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February Roundup!


And now, ladies and gentlemen, my second round up of the year. A lengthy and late one it is too, my apologies. I should rename February “the month of pork belly”. I could! At least in my own independent republic, population of one. If if the first president of Turkmenistan could rename the days & months of the year, after his family and himself, I don’t see why not!

All joking aside, it’s not that I didn’t cook anything else, but with my recent compressed timelines, filled with work and visitors (and I am not complaining about either), I haven’t had time to blog any of the other lovely things I did. Which is a shame as there were delicious things like sprout tops, forced rhubarb, cavolo nero. I even baked bread!

Snow day in London

My feet in the snow outside my front door

It was a busy, busy month. New job, and I have moved again, albeit temporarily but to a lovely flat in Primrose Hill. Somewhere more permanent is winking at me on the horizon. Hurrah! I really can’t tell you how much I want/need a proper home again. Should this one work out, I shall have a range cooker in a large kitchen and an open fire. In London.

So, back to February. Here, it started with snow, which was fun, and pretty, and would have been even better if I could have had a snow day like the rest of London, but I was already off work, having finished with TrustedPlaces and not yet started my new job. London is lovely in the snow but I was preoccupied with some issues with my heating, namely it wasn’t working, so my cooking tended towards dishes with minimal prep so that I wasn’t cold in the kitchen.

Bring on the tortilla pizza and roasts!

The roasts had the extra benefit of warming my small kitchen while they were cooking. The tortilla pizza was the hit of the month, and is something that I have been making for years but never blogged before. It’s so easy it doesn’t warrant a recipe, but it is delicious. Any of your favourite sandwich combinations will be great on there, as long as they’re light and toast well. Roast, well, I’ve become predictable but it was predominantly pork and dare I say it, belly. I’m broadening my horizons this month (except for one night, which I’ll tell you about in a few weeks – it’s worth the wait, I promise).

Tortilla Pizza

Tortilla Pizza

Next up was a long overdue visit to Franco Manca. I’d wanted to go here for ages, ever since I heard that the owner brought over a Neapolitan mozarella maker to teach the cheesemakers at Alham Wood Buffalo Farm how to make authentic Neapolitan buffalo mozarella, as near as they can anyway. Then there’s the fact that they serve woodfired sourdough crusts, with minimal toppings, the way pizza should be. To top it off, it’s cheap, and everyone I know and trust seems to love it. The critics love it too. I went one weekday lunchtime with Lizzie of Hollow Legs and Kerri of Dinner Diary, and as much as we wanted to love it, it just didn’t happen for us. There was no buffalo mozarella for a start, and the white wine was grim. The pizza base was lovely, very good, and the side salad quite light and refreshing, but I didn’t enjoy the anchovy and wild mushroom topping as much as I thought I might. Perhaps it was a bad day for them, I’ll not discount them yet.

Pizza at Franco Manca

Pizza at Franco Manca

That evening a group of us assembled in a fellow bloggers house for our long awaited Guilty Pleasures Dinner Party. Spam Ramen, Dirty mac and cheese, bovril on toast grab your fancy? Read all about it here.

How to complete that 24 hours? The next morning, at 8am sharp(ish!) I met Dan of Bibendum and accompanied him to the Taste of London launch breakfast. They hadn’t invited any bloggers, which surprised me, especially as they have a large online initiative this year. However, a lovely morning was had drinking champagne and scoffing breakfast goodies cooked by Giorgio Locatelli, Theo Randall, and Shane Osborn. It was an interesting morning, and I look forward to hearing more about what they’ve in store, particularly in the online space.

Giorgio Locatelli Cooks Up Breakfast

Giorgio Locatelli Cooks Up Breakfast

Looming large on the culinary horizons was an indulgent brunch of baked eggs, an Irish Huevos Rancheros if you will. Bright, colourful, filling and delicious, ikt was the perfect start for a Spring Sunday, and one I’ll be making again.

Brunch Bakes Eggs

Brunch Baked Eggs

Nearly there! Dos Hermanos celebrated their blogiversary with a group of readers (incl some of us readers that are also bloggers!) with a wonderful wine tasting and meal at Vinoteca. The following night I was there again for a fantastic Iberian Wine Tasting hosted by Vinoteca & Catavino. I won’t say more about these now, as I plan to blog about them separately.

Some exciting news next. Time Out included me in their list of “London’s Best Food Blogs and Websites”. What an honour! To top it off, I remained at No. 2 on the Wikio Gastronomy Blog List. I’m in very good company there too.

How to finish the month? I roasted some pork belly for a friend who’s moving abroad and wanted to sample some before she left these shores. Great evening, but even I am getting tired of it now, I think the obssession is wearing thin. Some variety for the coming month, I promise!

I can feel Spring now, and can almost smell the wild garlic. As the daffodill’s awaken, so too do my senses. I do love the seasons, but bring on Spring, the extra hour in the evenings, and all it’s gustatory delights. Yup, I am over Winter! But snow is pretty, so I wil leave you with a photo of the view from my kitchen on snow day.



Filed under: Random


Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.


  1. Great round up Niamh, a busy month indeed. You are definitely not the only one who is over winter and you are also not alone in the pork belly republic! Population more like three or four I reckon!

  2. Lucie says

    Hey! I’ve roasted pork belly three times in the last couple of months, and I still haven’t found the ideal recipe. To be honest, I didn’t leave myself enough time last time and it came out slightly chewy and a bit burnt :( I must try your recipe next time :)


  3. Vixens says

    Love the round up, you seem to have had a busy month! However, I do think I’m the only person who hasn’t got on the pork belly bandwagon…I’m now feeling like i’m missing out! Although I do love everything else porky, free range bacon, sausages, pancetta, even a good old British pork pie! People don’t seem to talk about pork pies much these day, such a shame.

    Primrose Hill is lovely, my brother lives there but it was a sad day when they closed the Farmers market in the school down Princess Road. It was lurrrrrveelly, and great for buying frsh bread for breakfast.

  4. If it means I can eat Pork belly every day I’d join your republic! What a great month… I can’t believe that today it felt like Summer and just one month ago we were shivering in the snow…

  5. Great round up! I love the look of the tortilla pizza and baked brunch eggs. And you live in Primrose Hill?! Lucky!!

    Looking forward to hearing about what March has held for you so far.


  6. I remember having a cracking Huevos Rancheros in LA a few years back. It’s a wonderful breakfast dish- and easy to prepare, too. I reckon Mexican Food is seriously underrated in this country. Have you been to the Green and the Red- near Brick Lane? Fabulous and authentic Mexican food served there, with a massive selection of vintage Tequilas.

Over to you! Your comments - I would love to hear from you :)