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.