Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Just as I attempting to do Dry January. Nick has decided to have a few weeks off meat (but including fish). It’s coninciding with my attempts to get into using Instagram.

Pad Thai is a dish I love and it’s pretty Instagram friendly, but I have never mastered cooking it myself. However I am nothing if not determined and this dish is pretty close to something from a restaurant – though  I probably need to get more liberal with the sugar and oil.

Pad Thai

Serves Two

1 large carrot finely grated
2 handfuls of cabbage finely shredded
1/2 red onion finely sliced
1 clove of garlic
2 handfuls of fresh breansprouts
1 tbsp of dried shrimp
2 handfuls of dried rice noodles
2 tsp of tamarind
1 tsp of fish sauce
1/2 tsp of brown sugar
1/2 tsp of korean chili pepper
2 eggs

To serve.

Fresh coriander leaves
2 tbsp of peanuts , toasted and crushed
1/2 lime

  1. Simmer the rice noodles in boilin water with the shrimp.
  2. Fry together the vegetables (carrot, cabbage, onion and garlic) in sunflower oil until softened.
  3. Mix together the sugar, fish sauce , tamarind and pepper.
  4. Once the vegetables are cooked add the eggs and stir to cook quickly
  5. Once the egg is cooked, add the noodles and beansprouts.
  6. Cook for 2 minutes, add the mixed sauce and cook for one more minute
  7. Serve with a scattering of coriander leaves, peanuts and a squeeze of lime juice.
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Korean Pop-Up Fundraising for Children’s Bereavement Centre


I am lucky to live in a wonderful community at this time of year our local online bulletin board is full of people raising money , gathering food for the foodbank.

The lovely Inkyung who runs regular Korean cookery classes and pop-up takeaways has  also stepped up recently saying she wanted to raise money for bereaved families for whom this time of year can be particularly difficult.

Despite having two small children and running her own business she has in a a few short weeks galvanised the community with donations of time and ingredients and will be hosting a a pop-up Korean Food Stall from 12pm til 2pm as well as 5-7.30pm at 78 Holme Road West Bridgford NG2 5AD.

All funds raised will be donated to the Childrens Bereavement Centre  a uniquely special centre, where children, young people and their families from Nottinghamshire who are affected by terminal illness, death or parental separation, can access the support and guidance they need.

Many busy Mums and Dads are giving up their time over the next few weeks (I’ll be there on the 12th of December 2017) to make up the frozen mandu (Korean dumplings) – either pork or vegetarian , that are for sale on the day to takeaway.  These are just £10 for 15 these are perfect New Years Eve/Christmas eve snacks. She’s even put together a video of how to cook them.

Pre-ordering of food on the day is essential via text to Inkyung on 07852186279 of via her Facebook Page

Pop-Up Menu

Korean style burger £5
lotus root chips £2
popcorn chicken with a sweet and tangy sauce £5
vegetarian mandu (which is a Korean dumpling) with a spicy sauce £5

Further details can be found on her website Inkyung’s Kitchen

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Nottingham Coffee Club


This month one of the independent cafe’s Spoke and Co in our neighbourhood. closed. A real community hub and conveiniently opposite the school for a post-school run coffee hit / mega-breakfast.

It brought home how important it is to use your local independent shops that bring so much to the local community and economy.

But as the big chain restaurants have struggled in our main Shopping precinct  – The Victoria Centre –  Independent Nottingham Street Food moved in offering an alternative pop-up residencies for local independents at weekends

Now for a weekday treat –  Nottingham Coffee Club is Open from 8am Monday to Saturday for  200 Degrees Coffee – Roast House  they also stock local independents  Mumma G’s Bakery, Bluebird Tea Co., Doughnotts, The Bakehouse, Ugly Bread Bakery 


I tried to go a few weeks ago but they had been totally cleared out of supplies by Black Friday weekend shoppers. This time Issy and I popped in as  a reward after the always horredous new shoe buying trip. I needed a hit of caffeine and Issy had definitely earned a hit of sugar in the form of a cinammon danish the size of her head.

The coffee was great, the danish delicious , I was amazed she didn’t go for a massive chocolate  or jam number.

The only thing to note is they don’t take cash so don’t forget your debit/credit card.



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Fishy Rice

My Dad was a very strange cook. But he did cook – a lot – he made is own pork scratchings in the microwave (Bacon rind full power 20 minutes – try it), fried his own Cod’s Roe, brought live crabs back from our Dorset holidays to boil in a big pan, ate every version of offal and game.  He had us spend beach holidays gathering mussels and woodland walks searching for and gathering fungi And everything he ate was covered in freshly ground black pepper.

Growing up he would make a dish he called – “Fishy Rice”, which I now realise was a version of Nasi goreng -Indonesian stir-fried rice. I never asked for the recipe I know it had smoked mackerel, fish sticks ,rice and that it stank the whole house out when cooking. I know as kids we refused to eat it.

He died when I was 19 . It’s taken me a long time but now that I have kids I think maybe he was quite sensible. Because, if my kids even sense that I am eating, they will demand and devour my food in seconds. By making food that frankly terrified me,  he ensured he got to eat his meal in peace. The only way to prevent my kids eating anything is if it smells “weird” or if I declare it “spicy”. Something  my Dad achieved with every dish.

I know there are those that delight in their kids being gourmets, but honestly while they still feel like olives are a treat why go there! I’d rather enjoy my mussels in peace.

This is my version of Fishy Rice, simmering the dried shrimps with the rice produces a pungent smell almost certain to deter little mouths.

Yet is it so truly moreish. The beansprouts on top give a lovely crunch though you don’t have any don’t worry too much this is a great dish with any leftover vegetables.

Special Fishy Rice

For two people

200g of brown rice
4 tbsp of dried shrimps
200g of pork or chicken mince
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
½ thumb of ginger
2 tbsp of Tean’s Anchovy Chilli ( a dried anchovy and chili paste)
2 spring onions finely chopped
2 medium carrots finely grated
2 handfuls of frozen peas
2 handfuls of finely chopped cabbage
2 eggs beaten
2 handfuls of beansprouts
5 tsp of soy sauce
½ a lime

1. Simmer together the rice and shrimps until cooked and drain
2. Fry the vegetables ( except the beanspout) ssoftened in vengetable oil
3. Add the anchovy chilli paste and the eggs
4. Fry until all mixed well
5. Servve with a handful of breansprouts over the top drizzle of lime and soy sauce

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Ugly Bread Bakery


No trip to the town centre with my six-year-old is complete without a trip to the Ugly Bread Bakery. A great place at the top of Hockley and now with a second venue on Market Street in Nottingham.

The interior is all exposed wood and pallets. But you can’t help but be drawn in by the piles of freshly baked bread and hunks of focaccia filled with deli meats and cheeses. Ther focaccia and their fab collection of pizza are grilled super-fast in the bread oven so it’s great for a quick meal, before the cinema/theatre. But it’s also definitely worth a linger as it’s fantastic for people watching especially from the first floor balcony.

For those who need their caffeine fix the coffee is excellent too with a tiny custard – filled cannoli.

Ugly Bread also a great range decent number of alcholic and soft drinks including a cabinet filled with juices from Chegworth Valley , if you have never had apple and beetroot juice the pink colour is stunning.


Now you see it now you don’t this was Em’s first trip a couple of years ago, when she totally demolished a chorizo pizza.  I was slightly hoping to snag a few slices but lesson learned I now order my own pastrami , cheese and chilli foccacia.

Ugly Bread Bakery

39 Pelham Street (Opposite Sainburys)
21 Market Street (Across from Theatre Royal)

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Tandoori Salmon with Roasted Garam Masala Chick Peas and Cabbage Salad


I would love to say I make my own spice blends but I actually buy them in bulk from my very well equipped corner shop or the supermarket.  Definitely, something to look into in the future and there are plenty of recipes on-line if you fancy making your own.

A great weeknight dish – this is so quick to put together. The salmon and chickpeas cook under the grill on a timer, while I put the kids to bed.  I make the salad once they are down, but you can make the salad in advance.

If you don’t like salmon this would work with chicken or lamb.  Roasted chickpeas work brilliantly here. I often roasted them with

Roasted chickpeas work brilliantly here. I often roasted them with paprika , ras-al-hanout, jerk spice or even just a little olive oil and salt,  they come out deliciously nutty.

Tandoori Salmon with Roasted Garam Masala Chick Peas and Cabbage Salad

Tandoori Salmon

2 salmon fillets
2 tbsp dry tandoori spice or paste.

Rub the tandoori spice over the salmon filet
Grill under a hot grill (250degC) for 20 minutes.

Roasted Garam Masala Chick Peas

1 tin of chick peas
2 tsp of Garam Masala spice
1 tsp of oil

Mix together all the ingredients. Roast under a hot grill 250degC for 20 minutes

Carrot and Cabbage Salad

2 handfuls of white cabbage finely sliced
1 large carrot grated
½ red onion finely sliced
juice of half a lemon
½ tsp of nigella seeds

Mix together all the ingredients

Cucumber Mint Yogurt

4 tbsp of plain yogurt
½ tsp of mint sauce
1 tbsp of cucumber finely chopped

Mix together

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We are now heading into Autumn, which is my favourite season for walks and for food. It also means we take delivery of a whole lamb from Willoughby Farm also the home of some amazing chillis. They have a stall at our local farmers market – fortnightly in West Bridgford

The lamb arrives jointed though not packaged in a large bread tray, no strange dripping liquid in vacuum packs, the meat is dry and butchered that day. We portion the joints up filling our cellar chest freezer and they form the mainstay of winter stews and roasts.

While the large shoulder and leg joints are great for weekends, a fantastic weeknight treat are the lamb chops. Quick and delicious grilled, succulent juicy meat with moreish crispy fat. They cry out to be eaten with your hands, served here with some fresh and colourful salads packed with veg

It’s a very sad day in our house when the last of the lamb chops are eaten and we have to wait another year, although a kitchen remodel might leave room for a bigger chest freezer.

Lamb Chops seasoned with salt, paprika and chilli flakes

Season with salt, papria and chilli flakes. Grill for around 10 minutes on a high heat, turned halfway through.

 Beetroot, Feta and Bulgar Wheat Salad

Cook the bulgar wheat as per instructions, and stir in roughly chopped cooked beetroot, feta cheese, red onion ,oregano and season with salt and pepper

Roasted Cauliflower , Pepper and Rocket Salad

Roast the cauliflower and pepper with a drizzle of oil and salt and pepper at 180deg for 20 minutes. Roughly chop and mix with cherry tomatoes, a handful of rocket and chopped preserved lemon.

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Pomegranate Chicken Kebab


We go through two massive white cabbages a week as we tend to have it instead of rice with curry’s and make homemade coleslaw. But a kebab salad is a classic.  Nothing nicer than a kebab, this is a delicious and healthy option which I could eat every day.

Pomegranate Chicken Kebab

Serves two

  • 4 Chicken thighs
  • 4 tbsp of pomegranate molasses
  • 1 garlic glove
  • 1 tsp of dried chillis
  1. Marinate the chicken for a few hours
  2. Grill the chicken thighs
  3. Finely slice and serve on a toasted wrap with salad (below) and a drizzle of mint yogurt.

Kebab Salad

  • 6 handfuls of white cabbage freshly shredded
  • 1 handful of fresh tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaf
  • ½ small red onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of mixed olives roughly chopped.
  • 2 tbsp of preserved lemons – recipe here 

Mix together

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Another? – Nottingham’s First Self Service Wine Bar


Admist a half term of entertaining kids and juggling work, a night out seemed a long shot. But you cannot pass up the opportunity to visit Nottingham’s newest wine bar and it’s first self-service one.

Another? is located up a steep set of stairs above the busy chain restaurants on Trinity Square.  Every student in Nottingham was roaming the streets dressed or undressed for Halloween, so it was lovely to find a grown-up haven of twinkling candles, beautiful blue tiles and dozens of hanging wine glasses. It reminded me of a Spanish sherry bar, the only difference being instead of a barman there is a wall of electronic wine dispensers accompanied by tasting notes.

It’s not all machines though, the lovely staff gave us a charge card each and showed us to a table, fetching us complimentary nibbles and water.

To fill your glass,  you first choose your wine, enter your charge card and holding a glass under the spout, press a selection button for either a taster, small or large glass.


There were 16 different wines available when we visited, from Old World to New World. Usually, I look down a wine list, a select the same thing, something New World – Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec.

It definitely did make me try different wines and a taster would definitely save you spending a lot on a whole glass if you just wanted to sample something new

It was good fun wandering along the line, reading the notes and there is definitely the social aspect of talking to other people about what they had enjoyed/would recommend.

Our cards were pre-charged and the amount remaining on the card was shown on the dispenser display along with your name. Normally you would accumulate charges on your card and pay at the end, so I assume you would see the spend so far on the display.

I quite fancied a wine dispenser at home, but apparently, they start at £1000 per bottle position, counting 16 bottle positions,  the investment in this bar has been significant so I hope it is a success.

Another?  , 9 Trinity Square, Nottingham











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The Botanist

Out twice in two weeks,  it must be a record. But when a very well known cocktail bar opens in your neighbourhood and invites you to their launch it would be very rude to turn them down.

The Botanists new Nottingham home is in West Bridgford, and 5 minutes walk from my house. In  Fire and Ice, a pretty dull bar and pizza place, the decorators have certainly been busy covering every inch of wall and ceiling with rustic planks and old farming implements. It felt warm and cozy on a very cold night.

Naomi and I usually spend our time together huddled on a cold playground or in our respective kitchens while our 5 very loud girls run in and out demanding food, drinks, and trantrum-intervention so it was lovely to be able to chat over delicious cocktails mine was a short Martini – the Velvet Green – full of green fruit and gin.  N had The Botanist a tall drink of vodka, rum and elderflower liqueur.

Our starters prawns and calamari were quirkily served with sauces mini watering cans. Although I say quirkly,  I mean annoying cos you cannot actually pour mayonnaise out a of watering-can and so we had to track down and spoon to scoop it out.

For mains,  we both had the famous hanging kebabs. Vertically hanging skewers of meat and vegetables served with a little pot of sauce to pour over the kebabs,  down onto the fries below. Sadly as the kebab is hanging in the air it cools really quickly and pouring sauce down just gives you soggy chips. I think it needed a salad or something crunchy with it.

We had the cheeseboard for pudding, lovely cheeses, slightly let down by being served with an assortment of crackers straight out of the Jacob’s Cracker Selection box with sandwich pickle. It’s a beautiful looking place and the staff were lovely,  as it was press launch it was also very very busy and they coped brilliantly.

This place does amazing cocktails and has an impressive ale list. Given the attention to botanicals,  I was probably expecting more garden inspiration in food but is perfect sharing food for the groups of people who will flock there. I’ll be back to try a Sunday Lunch with the family.
40 Bridgford Road , West Bridgford Tel : 0115 704 3700


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