1. With all my reviews, I’ve neglected posting homemade recipes of late but I simply had to post this summer salad which I’ve been enjoying pretty much once a week for the last few weeks! Super simple, low carbs and very, very tasty. 
PROSCIUTTO, PEACH AND MOZZARELLA SALAD 
Serves 2 
For the Salad:
1-2 ripe Peaches (depending on how fruity you like your salads)
1 pack of Prosciutto 
1 ball of Mozzarella 
1 packet of Salad leaves (I find Rocket or Pea Shoots or a mixture of the two work best)
1 handful of Greek Basil or Basil 
For the Dressing:
2tbsp Olive Oil 
1tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp of Dijon Mustard 
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon 
Salt & Pepper to season
Takes around 10minutes to prepare 
Cut the peaches (unpeeled) into slices or chunks and set aside. Pour the salad leaves into a bowl and add the Prosciutto, tearing it over the salad. Drain the mozzarella and slice into medium-sized chunks. Take a handful of greek basil/basil and finely chop, setting aside. 
To make the dressing, add all the ingredients to a jug and whisk together with a small whisk or fork, if you don’t have one. Try the dressing to check the seasoning and adjust to your preferred taste.
Add the peaches and mozzarella to the salad and mix together with your hands. Scatter the basil over and top with the dressing and serve.
Delicious on its own or with some garlic and herb bread if you want to make it a little more substantial.
    High Res

    With all my reviews, I’ve neglected posting homemade recipes of late but I simply had to post this summer salad which I’ve been enjoying pretty much once a week for the last few weeks! Super simple, low carbs and very, very tasty. 

    PROSCIUTTO, PEACH AND MOZZARELLA SALAD 

    Serves 2 

    For the Salad:

    1-2 ripe Peaches (depending on how fruity you like your salads)

    1 pack of Prosciutto 

    1 ball of Mozzarella 

    1 packet of Salad leaves (I find Rocket or Pea Shoots or a mixture of the two work best)

    1 handful of Greek Basil or Basil 

    For the Dressing:

    2tbsp Olive Oil 

    1tbsp White Wine Vinegar

    1/2 tsp of Dijon Mustard 

    Juice of 1/2 a Lemon 

    Salt & Pepper to season

    Takes around 10minutes to prepare 

    Cut the peaches (unpeeled) into slices or chunks and set aside. Pour the salad leaves into a bowl and add the Prosciutto, tearing it over the salad. Drain the mozzarella and slice into medium-sized chunks. Take a handful of greek basil/basil and finely chop, setting aside. 

    To make the dressing, add all the ingredients to a jug and whisk together with a small whisk or fork, if you don’t have one. Try the dressing to check the seasoning and adjust to your preferred taste.

    Add the peaches and mozzarella to the salad and mix together with your hands. Scatter the basil over and top with the dressing and serve.

    Delicious on its own or with some garlic and herb bread if you want to make it a little more substantial.

  2. THE PORCH HOUSE, STOW-ON-THE-WOLD - TRAVEL REVIEW - 23RD MAY 2014
Back in May, for the final night of our visit to The Cotswolds, my other half Steve and I visited the picturesque market town of Stow-on-the-Wold.
With a long main street lined with shops, restaurants, pubs and boutiques, we were excited to arrive in Stow-on-the-Wold and were looking forward to a wander around before the rain arrived and dampened our plans. Fortunately we were checking into England’s Oldest Inn, The Porch House, for the night and despite being early, they had our room ready for us to check in to. 
We were given one of the Feature Rooms which was situated at the top of some winding private stairs with gorgeous beamed ceilings. There was a very comfy looking bed in the middle of the room and lots of interesting details throughout including old fashioned light switches, a sewing machine table as a desk, an old phone and a modern en suite with a lovely free standing bath. 
After a cup of tea and a relax in our room, we decided to venture downstairs for a stronger drink and a bite to eat. We sat on a comfy sofa in the bar area and ordered homemade sausage rolls and scotch eggs to accompany our wine and beer. The sausage roll (£4.50) came with a tomato chutney and was incredibly tasty with rich, buttery pastry. The scotch egg (£4.50) had a perfect runny middle and came with a pot of mustard mayo to dip it into.
Re-fueled, we decided to pop our raincoats on and head out in the rain for a walk. It was such a shame as it would have been a lovely day for a hike or a bike ride but it was so wet that even some of the local gift shops had closed! Which left us with only one choice; to explore the pubs! 
After a drink or two, we retired back to our room at The Porch House to freshen up before dinner. The freestanding bath was as delightful as it looked and it really was one of the nicest baths I’ve had - the perfect size and shape for a nice long soak! Even Steve decided to try it - and he hates baths! 
We decided to have a pre-dinner drink in the bar before dinner and I chose a Bloody Mary which was definitely not for the faint hearted and had a very spicy kick of black pepper and tabasco! We were taken through to the grand part of the restaurant for dinner which has a grand country style with exposed old bricks, wooden floors, candles, books and warm furnishings, and were given a good table in the middle of the room. 
After perusing the menu, we chose to order the Chicken and Ham Hock Ballotine, Gherkin, Apple Chutney and Toasted Bread and the Crispy Pork Belly with Beetroot and Apple Slaw. The ballotine was smooth yet had great meaty texture and was complimented by the fruity chutney. The pork belly was cooked well and the sweetness of the apple and beetroot balanced out the saltiness of the pork. Both were presented well and were good sized portions for a starter.
For main I ordered the Cotswold Farm Park Lamb Rump with Pea Mash, Runner Beans, Pearl Onions and Lamb Sauce and Steve decided on the Sirloin Steak with with Chips, Roast Tomato, Flat Mushroom and Peppercorn Sauce (£19.50). The lamb was medium rare and cooked well with a flavoursome meaty jus but the pea mash let it down a little for me as it wasn’t as sweet and buttery as I’d hoped. The steak was unfortunately not cooked very well, over done on the outside and undercooked in the middle, and left Steve a little dissatisfied, despite the tasty peppercorn sauce. 
We were both too full for dessert so decided to finish the meal with just a Cappuccino each, which we retired to bed with. 
We had opted for the complimentary wake-up with toast and tea and a paper when we arrived and it was a lovely thing to wake up to the next day, having some hot slabs of toast with proper butter brought to you in a comfy bed! However, with the meal the night before and the toast in bed, we were rather full when we ventured down for breakfast!
Breakfast was served in the relaxed area of the restaurant, behind the bar, and consisted of a help yourself buffet of toast, crumpets, bagels, pastries, fruit, yogurt and cereals along with ham and cheese and a menu of hot items such as Eggs Benedict, Omelette and cooked English breakfast. We could only manage fruit and toast with coffee but breakfast felt very leisurely and was nice and relaxed despite most tables being full. 
We had a pleasant time at The Porch House. It is an interesting old building that has kept many of its original features whilst also introducing other eras with both retro and modern furnishings. There is a cosy and relaxing feel to the place and despite the rain outside during our visit, it was the perfect place to be holed up in.
Dotty Dishes was a guest of The Porch House.
The Porch House, Digbeth Street, Stow-on-the-Wold, GL54 1BN.
    High Res

    THE PORCH HOUSE, STOW-ON-THE-WOLD - TRAVEL REVIEW - 23RD MAY 2014

    Back in May, for the final night of our visit to The Cotswolds, my other half Steve and I visited the picturesque market town of Stow-on-the-Wold.

    With a long main street lined with shops, restaurants, pubs and boutiques, we were excited to arrive in Stow-on-the-Wold and were looking forward to a wander around before the rain arrived and dampened our plans. Fortunately we were checking into England’s Oldest Inn, The Porch House, for the night and despite being early, they had our room ready for us to check in to. 

    We were given one of the Feature Rooms which was situated at the top of some winding private stairs with gorgeous beamed ceilings. There was a very comfy looking bed in the middle of the room and lots of interesting details throughout including old fashioned light switches, a sewing machine table as a desk, an old phone and a modern en suite with a lovely free standing bath. 

    After a cup of tea and a relax in our room, we decided to venture downstairs for a stronger drink and a bite to eat. We sat on a comfy sofa in the bar area and ordered homemade sausage rolls and scotch eggs to accompany our wine and beer. The sausage roll (£4.50) came with a tomato chutney and was incredibly tasty with rich, buttery pastry. The scotch egg (£4.50) had a perfect runny middle and came with a pot of mustard mayo to dip it into.

    Re-fueled, we decided to pop our raincoats on and head out in the rain for a walk. It was such a shame as it would have been a lovely day for a hike or a bike ride but it was so wet that even some of the local gift shops had closed! Which left us with only one choice; to explore the pubs! 

    After a drink or two, we retired back to our room at The Porch House to freshen up before dinner. The freestanding bath was as delightful as it looked and it really was one of the nicest baths I’ve had - the perfect size and shape for a nice long soak! Even Steve decided to try it - and he hates baths! 

    We decided to have a pre-dinner drink in the bar before dinner and I chose a Bloody Mary which was definitely not for the faint hearted and had a very spicy kick of black pepper and tabasco! We were taken through to the grand part of the restaurant for dinner which has a grand country style with exposed old bricks, wooden floors, candles, books and warm furnishings, and were given a good table in the middle of the room. 

    After perusing the menu, we chose to order the Chicken and Ham Hock Ballotine, Gherkin, Apple Chutney and Toasted Bread and the Crispy Pork Belly with Beetroot and Apple Slaw. The ballotine was smooth yet had great meaty texture and was complimented by the fruity chutney. The pork belly was cooked well and the sweetness of the apple and beetroot balanced out the saltiness of the pork. Both were presented well and were good sized portions for a starter.

    For main I ordered the Cotswold Farm Park Lamb Rump with Pea Mash, Runner Beans, Pearl Onions and Lamb Sauce and Steve decided on the Sirloin Steak with with Chips, Roast Tomato, Flat Mushroom and Peppercorn Sauce (£19.50). The lamb was medium rare and cooked well with a flavoursome meaty jus but the pea mash let it down a little for me as it wasn’t as sweet and buttery as I’d hoped. The steak was unfortunately not cooked very well, over done on the outside and undercooked in the middle, and left Steve a little dissatisfied, despite the tasty peppercorn sauce. 

    We were both too full for dessert so decided to finish the meal with just a Cappuccino each, which we retired to bed with. 

    We had opted for the complimentary wake-up with toast and tea and a paper when we arrived and it was a lovely thing to wake up to the next day, having some hot slabs of toast with proper butter brought to you in a comfy bed! However, with the meal the night before and the toast in bed, we were rather full when we ventured down for breakfast!

    Breakfast was served in the relaxed area of the restaurant, behind the bar, and consisted of a help yourself buffet of toast, crumpets, bagels, pastries, fruit, yogurt and cereals along with ham and cheese and a menu of hot items such as Eggs Benedict, Omelette and cooked English breakfast. We could only manage fruit and toast with coffee but breakfast felt very leisurely and was nice and relaxed despite most tables being full. 

    We had a pleasant time at The Porch House. It is an interesting old building that has kept many of its original features whilst also introducing other eras with both retro and modern furnishings. There is a cosy and relaxing feel to the place and despite the rain outside during our visit, it was the perfect place to be holed up in.

    Dotty Dishes was a guest of The Porch House.

    The Porch House, Digbeth Street, Stow-on-the-Wold, GL54 1BN.

  3. RUSSELL’S, A RESTAURANT WITH ROOMS, BROADWAY - TRAVEL REVIEW - 22ND MAY 2014
As part of our little trip to The Cotswolds in May, we stayed in the picturesque village of Broadway for the night. With its leafy streets filled with boutiques and gift shops, cafes and old fashioned pubs, Broadway oozes with countryside charm. 
We were staying at Russell’s for the night, which is situated right on Broadway high street, and is primarily a restaurant that also offers B&B in one of their 7 individually designed rooms. 
We were given one of the ground floor doubles, that was situated across the courtyard at the back of the building, and it was a quite small but perfectly formed room with a double bed facing the door as you entered and a table with armchairs next to it, and was simply decorated with warming red and gold colours. The en suite however was huge and had a very enticing free standing bath and a big shower next to it and the room was very light and airy. 
We were also told that since there was no lounge area, there was an honesty bar upstairs where you could help yourself to different coffees, soft drinks, beers, wines and spirits and snacks, and just let reception know what you’d consumed when checking out. When we had some time to kill during the rainy weather later that day, we did miss having a designated area to relax in a little, but we thought the honesty bar was a good alternative idea and enjoyed a G&T and a beer from there in our room! 
We explored around Broadway during our day there, visiting the boutiques and stopping for a coffee and a bite to eat in one of the cafes and a drink in a couple of the locals. It was such a shame the weather was grey and rainy during our visit as we both thought how beautiful Broadway would be in the sunshine. 
We also visited the fish and chip shop owned by Russell’s next door. We were going to dine here also during our stay but didn’t have the time however it was very modern with logo patterned chip paper and brown cardboard boxes for food and it felt like something you would find in East London, not in a small Cotswold village. The atmosphere inside was really fun and relaxed with picnic tables outside to sit in the sun or the option of takeaway also available, and we were disappointed not to have time to visit properly.
After a relaxing bath (with my G&T!), we went through to the restaurant for dinner. We were seated at a nice table near the bar and the restaurant was already really busy with a great atmosphere. We were handed the menu and straight away started to salivate over every course which all sounded completely divine. The menu at Russell’s is modern British but with a slight Moroccan influence in some of the dishes, put together by Head Chef Neil Clarke.
After some wine and a nibble on some bread and butter while we deliberated, I decided to order the Guinea Fowl with Moroccan Spiced Quinoa and Apricot Puree (£10.50) and Steve chose the Pressed Duck Terrine with Smoked Pineapple and Cinnamon Toast (£10).
Both arrived exceptionally presented and were almost too good to eat. The guinea fowl, something which I haven’t eaten a lot of, completely melted in the mouth and the spiciness of the quinoa and fruitiness of the apricot puree really brought the whole dish together. The addition of a deef fried guinea fowl bon bon was very welcome and I found the whole dish excitingly unique. The duck terrine was just as good, with the meaty terrine balanced by the sharpness of the cubes of pineapple and the fruitiness of the pineapple puree. The cinnamon toast was perfect for scooping up every last mouthful with the cinnamon very slight in flavour. 
With such fantastic starters, the mains had a lot to live up to and they did not disappoint. I ordered the Fillet of 28 Day Dry Aged Scotch Beef with Fondant Potato, Celeriac, Wilted Hispi Cabbage and Roscoff Onions (£28) and Steve opted for the Pork Tenderloin wrapped in Serrano Ham, Braised Cheek, Pistachio & Apricot Sausage Roll (£22.50).
Again, both arrived with impeccable presentation and despite looking pretty, they were of good sized portions. The beef was divine and one of the best steaks I have ever eaten. The fondant potatoes were crisp on the outside and fluffy and buttery in the middle and the cabbage, onions and rich gravy all complimented the dish perfectly. My only complaint was that the sauce was so good, there was not enough of it!
The pork was a clever dish of pork presented three ways. The sausage roll stuffing was sweet yet meaty incased in buttery pastry and the braised cheek was extremely tender and was complimented by a crunchy but of crackling. The tenderloin was nicely moist aided by the tasty meat jus. 
We were quite full by this point but there was no way we couldn’t not try pudding. Despite dithering over the Banana Clafoutis with Ginger Cake Ice Cream I decided on the Seasonal Cheese Board with 3 cheeses (£6.95) and  Steve, with his sweet tooth, ordered the Dark Chocolate Delice with Cherries (£7). 
The dark chocolate delice was indeed packed with chocolate but the cherry ice cream and rich cherries on the side added a whole new layer to the dish and it was very irresistible. The cheese board was a nice size and the blue cheese was the star of the show with it’s creamy yet salty taste working perfectly with the sweet quince and oaty biscuits. We ended the meal with an Amaretto each which we retired to bed with.
The meal at Russell’s really was one of my favourites in a long time and for me, it feels as if there should be a Michelin star added to their name. It’s understandable why Russell’s is called ‘A restaurant with Rooms’, as even though the rooms and breakfast that go with the B&B are nice, the restaurant really is the star of the show here. If you visit Broadway, you must have dinner at Russell’s. 
Dotty Dishes was a guest of Russell’s, A Restaurant with Rooms.
Russell’s, A Restaurant with Rooms, 20 High Street, Broadway, Cotswolds, Worcestershire, WR12 7DT. 
    High Res

    RUSSELL’S, A RESTAURANT WITH ROOMS, BROADWAY - TRAVEL REVIEW - 22ND MAY 2014

    As part of our little trip to The Cotswolds in May, we stayed in the picturesque village of Broadway for the night. With its leafy streets filled with boutiques and gift shops, cafes and old fashioned pubs, Broadway oozes with countryside charm. 

    We were staying at Russell’s for the night, which is situated right on Broadway high street, and is primarily a restaurant that also offers B&B in one of their 7 individually designed rooms. 

    We were given one of the ground floor doubles, that was situated across the courtyard at the back of the building, and it was a quite small but perfectly formed room with a double bed facing the door as you entered and a table with armchairs next to it, and was simply decorated with warming red and gold colours. The en suite however was huge and had a very enticing free standing bath and a big shower next to it and the room was very light and airy. 

    We were also told that since there was no lounge area, there was an honesty bar upstairs where you could help yourself to different coffees, soft drinks, beers, wines and spirits and snacks, and just let reception know what you’d consumed when checking out. When we had some time to kill during the rainy weather later that day, we did miss having a designated area to relax in a little, but we thought the honesty bar was a good alternative idea and enjoyed a G&T and a beer from there in our room! 

    We explored around Broadway during our day there, visiting the boutiques and stopping for a coffee and a bite to eat in one of the cafes and a drink in a couple of the locals. It was such a shame the weather was grey and rainy during our visit as we both thought how beautiful Broadway would be in the sunshine. 

    We also visited the fish and chip shop owned by Russell’s next door. We were going to dine here also during our stay but didn’t have the time however it was very modern with logo patterned chip paper and brown cardboard boxes for food and it felt like something you would find in East London, not in a small Cotswold village. The atmosphere inside was really fun and relaxed with picnic tables outside to sit in the sun or the option of takeaway also available, and we were disappointed not to have time to visit properly.

    After a relaxing bath (with my G&T!), we went through to the restaurant for dinner. We were seated at a nice table near the bar and the restaurant was already really busy with a great atmosphere. We were handed the menu and straight away started to salivate over every course which all sounded completely divine. The menu at Russell’s is modern British but with a slight Moroccan influence in some of the dishes, put together by Head Chef Neil Clarke.

    After some wine and a nibble on some bread and butter while we deliberated, I decided to order the Guinea Fowl with Moroccan Spiced Quinoa and Apricot Puree (£10.50) and Steve chose the Pressed Duck Terrine with Smoked Pineapple and Cinnamon Toast (£10).

    Both arrived exceptionally presented and were almost too good to eat. The guinea fowl, something which I haven’t eaten a lot of, completely melted in the mouth and the spiciness of the quinoa and fruitiness of the apricot puree really brought the whole dish together. The addition of a deef fried guinea fowl bon bon was very welcome and I found the whole dish excitingly unique. The duck terrine was just as good, with the meaty terrine balanced by the sharpness of the cubes of pineapple and the fruitiness of the pineapple puree. The cinnamon toast was perfect for scooping up every last mouthful with the cinnamon very slight in flavour. 

    With such fantastic starters, the mains had a lot to live up to and they did not disappoint. I ordered the Fillet of 28 Day Dry Aged Scotch Beef with Fondant Potato, Celeriac, Wilted Hispi Cabbage and Roscoff Onions (£28) and Steve opted for the Pork Tenderloin wrapped in Serrano Ham, Braised Cheek, Pistachio & Apricot Sausage Roll (£22.50).

    Again, both arrived with impeccable presentation and despite looking pretty, they were of good sized portions. The beef was divine and one of the best steaks I have ever eaten. The fondant potatoes were crisp on the outside and fluffy and buttery in the middle and the cabbage, onions and rich gravy all complimented the dish perfectly. My only complaint was that the sauce was so good, there was not enough of it!

    The pork was a clever dish of pork presented three ways. The sausage roll stuffing was sweet yet meaty incased in buttery pastry and the braised cheek was extremely tender and was complimented by a crunchy but of crackling. The tenderloin was nicely moist aided by the tasty meat jus. 

    We were quite full by this point but there was no way we couldn’t not try pudding. Despite dithering over the Banana Clafoutis with Ginger Cake Ice Cream I decided on the Seasonal Cheese Board with 3 cheeses (£6.95) and  Steve, with his sweet tooth, ordered the Dark Chocolate Delice with Cherries (£7). 

    The dark chocolate delice was indeed packed with chocolate but the cherry ice cream and rich cherries on the side added a whole new layer to the dish and it was very irresistible. The cheese board was a nice size and the blue cheese was the star of the show with it’s creamy yet salty taste working perfectly with the sweet quince and oaty biscuits. We ended the meal with an Amaretto each which we retired to bed with.

    The meal at Russell’s really was one of my favourites in a long time and for me, it feels as if there should be a Michelin star added to their name. It’s understandable why Russell’s is called ‘A restaurant with Rooms’, as even though the rooms and breakfast that go with the B&B are nice, the restaurant really is the star of the show here. If you visit Broadway, you must have dinner at Russell’s. 

    Dotty Dishes was a guest of Russell’s, A Restaurant with Rooms.

    Russell’s, A Restaurant with Rooms, 20 High Street, Broadway, Cotswolds, Worcestershire, WR12 7DT. 

  4. THE WHEATSHEAF INN, NORTHLEACH - TRAVEL REVIEW - 21ST MAY 2014
Last month, my other half Steve and I travelled to The Cotswolds for a few days to celebrate Steve’s birthday. We got the train after work on a Wednesday night and arrived into Kingham just before 8pm then it was a short 15 minute taxi ride to The Wheatsheaf, which is situated in the small market town of Northleach. 
The Wheatsheaf is a restaurant and pub with 14 bedrooms situated upstairs and downstairs and we were given one of the ‘excellent’ rooms which was absolutely gorgeous. Decorated in warming Farrow & Ball paints throughout, there was a huge comfy bed in the middle and a grand bathroom leading off the bedroom through double wooden doors with the biggest metal bathtub I’d ever seen. We were also left a bottle of champagne, two champagne saucers and a little card wishing Steve a Happy Birthday in the room, which we thought was a lovely touch.
After a quick freshen up, we headed downstairs to the bar and restaurant area for dinner. There were lots of people eating and drinking in the bar and with a relaxed, fun vibe to the place and we were given a cosy table for two in the corner of the restaurant. I ordered a glass of Prosecco and Steve ordered a pint of The Wheatsheaf’s ‘Bobby’s beer’ whilst we had a look through the menu. 
The menu at The Wheatsheaf is filled with delicious sounding dishes that aren’t too fussy with seasonal ingredients and local produce, where possible. We had a job to decide what to order but after some deliberation, I decided on the Courgette & Feta Salad with Lemon, Olives & Capers (£7) and Steve chose the Twice Baked Cheddar Souffle with Spinach & Grain Mustard (£7.50) to start.
The soufflé arrived in an old fashioned enamel pie dish bubbling and oozing with a cheese and mustard sauce. It was very light and fluffy and not sickly or heavy as might have been expected and Steve said it was one of the best starters he’s ever had. We were told it is a popular dish at The Wheatsheaf with people coming just for that and often eating it as a main course with chips. 
My starter had a great mix of textures and flavours with the creamy feta cheese, crunchy strips of courgettes and salty olives and capers and it was really fresh tasting and the warm sourdough we ordered was a welcome accompaniment to the salad.
For main course, I decided on the Pan Fried Hake with Petit Pois a la Francaise, Radish, Pancetta & New Potatoes (£17) and Steve chose an 8oz Sirloin Steak with Fries, Rocket & Tomato and Stilton Hollandaise (£20). We also ordered a bottle of Malbec from the vast wine list to go with them. 
We thought the steak was very reasonably priced and it was a great size and cooked perfectly with the rich Stilton Hollandaise proving a great accompaniment. The Hake was cooked perfectly with a nice crisp skin and the crunchy radishes, sweet soft peas and subtle stock sauce all rounded the dish off well. 
We were pretty full after two courses but they were both so good we felt we just had to try dessert. A couple next to us had ordered the Marathon Pudding which arrived in a cast iron dish and looked like chocolate heaven but we decided we couldn’t possibly manage it so I opted for Fresh Berries with Lemon Sorbet and Mint and Steve chose Neal’s Yard cheeses of St James and Cashel Blue (both £6). 
The sorbet was wonderfully refreshing and not overly citrus tasting like some lemon sorbets can be, and the berries were plump and juicy with the mint making the whole dish very fresh. The cheese was a very ample portion with Quince Jelly and Oat Cakes on the side and the St James, which we’d not tried before, was almost brie like with a pungent taste that was delicious. 
We retired upstairs to bed after dinner and had a lovely night’s sleep before waking to open presents for Steve’s birthday in the huge bed! We ordered tea to the room for during this and it was brought up in a cool old fashioned wooden 7UP crate, which was a really cool touch. 
Breakfast was served in the restaurant where we’d eaten the night before and it was all laid out nicely with pretty floral tea cups and saucers and traditional sauce bottles on the tables. There was a shelf with ingredients to make your own Bloody Mary’s, an ice bucket with chilled Prosecco and a sweet jar filled with medical hangover helpers! There were lots of little touches that I noticed and The Wheatsheaf really made an extra effort with breakfast time. After some granola, berry compote and yoghurt and some lovely thick cut toast and proper butter, I ordered a good old bacon butty and Steve opted for Pancakes with Bacon and Maple Syrup. 
The bacon arrived on doorstep bread, like the toast, and was a good bacon butty that was not too fatty. The pancakes were thick but fluffy and there were a lot of them! 
We checked out of our room and left our bags with reception while we had a wander around picturesque Northleach - which didn’t take long as it’s a tiny little market town!
We had a lovely time at The Wheatsheaf and enjoyed the cosy rooms, great food and helpful and friendly staff (special shout out to the very lovely restaurant manager Jeremy). It is a little gem hidden in The Cotswolds and we can’t wait to go back.
Dotty Dishes was a guest of The Wheatsheaf.
The Wheatsheaf Inn, West End, Northleach, Gloucestershire, GL54 3EZ.
    High Res

    THE WHEATSHEAF INN, NORTHLEACH - TRAVEL REVIEW - 21ST MAY 2014

    Last month, my other half Steve and I travelled to The Cotswolds for a few days to celebrate Steve’s birthday. We got the train after work on a Wednesday night and arrived into Kingham just before 8pm then it was a short 15 minute taxi ride to The Wheatsheaf, which is situated in the small market town of Northleach. 

    The Wheatsheaf is a restaurant and pub with 14 bedrooms situated upstairs and downstairs and we were given one of the ‘excellent’ rooms which was absolutely gorgeous. Decorated in warming Farrow & Ball paints throughout, there was a huge comfy bed in the middle and a grand bathroom leading off the bedroom through double wooden doors with the biggest metal bathtub I’d ever seen. We were also left a bottle of champagne, two champagne saucers and a little card wishing Steve a Happy Birthday in the room, which we thought was a lovely touch.

    After a quick freshen up, we headed downstairs to the bar and restaurant area for dinner. There were lots of people eating and drinking in the bar and with a relaxed, fun vibe to the place and we were given a cosy table for two in the corner of the restaurant. I ordered a glass of Prosecco and Steve ordered a pint of The Wheatsheaf’s ‘Bobby’s beer’ whilst we had a look through the menu. 

    The menu at The Wheatsheaf is filled with delicious sounding dishes that aren’t too fussy with seasonal ingredients and local produce, where possible. We had a job to decide what to order but after some deliberation, I decided on the Courgette & Feta Salad with Lemon, Olives & Capers (£7) and Steve chose the Twice Baked Cheddar Souffle with Spinach & Grain Mustard (£7.50) to start.

    The soufflé arrived in an old fashioned enamel pie dish bubbling and oozing with a cheese and mustard sauce. It was very light and fluffy and not sickly or heavy as might have been expected and Steve said it was one of the best starters he’s ever had. We were told it is a popular dish at The Wheatsheaf with people coming just for that and often eating it as a main course with chips. 

    My starter had a great mix of textures and flavours with the creamy feta cheese, crunchy strips of courgettes and salty olives and capers and it was really fresh tasting and the warm sourdough we ordered was a welcome accompaniment to the salad.

    For main course, I decided on the Pan Fried Hake with Petit Pois a la Francaise, Radish, Pancetta & New Potatoes (£17) and Steve chose an 8oz Sirloin Steak with Fries, Rocket & Tomato and Stilton Hollandaise (£20). We also ordered a bottle of Malbec from the vast wine list to go with them. 

    We thought the steak was very reasonably priced and it was a great size and cooked perfectly with the rich Stilton Hollandaise proving a great accompaniment. The Hake was cooked perfectly with a nice crisp skin and the crunchy radishes, sweet soft peas and subtle stock sauce all rounded the dish off well. 

    We were pretty full after two courses but they were both so good we felt we just had to try dessert. A couple next to us had ordered the Marathon Pudding which arrived in a cast iron dish and looked like chocolate heaven but we decided we couldn’t possibly manage it so I opted for Fresh Berries with Lemon Sorbet and Mint and Steve chose Neal’s Yard cheeses of St James and Cashel Blue (both £6). 

    The sorbet was wonderfully refreshing and not overly citrus tasting like some lemon sorbets can be, and the berries were plump and juicy with the mint making the whole dish very fresh. The cheese was a very ample portion with Quince Jelly and Oat Cakes on the side and the St James, which we’d not tried before, was almost brie like with a pungent taste that was delicious. 

    We retired upstairs to bed after dinner and had a lovely night’s sleep before waking to open presents for Steve’s birthday in the huge bed! We ordered tea to the room for during this and it was brought up in a cool old fashioned wooden 7UP crate, which was a really cool touch. 

    Breakfast was served in the restaurant where we’d eaten the night before and it was all laid out nicely with pretty floral tea cups and saucers and traditional sauce bottles on the tables. There was a shelf with ingredients to make your own Bloody Mary’s, an ice bucket with chilled Prosecco and a sweet jar filled with medical hangover helpers! There were lots of little touches that I noticed and The Wheatsheaf really made an extra effort with breakfast time. After some granola, berry compote and yoghurt and some lovely thick cut toast and proper butter, I ordered a good old bacon butty and Steve opted for Pancakes with Bacon and Maple Syrup. 

    The bacon arrived on doorstep bread, like the toast, and was a good bacon butty that was not too fatty. The pancakes were thick but fluffy and there were a lot of them! 

    We checked out of our room and left our bags with reception while we had a wander around picturesque Northleach - which didn’t take long as it’s a tiny little market town!

    We had a lovely time at The Wheatsheaf and enjoyed the cosy rooms, great food and helpful and friendly staff (special shout out to the very lovely restaurant manager Jeremy). It is a little gem hidden in The Cotswolds and we can’t wait to go back.

    Dotty Dishes was a guest of The Wheatsheaf.

    The Wheatsheaf Inn, West End, Northleach, Gloucestershire, GL54 3EZ.

  5. THE RITZ-CARLTON, ABAMA HOTEL, TENERIFE - TRAVEL REVIEW - 16TH TO 19TH MAY 2014
Last month, after not having a sun holiday for three years, my partner Steve and I were lucky enough to spend three nights in the luxurious Ritz-Carlton, Abama resort in Tenerife. 
We decided to take our trip over a long weekend and arrived there early afternoon on a Friday, departing on a Monday late afternoon. We thought it was a nice amount of time for a short break in the sun but we didn’t realise we’d come away loving the hotel so much that we didn’t want to leave! 
On our arrival at the hotel, which is around a 20 minute drive from Tenerife South airport, we checked in and were given a cold glass of Cava each, which was very welcome in the early afternoon heat. Our room wasn’t quite ready so we sat out in the outdoor terrace bar area on comfy padded seats and took in the view of the main swimming pool and the sea.
Our room was ready shortly after and we were given a suite which was huge with sitting room area, big double 4-poster bed, walk-in wardrobe, balcony overlooking the terrace bar and bathroom with double sink, bath and shower. It was a great room that was tastefully decorated and very clean and we were given a platter or cheeses, parma ham, bread and tomatoes with bottles of still and sparkling water to welcome us to our room, which was a very thoughtful touch after quite a long journey to Tenerife. 
After having a short sunbathe and swim in the main and family pool area, we were given a tour of the hotel grounds. We were picked up in a golf buggy and driven down to the beach which is exclusive to the hotel and despite being small, was lovely and clean with a good amount of sun beds and a little bar off it to get refreshments. Aswell as being able to be dropped at the beach on golf buggies, you could also get a little train or a funicular down to the beach, which we thought were both great ideas and something kids would definitely love. 
We were shown the hotel villa area, which have their own pool and golf buggy and are more exclusive and bigger than the general hotel rooms. A short walk down from these, is the hotel’s fish restaurant ‘El Mirador’ and the adult only pool, which featured a gorgeous infinity ledge looking out to sea, and is the place we spent most of our days during our visit. 
The main hotel area featuring the outdoor terrace bar and the other restaurants - two michelin starred ‘M.B’ (there is also michelin starred restaurant ‘Kabuki’), Italian restaurant ‘Verona’, Argentinian restaurant ‘Pampa’ and the Tapas and Wine Bar, are all set within the beautiful open and airy Moroccan influenced terracotta exterior and surrounding the water pools with tropical fish swimming freely and beautiful green vegetation. The hotel was designed by Chilean/Bolivian architect Melvin Villarroel with feng shui in mind and there is definitely a care-free, calming atmosphere to Abama which made our stay very relaxing. 
For our first evening in Abama, we ate at Pampa, the Argentinian restaurant.  We were given a table outside and it was lovely looking out at the sea across the water pools, watching the fish swim about happily.
To start, I had a mixed salad and Steve tried the Pumpkin soup, which were both tasty and good appetisers before our huge main course of the mixed meat platter! The platter contained various Spanish sausages, Steak, Pork, Chicken and Ribs and came with Vegetables and Potatoes on the side. The chorizo sausage was my highlight as it was sweet and smoky, with an extra smokiness from being chargrilled on the griddle. The steak was also cooked well and melted in the mouth. We were too full for pudding but we shared a nice bottle of Spanish red wine and took the rest to the terrace bar to finish before retiring to bed.
After a great night’s sleep, we went downstairs to breakfast which is nicely served until 11am, meaning you don’t have to get up early as you do in some hotels. I have to say, it was one of the most varied and extravagant breakfasts I’ve ever seen in a hotel, with Cava and Bloody Mary’s offered as soon as you entered the breakfast room. 
There really was everything you could wish to eat for breakfast including individual fish, meat, cheese, vegetable, fruit and bread stations, an egg, omelette and toasted sandwich area, cooked breakfast items, cereals, milkshakes and juices, with tea and various coffees ordered from the table and served to you. We ate so much at breakfast that we didn’t eat properly  again each day until dinner time. 
After a gorgeous day in the sun by the aduly only pool, drinking amazing frozen Banana Margaritas and swimming in the picturesque pool, we had an early evening drink sat in the shade in the terrace bar on the most comfortable corner sofa we’ve ever sat on. With a Spanish beer, a Cava, some snacks of Olives, nuts and crisps and the peacefulness of only hearing the sea and the water running from the pools, it was such a heavenly moment that it became our regular routine for the next couple of days before heading up to get changed for dinner. 
That evening we were lucky enough to be dining in Martin Berasategui’s two Michelin starred restaurant ‘M.B’. Situated on a quieter level of the hotel, the restaurant is very minimalist inside and we were given a nice table for two looking out to sea.
To start with we had a glass of Moet champagne and were then brought out what looked like huge prawn crackers served on a long, thin wire basket. These were Paella Cracker, Crispy Cod with Sweet Pepper and Prawn Biscuit. All three were extremely light and the flavouring of each one really came out well.
Next we were brought a big piece of stone with a coloured glass slab on top which featured Home marinated Salmon with Dill, Spanish Potato Omelet Snack and Pickled Chilli Pepper and Anchovies Bonbon. The omelet snack was runny egg in a crisp pastry shell which Steve loved but I didn’t like the texture of it in my mouth, along with the pickled chilli pepper and anchovy bonbon, which was slimy at first then burst in your mouth. The texture was odd but the technique of getting a hit of chilli right at the end was very clever. The salmon was my favourite and was very fresh tasting. 
Next came a Passionfruit and Whisky Sour in different textures and temperatures, Cheese and dried tomato cone stuffed with Steak Tartar and Herring Caviar and Strawberry in Caipirinha. The Sour was exactly that but with a delicious sweetness from the passionfruit, the softness of the tartar worked very well in the crisp cone and the strawberry, after getting over how cold it was in your mouth, was wonderfully refreshing and you could see why it was given as the final appetiser, to cleanse your palette before the meal began.
We were offered both a tasting and a la carte menu but we didn’t fancy trying everything listed on the tasting menu, even though other diners ordered this and it looked very unique and exciting, so opted for the a la carte. 
I chose the Lobster Ravioli special to start and Steve ordered the Caramelized Millefeuille with Smoked Eel, Foie-Gras, Spring Onion and Green Apple. The ravioli arrived with a curried foam and edible petals on top and there was a healthy amount of squid ink ravioli filled with well cooked and seasoned lobster. It was absolutely delicious. The smoked eel didn’t go down quite as well with Steve however as even though it was cooked well there was far too much foie-gras and was overly sweet so became a bit sickly after a while and he couldn’t finish it.
The thoughts on the mains however were the other way around with Steve absolutely loving his and mine not being quite as popular. I ordered Roasted Lamb Chop served with Crushed Potato and Lemon, “Majorero” Cheese Balls and Rocket and Mushroom Broth and Steve chose Suckling Pig two ways, as portion of terrine and as crunchy rib, served with papaya tatin and citric puree. The lamb was perfectly cooked and really melted in the mouth and the lemon potatoes complimented the dish well despite being slightly lumpy. The Majorero cheese balls and the mushroom and rocket broth didn’t work for me and it felt like there was nothing bringing the dish together. The pork was served with a big rib across the top which was crunchy and slightly salty and the opposite to the sweet and succulent pork terrine. The papaya was very sweet and juicy and what was too sugary for me, was delicious to Steve and he loved his dish. 
We were given a lemon and melon palette cleanser before dessert which was like a chilled lemon soup and was creamy yet very refreshing. For dessert I decided on Emulating a Mojito, brown sugar and rum cake, lime soup, mint ice-cream and and foamy mojito juice and Steve chose Chocolate Souffle with frozen caramel cream, cinnamon and cacao juice.
The mojito looked very impressive on arrival with the foamy mojito juice poured over the top of the cake but the whole thing, apart from the very delicious mint ice cream, was far to acidic and citrusy for me. Steve and I decided to swap and I ate his chocolate soufflé, which was like a chocolate fondant and was perfectly oozing with chocolate sauce inside, but it felt like something I could make myself at home and too simple for what I would expect in a two star michelin restaurant. 
We ended the meal with a Cappucino each which came with a tower of very impressive Petit Fours, which were all a delight to eat. The meal at M.B had definitely been something unique that we hadn’t experienced before but we were left feeling a little deflated by it, having had better non-michelin starred meals in London. 
On our final day at Abama, we had another lovely lazy day by the pool and the beach before dining at the Italian restaurant ‘Verona’ that evening. I loved the meal here and we ate very well cooked Italian food such as Caprese salad with a range of wonderfully fresh tomatoes, perfect Pasta alla Genovese and creamy, slightly boozy Tiramisu, which was all hugely enjoyable. Of all the restaurants experienced during our trip, this was definitely our favourite. 
We had a wonderful time at Abama and were genuinely sad to leave on our last day. The resort feels very luxurious and exclusive (we spied a few celebrities during our stay) with helpful service, well designed, picturesque and clean surroundings and is wonderfully remote from the party areas of Tenerife. It really is the perfect place to relax and pamper yourself and we are already planning our return. 
Dotty Dishes was a guest for two nights at The Ritz-Carlton, Abama Hotel.
The Ritz-Carlton, Abama, Guia de Isora, Tenerife, Spain.
www.abamahotelresort.com 
    High Res

    THE RITZ-CARLTON, ABAMA HOTEL, TENERIFE - TRAVEL REVIEW - 16TH TO 19TH MAY 2014

    Last month, after not having a sun holiday for three years, my partner Steve and I were lucky enough to spend three nights in the luxurious Ritz-Carlton, Abama resort in Tenerife. 

    We decided to take our trip over a long weekend and arrived there early afternoon on a Friday, departing on a Monday late afternoon. We thought it was a nice amount of time for a short break in the sun but we didn’t realise we’d come away loving the hotel so much that we didn’t want to leave! 

    On our arrival at the hotel, which is around a 20 minute drive from Tenerife South airport, we checked in and were given a cold glass of Cava each, which was very welcome in the early afternoon heat. Our room wasn’t quite ready so we sat out in the outdoor terrace bar area on comfy padded seats and took in the view of the main swimming pool and the sea.

    Our room was ready shortly after and we were given a suite which was huge with sitting room area, big double 4-poster bed, walk-in wardrobe, balcony overlooking the terrace bar and bathroom with double sink, bath and shower. It was a great room that was tastefully decorated and very clean and we were given a platter or cheeses, parma ham, bread and tomatoes with bottles of still and sparkling water to welcome us to our room, which was a very thoughtful touch after quite a long journey to Tenerife. 

    After having a short sunbathe and swim in the main and family pool area, we were given a tour of the hotel grounds. We were picked up in a golf buggy and driven down to the beach which is exclusive to the hotel and despite being small, was lovely and clean with a good amount of sun beds and a little bar off it to get refreshments. Aswell as being able to be dropped at the beach on golf buggies, you could also get a little train or a funicular down to the beach, which we thought were both great ideas and something kids would definitely love. 

    We were shown the hotel villa area, which have their own pool and golf buggy and are more exclusive and bigger than the general hotel rooms. A short walk down from these, is the hotel’s fish restaurant ‘El Mirador’ and the adult only pool, which featured a gorgeous infinity ledge looking out to sea, and is the place we spent most of our days during our visit. 

    The main hotel area featuring the outdoor terrace bar and the other restaurants - two michelin starred ‘M.B’ (there is also michelin starred restaurant ‘Kabuki’), Italian restaurant ‘Verona’, Argentinian restaurant ‘Pampa’ and the Tapas and Wine Bar, are all set within the beautiful open and airy Moroccan influenced terracotta exterior and surrounding the water pools with tropical fish swimming freely and beautiful green vegetation. The hotel was designed by Chilean/Bolivian architect Melvin Villarroel with feng shui in mind and there is definitely a care-free, calming atmosphere to Abama which made our stay very relaxing. 

    For our first evening in Abama, we ate at Pampa, the Argentinian restaurant.  We were given a table outside and it was lovely looking out at the sea across the water pools, watching the fish swim about happily.

    To start, I had a mixed salad and Steve tried the Pumpkin soup, which were both tasty and good appetisers before our huge main course of the mixed meat platter! The platter contained various Spanish sausages, Steak, Pork, Chicken and Ribs and came with Vegetables and Potatoes on the side. The chorizo sausage was my highlight as it was sweet and smoky, with an extra smokiness from being chargrilled on the griddle. The steak was also cooked well and melted in the mouth. We were too full for pudding but we shared a nice bottle of Spanish red wine and took the rest to the terrace bar to finish before retiring to bed.

    After a great night’s sleep, we went downstairs to breakfast which is nicely served until 11am, meaning you don’t have to get up early as you do in some hotels. I have to say, it was one of the most varied and extravagant breakfasts I’ve ever seen in a hotel, with Cava and Bloody Mary’s offered as soon as you entered the breakfast room. 

    There really was everything you could wish to eat for breakfast including individual fish, meat, cheese, vegetable, fruit and bread stations, an egg, omelette and toasted sandwich area, cooked breakfast items, cereals, milkshakes and juices, with tea and various coffees ordered from the table and served to you. We ate so much at breakfast that we didn’t eat properly  again each day until dinner time. 

    After a gorgeous day in the sun by the aduly only pool, drinking amazing frozen Banana Margaritas and swimming in the picturesque pool, we had an early evening drink sat in the shade in the terrace bar on the most comfortable corner sofa we’ve ever sat on. With a Spanish beer, a Cava, some snacks of Olives, nuts and crisps and the peacefulness of only hearing the sea and the water running from the pools, it was such a heavenly moment that it became our regular routine for the next couple of days before heading up to get changed for dinner. 

    That evening we were lucky enough to be dining in Martin Berasategui’s two Michelin starred restaurant ‘M.B’. Situated on a quieter level of the hotel, the restaurant is very minimalist inside and we were given a nice table for two looking out to sea.

    To start with we had a glass of Moet champagne and were then brought out what looked like huge prawn crackers served on a long, thin wire basket. These were Paella Cracker, Crispy Cod with Sweet Pepper and Prawn Biscuit. All three were extremely light and the flavouring of each one really came out well.

    Next we were brought a big piece of stone with a coloured glass slab on top which featured Home marinated Salmon with Dill, Spanish Potato Omelet Snack and Pickled Chilli Pepper and Anchovies Bonbon. The omelet snack was runny egg in a crisp pastry shell which Steve loved but I didn’t like the texture of it in my mouth, along with the pickled chilli pepper and anchovy bonbon, which was slimy at first then burst in your mouth. The texture was odd but the technique of getting a hit of chilli right at the end was very clever. The salmon was my favourite and was very fresh tasting. 

    Next came a Passionfruit and Whisky Sour in different textures and temperatures, Cheese and dried tomato cone stuffed with Steak Tartar and Herring Caviar and Strawberry in Caipirinha. The Sour was exactly that but with a delicious sweetness from the passionfruit, the softness of the tartar worked very well in the crisp cone and the strawberry, after getting over how cold it was in your mouth, was wonderfully refreshing and you could see why it was given as the final appetiser, to cleanse your palette before the meal began.

    We were offered both a tasting and a la carte menu but we didn’t fancy trying everything listed on the tasting menu, even though other diners ordered this and it looked very unique and exciting, so opted for the a la carte. 

    I chose the Lobster Ravioli special to start and Steve ordered the Caramelized Millefeuille with Smoked Eel, Foie-Gras, Spring Onion and Green Apple. The ravioli arrived with a curried foam and edible petals on top and there was a healthy amount of squid ink ravioli filled with well cooked and seasoned lobster. It was absolutely delicious. The smoked eel didn’t go down quite as well with Steve however as even though it was cooked well there was far too much foie-gras and was overly sweet so became a bit sickly after a while and he couldn’t finish it.

    The thoughts on the mains however were the other way around with Steve absolutely loving his and mine not being quite as popular. I ordered Roasted Lamb Chop served with Crushed Potato and Lemon, “Majorero” Cheese Balls and Rocket and Mushroom Broth and Steve chose Suckling Pig two ways, as portion of terrine and as crunchy rib, served with papaya tatin and citric puree. The lamb was perfectly cooked and really melted in the mouth and the lemon potatoes complimented the dish well despite being slightly lumpy. The Majorero cheese balls and the mushroom and rocket broth didn’t work for me and it felt like there was nothing bringing the dish together. The pork was served with a big rib across the top which was crunchy and slightly salty and the opposite to the sweet and succulent pork terrine. The papaya was very sweet and juicy and what was too sugary for me, was delicious to Steve and he loved his dish. 

    We were given a lemon and melon palette cleanser before dessert which was like a chilled lemon soup and was creamy yet very refreshing. For dessert I decided on Emulating a Mojito, brown sugar and rum cake, lime soup, mint ice-cream and and foamy mojito juice and Steve chose Chocolate Souffle with frozen caramel cream, cinnamon and cacao juice.

    The mojito looked very impressive on arrival with the foamy mojito juice poured over the top of the cake but the whole thing, apart from the very delicious mint ice cream, was far to acidic and citrusy for me. Steve and I decided to swap and I ate his chocolate soufflé, which was like a chocolate fondant and was perfectly oozing with chocolate sauce inside, but it felt like something I could make myself at home and too simple for what I would expect in a two star michelin restaurant. 

    We ended the meal with a Cappucino each which came with a tower of very impressive Petit Fours, which were all a delight to eat. The meal at M.B had definitely been something unique that we hadn’t experienced before but we were left feeling a little deflated by it, having had better non-michelin starred meals in London. 

    On our final day at Abama, we had another lovely lazy day by the pool and the beach before dining at the Italian restaurant ‘Verona’ that evening. I loved the meal here and we ate very well cooked Italian food such as Caprese salad with a range of wonderfully fresh tomatoes, perfect Pasta alla Genovese and creamy, slightly boozy Tiramisu, which was all hugely enjoyable. Of all the restaurants experienced during our trip, this was definitely our favourite. 

    We had a wonderful time at Abama and were genuinely sad to leave on our last day. The resort feels very luxurious and exclusive (we spied a few celebrities during our stay) with helpful service, well designed, picturesque and clean surroundings and is wonderfully remote from the party areas of Tenerife. It really is the perfect place to relax and pamper yourself and we are already planning our return. 

    Dotty Dishes was a guest for two nights at The Ritz-Carlton, Abama Hotel.

    The Ritz-Carlton, Abama, Guia de Isora, Tenerife, Spain.

    www.abamahotelresort.com