Life Lately

YOU may or may not be wondering why I’ve been so quiet lately. Truth is, I’ve been busy enjoying life this summer (yes, we have summer in England… Sort of) and I love to fully immerse myself in what I’m doing and enjoy every second. It’s been a busy but fulfilling time but I’m now ready to settle down into autumnal cosiness and take the rest of 2017 at a slower pace.

My husband, Simon works away during the week and so weekends are our time to do with what we want and we try to fill them with meaningful things whether that be long walks in the country or along the beach with our dog, trying a new sport or activity or exploring new places and spending time in places we already know and love. We definitely did this at every opportunity over the summer, despite the English weather!

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Making a House a Home

This isn’t actually our house, I’m just one of those people who takes pictures of pretty front doors! Thought it was rather fitting.

 

IT’S been 18 months since we first moved into our house. We bought it just before we got married and rather embarrassingly, down to a number of factors, we still haven’t finished making it into a home.

Don’t panic, we do have furniture, running water and electricity, we’re not living in an empty cardboard box! However all our walls are stark white, all our carpets are grey and up until last month, we had no photos displayed anywhere. At times, it can feel a little cold and bare.

The past few months have been nothing less than hectic with both of us being busy, travelling frequently and both of us away from home for five consecutive weekends in August and September! Now it looks likely that we’ll be home for a long stretch (a welcomed one at that), we really feel it’s time we started focussing more on our house and making it into our home.

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Autumn Recipe: Toffee Apple Bread and Butter Pudding

OCTOBER is my favourite month not only because it is my birthday but autumn is undoubtedly the best time of year. Particularly the run up to Christmas (yes, I’ve already dropped the C-bomb) and I know it’s a favourite for many others too.

A time for cold crisp weather, pumpkin spice (I’m one of those, sorry not sorry), dark nights drawing in, knitwear, bonfires, Hallowe’en, beautiful golden leaves, woolly hats, big scarves and plenty of cups of tea. What’s not to love!?

This indulgent bread and butter pudding, made with brioche, is the perfect autumnal recipe for those cosy nights in with scented candles and lots comfort food.

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Recipe: Shakshouka


SHAKSHOUKA is fast becoming one of those trendy breakfast dishes joining the ranks of the infamous avocado toast and smoothie bowls. This lightly spiced and beautifully rich stew makes the perfect weekend breakfast or even midweek supper.

Originating from North Africa, shakshouka is one of those recipes made up of a collection of simple ingredients, simmered slowly to perfection – tomatoes, olive oil, cumin, garlic and eggs, lightly poached in the sumptuous, tomatoey sauce.

I have added a few extras into mine, including peppers and courgette but you can either leave this out or add more veggies such as aubergine and spinach to make it more of a meal. Serve with flat breads or garlic toasts.

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Recipe: Wild Garlic and Rosemary Butter

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THIS recipe is so simple, it’s barely even a recipe! However I really wanted to share it with you as it is a great way to enjoy the flavour of wild garlic throughout the year, particularly as the season is so short.

I made a big batch, thoroughly wrapped it up in cling film and stuck it in the freezer. This way I can slice a bit off as and when I need it and the rest will keep for future use. There are endless uses for wild garlic butter – you could melt it over a juicy lamb cutlet, grilled mushrooms, steak, asparagus, pan fried fish, rub some on a chicken before roasting or spread it over a ciabatta and pop it in the oven to make a nice garlic bread.

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Recipe: Wild Garlic Pesto


A TWIST on the classic green pesto, this is another simple yet effective recipe for wild garlic. I have added spinach to my recipe for two reasons. Firstly, to make sure that the garlic flavour is not too overpowering and secondly to bulk the pesto out a little bit. Plus, who can argue with the extra health benefits of spinach?!

You can use this in the same way as a traditional pesto. I have tried lathering some on top of cod loin before baking in the oven with chorizo and veggies. Another time, I stuffed some inside a chicken breast with goats cheese and sundried tomatoes before oven-roasting. I was really pleased with the outcome and plan to publish these recipes at some point in the coming weeks! Enjoy!

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Wild Garlic from the Banks of the River Swale

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WHILST walking along the river in Richmond, we happened upon masses and masses of wild garlic, A leafy green herb with the unmistakable scent of garlic, it grows in large sprays along the River Swale and many other woodland locations around the UK.

We picked a load and carted it off home to experiment. I came up with three recipes which I will share with you over the next couple of weeks but, unsurprisingly, wild garlic grows in the… Well, in the wild. So I thought it would be a good idea to put together a short guide to picking your own as the season is fairly short and it’s not something you can generally buy from the shops – it would be a shame for you to miss out!

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Gin O’Clock! Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery

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THE Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery is tucked away in Laverstoke, a tiny village in rural Hampshire in the UK, just north of Winchester between Basingstoke and Andover.

We have wanted to go since it opened its doors to the public in 2014. We lived in Southampton for five years but moved back up north a couple of years ago because of our jobs. It’s something we never really got round to but we were presented with the perfect opportunity to finally visit, and we are glad that we did!

We were down in Hampshire for a wedding on the first May bank holiday weekend and had planned to stay with my aunty and uncle who live about 40 minutes from Laverstoke. As it is such a long way from home I thought that we could make it a bit of a weekend away and do some exploring – the distillery was the first thing that popped into my head.

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Recipe: Stuffed Mushrooms with Goats Cheese, Walnuts and Honey


MY girlfriends came over for a casual midweek dinner the other night. We decided we needed to chill out over a chin wag and a mezze style tea with olives, stuffed peppers, flatbread, hummus, chicken skewers and all that nice stuff you can pick at whilst slobbing out watching trash TV and gossiping.

I had asked if anyone had any requests for food. One of the girls, Georgina, said that she had a craving for stuffed mushrooms. Say no more! I have created a great recipe that I like to use as a starter, a vegetarian main course or indeed as part of a mezze!

These mushrooms are so good that my friend Lauren, who usually hates goats cheese, loved them and even asked for the recipe. So here it is…

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Recipe: Sweet Malay Sambal for Nasi Lemak


NASI Lemak was one of my favourite dishes to indulge in while we were exploring Singapore and Indonesia last year. A traditional Malay breakfast with lots of variations but in its simplest form it is made up of coconut rice, fried chicken, a boiled egg, ikan bilis (dried salted anchovies), redskin peanuts and a sweet mildly spiced sauce (the sambal) with tomato and cucumber on the side.

It is most prominent in Malaysia and can also be found across the Far East in places such as Brunei, Singapore, parts of Indonesia and the Bangsamoro region of Mindanao in the Philippines. In 2016, Nasi Lemak was recognised as one of the top 10 healthy breakfasts around the world by Time Magazine –  I don’t know if this is strictly true but in short, it’s flippin’ delicious!

Whilst most of the ingredients are readily available in the UK, I have never found a sauce to rival the sweet, sticky and ever so slightly spicy sambal that complements this dish. Thankfully, we are booked up for a trip to Malaysia later this year but I can’t wait that long so I played around with the ingredients that I could get my hands on (we are limited in NE England!) and knocked up my own variation of this sambal.
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