Month: July 2012

Lima: A Peruvian restaurant in London that will make your heart sing

Joy! A lovely new restaurant where the food is great, the service friendly and the cocktails divine. Welcome to London, Lima. Finding a restaurant that I really love is a rare thing. There are a few restaurants in London that I love to return to again and again. From local curry house Lahore Karahi in Tooting for the lamb chop masala, José or Pizarro (for sensational Iberico pluma and fino to start), Dabbous for the coddled egg, chicken wings and Iberico pork (I do love Iberico pork as you can see), and now a new addition, Lima in Rathbone Place for the ceviche, the crab, the suckling pig and the cocktails. Lima opened just over a week ago. I heard about it over a year ago, and then happened to meet the chef, Virgilio Martinez, at a chefs conference at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir. We had lots of chats about food which made me want to try his even more. I finally did last week. Following a stint at World’s 50 Best Astrid Y Gaston, …

Kenmare Food Carnival: A New Food Festival with Heart and Soul

The west coast of Ireland is a wonderful place. Rolling green fields and an aching tortuous sky, often grey but sometimes a charming blue. The torture is that you never know whether it is going to be the nice sky, or the sad sky. That is Ireland for you. Often the grey sky meets an identical grey sea, but then sometimes charms you when it beams and pairs with billowing white clouds and a pale blue choppy sea. Who goes to Ireland for the weather though? No one. You go to Ireland for the people, the pretty landscape, and increasingly, for the great food festivals. Last week I went to Kenmare in Kerry for the new Kenmare Food Carnival. The Kerry landscape is our most dramatic, with the closest thing we have to real mountains. The wild Atlantic caresses the Kerry shores, there is bountiful produce and more than its fair share of rain, but this is what makes it so lovely. Not the rain itself but the results of it. Kenmare is Ireland’s only …

It is BACON O’CLOCK: Places for Next Classes Available

A brief missive, then back to cooking, restaurants & travel :) It is bacon time again folks! Places available for classes tomorrow Thursday 12th July, Thursday 19th July & Thursday 16th August. All from 6.30 – 9.30pm at Central St Cookery School between Old St & Farrgindon. Cost £75 incl everything. All you need to do is bring your bad self. It is bacontastic and involves making delicious candied bacon with maple syrup & tamarind (or chipotle), bacon jam, bacon jam fudge and bacon vodka. I am hoping to do some in the Autumn too, but that may not be for a bit. It depends on how some other projects settle and I hope to know soon. For now, these are the only classes that I can plan. I potentially will run the Comfort & Spice Homemade bread, Butter & Cheese Class again as that went really well and everyone enjoyed it. If you are specifically interested in this one it would be lovely to hear from you as I am trying to gauge interest. …

Come to Kenmare Food Carnival this Weekend for Comfort & Spice Brunch Masterclass!

It is a little short notice, and my apologies for that, but do come to Kenmare Food Carnival this weekend for my Comfort & Spice Brunch Masterclass. Specifically Irish readers and any others that happen to be nearby, of course :) There is so much going on in food and drink, and one of my personal food heroes Darina Allen will be there. I will be doing my Comfort & Spice brunch demo on Sunday morning at 10am for 45 minutes with lots of grub, cooking and tips. Regular readers will know that brunch is very important to me and there is a whole chapter dedicated to it in my book. It costs only €5, you can get your tickets at Eventbrite. Hope to see some of you there! Kenmare Food Carnival

Recipe: Duck Ragu with Papardelle & Gremolata

Hello foul summer. Honestly, I had such hope with that glimmer of sparkling sunshine and my bright pink sunburned nose on Wednesday. This would normally bother me, but I was willing to ignore it, and wear it proudly as a sign that summer was here. Then I woke up on Thursday and looked out the window at the all too familiar drizzle. My heart sank. I know I should be used to this, growing up in Ireland and all. Although, I did grow up in the Sunny South East (the term is very relative). I remember visiting Spanish students watching us horrified, them in their jumpers, and us Irish teenagers, swimming joyfully in the Atlantic in our togs, in the cold and the rain. It was normal for us then. Not now though, at least not for me. I have lost my drizzle condition. I have always loved the relative lack of rain in London. Now that I am settled here and rejoicing in the lack of it, some cosmic joker has arranged that there …

Lunch at Dabbous: the lunch you can all have, at the bar

I can’t eat at Dabbous! So went the lament when I blogged my recent lunch there. Famously, Dabbous is booked for dinner until 2013, and for lunch, well into the Autumn. But, you can eat there. For underneath the marvellous restaurant that is Dabbous is a rather fabulous bar, Oskar’s Bar. We popped in before lunch and I thought, why isn’t anyone talking about here? There are (great) cocktails and good looking bar food. A good playlist, it is a nice space, and everyone is really friendly. So, why isn’t everyone talking about it? I don’t know. I have been back twice since. Once with a friend on a Saturday for a few cocktails and lots of chicken wings. Those chicken wings are fairly addictive, I dare you to order one portion and leave it at that. Crispy chicken wings with fenugreek and toasted garlic. What can be wrong with that? Nothing. They are boneless and a perfect bite. Some chicken fat was left behind on the slate. If I weren’t in polite company, I …

Beating a Fug with a Round Up: Beijing, New Zealand & South Africa

I am in a fug. Just a little one. Nothing serious. I just peered over the parapet at a giant to do list and I now feel incapacitated. I had to cancel something I really wanted to do (go to The Stone Roses in Manchester with some friends – it is a long story). I want to run out of my house and not come back for a bit. Maybe hide on the common. But that would be silly. So, instead I am going to practice in a little evasive activity. I am brilliant at that (and I know that is not a good thing). Head in the sand, radio on, bopping in my chair and fantastically ignoring that thundering to do list which is booming in a corner of my brain. There are many sections to my to do list. This job of mine, self employed as I am, has many lovely things that I enjoy. Then there are also the grim things underneath, the engine that keeps things going. The invoices, chasing invoices, …