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Category Archives: Food
When it comes to herbs, mint is an absolute favorite of mine, and I love using it to make Mint Sugar! Have you ever tried it before? It is SO simple to make! Mint Sugar is exactly what it sounds like, mint + sugar. It is perfect to sprinkle on top of fresh fruit, rim cocktail glasses, or stir into tea or lemonade. No matter how you use it, you will love the refreshing minty sweetness the Mint Sugar adds to your favourite food and drinks!
1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
To make mint sugar, combine 1 tablespoon mint leaves with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar using a mortar and pestle or a food processor. If you have neither piece of equipment, you can chop the mint finely with a knife, and rub it into the sugar. The recipe can obviously be scaled up or down depending on how much you want to make.
I love the combination of mint & pineapple for a refreshing and healthy dessert. But mint sugar really can be sprinkled on all manner of fruits, from citrus to strawberries, peaches, melons and the list goes on. You don’t need a lot, so it’s not terribly unhealthy, but it adds a touch of sweetness and sparkle. While the mint sugar will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two, it is best when it is freshly made.
Jamie Oliver is a fan of herb sugars too, for example he serves basil & mint sugar with fruit salad at his Recipease cafes (as seen here in my brunch review).
I personally love swirling it into my greek yoghurt, then adding fresh fruit and a big scoop of my holy-grail homemade Honey Nut Granola (recipe HERE). Have you ever tried mint or any other herb sugar?
Now that I’ve moved out of Notting Hill, one thing I will definitely miss are some of my favourite local brunch spots. But the good thing about change is discovering new little brunch treasures closer to my new home. One of those, is definitely The Elgin in Maida Vale! I’d already heard loads of good things about this lovely pub from my friends that live in Maida Vale, plus I had been here for Sunday Roast before (highly recommended!) but I had not yet had I tried their brunch. So the other weekend I met up with a friend to see if The Elgin could be one of my new favourite local brunch spots!
The brunch menu offers things like; Eggs any style with smoked streaky bacon, Buttermilk pancakes with lemon curd and blueberry syrup, Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs with cream cheese on toast, Chorizo and potato with spinach and a soft duck egg, Corn fritters or a healthy choice like granola and yoghurt. Oh and did I mention good coffee?
Me and my friend both craved a good avocado fix so we went for the avocado, chilli toast with a side of bacon (to feed our Saturday night hangovers!)
Oh and it hit the spot alright! I love the combination of avocado and chilli. It’s one of my favourites and I make it myself at home all the time. The atmosphere at the Elgin is very cosy and during the day it feels more like a homely cafe than a pub. After our avocado breakfast we decided to stay for some tea and something sweet. Sometimes I just crave a breakfast dessert! They have a nice selection of cakes at the counter and I decided on a blueberry and white chocolate muffin. Yummy.
So yes it is official, the Elgin in Maida Vale is a new favourite local! If you are ever in the area definitely pop by; for brunch, Sunday roast or even just a drink. See you there?
255 Elgin Avenue
W9 1NJ, London
As a single girl in London, Valentines Day can be one of those days to dread. All restaurants are packed with lovey-dovey couples and they charge you a fortune for a ‘romantic set menu’, so you don’t really want to go out for dinner but then again you also don’t want to stay at home by yourself that particular night! Well luckily for me this year I had a great Valentines night planned because one of my friends was hosting a secret supper club dinner!
Emily is a super bubbly, fun and organised Australian friend of mine that loves to cook, be around people and host parties. She made a brave decision recently to further pursue her foodie dreams by starting the Chameleon Social Club to put on supper clubs and cooking events in London. This Valentines Day was her first ever dinner party and it came together quite organically with her finding the space, planning the menu and finally ending up with 47 guests attending on the night! Here some photos of the night which took place at a secret venue in East London.
The atmosphere was fun and the food delicious. On the menu that night was: Aperol spritz and popcorn on arrival // Baked camembert with rosemary and fresh bread (my favourite recipe for this dish here) // Marmalade chicken with red onion with Baby spinach and green bean salad with olive oil dressing and toasted almonds and Baby roast potatoes. Oh and the winner of the night? Dessert!!
In my books Emily is now officially the queen of Sticky Toffee Pudding! I have to make sure I get the recipe of her because it was sooooo scrumptious. Have you ever had Sticky Toffee Pudding before? It’s a real British classic dessert consisting of very moist sponge cake, made with finely chopped dates, covered in a toffee sauce and often served with a vanilla custard or vanilla ice-cream.
After dessert we had even more dessert (can you tell why I love Emily yet?) because she had made meringues, gorgeous chocolate tarts with pineapple flowers and iced love-heart cookies which she served with espresso and peppermint tea!
Because of Emily my Valentines night was just perfect. I mean I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than eating delicious food with friends and also getting to meet some new and fun people. I am so proud of her for following her dreams, for putting on such a fantastic supper club dinner party and can’t wait for the next Chameleon Social Club Event.
You can find and follow the Chameleon Social Club on Facebook or Twitter. Upcoming events are Pancake Day (uhh…..YUM!) on 4th March – tickets here and an Easter Feast on 12th April – tickets here. She also caters for private dinner parties, email email@example.com for more details.
Have you ever been to a supper club/underground dinner party before? It’s quite the buzz in London these days. I’ve been to the London Foodie Japanese Supperclub in Islington and I’d highly recommend it. For more information on other supper clubs in London click HERE or HERE.
In the summer of 2012 Jamie Oliver opened his third Recipease location in London, perfectly right in my local hood Notting Hill. I actually love going to Jamie Oliver’s Recipease for brunch (their pancakes are to-die-for delicious and don’t even get me started on the massive pile of avocado goodness they serve)
But beside being a lovely cafe, restaurant and shop – the main idea behind the Recipease concept is to inspire people to cook, to learn new skills in the kitchen or to just have fun and cooking up a storm Jamie style! The Jamie Oliver Recipease cooking classes are directed at either beginning or seasoned cooks or just for people in search of some fun. To give you an idea of the lessons on offer it varies from; pasta making, thai curry, cooking the perfect steak, Mexican street food or becoming a sushi master.
I really like doing the cooking courses because in just 2 hours (while enjoying a glass of wine) you’ll learn some new skills that will last you a lifetime, you’ll have a laugh and get to enjoy the delicious meal, that you made yourself [insert proud smile here] afterwards with maybe another wine or two! So far I’ve done three cooking classes at Jamie Oliver’s Recipease being Mexican Street Food, South Indian Prawn Curry and most recently Vietnamese Street Food. Here are some photos of that lesson and I’m also sharing the recipe for the delicious summer rolls we made that night!
Looks pretty good doesn’t it? I personally love Vietnamese food – it’s so aromatic, fresh and also actually quite healthy! In the class we made a fantastic classic beef pho, vietnamese summer rolls that make a great fast and healthy snack, as well as traditional pork balls plus a zingy dipping sauce that works perfectly with your all your dishes, as well as many other Vietnamese plates. We very much enjoyed food – there’s something about the added satisfaction of having made it yourself and they actually email you the recipes the day after so you can recreate the dishes you learned again and again. Summer rolls is definitely a one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes so I thought I’d share the recipe with you all. It’s super easy!
Ingredients (makes 12):
125g cooked vermicelli noodles
12 (8’ – 9’) rice paper rounds
18 cooked medium prawns – peeled, deveined, cooked and cut in half lengthwise
1 bunch Thai basil (or normal basil)
1 bunch fresh mint leaves
1 bunch fresh coriander leaves
1 medium mooli, daikon or kohirabi
2 medium carrots
12 small green or red lettuce leaves
Put the blanched vermicelli to the side of a large plate // Peel and cut the carrots, mooli and cucumber into thin strips (a bit like match sticks) Pick the leaves from the basil, coriander and mint // Wash and dry the soft lettuce leaves // Put warm water into a pie plate // Take one piece of rice paper at a time and dip it into the water turning occasionally, until just pliable – do not over soak 30 seconds should be enough // Remove from the water and transfer onto a clean work surface // Arrange 3 prawn halves across the centre of the paper // Top with some leaves from each herb, then mooli (or your daikon or kohlrabi), cucumber and carrot // Arrange a small handful of cooked vermicelli noodles over the top // Place 1 lettuce leaf over the top, torn and folded to fit // Fold the bottom of the rice paper over the filling, then fold in the ends and roll like a burrito into a tight cylinder // Transfer roll, seam side down, to a platter // Repeat to make 11 more rolls. // You can make these ahead of time – 1 hour ahead – cover with a damp kitchen towel and refrigerate // To serve, if big cut in half on an angle and serve with Vietnamese dipping sauce.
Vietnamese dipping sauce
1 cup of water
6 cloves of garlic – chopped
1⁄2 a small mooli (or kohirabi) – peeled and julienne
1 medium carrot – peeled and julienne
1 medium red chilli – seeds removed and sliced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 teaspoons brown sugar (or palm sugar)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Thinly slice the mooli or kohlrabi and the carrots, toss with a little salt and let stand for 5 minutes // Rinse with cold water and pat dry // Heat the water in a pot and bring to the boil. Add in the garlic, chilies, fish sauce, vinegar and sugar // Stir until the sugar dissolves // Remove from the heat and add the mooli (kohlrabi), carrots and lime juice // Taste the sauce and ensure you have an even taste of Sweet, Sour, Salty and Hot! // Allow to cool and just before serving add coriander leaves ripped up a little // And yes now you can dig in!
All in all, I’d certainly recommend a lesson at Recipease – there’s a wide variety of dishes to make, including both main courses and desserts, plus specific lessons to extend your kitchen skills. There are also a number of lessons for kids available as well.
There are branches of Recipease in Notting Hill (just outside Notting Hill Gate tube station), in Clapham and in Brighton. You can book cooking classes for just you, or a big group of you (plus they also have discounts on double bookings for you and a friend) on the Recipease website. The next lesson I have my eye on is the Knife Skills class because I’ve always wanted to learn how to chop it up like a pro!
Have any of you ever taken any classes at any of the Recipease branches? I’d love to hear your thoughts on them! For more details about Recipease and the classes available go to www.jamieoliver.com/recipease.
Just a quick little recipe from me today. Having a party or need a nice and easy starter for your dinner guests? Look no further! These Roasted Figs with Goats Cheese and Prosciutto is one of my go-to recipes that might look very fancy but is actually super simple to prepare. The combination of the melted goats cheese with the sweet fresh figs tastes incredible plus adding the herbs, honey and prosciutto brings it all together to create a perfect bite of creamy, juicy, sweet, salty and savoury!
Roasted Figs with Goats Cheese and Prosciutto
- 12 fresh figs
- goats cheese
- 12 thinly sliced pieces of prosciutto
- a few sprigs of thyme
- black pepper
- sea salt
Heat your oven to 200ºC. Gently wash your fresh figs and slice and X into the stem side of each fig using a sharp knife. Only cut until about three-quarters of the way down (do not cut all the way through or your figs will just fall apart). Use your fingers to carefully open up the figs to prepare for stuffing. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of goat cheese into each fig and sprinkle with a bit of fresh thyme. Now wrap a strip of prosciutto around each fig. Arrange them all on a baking sheet, and they’re ready to go in the oven! Or if you’re have a party, you can do all this ahead of time, then just pop them in the oven when you’re ready! Roast the stuffed figs about 8 to 12 minutes. The figs will open up a little bit and the the goats cheese should be oozy and the figs intoxicatingly juicy. Remove them from the oven and carefully arrange them on a serving platter or on individual plates with fresh arugula (optional). Drizzle each fig with honey and serve immediately.
Don’t they just look amazing? So colourful and the mix of flavours is deeeelicious! I made these Roasted Figs with Goats Cheese and Prosciutto for my family for Christmas Day Dinner and it was a huge hit.
Super tasty, they look impressive, are quick to prepare and another little bonus is that this starter is also actually quite healthy which means fits nicely into my 80/20 diet! Have you ever tried the combination of fresh figs, goats cheese and prosciutto? Let me know if you give this recipe I go – I’d love to know what you think.