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


Lighthouse: Clothing For Outdoors Exploring


There is nothing more refreshing than getting outdoors for an afternoon’s exploring at this time of year. Whether it’s a nearby forest, a well-known footpath or a bracing winter walk along the beach; getting outside for fresh air and a few hours of precious daylight never fails to make me feel better. Making time to enjoy nature and it’s simple pleasures makes me feel so much more connected the seasons. It is very easy to feel disconnected from nature during the autumn and winter; if it’s chilly and damp outside, the temptation to cosy up inside all day can be overwhelming. Entire days indoors always seem to lead to me and my little ones getting serious cabin-fever, and so I try my best to find a balance. After all, is there anything more soul lifting than arriving home to a cosy house after an afternoon outdoors…especially if I have been organised enough to prepare something delicious smelling for dinner in the slow cooker!


Finding outdoors clothing that is practical, warm and waterproof, whilst also looking stylish can be quite difficult. Thin layers of thermal clothing works well when it is really cold outdoors, especially when paired with a chunky woollen jumper. The right coat is absolutely key though; something light enough to move around in (and climb trees should you want to!) that will also be waterproof and insulated enough to protect you from the worst of the weather. Our little island is notorious for it’s changeable and unpredictable climate, and surprise hail storms are all part of the fun!


I have recently been trying out the Outrider raincoat from Lighthouse Clothing and have to say I’m impressed! In what is like a holy grail quest for the perfect outdoors jacket, I think Lighthouse may have created the solution to my problem. The Outrider raincoat is a lovely 3/4 length, that even on me (I’m 5″9 ish) is plenty long enough to keep me properly dry and reaches down to just above knee length. Oh, and did I mention it has a cape…such a cute detail which makes the jacket much more stylish and feminine. The cape also turned out to be incredibly practical when it started to rain in the woods one afternoon…the rain drops literally just ran off my shoulders, like an umbrella, so no more soggy sleeves!



I love the inside of the coat too; the checked cotton lining in pretty autumnal colours contrasts so nicely with the fern green of the outside. A good balance between the traditional style countryside outdoor jacket and modern styling. The coat is actually available in a range of lovely shades; plum, nightshade and deep sea.



It is always good to know the background to a company, and one of the things I really like about Lighthouse Clothing is that they are a small uk company, based in the countryside just outside Belfast. I have a feeling that the wild, natural greenness and beauty of Northen Ireland is reflected in the clothing they design. Take a peek at the full details about their interesting heritage. I adore their philosophy ~ to encourage the wanderer, the sea lover and the great adventurer in us all through quality, inspiring clothing~.


My own little bobble-hat-wearing wanderer and helpful camera assistant. She is always up for adventure, exploring and mud!


My experiences so far of wearing the Outrider coat have been so positive. Even my other half A, who is super outdoorsy (as in, his idea of fun is wild camping half way up a mountain) was super impressed with how waterproof the coat is and full of compliments for it. Definitely a coat to encourage outdoor wandering and adventures this winter!

I have noticed that Lighthouse actually have a Black Friday sale running at the moment, with up to 35% off!

You can also find them on Instagram and Twitter as @lighthousestyle


Many thanks to Lighthouse Clothing for sending an Outrider Raincoat for review. As always, all thoughts and words are my own.