To finish up my posts about my time in the Dordogne Valley I wanted to share with you some photos from just three of the beautiful towns and villages we visited all over the region. If I had to describe the area, I'd call it somewhere that has the best of the two regions of France I'm most familiar with; the style of the buildings and their design to deal with the heat reminded me of the Pyrenees where I used to summer with my grandparents, but the rolling green fields and some of the stone structures reminded me of my beloved Brittany. If you're in the area I've already given you a whole host of recommendations for places to eat, stay, and do. Here are three villages that are worth stopping exploring if you're passing by.
Wednesday, 29 June 2016
Monday, 27 June 2016
Last time I had the train to catch from Liverpool Street to Stansted Airport (en-route to the Dordogne Valley, if you fancy checking out some of my foodie travel snaps) I decided that it would be nice to check out a newer edition to my old Shoreditch stomping ground with an old friend who has also moved out of the EC postcode for a casual supper before heading to the pub to catch up for a pint or two. DF/Mexico is the little sister of Mexican giant Wahaca, and has taken up residence on the corner of Old Truman Brewery.
Friday, 24 June 2016
The main focus of last months trip to the Dordogne Valley was food, so for one of my final posts from the region I thought I'd put the spotlight on five of the hyper local food producers we visited who make the most of the ingredients so celebrated in the Dordogne Valley and Perigord regions: a truffle farm who make their own truffle oil and other truffle products, the famous Denoix Distillery in Brive, renowned for their walnut liquor, other spirits and violette Brive mustard, a goat farm where they make just some of the AOC protected Rocomadour cheese, a walnut oil factory, and a Bergerac vineyard and winery producing just some of the wines that served as the accompaniment to practically every single meal in the region.
Wednesday, 22 June 2016
When I've been working out of the London office for the day, Kingley Court off Carneby Street is usually where I head: not only do they have some pretty awesome bars and restaurants, but it is two tube stops away from Westminster, and then only another two to St. Pancras. I can have an early dinner, and still be at home at Kent, showered and in my pajamas in time for the news at 10. I love Dirty Bones when it is cold and dark out, and Señor Ceviche is fantastic if you're after some fruity cocktails and lots of zingily dressed raw fish. However, I've now found the place you need to head to if you're after some summer evening killer street food, great non-alcoholic options and unique, street food inspired starters: Le Bab.
Monday, 20 June 2016
While I loved everywhere we visited in the Dordogne Valley, if there is one destination I wish I could have spent more time in, and I think is the perfect first place to visit or home base to explore from in the region is the historic town of Sarlat. My biggest tip for anyone visiting is simple: make sure you're in town for their famous Saturday morning market which takes over most of the main streets laden with fresh produce, French bread, and local delicacies such as truffles, foie gras, gariguette strawberries and tiny goats cheeses.
Friday, 17 June 2016
I was going to use this, my little space to chatter about whatever I fancy to put my politics hat on for a moment and encourage everyone to vote in the upcoming EU Referendum. I still think you should vote, but instead I want to pay tribute. I rarely talk about my other job in politics here because I want this blog to be a place people can escape. But sometimes something happens that hits too close to home. Most weeks I sit next to my boss, my local MP while he meets his constituents to help them with their problems at his constituency surgery. For Jo Cox, an MP with two small children to be gunned down and killed outside her surgery is unfathomable. This weekend, while you're enjoying the sunshine, and spending time with your friends and family, please take a moment to think about everyone who has lost their lives working for our democracy.
1. Enjoying my first Pimm's of the summer at Polo in the Park. | 2. Getting dressed up for the Polo in this wonderful Boden number I snagged last summer. | 3. Regent Street all gussied up for the Queen's 90th birthday weekend. | 4. An Asian inspired dinner bowl: soba noodles, king prawns, edamame beans, radishes, cucumber, spring onions, sugar snap peas, pea shoots and my house Asian dressing. | 5. Drinking (more than one bottle!) of Hush Heath's simply fantastic English rose at The Compasses Inn in Crundale. Honestly one of the best rose wines I've ever had. | 6. Rainbow freesias for the kitchen table.
Wednesday, 15 June 2016
There has been a growing backlash over the past few weeks surrounding 'wellness' bloggers and cookbooks advocating restrictive diets. I've stayed out of it on the whole, because while I do agree with a lot of what is being written, these articles are also attacking people I know personally and have a lot of respect for. The reason I'm bringing this up is because the cookbook I want to share with you today features this type of food, written by someone on a restrictive diet. However, the reason I really want to recommend teenage blogging sensation Alessandra Peter's book The Foodie Teen to you all is because it is a book that ticks all of those boxes while also genuinely being full of easy, delicious and healthy recipes, all the while accepting that diets are individual and there is no healthy one size fits all approach.
Monday, 13 June 2016
Surprisingly after our massive breakfast, a couple of hours exploring Rocamadour left us famished, so we gladly headed off on our next stop on our tour of the Dordogne Valley: Château de la Treyne, a beautiful château build up high on the banks of the Dordogne river full of beautiful bedrooms, stately drawing rooms and probably the most beautiful dining room I've ever had the privilege to enjoy a meal in.
Saturday, 11 June 2016
As last week was English Wine Week, on Tuesday I hopped on the train to Headcorn, just outside Tenterden to join a group of other local food and wine writers at Chapel Down, arguably one of England's most known and enjoyed vineyards (they sell it in Waitrose, and their Rose Brut was served at the Royal Wedding) to sample some of their wines and to enjoy a special English Wine Week tasting menu at their restaurant, The Swan.
Wednesday, 8 June 2016
On Sunday a bunch of us hopped on the train and then the tube to get to Hurlingham Park in West London for our usual trip to finals day at Polo in the Park. I know I've written about finals day before, but I thought I'd post a few snaps from the weekend to share some of the simply fantastic street food we feasted on that you can find elsewhere around town outside of polo season, and the first jug of Pimm's of the season!
Monday, 6 June 2016
After breakfast at Manoir de Malagorse, we hopped in the car for a quick half hour drive to an ancient site of pilgrimage and UNESCO world heritage site which seems to be on everyones travel bucket list: Rocamadour. Before visiting, I did not actually know much about the place, but the moment someone mentions an old Medieval town, with lots of churches and chapels to explore I'm pretty much automatically on board.
Friday, 3 June 2016
Happy English Wine Week everyone! After almost a week basically eating and drinking my way around the Dordogne Valley, it is time to turn to wine much closer to home. I'm passionate about getting more people, especially more people in their twenties drinking English wine. Especially here in Kent we have some frankly incredible vineyards, so perhaps this weekend if you have not got plans (and the sun is shining) go and show your local vineyard some love and have a taste of what they have to offer. Last year for Buzzfeed I put together a roundup of 17 English vineyards you really ought to know about, pinpointing destinations from Cornwall, to Yorkshire, to Sussex, even to Jersey, which you may find helpful!
1. Golden hour in Sarlat. | 2. Medieval archways at the UNESCO pilgrimage site of Rocamadour. I've already edited so many great photos from there I can't wait to share with you all next week! | 3. Steak, tacos, frozen margaritas and giant salad bowls at DF/Mexico in Shoreditch. I took loads of photos for a review, which I'll try and share once I'm done with all my France posts! | 4. Radishes, carrots and peas for sale at Sarlat's famous Saturday morning market. | 5. Kicking off English Wine Week in the garden at The Duck Inn with a bottle of Gribble Bridge from one of Kent's oldest modern wineries, Biddenden Vineyard. | 6. Beautifully fragrant local strawberries, again at Sarlat market. I've got loads of photos from there to share too, promise!
Wednesday, 1 June 2016
Today I want to share with you one of the latest additions to my cookbook collection in which I have found a few absolute gems: From Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein . In case you've never noticed, I'm a massive cookbook horder, and I spend a lot of time browsing for new titles on The Happy Foodie; a site by Penguin Random House, who publish some of our favourite Penguin, Ebury and BBC cookbooks that features recipes by and interviews by their authors. Recently they asked me if I fancied giving my thoughts on one of their new releases for the site, so one sunny Saturday evening I set about creating a mini feast from the book with chicken from Turkey, potatoes from Albania and a cream dessert from Croatia.