You Gotta Roll With It….

joseph joseph rolling pin set

I am a fan of Joseph Joseph stuff – I love the colours, quality and the practicality of it all.  So imagine my delight, when recently I was sent a Joseph Joseph gift set to review with a much coveted rolling-pin in its contents.  I know.  Most people set their hearts on a Tiffany necklaces or an iPad mini….not me, I have my covetous eyes lurking over rolling pins and kitchen gadgetry.

Anyway, the very nice people at Amara Living sent me the gift set, worth £40, to try out.  Can I just say, that for forty quid I think it’s a really nice pressie for someone…it comes beautifully presented with rolling-pin, silicone brush, spatula and timer.  I might get one for a wedding coming up this year…

joseph joseph adjustable rolling pin

…I digress.  What makes this particular rolling-pin a ‘must-have’ is the fact that it is adjustable.  It has three discs either end that you can easily take on and off and in doing so you can choose the thickness of whatever you are rolling.  I wish I’d had it at Christmas when I was rolling out my dough for my gingerbread tree.  There I was, ruler in hand, trying to ascertain whether it was 5mm think or not, but with this roller, I just pop on the 5mm discs and roll away!

baking-gift-set-multihome made biscuits

I have used it to make all sorts of biscuits and yesterday I made a rather delicious apple pie, with a perfectly even crust!



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A Gingerbread Gift

Gingerbread GiftI saw this in the Waitrose Weekend paper and thought I would a) make it for my child’s teacher and b) share it with you.  It is so difficult to find nice gifts that don’t cost an arm and a leg and this really appealed to me.  I would love to receive it and because it is, in effect, home-made I think it makes it a thoughtful present as well as a delicious one.

I bought this jar from Fenwicks – it is airtight with the ribbon and wooden heart attached, but you could easily decorate your own.  But at £4.50, I thought it was good value.  I tied on the Christmas cutter and filled the jar with the gingerbread mix (recipe below).  Then, on a festive tag, I wrote the instructions.  I think it looks really pretty.

So, what’s in the mix?  You will need 375g plain flour, 1 tsp bicarb of soda, 2 tsp ground ginger and 90g light, soft brown sugar.  Just combine until evenly mixed and pop it in the jar!

On the label you will need to write:


1 quantity of gingerbread mix

125g chopped, unsalted butter

230g golden syrup

80g sifted icing sugar

To make:

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Pu gingerbread mix, butter and syrup into a food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth dough.  

Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Roll out the dough between two pieces of baking parchment until 0.5cm thick.  Cut into shapes and place on lined baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 mins until golden.  Allow to cool.

Mix 80g icing sugar with 2tsp hot water and mix until smooth.  Decorate the biscuits as you wish.  Enjoy!



Biscuit anyone?

I had to share with you this marvellous biscuit jar I spotted in John Lewis this week.  Every now and then I allow myself a visit to John Lewis Home where I wander about ooh-ing and ah-ing until I reach the kitchen department, where I grind to a halt.  Just so many lovely things to look at/fiddle with/take out of the box and then not be able to get back in.

I couldn’t resist buying this jar.  Standing proudly on my kitchen shelf, biscuits tumbled within, it looks fab.  And it’s large enough to house a batch of home-made cookies too.  I don’t know about you, but when I make biscuits at home we eat a fair few then they are stored away in an airtight tin and rediscovered a couple of weeks later looking a bit sheepish at the bottom. This proudly displays your wares and akin to the bottle in Alice in Wonderland the biccies whisper as you go past….’Eat me!’.  And I do.

John Lewis, £15.00.  Marvellous.

Wealden Times Winter Fair

Today I enjoyed a rare morning out sans children to the Wealden Times Winter Fair. Set in the walled garden of Bedgebury Pinetum, Kent it is a festive fair for the home, garden and, in my case, stomach. As this is a food blog I am not going to dwell on how much I spent on ‘vintage’ things for my kitchen, Christmas decorations and a rather nice bracelet….I am going to stick to the foodie bits and introduce you to some of the lovely stalls I came upon and don’t switch over just because you’re not from Kent! Some of these companies will deliver nationally…


Bakestore   @bakestorecouk

You may have heard mention of these lovely people in my previous post. I popped over to say hello and, despite nearly calling the founder Harriet (my friend was waving at me in the background), it was nice to put a face to a name. The stall was busy so I didn’t linger, but they have great quality bakeware and loads of those lovely silicone coated utensils to boot. Pop over to their site for a browse and don’t forget – use the code ‘Nigella’ at the checkout and you’ll get 10% off!

Kent Cookery School   @kentcookery

kent cookery school in actionI have been hankering to go on a cookery course for a while….I started by contemplating a week’s course in Italy learning how to cook al dente, then I whittled it down…perhaps something more local? So imagine my delight today when I came across the Kent Cookery School. And not only do they do courses for the grown-ups they do kids’ parties too! Adult courses include: Foraging, Macaroons, Game, Dinner Parties and Fish and there are also corporate events or hen/stag parties. I think it all sounds fab and might have to explore the Italian course…Pah! Who needs Florence? *sobs in Italian*

Judges Bakery   @judgesbakery

All I can say is I bought a loaf of their sourdough walnut bread and a few hours later there isn’t a whole lot left……
Based in Hastings Old Town it was reinvented by the founders of Green & Black’s and has won lots of awards. Justly so, going by their walnut bread.

Perry Court Farm   @PERRYCOURT_FARMperry court farm crisps

This guy was doing a roaring trade selling his air-dried fruit crisps. I had to muscle in to get my shout.  Fat free, less than 79 calories and despite all that they taste really nice! I was tentative in nibbling one of the samples but they are really flavoursome and crisp (I know they are called crisps, but often the fruit type is soggy). Think crinkle cut zingy fruit. I have yet to try them on my kids, but I might well scoff them all before they get a look in. I bought one of each flavour; sweet apple, tangy apple and pear. Check them out…

Coffee Real   @brownbean

Not sure where they are based…but they were there in the food court and their coffee was superb and were putting up with a lot of tripe from over-coiffed middle-aged women whilst I was queuing.  ‘Are you SURE this is decaff?  Sure?  You PROMISE me?’  Yes, love.  That’s what you ordered.  I was standing right behind you.  Unfortunately.   They’re not idiots…unlike some.

Anyway, these guys are friendly, COMPETENT and they really know their stuff.

Staplehurst Nurseries & Frankie’s Farmshop

OK, this one is local but the man I spoke to was absolutely charming and I am definitely making the trip to Staplehurst for a shop and a cuppa. This is a new farm shop/restaurant opened in Staplehurst, Kent and looks amazing. The sort of place I would wander into at 11am and not re-surface until 2 hours later…their site is a work in progress so be patient…

frankie's farm shop



So there you are.  My shout out for some brilliant local businesses.  If you are in the vicintiy….the fair is open tomorrow too.


nigellissima nigella lawsonNow, the name of my blog might have led you to believe I am a bit of a Nigella fan.  And you’d be right.  So have pre-ordered the new book I was equally excited to see the first programme in the new series, Nigellissima.  There are two reasons for this.  One; it’s Nigella.  Two; Italy.  I love everything about Italy; the people, the food, the culture, the architecture, the language and, of course, the wine.  Give me homemade pasta and a bottle of Gavi di gavi and I’m happy.

Nigella, of course, did not disappoint.  Settled in her to die for kitchen (I actually squeaked out loud at one point) the gorgeous Ms Lawson showed me how to make lots of things that had to be ‘strewn’ or ‘ooze’ and they all looked utterly delicious.  Even the steak and I’m a vegetarian.  It is her commentary that I love the most.  She speaks with onomatopoeic eloquence and makes me chuckle away on the sofa prompting quizzical looks from my OH.

I also share her love of kitsch and, seemingly, kitchenware.  I did, at one point, turn to OH and say ‘You see?  I should be friends with Nigella!  We have the same water decanter, same melamine cups for the kids, a kitchenaid and I have twinkle lights in the garden all year ’round like her’.  We could be BFFs……*dreams*

Anyway, suffice to say if you can take on board another cooking programme from the plethora that are filling our screens at the moment, then tune in.

I, for one, am planning on cooking italian this weekend…


John, Greg, Lorraine, Paul AND Mary….

…No, it’s not the line-up for Louis Walsh’s new band but the return of some of my favourite chefs to prime time TV!  As Monday dawned I was busy sky+ing as later that evening was the return of Celebrity Masterchef AND Lorraine Pascale’s new series.  Then on Tuesday the Great British Bake Off started and the void of the Olympics was filled like Chantilly cream in a rum ba-ba!

celebrity masterchef

Celebrity Masterchef left me feeling rather elated.  I have always maintained that I am not a natural cook and whilst I can follow a recipe and have a few culinary skills up my sleeve, the thought of being given a box of ingredients and being told to make something delicious would floor me.  However, watching the contestants hack up a fish and NONE of them knowing how to make pasta and pesto I was left thinking that maybe I’m not so bad after all…..I could have certainly kicked butt in that episode!  I am still giggling about the expression on John Torode’s face when the pasta was, erm, created…

lorraine pascale

Lorraine was back on form and whipping up speedy and easy dishes with her usual style and enviable figure.  When the programme finished my husband declared

‘You know, I don’t think she can actually cook.’


‘Well, I could make what she cooks – it’s not hard!’

‘Erm, yes dear.  I THINK THAT IS THE POINT!!!’  Honestly.

I know people have differing opinions on Ms Pascale, but I adore her.  She seems genuinely lovely, which always helps.  And her recipes are perfect for the likes of me with limited skills, but trying to improve.  I use her recipes all the time and am resisting the urge to get the new book instead of putting it on the Christmas list.  (I have a moderate addiction to buying recipe books!).

great british bake off

The GBBO was fab.  And feisty!  The woman with the sharp bob looks like she will take no prisoners!  What I love about this series (apart from the silver fox, Mr Hollywood and Mary Berry) is that I learn a lot along the way, but from other people’s mistakes rather than my own!  Hurrah!  And then you get masterclasses of how it’s really done!  Brilliant!  I made Paul’s olive sticks the other day (recipe to come and they were deeeeelicious!) and had I not seen the GBBO and seen how you MUST follow Paul’s recipes no matter how ‘wrong’ the dough looks then I would have added more flour and messed it all up.  As it was, the dough looked revolting but turned out perfectly!

 I think Friday’s ‘Show and Tell’ might have to be My Favourite TV Food Show… to choose??!!


Emma Bridgewater

One of my many passions that link in with food is my love of Emma Bridgewater pottery. From the very first spotty mug I treated myself to as a new teacher to my starry teapot that sits proudly on my kitchen shelf – everything seems to taste better when served on/in nice pottery. It’s hard to choose which design is my favourite….I have an awful lot of spots and stars but I also can’t resist the specialist pieces like my diamond jubilee mug. I was in a cookery shop in Tunbridge Wells the other day that stocks Emma Bridgewater and I was slathering over the vast array of goodies…in particular the mixing bowls, which I am persuading myself I NEED desperately if I am to make decent cakes…

emma bridgewater mixing bowl

I have an ever-growing collection and it makes me very easy to buy for! And the personalised pieces make gorgeous presents. If the pottery is a little out of your price range (but you do get what you pay for – quality and beauty without!) there are melamine and tins ranges too. And linens. And stationery. Even iPhone cases! I could go on….and they do a cracking sale!

Go see for yourself. Grab a cuppa, click here and prepare to drool….

emma bridgewater pottery
Just some of my collection…..