Month: June 2015

Sipsmith & Jude’s Gin & Tonic Ice Cream

Gin and Tonic is my favourite pre-dinner tipple. I like the flavour of gin and find it an easy spirit to drink. My drink of choice as a teenager was usually vodka and as such, I put myself off it, buying cheap local versions, packed with sugary mixers. But I never touched gin when I was younger, so it has remained sacrosanct, and something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed as an adult. My friend recently introduced me to Sipsmith gin. After looking at their website, I loved their brand and gorgeous design of their bottles. Sipsmith is the first copper distillery to launch in London for nearly 200 years and they have reintroduced the art of handcrafted, small batch spirit production to the capital. I’ve heard that their distillery tour is really interesting, so I’d love to check it out one day and learn more about how they create their gin. Apparently they have names for their three stills – Constance, Prudence and Patience. Love it! When I found out that they were launching a limited edition …

Growing Underground – An Underground Farm in Clapham!

I don’t normally write about a product or place unless I’ve had the chance to review or visit it, but in this case, I had to make an exception. This week, I learned about Growing Underground, London’s first underground farm (in disused WWII bomb shelters beneath the Northern Line at Clapham). That’s a pretty exciting concept for me! Growing Underground (why hasn’t this name been thought of before?!) is the brainchild of Richard Ballard and Steven Dring, along with Michelin-starred chef (and one of my favourites!), Michel Roux Jr, and it will start trading in mid-July 2015, after 18 months of research and development (and more than £750,000 of investment). The tunnels were used during World War II as a bomb shelter for London residents, designed to accommodate 8,000 Londoners.   The first phase of the farm, which includes a sophisticated lighting and irrigation system, is in the final stages of preparation for commercial supply.  Phase one crops include pea shoots, several varieties of radish, mustard, coriander, Red Amaranth, celery, parsley and rocket. The crops …

Juma Kitchen – An Iraqi Supperclub

Last week I was invited to an Iraqi supperclub. Two firsts for me – eating Iraqi food and going to a supperclub. Over the past six months of doing this blog, I’ve become much more aware of supperclubs, and some of the lovely food bloggers I’ve met so far even run their own. I was also intrigued to find out what Iraqi food would be like – I didn’t do much research into it prior to going, as I wanted it to be a surprise. I figured that there might be some crossover with the kind of food I grew up with in Cyprus, as the country is so close to Iraq. Cypriot food is really quite odd when I think about it, as it takes a lot of inspiration from Greece but whether it likes to admit it or not, a lot of it comes from Turkey and the Middle East. The supperclub was being held at The Jam Tree in Clapham, but it was hosted by Philip Juma of Juma Kitchen. He recently …

A Foodie Weekend in North Yorkshire

I recently spent the weekend in Yorkshire with my Mum, who has now moved back to the area after living in Cyprus for almost 15 years. You may have read my other posts about our wonderful trip to High Farndale Farm and Afternoon Tea at Bettys. We both love our food and so it was only natural that most of our weekend together centred around good grub! I arrived in York on the Saturday lunchtime and so we thought we’d have lunch in the city. I hadn’t wandered around York since I was probably about 11 years old, so it was nice to reminisce and brought back many great memories – although it was so busy with lots of hen parties and stag do’s. Not quite like it used to be. I think next time I would go mid-week rather than a Saturday. We stumbled upon a pub/restaurant called Guy Fawkes Inn on High Petergate – I’m a sucker for a place with history, and this is built on the spot where the man himself …

Throwback Thursday: Counter Cafe, Hackney

This week’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ doesn’t refer to one visit in particular – it’s a local favourite of mine that I’ve been to many times. I’m selfishly also slightly reluctant to write about it, as it’s one of my favourite hidden gems. I remember when Time Out wrote about it last summer, and suddenly every weekend it was absolutely packed. But hey, I’ll be nice and share it with you all! The place I’m talking about is Counter Cafe in Hackney Wick. I went through a phase a year or so ago when I went on a mission to try out a new breakfast/brunch place in our area each weekend. Despite living in Bow for over 6 years, we hadn’t been to many places locally. Largely due to the fact that when we first moved in, there really wasn’t much nearby. But when the London Olympics took over Stratford, and Hackney started getting ‘cool’, lots more places opened up. One of these is Counter Cafe. It’s about a 10 minute walk from our flat and you would …

Taste of London 2015: Review

Wandering around a park filled as far as the eye could see with top London restaurants, the scent of meats and seafood filling the air, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Taste of London takes place at Regents Park every summer and last weekend, I got to visit for the first time, as I’d always been away when it was taking place before. This year it was held from 17th-21st June, and I went with Tim and our friends James and Clare on the Saturday. Clutching hold of a big wad of ‘Crowns’ (the Taste of London currency to purchase food dishes), we headed inside! There are so many restaurants and suppliers there, it’s hard to know where to begin! I’d picked up some hints and tips from press that had attended earlier in the week, so I had a few ideas. So I thought it would be easiest to list what we drank and ate at the show… What we drank Meantime Brewery Lager & Pale Ale This was our first stop …

The Canelé Revolution! Yvonne & Guite Review and Interview

In case you don’t know by now, I’m a bit of a Francophile, especially when it comes to food. Although I’m usually more of a fan of savoury French food than sweet. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll happily tuck into a macaron or a croissant any day, but given the opportunity to snack on something at home, I would usually opt for something savoury. When I was approached by a new London-based baking business called Yvonne & Guite, asking if I’d ever tried canelés, I shamefully had to say no. But when I did a bit of research, I realised I had tried them, I was just unaware of the name. They’re very unusually shaped and as my experience goes to show, the name hasn’t quite caught on in the UK yet, but I truly believe they’re going to go down a storm in the British confectionery scene very soon! Yvonne & Guite is owned by Caroline Coutand-Gavriloiu, who has loved to bake ever since she was a child in her parents’ kitchen. Her grandmothers, Yvonne …

Loire Valley Wines Dinner at Portland Restaurant

After having this blog for nearly five months now, it dawned on me last week that I hadn’t actually dedicated a blog post to wine yet – a shocking travesty! My taste in wine has changed over the years – I used to prefer white, but I’ve got more into red wine recently. I think this is probably because we used to drink a lot of white wine in Cyprus in the heat, but now I love nothing more than a glass of red, snuggled up on the sofa on a winter’s evening in the UK.  My first experience of properly pairing food with wine came earlier this year, when Tim and I had to choose the food for our wedding. We travelled down to the venue in Dartmoor for the weekend with my sister-in-law and her partner, who know quite a bit about wine, to help us decide. And I’m so glad we did, as we ended up choosing the complete opposite to what we would probably have gone for on paper. We decided …

#FoodieFriends – Dan’s Review of The Pass Restaurant

This week’s #FoodieFriends post is from Dan Ericsson, a friend from University. He has an excellent taste in all things food and drink and has written about The Pass restaurant at South Lodge Hotel in Sussex. Funnily enough, it’s a sister company to Pennyhill Park, which I wrote about earlier this week. Great foodie minds think alike 😉 “It’s been four and a bit years since I moved from Sussex to London, hoping to find my fortune and some amazing food alongside it. Whilst restaurant-hunting has undeniably been successful with London’s excellent restaurant scene and a strong collection of favourites….. I’m painfully aware of the irony that if you offered me a meal anywhere in the country I’d pick somewhere about 20 minutes from where I grew up. Seeing a photo of the restaurant itself and the hotel containing it you wouldn’t connect the two at all. The hotel is a lovely country manor, and walking into the reception area there’s a definite sense of it being the perfect setting for a Poirot novel. The …

Moroccan Sausage Casserole with Pea & Mint Mash

The other day, I was really craving a sausage casserole, but I wanted something a little different to the norm. So I thought I’d combine European meats (sausages/pancetta) with some Moroccan/Middle Eastern flavours. It might sound strange, but it worked! It’s also a really easy recipe, as you just throw everything together. Admittedly, the photo doesn’t make it look that appetising – I just need to find a better way of serving it!  Ingredients 6 sausages 100g pancetta 1 onion (finely chopped) 2 garlic cloves (grated/crushed) 1 red pepper (chopped into small pieces) 1 courgette (chopped into small pieces) 1 tin chopped tomatoes Half tin of chickpeas 1 tsp paprika 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp ground cumin Large bowl of frozen garden peas 8 mint leaves (very finely chopped) Half a lemon (juice) Salt and pepper (to taste) Method Pre-heat the oven to 170C (fan). Heat some olive oil in a pan on the hob on a medium heat (use a pan which can also be transferred to the oven). Add the onion and …