Review – Kasbah Grill – Cotham Hill

5 Nov wpid-imag1172_1.jpg

Twitter followers of mine will regulary see me bemoan the lack of good takeaway lunch options on my part of Whiteladies Road. Sure, i could have a burger or a steak or even something from the vegan food truck but it all seems a bit too much faff to sort and i for one and not a fan of eating burgers over a keyboard! Feel free to sit down and be quiet if you were going to suggest a shop sandwich. My colleague returned to the office clutching a foil takeaway box and the rest of us pounced on him demanding to know what was in it. “Tagine” he said, we were interested.


Kasbah Grill on Cotham Hill had tried doing the sit down restaurant thing for a while but it just wasn’t selling. “The problem is , when no one else is sat in here, people just walk on by” said Jackie, one half the husband and wife team who own the place. Deciding they didn’t want to get into evening dining they changed tact and decided to try and entice the passing takeaway market. On that small stretch of road they are competing against a Chinese, Falafel King and and a Bakery as well as Bravas who are now open for lunch and Brew Kitchen with their £5 lunch deal.


When i entered there was a good queue of people and many more at the window being enticed in by the gorgeous display of tagines, koftas and cous cous steaming away in the window. Everything is made fresh in the beautiful open kitchen to the rear of the room and the choices are a range of hot meat dishes with rice or cous cous or a wrap heated through in a panini press. At £5 for a huge portion of tagine or £3.50 for an equally impressive wrap, filled with either a spiced chicken of the lamb kofta, you will not go hungry. They also offer a selection of drinks including coffees, smoothies and milkshakes and a small salad bar sporting humus, a tuna salad and delicious spiced carrot patties.

My wrap was filled just the right amount and expertly rolled so nothing spilled out of the bottom. The light salad inside provided a lovely crunch and the chicken had obviously been marinated well and cooked slowly as it was very tender. My colleagues both opted for the meatball tagine in garlic and tomatowpid-imag1172_1.jpgsauce with rice. Both agreed it was packed with flavour without the garlic being overpowering and chickpeas were a welcome addition for even more texture.

There was also a veggie option which i sadly forgot to ask about but if it is anywhere near the standard of the other dishes you won’t be disappointed.

All in all having the dishes sat in the window makes the place look wonderfully inviting and both Jackie and her husband were incredibly warm and chatty, two things you sometimes miss out on when you are legging it out of the office for 10 minutes on your lunch break.

Kasbah Grill 10 Cotham Hill, Cotham, BS6 6LF

3 Halloween Cocktails You Must Try

30 Oct Featured Image -- 843


I went and wrote for someone else! Check out my “colab” (they did all the work!) with Her Majesties Secret Service for the best pumpkin cocktails this side of Bristol.

Originally posted on :

Halloween is not just for children, goths and our American cousins. It’s also an excuse for the rest of us to get drunk in a hastily put together costume at a house party surrounded by cats, witches, mummies and the odd V for Vendetta mask (throw that guy out, i implore you).

I teamed up with Her Majesties Secret Service over on Whiteladies Road to create some spooky cocktails you can make at home. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll call the whole thing off and pop over and get a professional to make it for you; at least you’re going to get some flair for your money and you’re less likely to get that creepy guy in the rubber horse mask asking for your number.


The Scarebucks – Spiced pumpkin espresso. Best enjoyed dressed as “Basic Becky” or “Dude bro”

25ml vodka

25ml coffee liqueur

25ml instant coffee mix

View original 196 more words

Pumpkin and Cheese Scones

27 Oct wpid-imag1152.jpg

Pumpkin pie isn’t very nice. There. I said it. Its mostly sugar and too much cloying spice, i’d rather have an egg custard tart than try and get through half a slice of over sweet mush that is pumpkin pie. I did find a fantastic recipe for a swpid-imag1151.jpgavoury pumpkin tart that used cheese, caramelised onion and a little cream to make something worthy of eating but not much good for the sweet toothed of you all.

And sadly this won’t help you either as its a recipe for savoury scones BUT they do have two types of cheese in them. Cheese, which has now been proven to be as addictive as crack, makes these scones a bit more interesting than plain pumpkin and adding two types of the yellow stuff lifts them further. I chose stilton and cheddar for creamy familiarity and the hope

You will need wpid-imag1149.jpg

  • 40g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g pumpkin purée 
  • 225g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Handful grated Cheddar
  • Smaller handful of Stilton or similar blue cheese
  • 3-4 tbsp milk, plus extra for brushing


Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Grease a baking sheet by rubbing with a little butter.

Defrost/empty your puree into a bowl and put to one side

Add flour and baking powder into a big bowl. Add the butter. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Make sure your nails are clean for this (shouldn’t have to say!)

Gently mix the mashed pumpkin into the flour mixture. Add the cheese and herbs, then add just enough milk to make a dough. I found that i didn’t need any milk with mine but will depend on how much water is in your purée

Sprinkle a little flour on a work surface and on your hands, then lightly knead the dough for 30 seconds.

Form the dough into a ball, then lightly pat it out to about 3cm thick. Dip a round fluted cutter in a little flour and cut out scones. Put on the baking tray, spaced a little apart. Keep pushing together and rolling the spare bits of dough and you should get 6-8 out of the mixture.

Brush the tops with wpid-imag1152.jpgmilk (or egg), put the scones into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with MORE CHEESE and chutney.

Pumpkin and White Chocolate cookies

16 Oct wpid-imag1139_1.jpg

Cookie-monster-dietYes more pumpkins and this is going all…October…long. Get used to it…or find a new blog.

If you do flounce out of here you will miss this recipe for ridiculously indulgent pumpkin and white chocolate cookies so more fool you.

I found this recipe after trying to find something that could use my pumpkin purée, the white chocolate i have in my baking draw and wouldn’t require eggs because I didn’t have any and i wasn’t going out again thank you very much. The added bonus of a recipe with no eggs means that the wrong ‘uns of you can eat all the cookie dough you want without fear of being poisoned. I am an benevolent blogger I know.

The method is a wee bit long winded as it requires chilling for at least 30mins but i managed to make them in an evening after i had made my dinner so they aren’t too taxing. You can play with the chocolate too if you aren’t into the white stuff. I heartily recommend doubling up on these too as they really are fantastic and will last a week in a tin.wpid-imag1136_1.jpg

Tweaked recipe originally from here – feel free to give this one a go, i didn’t chill mine for long enough and mis-read the recipie hence they don’t look too similar but i’m hear to make these mistakes so you don’t have to.

You will need


  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 50g packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 Tablespoons (86g) pumpkin puree 
  • 190g plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 90g white chocolate chips or chunks – I took a bar and smashed it in a freezer bag with a rolling pin


Melt your butter in the microwave or gently in a small pan, add your sugars and whisk until smooth and all the lumps are gone.

Pop all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir until incorporated.

Add the butter mixture, vanilla and pumpkin to the dry ingredients and mix gently, once everything has been almost incorporated add your chocolate, mix again until evenly distributed. Cover the bowl and pop in the fridge for at least 30mins. You can’t skip this stage your dough will be sloppy as anything. Any longer than an hour you might need to let the dough stand at room temp so you can handle it.

Take out of the fridge and separate the dough, i weight mine to be about 45g each, they could stand to go smaller. Roll into balls and flatten slightly on a tray with grease proof paper. and bake in a preheated oven – about 170c – for 10-11 minutes. They will spread a bit so give them a lot of room and bake in batches wpid-imag1139_1.jpg

Once baked leave them in the tray for 10-15 mins as they will be very soft. Once the structural integrity has improved you can gently, with a fish slice, transfer them to the cooling rack. Leave to cool for a good hour (if you can manage it) then go to town on them.

Side note –

You can freeze the balls and bake from frozen, just add another minute to the cooking time!

Pumpkin, goats cheese and spinach one pot pasta.

13 Oct wpid-imag1132_1.jpg

Its that time of the year where every one is gearing up for pumpkin spice latte season and you’ve guessed it…I HATE THEM.

I am not about to tell you what to do with your money but paying anyone extra for adwpid-imag1127_1.jpgding cinnamon and nutmeg to your already overpriced yet bad coffee (i’m looking at you Costa) or worse, those syrups, is frankly madness. There are a plethora of squashes available that are super cheap lying around waiting for you to use this season and I am about to give you the tools to use them and feel damn smug about it too.

I bought my pumpkin from Gloucester Road Fruits for £1.99 and it will provide enough for at least 6 dishes AND the seeds too. They also have some gorgeous looking fancy squashes that i highly recommend you experiment with that are a wee bit more expensive.

Last night the bandwagon i was happy to jump on was Martha Stewart’s one pot pasta dishes. I had read about these and i couldn’t believe something so simple hadn’t been thought of before (or maybe Martha has jumped on someone else’s bandwagon?) The premise is that instead of cooking your pasta and sauce separately you dump it all together, bring to the boil whilst stirring and 10 mins later you have a pot of pasta. Simple huh? I found this recipe on Buzzfeed and have tweaked it to my liking.wpid-imag1133_1.jpg

Only thing i would change would be to add some meat to it (yes yes i know) perhaps a spicy sausage or some roast chicken breast to bulk it out but i would also suggest some roast red peppers or perhaps root veg but it was very satisfying as it was.

You will need for 4

  • 1 cup of pumpkin Puree – you can find the recipe for this here
  • 230g of pasta, enough for 4 portions
  • One med onion, chopped
  • Two cloves of garlic, grated or minced
  • 140ml White wine
  • 1ltr of stock, i used chicken but veg is fine
  • Good few handfuls of spinach
  • 120g log of goats cheese, the soft kind, can sub for cream cheese or sour cream
  • Chilli flakes or hot sauce to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • Seasoning


  • Gently fry off the onion and garlic in the large pan until soft wpid-imag1132_1.jpg
  • Add everything but the goats cheese and spinach into the pot, bring to the boil and stir constantly. If left it will catch and the washing up becomes even more of a chore
  • Once the pasta is cooked, reduce the heat or drag the pot off your crappy ceramic hot plates and add the goats cheese, stir till melted and the sauce is creamy and thick. Taste and adjust your seasoning accordingly, this dish needs more salt and pepper than you might think. Add your spinach and stir till wilted.
  • Heap into a pasta bowl, add parmesan on top if you have it and serve with garlic bread

Pumpkin purée – The basics

13 Oct

wpid-imag1127_1.jpgYou have two options with your pumpkin, roast or purée to get the best out of it for recipes.

Roasting is find if you are using it there and then and maybe reheating the next day but it doesn’t last, the joy of purée is that it lasts (3-5 days as it is in the fridge or 3-6 months in the freezer!) and is a bit more versatile in my opinion. You can use it in drinks, cakes, pasta and of course soup.

The easiest way to deal with your pumpkin is to chop it up into chunks, skin and all, pop it into you slow cooker on low and leave it for at least 6 hours. Then transfer the chunks into a blender, pouring off as much water as you can, and whizz until smooth. Done. I did this last night, did half the chopped pumpkin last night, blended this morning and then added the second half this morning to be ready for when i get home later.

If you don’t have a slow cooker then you can put the pumpkin in a large pan and cover with water then boil for about 20-30mins or until tender then mash with a fork if you don’t have a blender. This method i recommend you remove the skins but this will be easier after they have been boiled.

I suggest measuring the purée out into freezer backs in “cups” which is about 280ml. You will find a lot of recipes for pumpkin will use cups so at least you know who many bags to use!

Diary of a Sourdough starter and why we can never be friends

8 Sep wpid-screenshot_2015-08-13-23-37-22_1.jpg

After some mild deliberation I decided to try sourdough again, the last starter eventually gave up and died, well I think? When things go grey and smell bad they are usually dead, my time working in a mortuary taught me that, and to be honest, I was glad. Of the 8 or so loaves I attempted only one came out well. The others were under baked, or over proved. I tried overnight on the kitchen side, in the fridge for longer, more kneading, less kneading and I couldn’t win. This time I intend to try something new, I am going to try research and love.


The last starter was resented and banished to the back of the fridge with the half eaten Christmas chutney and withered spring onions, neighbouring the weird stain I couldn’t scrub off the fridge wall from previous tenants. I would only bring it out to feed it for another round of “don’t cry, it’s only bread” on a Friday night and no belief that it would work. So this time I intended to care for it as I would a pet or tiny human, love it, cherish it and remember to feed it. I started to ask the bakers of the internet their best tips and found a recipe online that looked easy to follow.

So I began my starter…poured it away and did another one because I remembered you shouldn’t mix with a metal spoon, It damages the yeast or something. See RESEARCH.

Day 2

The starter needs feeding again, it’s looking bubbly and smelling a bit sweet so it’s on its way to being what it should be being. This is good, my chest swells with pride and confidence, I can add water to flour and it hasn’t exploded yet. I have had some feedback from a few bakers and it’s all contradicting and confusing. Some of them want me to buy their books and some of them admit they take their starters on holiday. My chest deflates (thank goodness, the spice shelf was being wiped out every time I turned left) and frustration creeps in. No wonder I can’t make the damn stuff work if these professionals can’t agree either. I shut Twitter down, kiss the starter goodnight and head to bed.

Day 3

I ran out of bread flour and so used plain flour, the research thing and “doing it properly” has fallen by the wayside because i can’t be bothered to put my shoes on and go to the shop. The mixture doesn’t look like its doing much and I hope for the best.

Day 4.

Mixture still didn’t look very exciting. It smelled a bit funky as it should, few bubbles. I was given advice on twitter about adding rye flour or wholemeal flour which I promptly ignored and carried on feeding it with plain flour (I kept forgetting to buy bread flour). I also had to transfer it to a bigger jar after not paying much attention to the amount of flour I putting in, so far this “treat your starter with love” thing isn’t going too well.

Day 5

My phone buzzed whilst I was out and I had been tagged in an Instagram picture. My housemate had come home to STARTERGEDDON and the damn thing had turned into “The Blob” and tried to take over the house. The weather had been horribly warm and sticky and it seems to have started a chemical reaction I had not prepared for. I got in the door and the jar had been placed in a bowl where the starter had continued to overflow and had formed quite the bond.

I poured the starter back into the jar, gave it a stir and placed the damn thing in the fridge in the hope it might get it to calm the hell down.

Day 6

There is sourdough all over my vegetable crisper. I’ve put it in the sink and gone to work.

Have had more advice for another expert on Twitter and have been told I need to tip most of it away and go with what I have, it’s obviously now a starter as it has become sentient and has tried to assimilate the peppers it shared the crisper with. I’ve called the government to warn about the impending take over but I was told to stop bothering them. I consider signing up with Periscope to keep an eye on it at work and then realise not even I can be bothered to sign up with and use Periscope. I leave the house and fear for my belongings.

Day 7

I’ve poured it away.

Time for some real talk boys and girls, some of us are not cut out for sourdough ownership. Yes they will tell you it’s easy, they will tell you to do this, that and the other but really go support your local independent bakery and just buy one. I cannot begin to tell you how disappointing and life damaging it is to be thwarted by wet flour. Really.

From now on I only bake bread made from yeast I have bought in a sachet and no I don’t want your “hot take” on that.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,198 other followers