It’s a Bakewell Tart off!

You might remember me mentioning I visited the pretty little town of Bakewell back in March for some Bakewell tarts – and I liked it so much I went back for more again this month, on my way from Coventry to Manchester!


Bakewell is, of course, the home of the Bakewell tart and Bakewell pudding, and so competition is fierce when it comes to who is the best, most authentic and original purveyor of Bakewell tarts and puddings


Now, here is a bit of Bakewell insider knowledge for you. Most people think of the Bakewell tart when they think of Bakewells, which is commercially available from almost any bakers and supermarket in the UK and consists of short crust pastry, spread with jam, topped with a sponge and ground almond mixture, and layered with white icing. A cherry Bakewell is it’s more ubiquitous form, which just means there’s a glacé cherry on the top!

However, some argue that the true authentic Bakewell is the Bakewell pudding, a similar but still distinctively delicious dessert which is made of flaky pastry, filled with jam, and then topped with a custard made of egg and almonds.

In order to bring you, the reader, some added value, I decided to report from the front lines and let you know which Bakewell tart or pudding was the best in all of Bakewell…

The Bakewell Tart and Coffee House was a great place to stop for a drink and a tart – their artery busting iced monstrosities were perfect to round off a Mother’s Day meal!

However, I really wanted to try some puddings, because although an authentic tart is awesome, Bakewell puddings are nearly impossible to find elsewhere, especially on the south coast where I’m from!

So, we stopped off at probably the quaintest looking (and most prominent) bakery… The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop!


The shop was touristy, which I loved, especially the little signs telling you about the history of the puddings. I love local food history like this!

The prices for Bakewell puddings were pretty similar from shop to shop… There’s no price gouging going on in Bakewell, or so it seems!

The second shop we went to was Bloomers, which was slightly more… aggressive in asserting its credentials as the original and authentic Bakewell experience (theirs is the sign above telling you not to ask for iced tarts!).

So, with both our puddings purchased, we went off to our hotel to begin the taste test!

First of all, Bloomers’, which I have to say, is not a handsome looking pudding:

And inside (below), I fear that it doesn’t improve. The custard is dense, eggy and not very sweet at all. The sweetness is supposed to come from the jam, I think, but because of the runny consistency of the jam, a lot of it leaks out and it was difficult to get a good amount in each bite. The pastry was tough, too, although, overall it had a very strong taste of almonds. Sadly, I couldn’t give this more than 5/10 – and at this point, I was starting to think that Bakewell puddings were a horrible, horrible mistake only improved by the addition of icing.

Luckily, we had bought the Old Original, below, an unassuming yet handsome chap with an even filling and dark brown top.

(By the way, these puddings are not for the faint of heart or anyone watching their diet… Look at the lard on this bad boy!)

Inside, The Old Original completely won me over. This is what a Bakewell pudding should taste like. Crisp, flaky pastry, a gooey, sweet custard with a hint of almond, and a decently thick jam. The consistency of the fillings meant every bite blended, and the contrast between the rich, silky, sweet custard and the crisp pastry was delicious. This was easily a 9/10. In fact, I’d go as far as to say I’d make another trip to Bakewell in the future, just to hunt out this gorgeous pudding once more!


However, there’s no need for all that fuss. If you want to try the Old Original version yourself – good news! You can actually order them online here. You can even send a lucky soul (yourself, perhaps?) a Bakewell pudding every month for a year! Now, that sounds like absolute heaven. (Hint, hint?)

And, finally, where the Bakewell pudding was actually invented… The Rutland Arms!


Find out more about the lovely town of Bakewell here. It’s located in the Peak District National Park, and is a great place to visit. However, make sure you arrive early in the tourist season if you want to get a parking space in the town centre! (I mean it… Really.)

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!


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!


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

There were also various chocolate offerings, varying from the restrained to the extravagant.



You could also get an Easter egg hand decorated in the store, which was a nice touch!

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

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

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

To the adorably over the top!



You could even buy a little meringue chick!

And there were some spectacular yellow flower arrangements in the basement too!


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

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!)

(Obligatory Fortnums selfie!)

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


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

Square logo initials

Restaurant Review: Annie’s, Manchester

This week I took a trip up to Manchester to visit the Corrie set, and soak in the Corrie-related sights of the city. No Corrie-fan’s visit to Manchester would be complete without a stop at Annie’s, the restaurant owned by Jennie McAlpine, who plays Fiz in the show.

Annie’s is located in the centre of the city, within walking distance of all of Manchester’s great shopping areas, and it’s also a great place to go for a pre-theatre meal.

We popped in on a Monday evening – it was really quiet but apparently we just missed the pre-theatre rush.

I ordered a glass of Annie’s Fizz, which is Prosecco and cherry brandy, with a cherry at the bottom. It was so good I had another one!


Anyway, onto the proper menu! Annie’s serves a simple selection of good, Northern fare, all presented with modern flair to give it a bit of restaurant pizazz.

I ordered the Lancashire rarebit which came with a delicious chutney and was served on whole meal bread. A great start to the meal, and the chutney was the perfect balance to the heavy, rich cheese.

Meanwhile, my husband had the corned beef hash cake, topped with a perfectly cooked poached egg and accompanied with another relish. Again, a great balance of flavours.

For my main course, how could I have chosen anything other than a hotpot? Famous across the country, the Lancashire hotpot is a lamb stew topped with sliced potatoes. It’s also famous in Coronation Street thanks to Betty, a sadly departed character whose legendary hotpots are still served in the Rovers today. You can’t visit Lancashire without eating a hotpot.

Served with a gorgeous side dish of red cabbage, the hotpot was a decent size and chock full of lamb. My only nitpick was that it was a little dry – I like mine swimming in sauce, but this had just enough to keep everything moist.

My husband had the cottage pie – which he thoroughly enjoyed, along with the carrots which came on the side.

We also had chips because we were on holiday. So it was basically a legal requirement. These were crispy, thick and delicious. Definitely try these if you get the chance!

Halfway through our meal, we were greeted by the lovely and (literally) fragrant Ms. McAlpine herself, who pops in from time to time to greet guests and see how everything is going.

It was a lovely surprise as she plays one of my favourite characters! And she and her father Tom were both incredibly friendly and chatty.

Onto the pudding – this was another no brainier. It had to be the Fizz Bomb! (This is the nickname given to Jennie’s character on the show!)

We shared this between us as by this point we were both really full. It was very tasty indeed – chocolate ice cream coated with a shell of milk chocolate, drizzled with sauce and studded with popping candy.

All in all, it was an enjoyable meal, great service and a lovely evening! The staff were great and the food was tasty and traditional.


You can find Annie’s online at The restaurant is located at 5 Old Bank Street, Mancheter, M2 7PE, and you can call them on 0161 839 4423 or book via email at

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

Square logo initials

Lunch at The Ivy

It’s been my ambition for a long time to be able to eat at some of London’s most famous and established restaurants. I had my hen party at The Ritz and am plotting breakfast at The Wolseley, but before all that, I decided to cash in my Valentine’s day treat for lunch at The Ivy.


Not as exclusive or trendy as it was in its heyday, it’s still an amazing place to eat, and if you choose wisely, not as expensive as you would think!


The menu is full of old English and French classics – it’s not a particularly innovative menu, but then, that’s not why you go to The Ivy. You go to soak up the atmosphere and to sup in the same restaurant as countless celebrities like Noel Coward, Vivian Leigh, Marlene Dietrich, and more recently Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, the Beckhams, etc. These days, though, these celebs have migrated to The Club at The Ivy, which is a private area that requires membership to enter, leaving the main dining area relatively celeb-free.


So, you’ll have to content yourself with the food itself – solid, unsurprising fare that is incredibly delicious and reasonably priced.


I started with the seared foie gras – beautifully tender on top of a sheet of delicate pastry with a sugary crunch to it. The rich jus and sharp cherries were the perfect accompaniments. My husband had the leek soup, which was poured from a mini saucepan into a bowl already full of the toppings. It was delicious, smooth and creamy.


My main course was the confit of duck – it was certainly skilfully cooked, although a bit gamier than I’m used to. The potatoes were the highlight for me – cooked with onions, butter and parsley. I also shared some green beans and bacon with my husband, who ordered sausages and mash. This, again, was an exceptional example of a much-loved classic.

Dessert was the thing I was most looking forward to – Scandinavian iced berries. They were as delicious as I expected them to be – an assortment of wild, frozen berries topped with a gorgeously decadent hot white chocolate sauce at the last moment.


My husband opted for the creme brûlée – studded with vanilla seeds, it was rich and light at the same time!


Despite its fearsome reputation, I didn’t dress up for my visit – I just wore a cute striped jumper from Joules that I’d bought in Cornwall and a pair of black jeans. As this was lunch time, most people were dressed casually, although a few large groups were dressed to the nines and I lost count of the number of red Louboutins I saw flashing their way across the wooden floor!


If you’re after a meal to remember, I wouldn’t pick The Ivy as my first choice. But as far as boast factor goes, it’s pretty high up on the list, and I think the menu is very well executed. And so it should be, considering it’s full of much-loved, traditional dishes!


You can book a visit to The Ivy online at

Square logo initials

FFF’s Foodie Guide to Cornwall: Chapel Porth Beach Cafe

The second part of my foodie guide to Cornwall is about one of my husband’s favourite childhood memories, which he was nice enough to share with me for the first time this year – ice cream hedgehogs from the Chapel Porth Beach Cafe!


Honestly, he had been going on about these ice creams for years – YEARS! – so we naturally made it one of our first stops during our holiday!


Sounds blimming good, right? And the rest of the menu was pretty amazing too!


Did the truth live up to the hype?

IMG_3816I’m just going to leave this here….

Of course, part of the enjoyment came from the beautiful surroundings:




Swallows Tee, People Tree / Sunglasses, French Connection / Jeans, Gap / Binocular Case Bag, Primark / Trainers, Converse

That ice cream was definitely needed as energy to get up the hills…


It’s not food, it’s fuel… Honest…

Check out Chapel Porth Beach Cafe on Facebook! Or, better yet, visit them in person and have an ice cream! The address is Chapel Porth, St Agnes, TR5 0NS.

FFF’s Foodie Guide to Cornwall: Miss Peapod’s, Penryn

In preparation for my upcoming holiday to Cornwall this year, I was going over my photos from last August and it occurred to me I’d missed the opportunity to share with you some of the fab places we visited. So, I decided to compile everything into a series of posts about my favourite foodie finds in Cornwall!

First up, naturally, is the first place we visited – Miss Peapod’s, which is in Penryn. This little beach cafe is a bit of a hidden treasure, and a hotspot with the locals, because when we visited, everyone seemed to know each other! Far from being intimidating, this gave the place a really friendly vibe – and I have to add for those with kids, this seemed really child friendly.


Miss Peapod’s is located on Jubilee Wharf, which means you get a great view of the boats from outside. You need to time your trip carefully, because food is only served on select days, but the menu should help you decide when to pop in!


The menu has definitely changed since we went last year, but I present you with these pictures of the gorgeous food we enjoyed, and a suggestion that you check them out for yourselves! In the end, we had a deli plate to share (which was a special), some nachos and a burger – all absolutely delicious!


Find Miss Peapod’s at Jubilee Wharf, Penryn, Cornwall, 01326 374424. The website is at

Meon Shore picnic

This evening, we decided to take advantage of the sunshine and go for an impromptu picnic at Meon Shore, which is about 20 minutes drive from us. First off we popped by Marks and Spencer to pick up some reduced picnic goodies, then we jumped in the car and headed off!


Taupe Suede Plimsolls, Mint Velvet

On the way back we stopped at a little produce stand and picked up some onions for dinner tomorrow – can’t think of a more perfect end to a lovely evening!

Restaurant review: Chez Lindsay, Richmond

For my husband’s birthday, we went to Chez Lindsay in Richmond for some delicious crepes at the weekend! Unfortunately, we were running very late because of motorway traffic, so by the time we arrived I was feeling pretty tense – as you can see from my strained expression!


I was wearing my Cezanne Paintbox pleated dress in Destiny from Great Plains – I bagged it in the sale for £15, so I was pretty pleased with the purchase! We didn’t really take any better photos of this outfit, but I did pose with a dragonfly I rescued from a Starbucks!


When we got to Chez Lindsay, we realised my great plan of finding a car park, which was ‘I saw a big car park on the map nearby, it’s fine’ was actually very flawed in reality. What we did instead of finding one, was drive around Richmond in a circular fashion until we hated each other and wanted to murder everyone. Eventually we rang the restaurant and found the car park they advised (thank you, helpful restaurant folk!), which could only be reached by driving in more circles down very unpromising residential roads. So, by the time we arrived we had driven for around two and a half hours to get there, and were on the verge of minor nervous breakdowns.


Luckily, the food was amazing, and a real trip down memory lane for both of us! My husband lived in Cherbourg for nine months at university, so I visited him often and we had a favourite creperie we went to all the time. These crepes were not only delicious, but a real blast from the past and very comforting to boot.

First of all, though, check out this awesome butter knife:


I ordered the super complete, which is a buckwheat pancake (or, galette) with egg, cheese, ham, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms. If you’ve never had a buckwheat pancake before, you really should try them – you can get buckwheat flour from lots of supermarkets these days, and the texture and nutty taste is so much better than plain flour pancakes – and makes a great match for savoury flavours. These galettes are very traditional in Normandy and Brittany and you can find creperies all over the place in these regions selling these delicious dishes.


The galettes are always served like this, with the corners turned up, containing all the delicious toppings underneath.


My husband had the same as me, except no mushrooms, because he has a challenging palette (ha – he drives me nuts!). Would you like to know how it was?


Superb, of course! The restaurant was very pretty too – light and airy with a great atmosphere, even though it was fairly quiet when we went in.


And the waitress and hostess (who I presume was the owner, possibly Lindsay herself!) were charming and helpful, despite our probably incredibly frazzled expressions!

If you love Bretonne cuisine and buckwheat style pancakes or French food in general, I’d definitely recommend a trip there – and visit Richmond and Kew Gardens whilst you’re there, too! On a sunny day I can’t think of many things more pleasant.

The website with menus can be found here. The restaurant is located on 11 Hill Rise, Richmond upon Thames.


Hawksmoor Air Street

For my husband’s 30th birthday, we visited Hawksmoor on Air Street, just off Regents Street. I’d heard this was one of the best places in London for steak, and I was certainly not disappointed.

The real stand out for the whole meal was actually totally unexpected and a real treat – cornflake milkshake!


We totally ordered this by chance but I’m so glad we did – it was delicious and incredibly unique. It was super sweet with a hint of malt to it, and the cornflakes on the top added a great texture.

Plus, gotta love those classic milkshake glasses!


At first, we just ordered one to taste, but when it came I insisted on getting my own!


If there’s a meal worth getting fat for, it would surely include at least one cornflake milkshake…


This was my husband’s starter – Doddington Caesar salad. It’s a bit of a running joke between us as the cheese also sounds a bit like his surname… It was pretty unusual to have cheddar on a Caesar salad, and it wasn’t until I tasted it myself that I appreciated the difference in texture – the waxy feel of cheddar is very different to the drier, textured feel of Parmesan.


I had the Tamworth belly ribs – I did want the potted beef and bacon with Yorkshires, but the waiter told us the chef wasn’t happy with the quality and asked us to select something else. To be honest, they were slightly dry in places, but very rich and great with the red cabbage. As usual, when serving salad and a meat dish to a table seated with a man and a woman, the waiter tried to give me the salad – this always happens when we go out together and perhaps I should take the hint and start ordering lighter options!

We opted for the express menu, which I think is excellent value, but does limit your choice of main course steak cut to just the rib eye. No matter, that’s my favourite! Here’s the piece de resistance:


Two gorgeous rib eyes, two sides of triple cooked chips, and a dish of Stilton hollandaise.

Without doubt, this was the best steak I have ever had. Meaty, beefy, robust – it was everything a steak should be. Tender in all the right places, cooked perfectly as a medium rare. If you ever wondered what aged beef tasted like, or why it was so much better than regular steak, I invite you to go to Hawksmoor and discover it for yourself. Absolutely phenomenal. It totally blew the steak I had at the Hind’s Head last month out of the water.

One aspect in which Hawksmoor couldn’t compete with Heston was on the triple cooked chips front. They certainly looked the part, but there was a suspicious taste about them which made me wonder whether they were yesterday’s batch… Anyone brought up with thrifty parents can recognise the taste of reheated potato, and that’s the taste I was getting from these. Unfortunate if they weren’t just reheated, unfortunate if they were – no win either way! But they were beautifully crunchy and did the job of soaking up the juices well.


The Stilton hollandaise was delicious – but just as with bernaise sauce, I found myself feeling stuffed after a few swipes at it – there’s something about an egg based sauce with steak that sits just on the wrong side of richness for me. Next time I’ll try the bone marrow gravy, but to be honest, I’d literally only eaten this exact same dish at the Hind’s Head two weeks’ before, so I thought I should at least chance the sauce!

I definitely recommend a visit to Hawksmoor Air Street – the express menu is just £23 for two courses, available between 12-18.30 and after 22.00. As a steak-hound, I thought it couldn’t get any better… but I was wrong. The best steak in London (so far!).


The Fat Fig: An Epic Greek Feast!

On Saturday, some of my friends and I went to The Fat Fig, a Greek restaurant in Southampton. I’d noticed it during a walk to check out a new ice cream parlour called Tooti’s and after researching it online, I found mostly glowing reviews. They offer an option on their menu called the ‘Fat Fig Meze Banquet’, which is decribed as ‘a feast, comprising of all dips, starters, a seafood course, finished with a meat platter’, priced at £18.95 per person. That seemed pretty good to me, so I booked the table and along we went! Inside, the restaurant’s decor is minimal, and the chairs and tables are canteen style – but the food, I assure you, is fantastic. Here’s what we had!


We started with some amazing houmous, tzatziki with fat chunks of cucumber and laced with mint, taramasalata, skorthalia – cold mashed potato with garlic, olive oil and lemon juice, olives, and tabouleh – a zesty, juicy salad made of bulgar wheat, tomatoes and parsley, all accompanied by fluffy hot pitta bread.


Following that was haloumi and lounza, a grilled, supersalty cheese with a rubbery texture (actually, incredibly delicious despite it sounding like polystyrene) and griddled pork loin that tasted like smoked ham.


Then we had falafels – these, as I assume, most of the dishes, were homemade – piping hot and crispy with a spicy parsley and onion studded chickpea mash inside, accompanied by what I think was a tahini dip.

Following that came dolmathes and melinzanes together:


The dolmathes were vine leaves stuffed with rice, pork, herbs and spices, and topped with a fresh tomato sauce.


The melinzanes were possibly my favourite part of the meal, fried, smokey aubergine medallions topped with tomatoes, with a soft, rich interior surrounded by a crispy outer skin. I have a weakness for aubergine dishes!


Then came the chicken liver – cooked in onions with lemon and parsley. I did try this, and it was tasty, but unfortunately the smell reminded me too much of the food we gave our dogs when I was a kid, so I squeamishly skipped this one!

That was the starters dealt with, so then we moved onto the fish course. First up was a plate of hot calamari:


Then some fat king prawns covered with garlic butter, olive oil and parsley:


And finally maritha, breaded, deep fried white bait:


I’d never had white bait before, so I tried it out – it was incredibly delicious, although I do admit I removed the heads and scraped out the insides, which is not really proper white bait etiquette!

The second to last course was called Greek Village Salad – a classic Greek salad with the inclusion of iceberg lettuce. I’d never had it with lettuce before, and it had been wilted in the dressing which actually gave it an amazing texture and bags of flavour:


The chunks of Feta were generous, flaky and delicious, as was the dressing and the oregano sprinkled on the top.

The final course was souvlakia, meat skewers:


We had pork, chicken and sheftalies, homemade pork sausage. Honestly, the pork was slightly overcooked, but by this point we were pretty full and past caring!

The entire meal took around an hour and a half to eat, and we enjoyed everything with the exception of the chicken liver. Considering the price of most main courses at the restaurant is £10, our feast was very reasonably priced and I would love to go again some day! I highly recommend this for a special occasion if you’re on a budget and don’t want to go to a super fancy place – it has a sense of celebration and will certainly get you talking over the table!

Visit the Fat Fig’s website here, or call them on 02380 21 21 11. They are located at 5 Bedford Place, Southampton, SO15 2DB.