Wednesday 30 December 2015

Mango chicken tikka salad with Florette...

Hi everyone, I hope that you are all well and that you have been enjoying the festive season so far. One of my favourite parts about this time of year is all of the delicious food on offer, but I have definitely overindulged over the past week! Christmas dinner, cheeseboards, Christmas cakes, mince pies and an endless procession of party is safe to say I need to cut down a little in January and I have been craving lighter food to combat all of the heavy and rich goodies! I will definitely be trying a few more salad recipes over the next few weeks to restore the balance.


With this in mind I have been trying to eat more healthily and I was delighted to be asked by Florette* Salad to devise a recipe using one of their salad products. I love Indian food, so the idea immediately came to me to create a salad incorporating chicken tikka. Florette are famous for their delicious selections of ready prepared salads and there is a great selection of recipes on their site to inspire you in how to use their salads to create tasty meals and snacks.

After a few drafts of ideas and ingredients, I finally settled on chicken tikka mango salad. This is so simple to make and it is really light and full of flavour so it is the ideal thing to make if you want to ease yourself in to eating more healthily whilst still enjoying food which packs in plenty of flavour.

The good news is that this takes next to no time to prepare and the only equipment involved is basic kitchen items, so anybody can give making this salad a go. It makes an excellent light lunch, on a smaller scale it can be served as a starter and it makes a great main course or side dish.

Chicken tikka mango salad

You will need:

Chicken breast mini fillets, sliced.
Tikka marinade: I used a 150g pot of natural yogurt mixed with 2 tbsp tikka curry paste I added a little finely diced fresh red chilli too (optional) as I love my food quite spicy.
Olive oil.
White baguette, thinly sliced.
Spicy (or standard) mango chutney.
Parmesan cheese shavings.
One bag of Florette classic crispy salad.

Griddle pan.
Tongs or spatula.
Sharp knife.
Chopping boards.

Marinade the sliced chicken breast fillets in the fridge for a good few hours, make sure all of the chicken is coated well in the marinade to ensure maximum flavour. When the chicken is marinaded, cook it in the griddle pan over a medium heat until it is thoroughly browned on both sides and cooked all the way through. When it has cooled, slice it thinly ready for the salad.
Place desired amount of Florette salad in to a bowl.
Heat your griddle pan on a medium heat, with a tablespoon of olive oil. Ensure the base of the pan is well coated in the hot oil before placing the bread in to the pan. This may sound obvious, but it is essential for the bread to get that lovely charred appearance and crispy texture.
Place the thin slices of baguette in to the pan and griddle for a couple of minutes on each side until they are crispy and slightly charred at the edges, to create croutons. When the croutons have cooled, arrange them around the sides of the dish of salad. Top the salad with the finely sliced chicken and sprinkle parmesan over the top, before adding a generous tablespoon of spicy mango chutney on top which complements the salad perfectly. Serve immediately and enjoy!


I hope that you like this simple salad, which I paired with a crisp fair trade chardonnay as I feel a dry and sharp wine works well alongside the chicken and sweetness of the spicy mango chutney.

What do you all think, do you like the idea of mango chicken tikka salad and have you ever used Florette to create your own recipe? I think that Florette salad is so versatile and easy to incorporate in to recipes. As always, I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post!

Until next time,



I was invited to create a recipe using Florette, all opinions expressed herein are my own and honest.

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Breakfast at Bills...

Rushing around, being on the last minute and having meetings almost every day…for most of us this is a familiar story because life can be so hectic in the modern world. This high octane world only makes me appreciate the simple things in life even more, and I love to make the time where possible to sit down for a meal and a catch up with the people who I don’t get to see often enough. Going out for breakfast or brunch is something that I absolutely love doing, so when we found ourselves in Liverpool first thing on a Saturday morning recently, we decided to treat ourselves to a festive brunch at Bill’s.

The pancakes at Bill’s are the stuff of legend, so I had almost decided on what to order before I even consulted the menu, but I was also tempted by Bill’s vegetarian breakfast and the various choices of eggs on offer. We started off with lattes which were rich and smooth and I was impressed that a carafe of iced water was brought to the table too, as it is always a nice touch when restaurants do this without asking.

We ordered a Bill’s bread basket of pastries and toast, which arrived in no time and contained toasted artisan bread, croissants and pain au chocolat. The basket came with creamy farmhouse butter and a selection of Bill’s conserves which were delicious spread over the crusty bread. 

I could not resist indulging, so I ordered blueberry and buttermilk pancakes with banana, strawberries and maple syrup. These were just divine, so thick and fluffy in texture yet surprisingly light at the same time. The bananas and strawberries perfectly complemented the pancakes as did the thick drizzle of maple syrup. This is the kind of breakfast dish I could happily wake up to every day! 

There is a really cosy feel to the design of Bill’s with chandeliers, wood panelling, cute chalkboard signs and wine display cases. I like the fact that you can buy so many Bill’s products to take home too, as the array of items on offer make super gifts for others or just treats for yourself! As I contented myself with the divine pancakes, my dining companion enjoyed the Bill’s breakfast of Cumberland sausage, fried free range eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, smoked streaky bacon and toast. He added crispy potato and baked beans to his order, and the plate was groaning under the weight of delicious food, as was he by the time he finished! It was an excellent full English breakfast made using great produce and plated up with a good eye for presentation.

I was impressed by the food and the service which were both outstanding and I felt so relaxed that we sat back and ordered another round of lattes from our friendly host (who looked after us so well throughout) before we finally went on our merry way feeling so contented after a wonderful, long brunch experience. 

I really like the fact that Bill's feels so welcoming and relaxed, this is the kind of restaurant I enjoy visiting for brunch, lunch or dinner when I want a casual ambience. They serve some of the best coffee I have tasted recently too, which makes it a sure fire hit in my opinion!

Liverpool One

10 Thomas Steers Way
L1 8LW

0151 709 9757

What do you all think, do you like to go out for brunch and have you ever dined at Bill's? As always, I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post!

Until next time,



Saturday 26 December 2015

Merry Christmas...

Hi everyone I hope that you are all well, I just wanted to drop in with a quick update to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
I hope that you are all having a lovely Christmas so far, I have been having a good time at home which is just what I need to unwind.
Christmas started for me on Christmas Eve with lunch at Wahaca (separate post coming soon!) followed by a last minute trip to Tesco and a few extra bits of shopping.

After, that I went home to pack and we loaded the car up with a mountain of presents and set off for Derbyshire feeling excited. We arrived at about 10pm, in time for our traditional buffet, which as usual involved loads of party food, Cava, Bordeaux and various desserts. We enjoyed Gyoza with plum sauce, onion bhajis, spring rolls, sausage rolls, cheese rolls, mozzarella sticks… well, you get the idea there was a lot of food!

After that I still had lots of presents to wrap, so I sat by the fire with a Gin and Tonic (or two!) and got all my gifts ready.
We sat up late talking, listening to music and enjoying a few more drinks before we finally headed to bed.
Christmas Day is always a very relaxed affair in our house. My parents live in a 400 year old farmhouse set in the heart of the Peak District and it always feels really Christmassy at this time of year. My Mum decorates one of the fireplaces with greenery cut from the garden such as laurel and ivy  and the tree is decorated in coloured lights and baubles we have had forever!

On Christmas Day, we got up late to have a relaxed breakfast before exchanging presents next to the tree. We just relaxed and enjoyed looking at all of our presents. This year we had gone more overboard than ever buying presents for each other so it took us ages to open them. I was lucky enough to receive some super gifts, which I will look forward to sharing with you in a separate post.

Later in the afternoon, I helped my Mum to get the dinner ready and then we got dressed for dinner before enjoying a pre-dinner drink by the fire. We sat down in the dining room to enjoy the traditional Christmas Dinner feast; butter-basted turkey, honeyed carrots and parsnips, petit pois, Brussel sprouts, roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy. Phew!

The meal was delicious and of course I had a second helping of everything! We washed the meal down with plenty of sparkling wine and retired to the fireside where we enjoyed traditional Christmas pudding with amaretto cream. After all of that amazing food, we could hardly move, so we spent the rest of the day relaxing, playing quiz games and listening to music. It was a beautiful day and I just want to send everyone my warmest wishes for the festive season!

I hope that you are all having a wonderful time and many thanks for all your support throughout 2015!
Please let me know what are your traditions over Christmas and what have you been enjoying so far? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post!

Until next time,



Wednesday 23 December 2015

Festive drinks...

I was recently given the chance to review some lovely drinks brands represented by my friends at Halewood International.* Since it is the festive season, I thought that I would take the opportunity to devise a couple of festive cocktail ideas for you to serve over the holidays.
First up, I decided to make a ‘Cranberry Fizz’ using the Red Square Sloe Vodka I was given for review. I love this fruity and syrupy vodka and it goes so well in cocktails.

The Sloe Vodka is quite sweet, so it goes perfectly with the slight sharpness of cranberries. Take one champagne flute and pour in a small measure of Sloe Vodka at the bottom of the glass, top with fresh cranberry juice until the flute is roughly half full then pour chilled prosecco in to fill the flute to the top.

I added a few Craisins  to the glass  as a garnish, because they look so festive and they add a sweet surprise when you get the end of the drink. I also topped the glass with a festive sugar decoration, sorry Rudolph!  These drinks are so delicious and I would suggest that they make the perfect pre-dinner drink or indeed they are good to celebrate with, so serving them at a cocktail party with a few canapés would be ideal too. For a twist on this, try a pineapple version. Replace the cranberry juice with pineapple juice and add some fresh pineapple and a sprig of mint as a garnish.

Next up I thought a Cherry Gin Fizz would be great, but not a traditional one. This one was made using the Whitley Neil gin  which is smooth and balanced gin which is easy to drink. Place a cocktail cherry into a champagne flute and add splash of the gin then top with prosecco. Stir in a little sugar syrup to taste, to add a touch of sweetness and this makes a delicious glass of festive fizz.

For another choice of festive Cherry Fizz, place a cocktail cherry in a champagne flute, top with a splash of Sloe Vodka and top up with Rosé Cava. Tasty!

I was also given Pogues Whiskey to try , which is matured for three years and a day in an oak barrel. This whiskey captures the wild spirit of the Pogues band and it works so well in an Irish coffee or simply served with ice or straight up. 
Irish Coffee

4 parts Hot coffee,
2 parts Irish whiskey
1 tsp. Brown sugar
1½ parts Fresh cream
Gently stir together and heat the coffee, whiskey and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat; do not boil. Pour in to a glass and top with cream. 

I thought that Pogues Whiskey and Red Square Toffee Vodka both work well as an after dessert treat too. Just serve them both over ice, or serve the vodka as a shot. I got these cute little puddings to pair with them, Christmas Pudding and Belgian Chocolate with Salted Caramel. Wow!

My next thought was to combine the Red Square Toffee Vodka in to one of my all time favourite drinks, the espresso martini. In a martini glass, combine 1 part toffee vodka with 1 part amaretto or kahlua as well as freshly brewed coffee. Top with cream and garnish with coffee beans. I will be making those on Boxing Day as these are a great cocktail to relax with!

So there you have it, a few ideas for some festive drinks to get the party started! I loved trying these drinks and I will be enjoying them mixed in to cocktails or served straight up over the holidays!

What do you all think, would you like to try any of these drinks and do you have any cocktails which you love to make at Christmas? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post!

Until next time,



I was asked to try some drinks for this post, these were complimentary for review purposes. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest.