Month: June 2015

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 …

Afternoon Tea at Bettys, Harrogate

As you may have read in this previous blog post, I recently spent the weekend up in North Yorkshire where my mum lives, and where I grew up as a child.  On my last day, before begrudgingly catching the train back down to London, we decided to go for Afternoon Tea at Bettys Tearoom in Harrogate. I had taken my mum to Afternoon Tea at Harrods last year as a Mother’s Day treat and we enjoyed it so much – I think it’s a lovely way for mums and daughters to have cake and a catch-up! Apparently Afternoon Tea was first invented by The Langham Hotel in London and they are marking the 150th anniversary this year.     Bettys is highly regarded across the globe and at weekends, you will often find a queue around the corner of the building, with tourists from all over the world paying a visit. It was founded by Frederick Belmont, a Swiss baker and confectioner who came to England in search of opportunities to develop his craft skills. …

Throwback Thursday: The Latymer, Pennyhill Park

Towards the end of 2012, Tim treated us to a night away at Pennyhill Park. Pennyhill Park is a beautiful 5 star hotel and spa in Bagshot, Surrey, about an hour from Central London by train. After spending the afternoon being pampered in the spa, we were booked in for dinner at The Latymer, Pennyhill Park’s Two Michelin starred restaurant. The Head Chef is Michael Wignall, who was awarded his first Michelin star 14 years ago. He describes his cooking as ‘complex and carefully crafted’, which I couldn’t agree with more… if only I could remember exactly what we had as part of the Tasting Menu that we tried. Funnily enough, Tim and I both say that this was our favourite Tasting Menu to date (and we’ve tried quite a few!), but we can’t for the life of us tell you exactly what we had. I think this is largely due to the intricacy of each of the courses – they are visually stunning and the complex combination of flavours and textures is a taste to behold! What …

A Whole New World Of Flavours From Bluebird Tea Co

A good cup of tea is part of our British culture – the first thing my mum does when getting back from a shopping trip is to whack the kettle on and get out the Yorkshire Tea! But funnily enough, I never really got into it (shock horror!) – I think largely because in Cyprus, it was just too hot, so we would drink iced teas and frappes. But when I moved to London, I started to get into flavoured teas. To begin with, it was just the usual green tea, strawberry tea etc. Then I learned of some companies that produced much more creative flavours and combinations – one of these, is the fabulous Bluebird Tea Co, which sells some of the most inventive teas I’ve ever come across! Bluebird Tea Co is a Brighton-based business, owned and run by young couple Krisi and Mike who met at University. They saw a gap in the market for a loose-leaf tea brand and are now the UK’s expert tea mixologists, with over 50 tea flavours blending …

Chicken & Whisky at Bull In A China Shop

Chicken and Whisky are two of Tim’s favourite things, so when I heard about a new restaurant which specialised in those two very things, I couldn’t wait to take him there and see what he thought.  Bull In A China Shop opened recently in Shoreditch (just opposite Box Park) and describes itself as a Japanese Whisky House, which also serves food (breakfast, lunch and dinner).      Our visit was quite impromptu – we were going to a gig in Hackney after work and wanted to grab a bite to eat somewhere nearby, but we hadn’t booked anywhere. We thought we’d try Bull In A China Shop, which was open at that time although we were (unsurprisingly) the only people there at 6pm mid-week. It has a very rustic feel (so rustic, in fact, that one of the staff decided to dust around us. Perhaps wait until the customers have left to do the cleaning?!) and some great Japanese decor, while still fitting in with the Shoreditch style.      We both went for their …