Tag Archives: food

2014 Travel – The New York Edit: Murray’s Cheese Bar

9 Jun 2

Everyone knows I LOVE cheese. Its one of those things that features heavily in my day to day, and I often don’t even bother opting for the dessert menu, plumping instead for the cheese.

So imagine my delight when walking down the street in my adopted neighbourhood, I spotted Murray’s Cheese Bar.

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I waited till the boy arrived for his trip and casually pointed it out on a walk around the neighbourhood. “But we can’t JUST have cheese for tea?” I said out loud, while the little voice inside me screamed “WHYEVERNOT?!” “Yes we can” he responded, and my love for him was cemented forever. He gets the cheese.

We went in, and I nearly cried when I looked at the menu. Half is a list of actual meals that include cheese (think heavy on the mac and cheese, people!) and the other half has a Chef’s Selection, and a list of ‘flights’. These are three chesses paired with (if you wish) three wines that compliment, and the menu details the cheese, location and a short description of it, often including words like buttery and unctuous (great word).

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Image sourced from Murray’s Instagram feed

We opted for the chefs selection, 8 meats and cheeses picked for you by the cheese sommelier (1 – what a fantastic job and 2 – sounds like smellier, perfect for cheese :) ). When asked if there was anything I didn’t like I gave a blank and confused look and uttered “I.LIKE.CHEESE” while the boy was less struck for words and explained that he didn’t like blue cheese (I fear there might be something slightly wrong with him but lets gloss over that) I think as the waiter left I totally lost any composure I had and hollered “THE SMELLIER THE BETTER!” – Luckily I was among friends and everyone sympathised with my excitement.

On that note, I didn’t manage to take any photos. I thought I had, and when I got home I was devastated to find that I hadn’t captured anything. So the photos used in this post are from the Instagram feed of Murray’s Cheese Bar (phew!)

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Image credits as above

It was awesome. Soft cheese, hard cheese, semi hard cheese, rinded cheese – it was all there. Pecorino (Italy), Old Chatham Ewe’s Blue (NY), Aged Goat Gouda (Holland)… they were all there. Any paired with some lovely accompaniments like caramel and honey, they were to die for.

My advice? If you have a dairy intolerance, probably best to steer clear. Otherwise, if you are in New York (specifically the West Village) get a table and enjoy a blissful dinner. It’s been the highlight of New York for me so far.

Murray’s Cheese Bar | 264 Bleecker Street | West Village NYC | 646-476-8882

The Monster Cake and a Birthday

31 May

My little sister is one of my favourite people of all time. She has this unfounded ability to cheer me up, make me laugh and put me in my place at all times, and I love her for it.

Last weekend she turned 26, and to celebrate, I planned a weekend of fun. We had afternoon tea at the Hilton on Saturday, dined at Duck and Waffle on Sunday and I made her a ‘monster’ birthday cake.

What do you think?

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Monster cake, pre-eyes. At this point I was stressing because the icing was melting and sticking to the kitchen counter. Not my finest hour!!

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The finished article! Didn’t manage the eyelashes, this was hard enough! #personaleverest

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Big Tinker and Little Tinker enjoying Dishoom in Shoreditch for dinner

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Duck and Waffle fun, 40th Floor, Heron Tower, London (right by Liverpool street station). NOTE: you HAVE to book!!!

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Danielle chowing down on the plate, which was made of white chocolate. Petit fours, cupcakes, cream teas and sandwiches. You had to roll us out of there!

2014 Travel – The Vancouver Edit: Fable Kitchen

29 May Capture

This post is long overdue, and for that, I apologise. We went to Vancouver for 2 weeks at the start of May, and we had quite possibly the best holiday ever. The city is a juxtaposition of city and country, and the most beautiful backdrop to city life you can possibly imagine. In the next few weeks I’ll bring you up to date with my travels (from New York, where im based for the next month – I’ll tell you all about that too!) but for my first Vancouver post, Fable.

Recommended in my guide book (the Lonely Planet Guides obsession has taken itself to a whole new level) Fable was right down the street from the cute apartment we had rented, and so for our anniversary meal we rocked up. The guidebook said to get there right on opening to ensure you have a table or make a reservation. The guidebook was right, as we found on our last night, when we tried to go back.

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From the outside Fable is small, like a meek and mild little doorway, but don’t let that fool you, this is the place to be. We were seated, and the waiter explained our options to us. We opted for the canned tuna to start; a clever little take on what you expect. It comes in a kilner jar, with potatoes, tuna and sauce,and you add the powdered salt and stir it together, before splatting it onto toasted bread and going to town. Amazing.

The main course was duck breast, with creamed cabbage, a wild rice croquette and spiced apple. The flavours complimented each other perfectly and me and the boy felt sad we had opted to share a main course. there was ample fork war and it went down way too quickly!

the piece de resistance was the dessert. I am a huge fan of anything lemony, so opted for the lemon parfait. A sundae dish was presented to me with layers of biscuit, lemon curd,tarragon ice cream and topped with meringue, which has been toasted to marshmallow-esque perfection. It was heavenly. I still dream about that dessert, and am determined to find myself a chefs blow torch so I can recreate it and never have to leave the house again.

Fable (or farm to table) is a cacophony of locally sourced produce, cooked and prepared on the premises and nested in the lovely suburb of Kitsilano. It was by far the best (and least pretentious) place we visited in Vancouver, and its first on my list for our next visit.

Follow them on Twitter for their specials!

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get any photos of the food as my camera was playing up, but rest assured, AMAZING.

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?

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