Saturday, 25 March 2017


My ex mother in law came for tea last week and so it gave me the perfect excuse to bake a cake. I LOVE cake even more than normal at the moment as I have given up chocolate for lent - it hasn't made me cut down on sugar like I hoped, and instead, I have just gorged on other sugary treats like liquorice allsorts, Krispy Kreme donuts and haribo!! Anyway I had found this recipe in Olive magazine a couple of months ago and it seemed easy enough so I decided to give it a go. Unfortunately Fulham seem to be having a toffee drought so I had to use fudge instead, I don't think it made too much of a difference. The cake took about an hour and fifteen minutes to make plus cooling time.

Ingredients for 9 people:

125g butter
225g dark muscovado sugar (I used light as that is what I had in the cupboard)
2 eggs, beaten
225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
200g cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
100g soft toffees, chopped into pieces (I used fudge)

100g butter (at room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g icing sugar
Toffee or caramel sauce

Heat the oven to 160C / 140C fan / gas mark 3.

Put the butter and muscovado sugar in a food processor or use a mixing bowl and mixer and whizz for a couple of minutes, then blend in the beaten eggs. Next add the flour, baking powder and whizz until combined. Finally stir in the apple and toffee pieces.

Pour the mixture into a buttered, base-lined 20cm square tin/baking dish and bake for 1 hour or until golden and risen. Remove from the tin and cool.

To make the frosting, beat the butter, vanilla and icing sugar with 3 tablespoons of toffee sauce until smooth. Spread over the cake and then drizzle over some more sauce to finish just before you tuck in.

I have never ordered an apple flavoured pudding in a restaurant like apple crumble or tart tatin as I didn't believe it was my thing....I am now seriously regretting all the years I have missed this apple and toffee cake was seriously amazing. I am proud to say my ex mother is law loved it and so did I. I adored the cake so much I have managed to eat 8 portions in 3 days 🐷🐷🐷. The apple, the fudge, the frosting, the cake - it was all obscenely good and so easy to make. I would recommend as an afternoon treat or a pudding....or even for breakfast - it is absolutely delectable.

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Friday, 17 March 2017


After our disappointing supper at Smith and Wollensky, we decided to go out for lunch the following Sunday to make up for it. We rarely go to Italian restaurants other than our favourite local Gola, but we needed to buy some baby clothes at Peter Jones so we decided to try out the nearby Pellicano

Pellicano is a family run Italian restaurant with a Sardinian twist that has been open for 17 years. The restaurant's aim is to serve freshly made, wholesome food in a warm friendly environment and it certainly did that.

I am still a little apprehensive about going to restaurants with my baby - she is 7 months - but we were immediately made to feel welcome. We checked out the menu whilst tucking into delicious freshly cooked bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Olympia liked the bread too!

The menu is pretty varied - starting with antipasti such as calamari with chilli, garlic, cannellini beans and Sardinian sausages or grilled goat's cheese with baby spinach and beetroot carpaccio. However we decided to share a pizza as they did my favourite type - a margarita with Gorgonzola and speck.

The pizza was fantastic - cheesy but not overpowering with a crispy base and plenty of speck - we loved it and were fighting over the last piece. I was regretting not having a whole one for myself!

For mains you could choose between pizza, pasta (you could have this as a starter as well), fish or meat. I was torn between the ossobucco with risotto Milanese or homemade tortellini pasta filled with seasoned meat served with ham and mascarpone sauce. Whereas Pascal couldn't decide between the homemade tagliatelle sautéed with Sardinian sausage or veal Milanese with rocket, Parmesan and tomatoes. In the end I went for the pasta and he had the veal and neither of us were disappointed.

The pasta was out of this world - I was worried I wouldn't have enough Parmesan as the waiter served it to you rather than leaving it on the table (I think I have a cheese addiction), but actually I didn't need too much as the pasta was so tasty and flavoursome. 

Veal Milanese is one of Pascal's favourites and he really enjoyed his too - the meat was really tender with a crispy coating and the rocket and Parmesan salad complimented it perfectly.

We didn't have room for pudding and by now we were on borrowed time with Olympia so we paid the bill and wondered home feeling very satisfied after a wonderful lunch. I already can't wait to go back and me being a creature of habit would have the exact same meal again! I can see why Pellicano remains so popular after so many years.


19-21 Elystan Street,
Tel: 020 7584 1789

Square Meal
Pellicano Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 15 March 2017


I first went to a Smith and Wollensky restaurant in Miami over ten years ago and from the get go I was bowled over by the fantastic food and great service. In following years, I went to a few more outposts around the States and always had an outstanding meal. Therefore I was delighted when Smith & Wollensky opened in London in June 2015 - I wasn't so delighted when I saw the prices however as they are pretty steep. Despite this, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves last week to a belated Valentine's Day supper. 

The restaurant is big and airy and has that real American steakhouse feel to it....I liked it. We were immediately shown to our table and we ordered drinks whilst we perused the menu - not that I needed to as I already knew what I was going to eat. I had advised Pascal not to have a starter so we could go to town on the mains and sides. 

Pascal ordered a 395g USDA Prime dry-aged sirloin with bearnaise sauce and being French he ordered it blue. I ordered a 400g British Rib-Eye medium rare, Gorgonzola crusted with bacon and scallions. For sides we ordered a truffled Mac and cheese, creamed spinach and an iceberg wedge with blue cheese, smoked bacon lardons and tomato. I had read on the square meal website that the sides could easily feed a family of four and I was looking forward to literally rolling out the door.....

Despite very attentive service, the food took 40 minutes to arrive - and I am sad to say we couldn't have been more disappointed. Firstly both our steaks were overcooked especially Pascal's - not very impressive for a restaurant where the main focus is steak. 

I had ordered the exact same steak last year in Las Vegas and it had been amazing but this was completely different. The pictures below show my steak in London followed by the exact same meal in Vegas! My steak at the London restaurant couldn't even be called "Gorgonzola crusted", it basically just had some sauce slopped on. Not what I was expecting.

Then the truffled mac and cheese and creamed spinach were tiny (I think they could only feed a family of four mice), plus they weren't hot and were both pretty bland. We did however enjoy the iceberg wedge - thank goodness.

We were so gutted as we had been looking forward to the meal for ages and I have to admit it was one of the most disappointing meals I have had in years and I think this is the first negative review I have ever written on my blog. We were honest with the waitress and she very kindly deducted 50% off our bill (it still came to £100 and that only included 1 glass of wine). Despite being 9pm on a Friday night, the restaurant was half empty and I can understand why. When you are charging such high prices, you expect high quality food, give me Hawksmoor over this any day!

As I mentioned the service was exceptional however that is not enough for me to recommend or return.....I will wait till I am stateside again or easier still, just make my own blue cheese steaks!

Smith & Wollensky

The Adelphi Building
Covent Garden Riverside
1-11 John Adam Street
Tel: 020 7321 6007

Square Meal

Smith & Wollensky Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 12 March 2017


We never have Chinese food - in fact the last Chinese I had was probably a couple of years ago. I love it but I always get carried away and eat too much and then feel sick. Plus my daughter only likes crispy prawns and nothing else. However every so often I dream of a good Chinese and so this weekend I decided to cook egg and bacon fried rice in hope that it would satisfy my craving. This is from Olive magazine and took 15 minutes.

Ingredients for 2 people:

150g pancetta or lardons
1 tbsp oil
A small chunk of ginger, peeled and sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 red chilli, finely chopped (I left this out)
250g pouch of steamed basmati rice
75g peas (not frozen)
2 eggs, beaten 
1 tsp of sesame oil (I forgot this in the picture)
A handful of chopped chives

To serve:
Soy sauce

Prepare the ingredients by chopping the ginger, crushing the garlic and beating the eggs. Mix a teaspoon of sesame oil with the eggs and set to one side.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a wok or large frying pan and fry the bacon until crispy. Scoop the bacon out of the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving as much fat as possible behind. Next add the ginger, garlic and chilli (we left this out) to the pan and fry in the fat for a minute until adding the rice, peas and bacon. Keep cooking and tossing until the rice is piping hot (this only took a few minutes).

Pour over the eggs, stir and toss with the rice until just set and then scatter with the chives.

Finally serve with a dash of soy sauce and tuck in.

This was super good and really flavoursome and I reckon even better than a Chinese restaurant. Both my daughter Arabella and I loved it and it was very quick and easy to make. I spoke to my brother and he seemed to believe I needed to add something like sweet and sour pork or beef in black bean sauce, which I am sure would be great, but we liked it just the way it was. Healthier this way too!

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Thursday, 9 March 2017


A couple of weeks ago I cooked One Pan Puttanesca where you cook the entire pasta dish in one pan - apparently it is all the rage on Pinterest at the moment. I then came across another one pan pasta recipe, and due to my complete lack of time at the moment, I thought I would give it a go. Less washing up time is a huge bonus! It took about 20 minutes in total and was very simple. 

Ingredients for 4 people:

400g of pasta such as penne or elicoidali
8 spring onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
300g soft goat's cheese
100g Parmesan, finely grated (plus extra to serve)
1000ml vegetable stock
200g spinach, chopped

Starting with the pasta, put all the ingredients except the spinach and stock in a large pan. Pour over the vegetable stock and season well.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring now and again, until the pasta is just cooked (taste regularly so you don't overcook the pasta). Stir in the spinach until it wilts and then serve with an extra sprinkling of Parmesan.

This was super easy - which is just what I need right now with a baby and although I will admit it wasn't my favourite dish, it still tasted good and both my husband and daughter loved it and had seconds. Plus as far as pasta dishes go, it is quite healthy with the hefty portion of spinach. We did have left over stock which you could keep as a cheesy soup!

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