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:

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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…

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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.

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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?

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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……

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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.

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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…

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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!!!

Making Pizza in London!

Last Monday I took my managers into London to have a look at foodie places- all in prep for my lovely new shop due to open in May! The day was great- well it was for me……. a day looking at food and thinking about what food to buy is a perfect day in my view. But everyone seemed to have fun, and a lot of cheese and fish were purchased. I have also purchased a mini drone which I can not get to fly properly….

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We ended the day by making pizzas at Pizza Express in Soho. This is something they normally do with groups of children………….. but I can not recommend it more as it was so much fun!!!

As usual I piled way too much onto my pizza making it a little sloppy in the middle, but it was tasty! Other pizzas around the table looked gorgeous, and very Italian-like.

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A really good day, a lovely evening and finished off with some cocktails at the end of the night…. Team Horsham do London!

A Visit to Benares

As a post Christmas treat I booked a table at Benares- Atul Kochhar’s michelin starred restaurant in Mayfair. What a treat!!!

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The restaurant is really gorgeous- the decor beautiful, service impeccable and the food truly delicious. I would definitely say this was one of the best meals I have ever had.

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For starters I had soft shelled crab with white crabmeat and coronation slaw. I had never had this kind of crab before (maybe a little squeamish?!?) but it was crisp, full of flavour, and utterly lovely. Colin had a little chicken tikka pie- fragrant and spicy, with a tomatoey sauce on the side.image

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My main course was superb! Prawns, squid and razor clams with tomatoes, spices and baby leeks. Colin’s looked and smelled amazing- duck with a 3 bean vindaloo and spicy matchstick potatoes.

And, wow, dessert was a showstopper….

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My dessert was a pear and quince millefeuille, crisp and fragrant with the quince. Colins was a yulelog, but I have never seen a yulelog like that before!!!

With a great bottle of Portuguese wine to wash it all down I can honestly say this was a thoroughly lovely experience. And after a very tiring few weeks this was definitely what the doctor ordered.

Now, what to make for New Year???

A Lovely Day Off: 13th Nov 2014

Today I have hd a lovely day off in London with a great friend. A proper catch up- and there was a lot to catch up on- and some real yumminess.

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After a catch up coffee at St Pancras we headed to The Grain Store, behind Kings Cross. The Grain Store is Bruno Loubet’s restaurant and I loved it. It was really funny in the morning as Colin had looked at the menu and was very pleased he was not my lunch companion!!! But the menu was amazing and it took us ages to decide what to have.

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For starters we had:
Me- celeriac and hay mouse tart with truffle
L- wild mushroom croquettes
Both gorgeous, mine was light, delicate and delicious, whereas the mini croquettes were so full of flavour and presented so attractively.
For main we had:
Me- squid au poivre with pumpkin puree and confit garlic
L- butternut squash ravioli with mustard apricots

I also had a drink of quince Bellini which I am now going to dedicate the winter to perfecting! So yum.

A mini shopping trip followed which resulted in a couple of lovely purchases from my favourite shop Anthropologie. No Christmas party dress though……

When I got home I found a hungry husband……. so I whipped up a little aubergine, red pepper and chickpea curry which was also massively yummy. Yippeeeeeee for happy tums!

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