♡Adventures – Dinner at Yatai Aberdeen

Hello! I don’t normally blog about restaurants but I HAD to about this one, Japanese is my favourite cuisine  ♡ and Yatai in Aberdeen has a accomplished menu, beautiful decor and great service.  Yatai @yataiizakaya serves a mix of traditional and street Japanese food.  When I was up in Aberdeen few weekends ago, Bertie and I popped along for a special treat. Just wanted to let readers know I was not endorsed in any way for writing this post and all photos and opinions are my own.xx


                                                                Yatai Aberdeen! http://www.yatai.co.uk


 Loved our little walk upstairs to our table


Lovely diverse menu selection


Tuna mmmmmmmm NOM!


Rib eye steak and Sea Bream with Ginger Salsa


Bertie nom nom nom!


Sweet Potato teriyaki


Vegetable Tempura


Mmmmm tummy = happy!

Thanks @yataiizakaya and Bertie for a lovely evening.

♡ @Rose_Bud_Annie



♡ Adventures – Open Farm Sunday

I love trying to grow my own veg at home and when I read about open farm sunday 2014 on the lovely Emmas blog http://www.farmerswifeandmummy.com, was hooked to go to see how the professionals work!  Open Farm Sunday 2014 http://www.farmsunday.org/ is a day where farms across the country open their doors to the public to get a glimpse into the working of the farm and how the produce is made.

♡ days out with Bertie, so we went together out to Castleton farm http://www.castletonfarmshop.co.uk Aberdeenshire. The sun came with us too and was more than welcome to join our day out.


All set for our day out!

Castleton is a family run farm covering 192 acres and it’s main produce includes strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries. They supply some of the supermarkets in aberdeen including m&s and tesco and have their own lovely farm shop on site with +++ goodies!

The farm had a tour for open farm sunday. We jumped on the trailer and headed off, held on tight as was a bumpy ride!



    Mmmmm strawberries, plants from Holland, grown under polytunnels on trays of the ground with their own water supply.


     The hunt to find ripe strawberries


            Strawberrries growing up!


Mmmmmmmmmmmm Our hunt to find a ripe strawberry was successful xxxxx


Enjoying the breeze on the tractor truck

Best growing tip of the day I picked up was when frost is expected the fruits are sprayed with water, which freezes the fruit with the frost and protects them during the colder temperatures.

As well as the farm there were some local artisan food producers present with their goodies. I headed straight for the chocolate  and had a lovely chat with Louise, Sales & Marketing executive at Cocoa ooze http://www.cocoa-ooze.co.uk.  Cocoa ooze is a cafe and chocolate producing site in Aberdeen who also provide classes for any keen chocolatier. My ♡of chocolate is continuing to grow and hearing about cocoa ooze made me excitied to visit!

Thanks Castleton Farm for having us! Can’t wait to try growing some strawberries at home, my lovely growing calendar from Ngozi_a is feeling the strawberries too!  If you have successfully grown strawberries at home or planning too would love to hear how you got on.




♥ Adventures – Cake, Bread + Chocolate at Cake and Bake show MCR

Back in April I went to the Cake and BAke show in Manchester and had a lovely day!  Favourite parts were entering the clandestine cake competition,  attending a talk from Duncan of thoughtful bread company and a chocolate masterclass with the Paul A Young.  Wanted to share some photos and inspiration I had from the day.

First the Cake competition by @clandestinecake !  The challenge was to create a tasty flavoured cake with emphasis on flavour over appearance.  I spent some time deliberating what I would bake, then remembered some expresso coated chocolate beans I had whilst out for dinner a few months ago and instantly thought of that intense coffee chocolate hit.  Thought it would make a intense tasty cake and got to trying some recipes.  I went for flourless chocolate cake with expresso Italian buttercream and expresso bean chocolate crumb.  The smell was so intense, even as writing this post the recollection of the strong flavour and smell along with my imagination makes me think there is a piece right next to me.

My Entry = Dark Chocolate Expresso Cake!


Other Cake competion entries looked stunning!


The judging!


 Unfortunelty I didn’t win the competition.  Loved taking part and would definitely recommend it.  The competion was judged by Peter Sidwell @petersidwell from Britains Best Bakery.  The experience of being at the stand whilst he tasted and judged my cake was so exciting and nerve wracking.  Was lovely to experience that feeling, reminded me of waiting for first few ever bakes to be tasted!

Next was a talk from Duncan at the thoughtful bread company @thoughfulbread


 I’m glad I booked in for this talk and as I connected with the subject and left feeling inspired. Duncan spoke of how his company was formed on the basis of sourcing local produce, product and recipe testing with his customers to create high quality produce that meet customers demand and community spirit of the thoughtful bread community.  Enjoyed hearing of how the bakery started by selling breads at a shack by a road and how this developed.  Ive loved baking since I started a few years ago, however never got strong idea of which direction Id like to go with it.  Connecting with Duncans stories along with my experience of 12 months of growing – trying to grow a new fruit or veg a month helped me see my interest in sourcing and using local produce.  As I enjoy working with people would love to work with customers to develop in demand high quality products.

My last session of the day was with my favourite chocolatier Paul A Young @paul_a_young ! Looooove Paul’s approach to chocolate making and flavour combinations.  The masterclass went through tempering chocolate at home, home made easter eggs and use of other types of chocolate moulds.  This session was right up my street! Looooove chocolate, would love to make home made chocolates and eggs as gifts from home and cannot wait to try!

Mmmmmm Chocolate!

Thanks to @cakeandbakeshow for organising, the lovely speakers and @clandestinecake for the competition I had a super day!


♥ Adventures = friday food fight

Few weeks ago my good friend Laura, Bertie and I headed to Friday FOOD FiGhT! If you’ve not from MCR, Friday food fight @beatstreetmcr has been running over approx. 13 weeks at Upper Campfield Market in Deansgate and is a market with local Manchester food traders each with own stall!

Here are some photos from our night.



Boooootiful Laura


All the stalls pimped out with yummmmmmmy food!


Me and Bertie


Mmmmmmmm best food of the night for me Steak Burritos from @LuchaManchester


Saying hello to Beetham!

We drank Pomegranate Cider from @briskacider mmmmmmmmmmmm nom nom nom!  Will be planning an order for a crate very soon!

If you have a chance to go to the last one Friday 23rd MAY, go get your munch on, you won’t regret it!xxxxxxxxx

♥ Adventures – Manchester food swap

Recently I attended the second Manchester food swap at Nexus Art Cafe in the NQ http://www.manchesterfoodswap.com



If you have never been or heard of one, they are amazing for foodies! You take along anything you have grown or made at home, make swap cards where you describe your item and leave space for offers then set your items out on display.  Then you have a peek and sometimes a taste of everyone else items and if you like then offer something from your table to swap.


Pre Swap Preparation

For me making and baking lots at home its easy to make a bit extra when the swap is on and come home with a variety of goodies ive never tried or not experienced making.  Its also great for trying out reciepe and flavour ideas.  Final bonus for me is that I get to have a chat with the other swappers and learn about their growing and making adventures!

The swap is run by Sam, who is lovely and welcoming if you havent attended one before and puts you at ease till you get the hang of it.  The staff at Nexus are also super helpful which all adds to the lovely experience.

So here is the details of my swap 2 sundays ago!

I swapped 4 bags of goji chicken noodle soup all you need on a flu day, cinnamon and clove bread, 3 banana breads and 1 banana cupcake for…………….

Sage plant, cherry tomatos, courgette loaf, sticky cinder toffee, 19th century curry paste, medlar jelly, lemon drizzle cake, pesto pastry pin wheels and chilli hummous.


Made lovely pasandra and madras curries, looking forward to using the Sage and medlar jelly and all the cakes and treats got me through a week of night shifts at work 🙂

Wondering what to make for the next swap!

♥ Adventures – Supper Club at Wendy’s House

Cosy friday night dinner with friends and making new ones!

Vegetarian Supper Club at Wendys House

 I found out about Wendy’s house wendyshousesupperclub.co.uk from Twitter and as soon as I seen her four course vegetarian night I got in touch with my two best veggie friends Ngozi and Laura and arranged to visit.

Wendy was attentive with gathering information before the night and able to accommodate our allergies and strong dislikes – 4 between us so not an easy group to cater for.

As I stood at the door  I noticed Wendys house logo   just to the left of the doorframe which settled me as I always wonder if I have the right house when going somewhere Ive never visited before!

I was greeted with a smile by a very smartly dressed waiter and Wendy who popped through from the kitchen to greet me. Kir royales with polenta chips and dip were served before taking a seat and getting to know the other guests.


Lovely crispy Polenta Chips

The table was set with attention to detail with lovely candles in tea china cups, and cutterly and wine glasses all evenly spaced around the table .


I was sitting next to Laura and Ngozi and got to gossip a little 🙂 There were 7 guests in total and there was a range of personalities and varied professionals all which provided for interesting conversation over dinner.  Its so refreshing to meet kind people that share experiences and stories from their lives.  I feel the supper club environment provides this exchange or we were just lucky!



Beetroot salad with lovage, radish and creme fraiche

This dish was delicious, the colours and textures of the 4 different beetroots were lovely.



Pattpan squash stuffed with leek and cheese with roasted cauliflower, green beans and a red wine reduction

The Pattpan squash was soft and I enjoyed the filling.  The dish was dressed with a red wine reduction which was lovely tasting and a smooth consistency.

For the meal we provided our own drinks which was a bonus for most of the guests.  For me it meant I could take my Pepsi Max to enjoy for everyone else at the table it was a treat to be able to pair the wines for the meal in advance.



Stunning Golden Cross ashed goats cheese, red onion marmalade and crisp bread



Little almond cake, baked fig, natural yoghurt and Chorlton honey

For the dessert course I managed to sneak into the kitchen to get a peek of Wendy at work, Wendy was delicately finishing plating the desserts which looked stunning!  I had varied version due to almond allergy so couldn’t taste the cake, despite the other dinners trying to fob me off that I wasn’t missing much it was visible that they were all enjoying the almond cake. The baked fig was lovely and for me the Chorlton honey was delicious!

Next we were given a wide range of choices of teas, coffees and herbal teas and again our waiter was very accommodating to everyones personal taste.  All served with truffles or a lemon drizzle cake = 🙂

During our teas and coffees Wendy came to the table and sincerely answered any of our questions.  It was lovely to be able to chat to the Wendy  to pay compliments directly and get some insight into motivations for starting the supper club.

Just as we were getting ready to get off home with out happy bellies, another treat was presented = A party bag!  It must be a good 20 years since Ive received a party bag and I was rather excited!  Inside was some lovely photos, postcard and jam which was enjoyed next day with a bagel.


I had a beautiful evening with inventive stunning food, lovely company and service, time with friends and a treat to take home.  The added bonus of this was it was a Friday night, a perfect night to get out but to a cosy, friendly relaxing venue = Wendys house!

♥ Adventures – Surprise Dinner at The French

Ive had a lovely week off work this week and got a super surprise on Tuesday 9th July. Bertie took me for cocktails and then to the French, excited was not the word when we got in the taxi then pulled up to the Midland 🙂


Bertie and I had been to L’enclume last year and had such an experience when the French opened in February 2013 Manchester Ive been keen to visit and we were not disappointed.

After being greeted by the lovely Kamilla, who looked after us at L’enclume we were shown to our table and a chance to eye up the  accomplished decor and decorations.







 The green walls, original features, stunning chandelier, simple table decor and unusual flower decorations complemented each other beautifully.  It was lovely to know this was another Simon Rogan dinning room with the same tables, table mats and settings as in L’enclume, bringing back lovely thoughts from out previous visit.

We had a glass of sparkling white wine to start and were greeted with kindness by the staff.

Before going onto the main event, thought could you tell you a bit more about Simon Rogan and The French.  Simon uses local ingredients grown on his farm near L’enclume Cartmel in his dishes and they are creative, seasonal and inventive, all which excite an imaginative eater.  The French opened in Manchester in 1903 and since then has been host to many accomplished chefs.

To start, a selection of snacks, I wish I wrote down what each one was but unfortunetly I was distracted.



I do remember this snack was covered with onion ash which was delicious!


Then onto the bread,nom nom nom.


To start the main meal, Course 1 of 6 was the  boiled soil, onions, truffle and leaks.  This course came with the onion broth in a little pot which was poured at the table.


The onion broth was stunning.

Ox in coal oil, pumpkin seed, kohlrabi and sunflower shoots


Asparagus with crevettes,watercress and duck skin


Pollock fillet with buckwheat, radishes, sea beat and smoked roe butter.  This one was my favourite, the Pollock was beautiful and well complimented with the smoked roe butter. Simple yet stunning.


Reg’s chicken, kale, turnip and offal


We opted for the cheese course which was lovely and smelly.


Pear, meadowsweet and Rye, buttermilk and seeds.  This dessert was beautiful, sweet pear just melted. Mmmmm I could eat this again and again and again.


After dinner we took a small stroll to a taxi and then home for a lie down with very happy tummies and satisfied imaginations .

With a menu so diverse in terms of techniques of cooking you will always have your favourites and things your not too keen.  This is no diservice to the chef but a reflection on palates and personal taste.  If your like me tasting is all part of the experience and when you taste that combination of ingredients that make you feel warm and gooey inside , you hit the jackpot.  For me the Pollock was that dish, closely followed by the Pear dessert.

Had a trutly lovely evening and compliments to the Staff at the French and to Simon Rogan. Cant wait to try the new menu which Kamilla informed us will be launching this week.


My First Market!

I’ve been thinking of doing a market for  good 6 months now and when I saw Love your Love Market Week I had to give it a shot!

Love your local market week meant I could try the Market at Bolton with my insurance and stall hire covered and also would be trading with other first time traders.  I would highly recommend it for anyone thinking of doing it.  Decorated these cookies as a special thank you to the love your local market team.


After a Mad wednesday, thursday and friday bakingIMAG2564IMAG2565

I was ready to go to Market at Bolton Victoria Square on Saturday 18th May.  I decided to bake some of my favourite artisan bakes including cupcakes, cookies, meringues and a larger sponge cake.

It was hard to estimate how much to bake but I just went for roughly 20 of each with more cookies and had plenty.  In heinsight I would have made less so wouldn’t have been so tired on the day but he insight is a beautiful thing!

Was greeted by Phillipa, assistant manager at Bolton Markets, who was lovely and showed me to my stall. Once car was unloaded and parked , it was time to set up and start selling.


It was a quietish day at Bolton and think mr Rain was largely to blame.  IMAG2569

Despite this had a lovely day speaking to customers and selling my bakes and also meeting other traders who were trying for the first time.


Best sellers of the day were my lemon sponge with lemon buttercream and coloured white chocolate gnash speckles and vanilla cupcakes.  My favourites were scrabble cookies and Japanese Doll Cookies.

I had help from my lovely friend Ngozi, would definitely recommend taking someone to help if your doing it for the first time.


My thanks go to Ngozi, Love your Local Market and Bolton Markets for making this happen.  I look forward to my next cake adventure!xxxxxxxxx