Union Street Cafe, Southwark

For my work leaving lunch recently we decided to check out Union Street Cafe in Southwark. Conveniently it was just a short walk away from our office and it had been on my list to vision for a while. Union Street Cafe, by Gordon Ramsay, opened about a year ago and has an Italian inspired menu that changes daily.  I loved the warehouse/chic industrial fit out and feel of the place. Modern but cosy at the same time. I know this style of design is super trendy these days and all seen all over the London restaurant scene, but I am definitely not sick of it just yet.

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Because it was my leaving lunch and my last day at work we decided it was definitely appropriate to order a bottle of wine (or two) to enjoy. The menu looks very pretty as it’s all scribbled in this lovely hand-written font, but it does make it a little hard to read. Anyway, the menu is definitely more Italian then Mediterranean (as they describe it on their website) with sections like Antipasti, Primi and Secondi. They have a set lunch menu that offers two courses for £19 or three courses for £25 – or you can order a la carte.

Once the orders were placed we were served white and brown sliced bread. It was still warm and came with a dipping dish of super delicious olive oil. So so good, we devoured this in seconds; I am such a sucker for warm bread!

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I got a starter of ‘Porcini fritti with parmesan fonduta and hazelnut pesto’ which basically was pan fried mushrooms which was simple but tasty.

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A lot of us on the table ordered the ‘Ravioli of beetroot, ricotta, raddicchio with 4 years aged balsamic’ which was gorgeously presented and very good – only not a very big portion. I got the ‘Risotto with italian veal sausage and taleggio’. It was rich and creamy and went down a treat (even after all that bread). Not sure I was that wowed by the presentation of it, just blobbed onto a big plate like that but it did taste good.

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After finishing our lunch we decided to order some more wine – just to procrestinate on having to return to the office haha. Which meant by the time we did actually return (uhhh 4pm) we were rather tipsy. But as it was my last day it didn’t really matter anyway!

I enjoyed Union Street Cafe, I think it’s perfect for a work lunch or group dinner. The service was friendly and efficient and the food good. It’s nothing new and exciting but it’s a nice place to visit if you’re in the area. There’s also a bar in the basement which looked very cool and would be a great spot for after work cocktails or to hire out for a birthday party.

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I also took a sneaky outfit selfie in the bathrooms! Wearing: H&M leather mini skirt & ZARA silk tunic top. You can’t beat a simple black on black outfit sometimes.

Union Street Cafe
On the Corner of Great Suffolk Street & Union Street
47-51 Great Suffolk Street
London SE1 0BS
www.gordonramsay.com/union-street-cafe


  
Leave a comment | Posted in Food, Lifestyle, London, Restaurants

Happiness – fight, strive and insist upon it!

Hello everyone, I am back in London after some wonderful and relaxing days at home in the Netherlands with my family last week. I can’t believe how quickly my holiday in between jobs is flying by – soon it will be Monday and time for me to start my new job!

Anyway, for now it’s that time of the week again for some mid-week inspiration. I love this quote about happiness from Eat, Pray, Love – it’s so true don’t you think? Happy Hump Day!

 Happiness   fight, strive and insist upon it!

“People tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you’re fortunate. But happiness is the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love.


  
Leave a comment | Posted in Happy Hump Day, Quotes

Ottolenghi Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar

Surprise surprise; another recipe post…of another Ottolenghi salad! This recipe, from his book Jerusalem, for Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar is a recent favourite of mine. Actually it’s probably fair to say I am a tad obsessed with it and have made it quite a few times in the last 3 months when having people over for dinner, or just for myself to enjoy. It’s super easy, super fast to prepare, super healthy and of course super delicious. And don’t you just love the look of the bright orange from the squash against the deep purple of the onions? The perfect dish for autumn and winter!

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Ottolenghi Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar

Ingredients:
(serves 3-4)
1 large butternut squash, cut into decent sized chunks/wedges (leave the skin on)
2 red onions, cut into 3cm wedges
3½ tbsp olive oil
3½ tbsp (light) tahini paste
1½ tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp water
1 small garlic clove, crushed
30g pine nuts
1 tbsp za’atar
1 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
sea salt and black pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Put the squash and onion in a large mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper and toss well. Spread on a baking sheet with the skin facing down and roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are cooked through. Keep an eye on the onions as they might cook faster than the squash and need to be removed earlier. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. While the squash is roasting away, you can make the sauce. Place the tahini in a small bowl along with the lemon juice, water, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk until the sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini if necessary.

Pour the remaining oil into a small frying pan and place over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are golden brown. Remove from the heat and transfer the nuts and oil to a small bowl to stop the cooking.

To serve, spread the vegetables out on a large serving platter and drizzle over the tahini. Sprinkle the pine nuts and their oil on top, followed by the za’atar and parsley. Tuck in!

*For those who don’t know, Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix consisting of dried thyme, sesame seeds, sumac and salt.  You can buy pre-made Za’atar in most upmarket supermarket these days and I think it’s a great spice to have stocked in  your kitchen. Za’atar has a lovely flavour and can be sprinkled on hummus, labneh, fried eggs or roast meat. Or try dipping a thick, fluffy and warm pitta bread first in great olive oil and then in za’atar – yum!

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Roasting butternut squash intensifies its flavour, bringing out the sweetness and this combined with the simple tahini dressing and za’atar spices leads to something quite sensational! You can enjoy this dish on its own (hot or cold) for lunch or dinner as a lovely filling but healthy vegetarian meal, or alternatively it also goes great as a side dish with chicken or lamb or steak! Enjoy :)


  
Leave a comment | Posted in Cooking, Food, Lifestyle, Ottolenghi, Recipe

Brunch – Grind Coffee Bar Putney

Grind Coffee Bar in Putney had been on my brunch to-visit-list for a long time. Many of my (SW London) friends had raved about it, plus it’s kiwi (as in NZ) owned so that pretty much means it’s guaranteed to have great coffee and delicious food! ;)

Originally a coffee cart outside a music shop in Putney, they soon became overrun with customers lining up for their excellent coffees  so they decided to move into permanent premises in Putney and open a full cafe which has become a popular local favourite (meaning it gets busy, so get there early..)

I finally went to Grind Coffee Bar recently with a friend, who lives in Putney, for a long overdue chat over coffee and brunch – my favourite kind of catch-up’s!

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We got there around 11am on a Saturday morning and the place was buzzing with people. The coffee bar from the counter proved popular (they roast their own coffee at Grind) and there was a small line to get a table but the staff was efficient and friendly so we only waited for about 15 minutes before we got seated. I loved seeing the NZ memorabilia bits and bobs around the cafe – L&P, Pineapple Lumps…ahhh brought back a lot of memories from my years living in New Zealand. Anyway back to brunch, we ordered some tea and coffees while we explored the menu. And yes – they lived up to their reputation – great coffee!

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For brunch I decided on Poached Eggs on Sourdough with a side of Avocado and Chorizo. My friend Georgie had Scrambled Eggs on Focaccia bread with a side of Mushrooms. You feeling hungry yet?

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The eggs were great (runny yolk yummm) and the was chorizo crispy and super tasty. The avocado side at Grind Coffee Bar is mixed with cucumber and I think poppy seeds. It was nice but think I prefer my avocado plain or with chilli – but hey that’s just my personal preference.

We demolished this breakfast and finished up brunch with some more tea. Actually I have one tip for Grind; add fresh mint tea to your menu – peppermint tea just doesn’t cut it for me. Sorry I must sound like such a tea snob haha.

I’ve been back to Grind since my first visit and had the scrambled eggs which were absolutely winning and think their lunch menu also looks rather appealing, think Rainbow Superfood Salad, Ricotta Bake and Hummus and Haloumi Wrap or the Grind Beef Burger if you’re feeling a bit more naughty!

Have you been to Grind Coffee Bar yet? I recommend a visit and afterwards go for a walk along the Putney Towpath (to burn those brunch calories…)

Grind Coffee Bar Putney
79 Lower Richmond Road
Putney, London, SW15 1ET
www.grindcoffeelondon.com
Insta: @grindcoffeebar
Twitter: @grindcoffeebar


  
Leave a comment | Posted in Brunch, Food, Lifestyle, London, Restaurants

The Hague – The Japanese Garden in Autumn

I arrived back home on Monday morning and because it was a lovely autumn day we decided to make the most of the good weather to visit the Japanese Garden in The Hague. Based in Clingendael Park, the Japanese Gardens are only open to the public twice a year, during spring and autumn; from May to mid June and then again the last two weeks in October.

The Japanese Gardens are pretty magnificent and were actually placed on the list of national historical monuments in 2001. I’d visited the garden years ago in Spring but never before had I seen it in it’s autumn splendour. Here some photos of the gardens, don’t you just love all the autumn colours?

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Wearing: Black waxed jeans – ZARA // Burgundy V-Neck Knit – H&M // Camel Coat – MANGO (old) // Grey and silver snood scarf – H&M // Tortoise Wallace Sunglasses – Bailey Nelson // New Balance 420 Burgunday & Grey (Link) Am looooooving my new kicks, they are so perfect for fall and winter and are super comfy!

After visiting the gardens (admission free) we wondered for a bit longer through Clingendael Park to soak up even more autumn beautifullness…

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It was a lovely afternoon and am glad we did it that day because it’s pretty much not stopped raining in Holland since that day. Ha but have to say, I still love autumn. Do you?


  
1 Comment | Posted in Fashion, Lifestyle, Photography, Travel