Wednesday, 30 April 2014

4 Really Great White Wines Under £10

At my favourite American grocery store, Trader Joe's you can buy this wine called Charles Shaw which is more affectionately known as 'Two Buck Chuck'. There is red and there is white, it costs about two bucks (there are different fluctuations as per different states), and for how much it costs it does not actually taste that bad. Now, usually I buy all of my wine this cheap in France, but when I do actually have to go and buy wine in England, I have no idea what I am doing. Also, I do have a budget, after all. So, I thought so all of you won't have to be faced with this conundrum I'd be a bit of a guinea pig, and start tasting a few wines you can find in your average supermarket (I've used Sainsbury's and Waitrose here), all for under £10 each and see what is not just drinkable, but enjoyable too. (I'm working on Red and Rosé wine posts too!)
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Bellingham Pear Tree, Western Cape South Africa 

This wine has hints of orange and melon and is really light and drinkable, even by itself. Something else I have learnt working on this feature is that unlike a lot of reds rosé wines I like, whites are either very good by themselves, or they really need to be served with at the least nibbles, but at the best a meal. At first, before tasting the wine I scoffed at the bottles suggestion to serve it at your book club, but it would actually be perfect for just that setting. Sometimes you should listen to the marketing stuff!


Riviera Muscat Sec, South of France 
(£5.99, Waitrose) 

So, I meant to put together detailed set of notes for this bottle as I did for the others, but I have to admit that it went down rather quickly between my mother and I while we were looking over information for our holiday this Summer and I was cooking our lamb supper on Easter Sunday. But what can I tell you about it, aside that it is a delicious and light white wine that goes down very easily at such a good price? It is from the Mediterranean, and when we're talking about French wines that does actually mean that it is best suited to being drunk really really cold when it is really sunny. Shame most of us live in England, really! It is dry, floral and crisp, and as with most dry bright white wines, I suspect it would go fantastically with seafood, though it did pair very well with Greek style lamb too.


Sainsbury's Winemaker's Limestone Coast Chardonnay, South Australia 

Bright and refreshing, the back of the bottle lists hints of lemon, lime and melon which are all there, but there is also a pronounced after taste of honey blossom which is rather lovely. At first I thought this wine was too acidic, but once I tried it with food it rounded out really nicely. I enjoyed a great deal of this bottle on the phone, curled up on the sofa in the conservatory nibbling on a savoury snack from my Graze box. Only the regular white wine drinkers in my house enjoyed this one, but enjoy it we did!


Fish Hoek Sauvignon Blanc 2013, South Africa 

Another South African one, this wine is quite unique, fruity with gooseberry aftertaste that is really pronounced. My mother (who does actually know a lot about wine) guessed there was a gooseberry hint before even reading the bottle. It is really good on its own (before starting to work on this feature I was new to South African wine, so it was a really pleasant surprise), or with a nice white fish cooked with just butter and lemon. It is also really nice and smooth, and we all really enjoyed it.


I want to give a special thanks to the Sainsbury's Wine Team that were really helpful when I was putting this post together, and who sent me some great wines over to try when I told them what I was working on. Look out for my feature on 4 Really Great Rosé Wines Under £10 which will be coming soon (I've already chosen one of the wines I'm going to feature, which I really, really love) and then my Red Wine edition too! 

Monday, 28 April 2014

In The Kitchen With Tonia Buxton & Total Greek Yogurt + Greek Lamb Pattie & Vegetable Tray Bake Recipe

Just before Easter I spent a sunny Thursday morning in Marylebone with Greek chef Tonia Buxton and the lovely team from Total Yogurt cooking up a Greek Easter inspired feast with some fellow foodies. All the food we made and ate was fantastic (served alongside some wonderful Greek wines), but my one takeaway from the morning was the fantastic Greek Lamb Pattie & Vegetable Tray Bake we made, which I replicated with a few of my own little tweaks for my family on Easter Sunday so we were not eating just chocolate eggs all day! 
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Just a few notes on the photography in this post; while I usually do all of my own shots, all the pictures in this post (except for the first and the last images) are by Satureyes Photography who was shooting the event for Total. I was feeling a little bit under the weather in the kitchen, so it was enough for me to focus on the cooking and on keeping Instagram updated! Anyway, you have some not too bad shots of me for once. 
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The three of us because we are greedy we polished off all of this off, but this dish actually serves four. I've used the vegetables we did at the Total event because I like them all, but you can chop and change depending on your personal preferences. I feel that red, yellow or orange peppers, or aubergine cut into chunks would also go well with this dish. 


  • 400g (14 oz) Lamb Mince
  • 100g (14 oz) Breadcrumbs 
  • 1 Large Egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Large Bunch Fresh Mint, chopped
  • 3 Red Onions
  • 3 Large Waxy Potatoes
  • 2 Large Courgettes
  • 2 Large Handfuls Cherry Tomatoes 
  • 1 Unwaxed Lemon
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Total 0% Greek Yogurt, to serve 


Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius (390 degrees fahrenheit). In a large bowl mix together the lamb mince, beaten egg, cumin, chopped mint, breadcrumbs and one of the red onions, finely chopped. Season well with salt and pepper, and shape into eight patties. Oil a large baking tray and arrange the patties. 

In another large bowl add the cherry tomatoes (I like to try and keep them on the vine), the lemon cut around the middle then cut into wedges, the remaining red onions cut into wedges, and the potatoes and courgettes cut into thick strips. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle generously with olive oil and toss together so that all of the vegetables are well coated. Arrange them around the patties and bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes. If the vegetables are not browning or the potatoes are still a bit solid in the middle when you test them with a knife, just heat up the grill and pop them under for the last 10 minutes or so of cooking. I cooked mine on the bottom of the AGA, and I did need to move it up to the top of the grill! Serve with a good dollop of Total 0% Greek Yogurt (or my Light Tzatziki) and enjoy!


What did you make this Easter? Personally I don't actually like lamb, but I love these patties. Over Easter, however, because it was my Daddy's birthday on Good Friday I cooked a dinner of his favourites; Prawn Cocktail, Vanilla Panna Cotta and Slow Roasted Shoulder of Lamb with Boulangère Potatoes (I used Tom Kerridge's recipe!)

Friday, 25 April 2014

Places To Eat In London: Polpetto, Soho

It's wonderful when you eat somewhere off of your bucket list and the experience lives up to expectations, isn't it? During dinner on Wednesday evening, I finally understood what the big deal is about Russell Norman and Florence Knight. Yes Russell Norman has created some great London restaurants that people love, but before I'd only eaten in Mishkin's. I loved the decor, concept and had a lovely lunch there with only one niggle (my mashed potatoes were a little dry), but I filed it away as somewhere good, but nothing that stood out against any other restaurant I love in London. As for Florence, I love her cookbook. No, scrap that I adore her cookbook. One cook and her cupboard was my favourite cookbook of 2013 which I have already cooked an awful lot out of, but a cookbook is just a cookbook. I literally own hundreds of them.
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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Saturday Afternoon at Charing Point to Point

On Saturday afternoon we all piled into Kathryn's Mini to head out to Charing Race Course to go to the Point to Point to meet up with our friend Eddie from school and his family to jointly enjoy an afternoon at the races and celebrate his 21st birthday. I'm always getting requests for a few more personal posts over here about what I get up to day to day, so I thought that I'd share with you a few of my snapshots from the afternoon. Don't worry; there is food involved! Eddie's mother made us a lovely picnic to enjoy up on the hill overlooking the racecourse, Kathryn brought dessert, and true to form I brought  an extra bottle of bubbles! 
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Point to Point is run by the hunt, and it is essentially amateur horse racing of hunt horses around a track that includes jumps. Each race is three miles, which is two laps of the track, but aside from the horses the afternoon is full of great food and drink, everyone having picnics and beer, champagne and Pimm's sitting on the folded out backs of their cars, fairground games and country clothing stalls, and the opportunity to place bets on the races, but only after you've taken a trip to the paddock and seen the horses before the race so you can size up your favourites and the competitions chances. 
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Even though we knew we were having a picnic later, it was a little chilly when we first arrived, so we climbed up from the middle of the track were we had parked the car and left Kathryn's little sister and her friends behind, and got stuck into a few pre-lunch snacks while we waited for the rest of our group to arrive and get parked up. Honestly, who could resist? I made a complete and total mess with the English mustard! 
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Also before heading up the hill for lunch we picked up a race card so we could keep track of when each race was going to start, and read a bit more about the horses and where they had won before. Okay, so our choosing of who to bet on may not have been that technical. Yes we did look at the horses' records, and went to scope them out in the paddock before placing our bets (while none of us are particularly horsey, we can all ride), but we chose who we wanted to look for based on which horses had the best name. (Just don't tell anyone!)
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Picnic time! Eddie's Mother made a fantastic sausage and apple plait, and a delicious quiche that we all gobbled down pretty quickly, along with chips, dips and carrot sticks. We washed the whole lot down with a champagne toast to the birthday boy! We then settled down to watch the first race from our vantage point before heading down to where all the action was happening. 
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Kathryn and I had our fashionable version of the countryside uniform on in our Hunters (mud splattered, not the shiny clean ones everyone wears in London, I need a new pair actually, I think navy as I have not looked after mine well enough and they are starting to crack) and Joules jackets. I was rather jealous of Kathryn's tweed (but got my own back when I found it in her size and on sale for less than she paid in the Joules tent!), but my green padded jacket Joules were kind enough to send me last year kept me lovely and warm none the less.
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One great thing about having Kathy as a best friend is she can always be relied upon to bring delicious treats to any gathering that involves a picnic basket. If you're after your own totally delicious looking profiterole tower (it is embarrassing how many of these we ate!) you need to get yourselves over to Marks & Spencers. She also brought along some rather delicious English strawberries, too.
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I have not been on a horse for a very long time, so I only had a vague sense looking at the horses of if I thought they'd throw their rider, get spooked easily or stay calm but driven through the race. Kathryn was very good at picking winners; she won the horse she betted on, and then she backed the horse that came in second.
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Everyone placed their bets then were off to line up along the course to watch the race. We found prime positions both at the finish, and along the track just before a series of jumps. Unfortunately, I only bet on one horse all afternoon, Country Foolery in the third race who was the horse that Kathy (and Eddie) also backed that came in second. It was close too, we had to hold onto our bet tickets as the result went down to the stewards decision.
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Between races we got to say hello to some of the local pooch population who were out in full force (e felt a bit out of place not having a dog with us, but Kathy's dog Widget is getting a bit old and would not have enjoyed it). We also had the obligatory first Mr. Whippy with a Cadbury Flake of the year, and ran into some old school friends that I had not seen in ages and had a bit of a catch up about what we'd all been up to and future plans.
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It was such an amazingly fun way to spend my Bank Holiday Saturday with three of my best and oldest friends. We all headed back to Kathy's house after and spent hours sitting around her kitchen table chatting with cups of tea and dug into a massive spread of Chinese take away with her family before driving home very later at night! What did you all get up to over the long weekend? I hope you got to enjoy the flashes of sunshine between the rain, and that you ate all together too much chocolate! 

Monday, 21 April 2014

Student Suppers: Easy Lunchtime Peas On Toast

Today I have a recipe for you for something that is green, on toast, and has been nowhere near an avocado. Honestly, after the amount of recipes for Avocado Toast on the internet recently I'll honestly be surprised if this post does not crash the internet or something. (Okay, a massive exaggeration, but you get my point!) This Peas On Toast recipe has been actually sitting in the 'Recipes Ideas' note on my iPhone for the best part of 6 months, and it is a delicious and very Spring-like mash up of a recipe I made when I was in the kitchen with chef Rachel Green last year, and my all time favourite recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty: his marinated mozzarella
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Friday, 18 April 2014

Weekly Love: Week 127

In my last edition of Weekly Love I was so excited to tell you about my adventures in Whole Foods I forgot to tell you about somewhere else I discovered on that particular Borough of Kensington & Chelsea adventure I found that I was so distracted by it made me late for my lunch date. Books For Cooks is an amazing little bookshop and cafe where they cook from the books (with cooking classes held upstairs) on Blenheim Crescent in Notting Hill with is stuffed full of cookbooks, books about food and anything else someone like me who compulsively hoards cookbooks could possibly ever want. It is well worth the pilgrimage to that part of town.
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1. The guys at new London candle company Harley & Co. were kind enough to send me their Blackberry & Vanilla candle (only £17, such amazing value with the same quality as a much more expensive one), and I must say that it has turned into my new favourite scent, both sweet and refined to burn while I'm typing away at my dissertation. | 2. As the sun has finally come out, I've been able to wear my brand new Boden Short Sleeve Breton with an old J.Crew cardigan and my favourite Hobbs statement necklace. Everyone asks me about it, and I got it at a sample sale for £1 a few years ago! | 3. Beautiful cherry blossoms snapped on a glorious Friday evening out doing house to house political things. | 4. Saturday is Sangria day. In case you missed it, you can find my recipe here! | 5. Beautiful frilly tulips snapped walking back to my car from a meeting in Canterbury. | 6. Beautifully sunny country walks in Kent to post letters and meet the new Spring lambs!



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Time for a little bit of me elsewhere. This month on the Borough Market blog I'm talking potato salads that are perfect for Bank Holiday picnics or Easter lunches. Here you can see my recipe for New Potatoes with Wild Garlic and Lemon, which is perfect hot or cold with your Easter lamb, and if you click through to the Borough Market blog as well as the recipe you'll find a piece I wrote on wild garlic and my personal, chequered history with New Potatoes (quite a funny story, actually, which my parents like to embarrass me with!) Be sure to look out on the Borough Market blog over the next few days for my second instalment this month, again on the subject of potato salads, this time my White Wine Poached Salmon & Creme Fraiche Potato Salad. And on Monday, I honestly can't say how exited I am to say this, but I'll be make my Food 52 debut with a traditional family recipe which is rather unusual, and I can't wait to share!  
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7. Obligatory Liberty's flower shot while shopping on Regents Street. | 8. Innocent were kind enough to send me some vouchers to try out their new Super Smoothies, all of which do wonderful things for you. I can't believe I am saying this, but for amazing flavour I'm recommending something that contains wheatgrass and flax seed; the Kiwi and Lime flavour. I've found they have been great to sip to refresh and refuel between meetings and appointments; I've been picking mine up from Starbucks. | 9. Yesterday I spent the morning cooking a Greek Easter lunch with Tonia Buxton and the guys from Total Yogurt. This was my delicious traditional dessert flavoured with Orange Blossom Water, Pistachio and Raspberries; totally delicious! | 10. Working hard on my dissertation, so many brands have been kind enough to send me some snacks to keep me going! I've been a particular fan of Cadbury's new Ritz collaboration; the perfect balance between sweet and salty! | 11. Every time I have a chance to swim I've been adding two more lengths onto my total to try and get back up to my usual 100 now I'm not walking all over London and I'm driving everywhere now I'm back in the country. I'm on 56 at the moment! | 12. Juice boosts treating my Mummy to Wagamamas before going to see Endless Love, a repackaging of Howard Brenton's In Extremis at The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury. It was a truly brilliant performance of a play I love (I'm writing my dissertation on it!)



DSC_0344 In other news, do you remember the review I wrote of Big Easy in Covent Garden when it opened last month? They have launched a new lunch menu which is incredible value and looks simply delicious I wanted to make sure that you knew about. For £9.95 you can get either 'Steak Frites' and a slushie cocktail, glass of wine or a beer, 'Lobster Roll Frites' and a slushie cocktail, glass of wine or a beer, or choose two courses off of their set lunchtime menu which you can view here. I'd love to hear if any of you try these combos; I really want to go back to Big Easy (and, incidentally Burger & Lobster too) for their lobster rolls.


What have you been enjoying this week, and what do you have planned for the weekend? It is Daddy's birthday today so my mother and I will be cooking him a special dinner tonight, but apart from that I just have the usual essay writing and work to be getting on with before I head off to France this time next week. I figured that I could get a big bulk of essay and dissertation writing done out there where I don't have the internet to distract me! 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

London (& Leeds) Street Food: Rola Wala

Now that the sun is out in London street food collective KERB has started popping up around London (you can find them at Canary Wharf, UCL, the Gherkin, the Southbank Centre and King's Cross), and my favourite is the King's Cross residency in Granary Square as all I have to do to get there from my London base is to grab a good book and hop on the Hammersmith & City line (or, if I'm coming from Canterbury just walk straight off the train). I've been visiting a fair bit with my camera, and while I did originally plan to do one big feature showcasing several vendors (that still may happen) today I wanted to tell you about a fantastic Indian wrap I had from Rola Wala, because this month they are popping up at Trinity Kitchen's indoor street food collective in Leeds, so non-Londoners have a chance to get a slice of the action for a change, too! 
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Monday, 14 April 2014

Recipe: Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato & Avocado Chopped Salad with Homemade Skinny Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Something I discovered talking to people when I was living over there, the way us Brits make our salads baffle a lot of Americans. What it really comes down to is tearing versus chopping. English salads, on the whole tend to consist of leaves that have been artfully torn but are still quite large, and Americans chop their leaves, which has the wonderful by-product of everything in your bowl being the same size so you get good balanced bites of everything. Even bagged lettuce leaves have this subtle difference, between the bags I buy here and I used to buy at Trader Joe's. Needless to say, I feel the American way ought to be adopted by all. 
Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato & Avocado Chopped Salad with Homemade Skinny Buttermilk Ranch Dressing | www.rachelphipps.com @rachelphipps
Now, I know BLT salad bowls are something that is rather done on the internet a lot, but I felt that I just had to share my version with you all because I have found it has been a really filling lunch recently. I add cubes of ripe avocado (avocado and bacon are a match made in heaven), I cook my bacon the crispy American way, and I've formulated my own version of the classic American Buttermilk Ranch Dressing to be lighter but still totally delicious. Another thing that is awesome about the buttermilk dressing? Leftover buttermilk. A hazard of listening to almost nothing but Country music all day is I never pass up the excuse to bake Southern Biscuits. 
Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato & Avocado Chopped Salad with Homemade Skinny Buttermilk Ranch Dressing | www.rachelphipps.com @rachelphipps
I find using a gem lettuce per person works well. I know it seems really obvious, but to create the optimum chopped salad I find the best way is to split it down the middle lengthways then cut each half into centimetre slices. Don't cut all the way to the bottom as it is just white.
Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato & Avocado Chopped Salad with Homemade Skinny Buttermilk Ranch Dressing | www.rachelphipps.com @rachelphipps
All the measurements here are to serve one person, but the ranch dressing recipe makes extra, so you have enough to either use over the next few days, use the same measurements to make a whole load of salads, or to dip crudities into for a mid afternoon snack.


  • 2 tbsp Light Mayonnaise 
  • 1 tbsp Total 0% Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Very Small Garlic Clove, crushed
  • Large Pinch Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp Finely Chopped Chives
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Low Fat Buttermilk 
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Gem Lettuce, chopped 
  • 1 Small, Ripe Avocado, cubed
  • 2 Rashers Streaky Bacon
  • Large Handful Cherry Tomatoes, quartered  


Grill the bacon on high and until it is American crispy. I like to cook it suspended on a suspended grill so the fat can drip away into a dish below, and I also like the daub the bacon slices with kitchen towel when they come out of the oven to remove more excess fat. Let the rashers go cold. 

To make the Buttermilk Ranch, beat together the mayonnaise, yogurt, crushed garlic, a large pinch of sea salt and chives in a small bowl. Beat in the buttermilk a spoonful at a time (you may like your ranch thicker than I like mine, and the buttermilk thins it), and add a good few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Check the seasoning and refrigerate while you prepare the salad.

Toss together the lettuce, tomatoes and avocado pieces in a salad bowl, top with drizzles of ranch and crispy bacon pieces. I make my life easier by just cutting the cold cooked bacon with scissors. Enjoy!


What did you all eat this weekend, and what recipe projects do you all have planned for the coming week? I'm planning on getting a few recipes for Great British Chefs and Borough Market developed and photographed this week, I'm going into the kitchen in London with the guys at Total Yogurt later this week, and at the end of the week Mummy and I are cooking a special birthday meal for my father. Also, don't forget that my giveaway in collaboration with Campo Viejo to win a case of their Spanish red wine finishes at 5pm today

Friday, 11 April 2014

Places To Eat In Canterbury: Pork & Co.

[This Pork & Co. has now closed, but they've opened a deli with the same pork rolls, and a bigger, better menu a couple of doors down!]

While in any given week in London there is a new and exciting food concept or restaurant for me to get excited about (okay, so it has been open for a month or so now, but my current excitement is stemming from my planned trip to Polpetto next week to see what Florence Knight is getting up to in her new home), it takes an awful lot for me to get excited enough about something food related in my beautiful hometown of Canterbury to actually get in the car with the only purpose of going out for lunch. It is funny that I have just mentioned Polpetto, actually, because my latest foodie discovery in Canterbury came my way via Polpetto's owner Russell Norman on Twitter: Pork & Co, the pulled pork hog roast concept on Palace Street by Sam Deeson, the guy behind one of my favourite and most visited Canterbury eateries a few doors down: Deeson's.  
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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

What To Do With Leftover Egg Whites: Mini Pastel Meringues

In one of my favourite cookbooks from last year, Polpetto Head Chef Florence Knight's first cookbook One: A cook and her cupboard thee is a recipe for Maple Custard Tart that I have been itching to try. The recipe list is pretty basic; a sweet pastry tart case, maple syrup, 9 medium egg yolks, double cream and some freshly grated nutmeg. The problem is, when you use 9 medium egg yolks, you'll be leftover with 9 egg whites. I like the odd leftover egg white fried up and in a breakfast sandwich, but not that much! Luckily there is one answer for what to do with leftover egg whites that everyone should know how to master if they do not already: when life gives you egg whites, you should always, without hesitation, make meringues.
Mini Meringue Vases DSC_0558 Also today, as an alternative to the second half of the story about these meringues (no one wants to hear about me crying with my head in my hands on the back porch after the first batch turned into marshmallow fluff rather than actual meringue) I'm going to let you into a little secret. While I love eating, photographing and generally looking at pretty sweet things, I'm not the happiest bunny in the kitchen when I'm making them. Given the choice, with the exception of bread which I love making, if you give me the option between cooking something and baking something, I'll choose to cook every single time. There is a reason why only roughly 1/4 of the recipes on this blog are for sweets. Where I am totally comfortable trying new things on the savoury side of things, and they have a great success rate, when sweet things happen I sometimes panic, we get failures, and I feel rather disheartened no matter how hard I try. Just don't even ask me about sweet pastry.

However, because I had the leftover egg whites from making the tart (for which I only got the pastry shell good enough to use on the second attempt) and I've had this beautiful glass display jar the guys over at Out There Interiors sent me eons ago sitting around waiting for me to make something sweet to go inside, I knew that meringues needed to happen, and for some reason only known to myself rather than doing my usual Mary Berry recipe, I wanted to try the slightly more complicated but prettier technique in London cake boutique Peggy Porchen's Boutique Baking book I gave my mother for her birthday last year. 
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On the second batch, I discovered that they were the best meringues I'd ever made, with a flavour I'd never thought of imparting to the mix before, and with much more crunch while still being very glossy and light. Having to make the batch up twice also taught me to keep in mind about making meringue I think I may have overlooked, that I can pass over to you so that you don't make the same mistakes as I did. For one, your bowl and whisk attachment need to be so so clean and clear of any oil or grease. Also your egg whites need to be at room temperature, and while all books tell you to be careful not to over whisk your egg whites, you need to also be careful not to under beat them too! The best guide to making meringue's I've ever read can be found over at one of my favourite baking blogs, Poires au Chocolat.



  • 3 Large Egg Whites (100g / 3.5 oz)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 100g (3.5 oz) White Caster (Superfine) Sugar 
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 100g (3.5 oz) Icing (Confectioners) Sugar
  • Pink, Blue & Yellow Liquid Food Colouring 


Pre-heat the oven to 80 degrees celsius (175 degrees fahrenheit) and line three baking trays with parchment. Once my meringue is made, I like to put a little tab under each corner to stop the paper curling up, or blowing up in the fan oven. In a standing mixer fitted with a balloon whisk attachment (I have a cream Kenwood K-Mix) whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt on high until the whites start to get a little stiff. With the mixer still running, gradually spoon in the caster sugar until it is all incorporated. Whisk the eggs until thick and glossy, and when you pull the whisk attachment up out of the mix all the eggs stick to it and don't drop back down. With a rubber spatula, fold in the icing sugar  and the vanilla extract until it is all combined. Divide the mixture up into three, and fold pink colouring into one (drop by drop as the colour can be added, but not removed!) into one. Fold blue into another, adding little drops of yellow also to make it more of an aqua than the harsh blue you usually get in the bottle. Pipe the three different colours onto the baking sheet a few centimetres apart using a piping bag (I use disposable ones) and a star shaped nozzle. Bake for two hours, then turn off the oven leaving the meringues inside, without opening the door until the oven is cold. Store in an air tight container and at a cool constant temperature (I've had melting meringue before!) Enjoy! 



What do you do to use up your leftover egg whites if you don't make meringues. Also a bit of an FYI, the books pictured in this post as well as the Peggy Porschen are Sweet Paris by photographer Michael Paul which is a simply beautiful book I really recommend, full of the history of French patisserie, where to buy the best in Paris as well as some great recipes, and Melt by Claire KelseyOne of my top flavour experiences was the first cone of one of Ginger's Comfort Emporium ice creams at Street Feast Europe last Summer, so when I knew they had a book it went to the top of my wish list; I can't wait to get going with it this Summer! The candy jar is resting on is Ladurée's Entertaining book which I have only read a little bit of so far, but I can tell you is really beautiful. If you're reading this, thank you so much again Seggy for bringing me this, and my favourite French magazines all the way from Paris to Los Angeles for me! 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Cocktail Hour: Classic Sangria + Campo Viejo Garnacha Giveaway

I pretty much always drink French wine, because it is what I know about and I pick it up really cheaply when I visit my Brittany home, but there are a few wines you can pick up here in Britain I do rather like. I'm moving out soon, but since September I've been living in a sort of private student building in London near my university, and regardless of the weather (both blankets and sunglasses have been utilised) some of us from my flat and from the flat next door like to sit out on the sort of outdoor passageway in front of our front doors drinking and talking in the evenings looking out over Canary Wharf. Usually, I like to sit there with my own bottle rather than sharing, but one evening I'd run low and Tom asked me if I wanted some of his red. To be honest, we're both wine snobs (flavour not price) so he is just about the only person I'd accept wine off of in the building.
Sangria 1 DSC_0644 That freezing cold evening after crispy aromatic duck takeaway was when I first discovered Campo Viejo's rather excellent Spanish Rioja, and I think the pair of us must have put away almost two bottles between us looking out over the city at night. Campo Viejo will forever be a university memory for me now, just like Sainsbury's Basics Tomatoes, reading the Evening Standard on the Central Line and getting frozen yogurt at the North Campus Student Union at UCLA and sitting with it in my Monday afternoon Milton class. 
DSC_0547 The British being British, now it is officially Spring, the clocks have changed to British Summertime and we've had just that little bit of sunshine, we're not going to be drinking red wine again until at least Autumn, we're all going to be trying to stretch out the rosé window for as long as possible! I think this is a big shame, because while I was never quite down with that California thing of putting ice cubes in a glass of red, I can think of one excellent Summertime thing to do with it: Sangria. (This recipe makes 1 large jug for a crowd!)


  • 2 bottles Campo Viejo Garnacha Rioja
  • 120ml Brandy
  • 120ml Triple Sec 
  • 200ml Sparkling Lemonade
  • 2 tsp Golden Caster Sugar (optional)
  • Handful Fresh Apple, cubed
  • Handful Fresh Strawberries, cubed
  • 1/4 Orange, sliced then quartered 


In the bottom of a large jug mix together the brandy and the triple sec. I find adding orange liquor as well as the traditional brandy it gives it a nice Summery and fruity flavour. Add the wine and the lemonade and stir well. Taste, and see if the sugar is required. Depending on your brand of lemonade, triple sec and personal tastes, it might be sweet enough already. If you're adding it, stir until it is all dissolved. Add the fruit, stir well and serve either chilled or at room temperature, depending again on your personal preference. Enjoy! 
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So you can try your hand at mixing up some sangria at home, and to celebrate their upcoming Streets of Spain Festival on Southbank (more on that in a moment) I have teamed up with the guys at Campo Viejo to giveaway 6 bottles of their Garnacha Rioja on Twitter. Essentially, this giveaway is open to everyone in the UK who is 18 or over, and all you have to do to enter before the giveaway closes at 5pm on Monday 14th April is to follow both myself (@makingmewonder) and @CampoViejoUK on Twitter, and RT this competition Tweet I sent out this morning. You can find the full terms & conditions here

Anyway, so the Campo Viejo Streets of Spain Festival on Southbank. From May 2nd to May 5th for the second year at Festival Place (under Queen Elizabeth Hall 12pm-10pm outside daily, and inside Festival Village at 11pm) running a massive colour and wine experiment where they are looking at if colours around you that you're looking at effect the taste of the wine you're drinking. What I'm personally super excited about is that there will also be some fantastic Spanish food vendors from around London (I heard some of the restaurants that are involved when I met with Campo Viejo for breakfast the other week and this will be one not to miss!) and La Boqueria in Barcelona. 
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In other sunshine news, I just wanted to share with you a snapshot of all the beautiful white cherry blossoms and blue skies this weekend. I hope you enjoy this sangria, I'd love to hear how you all get on with it, and maybe any personal variations you like to add. A white wine sangria is also on my to do list, so hopefully I'll get to that sometime this Summer. Also, Londoners, how many of you will be hitting up Streets of Spain? Good luck in the Twitter giveaway!