Recipe: Pork & Fennel Lasagne (Tomato-Free Lasagne Recipe_

Lasagne is quite possibly my ultimate Saturday night food. Cheese, because cheese. Carbs, of course. A super-flavoursome sauce, simmered away until the meat melts in the mouth, doubled with another creamy sauce that delivers ever more cheese. Served with a green salad on the side (balance), it’s quite possibly one of my all-time favourite dinners.

It’s also the time it takes that makes it perfect Saturday night food. One of my favourite ways to spend an evening is stirring something delicious on my stove, glass of wine in hand, talking to my fiancé. Lasagne is a labour of love, that can’t be denied, and it creates a scary amount of washing up – but if you’ve cooked it for someone it’s only fair they wash up!

This version of lasagne is even more special, as I find the pork mince, bacon and fennel combination give an ultra-indulgent flavour. It’s something a little bit different too,  and it just feels like so much more of a treat. The best thing? It’s no more difficult or time-intensive to make than your bog standard beef lasagne.

Now, I do like a lasagne with a cheesy sauce, however if you prefer a classic bechamel simply leave out the cheese (you may want to reduce the milk to 275ml as it won’t be quite as thick).

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • A couple of ladlefuls of Nomato Sauce (of course you can use a normal tomato-based sauce if you need to!)
  • 250g pork mince
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 rashers streaky bacon, chopped into small chunks
  • Small handful of button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 very small glass of port, or a small glass of red wine
  • Dried lasagne sheets (we used 5)
  • 30g butter
  • 30g flour
  • Around 300ml milk
  • A good handful of cheese – we usually do a combination of cheddar and parmesan – plus extra for the top. For an extra special lasagne, topping with mozzarella makes it amazing!

Heat a large frying pan on a medium-high heat, with no oil, and add the pork mince and fennel seeds. Fry whilst breaking the meat up with a spoon, until it is golden brown – then tip into a bowl. Add the bacon to the pan and fry in the pork fat until just starting to crisp. Add to the pork mince, then lower the heat under the pan. Gently fry the onions, celery, carrot and mushrooms until softened, adding a little olive oil if necessary.

Put the pork and bacon mix back into the pan, increase the heat and add the garlic – and fry all together for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the wine or port, and allow to bubble until it is almost fully reduced. Tip in the nomato sauce (or a tomato-y alternative!), turn the heat to low and simmer for as long as possible or at least 30 minutes.

To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan until it’s just starting to bubble, then stir in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes, then turn the heat to low and gradually add the milk (I start to use a whisk here). Once all the milk has been added you can increase the heat slightly, continuing to stir, until the sauce has thickened. Season, including plenty of black pepper and a grating of nutmeg, then stir in the cheese. You can infuse the milk with bay leaves, onion and garlic but I find it to be wasted in a lasagne that’s already so full of flavour.

You can then build your lasagne! I go for a layer of meat sauce, then pasta, then cheese sauce, then meat etc… Finish with a good layer of cheese sauce, making sure all the pasta is covered, then sprinkle over some extra cheese. Bake at 180C for 40-50 minutes or until bubbling and golden – cover with foil if it’s browning too quickly. If you’re using fresh pasta sheets, you can get away with just grilling but I find it’s not quite as comforting.

RecipeServe with a green salad, plenty of wine and enjoy! Any leftovers are good reheated gently the next day, though I have to confess I have a taste for cold lasagne too…

Are you a lasagne fan? How do you make yours?

Restaurant Review: An Alice-in-Wonderful Themed Afternoon Tea @ Alice & The Hatter, Herne Bay (Kent)

One of the things I look forward to is seeing my girls. Each month we meet up near one of our homes for a catch-up, usually involving a lot of tea and cake. We try to visit somewhere near as often as possibly, and recently we took a trip to Herne Bay to visit Alice & The Hatter.

This wonderland-themed tea room has its chequered floors, throne chairs, teacup stools, grassy nooks and even the food is themed with “open book sandwiches”, a vast tea selection, coffees, and handmade pastries and cakes. I have to say the large cakes looked amazing, so I know what I’ll head for next time I visit.

For our first visit, however, it had to be Afternoon Tea.

Sandwiches were some of the nicest I’ve even eaten – with the Chicken Pesto ones being moist, flavourful and completely addictive. I didn’t think too much of the Cream Cheese & Cucumber, as the cucumber was cut too thinly to provide any texture. My Ham & Cheese (without chutney) were generously filled, and the mini Bagel with Cream Cheese & Salmon was fresh and delicious. I found the Sausage Roll a little dry, but I’m not the biggest fan of them anyway!

Scones were good, if a little too big (I find big scones can suffer the fate of being a tad claggy). I had the Lemon & Poppyseed for which I was really grateful – it was something different, and the lemon flavour went perfectly with the clotted cream and strawberry jam.

The patisserie plate is where things got really exciting – but unfortunately for me it felt a little style over substance. The Drink Me potion reminded me of the Panda Pops we used to sneak as a child, bright blue, far too sweet and full of e-numbers. It gave me an instant headache if I’m honest! The little jam biscuit was tasty, though a little soft. The cupcake was good, moist and well-flavoured with a nice icing-cake ratio. The macaroon wasn’t great at all, with a bubbly matte finish and an overly soft texture. Finally ‘mousse’ – bright pink and purple, this was a gummy texture, far too sweet and just not good. A shame as the other plates on the stand had been lovely!

Would I go back to Alice & The Hatter? Certainly. I’d avoid the afternoon tea, but it’s still a lovely place to relax with a cuppa and a slice of cake!

Where else do you recommend for Afternoon Tea?

Cooking From: Asian Salmon & Broccoli (The Roasting Tin)

Welcome to a new little series over at Life & Loves. With a ridiculously-sized collection of cookbooks that just keeps on getting bigger, we’ve set ourselves the challenge to use them more. To not cook from the same ones each time. To try out new recipes. And to make myself more accountable for this, I’m going to blog about it.

The first cookbook under scrutiny is The Roasting Tin. One of the most anticipated cookbook releases of 2017, even the cover with its bright yellow sunniness makes me want to pull it off the shelf. Added to the fact that it’s full of simple one-dish recipes that require little preparation and are generally ready fast but deliver flavourful, healthy results means it’s become regularly reached for.

It’s pretty much the perfect midweek cookery book for foodies. Good, fresh ingredients combined with just a few minutes work and very little washing up means a happy Chloe!

We’ve cooked a few things from this book, with the favourites being the recipe below, but also a veggie dish involving Broccoli, Orzo Pasta, Lemon and Chilli – it makes damn good leftovers! There’s so many other dishes we have on our list too! We’ve found the cooking times can be a bit off, so I’ve adjusted for it slightly in the recipe below – as well as playing around with the dressing to suit our tastes – mainly making more of it!

Now onto this recipe. It’s delicious! One of my favourite ways to eat salmon, it’s so simple and easy yet full of flavour. The dressing is punchy, the peanuts add crunch and the broccoli is yum. I rarely eat broc boiled or steamed now, I want it roasted all the time…

Recipe – for 2, easily scaled up or down

  • 300g broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil (use vegetable oil if you don’t have any)
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2½ cm ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 limes, zest and juice
  • Small handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 55g peanuts, left whole

Pop the broccoli in a roasting tin, add the garlic and sesame oil, and use your hands to coat. Place the salmon fillets on top, cover tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes at 180C. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes.

Meanwhile make the dressing. Mix together the spring onions, ginger, chilli, fish sauce, vegetable oil, lime zest and juice, most of the coriander and the peanuts. Once the salmon is cooked, pour the dressing over the roasting tin. Serve garnished with the rest of the coriander.

We would usually just eat this with no other carby side, but I can confirm it is delicious with brown rice if you feel like you need it! I’ve also taken to cooking broccoli this way, with the same dressing – it’s great served with noodles as a quick study day lunch.

What’s your current favourite cookbook?

Recipe: Fish Finger Tacos

Confession time – I love me a fish finger sandwich. Yes, I might be a food blogger, a food snob, a lover of fine dining (both out in restaurants and in my own home), but something about a slice of white bread (pre-sliced is best here, I reserve this stuff for fish finger sandwiches and crisp sandwiches only), lightly buttered, topped with blisteringly hot and crispy fish fingers with a splash of malt vinegar is a wonderful thing.

I also love adding salt’n’vinegar crisps to a fish finger sandwich too – my favourite study day lunch right there!

However, this is a slightly posher version of the fish finger sandwich. A soft tortilla wrap (I prefer corn ones), creamy yet spicy chipotle soured cream, a zingy slaw and pink pickled onions, wrapped around a couple of fish fingers. You can go all out and use the best ‘fish goujans’ you can find, but here I’ve used Young’s (not a sponsored post, just my preferred brand) and they worked perfectly.

The vinegar used to pickle the onions keeps it tasting like the fish finger sandwich I know and love, the slaw adds veggies and crunch, and the soured cream adds both spice and a bit of moisture. You could also stir the soured cream in to make a creamier slaw, but I’ve kept them separate.

The best thing? If you’ve got the onions in the fridge (they keep for a good month, just don’t tightly seal the lid) this can be whipped up in around 15 minutes. It’s the perfect midweek dinner!

Recipe (for two, leftover slaw is great on jacket potatoes)

  • For the onions – 2 red onions (sliced), 100ml cider vinegar, 100ml water, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Scotch Bonnet chilli (finely chopped)
  • 4 tortillas
  • 8 fish fingers
  • 1/2 small pot of soured cream (about 4-5 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp chipotle paste
  • 1/3 of a red cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1 salad onion, finely sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, spiralized (or use a vegetable peeled)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges to serve if you like
  • Coriander

To make the pink pickled onions, pop the sliced onion in a sieve and slowly pour over a kettle of boiling water, followed by rinsing under the cold tap. Transfer to a glass jar, add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Store in the fridge for up to a month, though they are best eaten within a week. You’ll need to let them rest for 2-4 hours before eating or they’ll be too crunchy and ‘oniony.’

For the tacos, simply cook your fish fingers according to the packet. Toss your sliced cabbage, spring onion and carrot with the zest and juice of a lime, stir through some chopped coriander and taste for seasoning. Stir together the soured cream and chipotle paste, and warm your tortillas briefly (either in a microwave or in a dry frying pan).

Once everything is ready you can build your tacos – I like a layer of soured cream, followed by a pile of slaw, then fish fingers topped with the pink pickled onions. Add a squeeze of lime – and that’s a wrap!

This is the perfect quick and easy dinner, but it’s also so tasty. It really hits the spot and I can imagine it being a staple in the summer when it’s too hot to be in the kitchen for long. Delicious!

Are you a fan of a fish finger sandwich?

Lifestyle: Happy Things #37

Happy Monday! It’s probably not surprising to you that I’ve had yet *another* quiet fortnight. Exams are just about to get into full swing – I have a computer based on over two days this week, then a big written paper in another two weeks. I’m not feeling overly confident with these as getting the flu really knocked the stuffing out of me – I forgot a lot of what I’d covered, lost a lot of time, and it took me ages to be able to study at my full pace again. Fingers crossed it will be alright!

The past two weeks have involved a lot of time at my desk, but some fun also. And of course, it was Easter which meant chocolate, hot cross buns and a long weekend…

  1. More Bourek and Hummus from Balkan Bites at Borough Market. I first tried this when we did our doughnut workshop, then went back the following weekend for me. It’s definitely my favourite street-food lunch at Borough Market. It’s relatively light, steaming hot (but I bet lovely if left to cool too), the hummus is *amazing* and the green chilli packs a punch. Get the spinach and feta bourek and you won’t be disappointed!
  2. Finally getting round to watching the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. Have you seen it yet? What did you think?
  3. Doing a spot of baking. I made a (perhaps excessive) Easter Cake for the office and it went down well. Sponge filled and covered in buttercream (courtesy of Green’s Cake Mixes*), the topped with a giant chocolate-cornflake nest and filled with mini-eggs. Yum!
  4. Winning a couple of blog competitions. I’ve recently managed to win a Bill’s voucher and also a mini-moon getaway in the Cotswolds for a couple of nights.
  5. A sunrise church service on Easter Sunday. Our church does it with a Bonfire next to the Thames and despite the early start it is a lovely occasion. Helped by the pastries and Buck’s Fizz afterwards I guess!
  6. Dinner Party planning and eating – without the stress of cooking! We planned a bit of a get-together for a few friends last week, I help W plan the menu (always fun) and then left him to do the cooking. He did a wonderful job and make egg yolk ravioli, a chicken dish with pan-roasted thighs, mashed potato, malt crumble, crispy skin skin and a chicken jus. Then dessert was a chocolate-cherry concoction that was simply heavenly…

What’s been making you smile lately?

Recipe: Super-Easy Lamb ‘Tagine’

An immediate disclaimer here, this recipe is in no way authentic. For one, I don’t even have a tagine (I’ve love one though!) and so it’s made in my Mother-in-Laws trusty Le Creuset. Sidenote: I believe they received it as a wedding present, and kindly lent it to us when we moved in together – I’m hoping we’ll be lucky enough to receive an orange/red on for our wedding so it can finally match the rest of our collection. Regardless of what it’s cooked in, I very much doubt the recipe is authentic either but it tastes delicious, makes a vast amount and doesn’t require every single spice from the supermarket.

This super-easy lamb tagine was borne out of an impulse purchase (when lamb chunks are reduced to less than £1 I can’t say no!) and a desire for something different. I do love a Lancashire hotpot, but this may be my new favourite way to slow-cook lamb.

It’s spicy from the harissa, sweet from the apricots, and the chickpeas add a lovely texture. The combination of spices used add a lovely complex flavour, and It’s full of chopped veggies. I’ve chosen to keep it thinner, more broth/stew like – if you prefer it thicker you could add a tin of chopped tomatoes (I’ve tried with my nomato sauce and it works well). It’s also delicious made without the lamb for a veggie alternative – I quite often make it like that for my work lunches.

It’s also great for using up leftover lamb – perfect for the week after Easter! Simply make the tagine, then once it’s all assembled add the lamb and allow to simmer until hot or you’re ready to eat.

Recipe – makes 4-5 generous portions (it freezes well)

  • 500g chopped lamb chunks
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 3 sticks of celery, halved and chopped
  • 3 carrots, quartered and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Small pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp of harissa
  • 2 tins of chickpeas
  • 100g ready-to-eat dried apricot, halved.
  • Vegetable stock, around 1 litre

Heat a little oil in a casserole dish, and fry the lamb over a high heat until sealed and slightly golden – you’ll probably have to do this in batches. Transfer the browned lamb to a bowl, and lower the heat. Fry the onions, carrot and celery, adding a little extra oil if necessary, for around 5 minutes until softed. Add the garlic and the spices, and continue frying for a few minutes.

Stir in the harissa, drained chickpeas, apricots and stock, then re-add the lamb. Cover and simmer on the hob for 1-2 hours, or pop in the over at around 140C. Once done, you can thicken with cornflour if you like, or just serve as it is (seasoned to taste). We love this with couscous, and perhaps some homemade flatbreads. Delicious!

I love the flavours in this, and would love to cook something more authentic someday – any recommendations for Moroccan recipes?

Restaurant Review: A Seasonal British Dinner @ Home SW15, Putney

A few new places have popped up in Putney over the last six months or so, and this is the one I was most excited about. Home SW15 boasts a welcoming atmosphere, modern interiors and yummy seasonal food – sounded like a winner in my books!

And seasonal it certainly is! We actually visited a while back in January, so as a result the menu has completely updated leaving me to guess what we actually had. Whoops…

We started with cocktails, and this is where Home SW15 is really exciting. The front of their restaurant is more of a drinking lounge, with a decent cocktail menu – added to which they also do some interesting seasonal cocktails. As I type the ones on the menu feature rhubarb, but when we visited? Parsnip cocktails. That’s not a typo. I went for a sweet one involving white chocolate and aniseed flavours, W’s was fruitier and sharper – both delicious.

On to starters – around the table we had mackerel served with beetroot (which went down well), then W had a bruschetta with goat’s cheese and red onion which was much more than the sum of it’s parts. I went down the heavier route, choosing a game sausage roll with quince ketchup. It was meaty, it was flavourful, the ketchups sharpness offsetting the richness of the game and the buttery pastry. Definitely a winner.

The mains were a bit of a mixed bag. The Confit Potato with Mushrooms was found to be a bit over-heavy, and W thought his Guinea Fowl was lacking a sauce (though it was very well cooked, and the lentils nicely flavoured – a sauce would have made it perfect). I had some of the sharing dish – a whole Treacle Glazed Ham Hock, served with mash and cabbage.

This was delightful. The meat was fall-apart tender, with fattier bits and crispier bits, and a lovely sweetness coming from the glaze. The mashed potato was impossibly buttery – so smooth and creamy that I could have bathed in it. The cabbage was well cooked, nicely seasoned, and burnt a little to add an extra dimension. If it hadn’t have been such a rich dish I could (and would!) have carried on eating it for hours.

Puddings were all good. The Brioche Doughnut with Banana Cream went down very well, and my Chocolate & Hazelnut Mousse with Salted Caramel was delightful. Full of chocolate flavour, with a hint of Nutella-ness about it, crunch from whole nuts and a really salty caramel to offset the sweetness, it was the perfect end to a lovely meal.

As an additional note, the night before we visited they’d actually suffered a break-in, yet the staff were in remarkable spirits. Cheerful and welcoming despite what must have been a horrific day. By far the friendliest staff I’ve experienced in a while!

With Home SW15 only being up the road from me, I really have no excuse as to why I don’t visit very often. I need to try their brunch menu asap!

Where’s the best seasonal menu you’ve eaten?

Food: Where to Eat in York (My Top 5 Places)

A year on from my trip to York (almost to the day, I believe!) and I’ve finally gotten round to getting this post live. Whenever we head off on any trip food is at the very front of our minds, and it was no exception when we went to York – albeit with the exam stress I planned a bit more last minute that I usually like to! I asked for recommendations, read plenty of blogs and reviews – and we ended up eating some wonderful meals. Here’s just the top 5…

Pig & Pastry

Highly recommended by Amanda, this was high on my list for somewhere to visit. It was a tad over-busy for my tastes (it’s popular with mums and buggies, and it’s titchy-tiny) but we sat outside in the Spring sunshine which was really rather pleasant.  W ordered the Chorizo Scrambled Eggs and, whilst the portion size wasn’t huge, it was good value for the price. The eggs weren’t the creamiest we’ve had, but far from the worst, and the chorizo was both perfectly tasty and perfectly cooked.

My breakfast, however, was better in terms of both portion size and taste. I went for a special, involving a toasted muffin, a spiraled Cumberland sausage and creamy Hollandaise sauce. It was buttery, herby and absolutely delicious. Even the slight over-charring on the sausage failed to put me off scraping the plate clean.

Betty’s

No trip up to York is complete without a trip to Betty’s, and I finally posted my full review earlier this month. We avoided the usual Afternoon Tea, instead sampling a selection of dishes from Betty’s Swiss heritage. In essence it was a lunch of cheesy carbs – can’t get better than that!

Skosh

We completely lucked out here, as I only heard of the place the week before our trip – and somehow managed to grab a table at the last minute. One of my best meals of 2017, it was utterly delicious. We had a selection of small and larger plates shared between us – it’s a seasonal menu, mainly British ingredients but with clever twists. Highlights were a cod, pineapple, coconut and lentil dish, and I also loved a mackerel and melon combination.

Read my full review here.

Pairings

This is the kind of place I really, really wish existed in London. We spent a good few hours in here, with a wine flight for me and a port flight for him, chatting about everything and anything. We also put together our very own cheese and meat platter – which was excellent value and the perfect size for a meal for two. Everything was beautifully fresh, even the bread. It also introduced me to Old Winchester Cheese (it’s a kind of cross between parmesan and cheddar and is my favourite cheese ever). The only downsides were the desserts which, whilst yummy, were rather overpriced.

 

Brew & Brownie

Despite my brunch at Pig & Pastry being super yummy, this turned out to be my favourite place in York. Perfectly located for a pit-stop for coffee and cake (or a brew and brownie!), the breakfast we had on our final day was also really good – and the portion size so generous it even defeated W.

Their Brownies were excellent, with a variety of flavours available daily – my personal favourite being the Terry’s Chocolate Orange one (something about that combination of flavours is just so delicious). Hot Chocolates were both rich and light at the same time, though the lightness was perhaps diminished at my insistence of having cream and marshmallows. I highly recommend you visit here, if just for cake.

Breakfasts were also excellent. I went for the pancakes, and a year on they remain some of the best I’ve ever, EVER eaten. They were served with syrup, yoghurt and a perfect tart fruit compote – and nope, I couldn’t finish them. I enjoyed trying though! W also couldn’t finish his (a very rare occurrence!). He had ordered the Black Pudding Stack (black pudding & smoked back bacon stacked with fried hen’s egg, cherry tomato, mustard dressing, toasts). It didn’t sound overly filling on paper, but it was huge. It looked absolutely delicious, but with roasted tomatoes I obviously couldn’t steal a bite…

Have you ever visited York? Where did you eat?

Recipe: Lamb Baked in Hay

This is the perfect dish for Easter Weekend. We don’t eat lamb overly often (because pricey, and we have a wedding to pay for), but this is the one weekend where we will definitely be indulging. And because we only enjoy lamb on occasion, we need a recipe that will work. A recipe that will enhance the meats natural flavours and sweetness, keep it moist, render the fat and deliver a yummy meal. And this recipe is a good’un.

Roasting a leg (or half a leg) in hay gives meat a delightful smokiness. Using a casserole dish keeps it tender, and the whole thing is just really rather yummy. In actual fact, cooking in hay is a method that was used throughout history to keep the intense heat of the fire/oven away from the meat (I imagine chicken would be amazing cooked in hay!), so it cooked slowly and evenly. Not only does this ensure super-tender meat that can be carved easily, it also adds a wonderful flavour.

Recipe – for 1/2 Leg of Lamb, can be easily scaled up or down with adjustment to the cooking time

  • 1/2 leg of lamb
  • A few handfuls of hay – available from pet shops – ask for ‘eating’ hay
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 6 springs of rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed

Soak the hay in water for about 15 minutes, then drain and use to line a casserole dish large enough to fit your lamb (if you need to, use a roasting tin and seal tightly with foil before cooking).

In a bowl mix the butter, chopped rosemary and garlic, then smear the mix all over the lamb. Season well with plenty of salt and pepper, then place the lamb on the hay. Cover with the rest of the hay, the cover the dish with it’s lid. Make sure there are no loose bits of hay hanging out as these can smoulder or catch light when in the oven. Cook at 180C for 2.5 hours, for tender meat (less if you prefer your lamb roast to be pink). Allow to rest (covered in foil) for around 15 minutes before serving – we like to to serve with boulangerie potatoes, mint sauce and plenty of veg.

We usually cook half a leg of lamb which leaves leftovers for at least one, usually two meals. Try my Ultimate Shepherds Pie, or Spicy Lamb Flatbreads.

Will you be eating Roast Lamb this weekend?

Lifestyle: Happy Things #36

Happy Monday! Again, this fortnight’s been quite a quiet one – exams are just around the corner so evenings out and weekend plans have been at a minimum. That said there’s still been a lot of good food. My sense of taste came fully back after my illness (can’t believe that struck four weeks ago – time has flown by!) so I’ve been making up for the bland meals with lots of yummy eats!

    1. Feeling better again. I can’t quite believe how ill I felt – being unable to walk properly from bed to kettle was a low point to say the least.
    2. Homemade sausage rolls. We switched out the traditional pork for lamb mince, and spiked them with harissa. So good, though I’d be tempted to add a bit of finely chopped apricot for some sweetness next time.
    3. A date night out in Putney. We had cocktails at Home SW15 (my review is coming soon, promise!) including a bizarre but tasty combination of rhubarb, tequila and caper. We then ventured to Yum Saa, a newly opened Thai place. It wasn’t quite as good, yummy food but a rather cramped table, uncomfortable seats and a pricey bill left us feeling a bit deflated.
    4. A very, very yummy Vietnamese Duck & Blood Orange Salad. W just needs to taste fresh chillies before adding them as we both struggled with the heat of this one!
    5. Lunch at Borough Market. I tried something new and got a Spinach Bourek with Humus from Balkan Bites – and it was the best lunch I’ve eaten at Borough Market. Light yet filling, super tasty and indulgent, and the humus was just delicious. I’ll be eating more of them for sure!
    6. Wandering around Hever Castle with one of my besties. We snapped loads of photos, patted loads of puppies (I saw FIVE, including the most adorable baby huskies!). I have some photos I’m really proud of, so keep an eye out on my Instagram!
    7. A Doughnut Making Workshop at Bread Ahead. Not only was Justin Gelattly himself running it (fan girl moment), it was genuinely one of the best cookery classes I’ve done. We came home with 13 doughnuts, plus one eaten fresh from the fryer in class, and dough for another 12. And four big bags of honeycomb. I think I did well with W’s birthday present this year!
    8. Ordering a deep fat fryer. Mainly to make the rest of the doughnuts, but I’m also thinking proper fried chicken, onion bharjis and scotch eggs…
    9. Making a big batch of my favourite soup. It’s a simple combination of bacon, chopped carrots, celery and onion, garlic, cumin, chicken stock, red lentils and lemon juice – and it’s delicious.
    10. Picking up a dress I’ve *loved* in Oasis for months, at 70% off. Winning!

What’s making you happy right now?