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World Baking Day

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What did you bake for World Baking Day?

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OMFG Pitt Cue Co have a cook book

pittOh yes, Pitt Cue Co have released a cook book to impart their genius pork based knowledge. I cannot wait to get my mitts on this.

Buy it on Amazon just a suggestion, not a command.

FM Mangal – Honest talk and wholesome wine…kinda

FMLittle Turkey, does this exist? I mean you have Little Venice, no mini canals unfortunately, and china town, the Vietnamese quarter in East London but do we have a dedicated Turkish spot? If not I suggest FM Mangal be pronounced the heart of it.

From outside it appears to be nothing more than your run of the mill kebab shop to which you will have undoubtedly frequented on cold nights after long days at work which have left you bereft of cooking inspiration (or more likely after you’ve sunk too many vodkas). But inside awaits rug clad exposed brick, twinkling Turkish lamps and humble tables, that is after you climb up the stairs past the swirling, smoking and fortunately glass screened grill.

The menu is pretty extensive and to this Turkish-delicacy-novice was a sea of phrases I was never going to understand. Cop Sis or Tavuk Kanat? We ordered the warm meze to start which featured some uninspiring calamari, ever pleasing halloumi and fair falafels. The stand out was admittedly the grilled onions and garlic served drowned in a redwine/vinegar sauce that we mopped up with the provided flatbread.

We plumped for the house white (and two cokes, you can’t take these kids anywhere). Our pockets felt moth bitten on this occassion and bottles here always resemble the unrecognisable labels seen gathering dust in late night shops. It was chilled, bonus, tasted cheap but we nodded sagely regardless of the unabashed shock of our waitress. Awkward.FM MangalIt took some time to get our mains, the FM Mangal Special, Mixed Kebab and Tavuk Saslik, but as a group who rarely indulge in silence this was no issue for us. Portions are big. I admit, I knew what I was getting myself in for as the menu listed meaningless meat names rounded off with rice and salad, but boy do you get your ££’s worth. It’s phenomenally charcoaled on its edges, smoke permeates everything but the spiced sauces and sweet coverings take it from polycarton to table worthy. The fresh salad sides and pillow soft rice though delicious, served for me as only a palate cleanser and time bider till I could face the next small mound of awaiting meat.

Jay Rayner was not lying when he said this place was one to be celebrated. For all its worn edges and questionable frontage this place is the dogs. After shuffling, sitting up straight and then finally conceding we could fit no more in our stomachs, we asked for the bill. All in all it came to only £20 each with tip. I somehow managed to eat all three pieces of the Turkish delight offered too.

The website is clunky and choc full of stock images but don’t let that put you off. It has the address and menus up there, everything you need: fmmangal.net FM Mangal2” Have no scandal while you dine, Just honest talk and wholesome wine” FM Mangal – The mural did look pretty old to be fair though.

McMossy

This short video from Tom Sachs features Kate Moss flipping, pouring, saucing and smoking from a makeshift McDonald’s cart. Incredible.
It’s not a long lost video of Moss serving her time as a teen worker in McDo Croydon but a fashion short, that makes me really crave a burger.

Lemon drizzle Loaf

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170g Golden Caster Sugar 170g Butter 3 Eggs 170g Plain Flour 3/4tsp Baking Powder 1 Lemon 2tbsp Icing sugar

Preheat the oven at 180degrees.

Cream the butter (make sure it’s at room temperature to avoid it flying out the bowl) with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until fully incorporated. Slowly sift in the flour and baking powder. Add the zest of the lemon and squeeze in half of the lemon juice.

Place the mixture into a lined loaf tin (baking paper is the best but buttered can work too, if like me you find your out) bake for 40 mins or until golden and springy to the touch.

Leave in the tin to cool. Mix the icing sugar and the rest of the lemon juice to create the icing. Using a cocktail stick, stick holes in the cake, maybe 8? this will let the icing run down into the cake to make it gooey. Pour over the icing and let the cake fully cool until turning it out of the tin onto a cooling wire.

Bakewell tart – what did you say?

Naturally I am referring to the cakey, pastry, almondy goodness rather than demanding a lady with few morals to whip up a perfect cake.

Bakewell Tart

Admittedly Martha made this not me but it looked too good to not post it. So all applause to her.

Martha bought a pre-made base to speed along the process.

To make the frangipane:
Cream together 150g unsalted butter and 150g of caster sugar. Then gradually add three beaten eggs. Then fold in 150g ground almonds and a the zest of one lemon.

Then take your pastry tart, spread the base with around 2 tbsp of good jam and pour the frangipane on top. Don’t overfill!

Bake for 20 minutes then take out of the oven and scatter the flaked almonds on top and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and set.

Bakewell Tart 2

She then drizzled some icing over the top to finish and voilá, something to shame Mr Kipling with. Perfect dessert for when friends visit for dinner or in my case this mornings breakfast.

Beetroot Brownies

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200g grated beetroot, 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), 200g unsalted butter, 200g caster sugar, 100g self raising flour, pinch of salt, pinch of coffee. To ice: beetroot juice and icing sugar.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. I melt the cubed butter and chocolate in an oven proof bowl but you could do it over water. 

In a bowl whisk the egg and sugar together. Then pour in the chocolate and butter mix and stir until it has all combined into a glossy mixture.

Sieve the flour and salt onto the top of this mixture, then with a metal spoon gently fold the flour into the mixture. Then fold in the beetroot and coffee. Do not over fold as it will make the brownies more dense and heavy.

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Place into either mushy-sickly-sweet heart moulds as I did or a greased tin. Cook for 25 mins. When you take it of the oven, let the mixture cool for a good few minutes then turn over onto a cooling wire.

Mix a little beetroot juice with sieved icing sugar to make a soft pink topping and spoon onto the brownie bites when they are cooled.

Hawksmoor – Guildhall

Hawksmoor dining room

Nestled in a side street in between bank and moorgate. I arrived early so nipped round to the Corney and Barrow bar for a glass of wine. I was trying to channel some kind of city girl know how by raising my hand at the right time for the drinks menu and nodding sagely etc it was actually going quite well. I had fooled them.

We then shuffled round the corner back to the Hawksmoor at 8 on the dot, I did the obligatory “booking for Knight” and we had our coats taken.

We were shown down into the restaurant where I wielded a token at a bewildered man, “that’s just your cloakroom ticket, you can have that.” At this point I wished the staff weren’t quite so beautiful and rugged as I felt my cheeks instantly redden. So I quickly shuffled past the lovely, more relaxed bar area into the restaurant.

The atmosphere and decor of the main dining room conjure images of mid war fine dining and as I overheard one patron wielding a camera phone describe it “it’s so Boardwalk Empire, I need a cigar.”

The seating is spacious with leather booths or smoking chairs around big oak tables. There is also large booths along the edges, but you wouldn’t worry about knocking elbows with your fellow diners on these.

Shortly after being seated we were handed a lengthy cocktail list of pre and post-prandials. Each drink is accompanied by a short and interesting historical reference which I would have made more of an effort to read if the wine from before hadn’t started to take effect. We were given plenty of time to choose and chat before the bearded beauty returned which may annoy some (those who are socially inept) but I loved it.

I, as with any restaurant, read the reviews from near and far to try and gauge what was best to devour. A reoccurring theme was based around their cheapest steak, the D-Rump, apparently the most flavoursome, value for money etc. I was surprised to say the least and I guess my purse was relieved; however after being seated and spending a good amount of time nursing my Casino Revisited the waiter hit me with the news “sorry we are already out of D-Rump”. I floundered and asked for another few minutes.

Eventually I settled on the 400g Rib-Eye with double cooked chips and creamed spinach. HELLO HEART ATTACK. Obviously I had it cooked rare and oh boy was it good, perfection I might go so far as to say. It was a touch awkward as an American couple kept staring at me, chuckling and were in some way inferring it was good to see a girl really eat. I went from demure diner to bloated beachwhale in about 30mins, it was glorious.

Topped the night with Casino cocktail number two, a trio of macarons and rolled back to the south of the river.

I will be returning asap when my bank account will allow and plan to make my way through at least two desserts next time (salted caramel rolos and peanut butter shortbread for sure).

Camera Shy?

Burger and Lobster - Lobster Roll

I got a bit of a mocking the other day when I admitted to someone that I eat out a lot and that on occasion I may take photographs of the food I encounter. I’m by no means the worst offender for it, I’ve been with people who have scrambled almost onto my shoulders to get a “birds eye view”.

In seconds of a dish hitting the table my friends and I all snap it send it to twitter, facebook and instagram, if you asked us why I’m sure we’d shrug our shoulders and sheepishly respond “it’s looks pretty”. But I guess for me it’s quite simple and a bit cavemanesque, I got food, it’s tasty and you fools don’t, suckaaas.

Anyways, I read recently in the NY Times that, as we snap and flash, apparently some chefs and diners are getting so enraged with the fanfare that they are imposing photography bans. Chill out lads, surely in this case photography is the most sincerest form of flattery? Or maybe we should all just return to food-orgasms (ya know when people exclaim “ERRRRRMAGAAAAD this triple cooked.. OHHH.. chip is SOOOOOO mmm GOOOOODDD!”) I believe they are the true assaults on dining experiences.

You can read the full NY Times feature here

Have you been to a restaurant that chastised you for your food snaps? If so would you make a return visit?

p.s the image above was taken in Burger & Lobster a few days ago. Yes my elbows were level with my ears, no I didn’t care and neither did my darling waitress.

Puy Lentil bake

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125g puy lentils 200ml coconut milk 80g roasted butternut squash 1 medium pepper 2 tbsp oil 1  chilli 2 cloves garlic 100g goats cheddar to serve: avocado and tomato salad with basil

Simple, Vegetarian friendly, low fat, Gluten free; basically its bloody tasty and pretty healthy but doesn’t look quite so pretty. I originally saw this recipe on Hello Magazines website (I have no idea what procrastination led me there) but have amended it ever so slightly.

Chop the butternut squash into bite friendly squares and roast in the oven for 20 mins with a sprinkling of salt, pepper and oil. Whilst that bakes add the lentils to a pan of water and bring to the boil, turn to a low heat and simmer for 10 mins. Throw the oil into a large frying/wok thingy and add the crushed/finely chopped garlic and the sliced chilli. Then add in the pepper (this needs to be about the same size bites as the squash) and fry until it all starts to soften and smell gooood. When the lentils have cooked, drain and add to the garlic, pepper mix. Pour in 80ml of the coconut milk and simmer gently for 5-10mins.

Pull the squash out of the oven and add your lentil mix to it. Pour over the remaining coconut milk and place back into the oven for 15 mins.

Add the grated goats cheddar to it and place back in the oven for 5 mins until it’s all melted. Serve it up with salad (I was making use of an overly ripe avocado) but I have had steamed pak choi with it too which went really well.