Blogs

February 2023

It’s probably an understatement to say that after all the excitement of Christmas and New Year, January can seem a little flat. But, it’s often February that I find more ‘testing’, just when I start to look forward to the end of January I realise that February is not going to get much better as…

January 2023

I’ve been feeling rather nostalgic lately. The start of the new year has brought memories from the past, plus with my son, Felix, recently flying the nest I’ve been overwhelmed by sentimental feelings; a mix of hope for the future yet also a longing for the past – where did my toddler go?!… Hence my…

December 2022

Christmas is on the horizon and that means a ‘festive cooking list’. Recently my son, Felix, having returned home from university has moved into a nearby flat, so this Christmas he has suggested that he could invite us over for dinner during the Christmas holidays – I’m sure the novelty will soon wear off! Naturally,…

November 2022

I am a planner. I’m happiest when I have a plan, big or small. Perhaps, that is why I’m so content in my kitchen where you can find me following the plan of a recipe – by my own admission I’m not a creator of recipes but I am extremely good at spotting a top-notch…

October 2022

Looking back over the last few months I feel I’ve been rather spoilt, after the inactivity brought on by the pandemic, like a lot of you, I’ve been taking every opportunity to get away and have enjoyed some fantastic travels. Now, having used up all of Nick’s holiday allowance (and those extra pennies we had…

September 2022

Well, summer is coming to a close; I will be sorry to say goodbye to August as I’ve so very much enjoyed it! We’ve been holidaying in Italy and although I’ve been away from my kitchen I’ve still been thinking about food on a daily basis; we’ve been eating out a lot – when in…

August 2022

This month I thought I’d take you on holiday with me! I’m off to Italy and I didn’t want you to miss out on the lovely Italian food that I’m looking forward to eating, so I thought I would share some Italian inspired recipes! Normally we visit Italy at least twice a year, and as eating…

July 2022

Is it really possible that it’s three years since my son, Felix, started University and that this month he’ll be graduating?… It only seems like yesterday when we were anxiously leaving our only child at the University of York! We will be celebrating the end of his university journey in the same way we started…

June 2022

June or should I say ‘Jubilee Month’, as of course, in the UK, we are starting the month with an extended weekend to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The Queen will officially be the first British monarch to serve for seventy years – quite a feat. And of course, it gives us all the chance…

May 2022

I’m smiling – yes it’s May, the month with not one but two bank holidays! I’m particularly looking forward to this first bank holiday weekend as we have a foodie get-away planned. We booked this stay over a year ago when we were in the depths of a lockdown; we figured that things must surely…

April 2022

If I’m going to be entirely truthful, I must admit that over the last couple of weeks there hasn’t been as much cooking going on in my kitchen as I have finally ventured abroad! I have just had a wonderful holiday in the sun and whilst I did lots of reading there wasn’t a cookbook…

March 2022

Spring is almost officially here! My garden is starting to reawaken and this last month I’ve also felt as if I’ve been slowly reawakening. After Christmas, with the continuing cold, dull days, I must admit to being rather reclusive. Yes, I did manage a weekend away in January and an exhibition, but in all honesty…

February 2022

Well, we’ve made it to the end of the ‘dog days’ of January! I must admit, my January hasn’t been too gloomy as I’ve already had a weekend away!… If you read my blogs/ restaurant reviews, you will know that since my son, Felix, started York University three years ago, I have developed a soft…

January 2022

Happy New Year and a very warm welcome to 2022!… For Menu Mistress a new year means a new style. I have been mulling over a change for some time now and I feel that the start of 2022 is the ideal time to introduce a few changes to the way I will be sharing…

Christmas 2021

Merry Christmas!… Yes, we are just a few days away from the big day, so I thought that this week I would re-post my Christmas day menu – the one which I will be enjoying at home with my family… Over the years I have tried various ‘menus’ for Christmas Day, but for some time…

Week Fifty Three

Christmas!!!….yes, it’s just around the corner so naturally this week I’m sharing recipes with this in mind; recipes that are elegant enough to serve to guests yet substantial enough for a casual family dinner. One of my all-time favourite cookbook writers is Delia Smith, I have her to thank for my love of cooking as…

Week Fifty Two

As we are fast approaching 25th November I think it’s safe for me to mention the ‘Christmas’ word, as it’s undoubtedly on all of our minds!… This year it should be a lot more joyous than last year, as without the stringent covid rules we will be able to entertain our friends and family. With…

Week Fifty One

With the arrival of November, there can be no denying that we are in the midst of autumn. Although the mornings and evenings are darker, I think most of us appreciate the clear, bright skies we often get at this time of year, which along with the beautiful gold and red of the leaves falling…

Week Fifty

I can’t believe that we’re already approaching the end of October…and of course, that means that we will soon be celebrating both Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night! It only seems like yesterday that I was posting recipes with last year’s celebrations in mind. In comparison to last year, this year we should be able to…

Week Forty Nine

Although the clocks don’t go back until the end of the month, it does feel as if the nights are drawing in and despite the unseasonably mild weather we’re enjoying this week I think that the autumnal chill is heading our way! On the upside we can start getting cosy, I’m already enjoying rediscovering my winter wardrobe (plus buying…

Week Forty Eight

Well goodbye to the Summer… hello Autumn!.. I must admit, I’m not so keen to be saying goodbye to the warmer months, particularly this year, as like many of you, we didn’t get the chance to holiday abroad so endured the rather disappointing British summer. So as a ‘pick-me-up’, to raise my spirits, I’ve been…

Week Forty Seven

As we move out of the summer into September, I have been thinking of recipes that will break us gently into the cooler weather. September is one of my favourite months as often, although the evenings are cooler, we get a little warmth from the sun during the day, therefore, we don’t necessarily need the…

Week Forty Six

Please pinch me!…I cannot believe that this week my son, Felix, will be celebrating his 21st birthday!…How did that happen? I have thus been rather consumed over the last few weeks with thoughts of birthday celebrations (and a slight feeling of loss!). In truth, the celebrations will be quite straightforward – a night out with…

Week Forty Five

Our recent holiday in Suffolk was wonderful, we were particularly lucky as we had spectacular weather. However, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to missing the opportunity to holiday abroad. Normally we spend our summer holidays in Italy, where we own a small ‘bolt hole’. Our little corner of Italy is a home…

Week Forty Four

If you read my last blog, you will know that I was planning a week’s holiday in Suffolk and that I was thinking of easy menus which I could cook whilst away. I had a wonderful break, and if I’m totally honest, I was far lazier than I had imagined I would be, and so…

Week Forty Three

I’m hoping that that sun will be out in Suffolk this week as we are holidaying there!…We have booked an Airb&b cottage near to Framlingham, I have since discovered that this is Ed Sheeran’s home town – his song ‘Castle on the Hill’ was referring to Framlinghams’s very own castle! Anyway, apart from star spotting(!),…

Week Forty Two

Like, no doubt,  a lot of people I associate months with anniversaries and special events. For instance, April is ‘my month’ as it’s my birthday, whilst September is not only the month for fresh starts with the end of summer and the beginning of the school year, but it’s also my son, Felix’s birthday. Then,…

Week Forty One

Happy 1st Birthday to Menu Mistress!!…yes, unbelievably, it’s a year since I posted my first blog and recipes! When I first started Menu Mistress, it was a decision I made almost overnight, on a whim, and out of lockdown boredom. I was, like all of us, cooking far more than ever at home due to the…

Week Forty

I have been taking quite a lot of time out of my kitchen recently. In my last blog, I mentioned that I was having a short break in Wales, after months under ‘lockdown’, it certainly was a ‘breath of fresh air’, and gave us the perfect excuse to eat out! We visited the Pembrokeshire coast,…

Week Thirty Nine

Now that we are out of lockdown and can travel around the UK, I am looking forward to a few escapades. Like many of you, we’ve decided not to book a holiday abroad this year, due to all the uncertainty around Covid and the various rules and regulations. The advantage of this is that we…

Week Thirty Eight

With the arrival of May, despite the rather cold and miserable weather, I have been cooking up a few summery dishes. I know… ‘Don’t cast a clout until May is out!’, but I figured that I was safe at home in my kitchen. I learnt the truth of this saying when I was a teenager,…

Week Thirty Seven

If I had to put a positive spin on Covid, it would have to be the appreciation it has given me for the little things in life. Last week I felt incredibly happy just to have my hair cut, whilst the prospect of having lunch with my girlfriends, now that the lockdown rules have been…

Week Thirty Six

Things have been rather ‘hit and miss’ in my kitchen the last week or so…I am always trying new recipes for Menu Mistress, and I like to think that normally I have a good eye for ones that work, however recently I have had a few disasters. With hindsight, I can see that I’ve allowed…

Week Thirty Five

This week I will not only be celebrating Easter but also my birthday, I was actually born on Easter day. So, naturally, I have an excuse to have two special feasts! Before Covid, because my birthday coincided with the Easter holidays, often we were away on holiday, so over the years, I have been fortunate…

Week Thirty Four

Finally, we are a few days away from being officially in spring (Saturday!)…so I’ve been thinking about food which will soon be coming into season. To be honest, these days, because we can get most of our produce year round, we can cook things out of season, however, it’s obviously good to take notice of…

Week Thirty Three

Yes!…March!!…at last there is almost the taste of spring in the air! March’s arrival has put a ‘spring’ into my step, things are definitely looking up – with the opportunity to meet up with more than one friend soon and perhaps even a picnic…and later in May the chance to eat out in a restaurant!!…

Week Thirty Two

I must admit that life has been rather quiet lately due to lockdown, so you won’t be surprised to hear that I haven’t got any exciting news to ‘write home about’! The days seem to be rolling into one; at the end of each day my ‘to do’ list  (I’m a great list maker!), is…

Week Thirty One

We have survived the first month of 2021! I must admit that the month of January is when I allow myself to be my absolute laziest, it’s my hibernating month, so I need this new month of February to get me kickstarted!  Prior to the world of lockdown, January was also the month in which…

Week Thirty

It doesn’t seem possible that Christmas was almost a month ago, indeed, by New Year’s Eve I was feeling rather stuffed and I was looking forward to some lighter meals in January. It seemed a good idea, at that time, to start eating some lighter meals, but without sounding too depressing(!), I was forgetting how…

Week Twenty Nine

Happy New Year and a very warm welcome to 2021!… Are we all stuffed with food from our festive treats?!…I know I am, although I fear that I may have stretched my stomach, as I am still feeling hungry!.. Well, with the arrival of the new year I have been thinking about New Year’s resolutions,…

Week Twenty Eight

This is the last Menu Mistress post of 2020! I am sure that most of us will be very happy to say goodbye to 2020. What a year it’s been, who would have guessed at the beginning of the year that the word ‘lockdown’ would become part of our daily vocabulary!…Of course, there have been…

Week Twenty Seven

It’s Christmas Eve tomorrow!…This week has been manic in my house, as I’m sure it has been in yours! I’ve been busy in my kitchen cooking things which I can keep in the freezer or fridge to have over Christmas, these include a few of the recipes I’ve already shared with you – Anchovy Puffs…

Week Twenty Six

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas….yes, we have less than 10 days to go! I put up my tree at the weekend; the house definitely seems more joyous – what is it with fairy lights, they always manage to cheer up the dullest corner?! I have also started lighting the White Co’s ‘Winter’…

Week Twenty Five

Well, this week we have finally managed to get away for a few days (I am therefore posting this weeks recipes a little earlier than normal!). You may remember that a few weeks ago, I mentioned that we had been hoping to have a short break in North Yorkshire, but unfortunately the second lockdown scuppered…

Week Twenty Four

It’s December!…And during these strange, uncertain times, there is at least one thing that we can be sure of…it will be Christmas soon, and of course, Christmas goes hand in hand with food! So, this week I’ve been getting my Christmas cooking list organised; even though there will be very little entertaining going on at…

Week Twenty Three

This week’s recipes have been a family collaboration. At the weekend I had a Zoom dinner party with my sister, you may remember that I did my first Zoom dinner party, following the last lockdown, back in July, and was surprised at how successful and enjoyable it had been. So, my sister and I thought…

Week Twenty Two

This week we were supposed to be going away to Yorkshire for a short break, but unfortunately due to the new lockdown it was cancelled. We had been planning on having a socially distanced reunion(!) with Felix in York, then we were going to stay in Wensleydale for four nights. I must admit I am…

Week Twenty One

You may have noticed from reading my recent blogs, with their memories of my childhood Halloween and Guy Fawkes Nights, that I have been feeling rather nostalgic lately! Perhaps it’s a Covid thing – seeing students such as my own son, Felix, makes me appreciate how fortunate I was to be a student in a…

Week Twenty

‘Remember, Remember the 5th of November’… Yes, it’s that time of year! Once again, like Halloween, I’m not sure how many celebrations will be going ahead this year with Covid, but I do hope that I get to see some fireworks, as although these days I don’t necessarily go to fireworks displays, I must admit that…

Week Nineteen

This week is of course Halloween, I presume that with Covid it won’t be Halloween ‘as we know it’, as I can’t imagine ‘Trick or Treat’ around the houses will work, even masked up?  I will miss the sound of whispers and scuffles on my doorstep as the fancy dressed shyly summon the courage to…

Week Eighteen

A couple of weeks ago I visited my favourite bookshop in London, ‘Books for Cooks’, as its name suggests, this shop in Notting Hill sells only cookbooks. Yes, I know I have far too many books already but now that I have started Menu Mistress I have the perfect excuse to feed my addiction. Anyway,…

Week Seventeen

Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that when I’m cooking, I often like to play music – hence my MenuMusic page where, for fun, I share my playlists. In addition to music I like to listen to podcasts, unsurprisingly among my favourites are those with a focus on food! This week I’ve been…

Week Sixteen

Last year to celebrate my birthday, my girlfriends and I went to Paris for the day to enjoy lunch at a typical Parisian bistrot. The lunch was incredible and the authentic French atmosphere was the icing on the cake! The fact that we did this all in one day was rather exhilarating, it definitely highlighted…

Week Fifteen

It hardly seems possible that it’s October this week! Time, under Covid, flies by even more so than before the pandemic – well done us for having lived with Covid conditions for 6 months now! Since starting MenuMistress just over three months ago, I am finding that time is flying by even more as I am…

Week Fourteen

In comparison to last week, this week has been very quiet; Felix has returned to Uni and it is just Nick and I at home – I must admit it feels a little flat! So we have been taking ourselves out to dinner for a couple of nights – I will be posting the reviews…

Week Thirteen

This week has been rather hectic as I’ve been helping Felix to prepare to return to University; he leaves at the end of this week.  I have also been busy adding a new page to Menu Mistress – Menu Mistress @Uni! As the name suggests it will be a page for students, giving them some simple…

Week Twelve

September is one of my favourite months. The weather is normally quite good and we often get some late summer, sunny days, which seem like a gift as summer is supposed to be over! After years of Felix being at school and having to follow the school calendar, September also feels like the beginning of a…

Week Eleven

Today, 2nd September is my son’s birthday. I find it very difficult to believe that 20 years ago, Felix was born and I became a mum. Where does the time go, it honestly seems like only yesterday that I was struggling with breast feeding and then later, cooking ‘Annabel Karmel’ weaning recipes! Now he is off…

Week Ten Recipes

This week is the end of August which means a long bank holiday weekend. Thinking of this, I realised that normally it would be Notting Hill Carnival, the renowned Caribbean carnival and the largest street party in Europe, which of course won’t be going ahead due to Covid-19. My dad is from the West Indies,…

Week Nine Recipes

Ok, I’m back to reality this week; our week in the Cotswolds was very special, and was generally a ‘foodie’ success! We stayed at two boutique hotels, one was an incredible experience whilst the other, was one that I’d rather not repeat(!) – you can read more about that on my new ‘Eating Out’ page!…

Week Eight Recipes

I have a confession to make, this week I am not cooking at all…at this very moment Nick and I are in the Cotswolds having a mini holiday in a beautiful boutique hotel! It’s not the Italian summer holiday that I was yearning for last week, but it is an extremely good alternative! We will…

Week Seven Recipes

Like many of you, this year my summer holiday plans have been scuppered due to the ‘pandemic’. Normally we spend our summer break in Italy, last week reality struck (not for the first time), and I started to yearn for the Italian sun and particularly the food. Over the years, we have been fortunate in…

Week Six Recipes

This week’s first menu was tried and tested, successfully, at my recent ‘virtual’ dinner party. My sister lives further afield so it has not been possible to meet up in the flesh, instead we have been using Zoom, for chats and a couple of family quizzes.  I thought it was time to spice up our…

Week Five Recipes

I had an adventure outside of London this week or rather a trek…we had to go up to York for the day to clear out Felix’s room at university. Normally when we visit York, we use it as an excuse to have a ‘mini’ weekend break. Those of you who know York will understand why…

Week Four Recipes

Zoom calls definitely became the new ‘norm’ during lockdown and for many of us, a means of keeping sane, allowing us to see friends and family outside of our ‘bubble’. Over the recent weeks I have continued to use my Zoom account for chats, quizzes, exercise classes, Italian and French classes, and this week for…

Week Three Recipes

I had a night out at the theatre this week, or rather a ‘night out at home’ with lockdown theatre. I was fortunate to get some tickets for the Old Vic’s live,  performance of ‘Lungs’ starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith who were acting at social distance(?!). 24 hours before the production began, we were…

Week Two Recipes

This week has once again flown by, speaking with friends it seems that this is a significant side effect of ‘lockdown’, a phenomenon that has taken us all by surprise; why does time fly by when we are staying at home, rather than living our normal, out and about, busy lives?!… My decision to start…

Week One Recipes

Cooking has always been something I have enjoyed, I own over 150 cookbooks, some are well thumbed whilst others collect dust on the shelves, I can’t bear to get rid of any cookbook, just in case one day I might use it for that one obscure recipe; a ray of light on a rainy day!…