Friday, 23 January 2015

Event: Cookery School Launch at Chaophraya Birmingham

When an email inviting me to learn to cook the Chaophraya way landed in my inbox, my finger hit the reply button in super fast time.

Chaophraya Thai Fine Dining restaurant has been a fixture on Spiceal Street, Bullring Birmingham since 2011 and brings authentic Thai cusine and genuine Thai hospitality to sites across the UK.

Already popular in Leeds, myself, Natasha from NutellaTasha and Laura from Full To The Brum were invited to trial out the cookery school format and space in the Birmingham restaurant.

Lesson in progress

Heading down on a cold winter evening, I met Laura in the bar area downstairs before Natasha joined us. Lynsey from Chaophraya runs the cookery schools and took us upstairs ready for the cookery evening.

The upstairs seating area had been closed off for us to use as a specially converted kitchen, and we took to our stations which were ready and laid out with the ingredients for each course, a gas burner, knives chopping boards and even our own hats and aprons!

Chicken Spring Rolls - before

Chicken Spring Rolls - after

The format of the evening was interactive and fun, with our chef demonstrating step by step how to prepare and cook the ingredients as well as flavouring the demonstration with knowledge and tips.

With my spring roll!

Spring Roll vegetables and chicken ready to roll

Spring Rolls frying

For starters, we prepared Chicken Spring Rolls. Although I can't chop as quickly or professionally as the chefs there, I can roll a mean Spring Roll!! I somehow ended up with a huge pile of Sping Rolls and we also got to fry these ourselves.

My alternative King Prawn dish

As a gluten free foodie I was able to make these but sadly not eat them, but the chefs prepared me a special spicy prawn dish instead to eat whilst Natasha and Laura tucked into their dish. They were also really good at adapting dishes to our requirements (more on this later), and Natasha had Vegetable Spring Rolls.

Beef Stir Fry ingredients

With my huge portion of Beef Stir Fry

The finished dish - Beef Stir Fry with Thai Basil and Rice

The main was Stir Fried Beef with Thai Basil. In place of Soya Sauce I used fish sauce but my stir fry tasted amazing, so much so that I ate a massive portion with the rice provided, much to everyones amusement.

Banana in Coconut Batter ingredients

Banana in Coconut Milk simmering

My finished Banana in Coconut Milk dessert

The desserts we cooked were Banana in Coconut Batter for everyone else and Banana in Coconut Milk for me. Again, these were fried in oil, but mine was simmered in coconut milk (yum!) and flavoured with pandan leaf which has a fabulous sweet, slightly citrus taste. I also got to garnish mine with sesame seeds and strawberries.

The cookery lesson was not just great fun, but fascinating too as we touched on the flavours used in Thai cooking, how to balance sweet, salty, sour and spicy elements and the usage of Pandan in Thai cookery. As well as cooking the food, we were able to eat our creations course by course and enjoy our meal in the company of bloggers, on this occasion, and the friendly, helpful team at Chaophraya. They were also able to tailor the sessions to vegetarian and gluten free diets with ease. At the end of the night we even got to take away our aprons, recipe cards and selected ingredients to help us on our culinary adventure.

The cookery lessons will start running from 3rd February and take place once a month in Birmingham at a cost of £60 per person. This includes a welcome drinks reception, introduction to Thai ingredients, demonstration and practical hands on session, all equipment and ingredients. The evenings last approximately 3 hours and cover a complete meal, starter, main and dessert, and can include stir fries, curries, traditional starters and desserts. To find out more, contact Lynsey Miller on

A big thank you to Lynsey and the Birmingham Chaophraya team for having me!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Tatty Devine name necklace loving

Hi guys! Today I thought I'd share my thoughts on Tatty Devine and show you my little collection.

When I was growing up I loved Tatty Devine and always wanted to visit their flagship store on Brick Lane. I love the fact that the brand was set up by two female entrepreneurs who started out selling handmade jewellery and accessories on market stalls in Spitalfields and Portobello. I also love their fun, quirky style and the tongue in cheek tone of the bright, colourful jewellery.

My personalised Bella and Robot name necklace (Font is Ladybug)

Years later, I was lucky enough to receive my very own Tatty Devine necklace at the Bullring Bloggers event as well as a voucher to make up another necklace of my choice!

The nearest Tatty Devine to me is located in Selfridges Birmingham on Level 4, so I went in to choose my very own name neckalce. After much deliberating I finally decided on a word for my name necklace, and since I already had my blog name on a necklace I thought I'd go for something different.

The whole experience when making a name necklace is interactive and personal and the staff there are very willing to give advice if you're having trouble deciding.

First off, I chose what word I wanted on my necklace and how big the font would be. Then, I chose the font, the text colour, a charm, the colour for the charm, and finally between silver and gold on the chain.

I left my order to be lasercut and assembled and went back to pick it up an hour or so later. Depending on how busy they are, they can get these to you super quickly and you can simply go out for coffee and come back if needed.

Here is a snap of my finished necklace!

My personalised Bonjour name necklace in Red Glitter Special with a Red Mirror Heart Charm, Ladybug font

The whole experience is so fun and you can have (almost) any name or word you like immortalised in acrylic. What would you pick?!