Tag Archives: food

Warning: This Will Change Your Life. Chicken, Edamame and Ginger Soup

2 Apr

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Pret – a -Manger inspired Chicken, Ginger and Edamame Soup.

A few weeks ago I forgot to take lunch into work, and nipped out to Pret to get food on the run. I opted for the Soup-er Healthy Chicken, Ginger and Edamame Soup for a quick lunch, and I’ve not been able to get it out of my head since, with it obviously not appearing on the menu again, like a mirage in the desert.

Like when I was a teenager and insisted on playing the same album on repeat until my sister threw it away, I have become somewhat obsessive about popping in just on the off chance that they have it again, totally prepared to throw my sandwiches at a passing seagull and stock up if ts on the menu. It hasn’t been.111

So I decided to recreate it. I Googled the soup to see if I could find the recipe, and all I found was a soup-er unhelpful pret page telling me about the fantastic wonder of said soup, sans recipe.

But wait……… it did have the main ingredients. I could totally work with this.

Chicken, Ginger and Edamame Soup

According to Pret: dairy free, egg free, gluten free and under 200 calories (unless you buy a cream cake to go with it, or a family pack of crisps).

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Ingredients

1 cooked chicken

3 spring onions

One red onion

3 tsps sliced ginger

1 tsp garlic paste

2tsps tomato paste

2 packs edamame beans

Handful kale (optional, freestylin’)

2 pints chicken stock

Method

Shred the chicken meat from the roast chicken, removing the skin. Heat some oil in a large stockpot and throw in the shredded chicken. Add the diced onion, ginger, garlic paste and tomato paste, and stir. Fry for 2 mins before adding 2 pints of chicken stock. Simmer. Stir in the tamarind paste and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 20 mins.

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Voila!!

Seriously, this soup will change your life.

Have you ever eaten something that you wish you had the recipe for or could recreate yourself?

Eating My Way Around – Cape Town Fish Market, London

30 Jan

This week, I met with one of my best gal pals, and we visited our meet up haunt, Cape Town Fish Market (Oxford Street, London). It’s a restaurant just off Oxford Street, and it does the most amazing seafood. It even has the tag line “any fresher and you would need a fishing rod”, and the fish swim around in massive tanks, which adds to the whole drama of the place. It’s lovely.

They have a great offer for card holders, so we often meet up on a Tuesday and gorge on the most delicious sushi; California rolls with tempura prawns and a mango wrap, melt in your mouth sashimi and all different types of nigiri, plus wasabi mayonnaise, kohlrabi sauce and of course, soy glaze. It’s a bit pricey, but with the deal card it makes it really reasonable for good sushi (and I am a massive sushi snob) and honestly, I would go on a non deal night, it’s that good.

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Sushi, it makes miso happy

They also have a fairly extensive menu, including my personal favourite, the surf and turf. You think you know surf and turf, right? Hunk of steak covered in prawns?

You can’t even begin to imagine.

This surf and turf is out of this world, and features a real twist on the classic. Instead of steak they present you with twice cooked pork belly, and replacing the prawns are some dainty little scallops. The whole thing comes with wilted spinach, and is by far my favourite meal out. in fact, I love to try different things if I go to the same place twice, but on this occasion, I JUST CAN’T. I fear that I might get food envy if anyone else chooses it and I don’t, so I hedge safely and choose my favourite. And I am never disappointed.

This is my local go to when guests from out of town visit as it’s a bit of a crowd pleaser, and although its busy if you book you are generally guaranteed a table. The staff don’t rush you (I was there 20 mins before my friend this week and they happily let me sit with my wine and browse Facebook) and the general feel of the restaurant is happy and chilled. Just my jam.

Have you been? What is your favourite place to take guests when they are in your town?

Eating My Way Around: Burger Lobster, London

28 Jan

I’m a foodie. When I say that, I would like to caveat that I am not one of those foodies who thinks that there should be a big plate and not a lot of dinner on it, nor am I the type of person that eats things like ‘seafood foams’ or ‘chicken basket’ (the latter sounds slightly more like the fare you would expect in KFC rather than a Michelin star restaurant, but I digress :) ) I simply love food.

Doesn’t matter what food. There is very little I don’t like. Living in a city like London, I am like a child in a sweetshop. Spoilt for choice on interesting cuisines to nibble on or places to visit. I have a list as long as my arm of restaurants I have heard about on the grapevine, and I like to go and see as much as I can.

In 2013, I crossed off some really good ones, including Shaka Zulu (Camden, London – read my review here) and Balthazar (Covent Garden, London) but this year I am upping the ante and eating my way through London, one mouth-watering morsel at a time.

This weekend, we visited Burger Lobster in the City, one of the 5 of this chain in London. The premise is simple, there are no menus, you simply have the choice of burger, or lobster (with the added bonus of a lobster roll). You can have the lobster grilled or steamed, but they are the only choices (the cocktails menu however, is pretty extensive!).

Simple. Perfect. Having heard great things about the lobster roll; a brioche bun stuffed to the brim with dressed lobster, complete with fries, side salad and an amazing lemon and garlic butter sauce, I plumped for that. And I wasn’t disappointed. If you ever come to London then you need to get yourself there and try it out. its by far the best lobster I’ve had in a while, plus its nice to have it all de-shelled before its plonked in front of you (I know I’m a heathen but it prevents me from getting covered in it).

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The dessert is pretty simple too. There are 2 options, and they change regularly. The white and dark chocolate parfait was AMAZING – all in all, a fantastic lunch.

For an additional secret tip, I recommend visiting the City location on the weekend. Soho always has a line right round the block during lunch and dinner sittings, but with the weekend being mostly closed in the city, the tables are a lot easier to get and there isn’t much need for a reservation.

Where are your recommendations for fantastic places to eat out?

Biscuiteers Blogger Meet Up, Notting Hill

17 Dec

When Lauren from Aspiring Kennedy emailed me about a blogger meet up, I was dubious. I find these things really awkward, talking to people I don’t know and trying to find a common ground, when essentially we have all been grouped together over such an ambiguous love, words.

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Biscuiteers, physical location in London’s Notting Hill

But when she mentioned biscuits, I was there. I mean really Lauren, you should just lead with that!

I’m so glad I went. What I experienced was the cutest little shop, Biscuiteers, and a collection of really lovely girls all icing biccies to their heart’s content, and getting covered in sugar syrup in the process.

There were pre-iced ones so we didn’t feel like total idiots, and we iced bauble and Christmas tree shapes, trying desperately to make them look even a little like the ones the lovely ladies who work there had crafted. Not so lucky in my case, but I had fun all the same!

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DIY Gingerbread house. SHUT. UP

The shop is darling. They sell all sorts of iced cookies, from day of the dead masks, to Superman, to an entire nativity crafted out of buttery biscuitness. Sadly, my godforsaken iPhone has died since the event so I am having to borrow photos from the other girls there to give you a visual idea, but if you ever find yourself in Notting Hill, go forth and find them. You will be plunged into a biscuity heaven!

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Biscuitty montage courtesy of ruthlgarner.com, who is a whizz with a camera!

I also met some lovely girls there, including Ruth from The Planned Adventure, Becca from Urban Flipflops and Amber from Amber Nouveau not to mention the lovely-as-ever Lauren who writes over at Aspiring Kennedy, and orchestrated the whole event. Check them out, all well worth a read.

Happy Holidays!

Sushi Making at Suzu

11 Nov

A few months ago I saw a deal on one of the discount sites, and in the spirit of living in the moment and treating each day like its your last, I decided to buy a sushi making course.

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When my Grandfather died on Sunday, I wanted to do nothing more than cancel it till further notice, curl up in my bed and delete the daylight. I think that’s expected when you lose someone close to you, so I closed the doors to the world apart from loved ones, boyfriend and housemate, and licked the emotional wounds.

You might not believe in signs, so on this occasion I will ignore you and plough on with my story. My Grandmother had handed me a pile of papers that she thought I might like to have, and I had stuffed them in my handbag, too sad to read them. But late last week I pulled out the envelope and flicked through the papers. One thing was a small promotional book about sushi made by a Japanese beer company, and in it was the different types of sushi and which beer went well. As I read, a small, folded piece of paper fluttered out the back from where it had been hidden, and landed on my lap.

I unfolded the paper, and there was a note from my Granddad in his jagged scrawl. Scribbled across this ripped page I read Japanese words plus their English translations; words and phrases designed to show politeness in another language.

That was my Granddad all over. We used to go to the Italian restaurant in my home town and he would speak to the waitresses in Italian. They were all born and bred in the UK and didn’t have a clue what he was saying, but he would attempt all the same. I had to keep the class. I felt like it was his way of telling me to pull my socks up and get on with my life. After all, I’m still living mine.

The class was amazing. Two and a half hours of being taught how to make sushi (accompanied by us scoffing our creations) and sipping plum wine. We got taught California rolls, hokosaki and nigiri, as well as getting a cookery book and a roll mat to take home with us.

If you are based in London and fancy checking it out, click here.

What have you done a little differently recently?

Feasting At Shaka Zulu

3 Oct

Food is my thing. I’m not a painter, I don’t particularly care about festivals or live music, but I love food.

Everyone loves food.

Not like me. I dream in cheeseboards and rostis and I love to go to new places, try new foods and immerse myself in dips, sauces and spices. i get excited about a new restaurant and when a friend talks about somewhere amazing I stick it on my hit list.

I’m a secret not so secret eater.

So I don’t waste your time boring you about every place I have eaten, given that it wouldn’t be very exciting for you, but every now and then I find one that I just have to shout about.

And Shaka Zulu is one of those examples.

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A tiny door is nestled in the heart of Camden Market, and an escalator descents into what can only be described as an African Odyssey. The walls are adorned with carvings of scenes from the plains and the fabrics that cover the chairs are a blend of exotic colours and tribal prints.

Often these places are gimmicky; all style and no substance and I was worried that this might be the case with Shaka Zulu, but I was pleasantly surprised. We ordered to share; one Ostrich with roasted beetroot and plaintain puree and one Springbok with a rocket salad. The menu also offers Zebra and Alligator as well as potjie and bobotie.

We loved it. for a birthday treat it was something a little more exciting than Nando’s, and had all the glamour of a special occasion. If you are ever in London I would strongly recommend a visit.

What’s your favourite place to eat?

Let Them Tweet Cake!

16 Sep

The last few weeks have been manically busy with birthdays, sick people and work so once again, writing has taken a backseat.

* Slaps hand and promises to try harder in future*

I’ve been on hand making chicken soup, buying cough medicine and generally doing a Florence Nightingale routine for various people, and as everyone who has ever come into contact with me knows, I am a notorious feeder. I genuinely believe that you can show love through food, feel better from the right veggies and garner comfort by eating. This might go against any advice by doctors, but you know what, I am laughing in the face of the doctor. Some food nurtures the body, other food nurtures the soul. And although I appreciate and recognise the importance of a healthy, balanced diet (blah blah blah) I also know that a birthday cake makes you feel the love. RIGHT?!

I had 3 birthdays in August, and for each and every one, I made a cake. There were a few touch and go moments, a dusting of tears and maybe, just maybe, a minor temper tantrum when all the fiddly little wafer curls kept falling off one of the cakes, but on the whole they were fairly successful.

1) The Boy’s Birthday Cake

Picture the scene. As much chocolate as you can physically get into a cake, with a ribbon twisted round the outside, for added effect. If I was Willy Wonka’s wife, it would be a really happy union.

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2) Mother Superior’s Birthday Celebration

This one was a hard task for me. My Mum doesn’t like chocolate cake or many chocolate based products, so I had to revise my tried and tested method to create something she would like. I swapped out the chocolate cake for lemon cake with lemon marmalade baked in, and decorated the outside with hazelnut wafer curls. Winning.

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3) Workmate Celebrations

One of the girls on my team also had a birthday, so I decided to show the love with cake. Why not. We had seen pictures on Pinterest (where else?) of a Pinata cake, and so with inspiration from the Great British Bake Off, I decided to go forth and have a go. The man in the supermarket thought I had an eating disorder as I stockpiled Smarties and various types of chocolate, but all in all it was successful, and a definite show stopper for the future!

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What have you guys been up to lately?

Portugal: A Culinary Quest

31 Jul IMG_1938

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”J.R.R. Tolkien

There are 2 types of people in this world: the sort who eats to live, to give themselves enough energy to keep going. They don’t savour each bite, don’t look forward to eating their food and trying new things – they simply eat because they must.

“I am a better person when I have less on my plate.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Then you have the other sort. The people who dream in multi-coloured joy of foods that they cannot wait to eat; whose taste buds explode like fireworks to new foods and who relish going out into the big wide world and sampling lots of foods that they have never tried before – a bucket lists of tastes and flavours.

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Virginia Woolf

I’m type 2. And I would rather die than be type one. I am the sort of person that is constantly exploring new foods, new combinations and new recipes. The type of girl who bakes for fun (despite avoiding sugary treats and therefore feeding those around me) and who cooks to de-stress. I cook for happiness, I cook for sadness. When someone dies or something bad happens I can often be found with my music blaring, stirring furiously at the stove, because it’s my happy place. Food boosts my soul. (And also my waist line, goddamit!)

Yesterday I flew back from a stay in Portugal, and over the next couple of day’s I’ll share my highlights, with the important stuff first. THE FOOD.

I’m a big believer in the idea of eating tapas and small bits; that way the greedy pig in me doesn’t have to opt for one item on the menu, and can instead eat a little bit of everything. I also love to dine on seafood, and frequenting a house right by the sea means that you can eat the freshest seafood that you will ever eat, against a beautiful Mediterranean backdrop.

Some of the highlights of my visit were: white wine sangria, squid and prawn kebabs, ice-cream and mussels – in fact there were too many delicious delicacies to pick!

 Ice Cream

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Seafood Cataplana

ImageA cataplana is a bit like a Portuguese version of a Spanish paella, but minus the rice. It is cooked in a large bronze dish, but without the rice it becomes more of a fish stew; packed with prawns, mussels, clams, sliced pork, langoustines and plenty of peppers and tomatoes. It’s a really hearty dish and a little strange to eat in the heat, but it’s a must have when on the Algarve. We valiantly tried to defeat it but it won!

Squid and Prawn Kebabs

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Delicious squid and prawn kebabs in my favourite restaurant, Pedros

The clue is pretty much in the title with this one :)

Clams with Garlic

ImageClams with garlic is one of my favourite Portuguese dishes. Served with bread for dipping in the juices, you squeeze the lemon over and get stuck in.

What is your favourite holiday food?

Let Them Eat Cake

19 Nov

This weekend saw the birthday of my friend Lauren, and since I didn’t have a clue what to buy her, I thought I would make a cake.

Let me give you some background. I used to be pretty bad at cakes. I had a dream that I might be a modern day Julia Childs, and at school I looked forward to the module in Home Economics where we made cakes. I whisked and prepped my first cake ever, put it in the oven, and promptly blew it up, taking out the two cakes in the oven above. Turns out you CAN put too much baking powder in cake mix. Who’d have thought it? I was kindly advised by the teacher to try something different for GCSE, and my hopes and dreams of becoming a chef were crushed (as if).

hyperbole and a half, one of my favourite cartoon blogs.

If you’ve been reading my blog a while you’ll know stubbornness is kinda my thing, and like the French teacher who told me I’d never amount to anything (I then proceeded to walk out of my final exam with a high A) I’m a pretty good cook. I do the Christmas dinner for my friends, and I’ve been known to rustle up entire three course meals for dinners. So f**k you, teachers!

So, back to the cake. Pinterest has been distracting me from daily life for a while now, and it makes me feel pretty inferior when i see all the absolutely outstanding recipes that people make, while I draw smily faces on the top of cupcakes. Out pops Stubborngirl! “Well if random, faceless Pinterest stranger can create masterpieces from cake, then so can I!” I think, without any background knowledge of said faceless user.

I looked at this one.

Bit much? Maybe.

Then I saw this one…

Yep, probably still a little too much effort for a Saturday.

And then I found my inspiration. A Kit Kat and M&M cake, In actual fact, I had my eye on it for a little while, but could never justify making it for a night in with a film. Although I reckon I could have had a good go at destroying one by myself :)

I went to the shop with a spring in my step, and some slight anticipation. I have done this before you see. When I was 20, I decided to lovingly craft my then-boyfriend a birthday cake. He loved playing the guitar, and in my head I would make a white cake with a guitar on it and be crowned the best girlfriend ever. Fantastic idea. In reality, my mother came home to me rocking and crying, sobbing at her “I don’t know how you do iiiiiiiiiiiittttttttttt!!!! Yours always look so gooooooooood!” When she investigated the situation, my cake looked like it had been hit by a car at speed and flattened, and the ‘guitar’ icing shape I had made was no more than a hotdog looking disaster with a really long sausage. Turns out that my head is far more creative than my hands. Mum had to sort the cake out, he was amazed, but I couldn’t lie and say that it was my work of art, in case friends and family started commissioning me for cakes. Imagine, me not being able to refuse and a birthday cake for a party looking like this…

“I don’t get it, she used to be so good at cakes!”

Anyway, I got there, bought all the ingredients, including four family packets of KitKats, and danced home, singing a song about baking a cake (It happens, can’t help it) and set to work.

It was awesome.

I sandwiched it together with chocolate spread, feeling very grown up (cake sandwiching?! Normally I just cover cupcakes in frosting so you can’t see how misshapen they are) and stuck the KitKats on the side.

Fuck. There might not be enough KitKats to go round. Not going back to the shop, I thought. Man already thinks I have an eating disorder due to the incorrect correlation between the amount of KitKats I am buying and my body weight. Must fit round!!

Panic over. They fit round. I iced the top with the M&Ms, and then spent 25 mins dancing round my kitchen like Will Smith in the Fresh Prince, marvelling at how amazing I am.

See!!!!!

“And lo, behold the cake that will end all cakes.”

A Wintery Weekend At Borough Market

1 Nov

It’s a rare occurrence, but this weekend was mine and mine alone. No neatly penned scribbles in the diary, no vague plans with the girls carried away into the air when we previously parted – nothing.

Exciting. I love the thought of a free weekend spanning out across the horizon with nothing interrupting it as it drifts away, and so I went about that brilliant hobby of making last minute plans to fill my day.

On Friday evening we decided, out of the blue, to go out in Camden. There was a bite in the breeze as the season is turning, but we had great fun drinking and dancing and talking with strangers. It just goes to show that when you are with your best friend, time passes too fast and very happily. No fair weather friends, just me and my partner in crime, having fun.

My Weekend In Photos

My Weekend In Photos

On Saturday we went to Borough Market. If you are based in London and haven’t been, or ever get to London, it’s a must. Lane upon lane of food stalls, the hustle and bustle of people browsing butchers and fishmongers, and the delightful smell of food stalls whetting your appetite and tantalising your taste buds. It was so hard not to stop at the first stall and chow down on paella, but luckily we resisted as we eventually came to a hog roast stand with cracking and applesauce. Yum!! We finished wandering the market and found an independent cafe to have some tea and warm our bones before heading out into the sleet to go home.

I woke early on Sunday, as the clocks had changed and took the train home to spend the day with two poorly little girls. We had great fun making pizza faces, watching movies and playing, with the kind of clingy cuddles that only sick kids give you, when they don’t want to be out exploiting and discovering, just having cosy cuddles.

How were your weekend? Seems like an age ago now!!

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