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Tuesday, 28 January 2014


This is a super simple recipe that I would say anyone can make and what makes it great are that there are so many variations. For example, what kind of fruit you use, adding nuts, oats or anything you feel like really! The basic recipe involves rubbing together around 200g of plain flour with 100g of butter using your fingertips lightly. Once this becomes a crumb like texture, add sugar. Ok. I know this sounds simple, but my mum always does this to taste, so this can be several spoonfuls of caster sugar depending on how sweet you like the flavour of the crumble to be. For this recipe, we like to add a handful of crushed amaretti biscuits, which go perfectly with our plum filling. We also have a batch of stewed Victoria Plums in the freezer, leftover from summer. But stewing plums, apples, cherries etc is pretty easy and just involves heating a bit of sugar and water (or lemon juice depending on how sour your fruit it). Recipes can be found all over the internet, so don't be lazy go find one. Grease an oven dish, depending on how many you're catering for and pour in the fruit mixture. Layer on top your amaretti crumble mix and bake in the oven for around 40mins on 180c. I would add custard to the final serving, but that's me being greedy. This makes just enough for my family, so double up if you're got more to cook for. This is one of the easiest recipes to make and can be don tasting deliciously with so very few ingredients, perfect for student suppers or comfort eating!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014


Looking down my to-do list for this year one thing particularly stands out to me; I want to plan something for this summer. I'd like to go somewhere, preferably hot and beachy. I haven't been anywhere beachy in a while. Corresponding this with my bucketlist and general affordability; Greek Island hopping stands out as an affordable summer plan. The big question with Greek Island hopping is always; where do I want to go? Firstly, I know I want to visit Santorini, I've seen enough blue-topped building photos to know that that island is fine. Where else? Mykanos also conjures up stereotypical images of Mamma-Mia style paradise. Next on the list: Ios. I want to have some fun after all and this place offers enough clubs and bars to sound good enough for a night out but not bad enough to resemble an evening in Kavos. At this point all the Greek islands are starting to look all the same and there are questions on feasibility of getting to some of the more popular places. On my list I have written Paros, a quick Google search reminds me this place is rich in history and ancient sites to visit. It's important to have an equal balance of fun and learning, amiright? These mere four islands are in close enough proximity to each other and to Crete; a perfect landing point from the U.K. and an island to explore in itself. Regular flights and accommodation are easy enough to find on the cheap; but it's important to remember that these are summer hotspots and can easily book up in the months running up to summer. I'm all for an idyllic summer of sea breeze and Mediterranean sun, all that's needed here is a bit of extra planning and organisation. Any recommendations for Greek Islands/places to stay and eat are welcome!

Sunday, 19 January 2014


Since Roast and Conch opened up last year just outside of Trinity Leeds, I've been dying to go. I've just returned to Leeds from Christmas break with a list of resolutions and places I must visit pre-Canada, Roast and Conch being high up on the list. Owned by Hotel Chocolat and the people behind Borough Markets Rabot 1745 (Also on the list), Roast and Conch uses cocoa and chocolate in almost all their dishes, drawing on cocoa's spicy and nutty components to enhance dishes. To start with we were offered two cocoa pods to break open, to help us get a feel for the flavours, the cocoa nibs were surprisingly yummy, tasting very nutty and hardly bitter as I expected. We then had an amuse-bouche of winter vegetable soup, much needed in chilly Leeds, this was of course garnished with some crushed cocoa pieces. To eat; I had the 'Boucanier' salad with rare seared tuna, cocoa pesto, soft boiled eggs and hazelnut truffles. Everything was cooked to perfection and looked stunning on the plate, even the cocoa pesto complimented the tuna steak, which I was worried would overwhelm the dish. The hazelnut truffles were delicious if a little confusing plonked next to some salad leaves and potatoes. They were very sweet and I had to eat them separately, tuna + chocolate is too experimental, even for me! I also, HAD to help myself to a dessert of course...named 'Magnificent Piton' after the mountains which overlook Hotel Chocolat's Caribbean estate. The dish consisted of a soft meringue, surrounded by a chocolate soup with flaked almonds and banana slices. It was of course delicious and extremely light (I could have had two!). The ambience of Roast and Conch is very relaxed and warming, and there is plenty to read or ask about cocoat; the menu pretty much offers up the history of Hotel Chocolat, which you can also take home and fold out into a poster. In addition to this, the menu offers plenty of selection in terms of food and drink; including a rum selection to keep Captain Jack Sparrow satisfied for life.  I would love to visit again or even just sit in the downstairs cafe- with a very intriguing sounding pot of Hot White Chocolate and Jasmine. To sum up; this is a must-visit, a brilliant mix of creativity and cocoa craziness.

Monday, 6 January 2014


Have you looked outside? It's grim. And guess what? I have just the cure for that; warming alcoholic beverages of course! Saying that, you can just take out any of the alcohol in these recipes and replace it juice or something. Also if you have a cold- stick to the Lemsip for now.  One of my favourite winter drinks is mulled cider, a refreshing alternative to mulled wine. I got this recipe from Nigella of course and added a few of my own ideas into it. Pour a pint of dry cider into a wide based pan, adding 60ml of dark spiced rum and 250ml of apple and cinnamon herbal tea. Over a low heat stir 40g of dark brown sugar until dissolved into the mix. Slice 2 clementines in half and stud each segment with a clove and place them facing down into the pan. Break 2 cinnamon sticks into bits and add this with 2 fresh bay leaves and 2 crushed cardamom pods. Turn the heat down as it starts to boil and let this mull for up to an hour.

Ginger beer is another favourite of mine; which I've recently started warming up with honey whiskey. In this recipe (a take on the Moscow Mule) use plenty of ice to make a yummy cocktail pitcher. Most of this for me involved chucking various things into a jug- but if you know how to make cocktails properly, then do it your way. Use 2 parts vodka, 2 parts cranberry juice, 5 parts ginger beer and a few drops of angostura bitters. If it's a bit strong just add more juice (and if it's a bit weak visa versa). I think this would taste equally good with amaretto or honey whiskey! Feel free to experiment...errr safely.