Goodbye 2016 – Hello New Year!

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changeI’m writing this before the New Year as I know I’ll probably feel different once the New Year hits as I will have had some time off as well as a break which I’m really looking forward to but a new year is always something positive to look forward to. I read over my blog post from the end of 2013 where I made this list of goals and remember feeling so positive, however it’s crazy to look back and not know what the year ahead will bring.

This year has probably been one of the most challenging for me. I’ve struggled quite a lot with decisions and feelings of regret, pondering what ifs and ways of thinking that get you absolutely nowhere. There’s been probably more down days than up but it’s also been a huge turning point year in my life. I remember being 22, and someone asked me what’s been your biggest turning point and I remember looking at them blankly as at that time in my life I didn’t really have one or quite know what they meant but I certainly know what the term means now.

A turning point can usually involve a great deal of struggle, a lot of conflict and resisting of change but when you break through it you get to such a different point where you do feel a shift, a change. And it doesn’t happen overnight either, it’s a long slog but I suppose you learn that certain things happen in life to teach you, to make you realise that you have been focusing on the wrong things and now it’s time to reassess, to appreciate the little things more and the people in your life and to also follow a path that’s right for you.

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A Feast for all at Taste of London – Festive Edition

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Last weekend at Tobacco DockTaste of London brought an amazing selection of food stalls, party atmosphere & delicious mulled wine for their Festive Edition to celebrate the Christmas season.

The event fell across three days with the option of going for the morning/afternoon slot or evening slot. The incredible venue, Tobacco Dock, was decorated with plenty of tinsel, lights and housed 20 of London’s latest and top restaurants offering visitors a delicious menu of more than 80 dishes to try.

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BBC Good Food Show 2016

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img_3796img_3805perkier_No autumn is complete without the BBC Good Food Show. It’s one of those annual events you look forward to months before it even happens. When I was on the train on my way to the show there were so many mums with their daughters, families together, happy and excited on their way to the event.

Held at London Olympia, this was my third time at the BBC Good Food show and I loved it just as much as the first time going. I remember thinking right we’ll just go for two hours and that will be plenty. Five hours later we were still there! Olympia is huge and with over a hundred stands you can’t just whizz around it, well you can but then find you want to whizz around it five more times.

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I went with my friend Sarah who has never been before and had no idea what to expect and she absolutely loved it. Continue reading

Treat yourself with this Raw Snickers Cake

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snickers-raw-cake_ raw-cake-snickers raw-snickers_cakeOur Clandestine Cake club fell on Halloween for the month of October however we decided to go against tradition of making Halloween/scary/pumpkin cakes and the theme instead was favourite chocolate bars.

As a terribly indecisive person, usually when I learn of the theme for cake club I spend a good bit of time deciding on what to make (there can always be so many options) and then end up changing my mind last minute.  However, this month as soon as I learnt what the theme was I chose my chocolate bar straight away which meant I just needed to find/think up a recipe for it.

For me I am a huge chocolate lover and have many favourite chocolate bars, turnock caramel bar (yes please) whittakers coconut slab & that new dairy milk bar with white, dark and milk chocolate (yum!),  however one bar which I love in both its bar form and as an ice cream is snickers. Continue reading

Halloween just wouldn’t be the same without some Pumpkin Pie

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pie_pumpkinpumpkin-pieHalloween is one of my favourite seasons. I have so many fun memories of it from childhood starting with playing bobbing apples and having a nose filled with water, to having friends over to watch horror films as well as the yearly tradition of watching Hocus Pocus or Practical Magic!

I used to love trick or treating and continued going until I was far too old! One year, my siblings and I went knocking on our neighbours doors and one person asked for a trick instead of a treat and we had nothing for them so the following year we filled a plastic bag with rotten eggs and ketchup and made them put their hand inside. Wild I know.

One of my favourite memories was watching the film Candyman with my friend Christopher when we were about 13 years old and we were sitting in a room where there was a mirror directly to Christopher’s left. In the scene where Candyman comes out from the mirror I remember screaming so much and then laughing hysterically after at how scared we both were.

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It’s tea, not potpourri – Tearoute Launches in London

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As a huge fan of tea I was pretty excited to be invited to the press night of tearoute last Tuesday night which took place at the Albion in Farringdon. Tearoute is an online tea shop offering a Greek twist on teas with a choice of over 80, and home delivery now available across the UK and Europe. Set up by Milena Bottero, entrepreneur and tea enthusiast, tearoute introduces a beautifully aromatic selection of whole leaf teas inspired by the Mediterranean and top quality single origin teas from Asia. When choosing the tea of your choice not only does tearoute provide you with a beautiful image of the tea but you are informed about where the tea is from, how it makes you feel, what its scent is and what food pairing it can go with. Continue reading

TeaRoute- Introducing tea with a twist!

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alexandria-symphony-fruit-tea natural-ingredients-of-autumn-sonata-tea-including-almond-pieces-cactus-blossoms-and-vanilla-pieces Milena Bottero, entrepreneur and tea enthusiast, launches tearoute.co.uk – an online tea shop offering a Greek twist on teas with a choice of over 80, and home delivery now available across the UK and Europe.

Tearoute introduces a beautifully aromatic selection of whole leaf teas inspired by the Mediterranean and top quality single origin teas from Asia. Shoppers are invited to navigate the extensive list of flavoured teas, wellness teas and true origin white, green and black teas, making this online store a one-stop shopping hub for those seeking tea blends with natural ingredients including essential oils, dried fruits, flower blossoms and spices.

This new online tea shop has been brought to the UK by Milena, who along with her uncle JeanMarie Verlet who founded the family company in Greece in 2001, works with farmers in Epirus, Thessaly and the Peloponnese. Together they have travelled to tea gardens in China, Japan and India looking for small producers who share their passion for amazing aromas and unusual flavours. Continue reading

Step into Italy at Vicino

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Insalata Tricolore mozzarella, plum tomato & avocado salad based with pesto sauce (v) (n) gf -ú7.5 (1) vicino vicino_ Casarecce Con Ragu Di Salsiccia Piccante twisted pasta with a spicy tuscan sausage ragu -ú10 (1)Last Wednesday night my friend Ali and I dined at the charming Italian restaurant known as Vicino. Vicino serves genuine Italian cooking from the heart. Home-cooked authentic Italian cuisine is served in this favourite local neighbourhood restaurant nestled in the leafy borough of Parsons Green

Vicino is the Italian meaning for “neighbour” and the restaurant was given this name by one of their regular customers who is now a part of the family.

Known all over London for its fresh Billingsgate Market lobster, Vicino customers are loyal friends and locals who have been coming to this restaurant for years. Guests travel all over London to have Vicino’s delicious Linguine con Aragosta, Vino Bianco, Aglio e Peperoncino – which is Whole Lobster with Linguine, with White Wine Sauce, Garlic, Olive Oil & Chilli .

Lobster Spaghetti (2)Vicino restaurant is simply beautiful. Decorated with vintage Italian posters and hanging garlic, you feel as you enter that you have stepped into a little part of Italy. At 7.30 the restaurant was already full and Ali and I couldn’t wait to see what was on offer on the menu.

There is a wide selection of what to choose on the menu. Head chef Marco Moscoloni brings his traditional Tuscan cooking to Vicino. Having developed his love for seafood cooking working at 5 star restaurants by the Adriatic Sea, Marco landed the role of junior sous chef at Saraghino restaurant at the age of 17. He then broadened his experience in a number of restaurants in Mayfair and Chelsea, such as Convivio and Dolada, where he experimented with fine dining and new cooking techniques. 

At the helm of Vicino, Marco has developed a number of signature recipes of his own from his hometown Marche – Casareece Sausages, White Lasagne porcino mushroom and truffle, Linguine Cartuccio, pappardelle with veal straccetti or his seafood fish stew, that have since become a staple of his cooking.

With this knowledge and with the recommendation of the lobster Ali and I knew what we wanted for our mains but for starters we opted for the Insalata Tricolore mozzarella -plum tomato & avocado salad based with pesto sauce which was presented beautifully and probably one of the tastiest starters I have had as well as the Prosciutto e Fichi -parma ham with fresh figs, goat cheese crumbled & aged balsamic. I love any dish with goat’s cheese in and the cheese accompanied with fig was fresh, sweet and delicious.

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Prosciutto e Fichi parma ham with fresh figs, goat cheese crumbled & aged balsamicFor mains I went for the Spaghetti all’Aragosta – half fresh lobster, served with spaghetti in tomato, garlic & chilli sauce which definitely lives up to its rave reviews. Ali had the Casarecce Con Ragu Di Salsiccia Piccante – twisted pasta with a spicy tuscan sausage ragu which she thoroughly enjoyed. The portions are very decent in size meaning you’re pretty full halfway through the dish but because both were so delicious, we just had to finish them. We had a glass of the Sauvignon Blanc, poeta della Vigna- which was a wonderful accompaniment to the pasta dishes.
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sausage ragu We didn’t have room for dessert but again with such a wonderful selection of desserts on the menu, we had to try one. Ali opted for the Zabaglione a light dessert of whipped sugar & eggs flavoured with Marsala, traditionally whisked by hand in a copper bowl which was light, delicious and boozy whilst I opted for the chocolate and passion fruit cheesecake. I don’t think you can go wrong with ordering cheesecake and this one definitely didn’t disappoint.

Zabaglione - a light dessert of whipped sugar & eggs flavoured with Marsala, traditionally whisked by hand in a copper bowl -ú4.5 (1)

Lemon Cheese Cake (2)We left the restaurant with painful but satisfied tummies and a really enjoyable evening. It is the perfect place to go to for a date, with family or to catch up with friends, where you can get an incredible meal for fantastic value. Vicino’s charm, atmosphere and classic delicious food guarantees loyal customers who when craving a taste of Italy know exactly where to come.

 

Foodies Festival Returns to Alexandra Palace Park 27th – 29th August

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London Set for a Taste-Bud-Tickling Bank Holiday as Foodies Festival Returns to Alexandra Palace Park 27th – 29th August

Londoners in search of a Bank Holiday Weekend filled with food and fun should head to Foodies Festival at Alexandra Palace Park this weekend (27-29th August) as the UK’s biggest celebration of food & drink returns to the capital with a lip-smacking line-up of foodie fun.

The ever-expanding Street Food Avenue is the highlight of this weekend’s festival, featuring some of London’s favourite street food traders as well as flavours and delicacies from around the world, which visitors can enjoy in the giant Feasting Tent.  
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An Artisan Market showcases over 100 award-winning producers from across the country for festival-goers to sample and shop from, and a new Vintage Tea Tentserving afternoon tea offers a relaxing retreat with cakes, scones, finger sandwich and a selection of teas served on vintage china. Continue reading

Spiced Salmon and Mango Cous Cous

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salmon & mango cous cous salmon & mango vegetable cous cous

Summer has finally arrived, meaning soups are out the window and summer salads are in. When the weather’s sunny I always find I want to make something quick and easy in the kitchen so I can spend more time outside enjoying it.

This delicious salmon dish is light, easy to make and perfect for summer. I recently made it with my friend Maz after a lovely day of sunny hiking (where we both realised we need to get fitter!) and rather than coming home and indulging in sugary food and a stodgy dinner we vowed to make something healthy.

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