Month: March 2012

Dim Sum in Hong Kong: Luk Yu Tea House

December trip to Hong Kong, Day 2. Lunch is at the Luk Yu Tea House. Not Michelin starred like some of the other places I visited but it is in the Michelin guide. Rumoured to be a favourite of local celebrities – I wouldn’t know one if they slapped me in the face, although this probably applies in the UK too – the Luk Yu Tea House offers an all round solid standard of dim sum in a very traditional setting. Very enjoyable and well worth a trip. Just try not to stand in the kettle plugged in on the floor by the stairs. You have been warned.

Hong Kong: Staying at The Upper House and that Breakfast

How could people not love Hong Kong? I just don’t understand it. Some people think it is too smoggy (it can be), too humid (it definitely is) or too busy (depends on your viewpoint, but I live in London so I can cope very well). It is all cramped and busy but this is one of the best things about it. The buzz, the infectious positivity, the passion and determination that seems to drive the very core of Hong Kong. I love it, I really do. So much so that when I was coming back from New Zealand recently, I stopped off for a few days for a last minute little fix. More on that later. I should first write about my previous trip to Hong Kong last December. December was a terrific time to visit. It can be quite grim in our part of the world then, so a hop to the other side of the world for some sunshine and fantastic dim sum can be very appealing. I stayed at The Upper House …

Final Evening Standard Column: Spice Crusted Lamb Loin with Sweet Potato, Feta & Chilli Mash

So that’s that! My twelve week Evening Standard column – which actually ran for 21 – is finished. I loved it and have had great feedback from you too. My last column was a brand new recipe inspired by my recent travels to New Zealand and a lunch with lovely Annabel Langbein. A lovely loin of lamb which I spice crusted and then served with a simple but lively sweet potato, feta and chilli mash. With lots of pea shoots to freshen it up a bit. Back to reality now but I will miss that little column. It was fun to see it in the paper every week and to hear from readers too. So, if anyone reading this has some column inches that need a food writer, I would love to hear from you. For now, here is that recipe. Enjoy! RECIPE: Spice Crusted Lamb Loin with Sweet Potato, Feta & Chilli Mash Ingredients (for one) 1 lamb loin, approx 200g 1 tbsp cumin seeds 1 tsp coriander seeds pinch of sea salt 1 …

Ode to the Humble Spud & a Recipe for Kale & Potato Cakes

I love the spud. I love it, I love it, love it, love it! How I love the Irish spud especially. Now, when I say this, people look perplexed. A potato is a potato, right? Not so my friends. I miss the fluffy Irish potato, boiled until just at the point of bursting its jacket or roasted until fluffy inside in a bold crisp crusted suit. A friend used to call them laughing potatoes, as they looked like they were laughing their heads off. I remember a large metal tray covered in jostling laughing potatoes at the centre of my grandmother’s table. A little butter – maybe a lot – placed on top and left to ooze, and that was all I wanted to eat. Literally, I refused to eat anything else for a time in my childhood. I especially miss the potatoes that grew in the field in front of my house, and the new season potatoes that would proudly be displayed outside shops when the season started. Before seasonality was a trend, when it was …

Living Like a Local in Paris

Travelling is wonderful. You may have cottoned on to the fact that I enjoy a little of it every now and then. A lot of it more precisely. People ask why, they wonder how I can do it all. They also wonder why I do it all. Why do I do it? I love getting an insight into another culture. I love getting under the skin of how people eat, how they shop for food, what they shop for and how they cook it at home. I love gathering recipes and bringing them home. I love being inspired by how other people operate, being immersed in a whole different thing for a little while gives you great perspective on your own existence. Hotels are great, I love them and the luxury they provide. But after a few days I get antsy. I miss my kitchen and I miss being able to cook.  My kitchen keeps me calm, and cooking keeps me sane. When I am stressed or sad my first instinct is to cook. So, …

CANCELLED: Cooking at St Patrick’s Day Hootenanny at the Roundhouse

I am very sad to announce that at the very last minute, I will no longer be able to cook at the Roundhouse tomorrow. It is out of my control and I do apologise. I have just been informed by the Roundhouse that the stall will no longer be going ahead. I will sign off before I say something that I regret. Understandably this is hugely frustrating, but until I speak to someone in authority there, I don’t really know what is happening or what they plan to do about this. If anyone from the Roundhouse is reading this, I would really appreciate if you could call me.

St Patrick’s Day: I am Cooking at the Roundhouse Hootenanny, COME!

Ok! I am getting my crocs out and will to be cooking up a storm once again this weekend. This time I will be proudly waving the Irish flag and serving my lovely Irish stew (lamb of course!) with Irish spuds that I am getting from Keogh’s Farm in Ireland (we really have the best potatoes), stout braised beef ribs, black pudding croquettes (using Jack McCarthy’s superb black pudding), colcannon and more. I am thinking we might do some toasties too as the TOASTED SPECIAL is Ireland’s unofficial national dish. Not only will there be all of this lovely food, there will also be terrific live music, Irish short films, bodhrán workshops and lots more. It costs only £2 to come in and join us all in the fun. If you don’t already know the Roundhouse it is the most terrific venue. You must come and help me celebrate my national day. I may need some helpers too if anyone is keen? Email me or message me via the contact page. Now, would you like …

Turning Point: Food Blogging is Bad for your Figure

(er – I blame tiredness and jet lag for this post! I have been up since 2.30 am rattling around you see. Not a topic I usually discuss, but it seemed fitting) I never had a problem with my weight. As a child, if anything I was too thin, and this was a theme that carried into my mid twenties. I was always active, running around, walking everywhere, going out a lot dancing. I could eat whatever I liked, and lots of it. I never could understand why people worried about what they ate. As I gathered photos for the inside cover of my book last year, I noticed the dramatic shift in body shape from when I started blogging. I started at a relatively slender 10 – 12, to now, where I gaze at my gorgeous vintage dresses knowing that I can’t fit into any of them. My wardrobe became a temporary fix filled with emergency dresses, a sea of blandness which I now find depressing. I became a greedy little food obsessive. It …

A Postcard from New Zealand – Part 2

Greetings patient readers! Thanks for your lovely comments on my last couple of postcard posts – much appreciated, as always. It has been an intense few weeks packed with wonderful food experiences, and not much time to write about them. I am back in London now though, for a bit anyway, so will start catching up. And I mean it this time! To begin with, another postcard from my recent trip to New Zealand for y’all. Lots more detail and recipes soon from many recent trips that haven’t made it to this little stage yet. (apologies for the paragraphs dripping with jet lag and tiredness, there’s just no ooomph in me today!) I travelled to New Zealand as a guest of the New Zealand Tourist Board

A Postcard from New Zealand – Part 1

Well that frenetic writing didn’t materialise, did it? Mainly because everything else was so busy, and with jet lag I was no longer able to push myself to work late as I am used to. I also wanted to make the most of my short time in New Zealand and soak up as much as possible. I am now in Hong Kong and moving at a slower pace so should be more present on here this week. It was my first trip to New Zealand, although I felt quite prepared as I have friends from there and lots of people I know had visited. The stunning landscape and vibrant food still caught my attention in a way that I hadn’t expected. Everything was big and lovely, rich green hills and light blue skies with little popping fluffy clouds and others choosing to streak across the sky. In food and drink what really came across was the integrity of produce and passion for producing really good things with it. Great chefs have established a wonderful New …