Tuesday 20 June 2017

The Go Outdoors Camping Cookbook...

The recent sunshine is the perfect reason to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, so it is perhaps good timing for me to share with you that I recently had a recipe published in the latest Go Outdoors Camping Cookbook (volume 2).

You can download the e-book of the Go Outdoors 2017 cookbook here:

I am so pleased to be a part of the cookbook, which contains some delicious recipes which are ideal for camping. The recipe I shared is simple to make and these fluffy banana pancakes with honey drenched berries make a tasty brunch or dessert. A big stack of these pancakes is a real treat on a camping trip, and they do not require much preparation. 

If you visit the Go Outdoors website, you will also find last year's cookbook, which is filled with tempting camping recipes. In my opinion food always tastes better when eaten outdoors and the latest recipe book is full of meal inspiration for your summer camping trips.

Do you have any travel plans this summer? So far I have a work trip to Kenya planned, in fact I fly out today which is very exciting. I love going camping too and one of my favourite places to go camping is Anglesey in Wales because the mountains, beaches and forests make the scenery there incredible. 
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and I find that these pancakes are so filling which makes them a good choice if you have a long day of activities planned, as they keep hunger at bay for quite some time. Also, they are very photogenic which is sure to appeal if you enjoy taking pictures of food as much as I do. For an extra touch of elegance, serving these on pretty plates with wildflowers scattered on the table looks very impressive, without making too much effort. 

I would love you to check out my recipe in the Go Outdoors Camping Cookbook, I was so pleased to be a part of the book, thank you to Go Outdoors. As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post. 

Until next time, 



Wednesday 14 June 2017

Lunch at The Bluecoat Bistro...

The Bluecoat in Liverpool is such a great place to spend a couple of hours in the city; it is a centre for contemporary arts which is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Liverpool which dates from the early 18th century. I often go to the downstairs café bar for a coffee and I have been meaning to try The Bistro for quite some time, so I was pleased to have an invitation to review it this week. The Bistro has recently introduced a new menu, which offers a wealth of seasonal choices, making it the perfect place for lunch in the city.

The architecture of The Bluecoat is impressive, it has an imposing grandeur which is immediately striking. The Bistro is reached by a wooden staircase, flanked by a wall filled with colourful prints which create an air of cheery style.

The Bistro space is bright and airy, with a long bar area, windows overlooking the courtyard and tables adorned with freshly cut flowers.

I opted for a classic starter of fried calamari with lemon mayo and chorizo oil, which was served in a generous portion. The light, golden batter was delicately seasoned and the zesty lemon mayo perfectly complemented the succulent calamari.

I sipped a glass of white wine as I watched the world go by outside; the team frequently came over to chat and they were so friendly and attentive. For the main course, I was undecided between delectable options such as linguine of butternut squash, risotto of smoked haddock and soft shell crab burger with spicy mayo and sweet potato fries. It was a sunny afternoon, so I decided on a light dish to reflect the weather, the frittata of summer greens with yoghurt and mint. The frittata was springy and tasty, served with a tempting array of green vegetables including tenderstem broccoli and asparagus, while the mint yoghurt added refreshing flavour which offset the frittata well.

I did not have quite enough room left for dessert, but I was sorry to miss out on such delights as individual raspberry trifle, caramelised apple tart and British cheese plate. Next time I will definitely be sampling the desserts!

The Bluecoat 
School Ln, 
L1 3BX

What do you all think, do you like the sound of a Bistro within an art gallery and which of the dishes would you like to try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



Monday 5 June 2017

20th anniversary dinner at Carden Park Hotel...

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a very special dinner to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Carden Park Hotel in Cheshire. The luxurious hotel and spa lies surrounded by rolling countryside and we were welcomed for drinks on the sunny outdoor terrace, where we enjoyed Carden Old Gold, the sparkling wine which is made by the hotel at their own vineyard. A pianist played as we took our seats for dinner in the elegant dining room and we sipped Domaine de la Baume 2015 Merlot to start the evening. Executive head chef Graham Tinsley MBE has cooked for royalty and dignitaries and he had prepared a special three course menu for the evening, inspired by dishes which featured on the à la carte menu when the hotel first opened twenty years ago. He took the floor to talk us through the menu and it was clear that a lot of thought had gone in to the dishes. 

You cannot beat a classic prawn cocktail, and his take on the dish was a contemporary version of this well-loved favourite, which consisted of king prawns, cos lettuce, marinated cherry tomatoes and tomato sorbet. The striking presentation of the dish was matched by fresh and summery flavours from the juicy king prawns, while the cherry tomatoes and the tomato sorbet added tangy and refreshing elements. 

For the main course we moved on to perfectly cooked roasted beef fillet with sticky beef cheek, onion flavours, smoked mash & onion sauce. The creamy smoked mash and the subtle onion sauce worked well with the succulent beef and this was a superb main course, with well-matched flavours. I loved the crispy onions which adorned the centre of the plate; they added texture and irresistible sweetness. 

The finale was of the meal was equally spectacular, with a new take on the retro dessert Black Forest gateaux with duo of chocolate mousse, vanilla sponge, griottine rolled in chocolate soil and cherry ice cream. I love desserts which are not overly sweet and this one was delicate, with feather light sponge and griottine and cherry ice cream which added just the right amount of indulgence. 

There were further speeches from Graham Tinsley MBE and Carden Park General Manager Paul Bayliss MBE as we had coffee to round off the evening. This was a fitting twentieth anniversary celebration for this refined hotel and I wish the Carden Park team all the best for the future. Graham Tinsley showed off his culinary prowess with his impressive menu and and it was a lovely evening. 

What do you all think, do you like the sound of new versions of classics and which of these dishes would you like to try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post. 

Until next time,



Thursday 1 June 2017

Tandoori vegetable and halloumi skewers...

Food waste is a huge problem and it is an issue which we need to think more about; we throw away a staggering amount of food annually and this could be avoided if we all become more conscientious about this. I am pleased to be working with FareShare, a UK wide charity working to end hunger and food waste, which is why I am bringing you this recipe to highlight the importance of avoiding food waste. I was impressed to hear that FareShare have a regional centre in my area that provides meals to vulnerable people experiencing poverty. Last year, FareShare Merseyside supplied more than 1 million vulnerable people with meals made from surplus food and it redistributed good quality, in date surplus food to over 218 local charities and community groups.
Now that summer is here, these Tandoori vegetable and halloumi skewers are the ideal easy dinner to make for a week night and they are also perfect for barbecues. Sometimes, peppers are lurking forgotten at the back of the fridge, but rather than throwing away vegetables which have been in the fridge for a while, skewers are the perfect way of cooking up veggies which are still fresh enough to eat. 

I love food which looks as vibrant as it tastes and these skewers deliver bold and exciting flavours as well as a good kick of spice. This is an easy, breezy recipe which can be made in advance and stored in the fridge prior to cooking. 

(This makes roughly 4 skewers, adjust amounts for more).
A mixture of 3-4 red, yellow and green peppers (washed, de-seeded and chopped).
1-2 onions, peeled and chopped in to wedges.
One block of halloumi cheese, cut in to generous cubes (big enough to thread on to skewers).
Olive oil.
Tandoori marinade (simplicity is key to this recipe, so mix 2-3 tablespoons of good quality Tandoori paste, with 4-5 tablespoons of natural yoghurt, judging how much marinade you will need on the amount of skewers you are making).

Preheat oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6. Line a baking tray with tin foil.
I used metal skewers, which are sturdier than wooden ones. Alternately thread chunks of pepper, onion and halloumi on to the skewers until each skewer is full. Place them on the baking tray and brush them with a little olive oil and then brush them with the Tandoori marinade, making sure you turn the skewers so that each side is coated with marinade. Place the tray in to the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, check on them a few times as they cook rapidly. I was going for fairly well done skewers with a golden colour, but adjust timing if you want them less well cooked.

Beware that the skewers really retain their heat, especially when using metal ones, so use oven mitts and handle with caution once plated. I served these with a side of toasted flatbread with accompaniments of couscous and mixed leaf salad. They also go well with a pomegranate salad or even a few sweet potato fries if you are feeling indulgent.

The beauty of this meal is that it looks elaborate, but it takes relatively little time and effort. These skewers have proved popular for laid back dinner parties, al fresco dining and barbecues. Of course, you can adapt them by adding chicken or prawns. Adjust cooking time accordingly and ensure meat/seafood is thoroughly cooked before serving. I prefer these without meat or seafood and they make a Mediterranean meal which brings summer to the plate whatever the weather.

I was pleased to work on this recipe to underline the important work done by FareShare to combat food waste and you can check out some more information about the amazing work FareShare do on their website:

What do you all think of the issue of food waste and do you like the sound of this simple recipe? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,