Thursday, 30 January 2014


After behaving like an absolute piglet for weeks on end I am currently doing an excellent diet by the company Nourished ( which I will blog about shortly. Pascal is in France but Arabella still needs feeding and I am loathe to give her anything pre-prepared but cooking an entire meal from scratch for a little one is OTT. Sometimes I wish I wasn't such a food snob!!

Arabella now has ballet twice a week as she has a ballet exam coming up so afternoons are packed with that, her after school activities, reading and spelling and so with no Pascal around to help, we are busy bees!

Arabella has always loved eggs and like her mummy she adores cheese so this is a perfect, quick recipe for her.

Ingredients for 1 person:

A knob of butter
4 slices of wafer thin ham or 1 piece of thick ham (Arabella prefers the thin stuff)
2 eggs
A handful of grated cheese - we used cheddar but you could use Gruyere
A piece of toast
A ramekin

Preheat the oven to 180C fan / 200C / gas mark 6.

Rub a knob of butter inside a ramekin (this stops everything sticking).

Layer the bottom with the wafer thin ham slices. If you use a thick slice, you may need to break it up into pieces.

Crack the two eggs on top. If you are doing this for a younger child or if you are not that hungry, you can just use one egg.

Sprinkle the cheese over the top.

Put the ramekin in the oven for 17 minutes and bake. A minute before the end, pop the bread in the toaster. Serve it with the toast. I generally take it out of the ramekin and plonk it on the toast however it does not look as pretty…although kiddies do not really care!

Arabella gobbled it down! She is normally the slowest eater ever but ended up being the dinner winner as she enjoyed it so much. I have actually had it several times before so know how tasty it is. It is perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch or supper and adults and kids alike and with these heart shaped ramekins it could be a good idea for valentines!!

Tuesday, 28 January 2014


To finish off the eatathon weekend, Pascal & I did something we never ever do - we got a take away! We never order takeaways as to be honest, I never think they are any good & so are a waste of money (my brother thinks I am insane as he has at least a couple a week & that is just Chinese)! I would much prefer to either cook or go out and the benefit of living in a city is there are always restaurants or shops in walking distance.

However as a huge burger fan I have been keen to try Chosen Bun since it opened last year. I read about the two guys Andy and Pete a while before they started - they had been on a burger tasting mission in the US and ate 3 burgers everyday for 10 days and they tried 1000 beef patties, 10 different types of lettuce, 12 types of pickled gherkin, dozens of different buns, 30 different onion ring recipes, 50 triple-cooked chip recipes…and so on. That sounds like Heaven to me and would seriously tempt me out of retirement!

Unfortunately some friends who had tried Chosen Bun hadn't really rated it - my fellow burger buddy Corrie only gave it a 6 out of 10 but now was time for me to check it out

The website is super easy to navigate and I very quickly ordered Pascal & my meal online.

There are five different burgers to choose from and numerous sides (Menu). Pascal and I both ordered the Viking Burger which consisted of Beef patty, caramelised red onion and garlic chutney, lettuce, American cheese or Cheddar cheese, ketchup, mayo and Nicks pickles. It is all cooked medium however you can ask for it well done. Not rare/blue unfortunately for Pascal. I was also disappointed you couldn't ass extras like bacon or extra cheese.

For sides we ordered the Belgians - crunchy skin on, triple cooked chips with Rosemary salt, Mark & Cheese - fried mac & cheese bites covered in panko breadcrumbs & onion rings. You can order the time you want the food delivered or ask for asap which was about 20-25 minutes which isn't bad for a take away.

Here you go - it was all nicely delivered and presented and most importantly hot!

I had my misgivings but actually I was very pleasantly surprised!!! The burger was excellent, meaty, cheesy and the pickles were a brilliant addition. I would have liked to be able to add bacon or blue cheese or something but I guess the company are keeping it simple and it was a very good burger - I will definitely be having it again.

The highlight of the meal for me were the macaroni cheese bites - they were fabulous - crispy and creamy and cheesy - I was fighting Pascal for them. I could have had my own pot easily and I know that Arabella is going to LOVE them. I enjoyed the onion rings although Pascal found them too greasy. I did wake up with heartburn the next day, something I rarely have unless I have been drinking copious amounts go gin & fanta lemon in Menorca. Pascal reckoned it would be from the onion rings - who knows - I would still have them again.

One item that was a real disappointment were the "Belgiums" (chips) - these were rubbish. Not salted enough, tasteless and cold. This is something Chosen Bun need to work on as their menu is limited and chips are probably one of the most popular sides to a burger.

All is all it was a fine takeaway and yes, I would have it again (mainly for the macaroni cheese bites). It came to about £30 which is a lot more expensive than MacDonalds but same price as Shake Shack or Five Guys and you can eat it in the comfort of your own home, plus it tasted like good quality food (other than the chips). A good alternative when you can't be bothered to cook or go out into our cold miserable wet English weather!

After all this eating, I am on a diet this week….I will start writing about it tomorrow…..I need to rein myself in but I am a piglet through and through!!

Chosen Bun

647 Fulham Road
Tel: 020 731 2411
Email: or

Chosen Bun on Urbanspoon

Monday, 27 January 2014


Despite our huge meal on Friday night, Pascal & I were keen for a nice lazy lunch on Saturday. As he has been working hard all week and was tired, he refused to go over to Covent Garden or Soho and so I suggested a new Hot Dog joint in Ken Church Street (Dirty Bones) - that got an even bigger no no!! Apparently I need to update my restaurant list and include smarter restaurants!! We compromised on La Bouchee in South Kensington - we had been there before but no for a while.

Considering how French South Ken is, I am surprised Pascal doesn't spend more time there - we passed a French market selling delicious cheeses and we even found a book shop selling his favourite books and papers.

Pascal wouldn't call La Bouchee restaurant - instead it is a Bistro - it is small and cosy, romantic, very typically French. The best best part of our lunch for Pascal was the music - nostalgic French tunes from about 20 years ago - he was in Heaven, singing along……I was not!!

To get into the swing of things we started with a Ricard and perused the incredible menu (Menu).

I found it impossible to decide what to start with  - I wanted the foie gras, the snails, the prawn and chorizo salad with aioli and the mussels. This menu was right up my street! I ended up choosing mussels and they were absolutely delicious!

They were served in white wine, shallots, parsley and cream. So so good - I ended up dipping the fresh baguette in the sauce and then eating it like soup! 

Pascal had the homemade duck foie gras terrine with a toasted brioche and a spicy orange and pumpkin marmalade. This was also very good - the foie gras was so smooth and went well with the marmalade. We washed this down with a lovely bottle of Gigondas.

For mains, Pascal had steak tartar - I was too busy eating my meal to taste it - I did manage several fries obviously and Pascal said it was all excellent.

I had le petit sale aux lentilles which is slow cooked ham hock, smoked sausages and lentils and on the side gratin dauphinois.

This was delicious - the ham melted in my mouth, the sausage was all garlicky and there were plenty of lentils and a few veg. I mixed it with some Dijon mustard and it was perfect. The gratin dauphinois was so cheesy, I could have eaten the whole dish. I certainly didn't need it but I still ate as much as possible! 

Even though we were both fit to burst, we couldn't resist the cheese board as it was right by us in the "bistro" and we had been gazing at it lovingly all meal!

A great selection - especially the blue.

I can see why La Bouchee has been around for 25 years - it is just like being in a cute Parisian Bistro without having to travel. The food and atmosphere is excellent, and the service faultless. I definitely think this is going to become a regular haunt of ours - especially for Pascal. I do apologise if you go and he is there though - his singing voice is certainly not the best!!!

La Bouchee
56 Old Brompton Road
Tel: 020 7589 1929

Square Meal
La Bouchee on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 26 January 2014


I went to see Wolf of Wall Street on Friday - wow - what a fantastic film. I am a huge Leonardo Di Caprio fan - my bedroom growing up was covered with posters of him in Romeo and Juliet and nearly 20 years later I am just as obsessed! Margot Robbie looks phenomenal and is real thinspiration. I definitely need to start a new diet but it hasn't happened this weekend!!

Friday night Pascal & I went to The Sand's End pub with our gorgeous friends Hard & Fran. I have been here a few times and always had fantastic food - I would come more but it is kind of in the middle of nowhere (i.e. not near a tube). It is definitely worth the effort though.

The pub offers "a slice of the countryside to a small corner of South West London". The food is seasonal and so the menu changes regularly - one thing they always have is phenomenal scotch eggs!

Here is a copy of our menu:

We started the meal with scotch eggs and a sausage roll.

The scotch egg was incredible, the best I have ever had. The sausage roll was good but not as good as The Brown Cow ( - the sister pub).

For starter, Fran and I both had the crab and scallop raviolo with buttered leeks and shellfish veloute. I have to say it didn't look much but it tasted amazing - lots of fish, perfectly made pasta and a delicious sauce.

Hard and Pascal both had the burrata with artichoke lyonnaise, truffle vinaigrette and chives. This was also delicious and the flavours went really well together but the burrata wasn't as fresh as it can be and was a little fizzy.

Both boys wiped their plates clean though!!

For mains Pascal and I shared barbecue short rib with macaroni cheese and coleslaw - this was unbelievably good!

It could go down as one of my of greatest meals! I mainly went for this because I love mac and cheese but the beef and coleslaw were so deliciously tasty - it has opened up a whole new world for me as I am now desperate to try all the barbecue restaurants around London. I polished off the whole plate!

Fran had the chicken, leek and pancetta pie with puree mushrooms and buttered kale.

She said it was absolutely delicious!! Hard had serious food envy as he wanted the barbecue short rib but had no one to share it with (he did consider getting his own) but then instead had the braised beef cheek a la bourguignon with creamed potato, green beans and spinach. This was also very very good.

We had liquid puddings - tequila slammers - after that my memory is a little hazy but I do remember having a fantastic time and really really enjoying the food, the atmosphere was great - lively and happy and the staff were brilliant. I will definitely be back - I just hope they don't change the menu too much as I would want to eat the exact same thing!!

The Sand's End

135 - 137 Stephendale Road,
Tel: 020 7731 7823

Square Meal
Sands End on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 23 January 2014


I cooked the most revolting recipe last night - Roast Salmon with Herbs and Cheddar Polenta - it was so disappointing. I overdid the herbs so it tasted like eating a forrest and then the polenta was so difficult to whisk it tasted like school canteen lumpy mashed potato. I added so much butter, cheese and milk and repeatedly tasted it so must have consumed about 1000 calories and still it was totally rubbish. 

I didn't want to inflict such grimness on my lovely readers so the recipe went straight in the bin and instead, just like they do on Blue Peter, here is something I made earlier - Christmas in fact!

As I have mentioned before I am not a traditional roast fan or a potato lover and so for Christmas lunch I decided to cook potato dauphinois as we needed to have some kind of carb and this I like as it is covered in cheese! I had to improvise as I was making it in France and did not have all the ingredients however I will write out the correct recipe here as it is absolutely excellent and perfect for your family or friends. I made this for a dinner party last year and served it with a rib of beef & green salad, and it went down a treat.

Ingredients for 8 people:

butter for greasing
3 garlic cloves, crushed
250ml of milk
250ml double cream (I had to use creme fraiche - it worked but double cream is so much better)
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg (had no idea what this was in French)!
900g potatoes, very thinly sliced
freshly ground black pepper
180g mature cheddar, grated (you won't be shocked to hear I used double this but it is up to you - plus I used a selection of cheese as the french aren't into cheddar)!

Rub a little butter round an ovenproof dish (approx. 25 x 25cm - mine was smaller) and then preheat the oven to 180 C fan, 200 C, gas mark 6.

Put the crushed garlic, milk, cream, nutmeg, potatoes and a grind of black pepper into a large saucepan.

Bring to the boil stirring frequently so the potatoes don't stick and then simmer for a around 3-4 minutes to thicken it slightly.

Remove from the heat and stir in half the cheese.

Empty it all into the greased ovenproof dish and top with the rest of the cheese.

Finally bake for 50 minutes to an hour until the top is browning and the potatoes are tender…I did an hour and the potatoes definitely needed it.

As I write this now Arabella is watching me begging to make this again as it really is delicious and it is so so easy. I would recommend trying it - it is perfect with every kind of meat although I would quite happily eat it on it's own (and on my own). Once a piglet, always a piglet!!! I think I will be cooking this with a roast chicken very very soon. 

Just to let you know, it is freezable, you can prepare it beforehand and it tastes great reheated…if you have any left!!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014


This recipe combines two of my loves - mozzarella and Pinterest, where I found this recipe. I originally cooked it last Friday night but as I was distracted by the dance competition going on between Arabella & her godmother Ceri, I made a couple of mistakes and it wasn't as good as I thought it could be. We still ate it, along with Arabella's entire sweet tin and several of Pascal's chocolates but I wanted to try it again as I knew it could be lovely…..and practise makes perfect!

Ingredients for 2 people:

2 skinless chicken breasts
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, sliced
350g cherry or small plum tomatoes, cut in half
2 handfuls of basil leaves, halved
125g ball of buffalo mozzarella, sliced into thick 1/2" slices
Balsamic vinegar, to taste

First things first, salt & pepper both sides of the chicken breasts.

Add 1 tbsp of olive oil (more if you need it) to a large sauté pan over a warm heat. Add the chicken breasts, cover with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes on one side.

Towards the end of the 10 minutes (maybe after about 6 minutes) add the remaining oil to another pan and add the garlic for a minute and then the tomatoes and cook over a medium heat.

Flip the chicken to cook the other side - it depends on the size of the breasts but I only did a further 5 minutes and that was more than enough (I should have done less). Then take the chicken off the heat.

There is a lot of moving back and forward between the pans!! After the tomatoes have been cooking for 5 minutes also take off the heat and stir in the basil.

Cover the chicken breasts with the mozzarella and pour the tomato mixture over the top. Put it back on the heat and cover the pan with a lid once again. Cook for 2-3 until the mozzarella melts.

Drizzle with a splash of balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.

I added some fresh basil leaves on top and served it with a green salad. 

It was delicious (much better than last time) - it looks pretty and tasted yum - a very good mid week supper. Despite the going to & fro between the pans, it was easy and quick and I would cook it again. It definitely needed seasoning and you need to make sure you don't over cook the chicken but it was simple, appetising and healthy and that is good enough for me!