Category Archives: Lifestyle

Roasted Butternut Squash and Chorizo Salad

Summer evenings call for healthy salad dinners and this Roasted Butternut Squash and Chorizo Salad is one I’ve been loving the recently. The sweetness of the cinnamon roasted butternut squash with the spicy chorizo makes a delicious combination. Looks pretty tasty doesn’t it? Check out the easy recipe below!

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Chorizo Salad

Ingredients:
1 medium sized butternut squash (or pumpkin will work perfectly too)
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Ground cinnamon
Chorizo (I used a pre-diced pack but you can also just dice it up yourself)
1 medium sized zucchini
2-3 handfuls baby spinach leaves
A few pecorino shavings to garnish (optional)
Balsamic Vinegar (or vinaigrette if you prefer this)

Method:
Pre heat oven to 190C.  Prepare your squash by chopping it into big chunks – with your without skin, depending on preference. Place them on a baking tray and drizzle over just enough olive oil to coat the squash, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with some ground cinnamon. Give it a good hustle and pop it in the hot oven for about 20-25 min until the squash is nicely roasted (and soft).

While the squash is roasting in the oven, heat up your grill or frying pan over a medium heat and fry the diced (or sliced) chorizo for a couple of minutes on each side. You don’t need to add any oil because of the fat in the sausage already. When done, drain on kitchen paper to remove any excess oil. While the pan is still hot also grill/fry some sliced zucchini until cooked, they don’t need long as you don’t want them too soft.

When the roasted squash is ready place it in a large bowl, add the chorizo, zucchini, fresh baby spinach leaves and gently mix them all together. Top with a few shavings of pecorino (optional) & drizzle over some balsamic vinegar.

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This salad is a great light meal on its own but also would be perfect as part of a BBQ. It’s got that lovely mix of sweet, spicy and fresh and so easy to prepare. Do you like the look of this Roasted Butternut Squash and Chorizo Salad? Let me know what you think if you end up making it!

  
1 Comment | Posted in 80/20 Diet, Food, Lifestyle, Recipe

Weekend in Whitstable by the seaside..

Last weekend I had a perfect little escape to the seaside. I’d heard a few stories about this cute fisherman’s town called Whitstable in Kent, so I thought it was about time I checked it out for myself! Because it is only about 1 hour 30min drive (1 hr 20min by train) from central London it makes Whitstable a great day or overnight trip location.

Situated on the north coast of Kent, Whitstable is such a lovely little laid-back place with many great restaurants, shops – and of course the sea! Everywhere are many stalls, shops and restaurants selling all kinds of sea food from cockles to eels and crabs to of course Whitstable’s most famous export, oysters! Here are some iPhone snapshots from my weekend in Whitstable by the seaside..

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Walks exploring the Harbour // Enjoying Whitstable Brewery beers + compulsory fish & chips in sun loungers by the beach = happiness // Checking out the town, shops and galleries // People watching and drinks at The Old Neptune, a famous pub on the beach // Happy moments watching the sunset over the sea…

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Dinner at Wheelers Oyster Bar, the oldest restaurant in town (open since 1856!) and famous for – tada you guessed it – oysters! The restaurant is tiny and is usually booked up for months but I was lucky and managed to reserve us a table at the bar. It’s BYO so what better to bring than a bottle of bubbly to enjoy with the seafood. Or you can always run across the load to the local ‘Offie’ for some more drinks. We had a lovely night in this cute little authentic restaurant, the oysters and the rest of the seafood was delicious and it was nice to enjoy a very casual and laid back evening out. If Wheelers is booked up another great option for dinner would be The Whitstable Oyster Company.

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Where to stay in Whitstable? We stayed in a lovely little cottage called the Corner House (link) which was perfectly located just meters from the harbour. Loved the beach style feeling of the place and we had a great stay here. However next time I might try to book a Fisherman’s Hut (which were fully booked the weekend I went) because they are right on the water and look super cute (link)!

Sunday morning was the perfect laid-back day starting with home baked muffins (my winning recipe here) and tea at the cottage, followed by a long walk along the beach to the Tankerton Slopes. It was a quiet foggy morning which made for some peaceful and beautiful moments – with some pebble throwing for laughs.

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Can you tell I loved these little sea huts along Tankerton slopes? We had breakfast outside at Jojo’s – a great little cafe at the end of the beach Tankerton way (about a min walk from the harbour).

Before driving back to London we decided, that while in the area, we should check out the famous White cliffs of Dover. Such a beautiful national park!

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If you had the best weekend ever then JUMP! ;) I seriously recommend going away for a weekend in Whitstable – or even if for just the day. It was one of those weekends were I came back feeling so happy and relaxed, like I’d had a mini holiday. Think the seaside does this to me. It was the kind of weekend where I wished I had a time machine to stop time so that it didn’t have to end….

Thank you Whitstable for the happy memories. Think I will be back :)

  
6 Comments | Posted in Lifestyle, My life, Photography, Travel

Berners Tavern – The London EDITION Hotel

Berners Tavern is one of the restaurants opened last year by chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton. In London alone he’s responsible for Pollen Street Social, Social Eating House, Little Social, City Social and the Typing Room. I haven’t actually been to any of these before but have read many good reviews and his food can be described as modern British. Berners Tavern had been high on my to-go-to list ever since it opened so when it was my 30th birthday back in August I felt this would be perfect occasion to have my celebration dinner here with my parents and one of my best friends.

Berners Tavern is located in The London EDITION Hotel in London’s Fitzrovia, with the all day dining restaurant seating up to 140 covers within a grand dining room. The dining room is visually stunning with its very high ceiling and walls covered with framed art – very nice!

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Under the direction of Michelin starred chef Jason Atherton, the menu offers contemporary British food that is simple yet elegant and executed beautifully. We started off with a bottle of wine and some bread while we browsed over the menu.

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For starters we had the: Aged beef tartare, wild garlic, salsa verde, chopped duck egg and croutons £13.50 // Charred Corning mackerel, fennel carrot and orange salad, romesco sauce and toasted almonds £12 // Middle white pork and pistachio, pear and saffron chutney and toasted sourdough £11.50.

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All very delicious! For mains we had the; Chargrilled Dingley Dell pork chop, pickled kohlrabi, apple and chicory salad, bramley apple and colman’s mustard puree, crispy cheek £24 // Roasted Goosnargh chicken, BBQ spiced chicken tigh, sage and onion, butters gnocchi and heritage carrots £23 // Cornish cod, Borlotti bean, courgette and chorizo ‘minestrone’, piquillo peper £22.50 // Grass fed british steak cooked on their Josper grill, served with triple cooked chips, salad and a choice of béarnaise or peppercorn sauce (sirloin £30)

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I had the pork which the waiter recommended and it was divine! We were pretty full after all that food but I find it hard to resist dessert and seeing it was my birthday I decided to get the Scottish raspberry pavlova, vanilla cream with red wine and raspberry granite (£8) and shared it with my dad. When I first looked at the dessert options nothing actually screamed out at me but the pavlova was very nice and think that would have probably been the case with the other desserts too.

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Overall we had a great time at Berners. The setting is beautiful, the food is delicious and the service impressive. For a nice and special evening out I’d say Berners Tavern is hard to beat! If you’re up for a bigger night out then after dinner you can continue to enjoy a drink at the Bar or head to the Punch Room next door at the London EDITION Hotel for a cocktail or two :)

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Have you tried Berners Tavern or one of Jason Atherton’s other restaurants yet?

BERNERS TAVERN
10 Berners Street,
London W1T 3NP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7908 7979
www.bernerstavern.com

  
2 Comments | Posted in Food, Lifestyle, London, Restaurants

Brunch at Hally’s Parsons Green

Going out for brunch is probably one of my favourite past-times in the weekend, so I love finding out about new good places to visit. One of these new places I recently was told about is Hally’s Parsons Green. Hally’s opened in June 2013 on New Kings Road and says it’s a “A Californian-inspired hangout– all about innovative, fresh food, expertly-made coffee & a relaxed vibe.” So this long weekend I braved it through the rain and wind on my bike (and got soaked in the process) to meet some friends for brunch at Hally’s. I was told it was “epic” so as you can imagine I had high expectations.

Turns out a lot of people seem to think it is epic because there was a bit of a wait to get a table when we got there, but we were able to shelter from the rain inside and the staff was friendly in looking after us to get us a table as soon as possible. I love the casual, white and beach house style design of the café and don’t even get me started on those pastel paint-dipped vintage style chairs.

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Hally’s Parsons Green is open Monday to Sunday 8am to 6pm and during the week they serve breakfast daily from 8am and lunch from 12 to 4pm. However of course I was there for the main event that is their weekend brunch. Their (8am-4pm) brunch menu changes weekly is full of great dishes like; healthy granola, eggs benedict, american pancakes, smoked salmon with cream cheese and of course a full breakfast. We got coffee, fresh mint tea and fresh juices while we caught up and made our mind up on what to eat.

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In the end we all had the same food craving. Can you guess? Yep…. it was the avocado on sourdough with chilli, lemon and rocket that we all wanted. However we were hungry girls so we added some sides!

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….just to prove there was a-whole-lot of avocado underneath that rocket salad!

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Mine was with the poached eggs and chorizo. Amelia had the same but with bacon instead of chorizo and Krystle got her eggs scrambled and also with chorizo! The rocket salad on top of the avocado was really refreshing and we were all amazed by how orange the egg yolks were – think that means they are very organic/free range eggs which is nice!  We probably didn’t need all those extra sided but oh boy was it tasty :)

We had a fabulous time at Hally’s and think I will definitely be back to try some of the other dishes on the menu! Have you been to this little brunch/lunch gem in Parsons Green yet? Check it out – it’s epic ;)

Hally’s
60 New Kings Road
Parsons Green
London, SW6 4LS
www.hallysparsonsgreen.com

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

Dom Pérignon Rosé Creative Combustion at Magazine Restaurant

Back in March Dom Pérignon invited nine of the world’s most innovative chefs to a three-day ‘Creative Combustion’ workshop in Paris that saw each creative talent inspire the other to create their own Creative Combustion Rosé Paradox Menu around the latest Dom Pérignon Rosé 2003.

One of those chef’s was Oliver ‘Ollysan’ Lange from London, who is head chef at The Magazine. The Magazine is a stunning restaurant in Hyde Park based in the Serpentine Gallery that has been on my list to visit for a while. The setting is bright and modern and the menu is fusion food with heavy Japanese influences.  Following the Dom Pérignon  Paradox experience, Oliver ‘Ollysan’ Lange created his own Rosé Paradox Menu, which will be introduced at his restaurant, The Magazine for the month of September. Oliver ‘Ollysan’ Lang says about his creation: “A fun, explosive menu inspired and  created by combining global flavours.” The other night I was invited to try this beautiful new menu accompanied of course by plenty of Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003. Here are some photos of the night!

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Before sitting down at our table we all admired the restaurant while enjoying a glass of Dom Pérignon and some delicious canapés; an aubergine beef tartare spoon and a crab donut style bun. The aubergine beef tartare was so good, I may have had a few of those spoons.

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Once seated at our table, the head chef Oliver ‘Ollysan’ Lange (and creator of the menu) welcomed us and spoke about his inspiration for all the dishes. First up was an Amuse Bouche which was a little pastry style cone filled with something tasty. Terrible I know but I can’t actually remember what it was. Next up was a plate of Sashimi Hamachi Ceviche Style with Scallop Crisp and Mango.

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How beautiful does this plate look? It was almost too pretty to touch. This was maybe one of my favourite dishes of the night, I love ceviche and sashimi and this fresh combination with the mango was delicious and it literally melted in your mouth.

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Then it was sushi time. I love sushi so this selection to share was right up my street. The selection was: Big Volcano Roll // Spicy Tuna and Crispy Ginger // Smoked Trout and Shiso Roll // Surf’n Turf Roll // Salmon Nigiri and Saikyo Miso. All equally as delicious!

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The main dish of the Creative Combustion menu is Pigeon with Brioche and Mushroom Essence. This dish is from Nenad the 2 star chef from Switzerland who also took part in the workshop. Pigeon is not something I eat every day of the week so it’s really nice to have something different when you’re out. If you haven’t had pigeon before, you should definitely try it next time you spot it on a menu. It has quite a rich, gamey flavour to it – a bit like dark chicken or duck. Hard to describe really, but just try it and let me know what you think! This dish was definitely delicious and a favourite for many of the guests that evening.

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For dessert it was back to sharing. Now I very much like my desserts so my sharing partner that night probably wasn’t lucky to have me on his side ;) The three desserts as part of the menu (from top to bottom in photos) are: Fromage Blanc with Pomello and Almond // Poached Apricot, yeasted Miso crème and vanilla // Beetroot, yoghurt and blackberry.

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I am normally more a chocolate dessert kind of girl but have to say these desserts were deliciously refreshing.  My favourite was the poached apricot with the citrusy fromage blanc a close second! Together we certainly emptied those 3 bowls pretty quickly.

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We all had an amazing night – great food, incredible champagne and a gorgeous setting. What more can you want? The menu is perfectly crafted to be enjoyed with the dark jewel that is the Dom Pérignon Rosé as “Dom Pérignon Rose 2003 adds freshness and vibrancy to the protein-rich textures and accompanies the discovery of each flavour.”

The Paradox Dom Pérignon Rosé Creative Combustion Menu will be served at The Magazine exclusively throughout September. Price per person is £250, including a glass of Dom Pérignon Rose Vintage 2003 to accompany each course. So if you are looking for something really special in September this would make a pretty amazing option!

Pre-booking through Magazine Restaurant only on:
Tel: 020 7298 7552
www.serpentinegalleries.org/restaurant

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