As you may have noticed, I like to talk. If you've met me in person, or even if you sit and read the rambles I dot in between recipes and photographs, I find it hard to fit all I want to say into small spaces. While the planning, testing and photography aspects of writing my upcoming book, Student Eats, were a challenge, one thing I had totally expected was the issue faced by fitting the whole story behind a recipe into the small paragraph space in the recipe notes. So, as I have the luxury of endless space here where - editorially - I'm only answerable to myself (and my current partnership with my pesto brand of choice: Sacla'), I want to tell you the story of how I discovered that pesto, mixed into cooked rice is the best student food ever.
Tuesday, 28 February 2017
Friday, 24 February 2017
I've got a pair of great foodie long reads for you today, so save these for the weekend, make yourself a cup of tea and pull up one of these to really sink your teeth into. The Guardian looks at who killed the British curry house. Not only does this piece explore why these great institutions are closing up all over the country, but also gives a wonderful history of curry and Indian food in Britain. Popping across the pond, Highline at the Huffington Post writes about school lunches in Huntington, West Virginia: the town where Jamie Oliver filmed Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Not only does it pick apart in great detail why he basically failed to revolutionise school lunches there, but it also gives a potted political history of why, and why school lunches in America are probably even more of a contentious issue in America than they are over here.
1. Rainbow tulips outside Clapham South tube station. | 2. Egg Pots and Skinny Bunny Smoothies at The Skinny Kitchen in Canterbury. | 3. Brilliantly sunny afternoon walks through our local village to the postbox. | 4. Looking good, London. | 5. Valentines flowers from Bloom & Wild: use the code RACHELBLOOMS at the checkout for 15% off your order! | 6. My favourite duck confit sandwiches from French Quarter at Borough Market (they're right by the entrance as if you were coming from Southbank!)
Wednesday, 22 February 2017
While usually when I'm writing about restaurants outside of London and Los Angeles I usually stick to my Canterbury sandbox (and there are so many exciting new openings, from Kyoto to Happy Samurai (which I still don't believe I have not been to, and with The Naughty Egg coming soon), but sometimes there is something worth making the drive for. The Wife of Bath in Wye (near Ashford) is the latest venture from Mark Sargent, our friendly local Michelin starred chef (also found at Plum + Spilt Milk in London's King's Cross, Rocksalt on Folkestone Harbour and my favourite local food pub, The Duke William in Ickham), and it serves up some pretty wonderful Spanish style dishes: something wonderfully different for a Kentish fine dining restaurant.
Monday, 20 February 2017
When it comes to areas where I like to save on my food (supermarket own brand tinned tomatoes, bags of onions) I shop around for the best deal, but there are certain things, like my meat where I always feel better when I know what I'm buying, and I'm therefore happier to spend a bit more to find the very best. When the Gourmet Meat Club contacted me a couple of months ago to try one of their meat delivery boxes, I jumped at the chance to try a convenient way to get great meat (good local butchers are thin on the ground in my bit of Kent). What I did not expect was to find them such good value for the quality of what you're getting, too.
Friday, 17 February 2017
As a rule of thumb, the most memorable restaurant I eat in in London each season started life as a street food outfit: last year, I had a frankly transcendental experience at Bao in Fitzrovia, and last week I enjoyed probably the best tacos since I last had their tacos at Street Feast at Breddos Tacos new (and thankfully permanent) home in Clerkenwell. Okay, so it is not really a part of London people tend to go to unless they work there or want to go to a restaurant, so I promise you that it is absolutely worth the trip. Grab a date, and order as much from the menu as you can possibly eat in one sitting and a cocktail or three.
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Welcome, ladies and gentleman to my first recipe of the year that is not bowl food. However, it does fall into the category owned entirely by one of my weeknight staple meals: some sort of baked fish, with some sort of brown or cauliflower rice, additional veggies like roasted squash and sautéed kale optional depending on how hungry I am and what I happen to have in the fridge at the time. Sometimes I like to bake cod with a freshly made salsa on top, make some sort of crust like this almond and lemon one for a piece of salmon, or flake the whole piece of fish into a kedgeree. Sometimes I just like things plain and steamed, and sometimes I like to go down the route that gives me the most amount of flavour for the least amount of effort: dousing the entire fish in some sort of pre-made sauce like a barbecue sauce or a couple of spoonfuls of pesto.
Monday, 13 February 2017
Next in my series of recipe box reviews, we have HelloFresh, one of 'big hitters'. They were kind enough to send me their two person, three meal box for me to test drive, and I've got to be honest that I did not enjoy the experience as much as some of the others I've tried so far (though it does have it's selling points) This is exactly why I decided I'd try to review as many recipe boxes as possible, because so far my suspicions have been proven right that there is no one size fits all, 'best' box for everyone. You need to find the one that will work for you, if the whole recipe box thing is something that will suit you and your family in the first place.
Saturday, 11 February 2017
Have you noticed a pattern that every fortnight when I need to come up with something to say in the introduction to these posts I usually end up getting you hooked on new movies, podcasts or TV shows? If you're into adrenaline rush medical dramas, I owe you an apology because I've recently become addicted to Code Black, and you're about to too. I've had it bookmarked since it started in 2015, mainly because the billboard for it over West 3rd Street in West Hollywood looked cool as I was making my way back from breakfast at Joan's on Third when I was staying at the Farmers Daughter Hotel, but it is awesome. It's about one of the busiest ER's in America (based off a documentary), where there are way too many patients for resources. It has compelling characters, and feels different to any medical drama you've seen before.
1. Peach and Elderflower bellinis for Sunday brunch at German Gymnasium in King's Cross (review coming soon!) | 2. A mixed lunch at the Whitstable Oyster Company on Whitstable seafront: their house oysters are fantastic and the cocktails are good, but the rest of the menu is a bit lack-luster and over priced - my lobster was slightly over cooked and not as fresh as it could have been - go in the summer, sit on the beach terrace, order some champagne and order your weight in oysters rather than heading there for an actual meal. | 3. Stumbling across Instagram favourites while following your Google Maps on an unfamiliar route through Soho: hello Lights of Soho, don't you look pretty today? | 4. Liberty London's blooms are particularly bright at the moment. | 5. I will never get sick of the iconic architecture between meetings in Westminster. | 6. Late lunching at Breddos Tacos in Clerkenwell - another I'll be reviewing soon!
Wednesday, 8 February 2017
When it comes to a quick, cheap and easy breakfast for one (or a shared dessert for two) my favourite thing to make is a Dutch Baby Pancake. I make Gingerbread Spiced and Pomegranate ones at Christmas, Caramalised Apple and Cinnamon ones in Autumn, and I've included the recipe for my everyday, lemon and sugar version in my book Student Eats (which you can pre-order here). However, today we're going down an indulgent route with a chocolate version, topped off with fresh banana slices and warm, drizzled Nutella.
Monday, 6 February 2017
For my second boozy Valentines post this year we're going down the cocktail route with two of my favourite seasonal ingredients: pretty pink forced rhubarb, and blush oranges (oranges that are almost blood oranges, but are much cheaper and much easier to get hold of - you can pick up a net in Waitrose). These glasses of fizz only include three ingredients, take moments to mix together, and are perfect to welcome your loved one home with after work next Tuesday (because obviously Valentines is about a cozy night in together!)
Friday, 3 February 2017
Recipe: Warm Roasted Vegetable Lentil Bowl with Herby Goats Yogurt + a St. Helen's Farm Goat-ey Giveaway
Yes, I'm feeding you lentils again. Okay, so this lentil bowl also includes some sort of vegetable, some sort of herb, and some sort of dairy, but I promise you that this lentil bowl (better suited to dinner than lunch) is a totally different beast. Promise. It's full of different textures and flavours, and is one of those bowlfuls I was upset to reach the bottom of, because I just wanted more. The hero ingredient here is full fat goats yogurt: just stir in some herbs and sea salt, and swirl it into the warm lentils. You'll get that beautiful goats cheese flavour, but in a lighter, yogurt form which mixes into the lentils as you eat forming a sauce.
Wednesday, 1 February 2017
I can't believe that I'm finally typing this, and I can't think of a better day than today - this blog's 8th birthday - to share this. After almost a year of testing, typing, photographing and editing, I'm finally able to share with you why things were a bit sparse over here on the blog between the months of September 2015 and June 2016: I've written a cookbook! So, the details you need to know: Student Eats features over 120 easy, everyday recipes for students and graduates (honestly, it is a student book in name, budget and simplicity only!) Most of the recipes have never appeared before, and I shot and styled everything, making sure that there is a photo to go with every single recipe. It is being published by Ebury on August 3rd, and you can pre-order it here.