BBC Good Food Show

Girl in Brogues / BBC Good Food Show

Girl in Brogues / BBC Good Food Show - Fentimans

Girl in Brogues / BBC Good Food Show

Girl in Brogues / BBC Good Food Show

Oh, the regret of not visiting BBC Good Food Show before. It took to send a couple of complimentary tickets and the possibility of seeing Paul Hollywood and Bezza in the flesh to pique my interest. We spent 4 hours wandering around stalls and pop-up eateries, tasting samples and making the most of last-minute bargains. Here were our highlights of the show:

  • – Wasabi popcorn from Ten Acres – and they were donating all their money to Children in Need, bless ’em.
  • – Picking up £1 bargains from the Yutaka truck and tasting an amazing beef noodle stew (any future attempt to recreate will be put on here!)
  • – Baklava and olives.
  • – Realising the man who warned me that the scotch bonnet sauce is very hot was very right.
  • – Discovering some amazing Malaysian curry sauces from Nonya Sauces – I can attest as a Malaysian for these being worth a try!
  • – Colourful meringues from Meringue Girls.
  • – Being reunited with raspberry lemonade from Hullabaloos! (damn you M&S for discontinuing this).
  • – Spotting Luis from Bakeoff about to start a class.
  • – All. The. Cheese.

Girl in Brogues / BBC Good Food Show

Girl in Brogues / BBC Good Food Show

Girl in Brogues / BBC Good Food Show

Girl in Brogues / BBC Good Food Show - Ten Acres

Girl in Brogues / BBC Good Food Show

Pad Thai

Girl in Brogues / Pad Thai

Pad Thai was the first ever dish I fell in love with at a restaurant. I was lucky enough to have been brought up in Asia, so finding authentic Thai food was not a problem. I sometimes headed to the local mall after school to get myself a plate of what I thought was the best thing ever.

If you’ve never had Pad Thai before, it’s a slightly sweet, mild noodle dish that has probably been one of Thailand’s most popular exports. Unlike most Thai dishes, it’s not spicy, doesn’t have any soya sauce and has a widely appealing taste for most people’s tastebuds. And even though there’s quite a few ingredients involved, it is super straightforward to make and the ingredients can be easily found in any Oriental food shop.

My tips for this recipe? Don’t boil the noodles until their fully cooked before you stir fry them, keep tasting to achieve the right amount of fish sauce, sugar and tamarind for your taste and definitely prep all the ingredients before you start putting things in the wok!

Girl in Brogues / Pad Thai

Pad Thai

(serves 2-3)

3 tbsp roasted peanuts (diced)
3-4 garlic cloves (diced)
1 shallot (diced)
200g flat rice noodles
3 tbsp tamarind paste
5 tsp fish sauce
3 tbsp palm sugar
2 eggs
3 stalks spring onions
½ carrot (grated)
200g raw king prawns
2 tbsp dried shrimp (optional)
1-2 limes
Chilli flakes

1. Boil water – put noodles into pan and cover with the hot water. Allow to soften until al dente. Pour into sieve and pour cold water to stop rice noodles from sticking.
2. Roast peanuts until pan until slightly brown – put aside.
3. Put 2-3 tbsp cooking oil into a wok – fry the garlic and shallot until soft and slightly brown.
4. Add the prawns, carrots, noodles, tamarind puree, fish sauce and palm sugar. Use chopsticks to help separate the noodles.
5. Put the noodle stirfry to one side and crack both eggs. Scramble the eggs initially on its own, then mix with noodles before fully cooked.
6. Add the spring onions and dried shrimp. Sprinkle half a lime over the noodles. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
7. Serve with chilli flakes, roasted peanuts and a wedge of lime on the side.

One year

It’s been one whole year since I sat across from a nervous-looking man in Nandos, who was making me feel pretty nervous with how aesthetically pleasing he was. Despite chicken pittas not being the most auspicious of starts, Harpall’s now my best friend, gig buddy and fellow foodie. He’s even an occasional photographer for this blog! Here’s how we celebrated 365 days together.

Comptoir Libanais

Girl in Brogues / Comptoir Libanais

Girl in Brogues / Comptoir Libanais

We started off our anniversary with lunch at Comptoir Libanais in South Kensington, a popular Lebanese canteen chain. It was a pretty tight squeeze; the tiny tables were decorated with brightly coloured flowers in rose water bottles. Shiny, flamboyant handbags and metallic teapots stocked the high shelves on the wall.

Girl in Brogues / Comptoir Libanais

Girl in Brogues / Comptoir Libanais

Girl in Brogues / Comptoir Libanais

I started with mint tea with rosewater; luckily the taste of rose wasn’t strong and the tea tasted authentically similar to tea I’ve had in Morocco. Harpall and I took turns challenging who could pour the tea from the tallest height (he won). Harpall on the other hand had lime-tinged lemonade.

Though it looked amazing, my meze platter was slightly disappointing. The baba ghanuj and hommos were a bit bland, the pita slices were thin and the sambousek were slightly underfilled (more cheese please!). The salads were better, with delicate, fragrant tabbouleh and lentil salads. Unfortunately, Harpall was put off falafel forever with his extremely hot and dry falafel wrap. On the plus side, Comptoir Libanais has made Lebanese food far more affordable and I wouldn’t mind trying something different on the menu.

Natural History Museum

Girl in Brogues / Natural History Museum

Girl in Brogues / Natural History Museum

Girl in Brogues / Natural History Museum

A short walk away, we headed to the dinosaur collection at Natural History Museum to test our dinosaur knowledge. We learnt that a Tyrannosaurus rex falling on his face could mean instant death and practised our dinosaur impressions. Harpall then found a fluffy Triceratops dinosaur from the shop for his nephew (secretly, I really wanted it!).

Girl in Brogues / Natural History Museum

Girl in Brogues / Natural History Museum

We had booked tickets to two exhibits at the museum in the late afternoon. The first was a virtual reality experience with David Attenborough called First Life. Harpall is a bit of a VR veteran so was used to the feeling of moving whilst sat in a studio. I struggled, however, with the appearance of strange creatures appearing at the corners of my eye. I may have shrieked; in fact, I did shriek – the staff told us so afterwards. Oops.

Our second exhibition was the stunning Wildlife Photographer of the Year collection. I was amazed by all of the beautiful details and stories behind the pictures. It was also pretty inspiring to see the photographs taken by the Under-18s – our favourite photograph of the whole exhibit was ‘Golden catch’, by a teenager called Thomas Villet. What I’ve learnt – timing is everything with nature shots and you have to be so, so patient to get the shot.

Flat Iron

Girl in Brogues / Flat Iron

Girl in Brogues / Flat Iron

Girl in Brogues / Flat Iron

Our day ended with a much-anticipated meal at Flat Iron. If you’re a Londoner and a foodie, it will have been pretty much impossible to avoid its images of thinly cut steak with a mini cleaver on the side. Harpall and I turned up at 6:30pm on a Tuesday evening and there was already a 45 minute wait for couples, so we decided to while away the time with a Bloody Mary and Passionfruit Swizzle at Two Floors round the corner (excellent by the way).

When we finally got a table in the basement (another tightly packed restaurant), we were greeted with salted popcorn; this said it all – we were onto a winner. The menu was as simple as it could be. The main was Flat Iron steak. The sides varied from market greens to roast aubergine. The dessert was chocolate salted caramel mousse. As an indecisive eater, this was perfect for me.

Now I don’t often fall in love with red meat, but if steak was a soulmate, the Flat Iron steak would be it. It was tender, perfectly seasoned and the right amount. And for £10 with a side salad, it’s no surprise that I’ll be going back for more. The roast aubergine was OK, the chips were more-ish and the chocolate mousse made a fun, sweet ending to a date to remember. I left the restaurant with a feeling I was going to return very, very soon.

Three cheese mac & cheese

The other day, I was faced with a huge injustice. Having been promised a meal with friends at the wonderful Chicken Liquor in Brixton, I spent the whole week dreaming of those magnificent deep fried mac and cheese balls that I had the pleasure of eating a few years ago. The evening I had been waiting for arrives; I step out of the hospital and receive a flurry of messages – “I’m too tired”, “It’s raining”, “Shall we reschedule?”


Now, I know this is all very #firstworldproblems, but I was promised mac and cheese balls and you just don’t mess with a girl’s emotions and wants like that.

After sending a few faux-angry (but kind of actually angry) Whatsapp messages and tweets off into the Twittersphere, I used my anger and turned it into something positive. I was going to make the best Mac and Cheese ever. So I think I’ve found the secret to home-cooking success – get angry and vengeful = make wonderful food.

I took an average BBC mac and cheese recipe, added lots more garlic, mustard and a topping of crumbled feta cheese and chives. The result was a creamy, garlic cheese sauce bake with an epic crispy top.

And you know what? Since I just rise above it all, I even promised some to my flatmate who flaked on me. She in return made a macaroni face, as below, named Sheila.

Three cheese mac & cheese

(adapted from this recipe)

350g macaroni
6 garlic cloves (diced)
1 tsp mustard
3 tbsp plain flour
500ml whole milk
250g cheddar (grated)
50g parmesan (grated)
50g feta cheese


1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Boil macaroni pasta so it’s slightly more raw than it should be.
2. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a pan. Add diced garlic and let it cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add flour and stir into butter so it forms a paste. Cook for 1 minute.
4. Add milk slowly into butter whilst stirring. Let it simmer for 5-6 minutes whilst stirring so that it thickens slightly.
5. Add mustard and a couple of sprigs of chive diced up.
6. Mix in the cheddar and 25g of the parmesan to the mixture. It should make a smooth creamy sauce.
7. Add the near-cooked macaroni to the sauce, mix well, then pour into a baking dish.
8. Scatter the remaining parmesan over the pasta evenly. Crumble feta and some more diced chives over the top. Finally, scatter 1-2 tbsps of breadcrumbs over the top.
9. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbling and slightly brown and crispy.

Burger & Lobster

Talk about being late to the party. Burger & Lobster has been a foodie phenomenon in London for years. I don’t even know how I can identify myself a food blogger by not having been to this restaurant until late 2015.

I went to the Bond Street branch a few weeks ago with Harpall and some old friends from school. Luckily, it was a weekday, so there were none of the meddlesome queues that have always deterred me from visiting (take note, Dishoom).

We went down to the basement where we were seated on a round table and given drinks menus. Much confusion ensued regarding the lack of food menu, until a friendly waiter put us out of misery and informed us that there would be a sort of verbal handover of the options for that night. I put my concentration hat on; luckily it was pretty simple – whole lobster, lobster roll or burger, each for £20 with a side of fries and salad. We all decided to go for the whole grilled lobster option with garlic butter.

As we waited for the poor lobsters upstairs to meet their fiery fate, we sipped our tasty non-alcoholic drinks  – sadly, I cannot for the life remember what they were, but they were very nice indeed.

Finally, our lobsters came out piping hot and ready to be cracked. As with anything requiring upper body strength, I failed tremendously at this, but the rewards were immense – the lobster meat was juicy, perfectly cooked and just the right amount. I found the garlic butter a little rich; the salad complemented my more simple tastes far better. I peeked over at the other tables at the burgers – they looked sizeable, but I’m not sure I would’ve paid £20 for them. The lobster was far more deserving of the price tag; plus the casual environment and friendly staff adds to the temptation of returning for what could have potentially been a one-off visit.

The #ScreamHome

I think a career in events planning would come pretty naturally to me. I love making endless pointless lists, scouting Pinterest for wacky inspiration and just feeding people way too much. So it was easy to say yes when Ocean Finance (you can read their blog here!) approached me with a challenge to make my flat into a #screamhome for Halloween on a budget of £50. I used the money for a fang-tastic drinks party, complete with scary cupcakes and cobwebs.


The decorations were all about the creepy crawlies and bats. We discovered cobwebs are trickier than you think to put up and spiders can be utilised anywhere.  I also cut out bats from black card and Harpall made a gruesome video playlist for the TV (which freaked me out a little bit when Paranormal Activity scenes came on the screen during the party!).


The ‘pumpkin vomiting guacamole’ was about the best food idea we found on the internet, so we had to do it! I’ve always wanted to carve a pumpkin and it was surprisingly easy to do. My boyfriend whipped up some of his amazing chilli con queso to put in the pumpkin head, homemade guacamole and finished the look with a scattering of tortilla chips! I also managed to bake some Black Bottom cupcakes with iced ghosts and bats the morning of the party, which went down particularly well with the kids!


I wanted to do something bloody for the drinks so we whipped up a strawberry jelly concoction to put in syringes and shot glasses for guests. A creepy hand also appeared in our punch bowl, made from freezing water inside a glove!

How have you celebrated Halloween? Have I done well on my £50 budget?

Backbone of the NHS

On the 17th October, thousands of doctors, their friends, their families, NHS supporters and more gathered near Westminster. There was a sea of banners and placards; some poignant, some funny and some altogether random (“Jeremy Hunt ate my hamster!”). The feeling was mutual though –  everyone was a little on edge, frustrated but hopeful.

In case anyone is in need of a recap (what’s the big deal guys?!), here’s a quick summary for you (or you can read my post on the #notsafenotfair campaign). NHS services are extremely stretched currently – I’m sure you’ve noticed with the long A&E waits and the extreme difficulty of getting a GP appointment. It’s not because health professionals are lazy and can’t be bothered to see you. We work long hours with long runs of shifts. We do overtime without question to make sure our patients are safe and it’s through our hard work we are able to keep the NHS afloat. The Government has proposed a new contract for junior doctors that will in short lead to longer hours for less pay (around 30% less on average), disadvantage doctors who want to research or go part-time and remove the vital safeguards on our working hours – meaning we can be made to work longer hours. It’s going to be impossible to retain a workforce of doctors with these changes and with an already struggling NHS, I don’t see how it’s possible to keep free healthcare going in the long-term.

Following the march, I’m glad we received the media attention we at least deserved. We were the top news story of the day and many of our colleagues tackled the most difficult of questions from journalists admirably. Since then, the media has covered stories on how Jeremy Hunt has misled the public about figures on weekend deaths and a particularly heart-wrenching article that has hit medics too close to home. We have had celebrity support from many; Rufus Hound, Martin Freeman, JK Rowling to name a few. But our fight is far from over.

This Wednesday, they will debate in the House of Commons to withdraw this unfair contract proposal and to enter realistic negotiations with the BMA. I can only be hopeful of this outcome, as strike action seems likely to be on the table still – and this is something I would hope to avoid. In the end, all I want to do is go do the job I love (which by the way, is in the NHS) without feeling overly tired and questioning why I invested all those years and all that money in a career I feel undervalued and underpaid. I hope that’s not too much to ask.


In my family, you can definitely tell who takes after who. I’m a lot like my dad – quiet, science-y, bookish. My mum and my sister are the loud, extroverted, artistic types. Last year, my mum was diagnosed with quite a serious kidney disease. She had to be put on potent medication and was repeatedly hospitalised for complications. Despite being on the other side of the world, I could tell my mum was depressed at having her artistic flair suppressed by her limitations. She felt constantly tired, weak and barely able to walk more than a few metres.

Since then, my mum is better, she’s been weaned off her much-hated meds and has enough energy to make trips to and from the studio. She’s been able to get back into her embroidery and work towards deadlines. That’s why I was so happy to hear that some of her work was being displayed at The Knitting and Stitching Show last week in Alexandra Palace. (Woo…go mum!)

One of her work was a glittering multi-coloured crane (top right) as part of a joint project on a kimono, which was apparently the favourite display! “Her crane is the star of the show!“, her friend told me. So we took a lot of photos, as mum couldn’t make the show and I’m sure she would’ve loved the attention it garnered.

The boyfriend and I also wandered around the other stalls and surprisingly, we really enjoyed it! One particularly amazing exhibit was Kate’s Plaice, a seafood-themed stall with sequinned prawns and crabs, tiny anchovies displayed in tins and cute cards.

 Well done Mum. Proud of ya.

Raspberry Pink cupcakes

Wow, I’m no Elle Woods, but I’m loving how pink this post is. Amazing what some freeze-dried strawberries and pink food colouring can do for your mood!

Yesterday, I finished my run of weekend nights at the end of a pretty intense first month at my new paediatrics job in London. I’ve been through the busiest part of the rota, studied and sat my exams and I’ve come out the other end feeling pretty happy and proud about how well I’ve coped.

The cherry on top was the brilliant response to my post about the Junior Doctors’ contract, both on here and on Twitter. Even though there have been occasions where I’ve felt a bit gloomy about my career trajectory and rare negative public opinions on doctors (i.e. the absolutely infuriating inaccurate drivel by Louise Mensch and Angela Epstein on Sunday Morning Live), the support on social media has been immense and really does make a difference. Keep it coming!

And now I’m on leave! Woohoo! I finally have time to see my friends, have a bit of a Greek holiday and just not feel tired. Bring on the lie-ins.

I made these cupcakes hours before I started my Friday night shift in an attempt to make my weekend a bit more perky. Raspberries are an under-rated cupcake filling, especially paired with a lemon zing. And there’s nothing like a sugar rush at 2am in between seeing wheezy children.

Raspberry Pink cupcakes

(to make 12 cupcakes)

For the cupcakes:
115g butter
200g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
190g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
100mls milk
1 lemon – zest
orange extract
150-200g raspberries

For the buttercream:
500g icing sugar
120g butter
1 lemon – juice
lemon extract
pink food colouring
freeze-dried strawberries (available at Waitrose)

1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Cream butter and sugar together until relatively smooth. Add vanilla extract and crack eggs one a time, mixing in between.
2. Sift flour and baking powder into mix gradually whilst mixing. Mix in milk, lemon zest and 1 tsp orange extract.
3. Fold in raspberries.
4. Separate into cupcake cases and bake on middle shelf for around 20 minutes.
5. For the icing, mix icing sugar, butter, lemon juice together. Add 1-2 tbsps milk, 2 tsps lemon extract and pink food colouring until it reaches a good pink colour.
6. Once cupcakes are out of the oven and completely cooled, pipe buttercream using a star nozzle and sprinkle freeze-dried strawberries on top.


What? This isn’t about baking! Or the National Trust! There isn’t even an obligatory picture of a cat!

Please don’t go away. You may have glanced at a few headlines about junior doctor contracts and possible strike action over the past few weeks. I wanted to explain what this means for us and for you. I haven’t put all the facts and figures down for the purpose of easy reading, but if you would like to find out more, you can find out more here:


If you haven’t met me, hello! I’m a junior doctor working in a very busy London district general hospital. I specialise in Paediatrics and it is the best job in the world; I have the honour of helping some very sick children get better and supporting children with chronic diseases and their families.

A junior doctor is a doctor who hasn’t reached position of Consultant yet. In my line of work, that means I’m a junior doctor for at least another 8 years (I have already been a doctor for 2 years). In the last 3 weeks of work, I have worked 72 hours, 40 hours, 52 hours each week consecutively. Next week I work 72 hours. This is not unusual and I usually don’t complain about the hours I work unless I’m particularly exhausted and grumpy after a run of shifts.

On top of this, I’m revising for my entry exams into the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Exams are a necessary part of progressing in medicine. The exams aren’t easy and doctors often need to repeat them. This first exam I’m sitting costs just under £500 for me to sit.

I pay fees towards representative bodies: the BMA, the MDU and the RCPCH. These fees currently sit at £647 per year. I owe a lot to my parents who are currently in debt for putting me through med school. Most doctors I know received student loans and are still paying off tuition fees despite many years in service.

I do get time to see my friends, eat out and travel, but I also miss out on a lot of important events that I wish I didn’t have to. At least half of my colleagues are missing out on Christmas and/or New Years this year.


The Government have proposed a new contract to be in full effect from August 2016. These changes were recognised as unfair by the BMA (the body that represents doctors) and negotiations between the BMA and Jeremy Hunt have been at a standstill. The problem is it hasn’t really felt like negotiations, more like being backed into a corner to either agree or agree with the new contract. The proposals include:

1. Increasing the amount of ‘unsocial hours’. Currently, our standard working hours are between 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday. They want to change this to 7am to 10pm Monday to Saturday. This removes any safeguards we had as doctors about the length of hours we work = exhausted, unsafe doctors.

2. Up to 30% pay cut. Most of our pay as doctor comes from working unsocial hours on top of our basic salary. By classifying more hours as normal working hours, we get paid less for those unsocial hours we work. Jeremy Hunt says that he will increase the basic salary we get to compensate, but actually it still means a 15-30% pay cut for the majority = longer hours, less pay.

3. No more increase in salary each year. We currently are paid more each year for service to the NHS, which makes sense – more experience, more seniority, more pay. The Government wants to scrap that and pay the same amount for different grades (ie. Senior House Officer = same pay for all 3 years; Registrar = same pay for all 5 years etc.). This disproportionately impacts doctors who want to take maternity leave, go part-time, take time out to study or research; it will take far longer to gain a pay increase. This of course, will affect the 45% of workforce who are women = a widened gender pay gap.


Doctors are a very conscientious and dedicated lot, despite what certain media outlets might lead on (*cough* Daily Mail *cough*). We are passionate about free healthcare and the benefits free healthcare can have on our patients. Jeremy Hunt is making it impossible for us to keep up with the demands of a increasing population and not feel depressed and demoralised about our jobs with the new changes. A lot of doctors are thinking about moving to other countries such as Australia where the hours and pay are better. And who in their right mind would want to start training as a doctor in the conditions they’re proposing? Less doctors – less ability to keep up with modern healthcare demands – ultimately, the demise of the NHS. I know personally how much it is to pay for modern healthcare in other countries and I’m so appreciative that I live in a country where I know that my loved ones’ health will be looked after for free. Please don’t take the NHS for granted; before you know it, it may be gone.

  • Sign this petition:
  • Join this protest:
  • Spread the word of #notsafenotfair on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram and #saveourNHS.
  • Write a blog post on how the NHS has helped you and highlight this very real issue.
  • Write to your MP.

Please join us, support us and fight with us. We need your help to save our country’s greatest asset – the NHS.

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