Monday, 31 March 2014

Student Suppers: Steak Tacos with Avocado & Pico de Gallo Salsa

I think about tacos a lot. Actually, since I moved back from Los Angeles and I can no longer regularly grab Pork Belly Adobo Tacos from TLT Food in Westwood or the Shrimp Tacos from Blue Plate Taco for lunch in Santa Monica, I have been daydreaming about Tacos, and Mexican food in general more than I think is actually healthy. One evening earlier in the month when it really started to get sunny and I was only staying in my London flat for a couple of evenings, so I did not need to do a big food shop I went to grab the fixings for my homemade Pico de Gallo, some grilled cold chicken, some ripe avocados and some tortilla wraps to fix my cravings. Oh, and it was almost 5pm on a Monday so Corona with fresh lime wedges were also a must.
Steak Tacos 2

Friday, 28 March 2014

Borough Market Challenge #4: Two Transatlantic Brunch Toasts

On any given day (which may or may not be weather dependant, and unless I'm physically somewhere much more exciting) my head is usually very firmly in one of two cities: London or Los Angeles. So, when I was coming up with recipes to pitch for the Borough Market Blog this month and I came up with the idea of doing a lovely seasonal brunch toast with buttery greens, a poached duck egg and a few dried chilli flakes (so totally SE1 where my favourite London market is based) it seemed only natural to pair it with something looking a bit more forward towards the Summer time and inspired by my old 90024 LA postcode (not quite 90210, but hey.) 
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Funnily enough though, both of these recipes are inspired by my Los Angeles kitchen, a lovely big affair with a massive American fridge and the most horrible coloured granite worktops. Sometimes I used to pick up the most amazing steaks for dinner and to go with them as a quick side I used to fry up some thinly sliced leeks in butter and then wilt in some baby spinach leaves while by steak was searing bleu. The chilli flakes are there because I thought chilli oil would make the whole thing a little greasy, but the most unusual yet satisfying brunch I had in LA, a vegetable soup bowl made with braised greens and topped with a poached egg and some delicious chilli oil at Axe on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice. While I have just gone on about how 'LA' my SE1 London brunch toast is, it is pretty much a London dish, too. London food is all about the different cultures that have contributed to it, right? And rather than just using the baby spinach and leeks from Trader Joe's, I've seen what I can find in the market by way of just writing 'market greens' on my shopping list. I wholeheartedly encourage you to do the same. For the recipe for my SE1 Poached Duck Egg, Chilli & Market Greens Brunch Toast, head over to the Borough Market blog
My second brunch toast plays more to the LA stereotype, or moreover that of my postcode. 90024 is essentially Westwood Village in West Los Angeles where I used to have an apartment. Google Maps will give you a better idea, but it includes the UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) campus and boarders Beverly Hills and Bel Air. I shared an apartment in a pretty awesome building on Glendon Avenue and all four of us who lived there used to shop at Trader Joe's (America's delicious answer to the M&S food hall) across the street. There was also something of a stereotype that I now associate with that postcode (or, as we're in America now, zip code) for what we prepared for dinner. By the end of my 10 months there, I'd started to cook like my Californian roommates a bit, and I can still see the cities influence in my cooking today. 

Let us build this brunch toast up from the beginning. Avocado on toast is about LA brunch at home as you can get, and while I will admit to not realising I actually liked avocados until my last week in Los Angeles (ironic I know, Kathryn had to practically force feed me the guacamole she ordered at Blue Plate Taco in Santa Monica one lunch time to prove to me I liked it) I have more than made up for lost time and this is now one of my favourite, at home brunches. So it makes the perfect California base. I think my roommates and I, for lunch and dinner lived off of sunny side up fried eggs. I know they seem ubiquitous, but look at any number of LA brunch menus and you'll realise how important they are. Finally, Pico De Gallo. 
I know I have spoken about supermarket/ grocery store salsa in Southern California before, but just hear me out again. It's important. Salsa in the supermarket in England is red, in the Mexican food section and comes in a jar. In SoCal, it is bright, fresh and vibrant, coming in tubs from the chiller section. Once you've tasted this salsa, either by dipping in a few tortilla chips, stuffed into your fajitas and burritos, or as I have done here spooned over your breakfast eggs there will be no going back. There are several different variations that are popular in California, but my personal favourite that I always kept a tub of in my fridge (I used to buy mine from Trader Joe's, as well as their fantastic Soured Cream) was Pico de Gallo, a simple and fresh mix of finely chopped ripe tomatoes, white onion and jalapeños. I like to flavour mine with a little sea salt and fresh chopped coriander, too. For my Pico de Gallo recipe, as part of my Californian Avocado Brunch Toast with Pico de Gallo & Sunny Side Up Eggs, you can head over to the Borough Market Blog too.

What country or cities food, ingredients and cooking most inspire the food you like to cook at home. I know most European cooks and chef's have their roots in either French or Italian cooking, and while I would say I fall into the former category, I think there is much more California in my food and cooking than there is France. 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

My Train & Commuting Travel Essentials

Just a quick post today, as I have the first of my big final university deadlines tomorrow I've been spending the past few days putting the finishing touches to my portfolio for my Britain in the 1950's class. So, I thought I'd put together a quick, non food post you guys have been requesting for a while on Twitter and Instagram. I spend a lot of time on the train backwards and forwards between Canterbury and London, and when I'm in London I spend even more time than that on the Tube. When I'm in Los Angeles, I spend an absolutely insane amount of time on the bus. (Yes, I know that no one takes the bus in LA, but considering it worries me enough driving in my own country, I want to have finally been brave enough to drive in France first!)
Travel Bag Essentials
Just over three years ago when my location hopping madness I used to spend so much time absolutely bored out of my tree commuting as I did not know how to pack my bag properly so that I was not carrying dead weight around with me, but I still had enough to get some work done, or just stay occupied. Also, recently I've invested in a few items to make my commuting packing easier, as when I'm living in Kent next year but still working a lot in London, I'm going to become even better aquatinted with the high speed train link!

My most recent purchase was this beautiful navy blue leather tote bag from Aspinal of London. I have been looking for a new handbag for the best part of two years, but with all my requirements (not too big because I'm little, I need to be able to have it over my shoulder and fit my camera and iPad in and I don't like the base to be hard and solid) I'd officially given up home. Having been in practically every handbag shop in London and Los Angeles looking I'd started to consider just using a good quality nice leather tote bag instead. I settled on this one only recently, and I love that it has an attached little pouch inside so I don't have to go rooting around for essential such as my house keys, Oyster card and lipstick! I also thought it would be perfect for me traveling on planes and trains (and it has proven to be) because it is lighter than my average handbag, and it can also fit my new smaller MacBook, my iPad and my camera in, plus the essentials all at once. It also comes in beige and creme, and for an Aspinal's bag at £195 is quite reasonably priced.

iPhone 5, iPad & Charger

A bit obvious I know, but I'd be lost on the train without them. I hook my phone up to be a WiFi hot spot so I can get internet on my iPad (and on my laptop if I have it with me) so I can keep on working on the go. This does drain your battery a bit, however, so hence the charger too! On my iPad I also have my Kindle with some books on (even though I do prefer classic paper editions) and a Tatler subscription that I always read cover to cover every month. At the moment I'd reading Mary Berry's Recipe For Life.

I've suffered from horribly dry lips all of my life, but on my first trip to Sephora in Los Angeles I discovered British brand Dr Lipp and their fantastic Nipple Balm For Lips which is the best lip balm I've ever tried, and I never leave the house without. It tripled as a balm, gloss and base coat for lipstick, and is also good for cuticles and chapped skin. Here in the UK you can pick it up in Space NK and I really recommend you invest in a tube. I have several in various bags.

Railcard & Oyster Card

Again, pretty obvious but even through my Young Person's Rail Card is going to expire in August, I'm going to renew it (you can get a year for £30 or 3 for £70, right up until your 24th birthday) as it gives such massive savings on train journeys. If you do use the train often and you don't have one, it is worth the investment, especially if you live somewhere, like me, in the South of England with such massive train fairs. Also, a little life hack for Londoners with discount rail cards. If you take it, and your Oyster card to train ticket office in London or an Underground station ticket hall you can ask them to link the 1/3 discount to your Oyster. This is especially good for people who, like me, will no longer be entitled to a Student Oyster soon!


Another rather self explanatory one. Mine is full obviously of music (there are an insane number of country music tracks on here), but when I'm traveling I also love listening to audiobooks (I don't have one on the go at the moment, but I did all of the Girl With A Dragon Tattoo books on here) and podcasts, my favourite forever and always being the Joy The Baker Podcast.

White Chocolate Aero

If you've been following my blog posts in collaboration with Aero, you'll know that the winner of the big online competition to become Aero's next Limited Edition flavour was White Chocolate. Even through I was on Team Strawberry, White Chocolate was my actual favourite when it came to the taste test, so I'm glad that I can now pick it up in stores. While I've tried carrying healthy nibbles and sugar free mints on trains with me, if you are delayed and waiting around, sometimes in the cold nothing is as satisfying as a good bar of chocolate, so I always try to have one on me. Also, if because of meetings I've missed a meal and I end up filling up on sushi at the station by way of lunch and dinner, it makes a great dessert!

What do you find are complete essentials when you're traveling and commuting, and what bag do you all carry them all around in. I'd love to hear some more of your travel and train tips, as South Eastern trains are soon going to become a bigger part of my life than it already is! 

This is a sponsored post. To read my policy on sponsored posts, please click here.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Snapshots From My 21st Birthday

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for the lovely birthday messages you all sent my way on Friday. I had an absolutely lovely day spent at home in Kent and out and about with my family, but it was also lovely to see something that really made me smile every time I checked my iPhone throughout the day. As I get quite a few requests for posts that give a bit more of an insight into my daily life, I thought today I'd just post a few snapshots from Friday and what I got up to, just as I did last year when I was in Los Angeles.
21st day
After a bit of a champagne breakfast with miniature champagne bottles while I opened my presents and cards, I got dressed off to go visit one of my pretty little local towns that I've been visiting since childhood; Sandwich. Mummy has a standing hair appointment every week, so while she was getting her blow dry I vanished off to a dress fitting for this Summer (I'll be talking a bit more about that later, but some things you can look forward to my blogging about is what it is like to bathe in the Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik, black tie dinners in some beautiful Diane von Furstenberg vintage Paul Costello gowns, and a foodie trip to a remote Icelandic fishing village) and to pick up a spot of lunch. And to look at all the beautiful Spring flowers in the shops.

Oh, by the way while I was running around town I was wearing my trusty pair of Levi's (I love their Curve id jeans, these are my second pair and a perfect fit), my favourite purple J.Crew cashmere jumper (similar here), Clinique's 'Berry Blast' Long Last Lipstick and I was carrying my brand new navy blue Aspinal's tote bag
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Jewellery wise, this beautiful pearl necklace was my 21st birthday present from my parents. The pearl is so pretty, I can't stop looking at it! You'll recognise my Citizen watch that was my 18th birthday present from my grandparents (I can't believe that was three years ago, it feels like yesterday!) because I wear it with practically every outfit. My Links bracelet was a gift from the Links team when I visited their store on Sloane Square the weekend before. It is actually engraved at the back with my initials (they are offering free engraving for Mothers Day, today is the last day of the offer) and it is one of their new 'skinny' friendship bracelets (you can find them here). I've always been a big fan of the friendship bracelet style, but I think the new ones are sweeter and much more elegant. I've been wearing it with most outfits recently. 
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In Sandwich you can find one of my favourite food shops in England, the little 'No Name Shop' French deli and cafe on No Name Street. They also have a little restaurant upstairs, but I have not had the change to eat there yet. For years I've loved their selection of French olives, pates, breads and pastries so for lunch for my Mummy and I to share I picked up one of their great baguettes, a mushroom quiche and a Quiche Provençale.
21st dress
After spending the afternoon brainstorming some of my up and coming recipes for the Borough Market Blog and watching the new episode of Scandal (if you birthday is not an excuse for day watching your favourite show, what is? And anyway, that episode was too heart wrenching for words) we all got dressed up to head out the front door and out to dinner. My gold charm bracelet and most of its charms are again various presents from my family over the years, my dress is from J.Crew (similar here) and my cardigan from L.K.Bennett (similar here).
For dinner we went to the Marquis at Alkham. We've eaten there a couple of times for special occasions and had a fantastic time, but I must say that I don't recommend it anymore, as they have had a change of management and the service is now below par for what you're paying. Luckily though, the food was still pretty fantastic. To start I had scallops, perfectly tender with parsnip puree, pears and microgreens. To follow, I had saddle of rabbit wrapped in air dried parma ham with kale, vegetables and a delicious rabbit faggot.
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To finish up I had a perfectly executed and caramelised pear soufflé (if you ever wanted to know how to make one, it is not as hard as it looks!) served with delicious Maldon Sea Salt and caramel ice cream which balanced each other out perfectly. It was lovely to just spend my birthday at home with my family, and have a nice relaxing day with minimal work before the crazy next few months really kicks off for me. I have my last ever university class later on today and I'm off to hand in one of my class portfolios in afterwards. Then, I just have three final essays to finish and my dissertation before I finally join the land of the grown ups! Thank you again everyone for all your kind birthday wishes and for helping me to have such a lovely day!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Weekly Love: Week 125 + 21% Off Sidebar Advertising

I'm going to start planning which of the fun and quirky cocktail bars I've read about that I'm going to visit the next time I'm in Los Angeles, and also officially add going wine tasting in Napa or Sonoma to my foodie travel to do list. Why? Because today is my 21st birthday! I arrived back in Kent last night so I could celebrate with my parents. As in my close group of best friends everyone but Kathryn's birthday are within a month of each others, we've already done some celebrating together, and I had a pre birthday lunch at Dishoom a few weekends ago with my London friends, I just wanted to keep it low key! We're just going out to one of my favourite local restaurants tonight. I'll try and take some photos for you all, but I do want a bit of a blog break today! However, to celebrate my 21st today if you enter the code BIRTHDAY21 at the checkout when buying blog advertising, you will get 21% off - today only, though! Right, I'm off to make myself a birthday breakfast.
1. Bloody Mary late lunch meeting at Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House by Borough Market. | 2. A simply divine Morello Cherry Purée Fondant Doughnut from the Dum Dums Donutterie at Boxpark in Shoreditch. | 3. An early breakfast of Cherry Tomato, Red Onion & Rosemary Focaccia from Bread Ahead at Borough Market. | 4. An early birthday lunchtime feast at Dishoom in Shoreditch. | 5. Pre-birthday drinks on a sunny Sunday with Victoria & Jon outside Rough Trade on Brick Lane. | 6. Beautiful blossoms walking along Southbank.

Last week on a busy Tuesday night a joined a group of other bloggers and their executive chef at Wagamamas on Wigmore Street as part of their #thewayofwagamama campaign. The idea is really to get people to try new things based on the tastes they already enjoy. How many of are are guilty of sitting down in Wagamamas and just ordering the Yaki Soba, Chicken Katzu Curry or the Duck Ramen? We were asked to inform the chef of our favourite dish off the menu before we arrived (I'm a Yaki Soba girl) and they presented us with a couple of dishes they thought we'd like based off of that idea. After a rice dish I was not a fan of, we discovered my favourite; the Raisukaree (above), a green curry chicken dish that I'd already stolen a fair bit off of Ellie's plate who had been given it first and was sitting next to me. This is what I'll be ordering in Wagamamas in future, as well as their plum wine served with sparking water which I also tried for the first time. 

Above we also have my little side dish of Kimchee I ate in about 5 minutes flat, while talking with my chopsticks (apparently I spent enough time living in Los Angeles to consider not only salt and pepper as basic and fundamental condiments, but kimchee and sriracha too!), and the delicious Chicken Chilli Ramen across the table I had serious envy of it was so pretty. Not pictured I was also a big fan of the delicious Chicken Firecracker, but that much chilli I don't think I'd manage if I'd ordered the whole thing, and the miso soup that I slurped down almost as quickly as I put away the kimchee. I know I usually don't write about chain restaurants, but I've already loved Wagamamas for their fresh flavours and ingredients, and I think it is a great place, especially if you don't live in London and have assess to our food scene to try new dishes and flavours. I'm pretty sure that my much loved local branch in Canterbury, for example, is pretty much the only place I could order my favourite fermented cabbage! 
7. Hanna in action rolling my Korean Pulled Pork at Kimchinary, parked up at KERB King's Cross. | 8. That Monday, 5pm feeling at the end of a sunny day. | 9. My new tripod and I are really not friends. Some hints and tips would be much appreciated! | 10. Probably the best birthday cake I've ever had at The Savoy Grill for my friend Edward's birthday. | 11. 1/2 pint of prawns at Wright Brothers. | 12. Pineapples on the Sunday Brick Lane market.

What have you been enjoying this week, and what do you have planned for the weekend? I'm down in Kent as I took the train back last night for birthday celebrations today, I'll probably spend the weekend baking a few things for the blog and finishing stuff off for my next university deadline on Thursday, which also happens to be my last day of classes ever. Scary stuff, right?!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Mummy & Daughter Adventures At Duke Of Yorks Square, Chelsea: Afternoon Tea at Gallery Mess & Mothers Day Gift Ideas

You hear about my Mother an awful lot on this blog, because she contributes an awful lot to this blog. She likes to joke that she is my unofficial 'intern', but really, she does do everything an intern would do if I had one for this site, and I don't think I express how grateful I am to her for everything she does for me enough. So, when the lovely team at Duke Of Yorks Square in Chelsea got in touch asking if I wanted to bring my Mother along for an afternoon of shopping, pampering and afternoon tea by way of an early Mother's Day treat, I managed to get her to hop on a train and come and spend the afternoon with me. This is no mean feat; by parents are both country mice, but I know she deserved the afternoons treat and the chance to browse in shops we don't get in Kent. And it was nice to do something different for Mummy/ Daughter time for a change.
Gallery Mess Afternoon Tea

Monday, 17 March 2014

Recipe: Light Tzatziki & Homemade Pitta Breads

With the exception of one or two dishes that are already works in progress or are already penciled in, I've decided that I'm refusing to cook any more Winter food this year. This decision came into play around the last few days of February or so, and this means I've been starting to adapt the way I cook for myself. Instead of the one pot meals I tend to favour in the cooler months, I've been making big pots of things like sauces, meatballs etc. so I can just fill up my plate with whatever I fancy from the fridge. This is pretty much how I ate the whole time while I was living in Los Angeles where I felt like it was the Summer every day. 
Light Tkziki2

Friday, 14 March 2014

Places To Eat In London: Big Easy, Covent Garden

On Monday the second, Covent Garden branch of the King's Road's American surf n' turf institution the Big Easy is going to open in Maiden Lane. Now, I must admit to being just about the only person among my London set of friends who has never been to the Chelsea branch for steak, lobster and frozen slushie cocktails, so when I managed to snag a lunchtime table for their soft launch on Tuesday you can imagine how excited I was to not only finally be in the know, but to be a bit ahead of the curve for once! Also, as you can see from the pictures below, a very large dish of assorted shellfish was presented to me that my lunch companion was simply shocked that I managed to finish. Anything in a hard shell from the ocean makes me very, very happy

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Recipe: What To Cook Tonight's Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine

If you're anything like me you find it impossible to decide what to cook for dinner. I have between 5-6 cookbooks on my desk at any given time. There is usually a copy of Waitrose Kitchen and a file of recipes I've cut out of magazines and the paper, and this is before I get onto my iPad where I have hundreds of recipes bookmarked from blogs on my Evernote Food App and access to a Times Online subscription and all the recipes they feature in the paper. Then when I'm at the farm I have my Mother and I's collection of simply hundreds of cookbooks. Sometimes I just need someone to make the decision for me; I just have too much choice. 
Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine
Stepping into that breach to help us solve our weeknight supper issues is What To Cook Tonight, a fantastic new website and service set up by incredible photographer Sophie (who you might know from her amazing blog and one of my daily reads The Littlest Things) and her kitchen maestro father Andrew. How it works is simple; every Friday there is a new mini recipe book with 5 balanced and delicious weeknight dinners which include a 'Friday Takeaway' recipe that you can download for $1.39 AUS to solve the choice issue. You can also get the recipes for $0.49 AUS each or subscribe so you have each mini cookbook emailed to you every single week for $0.99 AUS a week. I've already made their Pancetta, Pea and Sage Orecchiette from their sample recipe pack, as I have already mentioned to you, twice. It is so full of flavour, easy and really helped me mix up my weeknight suppers. If you have not already done so, be sure to download that pack because as well as that great pasta dish there is their recipe fro Chicken Fajitas and a fantastic looking pound cake I can't wait to whip up one Sunday morning to serve up for afternoon tea in the garden now the weather is improving.  
Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine Singular Page Images-2
To celebrate What To Cook Tonight's launch last Friday (there are already some great recipes for Rack Of Lam with Chorizo and Heirloom Tomato, Piri Piri Chicken with Moroccan Lentils, Gnocchi with Sage & Sweet PotatoGinger & Coriander Snapper with Stir Fried Veggies and Chicken Fajitas with Homemade Salsa & Guacamole, which is free to download on the site) Andrew and Sophie have been kind enough to share their recipe for Mushroom Fettuccine that will be appearing in Friday's selection here with you all today, just to give you a little taste of what What To Cook Tonight is all about.  
Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine Recipe Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine 2
This serves 4 people, and I honestly can't wait to try it. Though, looking at these stunning photos Sophie sent over to me for you all I'm wondering if I really should be sharing them here; they really put my personal food photography skills to shame! Something to work up to, perhaps? Anyway, for this weeks recipes and to subscribe head over to the What To Cook Tonight website. They've also got a preview up of next week, and I think I'm going to get the whole cookbook as they have T-Bone Steaks, Chicken & Chorizo Paella, BBQ Salmon with Piquillos & Kumatoes and Thai Green Chicken Curry, as well as this Fettuccine.  For all you social media fiends out there you can also find What To Cook Tonight on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but I'd really recommend their Instagram. It is one of the most beautiful and mouthwatering feeds I follow. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Student Suppers for The Co-op: Sausage Meatball & White Bean Stew + 10% Off Your Grocery Shop For All Students

I promise you all it was not my intention to post one dish, student friendly sausage recipes two Mondays in a row. This does in no way reflect my sausage eating habits! However, when The Co-op got in touch to tell me about how they have partnered up with NUS to offer all students 10% off their grocery shop, and asked me if I wanted to put together a recipe for them featuring a student 'kitchen hack' to celebrate this I instantly thought of my Sausage Meatball & White Bean Stew. Some of my longer suffering readers might recognise this as one of the very first recipes I featured on this blog way back in 2012, but I've been wanting to give it a bit of an update. It is a great student budget easy dish, and my photography back then was terrible! 
Sausage Meatball Stew

Friday, 7 March 2014

Weekly Love: Week 124

As usual the past two weeks for me have mostly been about eating. Big surprise, right? However, doing so much eating but not getting much blog content out of it, rather ideas for what I could do in the future has been really making me think about what I write and while there are not going to be any crazy dramatic changes around here, I want there to be a few more 'features', things that have taken time to research and put together rather than posts that give you just this recipe or tell you to eat at that restaurant. Do you know what? I think I might actually finally be growing up as a writer. What a terrifying thought! 
Weekly Love 070314[1]
1. A perfect avocado breakfast equates to a perfect Sunday. I like mine cubed and lightly dressed in a bit of lemon juice and French Sea Salt. | 2. I love how we're now starting to get Spring like weather here in London. | 3. Custard Doughnuts from The Bread Man at Berwick Street Market. They were very good, but I felt the custard was not as good as it could have been. This however, has made me really want to sample the infamous custard doughnuts from Borough Market's Bread Ahead on Saturdays (though, that will mean visiting the market on a Saturday, not to be recommended!) and from 1235 Doughnuts at Columbia Road on Sundays. | 4. Sampling the California Cold Pressed Juice at The Good Life Eatery in Chelsea over brunch. Honestly, I love there is another place I can pick up bottles of the good stuff but I don't think it is well balanced flavour wise as the juices I was used to in Los Angeles from places like Pressed Juicery and Blueprint Cleanse. For something more authentic and better tasting I'd still tell you to head to the Canyon Juicery in the Joseph Store on Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill. As for the food, all great SoCal dishes, but a bit too hit and miss, again with the flavours for my taste. | 5. Tropical fruit fest breakfast from Turnips at Borough Market. I completely blame Tania and Sophie's Instagram feeds from Summer in Sydney for this one. | 6. A quick sushi lunch before class. I've been testing supermarket sushi, and by far Waitrose is always the best.

Time for a little bit of me elsewhere on the web today, if you head over to Great British Chef's you'll find my latest recipe I've put together for them for a Tempura of Seasonal Vegetables with a Homemade Wasabi Mayonnaise. It is inspired by something Jun Tanaka made when I was in the Sainsbury's test kitchen in January.
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7. Again at Turnips at Borough Market, perfectly ripe, red and juicy tomatoes how they ought to be. | 8.  I started using La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Duo after countless bloggers, friends and makeup artists recommended it to me as I'm still having problems not having skin as clear as I used to before I moved to Los Angeles and had to battle the cities smog. Just over a week in I can see visible results already; I'll be sure to keep you updated! | 9. The Vietnamese Bun Thit Nuong pork skewers and rice noodle salad at Lanes Of London on Park Lane. I had a simply incredible meal there on Monday night, just the photos came out so badly I won't be able to review it this time around. But seriously, amazing food and atmosphere, amazing fusion concept of different London cuisines, I fantastic service. I really could not recommend it enough.  | 10.  The most stand out dish from Lanes Of London was their Jammy Dodgers at dessert. They came in a pair in a pretty presentation box, and were made up of the most flawless shortbread, homemade strawberry jam, strawberry liquor, fresh strawberries and cream. I will be going back for more of these! | 11. Pre review lunch drinks in The White Horse on Parson's Green, one of my two favourite pubs in that part of London. (My other is The Brown Cow for their epic scotch egg bar snacks!) | 12. Picking up a few essentials in Waitrose. Yes, I have eaten a lot of tomatoes over the past few weeks!

One thing I am absolutely terrible at is pronouncing things, to the point where some words I avoid saying all together so I don't embarrass myself! So, obviously I absolutely adore this video put together by Into The Gloss' Senior Editor Annie on how to pronounce the names of lots of beauty products and brands, most of them French. The more obvious ones of products and brands I use such as Touche Éclat, Le Roche-Posay and Guerlain I'm down with because I used them often and I can speak some French, but I still learnt a lot. Also, this video is totally adorable.

What have you been enjoying this week, and what do you have planned for the weekend? Tomorrow is one of my best friends from school's birthday lunch so all my close school friends are going to be in London so after his birthday adventures on Saturday I'm getting all of them plus my London and university friends together for one big relaxing Sunday something before my birthday Friday after next, so it is due to be a jam packed weekend. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Cocktail Hour: The Diner's Southern Iced Tea

One evening my dinner date and I squashed into two seats at the bar at The Diner in Soho for a late supper, because we fancied burgers but had already decided against queuing at Tommi's Burger Joint (okay, he decided. I bloody love their burgers and think they are worth the wait), and had both made the decision to walk straight past Meat Liquor. I find the idea that you still have to queue to eat there two years after it opened crazy. Once I had decided that I was going for my usual (the Californian Burger, sans the cheese and with added pulled pork), I flipped over to browse the cocktail menu, even though I was pretty sure that I knew what I was going to be having. Except for that my usual Southern Iced Tea had vanished from the menu.
Southern Iced Tea
I told myself that maybe they had just moved the cocktail menu around a bit to make room for their new hard teas, so I decided that I might try one of those instead. The bartender came back a few minutes later to say that they were out of something so, could he make me something else instead. I asked for a Southern Iced Tea without thinking, but when he gave it to me he told me that I was lucky that he both knew how to make it and that he'd taken pity on me that he could not make the drink I'd originally requested for me. The Southern Iced Tea had been discontinued because it was not popular enough. Naturally, I was heartbroken at the demise of my favourite dinnertime drink, so I cheekily asked the kind bartender how to make them. 

  • 10ml Vodka
  • 10ml Martin Millers Gin
  • 10ml White Rum
  • 10ml Tequila 
  • 10ml Triple Sec
  • Ginger Beer
  • Ice
  • Mint Sprig, to garnish

For me, this drink is pretty simple. No cocktail shaker involved! However, it has given me the chance to try out my shiny new jigger to measure out the spirits that I picked up in Divermenti in Knightsbridge the other weekend. 10ml is half of the 25ml side of the jigger, because of the fluted shape. Fill your glass up with the mint sprig, ice and paper straws, pour over the spirits and top up with ginger beer. Use a good brand like Fentmans rather than a cheap one, because the cheaper ginger beers will make something that is too sweet. 
What is your favourite cocktail of choice when you go out, or do you have a favourite off of a menu somewhere that has been since discontinued? At some stage I'm going to work to recreate the Raspberry Mule I used to get at Circus in Covent Garden, because it is absolutely perfect. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Student Suppers: Sausage & Onion Roast with Mustard Sauce

I think Ed Smith's weekly column on his blog Rocket & Squash 'Supplemental' where he cooks out of the weekly food supplements in the national newspapers has inspired me to actually cook a recipe torn out of The Times on a Saturday morning. Practically every week my Father pulls the recipes he fancies out of The Times and The Sunday Times, but as a family we never seem to make any of the recipes he tears out. They just get piled up on the dresser in the kitchen where my Mother and I keep our cookbooks (though, we are getting a new shelf built, as we've overflowed into the drawing room!) I've included a photo of this torn out recipe pile below.