Now that there is a chill in the air and the nights are drawing in sooner I’m in the mood to cook at home. We live in an era of convenience these days, sometimes its fun to make your own as opposed to buying things in. Once such a thing is Pasta and Pesto. I find making pasta completely soothing. Maybe its all that tension released when you are working the dough by hand? I don’t know, I just know that making things by had brings me joy. Plus it means that I can go shopping for quality ingredients at Lina Stores
Someone once said that the only thing that never changes is that things will change. (Or something like that). London is always changing and that one thing that I really love. Love how the changes subtly happen in areas that you don’t visit that often. One of the quickest changing areas for me is Soho, other than the areas that I’ve lived in, it’s the one area of town that I’ve spent in varying levels of drunkenness in.
It’s fun to regale the history of what used to be in each location… Like the Fetish Shop that became a Hotel Chocolate, then The Nata café. How about my favourite late night sandwich shop, Old Compton Café that somehow became another less flamboyant Balan’s.
How about the video game arcade on Old Compton Street where you used to be able to play that dancing game in the window (Such good memories of that place) that became soulless eatery that was Muriel’s to its latest incarnation of the Old Compton Brasserie.
Does anyone remember ChaCha Moon? That Chinese restaurant that opened in Kingly Court…. The one that offered all the dishes for £3.50 during the soft launch and it was packed. Then they tried to up the prices to what should be market value prices and people stopped going? The one that closed and made space for Pastaio and The Meh! Egg. Those are all things that I remember about it.
I cannot remember a single dish that was amazing. Maybe that’s why it closed. It was an amazing space and carry on concept from Wagamama. But the food was pretty average. Great for £3.50, not so great for £10-£15 per plate.
One thing that I do remember was a drink… The Salted Sprite. Funny that it’s not a traditional Chinese Drink, it has a Thai origin. It’s a drink that really resounded with me as I love sweet and salty together.
Hello September! Another scorcher… and a reminder that summer is almost over. It was a really quick month for me, though it had all the same number of days as everyone else. I went to my first festival outside of London…. and guess what? It Rained. The summer could not hold out for that weekend. Enough about the weather and let’s get to my Lucky 7 memories from August.
Brunch is so huge right now. I feel like Carrie Bradshaw would be very proud of all that she achieved for the popularity of this meal. As you probably know (or not if you are new to here) Brunch must contain breakfast dishes… If there are no eggs, no toast, no waffles, no porridge or no pastries IT’S NOT BRUNCH. It’s just a lunch.
Now that we have cleared that up, brunch is a huge business in London. Everyone offers it, everyone eats it, heck there is even a festival about it. Don’t ask me why you’d pay for a ticket to walk around in crowds to see a bunch of exhibitions stands and eat a taster spoon of Shakshuka. Just look on the internet and see where to go. Sorry I digress.
One place that I would highly recommend for brunch is the Bloomberg Arcade. Nope, it’s not a restaurant, but more of an arcade of top quality restaurants in the city. I bet you are asking why I’m suggesting Bloomberg Arcade. It’s all about the location. Being situated in the city it is busy Monday to Friday with men in suits and women power lunching over cocktails. Come the weekend it’s a different story altogether. I’m not saying its desolate, but you won’t have to queue for an impromptu brunch.
I’m pickle obsessed. I love how they manage to be mouth puckering sour and still have elements of sweet, spice and even undertones of umami. I love eating them as ingredients in sandwiches, on burgers and as garnishes on dishes. I’ve even been known to drink the pickle juice at the bottom of the jar, vinegar is good for you, right?
My pickle obsession goes back to my childhood. My mother would spend several weeks in late summer and early autumn pickling and preserving vegetables for use during the rest of the year and for gift giving. It would take weeks. Our house would be filled with that sweet acidic smell of brine, there would be jars upon hot jars filled with salted vegetables waiting for their batch in the brine then sealed for a couple months of hibernation.
As much as I would love to carry on in the same vein, I just don’t have space to make and store them. More importantly, she did loads, I would not have the use for that many pickles. Before you suggest that I make some for myself then start a business to sell the rest, I’ve been there (not with pickles mind you)
So what is a boy to do? Quick Pickles to the answer. These are pickles that you make, are ready to eat in about 24 hours, they are stored in the fridge, stay ‘fresh’ for about 2 months (if they last that long) and are super easy.
What’s probably the best thing about these pickles is you can mix and match the spices and herbs with the veg. The ultimate kitchen alchemy project. Go on…
Hello August! Where did July go? July was always the best month of my childhood… All the BBQ’s, all the time by the pool and all the time just being outside. This July was the same (minus the pools) If its departure means that we don’t have to deal with those volcanic heats… I’m all for kissing the month goodbye. I hope that we have a lovely warm (not hot) couple of months before moving into the cooler season. Enough about the weather and let’s get to my Lucky 7 memories from July.
If you ask for recommendations for an Indian Brunch in London, I guarantee you that 99% of the responses will say Dishoom. I would wholeheartedly agree with that response, in fact, that would be the recommendation that would come to mind. Yes, the breakfast/brunch offering there is pretty amazing… (drooling now thinking about that bacon naan), but I don’t think there have ever been any contenders to take that crown…. Well, that is until Dum Biryani launched their Hyderabad Brunch offering two weeks ago.
If you are in London right now, you are feeling my pain…. ITS TOO DARN HOT! Yeah, I like the warm weather, but this city is not built for this heat! I’m not built for this heat as a matter of fact. I loved the cooler summers that we used to have here a few years ago. Thanks for that Mr Global Warming.
I’m heavily investing in ice and ice-cream at the moment, but other than that I don’t want to cook at all unless I’m outside doing something on the BBQ. The heat is hell, I’m not turning on the stove at all (or at least as little as possible). So, finding cool/cold things to eat has been fun… been eating loads of salads and smoothies, but I want more.
The other evening I was invited alongside other food influencers to the Marylebone institution of Clarette for an evening of food and drink to celebrate German Wines. In particular the wine from one variety of German grape. Riesling (pronounced reece-ling)
Before that night if you accosted me on the street and held a proverbial gun to my head and demanded that I list countries that produce great wine… Germany would sadly not have been on that list. Not because I held on to that old school reputation that Germany made overly sweet blue nun style of wines. But mainly because I’m very much a creature of habit with a small knowledge of wine. Which generally means once I get served a wine that I like I stick with it.
Fans of German wine are quick to shout that Riesling produce some of the finest white wines on the planet. Hopefully, after this evening I would think the same. Riesling is the most popular variety of grape used in production in Germany accounting for some 25% of grape production.