I have been very lucky to be invited to the Wilderness Wood candlelit dinner next Friday. The menu looks amazing :

Woodland canapes & a glass  of wine or juice on arrival
Rare fillet of beef with Dauphinoise potatoes, chargrilled asparagus & hollandaise sauce
Chargrilled asparagus, courgettes & halloumi dressed with basil oil, served with quinoa
Homemade flourless chocolate cake with whipped cream and raspberry coulis
A selection of coffees and teas

Wilderness wood do all sorts of great things with local and sustainable products, as well as Gruffalo hunting, Fairy Gardens, Wild Cookouts and courses for adults and children on their farm. They are in East Sussex, and I'll give you a full report after I get back from my night in the woods next week - I really can't wait!

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I cooked a thai feast on Saturday evening for some friends, recipes for the main course to follow, but the dessert was so easy to make and went down a storm. It was a nice palette cleanser too.

2 mangoes
500ml greek yoghurt
2 tbsp coconut milk or cream
Lime zest
1 tbsp icing sugar

150g ground almonds
150g plain flour
150g unsalted butter
60g soft light brown sugar
Vanilla essence

Mix equal quantities of mango flesh and greek yoghurt. Add a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk, a grating of lime zest and a spoon of sifted icing sugar. Put in individual glasses and into the fridge for a few hours. Don't remove from the fridge until it's time to eat them!

If you like you can freeze the fool, making sure to give it a stir every hour. It tastes just as good frozen. If you do freeze it though, don't serve it in glasses - freeze it in a tupperware container and then serve as ice cream.

I served my mango fool with crunchy almond biscuits, which add a lovely texture to the smooth fool: mix the ground almonds, flour, butter, sugar and a few drops of vanilla essence. Once doughy, form a ball, wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for an hour. Roll into little moon shapes and bake on a greased baking tray for about 15 minutes at 180C, or until lightly golden brown. Wait til cool to remove from the tray otherwise they'll turn into crumbs (which are actually quite nice sprinkled on the fool anyway!)
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A nice roast on Sunday is an almost essential part of my weekend, and I'll put up my recipes for roast beef, yorkshires, potatoes, carrots, greens and red wine gravy, and for roast chicken, sweet potatoes, greens and delicious yoghurt sauce soon. But below are three great recipes for using up leftovers after Sunday roasts.


Uses - leftover roast chicken and cabbage.

After you've had your roast chicken, pull all the meat off the bones and put the meat in tupperware in the fridge.

Now you need to make your chicken stock. Put the chicken carcass in a large saucepan. Add one chopped onion, some cloves of garlic, a bay leaf and some pepper. For this recipe I add a stick of lemongrass to the stock mixture as well. Add 3 litres of water, bring to the boil and once boiling, bring down to a simmer. Leave this to simmer for 4 hours, making sure you skim the fat off the surface now and again. Sieve the stock once done, and after it has cooled down, keep it in the fridge.

Bring the chicken stock up to a gentle boil. Add a splash of fish sauce, 4 chopped spring onions, a thumbnail size piece of grated ginger, a chilli chopped into rings and some cooked egg noodles. Allow to cook for 3 or 4 minutes, then add lots of coriander and sprinkle the
leftover cabbage and shredded roast chicken over the top. Stir it once and serve.


Uses - leftover roast beef

It's a classic, with my own homegrown twist. I bought some alfalfa seeds last week and they have produced bundles of delicious sprouts - do try to grow them yourself, they require a minute's attention a day and work out to be around 3p per portion!

Take 2 slices of wholegrain bread. Spread both pieces with creme fraiche. On one piece add wholegrain mustard and on the other, horseradish sauce. Take 2 slices of cold roast beef, a slice of tomato, a sprinkle of chopped red onion and add a handful of alfalfa spouts. Close together and enjoy!!


Uses - leftover roast potatoes, cabbage and broccoli

Add a large knob of butter to a thick based frying pan. Add your roast potatoes, cabbage and  leftover broccoli if you have some. Using a fish slice mash down the veg and potato mix in the pan. Fry over a medium heat for 5-10 mins. Once the bottom is beginning to go golden, break up the mixture and then mash it all down again. Repeat this process for 30 minutes or until your have nice golden crispy bits everywhere. Serve with sausages, pie, beans or salad.
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Tucked away in sleepy Tetbury is a real gem of a gastropub. The Priory prides itself on sourcing ALL it's food (flour, oil and salamis included) from within a 30 mile distance from the pub: http://www.theprioryinn.co.uk/other/suppliers.aspx.

I have eaten food from The Priory three times now. The first two times we got their pizzas to take away. The thin base and plentiful toppings made for a delicious pizza, that tasted even better knowing that the food to make it had only travelled such a small distance. This is so refreshing in an industry that sends prawns caught off Scotland to China, to be deshelled and packeted, and then back to us to be eaten in the UK.

On my most recent visit to Tetbury I was treated to a meal in The Priory's main restaurant. Unfortunately I was only hungry enough for a main course so missed out on the starters, although I would have chosen either the rillettes of confit duck and rare breed pork with sticky red onion compote and toasted home made bread (£5.95) or the delicious sounding Upton Smokery salmon with a watercress salad, beetroot relish and toasted wood-oven bread (£6.95).

I had high expectations for our mains at The Priory, and was not disappointed. I chose the venison with braised red cabbage, mashed potatoes and pear and red wine jus from the specials board. The portion was huge, a massive hunk of beautifully cooked venison. My boyfriend had lamb shank which just fell off the bone and melted in the mouth.

The Priory are, and rightly should be, proud of the origins of their food, but that's not all that is good there. The staff are super friendly and it almost felt like we had our very own personal waitress with the level of attention we received. I have heard reports of slow service, but we tended to well and our food was prompt. Prices are reasonable as well.

I will definitely be going back here in the summer - their menu changes seasonally and I can't wait to see what they have in store!

To book in at The Priory call 01666 502251. They also offer a B&B service.
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There are 3 things my dad wins at every time: sorting my accounts, painting my nails (!) and making the best risotto ever. I recreated a mushroom version of this, but you can use lemon, peas and prawns instead for a great summer risotto.

Dinner, for 2

1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
Olive oil
2 packs of mushrooms, a mixture of varieties is good here
200g risotto rice
Glass of white wine
500-600ml chicken stock
Creme fraiche, to serve

Start by chopping the onion and clove of garlic very finely. Fry over a medium heat, with a generous amount of olive oil, until the onion is translucent. Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan and fry for a further 4 minutes.

Tip the risotto rice (enough for 2 people) into the pan and stir the rice so it is coated with the oil from the pan. After a couple of minutes of this add a glass of white wine - when cooking with wine, always use a wine you'd be prepared to drink, just because you're cooking with it doesn't mean you should lower the quality. Stir the rice and mushrooms in the wine, until it has all been absorbed.

The key to a great risotto is to constantly stir it, as this releases the starch from the rice and gives a nice soft, gooey final dish. Once the wine is absorbed start to add your stock. You'll need about 500-600ml of chicken or vegetable stock, but add it little by little, stirring all the time. Do this for 15 minutes or so, and then have a little taste of the rice. If is still crunchy add more stock and carry on stirring.

When cooked, remove the risotto from the heat, add a knob of butter and a grating of Parmesan. I serve mine with a dollop of creme fraiche, and my very own homegrown parsley.

If you want to make the pea, prawn and lemon version, leave out the mushrooms and add grated lemon zest instead, with a splash of lemon juice. Cook the risotto in the same manner as above, but add the frozen peas and fresh prawns 5 minutes before the end. Serve with a wedge of lemon and herb salad.
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Refreshing yet rich, this salad is SO good, and takes 2 minutes to make. It's great on its own for lunch, or with seared steak.

For 2 people

1 bag of watercress
2 cooked beetroot, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
50g roquefort cheese
Pinch of sunflower seeds
Lime juice
Olive oil

Wash and chop a bag of watercress. Add 2 chopped cooked beetroot, 1 chopped avocado and little nuggets of Roquefort cheese. Mix together with some sunflower seeds, drizzle with lime juice and olive oil, add salt and pepper... and enjoy!!!
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This is my version of a salad nicoise, without some of the traditional ingredients but with others added. You need to cook everything at the same time - the cooked parts of the salad should be served warm, so don't worry if certain elements are done before others.

Serves 4

10-12 baby new potatoes
1 pack of asparagus
4 large free range eggs
2 tuna steaks
Olive oil
1 pack of green beans, ends chopped off
1 bag of salad leaves (lamb's lettuce is great with this)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp grainy mustard

Start by boiling a handful of baby new potatoes.

Whilst these are boiling, trim and grill some asparagus for 4 minutes or until they are just going soft.

Get another pan of water on the boil and when boiling, put the eggs in for 5 minutes 30 seconds.

Put a lightly oiled frying pan on a medium heat, and fry the tuna steaks for 1 minute on each side. Remove the steak from the heat and leave to rest for 3-4 minutes.

When the potatoes are nearly cooked add the trimmed green beans to the water, boil for 2 mins and then drain.

Mix salad leaves with the potatoes and green beans and cover with a dressing made from 2 parts olive oil, 1 part lemon, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon of grainy mustard and salt and pepper. Cover a large plate with this mixture.

Lay your grilled asparagus on top of the salad mixture, and the anchovies on top of them.

Peel the boiled eggs, cut in half and place on top of the salad. Then take your tuna steak and cut into slices and lay over the salad. 

Serve with crusty bread and a bottle of white wine, perfect for a sunny summer evening.
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