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Review: The Lockhart, London

The Lockhart, London

The Lockhart, London

January was not a hugely successful month for dining for me. Not that I was on some dry January mission, January, of all months, needs decadence and I will never do that. I ate out a lot and had some good meals, but rarely anything exceptional. Then I went to The Lockhart and had my faith restored.

The Lockhart opened last year but not well. So they got a new chef, changed the menu, closed and worked on it before opening again in January. I was meeting two food loving friends for dinner, and booked at the last minute after one friend objected to the original reservation elsewhere. Expectations were high. Very.

The Lockhart, London

The Lockhart, London

We sat by the kitchen, a bright vivid space, and watched the chefs gently choreograph our meal. Brad McDonald leads the kitchen, a well respected American chef who now cooks southern food in London. And lucky us. We ordered pretty much everything between us (the menu is not overwhelming and is perfect for this).[Read more]

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Review: House of Ho [Vietnamese, Soho, London]

House of Ho, Soho

House of Ho, Soho

Bobby Chin is well know for his TV exploits, however, he also owns two very well regarded restaurants in Hanoi & Saigon. Now, a third in London has been added to the list in an impressive double fronted site on Old Compton St in Soho. The official opening day  was January the 6th, although they were operating in soft launch over Christmas. I popped in earlier this week.

First impressions are good. The space is vibrant and buzzy and the menu looks promising. We started with cocktails, I had a horny devil simply because I can’t resist chilli anywhere, even in my drinks. With lemongrass vodka, Vietnamese devil’s chilli (floating menacingly on the top of the cocktail) and fresh coconut, it was fresh and sharp with a lovely gentle heat.[Read more]

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Announcing: Sunday Bacon Club (A Bacon Masterclass & Bacon Brunch) – Book Your Place Now

I love teaching my bacon masterclasses. Over the course of the 3 hour class everyone chats, and gets to know each other, but then everyone has to go home. Bacon is a terrific social glue. With the general excitement about the class, the quirkiness of the recipes, the smells (oh, those smells), then finally the deliciousness as you eat it, it always seems a shame to just go. So, I looked into ways that I could extend the classes.

What to do? Evenings are too short once you leave work, so I looked at Sleepy Sunday and thought, well what about a class then? Followed by brunch? When there is no time pressure, and people can relax, and have some wine while they cook, and then after with brunch? Sounds good, doesn’t it? 

The venue is the very spacious and smart Underground Cookery School. Brilliantly located a 5 minute walk from Old St station, this school is a lovely sociable space with everything we might need to help make bacon even more brilliant. There is a great dining space for brunch too. Finally, they are licensed, and so I can serve you lot wine, while you cook.

Now you know I love brunch. I previously ran a Brunch Club to celebrate the launch of my first book, Comfort & Spice, (which has a whole chapter on it, and so does my next book Project: BACON too). I ran a pop up Brunch Cafe at Irish Music & Arts Festival Electric Picnic (and won an award for it too!). This time, we will have bacon waffles and eggs and buttered greens. A bacon bloody mary to wash it down? So many ideas, a whole bacon brunch chapter to eat through. Sunday Bacon Club? Bring it on.

[Read more]

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Preview: Foxlow, St John St, London

foxlow-kitchen-chef

St John St is a busy street, and in a very good way. Home to St John’s restaurant (from Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver), and also wine bar & restaurant Vinoteca (across the road), with Bistro Bruno Loubet (which I have eaten at 3 times but neglected to blog, a huge oversight), and The Zetter Townhouse around the corner (one of my favourite spots for drinks and bar snacks). There are lots more and I could type all day, but my point is, that this isn’t an area that has been crying out for great new restaurants. This hasn’t stopped the Hawksmoor team from taking a stab at it, and given their pedigree (I am a fan of their Hawksmoor steakhouses and bar), I was curious as to what they planned to deliver and how. I knew that this wasn’t going to be another Hawksmoor, but I was expecting it to be quite meaty. And so it was. In a very good way.[Read more]

jacob-harrison-txt
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London: Jacob Harrison Pastrami (Montreal Style Pastrami in London and it is the Real Deal)

“Square pastrami makes me so angry! I have to avoid that counter in the supermarket every time”.

An unusual conversation to be having in a park in North London, perhaps. Over a portable gas burner and a pot containing a vacuum packed bag of meat. Stranger still was that it was with a someone that I had never met before and knew vaguely only through the internet. However, I had heard great things about Jacob Harrison’s Montreal style pastrami and I had to try it. Even if that meant that we had to meet somewhere in between (to be fair, he had offered to meet me at my place and invited me over to his, but I only had an hour to spare so this was the best that we could do at the time).

Montreal smoked meat (aka pastrami) is famous. Schwartz’s Deli is a first stop for most travellers to Montreal – myself included. When I last visited and requested a sandwich, the waiter looked at me and said, “have you tried the pastrami from elsewhere?” He continued “I did and now I know why we have such long queues here.” It was so innocent and confident, yes, but deservedly so. On both of my trips to Montreal, I have eaten there.

Jacob Harrison Pastrami

Jacob Harrison Pastrami

Corey, the man behind Jacob Harrison, was missing it deeply. His family had a deli when he was growing up and this was his only connection, but tired of and so depressed by what we here consider pastrami, he developed his own recipe with his own spice mix, using rare UK beef. I tasted it, and not only was it fabulous, it was at least on a par with Schwartz’s. Moist and rich with fat (fat is key to flavour), it made a perfect sandwich with mustard and sourdough bread. Montreallers and pastrami passionistas, please note, Jacob Harrison’s pastrami is smoked, so it isn’t exactly like Schwartz’s, but they are not trying to copy Schwartz’s here, it is just my point of reference.[Read more]

Manicomio City Steak & Chianti Night
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Preview: Manicomio City Steak & Chianti Nights

I recently found myself in the Gutter, no, sorry, Gutter Lane in East London. Manicomio City, an offshoot of the original Manicomio in Chelsea, are offering a Chianti & Steak Night Special until the end of November. I laid my waistline on the -er- line and went to check it out for you.

On offer is a Longhorn T-Bone (750g) from the Ginger Pig, and a bottle of 2009 Castellare Di Castellina, Chianti Classico. The steak is available at lunchtime to share for £45 and the wine also retails at £45, so it is a bit of a bargain at £65 for both. The Ginger Pig is pretty well known in London now, and like most food obsessives, I am familiar with their steak, both from the Ginger Pig butcher shops and also steakhouse Hawksmoor, which uses their steaks exclusively. Great meat and steaks, and I especially love the blue cheese taste the Longhorn fat has. Fabulous.

The offer is for the steak and wine, excluding sides and starters and desserts (should you want them), but I am always looking for great gnocchi so tried the gnocchi with tuscan sausage and fennel ragu first. The gnocchi were pillow light and the ragu deep and rich with the fennel lifting it. My friend had the rabbit papardelle with leeks, capers and lemon – and of course I had a taste – another lovely rich tender ragu with the capers and lemon giving it piquancy and freshness.

Gnocchi with Tuscan sausage and fennel ragu

Gnocchi with Tuscan sausage and fennel ragu

Rabbit pappardelle with leeks, capers and lemon

Rabbit pappardelle with leeks, capers and lemon

[Read more]

Bacon Fudge
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Bacon Masterclasses: Last Ones for 2013! Book Your Place Now.

Aveqia - new space for bacon masterclasses in Farringdon

Aveqia – new space for bacon masterclasses in Farringdon

LAST BACON MASTERCLASSES FOR OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER – BOOK NOW

Ok folks! Dramatic yes, but necessarily so. I am calling an end to my bacon masterclasses this year. They are simply too expensive for me to run. But I want to teach a few more before I stop and also I want to share some of the new Project: BACON recipes through them. So, if you want to book, do so now.

All places booked between now and Friday will be sold at early bird prices (£75 vs £95). I just don’t have the time to manage any admin right now, and would rather fill them (or as close to as possible), and then see you all there.

THE SCHOOL

I will be teaching them at a wonderful new cookery school in central London, Aveqia. The school is very central, based near Farringdon and is beautiful. The original school is in Sweden and the same elegant Scandinavian design has been used here, and as you would expect, it is a thoughtfully designed and very useful space. Those Swedes know what they are doing.

The kitchen is large and spacious with lots of room and all the kit I could need, even a paco jet for making maple bacon, bourbon & vanilla ice cream. After we can all sit down at a large communal & very sociable space to eat and indulge in some bacon bloody marys.

The classes will be hosted on Saturdays only, and I am expanding the class concept to include a sit down brunch after the Bacon Masterclass. The classes are more expensive to run but I would still like to keep the classes accessibly priced, so I am going to be offering the first 6 early bird places for £75 with the remaining 10 places at £95. The prices must unfortunately go up to meet my increased costs.

Aveqia Cooking School in Farringdon, London

Aveqia Cooking School in Farringdon, London

THE CLASS

Each bacon masterclass will start at 10am with bacon jam on toast and tea / coffee and finish at 2pm after brunch with a bacon bloody mary. There will be 3 hours cooking. All classes are hands on and you will have a lot of support. The recipes are explicitly detailed and even where complex, very easy to follow. I am there to help and teach at all classes, of course. Cooking is core, but there are not just about cooking, they are also a lot of fun. You will be comfortable, I can promise you that.

Sounds good? I think so.

The recipes will vary, but the core recipes will be:

– chipotle bacon jam
– candied bacon
– bacon jam fudge
– candied bacon marshmallow creme

The classes will be on:

Sat 26th Oct
Sat 16th Nov
Sat 14th Dec

… and that will be it. (There will be classes in Ireland, Belfast and Yorkshire next year as part of Project: BACON, but none scheduled for London as yet).

So, please email me at niamh@eatlikeagirl.com and I will send you details on how to pay and book you in.

Bacon Fudge

Bacon Fudge

Bacon Fudge

Bacon Fudge

Bacon Chocolate Bourbon Truffles

Bacon Chocolate Bourbon Truffle

Morito, Exmouth Market, London
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London: Seafood Festival at Morito

Morito, Exmouth Market, London

Morito, Exmouth Market, London

London is a very big city. That is not news but it frequently annoys me. It is the best and worst thing about London. I love that I can pop across to the other side of London and have a whole new and interesting experience. I also hate that I have to do that. I am a bit spoiled by it, I think we all are.

Morito Seafood Festival Menu

Morito Seafood Festival Menu

I used to live in the North East of London, so popping to Morito for tapas and a swift sherry was always easy. I have written about Morito before, if you are new and unaware of it, Morito is the smaller sibling of Moro, and is just next door. Now that I am down sarf, popping to Moro is a little trickier. It needs to be planned, and you know I hate to plan anything (as much of a key skill that is for any sociable Londoner). However, Morito’s annual seafood festival is a must, so I made sure I didn’t miss it.

Fino at Morito

Fino at Morito

Morito’s Seafood Festival runs only until October 6th. Lots of dishes that aren’t on the regular menu are available, and suggested sherry matches too. This year the menu isn’t set (as it was last year) so you can go a bit meaty too and I suggest that you do. The chicharrones de cádiz are unmissable (tender melting pork belly spiked with cumin and lemon) and the lamb chops are excellent too (I didn’t have the lamb chops this time but I have many others). The prices are very good, and you will want to order a lot. Do that too. I would suggest booking a table too (at lunchtime only – dinner is first come first served), as it is popular and always busy.

Gilda - pincho of anchovy, olive and guindilla chilli

Gilda – pincho of anchovy, olive and guindilla chilli – spiky and rich. Perfect appetiser.

Ceviche - wild sea bass ceviche with seaweed, dill, sesame and cucumber

Ceviche – wild sea bass ceviche with seaweed, dill, sesame and cucumber – the cucumber acted as a delicate relish and the seaweed emphasises the taste of the sea and freshness of the fish

Octopus with Potatoes

Pulpo a la Gallega – Octopus with Potatoes – slow cooked tender octopus with spiced potatoes

Montadito de cangrejo - toast with crab and oloroso sherry

Montadito de cangrejo – toast with crab and oloroso sherry – the oloroso added a layer of richness

Puntillitas - deep fried baby squid

Puntillitas – deep fried baby squid – perfect tiny octopus – loved this

Tortilla

Tortilla – one of the best in London

Quail eggs with cumin and sea salt

Quail eggs with cumin and sea salt

Chicharrones de cádiz – pork belly, cumin & lemon

Chicharrones de cádiz – pork belly, cumin & lemon – a must have – yielding fatty pork belly with a spiked cumin & lemon crust

Morito, 32 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QE

http://www.morito.co.uk/ 

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This Weekend in London: Meatopia. Don’t Miss It.

Josh Ozersky

Josh Ozersky

I may be in Lima in Peru (and really loving it), but a chunk of my food loving soul is very sad not to be in London as I will miss Meatopia. Meatopia is the meaty brainchild of Josh Ozersky, James Beard award winning food writer. We were always going to get along.

As Josh says in the recent brilliant Vice Munchies video  (which you must watch), “Every aspect of my life is utterly immersed and overflowing with the juice of literature and the love of food”. Starting out as an academic and historian, he was diverted to food by his passion and knowledge, and started with the well respected delicious tome Meet Me In Manhattan: A Carnivore’s Guide to New York City. He hasn’t stopped since, and we are all very happy about that.

A snippet of what you can expect

A snippet of what you can expect (a tri-tip from Grillstock)

I met Josh when he was in London, and here follows a little about Josh, where you must hit at Meatopia, and some grill tips.

Tell me a little about your meat obsession?

I have, from a very early age, identified as a meat-eater. My tiny hands clutched
sausages and steaks from infancy onward, like Hercules strangling the steaks in
his crib. A long and unhappy life followed, which caused me to be a writer and a
glutton and I have brought these arts to bare on a great meat event — possibly the
greatest in history.

I know everything will be awesome, but give me a top 5 hit list for people to check out?

Tim Byres’ whole hog; Richard Turners ribeye cap with anchovy butter; Aaron
Franklin’s brisket, and of course Fergus Henderson’s meat magic…

Any grill tips for novices / amateurs?

Cook with wood or lump charcoal only, ever, with no exceptions; cover everything
with a LOT of kosher salt; and cook fast over wicked heat, finishing on the cold side
if necessary. That’s it. also, you can only end with good meat if you start with good meat.

Go to Meatopia if you love meat and a little fun. I would be there, if I could. And watch this.

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Burger Monday (on a Wednesday) at Shake Shack in London

Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack, Danny Meyer, founder & CEO of the Union Hospitality Group (& therefore Shack Shack) and  Daniel Young of Burger Monday and Young & Foodish

Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack, Danny Meyer, founder & CEO of the Union Hospitality Group (& therefore Shake Shack) and Daniel Young of Burger Monday and Young & Foodish

I got a sneak peak of the new Shake Shack in London yesterday evening, via Daniel Young of Young and Foodish and his terrific Burger Monday. I am not a burger obsessive by any means, but I appreciate good food (natch) and when a friend brought me to the Shake Shack in Madison Square Gardens, NYC, I didn’t have very high expectations. A burger is a burger, right? Right. Well, not really.

Weekend in Williamsburg NYC

My Shake Shack burger in NYC Madison Square Gardens last year

I loved it. For the simplicity, the size of the burger, the flavour, moisture, sticky cheese slipping over the edge and the the lovely potato bun. It was a good solid burger, and I went back the next day. It became a favourite. Now, they have come to London,  the burgers are made from 100% Scottish Aberdeen Angus beef, the SmokeShack (my favourite) features British free-range Wiltshire cure smoked bacon and the concretes (frozen custard blended at high speed, a rich elegant ice cream) include Paul A Young chocolate and St John Bakery products.

I focussed on the burgers last night, there is only so much that even I can eat. My favourites were the SmokeShack with bacon, chopped cherry pepper and ShackSauce and the Shack Stack which was a combination of the ‘Shroom Burger and Cheeseburger in one. The ‘Shroom burger is a rare thing, a vegetarian burger with deep flavour and texture, but I will continue to have mine with a cheeseburger ;) Get some cheese fries on the side too, crinkle cut chips topped with a creamy cheddar cheese sauce.

We already have some great burgers in London, but this is a good addition to the scene. It opens tomorrow, the 5th of July, so check it out, and expect some long queues.

Some pics for now, and I will be back to try the rest of the menu.

Shake Shack, 24 Market Building, The Piazza, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8RD

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‘Shroom Burger

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Cheesy Fries

IMG_1448

SmokeShack Burger

IMG_1486

One of the very cheerful staff members with lots of Shack Stack Burgers

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Red Velvet Concrete

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Posh Lunch Club at Pizarro

Pizarro, Samsung S4 - 26

To refresh your memories and to introduce new readers, Posh Lunch Club is all about finding the best fine lunches at bargain prices. So set menus, and all that jazz. Mainly in London but also anywhere that I might find myself. Which is a lot of places, at times. I have a long list to hit in London, and will be focussing on that for the next few months.

I love Posh Lunch Club because it makes London restaurants so accessible. I really believe that you don’t need to have a lot of money to eat well, either at home or out on the town. When I first moved to London and existed on a pittance, I took advantage of the amazing ingredients available to me and taught myself to cook more, as I couldn’t eat out that much. Now I can, but I still relish a bargainous and delicious discovery.

Posh Lunch Club isn’t a real club. I have had requests to join but sometimes there is only one member – just me on an indulgent solo lunch – more usually it involves one other, and sometimes, many more. The membership lasts for as long as lunch, and that is that. The real idea is for you to use this as a guide for your own posh lunches. I will show you the best and most delicious places to spend your hard earned cash.

Let us begin.

Pizarro, Samsung S4 - 01

My first Posh Lunch Club of 2013 was at Pizarro. One of my favourite restaurants, they have started doing a brilliantly priced Menu del Dia (as is typical in Spain) for £20 for 3 courses or £17 for 2. I have a confession, even though I normally stick to the menu, when in Pizarro I can’t resist going off piste and bumping things up a bit. I adore the jamon there (with a glass of fino, natch) and the cod fritters are very hard to resist. So we started with those.

Pizarro, Samsung S4 - 15

The cod fritters are crisp with a fabulously light & fluffy center. The jamon is nutty, rich and melts in the mouth. I can taste it now as I type. The jamon that is served at José (Jamón Ibérico Manuel Maldonado) is sold at £1000 per leg retail elsewhere, so it is a bargain, even at £20 a plate.

Pizarro, Samsung S4 - 05

On to the starters. There are three choices, but I can’t look beyond chorizo, even if I have no idea what Trinxat is (Trinxat, chorizo was on the menu). It turns out to be a refined sibling of bubble and squeak with tiny diced chorizo, fried and crisp on top and on the side with some crisp greens. The cake itself was just holding together and when I touched it, it seemed to sigh and fall apart.

Pizarro, Samsung S4 - 09

For my main course, I went for the pork chops with jersey royal and apple. The pork chop was very large and with a big coating of fat. The pork itself was delicious but the fat was divine. I left none behind. It lay on some apple puree, not over sweet and still perky. The jersey royals played a small supporting role with a herb dressing. My friend had mackerel plancha, which was super fresh as mackerel should be (but often isn’t).

Pizarro, Samsung S4 - 07

And this is where we stopped. No more food, and I finished with a coffee. But were I stronger, more greedy (or less greedy at the start), I would have had the Santiago tart. Really, I would.

A perfect breath of new life for Posh Lunch Club and about time I reviewed Pizarro. A wonderful restaurant, all heart and great food, those two courses cost only £17. There is a great sherry & wine list too.

It gets very busy, but there is almost always a seat at the bar. I have spent many a Saturday there. Enjoy it.

Pizarro, 194 Bermondsey St, London Borough of Southwark, London SE1

I am still experimenting with video. Here is a little one of Pizarro. A little shaky, but not bad for a phone at all. Imagine you are on a train as you watch it ;) (I think a little tripod for it would be very useful, I will perfect it!).

 

With thanks to Carphone Warehouse, who supplied the Samsung S4 which I used to take all photos in this post, and the video. Not bad, is it?! 

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My Favourite London Places to Eat (my Top 10 London Restaurants, if you will)

I have a shortlist of must eat places that I visit every time I am back in town. Places that offer comfort, deliciousness and that make me feel right at home. Bowls of loveliness and pies of joy, spicy fabulous curries and fatty fabulous seekh kebabs. This is not a list of anything specific, like my favourite fine dining or cheap eats, but a list of the places that I think about when I travel and head straight for when I get back.

I always promise that I will share these, but I never do. (I don’t know why, I suspect it is because I find things like this a bit of a Sophie’s Choice). There are restaurants that I love that aren’t on here as they are more occasion type places for me (L’Anima, Racine & The Ledbury, for example). They are centred around Soho, and in South London where I live, but these are places that I travelled to before I lived here from the North and East and are destinations for me. I wouldn’t recommend them otherwise.

So, here you are, enjoy. I know you will love them as much as I do. I have eaten at each one many times. (Photos are random and are a mix of camera phones and random cameras – I will update with proper photos as I go).

Koya – the best udon in London, these are as good as any (and better than some) in Japan. Made fresh daily using the traditional 5 hour under-the-foot method, bonito is shaved fresh for the soup stock (which goes a little way to explaining the flavour and vibrancy). Everything is good here, and don’t ignore the specials. I recently had a divine udon with tempura hake, wild garlic and leek, and I just can’t stop thinking about. When ordering udon, be sure to order tanuki (crispy tempura bits) and onsen tamago (slow poached egg). Served cold may sound odd, but when cold they have terrific texture. I let the weather choose whether I go cold or hot. The drinks list has some lovely sakes, wine, beer and cider. I try to stick to sake when I go. When in Rome (or in London) etc.

Koya, 49 Frith St, London, Greater London W1D 4SG, United Kingdom, no reservations

José & Pizarro – I can’t mention one without the other, José and Pizarro are two restaurants owned by Spanish chef José (yes) Pizarro. José is a relaxed tapas and sherry bar on a street corner in Bermondsey, always full and with a brilliant atmosphere. All of the food is great but especially good are the tortilla, jamon, gazpacho and croquetas. With a glass of sherry, of course (the list is excellent). A 5 minute walk away sits the younger sibling, although it feels a little more mature. A touch more formal, although really not by very much, Pizarro serves a more structured menu and an excellent and great value Menu del Dia during the week.

José, 104 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3UB, United Kingdom, no reservations
Pizarro, 194 Bermondsey St, London Borough of Southwark, London SE1, United Kingdom

Prawns at Pizarro

Prawns at Pizarro

Bone Daddies Ramen Bar – Bone Daddies is fierce. It is the type of ramen that grabs you by the chops and wrestles you into submission. Big flavours, lots of heat, and rich broths, this is the real deal and is really considered. The tantanmen was my favourite until I became too weak or it became too hot. Now I favour the super rich and silky tonkotsu, and the kimchi tonkotsu when it is on special. With punchy kimchi, corn, and some fine grated parmesan, it hits every spot, even some that I didn’t know I had. Soft serve ice cream is a must. The flavours change daily, I have had the green tea and I hear that the black sesame is very good. There is a great sake list and this is where I focus my attention, although the Fever Tree ginger beer is pretty good too.

Bone Daddies Ramen Bar, 31 Peter St, London, Greater London W1F 0AR, UK, no reservations

Bone Daddies Tonkotsu & Sake

Bone Daddies Tonkotsu & Sake

Lima – my favourite Peruvian food in London and great cocktails too. The ceviche (sea bream) is the best in town, as is the pisco sour. Braised tender octopus with bubbles of bitter rich olive and suckling pig with lentils are divine, and the chocolate with blue potato crystals – trust me – is a must. I need to go back and familiarise myself with the rest of the cocktail list, I rarely stray from the sours.

Lima, 31 Rathbone Pl, London W1T 1JH, United Kingdom

Octopus with olive and quinoa at Lima

Abbeville Kitchen – local to me, but worth the journey, Abbeville Kitchen is a perfect local restaurant. Modern British, I love to go with friends and order some of the food to share, from Desperate Dan style pies (my favourite was venison and pickled walnut) to rib of beef, chips and bearnaise to share. Starters are lovely too, the charcuterie is particularly good. House cocktails make a perfect aperitif and the wine list is very fairly priced and accessible.

Abbeville Kitchen, 47 Abbeville Rd, London SW4 9JX, United Kingdom

Trinity – great food, great wine, accessible prices. Possibly the best priced tasting menu in town. Chef Adam Byatt and his team make many delicious things, but their taramasalata is the best I have ever tasted and their signature trotter dish is divine. Wine matching is excellent, and the prices aren’t intimidating. I brought a friend last year and he goes back now all the time with anyone that he can find that hasn’t been there yet.

Trinity, 4 The Polygon London SW4 0JG, United Kingdom

Pig trotter on sourdough with sauce gribiche, crackling and quail egg at Trinity

Lahore Karahi –  a small and way too bright Pakistani restaurant tucked away in a corner of Tooting, the Lahore Karahi is one of my favourite curry houses in London. I started obsessing about the lamb chop masala, four tandoor lamb chops in a thick, rich lamb masala sauce. I would always have these with the lamb seekh kebabs, and the chicken and fenugreek ones. But then I discovered the haleem. Which is a divine concoction of 3 types of lentils and lamb, smooth as silk and rich as velvet. It is only available at the weekends which is just as well. The prices are brilliant, with main courses circling £7 or less. BYO & no corkage, treat yourself to a visit.

Lahore Karahi, 1 Tooting High St, London SW17 0SN, United Kingdom

Haleem at Lahore Karahi

Haleem at Lahore Karahi

Jen Café – I go here for the dumplings and the bubble tea in hungry moments in Chinatown. The dumplings are very simple, Beijing dumplings with pork, steamed and sometimes, if I am in the mood, fried. Always with a dipping sauce fashioned from the condiments on the table: black vinegar, (often a little too much) chilli oil, and a little soy sauce for sweetness, salt and balance. Never more than £10 and always satisfying. Althhough the staff can be quite rude, and they are inconsistent. (Update October 2013 – I now prefer to go to Leongs Legend Continues around the corner for the Xiao Long Bao, which are some of the best in London, and a cup of tea).

Jen Cafe, 4-8 Newport Place London WC2H 7JP

Fried Beijing dumplings and watermelon pearl juice at Jen Cafe

Fried Beijing dumplings and watermelon pearl juice at Jen Cafe

Gelupo – gelato and granita, in cups, cones or sourdough donuts, there is very little not to love at Gelupo. Blood orange granita is a must, although the recipes are seasonal so be sure to explore. Look beyond the counter to the fridge for some chocolate covered ice cream, ice cream cakes and bon bons. At one point the even sold (terrific) charcuterie from sister restaurant Bocca di Lupo across the road.

Gelupo, 7 Archer St, London, Greater London W1D 7AU

Chilli Cool – I am adding this at the end and slightly tentatively as I used to love it here but haven’t been in a bit so including it here is slightly risky. I do often think of returning for the firey grouper and tofu hotpot, smothered in chillies and spiky sichuan pepper corns, a piece of fish or tofu rescued from the oils beneath is delicious. I was first brought here by a friend of a friend from Chengdu who loves it and did all of the ordering. I have been hooked to Sichuan food since. I last brought a friend who was so shocked by how hot it was – despite my pleas for him to drink aloe vera juice to soothe his palate – that he insisted we leave half way through. If you like hot food, you will love it. I do.

Chilli Cool, 15 Leigh St, London WC1H 9EW

Chilli Cool - Grouper Hot Pot

Have you any favourites that you think should be on this list? Let me know in the comments :)

Coming soon: more favourite London places, incl for fine dining, posh lunch, cheap eats, coffee, wine, brunch etc.

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Announcing: A Weekend Long Food Blogging Masterclass at The Guardian HQ

Picture taken by Pål Hansen for the Observer Food Monthly when I won the OFM Best Blogger Award in 2011

Picture taken by Pål Hansen for the Observer Food Monthly when I won the OFM Best Blogger Award in 2011

I was extremely honoured to be asked to curate a food blogging masterclass at the HQ of The Guardian newspaper as part of their series of masterclasses. As curator I have asked the best food bloggers in the UK to join me in sharing our knowledge with you. It will be useful, informative and hands on. We are planning it right now, and I will be back soon to share some more details for you.

For now, here are some details on my fellow tutors. There will also be two influential keynote speakers, details on those soon too. The course will run on the 13th and 14th of July and therre are only 36 places. Classes will be taught in groups of 18 so it will be intimate and everyone will get lots of attention.

Book on Eventbrite via The Guardian website.

Niamh Shields – me! – social media, etiquette and food & travel blogging 

You know about me :)

Daniel Young – food criticism for bloggers

Daniel is the “Young” behind young&foodish, a London-based website and food events company. He is the creator of the BurgerMonday, PizzaTuesday, SpagWednesday, WichThursday, FryFriday and CoffeeSaturday series of pop-up dinners, working with such chefs as Giorgio Locatelli and Nigella Lawson. He was restaurant critic of The New York Daily News and has written about food for such publications as The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Bon Appetit Magazine and Gourmet Magazine.

Daniel is author of eight books, including The Paris Cafe Cookbook and Made in Marseille. In February 2013 youngandfoodish.com was named one of the 50 food websites and one of the 15 sites the foodies love by The Times. In May 2013 Young was named Online Food Writer of the Year at the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards.

Signe Johansen – recipe writing

Signe is a food writer and cook who grew up in Norway and now lives in London. She trained at Leiths School of Food and Wine, and after graduating worked in some of the UK’s top restaurants. Signe has a Masters in the Anthropology of Food from SOAS, a degree in Social Anthropology from Cambridge and has written about Scandinavian food for Sainsbury’s magazine, Delicious magazine and the Financial Times as well as contributing recipes to all the major mainstream and trade publications in the UK.

Signe has recipe tested cookbooks such as Hawksmoor At Home, both the Fabulous Baker Brothers’ books, Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook and the Pitt Cue Cookbook. Saltyard Books published Signe’s books Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking…Scandilicious in 2011 and Scandilicious Baking in 2012. Signe’s blog Scandilicious specialises in modern Scandinavian cooking, baking and living and her supper club EatScandi was recently featured in the New Yorker.

Jeanne Horak-Druiff – food photography

Jeanne Horak-Druiff is a South African by birth and a Londoner by choice who has been writing her blog Cooksister since May 2004. CookSister! was named as one of the Times Online’s top 50 food blogs in the world and is also a four-time winner of Best South African Food Blog in the South African Blog Awards. Jeanne started Cooksister at a stage when she did not even own a digital camera, and is a self-taught food photographer who fully understands the challenges and limitations of shooting food in a makeshift home studio with a limited budget. She is passionate about teaching and has run a number of photography workshops both in the UK and South Africa.

Peter Langdon – web design and building your blog 

Peter works on the Guardian web team designing and building web pages and managing digital marketing for Guardian Masterclasses. He has also worked at Amazon and as a freelance web designer on a wide variety of projects. He regularly teaches blogging masterclasses and you can find his own blog here.

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Tickets Now on Sale: Bacon Masterclasses on Wednesday 20th & Friday 22nd March

Bacon Cookery Class - Bacon Jam Fudge

Bacon Cookery Class – Bacon Jam Fudge

I am woefully late announcing these, but here you go! New bacon masterclasses on Wednesday 20th and Friday 22nd March, in just over two weeks time.

These are a new format and in association with Bacon Connoisseurs Week. They will be held at Food at 53,  gorgeous cookery school between Old St and Islington. As always, they will be really fun, and very sociable. Come on your own, or with friends, I promise you will be comfortable.

We will kick off with a Bacon Bloody Mary, then get into the cooking three recipes.

Chipotle Bacon Jam – better than any you have tasted with only the best ingredients. Chipotle fuelled, smoky and sticky.
Bacon Jam Fudge – it takes time but it is fantastic, and it is amazing with a single malt
Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Truffles – smoky, rich and fabulous

Then we will finish with a bacon curry. You will go home with a goody bag of everything you have made with all of the recipes.

I have kept the prices as they were, £75 for 3.5 hours. If you book through eventbrite, there is a processing  fee of £5.15. If you want to avoid this, you can pay me directly, just email me at niamh@eatlikeagirl.com.

Book tickets here: http://eatlikeagirlbaconclass.eventbrite.co.uk/

 

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Behind the Scenes at Ottolenghi and Lunch

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Sami Tamimi of Ottolenghi, cooks us lunch

Some of you are going to hate me now, but here goes.

Yesterday I went for lunch behind the scenes at Ottolenghi. The hub of all Ottolenghi activity, where recipes are developed and a lot of the restaurant items and most of the deli items are made.

Ottolenghi are proud of their sourcing, and this is evident from the food. Each bite has an intensity of flavour and freshness that isn’t delivered unless you take extreme care with your ingredients, and how they are stored. Secret places and people. Every good restaurant has these. They generally don’t share them with us.

Except Ottolenghi does now. In response to readers craving exotic ingredients from the books in order to recreate the food at home, Ottolenghi have now set up an online store, and they deliver all over the world. Ingredients, products, and wine too.

Exciting, eh? And really delicious. Date molasses, sumac, za’atar, rose petals, (proper) rose water, dukkah. Fragrant and delicious. I cook a lot with rose petals (see the rose petal butter in my book among others), dried and fresh, but the dried rose petals that we ate there, were fantastic in their fragrance. I was surprised. At once delighted that I could source them, and disappointed with the ones that I had been using before.

Yotam’s co-author and business partner, Sami, cooked us lunch. A gorgeous meal peppered with stories of Sami’s cooking with his grandmother, and stories making homemade mograbiah and pomegranate molasses in the Palestinian sun.

The food was divine, I will be digging out the recipes and recreating them at home for myself and for friends. Great wines too, an unusually complex and rich prosecco from Casa Coste Piane di Loris Follador, a spicy rich orange wine, Tenuta Grillo from Baccabianca, and a spicy soft fruity red wine, a Nerello Mascalese from Caruso & Minini.

Most of the recipes are from Ottolenghi’s books and Guardian column, and all ingredients are available online. So you can also recreate yourself at home.

Enjoy!

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Sweet potato purée with date syrup and black sesame seeds

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Labneh sprinkled with za’atar

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Dukkah

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Halibut wrapped in vine leaves, fresh from the oven

Halibut wrapped in vine leaves, grilled with dukkah and lemon and served with piccolo pepper, cherry tomato, caper, basil and chopped herb salsa

Halibut wrapped in vine leaves, grilled with dukkah and lemon and served with piccolo pepper, cherry tomato, caper, basil and chopped herb salsa

Roasted chicken with sumac, za'atar and fresh lemon

Roasted chicken with sumac, za’atar and fresh lemon

Muftoul & mograbiah salad with dried Iranian lime, celery, tomatoes & cucumber

Muftoul & mograbiah salad with dried Iranian lime, celery, tomatoes & cucumber

Rose cupcakes

Rose cupcakes

Black glutinous rice pudding, with orange blossom, pineapple, banana, rose and green pistachios. Toast with halva on the side (I was greedy!)

Black glutinous rice pudding, with orange blossom, pineapple, banana, rose and green pistachios. Toast with halva on the side (I was greedy!)

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Those rose petals

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Halva on toast – will be my new favourite breakfast although it will have to fight with the rice pudding

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Ola José! José Pizarro’s New Sherry Bar Hits Bermondsey

José Pizarro

At long last, José Pizarro, former head chef at Brindisa Group, has opened his sherry bar in Bermondsey. It’s as good as I hoped it would be, terrific food & wines are served at really decent prices in a lovely cosy room. Better than that, Josés warm personality is evident throughout, it’s really friendly and welcoming. Warm wood counters grace large windows, it’s predominantly standing room here, but that adds to the bustling vibe.

The wine list has been put together by Tim Atkin MW and Jo Ahearne MW, and features a terrific house cava by Babot at £6 a glass. I also really enjoyed a glass of Verdejo from (2010 Cuatro Rayas), a fresh and lively sauvignon blanc from Rueda at £6.50 a glass. There is of course the sherry which has its own comprehensive list. I have yet to explore this properly but will definitely be going back there to sample.

What of the food? There wasn’t a dud dish when I visited. My favourites were the divine croquetas, perfect tortilla, pisto with fried duck egg, albondigas iberico with spicy tomato sauce, gazpacho that tastes like it has come straight from Andalucia, and hake with allioli. Tapas prices range from £3.50 to £7. There are no reservations so just turn up.

José, 104 Bermondsey St, London, SE1 3UB

http://www.josepizarro.com/news/660

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The Tio Pepe Tapas Trail: Barrica, Fino & Pinchito Tapas

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

London is an interesting city. Waves of enthusiasm seem to infect leading to trends in food and otherwise. Trends drive me crazy, food is food after all, and if it’s good it’s good. So what if I want to eat sun dried tomatoes and it’s not 1997?! I like ‘em. Sometimes they bring benefits though, and I am happy to succumb. One such trend is the interest in Spanish food and drink and the corresponding surge in quality tapas restaurants in London.

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

Centrally this has seen the arrival of Barrica, Fino (relaunched last year) and Pinchito Tapas. Spanish style (perhaps Irish style too!),we embarked on a crawl of these three, taking advantage of the Tio Pepe Tapas Trail. Tio Pepe fino, one of my favourite summer drinks, was available free with any tapa over £4.50. What fun!

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

We started at Barrica. My first time there, I was taken with the warmth of the traditional room with the sunny yellow walls. Lots of wood, a big counter, some tables and high stools. We opted for bar seats and chose Tortilla; Morcilla (Spanish black pudding); Clams, White Beans & Girolles and Galician Octopus. Some of my favourite dishes and Spanish staples (the girolle dish aside), they would be a good test of the kitchen.

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

The tortilla was eggy and runny in the centre and rich, exactly as it should be, tick. The morcilla was very good, a lovely spicey version and finely sliced like a cured sausage, I devoured it quickly. The Galician octopus was tender and delicate. So far so good. The Clams, White Beans & Girolles felt as though it was missing something, I would imagine this is a vegetarian version of clams, white beans and chorizo. It felt like it was missing a fruitiness with the earthiness of the girolles too dominant. Prices circled a very fair £4-6. We sipped on our Tio Pepe Finos and headed on to Fino. Boom boom!

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

Fino, an offering from the Hart brothers, owners of Barrafina and Quo Vadis is very smart.  The most expensive of the three we would visit, Fino is a basement room with low ceilings, it’s been very good on previous visits, but it had been some time so I was looking forward to checking in. We grabbed seats by the bar again – the best place to sit always, isn’t it? – and ordered another Spanish staple Pane con Tomate, a lovely fresh & fruity version, some more Morcilla (I can never resist!) – Marcilla Iberica, Fried Quails Eggs, Chorizo Chips (small chorizo sausages wrapped in wafer thin potato and fried), Braised Iberian Pig Cheeks, sensationally rich and tender, they were irresistable. Another glass of Tio Pepe Fino here, but we also indulged in an extra glass of Tio Pepe En Rama, the celebratory 175th anniversary vintage which sold out in hours, but is available at Fino (and also Pinchito) at £5.90 a glass. This was gorgeous and silky with great depth of flavour. We had to have another one when we visited Pinchito next! We are indulgent…

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

Before we left we watched a suckling pig (a a very tiny one – seriously not much bigger than a cat) being prepared in the kitchen. Despite concerns for the age of the tiny piglet, we watched with envy. That has got to be done soon.

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

Final stop was Pinchito. I have only been there for drinks before, and at that at the Shoreditch one. First impressions are of a trendy bar, which always worries me when it comes to the quality of food (am I an old crank or what?!), however, Pinchito really delivered, and I thought it was probably the closest to what you would get in Spain right now.

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

The staff are also immensely knowledgable, we were all very impressed with our waiter Guillaume, who was so enthusiastic and helpful and full of information. We bought him a glass of En Rama and asked him to join us, which he did, although only briefly before he diligently went back to work.

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

We had Pa amb tomaquet (bread and tomato) which was a terrific version of the dish. The tomato was fruity and had spice with some lovely vinegary back notes. Alioli (garlic dip with toasted bread) was simple and perfect. I was very impressed by now. We hadn’t had croquetas yet so we ordered Croquetas de cocido madrileño (mixed meat croquettes) which were rich and dense. Mixed meat is a nerve wracking description but this worked well, whatever it was.

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

We also had Chorizo a la sidra (chorizo with cider & apple sauce), again simple, rustic and high quality and a plate of very good manchego. More Tio Pepe fino (again free as part of the Tapas trail), an irresistible glass of En Rama and a cocktail – Sevilla Fizz made with Sherry & Cava (costing £6.50) and very, very good, as everything had been until this point.

Tio Pepe Tapas Trail

We were ready to bounce out of there by now, and we did. It was a great evening, and a very good showcase of Spanish food in London with only one weakish dish. Barrica was relaxed and a lovely place to catch up with friends, Fino a smarter setting with more elegant food, but the standout for me was Pinchito. High quality, relaxed, friendly and innovative, that’s Spanish cuisine in a sentence for me, and we have it here now in London. I want to go back to try Albondigas (meat balls with green olive sauce) and Hanger steak with paprika alioli (and more cocktails of course). Watch this space, I will tell you all about it when I do.

The Tio Pepe Sherry trail runs from 12-18th of July. It’s brilliant fun and if possible, I’ll be indulging in another glass or two at Iberica and Moro before the week is out.

http://www.pinchito.co.uk/

http://www.finorestaurant.com/

http://www.barrica.co.uk/

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Tips for Taste of London

So, you’re off to Taste of London. 4 hours and some of Londons finest restaurants, best producers, and some very fine booze. Just how will you manage?! Here’s my top tips for your trip and the ones that I plan to visit when I hit there later today again.

Trinity London

Taste of London

Head to Trinity for the dish of the festival, selected on Thursday by a group of judges – Pigs Trotters on Toasted Pain Poilane, Fried Quail Egg, Sauce Gribiche and Crackling. A terrific dish, and one that I have sampled at the restaurant, I couldn’t resist it again. Trinity were selling the crackling at £1 a stick on Thursday, and on the quiestest day of the festival, sold 1,000 sticks. You know you’ve got to go.

Taste of London

Taste of London

I also tried their Chargrilled Asparagus, Fried Pheasants Egg and Truffled Homemade Ricotta. Well, it wouldn’t be Trinity if there wasn’t truffle in there, and this was fantastic. I loved the gentle texture and earthy aromas of the truffled ricotta, and dipped the lime green asparagus sticks in there, dragging them through the pheasant yolk before devouring. Delicious! I finished up with a dessert of Homemade Vanilla Yoghurt, English Cherries & Almond Crumb. Creamy and light, fruity with the nutty crumb to finish, it would make a great breakfast too. While you’re there, get Adam to sign a copy of his great new book “How to Eat In”.

Taste of London

L’Anima

Next door is Francesco Mazzei’s L’Anima, one of Londons finest Italian restaurants. I tried the Sardinian Fregola with Seafood Bottarga and Lemon. There were some clams in there too, and this delicious dish spoke of the sea and the fields near it. It’s not easy to find a fregola dish in London, and this is superb, so do try it. There was also a Smoked Purple Aubergine with Burrata with Basil & Chilli Jam which looked terrific and which I plan to try later today.

Taste of London

Taste of London

Action Against Hunger Pop-Up

Actiona Against Hunger are running a pop-up restaurant at Taste. SImon Rogan from L’Enclume was there Thursday, and yesterday I sampled the delights of Valentine Warner, a gorgeous Grilled Roe Deer Sandwich with Tarragon Dressing. It was excellent, the tender delicious warm roe deer encased in toasted sourdough with the fragrant tarragon enveloping. Do check it out today when Paul Merrett will be cooking.

Taste of London

Taste of London
Taste of Barbados

Tuna with lentils, panacotta with plantain, and it’s FREE! Also lovely cocktails for only 6 crowns a pop. The chefs have been flown over from some of the finest restaurants Barbados has to offer. It’s a must.

Taste of London

Taste of London

Chapel Down Wines & Oysters

Pop over to Chapel Down and try one of their terrific English wines, I love the sparkling, and have some of the oysters. It’s something I do at every Taste of London, I recommend you do too!

Taste of London

Taste of London

Nyetimber

With possibly the prettiest stand, and some great English sparkling wine to boot, save some of your crowns for a glass of award winning Nyetimber. A little more expensive, but worth every penny. Try the Forman’s London Cure Salmon with it, a light smoked salmon, which almost has a sashimi like quality to it. Very good indeed.

Taste of London

Taste of London

Sipsmith

Artisan distillery Sipsmith from Hammersmith in London, are dishing up G&T’s made with their fantastic gin. It’s a great product, a great drink, and they’re great fun to boot.Try their vodka too.

O:TU Sauvignon Blanc

From Marlborough, O:TU has a Sauvignon Blanc and a single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. It’s got lots of character and body and stands apart from the more familiar limey Sauvignon Blancs from Marlborough. Buy it by the glass, or the carafe, or order some to be delivered home.

Clonakilty Black Pudding

Promise me that you will visit Clonakilty Pudding folks to try their gorgeous black and white puddings and the Irish ispíní that I write about all the time. They’re fantastic and use recipes that have been handed down through the generations.

Bea’s Of Bloomsbury

I had a bite of a friends Bea’s of Bloomsbury’s cupcake, and well, it’s not your common or garden cupcake, but a flavoursome moist cake with a beautiful fruity cream topping. I loved it, and I will be going back and checking out her shop in Bloomsbury.

Taste of London

David’s Chilli Oil

My favourite chilli oil, David sells only this. It’s not cheap at £10 a jar but it’s amazing, and it lasts forever. His recipe is based on his childhood eating experiences in Asia. The umami hit comes from black beans – whatever he has done with them! Try it.

Isle of Wight Garlic Farm

Fresh garlic, elephant garlic, lots of garlic products. It’s great! I have a bag of fresh garlic now. I am sure that my colleagues will thank me for it on Monday.

Marylebone Village Fayre - Famer's Market

Ones I didn’t try but plan to are: Le Gavroche, Odettes, Salt Yard, Fino & Launceston Place. More info on those soon.

Have fun!

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Identita, London: The International Chefs Conference

Identita

I bounced back from Ireland to the International Chefs Conference, Identità, at Vinopolis. Traditionally held in Italy, it has been held in London for two years now, and is an inspiring couple of days, with chef demonstrations, talks, tastings, and an excellent selection of Italian produce to sample. More bijoux than most food conferences, there was a clear focus on quality and excellence. When I heard about it, I couldn’t resist going along for both days so cleared my diary, and made my way.

There is so much that I could tell you about, I’ll start with some photos and highlights.

Identita

A brilliant and hilarious demo from quirky Hong Kong chef, Alvin Leung. A self taught 2* chef who cooks at his Hong Kong restaurant Bo Innovation, Alvin cooked his interpretation of the English breakfast with lotus root stuffed with bone marrow, lotus seeds and 1000 year old egg. He kicked it off with a martini and his sous chefs name was Devil. He was funny, fresh, and inspiring. I found myself laughing a lot and desperate to try his food. What a commendation!

<Identita

A fantastic demonstration by Gennaro Esposito, a chef from Southern Italy where he cooks at his 2* restaurant La Torre del Saracino. He presented a dish cooked with a new shape pasta that he designed with Pastificio dei Campi, deemed a grand cru pasta by Italian food magazine Gambero Rosso. Having tasted it, and already a fan, I can absolutely agree and applaud that. Gragnano, the town where the pasta comes from, is to pasta what Parma is to ham. With perfect bite and body, it really puts other pastas to shame. If a pasta could feel shame, of course. I feel shame for bad pasta!

Identita

Identita

Meeting Gennaro Esposito after his demonstration about the pasta and his dishes after which he insisted I try some sensational charcuterie, as you can imagine I didn’t need much persuading. The prosciutto and salami were perfection, but the lardo, well that just whisked me to another place, far from London and Vinopolis. Slippery with a grip, rich as foie gras, and delicately flavoured with herbs. Gorgeous stuff.

Identita

Identita

A Grana Padano cheese and wine matching where three vintages of Grana Padano cheese wre matched with several wines. It was the first time I had tried a 27 month old Grana Padano and loved it’s crystalline crunch and rich flavour. The wines were excellent too, especially an outstanding Amarone.

Identita

A demo from Jason Atherton and he announced his new restaurant that will open in Mayfair later in the year – name TBC.

Identita

Meeting people from Slow Food Italy, trying the food, speaking to the chefs and learning so much – more on that soon, it’s a post in itself.

Identita

Crazy cresses, micro herbs and numbing buds. More on that soon too!

http://www.identitalondon.com/

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Edible Wild Flowers: Three Cornered Leek/Wild Onion

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Waterford - Wild Onion from the car park!

I always have my eyes peeled and my nose finely tuned to the colours, shapes and scents in country hedgerows. A dangerous occupation when there’s lots of silage and manure about, but, worth it for the times that you get an onion-y whiff, and then glimpse beautiful white flowers that taste somewhere between a spring onion and wild garlic.

I love wild garlic and use it a lot when it’s in season. It’s incredibly pungent (usually), and is something that I cook, or at least blanche before using. Three cornered leek (sometimes called wild onion and officially called Allium triquetrum) is more delicate, and slender, like a feminine version, with slimmer, angular, less shouty leaves and petite flowers. Perfect in salads, the flowers also make a gorgeous garnish.

Glandore

On a walk to the beach in Glandore last week, I turned a corner and hit the most intense onion smell and smiled, knowing that I would be greeted by beautiful white flowers, looking like swanlike snowdrops. They are also common in London, I did a cheeky midnight forage in someones abandoned front garden in Islington recently that was carpeted with these gorgeous elegant blooms.

What to do with them? So much. Perfect in salads or as garnishes, it is worth making a small effort and blitzing the green leaves with some oil and drizzling on potato soup, with some flowers scattered around it. It makes a great pesto, a little less abrasive than one made using ransoms. I find it hard to resist simply eating the flowers on the way home.