I've got some more pop up dates in the diary! And tickets are still available for both.

I had a hugely successful pop up last Saturday, that my guests loved. It was such a fun evening, and I think (hope) that every went home with full tummies and smiles on their faces after a four course feast of seasonal produce (and lots of wine!). This is a little snapshot of the evening at my house:

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I may have mentioned before, that the end of our Spanish holiday was spent at a 5* hotel, which was part of a bundle of goodies I'd won. What actually happened was about 8 months ago I signed up to receive Quintessentially Travel's newletter. I forgot all about it, until a few months later when I received this in my inbox:

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After our 4 days in Seville recently, we hired a car to drive down to Cadiz, where the sun came out, and shone on us for 3 days. We had booked another Airbnb apartment, which was somehow even better than the one in Seville. It was 2 minutes walk to the beach and located on a gorgeous palm lined street, full of cafes and bars. Our Airbnb hosts (they own the flat rather than live there) even went off with the boy to help find a space for the car and when we left they offered us a free night there next time we visit! This was the view from the front door of the flat: 

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A couple of weeks ago the boy and I took ourselves off to Andalucia for a well earned break. In fact, I had won a weekend at a 5* hotel near Estepona back in Autumn last year, via Quintessentially Travel, so had booked another 7 days on top of that via AirBnb, firstly in Seville then on to Cadiz, before the weekend at the hotel. More on both the hotel and Cadiz in my next few posts, but here I want to tell you about Seville.

I spent a year living in Seville in 2004. I have wonderful memories of lots of good food, interesting tapas bars and great places to drink. Although structurally Seville hasn't changed too much (apart from the addition of trams and tubes!) pretty much everything else seems to have been replaced or upgraded. Yes, there were still a few places I knew and recognised, but the food scene in particular, seems to have taken off in a big way. Gone are many of the small, traditional tapas bars, having been replaced by fusion restaurants, sushi bars and all sorts I would've never expected to see in Seville. 

We set off, armed with various emails and blog links that recommended places to eat, and print offs from Lizzie's blog, Hollow Legs, including her really helpful spreadsheet she compiled from a Seville/Cadiz visit, ready to go. However, on arriving in Seville, I began to realise just how much has changed, even since Lizzie's visit 2 years ago. We hung on to all recommendations, and visited a few of them, but were thrilled to bump into an old acquantance of the boy's and mine, the very talented grafitti artist Seleka, who now runs the wonderful DeLimbo gallery in the centre of Seville, and had a whole load of recommendations of the newest and best places we should go to eat.

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I've been wanting to write this post for a while, I just wasn't sure when the right time was or quite how to write it. But now is the time to write a little something about a woman who inspired me, and still does. Of course, many people inspire me, from my family and friends, to those running the marathon today and raising so much money for good causes, to people who are successful in what they are doing. But this is a post about my Granny.

My beautiful maternal granny passed away unexpectedly at the end of last year. Just the day before, she had been with my parents and she was talking about my latest blog post to them. We had recently got her an iPad and she'd saved my blog on her favourites to read whenever I posted something new. And for that reason I kept writing my blog, I knew she was reading it and that inspired me to keep going, even when it may have felt like no one else was reading it!

My Granny always treated me like a princess. She encouraged and helped me do the things I wanted to do when I was growing up, and I although I never really got to cook for her (apart from helping my mum out when she came to eat at theirs) I do have funny and fond memories of food and her, and my Grandpa, who was a very keen and successful vegetable grower. I'll never forget the time my younger brother and I were having lunch with Granny - we were presented with various salads to help ourselves to, and then she put something on the table I'd never seen before. It was a clear moulded jelly with a curled pink thing inside. I nervously asked what it was, and Granny said "tongue" like it was as normal as saying bacon.... When Ned turned to me and stuck his tongue out I lost my appetite for that meal!! We also used to giggle about the slightly past their best tins of food in the back of the larder at Granny's house, always trying to find something even older! But really Granny was a good cook - she believed in cooking from scratch and using produce sourced locally and ethically, including cooking (a lot) with pheasant from their farm's shoot during the season. And I'll always remember the mulberry birthday cake made with mulberries from Granny and Grandpa's mulberry trees for one of my birthdays when I was younger. The day that my Granny died she had ripped out the recipes from that day's Times newspaper, and was cooking one of the chicken dishes when she sat down and never stood up again. I've managed to track down the recipes - they printed 6 chicken recipes that day, so we are not entirely sure which one it was she was cooking, but I think it was this one - John Torode's coq au vin, so I thought it would be nice to share it with you. I've made it too, and it's a really nice dish.

Serves 4

1 chicken, jointed
50g butter
12 small shallots
100g pancetta cubes
2 garlic cloves
40ml red wine
100g button mushrooms
Handful parsley
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Season the chicken pieces generously. Melt the butter in a heavy bottom saucepan (that has a lid). Add half the pancetta and half the shallots, and fry for a few minutes over a medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and fry until browned. When everything is browned add the garlic, fry for 1 minute then add the red wine. Bring to the boil, then cover with the lid and put in the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes.

After the chicken has been in for an hour, heat a knob of butter and add the rest of the shallots with a little water. Cook off the water, then add the remaining pancetta and all of the button mushrooms. Fry until golden, then add to the coq au vin.

Serve scattered with parsley, with mashed potato.

And lastly, I couldn't write this blog without including these wonderful photos I found of Granny recently - seems she's always been good with a knife!!

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Another month, another pop up! I thought I should let you know about my next pop up restaurant, as there are still tickets available, but they do start to sell out around now.

I've got a bumper Spring menu, full of some of my favourite produce for my pop up on Saturday 26th April. The event is at our lovely house in West London, and starts at 7.30pm, and is kind of similar to a dinner party - a large table filled with guests, eating my four course menu, and having a great time. I've had guests from age 11 up to 60+ in the past, from all walks of life, and from all over the world. You can come with a group of friends, in a pair, or on your own, and it's bring your own booze, so you can bring a bottle or 2 of your favourite. I also serve either a welcome cocktail, pudding wine or port to go with the cheese, and there's homemade soft drinks for anyone who wants.

Every component of the food I serve is made from scratch, in my kitchen, with as much as possible being British, seasonal ingredients.

The menu for 26th April is:
Hand picked Dorset crab, homemade mayonnaise, remoulade, crusty white bread
Slow cooked shoulder of Spring lamb, savoy cabbage, Jersey royal new potatoes, with watercress and wild garlic salsa verde
Lemon posset with rhubarb compote and vanilla shortbread biscuits
Somerset cheeseboard, tomato chutney and herby salted crackers
Coffee/herbal tea served with sticky chocolate balls

If you'd like to come but can't eat or don't like something on the menu, that's fine - when you book there's a comments section where you can mention this. I don't think I've yet done a pop up where I haven't done at least 2 different main courses to cater for everyone's needs.

To find out what my previous guests have thought of the evenings you can see reviews of my last event here or a review written by another of my guests here.

Tickets for my pop up on 26th April are £30 each and can be bought via Grub Club.

And here's a couple of pics of the food my from the last event (although I always forget to take proper photos!)

Crusty white bread:

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