These sweet delights are perfect as a beautiful birthday gift or just a treat to yourself. Old school sweeties that are 100% homemade and a million miles better than the shop bought ones I remember from my youth.

Coconut ice is really easy to make, it takes a bit of elbow grease, but requires no cooking so really is just mixing.

397g condensed milk (1 tin)
350g desiccated coconut
320g icing sugar
Vanilla extract
Red food colouring

Take one normal size tin of condensed milk (379g) - try and avoid Nestle, there are plenty of other brands available. Add the desiccated coconut, sifted icing sugar and a splash of vanilla extract. Mix this all together, it will be very sticky and difficult to mix but persevere!!

When all the ingredients are combined, spoon half the mixture into a tray lined with buttered greaseproof paper. Ideal size for these amounts in 20cm x 10cm tray.

Add a few drops of red food dye to the remaining mixture. Mix thoroughly and press over the mix into the tin with slightly wet hands. Once you have an even surface you're done. Loosely cover with foil. Put the coconut ice into the fridge for 4-8 hours. Then remove and place in a cool, dry area for a further 12 hours. Then you're ready to cut the coconut ice into small squares, place in airtight jars and give to anyone you love!

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The Bollo in Chiswick is one of my favorite local eat-outs. Their menu offers good hearty meals, with meat and fish, as well as vegetarian, all living up to their own. So, I was  very happy to discover that the owners have a few more gastropubs, the other one nearest to me is the Ealing Park Tavern. Located a walk through the park away from me, it couldn't be better. I booked in for dinner recently and was not disappointed.

I have a small obsession with reading restaurant's menus online before I visit them, and noted that the Ealing Park Tavern had less options on the menu than The Bollo, but seemed to be a slightly more upmarket version, with higher priced dishes - the choice of ingredient dictating the value. I love the food at The Bollo so was excited for the EPT, despite it's unassuming exterior.

The restaurant was quiet when we visited, but beautifully furnished and with a welcoming fire blazing. The service was brilliant throughout, attentive but not intrusive. Our starters of pork, pistachio & apricot terrine, apple chutney, toasted brioche and baked pecan & thyme crusted goats cheese, pickled beetroot, baby pousse, balsamic dressing were very good.

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