Waitrose Mini Lavender & Lemon Drizzle Cakes

Calling all cake lovers – this is a must try recipe from Waitrose. I was working for my cousin on Sunday in his butchers and delicatessen when a customer came in to buy mini loaf cases. They are such a cute product, I asked her what she planned on making – lavender and lemon drizzle cakes she said. Don’t they sound delicious! So I decided to copy her -and just look at these little beauties – they taste delicious too!

Recipe makes: 10  

Click here for the recipe


Food in the French Riviera

On Tuesday I had a sharp hit of reality as I sat down to eat my M&S lunch… I was no longer in the sun soaked French Riviera enjoying the most delicious Niçoise dishes and sipping local wine or vin as the French call it. Boy I have the holiday blues!
Feeling sorry for myself aside, I’ve so many exciting things to tell you about my foodie trip in Nice. From moules mariniere lovingly cooked by my boyfriend in our beautiful French apartment to foie gras eaten at the famous Chef’s village at the Fête du Port – I don’t quite think I’ve eaten so much delicious food in the space of five days before – my waistline is suffering somewhat.

The best foodie picture I took – just look at those colours!

Complimentary Champagne from Your Nice Apartment

If you haven’t read my previous post and you are wondering what all this is about I was recently presented with an all too exciting opportunity by Your Nice Apartment to explore the wonderful food on offer in Nice. As well as the renowned annual Fête du Port, Richard and I were sent on a Pure Nice Food Tour where we experienced some of the finest local cuisine and learnt about the history of food and wine in Nice. What more could a foodie want?
The wonderful Fête du Port – other review to follow…

Given that I discovered so many wonderful foodie things to blog about in the Côte d’Azur I’m going to split this into a few posts. So, this post will give you the low down on the apartment, the neighbourhood (the Old Town) and the types of restaurants and bars you’ll expect to find in and around the beautiful Old Town of Nice and my humble opinion of them all.
Of course we took up recommendations from the wonderfully detailed guide books we were given, but we also sought out a few other places we generally liked the look of. Subsequently, we actually found the most magnificent restaurant that wasn’t listed in the books we were given – it was a real gem, and it was just outside the apartment.
Our stunning little apartment was located on Rue de la Préfecture, one of the main streets that runs right though the centre of the Old Town. The beautifully bright pastel buildings with their ancient shutters tower above the old maze like pathways casting a wonderfully cooling shade. The bustling streets of the Old Town littered with artisan shops and restaurants are the absolute contrast to the gorgeous promenade and beach just a two minute walk away.  The city couldn’t be a more captivating and exciting place to discover.

Beautiful bright pastel buildings – opposite our apartment

Your Nice Apartment

Our apartment ‘Anna’ was a stunning little one bed on the first floor of an old French apartment block. Entering through the main door straight off the busy street is a welcome serene feeling as you climb the cool marble steps. Through the old heavy apartment door you’ll find a surprisingly spacious one bed holiday let, perfect for a couple enjoying a long weekend in the city. The folks at Your Nice Apartment really have thought of everything to make your stay as homely as possible, but with delightful added extras. We enjoyed a complimentary bottle of Champagne which was the perfect way to start our foodie trip in France.

‘Anna’ – Your Nice Apartment

The apartment was stocked with tea and coffee, milk, fluffy towels and lovely little toiletries to make our stay that little more comfortable. There were two fans and an air conditioning unit to keep the apartment nice and cool – a washing machine/tumble dryer and an all important hair dryer and iron. After all, no one wants a creased dress in Nice!
At the risk of this sounding like a hard sell, if you are considering a break in the sun drenched French Riviera then check these guys out. They specialise in stylish apartments and luxury villas in and around Nice – the pictures speak for themselves.

Distillere Ideale, 24 Rue de la Préfecture 

Given that this brasserie was just across from our apartment block it was an obvious choice for a daily tipple. But, it was the popularity of this authentic little place that attracted us. Anywhere that is that busy all the time must be good right? They have happy hour between 6pm and 8pm every day, offering local wine for €2.50, much cheaper than anywhere else in Nice. It has a typical French brasserie feel, complete with an old copper brewery. With small outdoor tables lining the perimeter of the building it’s the perfect place to enjoy the cool shady cobbled street and escape the sun for a while.
The waiter in the picture is Thomas, the best waiter in Nice (or so we decided).

Richard enjoying a beer at the Distillere Ideale

The best waiter in town – Thomas

La Plassa, 1 Rue Place Vieille

This restaurant was the shining star of this week for me. Located just behind our apartment – we’d seen that it was a fairly busy place, and as a general rule we all know somewhere that’s that busy all the time has to be good. It was – delicious in fact. It’s located in a beautiful little square in the Old Town. Earlier in the day I’d been explaining to Rich about the best steak I’d ever eaten (in Paris), this place changed my mind! We both ordered the Cote du Boeuf which only cost us €18 each – we couldn’t believe how cheap this was for Nice. We had wine and coffee and our whole bill was only €56. The pictures speak for themselves.
Cote du Boeuf at La Plassa – the ‘new’ best steak I’ve ever eaten!

De Gesu, 1 Place du Jesus

Tucked away in a small square in the heart of the Old Town, this place was recommended to us by our food tour guide Gustav. “It’s where the locals eat” he said. “It’s cheap”. Who were we to argue? We headed off to get a table. We waited a while because they were so busy. Again, a great sign. The food was mainly Italian (being so close to the border this is common place in Nice) and it was indeed cheap. Rich had a calzone and I had one of my old favourites, spaghetti carbonara. The food was nice, I wasn’t blown away and I was slightly baffled that my carbonara had cream in it!!! Very odd! All-in-all this place offers a great location, friendly service, a limited but cheap menu and nice food.

Du Gesu – where the locals eat.

The Fish Market on Place St François

We bought some mussels here, they even threw in the parsley (a simple gesture, but one you don’t get at home) – the simple things keep me happy.

Beautiful fish market – not to be missed!

The Town of Villefranche and the best beaches

The town is accessible by bus from Place Garibaldi, or the Port across from the church (bus number 100). We ate wonderful pizza at the La Tavola restaurant on Rue du Poilu in Villefranche. Remember, being that close to Italy pizza is a popular choice at restaurants. One of my favourite dishes is spaghetti puttanseca– imagine my surprise when I realised they were serving puttanseca pizza! The beaches here are wonderful, but so busy – I’d get there early to find a good spot on the beach.

Blue Whales, 1 Rue Mascoinat

A late night bar in the Old Town – when there is nowhere else open this place will be. Mix with the locals and enjoy the live music (mainly from English musicians).  This place is responsible for my hangover on the way home!