Looking Forward: July

Looking Forward: July

A few things we're looking forward to in July...


  • Baking with cherries...
  • ...and eating all the summer berries
  • Watching Wimbledon
  • Making no churn ice cream, my new obsession! look out for recipes both here and over on The Craft Blog...


  • A portraiture workshop at the Attenborough Centre (inspired by the life drawing class I did a few months ago)
  • Holidaying in the UK and abroad
  • Starting a new job
  • Introducing Elle to the delights of Indie Tracks festival 
  • And also watching Wimbledon!

Why I Love... Where I Live

Why I Love... Where I Live

My love affair with my neighbourhood - Clarendon Park in Leicester - began six years ago, when I first visited the area for a colleague’s birthday celebrations.

I’m not sure if it was her stories of guerrilla gardeners or the excellent tapas at Barceloneta, but the next morning I found myself searching online for rooms to rent and a couple of months later I made the move.

On that first day, hungry from unpacking boxes, I stepped out in search of lunch – and almost immediately bumped into a friendly neighbour who warmly welcomed me to the street.

Fifteen minutes later, the guy chattily wrapping up my doorstop sandwich at Salvador Deli offered to lend me a hand if I needed any help shifting heavy boxes or putting up shelves. I was going to be happy here...

So starts the beginning of an article I've written for Leicester's cultural magazine Great Central! 

You can read the rest of the article HERE - including insights from former and future Weekend Reviewers David, aka One Man and His Loaf. and Ruth from Clarendon Spark (who I have to credit for the photo at the top of this page!)

Create: Pressed flowers

Create: Pressed flowers

Pressed flowers are a Simple cost effective project. They make beautiful affordable art for your home which can be changes as you wish to reflect the seasons. All that's really required is a little patience...

I gathered this bouquet in my Mum's garden a few weeks ago, Mum tells me she doesn't grow flowers but I have evidence to suggest otherwise. I've also collected further bouquets on Aylestone Meadows and along the canal path which is easily accessible instant green for a city dweller and a rather lovely way to spend a slice of the weekend, if i'm in need of escaping my kitchen!

You will need:

  • Freshly picked flowers, herbs and/or grasses
  • scissors
  • greaseproof paper
  • heavy hardback books, cookery books work particularly well here

Trim sheets of greaseproof paper to the size of your book, place the flowers onto a sheet of paper, allow plenty of space between the flowers, being careful not to overlap, else they'll stick together. Top with a further sheet of greaseproof paper and close the book.

Store in a bookshelf, preferably out of reach from marauding cats, Truffle destroyed a few stalks she found poking out of a book.

Leave the flowers for 10-14 days to dry completely. You'll see some variations on colour and texture from the drying process, this is part of their charm I think. 

Glass photo frames are available from Nkuku (Though i've actually borrowed the one on the right from Kayleigh Tarrant!) For Leicester locals Harriman and Co have a selection also.

As always, we'd love to hear from you if you have any tips and tricks for pressed flowers or affordable artwork, give us a shout in the comments!

Flashback: June

Flashback: June

It's just a little over a year since we began The Weekend Collective, but we've actually been blogging together for around 5 years!

So.... here's a little look at how the sunny month of June shaped up over the last few years...






Weekend Review: One Man & His Loaf

Weekend Review: One Man & His Loaf

We LOVE our bread - not the processed long-life stuff, but the real deal.  Baker David Belcham, aka One Man and His Loaf, is Becca's regular supplier - providing a weekly hit of his delicious sesame seed sourdough. So who is the man behind the loaf?

What do you do for work?

I work as an artisan baker under the name 'One Man and His Loaf'. I use traditional techniques and locally milled organic flour to create and sculpt rustic loaves including  sourdough and Scandinavian style rye breads. These are available at The Tiny Bakery in Clarendon Park, Leicester.

What's your proudest career moment so far?

It's not one distinct moment, more the culmination of a number of years of work. I feel a sense of achievement to have learnt a skill from scratch, taking something I was passionate about and turning it into a career. When I see customers return time after time to buy my loaves I feel a sense of pride. This makes the job worthwhile.

What did I want to be growing up?

Just content and fulfilled by my work. I didn't have a clue what that would entail and that worried me. I did however have a clear sense that Monday to Friday, 9-5 was not for me. So I tried a variety of jobs to find something that I was suited to. Once I found that niche, I was motivated to follow that path. I will follow it until that changes. 

What's your favourite way to relax and unwind after work?

Plants are another of my passions and I love gardening and being outside. Alongside baking I have studied horticulture and garden design at Brooksby College (in Melton Mowbray) which has provided me with a really good understanding of plants. I have been inspired by planting designers such as Piet Oudolf and Dan Pearson. 
I also value time to exercise. It renews me in many ways. I enjoy running and I have also just started attending a yoga class.

When is your weekend?

"Monday, Tuesday is my weekend..." 
Saturday is the busiest day at the bakery so luckily I have no problem working on Saturdays... I enjoy the buzz. 
However I also do private work at a handful of local gardens maintaining planting designs I have implemented over the last few years so I often work on those gardens during my days off from baking.

What's a typical weekend look like?

I enjoy looking for bargains in charity shops and catching up with friends for coffee. I enjoy trips to garden centres, country walks or meeting up with my family who all live in Leicester. 
Due to the early starts that baking involves I often crash out by 9pm. Not rock and roll but just reality. 

Ideal weekend break?

I enjoy breaks that are a combination of city and countryside. 
I enjoy trips to Bath, Cambridge, York, places with plenty to see and do without being overly hectic. Often trips away will involve a visit to a garden or two. 

Describe your ideal Sunday  menu...

Breakfast - In bed. Cereals, milk, very strong coffee. Simple. Boring even. That's what I like. 
Lunch - Sitting in the garden, sun shining, floriferous plants doing their thing. Avocado on seeded rye, a liberal sprinkle of sea salt and chilli flakes. Simple, again, but effective. 
Evening meal - Peter's Pizzeria with my whole family. My nieces and nephews love the place. Delicious and darn effective for all. I don't go enough now I come to think of it. The Strokes playing in the background would be a nice little bonus. One day... someday. 

What's your signature dish?

A green risotto. When I bother, I do it the laborious/ traditional way, stirring, ladling stock, all that. I include peas, griddled courgettes and asparagus. I enjoy it served with a big bowl of crispy salad leaves, little gem works a treat as you can use them as a spoon to scoop up the risotto. Crusty loaves of wheat sourdough also make an appearance. 
I also make a pretty tasty Panzanella. It's a great way to use up any stale bread. It's the fresh basil that does it, it's got to be loads. 

What's in your fridge?

Apples. Cold and crisp. Yogurts. A day without yogs isn't on my agenda. Avocado. I am late, very late, to the avo party but I'm hooked. 
Salad leaves. Cherry tomatoes. I like them cold, sorry. Humous. Milk.  Jam. Bonne mamam raspberry. Innocent juice- orange, carrot, ginger thing, darn zingy.
Chicken or salmon... or both!  Stewed Apple.  Dark chocolate. Maybe with hazelnuts. 

Quick fire questions - what is your favourite...

Book - Watership Down... Book and film merge for me, but I adore the visuals in both
Film - Lars and the Real Girl
TV series - Animals of Farthing Wood. Watched as a child, but has had a profound effect on me. Much like Watership Down, it tells us a great deal about humanity. 
Holiday destination - Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour
Museum - I don't really have one, but I enjoyed Cresswell Crags. If you asked me a favourite garden, then you would have a very long list. I have learnt more from gardens than museums so far in my life. 
Word - Contentment

What's your guilty pleasure?

I get carried way with eating cereals straight from the box and handful after handful or raisins. But I'm most guilty, most ashamed by my current ritual of snapping the dark, thin chocolate off the top of Choco Leibniz biscuits, eating that and then putting the biscuit back.
I shouldn't keep doing it but I am not ready to stop...

Where can we follow you?

Twitter:  @OneMan_HisLoaf
Facebook: One Man and His Loaf
Instagram: one_man_and_ his_loaf

Recipe: Homemade Nut Butter

Recipe: Homemade Nut Butter

I know I'm late to the party here, but in recent months nut butters have become something of a staple in our house. Not only do they make a good quick snack with an apple they are great for adding to satay sauces and soups, liberally spreading on toast for breakfast and I also use them extensively in my baking.

I know that there are some amazing brands of nut butters available (and some less so, I'm looking at you Nutella!) So why bother to make your own I hear you ask?

Well, nut butters are in fact incredibly easy and quick to make in the comfort of your own home, provided you have a food processor or equivalent bit of kit, there are just one or two ingredients in the recipe and you can use any nut or seed and create any flavour you like. It would be rude not to list the virtuous qualities qualities of homemade nut butters also... vegan, gluten free and filled with healthy natural oils, proteins and nutrients.

Here follows a few of my basic recipes which are still in progress. I have many more ideas I'd like to try out, but wanted to bookmark the bare bones recipe for future reference.

For those on a budget, I recommend buying nuts from Lidl as they provide the best quality and value for money. If you're Leicester based you can also try The International Supermarket. When sourcing your nuts look for blanched ones rather than skin on nuts - taking the skins of isn't impossible, it's just a real bore!

Each recipe will make one jar of nut butter.

basic nut butter


  • 300g nuts- blanched hazelnuts, almonds, cashew, brazil... any nuts will work
  • a good pinch of salt


Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C/Gas mark 4.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread over the nuts in a single layer. Roast the nuts for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Place the Nuts into the bowl of a food processor, along with a good pinch of salt. Blitz the nuts until they form crumbs, scrape down the sides of the bowl and blitz again until the nuts have completely broken down to form a smooth creamy paste. This can take around 5 minutes, depending on the power of your food processor.

Transfer the Nut Butter to a clean, sterilised jam jar and store for up to two weeks.

peanut butter


  • 300g  dry roasted peanuts


1 ingredient, that's it! No need to roast these nuts either as that's already been done for you. Just blitz them down following the above method ↑

homemade "Nutella"


  • 150g blanched hazelnuts 
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • A good pinch of salt


Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C/Gas mark 4.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread over the nuts in a single layer. Roast the nuts for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, break the chocolate into pieces and place over a pan of simmering water to melt.

Place the nuts into the bowl of a food processor, along with a good pinch of salt. Blitz the nuts until they form crumbs, scrape down the sides of the bowl and blitz again until the nuts have completely broken down to form a smooth creamy paste. Add in the melted chocolate and blitz for a further 30 seconds until well combined.

Transfer the nut butter to a clean, sterilised jam jar and store for up to two weeks.


More ideas to try...

  • There's huge scope for creativity here, use a mixture of nuts to create different flavours
  • Try adding almonds or peanuts to your 'Nutella'
  • For a sweeter butter add a little maple syrup or honey in the final stages of blitzing
  • Vanilla is a lovely addition to 'Nutella' also
  • For a nut free option try using seeds, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, or a mixture of all three
  • For a savoury butter try adding spices and dry herbs. One idea I'm dying to try is dukkah butter!!

A few further thoughts...

  • Much depends on the power of your food processor, I've just acquired a new one (hence the nut butter excitement!) It's so powerful I don't even need to melt the chocolate for my "Nutella", I just whack it straight in and the mixer breaks it down. However my previous bit of kit could barely make breadcrumbs, let alone nut butter! So for cautionary reason's I've included the melting-the-chocolate step in the recipe above. With a less powerful mixer you can expect a crunchier butter, which is all the better in my book!
  • Different nuts create different results, for example peanuts and almonds deliver a more viscose butter than brazil nuts, which have a higher natural oil content. Equally, adding a sweetener such as honey or maple syrup will thicken a nut butter.
  • As always, do give us a shout if you try this recipe or if you have any brilliant ideas for nut butter flavours!