Excuse the rubbish photos once again. The light was atrociously fluorescent!
When you live in rural, suburban London finding a good cheap eat isn't the easiest task. Our friends have been bigging up the Cadillac Diner in Shirley for quite some time now and all of you know how much we love a burger 'n' chips. So on a rainy Friday night we ventured to Shirley to check out this diner.

First impression, yep it looked like an American Diner. Bright red leather seats, chrome, a jukebox and loads of display cabinets with figurines of the Godfather and Elvis.
The staff were super, super friendly and attentive and, first thing, we were enthusiastically informed that they had a singer coming that evening.

I wanted the whole diner experience and decided my drink of choice for that night was going to be milkshakes. We went for banana and chocolate. Now, these were no milkshakes of genius - only ice cream with a squidge of flavoured sauce, but they were so fake they were absolutely delicious.

For mains we ordered a Classic Cheeseburger with Fries, a Bacon Chilli Cheese Dog and Onion Rings. I was pleased they asked me how I wanted my burger cooked (which means their burgers aren't frozen). The portions were absolutely humongous, there was fresh lettuce and tomatoes and lovely gooey swiss cheese and the meat had been cooked as requested. Mat's Chilli Dog tasted much better than it looked but could have been a little spicier.

This is no Byron-standard American food experience, the meat doesn't come from a small boutique farm in the mountains of Scotland, the fries are tasty but a little dry and a lot of the ingredients are bought-in and frozen. Part of me would have liked to have homemade, crispy and chunky Onion Rings and a rustic Coleslaw that wasn't oozing with runny mayo on the side, but hey-ho. Over all everything was well cooked and tasty and at £7.75 for a huge cheese burger, chips and coleslaw you really cannot complain.

The entertainment was really nice and the place was pleasantly buzzing with just the right amount of customers. Also the owner was so lovely, offering us an extra cup of espresso on the house so we could stay for a couple more songs and enjoy the music.

If you're looking for a culinary experience of genuine American nosh, don't bother. However, if you're after an affordable, pleasant meal and live in the Croydon/Bromley area, give the Cadillac Diner a try.  Rating: 6/10


Dinner for two, including two main courses, one side, drinks and coffee £23.70.



It's officially flu weather. Everyone's sniffling and cold and because it's been raining lots I have not really been too fond of autumn lately.
Both Mat and I were pretty poorly for the whole of last week, which was not great fun. We watched a lot of crap TV, I bought way too much stuff online and read two historic novels which all seemed to merge into one after a while (still love them though).
Come Saturday we were pretty sick of the old Lemsip and Lemon and Ginger Teas and decided to go down the boozy route. Off to the liquor cupboard we went and Mat rustled us up a couple of delicious Hot Toddies.

I really am not the biggest fan of whisky, due to an unfortunate encounter with Mr Daniels when I was 17. If you feel the same, don't despair - you don't have to use Whisky - Brandy, Cognac or a lovely Spiced Rum will work beautifully as well. My definite fav is Spiced Rum (Captain Morgan's or Sailor Jerry's) :)
Hot Toddies are great to fight off colds and flus but are just as delicious as a warm-me up on a cold and rainy autumn evening.

I'll be posting a few more winter drinks over the next few months. So stay tuned! Any suggestions and wishes are very welcome!

So here it goes, your drink for a cosy evening on the sofa with a good book: Mat's Hot Toddy.


  • juice of 1/4 - 1/2 lemon (depends on how juicy it is)
  • 25ml whisky or spiced rum (or brandy)
  • 25ml ginger wine
  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • hot water
  1. Put the honey into a small to medium sized mug and disolve with a little hot water. 
  2. Add the lemon juice, spirit and ginger wine and stir until everything is well combined.
  3. Top up with hot water, which has just been boiled (if your using a large mug don't fill up all the way as your hot toddy will end up being too watery).
  4. Give it a good stir and enjoy piping hot.
This will cure any cold or flu and is thoroughly delicious.



 Recently I've been craving a good curry again. Maybe that was because I have been sick for the last "forever" and every time I have the flu my body wants spicy, wholesome food. Usually I am the stew your curry for hours type of girl. Stew it for so long that the flavours of the spices go right to the core of the meat and veg. But that was sooo not going to happen last week. The aim was to be off the sofa and back on there with a steaming hot meal within 20 minutes. So Thai Red Curry it was.
Thai Curries are really good, they taste of holiday and are creamy and spicy and much healthier and more versatile than my usual potato and meat curry stew... oh and much quicker as well.

So if you're stuck for quick dinner ideas, make sure you've always got some red or green thai curry paste in the fridge and a few tins of coconut milk in the cupboard and you can basically use any veg or meat or fish you've got available.

Super yummy and super quick. Here it goes:

COOKS 20-30mins 

  • 24 ready cooked king prawns (if frozen make sure you defrost them thoroughly)
  • 60g red curry paste
  • 1 tin of coconut milk
  • 1 aubergine, cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced
  • 1 green pepper, cut into bite size pieces
  • 150g fresh spinach
  • 125ml water (or vegetable stock if your curry paste has no salt in it)
  • steamed rice to serve (you can use the microwave in bag one or follow the instructions below)
  • rapeseed or sunflower oil
  • 2 spring onions cut into fine strips
  • 2 red chillis, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1tbsp rice wine vinegar

  1. Heat a little oil in a wok or shallow pot. Add the curry paste and fry for a couple of minutes until the aromas start to release from the spices. Shake the tin of coconut milk well (to mix the water with the more solid bits). Add half the coconut milk and stir until everything is well combined. 
  2. Add the sweet potatoes, aubergine and pepper and stir in until well coated with the sauce. Pour in the rest of the coconut milk stir and leave to simmer for 5 minutes. If your sauce starts to get too thick add a little water (or stock).
  3. If you are cooking your own rice, now is the time to make it. Wash about six handfuls of basmati or long-grain rice in a sieve, rubbing between your fingers until the water runs clear. Place into a small saucepan and add a pinch of salt. Cover with cold water until until the water reaches approximately 2cm above the surface of the rice (or the first finger joint of your middle finger). Cook on the highest heat until the water starts boiling and bubbling. Leave to boil until most of the water has evaporated.
  4. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting (if you have an electric cooker you might want to move the pot to new hob turned to a low setting). Cover with a tight lid and leave to simmer and steam for 10 minutes. 
  5. Now add your prawns and spinach to the curry, stir and leave to warm through. 
  6. In the meantime mix your chillis, spring onion, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar in a ramekin ensuring the veg is well coated. Set aside.
  7. Once your rice is done, remove the lid, fluff with a fork and leave to dry steam for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Serve the curry on top of the steamed rice and drizzle with your spring onion/chilli dressing.
Take to the sofa with a steaming cup of green tea and devour.



Although the thought of Swedish food really appeals to me I've never thought of making any of it at home. Therefore, my experience with Swedish food has only gone as far as IKEA's addictive, yet dreadful meatballs.

My mum bought me this amazing cookbook the other day, which I initially wasn't sure about (because it's got the words skinny and heals in it) but now absolutely adore. And there it was... a healthy version of the Swedish meatball, with gravy and all. I am telling you, this one is so easy, basically fat free and absolutely and totally delicious. It will take you hardly any time to cook and makes a comforting and filling autumn dinner. You can serve it alongside some steamed rice or potatoes and any veg of your choice (the steam in a bag vegetables work really well for this one). Also make sure you don't go for the cheapo-cheap cranberry sauce, as they tend to be really sugary and taste more like strawberry jam than anything else.

Anyway, here it goes:

COOKS 20mins

  • 500g lean pork mince
  • 2tsp ground allspice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 75g white bread crumbs
  • 1tbsp plain flour
  • 125ml white wine
  • 400 ml beef stock
  • 3tsp chopped fresh dill
  • olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to season

  1. Pre heat your oven to 190˚C. Mix the pork, allspice, egg, onion and breadcrumbs in a bowl and season with salt and black pepper (I used just under 1tsp of salt but alter according to taste). Combine well, ideally using your hands (make sure you wash them thoroughly after ;)) and set aside for a couple of minutes for the crumbs to absorb all the moisture from the meat and egg. In the meantime you can prepare your vegetables.
  2. Shape the mince mix into golf-ball-sized meatballs and place in a baking tray. Drizzle with some olive oil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes until browned.
  3. Heat a little olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot add the flour and stir until it starts to bubble, the colour starts to change to a soft, light brown and there are no lumps left. Slowly whisk in the wine, followed by the stock. Continue whisking until you are left with a smooth thick sauce. Season to taste.
  4. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook for a further 3 minutes until they are well coated with the sauce. 
  5. Sprinkle with the dill and serve alongside your sides and a generous dollop of cranberry sauce.

 Recipe taken from Skinny Meals in Heals and adapted by Etta.


This lot did sooooo well last Sunday!!!
They've trained super hard over the past few months preparing for the challenge of the year: the Royal Parks Half Marathon.
While I decided a long time ago that this mad race wasn't for me, I was still surrounded by the "marathon-racing-fever". My working days were filled with stories about running, running gear, energy gels, running shoes, diets and countdowns to the half marathon for the past few months. And although I am glad all this talk is over I am also so very proud of my work mates. Between them they managed to raise over £2,500 for the Alzheimer's Society and the National Autistic Society, which on top of all the training and pain is such an incredible achievement in itself. There's still plenty of time to sponsor Team WTF and support their amazing charities.
Neil – Alzheimer’s Society
Alice + Alex, Ant and Mike – National Autistic Society

You can read their view on the whole experience here.

Mat and I went to meet them, spur them on and to celebrate their great achievement down the pub afterwards. It truly was an afternoon to be remembered.
And because I couldn't leave them to go hungry after 13 miles of hard work, we made some protein and spice filled Caribbean Patties, which went down a treat. I've never made patties or pasties or anything like that before and am pleased to say: these are super easy and the perfect picnic, party or post half-marathon snack.

Of course you can scrap the turmeric in the pastry and fill them with anything you like, even a sweet filling would work beautifully.

So here it goes.


  • 500g plain flour
  • 250g frozen butter (grated or shredded in your food processor)
  • glass of refrigerated water (you might not need all of it)
  • 2tsp turmeric
  • 500g minced beef
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 5cm piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 tsps curry powder (we used Dunn's River Hot Caribbean Curry Powder)
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 3 small tomatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 6 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 200ml water
  • 2 beef stock cube
  • 1-2 scotch bonnets, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten




Breakfast has always played a very special role in my family. We used to have huuuuge late breakfasts on weekends full of freshly baked rolls, cold cuts, cheese... you name it, we had it. Yep and we very creatively named them BIG BREAKFASTs.
When I lived in Berlin a few years ago, this tradition carried on and a lot of our daily lives seemed to revolve around breakfast. Berlin is full of lovely cafes and breakfast bars that serve the most delicious warm and cold dishes to suit every taste. But because we were students (or unemployed artists ;)) budgets were tight, so we would literally spend whole mornings eating vast amounts of homemade food. My brother used to bake the loveliest bagels, made french toast and pancakes (I am sure I'll share those recipes at some point as well).

One dish that is particularly special to me, though, are Cowboy Eggs, with paprika, chilli and onions, made by my lovely mister. They're sweet, smokey and comforting and the best breakfast ever for those terrible, hungover weekends.
We went a bit crazy the other day and decided to add some roast tomatoes and peppers. Good choice!

COOKS 30mins

  • 4 large eggs
  • splash of cream or milk
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • sprinkle of brown sugar
  • handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
  • salt and pepper
  • Buttered toast to serve.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Place the pepper and tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Place the veg in the hot oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Once hot, fry the onions for a few minutes until they start to soften. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Keep frying on a medium heat until the onions start to brown. Add the paprika and chilli powder and stir until all the ingredients are well coated. Add a small splash of water and leave to bubble away until the water has evaporated.
  4. Beat the eggs with the milk or cream and season with some black pepper.
  5. Add the eggs to the pan and keep gently stirring until the eggs, onions and spices are well combined. Push around the pan for about 3 minutes until the eggs are cooked but still moist.
  6. Serve on some buttered wholegrain toast, season with some more salt and pepper and top with your roast vegetables.