A few weekends ago I was sick, really run down, the weather was awful too. Luckily I knew just what medicine I needed… a big bowl of comforting onion soup…

I had never made it before, it takes a long time but it’s so worth it, and I really enjoyed pottering around the kitchen when it cooked. 


Serves 4 smallish portions…

You need;
80g butter, plus a little extra for the toasts
4 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbsp plain flour
3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
400ml medium cider
600ml good-quality beef stock
Dash of calvados or other brandy
8 slices of baguette
1 clove of garlic, halved
100g Gruyère, grated

1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed pan over a low heat. Add the onions, season and cook, stirring regularly, until caramelised and deep brown. (Once they’ve softened, you can turn up the heat a little, but keep an eye on them.) This will probably take between 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your nerve.

2. Stir in the flour and thyme and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring, then add the vinegar and a third of the cider, stirring and scraping all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the rest of the cider and the stock, and bring to the boil. Simmer for about an hour. Meanwhile, heat the grill and rub the baguette slices with the cut side of the garlic clove. Brush with melted butter, and toast on both sides.

3. Add the brandy to the soup and check the seasoning. To serve, ladle into ovenproof dishes and top with 2 croutons and a mound of cheese. Grill until golden, then serve immediately.

Recipe from The Guardian


The Weekend…

February 25, 2013


I am back… a few people have asked if everything is okay, let me take this chance to say that everything is fine, I am just really busy at work and at home which has affected everything else organisation-wise… I am trying hard to get myself organised again and get some blogs together.

I have had some lovely weekends which I am really sorry I didn’t get a chance to blog, I feel like I might forget nice times if I don’t have a record of them… this isn’t true of course but I do love having this little diary.

I have to mention last weeks beautiful sunny days, cold they were but they made me believe that spring is around the corner… I took the scenic route to work and went for frozen yogurt at lunch… I am so excited when the sun appears.

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It was my husbands birthday last week, so this weekend his family came to stay and we ate our way around Bristol… seriously. The rest of this diary is all food.

We had a quiet morning at home on Saturday when I ate far too much toast with raspberry curd… my new obsession.

I was also very happy to learn that I can now buy beautiful Rifle Paper Co stationary in Paperchase… they are my favourite but I always had to bulk buy to justify the shipping… no more!

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We spent the day visiting my Mr’s favourite spots with his sister and her boyfriend, that of course meant a visit to his favourite lunch spot Grillstock for some amazing pulled pork rolls and cornbread.

We love that there’s an Irish pub nearby with a real fire that let you bring your own lunch, so we headed there to keep warm and munch, with added Guinness. 

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Then we went for coffee and hot chocolates at Small St Espresso, and beers at Brewdog… so many great places in Bristol right now… 

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Dinner was tapas at Manna, with my parent-in-law joining us we certainly managed the majority of the menu… I have wanted to visit Manna for ever, so many people who really know their food have recommended it but with it being a drive away rather than a walk we have never made it.

It was so good, and despite it being a slight trek for us I have no doubt that we will be going back. The food and the service was faultless, we had a great night celebrating.

If you haven’t been yet, go, and get the Salt Cod Croquetas, we ordered three of those… the Robiola cheese with came with the most beautiful honeycomb (I need more of this in my life) and Medjool dates, also the cauliflower Slow cooked in yoghurt with pinenuts, coriander and caramelized butter. All of those are still in my memory this morning… delicious.

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Then there was much drinking… and a few sore heads the next day so it was a slow morning at home with Biggie. 

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Then the final treat… Sunday lunch at the Pony and Trap. Another spot  I have wanted to visit for a while.

I can tell you it definitely lives up to the hype. It was easily the best Sunday roast I have ever had, I find pork a comforting meal normally, not a wow meat, but this was melt in the mouth and so full of taste, apparently the beef was also beautiful. We were all very quiet for quite some kind when our food arrived. 

Also the vegetables were all beautiful, a really wide variety and all cooked perfectly (savoy cabbage, peas, carrots, rainbow beetroot, parsnips, duck fat potatoes… also cauliflower and leek cheese!) Anywhere that serves cauliflower cheese wins at roasts in my opinion. Mine also came with a celeriac puree and home-made apple sauce, they also had fresh horseradish!

Also the views are beautiful. I do love a good Somerset valley.

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We skipped starters as the puddings were all our favourites, the sticky toffee pudding, with plenty of sauce and salted caramel ice cream (the best flavour in the world) was so light and not too sickly.

The crumble was also great, I was lucky and me and the Mr spilt them both. Almond custard and a crispy topping with lovely fruit. So good.

We were left with a warm happy full glow that can only come from a good Sunday roast.

Also the shortbread… lighter than air and delicious coffee. I need to learn how to do that. 

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Then since we couldn’t possibly have fitted in cheese at the pub we got some on the way home and snacked on it that evening instead of an actual meal (so not needed)… and I started watching Mad Men again… a perfect evening in my eyes! 

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So many ‘awesome’s and ‘amazing’s in this post. I apologise.

Do take my advice go visit these places… if you haven’t already, I am late to the party.

Happy Monday!

Pause for a moment…

February 11, 2013


I am having one of those times where I need to pause… everything.

I will be back soon with hopefully a refreshed mindset and some better blogs


Everyone needs to make this sauce, you will never buy ready-made pasta sauce again!

This recipe is from the Square Food Foundation from the pasta course I did last year, I highly recommend it for the basics!

You need; (for two)
½ large onion, finely chopped
1 fat clove of garlic, minced
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
sprig or two of thyme
1 bay leaf
olive oil
salt and pepper 
a little sugar

I absolutely love making this… the smells from the start will make your mouth water…


1. Using a heavy saucepan, sweat the onions in a little olive oil until soft. Then add the leaves from the sprig of thyme and add to the onions along with the bay leaf. Next add the garlic, stir briefly and cook a little longer. Finally add the tomato puree, stir and cook a little longer.

2. Add the tinned tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer. Add about 1tsp of salt and some black pepper.
For this sauce to be its best you need to cook this sauce for perhaps 3 or 4 hours on a very low heat. I mean very low!
However I have from time to time made it and cooked for a little over 30 minutes and it’s still great, not quite as good but still worth it.

3. Taste the sauce and add a pinch of sugar if it is particularly sharp; sometimes tinned tomatoes need a little extra sweetness.
To stop it sticking, you will not only have to stir it occasionally but also, until the final half hour, add a little water every so often to prevent it getting too thick and reduced before it has had the time to become sweet and concentrated in flavour.


The finished sauce should be dark red, silky textured and delicious. 

It can be used as a base for pizza or a spaghetti sauce or with meatballs. I had some with some shop bought ravioli last night and it was delicious.


A staple for sure… I plan on making a bit pot this weekend and cooking it for hours for my fridge.

Swoon Round Up

February 1, 2013


Love the above sentiment… seen here

I am obsessed with this ring and must make it mine… maybe a treat for Valentines just for me

You GOTTA watch this short film by Disney, its too lovely

I am building my bar and cocktail accessories collections, these fun coasters would complete it

I am so in love with this dress, I can totally dreeam on though. I would wear it with black mary janes and an alice band.


Today we start a new month, I for one am so excited about the mornings and evenings getting longer and starting to be light…

This weekend I will be tidying and spring cleaning and making lots of healthy food, very boring but necessary.