Honey and
food and travel

Friday, 27 February 2015

5 Things & 3 More

5 happy things from this week:

2. Good toes, naughty toes: my first ballet class in 10 years
3. Future planning
4. Reading The Miniaturist
5. Maple syrup

And this week I've been thinking about these thoughtful, thought-through words from Mimi; this obituary of the much admired Michele Ferrero; and this blog post on waffles, because, well, waffles.

Have a snuggly weekend beautiful people!


Thursday, 26 February 2015

Swedish Chocolate Cake: Top with Cinnamon

I have baked three of these Swedish chocolate cakes in two weeks. I wish I was joking. This cake is far too easy for it's own good. And it's also taken me three attempts to perfect the balance between gooey and chewy.

This cake takes approximately 5 minutes to throw together: you'll spend as much time greasing the tin as you will mixing up all the ingredients. Melt the butter and then chuck everything else in. Give it a stir and in the oven it goes. 40 minutes max, from ingredients to cake.

When it's done it's gooey (but not quite as liquid as my first attempt), but chewy round the edges; it's chocolate-y and rich; it's that cake that you'll just have 'just another little slice' of, every time. Izy, it's all your fault that my jeans were a little tricky to get into this morning.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Ristorante Frescobaldi

The wine making Frescobaldi family have been making wine in Tuscany since 1308, and in 2014 they opened their own restaurant just behind Regent Street in London.

On a Sunday evening in February we're the only party there. The staff outnumber us, although I'm sure our noisy conversations helped keep them awake as they diligently (although a little pointlessly) stayed at their stations throughout the long meal that was to follow.

A glass of champagne in the bar downstairs was accompanied by platefuls of crispy flatbreads scattered with rosemary, olive oil and sea salt. The bar is glamorous and plush, seats wide and comfortable enough to curl up in and sit sipping drinks for hours. But on this  particular evening, food beckoned. We were led upstairs to the bright, sleek dining room, where modern mosaics of various Roman gods cover the walls and columns, and the names of wines are engraved around the room.

Perfectly simple tomatoes and mozzarella to start. An extra drizzle of oil on top and there was a happy little me. Creamy, soft mozzarella with small, sweet tomatoes. A little slice of summer dreams on a cold, dark Sunday.

And the food improved from there: pasta definitely won everyone's vote as the best course. Spaghetti con vongole e bottarga: slippery, buttery pasta with salty, perfectly prepared clams and bright, sunny bottarga.

Perfectly cooked fish for L, and the richest, woodiest veal chop for Papa. And the others mmmmd and aaaaad at their forkfuls of Tuscan treats between hilarious stories, and more and more glasses of wine.

Maman couldn't leave without trying the tiramisu, which was the best tiramisu I've ever found in London, and was really rather beautiful too. 

After piles of petit fours and cups of fresh mint tea it was time to leave this palatial restaurant, and return to the cold outdoors. It had been a surreal evening of wonderful pasta and too much wine.

Highlight: pasta
Lowlight: an atmosphere created solely by ourselves

Ristorante Frescobaldi, 15 New Burlington Place, London, W1S 2HX

Friday, 20 February 2015

5 Things & 3 More

5 happy moments from what has been a frustrating week sat around waiting for things to happen. But then spring poked it's head out from hibernation and everything was momentarily well with my little world.

1. Monmouth coffee
2. Reading
3. Lunch at Borough market
4. Being able to run again
5. Sunshine

And 3 little snippets from around the internet that I've enjoyed include some wonderful photos of my little brother playing fives (proud!); the fabulous news that Heidi Swanson is publishing a new book; and a brief history on the Champagne glass.


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A Valentine's Date Night In

B and I have never been the couple who go and hold hands, gaze into each others eyes, whisper sweet nothings across a table with a red rose plonked in the middle, surrounded by other awkward couples on  Valentine's Day. 

Our first Valentine's day was spent sharing a chair, eating pasta off plastic plates, in the corner of a grimy college kitchen. Needless to say, things have improved a little since then.

This year we followed a menu straight out of Ashley Rodriguez's brilliant new book 'Date Night In'. It seemed rather perfect that while everyone else was out eating a fixed menu of all things pink, red, and heart shaped, we sat at home gorging on homemade pizzas and a crunchy sundried tomato-centric salad before plonking ourselves in front of a film with a huge jar of salty toffee popcorn. The best date night in. The best way to spend Valentine's day with my Valentine. 

Monday, 16 February 2015

Triple Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies, London Bakes

I've had a bag of buckwheat flour sitting at the back of the cupboard, unopened, for months. It was a sporadic purchase: I'd seen more and more recipes calling for buckwheat flour and thought it would all be used up in a flash. But it wasn't. Typically, as soon as I had this ingredient to hand, no recipes that required it came my way. 

That was until last week, when London Bakes shared her recipe for triple chocolate buckwheat cookies with the world. Triple chocolate buckwheat cookies aren't something that just pass me by unnoticed. That kind of recipe sees me out of bed and in the kitchen in seconds. I'd gathered up all the chocolate, peeled open my bag of buckwheat flour and got baking before anyone could have stopped me.

Very soon I had 20 chewy, dark, nutty, and wonderfully chocolatey cookies sitting in my cookie jar. The kitchen was a happier place, and the buckwheat flour has earned its position at the front of the baking drawer.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Chocolate and Banana French Toast, Top with Cinnamon

Valentine's Day on a Saturday. The perfect excuse for something a little more extravagant than another bowl of porridge. 

This chocolate and banana french toast from Izy's 'Top with Cinnamon' has been mentally bookmarked a while, and now was it's chance to shine. Cubed bread and dollops of nutella, covered in milk, egg, smashed banana and sugar and baked while you get on with making that pot coffee.

One bite into his bowlful, B looked at me asking if we were eating bread and butter pudding for breakfast: this recipe's a winner.

Friday, 13 February 2015

5 Things & 3 More

It's been a week of illness, and so it really has been the little things that have kept me somewhere near happy these last 5 days:

1. My duvet
2. Hot ginger and lemon tea
3. Manuka honey
4. Cashmere socks
5. Toast

This video of the uber-talented Bromance boys dancing outside my flat: I wish I saw them on my commute every day.

A wonderful and painful story about a man and a koala made me smile and cry.

And a whole lot more love for Mary Berry. Inspiration. Idol.

Wishing you all lots of love and happiness this Valentine's weekend.


Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Semilla, Paris

Sunday lunch in Paris in January calls for a glass of red wine and a generous plate of comfort.

Semilla is the new restaurant baby of Juan Sanchez and Drew Harré, who also have Fish and Cosi just next door on the rue de Seine.

Sunday roast on this freezing afternoon was roast lamb with dauphinoise and baby leaf salad. A meticulously presented plate of lamb and leaves was placed in front of each of us at the table before a bubbling, creamy, crispy dish of dauphinoise was carried over to and served up, with a 'say when' smile from the waitress, encouraging us to fill our plates with this big cuddle of potatoes as far as was possible.

We could have sat there for a few hours longer with another bottle of wine and perhaps another portion of dauphinoise, but a stroll around the Tuileries before hopping on the train home beckoned. Back to London reality and away from this Parisian dream.

Semilla, 54 rue de Seine, 75006 Paris

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Baking Brioche

For at least one of the 24 hours we spent in Paris last month we were mooching around La Trésorerie. This beautiful space is quite literally a 'treasure trove' of homeware, cookware and bakeware. 

If I had an empty Parisian flat, it would be filled with everything from La Trésorerie. As I, sadly, don't have a little flat to fill en France, I had to be slightly more selective in my purchases than I would have liked to have been. One irresistible birthday present for myself was a brioche mould. Parisian breakfasts can now be enjoyed back in east London.

Following Justin Gellatly's classical and brilliant brioche recipe, a day or so after starting this process, a blossoming, warm, buttery loaf came out the oven and filled the kitchen with the most wonderful smell.

So Parisian breakfasts were a treat for a few days until we'd eaten our way through our brioche supplies, smeared with black cherry jam or dunked in a big mug of coffee. I need more breakfasts like this, so I think this weekend is going to be spent baking more brioche.

La Trésorerie, 11 rue du château d'eau, Paris

Monday, 9 February 2015

Blood Orange Sorbet

B immediately started plotting and list-making when I received an ice-cream machine for my birthday this year. Every weekend since my birthday, this machine has been the axis which our weekend-world rotates around. 

Our local grocer was offering blood oranges at an irresistible price on the first weekend of this ice-cream machine's new life, and so our decision of where to start was made easily. Diana Henry presented us with a recipe which, although it sounded a little bizarre in places (rubbing the orange skin with sugar lumps), we trusted implicitly because, well, because it's Diana Henry. A Honey and Ricotta favourite.

This sorbet was bright, icy, fruity, sweet, and oh-so pretty (and coincidentally, in that shade of pink, it would also be totally perfect for Valentine's Day). The first sorbets of many that will grace this flat. New kitchen gadget, you are a welcome addition to our little home.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Les Papilles, Paris

Birthday dinner à Paris. A big decision. Les Papilles it was to be: a far cry from the hyper-traditionnel Benoît where we celebrated my 21st. 

This foodie wine bar in the 5th is busy lunch and dinner, full of people looking for a Parisian restaurant with warmth, with welcoming staff, and with comforting food.

Papa is a bit of an expert in the wine world, so selecting a bottle of whatever you fancy from the shelves that line Les Papilles is his heaven. With so much choice on the bottle-lined walls of the wood-panelled space, you need to be decisive. Or if not ask for help. And if your choice isn't quite right, those in charge will suggest something more appropriate. They did this with our Champagne: the most beautifully buttery bottle of fizz was finished far too speedily.

The whole meal was perfect: fresh, homely, rich, and balanced. Food was just bought to us throughout the evening, no menu, no choices, no decisions. A celery and celeriac soup, pork belly with baked beans and a vivid green sauce, cheese with prunes and a dark chocolate mousse with salted caramel. But it was the pork and beans that stole the show. 

A huge platter of beans, pork belly, herbs, and bright, bright greens was placed in the centre of our table. A serving spoon and four plates were left for us to dig in. We piled the soft beans and pork, the meaty, sweet flavours, and the crunchy veg with the herby, garlic-y pesto splashed on top on to our plates. After seconds and thirds I admitted defeat: my tastebuds and stomach in conflict again.

Les Papilles, 30 rue Guy Lassac, 75005 Paris

Friday, 6 February 2015

5 Things & 3 More

So I've decided to alter this weekly Friday post a little. It will still include the 5 little moments of happiness in my life this week, but I also want to share with you 3 other articles or blog posts or images or whatever I stumble across in this wonderful world wide web that have interested, fascinated, or pleased me in the past five days.

Happiness this week has come from:

1. Snow. In London. Victoria Park at 7am was stunning.
2. Rhubarb syrup.
3. Black cherry jam.
4. Work rewards.
5. Soup.

This is a video of the most beautiful dancing at The Paris Opera - I'm now even more certain that Paris is where I belong. Those ruffles. Breath-taking.

A friend sent me an article about why the modern world is bad for my brain. Ironically, I read this on my phone, while baking brioche, and blogging. 

This article and these photos on long lasting love put a lump on my throat. One way to restore your faith in humanity and the heart.

Happy weekend! I hope it's filled with hot chocolate and hugs.


Wednesday, 4 February 2015


There is a queue snaking around the grill at Deeney's stand at Broadway Market every Saturday. Always.

Deeney's are famous throughout the London street-food addicts for their unbeatable toasties. It may surprise you then to hear that haggis is at the centre of the best, and most requested, of their selection. Haggis, which Carol Deeney describes with such fantastic brutal honesty to the line of tourists in front of her stand as being made of the 'sheep's heart, liver and lung'. Get over it you non-believers. It tastes damn good.

Squidged into a toastie and grilled with generous doses of cheddar, caramelised onions and rocket: this is without question the best toastie in London. The perfect fodder for a cold, grey, winter Saturday at Broadway Market.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Townmill Bakery, Lyme Regis

A Sunday morning in Lyme Regis: a stroll past the beautiful, pastel beach huts along the beach front, fossil hunting on the pebbled beaches, and lots of chasing our two small companions up and down hills as they raced around on their scooters, and finally a pause for a revitalising coffee at the Townmill Bakery.

Little did I know that Townmill Bakery, tucked away from the Lyme Regis thoroughfare, would be my paradise. I'd soon forgotten about my dreams of one day owning a pastel pink beach hut as I stepped inside this bakery: the open baking space, the piles of bread, the sacks of flour, the long wooden tables and benches, the muddled smell of fresh bread, yeast, and coffee, the friendly faces, the smiling customers... All my plots and plans of one day having my own place where people will gather and eat cake and drink coffee were suddenly presented to me in this magical place. All beach hut attentions transferred to bakery.

The modern yet rustic interior is a far cry from the twee Lyme Regis shops and restaurants, but this business has not been rejected as a piece of London intruding on Lyme. The Townmill Bakery welcomes all, is all about local (whether that be food or people), and is all about keeping things real. There's no false pretence, no attempt at being trendier than it is: it's self confident and modest, while it serves up the best coffee and sells the best bread in the happiest setting.

Townmill Bakery, 2 Riverside Studios, Coombe Street, Lyme Regis, DT7 3PY

Sunday, 1 February 2015

L'Éclair de Génie

Apparently the éclair was not a popular or cool pâtisserie until recently. I have always loved éclairs so feel that this lack of love for the cream filled choux pastry is rather unfair. But it is true to say that pastry chef Christopher Adam of L'Éclair de Genie in Paris' Marais has reinvented the traditional éclair, turning it into a delicate, scientifically perfect treat, which he creates in all the colours and flavours of the rainbow. 

Deciding whether to have salted caramel, crispy milk chocolate, coconut, popcorn, vanilla and pecan, or hazelnut and praline was tricky, and took rather more time than the person behind the counter would have liked. 

Hazelnut and praline was my choice of the day. Maman and Papa claim their salted caramel one was better. Another trip to Paris will see a return visit to try another flavour, with the hope of one day getting through them all.

L'Éclair de Génie, 14 rue Pavée, 75004 Paris.
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