Monday, 26 December 2016


I love all the Christmassy things to do in London such as Winter Wonderland, Kew Gardens Christmas Trail, the pantomimes, the Christmas lights and especially all the pop up ice skating rinks. This year we went back to the one at Canary Wharf which was a great success as it had a cover - essential with the unpredictable English weather. My daughter Arabella suggested we eat at Sticks n Sushi which was quite a surprise as we had taken her to Zuma for my birthday and she had announced the food was better at Subway!!

Sticks n Sushi was founded 22 years ago in Denmark by three half Danish and half Japanese siblings. They serve a combination of traditional sushi and yakitori sticks from the grill using high quality fresh ingredients. It sounded right up our street as I love sushi and my husband Pascal loves yakitori sticks.

We arrived after a strenuous hour ice skating and were shown to a spacious table at the back which suited us perfectly as we had plenty of room for Olympia's pram. The menu is vast and I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed as to what to order. The waiter was extremely helpful and friendly and I have to say there was a great cosy ambiance in the restaurant despite it being pretty big.

Anyway we had some delicious salted edamame beans whilst we decided what to order - it all looked so good.

So the reason Arabella chose this restaurant is because she had been recently and had "rice crispy covered sushi" this actually translates as Ebi Bites which are prawn tempura, miso aioli, chilli, lime and coriander. I was only allowed a couple of them as the little piglet wanted them all to herself and they were excellent - we nearly ordered another portion! I can understand why Arabella was such a fan.

We also had Crispy Ebi sushi rolls which were prawn tempura, avocado, spicy sauce and sesame - these were incredible as well - in fact we ate them so quickly we forgot to take a photo!

My other favourite was the Tuna Tartar with tuna, avocado, goats cheese, pine nuts, soy sesame, cress, spring onion, chives and nori chips. It was AMAZING! I was surprised how well it worked as goats cheese isn't very Japanese but it did. It was better than the tuna tartar at Zuma. Pascal and I were fighting over it.

We had some California rolls which are always a favourite of mine and these didn't disappoint.

Pascal always likes a bit of meat so we had the Beef Tataki with smoked cheese, chives, almonds, Yuzu-Kosho and spicy gamo. These were good but pretty spicy!

Of course we had to have some sashimi so we chose to have the soy cured salmon with marinated red onion, shiitake, dill and miso mustard - this was ok but not my favourite , the fish was fresh but I wasn't mad about the flavours together , it was a bit too much - when I go next time I would substitute this for another tuna tartar.

I did however love the cauliflower served with sesame and black truffle sauce. It made a nice change to have cauliflower and the sauce was subtle yet flavoursome.

Finally we had some yakitori sticks - we ordered a selection called Man Food and it consisted of chicken meatballs, pork belly, chicken with teriyaki, spare ribs, panko duck breast, Emmental cheese and bacon all served with edamame beans, rice and a chilli dip. I mainly ordered these for Pascal but we both enjoyed the meat ones especially the pork belly and the chicken meatballs however neither of us were a fan of the Emmental cheese and bacon - it just did not work with the other flavours. Plus we didn't rate the ribs very highly. We both concluded we preferred the sushi side of the menu.

We could have eaten more but we decided to stop and finish off our meal with Krispy Kreme donuts - my new obsession. Overall we loved Sticks n Sushi and will definitely be back. There are currently restaurants in Wimbledon, Covent Garden, Canary Wharf, Greenwich and Cambridge. I would love them to open one in Fulham! My favourite dishes were the Tuna Tartar and Ebi Bites but I expect there are many more gems on the menu to new year's resolution might be working my way through it all!

Sticks N Sushi

1 Crossrail Place
E14 5AR
Tel: 0203 141 8230

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Sticks 'n' Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 25 December 2016


Another day, another pasta recipe. I should really turn this into a pasta blog with all the pasta we eat! My husband and daughter are pasta addicts and would eat it every meal if they could - thankfully I like it too. Plus this recipe is super easy and quick which is essential when you have a little baby....or are just busy. At the moment I can see why so many people choose convenience food, it is just so much easier, however the taste is far inferior. There is nothing like home cooked food and this took 15 minutes in total.

Ingredients for 4 people:

375g dried pasta
100g speck slices
150g Taleggio cheese, cut into small cubes
150ml double cream
125g baby spinach
Salt and pepper
Parmesan to serve

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according the the packet's instructions. Mine took 10 minutes.

Meanwhile cut the cheese into cubes and speck into slices.

A couple of minutes before the pasta is ready, add the spinach, a handful at a time and then drain when ready.

Return the pasta and spinach to the pan and place over a low heat. Add the cream, speck and taleggio to the pan and slowly stir until all mixed and the cheese is melted.

Serve with a generous grinding of black pepper and a sprinkling of Parmesan.

This was really delicious although one word of advice - don't add salt until you have tasted - the speck can be quite salty! Once again, we all really enjoyed this, even Arabella who isn't the biggest fan of spinach. If you can't buy speck and taleggio, you can use mozzarella and ham instead - both will work well. Another easy and tasty pasta dish.

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Saturday, 24 December 2016


I have lots of recipes at home that my elder daughter Arabella will hate as they include mushrooms, aubergines or courgettes - her three worst vegetables. I respect the fact she doesn't like these ingredients however if she then announces she dislikes something else, I tell her she is only allowed three items on her list so she has to swap one - this usually means that she will eat the offending item!! Anyway as she was away last weekend, I decided to cook this mushroom pasta dish for my husband and I. It is a simple waitrose recipe that took around 20 minutes.

Ingredients for 4 people:

300g fresh pasta - any shape
250g mushrooms, sliced
500g leeks, sliced
250g lardons
A large knob of butter
2 tbsp of grated Parmesan
150g mascarpone
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp of chives, chopped

Heat half the butter in a large frying pan and fry the leeks for 5 minutes until softened.

In another frying pan, fry the lardons for around 10 minutes until cooked.

When they are both ready, tip into a large bowl.

In the same frying pan that you used for the leeks, add the remaining butter and then fry the garlic and mushrooms for around 7 minutes.

Once they are ready add to the bowl of leeks and lardons and then stir in the mascarpone, the chives and the cheese.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to the packet's instructions. Mine took around four minutes.

Drain the pasta and toss with the mushroom, leek and lardon mix.

Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan and enjoy.

Every time I have leeks I am reminded of how much I love them and once again they didn't disappoint. This is very warming and wintery - perfect for this time of year - a great quick midweek supper, if you like mushrooms that is!

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Monday, 12 December 2016


I would like to cook fresh homemade recipes every night but with a new baby, the reality is, I don't! Olympia is generally a very good little girl but by late afternoon she has a tendency to turn on the tears and have a bit of a moan. This always coincides with when I am trying to cook supper which makes cooking somewhat stressful! Therefore when I do cook it has to be something very quick and very easy. We had some leftover sausages to use up so I found this recipe on the Waitrose website and it took just over 30 minutes in total.

Ingredients for 4 people:

1 tbsp olive oil
6 sausages
Half an onion, finely chopped
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
230g tin of plum tomatoes
400g spaghetti
200g peas, defrosted
Freshly grated Parmesan to serve

I only cooked this recipe for Arabella and I, however here are the details to cook it for 4 people. Start by heating a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and then add 4 sausages and fry until cooked through and golden. Alternatively you could grill the sausages as a healthier option. I fried but next time I will grill - I hate the way the sausages spit everywhere - it was definitely necessary to wear an apron!

Once these are cooked, remove from the heat, and slice into bite size pieces. Take the skin off the remaining two sausages and then fry in the oil until also cooked and golden.

Put the original sausages back in the pan and then add the onion and garlic. Fry for around five minutes before adding the the tomatoes. Simmer for ten minutes and season to taste.

Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the packet's instructions in salted boiling water. Mine took 10 minutes.

Add the peas for the last 2 minutes and then drain.

Mix the tomato and sausage sauce with the pasta and peas and then serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan.

This was much better than I was expecting - it was pretty simple to make and I did not think it would be anything special but Arabella and I both enjoyed it. The combination of the flavours of the peas, sausage and tomato worked really well and it tasted very fresh. A quick, tasty and easy midweek meal.

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Monday, 28 November 2016


I have always been quite scathing about Byron and would never choose to go there. However several of my friends rave about it and I recently saw they were doing "Freakshakes" i.e. enormous milkshakes and so I decided it was time to give Byron another go.....not that I needed much persuading, I do love American food.

Byron opened in 2007 after it's founder Tom decided that it was impossible to find the American style burgers he so adored in London. His mission was simple - good quality burgers made with top ingredients. I am also a HUGE fan of American burgers - my favourites are Shake Shack closely followed by Five Guys - so in my opinion, Byron has a lot to live up to.

The menu is right up my street starters such as chicken nuggets and wings - then different types of burgers - a cheese, bacon cheese, a chilli one, a barbecue one and more including a monthly special. This month it is the "Cheesmas No.1" There are also chicken burgers, salads, a variety of sides such as mac and cheese and onion rings and fries. Plus there is a children's menu with a mini main, side and drink all for £6.50.

Despite nearly devouring a tin of quality street the night before, we were all hungry. We started with nachos which we all love and I can safely say they didn't disappoint. The chips were crispy and they were smothered in cheese, salsa, sour cream and guacamole. Just like the mission statement, all ingredients tasted very fresh and even though it was a generous portion, we were fighting for the last tortilla chip!

Arabella had the mac and cheese - she enjoyed it and I did "try it" a couple of times - I don't think it is as good as homemade mac and cheese and found it slightly bland however I was the only one complaining. Arabella polished the whole lot off.

Her favourite dish however was the cheesy chips - thin crispy fries covered in a cheese sauce - Pascal turned his nose up but Arabella and I loved them. They were even better than shake shack fries and Arabella announced that she would happily have them as her main!

Pascal had a cheeseburger served medium rare with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. He was so happy he could have it cooked nearly way he liked (he likes it as rare as possible) and really rated it. I found it a little "meaty" and it is not my best but I think that is just me. 

Pascal also had an iceberg wedge with blue cheese dressing, crispy bacon, croutons and chives. This was excellent and I was jealous I hadn't ordered one myself as it would have gone brilliantly with my main.

I ordered the chicken burger with no bun, buffalo sauce and extra blue cheese. I enjoyed this but next time I would have the fried chicken breast - probably double the calories but we can't always be good. I liked the kick of the buffalo sauce and I liked the salad it came with but I would have preferred Pascal's iceberg wedge as I mentioned. At least I won't get it wrong next time.

Finally the main reason for our visit - the freakshake - this is a extra thick milkshake with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, brownie, chocolate and caramel sauces and crushed honeycomb. There are two flavours - Oreo cookie or Reese's peanut butter cup. We went for Reese's......

I notice now that ours was missing the caramel sauce and honeycomb - we didn't notice at the time. It was good - right up my street - I would have preferred more Reese's in it but that is because I am a complete piglet, it was certainly satisfactory and it hit the spot.

So I reckon I am now a Byron convert and I can understand why there are nearly 70 restaurants in the UK and 40 in London alone. I will say that they are not my favourite burgers but there is plenty on the menu that I liked and more items that I am keen to try plus whilst you aren't eating particularly healthy food, at least all the ingredients taste extremely fresh. Service was friendly and efficient and it is very child friendly. I am already looking forward to my next visit.....thankfully there is one down the road!


The Loft,
Westfield Shopping Centre,
W12 7GF
Tel: 020 8743 7755

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