ALWAYS wondered how a food blogger’s life looked like? How do we hear about the latest place to go or the new brand to be launched? Have a look below!
Grey and rainy weather welcomed the first day of The London Restaurant Festival, an event created to celebrate food, wine and eating out, taking place from 4-18 October. Amongst the different initiatives was the Street Kitchen, a mobile truck parked in Covent Garden until October 15th before moving to Spitalfield until the end of the Festival.
Created by Jun Tanaka, executive chef of Pearl Restaurant, and Mark Jankel, chef and founder of The Food Initiative, the Street Kitchen aims to provide people on the go with wholesome meals, made from locally sourced ingredients. Thanks to our complementary vouchers, we tried the Hot Smoked Salmon with Beetroot, Crushed Potato and Horseradish (£6.50), a Braised Beef with Roasted Carrots and Celeriac Mash (£6.50) and, to finish, a Cheesecake with Blackberries and Shortbread (£6.50). Both mains were good, tasty, well-cooked and the beef was particularly tender. The beetroot which accompanied the salmon would have gained to be served in smaller dices but in general, the overall meal was very enjoyable.
Prepared with ingredients sourced from sustainable and organic UK farms and producers, it was a welcome alternative to the traditional burritos and other sandwiches on the go… and fit perfectly with the English weather!
A few hours and stores later, our path brought us to Kaffeine to warm ourselves with what is most probably one of the best coffees in town. Peter, the owner, is a passionate Australian with an endless love for coffee and a desire to teach people how to appreciate it at its best. Seeing as we are still very young in the wide world of truly good coffee (hot chocolate being my chosen beverage), we were given an in-depth introduction to how coffee should be made … and, well, we still have a lot to learn!
Having enjoyed a Ristretto and a delicious brownie, we were off to Polpo Soho to enjoy a glass of wine. Described as one of many foodies’ favourite places in London, Polpo Soho is intimate and welcoming, coloured in terracotta and bronze. The food, mainly composed of Italian sharing platters, is delicious and you really feel the love behind it. The owner, Russell, is the calm, cool, suave, soft-spoken Soho man par excellence and it is always a true pleasure to meet him. Mention the word Scrabble and you’re all set for the evening!
We couldn’t stay for dinner as Mama Mia was waiting for us but … the new venture Polpetto, the little brother of Polpo, was on the list for the following week.
Who would have thought that, one day, dressed as 40’s French resistante, I would shake the hands of members of the RAF while drinking a proper GT? Gin tea, that is. Only the lovely Henrietta and her fabulous crazy ideas could have allowed it!
To celebrate the launch of the RAF tea, the Rare Tea Company and its guests took over the Coach and Horses for a blitz night: RAF and blitz outfits, posters, gin tea, RAF lager and a delicious rabbit pie served with soup. The party was an exquisite moment, the food was flavoursome and Giles, the owner of the Coach and Horses, a fantastic and welcoming host. After a few hours in the past, it was time to go to home and back to the present before the sirens start wailing….
The hardest thing about leaving a country is trying to spend as much time as possible with friends. Our lives are very busy in general but when you finally find the time to sit down with the people you enjoy the most… what a treat.
That Wednesday, my dearest half and I had lunch at Le Piaf. The food was good – the grilled aubergines, courgettes, red peppers and goat cheese served with salad got my vote after several days of heavy meals. The company, Chris Mitchell, was even better; another man of passion and crazy ideas with a love for wine and events. When it came say bye, you realize time has gone too fast again. “Next meeting will be at Le Train Bleu” we promised each other when we left… Hopefully it would be soon.
A few packing boxes later, I was on my way to treat myself to Divine Chocolate’s secret chocolate cocktail. The brand just launched their new 85% chocolate bar which was used in their drinks that night. I am definitely a fan of their cocktails even though these may not have been my favourite. The evening was also the kick-off of Divine’s activities at the Chocolate Week. Who could say No to a week of chocolate?
That night, friends of ours brought us to Cah-Chi in Earlsfield. Having decided not to bother them with my camera (it was our last meal together before moving back to France….), I focused on the taste. We ordered Youk Hoe, the Korean steak tartar, which was fine but didn’t match the delicious one at Koba. The Kun Man-Du was much tastier, though, and prepared us for the main.
We managed to put together a delicious and well-balanced BBQ composed of Sam-gyub-sal, grilled pork belly; Bul-go-qi, thinly sliced sirloin steak marinated in Cah-chi sauce; Mod-um Yac-Chee, assorted fresh seasonal vegetables in cah-chi sauce all served with onions, lettuce leaves plus Bbok-um Bab and the tasty, mouth-watering Ga-ji Ju-I, a grilled aubergine in miso sauce.
The overall meal was very good but lacking of some spiciness and stronger flavours. And yes, Catty, Koba is definitely a winner.
Described as a book about feminine cookery at its most heroic, generous, practical and nurturing, I couldn’t stop thinking about my own personality while reading those words. Leafing through the book very quickly when I first opened it, I was disappointed to not see more pictures and find all the illustrations at the beginning. That said, as a mouth-watering introduction to invite the reader to go find the recipes, it worked!
Having a craving for moussaka, the Mother’s aubergines pictures brought me directly to page 259 where the recipe with a moussaka option was waiting to be cooked. Heaven.
The recipe was easy to follow and turned out well (according to our Sunday guests). Only the timing in the oven was too short and I added one more hour to get the right melting flavour to the aubergines.
After having worked for Pho restaurant as one of my clients, I felt the nudge to go back and enjoy one of their big bowls of Vietnamese Street food before leaving.
Stephen and Jules opened their 5th venture on Wardour Street this September and the restaurant is already working very well. We had delicious pork and lemongrass meatballs with fresh prawns summer rolls followed by a Pho and Bun noodles. The dishes were all fresh, tasty and healthy… the perfect option for what is going to follow.
A few weeks ago, for some crazy and undefined reason, I applied to be a judge for the Great Brownie Bake Off, organized by The Chocolate Consultancy, taking place that Saturday at Look Mom No Hands, a coffee shop where bikers are welcome to enjoy some home made fresh food or a cup of coffee.
The idea was very simple: invite the UK’s home bakers and non-professional cooks to compete in the search for the perfect brownie. And for us, the judges, the idea was as simple: taste 22 brownies and define the winner.
We ate 22 pieces of brownies, we liked, we disliked (getting a brownie right is harder than you think), we defined the winner and … I got home with a migraine and the back end of a sugar high. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great and very enjoyable experience but I understand now why my mom kept telling me: don’t eat too much chocolate, you’re going to get sick.
Finally, a lazy day at home. We had guests over to enjoy Red pepper-wrapped ricotta gnochhi with sage butter from the Ottolenghi cookbook, followed by the delicous Rose Prince’s Moussaka.
That evening, I made myself a chocolate cocktail from a recipe found in Chock Chick Raw Chocolate Kit, a business founded by the lovely Galia to “promote the pure goodness of chocolate in its raw state” and give people the tools to make their own chocolate. I know, it is more chocolate but … it was a very good cocktail!
AND that brought to close the week in the life of a food blogger. Come Sunday night and you looking at the next week ahead, filled with more of the same though different every day, you tell yourself that life isn’t too bad and that we definitely are a bunch of lucky and privileged people.