a food journal
a food journal
Sunday, 30 November 2014
Friday, 28 November 2014
Wednesday, 26 November 2014
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
Wednesday, 19 November 2014
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
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
Wednesday, 12 November 2014
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.
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
Sunday, 9 November 2014
Last Christmas, mama and I fell in love with Ottolenghi's banana bread, drizzled with tahini, with honeycomb crushed on top, and a pinch of sea salt sprinkled over the top.
So it put a huge smile on my face when I found this recipe in the newest Ottolenghi bible. The discovery of a play on this recipe with My New Roots' grilled pumpkin bread made this week ever more exciting.
The easiest loaf to put together late on a Saturday night so it can be grilled on a sleepy Sunday morning, before being covered in tahini, honey and a little bit of sea salt, eaten alongside a cup of tea with your favourite person.
Friday, 7 November 2014
Thursday, 6 November 2014
Breaking news. Listen up. B & I have come to the conclusion that this is the best cake in the world. Drop everything you're doing and get in the kitchen. Ottolenghi has made walnut and halva cake. I don't need to say any more.
Take a fluffy, yellow sponge, layer it with walnuts which have already been toasted in butter, cinnamon and brown sugar, cover the sweet, nutty heaven with chunks of halva (my new obsession. How have I got so far through life without it?), layer on more sponge, and the sprinkle on more of the magic walnut concoction. Sit by the oven as it bakes, just to make sure you didn't miss a single waft of spicy, warm comforting smells coming from the oven. Leave to cool and then slice carefully so you have a rustically perfect line of filling running down the middle of your piece.
Have as pudding, have with coffee, have as breakfast. And then bake another one because that one will have disappeared already.
Monday, 3 November 2014
You may have noticed that a few weeks ago all that the foodie blogosphere was talking about was Top with Cinnamon's new book. There's a reason behind this. This girl is a genius. And these coconut berry pancakes are just one small piece of proof that Izy is the new food-world Einstein.
Super fluffy, American pancakes with some desiccated coconut and a few dollops of ricotta stirred in (she automatically got my approval, sneaking in ricotta there), fried in coconut oil with a few berries dropped in to them as they cook. These sweet little jewels hiss and spit until you gobble them down, drizzled with some more coconut, more ricotta, more berries, and a little bit of honey. With a large cup of coffee on the side.
If you want the exact recipe, buy the book (it's fab), or if not, just add some coconut and ricotta, and sub butter for coconut oil in your american pancake recipe, and don't forget the berries on top. Sunday morning = sorted.
Saturday, 1 November 2014
I am a firm believer that at this time of year, at least every other meal should contain pumpkin or butternut squash, all sweet things should be filled with warming spices, and cake should match the colour of the leaves outside.
Pumpkin madeleines tick all these boxes. Dinky, soft little shells filled with wintery spices, pumpkin purée making them soft and squidgy, and, importantly, a beautiful dark, burnt orange colour. Autumn has been taken and transformed into a nugget of comforting sweetness.
These are super simple to make, and the recipe is here, on Anna's fantastic blog The Yellow Table. Add it to your blog roll now!