For me, the end of August and the beginning of September is about soaking up the last of the summer sun, enjoying the last few lunches outside where rosé wine is preferable to red, and using up the glut of tomatoes that arrives in the kitchen around about now. The last time I was up visiting our other office in the House of Commons I had lunch at The Adjournment, the House of Commons restaurant located in Portcullis House (that big glass one across the road from Big Ben) with one of my colleagues to celebrate her retirement. For our starter we had an utterly delicious Sardine Bruschetta, finished off with a delicate tangle of pea shoots.
Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Monday, 29 August 2016
While on my bar cart I have one type of tequila, one type of rum and one type of vodka, I am always collecting different gins for their different flavour profiles so I can best pair them with the recipe at hand. Currently I have a beautifully savoury Gin Mare for my elderflower gin and tonics, the very botanical The Botanist for when I really want the flavour of my gin to pack a punch, as well as my latest addition: my latest bottle of London Dry gin that comes in this simply stunning blue bottle I was sent by Slingsby Gin.
Friday, 26 August 2016
It is getting to that point in the year where we have all had probably one too many ice creams, barbecues, bottles of beer and pitchers of mojitos over the summer, and we're looking for quick, easy, bright and delicious weeknight suppers that also happen to be super healthy, to get stuck into before this weekends Bank Holiday. So, today I want to share an old favourite my Mum has been making for weeknights for years, her Skinny Tomato & Turmeric Cod, and our new favourite (which I honestly can't believe I even like, let alone love), a little late to the party I know, Cauliflower Rice all jazzed up with spring onion and pomegranate.
Wednesday, 24 August 2016
Happy Great British Bake Off Day everyone! If you still don't have your baked goods ready for tonights premier, I've got you covered. These super easy ice cream sandwiches made with your favourite tub from the freezer cabinet sandwiched between two, perfectly proportioned homemade chocolate cookies (with a hint of smoked sea salt) can either be assembled ready to eat, a couple of hours ahead of time, or the cookie dough can be stashed in the freezer for freshly baked cookies in under 15 minutes. Awesome, right?
Monday, 22 August 2016
After our disappointment up the Shard at Hutong, I've found somewhere in London that does great, affordable, authentic dim sum: Royal China's Dim Sum outpost on Baker Street. Okay so it is not one of those flashy, pretty restaurants I normally review (it is one of those, dark, traditional Chinese restaurants with low lights and white table cloths, so I'm sorry the pictures are not as clear as usual), but when I was invited along to review their lunchtime dim sum menu, we were treated to delivery after delivery of dumpling goodness.
Friday, 19 August 2016
One of my favourite things about summer is not just the sunshine, longer days and fantastic, bright, vibrant food, but that friends seem to all manage to have time off at the same time as each other. This means we can spend lazy, sun-drenched weekends lazing around each others gardens, go out for big brunches outside of the city, and barbecue all together with our families on Monday evenings after those of us who live outside of the city have finished work for the day. The world always seems so much brighter when you've had the opportunity to spend plenty of time with the people you love that you don't get to see every day.
1. Celebrating National Rum Day with cocktails at The Rum Kitchen on Kingley Court. I wasn't eating, but the food looked fantastic and my drink was wonderful, so I'll be sure to head back to do a review sometime soon! | 2. Mastering the art of the perfect pitcher Mojitos to drink over lazy Sundays in the garden. Oh, and I'm now officially in love with this perfectly sized jug from Emma Bridgewater. | 3. Sunday brunching at The Pop-up Cafe in Deal. | 4. Breaking down and barbecuing a rack of lamb, marinated in lemon, olive oil and rosemary. | 5. Mid-afternoon weekend feasting on a side of citrus poached salmon (with Kewpie mayo!), homemade garlic bread, boiled new potatoes, and a garden salad with a homemade honey mustard dressing. | 6. Exploring new gins with classic gin cocktails at The London Gin Club in Soho.
Wednesday, 17 August 2016
To celebrate this years Rio Olympics (and our rapidly rising medal count!) on Saturday night I threw my annual summer party in the conservatory for my old school friends and assorted parents, boyfriends and girlfriends, and we went to Rio (at least for the evening!) Inspired by this meal I had at the beginning of the summer at Cabana, and their brilliant cookbook, I cooked up a feast of their Brazilian and my own Mexican recipes for everyone to help themselves surrounded by a festival of colour as the sun went down.
Monday, 15 August 2016
I'm a massive fan of breakfast for dinner. While sometimes when there has been nothing else in the fridge except for some milk and eggs I've eaten pancakes, I actively seek out dishes that are usually considered brunch any time of the day. My most recent breakfast-for-dinner love? Kedgeree. I'd never made it before, but after finding the recipe Chef on a Diet , a fantastic book by Sophie Michell that we've cooked at least one new recipe from every single week since it arrived, I fell slightly in love with this great way to use up leftovers.
Friday, 12 August 2016
This summer, I have been sharing a quick, easy, Italian inspired pasta dish each month in collaboration with the Italian pasta brand Barilla over at Great British Chefs, and this month we're featuring a twist on my favourite pasta dish to make whenever I first move into a new flat with minimal kitchen equipment or in summer holiday rentals: Mezze Penne Tricolour with Roasted Summer Vegetables and Walnuts. You can find my recipe for Spaghetti with Mussels, which was published last month here.
1. Sun-drenched weekends playing tourist in Canterbury. | 2. Treating my family to Byron burgers in a show of support for my favourite burger chain. No business should suffer and be vilified for upholding the law. | 3. Monday afterwork garden cocktails by way of Fentiman's Rose Lemonade with Bloom Gin. | 4. The last of the hydrangeas. | 5. More picture perfect scenes from Canterbury. | 6. My favourite healthy weekend breakfast: a dry fried egg, roasted home grown tomatoes and some of the zesty chicken sausages the team at Heck were kind enough to fill my freezer up with.
Wednesday, 10 August 2016
I have found my new favourite place to eat in Canterbury. On Saturday morning on the way to KITCH we passed the city's newest foodie arrival that was absolutely packed: The Skinny Kitchen. So, naturally I had to stop by for lunch yesterday between supermarket trips picking up ingredients for my summer party at the weekend. They have a breakfast and brunch menu, and then an all day menu. They do protein packed gym bunny fodder, and delicious, SoCal style protein, grain and veggie bowls. Their smoothies are amazing, they do fresh juices, and even better for you cocktails. I think I am in love. I want to eat their entire menu.
Monday, 8 August 2016
Today I have probably the stupidly easiest marinade recipe for barbecue prawns/ shrimp that you've ever seen. You need the biggest, raw, shell on prawns you can find (the fishmongers are a good shout, otherwise, why not try my Herby Lemon & Garlic Barbecue Prawn Skewers instead?), a few limes, a dash of oil, and a good Cajun spice blend. They take minutes to prepare and cook, and only half an hour to marinate.
Friday, 5 August 2016
In our family we have a thing called a Magnum break. We always have Magnums in the freezer (always classic, and sometimes raspberry flavour for me), and on a hot day when we have all been working very hard, we take the time to sit outside together and enjoy an ice cream. On Wednesday afternoon the team at Magnum invited me along to their Magnum Pleasure Store Pop-up on South Molton Street for what probably has to be the ultimate Magnum break: this summer in London you can design your own Magnum.
Wednesday, 3 August 2016
I find Vietnamese food works really well for lunch meetings. You can order a few sharing dishes, but things can still stay diplomatic with your own plateful for the main. This works both ways; for meetings with people I don't know, like when I reviewed KIN on Leather Lane, and with people you do. Last Wednesday I had lunch at my new favourite Asian restaurant in London: Little Viet Kitchen in Islington with my agent where we shared some nibbles and a small plate, then both tucked into the same massive main to avoid order envy!
Monday, 1 August 2016
In our family, there has only ever been one recipe for tomato salad. The reason for this is simple: if you've made this super easy, super pretty, and super delicious tomato salad, you'll never feel the need to make another. Every summer we have always grown our own tomatoes in a massive, industrial sized greenhouse that my great grandfather had built. Because of this, every single summer I can remember we have had a glut of tomatoes, and all of our family have become experts on the very best of most tomato recipes people enjoy.