Author: Niamh

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Paradise Garage – New Kid on the Eastern Block from The Dairy

A quick one for you today! Another London restaurant for your lists, I think this is an essential. Chef Robin Gill of The Dairy, The Manor and The Delicatessen seems to have the midas touch or is that the lardo touch, right now? I say with that with great respect and affection, lardo is one of the most delicious things on the planet, and Robin has the good sense to wrap some around a gorgeous egg. With head chef Simon Woodrow and Robin’s wife Sarah, Robin has created one of my favourite new openings this year, Paradise Garage, in the railway arches near Bethnal Green tube station. They have delivered a menu that is as exciting as it is comforting. I went for lunch recently and it was one of my best lunches this year. So, I just had to let you know. Venison tartare, preserved egg yolk & watercress – a lively and gorgeous dish to start my meal. On top was grated preserved egg yolk, tasting a little like bottarga. Tilley’s farm egg, …

Whipped Feta with Roast Tomatoes, Oregano & Mint

Whipped Feta with Roast Tomatoes, Oregano & Mint

Yes, feta dip. All your problems solved. Salty and sweet. The perfect weekend indulgence for when the weather is just being a pain outside. Crackers, feta dip, juicy pop-sweet tomatoes. Are you ready? This is so very easy. All it is is a little single cream (or heavy cream if you are stateside), some cream cheese, and then the bulk of it is feta, proper feta from Greece. None of that fetta or anything that looks like feta but isn’t. Real feta is protected and nothing else can be called feta, that is f-e-t-a. Feta is made from sheep’s milk, or sheep and goat’s. Never with cows. If there is cow milk in there, it is not the real deal. You want real feta for the sweetness and richness of the sheep’s milk which is brilliant with the salty brine. I thought I didn’t like feta until I went to Greece when I was a student, all I had had before then was the weird inferior stuff with the odd taste. You can of course …

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An Ode to Lardo, and a Recipe for Spatchcock Lardo Roast Poussin

I have this thing with lardo. I want to help you embrace it. It is so misunderstood. All of this clean eating lark, well it is a bit depressing, isn’t it? All of that unnecessary deprivation, where is the joy? I am not suggesting you go out and eat fried chicken for a living (although certainly you must eat good fried chicken once in a while), what I am saying is, it is important that we just enjoy eating, eat what we like, and what our body needs and enjoys. Throw off all the anxiety related to it, eat well if you can (many can’t), and take pleasure in it. If we don’t eat well we suffer, we become ill, we can become neurotic when we obsess about the details. Walk a little bit to balance it out, dance occasionally. Life is good, right?  I try to embrace a balanced diet, and eat a little meat, I try not to eat a lot of it. I love vegetables. I adore fruit, I love salads, I …

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Walking Piedmont: From Barolo to Monforte d’Alba (& Where to Eat)

I left Barolo full of the joys of Spring, or was that the intense heat of summer? The first half of my walk was joyful, through the upper terraces of the Barolo vineyards, passing gardens rich with vegetable bounty, courgette flowers, plums, so many tomatoes. The occasional yappy dog, they do love them in Italy. I knew I was tired when I was overtaken by an elderly man walking two tiny dogs as I approached Monforte d’Alba, yet another of Piedmonts beautiful hilltop towns. I was in no rush, I smiled, attempted to communicate in Italian, and carried on.  My arrival was less glamorous. The Hotel Villa Beccaris, a beautiful four star property at the top of the hill was beautiful, relaxed and had the most glorious views. But after a long walk in the sun, the hill was a challenge. It surprised me that it ended with a sprint, one of those yappy dogs fled his old lady owner in pursuit of me when he decided that my ankles were much more appealing. Speckled with mosquito …

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The New Sunday Roast at Bob Bob Ricard

It would be improper of me not to let you know about the new Sunday Roast at Bob Bob Ricard in London. Or to mention Bob Bob Ricard at all, it has been a while. Bob Bob Ricard is a most under rated restaurant. It doesn’t care about trends, the food is classic, and it is very well executed. It is refreshing and it is fun. Even though Bob Bob Ricard is in the heart of Soho, it feels like it could be a grand restaurant from 100 years ago or a very large carriage of a luxury train. When I have visitors in town, we often go. It is famous for being the home of the famous Press for Champagne button. I always allow myself to press it at least once. When you do, your table number lights up above the bar, and a glass of house champagne is delivered to you. Another essential drink for every visit is the rhubarb G&T, bright pink, intensely flavoured and textured with egg white. The cocktails generally …

Breakfast Eggs with a Lively Black Bean Chilli Sauce

Breakfast Eggs with a Lively Black Bean Chilli Sauce (Trust Me)

You might think that I have lost the plot here. It isn’t the most attractive of recipe titles but, trust me, this new recipe of mine for boiled eggs with a lively black bean chilli sauce is GOOD. And it is simple and speedy too. I mean, we all love black bean sauce, right? Fermented black beans, also called salted black beans or preserved black beans, are a Chinese staple. You can get them in most Chinese food shops, often with ginger. They are really inexpensive plus a little goes a very long way. I recommend that you all get some for your cupboard, you will find them indispensable on days when you want something speedy with a flavour punch. The work has all been done in advance for you with the fermentation of the beans. These are superb in a speedy sauce with pork, they are excellent with clams and thin strips of pork belly too. I have used them with beef in a speedy Asian ragu that I had with rice noodles (fusion …

Barolo - the most gorgeous of Piedmont towns

A Gorgeous Day in Barolo, Piedmont (and Where to Eat)

Barolo is an aspiration, in every way. I want to drink the wine, all the time. The Barolo, the Arneis, the Barbera and the Chardonnay. I had wanted to visit there for a while, who wouldn’t want to go to the epicentre of Barolo production, home to truffles in summer & winter, the food must be good too, right?  Getting to Barolo (when already there) is a mission, when on foot, at least. I could not believe my eyes when faced with a sneaky hill seemingly hidden behind of and leading into this pretty town. I was in denial at this point, you see. But, it was worth it. I spent the bulk of my day there, choosing to walk early in the morning to Barolo from the top of that hill where Castiglione Falletto is perched. That hill. That vicious one. It was a gorgeous walk, through vineyards, by a stream, under boughs of elder tress laden with enthusiastic overarching elderberries. It seemed as though they were playing in the sun. It was hot, and …

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Linguine Vongole with Guanciale, Tomato & Chilli

This post is about vongole (clams) but we must first talk about guanciale, the magical bacon that is cured from the jowl of the pig. It has a flavour that is different to all others. It is bacon, sure, but it has a volume to it, a roundness that consumes you when you eat it. It is big, it is present, and it is one of the best things that you can eat. It is traditionally Italian, and can be tricky to find here, I think because in the main we are so nervous about fat, which is ridiculous as fat is flavour, and we are built to digest it. Partially, it may be because it was traditional to eat the whole of the pigs head here, and maybe not cure it. Guanciale is perfection, eat it, just don’t have it every day. Clams are perfect with pasta and so good with pork. There is something about the subtle brine and flavour of the sea released from each shell, the slick saline sauce that coats the …

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Sponsored: Uncovering the Best & Most Surprising Food As We Travel (In Partnership With Travelex)

This post is sponsored by leading foreign exchange provider Travelex, whose research revealed that over half of Brits now choose their holiday destination based on what food they’ll eat. Since then they’ve been eavesdropping across Twitter to uncover the hottest food trends around the world. The world is a peculiar place, there is no doubt about that. People travel to London to find the best British food, while us Londoners obsess with ramen, udon, and gourmet hot dogs. Go to Bubbledogs, we roar, and eat fantastic and quirky hot dogs, wash them down with grower champagne! Don’t neglect Koya! Do you fancy some Peruvian food while you are here? Let’s swing by Lima! And when in Lima, the city in Peru, not the London restaurant, you must eat Japanese food. It is excellent there due to the wave of Japanese immigration in the 20th century.  Noodles and quail at Koya Bar in London The report by the travel money provider also delved into social media to check out where in the world people were getting excited about …

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Dispatches from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Where to Eat & Stay)

Even though it is only a couple of hours flight away, Sarawak feels very different to mainland Malaysia. Sarawak is hotter, the humidity is particularly intense, and it feels very rural. There is a lot of jungle, and you know, orangutans and proboscis monkeys. Lots of lovely primates. And while Sarawak may only be one of two Malay provinces in Borneo, most of which is actually Indonesia, you could fit the whole of Ireland into it one and a half times. It ain’t small. Kuala Lumpur by comparison felt very urban, and while I was prepared for a very sticky situation in terms of heat and humidity, it felt cooler, although so would almost anywhere. Kuala Lumpur is a tall city, with the Petronus twin tours and several bars perched high with great views. Despite this, Kuala Lumpur feels very accessible and not overwhelming, and people don’t feel rushed. It is very doable as a stopover which is essentially what I did. I laid my head at The Majestic Hotel, a Kuala Lumpur institution still …

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Brunch This: Potato & Tomato Hash with an Egg & ‘Nduja Onions

Yes! I am back in my kitchen after 10 days in Italy. My trip was split between Abruzzo and Rome and was deeply inspirational, if a little hot. No very hot, and all the mozzies got the memo that the pink Irish person was in town. Little gits. Italy always gets my cooking neurons firing, I go there as often as I can, but this trip was particularly interesting as I was travelling mainly with talented chefs and food writers. The trip in general was centred around one of my favourite things, pasta! But, more on that soon. I got back last night, very late after lots of delays. I was tired, my luggage was heavy with wine, charcuterie, beans and maybe a small arrosticini grill. There may have been a chitarra too. I know, I know, I have a problem. It was a lot to lug home solo, but the people of London were awesome, as always, and so many total strangers offered to help me as I went. I got home eventually, hungry, …

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Walking Piedmont: Castiglione Falletto for Dinner & First Tastes of Barolo Wines

Have you ever had a nemesis? Something that makes you want to swear and shout, a thing that you think that you can’t beat but you still try, something that makes you want to throw your arms in the air and fall down and not think of getting up again for a while? Maybe just stay there, you know, forever. Was it ever a vineyard on a hill?  Yeah. I am deadly serious.  One day of my recent trek from town to town in Piedmont, my last kilometre or so was up a hill. It looked bad as I walked down the hill before to get there. I say a walk, more of a slow deliberate trot through woods and vineyards, winding and meandering and looking at that hill with Castiglione Falletto perched on top. I had my book, my saving grace, and every now and then when the heatwave became too much, or the hill started to defeat me, I would stop in the shade of a hazelnut grove or a vine, crouched low, avoiding …

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Vietnamese Summer Rolls Two Ways: Chilli Salmon & Samphire Rolls and Pork Belly & Crackling Rolls

I am summer roll crazy right now. When at home I have made them at least twice a week, and always with different fillings. Sometimes prawns, sometimes tofu, and yesterday, with chilli and lime salmon and samphire, and then the ultimate pork belly & crackling. Crunch, swoosh, zing.  A summer roll is really just a beautifully packaged noodle salad. And  a very portable one. Hello, lunch? Rice noodles (vermicelli) and friends, all neatly packaged in a water softened rice paper wrap. They seem complicated but they are not all that difficult to roll, with practice. After 3 or 4, you will have the knack, and they will take over your summer. I keep the noodle content low, as I find they get a bit rubbery if there is too much. I like to keep them packed with colour and freshness, grated carrot, fresh coriander and mint, and the zing of a fresh fruity not-so-hot chilli.  The wraps are fairly easy to source, I buy them in Chinatown usually but my local health food shop and supermarket …

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Walking Piedmont: Roddi to Grinzane Cavour & Dinner at Al Castello

Sunday morning was the day of my first Piedmont walk. And it was HOT. Italy is experiencing a heatwave right now. I gathered my bags and had my briefing with the Headwater team before they dropped me at my first stop. A little about the Headwater setup first. As you will have read in my last post on Piedmont, my trip to Piedmont was part of the #30activedays blogger project with Headwater Holidays. 5 bloggers were involved in Italy, France & Austria, each doing an activity holiday. Not my usual travel style, although I am keen to be more active, I love slow travel and I love to walk. Headwater make it easy, the walks are already detailed in notes and maps which they send you before you go to Italy. Every morning that you walk, the team move your bags to the next hotel, not just that, they have a wine delivery service and will pick up any wine that you buy too, delivering it to your final hotel for you to collect before …

Barolo - the most gorgeous of Piedmont towns

A Postcard from Piedmont, Italy: Walking Hilltop Towns, Hazelnut Groves, Truffles, Wine & Pasta

I was in Italy this past week to walk it. Yes, I was walking in the country that is shaped like a boot. Specifically, Piedmont in the North, and its UNESCO protected vineyard terraces, castles and gorgeous hilltop towns and villages.  This was quite the workout, ensuring that I earned every bite of pasta that I ate. And there was a lot to eat. And yeah, I did. Of course, I did! Italy is one of my favourite countries for food and I love the culinary education that I get with every visit. This wasn’t my first trip to Piedmont but I still discovered new pasta shapes and sauces, each enthusiastic forkful fired my brain and filled my head with ideas and plans for kitchen adventures.  I love slow travel, I wish that I could do it more often. Walking, boats, trains, time by myself where I can tune out and just be. Time to get to know the place that I am visiting and soak it all in, at pace. Piedmont is perfect for this. Piedmont is rich, green …

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Where to Eat, Drink & Stay in Menorca

I bumped into a friend on my flight back from Menorca recently. I was very tired and so I squinted, but no, sure enough it was Will. And he reminded me how much he loved Menorca, and how he had got married there. He visits all the time, and all I could think was, yes, of course you do. It is such a lovely place. Surprisingly so, and not because it isn’t lovely, it is, but because it feels so untainted by tourism. Aren’t all of the lovely places already very busy?

Poached egg with chorizo, almonds, tomato & basil

Cook This: Chorizo, Tomato, Almonds, Basil & a Poached Egg

What? You never thought of having almonds with your eggs? Well think about this: how good would a fried almond slick with chorizo oil be dipped into a runny egg yolk? Yeah! Lets get cracking. This is so simple and you will have your breakfast of champions on your table within 10 minutes. First, lets tackle what is likely at the forefront of your mind. THAT poached egg. Let me let you in on a secret, I poach eggs all the time and my first poached egg for this dish was a disaster. I created my whirlpool as I always do, I even added vinegar as I knew my egg was not as fresh as I would like. I would need a very fresh egg for a great poached egg but vinegar helps tighten a tired white and pull it all together. My poor egg couldn’t handle the whirlpool and the yolk bolted away, the white clinging on only just. The yolk poached perfectly and it is the best bit anyway, but you know, that …

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Cook This: Chicken Rice Noodles with Peanuts, Chilli & Coriander

You know how it is. You have leftovers, and you need to use them. Or you are tired, and all you want to do is use the leftovers. Either way, this is leftover city and we have to use them up. Leftovers get a bad rep but they are the best thing in a kitchen. Flavours are usually at their best the next day, at the very least they can be livened up quickly and you can have a terrific meal in minutes.  Take a chicken. Say, leftover roast chicken. So good on its own, wonderful with mayo and stuffing in a sandwich, but what about looking East and giving it a little heat, then pumping it awake with some aromatics, some nuts for texture (I am putting peanuts in everything at the moment) and you have a dish that will make you want to roast a chicken and not eat it, but save it for this. Of course you can just roast a chicken thigh for one person to order, which I also did today. Plus, …

Caldereta de Langosta at Es Cranc in Menorca

A Perfect Sunday Lunch: Caldereta de Langosta in Menorca at Es Cranc (Traditional Lobster Soup + a Recipe)

On a quiet street in Fornells in Menorca is an unassuming restaurant, Es Cranc. Es Cranc has a large menu, but most come here for the Caldereta de Langosta, a popular lobster soup from Menorca made with the native blue spiny lobsters which Es Cranc is particularly well regarded for. Caldereta gets its name from the pot that it is cooked in, a caldera. Traditionally this was a fishermans dish, cooked with the broken lobsters that they had caught. Now, it is a luxury and an indulgence, cooked at home for special occasions and at specialist restaurants like Es Cranc in Fornells. Behind a side door next to Es Cranc is a path that meanders to a room of large water baths, and these are full of spiny lobster. Spinning and weaving, large and small, these lobsters are mostly destined for the caldereta, some will be served simply grilled on their own. This is where the fishermen deliver their catch, for Es Cranc that is 5 different day boats that go out up to 7 …

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Hot and Sour Chicken (In Partnership with Brita)

This is a carefully selected sponsored post, and is the fifth of five in a sponsored series that I am working on with BRITA as part of their Better with BRITA campaign. In this post, I share my hot and sour chicken recipe. For more information on sponsored content on Eat Like a Girl, please have a look here.  I call this hot and sour chicken, not because it is following a hot and sour recipe from a particular place, but because I am using hot and sour flavours, and some of my favourites too. It is my hot and sour chicken, from my kitchen. Chilli, garlic, tamarind, some savoury light fish sauce and lime make this chicken sing. A sprinkle of coriander lifts it right up before you serve it. Some fried or roasted peanuts for the texture, because you can, and because they are awesome. A little shredded spring onion (or scallions as I once knew them) freshen everything again. That says summer to me. The flavours sprinkle and mingle and dance as you eat …