Honey and
Ricotta
a food journal

Friday, 30 October 2015

5 Things & 3 More


5 happy moments from this week:

1. Listening to the rain fall down in the middle of the night
2. Coffee and conversation at Il Buco Alimentari
3. A neck massage
4. Apple pie
5. Long catch-up with T

3 things to read over the weekend, when you're not out and about dressed up as a witch:

1. Come visit us and stay in one of these amazing hotels?
2. The most beautiful dresses: backstage at a few shows in fashion week
3. Benghazi explained. In case, like me, you need some more contextualized information.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Black Seed Bagels


Black Seed Bagels seems to be permanently getting rave reviews wherever I look. And now I'm here to add to them. B and I put a midweek lunch date in our diaries, and we strolled through the beautiful streets of Nolita, until we arrived at 170 Elizabeth Street.


We debated the pros and cons of all the various fillings, and then had to decide which bagel (sesame, poppy, multigrain, everything...) would suit our selected filling options better. We ended up going for a #1 and a #2 on whatever bagel took our fancy. No deep thoughts on flavour combinations came in to play here.


All the Bagels at Black Seed are rolled and baked in house. They leave the wood-fired oven perfectly browned and crisp; the little air bubbles inside the dough make the bagel light and give it the ideal amount of chew. I think these pictures do the fillings justice: the finest ingredients have been stuffed into the bagel with so much consideration and love. Black Seed successfully ensure that you'll never consider a standard cream cheese bagel good enough ever again.


Black Seed Bagels, 170 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

Monday, 26 October 2015

Late October at Union Square Greenmarket


Fall is at its peak this week in New York. The leaves on the trees are a stunning array of reds, oranges, browns and greens. My morning run more often than not finds me in Prospect Park: watching the golden sun rise over the tops of the autumnal trees, with a blustering reflection in the wide open lake is the best way to start the day.


The colours at the market perfectly match those of the trees. Apples feature on almost every stall in shades of bright greens and deep reds. Some are perfect for snacking on the way home, while others are huge and are begging to be cooked into a crumble on a cold, quiet evening. All other fruits have been abandoned from my current diet as I eat as many apples as I can while they're still fresh, crunchy and totally irresistible. 


And with the apples comes apple cider. And with apple cider comes the dangerously tempting apple cider doughnuts. Sugary, cinnamon-y, fluffy ring doughnuts which involve a lot of lip licking: the measure of any good doughnut. An American friend kindly explained to us the conundrum of American cider one recent evening. Cider on this side of the pond is not necessarily alcoholic. Although it can be, 'cider' is also used to describe any apple juice that isn't completely clear. So apple juice is only really used to describe rubbish-y concentrated apple juice, and cider is used for everything else. This causes quite some confusion and means everyone is always asking whether this hot cider is alcoholic or not, which could easily be solved by using the words the British way (where, for you US-readers, cider is only used when it's alcoholic), but I'm not sure I'm going to be able to change the American language that easily on my own... 


Squash, pumpkins and gourds are causing much excitement amongst kids, cooks and shoppers. The little ones run around selecting which pumpkin they need to carve for Halloween. They're making important decisions about whether this is definitely the best pumpkin on the whole market, for fear that someone else in their class may have a pumpkin that will outdo their choice. Decorative gourds bring pops of bright colour and vivid patterns to our apartment, as do the various squash we've been trying all month. This week we'll be eating several Delicata squash which are so prettily, perfectly striped that I'm struggling to convince myself to cut them up and pop them in the oven.


Carrots and beets add to the shades of orange and deep red. Their green tops are not to be wasted and are blended into various pestos as we work towards a waste-free world.


Beans, greens, onions and potatoes make up the rest of the October market colour palette. I must go and do some research on the various bean varieties so I can be sure to buy many, many more of them later this week. These pink speckled Cranberry beans are too adorable to be passed by any longer.


I have to give a special mention to The River Garden who were filling Union Square with the most fragrant smells this Monday morning. Thankfully, they have promised me they'll be there until Christmas so I have plenty of time to select a dried flower wreath for my door, to buy dried chillies to hang in the kitchen, and to fill my bedroom with the smells of eucalyptus and lavender throughout the coming winter months.


Union Square Greenmarket, East 14th Street, Park Avenue South & Broadway, New York, NY 10003

Friday, 23 October 2015

5 Things & 3 More


5 happy moments from this week:

1. Skyping maman and papa who are on the other side of the world
2. Crunchy fallen leaves
3. Maple syrup
4. Sleep

And 3 things to read this weekend:

1. 15 beautiful photos of wonderful Alsace.
2. This chocolate chip cookie recipe needs baking now.
3. The lonely death of George Bell. Unsettling: make sure you treasure life and make friends.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Apple Cake with Maple Cream


Apples currently feature in most of our meals in this little apartment. Every time I'm vaguely near a Farmers' Market, I'll run to the nearest apple stand and come back laden down with bags filled with apples of all sorts of varieties, shapes and sizes. Breakfast has been improved with the addition of spiced apple sauce, salads have slices of crunchy apple hidden in amongst the leaves, and supper always ends with some form of apple pudding. We've eaten a lot of crumble, a few slices of pie, an olive oil cake decorated with slices of apple on top... The list goes on, but top of the continually growing list is Ashley Rodriguez's chopped apple cake with maple cream. I found it in her beautiful book Date Night In (which I have raved about here before); a constantly reliable, inspiring, and comfort-inducing selection of recipes, all of which are accompanied by her wonderfully romantic words. 

The apples are chopped and scattered throughout the cake, in a distribution I think even  Paul Hollywood would be pleased with. Cinnamon and nutmeg give it a warming spice, and with a dollop of maple-syrup doused cream on the side, a slice of this is like a giant, loving hug at the end of a meal. Exactly what every autumnal pudding should be.

You can find the recipe here. But please go and buy the book. It'll make you happy. Promise.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Blue Bottle Coffee


During our endless days of traipsing around Brooklyn hunting for an apartment in August, we had a few criteria that had to be met: a decent kitchen, natural light, quiet, and safe. We also had several unspoken criteria which we didn't dare say aloud for fear of sounding too idealistic: friendly neighbourhood, lovely food shops nearby, endless café choices minutes from the front door, outdoor space, proximity to a park to run in every morning... When we looked round an apartment in a brownstone on a leafy street in Boerum Hill, which ticked even the unspoken criteria, we lost the ability to imagine ourselves ever living anywhere else.

We stepped outside our future home, smiling like cheshire cats, despite the jet lag and stifling humid weather. Those smiles almost split our faces in two when we looked left and saw that Blue Bottle was approximately 20 paces away (yes, I have counted). Our new local café was one of the best coffee roasters in America. 

Blue Bottle is famous for a reason. They take their coffee super seriously, but they won't intimidate you and scare you away if you don't know the finer details of the anatomy of the coffee bean. And they also make superbly chewy and spicy ginger molasses cookies which are almost as addictive as their coffee.

We moved into our new home a few weeks later, and visited Blue Bottle everyday for our morning caffeine fix. We've slowly transitioned from sipping on refreshing iced Single Origins in the heat of Summer to a warming, rich drip coffee on these fresh Fall days. Blue Bottle is honestly the best neighbour we could have asked for. We can definitely deem our apartment hunt a success.

Blue Bottle Coffee, 85 Dean Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Monday, 19 October 2015

Xi'an Famous Foods


We squeezed into the bar at Ippudo and made our way to the hostess. She didn't have very happy news: "There'll be a table available in 2 hours". A cold Sunday evening is not, as it turns out, a sensible time to head to one of the city's most popular ramen spots. We ventured back out into the cold. Let's try Momofuku. It's just round the corner. They had slightly happier news: "There'll be a table available in 1 and a half hours". My tummy was rumbling and spending 90 minutes in the small entrance way, watching everyone else dig into their noodles and hirata buns through the glass, was not going to be my favourite way to spend a Sunday evening. So we walked a little further until we got to Xi'an Famous Foods where the queue was a matter of minutes, and there were a couple of free stools we could perch on in the back corner.

The tiny take-out restaurant  has a small counter running round the outside from which lots of hungry people race through generous plates of noodles. The queue line to order runs through the middle of the squashed space, and the menu is a mosaic of photos accompanied by a few brief words and some numbers tacked up on the wall. We peered over people's shoulders to get a glimpse of what they were eating and based our choices on our eyes and noses.


Squeezed into the corner (I was essentially sitting in the drinks fridge), we sipped on iced teas until our numbers were called and we jumped up, as if we'd just won a round of bingo, to go and collect our steaming hot noodles. 

Once we'd squeezed on to our section of counter space and had snapped a few photographs, I removed my glasses, us girls tied up our hair, we all picked up our chopsticks, and got stuck in to this serious slurping business. 


We'd ordered spicy cumin lamb hand-ripped noodles, one in and one out of soup, mount qi pork hand-ripped noodles in soup, spicy cucumber salad, and spicy and sour lamb dumplings. Our lips were soon on fire but we couldn't stop eating: the handmade noodles are stretchy and chewy without being stodgy and dense; the broth is spicy and packed full with different spices and flavours which all come together to form an unbelievably more-ish meal. But the highlight was the cucumber salad. The crunchy, bright cucumber is coated in sesame, chilli, soy sauce and garlic: I need to recreate this at home. Immediately.

We eventually surrendered our stools to some hungry people hovering near by and strolled round the corner to Milk Bar for a cereal milk soft-serve to cool our burning lips. There is no better way to end a Sunday.

Xi'an Famous Foods, 81 St. Mark's Place, Manhattan, NY 10003 

Friday, 16 October 2015

5 Things & 3 More


5 happy moments from the last week:

1. Hummus from Damascus
2. Coffee in my favorite blue mug
3. Strolling over Brooklyn Bridge
4. Snuggling under the duvet
5. Warm sunshine on my face

3 things to read this weekend:

1. Sneaking around inside the home of Anna Jones.
2. Shakespeare & Co has opened a coffee shop, and now I'm craving another trip to Paris.
3. A beautiful video on the evolution of bread.

Happy weekend! x

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Monday Morning in Central Park


Yesterday was Columbus Day, and B had the day off school. Despite his claims that the still had lots of work to do, I insisted that we leave the apartment at least for a little while, so, bright and early we rolled out of bed, on to the subway, and eventually climbed out into the bright sunlight at Central Park.




We grabbed coffee and muffins from Dean & Deluca (thank you for the recommendation C!) and soaked in the dappled morning sunlight on a bench, making friends with the dogs that passed by while sipping on our coffee and nibbling on our breakfast.




It was the most beautiful Fall day: the sun was bright, there were no clouds in the sky, and the leaves on the trees are gradually darkening and falling to the floor.




We meandered for hours, around the reservoir admiring the reflections, losing ourselves in small paths amongst huge trees, marveling at the vast space in the middle of this crowded, crazy city. The most idyllic Monday morning.



Central Park, New York, NY

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Brown Butter Baked Doughnuts


One of the many superfluous baking items I put on our wedding registry was a baked doughnut pan. After a long time of B despairing of my choice of gift requests, and me remaining insistent that this is what I really, really wanted, someone bought it, and a few days later it arrived on our doorstep, making me a very, very happy bunny (thank you R and M!). 


I set about following Joy the Baker's recipe for Brown Butter Baked Doughnuts with a Chocolate Glaze. Topped with rainbow sprinkles (this is America so that's totally allowed, in fact, it would be strange if they were sprinkle free over here), and eaten with a morning coffee, it's safe to say B has come round to the idea that this doughnut pan may just be a very useful bit of kitchen equipment after all. 


The brown butter and nutmeg in the doughnut batter make them nutty and warming, and the chocolate glaze shines beautifully, and sets perfectly. We only have one left now: I've got a feeling there's going to be a fight over the last bite.


Joy the Baker's recipe can be found here. I'll be trying out her other baked doughnut recipes very soon. Probably this afternoon.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Fuku


I survived my first trip to the American dentist. After an hour of polishing and cleaning and scrubbing and scraping, my English smile was taken away and I walked out of the surgery one step closer to achieving that glinting American grin. To celebrate making it through that traumatic hour, B picked me up and we walked through the busy streets from Washington Square to East Village for one of David Chang's newly famous chicken sandwiches at Fuku.

With standing room only and a concise menu of chicken sandwich, a couple of sides and a selection of drinks, we ordered a sandwich each and grabbed a space at the wooden bar which winds round the room.

A few minutes later, B's name was called out and he was handed a brown paper bag containing two heat proof food bags with the word 'DELICIOUS' printed repeatedly all over them. Opening up the bag, we were greeted with a face full of steam. A soft, disintegrating potato roll was almost comically wrapped around a huge chicken thigh which spills out on either side. A few pickles are squished into the middle and an umami rich butter is spread on the inside. The first bite into the chicken reveals a kick from the habanero purée and spices that the chicken is marinaded in before it's covered in buttermilk and fried. A crisp, flavour-packed interior leads into the most moist and juicy chicken. With a dab of the Chang-branded Ssäm sauce for an extra punch, this chicken sandwich was devoured in a matter of seconds.

Fuku, 163 First Avenue, New York, NY 10003

Friday, 9 October 2015

5 Things & 3 More


5 happy things from a sunshine-filled week:

1. Running over Brooklyn Bridge with the sunrise
2. Crunchy apples
3. Champagne on the Upper East Side
4. Working in the afternoon sunshine on our little patio
5. Leaving the dentist


3 things to read over the weekend:

1. Questions about the bombing of a hospital that need to be answered.
3. The mystery of the real cappuccino.

I hope your weekend is filled with coffee and wine and sunshine. 

X

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Early October at Union Square Greenmarket


Fall has arrived in New York: the days are shorter, the air is cooler, there's a breeze blowing in the trees, and gradually, gradually, the leaves are changing colour. With this change in season, comes a change in the food I crave. Suddenly making a soup or roasting something in the oven has become an attractive thought, and apple crumble has made its way back onto the dining table every weekend.


The Farmers' markets are one day sheltering from wind and rain and the next day basking in the warm sunlight. The produce is slowly becoming more and more autumnal, but hints of a glorious summer which has come to an end are still visible in small heaps and piles if you search for them.



Squash and pumpkins in all shapes and sizes are the centerpiece of the October market. There's butternut squash and acorn squash, the less tasty spaghetti squash, and stripy ones and long bendy ones I don't know the name of. There are also pumpkins which are perfect for carving, which I will do as soon as I embrace this American obsession with Halloween (I'm still rather wary at the moment), as well as gorgeous striped, bumpy decorative gourds which will soon be replacing the wild flowers as the go-to apartment decoration.


The stalls that aren't squash-centered are covered in crates of apples and pears. I can't explain how happy apple season makes me. My poor shoulders which have to haul all the kilograms of apples home after every market trip would probably tell a different story. No scented candle will ever come close to smelling as heavenly as apples cooking on the stove, simmering away in butter and a sprinkling of brown sugar. 




The concord grapes smell sweet and look like beautiful little gems nestled in their turquoise punnet. I'm too lazy to bother with deseeding them and all the other fiddly bits that goes with cooking them, but I still pause to think about it for a little while, and admire the others who do pick up a punnet to go home and wrestle with in their own kitchen.



Bunches of greens of all varieties attract the kale enthusiasts from far and wide. Leafy, crunchy, and tied up in huge bunches; kale, cavolo nero, broccoli rabe, spinach, and collard greens are on rotation at our little dining table this week.



You have to be fast to grab a punnet of the last of the tomatoes. Juicy and almost overripe, these beautiful heirlooms are dragging their feet into Autumn, unwilling to leave the market for another year.





Garlic has also begun to show its face in the last couple of days. You can smell it from the the stand next door: sweet and strong. The bulbs sit next to the greens, their proximity forcing you to remember how fabulous these two things will taste when tossed together for a couple of minutes with a dash of olive oil. 



And last but not least, the potatoes are here. All colours, shapes and sizes have made an abrupt entrance. The weather needs to turn cooler soon so there's enough of an excuse to roast, bake, boil, mash, and steam all of them, always with a lot of butter and just enough salt. Thinking about it has got my tummy rumbling already. 



This weekend will be filled with potatoes, cavolo nero, a few squidgy tomatoes, pumpkins, and lots of apples. I couldn't be more excited.



Union Square Greenmarket, East 14th Street, Park Avenue South & Broadway, New York, NY 10003
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