Valentine’s Day Cocktails


I was lucky enough to be sent a new electric blue limited edition bottle of Absolut just in time to rustle up some nifty Valentine’s Day cocktails – and what better way to celebrate than with a duo of chic, red-tinted drinks? Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Ice-cream Bites

This Valentine’s Day, I decided to make a sweet treat for my husband and I based on one of those cool recipe gifs that’s going around – namely this one: http://imgur.com/gallery/cuC8oxf.

Instead of making a boring bunch of squares, though, I decided to create some heart shapes, using a silicone mould! And, even better, I was contacted by Haagen-Dazs to see if I’d like some vouchers for their new strawberry cheesecake flavour ice-cream. It was like the heavens parted to shine the light of free ice-cream upon my head…

image3

Here’s how you make them!

Continue reading

Let’s play Halloween dress-up: high/low fashion picks

October is my favourite month of the year – the start of autumn, time for cosy coats, toffee apples, crunchy leaves, Halloween, and, of course, my birthday! This year, I’ve been looking at loads of cool items on the market for celebrating Halloween (as it’s on a Saturday again, whoooooo). I found two gorgeous pairs of spider-inspired shoes – can you guess which ones cost £575 and which cost £45?

A Feast of Ice & Fire: recipes, games, decor and ideas for your Game of Thrones Finale Party

Untitled

Like everyone else, I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan – who doesn’t love dragons, dinner and debauchery? Just like with The Hunger Games, it was partially the description of all that delicious food that hooked me in, and I’m obviously not the only one. If you have a passing interest in the food of GoT, you’ll probably have heard of the amazing recipe book A Feast of Ice & Fire, by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer. They started out with the blog Inn at the Crossroads, which is an equally amazing journey through some of the most intriguing recipes from Westeros and beyond. Many of the recipes are based on originals from Medieval cookery, which weirdly enough I also have an interest in, so this recipe book was a massive must-buy for me!

Continue reading

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! Hope you’re all having a fantastic day today!

20140420-105705.jpg(Yellow d’Orsay style flats from Next)

Don’t forget, Easter’s not just about chocolate either – I say it’s also about…

20140420-110036.jpg(Shoes from Mint Velvet – and they’ll be available again in the first week of May!)

Eggs in general! Namely these homemade Scotch eggs I made using chorizo sausage – perfect for an Easter buffet.

How do you celebrate Easter? A family dinner, Easter egg hunt, church service, walk in the woods? Let me know!

Like my posts? Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Polyvore for even more content!

Square logo initials

Easter 2014 at Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum and Mason is one of my favourite stores in London – and when it comes to holidays and celebrations, they always push the boat out with a great range of beautiful presented food and amazing displays!

20140418-174444.jpg

Obviously, the main attraction for Easter celebrations in the UK is chocolate, moulded into the shape of eggs or Easter animals. I really liked the chocolate duck eggs, encased in a cardboard egg container!

20140419-125557.jpg

There were a variety of edible animals, including this sweet little pig – although I don’t remember pigs being an Easter animal!

20140419-125703.jpg
There were also various chocolate offerings, varying from the restrained to the extravagant.

20140419-125801.jpg

20140419-125813.jpg

20140419-125825.jpg
You could also get an Easter egg hand decorated in the store, which was a nice touch!

20140419-125911.jpg
You could also pick up a pretty batch of macarons if you preferred something less traditional, but still colourful!

20140419-130044.jpg
There were loads of simnel cakes – can’t say I’ve ever had one at Easter but I’d love to try it!

20140419-130145.jpg
One of the best addition to the range in my opinion, were the Easter biscuits. Again, they ranged from the subtle:

20140419-130303.jpg
To the adorably over the top!

20140419-130337.jpg

20140419-130353.jpg

20140419-130406.jpg
You could even buy a little meringue chick!

20140419-130520.jpg
And there were some spectacular yellow flower arrangements in the basement too!

20140419-130613.jpg

20140419-130628.jpg
If it’s Easter, it has to be lamb – and the butcher had some very tempting morsels on display!

20140419-130737.jpg
All in all, Fortnums is definitely worth a visit at any time of year, but particularly during holidays and festivals! (If you’re not into food, there’s also an amazing millinery selection, accessories and toiletries on another level, including a beautiful perfume department!)

20140419-130835.jpg
(Obligatory Fortnums selfie!)

20140419-130908.jpg
You can find Fortnum & Mason online at www.fortnumandmason.com, or visit in person at 181 Piccadilly, London, W1A 1ER. It’s a short walk from the nearest Tube station – Piccadilly Circus.

20140419-130956.jpg

Like my posts? Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Polyvore for even more content!

Square logo initials

Spooky Swampy Green Thai Curry Recipe for Halloween

If you have some guests coming over for Halloween and you want to serve something in the spirit of the celebration, then have I got a recipe for you! There are loads of foods themed for children, but this is a slightly more subtle recipe that takes an old classic and gives it a little tweak to make it suitable for All Hallow’s Eve!

Spooky Green Thai Curry

Spooky Swampy Green Thai Curry Recipe

This recipe makes enough for 10-12 people, when served with rice.

Spooky Green Thai Curry

Ingredients text

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 6lb pork shoulder, diced
  • 4 tbsp green Thai curry paste
  • 3 cans light coconut milk (400ml each)
  • 3 cans full fat coconut milk (400ml each)
  • 2 sticks lemongrass
  • 40 dried lime leaves
  • 60ml fish sauce
  • 6 tsp sugar
  • 200g frozen chopped spinach
  • 2tsp green food colouring
  • 1kg frozen broccoli
  • Coriander to garnish
  • Rice to serve

Spooky Green Thai Curry

Method text

  • Fry the pork in batches until browned, and set to one side.
  • With your last batch of pork, add in your curry paste and cook for a minute.
  • Add a splash of water to the pan to bring up any juices stuck to the base.
  • Gradually add in your coconut milk, stirring well to remove lumps.
  • Add in the lime leaves and lemongrass, and return the pork to the pan.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes or until the pork is cooked.
  • Add in the fish sauce and sugar.
  • Add in your spinach and food colouring, then test for seasoning.
  • Now, if you’re making this overnight, allow to cool and place in the fridge, so you can remove excess coconut oil when it has solidified. Or, you can skim the oil from the surface with a ladle.
  • Around 20 minutes before you are ready to serve, add the frozen broccoli, and then cook until piping hot. Alternatively, to keep the broccoli’s colour, parboil, then refresh under cold running water, then run it under boiling water and add to the pan at the last minute.

Spooky Green Thai CurryYou can also read more about other Halloween food from past years here!

Square logo initials

Halloween at Fortnum and Mason

F&M have really knocked it out of the park with their seasonal selections this year. At the beginning of the month, I headed to London with my husband for my birthday and had a blast taking a look at both the Halloween and Christmas displays at the department store. I’ll save the Christmas pics for now, but I thought I’d share these spooky visual treats with you in celebration of Halloween tomorrow!

Fortnum Mason Montage 1

There will definitely be some lucky trick or treaters in London tomorrow if these goodies are anything to go by! You can order online at http://www.fortnumandmason.com/, or pop into the store at 181 Piccadilly. If you’ve never been, you really should visit this most beautiful and historic department store – and if you’re already a regular, I hope I’ve induced you to pop in again to see their amazing seasonal displays!

Personally, I am lusting over that lollipop, those skulls, and those darling little hampers. I’ve always wanted a F&M hamper, and those ones with the orange ribbons are just too adorable!

Square logo initials

Steamed fish for Chinese New Year: a healthy celebration recipe!

Five years ago, when I started blogging, the first thing I wrote about was Chinese New Year. So it seems appropriate to come back to it in time for the Year of the Snake (which is to be celebated tomorrow, on Sunday 10 February) with a healthy recipe that is packed full of flavour, looks ambitious, but in reality is incredibly easy to prepare.

Just like a lot of the traditional foods consumed during Chinese New Year, steamed fish is symbolic because the word in Chinese, ‘yu’, sounds like ‘wealth’ or ‘abundance’. Many festive foods revolve around similar Chinese puns, which is great fun to discuss during dinner, but hard to replicate unless you’re very fluent in Chinese!

Chinese New Year steamed fish

You need a whole, white fleshed fish to make this dish – pink fleshed fish such as salmon or trout are too strong for the delicate seasonings used here. You can be flexible with the type of fish you buy – go for what looks the freshest, or take advantage of a special offer. Sea bass is usually an expensive option, but consider bream – my favourite! Ask your fish monger for advice if you’re not sure which type of fish to buy.

When you get your fish, chances are it will be gutted but not descaled. If you can get the fishmonger to descale it for you, all the better, but it’s not too difficult to do at home, and it keeps the fish fresher if you do it just before cooking. Simply rub a spoon (or knife) firmly along the fish, towards its head. This can be quite messy, so ensure you do it over a sink, and wash the fish after to remove all the inedible, loose scales. If you’re not used to cooking with fish, it could be hard to tell if the fish has scales or not – rubbing a spoon or knife backwards over the fish will soon help you tell. Whatever you do, rinse the fish thoroughly afterwards!

Chinese New Year steamed fish

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 –750g whole white fish
  • 3 spring onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 2 tbsp fermented black beans
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp sesame seed oil

Chinese New Year steamed fish

(In order to cook this dish, you will need a steamer – it sounds obvious, but make sure your fish will fit in your steamer before you buy it! Electric steamers are more convenient for this dish than bamboo steamers on a wok, mostly because they are generally oval, and therefore fish-shaped!)

METHOD

  • Wash and dry your fish thoroughly. In a shallow dish, pour over the soy sauce and rice wine, then sit the fish in the fridge for ten minutes to marinate while you prepare the other seasonings.
  • Clean the spring onions and shred them finely. Crush the garlic with a garlic crusher. Skin the ginger (you can do this really easily by rubbing on the papery brown skin with the side of a spoon) and slice it, then cut it into fine matchsticks. Wash the black beans thoroughly, then crush them slightly to release more of their flavour.

Chinese New Year steamed fish

  • Remove the fish from the fridge, and place it either on a heatproof dish that will fit your steamer, or in strong, double wrapped foil. Scatter the seasonings over the top and inside of the fish, then pour the liquid marinade on the top, along with the sesame seed oil.

Chinese New Year steamed fish

  • Steam the fish for at least ten minutes. You can check whether the fish is done by pressing the flesh with chopsticks or your fingers. If the flesh is very firm and doesn’t flake, or still looks translucent, it will need longer. Check the manufacturer’s advice for cooking fish in your electric steamer.
  • Serve the fish on an oval platter, picking the flesh away from the bone with your chopsticks. Don’t forget to eat the tasty cheek flesh – or save it for your honoured guest! Serving a whole fish is a traditional way to end a banquet, but if you don’t like the thought of eating a fish with the head on, the flesh can be stripped from the bone before serving instead – but do try this recipe with a whole fish, as fillets of fish can produce a drier finished dish.

Chinese New Year steamed fish

A Cantonese way of finishing the dish is to heat a couple of tablespoons full of hot vegetable oil in a wok, in order to pour it over freshly sliced spring onions and ginger which have been laid over the surface of the cooked fish. This then cooks the aromatic seasonings, as well as crisping the skin of the fish slightly. I left this step out to make the finished dish healthier, but I won’t tell anyone if you give it a go!

Boxing Day Ideas for Turkey Leftovers!

This is a flashback post that some of you might have already seen at Thanksgiving – but I thought it was worth a repeat for all the UK-based readers who will be up to their eyeballs in turkey this Christmas! Here are some great recipes using leftover turkey that taste so delicious you’ll want to cook extra next year!

Leftover mosaic

Week One: Feel Good Chicken Broth - Broth before stock