So Pho from home…

Last week I returned from Australia. It was my first long haul holiday and also the first that I took all on my own. There are lots of stories I could tell you but I wanted to share one about human kindness.

In my last few hours in Melbourne before I flew thousands of miles home I wandered the streets looking for somewhere to eat. I stumbled across Pho & Co and since Pho (I’ve even made it myself before) is only second to ramen on my favourite foods I thought I’d treat myself.

I ordered summer rolls (chicken) and a bowl of their eye fillet pho. I had expected my started to come out first but they were both set down in front of me at the same time. No worries as I had some time to kill before my flight.

PhoNot the actual bowl of pho…

The summer rolls were lovely, fresh and full of soft herbs with a nice flavour from the pickled mango (which is a first for me). The dips were standard, sweet chilli and a slightly puzzling hoisin sauce (didn’t feel very Vietnamese to me).

Then onto the Pho. I was a little worried about the lack of inciting smells steaming from the bowl and when I took a spoonful of the broth I could taste why. The broth was very light and had very little depth in the flavour. I expected to be able to taste the star anise and touch of cinnamon I have come to desire. Alongside was a plate of accompaniments. Including fish sauce, more hoisin sauce and some crushed nuts (I think) and chilli if I wanted to add. I don’t react well to fresh chilli so I left that out and added all the fish sauce and a little of the hoisin. It still didn’t lift the broth. I ended up eating some of the noodles and the beef, which was amazingly tender but again lacked seasoning as it languished in the watery broth.

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Chocolate Victoria Sponge Cake


I was first taught how to make cakes by my mum who allowed me to watch as she creamed butter and sugar together (and allowing me to have a little taste), before magically transforming a somewhat yucky looking mix when the eggs were added to a super yummy cake mix once the flour has been totally  incorporated. Fairy cakes were then my favourite as buttercream could be added to make butterfly cakes. Now I try my hand at many different kinds of cakes, soft and creamy coffee, indulgent lemon drizzle,  simple yet elegant Victoria Sponge Continue reading

What does your fridge say about you?

I love food. Reading about food, cooking it or thinking about what I will order in a restaurant. Each weekly shop is not simply necessity for me, it is a chance to order new cuts of meat or discover a new type of cuisine (Vietnamese for example) as I order mint, bean sprouts and coriander. This constant need for new flavours and different meals has led my fridge to develop its own shelf of condiments. Actually they have spread over onto one of the door shelves. My other half keeps asking me to cut down on the amount we own, pointing out the amount of different chilli sauces.

The contents of my fridge Continue reading

Vietnamese Beef Pho Soup

My first taste of Pho was in London when I went for lunch at Pho in Great Titchfield street. I’m a big fan of soups and will sometimes bypass a Thai curry for a bowl of hot steaming flavour.


Ever since that first bowl that delighted me as I put it together at my desk I have wanted to make my own Pho. I went to a Vietnamese family run restaurant and took great Continue reading

A long journey to a healthier weight

Finally, this February, I decided to go the whole hog and put myself on a diet. Not a starve or deny myself snacks or treats but to start eating a more sensible amount of food and stop gorging myself on fried foods whenever I want and ease off on the cheese board weekends which consist of huge amounts of brie, Parma ham, Scotch eggs, hummus…you get the picture.Fruit and Chocolate - the perfect mix

My other half inspired me as he showed off his brand new iPhone app, My Net Diary. It looked like a pretty painless way of recording your meals and snacks whilst monitoring your intake of salt, fibre and fat.

Brilliant! I love filling in online diaries so off I went getting my Continue reading

A cake so bad even I won’t eat it…

A week has gone by and today, after a nasty virus that floored me, I am starting to feel pretty normal again. Normal service will shortly be resumed. I’m feeling so great in fact that I decided to be adventurous and attempt an egg free cake.

Bolstered by plenty of bloggers and sites telling me how easy it is to simply omit eggs and replace with vinegar or lemon juice and baking soda I set out on what seemed a simple task. I made the cake recipe as usual and switched the two eggs for 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 of baking soda. I crossed my fingers and toes and hoped for the best. Continue reading

A cake a day…keeps me happy

Cakes. I love eating them, reading about how to make them, gazing at them in supermarkets and fancy shops and even better, baking them myself. There is something quite wonderful about the whole process. Firstly deciding which to make from the multitude available then double checking I have the correct amount of ingredients before embarking on the chemistry of beating, folding and finally baking.

My first Madeira cake Continue reading

Challenge: Cooking only from the store cupboard

So there I was, sitting at my desk when an email from Money Saving Expert popped into my inbox. I like to a have a nose mainly due to work (to see if anything exciting has happened in the world of finance) but also for bargains, discounts and freebies.

Today I spied a great idea that I am going to give a go this week.

The Store Cupboard Challenge.

Wish I had a larder like this

Larder from Simon’s Kitchens Continue reading

Shredded Red Cabbage

I am a little obsessed with re-creating the shredded red cabbage that comes with kebabs. I’ve been scouring the interweb in my attempts to turn what can be a very dull vegetable (unless braised with red wine) into the moreish delight that I so love alongside a tender chicken shish kebab.

Red Cabbage

I’m not one of those late night eaters, that having drunk more Continue reading