Tuesday, 15 December 2015


My daughter Arabella isn't a fussy eater but she detests aubergines - I just don't get it as I absolutely love them! Anyway as she was at her father's for the weekend, I decided it would be the perfect time to cook this pasta recipe. I had cooked it previously about 5 years ago so it was definitely time to give it another go. It took about 35 minutes and was really easy.

Ingredients for 2 people:

1 medium aubergine, cut into wedges
1 red onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 leaves of fresh basil shredded, plus a few whole leaves for garnishing
150g pasta such as penne or fusilli
100g goat's cheese
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts

Preheat the oven to 220 C / gas mark 7.

Chop the aubergine, onion and garlic and shred the basil. Arrange the aubergine and onion in a small roasting tin. Scatter over the garlic, basil and olive oil and season. Roast for 20 - 25 minutes, stirring once or twice until tender and charred.

While the vegetables are cooking, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet's instructions - mine took 8 minutes.

Drain and mix together with the roasted vegetables, goat's cheese and toasted pine nuts. I actually forgot to toast the pine nuts but it didn't matter. Normally I would dry fry them for 3-4 minutes.

Serve immediately with some basil leaves and more seasoning if you desire.

I can't believe that I haven't cooked this recipe for 5 years! It is so delicious and so simple to make plus to you don't need to many ingredients. A perfect midweek supper idea….I just need to now convince Arabella she likes aubergines too, luckily she is already sold on the goat's cheese! I bet the goat's cheese, pine nuts, onion, aubergine and basil would make a great pizza topping as well!

Thursday, 10 December 2015


My friend Ceri's little brother's best friend's wife (got that?) writes a very successful baking blog called The Little Loaf and she recently wrote a cook book of all her amazing recipes. I was lucky enough to receive the book for my birthday and it is full of childhood favourite treats, some with a twist, such as caramel tea and biscuit slices and coconut and raspberry battenberg and jam packed doughnuts.

After drooling over the pictures, I decided the first thing I wanted to make was the chocolate honeycomb biscuit cake. My dad used to love to make a Belgian biscuit cake and I hadn't had one in ages. This is easy to make and doesn't actually require cooking. It took about 25 minutes to make but you then need to chill it for 4 hours.

Ingredients for 10 slices:

125g butter, plus extra for greasing
350g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 generous tbsp golden syrup
150g digestive biscuits 
75g honeycomb (I couldn't buy any and so bought crunchies)
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g pecans, roughly chopped
1-2tbsp cocoa powder, for dusting

Lightly grease a 1kg loaf tin with butter and then line with baking parchment, making sure it comes a few centimetres above the edges. I'm not sure what size my tin was and I certainly overdid the baking parchment!

Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, stirring until smooth.

Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Next job is to break up the biscuits - I did this with a kitchen "hammer" on a chopping board or you could gently bash them in a bowl using the end of rolling pin. You want a mixture of chunks of biscuit and large crumbs.

Do the same with the honeycomb.

Chop the pecans and mix all together in a large bowl.

Beat the egg and then pasteurise it by stirring it slowly and continuously into the chocolate mixture.

Stir into the bowl of biscuits, honeycomb and pecans until well combined.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, levelling it with a spatula. I didn't do this part very well and so my cake turned out a little bit wonky! Press a piece of baking parchment over the top and then chill in the fridge for about 4 hours or until firm.

Remove the cake from the fridge around 10 minutes before serving to allow it to soften slightly. Turn it out of the tin and dust the top with cocoa powder. Slice into thick slices and indulge!

Mine didn't really look very professional but it tasted brilliant - I love the addition of the honeycomb and next time I will definitely add some dried fruit like raisins or even some sweets like jelly beans. This keeps in the fridge for up to a week…..if you haven't gobbled it all up by then!

A great first recipe to cook from the Homemade Memories cookbook and I am sure this is the start of many!


Tuesday, 8 December 2015


I have been eating out quite a bit recently, not good for the waistline but I guess it is the season to be merry and come January I will be back on the straight and narrow.

I arranged to meet my lovely friend Kimberly up by Harrods and immediately I suggested the gastropub The Enerprise on Walton Street - I hadn't been in years - despite always having great meals there in the past. It is really cute and cosy and perfect for this time of year. It is also reasonably priced which is unheard of in that area!!

The menu is quite varied - there are starters such calamari and courgette tempura with a soy, ginger and honey dip or a cornish crab pasty with coriander, apple and mouli salad. Not your usual pub fayre! For mains you can eat roast suckling pig with toulouse sausage and apple and white bean stew or chicken milanese or rib eye steak. There is also a specials board as well…..so much to choose from!

We started with a delicious amuse bouche of sweet potato soup which was incredibly warming. I love a surprise free course!!

Then we shared a starter of cheddar and goat's cheese quesadillas with sour cream and salsa and these were great, really cheesy and tasty. I will definitely be trying to recreate these at home as Arabella will love them.

For mains I had Scottish salmon fishcakes with buttered spinach and basil foam. These were nice but not amazing - I think the basil foam was a bit of a waste, another sauce would have been preferable or even just a dollop of tartare sauce.

I had serious food envy over Kimberly's main. Kimberly ordered tapenade crusted haddock, cauliflower cheese, chorizo and red pepper puree - she very kindly gave me a taste and it was absolutely incredible. Despite being so many flavours, they actually really complimented each other. Another recipe that I really want to recreate at home.

Obviously we had to have a side of fries and these were excellent, thin, crispy, salty - perfect!

Unfortunately we were too full for pudding which was a shame as I had my eye on the chocolate and salted caramel tart - my jeans are already feeling the pinch of overindulgence and it is only the first week of December!!

A lovely meal - the Enterprise has such a great feel to it, it is small, cosy and homely, service is very friendly and food is great. I can't wait to go back - although maybe wearing something with an elasticated waist next time so I can take advantage of the pudding menu as well!

I would recommend you book as it is a popular spot - there is also a great bar menu as well if you are looking for drinks and nibbles such as a scotch egg - I need to try that next time too!

The Enterprise

35 Walton Street
Tel: 020 7584 3148

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The Enterprise Bar & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 6 December 2015


When The Colony Grill Room opened last year, it immediately went on my list of restaurants I wanted to visit. It is the latest venture from Corbin and King who run the very successful Wolseley and Delaunay restaurants. This time they have not only opened an American style old school grill restaurant, but it is also part of their first ever deluxe hotel.

The restaurant is wood panelled, low lit and very art deco - I loved it and felt like I had been transported to Manhattan. There were also plenty of smart booths to sit in, great if you are in a small group.

I have been drooling over the menu for over a year so knew exactly what I wanted. I had seen plenty of photos of the sundae menu on Instagram and it had my name all over it, I therefore decided to skip a starter so I wasn't too full. It was a shame though as I was very tempted by dressed crab and the tuna tartar. Instead I nibbled on the delicious warm breads.

There is plenty to choose from for mains ranging from Dover sole with Bearnaise sauce to Kenny's meatloaf. I nearly had a burger but I decided to branch out and have a salt beef Reuben. This was delicious and packed full of salt beef, pickles, sauerkraut, cheese and thousand island dressing. I wolfed it down in a very unladylike way!

I then had a side of mac and cheese and this has to be the best mac and cheese I have ever had in a London restaurant. It was cheesy and creamy with a crumbly topping. I was gutted I had to share it as I could easily have eaten the whole lot myself!

Pascal nearly ordered a steak but decided to be different and went for a pork chop which he claimed was fantastic, not dry in the slightest and full of flavour.

We also had an iceberg and blue cheese wedge, which for me was the only weak point of the meal, I thought it was rather bitter however Pascal enjoyed it.

Both our mains came with fries and they were perfectly salty and crispy and even though we didn't need them, I could not stop eating them.

Then came the much anticipated sundae time. The pudding menu came with a sundae checklist - I went for a scoop of vanilla ice cream and one chocolate, chocolate flake, kid's candy and honeycomb with a salted caramel sauce. WOW! This is what my dreams are made of, ingredients were plentiful, there was extra sauce on the side and it was the perfect combination. Best pudding ever.

Pascal had the cheese board which came with a cheddar, a Stilton and a goat's cheese……it looked good, but I only had eyes for my sundae.

Service was impeccable, everything was presented beautifully and the restaurant had an elegant, classic ambiance. I adore this place, it is open all day from breakfast to dinner, I am thinking of moving in!!

The Colony Grill Room

The Beaumont,
8 Balderton Street,
Brown Hart Gardens,
Tel: 0207 499 9499

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The Colony Grill Room - The Beaumont Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 3 December 2015


I love Mexican food and regularly cook tacos which are a family favourite. However we rarely go out for Mexican food as there isn't an abundance of Mexican restaurants in London, plus I prefer more "street" food like the burritos or nachos or quesadillas rather than anything "posh". 

I remember going to Wahaca when it first opened 8 years ago and not realising that some of the dishes are tapas style size…..my girlfriends and I completely under ordered on the food front and then completely overdid the wine…..it was a fun night had by all.

I have been back a few times in the interim but not for a while. There are now 20 restaurants in the UK and I visited the one in Canary Wharf with my husband and daughter after an energetic afternoon ice skating. It was the day the weather turned very very cold so I was relieved when we sat down in the restaurant.

The menu is vast and so we nibbled on some tortilla chips and guacamole whilst we decided what to order.

There is a kids' menu offering a choice of tacos or quesadillas and a drink for £5.25. Arabella chose the tacos and they were presented in a fun and colourful way. It was fun, but messy, and Arabella enjoyed most of it although she wasn't keen on the cheese…..very unlike my daughter!

Pascal and I ordered a big selection starting with steak tacos with chipotle salsa and crisp grilled cheese. I would have preferred melted cheese but these were really good, we gobbled them down in a couple of mouthfuls….I was tempted to order more!

We had the cheese and black bean quesadillas. These were OK, but nothing special, they should have been served with some guacamole and salsa as they were a bit bland.

We were both a huge fan of the slow cooked pork burrito which was also stuffed with black beans, shredded cabbage, green rice, crema and avocado salsa. This was jammed packed with tasty favours and perfect to share, it was a little spicy though.

It was not as spicy as the chilli chorizo fundido…..to be honest the clue was in the name…..this has to be the hottest thing we have ever eaten!! It was really good and definitely blew away any chills we had, in fact it made us sweat. I would have it again however a much milder version! Cheese and chorizo are one of my favourite combinations.

Finally we had some frijoles with chorizo, these were excellent, next time I will order two portions as Pascal and I were fighting over them.

We wanted to order more - the chicken enchiladas, the fish tacos and the empanadas but there was no room left in our tummies.

A great meal - I think Wahaca is a good place to come with a few friends as there are so many different things to try, plus it has a fun buzzy atmosphere and if you are a drinker, they do some great cocktails. If you are unsure what to order (the huge menu can seem overwhelming) they offer some set menus. My only complaint is there isn't one in Fulham….although I guess it is best for my waist line ;-)


The Park Pavilion,
Canada Square,
Canary Wharf,
E14 5FW
Tel: 0207 516 9145

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Wahaca Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato