WIN: A £50 Serenata Hamper

Who fancies winning a fabulous foodie hamper just in time for Christmas?

It’d make the perfect pressie or, and I promise I won’t tell anyone, you could keep it all for yourself ;)Serenata Hamper Giveaway

The lovely hamper above is the fabulous Black Bliss which contains some of my absolute favourite things. Olives, cashews, balsamic vinegar, a lovely fruity olive oil, olive crackers and gorgeous tin of mixed chocolates and a bottle of bubbly perfect to see in the New Year with. And it all arrived in a beautiful pale blue & white stripy box which I have already put to one side to store my winter woolies in next summer.

If you win this fabulous giveaway, you’ll be able to pick any hamper up to the value of £50. And with the vast choice of wine, food, chocolates, flowers and more available there is something to keep everyone happy! Take a peep at the Serenata Hampers website to find your perfect box of goodies.

And it may be worth bookmarking Serenata Hampers in case you ever need a last minute gift – with same day or next day delivery it could get you out of a pickle if you ever forget a birthday or anniversary!

Enter below and good luck!

Janie x
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Citrus Marinated Olives

This is such a lovely way to make olives just a little more special. Perfect for giving as a gift or serving with drinks, they are lightly spiced and intensely moreish.

Olives in a lightly spiced citrus marinade

I used whole olives with the stones still intact – if you do the same, you’ll need to slash each olive first so that the flavours can permeate under the skin. If you are using stoned olives you don’t need to bother (although do note that the flavour will be a lot more intense in stoned ones).

If you’re like to give them as a gift, sterilise a glass jar by running through the dishwasher on a hot wash, or boiling in a pan of water for a couple of minutes. Let dry in the dishwasher or let air dry on a sterilised draining board before potting up the olives, topping with a cellophane jam cover or a sterilised lid.

And finally, if you are using dried tomatoes from a bag or your dehydrator, plump them up in a mug of boiling water for 10 minutes before gently squeezing out the water and adding in. If you buy the tomatoes in oil, you don’t need to bother as they are already soft, yummy & ready to eat.

Citrus Marinated Olives


  • 2 jars of different olives. I used a large queen green and a smaller black olive but use a mix of your favourites.
  • 2 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted in a dry pan
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
  • 1 chilli, sliced into thin ribbons. Seeds removed
  • 6 sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 lemon, zest peeled off with a potato peeler
  • 1 lime, zest peeled off with a potato peeler
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 250ml olive oil


  1. Slash each olive if necessary and tip into a clean bowl. Pile all the other ingredients on top and stir so that all of the flavours combine.
  2. Cover with a tea towel and leave to marinade over night in a warmish room.
  3. Bottle up, seal and store in a fridge until you are ready to gift them, or keep in the fridge in a covered bowl if you are keeping them all to yourself.
  4. PS don't worry of the oil solidifies in the fridge, just take out of the fridge an hour or two before you want to eat.
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Pear, Walnut and Feta Salad with Warmed Herb Honey

My head is still in summer, but my body is firmly ensconced into autumn with feet buried in woolly socks & winter boots, layers under a sweater & scarf on. I may have also just switched my under-the-desk heater on too.

Pear walnut and feta salad with warm herb honey

So whilst I’m sharing a salad with you, it is an autumnal one. With pears and walnuts being in season now, the warm herb honey is the real deal breaker, tying those cool flavours together with something a little special.Pear Walnut Feta Salad with Warmed Herb Honey

I had it as a lunch, but I imagine it gracing a dinner party as an elegant starter. Whilst Jonny & I do neither elegant nor dinner parties, I shall live vicariously through yours if you don’t mind :)

Pear Walnut Feta Salad with Warmed Herb Honey

I used thyme in my honey, but oregano, rosemary or any other woody herb would work well too, and do give them a good bash with a rolling pin first if you fancy. Not only will it release more oils, it’s rather cathartic I’m led to believe. Avoid the more fragile herbs such as coriander and basil.

Pear, Walnut and Feta Salad with Warmed Herb Honey

Yield: 2 as a main course, 4 as a starter


  • 1 large crunchy but ripe pear
  • 1/2 a pack of feta, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons walnuts, roughly broken up
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 or 5 sprigs of thyme, reserving some of the little leaves


  1. Plate up the feta, walnuts & pear.
  2. In a small saucepan add the honey and herbs and let gently simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, until you can start to smell the oils being released into the honey.
  3. Drizzle the honey over the salad (leaving the herbs behind) and sprinkle with the reserved thyme leaves.
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Recipe shared with the uber lovely Karen and in this months Cooking with HerbsCooking w Herbs challenge.

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Harissa Baked Butternut Squash Soup

Sweet, earthy, butternut squash roasted with a vibrant mix of spices until the edges begin to darken and caramelise thereby bringing in another layer of flavour. Crazy, crazy good.

Harissa Baked Butternut Squash Soup

Harissa has become such a staple in our kitchen. I’ve tried this gorgeous blend of peppers, chilli’s and other herbs & spices (including, strangely, rose petals) with everything from mackerel to jacket potatoes and I love it. For those that haven’t tried it before it goes way beyond bringing heat to a dish, the balance of spices and flavours are divine and incredibly moreish.Harissa Baked Butternut Squash Soup

Actually it’s kind of daft that I’m still buying chilli paste when my 12 various chilli plants are all in fruit right now (and honestly, until writing this sentence I hadn’t even considered making my own harissa. Duh. Guess what will be going down in my kitchen this week!)

Harissa Baked Butternut Squash Soup

After whizzing the soup in the blender (it’s the Optimun 9400 all the way in our house) steal a taste and make sure you’re happy with the flavours. If not, add a little more harissa and whizz, taste, repeat until your tastebuds are in heaven.

Harissa Baked Butternut Squash Soup

I hope you get a chance to give this recipe a whirl, and if you have a penchant for deep, flavourful spice, I promise you’ll love it.

Harissa Baked Butternut Squash Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6


  • 1 butternut squash (1-1.5kg)
  • 1-2 heaped tablespoons harissa paste
  • Good glug of olive oil
  • 1 litre boiling water
  • 2 tablepsoons of sunflower seeds


  1. Preheat the oven to 180/350/gas 4.
  2. Peel and chop the squash into chunks.
  3. Pop in a baking tray and dollop with the harissa paste. Mix around until each chunk is coated.
  4. Drizzle with oil and mix again to ensure the oil is evenly spread around.
  5. Roast the squash for 20-30 minutes or until it has softened and started to caramelise around the edges.
  6. Blend with the boiling water for 30-60 seconds until it is smooth. Use a little less water if you prefer a thicker soup, or a little more if you like it thinner.
  7. Toast the sunflower seeds in a hot, dry frying pan until lightly browned and scatter over each bowl of soup for a little bit of tasty texture.
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Tea Time Treat Round Up ~ September 2014

Hello Tea Time Treaters! Thank you so much for your entries & I’m so sorry I wasn’t around all month to share as much as I’d have liked, I’ve been living out of the car, sleeping in a tent and touring the entire South West photographing venues for a guide book. Really exciting to visit so many talented (and obsessed!) foodies, but it does mean I am way behind on the day to day stuff, so please forgive me :)

Kettle on, feet up and take some to check out these fabulous blogs. Oh, and if any make your tummy rumble, please take an extra moment to pin, tweet, share or comment on them. Go spread that #TeaTimeTreats love!

Let’s find out who got all Mediterranean on us… Tea Time Treats

1 Roasted Tomato & Butter Bean Stew by Veg Hot Pot

2 Twice Baked Potato, Cheese and Bacon Gratin by Lavender & Lovage

3 Orange and Olive Oil Loaf Cake by I’d Much Rather Bake Than…

4 Ciabatta Bread by Lavender & LovageTea Time Treats

5 Manchego, Saucisson and Oregano Muffins – Gluten Free by the Gluten Free Alchemist

6 Torte di Mandorle e Limone (Lemon, Almond & Olive Oil Cake) by Only Taste Matters

7 Tomato, Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia by Jibber Jabber UK

8 Salted Cod with Spicy Gazpacho by Thyme & EnvyTea Time Treats

9 Coppa and Rocket Pizza by Leeks & Limoni

10 Mediterranean Vegetable and Herb Quiche by Lancashire Food

11 Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomaotes by Kitchen of Kiki

12 Lavender Tea by Kitchen of Kiki Tea Time Treats

13 Passionfruit and Rosemary Caramel Chocolates by Chocolate Log Blog

14 Plum & Cardamom Clafoutis by Hedgecomber

15 How to Make & Freeze Pesto by Hedgecomber

16 Redcurrant, Banana and Amaretti Dessert by Hedgecomber

17 Roast Mushroom and Caramelised Onion Pie by Belleau Kitchen

Thank you again for all your yummy looking treats and enjoy the summer! Head on over to Karen at Lavender & Lovage to find out this month’s theme, it’s going to be a goodie ;)

Janie x


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