Making Fresh Gozitan Cheese with Rikardu in Gozo, Malta

Scenes from Gozo.

Gozo is the second of the three Maltese islands. When you consider that the smallest has only three (elderly) inhabitants, and that Gozo itself is only 8.7 x 4.5 miles, you might be surprised to learn that Gozo has a food culture all of its own. Best among this is the Gozitan fresh cheese, Ġbejniet. I made it my mission to meet a cheesemaker while I was on the island and explore this. The world is a smaller tighter place when you can get close to the origins of your food, and the people who make it.

Ġbejniet is made daily by small farmers (one I met, Victor, from the charming Dreams of Horses farm has just a few sheep and makes it daily). I managed to track down Rikardu, who has a farm with 200 sheep and goats which he milks by hand daily, and then makes fresh cheese with the milk while it is still warm. He sells the cheese in his restaurant Ta’ Rikardu, where you can have the fresh cheese (Ġbejniet) on its own, or a platter for two of fresh cheese, wind dried cheese and peppered cheese (at just €8.95). .

Rikardu, making his cheese.

Rikardu starts by adding rennet to the milk. The rennet which he uses now is a commercial product, however, before the tradition was to kill a suckling sheep and use the stomach (from which rennet is obtained) to set the cheese by letting it sit in the whey for 3 days. This whey would then be used for up to a few months. The milk, with rennet added, is allowed to sit until it sets, which takes about 20 minutes. Rikardu then pours it into individual moulds (little plastic baskets, really), which are allowed to drain for about 10 minutes, before each cheese is turned within gently, all by hand. The cheese is good to eat a few hours later, and for up to a couple of days. Rikardu showed me an original wicker mould too, but these are expensive now and also less practical when it comes to cleaning them.

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What to Eat in Madrid & Where to Eat It

Madrid is a serious food city. It is also a city that parties hard and keeps extremely late hours. I went to bed early each night over the weekend that I was there, at 3am. Woah, Madrid! Madrileños eat as they drink, and that eating is a serious business. Their expectations are high, and so they should be, quality abounds, and once you steer clear of the tourist joints, you will eat well.

This list is based on my last trip there, a week ago. It is well researched and sampled, but not exhaustive. Madrid is brilliant and exciting in that it has an enviable list of great places to eat. Which is why I plan to go back there as soon as I can manage it. For this trip, I asked the locals, as only people who live there can have the full breadth of experience required to pick a sample for a weekend.

Conspicuously absent on this list until my return is Callos Madrileños (Madrid style tripe), Cocido Madrileño (a heavy chickpea based stew) and DiverXO (Madrid’s exciting 3* restaurant). The first two seemed more wintry, so I decided to save them for a trip in a colder time, and DiverX0 needs very early booking and a day dedicated to it.

Eat Cochinillo (Suckling Pig) at Los Galayos & Santceloni

I enquired of a local, where should I eat suckling pig in Madrid? He replied, well of course I don’t eat it in Madrid, I head to the small villages in the Sierras where it is the best. I despaired a little, I didn’t have time to go to the Sierras. But, where should I eat it in Madrid? OK: Los Galayos is best, and that is where the locals go, was what he disclosed. There is also Botín, the oldest restaurant in the world (according to the Guinness Book of Records) and where Hemmingway is said to have eaten two suckling pigs with two bottles of rioja in one seating. It is supposed to be excellent, but it is firmly on the tourist map, so I chose the local alternative, which was just around the corner. The suckling pig (less than one month old) was tender and sublime, with a thin crisp crackling surfing a rich glorious fat. A large portion, it was very well priced at €21.75. At the other end of the scale, the suckling pig loin at two michelin starred Santceloni is steeper at €53, but it is excellently executed. It is served as racks of ribs and loin which are roasted to the point where the flesh is moist and luscious and there is a perfect crisp skin.

Eat Anything (Everything?) at StreetXo

StreetXo, the street food offering from DiverXO’s 3 star chef David Muñoz in El Corte Inglés, is one of the most exciting restaurants that I have eaten at this year. Creative and inspired, each dish was sharp, elegant and full of flavour. There is one u shaped counter around the open kitchen, with some stools. I chose to stand. I stood there for 3 hours, and ate as much as I could. No dish disappointed and there was lots of surprises.

David happened to be there on the night that I visited, and he said that the menu changes all the time, so while I can’t say for sure that these dishes will be on when you visit, try anything, and if the peking dumpling with pigs ear or the butter fish are on, dive in. I ate too much and had a few glasses of wine, and my bill was still less than €50. It opens at 8.30, and I arrived 5 minutes later. All the seats were gone, but I got a space at the counter. Anyone who arrived after had to wait, so do get there early. (Note: StreetXO relocates from El Corte Inglés to a bigger premises in Madrid in November).

Eat Churros & Porras with Coffee or Chocolate

I am sure you are all familiar with churros but when in Madrid you must also have the local version, porras. Porras translates as truncheon, and reflects the larger size, which is even better for absorbing what you dip it into. It is common in Spain to dip churros in hot thick chocolate, but in Madrid, locals prefer to dip it in coffee, which became my perfect regular breakfast while I was there. Seek out a Fabrica de Churros & Patatas Fritas, most neighbourhoods have them, and it is where locals go to buy fresh patatas fritas (crisps!), churros and porras. Chocolatería San Ginés, one of Madrid’s oldest cafés, is very popular with tourists but is still very good, and locals love it too. Go there to have them with chocolate.

Go to Madrid’s Markets

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A Day in Valletta, Malta: Breakfast, Lunch & Culture

I am reaching the end of a serious stint of work related travels, bouncing in and out of London and landing in Ireland, Malaysia, Portugal (travelling North to South), Madrid and now Malta. Malta is the perfect place to finish. Based on the sleepy island of Gozo (the locals pronounce it Goh-zoh, all slowly), the only thing that moves quickly here are the cats darting for your food, or me, darting for mine. Occasionally.

I have been really enjoying my gentle explorations. More on Gozo soon, for I am not finished here yet. Lets starts with Valletta. Yesterday, I headed for the Maltese metropolis, for a wander and bite to eat. Gozo locals think Malta quite intense and busy, and sure, by Gozo standards this is so. For me, it was dreamy and peaceful. Valletta is not an excessively large city, but there is much to see.

The entirety of Valletta, is protected by UNESCO, and it is so pretty. Lofty limestone houses with windows jutting out, just to see what you are doing below. Painted to match the limestone, occasionally green, pops of red and some blue. At times, these seem to reach to each other across narrow alleys that stretch to the sea, never reaching, always hoping, always calm. Lots of steps, some hills, gorgeous parks like the Lower Barrakka Gardens, overlooking the sea, complete with a folly of a neoclassical temple within. There are lots of churches, standing proud, and St John’s Cathedral, boasting the work of the Knights of St John, including some by one of their most famous members, Caravaggio (who was eventually defrocked). The water surrounding the walled city of Valletta, in the sun an electric blue, gives Malta a sometimes surreal feel as it slinks against the city walls.

I start with a wander, as I always do, and I have a list, but I only have a day here, so I have to choose. I start with breakfast at Prego, an old Maltese café, with some of the best pastizzi in town, crisp flaky pastry, almond shaped and filled with fluffy ricotta which peeps out to say hello. I also tried a qassat, taller and plump with split peas, made of a shorter thicker pastry with a lid on top (nice but more appropriate for a heavier day, I think).

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Greetings from Gozo, Malta

Greetings from Gozo! A small island, just under 9 x 4.5 miles,  and part of the Maltese archipelago, I am based here for 5 days exploring the island, and a little of Malta too. I have just arrived, the photos above are from my (25 minute) ferry journey from Malta. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

Despite its size, Gozo is the second largest island of the Maltese archipelago, and it has much to explore. Gorgeous scenery, those azure waters, and hillside villages. Lots of fish and rabbit on the food front, pastries like pastizzi, mahi mahi pie, and that is just the tip of it. The locals are very keen to tell me it is Winter, but it is 26 degrees C and I am toasty warm. After spending a day in London battling the rain, it is a lovely change.

You can follow my adventures on twitter and also those of my travelling companions, who are all bloggers but maybe are not so food obsessed. What?! I know. Check in on the #MaltaIsMore hashtag on twitter, instagram and facebook.

Tips are welcome, as always! Thanks.

I am visiting Malta for Blog Island, created and sponsored by Malta Tourism Authority in partnership with iambassador. All editorial is my own, as always. 

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Taste Portugal: A Day on the Algarve Clam Digging & Cooking with Heinz Beck [Part 2: Heinz Beck’s Recipe for Green Tortelloni with Frutti di Mare]

Making Heinz Beck’s Green Tortellini with Fruitti di Mare 

So,  you have just been out foraging for clams with a 3* chef. You have fallen over on the boat (just a few scratches), and you have a wicker basket full of clams. What do you do next? Head to the kitchen, of course.

Getting a chance to cook with Heinz Beck in his kitchen at Gusto at The Conrad, Algarve was a treat. He is (obviously) talented, but he is also very thoughtful, helpful and open to food writers blundering around his kitchen. We cooked 2 dishes, Bacalhau with Herbs, Pepper sauce and Fennel and Green Tortellini con Frutti di Mare, both flavourful, light and healthy, and just what my body is screeching for at the moment. I am on a bit of a fresh pasta kick – you will have noticed – so I will share the pasta recipe with you now. It seems complex, but it is all achievable, and it is a perfect lunch for friends. Just give it time, perhaps get your friends to pitch in as you do it.


Ps. – passionate pastanistas out there, there are only 2 places left for my full day pasta cooking class on Saturday 18th October. There are still places for the later dates, but they are filling up.

RECIPE: Green Tortellini con Frutti di Mare

adapted from Heinz Beck 

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Taste Portugal: A Day on the Algarve Clam Digging & Cooking with Heinz Beck [Part 1: How to Catch a Razor Clam & Visiting an Oyster Farm]

I have a terrible life, I know. Last Tuesday, my last day in Portugal on a trip to explore the food and drink (as a guest of Taste Portugal), we finished with a terrific day clam digging and cooking with 3* German but Rome based chef, Heinz Beck. Heinz also has a restaurant in the Algarve at the Conrad, you see, and while he is not based there he visits regularly and spends a lot of time in the kitchen.

Despite growing up on the sea, clam digging was entirely new to me, and it was fascinating. Even if we didn’t get that many, as the sea was too choppy and the clams were all buried away. We dragged a few out of their hidey holes though, and I can tell you how to do it.

To catch a razor clam, and yes, catch it you do, find a keyhole shaped hole in the sand in an area where the clams live. In the Algarve we went by boat to a sand bed that is covered by the tide when it is high. The clam holes are not particularly large, less than a centimetre, but do look like a keyhole or figure of 8. Sprinkle quite a bit of salt on it, covering it, and if there is a razor clam in residence you will soon know, as the salt drives them to the surface with speed. You will notice a frothing where the salt is, add more on, and soon you will see the razor clam peep out. It will eventually jump and then you grab it, and put it in your basket. Job done. Well, for one clam anyway, you will need a lot more.

You can also use a little spear to catch the clams, poking them into the hole, with the intention of not actually spearing the clam as you want it alive, but getting it to latch on to it. Wire mesh or wicker baskets are used to collect the clams, so that you can wash your catch by dipping it in and out of the water when you are done. You will occasionally catch a worm (don’t grab that, and prepare for a fright, they are pretty speedy and lashy). For best results, use fine sea salt for holes in the sand and coarse sea salt for holes in the water (like in a shallow pool). For smaller clams, we used a triangular shaped spade and dug up portions of sand, plucking out the clams as we did, this was much more successful.

On the way back, we stopped at a small oyster farm, Aquaprime Oysters, and indulged. Large salt sweet oysters greeted us, plucked straight from their bed. We had some light Douro sparkling to accompany, that the oyster farmers make themselves. At this point I actually fell over in the boat, such was my enthusiasm, but thankfully no harm done. I landed in the boat, saved my camera, and apart from a few bruises, all was ok. I have long ago given up on worrying about what people think of my frequent accidents, I am ridiculously clumsy.[Read more]


A Big Brunch and a Recipe for Louisiana Crab Cakes with Poached Eggs & Tabasco Hollandaise (In Partnership with Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce)

In Partnership With Tabasco Badge

Brunch! Boiled Eggs and Tabasco butter soldiers; Feta, Corn & Tabasco Cakes; Tabasco Crab Devilled Eggs; Louisiana Crab Cakes with Poached Eggs & Tabasco Hollandaise

Brunch is my thing. I have brunch everyday when I am at home. I am a sleepy morning creature and my body is not ready for anything except coffee for the first few hours. I have always been like this. My body likes evenings and night time, and while early morning is beautiful and, increasingly, I do wish I was a morning person, it is not when I am at my best.

I am great at brunch though. I love it. My body is awake and hungry and eager to eat. Often eggs. Almost always with some chilli. I love a brunch dish that packs some heat (as you will have seen regularly on my instagram). Eggs never cease to amaze me with the amount you can do with them. Fried, poached, boiled, gooey, oozy, spread on toast soldiers. Eggs are brilliant when you force fat into them, as you do when you make hollandaise or mayonnaise. Eggs also love Tabasco, so when Tabasco asked me to come up some recipes and host a brunch for my friends to showcase them, it had to be an eggy one.[Read more]


Review: Barrafina, Adelaide St, London

Barrafina Adelaide St seems to be London’s new favourite restaurant. I can’t bear hype, and I loathe queues, but I love the original Barrafina so I braved it. The queue wasn’t that much a of a drama in the end, you get to have a drink at the counter while you wait. There were 4 of us and we waited about 45 minutes. Which flew by.

If you are not in the know, Barrafina is a Spanish tapas bar, the original is on Frith St in Soho, the newest sibling on Adelaide St, between Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square and just up the road from Terroirs (which I love). Diners are seated along a curved counter which circles the kitchen, the room is buzzy and smart.

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Kapitan Chicken (Malay Chicken Curry)

Malay Chicken Curry

Kapitan Chicken (Malay Chicken Curry)

I know how annoying it is when people like me say: please go out of your way to find this impossible ingredient, I promise it is worth it. But it is! In this journey we have taken together over seven and a half years of blogging, we are all now toasting and grinding our own spices, right? And doesn’t it make a big difference? Well, trust me when I tell you that getting your paws on some fresh turmeric makes a huge difference here too. It is also fairly straightforward. I always used to peel it, but the chef that I cooked with in Malaysia (at The Meritus Pelangi Hotel) made a paste with it unpeeled and it made no difference. I now consider myself educated. I was fussing unnecessarily, which is really not how I like to roll.

Fresh turmeric is having a bit of a hipster moment, but some of us (cough) have been using it for a long time. The hipsters are on to a good thing with their turmeric tea though. It is ridiculously good for you. It is a really potent anti inflammatory agent, is brilliant for easing burns (the powder mixed with double cream – thank you Maunika for that tip) and there is lots of research that indicates that it is helpful in cancer treatment. It is very tasty too.

I suspect many people store dried turmeric in their cupboard for ages and then think it is tasteless. Dried turmeric, like all spices, needs to be fresh and stored in an air tight container. Fresh turmeric is very different and is an aromatic delight. A rhizome like ginger, it has some similar properties, but is floral by comparison. A lot of supermarkets stock it in the UK these days. Indian food shops do too. [Read more]


A Postcard from Langkawi, Malaysia

Greetings from Langkawi, Malaysia! I am just about to go to the airport to head home, but I wanted to share some photos with you from 4 amazing days here before I go.

It was my first trip to Malaysia and I am wondering why it has taken me so long to get here. Such warm friendly people, fabulous interesting food and it is so beautiful. The first thing I saw when I landed was a water buffalo mooching idly in a rice paddy field. They had me at buffalo, but the monkeys I saw next? I was sold.

Langkawi, it turns out, is a bit of a hidden gem. An archipelago of 99 islands (104 at low tide), with just 2 inhabited, it sits at the northern tip of Malaysia opposite Thailand, which is just half an hour away by boat. You can clearly see Thailand from some parts of the Langkawi shore. 4 days isn’t a lot but I packed so much in. 2 cooking classes, a mangrove tour, a sunset boat trip, a trip to the night market and lots of meals. Lots more on all of that soon.

Have a good evening![Read more]


Mayfields, Wilton Way: Go, While You Still Can (You Have a Week)


This is the briefest review that I have ever written but it really just a quick heads up for all you Londoners. Mayfields in Wilton Way is closing on Saturday 27th. It is a terrific restaurant and has had nothing but rave reviews. The food (from Matthew Young ex Wapping Project) is smart, flavourful and very creative. The room is bustling, run brilliantly by Clare Roberson (ex Shacklewell Nights), the wine list (from Borough Wines) is eclectic and very affordable. When I heard it was closing I booked twice, and this speedy post is a review of those visits, and to urge you to go, while you still can. It is a reminder too for all of us that we need to support great restaurants, especially local ones, or we will lose them. These photos are from my first meal last week. Must orders: lemon sole & grouse and not pictured from last night the mushroom, egg yolk, orange & seaweed; raw razor clams; chocolate mousse and octopus with lardo and dill bobby beans.

Price range: We paid approximately £50 each for 3 courses and wine.

Mayfields, 52 Wilton Way, London E8 1BG
020 7254 8311


VIDEO: Cooking Salt Aged Steaks Japanese Style & Tempura Prawn and Vegetables (In Partnership with Marks & Spencer)

A few weeks ago I met up with Marks & Spencer’s experts Tom (M&S Buyer of Beef, Lamb & Game) & John (M&S Food Innovations Chef) to cook some of their award winning salt aged sirloin beef, Japanese style with some tempura prawn and vegetables.

We had a great afternoon and made some terrific food that was uncomplicated and really delicious (yes, I said delicious, it was), using ingredients that are available in your local Marks & Spencer (yes, even those Japanese ingredients). I think you will like these recipes a lot, they are deceptively easy and impressive. Perfect for a crowd or a weekday evening. Check out the presentation too, I am so stealing that idea. Thanks, John!

The recipes are fairly straight forward. You can see how John puts together the steak (and how easy and impressive it is) in the video. I will share the tempura recipe with you now, but take a look at the video too to see how easy it is and also to see how golden you want it.


RECIPE: Prawn & Vegetable Tempura
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New Cooking Classes: Handmade Pasta Class & Feast Available to Book Now

So you know all of that fresh hand made and hand rolled pasta that I have been obsessing over? And the new classes that I promised? Well, here they are! I am scheduling 3 (small) classes only, and they are longer than normal too, running for a full day so that we can cover a lot of pasta ground. They are in Lambeth in central London this time, in a lovely kitchen that has a great prep area and dining area. As with all my classes, this is very sociable, and the price includes wine and a proper pasta feast.


Busiate, Malloreddus & Orecchiette

Handmade pasta is such a joy, and once you get the hang of it, very easy and speedy. It tastes much better than most you have had too. I am very excited to share everything I have learned and to feast with you.

The class incorporates lots of my Italian travels, and some classic pasta dishes that you know (Tagliatelle with Ragu from Emilia Romagna) and some you might not (Malloreddus with Sausage Ragu from Sardinia). We will make 8 pasta shapes in total & 8 dishes incorporating them all. You will learn how to make all of the sauces too. We will finish with a pasta feast, and you can take the rest home, of course.

  1. Tagliatelle (Bologna – served as is traditional with ragu)
  2. Tortelli (Parma – Tortelli d’Erbetta, a fresh egg pasta dough stuffed with ricotta & greens in a butter sauce)
  3. Garganelli – (Emilia Romagna – served in a prosciutto & pea sauce)
  4. Passatelli (Emilia Romagna – a pasta made of egg, breadcrumbs, nutmeg & parmesan, served in chicken broth)
  5. Malloreddus (Sardinia – served with a sausage ragu)
  6. Orecchiette (Puglia – served with broccoli and anchovies)
  7. Busiate (Sicily – served with Trapanese Pesto)
  8. Spaghetti alla Chitarra (Roman style in a classic carbonara with guanciale)

Sounds good, eh?

Places are limited to just 12 per class. Book now on PayPal (links below), or contact me by email (niamh at eatlikeagirl dot com), to arrange a direct payment. Classes run from 10.30am to 4.30pm and include hands on tuition, lunch & wine.

Note: this is obviously not a vegetarian class, but if vegetarians are interested, I can look at adapting it. Just email me.

Please see Terms & Conditions at the end of the page before booking.

Full Day Handmade Pasta Class on Saturday 18th October 10.30am – 4.30pmbook this class now on PayPal

Full Day Handmade Pasta Class on Saturday 8th November 10.30am – 4.30pm – book this class now on PayPal

Full Day Handmade Pasta Class on Saturday 29th November 10.30am – 4.30pm – book this class now on PayPal

Reviews of previous classes:

Comfort & Spice Class Review from AT Culture / Diary of a Food Perve

Bacon Masterclass Review from Simply Splendiferous (with lovely watercolour illustrations too!)

Bacon Master Class – Gastronomical Heights

Foodycat: Bacon Masterclass with Eat Like A Girl

Terms & Conditions

Ticket dates are not transferable – once you book / commit to a particular date, you are tied to that date. These classes are very expensive to run, deliberately small and are only profitable with a full attendance. I have had terrible problems with people changing dates multiple times and then cancelling and demanding refunds. If you can no longer make the date I can try and help you find someone to buy it from you, or if there is a waiting list, sell it to someone on that list.

If the classes don’t sell enough to meet my costs, I reserve the right to cancel the class, with a full refund, at a weeks notice. I am confident that this won’t happen with these classes, but it is best that I say so, just in case.

Thank you and sorry to be painful about this, but I have learned the hard way.


Meatopia London & Josh Ozersky’s Dirty Steaks

Meatopia rolled into town again last weekend. A US food institution and brainchild of food writer Josh Ozersky, this was their second year in London. Meatopia gathers the best chefs, butchers, artisans, evangelists and burgerati and has them cook over fire – and only fire – for the weekend at Tobacco Dock. Only the best naturally raised and ethically sourced meat is used.

Chefs this year came from all over the UK, the US, Singapore & Brazil. Mixed in with all of this was an American Whisky Bar, some pretty raucous live music and dancing. Lots of fun & great food. Here are my highlights and your guide on how to cook Dirty Steaks at home.

(Some of) the burgers of Meatopia – Fred Smith’s Dream Burger (made with 60% Welsh wagyu short rib beef and chuck); the MeisterShack Burger from Mark Rosati of Shake Shack; 60 day aged beef burger with American cheese & bacon in a traditional sesame seed bun from Zan Kaufman of Bleecker Burger.

Charlie Carroll / Flatiron’s Whole Spit Roast Dexter, served in a yorkshire pudding with fresh horseradish cream.

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Cruising with Atul Kochar and P&O Cruises (7 Nights, 4 Countries, 6 Ports & 4 Seas)

Cruises. What are your thoughts on those? I had a few. Namely that they weren’t for independent travellers and were very prescribed (they can be), that I would go crazy stuck on a boat with limited options and that they were generally for much older people. What if the food was rubbish? And I would be stuck with it for a week! Right? Right. I love the sea, boats, and I adore slow travel, but cruising seemed a little too package holiday for me.

I have had opportunities to go on and review cruises before, but I have not accepted, primarily because of this. My arm was twisted by the dual impact of friends who told me that I was being very narrow minded, and an opportunity to go on a cruise with London based Michelin starred Indian chef, Atul Kochar. Atul would be teaching a masterclass in his on board restaurant, East, and also leading a market tour in Kotor in Montonegro, a new country for me but one I have wanted to visit.


We started in Venice. I was pretty slammed with work so I just flew on the day, but it is possible to go in before and spend some more time there. I wanted to explore Venice (can you believe I have never been?), but the sky was weeping, and I almost was too, I was so tired. You know how it can be before you go away anywhere? There is so much work that needs to be done before you can leave. So I relaxed in my new room, a comfortable deluxe with a balcony. Well, I say relaxed, I will be honest with you, I watched Caddyshack. I love that film. I instantly forget whatever is bothering me.

Leaving Venice.

The captain announced that we would soon be on our way, so I went to the balcony, and watched Venice as we slowly passed by. So beautiful, more so than I had imagined. I watched the canals wiggle through, and bridges stretch over. The rain was gone, the sky was streaking pink and the seagulls were very keen for us to know that they were there. It was joyful.


Dinner at The Glass House, sunset, a dock and the outdoor deck.

From there, to the The Glass House, a wine bar and restaurant. The list (designed by Olly Smith) was impressive. There are 32 wines with many available by the glass, served from enomatics. I immediately spotted some wines that I really enjoy: Gaia Assyrtiko Wild Ferment from Santorini (which I had discovered at Grace Santorini last year, and obsessed on since). There was also the Velvet Devil Merlot from Charles Smith in Washington State (I had had that at on of my favourite meals this year, at the Lockart). I started with a Niagaran favourite, a Peller Ice Wine Cuvée, available by the glass for just £3.85 (which is a bargain).


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Home Fried Potato Hoops with Parmesan, Cumin and Chilli, Nominated for the Red Woman of the Year & Kate Bush, Before the Dawn

Home fried potato hoops with parmesan, cumin & chilli.

Home fried potato hoops with parmesan, cumin & chilli.

Well, this week has been pretty good. I was nominated for the Red Woman of the Year yesterday. It was my second time being nominated, and I was really honoured to be included among such brilliant and inspiring women. It was awarded last night to a very deserving Deliciously Ella in the blogger category. Ella has achieved so much at the tender age of 23, and all in an effort to manage a debilitating illness. The result? Success (she no longer requires her medication as the result of her very healthy diet), a beautiful health food blog, a recipe app and a book on the way. She is self taught too. Thomasina Miers, food writer and restaurateur (Wahaca) and Laura Bates of Everyday Sexism, two women that I hugely admire, were recognised too. Good on Red for recognising these women, and also for illustrating their achievements so that they can inspire those coming behind them. You can see all of the winners on the Red website, and in the magazine soon too, I am sure.

I spent last night at Kate Bush’s new mesmerising show, Before the Dawn. You got tickets?! Yes, I was one of the lucky few to secure tickets, I made sure I wouldn’t miss out, and had 2 friends try for me (one succeeded so I am going twice!). I myself had two browsers and five tabs open in each, so I managed to get some too. She, too, is an inspiration. I am a lifelong fan (I heard Wuthering Heights when I was 3, and have been hooked since) and I was so thrilled to be there. The whole audience was so engaged and committed to her every note and move and she got several standing ovations throughout the show. It was the best gig of my life, but so much more. It was theatre, it was drama, it was fantasy, it was powerful and tender. It was all encompassing. After 3 hours, I didn’t want it to end. If you can at all, go. [Read more]


Caramelised Onion, Coconut & Egg Curry

Caramelised Onion, Egg & Coconut Curry

Caramelised Onion, Egg & Coconut Curry

Shall we talk again about another much maligned dish? And more than that, a breakfast concept that some love and others think is bonkers. Even though over a billion people eat it! I am talking about Egg Curry and curry for breakfast (or any manner of spiced breakfast at that).

People, you are really missing out if you have not tried both of these things. It is my mission to open your eyes to it. Why is egg in curry even a funny thing? Eggs in curry are rich, light & gorgeous and curry makes the perfect breakfast (curry being a general term for over a thousand diverse dishes).

I often use leftover curry or make a simple curry fresh to poach eggs in (a la huevos rancheros, but Indian style). I love spice for breakfast when I am in Asia, and often at home too. A meaty congee (chicken or pork) pepped with chilli oil, nuts and tofu is a perfect start (would you like a congee recipe too?). One of my favourites was one I had in a small town outside Bangkok on the street. There was a queue of people, so I joined, and shortly after was eating a divine bowl of pork and pumpkin congee with shreds of deep fried tofu. All for less than £1.

Breakfast congee in Hong Kong

Breakfast congee in Hong Kong

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Pasta e Fagioli


You know that food you love? The one that is so everyday, common place, so simple, but so very good. You make it all the time, and eat it joyfully. It rescues you from every grey day, every brain cloud. It is perfect and it knows how to tackle your mood. It totally gets you. But, that amazing dish itself is misunderstood. Often because it is not made right, not faithfully, or with love and care.

Pasta e Fagioli is one of those dishes. Carbs and beans? CARBS AND BEANS?! Why is everyone so harsh about the carbs these days? They are delicious, and soothing, and yes, I do eat too much of them, but how can I not? They are pasta, sourdough bread, udon noodles. All of the most delicious things that soothe my week. I eat well, I don’t eat processed food (except for occasional crisp and haribo based lapses), I feel no guilt. Why should I? Carbs are ok folks. Just relax and enjoy your dinner. Life is hard enough without removing the carbs from it.

If people only knew how good Pasta e Fagioli could be, they would put down their carb warrior shields immediately, grab a spoon and eat it. With gusto! They might even ask for seconds. (They will). The simplicity and gorgeousness of leftover home made egg dough pasta scraps (maltaglati – literally misshapen), rendered tensile and silken by a last minute addition to a luscious fresh borlotti bean, tomato, herb and pancetta broth, that has been brewed slowly and gently, teasing out the umami from the pancetta, the sweet pop of fruit from the tomato and the aroma of herbs finished with gentle chilli heat.[Read more]


A Weekend in Rome & Where to Eat & Drink There (In Partnership with O2 Travel)


Despite four visits, Rome continues to surprise and remains one of my favourite cities to return to. It is utterly charming, from the free running nasones (water fountains, they translate as noses!) to the many fountains.  I always see new things, stay in new places, and discover great places to eat & drink. Well, that is why we go isn’t it? For carbonara, gelato, porchetta, Roman pizza, and that is just the start. I have my favourites, of course, that I return to all the time, but on this occasion, as I was there with O2 Travel to road test their internet and app, I used these to explore further.[Read more]


Peach, Almond & Bourbon Pie, an Update on Sponsored Content & Project Bacon

Forgive the photo - it was taken at 6am in a mad dash to the airport

Forgive the photo – it was taken at 6am in a mad dash to the airport

Well, hello folks. Greetings from the Tyrrhenian Sea. I am on a short cruise checking out the offerings of Indian chef Atul Kochar on the P&O Ventura cruise ship. I was in two minds about cruises. In hindsight, for someone who loves boats, ferries and slow travel, this seems a little daft. You know when you sometimes just get an idea in your head? Anyway, while not actually on holiday (I have freelance work to do, and I am finishing Project Bacon), I am loving the lull of it all, punctuated with the pop of activity when we dock at a port. It suits my binary speed setting. I love to be busy buzzing around checking out new things and new eats, but when I am not, and when I can, I love to relax, read, watch films, and drink wine.

It comes at the end of a crazy week. I spoke at a great new blogging festival Blogstock, which I really enjoyed. It was on Food Blogging 101, and when I get time, I will put together a summary for you. It is all from my point of view, and relating to my experience of course, but hopefully it will be useful for you.

From Blogstock I headed to Wilderness, dragging a small red suitcase, and a red shopping trolley full of waffle makers for my Sunday Bacon Club there. A Wilderness Victorinox tent on my shoulder. A big one, I wanted to almost stand up this year. By the time I made it via trains and buses, I was fit only for a glass of wine. Happily, my favourite Morito was there to provide one.

Sunday Bacon Club went well, despite the torrential rain. We were at capacity with 36 people, which was exciting. I need to arrange some more in London and elsewhere soon. I came back to London to meetings with M&S, who I spent my last day in London filming with and cooking lots of steak and tempura. I will share that soon. I have had much worse Tuesdays.

[Photos from Corfu – which surprised me and taught me – again – not to judge in advance]

Which leads me tidily to an update on sponsored content. You were all so supportive when I announced it, and I was so grateful for that. I had thought long and hard about it but, ultimately, I really care about what you think, it is very important to me. I have done just a few bits to feel my way, and figure out how it can all work here. Most importantly, I chose sponsors carefully, and the key is that the creative is all mine.

So far, the result has been more recipes (like for my Irish Beef recipe work, which I loved doing), and travel content (my next piece  will be guide for you on Rome which includes some of my very favourite places, sponsored by O2 Travel).  The money raised through all of my sponsored work will help to support me, and allow me to focus more energy here. I am also going to be re-investing in the blog. It needs a thorough reorganisation and redesign, and I want to invest in better technology, software, and camera and video kit. The aim is more content, some of it supported by brands, but always with my creative. Once things settle after the summer, sponsored work will always be buffered by lots of my own meanderings. It will support them, giving me more time to write in the end.[Read more]