Whipped & Charred: The Launch Of A Cook Book

If a new cook book could be released at the perfect time of year, it would be Whipped & Charred. A collection of cosy homely recipes, from the Thomas Curtis, Head Chef of ‘The Best Traditional Pub in Oxfordshire’, the White Heart, Witney. Thomas’ recipes reflect his family roots and celebrate really good food, but in an accessible way, that home cooks can enjoy too. He describes the book in his own words:

“I have lovingly put this book together as a tribute to my late father, Ian Curtis, who sadly passed away at Christmas in 2014. It is full of rich, homely content and a few memories and insights into my personal life and time working as a chef,” he says.

A wonderful idea of sharing homely and comforting recipes, whilst supporting and raising awareness of two charities; the British Heart Foundation; a charity which deals with one of the UKs biggest killers, heart disease; and secondly MIND, a charity for better mental health.

Choosing a favourite recipe from the book which includes so many favourite pub classics such as steak and onion pot pie, herby sausage rolls and an indulgent cauliflower cheese would be an almost impossible task. At this time of year, I could happily cook and enjoy one of the book’s recipes every evening! One recipe that really caught my eye though was the Earl Grey panna cotta with lavender shortbread, which sounds like a lovely twist on a traditional classic. Thomas has very kindly shared the recipe:

Earl Grey panna cotta with lavender shortbread and fresh raspberries

Preparation time: 4 hours 10 minutes (including cooling time) | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Serves 6

A very quirky twist on tea and biscuits. We have substituted a small amount of the full fat milk for evaporated milk to really bring out a lovely malty flavour that goes so well with tea.


100g unsalted butter
50g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
160g plain flour
1 tbsp lavender flowers
500ml full fat milk
100ml evaporated milk
60g caster sugar
6 Earl Grey teabags
3 sheets leaf gelatine
36 fresh raspberries


Preheat the oven to 190°c/170°c fan.

Beat the butter and 50g sugar together in a mixing bowl, until smooth.

Fold in the flour and lavender flowers to get a smooth and soft dough. Turn on to a work surface and gently roll out until the dough is 1cm thick.

Cut into 12 fingers and place onto a baking tray. Prick with a fork and sprinkle with caster sugar, chill and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.

  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until a pale golden brown colour. Set aside to cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
  • In a heavy based saucepan heat up the full fat milk, evaporated milk and 60g caster sugar over a medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar until it just comes to the boil. Turn off the heat and add the tea bags. Allow to infuse for 20 minutes then remove the teabags, giving them a little squeeze to get the maximum flavour.
    Place the gelatine sheets into a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes until they are soft and pliable.
  • Take them from the bowl and squeeze away any excess water, then gently stir into the warm milk and tea mixture until the gelatine fully dissolves.
  • Pour the mixture into six 100ml pudding moulds and place in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours.
    To serve, fill a shallow dish with very hot water and submerge each panna cotta in for a few seconds to loosen up. Turn each one out onto the centre of a serving dish and garnish each with six fresh raspberries and two lavender biscuits.

I think this recipe would be so much fun to make for a family gathering, and it looks pretty impressive…plus anything involving tea and biscuits has to be a winner as far as I’m concerned!

Whipped and Charred retails at £20 and to ensure your money goes towards a good cause, buy a copy from the man himself at [email protected] or pop into the restaurant. It will be also be available to purchase from Amazon, book shops including Waterstones and online from www.mezepublishing.co.uk.


This post is not sponsored, but I am always delighted to support exciting local businesses and good causes


Summer food, cooking simply!

Mushrooms, tarragon, perfect with steak

As we head into the summer months I love to make my cooking at home a lot simpler; much more relaxed and informal. With so many lovely fruit and veggies in season now, meals can be thrown together pretty quickly, often just by assembling vegetables, salad and some simply cooked meat or fish. I love to eat outside and so do Mia and Joe…it’s amazing how they will tuck into great big bowls of salad if we eat in the garden or go for a picnic!

Having a small garden and allotment is wonderful during the summer, as I have lots of fresh herbs and edible flowers to season and decorate our food with. It’s great to be able to pop outside to the garden and grab a handful of fresh oregano, thyme or chives, and a small sprinkling of herbs makes such a difference to how a meal tastes and makes it much more seasonal and exciting.

How_To_Cook_The_Perfect_Steak_FINAL (002)

The clever people at Barbecoa have created this lovely infographic with some great ideas for cooking the perfect steak. Their focus on enhancing the simple natural flavours of the ingredients is fantastic. How can you go wrong with fresh herbs, good salt, butter and red wine!

Feather blade steak would be perfect at this time of year with a summer salad and some light and fluffy flat breads. I have included the recipe below (if you can call three ingredients a recipe!) that I use for a really fast flat bread. They can be cooked in a frying pan, or straight on the barbeque if you are cooking outside. It’s actually inspired by a Levi Roots recipe and is perfect!


300g self-raising flour

300g natural yoghurt

pinch of sea salt

any seasoning you like to add…chillies, fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, sorrel, chives) or dried herbs/seeds (fennel seeds, black onion seeds, pumpkin seeds)


Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, and bring the dough together with your hands

Divide the dough into 3 or 4 equal size pieces and roll into balls, then roll flat with a rolling pin

Put the flat bread into a dry frying pan, heated to a high heat and cook for a couple of minutes on either side

Follow the same process for the barbeque, cooking the bread on each side

We have found that they keep quite well too, if there are any left! They make the most delicious sandwich bread the next day, and now I’m imaging this with leftover finely sliced feather steak too!

Do you have any tips on cooking steak? In the kitchen or outdoors, barbequing or campfire cooking? I would love to hear your ideas!


This is a collaborative post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.