Ingredients

Like millions of people around the globe, I supremely over-indulged during the festive period. I know that trying to wean myself onto fresh salads and healthy options is going to be an uphill battle, especially since the weather outside is still pretty frightful.

Over the months of November and December, when I found myself battling the Christmas shopping crowd, I would often stop for lunch at the delicious Thai cafe Rosa’s in East London. My dish of choice to boost my vitamin intake was Yam Nuea Yang – a fresh and spicy beef salad – low on the carbs, high on the greens and flavour.

The dish consisted of a sirloin steak sliced and served in a basket of fresh lettuce, with slivers of red onion, chunks of tomatoes, cucumbers and other crispy vegetables. But the star of the dish was the sweet and spicy dressing with a huge kick that would have me choosing a salad over any other starchy comfort food.

I decided to explore making my own version of this dressing in a bid to kick start a healthy new year. So simple and so easy, you can make up a batch and use it all week in salads. Over the weekend I used it on a hearty green salad and gobbled it all up – and this week will be adding grilled aubergines for a substantial lunch. Be warned the dressing is really spicy but is beautifully counterbalanced by chunks of cold tomatoes and cucumbers and the addition of mint.

Spicy and Sweet Thai Salad Dressing [adjust quantities depending on how much you want to make]

The juice of 1 lime
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 Teaspoon white wine vinegar, or rice vinegar [I had Cider vinegar which worked just fine]
3 cloves of garlic
1 fresh red chilli [leave the seeds in for more of a kick]
1-2 Teaspoons of Brown Sugar
1 pinch of black or white pepper

Whizz all ingredients in a mixer [or mince garlic and chilli on their own and add to the liquids], pour over salad and dress with mint and coriander. Delicious!

Dressing Salad

AA

Just “Weeks away from Christmas!” all the adverts trill, and frankly I can’t wait. Britain and especially London in my opinion is magical during this season – winding Dickensian streets, Oxford Street lights and sparkling shop-fronts.

One quintessentially English tradition that I just love are Hampers! The magical food hamper where you just don’t know what you’re going to get. The magical hamper that becomes the lifesaver thread that keeps hungry family members going through the days before and after boxing day with it’s steady trickle of pickles and deli chocolates and the all important booze.

I never tend to get any hampers – which seem to mainly be the domain of my mum, mother in law and grandmas but now that I am getting maturer I’m really hoping that some will be heading my way (hint hint). Christmas Hampers have come a long way since the days of kitsch cellophane wrapped packages of tasteless biscuits and cheap wine. Hampergifts is a family run firm based in St Albans who create luxurious hampers containing food and drink of the highest quality. From Chocolate Hampers, to Wine Hampers, Cheese Hampers and Bath and Body Gifts. Filled with boutique food and wine sourced from around the globe, I’m hoping one of these will be arriving on my doorstep this December!

*This post was in Conjunction with Hampergifts

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A few weeks ago I wrote about my Icing Class at the Biscuiteers in Notting Hill and since then I haven’t been able to think about anything else but imaginative iced treats.

Just in time for Halloween – The Biscuiteers have released a lovely video showing how easy it is to ice Halloween Skulls! I hope this inspires some of you to create your own iced delights!

halloween Skulls

BiscuiteersBox

Biscuiteers

A few weeks ago, I shrugged off all the hipster trappings of East London and ventured across town to Notting Hill. With its candy coloured buildings and gleaming lifestyle boutiques it is the London of storybooks.

I had been lucky enough to be invited to The Biscuiteers ‘Biscuit Boutique and Icing Cafe’ to celebrate Autumn by taking part in a ‘Woodland Creatures Icing Class’!

The Biscuiteers are primarily an online gifting company that produce tins of fresh handmade iced-biscuits in an array of themes. Each tin is created in their London bakery and hand-decorated by a team of expert icers before being carefully packaged up and sent off to delighted recipients around the globe.

Late last year the company opened up the most charming Biscuit Shop and Cafe in Notting Hill where you can buy biscuit cards, overflowing tins, relax in their vintage cafe and take part in icing classes.

Inspired by old fashioned sweet shops and with hand-illustrated signs and drawings inside and out, the monochrome boutique looks like it has sprung from the sketchy pages of a children’s book.

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After I had gotten over the surge of nostalgia that hit me as I walked through the tinkling door I was ushered downstairs for the icing class, held in a cosy kitchen area with copious rounds of teas and coffees. The lovely Lorena was our tutor for the day and had prepped the table with un-iced cookies – naked looking hedgehogs, foxes, badgers, ladybirds and caterpillars!

We then spent an amazing two hours under the inspiring and encouraging eye of Lorena learning the tips and techniques of how to outline a biscuit, flood the biscuit and create what I once imaged to be impossible decorations – like spikes on hedgehogs [ok mine look more like squiggles] hearts on ladybirds and delicate details. We were also shown how make the icing and mix the colours.

My initial thought when I discovered the Icing Classes was that the £78 fee seemed a bit pricey and had I not had the good fortune to be invited, would I pay it? However, I walked away from the class euphoric that I had spent two ultra relaxing hours away from my busy schedule purely dedicated to my own personal development and like I had gained skills that will last me a lifetime. I would highly recommend it!

An icing class costs £78 for 2 hours. Tea and coffee is provided, along with a Biscuiteers book [invaluable] and a 100% cotton apron for you to take home, a Biscuiteers Certificate of Excellence and your box of iced-biscuits [delicious].

See all upcoming Icing Classes here.

Icing

Lorena

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WH

Last Friday, a spectacular new launch kicked off London Design Festival that gave everyone the feeling of the iconic design weeks of yesteryear where brands pulled out all the stops. A collaboration with between prolific Danish design brand HAY and London-based designer Sebastian Wrong, showcased furniture, accessories, textiles and lighting in a beautiful London townhouse.

The elegant and playful designs sat alongside 18th Century tapestries and busts, each one illuminating the other. The collection was spectacular and had everyone buzzing as they left.

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What really set the tone of the launch for me was an additional venue we were ushered a few doors along to – a beautiful pop-up restaurant by Peckham Refreshment Rooms inside a Westminster townhouse. The pop-up serves as a showcase for both the new collection which you drink, sit and dine on – and the very cool south London eatery which specialises in simple and delicious charcuterie, cheeses and hearty French and Italian inspired dishes – alongside good wines, beers and cocktails.

The food was fresh and innovative and it was such a unique experience to be able to use the exciting new products inside such an amazing venue. The whole experience was beautifully executed. I would thoroughly recommend hotfooting it down during design week, you won’t regret it!

WH Pop-Up Restaurant by Peckham Refreshment Rooms
14 – 22 September
34 Queent Anne’s Gate,
London SW1H 9AB

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