#WrenFamilyFavourites: Wren Kitchens Event with Linda Barker*

It was a chilly November evening as we made our way to Wren Kitchen HQ, situated across the Humber bridge nestled in the sleepy town of Barton-Upon-Humber. Fizzing with anticipation and excitement, we tentatively entered the heart of Wren Kitchen’s design hub and sat shyly, admiring the delicious aromas wafting from the room before us.

When I was invited to the Wren Kitchen’s Family Favourites event I admit I didn’t really know what to expect. I suspected that there would be lots of food (check!), wonderful blogger-company (check!) and some rather gorgeously designed kitchens (check!). However – to my delight – the Wren Kitchen event was far more than I could ever have imagined; it was utterly fabulous.

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We were kindly greeted by the lovely Victoria, who handed us some very intriguing goody bags…we knew from the off that this was going to be a fabulous night!

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As we walked in we were handed a glass of bubbly (and a non-alcoholic option for those who had to drive) and ushered to tables laden with all sorts of interesting crafty goodies. I am seriously into anything crafty/arty. My mum has always made scrapbooks and cards, and she’s always creating something new every week and I think I definitely have some of that creative streak. We were given our very own personalized recipe scrapbooks just for the occasion! Safe to say my mum was pretty jealous when I showed her!

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We were made to feel extremely welcome by the lovely Linda Barker, who went on to explain her collaboration with Wren Kitchens. Linda is a seriously talented designer (and a fabulous chef as it turned out!) and we were treated to a live cooking demo. Wren Kitchens have been running a campaign for people to enter their family favourite recipes, and the bloggers at the event (yes, lucky us!) got to taste these recipes for ourselves.

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We were treated to vanilla and chocolate marble cake, peanut butter and banana loaf and warm mince pies. And what’s best of all is we were actually given the recipe so we could replicate them at home; Drew is going to have to deal with lots of cake because I have had such a baking-craving after this event!

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The mince pies were a festive favourite of many, but I’m a real lover of anything chocolatey so the marbled chocolate cake was my favourite of the night.

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After our live cooking demo and plenty of chat from the lovely Linda and the team, we were treated to a look at Linda’s very own kitchens. I’m a student so I’m only living in student accommodation, but I developed SERIOUS kitchen envy after seeing these. They were fabulous; and as explained by Linda their kitchens are as bespoke as you can get for the price, which is fabulous as Wren believes that the kitchen is the heart of any home. Now Christmas is approaching I can definitely agree with that, and as someone who is really into cooking, the kitchen becomes a vital part of every day life.

This was a fabulous kitchen; just look at the units! I was also a fan of the duck-egg blue colour scheme.

This one was more rustic, yet with a modern edge. Really beautiful!

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Linda loved explaining her designs to all of us. This geometric print is similar to something she has in her own kitchen, and it made a great focal point for the room.

I hope by this point you’re as jealous as I am…how wonderful are these?!

After having a nosy around the kitchens, we all enjoyed some more chat (and cake!) and had a couple of pictures. We were all huge fans of our personalized apron and wooden spoons…they were such a gorgeous touch, and we demanded we have a picture of them!

I just want to say a massive thank you to the lovely Wren Kitchen team, all the wonderful bloggers and of course, to the fabulous Linda Barker. It was a really wonderful night and it was a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of!

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Has this post given you serious kitchen envy? Let me know in the comments below!

You can check out Wren Kitchen’s website here and Linda’s collections here.

I hope you’re having a fabulous Tuesday.

Heather x

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One of Hull’s hidden gems: Stanley’s Brasserie

Hi there! Now, this is the fourth year I’ve lived in Hull to study at the university, so I’ve had ample time to sample and savour the local delights in wonderful restaurants dotted around the city. On Saturday it was my birthday (which is a completely scary thought…where has that year gone!?) and my parents headed over to help me celebrate with a meal out (I know, I’m a lucky girl!). We wanted to book a table in a local restaurant for the occasion and decided to try Stanley’s Brasserie in Hull. I’ve never been before and always admired its cosy atmosphere from afar.

I’m so so glad I booked that table, because it was absolutely amazing.

I’m a fan of most foods. I like to be adventurous, and it’s always great to try new things. I was fortunate enough to have an upbringing filled with many different types of food and cuisines from all over the world. As I’ve got older I’ve become a real fan of seafood, and fish – when it’s well-cooked – is one of my favourite meals.

Well, little did I know when I sat down at the table that I’d have one of the most delicious fish dishes I’ve ever had.

We kicked off the meal with cocktails, and I chose the Espresso Martini.  If you’re a big coffee fan, this is definitely the drink for you. Delicious! In fact, it was so good I forgot to take a picture. Woops!

To start I ordered the Hot Mozzarella. I’m a huge fan of cheese – cheese and biscuits is one of the best parts of Christmas day for me – and when I saw that this came with Italian prosciutto, I knew it’d be right up my street. I wasn’t wrong. It was fantastic; oozy, salty mozzarella in crunchy breadcrumbs, surrounded by fruity tomatoes and a good drizzle of pesto and topped with some delicious prosciutto, which is definitely one of my favourite things in the world.

It was divine, and it tasted even better than it looked.

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Next up, I had the seabass fillets, which came with a spinach and potato gratin and a dressed side salad. This was literally the best fish I have ever EVER tasted. The skin was crisp and salty; the fish itself was succulent and tender, and the gratin and salad was the perfect accompaniment.

It was truly divine, and is definitely one of the best things I have ever eaten.

Because I enjoyed it so much I didn’t even stop to take a picture which is a real shame, but wow. I would go back just for the seabass.

To finish mum and I shared a little lemon meringue pie. I think it’s true what they say; you definitely have a separate stomach for pudding! I did take a photo of this one.

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Again, beautifully presented and also extremely delicious. It had a crisp, buttery pastry case, lashings of tangy lemon curd, sweet marshmallowy meringue all topped with a generous helping of whipped cream (although we could have had ice cream but I think mum would agree the cream was a great option!).

All in all this was seriously fabulous. If you’re around this part of the world be sure to drop by; it’s feeling very festive at the minute, and the fairy lights definitely help!

You can check out their menu online here.

I hope you’re having a fabulous Wednesday.

Heather x

Cooking in the Kitchen with Primula cheese*

If you’ve been reading for a while you might be aware that I’m into cooking. I find cooking great therapy, and usually on bad days Drew will come home to cakes/biscuits/bread, or indeed a mixture of all three. Because cooking requires lots of preparation , I don’t  always find it easy to create fresh meals from scratch, particularly if I’m in a lot of pain.

This is where Primula comes in!

Primula were kind enough to send me some products from their range of cheeses. I’m sure you’ll remember these; they are firm favourites as sandwich fillers and, as I found out, great for handy shortcuts in favourite meals!

I decided to get creative and made a variety of Primula cheese-inspired dishes, which were very easy to prepare and extremely tasty!

Firstly, I decided to try making some cheesy stuffed potato skins.

Here’s what you’ll need:

5 medium sized baking potatoes,

half a tube of Primula Cheese and Chives,

4 rashers of smoked bacon,

a drizzle of olive oil,

seasoning to taste,

a small amount of grated cheese of your choice (I used double Gloucester).

Firstly, you’ll need to prepare the potatoes. I made sure to prick each potato with a fork several times (as it lets the heat escape) and put them in the microwave on a plate at full power for 15 minutes, or until the potato is cooked on the inside. Meanwhile, turn the oven on (about 170 degrees/gas mark 6).

As the potatoes were cooking, I chopped my bacon in bite sized pieces and grilled using my handy George Foreman grill. I remember when these were all the rage, and I must admit that we have had a lot of use out of ours as they make cooking  really easy and are very quick to clean! Perfect if you’re low on spoons/energy/just don’t want to spend ages cleaning up. I grilled these bacon pieces until they were crispy and golden.

When the potatoes were cooked and the insides like mashed potato, I carefully scooped out the flesh into a jug (you could use a mixing bowl) added my crispy bacon and put the empty skins into a non-stick oven dish. I then squeezed in approximately half a tube of Primula’s delicious cheese and chive into the potato and bacon mixture, stirring well. Here is where you should add a drizzle of olive oil; it can be really hard work to mix everything in evenly! Crack in some black pepper and season to taste, before dividing the mixture out and placing it back into the empty skins. I then topped with a scattering of grated cheese.

Pop them into the oven until they are piping hot, golden and bubbly, (approx. 15-20 mins) and voila! Delicious, easy and filling; perfect for these wintry, chilly nights we’re having.

Here’s a pic before they went into the oven:

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I also decided to make one of my all-time favourite snacks – cheesy nachos –  using Primula’s original cheese. Again these were super easy to do, and extremely yummy.

All you’ll need:

A bag of salted tortilla chips,

a tube of Primula original cheese,

grated cheese (if you like things really cheesy!)

and a jar of jalapeno peppers to heat things up a bit! I chose red peppers, as they are hot yet sweet.

These are super simple. Just pour the bag of tortilla chips into an oven-proof dish, squeeze as much Primula original cheese onto the top as you wish (and yes, I did put plenty on there!) and add the jalapenos/extra grated cheese if you fancy. I then just popped them into the oven (again, 170 or gas mark 6) until the cheese was bubbly and the chips lovely and toasty. Just keep an eye on them, though. 15 minutes will be sufficient. They really were lovely and the Primula cheese was a perfect topping for them. Here’s a quick picture I managed to take before Drew and I devoured them all:

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I’m a big fan of fresh guacamole – particularly with cheesy nachos – so I couldn’t resist making my own (with the help of Primula cheese, of course!). This time I opted to use Primula cheese in light. You will need:

2 ripe and ready to eat avocados,

juice of half a lime/lemon (I used lime this time),

Primula cheese in light (about a third of a tube)

salt,

cracked black pepper,

some coriander leaves; as many as you’d like,

cayenne pepper to garnish.

Homemade guacamole is so easy, it’s almost not worth buying it premade! All I did was scoop out the flesh of both avocados (but keep the stones in the middle; you’ll see why soon!)  and put into a food processor along with the lime juice, a pinch of salt, twist of black pepper, Primula light and coriander. I then whizzed up the mixture to form a smooth, well-mixed paste. I then placed the guacamole into a bowl after checking it was seasoned to taste, and placed one of the avocado stones into the middle of it. The reason for this is it helps the guacamole to keep its bright green colour. I then sprinkled cayenne pepper on top (just a little; you can of course skip this step entirely) and it was done! The Primula really added a creaminess to the guacamole and it’s something I’ve never thought of adding before. I definitely will now!

Here it is:

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As you can see I also made a super-quick tomato salsa to go with it. All I used were chopped cherry tomatoes, coriander, the juice of half a lime (or you can use lemon if you prefer) a teaspoon of sugar, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Then all you have to do is mix them together! Very easy and a great accompaniment to the guacamole.

All in all I’m really impressed with Primula cheeses. They taste great and make mealtimes so much simpler. You can find Primula in the dairy aisles of all good supermarkets, or check out their website here to check out more about their products and collaboration with the charity Make a Wish.

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Let me know if you decide to try any of these!

Hope Saturday is treating you well.

Heather x

ps sorry for the terrible photos; i’m having to make do with my phone camera which has no flash and is generally rubbish, so bear with me! I should have my camera soon 🙂