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 Fun with new BEAR Super Sour Yoyos

Isn’t it crazy that we’re near the end of June already? One thing we are loving this year is being a part of BEAR’s Happy by Nature team. Mia and Joe adore BEAR Yoyos and have been snacking their way through them as long as I can remember. I remember the first Yoyo Mia tried as a toddler, and me thinking how delicious and fruity it smelled…it tasted lovely and natural too. I pack them for their lunchboxes and day-trip snacks… and also occasionally my own too!

The latest yummy invention from the BEAR Cave is an exciting one, and when the the new Super Sour Yoyos arrived in the post recently, along with a colourful roulette game to play, I knew Mia and Joe would be delighted. I have to confess that I might have passed on my competitive genes onto my children! Playing board games at home brings out the crazy competitiveness in all of us…Monopoly has been banished to the back of the toy cupboard and over half-term I had to referee a game of bird memory pairs! So, when Mia and Joe saw the roulette spinner, their eyes lit up at the thought of a game! In our game, the winner was the first one to eat a Super Sour Yoyo, or the most Yoyos, or the sourest Yoyo!


Mia and Joe were really excited to try the new flavours and the brightly coloured, psychedelic swirly packaging really caught their attention. They had so much fun opening the different BEAR Yoyo recipes to find and match the recipes to the game board. The new Super Sour recipes include Strawberry and Apple, Blackcurrant and Apple and Mango and Apple. All set up, with a selection of Yoyo flavours arranged, we followed the traditional littlest-goes-first rule for Joe to spin the wheel and see if he landed on a sour one!

Mia described the BEAR Yoyo recipes as being like the rainbow, from bright and sparkly sour flavours to softer fruity flavours, perfectly described! They both really like the zingy new Super Sour recipes , especially the blackcurrant and apple which has quickly become their new favourite on-the-go snack.

From a parent’s point of view, I love how BEAR Yoyos are 100% fruit and veg snacks, with no added nonsense. Even the new super sour flavours are all natural and the zingy sourness is added with just juicy lemons! It’s perfect that BEAR yoyos count as one of their five day and have just the same amount of natural sugars as an apple.

Their love of competitive game playing extends to the BEAR ‘Secret Spy’ collectable cards which come in each pack. They collect them, trade with their friends and have the odd ‘friendly’ argument about whose card is better!

All little BEAR cubs can join Agents BEAR and Mole on a top secret adventure by collecting the ‘bearcodes’ on each pack. Once they have collected 10 codes they just pop them in the post to The Cave and Agent BEAR will then send them a free Spy kit, including stickers! Perfect for the long summer holidays ahead!

For more BEAR fun take a look at:


BEAR Nibbles on Facebook



As part of the BEAR Happy by Nature team we are happy to work with them on this collaborative post.