"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch."

Month: December, 2012

Big cookie and big coffee

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Entertaining my brother in London. I NEED a big coffee when spending this much time with this guy.

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Winter Wonderland

I had a jolly ole time in Hyde Park last night scoffing hot dogs and watching people drunkenly dance to a (very) old man’s rendition of Gangnam Style in a Bavarian bar.

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It seems Winter Wonderland gets bigger every year, sprawling across a larger expanse of the park, this year features more Ferris wheels, carnival rides, pubs, sweet stalls and Christmas paraphernalia stalls than Santa can shake his hat at. Take plenty of cash with you (there are cash machines but they charge you £2+) as no one takes card! Perfect evening for getting you into the Christmas spirit!

www.winterwonderland.com

The Hoxton Pony

cocktails at the Hoxton Pony

30 sec review on @TheHoxtonPony

What: cocktail bar with old school R’n’B

Where: 104-108 Curtain Road

Atmos: East London cool with a menagerie of taxidermy

Drink: The Black Cherry Sour and the Gentlemen’s Hiball are personal favourites

Do: Make your way through the cocktail list whilst fully utilising the attentive table waiting staff and sing along to TLC or Dizzee. Then totter downstairs to burn off the cals.

£: £7-9 for a cocktail £3.75 for a beer

The Hoxton Pony’s Website

Cook the Books

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Panic buying your Christmas gifts? These three are fail safe cook books to please foodies.

Jerusalem from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Sept 2012. Buy it from Ottolenghi’s online store

The Complete Nose to Tail: A Kind of British Cooking from Fergus Henderson and Justin Piers Gellatly, Oct 2012. Buy it on Amazon

Two Greedy Italians eat Italy from Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo, April 2012. Buy it from The Works

Ohlala – Macarons and Martinis Masterclass

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I fell in love with the Macaron this year. A little late, I know, but as I scoured Paris for the cities best I greedily scoffed white chocolate from Fauchon, a giant pistachio and raspberry one in a patisserie next to the Moulin Rouge and all the varities that I could lay my (then quite chubby) mitts on in Pierre Hermé. I can’t get enough of them but, despite having ground almonds in my cupboard for an age, I have never been quite brave enough to attempt the french delicacy in my own home.

So I was happy to take tips from the new Macaron Masterclass madames at Ohlala – Macarons. Held in Holborn I raced there after I fell asleep in a tub chair at Dean Street Townhouse.

Thankfully I took my seat and in front of me sat a tower of pastel coloured treats and what turned out to be a magical forever refilling lychee martini glass. Parfait!

Meredith took our hands and told us a bevvy of secrets about the infamously difficult bake and busted myth after myth until they seemed a doddle. After a hands on demonstration we were given a selection of cases and cremes to pop some together. We then wrapped them in tissue and sealed with Ohlala’s super cute poodle stickers.

Martha piping macaron casings

me filling

grace with macaroons

Then, a little wobbly, I left my perfect macarons to prop up the bar and watch a mixologist (we had La Bodega Negra’s finest) show us the basics of a martini. We started with a demonstration of the magical Lychee Martini and then each made our own. After asking us about our flavour preferences we created “bespoke” drinks and most importantly got to taste test our efforts. I felt it rude to leave any in the glass. The ingredients of choice were Legend of Kremlin vodka and Gabriel Boudier liquers. Prior to this I had never tried Kremlin but I can confirm it to be delicious and worth the pricier tag.

Jade mixing a Martini

Martha shaking her Martini

The masterclass is two and a half hours in length and £80 pp.

  • Sample a selection of macarons
  • History of macrons and martinis
  • Expert demonstration of preparation of macarons and ganache filing
  • Make your own packet of over 10 macarons in a choice of colours and flavours
  • Expert demonstration of how to make the perfect martini
  • Create your ideal martini using luxury ingredients
  • Q & A – troubleshooting
  • Full recipe cards and supplier/stockist details

This would be the perfect activity for a Hen party (classy too), birthday or gift for any Great British Bake Off fan

www.ohlala-macarons.com

Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children

I hope you’re all wearing your tackiest, comfiest most outlandish Christmas threads to raise money for Save the Children. Don’t know what I’m going on about? check it out here.

It may seem like nominal amounts but look what it can do:
£25 can buy warm blankets for five children in the UK to ensure they get the sleep they need to develop and concentrate at school.
£26 can buy 10 sets of school textbooks for children in Ethiopia, giving them the chance of a better education
£30 can buy mosquito nets for 10 children in South Sudan, protecting them from deadly malaria

Moschino wool sweater

My jumper of choice would be this Moschino wool sweater. Rudolph’s a peanut and he has pom pom’s! Just amazing.

You can/should donate here, now.

Make mine a vintage Cosmopolitan

If you are bored of buying the same supermarket bottle or looking for a more wow-worthy gift this Christmas, how about a vintage spirit?

liq_coi10liq_coi11liq_coi4These bottles are sold by The Whiskey Exchange and they have bottles from the eighties right back to the forties!

How perfect would these be if you’re having a Gatsby inspired event? (I know these bottles aren’t from the twenties but use your imagination a little) Or they would make a beautiful show stopper in your liquor collection.

Dulwich Deli Day

In a bid to not lose the last of my holiday before the New Year I have taken today off to do “personal admin” or frantic christmas card writing, spending a fortune on stamps, buying relations gifts, donating to charity and…eating, obvs.

I started by treating my little car to a drive to East Dulwich, which is my new favourite place. They’ve got an Oliver Bonas, a Draft House, an amazing charity shop called Give + Take and a drool-inducing deli.

With its huge windows and shelves that go all the way up to foodie heaven it will stop you in your tracks. They have a wide range of cheeses, cold meats, cakes, well everything! I took forever pouring over their pasta selection and  the seasonal goods (piles of stollen and mince pies!)

Seggiano chocolate covered figs

I ended up picking up these chocolate cherry figs for poppa Knight from Seggiano and one of their “massive sausage rolls” which are indeed huge. I ate it in the car and happily let it flake deliciously all over me and the interior, oh well.

If you can’t make it to Dulwich you can order the figs from Selfridges too.

Shh it’s Sunday…

brunch@ Somerset HouseAnd I’m having baked eggs with a flat white at Fernandez & Wells in Somerset House. Then I’m off to check out the Tim Walker: Story Teller Exhibition next door.

Tis the season for a cheese board

Cheese Gromit

 

Be it Gruyère, Stilton, Brie or Wensleydale, this is the time to crack out a cracking cheeseboard. I have already had my first as you can see above. I went for a Brie, Mature Cheddar, Saint Agur, Champagne and Strawberry (the glittery bauble) and a baked Camembert. The cheese is naturally the main event but don’t forget the traditional grapes and crackers. I also threw in a freshly baked baguette, pickles, apple and some smooth Brussels Paté. Top it all with a raided chutney cupboard: caramelised onion, sweet chilli, spiced apple, tomato.