Author: Megan Hallinan

An evening with Kikkoman at Frog by Adam Handling

A few months ago, our (equally foodie) friends Matt and Tilly visited The Frog restaurant in East London’s Brick Lane, owned and run by former MasterChef winner Adam Handling, and raved about it – they even brought us back some of the infamous ‘chicken butter’ because it was just so good (more on that later). It’s a restaurant I’ve been wanting to go to for so long but just sadly hadn’t got around to it. Well that all changed recently when I was invited to a private dinner by the lovely Kikkoman team at Adam’s brand-new restaurant ‘Frog by Adam Handling’ in Covent Garden. You might have read last year I attended a Kikkoman dinner at Sushisamba (you can catch up here if you missed it) and had a fantastic experience – it was fascinating to learn more about the soy sauce products and how they were incorporated into the dishes. Sushisamba might have had a more obvious connection for an event related to soy sauce products (for those who haven’t been, they serve a …

Staying at The Residence, Zanzibar

After an incredible stay at Chyulu Hills in Kenya for my 30th birthday (you can catch up here about the hotel and here about the safari it you haven’t read them yet), we spent the second half of the holiday on the island of Zanzibar. I’ve always been fascinated by it as a destination, ever since I was a child. The name conjures up so many magical and fantastical images, with photos of calming turquoise waters and vibrant colours of the spice markets helping to reinforce this dream-like place. And hey, it was even referenced in a Tenacious D song (if you know, you know). So I was so excited to finally get to spend some time there. We took our tiny safari link plane from Chyulu Hills back to Nairobi, and from there we caught a slightly bigger plane which took about an hour and a half direct to Zanzibar. One of the many perks of booking with Turquoise Holidays is that we were met off the plane at the tarmac and escorted to …

A chocolatey Sailor Jerry Easter cocktail!

I recently learned about and tried Sailor Jerry rum. I do love a spot of rum (particularly in a cocktail) and this one has a great story.  ‘Sailor Jerry’ was born Norman Collins, and came of age in the 1920’s when tattooing was an expression that belonged to an emerging American counterculture. He left home as a teenager and travelled the US by hitchhiking and train hopping and it was along this way that he learned how to tattoo, working primitively with only a needle and black ink, doing designs freehand. He ended up in Chicago where he worked with local tattoo legend Gib Thomas who taught him how to use a proper tattoo machine. He then joined the Navy and developed a lifelong love of ships.  After the Navy he settled in Honolulu and at the height of World War Two, he was regularly tattooing many of the 12 million Americans serving in the military who were on shore leave in Hawaii. This is where he created his legacy. I also had no idea …

How to prepare for safari – hints and tips!

You might have read that we went on an incredible safari in October for my birthday. If not, you can catch up on our stay at Ol Donyo Lodge here, and our safari experience here. We had so many questions ahead of our trip and we read varying advice online (often contradicting each other), so I thought it might be useful to put together some of my own hints and tips together for how to prepare for safari! Clothing: This was probably our biggest question – what should we wear on safari? We browsed through countless websites which implied that you needed the entire kit, from hats to zip up trousers, at great expense most of the time. They also said it was important to only wear natural looking green and beige colours in order to blend in with the environment. Bright colours could frighten off wildlife and full on camouflage clothing could get you in trouble with the local law, as this is their attire of choice! It seemed like a bit of a …

Apple, Fennel & Russet Squire Sausage Roll Bites

As I’m sure you all know by now, there’s nothing I love more than trying a new cheese, I’m completely and utterly cheese obsessed. When an e-mail pops into my inbox letting me know about a new cheese, my eyes light up! And this happened recently when I learned about the new Russet Squire cheese from Curds & Croust. Curds & Croust is a Cornwall based cheesemaker that uses the best Cornish milk sourced from within 30 miles of the dairy, making top quality curds that they put a lot of care and attention into. And as for the ‘croust’, this is a Cornish term for a tasty snack often associated with the best baked bread and the finest Cornish cheese. The team at Curds & Croust craft a number of delicious cheeses, ‘Boy Laity’ (a Cornish camembert), Miss Wenna (a Cornish brie), The Truffler (a Cornish truffle brie) and now Russet Squire. All of the cheeses are overseen by master cheesemaker, Martin Gaylard, who has been dedicated to crafting prestige soft cheeses since boyhood. …

Lunch at Three Hares Cafe, Sedbergh

I was going through my blog drafts at the weekend and came across this one sitting there that I hadn’t completed from nearly a year ago! I couldn’t believe I didn’t post it, what an idiot. And it’s one that’s definitely worth sharing. You might recall that over the May bank holiday last year, we went on a fantastic trip to the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, staying at The Malabar. When researching where to visit (and importantly where to eat and drink!), I came across Three Hares Cafe in nearby ‘booktown’ Sedbergh, at the foot of the Howgills, owned and run by James and Nina. I love the reason behind the name for the cafe. The name ‘Three Hares’ comes from the symbol found throughout the world from English Churches, to synagogues, to Buddhist Temples. According to their website, The Three Hares symbol represents their style of cooking, influenced by James’ upbringing in the local area involved with wild foods and game, and heavily influenced by Nina’s background of growing up in Germany with …

Would you trust a robot with your wine choice? A review of Clara Wine

How much do you know about wine? I mean, really know about wine? I’m sure most people would know if they prefer a Merlot over a Pinot Noir, the latter seeming to be the ‘wine of choice’ in recent times, the ‘flat white’ of the wine world. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely in that category of people who will quite happily jump onto a new ‘trend’ in wine. And for me, the reason I’ll do that is because quite frankly I’m daunted by trying to properly understand the wine world. People do courses and exams in this, there’s so much to learn! I know that I like wine, and I know what flavours I like, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I know how to choose a bottle in a shop or restaurant. I often find myself in the wine aisle in Sainsbury’s staring at their ‘fine wine’ stand ahead of a dinner party without a clue what I’m really looking for. And as the old saying goes, ‘never judge a book by its cover’, …