Archive | August, 2012

Easy shortbread recipe

28 Aug

I’m no Great British Bake Off contestant, but I wanted to share my shortbread recipe. Super easy and super tasty. You need:

130g butter

60g caster sugar (and extra for sprinkling)

130g plain flour

130g cornflour

a dash of salt

an extract of vanilla pod

some grated fresh ginger

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl, then add the flours and salt. Don’t worry if it looks crumbly at this point, it’s supposed to! Add the vanilla and ginger, then pack the mixture into a baking try lined with greaseproof paper. Chill the mixture for half an hour before baking for another half an hour until golden brown. Once cooked, leave to cool and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

That’s it. Simple.

Simple shortbread with vanilla and ginger


Sweet-tasting broccoli

24 Aug

Working in PR, I know that some news stories need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Not because they’re lies, we’d never do that, but some do use a little bit of creative license. I’m in two minds about this one…new sweet-tasting broccoli has been launched in Tesco, to persuade more children to eat their greens. I didn’t know that we could just ‘invent’ new vegetables.

But Tesco isn’t the first retailer to hit the headlines with new fangled healthy fruit and veg. After announcing the papple ( a cross between a pear and an apple) Marks and Spencer has recently brought the grango into our lives. A grape that tastes like a mango? Really? Apparently they’re on sale until the end of September, but I haven’t seen any yet.

Are these genuinely healthy, new varieties of healthy food to help us get our five-a-day? Or a new PR tactic to entice health-conscious shoppers into supermarkets?

Healthy stuff

Magnum Pop Up Cafe, Westfield Stratford

22 Aug

On a cheeky trip to the Olympics, I finally paid a trip to the Magnum Pop Up Cafe.

It’s the opportunity to customize your very own Magnum, from the flavour of ice cream, topping and even chocolate coating. Delicious. Choose from 18 weird and wonderful flavours, from popping candy, and rose petals to sprinkles and sauces, the choice is certainly varied.

The pop up has been open all summer, but will only be around for another week or so, shutting on September 5th. What flavour would you choose?

Magnum Menu

Friends of Ham

16 Aug


Friends of Ham

It’s always exciting when a new, not so run-of-the-mill place opens in Leeds. It doesn’t happen very often.  The recent arrival of Vineatily has resulted in quite a bit of hard-earned cash from myself and my friends being parted with behind the bar there. But it is totally worth it!

But now there is a new kid on the block, with a lovely, quirky name, Friends of Ham! You’ll not be surprised to hear that the main delicacy on the menu is ham, whilst its ‘friends’ consist of; cheese, lovely wine, specialty beers and specials including pork pies and fruit cakes with Wensleydale.

Situated on the station approach road in the centre of Leeds, I’ll be honest, it isn’t the most glam and happening part of town. But I don’t think that matters. It’s a little haven amongst the buses, trains Yates’ of this world!

Walking into the deli/wine bar can at first be mildly confusing. It’s a tiny room, engulfed by a large meat slicer with a few mini stools squeezed underneath a makeshift bar for good measure. It’s small to say the least. But where the magic really happens is downstairs, where Friends of Ham opens up into an oasis of shabby chic, comfortable and relaxing, not at all pretentious. Its Shuffleboard table, faux library wallpaper and sturdy, rustic wooden tables are crying out for long, lazy afternoons of drinking. So on an afternoon off work last week, that’s exactly what we did!

The range of ham, cheese, wines and beers served is extensive, originating from all over the UK and Europe. The food is served on lovely wooden platters with bread, crackers and chutneys.   Delicious. They even serve port for a bargain £2.50 – I certainly have more of the menu to sample!

Friends of Ham, 4 New Station Road, Leeds.

Some ‘friends’ but no ham


My chilli recipe

4 Aug

Some of my favourite friends came over for tea the other week. I made chilli. My friends were very kind about my chilli (but they have to be, they’ve known me a long time!) so I promised I’d share my recipe with them. I thought I’d share it with you too.

You know me, I don’t really do measures, but the ingredients are: pork mince (much tastier than beef) kidney beans, chopped onion, courgette, carrots and pepper (any colour) tinned tomatoes, coriander seeds (crushed) fresh coriander, fresh chillis, cumin, paprika, a splash of port, grated lime zest and seasoning.

It’s pretty obvious what to do with the ingredients, so I won’t bore you. However, one tip would be to cook the veggies and then take them out so they don’t go soggy and then add them back in later on once everything is bubbling and lovely.

I serve my chilli with brown rice, sour cream, strong cheese. And wine.

Secret weapon: my new chilli plant