutes were much better and I found a new love for oat milk and vegan chocolate However bringing more vegetables to our dishes was the best bit. 

If you're looking to try a month of being vegan, I really recommend The Vegan Kind supermarket and trusty BBC Good Food as well as these Olive Magazine favourites or pick yourself up some bargain vegan recipe books from The Works. Here are a few of my favourite vegan recipes, which all bring out a rainbow of vegetables and pulses, with no meat alternatives in sight. 

bohns best burgers, nottingham.

Found in the heart of Hockley, Bohns Best Burgers is an independent joint serving up a rhapsody of creations between brioche buns. The clue is in the name though, could these really be the best burgers in Nottingham? It's true, I'm always on the look out for the best burgers in the East Midlands (shout out to Leicester's Crafty and Hide in Derby) but could these be the hit that Hockley needs? I think so.