Honey and
Ricotta
a food journal

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Hambleton Hall

Writing this blog post has been on my to-do list for two months. I don't normally put things off, but this I have. My first excuse was that writing and thinking about this afternoon made me too homesick. It still does, but now to a more manageable level. My second was that I wasn't sure my words could do justice to this incredibly special, beautifully British, almost magical (at least it seems that way as I remember it from my basement apartment in Brooklyn) place. But the time has finally come to share the amazing meal we had at Hambleton Hall in late December to celebrate papa's birthday.

Fancy outfits were dug out from the back of the cupboard (or the bottom of the suitcase if you're me and B). Grey skies and heavy mists hung in the air. An eerie, mysterious British winter day. Stepping into the comforting, welcoming, country house-style interior of Hambleton Hall is like walking into a warm hug. A fireplace flickers in the corner, a Christmas tree towers above you, someone reaches for your jackets and scarves, and before you know it you've been swept through the corridors into the lounge, you've settled into the plush sofas with a view looking out over the gardens, and a glass of Champagne is in your hand.


A tray of gougères and tapioca and squid ink crisps topped with the the prettiest treats then come flying towards you. If I could preserve this moment and live it for the rest of my life, I would be wonderfully happy.


But soon, after you've chosen from the menu, it's time to move. But don't worry, you're not going far. Take your seat, and admire the many, many wine glasses laid out in front of you. A selection of bread will be offered, and you have to make a tricky decision: choose just one. Freshly whipped butter topped with seaweed and sea salt is slathered on top. Wine is poured and the food circus begins...


Root vegetable terrine, which looks like a piece of art to start. Shavings of truffles and artichoke ice cream share the plate for an explosion of textures and deep, savory tastes.


The table then split in two, between those who eat foie gras and those who don't. For the foie gras people there was a tower of the rich, creamy pâté, with cubes of green apple, perfectly sliced blackberries, and dabs of zingy lime green jelly. For the non-foie-gras amongst us there was a hamhock terrine topped with chutney, and a colorful salad of crunchy vegetables and bright piccalilli.


Sea bass with charred fennel, watermelon, barely smashed peas, samphire, and a rich, deep, dark, sticky glaze turned the elegant fish into a hearty, comforting dish.


Venison with chocolate tortellini, cauliflower purée and kale divided our opinions. I adored the mini chocolate pasta pockets, and others really didn't. But something we could all agree on was how perfectly the meat was cooked.


Finally it was time for the my sweet-toothed ecstasy. The most beautiful fluffy, light, airy, prune and Armagnac soufflé. Once we'd carved out a hole in the middle we dropped in the ice cream and watched it seep into the pudding.


As if we hadn't eaten enough, we then returned to the sofas for coffee, fresh mint tea, and petits fours— accompanied by a few card games — before we finally left this haven and headed home.



Hambleton Hall, Hambleton, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 8TH

Saturday, 25 February 2017

5 Things & 3 More


5 happy things from the last 5 days:

2. Racing over bridges.
3. Warm weather.
4. Handstands.
5. Post-work frozen margarita. Pretending it's summer in February is fun.

3 things to read this weekend:

1. I just finished reading Olivia Laing's 'The Lonely City', so I'm a little obsessed with Warhol. Reading this article about his death continued my fascination.
2. I would like to live the dream Upstate New York life.
3. Do you think my landlords would mind if I updated this apartment so it looked more like this?

Have a wonderful weekend!

x

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Gather


I seem to have fallen into a new, well-loved weekend routine: a long run followed by a slow, lazy brunch. I run faster with the knowledge that there's food and coffee waiting for me at the end, and the coffee and food tastes better thanks to the fast run. Plus, I feel like I'm living the lifestyle of someone who lives in a beautiful sun-drenched country, and not struggling through a long New York winter.

So after yesterday's sprints round the park, I met still-injured B in the heart of grown-up Park Slope at the beautifully light and bright café, Gather. White walls, huge glass windows, tiny round tables, the prettiest array of cakes and baked treats, the must-have Marzocco coffee machine, and a gathering of Park Slope locals - Gather is exactly what these lazy Sunday mornings are about. 


Two (generous-sized) flat whites were ordered (I told you, I'm spending most my days trying my hardest to replicate that Aussie lifestyle), with an avocado toast for me and egg, hash brown, and sausage hash for B. The avo toast took avo toast to a new level: packed full of cumin, chili flakes, citrus, sunflower seeds, and topped with a perfectly poached egg and fresh cilantro. It's time for everyone else to start upping their avo toast game. B's hash was meaty, salty, and exactly what B wants to eat for breakfast - preferably every day - and not just on the weekend.

We resisted buying a cookie to eat on the walk home, and instantly regretted it. The man next to us who was having a triple chocolate chip cookie alongside his avo toast for breakfast had made the best decision.

Gather, 341 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

5 Things & 3 More


5 happy things from the last 5 days:

1. Warm sunshine shining on my face.
2. Snowflakes.
3. Adding kimchi to everything.
4. B's ragù and gnocchi.
5. Matthew E. White & Flo Morrissey making music magic.

3 things to read this weekend:

1. I would like to go to Bali right about now please.
2. Freya's stunning photos of Pakistan and her peaceful, reasoning words remind you that there is joy and beauty everywhere, you just have to take the right approach.
3. Let's take a fortnight and go and visit the chateaux in the Loire, shall we? Can you tell I'm desperate to travel?

Have a wonderful weekend. We're off to the snowy white slopes for the day!

X

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

LDN-NYC


Those of you who have been reading for a while, and those of you who know me for in person, are well aware of the fact that I'm not a native New Yorker. I moved here from London 18 months ago. While I was back in London over the summer, C & I were having a desperately overdue catch-up.  Over (one too many) cocktails at 69 Colebrooke Row, work rants were aired, life highs and lows caught up on, and a decision was made about what would make our lives better: working together. And so LDN-NYC was born.

Every week we'll share our favorite bits and pieces from London and New York, from our favorite brunch hang-outs, an upcoming exhibition you absolutely must not miss, to the cult new yoga class you have to take. Obviously C is covering the London side of the world, and I'm doing NYC. We'd love, love, love it if you could head over there and check it out (and do give us a follow on Instagram too)!

If you have anything you'd love us to cover, any thoughts on what you think we're missing, or if you want to introduce us to our new most-loved cocktail bar, do just drop me a line!

Happy reading!

X

Friday, 3 February 2017

5 Things & 3 More


5 happy things from the last 5 days:

1. Turmeric tea. All day, every day.
2. Snowflakes.
3. Midweek bathtime.
4. Chicken soup.
5. Finally watching Boyhood (I know, I'm slow).

3 things to read over the weekend:

1. I have no idea why anyone would run any of these races. No thank you.
2. Angelina Jolie's response to Trump's travel ban should be read. By everyone. Especially Trump.
3. I think I need these choux au craquelin. I think they would make life better.

Happy weekend!

X

Thursday, 2 February 2017

King


When two girls from London's River Café move to New York and open a restaurant with white washed walls and wicker chairs, you book a table for the next celebration opportunity. That celebration just so happened to be my birthday.

Going out in Manhattan is a rarity for us Brooklynites. Now that my office is also based in this outer borough, it's rare I even step foot on that little, chaotic, noisy island, let alone go out there in the evening. But, sometimes it's worth stepping over the Brooklyn Bridge to see what's happening amongst all the bright lights.

Serving seasonal, simple food, with influences from both Italy and Southern France, King's daily changing menu is one you can't help but love. The white brick walls and open, brass light-fittings make you feel like you're in London, the woven chairs and white tablecloths transport you to Paris, and then the diamond-wearing women around you and the beautiful linen shirts sported by the front of house remind you that, this evening, you really are in Manhattan. The space is simple, and understated, but the people, service, and food take it up to the next level. Much like The River Café itself.

The short menu is fresh and seasonal. We began with a beautiful, giant, rosemary, salt, and olive oil-coated carta di musica (see top photo), which was handed to us with our cocktails.


Panisse followed. These are essentially chickpea fries. The polenta-like batter is fried until every piece is super crisp on the outside, slightly soft in the middle, and is then coated in salt and sage. All drinks should be accompanied by these salty treats. Ricotta with shaved fennel came next. Creamy ricotta, crisp, herbal fennel, and a splash of bright olive oil transforms these simple ingredients into an elegant dish.


We fought over every strand of pappardelle with pork ragù. Thick strips of fresh al dente pasta with meaty, smushy (not a word, I know) sauce tangled between the pieces made us very happy. I persuaded B to have fish (it was my birthday after all), so we shared the most giant piece of skate. Charred and dark on the outside, the white flesh was almost delicate as it fell off its thick bones.  The greens tossed with mashed anchovies added salty, iron-rich flavors to this stunning fish.


A beautiful slice of walnut tart with a pot of thick cream then came flying towards us. These few bites of sweet, nutty filling, surrounded by the thinnest pastry, and doused in a puddle of cream made the most beautiful ending to a beautiful evening. It was worth the trip over to the other side of the bridge.

King, 18 King Street, New York, NY 10014.
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