Thursday, November 24, 2016

Jessica Koslow’s Carrot-Ginger Sesame Loaf

So A and I went to Squirl in LA in January, and really enjoyed the couple of things we ate there. I'm not sure I'd wait in a long line, but that might be due to my strong aversion to waiting for food. Anyway - spotted this cake and realised I had all the ingredients at home, aside from applesauce, so once that was obtained, we were ready to go! I used normal milk, but the original recipe said almond milk, making a vegan cake.

Jessica Koslow’s Carrot-Ginger (Black) Sesame Loaf
Adapted from Food52


1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil, plus more for the pan
250g all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
135g granulated sugar
145g packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (120ml) unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup (80ml) milk
5cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large carrots (200g total), coarsely grated
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, plus more as needed (I used natural sesame seeds)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Brush the inside surfaces of an 8½ by 4½–inch (21.5 by 11–cm) loaf pan with a little oil. Dust with flour, tapping out any excess.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, applesauce, almond milk, ginger, vanilla, and salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture, followed by the carrots, and finally the oil.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the sesame seeds. You want it to be completely covered in seeds. Bake until the middle of the loaf has puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes.
  5. Let cool completely in the pan before slicing. Store, tightly wrapped, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Quick chicken noodle soup

I like to make chicken stock after roasting chickens (thrifty and tasty!) but then end up with loads in the freezer that needs to be used. On one of my weekend cooking sprees, I decided to make a chicken noodle soup for the colder days, and to stave off the beginnings of any colds.

Quick Chicken Noodle Soup
Adapted from AllRecipes


15g butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 sticks celery, chopped
2L chicken stock
400g boneless skinless chicken thigh, chopped
125g noodles
3 medium carrots, sliced
salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.

2. Cook onion and celery in butter until just tender, 5 minutes.

3. Pour in chicken and vegetable stocks and stir in chicken, noodles, carrots, salt and pepper.

4. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes before serving.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Turmeric Cauliflower Curry

I am really loving cauliflower - especially roasted or in curries. It's really versatile and in curries, it soaks up all the flavors and just collapses into this amazing chunky texture. Here's a useful recipe that works well with frozen cauliflower as well.

Turmeric Cauliflower Curry
Adapted from Simply Recipes
Serves 8


800g cauliflower (fresh or frozen)
600g potatoes 
1 1/2 cups water
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup frozen green peas
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 limes, quartered, for garnish


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the cauliflower and potatoes: Cut the potatoes into 1 1/2-inch cubes. To prepare the cauliflower, use a chef's knife to cut a deep cross into the base of the cauliflower. Place your thumbs into the crevice and pull the head apart into 4 quarters Stand each quarter upright, and slice off and discard the core and outer leaves. Break or cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets.
  3. Cook the potatoes and cauliflower: Carefully transfer the potatoes into the boiling water and cook for 4 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook for 10 minutes longer, or until the vegetables are tender. (Total cooking time is 14 to 15 minutes) Drain into a colander.
  4. Make the curry sauce: In a blender or food processor, combine the water, onion, chili flakes, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, and salt. Puree until smooth.
  5. Cook the curry sauce: Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked cauliflower and potatoes. Taste and add more salt and garam masala, if you like.
  6. Finish the dish: Stir the peas and tomatoes into the pot. Heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until hot. Just before serving, stir in the yogurt and reheat gently (do not let it boil, or the yogurt may curdle.)
  7. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Monday, November 07, 2016


6 Southwark St

This is not exactly a hidden gem - if anything it is a gem that far too many people know about. In summary: amazing pasta. Incredibly affordable prices. Go.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Tautog's Restaurant

205 23rd St
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

I took a too-short weekend trip to see some of my favorite women in the entire world. Virginia Beach ended up being the best location for everyone to get to (a bit awkward from London, but it was going to be hard for me no matter where they chose in the US). We enjoyed the free hotel breakfasts and snacked enough throughout the day to make lunch unnecessary, but the two dinners I was there for were great opportunities to eat some seafood and catch up on hanging out time. We went to Tautog's on the second night and I had the snow crab legs for dinner. Man, I have missed having enormous crab legs. They were fantastic, as was the cup of drawn melted butter to dip the sweet crab meat into. We also had raw oysters and oysters Rockefeller, so all in all, I was a satisfied customer by the end of the meal. The place was rammed full so make a reservation - or prepare to be disappointed!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The Sichuan Restaurant

14 City Rd

After reading several rave reviews of a new Sichuan place around Moorgate, I made plans with P to give it a whirl. P is one of my favorite people to have a big Chinese feast with - he is just as adventurous as me, and we both love variety. Pictured above are frog legs, pork in a spicy broth, and "man and wife" offal slices. Sadly I forgot to take a picture of the dry fried green beans with minced pork. Everything was fantastic and there was a true numbing heat to some of the dishes that spoke of high quality Sichuan peppercorns. It was also a bargain for the quality of the cooking. Can't wait to go back and try a whole different range of dishes.