While I get on editing the next batch of photos from my French trip, I thought I'd share where we went for a very late lunch on Saturday. The Duck Inn at Pett Bottom, near Canterbury, is a very small country pub in the middle of nowhere with a lovely pub garden, wonderful sounding bar snacks (pints of prawns, homemade scotch eggs or Whitstable oysters anyone?) and classic pub food that is both fantastic value, and made to a very high standard. What is there not to like when the sun is shining at the beginning of the long weekend?
Monday, 30 May 2016
Saturday, 28 May 2016
On the second night of our trip around the Dordogne Valley we stayed and probably one of the best places I've ever stayed overnight at. Manoir de Malagorse is a simply stunning guesthouse (there is also a gite in the grounds) in the middle of the French countryside in Cuzance. The rooms are big, elegant and beautiful, the hospitality offered by Anna (who is English) is wonderful, and the food her chef husband Abel (who is French) produces is perfect. You know where you stay somewhere that is almost perfect, but there are a few little things that bother you like dust on the skirting boards? Manoir de Malagorse had none of these, and we were all gushing about how wonderful our night there was for days afterwards.
Wednesday, 25 May 2016
Last Wednesday I got up bright and early, headed over to Stansted Airport and hopped on a plane to Brive, ready to start a trip around the Dordogne Valley. We visited food markets, ate everywhere from small auberges to Michelin star restaurants, explored Medieval towns and stayed in chateaux. I'm so excited to share the trip with you all, and to kick it all off I want to share some of the fantastic food we ate, towns we explored on our first afternoon, and where we stayed on our first evening in the Dordogne Valley.
Friday, 20 May 2016
This is a scheduled post, as I'm currently in the Dordogne with their tourism people doing all things French and foodie. Having spent all summer, every summer for a large chunk of my childhood in the Pyrenees, and currently having a home in Brittany, I adore France (and French food) but this region is a total first for me. So, enjoy these snapshots from back home and this lot of web links, and be prepared for (food filled) pitstop tour of many of the major and most historical towns in the region when I return!
1. The famous bright blue and yellow beach huts on Viking Beach, Broadstairs. | 2. Pomegranate & Honey Chicken Skewers on the barbecue from Diana Henry's A Bird In The Hand. | 3. Beautifully fragrant lilac in full bloom. | 4. Mixed sausage and salad box from The Devil's Pantry at Sandwich Food Fayre. | 5. Tulips and daffodils for sale outside Canterbury West Station at The Flower Station. | 6. Kent strawberries for sale on Deal High Street.
Wednesday, 18 May 2016
On Saturday we piled into the car and headed out to Broadstairs to try a restaurant that has been on my list since one of my scouts recommended I include it in my '31Things Everyone Must Eat In East Kent' feature for Buzzfeed: Wyatt & Jones. Boasting features in the Michelin and Good Food Guide, as well as recommendations from some of the local chefs and restauranteurs whose judgement I trust the most, I just knew we were in for a fantastic meal a little bit further along the East Kent coast than I usually venture.
Monday, 16 May 2016
Casting our minds back a bit here, this year for Chinese New Year we threw together something of a Chinese-Japanese fusion feast with each of us making a dish or two. There was special fried rice, chilli prawns, crispy aromatic duck (Gressinghams, not homemade - I did it once, and life is too short!) and chicken yakitori. There was also one dish I made for the first time (and I've had time to refine since) which quite a few of you took an interest in when I mentioned that I'd made them: better than takeaway style sesame prawn toasts.
Friday, 13 May 2016
Today is Friday and we've got the whole weekend ahead of us. So, I thought I'd share with you all a killer barbecue chicken recipe (that only requires half an hour to marinade) and a beer to pair it with so you've got something to throw on the grill. This quick and easy turmeric yellow marinade is the work of moments to throw together, given an extra kick with a spritz of fresh lime juice just before serving. I've adapted it from the Spiced Chicken Escalopes in Simply Nigella (yes I am still obsessed with and cooking my way through that book) to make something just right for this season of 'it's almost summer but not quite' grilling.
Wednesday, 11 May 2016
After lunch at The Duke William and a stop at the garden centre, we headed over to Staple on the drive home to visit Barnsole Vineyard, an absolute gem I stumbled across early last year. They've just launched their first English Sparkling Wine (which I am very, very excited about), so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take you on a tour of the vineyard. Since last spring Sally and Phillip, the husband and wife team who took the vineyard over a few years ago commissioned me as one of the photographers taking photos for their new website and leaflets, so here is a little snapshot of Barnsole over the past year.
Monday, 9 May 2016
We have something special in East Kent in the form of our high quality, local country pubs focusing on good food made with local ingredients, paired with carefully curated wine lists. Last year the exciting news came that Mark Sargent, the Michelin starred chef behind some of the Kent and London restaurants we all love like Rocksalt in Folkestone and Plum + Spilt Milk at the Great Northern Hotel in London was taking over the rather average pub in one of the Canterbury-adjacent villages I frequent: The Duke William in Ickham.
Friday, 6 May 2016
Who is after a couple of easy, sunny, Italian inspired weeknight suppers that you can throw together in half an hour or less? In collaboration with Cooks & Co. I've created two such recipes for Great British Chefs which are perfect if you want something easy, but fancy for dinner after work tonight. Click through for my recipes for Sun-dried Tomato and Avocado Spaghetti, and for a really exciting Roasted Red Pepper Panzanella. Enjoy!
1. Dressing for the sunshine in my favourite striped Jigsaw tee (which they have brought back for a new season) and my brand new, pretty blue relaxed fit Boden cardigan. | 2. Toasting the Bank Holiday Weekend. | 3. A healthy cooked breakfast with Heck's Zesty Chicken Sausages, roasted cherry tomatoes, mixed salad, a dry fried egg and an Innocent Strawberry & Banana Smoothie. | 4. Beautiful red, pink, orange and white blooms at The Flower Station outside Canterbury West Station. | 5. Day off Passionfruit Caipirinha's at Cabana in Covent Garden. | 6. Beautiful woodland bluebells.
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
One of my first 'Places To Eat In London' reviews back in 2012 was of Cabana, the new Brazilian barbecue joint that had opened up at Westfield Stratford, just a tube stop away from my student halls. Bizarrely (with my all around love for food from hotter climates), I had not been back since. Well, that was until they invited me back the other week to see how they've grown up since. As this summer with the Rio olympics is going to be all about Brazilian food (I have a bottle of Cachaca ready on my bar table!), and as Cabana have just launched their new #RoadToRio menu, I thought now would be the perfect time for a return visit.
Monday, 2 May 2016
Today we all have the day off work. Thursday is Cinco de Mayo, the perfect excuse to stuff our faces with tortilla chips, spiked guacamole and more homemade chicken fajitas than you can shake a stick at. So, obviously today is the best day to perfect your frozen margarita game. All you need is a few handfuls of frozen mango, limes, triple sec, ice, and most importantly tequila. Oh, and perhaps some chilli salt to rim your fancy margarita glasses. (N.B. I use the sugar syrup I have made up for cocktails to make my rims stick!)