Friday, 20 July 2018

Weekly Love: Week 135

I've got a little hack for you if you enjoy reading American websites like Food 52 that *still* have not got their act together with the whole GDPR thing and are blocking readers browsing from the EU. Unless you listen to tech podcasts like Note To Self, you may not know about a VPN. Used to secure your browsing if you're worried about internet security and privacy, using a VPN makes it appear that you are browsing the internet from a different country. So, find one you like (I've used TunnelBear for years), download it to your desktop and device and set browsing from the United States. Then, you'll be able to access those sites like Food 52 and the Los Angeles Times you may want to read stories on, but you're currently blocked from - simple!
Weekly Love 20.07.18[1]
1. More of my mother's home grown, beautiful, purple, perfumed sweet peas. | 2. Tasting all of the different English Sparkling Wines Nyetimber have to offer on their fantastic new wine terrace this summer at Angler in Moorgate - full blog post coming soon! | 3. Exploring beautiful Kentish country gardens - another blog post about the Wealden Literary Festival coming soon! | 4. Enjoying some of the best Greek food I've ever had with chicken gyros and Greek craft beer in the sunshine at The Athenian - they get all their flatbreads and meat from Greece for an amazing, authentic taste! | 5. Chatting all about how fruit vinegars make the most amazing instant shrubs over on Instagram. | 6. My favourite French rose makers, Mirabeau are now selling their frose popsicles (they're amazing - I had one at Taste of London) in the Waitrose food halls in John Lewis on Oxford Street, Bluewater, Southampton and Watford!

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Places To Eat In Canterbury: The Parade Room at The Pound

I don't say this lightly when I say I've found the most exciting new opening in Canterbury I've been to since I wrote my first review in my home city seven years ago. The Parade Room is the long awaited restaurant above The Pound (you know, that slightly smarter bar in an old gaol by Westgate Towers?) and while they're now serving small plates downstairs during the day it is the set menu dinner service created by local chef Doug Sanham that you need to book in on. Smart, clever dining with a focus on local ingredients, modern techniques and totally reasonable prices? For £25.50 ahead for three quarters without having to get on the train to London? It is places like The Parade room that make me more excited to write about food in Kent, than across London (and where else do you know where you can book a feast in a prison cell?)
Bread and Canapes at The Parade Room at The Pound, Canterbury #bread #canterbury

Monday, 16 July 2018

How To Spend a Day in the Dordogne

Unlike the day we spent in the Loire where it was cold and wet, and the time we spend in the Lot where it was sunny but cool, the sun was properly out and we enjoyed some real late-spring hot weather when we explored the Dordogne Valley before checking into our hotel in the foodie capital of the Perigord: Sarlat (but more on that in some more foodie posts coming soon!) There are really four things to do in the Dordogne: food, caves, chateaux and gardens, and as we had the food covered in Sarlat and we'd been down a couple of caves in the Lot, we figured that we'd spend the morning exploring the famous topiary gardens at Eyrugnac before going for a climb up to a chateau with a view out over the silver ribbon that was the Dordogne river.
Chapel at the Jardins de Eyrugnac #gardens #eyrugnac #dordogne #france #travel

Friday, 13 July 2018

Weekly Meal Plan #14: Brilliant Bowl Food

While 'bowl food' has been a thing forever, and especially more of a trend on blogs and on Pinterest in the last few years, the first time I think I thought of 'bowl food' as a concept was when I was reading the then, newly published Simply Nigella volume I'd been given for Christmas. She talks about how she loves 'bowl food', where you can just curl up with a comforting bowl, so much more indulgent, and less formal than sitting down with a flat plate, knife and fork. In general, my generation, us much maligned 'Millennials' tend to lean towards eating out of big bowls anyway; while I have so many different plates and dishes for styling, our main dishes for everyday meals are big, blue pasta bowls. So, with this in mind here are five recipes for your busy weeknights ahead next week that are best served in big, generous bowlfuls.
Weekly Meal Plan Brilliant Bowl Food #mealplan #weeklymealplan #bowlfood

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Places To Eat In London: La Goccia, Covent Garden

I know it seems crazy for me to say as a massive part of my day to day is reviewing many of London's new openings, but I think I have London restaurant fatigue. I don't think places that are that new or exciting are opening as much anymore; everything has become a bit cookie cutter. That being said, I think the entire foodie city was excited for Petersham Nurseries to come to Covent Garden (aka somewhere much easier to get to than Richmond!) and while I'll save a review of their fine dining for another day, I must say the dinner I had a few weeks ago now at La Goccia, their new casual Italian small plates place really stuck with me. It got me excited to eat out in London again, and that is proving rather difficult at the moment!
Petersham Nurseries' La Goccia, Covent Garden #coventgarden #london

Monday, 9 July 2018

Student Suppers: Tomato & Cornbread Crumble

This is only the second summer as long as I remember where I've not had more tomatoes than I know what to do with. At the house I grew up in, which my parents moved out of the beginning of last year we had an industrial sized greenhouse which was pretty much entirely planted with them and over the years we've made everything from soups to salads, from bruschettas to fried green tomatoes. While I don't have access to quite as many beautiful tomatoes as I used to, I still get really excited when I come across a recipe that is perfect for a delicious seasonal glut. This Tomato & Cornbread Crumble, adapted from Food 52 does just that and with its crunchy, cornbread flavoured topping just screams summer. Serve it as a side or as a simple vegetarian supper with a green salad on the side, perhaps tossed with some of my Skinny Buttermilk Ranch Dressing?
Savoury Tomato & Cornbread Crumble

Friday, 6 July 2018

Weekly Love: Week 134

It is another one of those Weekly Love posts where I have some killer true crime recommendations for you to binge on next week. For your daily commute, download the second season of the In The Dark Podcast (though the first season is pretty good too if you've not heard it!) for the story of Curtis Flowers, who has been tried for the same set of murders 6 times and is still sentenced to die. It raises some interesting questions about all white jury selection and racism in the judicial system in the American South. Then, when you want to curl up with Netflix in the evenings we've just finished The Staircase; another documentary about a court case where someone is being tried for murder, another where there has been prosecutorial misconduct, and this time raises the question of bias against bisexuality in a Southern jury. Both are gripping, and very fascinating.
Weekly Love 06.07.18[1] 1. A solo lunch of asparagus with soft boiled eggs, parmesan and pine nut aioli, burrata, peas, olive oil, Aleppo chilli and lemon verbena, a passion fruit shrub and a crisp glass of white waiting for my train at Caravan, King's Cross. | 2. My publishers Ebury sent me the new Berber & Q barbecue cookbook to review which I did over on Instagram Highlights. Here we have Cumin Lamb Chops with Anchovy Butter & Lemon Yogurt Dressing, and Charred Romaine Lettuce with Anchovy & Pepper Dressing. Get your copy here! | 3. Getting overly excited about all the beautiful fragrant sweet peas my Mum has been growing in my favourite dress of the summer (great for smart and casual) from Mint Velvet (check it out here!) | 4. My current favourite gin of the summer was sent to me by Haymans - it is a really traditional London Dry made to a historic recipe, great for G&T's on Parsons Green! | 5. Sipping Hugos in my local with my new favourite The Curators Sriracha Beef Jerky. | 6. Getting overly excited when peonies are on special offer in Waitrose for my mantle.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Dinner at Chateau de la Treyne, South West France

After spending a day exploring the Lot and a bit of time relaxing at Manoir de Malagorse before dinner, we jumped in a taxi Anna at the Manoir had kindly booked us to head to Chateau de la Treyne, perched above the river for what was the culinary highlight of the whole trip. The lunch I'd had there in 2016 as part of a trip around the region with the local tourism board still remains one of the best meals of my entire life, so as we had three birthdays and a wedding anniversary to celebrate, we felt it was only fitting to splurge on a meal and an experience of a lifetime. Dinner there does not come cheap (the tasting menu starts at 96€ per person before wine), but it is truly somewhere to go and celebrate. I'd be scared of trying somewhere so expensive without prior research, so I hope you'll take my recommendation for the meal of a lifetime.
Dining Room at Chateau de la Treyne

Monday, 2 July 2018

Student Suppers: Easy Summertime Courgette Soup

This post was created in partnership with Appletiser.  So, I know soup (other than gazpacho!) is not your first thought when you think of summertime supper, but hear me out. First, we live in Great Britain, the land of 'weather'. We get chilly days. I've found that a light, delicious soup made from the best of summer produce - such as a glut of courgettes - is the perfect way to bring a bit of sunshine inside during those cooler evenings. Also, as the Moroccans with their gallons of fresh mint tea will tell you, eating something hot actually cools you down. I've teamed up with Appletiser to bring you a new weeknight recipe each month with no added sugar which contains at least one portion of fruit and veg (just like a bottle of Appletiser!) so I thought an earthy courgette soup, enriched with potato and served with a dollop of live yogurt would just fit the bill!
Easy Summertime Courgette Soup #soup #courgette #zucchini

Friday, 29 June 2018

Weekly Meal Plan #13: Barbecue Bites

'Tis the season where practically everything tastes better cooked on the barbecue, so this week I thought I'd share with you five delicious dishes you can cook on the barbecue for dinner. Add a green salad, and perhaps throw some halved, seasoned and extra virgin olive oil brushed courgettes and peppers, or similarly prepared mushroom or cherry tomato skewers on the barbecue with them to make it a meal. I love making garlic bread out of stale slices from a sourdough loaf by simply brushing them with garlic infused extra virgin (I get mine from my complimentary Pomora subscription) then grilling it until you get charred lines from the grill.
Weekly Meal Plan Barbecue Bites #barbecue #grilling #mealplan #weeklymealplan

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Everything We Ate At Taste of London

Christ we ate too much. I'd always scrolled through (slightly drooling) other people's snaps from Taste of London, but I'd never actually been able to attend. So when Cafe Pacifico (that place in Covent Garden who make award-winning margaritas and which I'll be reviewing later this summer) got in touch to see if I wanted a pair of Taste of London tickets (for those of you who don't know, it's a food festival featuring dishes from some of the city's best eateries) so I could check out their stand, I jumped at the chance to be able to get in and eat as much as humanly possible across the festival. So, this is everything we ate and drank at the festival.
Bombay Bustle Lamb Biryani at Taste of London #rice #indian #biryani #lamb #tasteoflondon

Monday, 25 June 2018

Recipe: Stupidly Simple Smoked Salmon & Green Pea Quiche

As regular readers will go, I go through obsessive periods with either certain dishes or ingredients. So, you'll be unsurprised to see that you've had two different quiche recipes from me this month. However, unlike my slightly more elegant Sweet Potato, Red Onion, Spinach & Feta Quiche I shared the other week, this one has a fancier filling, but with a much simpler, more rustic assembly. If you've never made a quiche before, this is the quiche to make first. If only I'd discovered this stupidly simple and rather versatile puff pastry crust technique when I was writing the recipe for the Full English Breakfast Quiche in Student Eats...
Smoked Salmon & Green Pea Quiche #quiche #salmon #pea #puffpastry

Friday, 22 June 2018

Weekly Love: Week 133

If you don't own a copy, I want you to go and buy a book. I'm so serious about this, the following link for it is not even an affiliate link. Earlier this month, Anthony Bourdain, one of my favourite food writers and probably one of the biggest influences on food journalism and culture in my lifestyle took his own life in a French hotel room. When I was living in Los Angeles, between classes I used to sit under a tree on the UCLA campus reading his book Kitchen Confidential, which not only changed the way people looked at restaurants, but made me want to write about food. It is a brilliant book regardless, but if you're passionate about food (and as you're reading this book, I assume you are) it will speak to something in you in a way few other books will. Get your copy from Amazon here, or even better, go find one in your local independent bookstore.
Weekly Love 22.06.18[1] 1. Beautiful bright carrots at the farmers market. | 2. A big family (Saturday) lunch of roast beef, roast potatoes and of course way too may Yorkshire Puddings for 4 people! | 3. A simply divine dish of coffee rubbed steak and miso wasabi mashed potatoes from Asia de Cuba at Taste of London - a full blog post with everything we ate there coming soon! | 4. Cafe Pacifico, a Mexican joint in Covent Garden with award-winning cocktails were both kind enough to give us tickets to the festival, and to make us some free margaritas in frozen watermelon and passion fruit - must tries! Again, more on them in my post! | 5. Final plug for my upcoming Taste of London post, promise! It was also great to catch up with Mirabeau wines, my favourite rose wine from Provence - I've got a few bottles they sent me kicking around so keep an eye out what I do with them! | 6. Grilling a whole load of delicious veggies on the barbecue.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

How I Get Inspiration for New Recipes + A Mango Chilli Sauce

This post was created in partnership with MyPersonalisedCase. As I've already mentioned, for the past few months I've been hard at work with a fantastic web developer to give this blog it's first totally new look in over five years. It is going to be fresh, bright and responsive, and as well as the new look I'm going to start introducing a bit of a new direction. Don't worry: I'll still be posting brand new, easy weeknight recipes, restaurant reviews and foodie travel guides, but I'll also be introducing some new posts about cooking and eating. Over the past nine years this blog has really grown up with me, and what I really want it to be, and what I think it is becoming is a hub that helps people figure out what to eat; not just a site telling you what and where, but somewhere that also helps you make more conscious food choices, learning about your ingredients, how to cut down on your food bills, and yes, figure out where to book a table for your girls night.
How I Get Inspiration for New Recipes + A Mango Chilli Sauce #kitchen #cooking #asian #mango #chilli #chillisauce

Monday, 18 June 2018

Places To Eat In London: Yashin Ocean House, Kensington

It has recently been brought to my attention that while I love sushi (anyone following my Deliveroo habits on Instagram Stories could attest to this!), there are no longer any reviews for sushi restaurants that are still open on this site. Londoners looking for somewhere to eat their body weight in raw fish and perfectly prepared Japanese rice are being left out! So, when Yashin Ocean House invited me along for lunch last month I thought it would make the perfect spot to highlight for you all; a place where all the sushi is top notch, where luxury ingredients are in abundance (but used to raise the quality of the food, not the price tag) but where you can still get an affordable meal rather than a celebratory supper (though they do those too!)
Omakae Eight Sushi Lunch at Yashin Ocean House, Kensington #sushi #london #kensington

Friday, 15 June 2018

Recipe: One Pan Merguez with Red Peppers & Crispy Chickpeas

This post was created in partnership with BRITA. Today I want to mark the end of my single-use plastic free week challenge with a delicious, easy, weeknight dinner made without generating any single-use plastic for the recycling bin. While usually I use one-pan recipes to empty the fridge of some veggies and grab some protein from the freezer, they're so easy to throw together on a weeknight I can't resist planning ahead for them too. Don't skimp on the quick pickled red onions here as they really brighten the dish and add a bit of punch, and possibly serve it with some fresh crusty bread if you don't have a dessert planned.
Easy Sheet Pan Merguez with Red Peppers & Crispy Chickpeas #onepan #sheetpan #dinner #lamb #merguez #pepper #chickpeas

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

An Update On My Single-Use Plastic Free Week

This post was created in partnership with BRITA. In case you missed Monday's post, last week the guys at BRITA challenged me to #SwapForGood by trying to cut down on single-use plastic (they've been campaigning since 2017 to get people to swap single-use plastic for more sustainable options to cut down on household waste, for example swapping bottles of mineral water for filter water, you can find out more here!) By way of recording how I got on, on Monday I went food shopping and found I could manage to buy everything on my shopping list single-use plastic free except for milk (you can read how I got on here!), and today I thought I'd share some of my single-use plastic free meals from last week. Hopefully, if you decide to take up this challenge yourself too I hope this post will also give you some meal ideas to help you on your way!
Update on my Single-use Plastic Free Week

Monday, 11 June 2018

Shopping for a Single-use Plastic Free Week

This post was created in partnership with BRITA. Even the guy working on the fruit and veg stall I visited this week on the North End Road in Fulham knew (from his Instagram feed) the statistic that eight million tons of plastic waste enters the ocean each year, and that around seventy percent of rubbish currently in the sea is plastic. The stats on how much plastic fish (that we later eat!) digest just does not bare thinking about. I've been wanting to challenge myself to go single-use plastic free for a week for a while now (I say single use, as I'm one of those people who tries to re-use tubs and containers as much as possible!), so when the guys behind my parents' fridge door water filter, BRITA got in touch to ask me to swap for good and cut down on my single-use plastic consumption, I set aside last week to go single-use plastic free (at least in the kitchen!) and this week, all of my blog posts will be dedicated to how I got on with the challenge.
Shopping for a Single-use Plastic Free Week #plasticfree

Friday, 8 June 2018

Weekly Love: Week 132

I know I should not complain, but I've found one of the biggest curses of working for yourself is the really, really busy times feel I think even more overwhelming than if you worked a regular nine to five, because you get the push the boundaries of your downtime more. I love that on days when I'm on top of everything and my workload is light and I'm really not feeling it, I don't have to do anything if I don't want to, but then I find myself pining for those times during weeks like these when I'm absolutely run off my feet. Or am I just taking my free days for granted? Anyhow, my being busy means that there are lots of exciting projects in the pipeline - keep an eye out because next week, for example, the blog is being totally taken over by a challenge I've been working on this week - going single-use plastic free! Also, this will be a mind bender for those of you not used to magazine editorial deadlines: I will have cooked four Christmas dinners this year before August 31st!
Weekly Love 08.06.18[1] 1. Spending time in beautiful, sunny Kent. | 2. Buying masses of berries at the market to eat over yogurt every morning. | 3. Ordering literally everything on the menu at The Compasses Inn in Crundale. | 4. Toasting the long weekend with homemade Aperol Spritz' by the pond. | 5. Burgers for dinner at The Mitre in Fulham. | 6. Finding new friends on long, country walks.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Recipe: Sweet Potato, Red Onion, Spinach & Feta Quiche

This post was created in partnership with Appletiser. Those of you who listened to Nigella Lawson on the Eater Upsell podcast the other day will have been reminded of the fridge forage; something I preach whenever I'm asked about how to cut down on food waste (an increasingly salient question on a topic I'm obsessive about, without ever actually sharing much). It is something we should be doing with all of our leftover veggies, not just to help the environment, but to save money, too. I went through a phase of turning everything into a pasta sauce, and then a breakfast frittata. At the moment, I'm all about using my leftovers to fill a good quiche, slices of which, incidentally are excellent for warm weather picnicking. So, enter stage right a reproduction of something I made for dinner the other week to use up the odds and ends from several recipes lurking in the fridge: my Sweet Potato, Red Onion, Spinach & Feta Quiche.
Sweet Potato, Red Onion, Spinach & Feta Quiche #picnic #summer #quiche

Monday, 4 June 2018

Recipe: 15-Minute Broken Pasta with Lemony Crab & Courgette

Because the recipes I usually post tend to lean towards the weeknight wonder, I know I have a real deficit of dishes you can serve up as a starter (so, they look impressive but are actually deceptively simple) when you have people over. So, today I've got a really quick (you can get it on the table in less than 15 minutes, so perfect for entertaining) and easy pasta dish for you today which yes, can serve two as a light meal (do serve it with a crisp, cold bottle of white wine), but looks super impressive divided between for of you as a starter.
How To Make Broken Pasta with Lemony Crab & Courgette #pasta #crab #seafood #courgette #zucchini #seafood #dinnerparty #starter #appetizer

Friday, 1 June 2018

Weekly Meal Plan #12: Seafood Suppers

With the nations default weeknight protein being chicken, I honestly don't think any of us are getting enough fish. While fish and seafood may be a little more pricy, it is so delicious, healthy (yes there is the whole omega three thing, but fish and seafood are also naturally much lower in fat than pretty much most of the meat on our tables) and varied, and lots of seafood dishes give you the great opportunity to get to know your fishmonger on the way home from work and shop local. So, for this Weekly Meal Plan we're focusing on a week of seafood suppers (though, you can find my plan for a week of chicken dinners here, too!)
Weekly Meal Plan Seafood Suppers #mealplan #weeklymealplan #mealplanning

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

How To Spend A Day in The Lot, South West France

Every time I visit or re-visit a region of France I'm struck how vast it is and how much there is to see and do in each region or department; from the sunny South to the striking shores of the North, it is such a varied and exciting country to visit. I've found that the best way to plan a day out exploring in France is to focus in on something you really want to do in the morning, and something for the afternoon, also leaving you time to go out somewhere nice for dinner, or relax at your hotel or rental. On my recent trip to the Dordogne Valley we jumped around between three different departments: the Dordogne, Correze and the Lot, where today I thought I'd share some of my 'things to do' recommendations so you can get the most out of your trip!
How To Spend A Day in The Lot, South West France #france #travel #lot #travelguide

Monday, 28 May 2018

The New Pub Garden Menu at The Compasses Inn, Crundale

Saturday marked the beginning of English wine week, so as my favourite pub have recently launched a garden menu where I knew I'd also be able to enjoy an ice cold bottle of my favourite English rosé wine in said garden (Hush Heath's Nannette is just amazing, so crisp, fresh and refined), I enlisted my parents so we had enough people to sample every single item on the menu. It is no secret that my favourite place to eat is The Compasses Inn in Crundale (my family and I can be found there for most special occasions, as well as just because we feel we've not eaten there recently) and while I'll never turn down a meal in the bar, the garden is where it is at this summer with incredible, pub classic small plates at £5 each. And you don't have to book. 
Pub Garden Menu at The Compasses Inn, Crundale

Friday, 25 May 2018

Weekly Love: Week 131

Can we just raise a glass to the long weekend so we can let our hair down a bit? Combined with an unpleasant head cold I feel like I've been on a bit of a treadmill this week, working on upcoming content, shooting recipes for external publications and refining pitches for a few upcoming projects. I'm looking forward to a few days of pub gardens and barbecues! Oh, and in some exciting news I've signed off on the design for the new (!) It is just the front page so far with a lot more work to go, but I'm so, so excited to share it with you all. It is so nerve-racking changing anything after 5 years of the same!
Weekly Love 25.05.18
1. Editing all the photos from my French adventures - you can read all my posts so far here! | 2. Running errands in sunny, sunny London. | 3. Enjoying an Aperol Spritz (or three!) in the pub garden. | 4. More summertime drinks, this time in the Secret Herb Garden at The Royal Horseguards Hotel in Westminster. | 5. Cooking with all of the beautiful bright tomatoes. | 6. Waking up to Camilla snuggled at the foot of the bed on her 1st birthday.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Student Suppers: Syrian Baked Lamb & Aubergine

Usually cooking for boys, I always see it as a massive win if I make a dish heavily featuring an ingredient someone claims not to like, and it completely wins them over. With a few exceptions (I don't think anyone could ever get me to love a peanut) I am of the firm belief that people don't have likes and dislikes for ingredients, just ways things are cooked. This dish is case in point; I used to say I hated lamb, but it turns out that I love lamb if it is minced and gently spiced. However, this dish is not all about the lamb. This dish is all about the aubergines, that become melty and silky, and absorb all of the spiced lamb juices like a sponge as they're baked with the lamb. This is the dish to serve to people who claim they don't like aubergines.
Syrian Baked Lamb & Aubergine with Pine Nuts #syria #lamb #aubergine #eggplant #dinner

Monday, 21 May 2018

Secret Gin Garden at The Royal Horseguards Hotel, Westminster

Finding somewhere to drink outside in London during the summer is a problem. It's not that there are any shortage of great bar terraces and pub gardens, it is that they are always absolutely packed. Even with two of you, it is pot luck that you'll be able to be spontaneous about finding a table anywhere. However, I was invited to a party showcasing a gin garden in Westminster last week that is so well hidden that even now I've let the cat out of the bag you'll still be able to head along for bathtub sized G&T's and some rather excellent tapas. Hidden out back of The Royal Horseguards Hotel in a back street behind Whitehall (I used to work in Westminster, and I still needed a map to find it!) Fever Tree have created a Secret Herb Garden.
Fever Tree Tonics at The Royal Horseguards Hotel's Secret Herb Garden #tonic #gingarden #pubgarden #hotel #london

Friday, 18 May 2018

Weekly Meal Plan #11: A Week Of Meat Free Mondays

After putting a shout out for theme requests on Instagram, the overwhelming response was that you all wanted to see more vegetarian dishes as part of my Weekly Meal Plans. We tackled the topic of vegetarian weeknight dishes that would even win over dedicated meat eaters way back in February, so today I thought I'd focus more on the sorts of veggie dishes I make for myself when no one else is home - I cook meat almost every day because I'm cooking for people who won't eat a meal without meat in; left to my own devices, I'm about 95% vegetarian at home! All of us are eating less and less meat, to the point where I think we've even moved past just having a Meat Free Monday: let us try for a Meat Free Monday almost every day!
Weekly Meal Plan Week of Meat Free Mondays

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Another Fantastic Stay at Manoir de Malagorse, Cuzance

On a press trip to the France's delicious Perigord region in May 2016 I was lucky enough to spend the night at the most incredible place. While it is technically a hotel, Manoir de Malagorse, just outside Cuzance in the Lot region of South West France is more like a beautiful, idyllic home that you have been invited to stay at. Writing about travel as I do I rarely go back to the same place twice, constantly chasing new content, but that night I just knew I had to bring my family back for another stay. So, after leaving the Loire Valley behind us we jumped in the car and headed down into the Dordogne Valley to start the next leg of our journey.
Manoir de Malagorse, France #hotel #travel #france

Monday, 14 May 2018

Recipe: Pasta with Spring Greens & Fresh Spinach Pesto

This post was created in partnership with Appletiser. Happy Meat Free Monday! Today I have teamed up with Appletiser to celebrate the best of new season produce, served with nutty wholemeal pasta in a super delicious, super healthy weeknight for two. While yes, you can serve this on the regular as part of your pasta rotation, but I think we should do more to celebrate on a weeknight: stop by the farmers market during your lunch break to choose your veg rather than picking it up in your weekly shop, plate it up properly for the two of you at the table with matching knives, forks and linen napkins, and serve your sparkling soft drink (I'm drinking more and more Appletiser now I'm trying to only drink during the week if I'm going out or entertaining, as it is a bit different to my all day sparkling water habit!) in wine glasses, over ice.
Pasta with Spring Greens and Fresh Spinach Pesto #pasta #spinach #springgreens #snappeas #asparagus #leeks #meatfreemonday

Friday, 11 May 2018

Weekly Love: Week 130

Well, I'm finally back in London! If you've been following me on social media, you'll know I've had an incredible two weeks or so first in Kent, then traveling down to the Loire Valley (my post about which is already online!), then on to the Dordogne, travelling north again to spend some time in Brittany, before soaking up the last of the Bank Holiday sun back in Kent then before returning to London. I'm so excited to share all of the photos I took and some stories from the trip, but while I work on narrowing down and editing the 10,000+ shots I took (!) be sure to head over to my Instagram, where most of what I got up to, from the hotels we stayed in, restaurants we ate in and chateaux we explored and caves we went down into are saved in my highlights.
Weekly Love 11.05.18[1]
1. Lunch and cocktails in the sunshine at 108 Brasserie in Marylebone. | 2. Exploring the UNESCO site of Rocamadour in South West France. | 3. The view of Rocamadour old town from across the valley. | 4. Exploring the famous topiary gardens of Eyrignac in the Dordogne - blog post coming soon! | 5. Lunching in Brittany on our spoils from the Saturday morning market in Sarlat: smoked duck, heirloom tomatoes, butter lettuces and local strawberries. | 6. My first Aperol Spritz of the season at Tuttons in Covent Garden.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

How To Spend A Day In The Northern Loire Valley (If It Is Raining!)

What a trip! We've packed so much in since we started our trip around France down in the Loire Valley, then on to the Dordogne, then back up to Brittany it feels like forever since we huddled in the cold and the wet exploring the Loire, but it was actually only last Monday! While the original plan was to head straight down to the Dordogne for our family holiday before a few days rest at my parents home in Brittany, a nine hour straight drive seemed a little unfair for my father to do himself (I'm only brave enough to drive on French country roads not motorways, and my mother is so short she can only just see over a Range Rover steering wheel!) so a two night stop over was planned in the Loire Valley, just south of Orléans (the birthplace of Joan of Arc for all you religious history people out there) so we could explore the area for a day (and drink some of the local wine!) We were treated to a freezing 6 degrees and a lot of rain, but we made the most of it with a packed day, so here is my guide to spending a day in the Northern Loire, in the rain!
Château les Muids, Loire Valley #loire #france #travel

Monday, 7 May 2018

Places To Eat In London: Horvarda, Soho

If it is on in your city, this is me telling you to go book tickets to go and see Book of Mormon. I was taken as a birthday present, and I don't think I can remember smiling or laughing that much in ages. Now, if you're off to see Book of Mormon in London, the theatre is across the road at the end of Rupert Street in Soho, where some pretty awesome pre-theatre dinner options are presented to you. There is a Brindisa if you're after some Spanish tapas, and XU (which I'm reviewing next week) if you're after some of the best Taiwanese dumplings I've had in ages. I'm a massive fan of The Paloma but you'll have to be conservative with your ordering to make sure you get to the theatre in time, but if it is a celebration or special occasion, you should go to Horvarda.
Hovarda, Soho #greek #turkish #london #soho

Friday, 4 May 2018

Weekly Meal Plan #10: Budget Bites

I got my start writing about food producing quick, healthy, easy, and most importantly cheap meals for students. While I'm no longer a student anymore and I feel like I've been there, done that in writing Student Eats, it does not mean that I don't still want this blog to be a resource full of weeknight friendly dishes that anyone who can follow a list of basic instructions can make, and yes that means anyone on any budget. So, for this weeks Weekly Meal Plan (you can find all of my previous Weekly Meal Plans here) I've put together a menu of five wallet friendly (and still easy, quick and super tasty) eats to see you through the week.
Weekly Meal Plan Budget Bites

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Places To Eat In London: Fancy Crab, Marylebone

Sometimes at lunch, you just get lucky. Fancy Crab in Marylebone has been on 'the list' ever since I read about it on Mehreen's blog, and Kelly and I decided that it would be the perfect spot for a girls lunch out before she moved away from the city. What we expected was some delicious, fresh seafood. What we did not expect was to be told that because they were celebrating their new menu, that day every single item was going to be half price. We checked, and the offer really did include every single item. So, obviously we ordered the FC Deluxe Tower: an amazing, tiered mountain of every single seafood item you can think of, which in fact had never, ever been ordered in the restaurant before. Usually coming in at £100, this is celebration eating at its finest.
Fancy Crab, Marylebone

Monday, 30 April 2018

Places To Eat In London: Table Cafe, Southwark

While outside of London I review a good amount of pubs and classic, British restaurants, because we're so lucky to have a veritable kaleidoscope of world cuisines at our fingertips I tend to overlook decent, English fayre. So, when we were invited to review supper at The Table a few weeks ago, I was reminded how much I enjoy good, English ingredients used in an exciting way with a good, crisp glass of wine. If you work on Southbank, instead of getting on the tube after work in hunt for dinner or heading in the direction of Borough Market, head along to the table for dinner instead (they do jazz on Wednesdays!)
Table Cafe, Southbank #london

Friday, 27 April 2018

Weekly Meal Plan #9: Sunshine Suppers

If feels like we've been waiting for months, but we're finally at the point where we can cook bright, sunshine suppers that remind us of warmer climes for dinner every night. I don't know about you, but while I do love a steaming bowl of soup or a comforting stew, dinners designed for warmer weather and lazy evenings sitting outside by the barbecue with a chilled glass of rose in hand are what I infinitely prefer. So, while this scene sounds like it would involve a lot of time and effort to put together, if you choose your dishes carefully this can be your reality every evening. So, here are five of my favourite sunshine suppers for you to try next week!
Sunshine Suppers Weekly Meal Plan

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Recipe: Mexican Prawn Cocktails + Rick Stein's Road To Mexico

When I was clearing out the fridge, freezer and cupboards in the shared apartment in Los Angeles rented when I went to UCLA for some reason I had an awful lot of frozen prawns to get through. One of the recipes that resulted from this great clear out was my Breaded Prawns with Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce. As a result, I ate an awful lot of prawn cocktail salads for dinner. It was when I found myself explaining to my roommates what on earth I was doing mixing ketchup and mayo to make Marie Rose did I discover that the American idea of a 'prawn cocktail' was a tabasco spiked tomato sauce number, where you dipped the prawns in the sauce. I dismissed the idea, until I found a classic Mexican Prawn Cocktail with a complex, chipotle-tomato sauce, juicy chunks of fresh tomato and creamy cubes of avocado in Rick Stein's latest book Road To Mexico
Mexican Prawn Cocktails from Rick Stein's Road To Mexico #prawn #shrimp #prawncocktail #shrimpcocktail #mexican #tomato #avocado #chipolte

Monday, 23 April 2018

Cocktail Hour: Cucumber & Jalapeño Margaritas

This post was created in partnership with 31 Dover. Today we're combining Margarita Monday with Cinco de Mayo prep with an easy Cucumber & Jalapeño Margarita, made with my favourite Altos Tequila and a super simple, super refreshing cucumber/ lime juice you can make regardless of if you've got a fancy juicer at home, a NutriNinja like mine, or just a bog standard food processor. Be sure to serve along with plenty of guacamole, Pico de Gallo salsa and tortilla chips (you can find my recipes for all of these in Student Eats, a couple of the Mexican Prawn Cocktails I'll be sharing on Wednesday, and a big bowl of my Homemade Chicken Fajitas.
Homemade Cucumber & Jalapeño Margaritas #margarita #cocktail #cucumber #jalapeno #tequila #cincodemayo #party #summer

Friday, 20 April 2018

Weekly Love: Week 129

For those of you who never watched it or missed a season, everyone is really excited at the moment that the original seasons of The Great British Bake Off (aka the ones with Mary Berry in them) are now on Netflix. However, I want to let you know about another, Bake Off-style baking show I've been binging and I've just finished: Zumbo's Just Desserts. It's an Aussie version of Bake Off (hosted by Rachel Khoo and famous Australian pastry chef Adriano Zumbo) focusing on patissier style cakes and desserts, which is basically Bake Off on speed with some of the most complex, beautiful and bonkers desserts out there. Queue it ready for when the heatwave breaks and we're all forced back inside again after these beautiful few days!
Weekly Love 20.04.18
1. Dinner at my parents house in Kent at golden hour (returning my car so I don't have to park it on my excessively expensive street!) | 2. A fantastic scoop of Mint Aero Gelato from the Luxury Ice Cream Company in York. | 3. Enjoying the best of spring with some beautiful blush pink roses. | 4. Lunchtime visits to Chinatown. | 5. Cherry blossoms out in full force inside the walled garden at Fulham Palace. | 6. York Minster Cathedral in the early evening light.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Places To Eat In London: The Good Egg, Kingly Court

So, when it comes to travelling around London for food, I'm surprisingly lazy. I've known for ages that if I headed out to Stoke Newington to visit The Good Egg I'd get an amazing meal. I know people expect me to be the type of person who would travel ages for this awesome piece of food, but I'm actually really not. Stoke Newington is effort, so obviously it has taken me this long to review The Good Egg, because it has a) taken this long for The Good Egg to open up in Central London, and b) taken until the other week for a friend to choose it from the three options I usually counter with when I'm asked to suggest a dinner venue! But, now they're located on Carnaby Street's Kingly Court people like me who don't like long tube journeys can now, thankfully, sample their famous babka (I've known people to order a piece to take away and stash it in the freezer!) 
Brunch at The Good Egg, Kingly Court #goodegg #lunch #london

Monday, 16 April 2018

Places To Eat In Canterbury: Deakins

In London, I've realised I don't really go 'shopping'. Okay, so occasionally if something specific is needed but choices need narrowing down a hellish trip to Westfield will be embarked upon, but mostly for things that are not groceries things tend to be picked up all over, a White Company diffuser for the bathroom after lunch in Covent Garden here, a cashmere jumper in the Jigsaw sale on the way down Piccadilly there. But when I'm in Canterbury, shopping trips happen. Typically they're a mother daughter affair, we each have a couple of things to get on the list (but lots of browsing still happens too) and more recently as I'm no longer living at home and our trips are always a treat these days, a pre-shopping breakfast or mid-shopping lunch is key.
Calamari at Deakins, Canterbury #calamari #lunch #canterbury

Friday, 13 April 2018

Weekly Meal Plan #8: Freezer Fillers

Next week I have a project for you: filling your freezer with a whole load of delicious, healthy, homemade meals you can enjoy on the weeks you don't have time to meal plan. Either if you're cooking for just you and like to freeze leftovers, or are like me and worry about the person you leave behind when you go out for dinner getting a nutritious meal, there is nothing better than having homemade meals ready that are not chasing a refrigerator use by date for when cooking is just not an option. Here are five of my favourites.
Weekly Meal Plan Freezer Fillers

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Bespoke Wine Delivered To Your Door from Clara Wine

While I am, trying to cut down so I'm only drinking when I'm celebrating, entertaining, out to dinner or at the weekend, there can be no doubt how much I love a good glass of wine. I'm not picky; sparkling, red, white, pink, or orange, depending on my mood I love it all. However, while I know a fair bit about wine (and will probably know even more once I've made it through The Wine Dictionary) I don't always celebrate the bottles I drink at home; usually it is one of our family favourites from the French supermarket, or whatever is on offer in Waitrose. So, when Clara Wine, a new monthly subscription wine service got in touch to see if I wanted to try their unique, bespoke delivery service, I thought I'd allow them to put a bit more thought into my choices!
Wine Subscription from Clara Wine

Monday, 9 April 2018

Recipe: Griddled Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Bowl

Hello I'm Rachel and I can't stop blogging Asian-inspired bowlfuls. First there were my Korean Pork Belly Bun Bowls, then I made Korean Prawn Rice Bowls with Sesame Pak Choi. To kick off the New Year I made Easy Salmon Poke Bowls (I know, poke is Hawaiian not Asian, but I served it with Asian condiments!), then Cold Korean Noodle Bowls. Today, ahead of barbecue season we're busting out the indoor griddle to make some delicious, succulent Vietnamese chicken that just so happens to be great served over a Vietnamese-style bun/ summer roll bowl. Perfect for barbecues, lunches, light dinners, and packed lunches. 
Griddled Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Bowl

Friday, 6 April 2018

Weekly Love: Week 128

I'm here again to tell you about two of my new favourite binge watches: The Bold Type (for Amazon Prime users) and Greenleaf (for Netflix subscribers). While I have shows I watch with my family, I save some binges just for me which I put on the big screen while I'm editing blog photos; a bit like my Mum catches up on her shows while she does her ironing. The Bold Type is trashy but excellent, a sort of Millennial Devil Wears Prada following the work and relationships 3 twenty somethings who started out as assistants at a magazine that is obviously supposed to be Cosmopolitan. Greenleaf is a little different: it follows the internal politics of a gospel super church in Memphis run by one family (the Greenleafs), and while religion runs through the whole show (and is not really my thing) there is also the same amount of money, power plays and sex scandals you'd expect from a made for Netflix binge watcher (two seasons are online now!)
Weekly Love 06.04.18
1. Camilla trying to assist while I shoot an upcoming blog post for Clara Wines. | 2. An incredible lunch at The Good Egg on Kingly Court - full review coming soon! | 3. Enjoying the spring sunshine out and about in Soho. | 4. Post-Easter lunch family games of Monopoly. | 5. Heading to Gelupo to try their limited edition, Korean-inspired Burnt Rice Gelato. | 6. A fantastic lunch with flawless service at XU in Chinatown - again, my full review will be coming soon!

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Korean Rice Bowls & Burnt Rice Gelato with Mee Market X Gelupo

I was at lunch with a fellow blogger the other week and we were talking about how sometimes I feel like I say the same thing over and over on the blog, but in reality only about 5% of my readers read every single post: I can't take for granted that people reading my blog know something about me because I've said it before. So, here is an update for any of you who don't know: I really, really love Korean food. I love eating out, my favourite restaurant in the world is a Korean barbecue joint, and I cook a hell of a lot of Korean food at home. So, when I was invited to try a new lunchtime collaboration between brand new Soho Korean market and rice shop Mee Market and the local favourite gelataria, Gelupo, I said yes very, very quickly.
Burnt Rice Gelato from Mee Market X Gelupo #burntrice #icecream #gelato

Monday, 2 April 2018

Places To Eat In London: Rum Kitchen, Notting Hill

I've been trying to eat at the Rum Kitchen in Notting Hill for years. With such a long list of places I want to try, a failed attempt usually means any given locations gets bumped down the list a but in favour of somewhere shinier, and newer and it is sometimes months, years even before I get around to giving it a second shot. While I've been for drinks at the Carnaby Street location, and even suggested it to friends a few times for dinner (I'm always relied on to choose where we eat, so I turn the tables a bit by always coming back with three options they need to choose from!), it has taken since a friend and I turned up to eat lunch one day in 2014 to find it inexplicably closed for me to finally eat there, as a guest of the British Virgin Islands who are celebrating the fact that life there is starting to return to normal after the hurricane that caused such devastation.
Plantain Fries at  at Rum Kitchen, Notting Hill

Friday, 30 March 2018

Weekly Meal Plan #7: Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Chicken. What, generations ago used to be a rather pricy Sunday roast treat is now probably the most common animal protein that we're all obsessed with eating. It is easy and delicious to cook, so therefore I see absolutely no reason not to enjoy chicken for dinner every single night next week. A few notes on the chicken you buy: always make sure your birds are free-range (this is the minimum welfare standard you should accept) and preferably British to support British farming. Basically, get the best you can afford.
Weekly Meal Plan Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Student Suppers: Pea & Mint Crusted Salmon with Rice & Kale

This post was created in collaboration with AppletiserWhen I'm not testing recipes, I like really simple meals most nights, sometimes just with a little twist so I don't get bored of having the same thing over and over. A classic 'Rachel Weeknight' is a bowl or plate of baked or poached salmon, kale, and either plain brown or cauliflower rice. Sometimes I make a quick marinade for the salmon from a pre-made curry paste, crust the fish with herbs and nuts, and the salmon crusted with pesto breadcrumbs is one of my favourite recipes in Student Eats. Spring is *finally* here, so I've taken to topping my salmon with a lemony pea and mint mash, craving all of the green. It is so quick and easy to do, and while it does not look like much, it is the sort of supper that feels really light, but still really nourishing at the end of a long day. 
Pea & Mint Crusted Salmon with Rice & Kale