Hello All,

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend so far. What are you up to in Derby and beyond? It’s been a pretty chilled out one for me, one that involved plenty of cooking, eating, sleeping and writing (just a bunch of my favourite pastimes).

I dined at Zizzi in Derby on Saturday for lunch. I thought it was pretty lovely (hat tip to Louisa). The full foodie restaurant review will be in The Derbyshire Guardian, I’ll let you know once it’s published.

I was also trialling new recipes from a few cookbooks I bought on Friday. Yes, cookbooks are my now guilty pleasure, I can’t seem to get enough of them. Actually, thinking about it, I’ll dedicate a standalone blog post to cookbooks on my shelf. Do you have any cookbooks that you swear by? Would love to hear of any recommendations.

OK, so this one recipe that’s a big hit with me is the Andalucian Fish Soup (from the Slow Cooking Over 100 Recipes book). It’s a gorgeous dainty-on-the-tongue yet filling dish, perfect for a chilly evening or daytime snack / lunch. I served it with slices of freshly baked Tiger Loaf (thank you Lidl), each slice slathered in butter. Never forget the butter. It makes the world a better place. Here’s the full recipe, do try to ignore the splodges on the page, what can I say, I’m a splashy cook! 🙂


It was a fairly easy dish to make and one that I’d highly recommend. I added some leftover garlic chicken, which gave the stew a nice garlicky undertone. I also added in a hefty pinch of smoked paprika and marinated the fish in ginger, Thai chillies and rock salt. Also my weighing scales were on the blink, which meant that I had to guess 200g worth of tomatoes.


I would never have guessed the weight of ingredients before. I feel more comfortable doing guestimates of ingredients as time has gone on, because I’m more confident with the dishes I’m making. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll never guess ingredients for a cake or sweet dish – that’s just alchemy you don’t mess with. Even one of my cooking gurus, the wonderful Mary Berry once told me to weigh everything when baking, down to the last gram. Because that could make the difference between a good and great bake.


Speaking of baking, I’m really looking forward to the next DerbyBookCakeClub. I finished reading The Girl On The Train and thought it was a gripping read and yes, I’d recommend it. The reading is the easy part; it’s the baking bit that I have the most fun with. I’m torn between making another batch of brownies (I baked Lorraine Pascal’s recipe last time), or a salted caramel popcorn cheesecake. What do you think I should bake? Any recommendations heartily welcome.

See you soon,