Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Muesli and banana muffins

It is not unusual for us to have a banana lying about the kitchen, all brown and mottled and overripe. I don't eat bananas, and even A's love of bananas doesn't stretch to the squishy ones, so the more ways I have of using them up, the better.

There was also a spare bag of bircher muesli sitting around so a quick search for banana muesli muffins turned up this recipe. I halved it and tweaked as I only had butter, so here's my modified (but still tasty) recipe using ingredients I usually have in the house. This made 9 moderately sized muffins.

Muesli & Banana Muffins

Adapted from The Crazy Kitchen


90g Self Raising flour
60g Muesli
1/2 tsp Baking powder
25g Caster sugar (I used golden)
1 banana
1 egg, beaten
40g butter, melted
75ml milk
sprinkle of cinnamon


  1. Mix the flour, muesli, baking powder & caster sugar together.
  2. Mix the banana, eggs, butter & milk into the dry ingredients - do not over mix, it should be lumpy. Sprinkle cinnamon over the mix and stir in.
  3. Divide mixture between muffin cases.
  4. Bake in a preheated 180 C oven for 18-20 minutes.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

The Old Coastguard

The Old Coastguard
The Parade
Mousehole, Cornwall TR19 6PR

Another treat from the August Bank Holiday (shhh I know that was many months ago!). C booked us into lunch at The Old Coastguard, one of a group of pubs that are all excellent (see Felin Fach Griffin in Wales and Gurnard's Head in Cornwall). The prix fixe lunch at £14 for two courses is an absolute steal, what with the astonishing quality of the cooking and ingredients. You'll see my choices above - pork rillettes to start, followed by some of the best grilled mackerel I've ever had. We were being greedy pigs so also got a starter of crab to share, which we loved, and A's prix fixe starter of tomatoes with goat's curd was also superb. We were sadly too full to squeeze in dessert (hardly surprising after three starters) but maybe on a return trip?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Watch House

The Watch House
1 The Square
St Mawes TR2 5DJ

August Bank Holidays are often spent in Cornwall visiting C - a perfect time of year to sit outside and stuff our faces with seafood while admiring the views. St Mawes is just across the river from Falmouth so it's a pleasant trip - this time we took the car and ferry, but sometimes we just shoot across on a boat. The Watch House is right about where the boats land and has a reputation for super fresh seafood so we gave it a try and loved it. C's starter of scallops won that round (the monkfish cheeks above were pretty good too but no comparison to the scallops) while for mains, A and I both braved the fish specials which involved whole fish - mine was Dover sole, his was plaice. A has come so far from when I met him - he bravely made a good attempt at dissecting his fish and was still able to enjoy eating it. I of course was in heaven - simple, freshly cooked fish with solid, flavorful sides - no fuss needed at all. C enjoyed her fish and chips as well. One to revisit.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Barge House

Barge House
46a De Beauvoir Cres
London N1 5RY

To be honest, I'm not even sure if this place is still called Barge House - it has undergone quite a few name changes / menu changes / possibly ownership changes across the years that I've been running past, but basically it's the restaurant next to the Towpath Cafe. On a sunny stroll past around brunch time, A, C and I thought about stopping for another amazing cheese toasty and tomato-on-toast at the Towpath, but there weren't any available tables, so we went next door. Thankfully it was also delicious - you'll see my steak salad above, while A had a reuben and C opted for a pan fried cauliflower steak on cauliflower puree (can't get enough cauliflower!) Everything was polished off and the bright sunshine just made it all better.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Bian Dang

Bian Dang
Various locations, this from KERB Kings Cross on a Tuesday

My dad is from Taiwan - so this lunch box is pretty nostalgic for me as he loved pork chop rice accompanied by soy sauce eggs and preserved vegetables. I had a chance to swing by KERB one lunch time and took the opportunity to order the Beast - which is the Bian Dang's stall dish where they put pork chop, chicken and oyster mushrooms all together in one box. I figured since it would be hard for me to ever get to them again, I should go all out, and I'm glad I did - every element was fantastic and I wish I worked in the area so I could treat myself to this lunch more often.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Taberna do Mercado

Taberna do Mercado
Old Spitalfields Market
107B Commercial St
London E1 6BG

Call it brilliant planning or poor planning, J and I arranged to meet at this Portuguese restaurant a few days before I was going to Lisbon for six days. So I got a taste of what Portuguese cuisine is when interpreted by a chef. The half moons of prawn rissois were found everywhere in Lisbon, though only one place had a version that was as good as Taberna do Mercado's. We also had cheese (Quinta de Veigainha, Terrincho DOP), cured meats (Chouriço vinho tinto), tinned scallops with brown butter and walnuts (oh bejeesus I need to try the whole tinned seafood menu), a salt cod, tomato and bread salad (pictured above), the beef prego (a sandwich with prawn paste and wild garlic, also found everywhere in Lisbon) and finally a stunning cake for dessert, the olive oil Pão de Ló. So stuffed. So good. I want to go back for their pasteis de nata as I got a little addicted to having those for breakfast while we were away.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Whole Pot-Roasted Cauliflower With Tomatoes and Anchovies

I love cauliflower so I get interested in any new recipe that calls for it. This makes use of a bunch of staples I usually have sitting around the kitchen (at least with my slight modifications) so all I need to get is a head of cauliflower and we're off! Thankfully it was a big hit - beware the bit of browning at the beginning as it can get a little smoky in the house - I happen to love the smell of anchovies and garlic hitting hot oil but maybe keep the windows open if you're not as keen on filling the house with that fragrance.

Whole Pot-Roasted Cauliflower with Tomates and Anchovies
Serves 4
From A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield, NYTimes


1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), white, green or Romanesco
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 50g tin of anchovies packed in olive oil
¾ teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
¼ cup wine, plus extra for cooking (original calls for dry white, I used a red Rioja)
1 large pinch red pepper flakes (original calls for 3, I tried 2 which A still found too spicy)


Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 235 degrees C (450 degrees F).

Trim any wilted leaves and brown bits off the cauliflower, but leave healthy leaves. Put the cauliflower on its side on a cutting board. As if coring a tomato, core the base of the cauliflower: insert a small sharp knife about 1 inch into the base of the stem, make a circular cut to loosen the cone-shaped core, then pry it out and discard.

In a deep, heavy ovenproof pot (with a lid), large enough to hold the whole cauliflower, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower cored side up; it should sizzle. Brown the exterior, turning it occasionally with tongs for even browning. This should take about 5 minutes; reduce the heat as needed to prevent scorching. Carefully turn over and brown the other side lightly, about 2 minutes.

Remove the cauliflower to a plate and add garlic, anchovies and rosemary to the pot. Stir until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, wine and chiles. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Return cauliflower to pot, cored side down. Baste with the tomato liquid and pile some of the solids on top. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes to thicken the tomatoes.

Cover the pot, place in the oven and roast until tender, 30 to 45 minutes; a knife will go into the thick stems with almost no resistance. Check on the tomato sauce every 10 minutes or so; it should be punchy and intense but not too thick, so add a glug of wine if it seems to be getting too dry.

Transfer the cauliflower head to a serving plate or shallow bowl and cut in half, quarters or thick slices. Spoon on all the tasty stuff left in the pot. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of herbs. Serve immediately or at room temperature, passing salt and red pepper flakes at the table.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


53 Lexington St
London W1F 9AS

Bao is one of those restaurants that is hyped so much that I was quite nervous about going - but I found myself in the area around lunch time and decided to treat myself to a solo meal, something that I am getting fonder of. It lets you order exactly what you want, eat at whatever pace you feel like, and not have to worry about whether your dining companion is enjoying themselves. Especially with the dumb queues - I would feel horrible dragging someone else along to wait and then for the meal to suck. Thankfully the meal was good, though I'm not sure I will queue again, since a meal there adds up quite quickly and some elements were a bit repetitive. I had four things - house pickles, the mushroom and century egg dish pictured above, a classic bao, and the guinea fowl rice. I think because there were pickles in the guinea fowl rice, it ended up tasting a little too similar (possibly my fault for ordering both but I didn't know!) The mushrooms were the best dish for my tastes - savory with a hit of fresh cilantro. The bao was a little sweet for me, but they often are - so again, no fault of the restaurant, just not quite my thing. I see why people like it - but if I have to wait I'm going somewhere that excites me a lot more.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Marksman

The Marksman
254 Hackney Rd
London E2 7SJ

More East London smugness ahead, I'm afraid. A and I are having trouble keeping up with all the places we want to try, but we're working our way through. The Marksman is not to far from Cambridge Heath and lots has been written about it already so I won't bore you too much except to say it is as great as people say it is. A proper old little boozer that's been done up just the right amount to make it comfortable but still casual. The beef & barley bun is fantastic, A and I could have had one each, and the confit potatoes are amazing as well. We managed to share so we could save room for the brown butter custard tart, which everyone should save room for. I'm not even much of a dessert person but this was totally worth it. Go, go, go.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Le Mary Celeste

Le Mary Celeste
1, rue Commines (3rd)

Paris, France

This was so long ago (April) that I can't tell you what we had with any detail, but the one dish that really sticks out in my mind is the deviled eggs. I kind of wished I wasn't sharing that with C & A. We also had some nice cocktails - it's an attractive space and the food was all interesting and good - but some months on I only remember the eggs and the horrifically slow service, which was almost comical by the end. Don't go if you want any semblance of speed or order to your meal - if you're happy to spend three hours getting a selection of small plates out then it is perfect. P.S. A's coworker was there a week after us and experienced the same level of service so at least I know it wasn't just us.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Feta and Scallion Tart

UPDATE: It's now over two years since I first posted this and it's become a go-to staple whenever I have feta and spring onions in the house. Some edits below to reflect how I usually make this.

I love the idea of a super quick "pizza" at home, and all I needed in addition to things in my cupboard were feta and scallions, so it was a simple decision to make this. I have seen people suggest adding vodka to pastry before - apparently it evaporates very quickly and keeps the pastry tender? - but may have to try this once without vodka to determine whether it is a significant addition. I always make it without vodka now - no noticeable difference. Also, I think maybe my sheet pan is smaller than the one the recipe calls for - 1/4 cup of olive oil meant the tray was swimming in it, and I think the temperature for the oven is too high as well as it quickly meant that smoke was billowing out of the oven and I almost asphyxiated A and myself. Also I no longer use the olive oil coating on the sheet pan. Just some parchment paper works fine. I also skipped the butter as I had issues with topping feta with butter. And never bother with the butter either. Thankfully the end result was fantastic (having the leftovers tonight, in fact) so I am going to tweak this and make it again, even though the original recipe was a bit of a disaster. New recipe is anything but a disaster!

Feta and Scallion Tart
Serves 4
Adapted from Serious Eats


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup (245g) water
1 egg
1 1/4 cups
(160g) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Kosher salt
200g crumbled feta
4 scallions, thinly sliced


Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 200C. In a large bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, water, and egg and whisk until everything is evenly incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and baking powder. Gently whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until a batter forms, making sure to whisk out all the lumps.

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour batter onto sheet pan, tilt so it coats most of the pan, and sprinkle with feta and scallions. Bake until feta is beginning to brown and crust is crisp and golden, about 25 minutes. Sometimes if the bottom isn't crisp enough when I take it out, I take it off the sheet pan and pop it directly on an oven rack for a few more minutes, like you'd do with an oven baked pizza. Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.

Other things I have thrown on top - frozen peas, parmesan, rocket, etc. I've never tried any meat products as I quite like having a quick veggie option at home, but I don't see why any cured meats such as pepperoni / salami / prosciutto wouldn't work well (you might need to add it a little later in the baking time so it doesn't burn though).

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Buxton Tap House

Buxton Tap House
George St
Buxton SK17 6AT

Let's be honest, I am so behind that it no longer makes sense to try and do posts in order. So here's something from last Friday, when we were on our way to G&H's wedding in Manchester. Since we were driving, we decided to spend a night in Buxton so that we wouldn't have to get up quite as early on Saturday to make it to the party. Buxton is small - with a great park, opera house, and other villagey charms. For the size of the place, there are an awful lot of drinking spots - but we settled on the Buxton Tap House due to their large selection of beers that they produce themselves. For those of you curious about the beers, follow A on Untapped - I'm just going to cover the food. We had the night's special of smoked salmon (smoked on site, which you could certainly taste!), along with a couple of "sliders" which were more like full sized sandwiches - stuffed to the brim with pulled pork, bacon, sausage and cheese. That was actually overkill - I picked out the bacon and sausage and had that with the top half of the roll, then got through the generous and tender pile of pulled pork. We also had the mac and cheese, which I would skip - it's not bad but it's not worth the calories either. Not a bad option for some dinner with your interesting beers - wish we had more time to explore Buxton properly but oh well.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Colcannon Soup

I've probably already made this soup three or four times since discovering it. It's full of flavor from all the leeks and chicken broth, and feels healthy because of the kale and the cabbage, but not too healthy - the richness of potatoes and cream and butter still make it a really enjoyable soup. Proportions are a bit different from the original since I tend to use entire packages of things and this is based on the usual sizes I can get from my grocery shops.

Colcannon Soup


75g butter
600g sliced leeks
1/2 head sliced and chopped white cabbage (approx 500g)
200g sliced and chopped kale or cavolo nero
6 medium peeled and diced white potatoes
6 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
170ml double cream
4 green onions, thinly sliced


  1. Melt butter in a large, heavy bottomed soup pot on medium heat. Add the sliced leeks, cabbage, and kale, toss to coat with the butter. Lower the heat to low, cover and gently cook until the greens are wilted, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add the diced potatoes to the pot, along with the chicken stock, bay leaves, and salt. Increase heat to bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are softened and falling apart, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Swirl in the white pepper, double cream, and sliced green onions. Taste and add more salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Balthazar's Keuken

Elandsgracht 108
1016 VA 
Amsterdam, Netherlands

PaulyG was clever enough to make a late dinner reservation here - they only do a prix fixe menu which is nice in terms of making it quite easy to order. Service is amiable but slooooow - we were even given a free first round of cocktails as a sort of apology for the time it took for us to get anyone's attention. Much like the previous night's dinner, the starters were a selection of small dishes with no choice (though since PattyG is allergic to fish they did make him a couple of small non-fish bites as a replacement). The bacon was especially nice, as were the mussels. The olives, for some unknown reason, were drenched in cumin which was way too strong for any of us to eat. There were two options for mains - steak or fish. I went for steak again (not entirely sure why as I love fish) - it was very good but PaulyG's fish choice looked better. And then I'm sure they must have brought us dessert but I cannot for the life of me remember what it was and I didn't manage to remember to take a picture either, so sorry. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Van Kerkwijk

Nes 41
1012 KC 
Amsterdam, Netherlands

In case you couldn't tell from the name, this place is in Amsterdam. It is frickin' awesome (except for the no reservations thing). The starters are a mix of lots of different little things - you don't pick, they just come like that, and then the waiter comes by and tells you what they have on offer at the moment for mains, and you choose one of the four or five options (PaulyG and I went for steak, PattyG had some crazy good Indonesian chicken I think) and wine is ordered and everything is just warm and convivial and great, and then you get two or three options for dessert, which is also fabulous, and then you stumble out into the street, full and merry and you meet your Dutch friend's friend who comes screeching up on her bike, tries to park it but instead ends up shoving it over while shouting "I'm so drunk!" and then you get invited to an electro techno DJ party that everyone you are with says HELL NO to and then you go home for a sleep.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Red Dog Saloon

37 Hoxton Square
N1 6NN

I had another one of my massive cravings for buffalo wings and happened to be walking past Red Dog Saloon (or at least their little fast food takeaway joint next door) - and then I found myself going inside. So - in my hunt for delicious buffalo wings around town, I have so far approved of the ones at Meat Liquor and at Duke's Brew and Cue. This is another one to add to the list - these were the biggest wings, and very nicely fried so that they stayed crisp even after a drenching in authentic buffalo sauce. I would have liked some celery sticks on the side, but all I got was blue cheese sauce which I still haven't discovered a taste for. But at least I now have three places I can go to get a fix.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Beer & Buns

3 Appold Street

PattyG and I found out that this little pop up bar above K10 in Liverpool Street has pinball machines, and that on Monday night they are free. So the first Monday we were free, we got ourselves in there to play pinball to our heart's content (with a bit of free foosball thrown in as well). There are only two pinball machines, but that was completely fine as there were only two of us. Interestingly, most of the other people at the bar seemed interested only in the food, which meant we had very little competition for the machines. But this is a food blog - so I should mention that the fried chicken wing were crisp and meaty (though a little sweet for my liking) and the buns are soft, pillowy and tasty - I'm not sure I'd go there again without the pinball attraction, but it was certainly a fun night out. Oh, and they have my favorite draft beer (Asahi).

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hoi Polloi

100 Shoreditch High St 
E1 6JQ

Hoi Polloi is in the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch - I meant to see if I wrote about this the first time around (my birthday last year) but I am too lazy and this meal was amazing enough to write about it again anyway. This time it was A's birthday and he was excited to come back - we had some fabulous cocktails to start, along with a few oysters, and then jumped into giant main courses. My duck breast with a pearl barley risotto was so full of duck flavors - I think every bit of the risotto tasted of duck as well, I almost risked licking the plate clean. A went with a special - the enormous rib eye you see above, which was superbly cooked and juicy as hell. He just about got through it though it was not looking possible for a little while - I had to help him out (poor me). I still love the ambiance of this place - perfect for a slightly special occasion. It may become our go-to celebration spot.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Stokey Bears

129 Stoke Newington High St
N16 0PH

On a nice rambling walk up to Stoke Newington, A and I stumbled across Stokey Bears, a new burger and beer restaurant that resulted from a collaboration between Bear Hug brewery and Burger Bears. We were trying to keep enough room for a big dinner plan, so we decided to split a burger and fries. It was pretty excellent and I was a little sad I didn't have my own. That gorgeous brioche bun was perfect for the cheeseburger and the fries were thin and crisp, just as they should be. I'm thinking this place might be a good way to bribe A to go for more walks in Stoke Newington.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Sasa Sushi

422 Saint John Street

I've passed by this place hundreds of times but never stopped in even though I love sushi. After finding out that an event we were going to go to was actually in the diary by mistake (bad A!) we had to quickly come up with an alternative plan, so I seized the opportunity to try it out. We had a sushi set - salmon roll, shrimp tempura roll, and then five pieces of assorted nigiri. Sadly the tempura was quite mushy - as if it had sat out too long - and while everything else was okay, it didn't really inspire me to order anything else. I should note that a few weeks later I went to a birthday party and there was a large tray of sushi from Sasa Sushi that was very good - so not sure if we just got a slightly off meal there or not, but I'm not in a big hurry to return.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road
E1 6LA

A and I wanted to see Whiplash (which we liked, by the way) and since it was playing at Rich Mix we decided to grab a little food at the Indian street food place in the lobby. We were both a little dubious about whether it would be good or not, but it turns out the food is excellent. A lamb shish wrap and a dosa were plenty for two and the flavors were spot on. One of the dishes had quite a kick - turns out it was the potato filling in the dosa - so we needed plenty of water but I'd rather it by spicy than bland. A great option if you need something cheap and delicious before a movie.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Smoking Goat

7 Denmark Street

So the food experts of London have been raving about Smoking Goat, talking about the ridiculous queues and the incredible platters of grilled meat. P and I perked up our ears and made plans to visit on a Monday night - we went early, around 6pm, and it was a bit rainy, and there were plenty of tables. I don't think the place was ever full during the entire 2.5 hours we were there, so maybe the craziness has died down. We ordered a couple of beers and the fish sauce chicken wings, which were so delicious that we got a second order of them. The coal roasted aubergine dish was really smoky and lovely as well - I think I am growing fonder and fonder of aubergine. Then we decided on the lamb ribs, which came with sticky rice and a green papaya salad. I liked it all, but the chicken wings were my favorite. I'd love to go back with more people and really get into the duck and pork belly options as well - even though P and I are greedy we just couldn't fit in any more food.

Monday, March 16, 2015


4200 North Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78756

So this year, in a rare aligning of all the planets, my mom, dad, brother and I were all back in Austin at the same time, without any other people staying with us. It was like a reunion of family life back in 1998! J and I wanted to take the parents out for dinner for all the birthdays and other random things we have missed, and I made a reservation at Uchiko since I had eaten at Uchi a long time ago and still have fond memories of that meal. Sadly I did not take into the account how uncomfortable my parents would be with the price of the dishes. It was only tempered by the fact that our 6 pm reservation allowed us to ask for the happy hour menu, which our waiter was kind enough to arrange even though apparently it is usually restricted to the bar area. Anyway - the happy hour menu is full of reasonably priced things, so we ordered a bit off of that, but since it was a celebration dinner we still wanted to let my parents have anything else they wanted. My dad spotted mackerel, which he loves, but he did not clock that ordering it as sashimi would mean it was raw. And everyone at the table except for me DOES NOT like raw mackerel. On top of that, 7 tiny slices were $20. I know fish can be expensive, but mackerel is one of the cheapest fish to buy, so that was hard to reconcile. There were some dishes that were standouts (in particular a salmon and kale dish) but also a few that were just ok but nothing special. In the end, while the parents appreciated the gesture, I think they would have been happier at a more mid-priced restaurant, so let's try again next year.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Num Pang

140 E. 41st Street
(Btw. Lexington & 3rd Ave)
New York, NY

I knew I was going to get hungry at some point during my travels from NYC to Austin so before I went to the airport I picked up a sandwich for later. I was staying at my friend V's apartment (thanks V!) and this Cambodian sandwich shop (Num Pang) was nearby and came highly recommended. The woman at the counter was very friendly and when I asked her which sandwich would travel best, she recommended the coconut shrimp sandwich. It was probably four hours later that I actually ate it, and it was pretty damn delicious - but like with most things I think it might have been even better if I had it fresh when it had just been lightly toasted and handed over to me. Still, the flavors were great and it felt relatively healthy due to the amount of veggies in it - it's certainly on the expensive end of takeaway sandwiches but let's just call it a treat.

Monday, March 02, 2015


350 West 50th Street
New York, NY 10019

So one of the consequences of there being very few nonstop flights back to Austin is that I can usually have a stopover on the east coast without paying much extra. I take advantage of this on my way home for the holidays, so three days in NYC were quickly booked in to see some of my favorite people in the world. Y&A live in New Jersey now but still work in NYC, so we managed to schedule a Friday night dinner just a few hours after my plane landed, and my friend O was able to join as well. This is where my story takes a dark and unexpected turn. I got sick on the plane. Really sick. I'm not going to get into graphic descriptions, but let's just say I was not able to eat dinner, really. Which was a shame as Y&A had picked a Korean restaurant (Bann) because I had told them I was craving Korean. Above, you see the delicious tofu stew I ordered. I took two bites. They were delicious, and I was so sad that I wasn't feeling like scarfing the entire bowl, plus the amazing looking seafood pancake that Y&A ordered, plus the banchan on the table. Thankfully, I was in the US, where you can have anything packaged up neatly to take home, and I did manage to eat it a couple of days later when I had recovered a bit, and it was good, but I bet it would have been better if I had gotten to eat it when I ordered it.

Monday, February 23, 2015


250 Paradise Row
E2 9LE

A and I are much more into treating each other to experiences or nights out rather than giving physical gifts (though I suppose you could argue a night of food and drink does include things with physical properties). Anyway, philosophical musings aside, A's Christmas gift to me was a night out in Bethnal Green. We started at The Sun Tavern for a pre-dinner drink - we both chose a cocktail that came in lovely silver tankards and was a nice way to ease into the evening. The main attraction was Mission for dinner. We shared a bottle of wine, pictured above, that was on the cheaper end of the list but paired well with our food. The artichoke and ricotta gnudi dish was the standout for me - two of my favorite things in one dish! I could have eaten the entire portion myself but that would just be rude. We also had lamb, I think (things were getting hazier at this point) and it was very garlicky and salty, which I have become more sensitive to in later years. So I wouldn't necessarily recommend that unless you are really into garlic and salt. And then we were too full for dessert, and I don't have a sweet tooth, so we went to Mother Kelly's for an after dinner drink, which beats desserts hands down for me. I believe I ended on a peanut butter stout (or something equally ridiculous sounding) which basically knocked me out and I'm just lucky I was ok for my flight back to the US the next day.

Monday, February 16, 2015


69-73 Saint John Street

When Foxlow launched their brunch they did a month of soft opening so I booked a couple of tables - knowing how much I have loved meals at Hawksmoor I figured I'd love this too. The first visit was with J - we shared some baked eggs and the fried chicken and croissant waffle. For a girl who loves fried chicken, I was surprised to enjoy the baked eggs more. J's bottomless bloody mary also met with approval, though we both agreed that there is a limit to how much tomato juice any human being can consume in one go, as it seems more filling than other drinks.

The second visit was with S, E and A - and while the rest of the table got fried chicken sandwiches, I went for the steak and eggs in the picture above. It was fantastic and set me up for a day of drinking in high places (such as the OXO Tower). We also ordered a cronut for the table, which was just about right - a quarter of that thing was plenty for me and I could feel my arteries screaming out for relief afterwards. 

I'm even more excited that A's brew will be going on sale at Foxlow for London Beer Week in February. So we'll definitely be back to pair that beer with some more brunch dishes - let's hope I'm not shortening my life span by too much.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Prawn and Salmon Pilaf

Finally cleaning out my old stash of recipes torn out of magazines, printed off from websites, and generally just collected from any old place. This one seemed worth a try - it's a Rick Stein recipe I tore out of some magazine that I've simplified by quite a lot (sorry Rick, it has to be a special occasion for me to boil prawn heads and shells and then strain stock). Also I didn't have enough prawns so hence the salmon.

Prawn and Salmon Pilaf


225g cooked peeled prawns
200g salmon fillets, cooked and flaked into prawn sized chunks
50g butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp tomato puree
900ml chicken stock (I used stock cubes to make this)
350g basmati rice
2 small onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 cloves
3 green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick, broken into 4 pieces
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
300g baby plum tomatoes, halved


1. Heat 25g of butter in large pan, add the first chopped onion and carrot and fry over medium heat for 6-7 minutes, until lightly browned. Add tomato puree and chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins. Boil until reduced to 600 ml.

2. Rinse rice in a few changes of cold water until the water runs relatively clear. Cover with fresh water and leave to soak for 7 mins. Drain well.

3. Melt the remaining butter in a pan and add the other two chopped onions, garlic, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, and turmeric and fry gently for 5 mins. Add the rice and stir well to coat the rice with the spicy butter. Add the stock to the pan, season with salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to the slightest simmer, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 10 mins. Don't lift the lid during this time.

4. Uncover and gently stir in the peeled prawns, salmon, coriander, diced tomaties and some seasoning to taste. Re-cover and leave for 5 minutes to warm through. Spoon into a warmed serving dish and serve.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Sicily - Day 6 & 7

Last couple of days - I don't have very many pictures because day 6 basically consisted of going to the beach and parking ourselves on sunloungers all day. It was perfect after a week of walking around (and quite a lot of driving for A). We had lunch at the beach as well at one of those overpriced beach clubs and it was strangely probably the best meal we had in Taormina, which says a lot.

But before dinner, I had an amazing cocktail called the July at a bar called Daquiri. A loved his martini as well. And the snacks that came with the drinks were top of the line - again, better than our dinner at Il Ciclope, where both pasta dishes were bland and boring. 

And the final story of our Sicily trip - when returning our hire car to Catania airport, the guy that came out to check our car pointed out some drops of sap that were on the hood of the car - they must have come from a tree we were parked under. After dragging his feet, he then tried to get us to sign a paper saying we damaged the car and were responsible for it. A and I pointed out the sap is hardly damage, and even rubbed off a couple of spots with some water to show them it could be cleaned off. This then resulted in some weird stand off where this guy insisted that we had damaged the car and wanted us to be liable for up to 900 euros, and other car rental employees came over to inspect the car, some more helpful than others. Finally, after about 30 minutes of arguing (and boy am I glad we got to the airport early), one guy came by, took a look and said he would take our car to their car wash and it would be fine. After he got a bit stern with the original guy, we were finally able to leave without signing anything. 

So in the end, Sicily was beautiful and I'm glad I saw it, but we're probably never going back again. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sicily - Day 5

Day 5! We arrive in Taormina, which is both the most touristy and the most traditionally beautiful part of our trip. I mean, the hilltop theater is just stunning - look at the views - and the architecture is all pastel-colored and well-kept, and since you're at the top of a hill, you just keep seeing panoramic sights.

All day, we just strolled around, had drinks when we felt like ate, stuffed ourselves with arancini right and left, and then ended up at Al Giardino for dinner. I had swordfish, A had disappointing ravioli. So I wouldn't recommend it, but then again we didn't really have any outstanding meals in Taormina, so I'm not sure if we just ate in disappointing places or if it's just not that great for food.

One thing I did love - the snacks that come out with aperitivo - you order a nice pre-dinner drink and it comes with little bites of grilled cheese, crostini, etc. and also potato chips, pretzels and nuts. Probably should have just filled up on those and skipped the full meals, to be honest.