Month: May 2015

Throwback Thursday – Sand Restaurant, The Maldives

This week’s Throwback Thursday post is about another of the fabulous dinners we had on our honeymoon in the Maldives. You may have seen my previous post about the Teppanyaki restaurant, today’s post is about Sand Restaurant on our island resort of Velassaru. Sand restaurant, as you might have guessed, is situated out on the sand, right by the sea. Some diners were seated under cover on the pavilion, but we were ‘out in the open’ under the stars, which was lovely! The food in all of the restaurants was superb, but Sand especially so. It focuses on two things: Meat and Fish, cooked on the hot stone grill. Can’t get much better than that! To start with, we ordered the Fisherman’s Chilled Platter for Two. The Fish Platter is one of our favourite things to order in a restaurant as we’re both shellfish lovers, but this was by far the biggest platter we’d ever had the pleasure of eating. It included a dozen pacific rock oysters, six medium prawns and a steamed lobster! Served …

The Icing Cafe at Biscuiteers

Something I haven’t tried baking at home yet, is biscuits. In fact my last experience was aged 12 at school during food tech class, when we were asked to make cookies. While my friends made the usual chocolate, ginger, perhaps even vanilla for the particularly daring, I had to take it one step further – mint choc chip with green food colouring. What came out of the oven was a luminous green, melted, chocolatey mess. I think the experience scarred me. Following the rise of cupcakes, meringues and macarons, biscuits have recently been increasing in popularity, largely I believe, to Biscuiteers. I first became aware of them a few months ago when I saw their creations being featured in a lifestyle magazine. The second I went onto their website and saw their Beatrix Potter range, I was in love!     Biscuiteers offer a wide range of delicately hand iced biscuits for all occasions. What I love about their business is that whatever idea comes into their head, or whatever is happening in the news, …

Inside The Factory – TV Review

When I saw some fellow foodies talking about BBC’s ‘Inside The Factory’ programme on Twitter, I knew I’d have to watch it. Especially as they mentioned that one episode would be about the Nestlé factory in York. I used to live near it, and knew a few people who worked there. But I’m also very aware of the ethical controversy surrounding the company and I wondered if this would be mentioned. ‘Inside The Factory’ is a BBC documentary-style programme, presented by Gregg Wallace and Cherry Healey. Each of the three episodes focuses on a different kind of factory – bread, chocolate and milk, respectively. It seemed like quite an odd choice of subject matter for a documentary given the current focus on fresh, healthy food ‘straight from the field/farm’. Seeing the raw products being delivered to the factory fresh and then going through hundreds of processes, it made the bread, chocolate and milk feel extremely ‘manufactured.’ That’s not to say that the processes were harmful or any nasties were being added to the products, but seeing them …

A Taste Of French Flair With Teisseire

As I’m sure you’ll know by now if you’ve been reading my blog since I started it a few months ago, I love everything French. French food. French culture. French everything! Every time I go to St Pancras station (which is fairly often, as I live and work near it), the temptation to just jump on the Eurostar to Paris is huge! “But you’d need your passport,” I hear you cry! Well seeing as I can’t drive (that’s a whole other story) I’ve normally got my passport on me to use as ID. So it’s an actual possibility! When I was invited to an event hosted by French sirop brand Teisseire at Searceys Champagne Bar at St Pancras station last week, I had to lock the passport away! And I brought the lovely Ceri along with me. Teisseire might not be a recognised name in the UK yet, but it’s a well established brand across the Channel. It all began hundreds of years ago, in 1720 to be exact, when Matthieu Teisseire, a liquoriste and …

Sipping Spirits ‘On The Go’ With SWIG

When I was at University, the hip flask was a vital belonging for the savvy student – despite the alcohol being insanely cheap at the student bars (I cry inside when I think about the £1 vodka & cokes we used to be able to buy), we still carried hip flasks with us, although usually concealed somewhere clever, to avoid the detection of the bouncers’ hawk eyes. As we’ve grown older, the hip flask has become a respected household item. My husband and his groomsmen had their hip flasks with them at our wedding, sipping away nervously/excitedly before I came down from my room for the ceremony.         There are lots of great uses for hip flasks, here are a few examples I’ve come up with; Wedding presents: I’ve been to a few weddings recently where the groomsmen have been given an engraved hip flask as a gift. Sports matches: They’re perfect for taking to sports games – in the past, we’ve used them for rugby matches at Twickenham in the winter. Picnics: …

Cookie Dough Meringue Slices for ‘World Baking Day’

Here’s something you might not know – I only got into baking about a year or so ago. My grandma was an avid baker and she lived with us when I was a young child. I vividly remember the days I would head up to her ‘granny flat’ and we would bake together for hours. One of the things I’ll always remember is a ‘neapolitan’ style cupcake that she used to make – she somehow separated each one into quarters – two were plain cake mixture, one was pink and strawberry flavoured, and one was brown and chocolate flavoured. I’d love to give them a go one day. When I was about 7, she sadly went into a nursing home, and that’s where the baking ended. My mum, while being a superb cook, doesn’t really like baking. And when we moved to Cyprus, there was even less baking going on – it was so hot, that the last thing you wanted to be doing was slaving away in the kitchen – most food was cooked …

A Bowl of Olives – Book Review

Every now and then, you come across a book that really makes you smile. Sara Midda’s ‘A Bowl of Olives’ does just that. Midda is an artist who lives in West Sussex (having previously lived in the south of France) and this book is bursting with her beautiful watercolour illustrations A Bowl of Olives is fairly compact – you might even say handbag sized – perfect for pulling out for a quick read on the bus or the train for a boost of inspiration. It’s also a very different kind of cookbook – this isn’t a traditional book of recipes. It’s more of an exploration of Midda’s food memories, broken down into the following chapters: To Market, Packaging, Eggs, At The Table, Eating Outdoors, Salads, Food Through The Year, Food Memories, Olives, Fruit, Vegetables, Seasonings and Food Wishes. Starting off with ‘The Market’, Midda gives us snippets of markets she’s visited around the world, with photos and illustrations. My favourite is from Okinawa, Japan: “We ate in the market, surrounded by barrels of pigs’ trotters, …

A Homemade Mexican Breakfast – Huevos Rancheros

One of the best things about the business trips to LA and San Francisco at my last job were the amazing breakfasts! As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, the Mexican food there is incredible, and nothing here in the UK that I’ve tried so far compares to it. My favourite breakfast was Huevos Rancheros – fried eggs served on corn tortillas, topped with a tomato and chilli sauce, often served with refried beans, mexican-style rice, and slices of avocado or guacamole. Last weekend, we had a go at making them at home, with a Food Network recipe. It was delicious, if a little indulgent for breakfast!     Ingredients One can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained 1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, plus more for garnish 1/4 cup diced yellow onion 1 large clove garlic, peeled and smashed 1 jalapeno pepper (seeded if desired) 1/2 teaspoon salt 5 ounces cured chorizo, casings removed, diced Vegetable oil Four 6-inch corn tortillas, plus more for serving, optional One can refried beans, optional 4 large eggs 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced, for …

Dream Dining Rooms With India Jane

We’re in the process of buying a house in South London and we’re so excited – we’re going from a small one bed apartment which is fairly central, to a 3-4 bed house further out, with a garden and a huge kitchen and dining area. We’re therefore going to need a lot of new furniture, but I’m especially excited about the bits and bobs to go along with it. I can see it now – no bed, but we’ll have some fab plates and candles 😉 I was recently invited to visit India Jane’s beautiful store on Kings Road (121), a part of London where I regularly have to restrain myself from visiting, in fear of wanting to buy everything I see. We were welcomed by James from India Jane, who told us a little about the brand’s history. It first started out in Hampstead in 1991 by a husband and wife team, followed by Sloane Street in 1992 and the first Kings Road store in 1994. They now have 10 UK stores, in Chelsea (two locations), …

A Sunday Afternoon Film and Poshcorn

One of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon is to watch a good film at the cinema, with an unnecessarily big cup of coke and a bucket of popcorn to graze on like a cow. It’s overly indulgent but it’s fun! Although I must admit, with the age of movie apps like Lovefilm or Netflix, our cinema trips have become fewer and fewer. With the high cost of cinema tickets in London, it’s got to be a pretty special film for us to go and see it on the big screen, rather than wait for it on Netflix. And one of the problems Tim and I experience when we go to the cinema is that he likes salted popcorn, and I prefer sweet. A first world problem, perhaps, but still a problem when the buckets cost a fortune and there’s no way that you could get through a whole one each. I recently learned that Tyrrells (who you may well know for their popular range of crisps) make popcorn, but not just any old …