Month: January 2008

Fish pie for the soul

This month has been one for comfort foods, certainly not one for diets, not that I’ve ever gone beyond thinking that it might be a good idea to cut out x or y (usually x = crisps & y = cheese) and planning how I should successfully do so, usually to fall at the first hurdle, whichever shop crosses my path that sells the finest of either. I am not unhappy about that, I’ve never approached diets or the thought of them too seriously, moderation is best in all things (with the occasional lapse of course). Life is for living, might aswell just get on with it and make the most of it, eh? Especially when food gives such pleasure. Once in school, we made a dish called fish crisp, a baked mackerel dish topped with irish tayto crisps (I kid you not). I was 13 or so, and hated fish at the time. When my mother would grill fish I would leave the house in protest and not return until I had deemed the …

Borough market – a sneak peek

I’ve resisted blogging Borough Market for a number of reasons. It’s one of my favourite places in London, bustling and full of treats – savoury and sweet, it has the best of all things seasonal and fresh and is packed with artisan producers willing to share their wares. I’m a purist (you may have spotted that) and I want to do it properly and give it the justice it deserves, dedicating a day to it with a decent camera, with purchases under my arm to sample at home and experiment with in following posts. So, not to give the wrong impression, I haven’t done this and will remain true to my word – you’ll have to wait for that lengthy post. I do have some photo’s that I took whilst wandering there last Saturday though, and I’d like to share those.

Menu for Hope 4 – Winner

Many congratulations to Alastair Bathgate who won the cookbooks that I put forward for the Menu for Hope 4 prize. Thanks to everyone that took part – it was enormously successful raising 50% more than last year – a whopping total of $91,188.00 for the World Food Programme in Lesotho! Info on other prizewinners available here. Thanks to Pim and the UK regional hosts Jeanne & Joanna for organising it.

Toad in the Hole with Roast Shallot Gravy

Or YUM! I love comfort foods like this. Especially ones that are quick and simple. Last weekend cried out for this dish. It’s January. It was grey. It was wet. It was windy and cold. Get it? I had restricted myself to zone 5 for the weekend in a forced attempt to relax. This may sound small, especially as I actually live in zone 5, BUT, I almost always go into London at some point and meet friends or wander around the markets, buy myself a foodie treat, go to the cinema. You get my drift – I am an urban girl and I forced myself to be a suburban one. Everytime I go home to Ireland, I return to London with a mini-hamper for myself, usually consisting of selected irish cheeses, black pudding, white pudding and ispíní (ish-pee-nee). Ispíní are traditional irish pork sausages, these particular ones are made by Clonakilty Food Co. in West Cork, Ireland. I love these sausages, they are so flavoursome and evoke a memory of home and childhood that …

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

Acorn House in King’s Cross has been on my radar for sometime. As London’s first truly eco-friendly training restaurant, it has had alot of press attention, with the Evening Standard’s Fay Maschler declaring that”All Restaurants should emulate” it and Giles Coren of The Times saying that it’s “The most important restaurant to open in London in the past 200 years”. It’s also less than 10 minutes from my workplace and has been recommended by colleagues and friends. In the OFM food awards in 2007 it won best newcomer. Established by chef Arthur Potts Dawson and manager James Grainger-Smith both formerly of Fifteen in Shoreditch, it’s a social enterprise created by the Shoreditch Trust which delivers hands on training to the local community. The food is centred around health, training, community and the environment. They aim to be the most recyclable restaurant in London, by allowing as much as 80% of its waste to be recycled. In cooperation with the local councils and London Remade it will test out new waste management strategies in a restaurant …

It’s Russian Tea Time in London

Last Sunday, I met up with an old friend for a bite. I’d been to the Russian Tea Rooms in Primrose Hill – Trojka – last summer, and, had had a nice time, nice food sitting at a table in the sunshine. Since then, a friend has been curious and keen to go. So we went. This time of year isn’t conducive to al fresco dining, so indoors we went. It was very busy, a good sign, and we stood and waited for someone to seat us or advise us of a wait. Noone was forecoming so after some time, we decided that we should ask. We were coolly advised that we would need to wait and so we did. After a time, a table was vacated but noone advised us to sit there so we thought that we should ask again. So we did, and we were told to sit there. What hard work already and we hadn’t even ordered!

End of 2007, start of 2008

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, I’ve been a busy girl, touring Ireland for the last two weeks, spending time with family and meeting up with old friends in all corners. This involved being very festive (cough) and doing alot of eating and drinking, great times were had all round. So, now that I am back, and starting a new year, I can’t help but think what were the highs and what were the lows for 2007? Food highs were trips to Tokyo, Spain & Paris, all fantastic places with food to match. Starting this blog and all the wonderful feedback I have had from you lovely readers, the blogosphere at large has been very inspiring. Menu for Hope was particularly great, raising a grand total of $91,188.00! Thanks to everyone who participated. Food lows, apologies to anyone from Japan, but I don’t think I will ever quite recover from eating an octopus ball in Tokyo, it looked so delicious but just wasn’t to my taste and gave me quite a shock! I was …