Monday, 29 September 2014

Harvesting & Making Wine at Campo Viejo's Winery (Part 2)

After our harvest and processing our grapes in Campo Viejo's micro-winery we headed out onto the winery's terrace for a spot of lunch before touring the complex and doing a proper bit of wine tasting (aside from what of the obscene amount we consumed that weekend we'd already drunk!). I think the winery wins the award for the place with the very best views and atmosphere I've ever eaten at. It was about a pleasant 30 degrees and it was great to sit next to and chat with Elena Adelle, Campo's chief winemaker over lunch about her journey as a woman in a very male dominated industry with Roberto, one of the other winemakers translating for us. 
Spanish Luncheon

Friday, 26 September 2014

Weekly Love: Week 137

Maybe because I'm a writer, while I love reading I mostly find it hard to truly switch off my brain to the point where I can really relax with a book. I think this is why I watch so many (mostly American) television shows, and I'm usually blabbing about my latest find in my Weekly Love posts. While I'm excited that my favourite shows like Scandal are back, I'm also happy its September because it means new shows hitting our screens. I've rather enjoyed the first couple of episodes of Forever. Okay, so it is nothing original; House M.D. meets Elementary meets whatever show I don't watch with immortality in, but it has a good story, we can already see strong characters and I was sure I loved it after the first episode. I've also started Madam Secretary, which I'm not sure about. Does anyone else think it is like a weaker version of The West Wing?
1. Post-flight tapas on the streets of Logroño City, Rioja with Campo Viejo. | 2. Pretty much my standard Autumn outfit right now: Rag & Bone Harrow Boots, Levi Skinny Jeans, Boden Everyday Jumper & a perfect fit petite Banana Republic trench. | 3. Jeff Koon's 'Flower Dog' outside the Guggenheim in Bilbao. | 4. Afternoon tapas and local white in San Sebastián, Rioja. | 5. La Concha beach in San Sebastián. | 6. I never understood vintage wines until we opened a 1964 bottle of Campo Viejo after dinner at Rekondo. Words don't really describe, but it was so unique, such an amazing experience, and has officially turned me into a real wine nut.

Great Denby Cake Off
I'm one of the judges on The Great Denby Cake Off at the moment, where you can enter to win all sorts of great prizes including some lovely bakeware and an £500 Denby gift voucher just for blogging about cake. The competition runs until midnight on 31st October, and is open to my American readers too. Click through here to the Denby website for more information, and to enter. I can't wait to read and judge all your entries!
For the second instalment of my new column over at Borough Market, sharing recipes and tips for people who are space and equipment poor (great for people who live in London or other space short cities!) I've shared my recipe for a No-knead Rosemary Loaf that you need very little counter space and no specialist equipment to make. Okay, so it may not be as pretty as a perfectly shaped loaf, but it still tastes amazing. Click through to the Borough Market Blog for the recipe.
7. Bento boxes and gyoza at Tamago in Canterbury.  | 8. I'm working on a review of the Honey & Co. book at the moment, and the rose and cinnamon infusion from it (served in the brilliant infusion mug the guys at JING gave me) is simply divine. | 9. A flawless, gooey in the middle tortilla with chorizo, spinach and pimiento at La Tavina in Logroño. | 10. I've been reading Memory Keepers by my amazingly talented friend Natasha on the train over the last few weeks. If you like futuristic, novels I really recommend you give it a try. | 11. Carpaccio of red shrimp with guacamole, strawberries, raspberry, pomegranate and black olive sand as part of a 6 course tasting menu at Rekondo in San Sebastián. | 12. Divine brioche bread pudding at Salt. in Canterbury. Full review coming soon!

My Little Box Review
Before I moved to America I used to have a fair few beauty box subscriptions, but because none of them were that different from each other, I could not decide which one to maintain when I was back home after 10 months, so I opted not to receive one at all. Enter stage right My Little Box, the new (well, to the UK) monthly subscription box from the ladies behind Parisian newsletter service My Little Paris. Each monthly box is themed around a different style (London, Travel etc., I got the My Little Arty Box) and contains a mix of beauty and lifestyle products from both cult French brands, and their own (pretty awesome and cute, I can't wait to get my hands on one of their adorably packaged lipsticks) makeup line. You also get a blogger magazine put together by some of our favourite faces. Each box costs £14.95 a month (a bit more than average, but you get a lot more for your money) and you can quit at any time. You can subscribe here on their website, and check out their past boxes here. Enjoy!

What have you been enjoying this week, and what do you have planned for the weekend? As ever, I'm having a chilled weekend in Kent, but I'm taking time to catch up with my best friend Kathryn over lunch tomorrow as we have not seen each other in a while. 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Harvesting & Making Wine at Campo Viejo's Winery (Part 1)

In case you missed my snapshots on Instagram, I spent the weekend in the La Rioja region of Northern Spain with the winemakers Campo Viejo harvesting grapes, touring their winery and micro-winery and generally eating and drinking all the region has to offer in excess. While I have a few more travel and foodie posts I've got planned to share with you all (including two very fantastic, but very different Michelin starred restaurants) but I want to kick things off today with our miniature wine harvest and working in Campo's micro-winery. Lunch out on the terrace and a tour of their winery proper will follow, along with lots of tapas and sunshine!
A Weekend in Rioja with Campo Viejo (Part 1)

Monday, 22 September 2014

Attending My First Supper Club: Vietnamese Dinner At Uyen Luu's

I feel I missed the boat on Supper Clubs, somewhat. I've just never been organised enough to attend one, restaurants have usually suited my last minute nature, better! However, when the guys at Leisure invited me to Vietnamese cook Uyen Luu's East London home on Tuesday night I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try something a little different than my usual restaurant reviews. These photos are a mix of the shots I took on both my camera and iPhone, and the film crew and photographers snaps. I'll share the video that was shot too in a Weekly Love. I also might share some of the recipes if you're interested? 
Uyen Luu's Vietnamese Supper Club

Friday, 19 September 2014

Cocktail Hour: Campari & Orange Garibaldi

Recently, I've been trying to up my cocktail game a lot more. I have lots of ideas, it is just that I know my cocktail photography needs a lot of improvement, which I think is why I keep on putting off shooting my favourite drinks I mix up at home, opting to share them on Instagram instead. However, my Analytics tell me that a lot of you keep visiting my 'Cocktails' section, so I feel kind of guilty that I've only got a handful up there. So, I'm going to try and do better, and today I'm going to share with you my favourite at the moment, a quick, simple, 2 ingredient traditional Italian number that I've been mixing up before dinner whenever I fancy it in seconds with store cupboard ingredients; the Garibaldi, colloquially known as the Campari Orange. 
Campari & Orange Cocktail

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Recipe: How To Make Damson and Sloe Gin

A good few years ago now when I was home from school for an Autumn weekend my Daddy showed me how to make Sloe Gin. We headed out into the field where we have an entire hedgerow heavy with sloes and I held the container while he went up a ladder to pick them. We spent a chilly afternoon sitting around the kitchen table pricking the funny little purple berries all over with a pin before storing them away in the larder in big kilner jars with sugar and a bottle of the cheapest gin we could find, to be shaken up periodically for three months up until it was time to decant. I was so excited when our deep ruby liquid was ready to go. The idea of making our own alcoholic drinks excited me in a way it would any teenager and I will never forget my first sip of the sweet, rich and strong liquid from a little port glass we had out for sampling. 
How To Make Damson Gin

Monday, 15 September 2014

Places To Eat In London: Lima Floral, Covent Garden

I'm going to use this review about one restaurant to talk about the brilliance of another. The other week, by way of a very late, impromptu lunch I ended up in Michelin starred Peruvian restaurant Lima's new (it opened in July) outpost in Covent Garden: Lima Floral. Now, Lima in Fitzrovia amounts to one of the best meals I've ever had, and I'm a big fan of Peruvian food, so I was curious as to how the new joint would measure up.
Lima Floral Paiche

Friday, 12 September 2014

Cookbook Corner: One: A Cook And Her Cupboard by Florence Knight + How To Make Homemade Honeycomb

Today I want to introduce you to my favourite cookbook of 2013. (Okay, so technically it is joint with Brilliant Bread, but that can be classed as a baking book!) When I raved about my meal at Polpetto in Soho in April under head chef Florence Knight I was already head over heels for the chef because of her cookbook which has come with me to every kitchen I've occupied since getting it: One: A Cook and Her Cupboard
One by Florence Knight Book Review

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Recipe: Wood Pigeon Salad with a Raspberry Balsamic Reduction

While I know the name of this recipe may seem scary, I promise you that it is super easy, super delicious and perfect for a quick early Autumn dinner party starter. While these raspberries came from our vegetable plot, and the pigeons were shot here on the farm by my Father, then butchered by me, everything you need you can easily find at the farmers market, or at a good butcher and your local supermarket. Do you remember that time I tried to get you all to eat pheasant? Well, this is even easier than that. And cheaper, too. 
Pan Fried Wood Pigeon Salad with a Fresh Raspberry Balsamic Reduction

Monday, 8 September 2014

Places To Eat In Canterbury: Tamago

Walking through the city and down Northgate towards Sainsbury's at the beginning of the Summer I spotted this sleek matte black storefront that had popped up between Asian grocery stores. If you've been a tourist in Canterbury rather than a resident or a student, you won't really know this part of town. It's locals area, around great pubs and little independent stores. I used to walk down Northgate practically every day on my way from the school gates to the hockey pitches, so I used to know every newsagent, chocolate shop and bookbinder that lined the road. Now something new is a novelty, and dining at Tamago, the little authentic Japanese restaurant with someone who had the same school memories, we were upset it did not exist then! 
Kimchee Ramen, Tamago, Canterbury

Friday, 5 September 2014

Weekly Love: Week 136

Okay, so I've got another television recommendation for y'all. We're y'all-ing because we're heading down to Charleston for Reckless. I've got a soft spot for legal dramas and Southern shows in general, but aside from the great characters, dialogue and interesting re-occuring case load what I'm obsessed with is our leading lady Jamie Sawyer's wardrobe. So she may not be as awesome in the courtroom as Alicia Florrick, but she dresses so much better. Think all red, white and black ensembles, bright red lips, killer heels and Kate Spade handbags. The costume designers for this show had her bang on from her very first court date. 
Weekly Love 050914[1]
1. Absolutely revelatory Kimchee Ramen at Tamago in Canterbury. A full review of one of the most exciting meals I've had in ages on Monday. | 2. Meal planning out of some of my current favourites: The Lemonade Cookbook, One Cook and Her Cupboard (cookbook corner feature coming soon!), The Kitchen Diaries I & II and The Recipe Wheel. | 3. Making the simply delicious Blueberry Smoothie (among other brilliant recipes) from my friend Izy's new cookbook. I'm reviewing that one soon, too, and you can buy it HERE. | 4. Harvesting damsons to make damson gin. It is currently in the larder, and will be ready December 1st. Needless to say I'm excited! | 5. Don't eggs, avocado and tea make the perfect weekend breakfast? | 6. Getting lost in the latest novel by my favourite author with a crisp glass of Touraine.

After my Summer hiatus, I'm back on the Borough Market Blog with a brand new column, sharing recipes and kitchen hacks for those of us who are short on kitchen space and equipment. Click through to read about some of the more cramped kitchens I've rented in London over the past couple of years, and for my recipe for a One Pan Sausage Roast with End of Summer Vegetables. If you're after a few more of my one pan roast dishes, be sure to check out my Mediterranean Roast Chicken, this Sausage & Onion Roast with Mustard Sauce and this Greek Lamb Pattie & Vegetable Tray Bake recipe. Stay tuned for my next recipe this month!  
Weekly Love 050914[2]
7. A simply sublime, as ever dinner at The Goods Shed in Canterbury. Shown here, Scallops with Crispy bacon and a brilliant Chickpea Puree. | 8. End of the season tomatoes from the greenhouse. | 9. Harvesting the first pumpkin that has been finding its way into a lot of my cooking. | 10. Finding out about JING Tea with the team at a tea tasting in London. More to follow soon! | 11. Hanging out at my amazingly talented friend Natasha's book party for her second novel Memory Keepers which I can't wait to start reading. Congratulations hun! You can get your own copy HERE. | 12. Baking the Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies that went down a storm at the book party.

What have you been enjoying this week, and what do you have planned for the weekend? I've got a bit for recipe development to be getting on with, and I want to spend a bit of time with my parents as they've been away in France (yes, they left me behind!) over the last week. 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Full Disclosure: How I Earn Money Off Of My Blog (Updated)

Last Spring I wrote a blog post entitled 'Full Disclosure: How I Earn Money Off Of My Blog' where I talked about all of the ways I use my blog to make money, as well as a few tips as to how you could apply my methods to monetize your own sites. It feels like the whole blogging landscape has changed so dramatically since I wrote that post as a university student on a year abroad, to now sitting here as a full time blogger and freelance journalist. I thought it was about time to take stock with a new post, both because I want to be transparent with you all about how I use this site to make money (I would not make a penny if it were not for you all), but also to provide a bit of commentary as to how the blogging landscape has changed in that time. 
Photo by Nicole Anderson, March 2013 at the TOMS' Cafe on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice, Los Angeles

Monday, 1 September 2014

Places To Eat In London: Flesh & Buns, Covent Garden

As it was on both of our 'to try' lists and in a good, central location for both of us, late Thursday lunchtime found Izy and I engaged in our latest catch up / blogging gossip / cookbook discussion session at Flesh & Buns. She wanted to know how my freelancing was going, I wanted all the gossip about her new cookbook out today (I took mine with me so she could sign it, you can order your own copy (it is rather fantastic and I'll be writing a full review soon) here), and we both wanted to eat our fill of meat, sushi, sashimi and s'mores. 
Flesh & Buns, Covent Garden