Honey and
Ricotta
a food journal

Friday, 30 September 2016

5 Things & 3 More


5 happy things from the last 5 days:

1. PB&J bagel breakfast.
2. Post-busy day debrief with B over a G&T.
3. Camomile tea accompaniment to phone calls.
4. Filling up the diary with so many plans.
5. Post-hike day in the sun exhaustion.

3 things to read this weekend:

1. A few days in the life of the endlessly inspiring Ruth Reichl.
2. How does Diana Henry write so many brilliant recipes?
3. A side by side comparison of how Trump and Clinton have spent the last 25 years.

Have a beautiful weekend my friends!

X

Monday, 26 September 2016

Moo Moo's Creamery, Cold Spring


Sunday was a perfect day. Fall has arrived in New York. The air is crisp, the skies are blue, there's a light breeze, the humidity has disappeared, and the leaves are gradually, gradually darkening, yellowing, and falling to the ground. In other words, this was the perfect day to head upstate for a hike. So at 8.30am on a Sunday morning with our bags filled with homemade lunch and plenty of water, we hopped on a train at Grand Central (sadly, no Serena van der Woodsen sightings this time) and headed up along the Hudson river until we reached Breakneck Ridge. 


Unsurprisingly, this popular hike was more than a little busy on this dreamy day, so we scrambled harder and faster than everyone else up the sheer cliff face that makes up Breakneck Ridge, and kept going up and up, over the rocks, higher and higher above the river, until we'd lost the crowds, had reached the summit, and were seemingly on top of the world. All we could see around us were miles and miles of dense forest, a wide, bending river, and bright blue skies.


Not ones to be sensible when it comes to walking/running/exercising/taking the easy route in life generally, this one climb wasn't enough. So we followed the path down through the trees and then wound our way up to the summit of Bull Hill, stopping briefly for lunch looking out over the vast canopy of trees, before putting our knees and ankles to the test as we clambered down until we finally arrived in Cold Spring. After a well-earned drink at Cold Spring Depot our tummies were rumbling, so we went on a hunt for ice cream. Thankfully, Moo Moo's Creamery wasn't too many steps away. 


The line winding outside the door of this shop in this quiet, idyllic town was a good sign. After walking for many, many hours, spending five minutes waiting in line, admiring the genuinely ginormous ice creams that all the smiling customers were walking out the door with, wasn't too hard. We finally ordered a single scoop each (B was adamant he didn't want a cone, and I was adamant I did, so no sharing was going to happen): golden oreo for me and maple walnut for B. This single scoop (which was actually multiple scoops, but apparently qualifies here as a single scoop) of ice cream was genuinely the biggest ice cream I've ever been given. Thankfully, the top secret family recipe, and fabulous flavors meant eating it, while we sat watching the sun sparkle on the river, was no challenge. 


Moo Moo's is an amazing little spot, especially after a super long hike. Their ice cream is all homemade, made fresh daily, and their are 16 flavors available every day. The cow print covering the shop and its interior are just an extra reason to smile. Apparently the ice cream store was opened by a guy called Alexi, who graduated from Syracuse University, started training to be an accountant, realized he hated being an accountant, and decided ice cream would make a better career choice. He made the right decision. I hope he knows that. If you're ever up in Cold Spring, and in need of a post-hike treat, don't miss out on the opportunity to eat an ice cream as tall as the mountain you just climbed.


Moo Moo's Creamery, 32 West St, Cold Spring, NY 10516

Friday, 23 September 2016

5 Things & 3 More


5 happy things from a challenging 5 days:

1. A double gin and tonic. It was necessary.
2. Lovely people responding to my emails.
4. Tasting this crazy Black Tap x By CHLOE vegan milkshake.
5. Drinking all the amari at August Laura.

3 things to read over the weekend:

1. The woman behind the stunning interiors at Sketch in London.
3. Deb from Smitten Kitchen's words to all food bloggers who are just starting out.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Levain Bakery


Levain Bakery is something of a New York institution. If you've ever walked past the line of people snaking round the block where this fabulous-smelling bakery sits on on the Upper West Side, you'll have understood that this place is kind of a big deal. I'm not really keen on spending my weekends standing on the sidewalk for several hours, which is why I hadn't tried one of this city-famous cookies until last weekend. Thankfully, there's one simple secret to get a taste of these humongous, six ounce cookies without spending your afternoon waiting in line: Head to the Harlem location.

After a dinner of chicken and waffles, the thought of eating our way through a giant cookie seemed like a challenge, but one I was willing to tackle. When we stepped through the door of Levain, smelled the melting chocolate, and spied the trays of freshly baked cookies, it didn't seem so challenging after all. We took one double chocolate and one oatmeal raisin: We'd had every intention of just having one to share, but couldn't agree on just one flavor, so one became two, and very nearly three, but we managed to find some self-control, and restrained ourselves. 

The craggy, crackly, almost crisp crust reveals that much-Instagrammed, soft, dough-y, barely cooked interior. Whether you opt for the dark, deep, intense chocolate one, studded with molten chunks of milk chocolate, or the lighter, almost sweeter, gently spiced oatmeal raisin one, you're making the right choice. There are many reasons why these cookies are often deemed to be the best in New York, and one of them is that all the flavors are totally perfect. 

And in case the cookie itself wasn't enough, the story behind them will hopefully make you fall totally head over heels for this bakery: The tale goes that the bakery founders created this cookie when they were training for an Ironman Triathlon and needed a post-workout snack which was chock-a-block full of calories and sustenance, and this was their answer. Maybe I need to start training for an Ironman so that I can have one of these cookies everyday, or maybe I'll skip the training and just stand in the line as my triathlon training instead.

Levain Bakery, 2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

For other locations, click here.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Amy Ruth's


I had my first taste of fried chicken and waffles almost two years ago. It was a skeptical first bite, which soon had me grabbing for more waffles, more chicken, and more syrup. So when we found ourselves in Harlem this weekend, a trip to Amy Ruth's was an absolute necessity.

Amy Ruth's is a huge maze of a restaurant. We were led through one room of people, past another packed dining room, by the kitchen, up the stairs, and into another, less full room of hungry, happy, fried chicken eating customers. We were thrown a couple of menus, and the hostess, who as B aptly described 'wasn't exactly full of the charms of spring', left us.

But any lack of charm from our waitress was soon made up for by a much friendlier server bringing us huge cups of iced water, warm cornbread, and melting butter. He took our order (efficiency is not lacking here), and we had pretty much eaten both slices of the sweet, fluffy cornbread, slathered in salty butter of course, before our order had even made it to the kitchen.


B decided he wasn't going to skimp on any part of this experience, so ordered a half-lemonade, half iced tea, which was sickly sweet, wonderfully refreshing, and, had we not been so in need of a big boost of sugar, would probably have led us head first into the strongest of sugar crashes.


Our chicken was soon delivered, and we were faced once again with the reality of astounding American portion sizes. One wonderfully thick waffle was topped with they most humungous fried chicken thigh, served with three extra portions of butter, and a huge bottle of syrup. This made my previous (British) chicken and waffle experience seem rather sad in comparison. It also made my love for this wonderfully unhealthy dish even stronger. 


But we weren't here just for the waffles. When there's an item on the menu called the 'Barack Obama', there was no way we were leaving without having it. A huge side of chicken (it seemed to be the majority of a chicken had been placed whole in the frier, and then put on our plate) had been cooked to juicy, moist, crispy-exterior perfection. It was served with our choice of sides – mac and cheese and collard greens – because we definitely needed some more carbs and fat with this meal, and having some green on one of our plates made us feel slightly healthier. Who am I kidding? The greens were dotted with meat and were salty and delicious, and totally unhealthy too. It was fabulous.

There's nothing apologetic, nothing fancy, and nothing not to love about Amy Ruth's. If you're looking for some proper Southern food, I've not yet found anything better in NYC.

Amy Ruth's, 113 West 116th Street, Harlem, NY 10026

Friday, 16 September 2016

5 Things & 3 More


5 happy things from the last 5 days:

1. Post-work margaritas
2. Lunchbreaks with B at the new Cava Grill.
3. Stretching out my supremely tight hamstrings in yoga.
4. Stranger Things.
5. Fancy ceviche lunch at Latin Beet Kitchen.

3 things to read this weekend:

1. A few words on a magical man, Roald Dahl.
3. Should you ever order house wine? And if so, when?

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream


I have no idea how I have been living in my basement Brooklyn apartment for over a year now, and I haven’t told you all about one of the best things about it. There’s no doubt that when we were cluelessly walking the streets of Brooklyn last August, searching for an apartment, our decision to settle on the one we did was largely due to its insane proximity to both Blue Bottle Coffee, and Van Leeuwen Ice Cream. Since moving in last September we have undoubtedly made the most (well the most that our budget will allow) of our two nearby food hot spots.

Van Leeuwen began, as all hipster New York food companies seem to do, as a food truck roaming the streets of Brooklyn, back in 2008. This business has now become what they describe as a ‘mini empire’ of bricks and mortar ice cream shops (with an emphasis on exposed bricks, because, well, Brooklyn), in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and even all the way over in LA. But unlike many food businesses who expand so far, the quality of these ice creams is still tip top. And although I wasn’t here in 2008 to taste the food truck original, the product can’t have deteriorated at all, because the product today is still perfection.


Unlike the wonderfully over the top, ingredient-stuffed, creative, wacky flavors found at our other favorite ice cream stop, Ample Hills, Van Leeuwen focuses on quality and simplicity. Their permanent menu (the specials, which change almost daily, are often slightly more bonkers, ranging from fluffer nutter, to matcha, to s’mores, to vegan boysenberry shortcake) focuses on the classics, in both dairy-full and vegan, dairy-free versions. Chocolate, mint chip, ginger, vanilla, salted caramel, cookie dough, pistachio, and strawberry are available year round, and we’ve pretty much tried them all. And we are more than happy to repeatedly try them all at least once a week, for the entire year, every year. Obviously in the winter the scoops will need to be topped with a splodge of hot chocolate fudge sauce.

I’m normally fairly skeptical of vegan-takes on totally non-vegan food products, but Van Leeuwen’s ice cream has totally destroyed that view. They’ve not got their vegan ice cream to its top ice cream spot status by just swapping the regular milk and cream for a soy equivalent. Instead they’ve actually thought and tested and carefully considered how to go about making vegan ice cream which tastes wonderful, has a beautiful texture, and doesn't make you feel ill. And in my opinion, many of their vegan ice creams are even better than the non-vegan ones.  Creamy, silky coconut milk seems to create a perfect ice cream base, especially when it’s dotted with vegan cookie dough, and eaten alongside a scoop of totally non-vegan spicy ginger ice cream. Hopefully this all goes some way to explain why Van Leeuwen is a weekly (and in the heat of summer, daily) splurge we religiously treat ourselves to.



Van Leeuwen, 81 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 

P.S. Most of their locations are open from seven in the morning until midnight. It’s never too early or late for ice cream.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Cava Grill


I have a new top lunch spot. My normal routine of rotating between the kale Caesar at Sweetgreen, a giant smoothie from Juice Generation, and a square of zucchini topped focaccia from Eataly has been interrupted this week with a new addition: Cava Grill. It seems that food entrepreneurs in DC have mastered the art of making healthy, filling, fresh, beautiful lunches, with both Sweetgreen and Cava Grill being founded there in recent years. Thankfully, both these business have now spread their wings and flown off across America, much to the delight of those of us who don't live in Washington.

Cava Grill opened a couple of weeks ago right by Union Square, and I’ve become a full-blown grain bowl addict since then. The food at this new lunch spot is predominantly Greek (and less dominantly broadly Mediterranean) cuisine, and the totally customizable menu features all my favorite flavors and ingredients such as feta, tahini, hummus, eggplant, falafel, cabbage slaw, lightly pickled vegetables, crunchy pita chips, nutty brown rice, and wonderfully spicy harissa. While your first visit may seem daunting as there’s no ‘suggested’ bowls or wraps available, meaning you have to make all the many decisions yourself, I’m pretty sure that you couldn’t make a bad lunch from these options, no matter how hard you tried.


I’ve already stumbled on a favorite combination, which starts with a base of brown rice, arugula, and baby spinach, is topped with crazy feta (feta smashed with jalapeños), hummus, and tzatziki, crispy falafel balls are thrown over that, and then the whole thing is sprinkled with cabbage slaw, cherry tomatoes and lightly pickled onions, chopped pita chips, and another sprinkling of feta, before being coated in a herby tahini dressing. All this is also served with a mini pita, in case you're still hungry. This lunchtime feast is worth waiting in line for, no matter how slowly the crowd of people seem to be progressing towards the checkout. And if you’re extra hungry, there are Ovenly chocolate chip cookies available for dessert. Just FYI.

Cava Grill, 143 4th Avenue, New York, NY 10003

Friday, 9 September 2016

5 Things & 3 More


5 happy things from the last 5 days:

1. Blueberry muffins for breakfast.
2. Sleeping, sleeping, sleeping. Jet lag seems to be implementing in itself in a way that just makes me permanently exhausted.
3. Afternoon cups of tea.
4. Wearing in my new shoes.
5. Running through the streets of Brooklyn late at night for the Superfund Super Run. Made even better by winning 2nd in my age group. Yippee!

3 things to read over the weekend:

1. This cocktail connoisseur is so super talented and inspiring.
2. Everything bagel galettes are, well, everything.
3. These photos are super over the top, extravagant #summergoals.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The Three Horseshoes, Madingley


You may or may not know that my family have always and forever been in the hotel and restaurant business. This probably goes quite far in explaining why I now seem to manage to make a living by talking about everything we eatAnyway, many moons ago, The Three Horseshoes at Madingley was run, managed, designed, and owned by maman and papa. They since sold it, but it has now boomeranged back into their hands, and they are working night and day to transform what has become a slightly out of control, dilapidated space, back to its former glory. Unsurprisingly, they are doing a magical job.

Last Wednesday lunchtime, the sun came out and we all filled a colorful picnic bench in the green garden behind the thatched roof restaurant. We had yoga in the evening, so no drinking was allowed, but we made up for it imbibing our annual allowance of San Pellegrino in one fell swoop. To accompany the water were squares of rosemary focaccia, dipped in zingy olive oil, and citrusy, nutty Sicilian Nocellara olives.


We then all shared one of the most simple yet flavor-packed dishes I've eaten in a long time: A tin of swanky sardines served with toasted sourdough and a spoonful of paprika. The idea is that you recreate the classic, ever-reliable, well-loved meal of sardines on toast. Sometimes simplicity is best, and you really can't go wrong by starting your meal like this.


We then ordered a large portion of the menu, and the typical Hoskins-family rigorous tasting of everybody else's plate of food commenced. An elegant crab brik (spelling mistake intentional) was crunchy and crisp on the outside, and revealed a perfectly spiced, seafood interior.


Peaches and prosciutto was as perfect a summer lunch as you are currently imagining. Grilled sweet peaches, salty prosciutto, and purple basil created a real taste of Italian summer enjoyed in a British garden.


Corn and baby mushroom tagliatelle was doused in a beautiful amount of butter, coated with herbs, and scattered with soft cheese. The combination of crunchy summer corn, al dente strands of pasta, salty cheese, fresh herbs, woody mushrooms, and rich butter combined a range of flavors and textures to create an incredibly addictive and more-ish meal.


Giant couscous salad with fresh peas, broad beans, pea shoots, sunflower seeds, parsley, mint, and edible flowers was as tasty as it was pretty: Instagram fodder with plenty of flavor supporting it.


We finished our leisurely weekday lunch sitting in the deck chairs sipping on espresso and trying to resist eating too many of these gorgeous, giant, dark chocolate truffles. If only every Wednesday afternoon could be spent this way.


The Three Horseshoes, High Street, Madingley, Cambridge, CB23 8AB

Monday, 5 September 2016

Padella


Since we left London last August, we've been keeping tabs on all the new food-related openings, which restaurants have rave reviews, which ones have lines round the block, and which have apparently been a disappointment. With just 3 short days in London town on our first trip back, there was a lot of eating which needed to happen: Discovering the new, and returning to our old favorites. After a breakfast of pancakes at Pavilion Café, a walk from Islington down to Borough, and a coffee stop at Monmouth, we joined the surprisingly short queue (based on the horror stories we'd heard previously) outside Padella.

A brief ten minutes later, we were seated at a table outside. The staff, in typical Italian fashion, rather brusquely threw down menus, poured us some water, and left us arguing over whether we should have pappardelle or ravioli. 


We started with a crunchy salad of radicchio, watercress, and rocket, which was perfectly dressed with a citrus-y vinaigrette and dotted with fresh mint leaves to help balance out those bitter red leaves. We needed some vegetables to be added to our carb-heavy day, and this was the tastiest, most refreshing way to consume them.


Tagliatelle with nduja, mascarpone, and parsley was spicy, sweet, and creamy, but not too much of any of those things. The pasta was as wonderful as you'd expect it to be when you know that this restaurant comes from the team behind Trullo in Highbury: Not at all claggy and wonderfully al dente.


But I have no doubt in my mind that the real star of the show, and perhaps our whole trip was the ricotta ravioli with sage butter. As all of you loyal readers will know, ravioli really is my desert island dish. When I'm served a plate of these pasta parcels stuffed full of what is (obviously) one of my favorite ingredients – ricotta – and doused in fragrant, lightly perfumed, almost nutty butter, I am quite possibly (momentarily at least) the happiest girl on the planet. When I remember that this plate of gluten and cheese only cost me £7, you're going to struggle to prevent me from talking about it non-stop for the next six months.

Padella, 6 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TQ

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Shawarma Bar by Berber & Q


No matter how much we love our life in New York, London will always hold a supremely important place in our hearts. Coming back to East London is like returning to a food mecca which we know how to navigate perfectly, without making any mistakes, wasting any time, or taking any wrongs turns on the way to some of our favorite ever places to eat. This explains why having arrived in London at 2.10 on Thursday afternoon, by 2.30 we had taken the window seats at Berber and Q's new Shwarma Bar in Exmouth Market.

This tiny space slots right into the tasty street which is Exmouth Market. On this sunny day, Shawarma Bar's windows were flung wide open, a few tables and chairs scattered the pavement,  and colorful tiles decorated the inside, interrupted by leafy green plants, almost mirrored pendant lights, and metal legged bar stools and tables. Wonderfully late on a warm weekday lunchtime there was no sign of a queue – just a few seats at the bar and a couple of tables were filled with happy customers drinking the last sips of their wine and wiping up the final strains of tahini sauce left in a plethora of bowls. 

We came with the intention of having a small(ish) lunch, perhaps sharing a small portion of the eponymous shawarma. However when we got our hands on the menu, our self-control was abandoned. And thank goodness for that, because everything we tasted we wanted more and more of: it was all we could do to force ourselves to leave our seats in time to get to our next appointment.


I'm not sure I've ever been served a more simply spectacular, stunning dish than this plate covered with a wonderfully generous flower of labne which had been sprinkled, drizzled, doused, and dotted with green chillies, dill, lemon zest, pistachios, and plenty of spices. Served with warm challah bread, we scooped up mouthful after mouthful after mouthful until an incredibly clean plate remained.


The classic lamb shawarma is a dish of many components, which make for a riotously colorful tableful of food. Piling everything onto your plate, on top of a warm, thick pita bread, leads to mouthfuls rich with nutty tahini, smoky lamb, sweet pickles, spicy Harissa, fresh tomatoes, and warming chillies. With a side of spiced mejadra, topped with salty, crispy onions,  I was ready to take up residence in this tiny little restaurant for the rest of the week. Every spoonful I ate seemed to become tastier and tastier. It took a lot of effort to persuade me to stop considering moving back to London immediately so that this flavor-packed bar would be so much more local.


Shawarma Bar, 46 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QE
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