mmm… a truly North Eastern foodie gem

Simone outside Mmm... in Grainger Market

While I was up in Newcastle with the in-laws over the Christmas holidays I was let loose for an afternoon of child-free shopping in town. Did I head for the sales? No, I actively avoided the sweaty scrum of the clothes shops and made a bee-line for artisan food shop mmm… who I’ve been following for […]

Children’s cutlery review and competition


Trying to get young children to sit at a table and eat properly is a daily challenge. Sam my four year old is a pretty good eater. I put it down to his going to daycare nursery from 11 months and sitting around a table with his peers and tucking into a good meal every […]

Christmas Cranberry scoffins with cream cheese frosting

Frosted, sprinkled with white choc stars and ready to be noshed!

I had some cranberries left over from my chutney making sesh, so I decided to make some festive and fruity cupcakes. Their texture is kind of a hybrid between muffins and scones – and after Matthew took them into the Fire Training HQ they were declared ‘Scoffins’ – so that is their name forever more! […]

A jar of Christmas cheer: Cranberry and Apple Chutney


My trio of Christmas preserves is finally complete! The last instalment is a chutney to liven up a plate of cold meats or transform a cheese sarnie into something a little bit special. Cranberries are such a jolly looking fruit, the various shades of red make a stunning little festive display. I’ve not been organised […]

Review: Sweet Spiced Chicken in the Miele Steam Oven

Dinner is served

I’ve had the Miele DG 1450 Steam Oven on trial at home in my kitchen for the past month in a test to see how useful it’d be to a family cook. I’ve used a plug-in Tefal steamer before, plus a basket on top of a pan of boiling water, so I was looking forward […]

The power of cake – a cupcake decorating masterclass

My 10 decorated cupcakes

The reward for being a judge for Tesco Real Food‘s Christmas Cupcake Decorating competition was to attend a masterclass with top cake guru Mich Turner MBE of The Little Venice Cake Company. Matthew kindly took the day off to look after the boys so I could swan off to the glam Make Lounge in Islington, […]

Sweet Christmas gifts: Chocolate Almond Buttercrunch Toffee

Sam chopping chocolate

When Sam started Reception in September, nothing prepared me for the level of organisation you need as a parent. It’s like some kind of mental agility test on a daily basis. Today you need to remember to dress your child in blue, next Wednesday they must dress as a nursery rhyme character, this Friday can […]

Plum and Mulled Wine Jam

Fresh plums

Having waited long enough to hoard a few more empty jars after my last marmalade-making episode somewhat depleted my stocks, I’ve now embarked on producing some festive-themed jam to add to my home-made Christmas present stash. My family are being treated to a trio of festive preserves this year. I made Pink Grapefruit and Cranberry […]

Winter entertaining – cocktails and curry

Apple Rum Cocktail

I had my university friends over for dinner at the weekend – it was originally meant to be festive drinks in town, but I suggested a cosy dinner at my place would avoid the seasonal mayhem and expense of central London. I then got mildly freaked out that I’d not cooked for a dinner party […]

Warming goulash – defy the chill!


Cold snap or is this the way winter manifests itself these days? Whatever it is, the UK loves to grind to a standstill the minute a flake of snow appears. Well really I mean London, coz hardened Northerners are quite used to getting a foot or two of snow without whinging about it on Radio […]