A Tuesday Day Off!

Firstly a very happy birthday to my lovely sister and Dad, both born on the same day, albeit several years apart!!!

Today, an unusual Tuesday day off, all domestics done so a day of pottering around and some tasty food.

For my lunch I have made something incredibly healthy, but super lovely! I will dedicate this to the birthday girl…. I think she’d love it.


Tuna Ceviche with Charred Lettuce and Avocado

This beautiful plate of food comes from the Madelaine Shaw book ‘Ready, Steady, Glow’. The fresh tuna sat in a little bowl with some fresh ginger, lime juice, soy and sesame oil, while I charred some lettuce and mashed some avocado with some chilli. Sprinkled with some toasted sesame seeds and spring onion for some crunch and red chilli for heat, this was a very vibrant and happy lunch.

I am currently writing a little book for a friends upcoming birthday and this will definitely make the cut, with maybe a few minor tweaks.

Tonight I am looking at some fish with a spicy aubergine mush….. fingers crossed.

Dinner, by Heston Blumenthal

When I found out that I was going to Dinner this Saturday I have to admit to being a little concerned…. I mean I love an adventurous menu but what an earth is ‘Meat Fruit’, or ‘Rice and Flesh’? I have never had a yearning for food from the 17th or 18th centuries, and am at times turned off by the formality of a Michelin Star ( and Dinner is one of only 11 London restaurant awarded 2 prestigious Michelin stars).

However, WOW, WOW, WOW, I 💞 it- the food, the service, the ambiance, the whole caboodle!!!

Heston himself was there having lunch with a group of friends. It must be a good sign when the creator of the concept is happy to have a relaxed Saturday lunch there.

I didn’t take a lot of photos as I was worried it wasn’t allowed…. However, I saw other people doing so and decided to do so from main courses onwards. So let me tell you all about it!



My dining companion had the famous ‘Meat Fruit’, pictured here. It is a chicken liver parfait within a mandarin concoction which I couldn’t quite figure out- not a jelly like substance, quite like the texture of a really fresh mandarin. It was really gorgeous, rich and savoury, with extra toast for the pate.

I had the Earl Grey Tea cured Salmon, which was utterly lovely. There was a salad of chicory and sorrel, a lemon salad, gentlemans relish and salmon roe. I thought it was so pretty and went so well with the vintage, rose champagne being consumed….

Main Course


I decided to try the Iberico Pork Chop as I have not had Iberco pork before, and it was really good. There was a little spelt and ham stew wrapped in Lardo on the side which was really amazing, made even more tasty with the Robert sauce. I loved it!

My dining companion decided to have the Spiced Pigeon with ale and artichokes, and (of course) triple cooked chips on the side. The pigeon was a real picture on the plate and was declared to be a great success. The chips were nice, but I have had crunchier, groovier chips I have to admit.


We weren’t going to have dessert but the waitress told me that the Tipsy Cake with spit roast pineapple changed her life when she first tasted it 2 years ago- how on earth could I say no to that!!!

 The cake was like a brioche and dowsed in something lovely and boozy! I was watching the pineapples roasting on their spit and couldn’t have left without trying. On the other side of the table was the Chocolate Bar- with passion fruit jam and ginger ice cream. Mine was definitely the best!

So, a great lunch in a great restaurant with yummy food and delightful service. Would I go back? Definitely! Now to find someone rich to take me back…….

Bonfire Night

Before I write about any food tonight I must declare that I am in love with Nick Cave… Tonight watching a documentary/drama about him and so remember a night many years ago seeing him in Hammersmith with my Belgian friend Tineke. I so love his intellectual quirkiness… 

So, back to earth!

I’m having a few days off work and have done some relaxing and recharging of the batteries. Carluccios in Teddington for a nice lunch though, but a snooze meant early pjs and a pizza night.

I should claim I made these pizzas but must admit I bought them from M&S. Left hand Fiorentina for me. Right hand salami for C. 

I normally love these pizzas but there was meant to be a runny egg on the top, and it went hard even though I only put it in the oven the right amount of time. OK though, but a little disappointment. 

Tonight there are so many fireworks in Twickenham. You will know how much I adore fireworks so a happy night. 

A Tale of Two Pies

I think it is the dark evenings in Autumn that make me crave some comfort, and pies fit the bill! In the past I had a whole repertoire of recipes but now I am trying to avoid eating meat I have had to go back to the drawing board…. But 1 new pie tried at the weekend and an old fave eaten this evening.

So…. Up first…. Celeriac and Chestnut Pie


Not a massively attractive pie I must admit but really tasty! I made a mixture of sautéed celeriac, onions, cooked chestnuts and mixed nuts and popped it into some shortcrust pastry. Brushed with an egg and popped in the oven for 30 mins. Not eating meat makes you miss gravy so I have to admit there was some meaty stock in the gravy (in the cute owl jug!)- so it seems I need to master the art of veggie gravy.

i made this at the weekend instead of a Sunday roast. It was actually our 7year wedding anniversary so some good red wine was also consumed- and even though the weather was oddly, eerie foggy, it was a damn site better than our wedding day…. No umbrellas needed today!

Second up… Fish Pie


This fish pie is straight from a recipe by Nigel Slater, although instead of seafood mixed in with the white fish I use a fish pie mix from work (loving prepared at my fish counter this evening…). I made a white sauce with some prosecco and the milk/water mix I poached the fish in first. Topped with mash this has been a lovely end to a quietly calm day.

I know my Dad would love this so I dedicate it to him, recovering back home after heart surgery. Well done Mr French, I am glad the op didn’t dent your appetite!!

I have 5 days off work now, and I can’t wait for the lie in tomorrow morning.  Lots to do but looking forward to it.

And finally, a great friend of mine has painted this for me…. I love it, thank you, you have a real talent.


Thursday 29th October 2015

I have only been to Basingstoke twice in my life, today being the second time, and each time I get horribly lost- I go round and round in circles for what seems like hours! It actually reminds me of a time in Seville when I’d given up hope of ever finding the apartment again….

However, after being rained on I had a lovely catch up with a colleague in a very sweet tea shop, so worth the journey all in all. Maybe my next trip to Basingstoke will be third time lucky?

A rainy day called for a sunny, warm meal and that was exactly what was created:

Oven-baked Tomato and Herb Risotto


This is adapted from an Annie Bell recipe and was both easy and tasty, perfect for tired people in need of a pick me up. Here’s my recipe for it:

500ml vegetable stock, with a pinch of saffron

glug of olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 tin chopped tomatoes

Handful cherry tomatoes, chopped

150g risotto rice

150 ml dry white wine

Sprig of rosemary and thyme

✨ preheat the oven to 180 degrees

✨ heat the stock and saffron in a small pan

✨ in a heavy pan that can go into the oven, heat the oil and fry the onion for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes for a minute or two, and then stir the rice into the pan.

✨ pour in the wine and reduce for a couple of minutes. Add the rosemary and the thyme. Put over the stock, season, cover with a lid and pop into the oven for 25 mins.

I took the lid off for the last 2 mins to reduce the liquid a little further. I have to admit to being a little sceptical about cooking a risotto in the oven but it really was lovely and will be a permanent feature in the French Thomas kitchen!


Hello again!

IMG_1518Well, 8 months have flown over with no posting from me but a lot has happened in that time…

  • so much lovely food has been consumed at home and in restaurant, in London, Ludlow, Milan and Puglia
  • I opened a new shop which took ALOT of time, energy and focus (but well worth it)
  • I tried to start running……….

But this morning a friend of mine set me a 4 point challenge for the day, et voila! yumseaker.com is back!I will look forward to sharing some great foodie ideas with you. In the meantime here are a few photos of some happy times.IMG_1651



A Pretend Birthday Weekend

It’s my birthday next week but I have to work, and it’s a Saturday, which is cruel- although I have been promised a cake and have a lunch date so I really shouldn’t complain! But as compensation I simply pretended that it was my birthday this weekend which was a great excuse for some treats. 

So yesterday I booked a table at The Bluebird in Chelsea.

I used to live in Putney and shopped on King’s Road so had been to the Bluebird a couple of times before, not for ages though, so decided to brave the Chelsea set once more. It is a gorgeous restaurant, art deco in design, and incredibly stylish. The service is amazing and did make me think that more men, not just waiters, should wear braces……..

For me a roasted cod with lentils and a side order of orange glazed carrots- incredibly tasty, I could have eaten it twice over. For Colin burger and chips which he also raved about. All washed down with a bottle of Gavi di Gavi which made for a very happy pretend birthday lunch! I’ll defintiely be back when I am next in that area- even if I was the only northerner in the room.

In the evening I decided to so some cooking. After a fairly European lunch something hot and spicy was called for- so an aubergine and tomato curry was created!

I sauteed some baby aubergnes with curry leaves, mustard seeds and ginger, then added some tinned tomatoes, turmeric and chilli and simmered until the aubergines were really soft. If I say so myself it was gorgeous, and just what the Thomas household needed. 

Sunday has seen much clearing of clutter- definitely the beginning of spring!!! A present fairy also visited the house which was lovely.

 Tonight I am going to experiment with a sea bass so watch this space……..

Let’s hope my actual birthday weekend is as yummy.

Friday 6th February 2015

I must just start by stating that I hate rugby, and I can not pretend otherwise. Stupid sport, don’t get it at all. I grew up in Newcastle/Gateshead and rugby just didn’t happen……. So why my Friday night has to be spoilt with this I do not know.

So I escaped earlier to the kitchen, and to the kitchen I will return. Firstly a drink:


My favourite home made cocktail- cointreau, cranberry juice and prosecco. Needed very much after a very odd week.

Then I set about making a Libyan Salmon Tagine…


Firstly I sautéed some new potatoes with onions, celery, cumin seeds, turmeric, paprika, chilli and a little garlic. When the potatoes were crispy and the veg softened I added some tinned cherry tomatoes, fresh lime leaves and simmered until thick. In the meantime I roasted some salmon in the oven to serve on top of the tagine.


Very lovely if I say so myself!

Now how do I escape from the rugby…….

The last day of January

After a good nights sleep and some sweet dreams I made myself a very lovely juice: pineapple, papaya, lime, ginger and raspberry! Now that must be good for me right?


One of my colleagues in Horsham sent me a photo of the snow down there, and I know it is snowy up north, but here in Twickenham no snow- just a crisp wintry day. So a walk was called for, followed by a lovely lunch.

Broca Antica in St Margaret’s is a lovely Italian place, with a Puglian slant. I have always enjoyed every mouthful and today was no exception……


I had some pasta with crayfish, prawns and clams. Very, very tasty. C had some pasta with wild boar which looked and smelt lovely too! A bottle of Verdeca to wash it down went down a treat.

On the way home I indulged in a little retail therapy, stuff for the house which will involve a fair amount of rearrangement tomorrow, but I guess that will keep me out of mischief!

A trip to Ludlow

I am officially on holiday!!!

I am writing this in a cafe in a town called Bishops Castle, near Ludlow. I am drinking coffee and eating a chocolate cornflake crispy cake whilst Colin is trawling through thousands of books and music in lots of little rooms- I have 2 ginger cats and 1 black and white dog as friends with me in the mean time……

Ludlow is a lovely little town in Shropshire which I have visited many, many times- a town that is odd for its plethora of foodie places: shops, delis, wine shops, markets, restaurants, its just great! I could very easily move here but it would be quite an enormous drive to Horsham every day!

On the way here yesterday we popped into Cheltenham- another place I could live I think- and went to Brasserie Blanc for lunch. Burger for Colin, Scallops for me. Really lovely, if a little rich, and with bacon in the stew part of the dish it was the first meat I have eaten in quite a few months.


In the afternoon we popped into The Ludlow Food Centre- which I love almost as much as I love Wholefoods (but not as much as Borough Market of course!!!). I have a really fond memory of the food centre as I was browsing around here 3.5 years ago when I got the phonecall to offer me my first BM position in Waitrose.

The cottage is gorgeous, quiet and cosy, with a very well stocked kitchen! I made some pasta last night, drank some lovely wine, and slept like a baby…


If we ever get away from this book emporium we’ll find some food and maybe visit a really good Indian restaurant tonight. But I may be in this cafe for some time!!!

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