A splendid birthday lunch at Restaurant 22: Cambridge March 2020

Last Saturday I enjoyed an excellent lunch with two friends in celebration of a special birthday. I have been to Restaurant 22 a couple of times before for dinner with Steve and on those occasions I chose the five and seven-course tasting menus so I knew we were in for a treat. Restaurant 22 is located in a beautiful Victorian townhouse on Chesterton Road in Cambridge.   

The stained glass window in the main dining room is an outstanding feature.
As this was a celebration we had a Kir Royal as an aperitif.


Everything about this restaurant is elegant and I particularly admired these bespoke china plates.


We all loved the fantastically tasty house-baked bread and butter.
The Amuse-Bouche was a choux bun filled with smoked bacon, onion, and Spenwood cheese with a Velouté sauce poured at the table. Divine!
We all enjoyed this starter of Cornish hake, swede, lemon, and charcoal.
For my main course, I chose Burnt kohlrabi, duck egg, hazelnut, and shiitake.
One of my friends chose the Creedy Carver duck, duck fat potato, carrot, and Norfolk watercress for her main course.


I almost considered this Pre Dessert of Meyer lemon, almond, and ricotta too pretty to eat!
I chose the Clotted cream, Yorkshire rhubarb, and green tea for my dessert. 
My friends chose the dark chocolate, salted caramel, and peanut dessert.
At the end of our meal, it was a lovely gesture when my friend was given this chocolate for her birthday.

On this occasion, we chose the Set Lunch Menu (3 courses at £32.50 per person) which is excellent value for money as it included the Bread and Butter, an Amuse-Bouche, and a Pre Dessert. The freshness and quality of the food are very evident and the presentation is exceptional for the combination of colour, texture, and design. Chef Sam is a master of fine art on a plate and his dishes certainly have the WOW factor! In fact, my photographs unfortunately don’t do his spectacular and impressive plates full justice. The service is totally professional and attentive but it also manages to be friendly and informal.  This young team has obviously been very well-trained. Restaurant 22 is the perfect place for special occasion dining and I can highly recommend it. I am always happy to send other people here as I feel certain they won’t be disappointed. It’s essential to book well ahead as this is deservedly a popular and busy restaurant. A five-course and seven-course tasting menu were also available at the lunchtime service.

By the way readers, you may be interested to know that this week is the 5th anniversary of the date I started writing my food and travel blog. For those who have followed me on my journey I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you!

22 Chesterton Road, Cambridge, CB4 3AX

Tel: 01223 351880


Mercado Central, a fab new Spanish restaurant in Cambridge: February 2020

Mercado Central is located in Green Street, Cambridge

Last week Steve and I thoroughly enjoyed a meal with two friends at a new independent Spanish restaurant called Mercado Central in Cambridge. It opened its doors in December 2019 and I was keen to go as both the menu and the building looked inviting. The restaurant has undergone a splendid makeover and has seating on two floors so I was delighted to find that our table was on the Ground Floor opposite the open kitchen. Watching the chefs cook everything fresh to order reminded me of being at a similar restaurant in Barcelona. It was a mid-week early evening and the place was packed so it’s probably advisable to book as we did. Word has obviously got around that Mercado Central is worth checking out for the quality of the food and its excellent service by largely Spanish staff despite their rather high-end prices. There was a great atmosphere and I loved everything about the decor, which has an authentic contemporary Spanish feel, and impressive attention to detail. It was also a pleasant surprise to find we had large bottles of free sparkling and still filtered water and linen napkins on the table. But things got better still when I found they have my favourite beer on tap!

The fact that Mercado Central served draft Estrella Galicia beer was another plus point for me!
My dining companions chose a bottle of Spanish red wine from Cadiz to share
We started with housemade Sourdough bread 
And Pan de Cristal con Tomate (organic Tomato from Cadiz)
Accompanied by several Sharing Plates like these delicious Croquetas: Jamon Iberico and Arzua Cheese and Spinach
Both were the best plates of croquetas I have ever tasted!
Crispy Squid with Alioli was another Sharing Plate we all enjoyed. Must mention I loved the crockery too!

We then moved onto our main courses which included Seafood Paella, although it was good to see that a couple of Vegetarian Paella dishes were also available.

Steve enjoyed his dish of black rice with Octopus and tempura prawns
Another main course dish we ordered was Rabo de Toro which featured oxtail
I was disappointed in my choice of Seafood Paella as I found the baked rice rather dry, but the waiter removed the cost from the bill.
I also enjoyed a complimentary glass of Sangria


The desserts of Crema Catalana with Rhubarb and Tarta de Santiago with Orange cream looked and tasted good, but I sampled a cheesecake that wasn’t even on the menu and it was truly scrumptious.20200219_222427

We all really enjoyed eating at Mercado Central and it’s a very welcome addition to the Cambridge indie dining scene. What separates this place from the other tapas bars we have in the City is that it’s a contemporary Spanish restaurant offering a full dining experience and I guess that’s why the word tapas isn’t even mentioned in the menu. The Sharing Plates are a generous size and the quality and freshness of the food are very evident. Our bill came to £55 per head including all drinks and service. Different, impressive, friendly and a host of other complimentary adjectives Mercado Central is highly recommended for families, groups and date nights.

Mercado Central

24 Green Street



Tel: 01223 502392 


Valentine’s Day meal at MJP restaurant, Cambridge Cookery School

On Valentine’s Day this year, Steve and I enjoyed a six-course tasting menu cooked by Michelin star chef Mark Poynton who has recently taken over the Cambridge Cookery School bistro on Friday and Saturday evenings with his MJP restaurant.  The Cambridge Cookery School was founded in 2008 by chef and food writer Tine Roche. In 2015 the Cambridge Cookery School premises expanded to include a café, restaurant, and wine bar, taking over the former headquarters of Rattee and Kett stonemasons, which was established in 1843 on Purbeck Road, Cambridge. For me, the premises held a special significance as my ex-husband had worked at Rattee and Kett for many years doing restoration work. It occurred to me when we were dining that we were probably sitting in what had probably been his workshop many years ago! The space is now home to a stylish neighbourhood bistro which is minimalist in style.

We started our six-course meal with a glass of fizz on arrival which was included in the Valentine’s Menu.
To start we enjoyed the Wild mushroom and truffle soup, and coffee jelly, which was served with bread and butter.
We felt that the fish course of Grilled plaice, pickled cucumber, brown shrimp and seaweed butter was rather lost when served in this large bowl for such a small portion!
This succulent meat course of Lamb rump, courgette and basil, and Anna potato with lamb jus was our favourite dish on the menu.
The Pink Champagne foam was a delightful palate cleanser!
I loved the dessert of Dark chocolate brownie and mousse, with rhubarb and ginger, which were excellent flavour combinations.
To conclude our meal we shared this selection of British cheese, onion chutney, and biscuits which we felt was rather on the small side of being satisfactory portion-wise.

The cost of the Valentine’s Day menu was £65.00 per person including a glass of fizz. The evening was a sell-out so it was a busy night for the staff, but it did make for a good atmosphere. The food was excellent as I had expected and the service was attentive and professional. My other gripe, (in addition to the portion size mentioned above which we overheard voiced by other diners), was that I arrived very hungry for my meal and we had to wait thirty minutes before the starter arrived. It would have been nice to have had some bread on the table while we were waiting but apart from that Mark Poynton at Cambridge Cookery are an ideal partnership and to be recommended for a fine dining style date night.

For more information on future dining events check out mjprestaurant.com

cookery school
MJP restaurant can be found at the Cambridge Cookery School, Purbeck Road in Cambridge

Rick Stein’s Seafood restaurant in Padstow, Cornwall was a delight!

This month Steve and I enjoyed a splendid foodie winter break in Padstow, Cornwall. It’s a long drive from where we live in Cambridge, but we were blessed with unseasonably sunny weather for January so it was well worth the journey to the West Country. The main reason for our trip was to experience dining at Rick Stein’s flagship seafood restaurant in Padstow. We took advantage of a low season deal staying in accommodation above the restaurant which has picturesque views over the harbour and Camel estuary. This special offer included breakfast and a three-course dinner on both nights which made it excellent value. The Seafood Restaurant uses quality local produce and is internationally famous for imaginative cooking of the very freshest fish and shellfish often landed on their doorstep! We were particularly impressed with the staff who gave exemplary service, – being friendly, knowledgeable and totally professional.

The Seafood Restaurant is located at Riverside, Padstow, in Cornwall. This is Rick Stein’s flagship restaurant which opened in 1975.
We enjoyed home-made bread, butter, and olives while choosing from an extensive a la carte menu which featured simple seafood dishes with classic flavours using Rick’s recipes.


PAN FRIED PUNTILLITA AND CRISPY DEEP FRIED CAMARONES with Migas, parsley, and chillies. These small squid are fried with crisp breadcrumbs sprinkled with spicy pimentón.

CHARGRILLED FILLET OF WILD CORNISH SEA BASS with a tomato, butter, and vanilla vinaigrette.
GRILLED FILLET OF HAKE with spinach and beurre blanc.
CORNISH CRAB with a wakame, cucumber and dashi salad with wasabi mayonnaise.
SINGAPORE CHILLI CRAB Stir-fried whole crab with garlic, ginger, chilli, and coriander. Very much for those who love eating with their hands and getting gloriously messy like Steve!  
By not having a starter on my second evening I had room for this delicious dessert – HOT CHOCOLATE FONDANT with raspberry marshmallow, made with Felchlin chocolate.

This is a selection of some of the dishes we enjoyed either as starters or main courses.

After dinner on both evenings, we were treated to a delectable selection of Petit fours.

It should be mentioned that breakfast served in the restaurant was wonderful too, with a choice of speciality dishes, including smoked haddock kedgeree, poached kippers, grilled fish of the day or a classic English breakfast, and much, much more from a wide-ranging menu.

An interior view of the Seafood Restaurant which is light and attractive with a very enjoyable atmosphere. We were especially interested in the eclectic collection of paintings displayed on the restaurant walls. It transpired that all the artwork had been acquired by Rick Stein on his travels.
We enjoyed a lovely coastal walk in Padstow, which is a very attractive fishing port on the north coast of Cornwall

Padstow located on the North coast of Cornwall was traditionally a fishing port and some of its fishing fleet still remains, but now it’s primarily a popular tourist destination, especially with foodies. Rick Stein’s presence has been a terrific influence on the town and he has several other food outlets and shops in addition to the Seafood Restaurant. Tourists travel long distances to eat at his restaurant and cafes, consequently, this has led to the town being dubbed “Padstein” by food writers in the British media. We were surprised by how busy the restaurant was both for lunch and dinner service at this usually quiet time of year, and many guests like us were staying overnight and taking advantage of the special offers. As a destination restaurant for a birthday or anniversary, the Seafood Restaurant is highly recommended and you are bound to have a memorable experience. We did! harbour-two





PL28 8BY

Reservations Tel:01841 532700


A New Year treat at Trinity Restaurant, Cambridge: January 2020

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Trinity is located on Trinity Street in Cambridge

Last week Steve and I enjoyed our first date night of the New Year at one of our favourite restaurants. Trinity is an elegant eatery with excellent service and an interesting menu with a good choice of seafood dishes that has never disappointed us, so it’s always a pleasure to return. 20200108_194620 We started our evening with a glass or two of Cava whilst we perused the enticing menu. 20200108_195603Steve chose a pre-starter of Mersea oysters served raw on ice with lemon, Tabasco and pickled shallots. I was happy to tuck into the delicious bread whilst waiting for my starter.20200108_194632

My starter of Seared scallops, butternut squash purée, roast squash, pickled apple, and bacon crumb was perfectly cooked.
Steve enjoyed Steamed mussels, with a Nduja cream sauce for his next course.
Followed by Whole roast sea bream, brown shrimp, caper and raisin butter sauce for his main.
For my main course, I chose Butternut squash risotto, roast pumpkin, toasted almonds, and crispy sage.
And for my dessert, I chose Orange drizzle cake, chocolate crémeux, burnt orange purée, with chocolate soil. The perfect dish for any chocolate orange lovers!
It was no surprise to me that Steve chose the Cheese Board of Boxer, Tipsy Billy, Cashel Blue, Baron Bigod, and Isle of Mull Cheddar cheeses!
Accompanied by a local award-winning craft beer.

It was a very pleasant and relaxing evening and started off our dining adventures of 2020 in fine style. Trinity is highly recommended for food and service, but prices are on the high side so probably more of a special occasion destination for dinner. We paid £126.00 for our meal with drinks, and for once Steve allowed me to treat him!

You will be walking in the air with The Snowman Afternoon Tea at Cafe Rouge, Cambridge: January 2020

This week I enjoyed a festive treat at Cafe Rouge in Cambridge to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Available for a limited time only for the Christmas season it was an excellent selection of sweet and savoury treats which we both enjoyed and considered to be good value at £29.95 for two people to share including hot drinks, with refills at no extra cost. I am usually cautious about sampling a themed Afternoon Tea as they rarely live up to the traditional one but having enthused about the Cheese Afternoon Tea at Cafe Rouge on my previous blog post I felt it was worth a try and I wasn’t disappointed.

The Snowman was served on a three-tiered stand with a bespoke Snowman at Cafe Rouge plate for the sweet treats. 
The top tier included a warm, spiced mixed berry crumble mini dessert, white chocolate mousse, carrot cake, and marshmallow-topped chocolate cheesecake.
On the bottom tier, we started our feast with Cafe Rouge’s delicious Croque Monsieur. There was a choice of  “Festive Croque” with a filling of either turkey or mushroom and spinach. 
The other seasonal addition was a dish of everyone’s favourite “Pigs in blankets” (Pork sausages wrapped in bacon.)
On the second tier, we enjoyed warm fruit scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, with the addition of large Snowman white chocolate buttons.


The Snowman Afternoon Tea at Cafe Rouge is inspired by the original book and film The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. 

I will be returning to Cafe Rouge on another occasion to sample their new Chocolate Afternoon Tea which is available soon and sounds an irresistible temptation! 


A splendid Cheese Afternoon Tea at Cafe Rouge, Cambridge: October 2019

Last week my daughter and I treated ourselves to a very different Afternoon Tea from the traditional one at Cafe Rouge in Cambridge. We both love cheese so this savoury menu appealed and readers on this occasion we weren’t disappointed. I usually avoid Afternoon Teas which are ‘themed’ in any way because they rarely live up to expectation but Cafe Rouge is onto a winner with their Cheese Afternoon Tea. It tasted as good as it looked and it was excellent value for money at £30 for two people because there was plenty of it. My daughter who is exceptionally hard to please couldn’t find anything to complain about with our meal and the service was prompt and efficient too. In fact, we were both reminded of the reasons why we have always enjoyed eating at this elegant Parisienne style bistro.

We loved the presentation of the Cheese Afternoon Tea which was served in three wooden boxes on a tiered cake stand.


To start we relished the Croque Monsieur with a choice of smoked ham or Portobello mushrooms with baby spinach, goats cheese and a drizzle of truffle oil. Both fillings were yummy!


While it was still warm we moved onto the Baked Camembert, served with crudites and garlic Flatbread


We completed our cheese feast with a selection of French Artisan cheeses served with water biscuits, grapes and baby figs.
To accompany our cheese Afternoon Tea there was a choice of tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

The Cheese Afternoon Tea was a delightful savoury alternative to the usual sweet treats, and Cafe Rouge has got it just right in my opinion. Highly recommended.

Afternoon Tea at Cafe Rouge is available every day from 12pm 5:30pm. I noticed that they also offer a Kids Afternoon Tea at £17.50 for two. I shall certainly be making a return visit.

Cafe Rouge also offers this more traditional sweet Afternoon Tea which I would like to try next time I visit.

cafe rouge 3

Cafe Rouge

24-26 Bridge Street



Tel: 01223 364961

email: Cambridge@caferouge.co.uk








Have I found the smallest coffee shop in England? October 2019

Holly Bean’s Gourmet Coffee is available in the Old Butchers Shop cafe, which is located on Main Street in the village of Carlton-on-Trent, near Newark, Notts.
Holly Bean’s Gourmet Coffee uses Stokes of Lincoln, – coffee roasters and purveyors of fine teas.


Inside the cafe, I found this interesting photo of the Old Butcher’s shop in Carlton-on Trent, which ceased trading in the mid-1990s.
On this visit, I decided to have a hot chocolate as it was a bright but chilly Autumn morning.
My friend, (who lives in the village) is a regular customer to this charming and delightful coffee shop but every time I have visited her previously the cafe hasn’t been open.
I counted eleven chairs and two tables in this minute whimsical cafe which must make it a candidate for the smallest coffee shop in England!



This charming cafe is eclectic in style with lots of interesting things on the walls and it was full of curios, most of which were for sale.
The window seat of the cafe looks onto the village Main Street in Carlton-on-Trent
This is where the magic happens! Drinks for the cafe are made here in Holly Bean’s Gourmet Coffee Truck.

I have been a visitor to the village of Carlton-on-Trent for many years and ever since this cafe opened its doors two and a half years ago I have wanted to see inside. I was lucky on this occasion to be able to check it out as its currently only open one morning a week on Wednesdays. My friend advised me to wait until members of the seated exercise class had been and gone because they meet there every week for coffee after their class in the Village Hall. I couldn’t understand why until we opened the door as it would have been too small for us to find a vacant seat! The owner Darryl was very welcoming and told us something about the history of the place. In addition to the cafe which he runs by popular demand for the villagers, Darryl operates Holly Bean’s Gourmet Coffee Truck which he has taken to many events and festivals.

FOOTNOTE: This Mobile Expresso Bar is currently For Sale. Anyone interested please contact Darryl Wells-Pope on 07843 172907



Castle Cottage Cafe, Oakham was a quirky venue for an excellent Afternoon Tea: September 2019

Yesterday I had an interesting visit with a friend to Oakham, the County Town of Rutland. I used to live in the area over 40 years ago and my son was born in Oakham Hospital so the place held significant memories for me. It’s an attractive market town steeped in medieval history with lots of independent shops and we were spoiled for choice in the number of cafes and eateries. We had read excellent reviews of Castle Cottage Cafe so thought we would seek it out for lunch.  It’s easy to find although somewhat tucked away in Church Passage, which is just off the Market Place.

The Butter Cross in the Market Place at Oakham features the town pump and some unusual stocks.
Castle Cottage Cafe is located in Church Passage off the Market Place in Oakham.
Castle Cottage Cafe Oakham Rutland (2)
Castle Cottage has lots of outside seating and a very attractive garden but we chose to sit inside for our meal.
The cafe interior is charming, quirky and shabby chic in style.
Although it was lunchtime we chose to order the traditional Afternoon Tea which was served on pretty mismatched china. We ordered a second pot of tea at no extra charge.
We were served very promptly with a splendid Afternoon Tea on the traditional three-tiered stand.
The bottom tier held a selection of freshly-made sandwiches with interesting tasty fillings.
My favourite was the smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich. The bread was soft and very fresh.
We shared a warm freshly-baked large fruit scone with fresh strawberries, strawberry jam, and clotted cream.


The selection of cakes on the middle tier were home-made and absolutely delicious.
We both considered the lemon cake with lemon curd filling and buttercream topping to be light and truly scrumptious.


The cafe interior is delightful with fairy lights, bunting, fresh flowers and lots of quirky vintage pieces. The concept really worked and the food was excellent too!
The entrance to the extensive garden of the cafe, which had a marquee, a summer-house and lots of nice sheltered seating areas.


The cost of our Afternoon Tea was of exceptional value for money at £12 per person and it was probably the best I have ever come across in terms of price, quality, and quantity.

Castle Cottage Cafe,

Church Passage, Off Market Place, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6DR

Tel: 01572 757952

Castle Cottage is a real find and well worth seeking out if you are looking for somewhere to eat in Oakham.


Midsummer House, Michelin star dining in Cambridge: August 2019

Midsummer House is a two-star Michelin fine dining restaurant which has a modern, vibrant yet relaxed ambiance and is widely considered one of the finest restaurants in Cambridge and the UK. The cuisine is French Mediterranean and the service is friendly and efficient. Midsummer House celebrated it’s 20 years anniversary in 2018 with chef Daniel Clifford at the helm and was awarded its second Michelin star in 2005. Currently, it’s 21st in the UK on the Good Food Guide list in 2019 and I have wanted to eat here ever since it opened. I was saving Midsummer House for a special occasion so planning well in advance for my 70th birthday celebrations I booked a table for lunch for Steve and myself as a special treat.  Last month my wish came to fruition and I wasn’t disappointed because it was lovely in every way and a splendid introduction to the Midsummer House dining experience.

This lovely view was taken from the adjoining river footbridge. Access to Midsummer House restaurant is by this footbridge or by walking across Midsummer Common. 
Midsummer House is located on the edge of Midsummer Common with its own secluded garden along the banks of the River Cam. 


All the above taster dishes were complimentary appetisers served before the three-course set Lunch
Crispy pork belly, cannelloni of radish and apple, with cider pickled cockles was the first  course on the set Lunch menu
For the second course, we enjoyed stuffed fillet of sea bream, piquillo pepper, courgette and basil purée
We decided to add a cheese course to our lunch so we were offered the choice of four kinds of cheese from a delectable selection
The accompanying biscuits were home-made on-site and scrumptious


Coriander white chocolate dome, coconut and mango, with Jasmine rice for the dessert course
To complete our splendid meal we chose some complimentary Midsummer House hand-made chocolates from a selection
Granny Apples on her big birthday. Lunch at Midsummer House gave me plenty to smile about! 

For food of this quality, we felt that the price of the set lunch at £50.00 per person was reasonable and the sharing cheese platter was an additional £28. (Note – when booking a reservation a deposit of £50 person is required.) Drinks are expensive but as we were celebrating a special occasion we had champagne to start, beer and sparkling water with the meal and Port with the cheese. It was the extra special little touches like the birthday card for me and chocolates to take away in a customised box which made our lunch at Midsummer House so memorable. A lot of thought and attention to detail clearly goes into every aspect of this ultimate foodie experience with that added dash of theatre to the impeccable but friendly service. 

We enjoyed the lunch so much that we are already planning to return to Midsummer House for our anniversary next year to sample the eight-course taster menu. Better start saving up now!

Midsummer House

Midsummer Common,



Reservations: 01223 369299



Champneys Henlow revisited August 2019

It was a special birthday and my daughter and I returned to Champneys Henlow for a three-night spa break last month to celebrate. Henlow Grange is a health spa located in Bedfordshire which is set in 150 acres of beautiful grounds. Refurbishment of the spa began in 2017 and work is still ongoing. We visit every year so it was with great interest that we noted the changes which have succeeded in blending the old familiar traditional feel of the place with contemporary innovations. Our ultra-stylish Luxe room was on the ground floor opposite the weir so we had a splendid private patio area with terrific views, and we were lucky to have lots of warm sunny weather during our stay too.

Our little piece of heaven at Champneys Henlow! 
The lush grounds are the epitome of peace and tranquility. 
We started our blissful four days with a substantial Afternoon Tea in the restaurant

With the emphasis being on healthy eating food is always one of the highlights on a Champney’s spa break, and this was an example of a four-course dinner we enjoyed one evening. All the meals are low calorie or light diet and the portion sizes are small but surprisingly tasty and filling.

To start – the Amuse-bouche of the day
Followed by a delicious home-made soup
And my favourite dish – a twice-baked cheese Soufflé
For dessert – a meringue nest with soft fruit
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At Champneys Henlow we took advantage of being able to eat outside most lunchtimes
The pool has an adjacent jacuzzi and several seating areas and day beds for lounging around
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We spent a lot of time relaxing in the stunning pool and spa area
We particularly liked this new garden area which was a delightful place to sit……
and appreciate the beautiful plants and water features 

With special thanks to Lucy and Hannah who made our stay special with thoughtful gestures like this cake for my birthday. A lovely surprise at lunchtime on our final day!img-20190901-wa0004-2

Granny Apples says “Cheers”!

Welcome to a taste of Cádiz, Andalucia, Spain: May 2019

cadiz image
Cádiz is a port in Andalucía, Southern Spain known as ‘the silver teacup’ and it’s generally considered to be the oldest continually inhabited city in Europe. Now well into its fourth millennium, the ancient centre is surrounded almost entirely by water, which makes it stunningly picturesque and full of charm.DSC_0034

Restaurant Café Royalty is located on Plaza de la Candelaria, Cadiz 

Steve and I first visited Cádiz one year ago and we were very keen to return to some of our favourite places and discover new ones like Restaurant Cafe Royalty above where we enjoyed fine dining style tapas from this delicious menu which was excellent value at 22 euros per person.IMG_20190517_1441466IMG_20190517_1436105img_20190517_1458540-1.jpgimg_20190517_1446591-1.jpgIMG_20190517_1458408img_20190517_1447289.jpgimg_20190517_1446330-1.jpg


Plaza de la Candelaria is a very beautiful quiet square in Cadiz where Codigo de Barra, another fine dining restaurant is also located. Having enjoyed a meal here last year we were making a return visit to celebrate Steve’s birthday.

Codigo de Barra serve their unique olive ‘surprise’ for the first course 
Followed by a dish representing the origin of tapas – a slice of Iberian ham on top of a sherry glass of consommé
The 3rd course was their quirky take on the traditional shrimp fritters
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Toasted brioche, cured egg yolk and marinated sardines for the 4th course
Followed by garlic prawns with dry sherry
IMG_20190518_2146401 (1)
Roast lamb with vegetables in a lavender sauce for the 6th course
French toast with Thyme ice cream completed another outstanding meal at Codigo de barra 

We enjoyed tapas for lunch with sumptuous fresh oysters most days at our favourite bar Taberna La Bombilla near the central market in Cadiz. An ideal location for people -watching with good food, beer, and service at very reasonable prices. 

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Just one of the fabulous stalls which surround the fish market in the centre of Cadiz

The highlight of our trip to Cadiz this time was a visit to a Flamenco Tavern, which was a totally authentic, mesmeric and entrancing experience.img_20190516_2311057

Return to Il Piccolo Mondo, Bottisham, Cambs May 2019


It’s been far too long since we returned to dine at Il Piccolo Mondo, (which is one of my favourite Italian restaurants) in the village of Bottisham, which is located 6 miles east of Cambridge. We took two friends with us on this occasion and I was confident that we would all enjoy a splendid authentic Italian meal. Once again we were not disappointed in the cuisine or the service and it made a delightful mid-week treat for us all.img_20190508_2015325-1img_20190508_2015246-1img_20190508_2015215img_20190508_2015420-2

We chose Sardines, King Prawns, Calamari, and Affettato Misto Con Bruschetta – a selection of Italian cured meats and salami served with tomato bruschetta for starters.img_20190508_2038173-1img_20190508_2038285img_20190508_2039300-2

We chose Tortelloni, Gnocchetti pasta dishes and Seabass with a side of Zucchini Fritti for our main courses.


Our desserts included Amaretto Cheesecake, Lemon Tart, and a selection of Italian cheeses.

All the food was delicious and the bill for the four of us with drinks was £40 per person.

Highly recommended for a special occasion, but do book well ahead to avoid disappointment. This is a hugely popular restaurant and deservedly so.





CB25 9BA

01223 811434



Wednesday to Saturday: 12:00 – 14:00 


Wednesday to Saturday: 18:30 – 21:00



Granny Apples knits Twiddle muffs! Easter 2019

When I am not out enjoying myself eating, drinking and reviewing places to recommend on my food and travel blog I am generally kept well occupied with my other hobby which is hand-knitting! I usually knit fashion accessories as gifts for friends but last November I asked the Volunteer Office at my local hospital (Addenbrookes) if they had any knitting projects I could get involved with. I was delighted to hear that they were looking for volunteers to knit Twiddlemuffs for patients suffering from dementia. I wasn’t unfamiliar with the concept as I was aware that a Fidget Blanket is a lap quilt that provides stimulation for the restless hands of someone with Alzheimer’s. Knitted by volunteers, Twiddlemuffs are used in lots of NHS hospitals throughout the UK and given out to dementia patients to take home, so a supply is always needed.img_20190303_1258207

So what is a Twiddlemuff? A Twiddlemuff is a decorated hand muff which in addition to keeping hands warm provides a wonderful source of visual, tactile and sensory stimulation. The muffs are decorated on the outside with haberdashery bits and bobs like buttons, ribbons, sequins, and beads. The exterior of the main body of the muff should ideally be knitted in a variety of textured yarns to give added interest. This is an excellent way to use up any odds and ends of wool, which is what appealed to me about this project.

People with dementia often have restless hands and like to have something to keep their hands occupied so knowing that I am creating something useful for a good cause gives me the feel-good factor! Since I started knitting Twiddlemuffs the word has spread amongst my friends and family and consequently, orders for my muffs have now been sent to other places far and wide (including Denmark). I don’t accept any payment because the muffs don’t cost me anything to make, but I do accept donations of wool and haberdashery which I can use to make and decorate more muffs.

If anyone reading this post is interested in making Twiddlemuffs to donate to their local hospital the best part is, you don’t even need to be a good knitter as they are actually very simple to make and it’s hard to get it wrong as each one can be different. To decorate you can add anything from wool to buttons, beads to zips or ribbons, which most craftspeople already have in their sewing box. Just make sure that all the attachments are sewn on firmly and that the finished muff is machine washable.

How to make a Twiddlemuff

Materials needed:

  • A selection of leftover and odd balls of wool (DK or Chunky) 
  • Needles: 8mm circular or 6.5mm straight needles


Cast on 45 stitches using 2 strands of double knitting wool or 1 strand of chunky wool (one plain colour works best). Work in stocking stitch (knit a row, purl a row)
for 11 inches.

Muff Body:
Continue with stocking stitch, but use up oddments of various textures of wool such as chunky, mohair, ribbon etc until the work measures 23 inches. Top tip: two strands of double knit for two rows each gives a lovely assortment of colours. Cast off.

If working with straight needles, lightly iron the long strip of knitting, then neatly join the sides together using edge to edge stitch along the seam with the finished side on the inside. When completed turn the muff inside out so that the finished side is now on the exterior and push the cuff up inside the muff body. Sew the two ends together, again using a neat edge to edge stitch.

Now you can decorate the outside of the muff in any way you choose with ribbons, beads, flowers, zips, loops, pompoms, buttons, etc. For an added extra you could knit a separate pocket for a favourite photo, a key or a hanky. Be creative, but it is important to ensure that each item is securely attached!img_20190216_1846232.jpgimg_20190303_1309154-2img_20190303_1310540img_20190303_1310354


These are just a small selection of the different Twiddlemuffs which I have knitted over the last few months. I have made so many now that I stopped counting after donating 50! They are very quick to make and I find that I can knit a muff in a few hours but the finishing and decorating is more time-consuming. I can only hope that my muffs have given as much pleasure to the recipients as they have given me to make!

Finally, the above Twiddlemuff is my latest creation which I was asked to make for a ten-year-old autistic boy who has restless hands in class and finds it hard to concentrate.

Mothers Day Afternoon Tea at Quy Mill

Once a historic watermill, Quy Mill Hotel and Spa is a secluded haven of peace and tranquillity only a few miles outside Cambridge city centre. My daughter and I celebrated Mothering Sunday a day early this year by taking Afternoon Tea at this lovely location.

The charming rear view of Quy Mill Hotel from the garden
We enjoyed the traditional Afternoon Tea which was served on a three-tiered stand

img_20190330_1524068-2The sandwiches were freshly made with tasty fillings including smoked salmon, chicken, and curried egg, except the Mozzarella and watercress filling which we found rather bland

The scones were exceptionally good and served warm. We chose fruit and cheese from a selection, served with an excellent rhubarb jam and clotted cream
My daughter loved her warm cheese scone served with butter

img_20190330_1523469-1.jpgThe sweet tier consisted of crispy hazelnut and cocoa mousse lollipops, baked passion fruit cheesecake, layered sponge and opera chocolate slice, white cafe cappuccino souffle, praline macaroon, and coconut shortbread biscuit.

The traditional Afternoon Tea was reasonably priced at £18.95 per person and was good value.  For the man in your life, it’s worth noting that a Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea with a delightful savoury selection is also available at £22 per person.

Minor niggles were that the crockery wasn’t bone china which I always look for when sampling an Afternoon Tea anywhere. The sandwich fillings were an odd twist on the usual selection and the Mozzarella and watercress one was too bland for us. These small criticisms were outweighed by the pleasant and relaxed surroundings, the prompt and friendly service, and the fact that it was altogether an enjoyable experience. Finally, the scones were exceptionally good and the rhubarb jam and baked passion fruit cheesecake were different and delightful additions to the sweet feast.

This is a popular destination so book in advance. Highly recommended.

Quy Mill Hotel and Spa

Church Road
CB25 9AF

 (01223) 293383



Valentines Day meal at Atithi, Cambridge

The previous week we dined at newly-opened Atithi Indian restaurant and were so impressed with the cuisine that we chose to return for our Valentines Day meal. Atithi offered a seven-course tasting menu with a vegetarian option from £35 per person. On arrival, guests were greeted with a glass of Prosecco which was a lovely welcome.

Atithi Indian restaurant is located on eclectic Mill Road in Cambridge which is a magnet for foodies
A single rose at each table was a nice touch for Valentines Day
To start we enjoyed the Amuse Bouche of Broccoli, honey cumin and ginger. As Steve commented it was incredible how much taste and flavour chef had packed into a small bite!
The second dish was Kale Chaat, which is deep-fried kale, spiced chickpeas, sweetened yoghurt and tamarind chutney. An unusual and delicious mix of taste and textures served cold.
My veggie third course of Beetroot Tikki was my favourite dish of the evening. Deep-fried beetroot, with lentil, ginger and smoked apple raita
Steve enjoyed his third course of Grilled Scallops with peppers and smoked aubergine mash
A refreshing Sorbet for the fourth course

For the fifth course, Steve’s next dish was Malai Tikka, chicken fillets with cream cheese, ginger and mace and my veggie dish of Stuffed Paneer, cottage cheese, pickled dried figs and five Indian spices.





The sixth course was the main dish on the taster menu and Steve relished his Railway Canteen Curry, a Lamb curry finished with classic South Indian spices and potatoes, and my dish of Baigan Bartha and Aloo Zeera – smoked aubergine mash with ginger and turmeric. Both were accompanied by pulao rice, garlic naan and daal.


And to finish this Valentines Day feast what could be nicer than Rose Kulfi with a strawberry dipped in chocolate!


52 Mill Road



Tel: 01223 662102



Atithi Cambridge for an Indian feast

Last week we enjoyed sampling the delicious food at Atithi, the new Indian restaurant on Mill Road in Cambridge which offers contemporary Indian cuisine with a sophisticated twist. (The premises were formerly known as Kebabish.) Cooked by Kamaladasan, the award winning Michelin star background head chef, I knew we were in for a treat as we know his food from Navadhanya and the The Tiffin Truck. Atithi features dawat sharing options, vegan and vegetarian menus, a 6-course tasting menu, a la carte and lunch at weekends. With the tandoor oven at the heart of the kitchen, the menu draws inspiration from flavours and techniques used from all over India using the only finest and fresh ingredients. In fact we enjoyed the food so much that Steve and I are returning this week for the special Valentines Day taster menu!

We started our feast with Poppadoms and chutney
Stuffed Paneer – Cottage cheese, pickled dried figs and five Indian spices
Beetroot Tikki – Deep fried spiced beetroot with lentil, ginger and smoked apple raita
Hariyali Scallops – Tandoori grilled scallops, curry leaf, pepper with smoked aubergine mash
Masala Fried fish – Grilled seabass, ginger, carom seeds, gram flour and chilli
This Awadhi Lamb Dum Biriyani was the star dish of our evening!
Diced lamb and rice cooked with pastry lid served with smoked apple raita
The Naan bread at Athithi is perfectly cooked


We shared a side dish of Kale Aloo – Potatoes with cumin, garlic and puréed kale
Two of our party chose this Butter Chicken Masala for our main course. It was a lot hotter and more spicy than I expected!



We sampled Gajar Ka Halwa – Home made heritage carrot fudge with mango kulfi for dessert


The taste and presentation of all the dishes was exceptional which is a hallmark of Kamaladasan’s fine dining style. The menu at Atithi is reasonably priced too and the service overseen by Manager Jose is very attentive. We drank a selection of bottled beers and wine from an interesting list. My only gripe is that they don’t serve any draught beers.

Atithi is a welcome addition to the vast range of eateries on Mill Road and I am more than happy to recommend it. By the way, Atithi is the Hindi word for guest which is the way we all felt we were treated!





Tel: 01223 662102



A Winter sojourn at Cley Windmill, Norfolk

The story starts here with this model windmill!

This windmill was a surprise Christmas gift from Steve and a major clue to where we were going to stay in January!

Here! Cley Windmill is a spectacular conversion into a guesthouse which I first spotted several years ago when we were staying at a campsite in the village of Cley next the sea in Norfolk. Since then it has been on my wish list of iconic places to stay so this Christmas gift was a lovely surprise.

Cley Windmill dates from the early 18th Century and is a well-known landmark on the North Northfolk coast. It commands breathtaking views over the salt marshes to Blakeney Point and the sea, nestling comfortably by the old quay and alongside the flint-walled cottages of the village.

In 2006 it was a brilliant idea to turn this old windmill into a B and B and a very successful venture it has proved too, especially as it’s licensed for weddings.  A fabulous restoration in a sublime location the windmill sits among the reedy marshes on the edge of the village of Cley and the interior is simply charming. The guest rooms are attractively furmished in a country-chic style with whitewashed walls and set beneath ancient beamed ceilings. We stayed in the Millers Room which is on the ground floor but the upper rooms of the windmill in particular have spectacular views over the coast and marshes. img_20190109_1026478img_20190108_0948261


Steve enjoyed a hearty meal of gammon, egg and chips at The Kings Arms in Blakeney

During our stay we enjoyed eating at two pubs in the nearby village of Blakeney in the evenings. The meals were hearty, reasonably priced comfort food but Cley Windmill does provide an evening meal for guests if required and if the superb breakfast we enjoyed there is anything to go by the food is exceptionally good!


Cley Windmill is situated right on the edge of the National Wildlife Trust reserve of Cley Marshes and perfectly placed for exploring the delights of the North Norfolk coast. This is one of the most imaginative places to spend a weekend break at any time of the year, but it is incredibly popular for its location and originality. Highly recommended, so if you want to book a room for a special occasion take my advice and book your date early!

Cley Windmill

The Quay




NR25 7RP



Afternoon Tea at The Ivy Brasserie, Cambridge

Last month I enjoyed a delicious Afternoon Tea at The Ivy Brasserie in Cambridge to celebrate a friends birthday. 

We chose the traditional Afternoon Tea which included a selection of savoury delights, warm fruited scones and unusual sweet treats served with pots of tea or coffee.

Served on a three-tiered silver stand we tucked into a tasty and unusual selection of savouries which included truffled chicken brioche rolls, marinated cucumber and dill finger sandwiches, and smoked salmon on dark rye bread with cream cheese and chives. On a separate cake stand we were served warm fruited scones with Dorset clotted cream and strawberry preserve.  The sweet treats of Raspberry cheesecake, Chocolate and salted caramel mousse and Crème Brulee doughnuts completed a splendid Afternoon Tea. The mousse was amusingly served in a miniature ceramic plant pot and decorated with fresh flowers which was a surreal touch.

This is my third visit to The Ivy which is a vibrant and sophisticated addition to the Cambridge dining scene but each time my experience has been rather let down by some minor niggles about the service. On this occasion we had to ask twice for some milk for my friends tea and it was a very long wait and when I asked for a second pot of tea it didn’t arrive until I had asked for the bill! I must add that having spoken to friends about this they were very complimentary about the service at The Ivy so it must be that my experience is not the norm. As it was a birthday celebration my friend was delighted to receive a mini cheesecake with a candle as a surprise from a member of staff. A nice touch and highly recommended for at £18.95 per person this is probably the best value Afternoon Tea in Cambridge. Served daily from 3-5pm. 


The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

16 Trinity Street



Tel : 01223 344044



Crete revisited, a Greek Odyssey: September 2018

Last month Steve and I revisited the beautiful island of Crete. Here is a small selection of his wonderful photographs which capture the spirit and essence of this magical place. When I think of Crete I can always summon up memories of that incredible light, with endless days full of hot sunshine, the splendour of the mountains and the bluest of blue seascapes and skies, with vistas of outstanding scenic beauty, colour and historical interest around every corner. 


Pretty town house in Chania with rooms available for rent

We decided to base ourselves in the beautiful town Rethymnon with it’s picturesque Venetian port,  primarily for it’s central location to tour the island. We stayed in an apartment in the Old Town within sight of the impressive ancient Fortress which dominates the landscape. On this trip we particularly wanted to explore the east side of Crete and in our second week we drove to Elounda, which is one of the loveliest and most popular resorts and stayed there for two nights so that we could take a ferry to the island of Spinalonga, a place that has long been on my bucket list to visit.crete 12

The picturesque harbour of Elounda
Two fine examples of the pristine churches which we found dotted all over the island


The Windmills of the Lassithi Plateau, Crete were a spectacular sight


The joys of al fresco dining late into the warm evenings was a highlight for me. Eating out and the price of food and drink generally was less expensive than the UK, apart from sparkling water which is very costly here as in most European countries. We enjoyed frappes every morning which cost 2 euros at most places and a large beer was 3.5 euros.


Moussaka is one of my favourite Cretan dishes and it’s on the menu in most restaurants



To accompany the food we enjoyed sampling the local Cretan beers which were always served in ice-cold glasses!