Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Cookbook Corner (New Column!): The Recipe Wheel by Rosie Ramsden + Raw Courgette, Lemon & Chilli Bruschetta

On my shelf in the drawing room (we've run out of room in the kitchen) I have 34 cookbooks. Two years ago I had 3. There are 10 more cookbooks in my Amazon wish list, and my wish list is not a list of books I would like to buy, they are books I am going to buy next time I go on a cookbook binge, someone gives me gift vouchers or people ask me what I want for Christmas or birthdays. This is nothing compared to my mother, on our kitchen shelf she has an impressive 139. No one has the time or the energy to go and count all of the food magazines she's also saved for recipes which I sort of count as seasonal cookbooks, too. 
Rosie Ramsden The Recipe Wheel

Monday, 28 July 2014

Places To Eat In London: Urban Meadow Cafe, Bayswater

Sometimes where I like to eat does not have as much to do with the food that is on offer, but the atmosphere and location. Recently when I was on the hunt for somewhere to have a quick lunch meeting (which also doubled as a catch up with an old school friend) in Bayswater, I settled on Urban Meadow Cafe, just off Hyde Park and with a lovely outdoor terrace where I could sit with some work and a nice glass of rosé beforehand
Urban Meadow Cafe, Bayswater

Friday, 25 July 2014

Weekly Love: Week 133

Can it stop being too hot already? I've been bouncing back and forth between Kent (where I can at least open all the doors to try and tempt in some of the non-existant breeze) and London for meetings (where I can't.) Now is the moment where I become the next blogger to wax lyrical about Uber. I've had it for about a year, but it was not until a horrific Central Line trip on Tuesday evening did I decide that enough was enough and I was boycotting TFL until it cooled down a bit. Honestly, I was really impressed. You can request and track your driver on your phone, and they send you the number, photo and registration of who is picking you up. It is all paid direct from your account too. I had two lovely drivers on Wednesday, with air conditioning, and I was happily surprised at how reasonably it was priced. I'm working on getting a custom code for the blog, but if you don't use it yet and you use the code lt8pc when you sign up, you'll get £10 off of your first ride. Enjoy! 
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1. Playing around with Rosie Ramsden's new book The Recipe Wheel. A full post about it to follow next week, but I can promise you it is full of lovely recipes around a really neat concept. | 2. Griddling spring onions/ salad onions on the barbecue is my new favourite thing. | 3. Outdoor late breakfast with avocado, fresh bread, fresh lime, sea salt, black pepper, olive oil and Waitrose Kitchen. | 4. Lunch at Urban Meadow Cafe in Bayswater. Full review to follow soon. | 5. Another review to follow soon, I had a late night in London on Tuesday night, so I stayed in this awesome little bolt-hole at the citizenM on Bankside. You could change the colour of your room with the in room tablet that also did the blinds, temperature and television. | 6. A screening of the 80's classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Pops Champagne ice lollies as the sun went down on the roof of Queen of Hoxton. More on that in a moment, but I may or may not have had 2 of these within the space of 12 hours when I was knocking around the Selfridges #destinationchristmas press preview the next day with Bess.

Frexinet Spanish Tapas Jamon
On Tuesday night the wonderful team at Frexienet invited me up onto the top of Queen Of Hoxton for delicious Spanish tapas, wine tasting, one too many bellinis and the premier of their #littlethings campaign video, followed by a screening of the 80's classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which believe it or not I'd never seen. Obviously it was the food that really caught my attention, and I wish to proclaim that all food, from now until the end of the Summer should be eaten on sticks, on rooftops. I'd never actually heard of Frexienet before I was invited, but I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer flavour range of their Spanish Cava's - bottles to look out for. Head over to their Youtube channel to check out the short videos (that is totally me at the petrol pump!), and to Milly's (it was lovely to see you again!) Twitter page, where she also captured some great photos at the event, including of the really pretty garden party cocktails we also enjoyed, and the divine churros, strawberries and marshmallows I gorged myself on
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7. If you head over to Great British Chef's you'll find my recipe for Lemon & Thyme Madeleines. | 8. My Skinny Sticky Storecupboard Barbecue Chicken griddling away for dinner. | 9. Working on upcoming projects outside Urban Meadow Cafe before my lunch meeting with a nice cold glass of rose. | 10. A delicious Chicken Liver Salad at The Red Lion in Stodmarsh, just outside of Canterbury for Sunday lunch. A whole group of us had a fantastic meal, though I think they need to work on making the portions a little smaller if they want people to be able to sample both starters and desserts! | 11. Slow cook roast, halved and topped with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, thyme and bashed garlic cloves for a couple of hours for a simple yet stunning Summer side dish. | 12. The sheer teamwork that was Kathryn, Edward, Elle and I made for these simply divine White Chocolate and Raspberry (that we picked) soufflés for Sunday night dessert. The recipe was a bit of a mash up, but it will follow once we've figured it out a bit better! Also, big love to Kathryn and Elle for your amazing Shepherds Pie, and to Eddie our wonderful sous chef! We really need to all cook together more.
Finally, can we take a moment to talk about For those of you who don't know, is a special Instagram plug in for website publishers like me to let you guys know where to buy the things I feature in my Instagrams, run by my affiliate network RewardStyle. I know I mostly post plates of food, but when I get a moment (and teach everyone around me to be better iPhone photographers!) I'm going to try and throw up a few outfit posts and a few more lifestyle snapshots on there. Just because I don't write about fashion and makeup here, doesn't mean that I'm still not totally into all of that stuff, (hey, just look at my Pinterest!) and I like making pretty pictures. Now, have just updated their publisher app so for the first time I can see how many of my Instagram followers use to get emails with shopping links sent to them whenever they like a shop-able picture in their feed. I was shocked to find that while over 1,300 of you amazing people follow me on Instagram, only 13 of you are signed up! So, if you'd like to receive updates from me, and some of the other awesome people you no doubt follow, step this way

What have you been enjoying this week, and what do you have planned for the weekend? I'm in London this evening to help celebrate one of my best friends birthdays, then I'm off to Waitrose Cookery School tomorrow morning, which I'm rather excited about! 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Recipe: A Traditional French Pissaladière

So, I promised everyone sitting around the dinner table on Saturday night, a fair few of our friends who'd seen the photos on social media, plus a fair few of you online that I'd share the recipe for the Pissaladière onion and anchovy tart I served up as the main event at my Provincial themed dinner party. I was stupidly proud of it and happy with the way the recipe turned out at practically every stage of the cooking on Saturday morning, so luckily I snapped a few more snaps of it while it was a work in progress, and just before everyone arrived for pre-dinner pink bubbles and a bit of catch up gossip before descending on the dinner table.
Pissaladière 1

Monday, 21 July 2014

Provincial Style Dinner Party For Friends

On Saturday night I turned my conservatory into a Provence for my annual dinner party I throw for my best school friends. Basically, you have to have either sat with us for lunch or dinner in the school dining room, or be dating someone who did in order to get an invite! Every year I like to throw it with a theme (two years ago Southern California, last year Ottolenghi) and I was in the mood for a whole load of food that goes perfectly with a nice chilled glass of rose. Or four. It was a great excuse to get sunflowers for the table, too! 
Provence Dinner Party 1

Friday, 18 July 2014

Bathing In The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

So, I thought I'd kick off my trio of posts about my Iceland trip with my absolute highlight; bathing in the famous Blue Lagoon, one of the best experiences of my life. Quite close to the airport, approximately a 40 minute drive through the etherial lava fields where they practiced for the moon landings, away from the capitol of Reykjavik, sits the most beautiful body of silica and sulphur rich water. What was originally a man made waste water pool from the next door geothermal energy plant has been turned into one of the most awesome natural (recreational, medicinal and research) health spas in the world.   
Blue Lagoon 3

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Places To Eat In Canterbury: Mrs. Jones' Kitchen (Now Closed)

I've noticed something of a foodie insurgence in Canterbury over the past year. I think this has a lot to do with the high speed train link and how people are quickly discovering it. You can get from Canterbury West to St. Pancras in under an hour, and, as well as becoming more of a student city with the two universities expanding (I have mixed feelings about this), it is now a viable commuter destination. When before the only non-chain restaurants I'd recommend for good, fresh, local food (we do still have a good moroccan in Cafe Mauresque) were The Goods Shed and Deeson's, there are now so many options I'm still only just trying them. Honestly, if you're looking for a day trip out of London to see a beautiful cathedral and eat lovely food, we're your answer! 
Mrs. Jones' Kitchen, Canterbury

Monday, 14 July 2014

Fiskesuppe & Sjokolade-Mousse-Torte in Ålesund, Norway

While the title of this post suggests that all of the photos from the second half of my Norway trip last month (this time to the costal town of Ålesund and its surrounding islands) was sample the local food, but I did get the chance to check out some rather pretty landscapes, too. Ålesund is pretty famous because it burnt down in January 1904, and was completely rebuilt in the art deco style. It is a really unique city, and a great base from which to explore all of the different little islands around it which are connected by underwater tunnels. 
Alesund, Norway

Friday, 11 July 2014

Weekly Love: Week 132

Hello again everyone! On Sunday I got back from my trip around Norway, Iceland and to Orkney, and after a few days getting everything back on track I've picked up the pace on some of the exciting projects I've been working on and I hope to bring you guys soon. In other news, both my iPhoto and my camera are still full of photos from my adventures I can't wait to share, and I'll be rolling out over the next few weeks as I work my way through them. Though I can tell you for sure, next week stay tuned for the second half of my Norway photos, including some stunning panoramas, Norwegian fish soup and one of the best cakes I've ever tasted. 
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1. Looking out over the town of Ålesund in Norway. | 2. Enjoying a traditional Icelandic lunch of smoked trout on rye baked in the ground using geothermal energy in Reykjavik. | 3. Bathing in Iceland's famous Blue Lagoon was one of the best experiences of my life. More to follow in a full blog post soon! | 4. Kicking off my Summer holiday (before we headed North and it got a fair bit colder!) with some tropical cocktails. | 5. In contrast to the cocktails, starting off my post holiday healthy eating kick with a prawn and mango salad wrap! | 6. Visiting the wonderful Balfour Castle in the Orkney islands. Full blog post on that to follow, too! 

While there is still a little elderflower around, if you head over to the Borough Market blog you'll find my recipe for a super cheap, super easy and super delicious Elderflower Granita. All you need is a saucepan, plastic tub and a fork! I actually received my degree on Wednesday (I'm now a proud graduate of the University of London with Upper Second Class Honours in English Literature!) so I'm no longer a student, so my student column for Borough Market has come to an end. However, I'll be back writing a new column that is just being finalised for the market in the Autumn, so keep your eye out for that! (I have a new column with student food starting on an exciting new website at the end of the month, and I'll be sure to keep you updated.) For now, you can find all of the recipes I have written since the beginning of the year for Borough Market here
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7. Gathering fresh produce from the vegetable gardens. | 8. A little preview of Monday's blog post, totally delicious Fiskesuppe (Norwegian fish soup) in Ålesund. | 9. Prepping some red peppers to roast for a little bit of soup action. | 10. The conservatory at Balfour Castle. I want this when I grow up! | 11. Throwing together some local strawberries, leftover whipped cream and homemade meringues for an impromptu dessert having family over. | 12. Some of my Barbecue Chicken, Bacon & Honey Mustard Skewers sizzling away on the barbecue.

What have you been doing this week, and what do you have planned for the weekend? 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Californian Dreams: Planning Adventures In The Golden State

I love England, I'm proud to be British and there is so much about me that is very, very European. However, my favourite place in the world is actually on another continent. My favourite place in the world is California. (Venice, Los Angeles, if we're being specific.) I know I mention how much I loved my time living in L.A. in practically every other post, so I hope you'll keep with me for an entire post dedicated to the Golden State. If it makes you feel any better, there is a bit of Orange County, Lake Tahoe and San Francisco in here too!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Glaciers, Fijords and Norwegian Waffles in Olden, Norway

I’ve been so incredibly lucky that in my life before I was even 20 I’d been to so many amazing places. I’ve been all over the Mediterranean and all around the Baltic states. I’ve lived in America, and I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Middle East before it became such an area of contention once again. However, nothing could have prepared me for the sheer breathtaking natural beauty of some of the things I have seen over the past two weeks. Not so much in Scotland, but the one thing that really stays with me from Norway and Iceland is how many brilliant shades of blue you can find in ice and water. Words and pictures can only be pale imitations. 
Olden lake 3

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Recipe: Smoked Salmon Tartine with Red Onion & Avocado

The first restaurant review I wrote in Los Angeles was of what became one of my favourite haunts in my favourite neighbourhood: Local 1205 on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice. On return trips the main draw for me was the fantastic baguettes (which, unlike the offerings from my usually beloved Trader Joe's across the street from my apartment actually tasted like real bread), and the delicious cold pressed juice (which is something I'm pretty obsessed with anyway!) that came, instead of in a basic plastic bottle, in a mason jar. 
Smoked Salmon Tartine with Red Onion, Avocado and Capers

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

How To Make Fresh Pasta + Fresh Pasta with Courgette & Lemon

Did you know how stupidly easy it is to make fresh pasta from scratch? If you can bake bread, you can make pasta, and vice versa. When I'm bouncing around ideas for my Borough Market column each month I usually send about six recipes with different themes attached off to the market, but when I was pitching the first part of June apparently my sheer enthusiasm for showing people how to make fresh pasta won my editor over instantly. This month I'm showing you all over on the Borough Market Blog how to make a super simple (but impressive looking) light and seasonal supper for friends. Fresh Pasta (usually boring, but it has dinner party kudos when you've made it yourself) with Courgette and Lemon, followed by a refreshing Elderflower Granita.
How To Make Fresh Pasta with Courgette & Lemon 3