Month: May 2008

Chicken of the Woods Fritters with Wild Garlic and Walnut Mayo

I would love to tell you that the chicken of the woods in this recipe was the result of an exciting day spent foraging, prowling the likes of Hampstead Heath, waiting for the yellow glow of a strip of funghi beaming from a tree. Unfortunately, this is not the case. These are from Borough Market. I would love to know how to forage for mushrooms without being in fear of my life. I’ve bought several books, including a mushroom encyclopedia, but the knowledge that 300 people die in France each year from eating poisonous mushrooms, terrifies me. I will do it, but first I need to learn from a pro, someone who knows what they’re doing and can impart that information to me. For now, I’ll forage the obvious, nettles, wild garlic and the likes, and buy my wild mushrooms when I can. Don’t underestimate the excitement contained in turning the corner of the market and spying a table in front of a shop laden with large misshapen fungi. I had to know what it …

Fregola Sarda with Asparagus, heirloom tomato and goat’s curd

Finding something new to cook with is always exciting. I love prowling food markets and shops looking for that new ingredient or spice. My most recent discovery is fregola sarda (or fregula sarda), a toasted pasta from Sardinia, similar to cous cous but coarser, and because of the way it is toasted quite nutty. Like alot of Italian ingredients, it is exclusive to its area, and is relatively unknown outside of Sardinia. It is also still handmade, something I would like to try sometime in the future when I have time to spare. I have been cooking with alot of grains recently: pearl barley, farro, wheat, rye. They’re perfect for light summer lunches or side dishes, and fregola is a welcome member of this summer arsenal. With no strong flavour of its own, It combines well with almost anything, and is traditionally served with the likes of clams. This sounds wonderful and is on my list to try, but today, I felt like giving it a London twist, using seasonal produce for a nice light …

Celebrating the tomato

It’s National Tomato Week this week, so what better week than this to celebrate this wonderful fruit. Bright and cheery, it’s a regular visitor to my table, whether for breakfast in huevos rancheros or homemade baked beans, or for an evening meal in clam linguine, prawn curry, mutter paneer or homemade pizza. Not just a pretty face, tomatoes are packed with antoxidant goodness, lycopene in tomatoes is thought to have anti-cancer benefits and is associated particularly with a lower risk of prostate cancer. I made a trip to Borough Market yesterday morning to visit the Isle of Wight tomato stall, it’s a wonderful, colourful place full of tomatoes of varying shapes, colours and sizes. The Isle of Wight gets more sun than any other part of the UK and so they produce beautiful flavoursome tomatoes there. I opted for some startling (and enormous!) heirloom tomatoes to cook with this weekend. Unfortunately, I’ve no recipe for you now as I am about to head out the door for a bank holiday Sunday brunch, so, I thought …

Clam Linguine

Clam linguine is one of those dishes that I love but am extremely fussy about. Hang on, isn’t that every dish? I digress… I won’t order it out unless I am absolutely certain that the restaurant is reliable and uses fresh clams (fresh = very fresh) and not tinned or jarred clams. Now, I have had many a “discussion” with friends about this. They think I am a snob, but, hey, clams come in a shell, so why not eat them that way? With seafood generally, the fresher the better, that fresh sea taste, like the salt air, and none of the fishiness that arrives when the fish are out of the water too long. I really struggle with anything that isn’t extremely fresh, and although I hate to admit it, I really can’t stomach alot of tinned fish. For this reason, I always go to good fishmongers when I can, like in Borough Market or Steve Hatts on Essex Rd in Islington. I distinctly remember the first time that I had clams. I had …

The taste of summer – Israeli cous cous and feta salad

Apologies to anyone who comes to my online kitchen looking for some recipes, I have been very remiss of late. There’s a few reasons for this: I have relocated to Battersea, this is the year of being topsy turvy and moving frequently, it seems. Shortly after relocating, some mice came to visit. Some big mice. That liked to run along the worktop. I hate mice, apart from them being unsanitary, they completely freak me out. There is no logic to this whatsoever, I know they’re smaller than me and I can do them more harm than they can me. It must be a phobia, I completely freeze when I see them and I wish I could say scream, but it’s more of a panicky croak. In summary, I steered clear of the kicthen for a couple of weeks. I started to miss my lunches. I am used to bringing in something tasty and healthy but, whilst my house became the mouse house, I started to use the company canteen again. Our company canteen could desperately …

Alan Yau’s latest flavour – Cha Cha Moon

Another year, another stylish restaurant opening from Alan Yau. The entepreneur and restaurateur, native of Hong Kong, has taken London by storm in recent years with a succession of well received asian restaurants including two michelin starred restaurants (Yautcha & Hakkasan). He started with Wagamama in 1992 which he sold in 1998 when it comprised 2 restaurants. These were followed swiftly by Satsuma (for the Royal China Group), Busaba Eathai, Hakkasan, Yautcha, Sake no Hana and now Cha Cha Moon. Famously, he was very unhappy with what happened with Wagamamas. It was a hostile buyout and he is quoted as saying that that was “was like seeing your baby brought up by strangers with different values”. He is seeking to make amends with Cha Cha Moon. It is intended to be the Chinese Wagamamas serving healthy, casual fast food. On approach, Cha Cha Moon is even more startling and modern than previous offerings with bright panels of lights on the walls, broader than at Yautchas, a pretty neon sign by the door. The kitchen is …

Eat Like a Girl is ONE!

This little blog is one year old. Or, was one year old last Friday, but the bank holiday intervened, then work and since then the sunshine, so, I am celebrating late :-) What a year! When I started I had no idea how it was going to work out, but 121 posts later, it’s now my favourite hobby. It’s forced me to be creative with my cooking, and the other wonderful food blogs out there are so inspiring on that score. Where did I think this blog would be one year later when I wrote my first post? I was quite nervous so I did it entirely anonymously, and those early posts were quite brief, but, as I settled into it, I loved doing it and found I spent so much time thinking and arranging what I was doing around it. All in a positive way – promise! I never would have thought that 12 months later I would have 13,922 views in one month! Nor did I think for a second that someone at …

Getting to know me: A video interview with Trusted Places

Recently, Walid from Trusted Places got in touch about doing an interview for The Trusted Places Blog. If you don’t know Trusted Places, you should. It’s is a community based reviewing site that allows you to post reviews, setup your own community of reviewing friends and it indicates people with similar tastes as you which can be really good if you are scouting new bars and restaurants! It has received fantastic acclaim in the press and has been listed in the top 25 UK startups in the Register, the Top 10 British Dotcoms to watch in the Guardian, the 50 Best Travel Websites and website of the week in the Times Online and on and on. I really like it, I tend to look there for reviews of new places (as well as blogs of course!) and I’ve been a member and user of their site for a while, so, I thought that it might be fun to go down and meet them. Here are the results! Important ps. My time/money comment followed a discussion …

Slow Food Market, London

I spent this past bank holiday weekend in London, and, intentionally had no plans, save unpacking, wandering and being nice to myself. I had read about The Cans Festival in Waterloo, a street art exhibition that sounded really interesting, so I popped down on Sunday evening. To my surprise I also found a Slow Food Market nearby! What a treat. I’ve been a fan of the Slow Food movement for sometime. If you haven’t heard of it, it started in Italy 22 years ago and works to preserve the pleasure gleaned through food through preservation of the heritage, tradition and culture of food. They also work to protect biodiversity and the environment. In their words: Slow Food is good, clean and fair food. We believe that the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work. We consider ourselves co-producers, not consumers, because by being informed about …