All posts tagged: london food blog

Rigatoni with Bolognese Style Ragu and Crispy Kale

Can you handle another ragu recipe? So close to the last? I ate this ragu several days in a row last week, which is normally something that I am loathe to do, but this was so delicious and utterly more-ish, that I couldn’t resist it. It has a little twist too. Normally ragu is served with parmesan, but I chose something else, also intense, oven crisped kale with paprika and sea salt, for a wonderful textural and flavour contrast. It is something that I do quite often, I have blogged about it before too. One of the things that I love about Italy is their adherence to tradition. They love their recipe rules and stick stringently to them. Very much so. Do not break the rules! They eat so well as a result. Who wouldn’t want to be Italian? One of the good things about not being Italian is that I can come home and absorb all of the different influences and stories and concoct something new. I can make something inspired by tradition, but not …

Recipe: Prawn and Pork Lemongrass Patties in Lettuce Leaf Wraps with Carrot Salad

The inspiration for these patties comes from fond memory of a lovely trip to Sydney some years ago, pre blogging, so I have never written about it here. Particularly, of an evening in a Vietnamese restaurant in Sydney’s Chinatown. Now, brace yourselves. At the time, I didn’t eat meat. It is ok really – calm down – it really is ok. I ordered a prawn on sugar cane dish. I asked what was in it, was there any meat? No just prawns, don’t worry. Any meat at all, any pork? (I expected there would be). No, no! Just garlic! The waitress looked at me, suddenly worried and said: do you have a problem with garlic? No, no I don’t. Bring it on. I took a bite. SAUSAGE. Pork sausage with a lick of the sea. It was lovely and I couldn’t resist it. I conferred with the waitress who said, why yes, there is pork in there! Of course there is. I ate every bit, it was delicious. And that taste memory, and the recall …

Recipe: Courgette and Truffle Carbonara

I have a really bad habit of going food shopping on a whim and being charmed by the glistening ingredients which I can’t resist. I pop them in my trolley gleefully, only to review when I go home and wonder, so how does all of this fit together, and when exactly amd I going to get time to eat it all? Eating it all is never really a worry, although it has worrying effects of late. It does prompt some creative cooking, driven by what I am in the mood for, and what I have nabbed en route home. I was faced with one such dilemna last night. All I knew is that I wanted to eat something rich, comforting and light, and it had to contain some pasta. Not just any pasta, I was eyeing up my box of Pastificio dei Campi linguine, the grand cru pasta (as declared in Italian food magazine Gambero Rosso) from Gragnano which I have been covetting. I never need an excuse to eat pasta, I love the stuff …

Recipe: Home Cured Salmon

Continuing with the fishy theme from my last post, this next post is also a recipe from the Tante Marie Seafood Cookery Course that I recently attended. This home cured salmon was swift and gratifying, the prep is super quick, and then it’s just a matter of waiting. The taste and textures tells of an altogether more complex process, but it’s the science behind the curing that does all of the work. It relies as always on high quality ingredients, so source good salmon, the best you can afford. I think that I will be rolling this out for the summer picnic season. It would be perfect, especially with a nice cold glass of prosecco. Let’s hope it’s soon! The clocks have changed and these glimmers of sunshine tease me so. Home Cured Salmon Ingredients: 750g piece middle cut salmon fillet Cure mixture for salmon: 1tbsp coriander seeds 2tbsp juniper berries 1tbsp fennel seeds 1tbsp pink peppercorns 225g sea salt 375g granulated sugar Method: Place the pink peppercorns, coriander, juniper and fennel seeds, in a …

Posh Lunch Club at The River Cafe

I love the River Cafe. It’s so bright and cheerful. By the Thames, the room is lined with high large windows and the room is flooded with light. A big woodfired oven blazes at the end of the room, and the kitchen and bar line the restaurant. Staff buzz behind and high ceilings mean the surrounding customer chatter isn’t imposing. It’s really nice and lively. Even the toilets are cheerful with big bright doors of different colours. It’s at the high end of most budgets, and mine is no exception, so it’s been a while since I visited. Some years ago, pre blog days in fact. Imagine, there was a time when I didn’t blog?! I have long been a fan of their style of cooking, simple flavoursome Italian far so I was excited at the prospect of a return visit, especially as I had secured a reservation with the Winter lunch offer of 3 courses for £24. Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray are accredited with changing perceptions of Italian food in this country, and …

And that’s it folks…

And, that’s it folks.  No more crazy early mornings filled with  intense baking sessions, vats of soup and spiced bramley apples. No more frenetic tweeting of mes petits désastres. No more waking to the intense  savouriness that is the smell of  kilos of slow roasting pork, wading through the aroma and the sleepiness down the stairs, and opening the oven to a rush of steam and porky goodness. The draining of the fat and the crisping of the crackling. Dipping my hand into the meaty cavern and pulling out the tender shreds of juicy meat. That’s it The last week is down. A snow filled Wednesday, but cheery to the end and committed to the market, we carried on. We went out with a bang. Yeterday at market was a fantastically busy day and a perfect day to go out on. The night before, I was exhausted, and really not in the mind for cooking. On the way home from work, I stopped at Selfirdge’s, knowing they had Brindisa chorizo which I wanted for my …

And that was 2008! What for 2009? Part 2

Yesterday, I blogged the fist part of my annual sum up, And that was 2008! What for 2009? , with the promise of returning with the second part. I know you’re all just dying to read it, so here it is. Last year was a sociable one for food bloggers, putting it mildly, we had many meetups and events. It was a busy few months prior to Christmas, so much so that I didn’t blog half of what I did, and wondered at times if I should have a second blog, as it seemed that recipe posts were being dwarfed by everything else, if only because I had no time to cook. I will change that this year. I love to cook, and I need to. I love playing and creating, tasting and eating, photographing and styling, but there was just no time. Ah, blog guilt. After our first bloggers meetup, we had many more, my personal highlight was the macaron classes at L’atelier des Chefs with 18 other food bloggers. I’ve always wanted to …

Slow Roast Pork Belly with Cider & Lentils

And now it’s November. It’s dark and cold, it’s been quite wet. That’s ok though, life is all about balance, the rough with the smooth, the highs with the lows, the summer with the winter, and I embrace it. Well, most of the time and maybe not the rain, I had enough of that growing up in Ireland! I’ve had a busy few months leading up to this, new flat, new job, new everything it seemed, and now that everything is starting to settle, well almost, I took some time this month to experiment, a little, and indulge alot. It’s been a month for comfort food. Comfort food is at once a friend and an enemy, that first spoonful is so lovely, but by the end, I can start to hate it as I’ve usually eaten way too much. One of the exceptions to this rule is slow roast pork belly, which never grows tired. In fact, I only wished I’d roasted double so that I could have eaten it for the week and not …

butternut squash curry

Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

This has been a great couple of weeks for festivities. Diwali, Halloween, Day of the Dead last week, and Guy Fawkes coming up. It certainly takes the bite out of the impending Winter! I always like to celebrate anything like this with food if I can, hey, I don’t need an excuse I know, even if it’s just for me, or, better again with friends. Last week was busy but I did sneak in a dish that would in some way cover Diwali and Halloween, well, kind of. Diwali being a Hindu festival is all about vegetarian food, particularly curry, snacks and sweets. As for Halloween, well, Halloween is about spooks and scary things, but also pumpkins, so I thought, why not make a veggie curry with pumpkin in? Or, in this case, butternut squash. I had an ulterior motive, I felt I needed a few veggie days, or veggie meals at least. I usually have quite a balanced diet but lately I’ve been buying lunch out alot more than usual, and as I work …

Sweetcorn fritters with tomato and avocado salsa

I went to a friends yesterday for dinner and she made the most beautiful sweetcorn and roast red pepper fritters with salsa. I had to try and recreate something similar tonight and I am very happy with the results, so unusually, I am happy to blog immediately and encourage you to try them. Sweetcorn fritters remind me fondly of a holiday in Australia a couple of years ago when I had them for breakfast and had one of those – why haven’t I had these for brekfast before! – revelations. They also remind me of my vegetarian years, when, not a fan of meat substitutes, I instead indulged in sweetcorn fingers and fritters and the like. The texture is wonderful, and each piece of sweetcorn is just bursting with flavour. With a side of avocado and tomato salsa, I challenge anyone to dislike this quick and nutritious evening staple. I kept these simple, the fritter batter contains only sweetcorn, shallots and fresh coriander with a vibrant and flavoursome salsa of heirloom tomatoes and hass avocado …

Fregola Sarda with Asparagus, heirloom tomato and goat’s curd

Finding something new to cook with is always exciting. I love prowling food markets and shops looking for that new ingredient or spice. My most recent discovery is fregola sarda (or fregula sarda), a toasted pasta from Sardinia, similar to cous cous but coarser, and because of the way it is toasted quite nutty. Like alot of Italian ingredients, it is exclusive to its area, and is relatively unknown outside of Sardinia. It is also still handmade, something I would like to try sometime in the future when I have time to spare. I have been cooking with alot of grains recently: pearl barley, farro, wheat, rye. They’re perfect for light summer lunches or side dishes, and fregola is a welcome member of this summer arsenal. With no strong flavour of its own, It combines well with almost anything, and is traditionally served with the likes of clams. This sounds wonderful and is on my list to try, but today, I felt like giving it a London twist, using seasonal produce for a nice light …

Clam Linguine

Clam linguine is one of those dishes that I love but am extremely fussy about. Hang on, isn’t that every dish? I digress… I won’t order it out unless I am absolutely certain that the restaurant is reliable and uses fresh clams (fresh = very fresh) and not tinned or jarred clams. Now, I have had many a “discussion” with friends about this. They think I am a snob, but, hey, clams come in a shell, so why not eat them that way? With seafood generally, the fresher the better, that fresh sea taste, like the salt air, and none of the fishiness that arrives when the fish are out of the water too long. I really struggle with anything that isn’t extremely fresh, and although I hate to admit it, I really can’t stomach alot of tinned fish. For this reason, I always go to good fishmongers when I can, like in Borough Market or Steve Hatts on Essex Rd in Islington. I distinctly remember the first time that I had clams. I had …

Eat Like a Girl is ONE!

This little blog is one year old. Or, was one year old last Friday, but the bank holiday intervened, then work and since then the sunshine, so, I am celebrating late :-) What a year! When I started I had no idea how it was going to work out, but 121 posts later, it’s now my favourite hobby. It’s forced me to be creative with my cooking, and the other wonderful food blogs out there are so inspiring on that score. Where did I think this blog would be one year later when I wrote my first post? I was quite nervous so I did it entirely anonymously, and those early posts were quite brief, but, as I settled into it, I loved doing it and found I spent so much time thinking and arranging what I was doing around it. All in a positive way – promise! I never would have thought that 12 months later I would have 13,922 views in one month! Nor did I think for a second that someone at …

The Real Food Festival

My passion for food is well known, and as a result, many leaflets for the Real Food Festival made their way to my desk in the last few weeks. It seemed anyone that knows me thought of me when they saw this festival advertised, and, came bearing leaflets or emailed the details. I am not generally a fan of big exhibition-type events, but the Real Food Festival intrigued me with it’s promised offerings of products from small and artisan producers. It promised: The very best line-up of produce and ingredients, incredible wines and drinks from small, unique producers, restaurants serving carefully sourced dishes and a comprehensive programme of entertaining and educational workshops where visitors will discover some of the best food and drink in the world… Regular readers will know that I am extremely passionate about produce from small producers, particularly local producers, and this seemed like an opportunity to see a generous selection of what the UK & Ireland had to offer, a chance to sample and purchase this produce, with the bonus of …

Smoked Salmon with Brown Soda Bread & Pickled Cucumber

Did someone mention smoked salmon?? Oh, that’s right – I did! On Sunday and on flickr last week. Shall I let you in on a secret? I’ve discovered that Selfridge’s (in Oxford St, London) have started selling Frank Hederman’s smoked salmon from the Belvelly Smokehouse in Cork. Haven’t they always done that? Well, yes but now, it’s available not only at the Oyster and Champagne Bar as a dish, but, by the side and fillet at the, well, smoked salmon counter. It’s not cheap, but I’ve been staying with friends for a bit and wanted to leave with a splash (decadent, moi?). Besides, it’s worth every penny and more. The texture is supple and firm with a delicate flavour and a beautiful smoky aftertaste from the beechwood chips. There’s a wonderful quote from the NY Times – Mr. Hederman smokes fish, which is a little like saying Steinway makes pianos. It’s just wonderful. We know, I hear you roar! I blogged it when I had it in Selfridge’s last year and I mentioned it recently …

Tagliatelle with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Anchovies and Pecorino

I made a long overdue trip to the farmer’s market at the weekend. It was Islington Farmer’s Market this time and quite by accident. I was meeting friends for a Sunday roast lunch and, despite rigorous planning, turned up an hour before the pub opened. So, we wandered off in the snow, after they had really sweetly let us in and allowed us to have a coffee in the warmth even though they were closed. Snowy London I love the snow. Well, that’s not quite true, I like the idea of snow. Until, after about half an hour out in it, I remember that it’s cold and wet and uncomfortable. Then I want to get out of it. Then there’s the snowball fights. Not such a problem as an adult, the last time that I was in one was about 5 years ago when I ran screaming into the house with one deposited in my hood. So, I love the snow, if there’s no threat of a snowball fight, and I don’t have to touch …

London Restaurant Week

Two fools – me and my winning photo Following a tough week last week, packing and moving once more, this week has started on a fine note. One of my photos (Rhubarb Fool) was chosen to be exhibited at the launch party for London Restaurant Week last night along with food photos from celebrities (Amy Winehouse, Jodie Harsh, Jean Christophe Novelli to name a few) and members of the public like myself. I was invited, and with a friend attended, quite excited at the prospect of attending such a high profile event. The champagne flowed and lovely small bites were provided, I indulged in the Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Green Peas and the Fish & Chips – greedy as I am, fear not, they were mini portions. I wolfed it down so quickly, I forgot to take a photo, which frankly, is unheard of. This was followed by a mini chocolate pudding and knickerbocker glory, delicious, and I do have photos of these :-) All the while, there was much people watching and …