Honey and
Ricotta
a food journal

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Lily Vanilli's Nana's Scones


Dad's birthday. The annual celebration which involves days of discussion about what cake to make. Days of discussion because we can't just choose something on a whim. It has to be chocolate-free, orange-free, have as little as sugar as possible, icing-free... The list goes on. Last year we settled on this ginger cake. This year it was scones. Lily Vanilli's Nana's scones.



These light little circles, with a hint of caramel colour on top, were hidden under piles of thick cream and raspberry jam. A cup of tea or two and a birthday candle, and the post-Paddington cinema trip birthday tea ticked all the boxes.


Sunday, 28 December 2014

Green Eggs and Ham


I do so like green eggs and ham.

Especially on Christmas day in the morning.

Maman glazed the ham in mustard, quince jelly and cloves. T fried the eggs with a sprinkle of chilli. Papa made some zingy green juice. We managed not to burn the toast. A Christmas breakfast success.


Friday, 26 December 2014

A Christmas Supper



The much discussed, debated, and deliberated Christmas meal receives so much more attention, thought and care than any other meal of the year. It's a wonder that we don't just crumble under the pressure we put upon ourselves.



But like every year, the effort and stress is all worth while. The full Christmas works is perfect, and already we are planning and plotting for next year.









Friday, 19 December 2014

5 Things

5 happy moments from this week...

1. Brownies and miso caramel
2. Holiday time
3. Sushi rolling
4. Christmas tunes
5. Nutella

X


Monday, 15 December 2014

Thomasina Miers: Easy-Peasy-Not-Quite Christmas Cake


Some of us just aren't quite organised enough, and don't have quite enough spare time to bake a proper Christmas cake weeks in advance of Christmas itself. That weekend is just lost somewhere in the midst of the dark, cold weekends of early winter. 



So thank goodness for Thomasina Miers, who came to the rescue on one of these weekends when we 'should' have already baked a Christmas cake, with a recipe for a slightly lighter, super quick and easy not-quite Christmas cake.


Dried figs, raisins and apricots are cooked with red wine and brandy; butter and sugar is melted in; stirred with some flour and toasted almonds, and baked for 40 minutes. And ta-dah, a Christmas cake is ready in less than an afternoon. Easy-peasy: no planning, no organisation. Served with a dollop of crème fraîche and a drizzle of maple syrup, this beats any normal, heavy Christmas cake, this Deember.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

5 Things

5 happy moments from this week:

1. A family reunion at the Green Man and French Horn
2. Presents from Japan
3. Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays
4. The Clove Club
5. Mince pie

And now it's time for a weekend of sleeping, hot chocolate, and present wrapping.

X

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Lily Vanilli: Spicy Gingerbread


December. The month when every day should involve a hot chocolate accompanied by something sweet and full of spices.


For the next week in this household, the hot chocolate accompaniment will come in the form of Lily Vanilli's spicy gingerbread.


Packed full of fresh chilli, ginger, ground nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper and several other spice cupboard treasures, these golden little nuggets aren't for the faint hearted.


Piled up in a pretty box for Christmas gifts or iced to add a little more festive fun, baking these along to She & Him's Christmas tunes made for a splendid Saturday afternoon.




Sunday, 7 December 2014

Honey & Co: Pita Bread


Last month we had the most wonderful meal at Honey & Co and, inevitably, left with a copy of the book.

Since then, every weekend I've had my head stuck in this book, umm-ing and aaah-ing about which recipe to cook this Saturday evening. And yesterday, the decision came from B: pita breads, please.


So on Saturday morning I stood by my Kitchen Aid as it made the dough for me. The poor baby struggled a little , rearing it's head in protestation and trying to flick the dough out the bowl. But it powered through and got there in the end. Well done Kitchen Aid. 

The dough was left to rise and a couple of hours later I came back: a big puffed up ball of future pitta breads was about to explode out the bowl. Success. 


Split into 10 lumps and rolled into balls before being left to do its thing for another 20 mins. Finally I rolled them out and put them in a scorching hot oven. 


Sitting down in front of the oven, staring through the door, Bake Off style, I watched them puff up into soft beautiful pillows. At this point they were removed from the oven and popped on a coupe of plates alongside a plate filled with beautiful aubergine, pomegranate and walnut rolls.

You'll have to buy the book to get this recipe, but this one from the wonderful Deb at Smitten Kitchen looks similar!

Friday, 5 December 2014

5 Things

We're in December! That's enough happiness to celebrate for one week. But here are 5 smaller things that made me smile this week...

1. Tomato soup & a cheese toastie from Goodhood Commune
2. Burning the advent candle in the morning and evening
4. Christmas present inspiration
5. Lunch with B

I am so relieved it's the weekend. I think I might just hide under my duvet for the next two days.

X

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The Yellow Table: Nutella Shortbread Brownies


The best surprise arrived on my desk last week. Having sat for a while puzzling over what I'd bought from America while I sent off a few more emails, I finally opened the package to a little gasp. The Yellow Table cookbook had finally arrived! I'd been following Anna's story since I'd caught site of her promo video on twitter many, many months ago. She set herself the ridiculous task of writing (and shooting) a cookbook in 100 days from her tiny New York flat. And then, she decided to crowdfund it when it was done. Her journey has been amazing, and so inspiring to watch. The result is a beautiful, thoughtful, cookbook, made with so much love.


I did my usual (terrible) trick of flicking straight to the sweet things at the back of the book. The title 'Nutella Shortbread Brownies' merited an instant bookmarking. To be baked the next day.


They Nutella shortbread brownies were devoured firstly round a table of yogis after a beautiful thanksgiving class, and then again on a Sunday evening with friends, an evening as happy as only is possible when sharing a meal with friends, around our white table, the heart of the home.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

November Snapshots











Friday, 28 November 2014

5 Things

5 happy things from this dark, cold week:

2. Running with B
3. Christmas biscuits
4. Having maman and papa in town
5. Pasta

Happy weekend! X

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Mission E2

Maman and papa are spending three cold, November days in London. Arriving late on a Sunday afternoon they dashed over to the Courtauld and for a hot chocolate at the Fortnum's café there, before hopping on the tube back East for an early Sunday supper at Mission E2.


We'd heard so many positive things about this new Bethnal Green opening that we had started regretting that we had moved to a different neighbourhood in the Summer. It was slightly disappointing. Our consolation is that we don't need to be sad that we don't live just round the corner anymore. The grass is not always greener.


We were placed in the corner seat by the window. Not really an issue, except we were facing the reservations screen - blue and glaring in our faces. 


There's no doubting that the wine list here is fabulous. Papa assumed his usual role of wine God and we shared a beautiful bottle of white from his friend's vineyard. Yum.


Bread and olives first. Bread pretty terrible - almost stale. The focaccia oil-free and dry. Olives, however, did a fabulous job at convincing B that olives aren't as revolting as he believes. (B's main conundrum is life is how olives can be so revolting but olive oil so delicious.)


B and maman both had venison pappardelle. Not enough venison. Not enough sauce. Pappardelle too clammy and sticky. No happy customers here.


Papa had pheasant kiev. Novel idea. But not quite perfect. Schnitzel for me has to have herby, melted butter squirting out of it. There was no melted butter on this plate, however tasty it was.


I had octopus and mussels with chickpeas in a tomato sauce. It was subtle and the octopus was tender and gorgeous. Scrummy, comforting food. 


Vanilla and bergamot cheesecake was floral and therefore far too edible. The sweetness expected from cheesecake was cut into with the strong bergamot and the lime zest dusted on top.


A chocolate and caramel pot disappeared rather quickly. I'm not sure anyone can resist a smooth, dark chocolate pot with a dash of deep caramel hidden in the bottom on a Sunday evening.

Highlight: The most beautiful wine bar in this part of town
Lowlight: Sticky, and a little bit dry, venison pappardelle

Mission E2, 250 Paradise Row, London, E2 9LE


Friday, 21 November 2014

5 Things

5 happy moments from this week include...

1. Iron & Wine
3. Wooly scarves
4. Shoryu lunch
5. My duvet

X

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Justin Gellatly: Ginger Cake


B bookmarked this recipe when it was published in the Guardian back in May. I still hadn't made it by November. So B gave me the book. That got me in the kitchen soon enough.

Justin describes this cake as 'probably the best ginger cake in the world'. If a man with Justin's reputation is prepared to say that about his ginger cake recipe, I'm prepared to believe him. You should believe him too. I can now testify that this is certainly the best ginger cake I've ever tried. Dark, deep, spicy, with a fruity, buttery caramel. It's a good job it's winter as I need lots of jumpers to cover up that rather cake-shaped tummy of mine.

Bread, cake, doughnut, pudding is my new kitchen bible. Don't expect to see me out of my apron any time soon.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Top with Cinnamon: Red Velvet Cakies


I just want to update you all that Top with Cinnamon's book is still proving to be fabulously popular in this little household. These super simple red velvet cakies, topped with cream cheese frosting have been the tastiest accompaniment to a cup of tea all week long.

Friday, 14 November 2014

5 Things

5 happy moments from this week:

1. Red velvet
2. Work successes
3. A big glass of wine
4. Sleep
5. New trainers

X

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Honey & Co

It's been on the never ending list for far too long. Now it's been crossed off, but all I want to do is go straight back. 

A tiny little room of warming light on Warren Street was a welcome comfort on what was an absolutely miserable Saturday evening. Every review we'd read and everyone we'd spoken to who'd been had fallen in love with this place, including those who are hardest to please, like Jay Rayner, and papa.

Ushered inside out of the rain by the beautiful waitress, and nestled in a corner table, it felt like we were being welcomed home. Not in an overly-friendly, overly-fussy way, nor in a formal, rigid way, but in an entirely natural, generous, gentle manner. That manner which is so rarely found in restaurants anymore, as they tend fluctuate between the 'Alright mate, What' up?', to the 'Good Evening and welcome to the xxx. May I take your coat from you Madam?'. 


With a saffron, poached pear and pomegranate bellini and a menu to cast an eye over, we were already happy customers. Instantly entranced by the Honey & Co magic.


Our main aim in life to be to try as much as we can from every restaurant menu, we shared the mezze selection to start with. This involved small bowls of the tastiest nibblets being placed anywhere we could find space on the table. Bread selection with olive oil (those breads... my taste buds were so happy), homemade pickles with kalamata olives, creamy hummus, falafel with garlic yoghurt, labne with aubergine, bulgur with apricots and parsley... Self-control went out the window and we fought over the last morsel of everything. I had to stop B using his fingers to wipe out the last of the labne from the bowl.


Already stuffed, a steaming bowl of lentils, aubergine, egg, tahini was placed in front of me, with a huge hunk of deep fried bread for dunking next to it. I could eat this every day and still have a smile on my face every time I got to taste that deeply smoky aubergine flavour.


B went for the not-very-beautiful but oh-so-moreish Royal Mansaf. A decadent plateful of slow cooked lamb on saffron rice, almonds & golden raisins. A dinner fit for a King. More than fit for a King. A dinner fit for the gods.


By this point I was about to explode, but we couldn't leave without pudding. It would be a crime to walk out this (by now very warm) restaurant without tasting some of the London-wide famous baking that goes on here. So we shared a Znoud-al-sett - otherwise known as hot apple and pear pie with cardamom custard. The little treat was dunked and crunched alongside a pot of fragrant rose and cinnamon tea. I really struggled forcing myself back out into the rain afterwards.

And for those of you who are wondering, yes, we do now own a copy of the book. And yes, we have been cooking from it all week.


Highlight: Flavour
Lowlight: Our next door neighbours. They stank of aftershave and kept repeating that the labne was like Philadelphia, which was more than a little annoying.

Honey & Co, 25a Warren Street, W1T 5LZ
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