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27 December, 2014


So the big day has finally come and gone. If you're anything like me you've been spending the last couple of days nibbling away at all the leftovers. Christmas leftovers really are the best.

The turkey seems to be never ending at my house, so I thought adding it to this great vegetable soup recipe from an old  Marks and Spencer Christmas book would work a treat.

This soup only has a handful of ingredients which is what I love the most about it.

You can use any pesto you like but Sacla's basil pesto works best here in my opinion!

It's quite a light soup which is a nice follow up from the heavy Christmas feasting!


300g Shredded turkey
2 Medium sized onions finely diced
1 Large leek diced
4 Carrots peeled and diced
4 Garlic cloves crushed
85g Watercress finely chopped
2 Pints of chicken stock
1/2 Pint of water
1 Jar of Sacla basil pesto
Some olive oil
Sea Salt

First things first

Get your turkey shredded and vegetables chopped up to make the soup making extra speedy.


1. Heat some olive oil in a large pan and add the crushed garlic, onions, leeks and carrots. Lightly fry over a medium heat until softened. 
2. Add the shredded turkey and fry for a further 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Pour in the stock, water and stir in the watercress. Bring the soup to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
4. Spoon the pesto into the soup, stir until fully incorporated and serve up in bowls.


I was invited to enter this recipe into a competition by Rix -  
Wish me luck!

29 November, 2014


I'm a big fan of Italian food and the bold flavours that go along with it.

I was asked to take part in the #TuscanyNowCookOff competition and for my entry I have decided to make some mini pizzas or pizzettas (if you want to be fancy) with classic Italian ingredients - basil, olives and sun-dried tomatoes.

I think these bitesize pizzas would make lovely canap├ęs at a party and you could also top them with a slice or two of prosciutto for variation.


1 Medium sized onion finely diced
4 Tablespoons of creme fraiche
50g Grated parmesan
200g Sun dried tomatoes in oil chopped
4 Tablespoons of black olives chopped
A handful of fresh basil
1 Teaspoon of dried mixed herbs for sprinkling
125g Ball of mozzarella torn into small pieces
Sea Salt

For the dough

400g Strong white bread flour
6g fast action dried yeast
1 Teaspoon of salt
4 Tablespoons of olive oil

First things first

Make the pizza dough by mixing together flour, yeast and salt. Pour olive oil into 275ml of warm water and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix together and form into a wet dough using your hands. Place the dough in a warm spot for an hour to rise and cover with oiled cling film.


1. Soften the diced onion in butter over a medium heat and leave to one side.  Preheat the oven to 220°C/200F/Gas 7.
2. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and then separate into 12 small balls. Create thin circles using a roll pin and place onto greaseproof lined baking tray.
3. Combine the diced onions with creme fraiche and parmesan. Season well with salt and pepper and then spread the mixture on top of the pizza dough.
4. Place the dough bases in the oven for 8 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Mix the chopped sun dried tomato, olives and mozzarella together. Add some torn basil leaves
6. Top the baked creamy bases with the tomato and olive mixture and sprinkle over dried herbs.



Below I have put together some of my favourite bits of art, culture and sightseeing during my recent visit to New York.  Hop over to my food spots if you haven't seen it already.

Many of these things are standard tourist destinations but I had such fun and wanted to share my thoughts on the places I enjoyed.

Did I mention how arty farty my hotel was? Check out the ripped painting on the wall...

I love the colours...

I hope you enjoy this and please feel free to leave your favourite NYC culture and sightseeing spots. 


22 November, 2014


Last week I visited New York which was really good fun. I stayed at the Refinery Hotel in Midtown which was a perfect location for hitting the shops.
I decided I would put together a series of short guides listing my favourite places to eat and drink, where to soak up culture and explore the sights in New York. 

I'm beginning with food of course ...

I'd really love to hear about your favourite New York restaurants and bars so please comment below!


13 November, 2014


If you have sensitive skin like myself then there are a ton of beauty products out there that can help with this - all natural, colour and fragrance free.

But what about the other type of sensitive skin where things that people say or do affect you? Your sense of self is left feeling irritated and your ego is red and inflamed.

I suppose that's more difficult to manage. What do you use to soothe that? All I know is that somehow developing tougher skin than can act as a barrier from others' opinions, comments and feedback is the way forward.

On the sensitivity spectrum are you someone who completely brushes things off after a few moments or do you tend to dwell and re-play those things that hurt over in your mind?

Well I am definitely overly sensitive. Yesterday I ordered a praline cappuccino at Costa which I pronounced as "PRAY-LEAN" to the barista. I was swiftly corrected by her,"oh you mean PRAH-LEAN" she replied.

Her response annoyed me. I suppose it made me feel a little inadequate at that moment but I know it was something that I definitely shouldn't be taking to heart.

A filtering system

Sometimes it's pointless to take things personally but on the other hand taking on board what others say may actually help to develop your character.

Filtering and looking at things objectively rather than dwelling is probably the best defence for  our psychological sensitive skin.

I'd be lying if I told you I knew all the answers but this article here is pretty useful.

How sensitive is your skin?


05 November, 2014


I think Halloween slightly overshadows Bonfire Night here in England. Perhaps pumpkins and scary stuff seem more appealing over that pesky Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder plot scenario. 

Personally i've always loved Bonfire Night and think it's so lovely to wrap up warm and go out to see the fireworks.

To get in the spirit of things I decided to make some firework biscuits with a little help from Dr Oetker recipe

I wish I could say I had some children in to help make and decorate them but this is all my handiwork and me simply getting over excited with the glitter and icing tubes! 

bonfire night biscuits
Bonfire Night Biscuits

Bonfire Night Biscuits

Bonfire Night Food

Bonfire night food


100g Unsalted Butter
100g Golden caster sugar
200g Plain flour
1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon of milk

For the decorating

125g Icing sugar
1 Tablespoon of warm water
Glitter icing tubes

First things first

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. I used 6cm and 4cm circle cookie cutters to make 24 biscuits but any cutters you have at hand will do.


1. Beat the butter and sugar together until it's pale and fluffy.
2. Mix in the flour and continue until the dough looks crumbly. Add the vanilla and milk.
3. Create a ball with the mixture. Pop some flour onto a surface and knead the dough until it's smooth.
4. Roll the dough out, cut the shapes and transfer onto a baking tray. Prick the shapes with a fork and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
5. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Place the biscuits on a wire rack once they have cooled down.
6. Sift icing sugar into a bowl and add water to make glace icing. Decorate the biscuits with firework designs using the glace and glitter icing and you're done!

I hope your bonfire night goes off with a bang (hehe I couldn't resist) 


30 October, 2014


Since I discovered Tiger last year I haven't been able to stop myself from going in there, even if it's just for a quick look. If you haven't heard of Tiger already it is kind of a cross between Ikea and Woolworths with a dash of Paperchase. 

21 October, 2014


Over the last week I've seen so many chicken pie variations springing up on Instagram, food blogs and Facebook.

It's no surprise as Autumn is the perfect time of year for a comforting chicken pie.

I was really inspired by these lovely looking mini pot pies made by Molly and wanted to make something similar with a classic chicken and mushroom filling.

So I decided to make some little pies based off a Waitrose recipe making some tweaks here and there. You can't go wrong with Waitrose!

16 October, 2014


I don't make this salad very often but when I do, it always seems to be a hit. There aren't too many ingredients but it works well anyway.

It's a quick one. Bish, bash, bosh as Jamie Oliver says.

The original recipe for this salad doesn’t have mozzarella but I added it in because I think it's lovely with the crisp prosciutto.

prosciutto salad

13 October, 2014


the rat race

I’ve always found “the rat race” to be a really silly expression and yet it's something that affects a lot of us. Being tangled in it can be very damaging to our wellbeing and robs us of our peace of mind.

The rat race is “ a way of life in which people are caught up in a fiercely competitive struggle for wealth or power. ” 

Most of us have probably been there… I certainly have. There have been times when I should have been focusing on myself and I didn’t. Instead of walking down my own path, I was looking around worrying and watching others. 

I believe the only person that can make you truly happy is yourself.  I try as much as I can to be
authentic and honest to myself and those around me.

09 October, 2014


Autumn Tress
Autumn really is a beautiful season. The crisp leaves are now littering the grass and pavements in their dozens. 
Fall leaves on the roadLeaves of the ground

Fall Leaf

As it gets colder I will definitely be drinking lots of hot chocolate, lighting candles around the house and wrapping up warm.

 Some autumn inspired things...

1. Deep fried maple leaves 
In Japan they deep fry maple leaves in tempura batter which I think is really resourceful and cool. Image Credit - Kimubert Flickr

2. Beautiful autumn photographs 
Apparently MailOnline posted the same 'beauty of autumn' photos last year but that's alright, they're still lovely.

3.  Christmas mulled fruit tea
I saw this on Lorraine Pascale's Instagram. It's a Christmas tea from Marks and Spencer but spiced apple, cranberry and clementine seems quite autumnal too. 
Image Credit - Lorraine Pascale

4.  Monki Flo Scarf
You need a good scarf when it gets cold and I love this one. It's over 2m long so you'll definitely be wrapped warm in it through autumn.

5. Oversized Reiss Jumper
Like a scarf, you need a good jumper.  This is soft, fluffy and looks so cosy.

6. White Company Fireside Candle
The name says it all. I think this candle would be great for those long Autumn evenings.

What are some of the things you will be doing or buying this autumn?

05 October, 2014


Take my Lightning but Don't Steal my Thunder

There's a broken building in the middle of Covent Garden at the moment.

It looks very real but it's actually an optical illusion called 'Take my Lightning but Don't Steal my Thunder' by an artist called Alex Chinneck.

I went down to Covent Garden on Friday to take a closer look at the artwork. Lots of people were milling around the structure, stopping to take photos on their phones and closely inspecting it.

It's such a clever piece because it blends in so well with the rest of the architecture around.

Take my Lightning but Don't Steal my Thunder

The top section of the building floats away from the bottom making it seem like something has pulled it apart. 

It's brilliantly placed since Covent Garden is well-known for its street performers/attention seekers and the work itself is very theatrical and striking.

Take my Lightning but Don't Steal my Thunder
SPOILER**That green cart is a counterweight keeping the whole structure together but this doesn't make it any less creative or ingenious!

Take my Lightning but Don't Steal my Thunder

'Take my Lightning but don't Don't steal my Thunder' will be up until the end of October so it's worth seeing it if you can.

Here are some articles about it -

Evening Standard 

Daily Mail

The Independent 

BBC News


02 October, 2014


Sesame Bang Bang Salad

Remember that nice book I got from HomeSense called 'Cook on a Shoestring'? I flipped through it and found this great looking recipe for a chicken bang bang salad.

As a big fan of Asian cooking I got right on board with this.

Sesame Bang Bang Salad

I really like this recipe because it’s basically a cross between a stir fry and a salad. You can eat it hot or cold which is always a plus.

Sesame Bang Bang Salad

The vegetables stay really fresh and crunchy, even once they’ve been in the wok.
Sliced vegetables
Stir fry vegetables
Toasted Sesame Seeds

You can use leftover chicken, from a roast for example, or oven bake some chicken thighs as I did.

There’s so much colour and I think it’s a lovely looking dish. Make it when you have people round, they’ll be impressed by your skills. 


400g Boneless and skinless chicken thighs
2 Heaped teaspoons of Chinese five-spice
1/2 Cucumber cut into strips and the seeds removed
1 Large carrot cut into flat strips using a vegetable peeler
6 Spring onions cut into strips
300g Rice noodles, cooked as per package instructions or buy fresh
1 Tablespoon of Sesame oil

For the dressing 

1 Teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds
3 Tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
2 Tablespoons of soy sauce
3 Tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce
1/2 Teaspoon of chilli flakes
Juice of 1 lime
50ml water

+ Optional

1 teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling

First things first

If you have some leftover cooked chicken shred and use this. Otherwise season chicken thighs with 2 heaped teaspoons of Chinese five spice, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Pop this in the oven for 25 minutes at 190°C/Gas 5 making sure it’s crispy on top and cooked through. Once it’s cooled shred it. Toast 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds in a non-stick pan by stirring over a medium heat until light brown.


1. Cut the cucumber, carrot and spring onions into strips and leave to one side.
2. Heat the peanut butter, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, sesame seeds, lime juice and chilli flakes in a pan for 5 minutes to make the dressing. Stir on a low heat, adding a small amount of water occasionally to loosen the sauce. 
3. Put a little sesame oil in a hot wok and add the rice noodles, cucumber, spring onions and carrots. Mix well, then add the shredded chicken.
4. Pour over the dressing making sure it evenly coats the salad. 
5. Plate up and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. 



I have decided to add my Sesame Bang Bang Chicken recipe to Lucy at Supergoldennbakes' lovely #cookblogshare.

30 September, 2014


I have a lot of time for loaf cakes. They're not pretty or exciting to look at, but some of the best cakes i've ever made have been loaf ones.

It's definitely comfort food for me. My mum made them all the time for me when I was little and now I like to make them.

Sometimes you just feel like making something that tastes really good and is fairly straightforward.

This caramel banana loaf is adapted from Nigel Slater's black banana loaf which is the best banana cake recipe i've come across.

Taste-wise it’s very light with a golden crumble on top and a hint of crunch from the sprinkling of demerara sugar.

So next time you have some unloved overripe bananas sitting in your fruit bowl use them to make this... waste not, want not!


175g/6oz Self-Raising Flour
175g/6oz Soft Unsalted Butter
175g/6oz Brown Sugar ( Half Golden Caster, Half Soft Light Brown)
2 Eggs
2 Really Really Ripe Bananas
1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
150g Caramel
1 tsp of Demerara Sugar

First Things First

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325F and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Chop your 2 bananas into very small pieces and leave on the side. 


1. Beat the sugar and butter until it is light and fluffy. 
2. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go along to make sure all the mixture is incorporated. Mix in the self-raising flour. 
3. Take the chopped bananas, caramel and vanilla extract and gently fold into the mixture.
4. Spoon evenly into the cake tin and sprinkle over demerara sugar.
Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown. 


27 September, 2014


"The greatest oaks have been little acorns"
"Rome wasn’t built in a day"
"Patience is a virtue"
"Good things come to those who wait (apparently)"

24 September, 2014


Greek Yogurt
For the last couple of years Greek yogurt has become a staple in my diet. It’s high in protein, healthy and so delicious when you pair it with the right things.

I like Greek yogurt in the morning with fresh blueberries and crisp muesli or as a mid afternoon snack with pistachios and honey drizzled over.

Ginger Nut biscuits

Sometimes when I wake up (look away health freaks) the first thing I do is head straight for the biscuits.

Greek Yogurt

But it's not so bad if you're eating biscuits with fat free Greek yogurt and blueberries, don't you agree?


Greek Yogurt

Ginger nuts are brilliant because they don’t get soggy in the yogurt. And most importantly they're sweet, spicy and crunchy.

If your looking for something a little different for breakfast try this, especially as it’s so quick to put together.


A Handful of blueberries 
2 Ginger Nut biscuits
1 Teaspoon of honey
A Splash of elderflower cordial
170g Fat Free Greek yogurt

First things first

Place the blueberries in a bowl and splash over some elderflower cordial. Leave on the side.


1. Use a rolling pin or whatever you have at hand to crush the ginger nut biscuits, making sure to leave some big bits.
2. Add honey to the Greek yogurt. Take some of the blueberries and put them in glass. Pour the cordial from the blueberries into the Greek yogurt and mix well.
3. Top with the crushed gingernut biscuits.
4. Swirl your spoon round and start eating!

And there you have it. How do you eat your Greek yogurt?