kitchen bites

Kitchen Bites Christmas Edition!

Hi everyone, for the last Kitchen Bites you might remember that I trialed doing the post as a video over on my you tube channel (check it out and subscribe here if you havent already!) It was really fun to do, but as products have started to pop through the letterbox for the christmas edition and foodie gift guide, I’ve realised it’s not very practical to do another video as a lot of the food is perishable and thus I was having to film the video in tiny sections which was almost impossible! Thus we are back to a good old blog post.

From next year onwards I will be giving the Kitchen Bites Series a rest, but fear not (!) I will still be talking about all my new and favourite foodie products over on instagram instead so pop over and follow me there to keep up with my foodie discoveries.

For the last Kitchen Bites for now its a combination of recent discoveries and things that would make great stocking fillers for your foodie friends.

First up, some sweet treats from a brand called The Treat Kitchen. This company has a few shops, their flagship is in Nottingham I believe, but also can be found on the internet and do a great range of retro and current sweets, and a fabulous line in Christmas specials too. I recently tried a selection, and was impressed with everything from the choice of sweets, to their sleek packaging and great taste.

If you’re looking for something different for Christmas then definitely check them out – we adored the Gin & Tonic Jellies, but also love the sound of the Mulled Wine Bon Bons and Prosecco jellies too!


Next a great present for a cheese lover – a cheese subscription box. from The Welsh Cheese Company you could get 4 lovingly selected cheeses to your door with ‘Clwb Caws’, which means “cheese club” in Welsh. It’ll cost £27 per month including postage and is a great way to discover new cheeses!

We really enjoyed our recent selection – and really loved each of the cheeses. Obviously lee and I disagreed on the best one, he liked the smoked caerffili while I went for the Amber Mist.


If you’re a hot sauce fiend like me then you will love these Cheeky Boy Sauces. They are being launched in an ‘explorer’ size of 150g in time for Christmas. Here’s a little about the 3 sauces!

I must say The German Hot Sauce isn’t quite to my palate, but the other two are fantastic!


Christmas isn’t Christmas without some of Cadbury’s favourite chocolate treats, and this year is no exception with a great range of different Christmassy offerings.

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We always have some of their tree decorations on the tree ( usually gone waaaaay before Christmas day!) and I love the look of these tiny santas!


Another hot sauce, and this time one that is local to me – Pips Hot Sauce. I’ve known her sauces now for several years and they never fail to disappoint. Her trademark La Boca Del Diablo is shown in the picture below but check out her spicy hot ketchup and BBQ sauces as well which ROCK!

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For festive nibbles, you need to have some crisps around, and Burts have recently launched two new flavours – Spit Roast Steak and Hamageddon, so if you like your crisps meaty and that pack a punch – these are two to certainly try out!

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Lastly for this review, a new cookbook about Danish eating – Scandinavian trends are all the rage at the moment aren’t they with Hygge and such like, so why not try the food as well. This book by Caroline Flemming and published by Jacqui Small ( RRP £25) is shot on location in Denmark, celebrates the very best of Danish cuisine. Drawing on age-old family recipes, Caroline shares over 100 delicious and authentic dishes, each of them able to boost your sense of wellbeing, both inside and out. Sounds good to me!

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My favourite recipe so far has to be the one below – Poussin casserole with a cucumber salad, so easy to make and delicious too.

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So that’s it for Kitchen Bites for now. Be sure to follow me over on instagram where I will continue to share my favourite foodie discoveries.

Thanks to all the brands above who have gifted products for this blog post, no further renumeration was received. 

A New Autumn Menu at Ask Italian

It’s been a really REALLY long time since I’ve visited an Ask Italian. In fact I think I’ve only ever been once before, possibly back while I was university, and I don’t remember it that favourably. Therefore when we were invited down to the new Ask in Stratford-Upon-Avon to try some of their new autumn menu and kids menu we were keen to try it out, especially as Imogen LOVES pasta.

I was impressed with the decor of this new venue, much better than what I remember of the older Ask’s  which were quite stark and white. The restaurant space was warm and welcoming with twinkling lights, plant vines and a mix of booths and tables. They are very much geared up for kids and families, but more on that later on.

The menu was actually really appealing, with more interesting sounding dishes than I expected. One of their new drinks, a Peach V&T (essentially a vodka tonic with added peach liqeuer) kept me company while I had a browse!

The kids menu too was funned the ‘do it yourself’ way of building your meal is great, especially for slightly older children.

We chose Crudites and Breadsticks with Tomato Dip for Imogen, followed by some Cartwheel pasta with tasty tomato sauce. Again, for slightly older ones, the ‘dip and dunk’ pasta sounded great! Imogen pretty much demolished the whole lot, so a thumbs up from her!

We chose some of the new additions to the staple menu; TUSCAN BEAN SOUP and PUMPKIN ARANCINI were our starters.  My negative head, when in comes to chain restaurant was expecting a bland soup and heavy arancini but I had to bite my tongue as both starters were packed with flavour and perfectly proportioned.

For mains Lee tried the SAUSAGE CANNELLONI  – he was impressed with the herby sausages and kick of heat to the sauce and really enjoyed the dish. I had The PENNE ARRABIATA, quite a staple on Italian menus I guess, but this one was done well with a lovely chilli hit and depth to the sauce.

It was definitely a day for desserts as well, and the BAKED CHOCOLATE GNOCCHI and CHOCOLATE ETNA were good ways to finish the meal feeling mega stuffed, although quality wise didn’t quite match the savoury food.

The Christmas menus at ask sound like good fun and good value with options at £19.95 or £24.95 for 3 courses, with a Vegan option too.

Now don’t get me wrong, this food isn’t fine dining and isn’t necessarily trendy, but it does taste pretty good. I really do think chains have upped their game in the last couple of years to compete with the new up and coming places, and lets face it, they needed to so it’s really good to see.

Family Friendly? Very. One of the best chains we have been to for this with this restaurant in particular having ample changing space, offering to pop you pushchair somewhere safe for toddlers, or letting you keep in right by the table for little tiny ones. The menu is well priced with various options, there is a kids pack with colouring and they even brought imogen over a balloon, which let her learn her first lesson in static electricity (see below!)

Thank you to ask for hosting us to try out the new menu in return for some honest opinion. No further compensation was received. 

Review: The Brasserie at Pennyhill Park

On our recent stay at Pennyhill Park for a friends wedding we didnt want to stray far from the hotel the evening before, so opted to have a meal in the Brasserie restaurant. The Brasserie restaurant is the more relaxed offering at Pennyhill, the other restaurant is Michelin Starred The Latymer. Given that they probably wouldn’t allow a 13 month old in a michelin starred dining room, we opted for the former! The dining room itself is lovely and overlooks some of the grounds with mellow moody lighting, great for a relaxed meal, not so great for my photos!

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Review: Pennyhill Park

Back in October we booked a two night stay at Pennyhill Park Hotel & Spa down in Surrey. One of my best friends was getting married there and I was a bridesmaid, so we decided it would easiest to also stay on site for all the preparations. The Pennyhill estate is a really lovely area, and we were immediately taken by the lovely gardens and buildings.

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