Month: February 2016

Meaty Issues with Love Food Hate Waste

I attended an event hosted by Love Food Hate Waste last year with Nancy Birtwhistle, which talked about how much bread gets wasted in the UK. It was a great campaign to be a part of, and so when they invited me to their #MeatyIssues event, I couldn’t wait – especially as it involved one of my favourite topics to talk about on here. Meat! The event took place at Smiths of Smithfield, a restaurant I’d actually been wanting to visit for some time, and was hosted by head of Love Food Hate Waste, Dr Richard Swannell and BBC Countryfile’s Adam Henson. Adam is the perfect man for the job, being a farmer himself. I was genuinely shocked to learn that around £260 million is spent on beef products that are thrown away every year from UK households. That’s the equivalent of 34,000 tonnes of beef, or 300 million burgers. I can’t ever imagine throwing away a beef product because I hold it in such high regard, but these are real statistics. When I learned …

A Little Lusciousness Valentine’s Supper Club

I started this blog a year ago, and fairly soon after, I met fellow food blogger Rosie of A Little Lusciousness at a chocolate baking class. We bumped into each other at a few events after that and I learned more about the amazing supper club which she runs, also named A Little Lusciousness. She’s the top rated chef on Grub Club, the leading website that allows you to book tickets for supper clubs and is in the midst of writing her own cookbook inspired by the seasons and surroundings. I’d been wanting to go along to one of her acclaimed supper clubs for so long, and finally had the opportunity to go on Valentine’s weekend with Tim. We’d had a few bad experiences going to big restaurants in London on Valentine’s Day so this seemed like the perfect alternative, plus it was a chance for Tim to pop his supper club cherry 😉 It was hosted in a gorgeous little cafe/restaurant in West London, and we were just salivating over the menu: Sparkling welcome cocktail …

Dinner at Megan’s, St John’s Wood

Whenever we’d driven along King’s Road, past ‘Megan’s Restaurant’, my family would always joke that it was my secret business. I’d wanted to pay it a visit for a long time and I’d heard great things about their breakfast/brunch, but it felt like a long way for us to go on a weekend morning. So it was lovely to receive an invitation to visit their St John’s Wood restaurant for dinner – I didn’t actually know they had a location there so I was intrigued to see what it would be like after all this time of wondering. As soon as I walked in, I just loved the décor and ambience – unique wooden tables and chairs, twinkling fairy lights, candles and quirky animal cushions –  a great date venue! If indeed I ever was to open a restaurant, this is the kind of vibe I’d like it to have! My camera did struggle a bit with the dim lighting, so I’d say that these photos won’t quite do the food justice (you’ll just have …

‘Gin It Yourself’ at The Happenstance, St Pauls 

I was recently invited to a gin pop up at The Happenstance in St Pauls, so I knew I had to take along my gin expert buddy Ceri. We actually visited the restaurant together last summer, which you can read about here – we were particularly impressed with their vast cocktail menu. ‘Gin It Yourself’ allows you to create your own bespoke G&T, choosing your gin, tonic and garnish, with a wide range of flavours and botanicals. First of all, we sampled eight different gins, to get a taste for the various flavours and see which ones we liked best. Tanqueray No.10 – I had obviously tried Tanqueray gin on numerous occasions but I hadn’t actually tried the No.10 – this was beautiful, with hints of grapefruit and camomile Little Bird – as the brand and the bottle depicts, this gin is going back to old school basics. The percentage was weaker but felt stronger, which makes it perfect for cocktails. Gin Mare – made with olives, this has been one of my favourite gins for …

Climbing the Gros Piton, St Lucia

When we were looking at things to do in St Lucia, we discovered that you could climb the iconic ‘pitons’ – the Petit Piton was apparently difficult and only for the experienced climber (involving ropes etc) but the 2619ft high Gros Piton (from the reviews I’d read) seemed doable. Now I’d like to point out that up until recently, I rarely went to the gym. I did manage to lose over a stone in the couple of months leading up to our wedding a year ago, but after a house move (and the loss of the free gym in our old complex), a job in food PR and this blog, things had gone rather to pot. Still, ‘how hard could it be?!’ I said to myself… We were picked up early at 6.45am to try and beat the heat, with a private transfer to the piton. Our hotel (Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, which I’ve written about here) provided us with water, sandwiches and fresh fruit. On arrival at the piton we were met by our …

Dinner at Pasta Remoli, Finsbury Park

I was recently invited for dinner at Pasta Remoli in Finsbury Park. I don’t know the area very well but a friend of mine lives there, so it was the perfect opportunity for us to have a catch up over some yummy Italian food! Pasta Remoli is located a stone’s throw from Finsbury Park tube station and has a lovely rustic yet modern feel to it. Chef Simon Remoli was born and raised in Rome, inspired by his own mother’s fabulous home cooking. He trained in Rome before moving to and working in London, but he was disappointed with the quality of pasta that was being served in some of London’s top restaurants. He wanted to be able to offer customers a diverse range of fresh home made pastas and sauces, giving them the opportunity to customise their meal as they see fit. And so Pasta Remoli was born. Alongside Simone is Head Chef Alessandro Stefoni, previous sous chef of Michelin starred restaurant Imago. The only issue with giving the customer such a wide range of …

A Scotch Beef Valentine’s

Do you normally go out for Valentine’s Day or stay at home? We’ve had mixed experiences of eating out on the day – some have been lovely but others have been a bit of a disaster, one of which was actually at a well known steak restaurant. Everything just gets so busy and unnecessarily stressful! So now we often eat at home. This year, Quality Meat Scotland sent me some fantastic steaks and ingredients to create the perfect romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day. As regularly readers will know, meat has been always been an important part of my family, with my dad working for the Meat and Livestock Commission his entire life. So it’s always interesting for me to try new types of meat and learn about where it comes from. Scotch Beef PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) is specially selected beef from Scotland, from farms that must adopt best practice regarding animal welfare and natural production methods.75% of Scotland’s land mass is used for agricultural production, making the farming industry the single biggest determinant of the landscape …

A wonderful evening at The Ledbury

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of dining at The Ledbury. It was four of my friend’s 30th birthdays (one of them including Tim!) and Matt had managed to get us a table at this incredible restaurant, one of very few to have two Michelin stars! Chef Brett Graham has won countless awards since beginning his career in Australia at the age of 15, working in a fish restaurant. At The Ledbury he is joined by Head Chef Greg Austin, also from Australia. For dinner, the restaurant offers a Tasting Menu or a four course meal, and we decided on the latter. The quality of these photos won’t do these exceptional plates of food justice, but it really didn’t feel appropriate to get a big camera out – our phones had to do! I ordered the following: First Course: Hand Dived Scallops, Ceviche, Seaweed and Herb Oil, Frozen English Wasabi Second Course: Warm Bantam’s Egg, Celeriac, Dried Ham, Arbois and Summer Truffle Main Course: Iberico Pork, Purple Carrots Baked in Hay, Mustard and Trompettes Dessert: Warm Chocolate, Tartlet with Malt …

A Pasta Education from Jamie’s Italian

As you probably know, I absolutely adore pasta. When I was a child, I had pasta with tuna, mayonnaise and peas for lunch at school every day for at least a couple of years. I think my teachers thought I was a little bit insane. I’d still be eating it every day now if I had the same metabolism as a seven year old! The team at Jamie’s Italian recently sent me this infographic on different types of pasta, where they originate from and the history behind them, so I thought it would be interesting to share with you all – there were certainly some types in here I’d never heard of or tried: I thought I’d try out a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s website to include in this post, and this one really took my fancy – Chicken, Leek, Pea and Pasta Bake. Ingredients 1 tablespoon butter , plus extra for greasing 350 g conchiglie pasta olive oil 2 leeks , roughly chopped 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced 100 ml chicken stock …

Staying at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, St Lucia 

In the words of Maria Von Trapp, “let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start”. I was wondering where to begin on writing about our wonderful holiday to St Lucia and then the wise old words of Maria sprang to mind. So this first post is about our arrival in St Lucia, and our stay at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat in Soufriere. When I was booking the holiday as a surprise for Tim’s 30th, I wanted it to have two elements – both relaxing and adventurous. Boucan certainly fit the bill for the latter (and even the former, to a degree!) Boucan is a small luxury hotel owned by world renowned chocolatiers Hotel Chocolat, on the South-West of the island in Soufriere. Boucan is set among the rainforest, on St Lucia’s oldest chocolate plantation, the Rabot Estate. When you think of St Lucia, you might think of the two big ‘mountains’ that you see in all of the photos, known as the pitons. Well this hotel overlooked them both – you …