Month: July 2009

The Girl & the Sleuth

Announcing some exciting real world news. Denise of The Wine Sleuth & I will be manning our very own stall in Covent Garden Summer Market next Thursday 6th August. We’ve been talking about doing a pop up bar for a while, so when Covent Garden asked if we were interested in holding a stall in their Summer market, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. This is actually happening in real life/off the blog/real people/real food & drink  and not just photographs! We’ll be serving some gorgeous prosecco from the talented people at Bisol, masters of their craft producing prosecco since 1542. We are going to match this with smoked salmon from Frank Hederman, my favourite smoked salmon in the world. Heston Blumenthal is also a fan. It will be accompanied by my homemade brown Irish soda bread and homemade cucumber pickle. Traditional, Irish and utterly delicious. Sadly, we could only do it once, as we both work full time, but we are very excited, so do come down and say hello and join us for …

Burnt aubergine with sweet peppers and red onion

I have a confession to make! I published this post last weekend, and a few hours later a trusted friend queried my photograph, thinking that it didn’t do the dish justice. I took a look, and sure enough, they were right. It was like going out to work hungover and slightly frazzled wearing something that you think looks ok, and realising slowly that it was a horrible choice, ill fitting, and irritating for the rest of the day. So I took it down. I made the dish again today, same recipe, and here’s the post. In my defence, I made this dish for a friend and drank lots of wine as I was cooking (as did they!). So, lesson learned, don’t take food photographs drunk, and don’t rush blog posts! One of my indulgences is cookbooks, I love them, and I have a ridiculous amount. Some are  very well thumbed with weakening spines, others are neglected, bought out of curiosity and never properly investigated. I love concocting my own food and creating recipes, but I …

Dine with Dos Hermanos at Casa Brindisa

I don’t write enough about the food & drink things I do, and I do alot. It’s an awful shame as I go to lots of great things, and always take lots of photos, so I’ve decided, rather than neglect to blog because I fret about having the time to write and do it justice, I’ll do it justice through my photos. Dine with Dos Hermanos is a very fun and high quality event, run frequently by Simon Majumdar of Dos Hermanos and Eat My Globe fame. He does it for fun and not for profit, and showcases some really good places in London, some excellent producers that otherwise have a limited voice, and all at very reasonable costs. That is how I found myself in the private room of Vinoteca in February with some blogger friends, seated across from an Artic Monkey no less, and how I recently found myself at a really enjoyable dinner at Casa Brindisa in Kensington. Simon knows some very generous people, and the wines are often offered gratis, and …

Lentil & Spinach Soup with Harissa Croutons

Homemade chicken stock, and a bag of spinach. I foresaw a healthy dinner. I wanted it to have a kick, but I didn’t want it to be complicated, I simply didn’t have the energy. I had a tin of harissa, and I thought it would make a nice change to spice up some croutons and have them provide a lovely contrast in colour, texture and heat to a relatively mild lentil and spinach soup. Lentils are ridiculously underrated. They are so tasty, earthy and dense, and work so well with spices, or as a supporting texture and flavour to other ingredients. There’s lots of types too, people describe lentils with offence, like they are describing one hideous smell to grace their table, the ingredient with B.O. as it were. To those people I say pah! Praise the lentil, the puy and the red, the toor dal and the split pea. Adore them and cook them, nurture your body and soul. Too far? Ok, back to the soup. This was a great evening snack, comforting with …

Jai Shri Krishna

Moving to a new area always has a little bit of a thrill, especially if it’s relatively unexplored (by your good self of course) and has gastronomic bounty to offer. My move to Turnpike Lane in North East London has been particularly good in this respect. I’ve found some great new Turkish restaurants (Antepliler, I salute you, and I’ll bring my camera next time!), am addicted to Turkish Lahmacun, particularly weak for it after a few drinks, and I have found a number of great food shops and a local butcher that I like. This time, I won’t talk about Turkish food. This may seem odd for Londoners familiar with Green Lanes, packed with Turkish restaurants, food shops and Turkish men’s social clubs. Like many parts of London, Turnpike Lane is full of surprises, and turning a street corner can throw up some unexpected flavours. On Turnpike Lane itself, for example, there’s multi-ethnic eateries and shops with Lebanese, Caribbean, Malay and Indian flavours. The ones that really impressed me recently and that I will describe …

One gorgeous morning

I’m not a morning person. I never have been. One Christmas morning, when I was 3 years old, my mother came to my bedroom at 11am to find me still in bed. I asked if Santa had come. He had. I didn’t want to get up though so asked her if she would bring me my presents. Shameful! If you’re wondering, she didn’t. I am trying to become one though, or at least be a little better. I am definitely better than that morning when I was 3! The consequences of my indulgent lifestyle are starting to show, and I am not being paranoid, I was offered a seat on the tube last week. No more empire line tops for me! For the moment at least. So, one bright sunny morning, determined to set the day off nicely, and to fit in a little walk en route to work, I rose at 6.15am (yes: 6.15AM), and set off to work at 7am. 7am. Yes, that’s right. I got off the tube at Oxford Circus and …

Spiced Roast Pork Belly

Spiced roast pork belly you say? Not a cut of meat you’ve seen here before? A new direction for Eat Like a Girl? I jest. I have more than over blogged pork belly, but I tried a new spice mixture and a new way of cooking it, and it was delicious, so I thought that I would share. I had no intention of blogging it so I didn’t make an effort with the photos, however, the taste proved delicious, and I thought, hey, I should really be blogging more frequently anyway, and this is worth talking about. I had pork belly in the fridge, 1kg, a really nice piece I got from a local enough butcher, with the bone still in. I asked the butcher for pork belly, and he asked if I wanted tenderloin. Huh? No, pork belly. Was I sure? Did I want to eat all that fat? Did I like the flavour in the fat? Hell, yeah. Gimme some pork belly please! I’ll get tenderloin another time. I had guests staying and …

This is not mushroom soup

Picture the scene. Sore tum. Poor abandoned house guest. Need for healthy food, and need to feed a vegetarian. Vitamin B sounds like a good plan, good for the nerves, good for the metabolism and enhances the immune system. Sounds like everything I need in my current fragile state. Afflicted with an angry tum which won’t accept any food without severe complaining and, forgive the detail, swift ejection. The underrated mushroom offers bountiful Vitamin B and I just happen to have lots of them in my fridge. Large flat portebellini mushrooms, their gills exposed to the stars, and small coquettish button mushrooms, less bolshy in flavour, and bright white in complexion. I wanted lots of flavour, and lots of elusive umami in a vegetarian soup. I also wanted it to have a bright summer flavour, so decided I would serve it with some chive cream. The mushrooms had to be as intense as they could possibly be, so I roasted 5oog of the portebellini, with a liberal splash of extra virgin olive oil, some chives …

Five Spice Duck Breast

I can’t resist a bargain. It’s worse than that, I crave them and I look for them. I adore them. Whether it’s clothes, shoes, bedding, a gorgeous tiny swimsuit for my niece, or food and wine, I have to have them. My Irish Catholic sensibilities love the food bargains in the supermarkets born of food that’s nearing it’s sell before date. Not only am I getting a bargain, I am also preventing food waste!  Hooray. Of course I know that’s not true, but I’ll tell myself anything to justify the purchase. Mostly it’s just greed and want. I am not proud of that. It’s always good stuff, mind, and I just can’t resist. This is how I found myself with 2 free range English duck breasts last Sunday. I wondered what I would do with them. Duck is fantastic meat. Frequently roasted, it’s even better fried until just pink. Tasting light like it’s poultry friends, but with a depth expected from red meat, it straddles both and makes a perfect robust Sunday supper. Duck partners …

The Providores Tapa Room

I adore the tapas room at The Providores in Marylebone. Such a lovely place. Good food, fusion done well, one of the rare places that manages it, and delivers food that isn’t over powered by the sensation of the experiment. Great for dinner with a wonderful wine list to accompany the lovely food, and fabulous for brunch. I’ve blogged about my Sunday brunches there before and those wonderful Turkish Eggs. I also promised a post on the fine dining, but failed to deliver – apologies. I’ll need to go again! For now, excuse this brief and effusive post, but I wanted to share my photos of a recent lovely dinner there with old friends. I’d recommend you try it. Everything was really good, except perhaps the snails which were too earthy for my taste, but still intriguing and comfortable amongst the deliciousness of the other dishes. Effusive, yes. Good meal, yes. Recommended, yes. Enjoy! Pimientos de Padron Ginger and garlic roast pumpkin with Goat’s curd, grilled artichokes, cape gooseberries, black vinegar dressing, walnuts and sumac …

Summer Pasta #2 – Broad Bean and Prosciutto Carbonara

One gorgeous summer evening, gloriously sunny in my little urban garden, I gazed out my window and thought, what can I cook that will be bright, cheerful, quick, colourful and tasty? A quick perusal of the fridge contents revealed broad beans, some prosciutto, a little cream and pecorino, and some parsley. The scene was set. I was going to make a twist on carbonara. Broad beans and ham are such a gorgeous combination. Opposites attract, early season tender sweet broad beans meet the robust boldness of a cured prosciutto. It’s a cliche but it is a match made in heaven. Carbonara is one of those gorgeous comforting dishes. Traditionalists and purists say DON’T TOUCH. But I do, I can’t help it. It’s one of those dishes that lends itself to lovely interpretations, and so quickly. I’ve made carbonara’s with many different ingredients, chorizo & kale was a lovely one, and now with broad beans and prosciutto. Isn’t it difficult? No. The dish (according to Marcella Hazan), was born in Rome during world war deprivation, when …