Monthly Archives: June 2011

Fresh From The Oven: Sandwich Bread Loaf

This month’s Fresh From The Oven challenge was hosted by myself and I decided that we should make a new favourite bread of mine, a Sandwich Bread Loaf. This was orginally made by Michel Roux Jr. as part of the BBC TV Series ‘The Great British Food Revival’. The recipe for the loaf is here.

I like this loaf as it is very simple and easy to make. The addition of the Golden Syrup keeps the loaf moist and provides an extra sweetness. The loaf keeps well for a few days and ideal to take to work for your sandwiches or it makes excellent toast once it is a couple of days old. As I have made this before, I decided not to make it in a loaf tin and made it into a fat baton shape instead. The result was excellent :-)

I hope everyone else had as much fun as I did making the loaf :-)

Happy Cooking!

BBC Summer Good Food Show 2011

Last weekend, the BBC Summer Good Food Show came to the NEC in Birmingham and I was one of the many thousands of people to attend. The summer show is the only Good Food Show I will be attending this year as the winter one is scheduled for two weeks after my due date at the end of November.

We arrived early on the Saturday morning and we (Stuart and my friend Marie were with me) headed straight Tim Kinnaird’s (Masterchef finalist 2010) Macarons and More stand, where he and his lovely assistant Sophie were selling his wide variety of macarons and ready to make hot chocolate.  I went there early as he usually sells out quick and I was glad I did. I went back at 2pm and found out that Tim had already sold out of Saturday’s stock and had moved onto Sunday’s. Tim will shortly be dispatching macarons by post and I hope he puts me down for one of the first orders!

We next headed to see Kate at the Gower Cottage Brownies stand. Kate makes the best Brownies ever and dispatches them all over the UK.  When she saw that we had been to Tim’s stand and had got stickers all over us, she gave us each a sticker of her own and as I was running out of space, my sticker ended up on my growing bump. I think I may have to charge soon if people will use it for advertising!

We next went to see Sue at the My Secret Kitchen stand.  My Secret Kitchen is a nationwide food tasting company, making their own foods and bringing them into people’s homes for them to taste and buy. I really enjoyed the Chocaberry Cheese Ball Mix , which was an instant cheesecake mix and the Tapenade with smoked garlic which was delicious.

We also visited the Kin Knives stand where the girls sharpened my knife which I brought at the show last year. Thanks Girls! Too be honest, I was not as impressed with this year’s show as much as I have been in previous years. There did not seem to be that many producers and nearly every stand sold olive oil, some sort of hot sauce, chutney’s or a useless kitchen gadget. I will visit again next year, with my baby, however unless the show improves, I may give a wide berth after that. Did you visit the Good Food Show? What did you think? I would love to hear your opinions in the comments below.

In my last post, I reviewed Simpson’s The Cookbook, well you can now WIN a LIMITED EDITION copy of the new Simpsons Restaurant Michelin Cook Book: Download some FREE Recipes to win: Good Luck!

Happy Cooking! :-)

Cookbook Review: Simpsons – The Cookbook by Andreas Antona

I have wanted to visit Simpson’s Restaurant in Birmingham for a very long time and have not made it there yet. It is high up on my list of restaurants I really want to go to.  It climbed even higher on my list when I received a review copy of their second cookbook, which is to be published on 20th June 2011.

The book simply called ‘Simpsons the cookbook’ is written by Andreas Antona, chef and owner of Simpson’s with Luke Tipping and Adam Bennett, two of his sous chefs. They have chosen their favourite and most popular dishes and set them out in a simple format, aimed at amateur chefs and passionate foodies.

On first receiving the book, I was very impressed with the photography. It shows the restaurant at work and also it is one of the only cookbooks that I know of, that has a photograph of every dish in the book. You can see the time and effort that has gone into making the book on every single page.

Starters include ceps on toast with summer truffle; and risotto of goat’s cheese, piquillo pepper and rocket. Main courses are dishes from poulet Basquaise to  favourites such as cote du boeuf, Yorkshire pudding and roast new season carrots. Delicious desserts range from great retro efforts such as black forest in a glass and chocolate baked Alaska to the more simple but equally impressive white chocolate truffles with rum and vanilla; perfect as petits fours with coffee. Some of the dishes in the book seem very easy and straight forward to make (see my version of a dish below), however some of the dishes just seemed a tad too advanced for me. I love the look of the Black Forest in a Glass but it is the kind of thing that would take me (a reasonably competent cook) all day to make.

As ever, whenever I review a cookbook, I always make a dish from it. I decided to make Tagliatelle with Black Mushrooms. However, I could not find any black mushrooms in my local supermarket so I made it with Portabello mushrooms instead. The recipe also called for fresh pasta and although I can make fresh pasta (see here) I decided against it as I made it as an after work treat and with baby brain and general tiredness going on, making pasta was a step too far for me. I did use fresh free range egg Tagliatelle from the supermarket instead. I also got slightly confused between two mushroom dishes in the book. One the Ceps on Toast called for Black Summer Truffle and I thought the tagliatelle dish needed it instead so I ordered a truffle from Mister Truffle to make the dish. Therefore, my version has extra truffle on it. Here finally is my version of Andreas Antona’s classic dish.

Tagliatelle with Portabello Mushrooms and Black Summer Truffle


  • 100g tagilatelle per person, cooked according to the packet instructions
  • 2 shallots, peeled and chopped finely
  • 4-6 small portabello mushrooms, peeled and chopped finely
  • Small knob of butter
  • Bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • Parmesan, grated (optional)
  • Salt ad pepper, to taste
  • 5g of Black Summer Truffle, grated very finely (optional)


  1. In a frying pan, add the butter and fry until melted. Add in the shallots and mushrooms and fry gently until cooked.
  2. Add in the cooked pasta and parsley. Stir gently to combine.
  3. Pour the pasta and mushrooms into a warm serving dish. Grate truffle and parmesan over the top, if using and then enjoy!

Overall, I am very impressed with the Simpson’s cookbook. It contains simple Michelin starred recipes but it also contains recipes that give you something to aim for and challenge you. It is not an everyday cookbook but it is one you want to look at everyday.

You can preorder Simpson’s The Cookbook here

WIN a LIMITED EDITION copy of the new Simpsons Restaurant Michelin Cook Book: Download some FREE Recipes to win:

Many thanks to Syamala for sending me the book to review

Happy Cooking!

Prepped Cookbook Launch

A little while ago, I was lucky enough to be asked to do some recipe testing for a new cookbook that was coming out, called ‘Prepped‘. I tested the Eccles cakes recipe for Vanessa Kimbell, the author of the book.  At the end of May, ‘Prepped!: Gorgeous Food without the Slog – a Multi-tasking Masterpiece for Time-short Foodies’ was released and I went to the official launch of the book at The Black Bottom Club in Northampton last week.

Vanessa is a fellow member of the Midlands Food Bloggers and I was joined at the launch by Julia of A Wannabe Foodie, who I met just recently at the MFB Meet Up in Burton Upon Trent. We were also joined by Ruth of The Pink Whisk, Helen of Jessie’s Crazy Kitchen and Lea of Off The Eaten Track amongst many others. All of whom had tested recipes for the book. We were warmly greeted by Elderflower Fizz and Elderflower water and lots of cake made by the Preperati (recipe testers) especially for the event.

Giles of How To Books, Vanessa’s publisher then gave a speech on how Vanessa had managed to get the published with them. It was mostly to do with cakes apparently! Vanessa then gave a speech herself thanking everyone for helping with the book.

The rest of the afternoon sped by with lots of talk of cake, cooking and blogging. I had an absolute amazing time. It was great to meet Vanessa eventually after many emails and phone calls and it was lovely to meet my fellow bloggers too. I cannot wait for ‘Prepped 2′ to be launched so we can have another party! :-)

Many thanks to Amy of Lush Mummy for the fabulous black Diamond Dress that I wore to the launch. (See pictures above) It is an amazing dress and I got lots of lovely compliments about it. For the first time since finding out I was pregnant, I actually felt and looked good. It is much appreciated. Thank you :-)

Happy Cooking! :-)

Browse Bullring Guest Post

I have written a guest review on the Browse Bullring website about Brown’s in Victoria, London. Brown’s Birmingham will be coming to the Bullring in the Winter 2011 as part of the Spiceal Street development. You can read my guest post here.

Hope you like it.

Happy Cooking! :-)

Midlands Food Bloggers Meet Up June 2011

Photo by Owen Sims

On Saturday, the Midlands Food Bloggers had their third meet up at 99 Station Street and Staffordshire Fine Foods in Burton Upon Trent. Louise of Comida Y Vida and I arrived at 99 Station Street and met fellow MFB members, Gavin of To Bizzy 2 Bake, Julia of A Wannabe Foodie, Jules of The Butcher, The Baker, Georgina of Culinary Travels, Becky of Girl Interrupted Eating and James and Kate of Eat The Midlands. It was lovely to meet in person everyone who we had been talking to on Twitter for so long. We sat down and got ready to taste the fantastic local and seasonal food prepared for us by the wonderful chef Dan and his team.

For my starter, I had Asparagus Soup. It was delicious and very filling. I loved it. For my main, I had Baked Salmon with Coriander Veloute and we all shared the seasonal vegetables around the table. I love salmon and I have never thought of serving it with coriander. It was yummy!

For pudding, I had the Chocolate Brownie with homemade ice cream and chocolate sauce. It was delicious. After lunch (which was a bargain price of £10.95 each), we had a chat with the head chef Dan and owner Susan and we learnt more about the restaurant ethos for only having local, British food and making everything on site.

Photo by Owen Sims

 After our fantastic meal,  we moved to the HQ and home of 99 Station Street and Staffordshire Fine Foods owners, Ross and Susan Broadman, just outside of Burton Upon  Trent. Our first test when we arrived was to tell the difference between two lots of peanuts. One was salted and the other was smoked. I have never thought of smoking a peanut before. It was yummy. Next we put some salmon in the smoker and left a chorizo simmering on the stove in chicken stock and went for a foraging walk in the local woods.

After our walk, we returned and tried two different types of smoked salmon, one had been cured and the other had not. The one that was not cured did not taste very good. However, the salmon that cured was delicious and I am not very keen on smoked salmon.  We next tried cured, smoked and roasted venison loin. It was lovely. Yet another new experience as I have never thought about doing that with venison. We tried pigeon breast next that had been cured and smoked. I love pigeon breast, however in some places that you get it, it can be very overpowering and horrible. This was not. It was mild and delicious. It was so good, I may develop a craving for it. Finally, Ross made a soup with the chorizo that had been simmered in chicken stock for 3 hours. He cut up the chorizo for us to taste and turned the stock into a soup with our foraged nettles and wild garlic. It was delicious. We each got a chorizo to take home and I am planning on doing something similar with mine so watch this space…

I would like to thank Ross, Susan, Dan and all the team at 99 Station Street and Staffordshire Fine Foods. It was a fantastic day. You can see what Ross and Susan thought about being descended on by a load of bloggers, here. I would to thank all my fellow MFB members for attending, it was great to meet you all and I cannot wait to do it again soon. Thanks to Louise for organising it and all your help with MFB so far. It is much appreciated. :-)

Happy Cooking! :-)

Product Review: The Saucy Fish Co

Since finding out I was pregnant, cooking has occasionally become a chore. Sometimes I just have absolutely no energy or desire to cook. Therefore, I was very happy when The Saucy Fish Co asked me to review their products and sent me some vouchers so we could treat ourselves the next time we went shopping. Stuart and I love fish and I loved that the fish and sauce came all in one in some of their products, so it was much easier to shop for and to cook them.

We tried the Salmon with Chilli, Lime and Ginger and Salmon with Watercress and Crème Fraiche. Overall, I was very impressed with both dishes. The salmon was of excellent quality. Very fresh and tasty. They both very froze well and were cooked very easily in the oven. Our favourite was the Salmon with Chilli, Lime and Ginger sauce as we loved it spicy kick. I am going to start keeping a couple of these in the freezer so when I have no time or energy to cook, dinner will be quick to prepare.

Many thanks to Alex for sending vouchers to review The saucy Fish Co products. It is much appreciated :-)

Happy Cooking! :-)

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