Month: August 2007

Artery Hardening Travel

I have just come back from a fantastic week in Paris. I started with a music festival with some friends – the wonderfully titled Rock en Seine. As it’s a french festival, it was a food and wine as well as music experience. Food stalls served moules frite, andouillete, crepes, cous cous, paella and much more. French wine and tartiflette blended well with the chimes of Arcade Fire, the Shins, CSS Jarvis & Bjork. We followed this with three days idle wandering, popping in and out of patisseries, fromageries, boulangeries, whatever took our fancy. Occasional cultural interludes included the Picasso museum where I had a delicious raspberry and white chocolate tart (this is a food blog after all!). So, clearly, a weeks over indulgence and artery hardening will not fit in this little blog post. So, what were the highlights? Having followed Fanny at Foodbeams adventures I had to pay a visit to Pierre Hermé. Wow, it was breathtaking, such beautiful desserts. I didn’t know where to start and wandered around for a bit then …

Brindisa & euskal txerria ham

On a recent chorizo expedition I ventured to Brindisa in Exmouth Market, home of the finest cooking chorizo in the land in my limited, eating-meat-for-less-than-one-year experience. I love it, the texture is soft, moist and spongy and the flavour rich. I eat far too much of it, in salads, with eggs for brunches, in pastas, on it’s own, wherever really! They sell mini chorizo and larger ones. I usually go for the mini chorizo, they’re less intimidating and if I got one of the big packets I would just have to eat the lot. Not a good idea! So, off I went to Brindisa. I really like Exmouth Market. It’s got that village-y feel that places like Marylebone and Primrose Hill have. Lots of gorgeous places to eat like Moro and the Ambassador (I have yet to try but I have heard such good things from reliable sources) and the food market is on at the weekends. I wandered in to Brindisa and had a look around. My eye was taken by the ham. Four …

Courgette Carbonara

I have been living in London for some time now – 6 years – and have noticed that my hiberno-english lilt has absorbed some new words and phrases, I recently caught myself saying mate and as though to make room I am losing the frequency of some old regulars e.g. I am saying grand alot less. It’s all part of adapting, people still don’t understand what I am saying at times, although that may have alot to do with my rush to say everything especially when I am enthusiastic about the topic. What I never expected was that someday, out of the blue, I would call a courgette a zucchini. Where did that come from? I live in England, I am from Ireland, it’s a courgette in both places! I blame cookbooks and American televison shows, it’s as though, through some process of verbal osmosis, the external zucchini influences overpowered the courgette ones and forced itself out one evening unexpectedly. I am now making a very conscious effort to say courgette, which may sound very …

Halloumi & Pomegranate Salad

I have been cooking so much recently but I really haven’t had time to blog. It’s a good complaint really as I am living it up a little, well certainly in the culinary sense, I am being very indulgent. Hopefully, I’ll get around to posting them some time in the near future. For now I am going to blog a really tasty salad that we had over the weekend using that most favoured of cheeses, halloumi. This one had sheeps milk only but was disappointing as it melted really poorly. Like halloumi with cows milk in, it started to lose milk as it melted, this shouldn’t happen and doesn’t happen with halloumi made with goats’s and sheep’s milk. After a mild panic I instigated a rescue operation, pulling the cheese from the pan in a hurry, burning myself in the process and letting it cool before dusting it in seasoned plain flour before frying again. This did the trick. So, I’ve already ranted about halloumi in a previous post, now it’s the turn of the …

Weekend Barbecue

For a food blogger I talk alot about the weather, I know. I can’t help it, I am Irish and it’s a national occupation. Be happy that I am not talking about the state of the roads! The weather determines so much of what I cook so it’s an important reference. Really! Right now I’m switched to Winter mode again as the weather took a turn for the worse again on Monday. On Tuesday night I was looking out of our window and watching the tall poplars swaying over and back, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was November! And it’s raining today. Prior to all this misery, however, we had a lovely weekend and made the most of the near-summery weather with a barbecue at a friends house. They have a beautiful big garden at the edge of North London with a gazebo and pond, it’s as far removed from my Kilburn 1-bed flat as I could get! These gatherings involve large volumes of food as a number of us are enthusiastic cooks and …

Salmon Fish Cakes

I was at a BBQ at a friends house at the weekend and came home with lots of leftovers. These leftovers included a side of uncooked salmon and leftover boiled potatoes. I also raided their herb garden and came home with a bouquet of herbs including chives, mint, basil, thyme and rosemary. What to make? Could be fish pie but it’s not Winter (although it feels like it again today) and I wanted something light with some salad on the side. Quick and easy was also important. I had one of those days yesterday and wanted to sit down with a glass of wine, pronto. So, fish cakes it was. Perfect, ready in half an hour and before I knew it I was plonked in front of the tv browsing a stash of cookbooks while watching some food shows, Sanjeev Baskars India, and, dare I say it, Big Brother. Don’t judge me. I was weak. It wasn’t me, yer honour! ;) Food like this makes me think back to Home Economics class when I was …

Covent Garden Night Market

According to their website, Covent Garden Night Market is going back to its roots as: “the original “larder of London” with the first ever night market in the capital, bringing together the best of London’s food markets. Traders from Borough to Broadway, Exmouth to Islington will set their stalls out alongside premium food producers never before seen in London. This is the ultimate foodie experience!” How could I refuse! With 35 traders promised it sounded very exciting. The traders appear to be regulars at other London markets or established producers, old favourites for me included Gujarati Rasoi, Neal’s Yard, the Ginger Pig, Spore Boys & Brindisa with lots more to try. Yum! I got to the market at 7pm. It started at 5pm and was at this point thronged. Uncomfortably so, but I am a regular at Borough Market and can survive these things. If with side effects of being trodden on and cranky at the end! The promise of good food is a great motivator. I was focused on a Gujarati curry followed by …

Carrot, Coriander & Lemon Soup

Summer is here! At long last! Sun, sandals, walks along the South Bank, maybe even some picnics. And last night a bright summery soup. This soup is so bright and cheerful, a twist on my usual carrot & orange inspired by an indian dal. I toyed with the idea of adding a tarka (spices tempered in oil added to a dal before serving) but decided the simpler and lighter the better. Lemon and coriander work so well together, as do carrots & coriander so I thought this should work, and it did. I like lemon, but I don’t like it to overpower so I added just a couple of tablespoons, you may want to add more or less – I suggest you do to taste. Ingredients: 300g carrots, peeled & sliced 100g split red lentils 1 leek, halved and sliced 1l vegetable stock a handful of coriander juice of half a lemon Method: Sauté the leeks for a good ten minutes or so over a low heat. Add the carrots, I like to sauté these …

Okonomiyaki, Abeno & Abeno Too

It has been a bit quiet on the blog front, apologies, I’ve had a busy couple of weeks. I’ve eaten out a couple of times so there’s loads to write about but there’s just never enough time! How London is that? I’ve been cooking too, so will blog about those bits and pieces over the next short while. To start, I’d like to chatter a bit about eating Monjayaki in Tokyo and Okonmiyaki in London. The food in Tokyo is wonderful and varied, I loved it from a culinary (and many other) perspective(s) and can’t wait to go back, I hope within the year for a holiday. I had a list of things to try, I think I’ve mentioned it here before! One of the things on that list was monjayaki, a tokyo version of okonomiyaki which I’ve never been able to try in London. Okonomiyaki is frequently described as a japanese pancake or pizza and is made from eggs, flour, water and cabbage with anything else thrown in. The literal translation according to Wikipedia …