Saturday, 30 April 2016

REVIEW: Bella Italia, Watford

Bella Italia Watford - Sharer Board
Bella Italia Watford - Pollo Pesto Pizza
Bella Italia Watford - Shot Desserts Amaretto

No one really talks about how hard it is to be a food blogger. It's HARD, you guys. Always eating slightly tepid food because you've spent so long photographing it. Being stared at in restaurants when you whip out your giant camera. And trying to think of different ways to say 'SO TASTY'. Because sometimes that's all you want to say. And that's pretty much all I wanted to say when I reviewed the new Bella Italia menu recently and experienced the garlicky, chickeny, stuffed crust wonder that's their new pizza. Mmmm.

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Thursday, 28 April 2016

RECIPE: Butternut Squash and Three Cheese Lasagne (new and improved!)



One of the most popular recipes on here - and still one of my favourites - is my Butternut Squash Lasagne. The original was created when I was still fairly new to cooking, and doing Weight Watchers (butternut squash is zero points with Weight Watchers, so you tend to eat a lot of it). I make good ol' BNS lasagne a lot. It's the perfect meal - packed full of good stuff, with a ton of veg, but also delicious. Oh, and cheesy. Did I mention cheesy? So cheesy.

As it always is when I make a recipe a lot, I find that I change and tweak it over the years. And then it gets to the point where I look at the original recipe and realise that I totally don't condone making that any more, because it's so much better now. So here you go. The new and improved Butternut Squash Lasagne. You can still make the old version - it ain't going anywhere - but I would not be doing my duty as a food blogger without suggesting you make this one instead.

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

TRAVEL: A long weekend in Bruges

Long weekend in Bruges with bar and restaurant recommendations
Long weekend in Bruges with bar and restaurant recommendations
Long weekend in Bruges with bar and restaurant recommendations
Long weekend in Bruges with bar and restaurant recommendations
Long weekend in Bruges with bar and restaurant recommendationsLong weekend in Bruges with bar and restaurant recommendations

It’s been about a month and a half since we got back from Bruges, and I’ve been struggling to find the words to put a blog post together. It’s difficult to think about our trip now without thinking about the terrorist attacks in Brussels that followed a couple of weeks later, and even though we had a wonderful time, I can’t write a blog post about our happy-go-lucky weekend without thinking of the people who lost their lives, and how different things could have been if our anniversary was a couple of weeks later.

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Monday, 25 April 2016

Cotswold Fayre Young Food and Drink Entrepreneur of the Year 2016


Last year, I wrote about the Cotswold Fayre Young Food & Drink Entrepreneur of the Year awards. It never fails to amaze me what so many young people had achieved in their mid twenties, about the time I was just barely figuring out that I didn't want to be an admin assistant for the rest of my life. But that's not the norm any more. So many young people leave education full of ambition, determined to carve their own way in the world. Last year, the number of new UK businesses hit a record high, and more than 26,000 UK businesses are run by young entrepreneurs aged 21 and under.

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Thursday, 21 April 2016

GIVEAWAY: 2 x tickets to Al Shaqab Lockinge Day at Newbury Races



In a few weeks, we're off to the races for the day. I haven't been for years, since I went to Ascot on a work trip about five years ago, so I'm really excited to head to Newbury Races for the Al Shaqab Lockinge Day, which is the biggest day in Newbury Racecourse's year. It's always a great atmosphere - I love people-watching and seeing everyone's amazing outfits (while sipping a glass or two of fizzy stuff, of course). I'm not a big better. I work hard for my money and so the idea of putting it at risk doesn't appeal to it, but a tiny flutter here or there may have to be done.

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Thursday, 14 April 2016

A weekend at Pennyhill Park, Surrey with Tempur Mattresses

Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa review with Tempur Mattresses

I’ve just spent a heavenly weekend at Pennyhill Park in Surrey, a pretty damn swanky spa hotel. I’ve stayed in lots of hotels during my life, and every now and then I stay in a reeeeally nice one and think ‘Gosh, it’s a shame that I have all these things planned to do while I’m here, because I really just want to hang out in my nice hotel all weekend.’ So this time, that’s exactly what we did.

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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Recipe: Man Flu Mexican rice with chorizo and avocado

Man Flu Mexican Rice with chorizo and avocado

Oh, food. Is there anything you can't do? Food can heal you when you're sick, comfort you when you're sad and turn an evening from average to fantastic. And it's not just eating food, or sharing it, writing about it or photographing it that can make you feel fantastic - the act of cooking can be magical, too. Spending an hour over a vat of Bolognese when I'm full of cold, inhaling the scents of tomato and garlic, feels like it does as much good as eating it. Coming home after a bad day and spending some time preparing something delicious can clear my mind and make me forget about rubbish things, because sometimes it's important to spend a bit of time on something lovely for yourself. This is why I love cooking, and as I've matured as a cook, this is why I love cooking for other people and giving them a taste of all the things it makes me feel.

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Saturday, 9 April 2016

Review: Turkish brunch at Tabure Kitchen, St Albans

Tabure traditional Turkish brunch in St Albans

Ever since I visited Tabure when they opened back in May last year, I’ve been telling everyone who’ll listen how good it is. I even insisted we went there for my birthday meal in July – which was an excellent idea, by the way, as that menu is made for sharing among a big group of people. Trust me. Go with like ten of you, order all the starters and a bunch of pittas, and be happy little campers.

And now they’ve launched a brunch menu. I flipping love brunch! You know this about me, right? There’s so much brunch on this blog. I was really excited about Tabure’s brunch menu though, as from what I saw of the preview pictures, it wasn’t just your standard Eggs Benny but something that I’d never seen or tasted before. Here’s the menu – intriguing, non?

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Saturday, 2 April 2016

Recipe: Kiwi salsa and chicken burrito bowl

Kiwi Salsa and Chicken Rice Bowl with Red Cabbage Slaw

My latest food obsession is rice bowls. Yeah, pasta had its moment last year, but now it's all about rice. In a bowl. With other things. It started with burrito bowls, actually - still one of our favourite dinners, we have it at least once a week - and now we're branching out into other things-with-rice-in-bowls. I'm actually planning a post soon on my top three rice bowls, so look out for that if you're as excited by rice bowls as I am, which I am SURE you are.

This dish is a simple one, which came from making a recipe from Jamie Oliver's new book, Everyday Super Food. I am obsessed with this book - and bloody loved the TV show, too. It's just full of yummy recipes that happen to be healthy - rather than healthy recipes that happen to have no taste, which is ever so common. Just add some bloody seasoning, people.

Anyway, the original recipe is fish tacos with kiwi salsa, but as I don't eat fish, I made it with chicken instead one night. The tacos were pretty good - Jamie actually shows you how to make the wraps from scratch instead of buying them, which kind of appealed to me. The chicken needed more seasoning - that's on me - but the kiwi salsa... oh, the kiwi salsa. Jamie calls it game-changing, and he's right - it's flipping delicious.

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