Pages

Sunday, 8 April 2012

MEAT LIQUOR

The past few months have been a crazy few months, so why start a new post any other way than with a predictable apology for absence. 

Although, absence makes the heart grow fonder right? 

Just as predictable as my introductory excuses are my Thursday nights. Or cocktail night as it's known.This is the perk of working for an astonishingly generous company: a free bar packed to brimming with the best spirits known to man and a firm belief (after two classes) that we are to mixology what Heston is to food. The punchbowl helps... 



NB: I would, of course, stress that the only type of drinking we do is the responsible kind. Drink to be happy not to be drunk kids! 

Anyway, our typical Thursday night starts off, predictably, with a couple of cocktails, a smattering of M&S snacks and then with stomachs growling this particular Thursday we ladies decided to brave the queues to MEATliquor. 

Actually, I'll be honest, Pitt Cue was the first choice but it was crazy busy, with a wait of an hour and half. 

So MEATliquor it was. 
74 Welbeck Street
London
W1G 0BA


And what an absolutely brilliant choice. This is my (new) favourite favourite favourite place ever. It's like a larger version of the Crobar except the toilets are infinitely nicer, the clientele are somewhat better behaved (although bearing the requisite tats) and it doesn't smell of vom AND it serves up all the delights I salivate over on Man vs Food

We started with, predictably (?!), a round of tequilas and the proceeded to, predictably, work our way through the cocktail menu. It would be impossible for me to pick the best of the bunch - so just pick a bunch and do your best.



Food-wise we let Carrie, a previous visitor, do the picking and the girl did good. A massive tray of skinny crispy frie; hot, spicy chicken wings with a rich, creamy blue cheese dip; and fat, fat burgers arrived. I am not normally a burger fan, will predictably have a guilty McDs once a year then berate myself for the rest of it. But these were no normal burgers. These were the best burgers I've ever had. The meat was rare, meaty, juicy and rich. Not bland flaccid and gristly. Go for the Double Bubble, two patties of orgasmic food porn loveliness.








The turnover's pretty high so don't let the queue put you off, and if you know you're planning a re-visit, then tip/bribe the gorgeous doorgirl with a few tequilas. We stayed till the bitter end, only making a move when they were mopping around us. 

Not ready for the night to end, we headed to W hotel for a 'happy' French Martini and then gatecrashed a movie with Jason Statham in it. So this might well be the second time this year my face get's on the big screen. Unfortunately, for you or for me, the BBC only put things on iplayer for a restricted amount of time so you won't get to see my debut performance on Bargain Hunt. But suffice to say we won (or rather didn't lose quite so much).

I realise, proofing back, that this appears to be more about the liquor than the meat. But don't let the lack of meat gushing mislead you; these are burgers, but not as you know them. Really. Go stuff yourselves silly. 

And on that note, me and my predictably increasing waistline 
will leave you with one man's astonishing feat with meat... 

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

IF YOU'RE GOING TO EAT PORK...

MISHKIN'S
25 Catherine Street
London WC2B 5JS
tel: +44 (0) 7240 2078

A Jewish(ish), or Jew-ish (but hasn't that already been coined) if you like, deli. Or, as they themselves describe it, a "kind of jewish deli with cocktails". 

Expensive for a deli but, thankfully, I wasn't the one dipping my hands into my pocket. Clever moi.

I've heard mixed reviews and didn't really know what to expect but was excited as it's brother Spuntino was easily my favourite place of 2011; not that I visited an awful lot of places last year - really need to pull my finger out don't I? 

It's much the same: clean lines, tiled walls, bar to walk in, sit and have a quick munch around, with an old Barber shop type feel to the frontage and diner-styled booths.

A boisterous bunch, we commandeered a booth which they'd warned us in advance may be a squeeze but actually it was fine (even with 7 and a few bits and bobs of luggage), and immediately ordered the recommended Diamond Fizz: it didn't disappoint. I particularly liked it coming in a tin mug, yum. Then, dangerously, we decided to try every cocktail on the menu - shared of course - but, UNsurprisingly, I can't really remember them. The green one and the lemon one. They had gin in. They were good. I think. I'm sure. 

If you're really that fussed you can do what we did and ask the lovely, gorgeous, bright young things serving you. Same as Spuntino, the boys are hot and the girls are hotter; and lovely and helpful to boot! 

Menu is as with everywhere hot and new, of course, typed (not a font geek, but I would chance Courier) with most of the usual jewish shizzle you'd expect. Definitely not kosher. Reminding me of a receipe I've seen recently for pork chops using kosher salt. 

I've had my fill of salt beef and pastrama so I dithered between the New Yoik style "Big Apple" hot dawg and the duck hash - it was a hard choice but we only had 2 hours to order, eat and go, so was chivvied into ordering the former. No word of a lie, It was the BIGGEST sausage I've ever seen (fnar, fnar). Of course, I managed to hoof it down. DUH. Like Man Vs Food it's simply a challenge rather not an obstacle (although, have you SEEN what they eat on that programme, I mean really? It's obscene. There are people starving out there and they're chomping away on a whole pig carcass and a field of corn).

My compatriots very kindly let me snaffle bits and bobs of their Reubens and Beef Patty and yummy they were. In a kind of "I've had all this cocktails and I'm going to peak if I don't get down some serious meat and carbs" type way. The sides were alright - wedges that I probably do better at home, onions rings ditto (bit hard) and (best of an okay bunch) cod cheek popcorn (COLLEAGUE: what's cod cheek? ME: err, cheek of the um cod?)

Arm-twisted into ordering puds I managed a spoonful of the lovely messy hot banana thing (a definite must when you go) and two other things a week later I can't recall. They were alright.

I know, I know, the whole review is sounding a bit average, a bit meh. You probably could get food cheaper, better somewhere else. But that somewhere else wouldn't be Mishkin's. And Mishkin's was stonkingly good fun and the food was pretty (if not stonkingly) good to eat and the cocktails were stonkingly strong and certainly did the job. I also know that I haven't actually told you a lot about the menu but I feel I've summarised well - AND (most of) you (me excepted) go to the cinema without wikipedia-ing the whole storyline. SO get someone else to dig deep and pay a visit. Soon. And when I say soon, I mean, like, NOW. 

Now, here's the bit where I follow up with our hotfooting it to The Lucky Pig but, frankly, all I can remember is something like the montage in Moulin Rouge, with trays upon trays of Manhattans and the like swooping down; lots of cheers'ing; very serious and important discussions which are far too serious and important to recount here (translate as: far too piddled to remember, although I do recall it may have involved me strongarming a colleague off for a cigarette and furiously chuffing away [I don't smoke] whilst being very insistent about something or other), and playing the question game (what nightmare's are made of and one for another time). Which is pretty much par for the course on a work night out. Drink responsibly? My wotsit*

And that's pretty much all you can ask of a great night out isn't it? Loads of great cocktails, fun and frivolous company and a sore head the next day (or two)

Oh and apologies for the lack of photos, I still don't have an iphone and tbh was having far too much fun to actually take any.

 There can be no joy without food and drink 
And so from a jewish proverb to a  jewish legend, I leave you with... 
*would've said arse but they might be reading and get offended

Monday, 28 November 2011

NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH

What do you call a deer with no eyes? 

NO IDEA. 

Boom tish. 

Anyone would think I've no ideas, no inspiration. No blog posts. I know, I know. 

I know it's been a while and I should be sorry but I'm not actually. 

The reason I started this blog was because I had far to much time on my hands - time that I absolutely was not being productive (nor positive - hence the rants) with. Now I have NO time on my hands. None. Whatsoever. It's completely filled up to the brim with doing. What happened? Well, (brace yourselves) I got a JOB. Hell yes... and *best M&S voiceover voice* not just any job... a LOVELY job. Who'd a thunk, eh? 

So while I've been getting to grips playing nice with the new kids and actually engaging my brain in something other than what's going on with Bargain Hunt the blog has kind of taken a back seat. 

My job isn't only love for recognising me as the best, most amazing person for it (natch) but we have FREE lunches, yes, FREE, a 3-course lunch. FREE. Magic. Not so magic for my bum and tum though. Will the real Slim Foodie pelase stand up. oh. Zumba ain't going to fix this, I can tell you.

A typical lunch, for example, is:


Starter
Spicy parsnip soup with croutons and a dash of chilli oil

Main
Chicken and Leek pie with mash and gravy
or
Beef meatballs with a thai green curry sauce
or
Peri Peri chicken with wedges and veg's

Pudding

Crumble and custard (c'mon, who could resist a bit of crumble??)

Even more magic is that chef knocks this up for £1.80 per day - with a tidy little salad buffet as well (do I make friends with salad? do I ....)

EVERY DAY I promise myself I will show restraint, and every day I crumple I stagger under the weight of my tray of food. Then, EVERY single sodding DAY I promise myself I won't have supper as well and every day I do.

If it isn't the general busy-ness stopping me blogging, then it's the fact slump into a soporific stupor on the sofa every evening. 

Give it a couple of months and you'll be needing to send the cranes in.... 

Anyway, enough of me and my pampered freebie ligging lifestyle...here's a little tasty treat of your own to rustle up...enjoy!

Salmon en Croute



150g mascarpone or cream cheese
1 bag watercress , spinach and rocket
1 lemon
Pack of jus-rol puff pastry
2 large (wild) salmon fillets
1 egg, beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 180C
2. Put the mascarpone, watercress, spinach & rocket in a food processor with a squeeze of lemon and seaon tyhen whizz up into a paste.
3. Roll out the puff pastry, plonk a fillet of salmon in the middle
4. Top with the paste, wrap up, glaze with the egg (do same with other one)
5. Pop in oven for about 30 minutes

I served with peas with leftover paste mixed in and it was LOVELY! Wolfed in about 2 seconds flat actually. 

Always a pleasure, never a chore!
I leave you with  a bit of  Office cheer


Monday, 15 August 2011

SNACK ATTACK

For a Jew, I have an unhealthy proclivity for pork. 

Bordering on a deathwish towards pigs. Poor the piggy!

But I can't deny, I do like a bit of sausage *fnar, fnar* 

Inspired by my Brighton picnic snacks I decided I'd up the ante and try my hand at something tricksier (don't even think about taunting me on my spelling, I'm fully aware that it's a made up word and you should be used to a hefty sprinkling of these in my posts by now).

It went pretty well actually... you tell me what you think


Pork Pie 
(a kind of bastardised version of Nigel, Delia & various other googled recipes)

Filling  
500kg pork shoulder
60g pork fat
60g streaky bacon / lardons
Sage 
Thyme
Nutmeg / ground allspice / mace 
300ml good chicken stock (I used my leftover stock from juices of brick roasted chicken bulked up with stock from Waitrose)
Gelatine (small packet) 

Hot water crust pastry
450g flour
150g lard
200ml water
Egg, beaten (for glazing)

1. Seive flour, mix in pinch of salt. Boil up lard adn water and add to flour
2. MIx with a wooden spoon then knead into a soft dough. Mine was quite crumbly, don't worry, it all stays together
3. Mould over something like the bottom of a kilner jar, wrap with baking paper and tie with string, make a lid then pop both in fridge. 
4. The pork needs to be diced into small piece - I got my butcher to do that, mix with lardons and half your chopped herbs, mace, nutmeg etc.
5. Gently remove your mould from the pastry case and fill to top with your pork mixture
6. Brush the edges with egg and plonk on your lid, glaze with rest of egg.
7. Make a hole in the top and pop in oven at around 190C for about and hour and a half 
8. Take out of oven, once completely cool pour in your stock with the rest of the herbs (if you want) and allow to set overnight in fridge. 

Short but sweet, sometimes quickies are the best *nudge, nudge, wink, wink* 
I leave you with Porky Pig


Sunday, 17 July 2011

HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF

Picking up from my last tardy post in this equally not-so-punctual offering, I can confirm that I am actually growing a food baby of gargantuan proportions.

I could blame the free lunches, but it's actually my greed. In my defence, who but the most cold of heart and haterer* of all things joyful in life could resist the lure of chicken burritos and pear crumble with lashings of custard?! Exactly. So, every lunch I face the same quandary: lettuce and tomato with a dot of low fat cottage cheese or a big juicy pork chop with cispy roasty tatties?! And every time I opt for the taters and whinge about my weight gain. Even four hours of Zumba Wii has done little to stem the expansion of my waist. Although on the plus side I do suddenly have boobs for quite possibly the first time in my life. (let's leave the 'ironing-board'/'fried egg'/ bant5er bin the playground where it belongs, yeah?! 

Anyway, I digress.

So, last week I was super happy when invited on a stroll round Soho as it meant no lunch dilemmas. Phew.

Erm, well.. that was before we headed to Bubbleology.

Somewhere I'd heard and read lots about (yeah, yeah, I know I'm probably the last blog in the world to have tried it!) . it was strangely quiet for a midweek lunch in Soho, and sadly a few people popped there heads round the door then popped them straight back out probably daunted by the strange science lab equipment and lack of direction in what exactly the drinks were and how to choose. Shame really because if they'd just been a tad more adventurous they could've had a gorgeously creamy coconut 'milkshake' with delicious popping 'caviar' of lychee, or a fresh and zingy ginger tea with strawberry popping balls. The tea is absolutely delicious. Not so sure about the black balls of tapioca mind you. They gave good texture but stayed with me the rest of the afternoon. Be warned: get a regular, the teas are tasty - but rich! Greed is not your friend in this case.

And so, aperatif drunk and Spuntino (sadly) fit to bursting and no room at the inn, we hopped skipped and jumped around the corner to Bocca di Lupo. And, even though I LOVE Spuntino and was looking forward to being reunited with the yummy sliders and shoestrings fries it was great to try the unknown.

We arrived just at the right time. With an orderly queue forming snakelike behind us, I was told that - like Spuntino - with its no booking policy Bocca di Lupo is vitually impossibly to get into in the evening. At lunchtime though we were sad immediately by the bar. This is the perfect spot to people watch and when you're done watching the people watch the chefs work their magic. I gaped and drooled at a steak the size of my head being sizzled on the hot plate. Almost certainly a restaurant for the committed carnivore, confirmed with a glance at the menu "Grilled langoustines (live until they hit the grill)".

Bocca di Lupo promises stripped-down honest, regional Italian food; claiming that despite its glamorous surroundings it is but a humble trattoria at heart. The menu certainly bears this out, with with the provenance of each dish proudly prominent on the menu.

I would've loved to have grazed all afternoon but unfortunately there was work to do and so after much umming and ahhing I went for the Bucatini al coniglio all'Ischitana (Rabbit braised with chilli & tamato; bucatini in the sauce thereof)

It was absolutely delicious, rabbit a tad bland made more excuiting with hot chillis adn the most tomato-y tomatoes I've tasted in a while. I had a bit of a dig into lunch companions squid ink risotto - lovely and the confit pork which was a bit salty for my liking (and I like my salt!)

Apparently there are queues round the block from 6pm and I'm not surprised. But I'll definitely be trying my luck very soon to prop up the bar and this time have a large glass of wine and try that delectable hunk of meat...the sirloin, not the hottie Italian waiter... (one-track mind)

Anyway, fit to burst with yummy food I leave you with five hunks and a wolf...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

THE GREAT ESCAPE

So we 'escaped' London by heading to London(-on-Sea). Oh.

I'm only joshin, in part. Yes, Brighton truly is London-On-Sea but it was an escape, of sorts: same friendly London town faces, clutching beers and watching bands but with a sea breeze and beach vibes.

It's such a hard life, eh.

I was pretty chuffed to get my golden ticket. Offered in return for the promise of cheese straws for the production crew, having 'catered' for them last year as I didn't want the Russian to waste away working last year.

I had to up the ante this year though, with the Russian tweeting pics of cakes from Glaster’s production office, so decided on a teddy bear's picnic of: Scotch Eggs, Cheese Straws and Lavendar & Rose Biscuits (that should calm any alcohol and sleep deprived stress)


I know, I know, not the healthiest of food! But, believe me, drinking from lunch till dawn you need something fatty & carby to line your tummy. A tip I could’ve taken myself. Jaegerbombs and whiskey shots leading to unspeakable behaviour not appropriate for these pages. Which meant the the morning after the night before...umm...well, actually, merely a couple of hours later from the night AND morning before...I found myself in oversized dark glasses almost in horrified tears at not being able to even start on my long-awaited lunch at Terre a Terre (thank you so much for the doggy bag!)
It's a good thing that all the bands I wanted to see on the Friday were all in one place and that the one place had free tea and a comfy leather sofa to collapse on. Which I did. The whole day. Thank heavens for Beyond Retro.
Beyond tired, I headed back to London (not on sea) for an escape into sleep!
Scotch Eggs

Sausagemeat (either ready-made or do what I did and squidge out some Gloucestershire Old Spot sausies!)
Quail’s eggs
Tarragon, leaves finely chopped
Breadcrumbs (I actually used medium matzo meal – where kosher meets truly un-kosher)
2 eggs
Slosh of milk
Flour

1. Combine the sausagemeat, tarragon and 1 egg yolk, season
2. Boil the quails eggs - the packet said one minute but that was too gloopy and you need them fairly firm so about 3 will do (or buy pre boil and shelled)
3. Wrap a splodge of sausagemeat round the egg, dip in flour then egg/milk mixture and finally the breadcrumbs/matzo meal
4. Deep fry until brown and crispy.
5. EAT (wait until they've cooled a bit first though)

Cheese Straws

100g Self raising flour
Pinch mustard powder
50g butter
75g cheese (mature hard cheese like cheddar or red leicester)
Egg, beaten
1. Heat oven to 180C
2. Mix flour, mustard and a pinch of salt together then rub in the butter
3. Stir in the cheese and egg to make a stiff dough
4. Roll out thinly and cut into strips (or rings) and sprinkle with a bit more salt (and some more chese andcarraway seeds if you want)
5. Put onto greaseproof paper on a baking sheet and leave in oven for about 10-15 minutes.
6. SCOFF


I leave you with a breath of fresh Brighton sea air and Tribes...
my favourite band of the weekend (and of now)


Friday, 24 June 2011

TEA LEAF

cockney rhyming slang for... 

YUP so some thieving blighter half-inched my iphone on my birthday. ON MY BIRTHDAY. Yup. And not even the lure of half a ton could bring my beloved phone back to me. 

Still... I thought ... could be worswe, I'd backed up and still have my photos etc... 

OH... fate you are a cruel mistress (bitch) ... 3 days later a virus hits my already frail laptop and BOOM no more photos, no more music, no more, well, ANYTHING.

Bereft is a good word for it. 

So excuse the absence of posts - I've been going through the five stages: 

Denial - frantically rooting around in my handbag, over and over and over and over and over and over again... 

Anger - what a f***ng pr***ing c***ing c**t of a man (because let's be honest, it was wasn't it) would do that????? eh???? and you c**tish hackers, well.... *growl*

Bargaining - praying to all gods under the sun that the person who nicked it sees sense and the software I downloaded will retrive my photos at least 

Depression - I'd just got my iphone suffle where I wanted it after YEARS of trial and error and downloading, all my photos gone... boooo hoooooo... I think I'll just do a Haversham and head to bed

Acceptance - we're finally here. 

Helped somewhat by finally, yes, finally, getting a job (albeit a temporary one!!!). For a booze company, where you are required to booze (responsibly natch!). HURRAH. 

Now the only 'downside' to this is a) busy-ness and b) we get free lunches. Yup, a 3 course lunch. So I'm afraid cooking has taken a bit of a back seat. And I'm gettng a rather larger back seat than I've ever had befroe Heading towards obesity. 

However, I'm back in the game, albeit with a bigger booty, and am ready to cook up a storm. What a shame that this will mean a revisit to Spuntino as I lost my blog for it.... ahhhhhhh.... 

In memory of my beloved iPhone I leave you with Armstrong & Miller. 



Saturday, 21 May 2011

POPCORN & PLONK

Apologies for the tardiness of blogs of late, been alternately busy and blue.

Busy as a bee looking for a job. Who would've though I'd miss that back to work Monday feeling, but strangely I do. Although I've enjoyed the sunshine and the freedom, this out of work lark is actually getting slightly tedious (any gazillionaire entrepreneurs reading this then please feel free to give me a job; alternatively perhaps consider the currently open position as my sugar daddy - purely platonic you understand)

Blue at the slightly more tedious and particularly irksome youth I met whilst helping out on merch at a gig lately. Irking in the first instance by having no understanding whatsoever of spatial awareness: if i can feel (not to mentioned smell, yuck) your breath then you're too close. And in the second instance by having a seriously nasty case of foot in mouth disease. 

Without any introduction he asks my age. What chap asks a lady her age? Undeterred he persisted, guessing in increments of twos until I put him out of his misery letting him know I was *tumpty-tum*. I should've have the smelling salts ready. "crikey" he gasped with shock "I've never met anyone that old before". Clearly I am so astonishingly old that my previously quite effective death stare fell on deaf eyes.

One moronic ageist statement followed another "you seriously don't look *THAT* old" with the crescendo being "oooh, we have an 80s night on Friday you should definitely come, that's, like, your era of music right? and the bonus will be all these 23 year olds being amazed that you're so old but look their age". Great save mate. NOT. Then spent the next half an hour showing me his *hacked* iphone. Whoever bags this charming chappy really should consider themselves blessed.

A good w(h)ine was needed and the silver lining to any cloud is a girls girlfriends.

And plonk.

And gossip (by gossip I naturally mean a hefty bitching session).

And a cheesy romcom (preferably Bridget Jones, although anything with the yummy Colin Firth in it will suffice).

And nothing goes better with gossip and Grigot guzzling than popcorn.

And no worries ladies, I've been (un)reliably informed that it is good for the metabolism. #WIN

Cinnamon Popcorn*
Popcorn maize
Groundnut oil
Butter (about 50g)
Caster sugar
Cinnamon

1. Heat a glug of oil with a teaspoon of cinammon (or salt if using - this will evenly distribute it) in a heavy-based BIG saucepan.
2. When the oil starts heating put in a couple of kernels, when they pop take the saucepan off the heat and add the rest, shaking to distribute evenly.
3. Count 30 seconds and put back on the heat.
4. When the popping slows it's ready.
5. Put the butter and sugar in the pan and shake vigorously.

Voila, Cinnamon Popcorn. This would work just as well with salt, spices like cumin or cayenne and even chilli oil (which I just tried in Spuntino - more on that later)

*no picture I'm afraid, it was eaten faster than a buggati can get from nought to sixty

I leave you with "vintage" (like me) Smack The Pony...
...ladies, laughter and tips on ordering popcorn at the cinema

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

A BUN IN THE OVEN

Let's face, whether you're celebrating Pesach or Easter (Or, as in our - complicated - household, both), in all truthfulness, it's just another reason to be greedy gannets. Swap the turkey for lamb and Santa for a bunny, the menorah for matza and pressies for chocolate and really it's just the same thing but in a warmer climate. 

What better feeling is there than the lovely warm altruistic feeling of giving (oh alright, and receiving - let's be honest!) gifts and since when have I needed an excuse to quaff wine AND eat copious amounts of chocolate. Ah well, maybe not chocolate...

I know for all the die-hard death by chocolate fans out there the best gift in the world would be a giant egg within an egg within an egg, but frankly I can't think of anything yummier and more comforting that than a warm, spicy batch of fruity hot cross buns. Even lovelier when English folklore says that sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if "Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be" is said at the time.

Hot Cross Buns












475g strong white flour
1x 7g pack of easy-bake yeast
50g golden caster sugar
50g butter
2tsp mixed spice
150g mixed fruit
1 egg, beaten
4tbsp plain flour

1. Mix 100g of the bread flour with the yeast and a tbsp of golden caster sugar, beat in the milk then cover and put somewhere warm for 30 mins or until frothy
2. Rub the remaining flour and butter with a pinch of salt then stir in the mixed spice, 50g golden caster sugar and the dried fruit
3. Beat the egg and pour into the yeast mixture then stir into the flour & butter mixture to make a soft & light dough (if sticky just add a bit of flour)
4. Knead the dough for a few minutes then put back in bowl, cover and leave to rise for about an hour (or until twice it's original size)*
5. Take the dough from the bowl, knead lightly then divide into 10 pieces and mould/roll into little balls, ay on a baking tray lined with paper, cover and leave for about 45 minutes until they've risen again
6. For the crosses mix the plain flour with 3tbsp of water then pipe over the buns and pop into an oven preheated to 200C for about 12-15mins.
7. Glaze with a mixture of 1tbsp sugar/1tsp milk and then leave to cool (or don't and blister the roof of your mouth like me)
*NB: I accidentally missed out this step and it didn't matter a jot to my buns, or at least I didn't think it did as they were delicious! 

So go bake and go share and let's have a beautiful, beautiful year
...can you feel the love in the room?

Monday, 18 April 2011

RUBY RUBY RUBY RUBY ... MURRAY

See what I did there, I combined the lyrics of a song by the Kaiser Chiefs with the cockney rhyming slang for curry. What japes. 

And if it seems like I'm grasping for topics to write about, I kind of am. 

Probably because this is the second time I am writing this blog, and the first one was much better. Unfortunately, my aged and addled brain can't remember a single word of the original. And the first was killed off by the cat (yeah, yeah, my dog ate my homework, etc, etc.) 

This is not the first there has been cat-related nefarious activity involving my laptop. My other feral feline pretty much deaded the netbook by attempting to fly through a closed window. It was touch and go for a heart-stopping second but I managed to resuscitate it - barely - with the addition of a new limb keyboard. 


This will become funny...in time (when I have a new laptop, probably)

Where was I? Oh yeah. So there I'm sat, editing a pre-written piece, smugly patting myself on the back (mentally, of course, or that would be a bit weird wouldn't it?) for being all efficient and writing ahead for a rainy sunny day! Taking a break for a cuppa, I come back and find this monster had wiped out the entrie thing.


This will become funny...in time (probably)
 
On the bright side the sun is sunshining and I have a patch of garden just begging to be lounged in which means you get a lot less waffle (mmm...waffles...)

So I'm off for sunshine and reading of my most excellent Christmas present from my lovely mummy and leav you with a tidy little recipe (I borrowed and adapted from my Ikea "Recipe A Day" book). A staple for after, or during, a boozy night (of which I have had an alarming amount in recent times). Even more brilliantly it only takes about 20-30 minutes to make and can be frozen into perfect ready-sized meals ready to be whipped out post-pub-or-club-orwhateveryourpreferencethesedays.

Monkfish & Prawn Curry
Monkfish (or halibut or any meaty white fish)
Prawns (cooked uncooked, king or titchy - whatever your taste, whatever your budget)
2 tbsp curry powder
1tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 or 2 tbsp green curry paste (optional)
2 medium onions
400g tin coconut milk (or 200g if watching weight)
6 tomatoes
Garlic
Bunch coriander
1 lemon, juiced

1. Squeeze the lemon over the white fish and put to one side to marinade
2. Sweat off the onions & garlic till tranluscent
3. Add the spices (& curry paste if using) mix for a minute then add the coconut milk & half the chopped coriander; gently cook for 10 minutes
3. Blanch the tomatoes; skin, de-seed and quarter and add to the pot with the fish and cook for a further 10 minutes then add the prawns and cook for a further 5 minutes (if raw, otherwise just chuck them in a couple of minutes before end of cooking time)

Serve with rice, the rest of the chopped coriander and a nice cold beer!

At the risk of now seeming like a mad old cat lady, 
I leave you with another pernicious little puss


Saturday, 16 April 2011

THE LONDON COFFEE FESTIVAL

I've had a rather boozy time of late. So when, apropos of nothing, an email popped into my inbox inviting me to try my hand at being a Barista I didn't hesitate to rusvup an immediate HELL YEAH!

Sunday I awoke to glorious sunshine and to a glorious hangover, the penance of a misspent Saturday involving a belated family Christmas (attempts continually thwarted by snow, Brazil, flakiness, etc etc...) at my FAVOURITE 'restaurant' in the WORLD, Nandos (please please please please please please can I have a black card?!?!?!?! I promise to mention you forever and ever and ever in my blogs); a train journey home with a can of bloody mary & pina colada courtesy of M&S (buck up, M&S, two-and-a-half shots of booze=GREAT, tasting like sewage=TERRIBLE); meeting up with tthe Russian and pal and then Camden crawling it till dawn. 

With the arrival of unsympathetic friend, Tre, I pulled myself together, pulled on a summer dress and braved the blazing heat and we made our way to where all the cool kids reside (it's true, wikipedia says so: In the UK, Hoxton and Shoreditch are known as hipster areas[12] where they are referred to pejoratively as "Shoreditch twats"). Traipsing the streets of Shoreditch trying to find The Truman Brewery  (the last time I was here was a squillion years ago and it was full of dead bodies!)  and gasbagging away, we inevitably got 'lost'; no great shakes on a gorgeous day like this; finding new little nooks and crannies and discovering the scenester hotspots we aways hear about but never actually get round to going to. After a couple of sunsoaked laps we finally found ourselves at our destination: The London Coffee Festival.


I'm afraid to say, as my first tweet will testify, that the festival didn't get off to a terribly good start for us. We were initially sent on a wild goose chase for Tre's tickets, subsequently ticked off by a member of staff in a most abrupt manner, then the security guard was downright rude, and to top it all off when we arrived at the La Cimbali stand and asked for a 'go' on one of their machines, they didn't have the slightest idea of who I was *blush, shuffle feet*. I'm surprised we didn't turn tail and hotfoot it out of there.

Once blushes had subsided, we hit 'Hyde Park' and cooled ourselves off with an iced coffee, ate 'breakfast' of muesli from Moma, felt disgustingly healthy downing shots of juice from Innocent, buying 50p bottles of PomeGreat and 'lunch' from Stewed; then felt digustingly unhealthy eating a dessert of sweeties from the Starbucks stall (and giggling as a little klepto-hand attached to a mini-woman - not so mini round the tum-tum though - crept up behind out waiter as we chatted and covertly snaffled a brownie from the tray, waddling away, head in the air with a "what moi?" expression on her face! Bless, they ARE free, love!) and biscuits from Bonne Mamon washed down with cat-poo coffee - I'm serious, the Civet cats eat the beans then poo them and then the guys over at Sea Island make rather nice (actually) coffee out of it (an acquired taste, perhaps?!)

All this food and coffee made me feel almost human, so it was time to jump off that wagon and try out a bespoke cocktail from Krave. Well, it would  have been if we'd got the ticket we were supposed to receive on arrival - NAUGHTY LCF staff. We couldn't be arsed to meander allllll the way back to reception, so strolled away grumbling and griping until we turned the corner and saw knight in shining armour Vestal Vodka and Bean About Town who bestowed us with Bloody Mary and Expresso Martini cocktails. YUM!!! Chased up wth a delicious limited edition elderberry liquer. DOUBLE YUM!!!



Coffee'd and booze'd up we breezed through 'Soho' for a spot of ten-pin bowling (odd ? we thought so) and a lovely cuppa single-estate cha, meandered through out at 'Shoreditch' where it was sweets, sweets, sweets. Predictably, perhaps, I kept my intake confined to a scrummy Thorntons Chocolate liqeuer (sadly not available in shops) and Frangelico (my favourite).


After a snigger at the Well Hung Meat Company we turned full circle back to Hyde Park.


Cue squeals of delight from me when I saw this:

Ever since I got back from Brazil I have become OBSESSED with this stuff (I know, I know, I need to stop banging on about Brazil, even the Russian is now taking the mickey "when I was in Brazil, yada yada YAWN" he squeakily mimics, although,  for the record I DO NOT have a squeaky voice - do I?!). 

I swear by it, it's almost tasteless, but not quite, sweet with a syrupy texture - I know this could be off-putting for some but it just reminds me of sun, sun, sun and happy happy times. It's the best hangover cure I've ever tried, has no fat and I swear it makes your skin radiant. This is actually backed up by a science I don't really understand (I'll let the chaps at Vita Coco do that for me). As long as it tastes good and works it's magic on me. It's the PERFECT drink, if it was a woman it would be...erm.. not Kate Moss she's a night out on jaegerbombs - the drink that got you into trouble in the first place... hmmm, I'd say Gisele Bundchen: all Amazonian, sparkling, wholesome beauty. 

Love, love, love it. 

So much, I bought about 20 big bottles of the stuff, bit daft really considering I had to walk home with them but most definitely worth the hard slog and pain of stretched arms.

Time for just one more of Willy's extraordinarily good vodka cocktails, then a saunter through the Sunday crush that is Brick Lane, papping the street art for my new obsession: Instagram;  attempting to rescue an amazing picture of tigers before realising it wouldn't actually go with anything in my flat so instead papping that too; eating a salt beef beigel with mustard so hot it made my nose tingle (LOVE THAT!) and then home sweet home, just in time to catch an absolutely lovely and brilliant Come Dine With Me, where - SHOCK HORROR - everyone was actually nice to each other.  Nice is grossly underrated.









A glorious end to a glorious day! 

Hangover cured ...
...I leave you with some "new age fun with a vintage feel"