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- Happiness – fight, strive and insist upon it!
- Ottolenghi Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar
- Brunch – Grind Coffee Bar Putney
- The Hague – The Japanese Garden in Autumn
- Homemade Sausage Rolls
- Swingers – A crazy golf club
- Lucky 7 Diner in Notting Hill
- Be afraid, but do it anyway. Live anyway!
- How do you like them apples?
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Category Archives: Lifestyle
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!
Ottolenghi Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar
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
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!
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 :)
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!
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!
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?
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…)
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?
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…
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?
C’mon everyone loves a good sausage roll from time to time right? However they seem to have a bit of a cheap, bland and old fashioned reputation these days. Which is a shame, because I actually think they are a fantastic party food treat. Now, I am talking homemade sausage rolls and not ones bought from your local supermarket! I know you’re probably thinking, gosh making sausage rolls sounds like such a faff, but trust me it’s super simple to prepare and you’ll be impressed with these tasty bites – and so will your guests.
To make homemade sausage rolls all you really need is two main ingredients; puff pastry and the sausage of your choice, plus about 10 minutes of preparation time and voila! I personally really like using pork in my sausage rolls, especially Spanish Chorizo because I think the spiciness adds a modern punch to them! For a friends’ party recently I made two kinds of sausage rolls; one using Chorizo and one using Pork & Apple sausages. They both went down a treat and were gone in a matter of seconds! Check out the super simple recipes below..
Chorizo & Fennel Sausage Rolls
- Chorizo Sausage (uncooked)
- Pre-made Puff Pastry (Super handy this stuff! You can buy it frozen or fresh, Ensure you de-frost the pastry before using if bought frozen)
- 1x Egg, slightly beaten
- Fennel Seeds
Pork & Apple Sausage Rolls with Fennel and Paprika
- Pork and Apple sausages (I used M&S Pork and Bramley Apple ones) but any other sausage of your choice would be absolutely fine!
- Pre-made Puff Pastry
- 1x Egg, slightly beaten
- Fennel Seeds
- 1x tbsp Paprika spice
Method for both:
Preheat oven to 200C. Gently peel / cut the skin of your sausages. Take one sheet of puff pastry and place the chorizo or pork sausage meat along the long side and brush the beaten egg mixture next to it. With the simple pork sausages I would recommend sprinkling the sausage meat with some fennel seeds and paprika spice for some extra flavour, or feel free to experiment with any other spices and seeds you fancy!
Now fold the pastry so one side aligns with the eggwashed line and cut along that line. Seal the edges with a fork, brush with eggwash and sprinkle with fennel seeds. Cut the roll into individual pieces and transfer the rolls on a parchment lined baking sheet. Then repeat the process with any remaining pastry and sausage. Bake at 200C for approximately 15 minutes or until golden and puffed. Serve (warm or cold) with tomato sausage, ketchup, BBQ sauce, or chilli sauce for dipping!
Told you it was super easy and don’t they look delicious? Hope you like this recipe for my homemade sausage rolls and do let me know if it was a hit at your next party!
Looking for something different to do on a night out in London? Fun going-out places where you can play ping pong, bowling, sing karaoke or go roller skating seem to be all the rage in London these days. And this winter there’s another fun option for you fun people out there; crazy golf!
Located in a 7,000 sq ft warehouse, Swingers London opened this month in the heart of Shoreditch and it contains a 9-hole crazy golf course plus two cocktail drenched Clubhouse bars, and a diner serving street-food from some of London’s most exciting vendors.
Me and a friend decided to check out this funky new hang out in London last week for a game of crazy golf, a few drinks and hopefully plenty of laughs. Swingers is hidden away in a little street between Liverpool St and Shoreditch station and after trying to navigate our way there on a wet and windy evening we were glad to step inside the warehouse finding a warm, cozy and buzzling mini golf course!
First up – drinks at the bar! At Swingers they have a DJ playing tunes every night until 12.30am to get you pumped plus a constantly rotating roster of street vendors to fuel your tummy before or after a game of crazy golf. We got some wines from the bar, and after a quick catch up headed to the start of the course to collect our score card and golf clubs.
The course itself – a sporting paradise of wood and plants will take around 45 minutes to complete and includes water features; extreme dog legs; tunnels; a bridge; a loop-the-loop; plus marshalls on hand to deliver you drinks (and give you handy tips) on the course. GAME ON!
We had such a laugh making our way around the course, some holes going better than others. Overall we were both pretty happy with our scores; Me 29 – Chrissy 32. But really it wasn’t a competition (I won, I won!!) Sorry the competitiveness in me sneaked out for a second there haha ;) After the crazy golf ‘work-out’ we felt pretty hungry so we decided to check out the street vendors on offer that night; When Mac Met Cheese and Pizza Pilgrims.
Pizza Pilgrims won and we ordered the Portobello+Truffle and Nduja pizzas, made fresh from their small street van complete with pizza oven! Can we have some extra truffle oil with that please, ooooommmmggggg…
Best pizzas I’ve tasted in a little while! Aside from their street vans, which can often be found at food markets and festivals, Pizza Pilgrims also have two restaurants near Soho. I’ve been to the one on Dean Street and can definitely recommend a visit!
We had a great night at Swingers and I also think it would be a perfect place to go on a date; have a few drinks, enjoy some delicious food and play crazy golf to break any possible date awkwardness (plus it gives the guy, or you for that matter, a chance to show off his sporting abilities haha).
There are two ways to buy tickets for Swingers:
1. Advance golf tickets – which you can buy online £10 // These tickets allow you to buy your entry (£3) and golf (£8) in advance and get a £1 early-bird discount!
2. Ground passes – which can buy in advance online, or on the night £3 // Swingers isn’t just for people who want to play crazy-golf. You can come to soak up the fun atmospthere, for good times and yummy food, plus if you change your mind or get tempted by the course, they do hold back golf tickets every night for walk-ups.
For more detailed booking information click HERE.
Swingers will be around for just three months (until the 20th December) and is open Wednesday to Saturday from 6pm until 12.30am. So book now to ensure you don’t miss out!