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50 foodie things to do before you die

24 Sep
Betty's tea rooms is second on the foodie bucket list (or Betty's house, as I used to call it as a youngster. Surely she lives there?)

Betty’s tea rooms is second on the foodie bucket list (or Betty’s house, as I used to call it as a youngster. Surely she lives there?)

The appliance people at Kenwood have recently released a bucket list of all things food related. It comprises of 50 foods to eat/cook, interspersed with some of the world’s finest restaurants to be visited, before your life can be complete.

I’m not going to use this post to explore the rights and wrongs of the list, but let’s just say the list goes from the sublime to the ridiculous: from fish and chips (errr, obviously) to dining at one of California’s finest restaurants (not so much.) However, it’s an interesting read and it has inspired me to start to think about drafting my own. So, here is the list: how many have these foodie experiences have you tucked into?

1. Take-away with posh plonk

2. Afternoon tea at Betty’s

3. Fresh British asparagus

4. Marinated barbecue lamb

5. Beluga caviar

6. Bread and butter pudding

7. Breakfast at the Wolseley

8. Catching and cooking a mackerel on the beach

9. Dining at Chez Panisse, California

10. Chocolate fondant pudding

11. Eating a hotdog at a baseball game

12. Coffee and croissants at a Parisian cafe

13. Collecting and cooking fresh eggs

14. Cooking a curry from scratch

15. Cornish clotted cream

16. Crispy crackling

17. Curing raw fish at home

18. Dining at L’enclume

19. Dining at Racine

20. Fresh seafood by the sea

21. Chocolate eclairs

22. Woodland glade picnic

23. Set lunch menu at La Gavroche 

24. Blackberry picking

25. Greengages

26. Growing your own vegetables

27. Homemade mayonaisse

28. Baking your own bread

29. Making your own soup

30. Fresh honeycomb

31. Visiting Jemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech

32. Learning to joint a chicken

33. Dining at the Walnut Tree, Abergavenny

34. Making homemade ice cream

35. Making your own marmalade

36. Early morning breakfast at Carnegie Deil (New York)

37. Cooking a perfectly timed Sunday roast

38. British ale with a scotch egg

39. Guinness at the Stag’s Head, Dublin

40. Pork pies

41. Dawn fry-up at Smithfield Market, London

42. Street food in Kuala Lumpur

43. Sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

44. Take away fish and chips

45. Tapas at San Miguel Market, Madrid

46. Dining at the Seahorse, Dartmouth

47. Toasting a haggis with Scotch whisky

48. Wild British strawberries

49. International wine trail

50. Cooking chocolate cake with your children


I’m on a not too shabby 26. My favourites include street food in Kuala Lumpur (authentic satay is my absolute favourite food in the whole word) and Betty’s tea rooms (I was brought up on Betty’s caramel shortbread. Delicious.) Watch this space for my own banqueting bucket list.


Food tips for Barcelona

16 Sep

Hello fellow foodies,

A cheeky request: I’m off to Barcelona in a couple of weeks and am looking for some cost effective but super tasty places to eat.

Any ideas would be very gratefully received and I promise to blog about them all.

Thank you, Julia xx

Just off to Barcelona for a couple of days…

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

Zeffrellis, Ambleside

17 Jul

Here’s the latest in my gastro round-up of the Lakes: our experience at a vegetarian pizzeria/cinema/jazz bar (apparently this combination of places does exist…)

Persuading the boy to go to a veggie restaurant was quite a bit easier than I anticipated. I think that’s because Zeffrellis doesn’t taut itself as  a veggie, tree hugging, save the whales type place, simply a great restaurant, which happens not to serve meat.

I’m doing some work at the moment with a leading meat-free brand, and whilst I haven’t been completely converted, I do understand the health benefits of cutting meat out of your diet a few times  a week. So, I felt quite smug eating at a meat free restaurant…and decided to order a pizza!

Whilst the restaurant was lovely, the decor was like something out of 1988, but we quickly got over that and settled down with a bottle of vino. After some simple bread and olives, we both ordered Zefferellis’ version of my favourite food. The pizza base was wholemeal, so pretty healthy and very tasty. Certainly something I could get used to: I went for the Mexican; red bean chilli topped with cheddar and mozzarella, whilst the boy went for Barbaretto; feta, beetroot and jalapeno peppers. The combinations were really exciting and flavours, delicious.

I think it’s quite unusual to find something a little bit different like this, especially living in Leeds, where everything is getting fairly samey. In fact, I almost forgot we were in the countryside…until I turned round and realised we were the very last people in the restaurant. It was 10pm.

The boy’s half eaten feta and beetroot concoction

Man v Food

3 Jul

A must-watch show for anyone claiming to be a foodie, I discovered Man v Food about a year ago and became immediately hooked. For those who haven’t yet had the pleasure (although I can’t imagine anyone reading a food blog is yet to indulge!) the show is about the lovable Adam Richman who scours the United States for the country’s best eateries, completing whatever food challenges they have to offer.

Be it the spiciest or the biggest feast in town, Adam will rise to the challenge to devour the dish whilst we watch, to see who reigns victorious: man, or food. A few things surprise me about this format of show:

  • There are that many eateries in the US which boast these ‘challenges.’ I saw one show where, if you ate all the spicy sushi offered to you, the staff in the restaurant have to bow to you every time you dine there again. Who thought of that?
  • The quality of the food demonstrated in these places. You expect them to be greasy spoons, but far from it. The food they serve is top quality, locally sourced stuff. If I were planning a trip to the US I’d certainly be eating in some of Adam’s haunts

There is one thing that does not surprise me about this show:

  • Why there are so many obese people in America. I don’t think I’m making a sweeping statement here, Jamie Oliver demonstrated the facts with his Food Revolution series. It’s clear. Adam, you don’t need four of those massive burgers, or and 11lb pizza, it just isn’t necessary. I realise I’m being a bit of a bore here and missing the whole point of the show – but if these places exist in this US, there is no wonder that 42% of Americans are set to be obese by 2030. It just makes overeating ok

Despite this, I was still upset to find that Adam has thrown in his knife and fork and announced that he’s quit the series. I am very upset.

A Man v Food sized burrito (picture courtesy of

Grasmere Gingerbread

24 Jun

The village of Grasmere is just a few miles down the road from where we were staying in Ambleside. Despite being taken here as a child (I’m pretty sure anyway) I had no idea the place was famous for gingerbread. One of my favourites.

I’m not talking gingerbread in the shape of a person. I’m talking, big, chunky, delicious slices of the stuff. The proper  home of the traditional gingerbread is Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread shop. It’s a tiny, twee little place where the friendly staff where uncomfortable looking, slightly cringy Victorian wear, complete with bonnets and aprons. Once the boy and I entered the shop, it was basically full, so I can imagine long queues down the street in the height of the tourist season. The shop and factory are both in this tiny building and the smell of ginger in there is amazing. The gingerbread is unbelievable, so tasty and light and much softer than the gingerbread we’re used to. Legend would have it that the secret recipe is locked in the vault of the Nat West bank in Ambleside.

Despite the olde worlde nature of the business, you can buy their gingerbread online – so it’s probably going to turn into a bit of an addiction! Watch this space…

I’ll never buy another gingerbread man again…

Apple Pie Bakery, Ambleside

16 Jun

The Apple Pie Bakery, Ambleside

I’ve just returned from a few days in the lovely Lake District. I’ll be honest, the countryside isn’t usually my sort of thing, but this week we were up for a bit of doing nothing, so we decided to give it a go. I surprised myself at how much I enjoyed the walking, which was interspersed with plenty of pub crawling and tea shop frequenting.

The best tea shop by far is the Apple Pie Bakery in Ambleside. I know this because we stayed just next door at Rooms at the Apple Pie. These four star rooms are absolute steal at £60 per night and come with everything you could possibly need: super comfortable king size bed, i pod docking station, flat screen TV, huge wine glasses and some scrummy complimentary ginger bread from the bakery next door. They’re right in the heart of the village too, just a stumble away from the best pubs and restaurants in the area.

Staying so close, we sampled as much as we could of the Apple Pie Bakery’s menu and were never disappointed. Local sausages and bacon for breakfast, sandwiches and scones for a mid-walk picnic and lots and lots of tasty cake. I can highly recommend the ginger cake whilst the boy is now in love with their bath buns – sweet pastry filled with dried fruit.

More of my Lake District foodie finds to follow…

Tasty treats in the window