I am a little sad about our trip to the Alma in Crystal Palace last Sunday. We've been to this pub several times in the past and while it never really blew me away, I always felt it was a nice pub to go to and meet up with friends. The food is nice and the atmosphere, while airy, still terribly cosy. It's located conveniently in the middle of Crystal Palace and is the perfect place to go to after a stroll through the park or a rummage through the numerous antique and second hand shops.

Last Sunday my friend Anette was over from Newcastle and because it's her birthday on Friday, we thought we'd treat her to a relaxed Sunday lunch at the Alma.
Our French waitress was a little dappy but sooo friendly, made us feel extremely comfortable and moved our booking to the sunny beer-garden without any problems.

The Alma is currently serving both their regular menu of Sunday Roasts, Burgers, Pies and your usual pub grub as well as a lovely BBQ menu which includes a selection of starters and mains.

We all shared a starter of Halloumi with caramelised onions and a balsamic vinaigrette, which was very yummy indeed and a great way to start our meat feast.

For mains we had: Hereford Beef Burger and Chips, which was tasty, well cooked and seasoned but nothing special.
The pork steak with herb butter, coleslaw, chips and apple sauce was meant to come with crackling but unfortunately there was only a fat rim on it (tasty nevertheless). The coleslaw was a little warm for my liking but tasted ok and the chips were a little undercooked but tasted nice. Oh and what was going on with the apple sauce. Definitely jarred, I am certain that this was meant to accompany a dessert and not a pork steak (cinnamon overload is all I am saying).
And then there were the Beef Ribs... which were absolutely huuuuuge and smothered in copious amounts of BBQ sauce!! Again, tasty but extremely difficult to cut and slightly on the tough side (little tip here, pre-boil you guys!).

We washed down our meal with lager shandies, ciders and bitters which were all very nice and then it came to paying. Our bill came to just over £100 which is a little on the expensive side considering the food was good yet nothing special and we only had two starters among five of us and no desserts. But what really put me off and ruined this lunch for me was when I inquired about the fact that I had been charged for a full Heineken while I only had a shandy. The fairly snappy answer was that all pubs have started doing this and that they didn't charge us for a lemonade (yes but you charged me for a full pint of beer when I only had half). At £4.20 for a Heineken shandy I am more than disappointed and will definitely start ordering half a lemonade and half a lager from now on.

Please don't think I am being tight, I have no problem paying a fair share if I am offered quality but it makes me sad to see all these nice places open in new and upcoming areas and justify their prices and mediocre quality with nothing really but the fact that they are "trendy".

Rant over!
I am still encouraging you to go to the Alma as it is a nice pub with a good drinks and food selection.

Rating 5/10 (it would probably be a 6/7 if it wasn't for their pricing)
95 Church Rd,
Crystal Palace
Greater London
SE19 2TA


Sometimes it's hard to come up with recipes and meal ideas that are that little bit different. I am sure you have noticed a bit of a re-occurrence when it comes to roast veggie recipes (yup, I luuuurve my roast veggies). While things can get a bit boring on the culinary front in Etta's home, I really don't want to start posting overly complicated dishes. The odd 100% effort roast dinner or Christmas meal is ok but in general I am all about simple, delicious, easy and healthy meals. I want you guys to be able to come here and pick a recipe that you can easily throw together in an evening without cursing me afterwards.

For simple meals like these Good Housekeeping Magazine and Skinny Meals in Heels are my saviours. Naturally when I came across this veggie filo tart I thought it was going to end up being a messy, difficult affair. I couldn't have been more wrong. So for something a little different which is great to serve at a summer picnic or for a light dinner try this.

Etta xo
COOKS 40mins

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 300g creme legere
  • 150g broad beans, frozen
  • small broccoli (approx. 150g) cut into small florets
  • 75g sun-blushed tomatoes, sliced
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • small handful of fresh mint, chopped
  • 6 sheets of filo pastry
  • sunflower oil to brush
  • salt and pepper to season 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and creme fraiche. Season with salt and pepper. 
  2. In a separate bowl, lightly mix the broad beans, broccoli, tomatoes, feta and mint. Add 3/4 of this to the creme fraiche mixture.
  3. Brush the top of one filo sheet with oil, then lay into a 20cm round loose-bottomed cake tin, letting the excess hang over the sides. Repeat with the remaining sheets, overlapping the sheets slightly each time (there should be no gaps). Pour in the creme fraiche mixture, then scatter over the remaining vegetable mix.
  4. Crumple the overhanging pastry down the inside of the tin (above the level of the filling) and brush with a little more oil.
  5. Put tin on a baking tray and cook in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes or until the filling is set and the pastry is golden.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature with a green salad.
Recipe taken from Good Housekeeping-Simple Suppers and adapted by Etta.


Oh wow you guys... Last Thursday things couldn't have become any better as far as food goes.
The WTF + HBO crews went out for some serious steak and cocktail business at MASH in Soho. Truly my dream meal and the excellent company and beautiful surroundings made it even better. Read my full review of MASH here.


Can I just say I am usually not one for home made beauty products. I don't believe they work as well as shop bought ones, there's no nice packaging (hellooo... Boots is one of my favourite places to shop) and it's just too much hassle. And not to forget the time when I was a teenager and my mum got me to use cider vinegar as toner and olive oil as face cream. Yes I smelled like a well dressed salad.

Last weekend Susie came round for a girlie afternoon. Initially we were meant to go for pedicures in town which then turned to pedicures in Croydon and ended up being pedicures at home (mainly due to me being too unwell to leave my house and secondly we really didn't want to dish out £40 for a mediocre pedicure by a trainee beautician). 
So Susie arrives with all the necessary bits for a home pedicure aaaand a bunch of mint, a bottle of olive oil and a bag of brown sugar. She announces: "We're making our own foot scrub!" Errrrm ok?!?

It looked gross... but smelled amazing. And oh my am I converted. My feet are the softest they have been in a long time. Forget all those shop bought scrubs. The coarse brown sugar is the perfect exfoliant and the mint is beautifully cooling. It all takes five minutes and will nicely keep in your fridge. 

Try it, it's amazing!!!

Etta xo

MAKES 1 jar
KEEPS about 1 month in the fridge

  • large bunch of mint, finely chopped
  • 200g coarse brown sugar
  • 150ml olive oil

  1. Mix the mint with the olive oil. If you have a food processor just whack it all in there and pulse until well combined.
  2. Add the sugar. Thoroughly mix together and transfer into an airtight jar.
  1. Ideally sit on the edge of your bath. Get a washing bowl or large bucket with warm water ready. 
  2. Take a generous scoop of the scrub and massage into your feet rubbing until they start to tingle a little. 
  3. Rinse off in the bucket of water and dab dry. Caution: Your feet will be a little oily so be careful you don't slip. 
  4. If you plan to use nail varnish straight after, make sure you acetone your nails or wipe them with pure alcohol so that the varnish sticks better.


I was pretty poorly last week. Some weirdo virus completely knocked me out. Concentration levels were at zero and at my worst I was so weak and achy I couldn't lift myself up. Glasses were dropped, drinks spilled, beds remained unmade and the flat ended up being an absolute mess. I watched every documentary there is on BBC iPlayer and am now an expert on all historic events ranging from Victorian times to the 1960s. It didn't help that Mat had to work super long, knackering hours and hence our meals for that week consisted of pasta, frozen pizzas and takeaways. Healthy, I know.
On Saturday I started feeling a little better but nowhere near strong enough to cook myself a decent meal. Then I remembered my go to lunch when I was a poor student. It involved the cheapest ingredients around (yes potatoes) and one pot. Result is all I say. And trust me it's pretty damn good as far as lunches go.

So here you have it, my crushed potato, cucumber and egg salad. You'll love it!

Etta xo

COOKS 15mins

  • A handful of baby potatoes (about 5)
  • 1-2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cucumber, finely sliced
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • White balsamico or white wine vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add some salt to the water and place onto a hob at high heat. Once it starts to boil set the timer to ten minutes.
  2. After the potatoes have been boiling for ten minutes carefully add the eggs and boil for a further five minutes.
  3. Check your potatoes are cooked then place the saucepan under cold running water to cool everything down. Drain.
  4. Place the potatoes in a bowl and crush with a fork. Add the cucumber and generously season with salt and pepper. Add a generous splash of vinegar and drizzle with olive oil. 
  5. Top with the boiled egg(s) (after you've peeled it obviously), crack open, allowing the yolk to ooze out over the potatoes. 

I tend to mush everything together and eat it with a spoon. Gross I know and my mum would be appalled. 


I love having friends around for dinner. A long chat, lots of laughter, a nice glass of wine and music are good for the soul. That's why I don't particularly like making ellaborate meals for a casual dinner get-together.  Who wants to sweat in the kitchen while everyone is having a good time.

My favourite types of dinners are our cheese and wine evenings. Everyone brings their favourite cheeses, we have freshly baked baguettes, cold meats and various snacky bits. 

The other day we spontaneously had our friends Dan and Cat over. We drank two bottles of the bestest reds went through numerous chunks of cheese, a loaf of crusty bread and a plate of stuffed charred peppers. Those evenings are the best, when you stay up too late on a school night and wonder how you'll get up in the morning but you've just made another memorable evening spent with people you love and conversations to remember.

These stuffed peppers are sooo easy to make and would taste even better prepared on the barbecue. But the old oven and grill will do.

Etta xo
COOKS 30mins

  • 4 Peppers, halved and de-seeded
  • 10tbsps couscous
  • a large handful of spinach, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2tbsps good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 chilli finely chopped
  • 1tbsp fresh oregano finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C and (if you have a seperate one) the grill to full wack.
  2. Once the oven is hot, place the peppers onto a baking tray, skin side up. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the skin starts to char and the peppers are cooked.
  3. While the peppers are cooking, place the couscous in a heat proof bow with a little salt and, just, cover with boiling water. Cover with a plate and leave to sit for five minutes, until the couscous has absorbed all the water.
  4. In another bowl mix the spinach, garlic, chilli, oregano and about one tablespoon of olive oil. 
  5. Mix the cooked couscous with the veggies. Add the balsamico and season with salt and pepper. If it's too dry add a little more olive oil.
  6. When the peppers are cooked, turn them around and fill with the couscous mixture. Crumble the feta on top and place under the grill for 5-10 minutes, or until the feta starts to brown and soften a little.
  7. Serve with crusty bread.


I've never been one for cooking "anything"-free food. Neither of us are allergic to any ingredients or follow a special diet so the thought of going out of my way to approach traditional recipes the un-traditional way never really occurred to me. Because butter is good you know and so are cream and eggs.

More recently I've been noticing a slight lactose intolerance developing (half my family has it so it makes sense). While I'm still cool with a drop of milk in my tea or coffee, a whole bowl of cereal or a massive portion of ice cream I shouldn't have too regularly. I've started experimenting with milk substitutes for my morning cereal and have gone from hazelnut, over almond, oat and rice milk and ended up with coconut milk. I absolutely love it. If you weren't told you'd never know you weren't drinking cows milk and it makes for a great, refreshing cold drink.

I have toyed with the idea of trying out the Paleo challenge or eating dairy/carb free for a little while and have attempted this a couple of times - unsuccessfully. (trust me I will let you know once I have completed one!)

Naturally, when I came across these dairy free upside down fairy cakes I was dubious. But I love polenta and aren't they just the prettiest.

I thought they were amazing - the perfect combination of tangy and sweet and the ideal afternoon tea treat.


Etta xo

PS  My cakes turned out a little flatter than the originals so feel free to use bigger cupcake moulds or to fill them up a little more.

Print this recipe
MAKES 24 fairy cakes or a 23cm cake
BAKES 20-25mins (fairy cakes) or 1hr (cake)

  • 250ml rapeseed or sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 300g mixed berries (I used frozen ones, make sure you defrost them thoroughly and remove any excess liquid)
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 250ml Sauternes or apple juice
  • 280g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 110g polenta 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C. 
  2. Grease 2 x 12-hole non-stick muffin tins and line each hole with a circle of baking paper. Divide the berries among the holes. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla seeds together until foamy. Beat in the rapeseed oil, then the Sauternes or apple juice. Sift the flour, baking powder and polenta over the top and fold in.
  3. Divide the mixture between the muffin holes and bake for 20-25 minutes (or 1 hour for the whole cake), until a skewer comes out clean. 
  4. Leave for 5 minutes, then tip out onto a wire rack and peel off baking paper. These are best enjoyed warm but will keep in an air tight container for a couple of days.


We make this dish A LOT... once a week maybe. Different variations of it, with noodles, without noodles, with rice, with lettuce, with cucumbers... But it definitely is one of my favourite dinners. It's light, healthy and bursting with flavours. This time I tested out Thai basil as a new addition and boy was it worth it. Too good!
I have no clue why I haven't posted this before and have about three drafts of a variation of this salad sitting in my posts folder. But hey-ho, here we are two years and about 50 thai turkey salads later and you finally get to try it.

Etta xo
COOKS 20mins

  • 500g minced turkey, at room temperature (use breast for a healthier option. We usually go for the brown meat mince which is more flavoursome)
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red onion finely sliced
  • small bunch of thai basil, chopped
  • 2 tbsps chunky peanut butter
  • 2 tbsps fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar (or use 2tsps of brown sugar)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 50g green beans, trimmed, quickly blanched and cut into bite size bits
  • 3tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut into battons
  • 1 little gem
  • 100g rice noodles, cooked to instructions and cooled down in some iced water
  • Sreracha, crushed peanuts and lime wedges to serve
  • 1 spring onion, sliced, to serve
  • Rapeseed oil 

  1. Heat approximately one tablespoon of rapeseed oil in a wok. Once hot add the onion and chilli and sautée until they start to soften. 
  2. Remove from the wok, add a little more oil then add the turkey mince bit by bit and fry until starting to brown. Mix in the onions, chilli, basil, fish sauce, palm sugar, lime juice, soy sauce and green beans. Stir until all is well incorporated and cook for a few more minutes until the meat is cooked through. Taste and season a bit more if necessary.
  3. Place the lettuce leaves into bowls, top with the noodles and drizzle with a little soy sauce. Top with the mince and cucumbers. Drizzle with a little sreracha crushed peanuts and spring onions.


Today Etta's Corner hit 10.000 views and I just wanted to say a big massive thank you to all my lovely readers. Thank you for sticking with me through my terribly irregular posts and crazy ramblings. It makes me happy to know that it is worth writing up all my little stories and recipes and standing in the kitchen til 10pm on a school night.

Thank you everyone for visiting Etta's Corner and here's to the next 10.000 reads.

Etta xo

Photo via


Sunday was meant to be just another simple Roast Chicken day... you know with some roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings and all that. Then I opened my cupboard to find all my potatoes had gone... well ... black. There definitely was no saving them, trust me I tried.
A short mini tantrum later I went to call my thriving rosemary plant to the rescue and attacked the big bag of radishes which was waiting in our fridge to be turned into a salad.

And then I remembered Spoon, Fork, Bacon's simple roast radish recipe... OMG ... have you tried this? Amazing!! Bit of lettuce, some sliced cucumber and baby tomatoes and you've got yourself a delicious dinner of sweet and sticky chicken and tangy roast veggies.

Etta xo

PS Excuse the dreadful pic... I only had the iPhone to hand :(


COOKS 45mins

  • 250g radishes, halved
  • 2 red peppers, cut into bite size chunks
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 4tbsp balsamico + a drizzle extra for the salad
  • 2tsp brown sugar
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 little gem lettuce, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C. 
  2. Season the bottom of your chicken thighs with sea salt and pepper and place into a baking tray, skin-side up.
  3. Dissolve the brown sugar with a couple of tablespoons of boiling water (stir until all sugar has turned into liquid). Add the balsamico, rosemary and garlic and mix everything together. Carefully pour over the chicken thighs. Make sure most of it ends up on the chicken rather than in the baking tray. Keep spooning the marinade onto the chicken until as little as possible is left in the bottom of the tray. Trust me, whoever is doing the dishes later will thank you.
  4. Place into the hot oven and roast for 45 minutes.
  5. Mix the radishes and red pepper with the lemon juice, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Evenly distribute on a baking tray. Once your chicken has been in the oven for 20 minutes, place the veggies in the oven and bake for a further 25 minutes.
  6. Arrange the lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes on four plates, drizzle with some balsamico and olive oil. Top with the roast veggies and roast chicken and garnish with the spring onions.