Month: April 2015

Dinner & Cocktails at The Happenstance, St Paul’s

On Wednesday evening, I met up with Ceri for dinner at St Paul’s, which seems to be the best central point for us to meet after work. Recently we’ve been going to the chain restaurants in One New Change, but this week we thought we’d try somewhere new. I looked up restaurants around the St Paul’s area and came across The Happenstance – the name really caught my eye, it sounded very unique! The restaurant’s website describes itself as the following: “immerse yourself in a world of curiously good times & happy coincidences at the happenstance. It’s sure to be a welcome addition to your little black book. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame views of london’s most iconic landmark, st paul’s, whilst our sophisticated interior encompasses a striking bar & restaurant, bountiful deli, mixology table & florist. Our glamorous subterranean private dining room or hidden speak easy “the curious treasury” awaits.” So I had pretty high expectations! When we arrived, I was worried that I really hadn’t thought this through – Thursday nights are traditionally when people working …

Street Food At Caboose

Earlier this week, on the hottest day of the year so far, we decided to take our team meeting outside into the sun for lunch. The second there’s even a hint of sun in London, everyone flees from their desk at midday to make the most of their lunch hour outside. And there are only so many restaurants and pubs with outside spaces in the city, so competition is fierce 😉 We headed over to Brick Lane and surprisingly found plenty of space at Ely’s Yard near the Truman Brewery, where lots of different street foods were available, a few of which I’d heard rave reviews about. One of these was Caboose, where we all decided to get our grub from.     Caboose is run by three school friends and serves up BBQ themed burgers from an old train carriage. Most of us went for ‘The Fat Controller’: pulled pork, salad, pickles, BBQ mayo and smoked cheddar in a toasted brioche bun, served with rosemary fries. It was really tasty – lots of great …

For The Love of Kale!

I’m going to be completely honest about something. I don’t really like vegetables. I eat them, of course, but it’s rare that I genuinely enjoy them. I find that they’re tastiest when they’re cooked in a special way (normally making them more unhealthy!), usually using various herbs or oil. I just find plain, steamed veg, incredibly dull. Tim can happily get through a bowl of plain vegetables as a snack, and I wish I could do the same. But strangely enough, one of the types of veg that I actually do really like, is anything cabbage related – standard cabbage, red cabbage, brussels sprouts (yes, I know, I’m the complete opposite to most people!) and kale. I love kale! I normally just cook kale plain in a pan with a little bit of water and salt and pepper, but one evening this week, I decided to add a few more things to it, and it was delicious!     Ingredients 1 standard bag of chopped kale 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 red chillies, chopped A …

Throwback Thursday – Sesame Restaurant, Dubrovnik

This week’s Throwback Thursday is about a lovely little restaurant close to Dubrovnik’s city centre, called Sesame. Tim and I went on holiday to Croatia in July 2013. It was a bit of a strange holiday as my Dad had passed away in Cyprus only the month before. I really wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to go, but we’d had it booked for a year, and my friends and family said it would do me good to take my mind off everything and to relax for a while. Thankfully the bosses at my company at the time were incredibly lovely and fine with me taking the extra time off, and I’m glad I did it. We stayed in a large hotel called the Rixos Libertas, right on the coast, about a 20 minute walk from the centre of Dubrovnik. For the first time, we were staying on an all-inclusive basis, which I was always a little hesitant about, but the quality of the food and drink in the hotel was fantastic. One of their …

An Icelandic Breakfast with Arla Skyr Yogurt

Yesterday morning I was invited for breakfast to mark the launch of Arla’s new Icelandic Skyr yogurt. The event was hosted at The Ham Yard Hotel, tucked away behind Piccadilly Circus, and is one of the hotels in the Firmdale Group. I’ve held PR events at many of their others, but this was my first visit to The Ham Yard. And it’s pretty incredible!     I confess to being a typical (gluttonous!) Brit when it comes to breakfast – I just love a good English brekkie at the weekend! On weekdays I tend to either go all out (when I’m being especially naughty, a bacon bap or a croissant) or nothing at all (which is more likely). So I was keen to hear what nutritionist Charlotte Stirling Reed and Arla would have to say.  Iceland seems to be becoming increasingly ‘en vogue’ of late – trips to Reykjavik appear to have become more popular (either that or they have some very good PR and Marketing people!) and the recent Sky Atlantic TV programme ‘Fortitude’ …

Cooking Korma at Home with Tastesmiths

As many of you may have seen, I attended a Tastesmiths event last week, where we were given a lesson in cooking with fresh ingredients, using the Tastesmiths kits. You can read my full write-up here. At the event, we were given the choice of trying out the Madras or Korma, and my cooking partner and I went for the Madras. I was allowed to take a kit with me to try at home, so I thought I’d give the Korma a go this time. Korma is one of  my favourite curries, simply because I love the flavour. But I’m always a bit embarrassed to order it when out at a restaurant with friends, as it feels a bit like the ‘wimp’ option. What I loved about the Tastesmiths kit, is that you could make any curry as spicy as you want – including Korma! It’s the solution I’ve been looking for all this time! On Sunday evening, Tim and I used the kit for dinner – it was really fun to cook together, as …

Dinner at Foxlow

Over the weekend, we went for dinner at Foxlow in Clerkenwell. We’d been looking for somewhere to go for a steak – our favourite is Goodmans (I seriously need to get round to blogging about it at some point) and we also visit Gaucho and Hawksmoor – but all of these can be a bit pricey, especially if you’re going with friends or in a big group. I’d been hearing good things about Foxlow (it’s run by the team behind Hawksmoor), so we thought we’d try there. Based in Clerkenwell, it’s not the most obvious place to go, but it’s fairly near to where we live, and there’s another one opening soon in Stoke Newington. The restaurant had a great vibe – dim lighting and wooden tables, very chilled out. Straight away, the waiters were incredibly friendly and helpful. We started off with some ‘snacks’ – Anchovy & Goat’s Butter Crisps, Cobble Lane Saucisson and Homemade Ricotta & Crispbread. All of these were around £3.00 per dish and easily satisfied our initial hunger before leading …

Cakes at Violet Bakery, Hackney

My lovely friend Ceri let me know about a bakery in Hackney, fairly close to where I live, that she thought I’d like. She works in publishing and they recently published the cookbook for it – ‘The Violet Bakery Cookbook‘. I was lucky enough to be given a copy, which I’ll be giving away as a competition prize on my social media channels early next week, so keep your eyes peeled! I was planning to meet my friend, Laura, for lunch today, so we thought we’d check out the bakery. It was a stunning day today, barely a cloud in the sky, so it was the perfect day to visit.     The Violet Bakery is situated on a side street (Wilton Way) parallel to the main road between Dalston Junction and Hackney Central overground stations. And you could easily miss it, with its neutral white walls and small entrance… if it wasn’t for the massive queue leading out of the door, and the groups of people dotted around it! This was clearly a popular …

Tastesmiths Event: Cooking Fresh!

Last night I was invited to an event hosted at Food at 52 for a new company called Tastesmiths, run by a fab mother and daughter duo from Birmingham, Sally and Stef. The message behind Tastesmiths is simple: you should always try and cook with fresh ingredients! And in order to do this, they sell clever ‘kits’ of such fresh ingredients for a wide variety of recipes, giving you the exact quantities you’ll need. No more buying countless bottles of herbs and spices that end up sitting in the back of the cupboard, rarely being used. Sally commented that when researching some of their curry recipes, if they had bought all ingredients from scratch, the bill would have racked up to around £25+, without even taking the meat into consideration. This is something I’ve experienced myself – our herb and spice box is overflowing and we seem to have some form of ‘cinnamon amnesia’, as we have about 5 different bottles of the stuff in various forms. So these kits are such a brilliant idea!   …

Throwback Thursday – A Night at The Waterside Inn

I’ve been looking forward to writing this Throwback Thursday for a while, and now I’m finally getting round to it. Early in 2013, Tim treated the two of us to a night away at The Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire, run by chef-patron Alain Roux, of the famous Roux family. The website describes the cuisine as ‘unashamedly French, exquisitely executed: every deliciously decadent concoction celebrates the superlative skills of the chefs’ – what more could you want? The Waterside Inn has been in business for over 40 years and no other British restaurant can claim to have held three Michelin stars for so long. We were booked on a package which included a night’s stay at the beautiful venue, a tasting menu in the restaurant and breakfast in our room the next morning. The Waterside Inn has a total of 11 rooms and describes itself as a ‘restaurant with rooms’ – a very French concept, allowing diners to easily retire to bed after a lovely dinner. Our bedroom and bathroom was beautifully decorated and very cosy …