Thursday, 31 January 2013

Happy Stanley Thursday.

Yesterday Stanley visited the Light Show at the Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Centre and got into some sculpture....literally : )

Visit 52 Stanley Thursdays

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Salt Yard Cookbook Launch – Cut Above Canapes in Covent Garden

Last night saw a launch party, to celebrate the arrival of the Salt Yard cookbook, upstairs in the Opera Tavern I was delighted to receive and invite and with foodie friend in tow, braved the winds to head up to Covent Garden.

Salt Yard Cookbook Launch – What We Ate

With a glass of prosecco in hand, we sampled some of the best canapés I’ve had in a long while – to be expected from one of London’s most renowned tapas restaurants.
I haven’t eaten at Salt Yard or Opera Tavern but I have had lunch at sister restaurant Dehesa and have never forgotten the wonderfulness of the ‘courgette flowers with Monte Enebro and honey' WOW.
 Last night we sampled:
• Scallop ceviche with pomegranate and fennel
• Salt cod fritter with orange alioli
• Crispy pork belly with quince and marjoram
• Wild mushroom and truffle empanadilla - I challenge anyone not to like garlic, mushroom and truffle in deep fried pastry
• Mini Iberico pork and foie gras burger – the meat patty was pink in the middle yet chargrilled on the outside, the bun was sweet and tough and it came with a jalapeno on top – awesome!
The low-lit downstairs of the Opera Tavern looked sultry and great for a date and is now added to my long list of London restaurants to visit.
*Foodie Mom in London was invited to the Salt Yard cookbook launch

Monday, 28 January 2013

A Very Scottish Burns Night Supper

We celebrated Burns night at Nanny J’s this year. I don't know why we haven’t had a Burns supper with her before, as she is a bonafide Scot. She even grew up in the very heart of Burns land in the county of Ayrshire and village of Mauchline, the same village Robbie Burns lived with his wife Jean Armour.
Hubby and I had already had a few drinks at the pub so we kicked off the meal with some very merry dancing (round in circles around the living room) to classic Scottish songs while our brilliant hosts were busy in the kitchen.


Burns Night Supper With Haggis


We had a starter of smoked salmon with salad and homemade whisky crème fraiche sauce. Nanny J was quick to explain that this was not a true traditional Burns night starter and with more time to prepare we should have had Cullen Skink - smoked fish chowder.

Our Macsween haggis was served up already taken out of its lining alongside a terrific platter of neeps & tatties. Normally the haggis should be carved at the table with a guest reading Robert Burns’ address to a haggis while carving.

Haggis Is Lovely 

I bloody love haggis. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I only have it once year so it's always a bit exciting and something different but I think the marrying of spiced meat with oatmeal and herbs is a great combo. The Macsween haggis is made with lamb, beef, oatmeal, onions, pepper and spices.

Haggis then Whisky Makes You Feel Fine 

 After our warming winter feast, we moved on to a whisky tasting (thanks granddad Steve), formed from Steve's personal collection.

We blind tasted four different types. I'm not generally a whisky fan but the tasting was a good introduction for a novice like me into just how varied it is. We sampled Laphroaig - which had a delicious smoky aroma, Jura, Glenlivet, and Glenmorangie  - my favourite of the four which was light and pale and probably quite a girly whisky.

We finished with some not so classic Burns recitals of, "But when I get a couple of drinks on a Saturday Glasgow belongs to meeeeee".
Happy Burns Night everybody, did anyone else celebrate?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Bone Daddies Rock ‘n’ Roll Ramen Bar

I’ve been following the mania surrounding the opening of Bone Daddies Japanese ramen bar, which opened in November 2012. Bloggers have been raving about it, tweeters have been tweeting meet-ups and I have been dying to get down to check it out for myself.

When I found the little alley off Berwick Street, a throng of hungry diners had made it well before me and were queuing outside on a cold January evening.

Luckily I had made plans to meet @hungrybecs and she was already nearing the front of the queue so we huddled in the doorway smelling the sweet aromas wafting up from the kitchen and got excited about what to order.

Bone Daddies – What’s The Big Deal?

I have to admit, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about here? We ordered the soft shell crab. It was fine. Not a patch on the soft shell crab you will find at Song Que Cafe, Kingsland Road though.

We ordered a couple of ‘Maiken-Me’ cocktails (shochu, ume shu, watermelon, salt). They were quite potent and although fun for an evening out in Soho, they were just about the last thing to be sipping alongside a bowl of noodles and I found myself looking wistfully at the blokes across from drinking their Asahi.

Bone Daddies has a good booze menu with beers, cold and warm sake, cocktails and different varieties of homemade shochu, which sits on a shelf in the restaurant.

Bone Daddies – Noodle Soup

The crux of the menu is the ramen noodle soups which all come with bamboo, bean sprouts and a boiled egg. We deliberated over which ramen to order like a couple of food geeks (spot the bloggers in the corner taking obscure pictures of chopsticks on their i-phones), yup, that was us!

In the end I chose the ‘Tantanmen’ - with sesame, chilli, pork mince and bok choy in chicken bone broth as the waitress tipped us off to get this if we liked spice.

The soup did have a punchy spice to it with plenty of depth. I loved the wholemeal noodles and the sesame gave the meal a sweet, deep nutty flavour. Overall though with the minced pork and egg it was a bit too rich for me.

Bone Daddies – A Rockin’ Joint

To sum up, with its Rock ‘n’ Roll soundtrack and young, buzzy crowd Bone Daddies is certainly a fun place to meet a friend for a catch up but I don’t think I’d go back and spend over an hour in the cold just to eat their noodles again.

Perhaps I’ll rock back in the summer.

A Note on Imagery - or lack of....

Uh bugger. Something happened to my pics. They don't seem to be on my camera. I'm sure I had some good ones too. So I just wanted to say thanks to Wilkes888 as I came across this nice shot of a menu on google images and I've used it above. Hope you don't mind? : )

Bone Daddies on Urbanspoon Square Meal

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Dishoom Shoreditch

This week I took grandma and baby to Dishoom in Shoreditch for lunch. Actually grandma took us. She paid.

Dishoom Shoreditch: What’s It Like?

Compared to the original Dishoom in Covent Garden, this is like its older, sexier big sister. The two-floored restaurant is colossal. Booth seating runs all the way alongside one wall with windows out on to Shoreditch high street, there’s more tables down by the bar as well as a downstairs and a large outdoor area which will no doubt come alive in summer.

I like this site better than the original. The fun interiors – mahogany wood lattice dividers, old Indian photos on the wall (the owners’ real family pics), burning incense and retro lamps - all take their part in conjuring up a romantic, imaginary India, that makes for a great fun setting for dinner.

Dishoom Shoreditch: Dahl & More

Although Dishoom is modelled on the Bombay cafes of yesteryear, this is obviously a more glamorous, expensive London version. I’ve been to Mumbai and I’m pretty sure the locals wouldn’t stretch to paying £4.90 for a bowl of dahl. But hey, we’re not in India, we’re in London and if you’re going to spend a fiver on a bowl of dahl, I’m pretty sure you’ll be pushed to find some better than this. It’s bloody delicious. The rich and amazingly creamy black dahl is a house speciality that’s simmered for over 24 hours. This together with a Dishoom roti is worth visiting for alone.

With this we had some tasty okra fries which were particularly good dipped in the spicy array of lime pickle condiments; a very colourful Dishoom slaw with pomegranate seeds (likey) and slices of red pepper (not so likey); and a Keema Frankie – marinated minced lamb with radish and ginger. I thought the lamb got lost a bit along with all the bread and pickled radish. Perhaps it needed spicing up a bit more or just more lamb inside?

Dishoom Shoreditch: Totally Baby Friendly

This was a great place to take Stan. We visited in the day and it was not too busy which was great. Stanley sat in a cloth, attachable baby seat on the end of the booth. It’s the first time he’d been in one of those and he had a wail of a time arching his back to look at the guys opposite upside-down, munching on slices of red pepper that I had discarded from my slaw and high fiving the baby-friendly waiter who had four kids of his own.

Damn Good Dahl

Anyone have any tips on where you can eat great dahl in London? Let me know. I’d be interested to find out where.

Visit the Dishoom website

Dishoom Shoreditch  on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Mishkin’s – ‘A Kind-of Jewish Deli’

I finally made it to Mishkin’s! Russell Norman’s ‘Kind-of Jewish deli’ opened over a year ago now, at the bottom of Covent Garden on Catherine Street.

Like all of his eateries (Polpo, Spuntino, etc.) attention to detail in the interiors really makes Mishkin’s special. Retro booth seating, 70’s chairs and tables, patterned wallpapers, and a trademark big bar at the entrance for cocktails (gin being the focus in this instance), all helped create a distinct vibe.

By far the coolest thing about this restaurant was the tiny private dining booth at the back enclosed by glass-panelled wooden doors with a radio ‘On Air’ sign over the entrance – book this for an intimate meal out as it only seats four.

Mishkin’s – Kind-of Jewish Food


They’ve covered their backs by claiming this to be a ‘kind-of’ Jewish deli as this place certainly ain’t Kosher. When the £6 Matzo ball soup turned up, my Jewish mother peered down at the lone Matzo ball and said ‘Only one Matzo ball?! My father would be turning in his grave if he saw the size of this'.

Other dishes were better though. My veal meatballs with mash and greens were totally tasty and made with fresh green peppercorns, which gave the balls some extra kick. We had a decent macaroni cheese and minty coleslaw, however our malted chocolate milkshake could have been more malty.

Although I wasn’t brave enough to try it, the special’s board corn dog with onion rings and mac & cheese looked like heart-attack heaven and the Reuben on rye cheese melt sarnies going to other tables looked like a stand out too.

Mishkin’s may not be Kosher but it’s a trendy little café/diner with charm and fun menu items in equal measure.

Mosey on down to Mishkin’s:

Mishkin's on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Thursday, 3 January 2013

52 Stanley Thursdays

My New Year's Resolution tumblr site is now in full swing:

Every Thursday I'll be posting a photo of baby Stanley. I'll soon be back working part time and Thursdays will be our first day of the week together so hopefully we will be doing lots of fun things.

I’ve come across people doing this every day of the year on other sites. It's a great idea although I’d never keep it up every day so I thought once a week (on Thursday) would be a good compromise.

Happy Thursday everyone. x

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Happy New Year 2013

Happy New Year everybody. Here's my (pretty) predictable list of NYRs (New Year Resolutions). I know they're likely to be broken but at the very least it will be nice to have a record of my intentions that I can look back on. So here goes...

1) Blog more. Ha! I bet this is on many bloggers NYR lists but I really want to try to get around to blogging a bit more and reading other bloggers' sites.

2) Launch a 2013 tumblr. Every Thursday I will post a photo of little Stanley on his very own tumblr site. And here it is:

3) Cook lots of lovely food, starting with some recipes from my new Xmas gift Ottolenghi cookbook - Jerusalem.

4) Exercise more. Time to get back into the gym and work of the post-baby bulge.

5) Be positive, happy and appreciate the little things in life and most importantly my great friends and family.

Here's to a brilliant 2013.

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