Christmas Leftover Muffaletta

I was once asked what my death row dish would be….. Without hesitation, it was Christmas Dinner. I love it so much. Being You know what I love even more than Christmas dinner…. Using the leftovers to make fun and exciting things…. My favourite use, (and probably the most obvious) is making sandwiches with the left-over meats and sauces.

I’ve been obsessed with muffulettas for a while. I mean just one look and they are thrilling. Not familiar with a Muffuletta?

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Holiday Traditions – Spiked Eggnog

One Christmas tradition that I miss here in the UK is eggnog. Proper eggnog. Not an Eggnog Latte (they are not the same) Most certainly not Advocat which someone tried to pass off on me when I first moved here.

You can get eggnog here in the UK, but it’s super expensive and its filled with preventives and UBER sweet. This recipe is kind of easy and uses a blender and a hand whisk.

Eggnog is generally spiked with rum, brandy or bourbon. I’ve gone with a mixture of Jack Daniels Fire for some cinnamon heat, Absolut Vanilla for some sweetness and Makers Mark Bourbon for a kick.

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Khachapuri – Georgian Cheese Egg Bread

Don’t you love when an influencer does their job an influence?  Dan from ThinkingFood247 posted a picture of  KHACHAPURI aka Georgian Cheese Egg Bread and I thought that I needed to have that.  Now rather than trekking up to the bakery that he bought it from, I set out to make it at home.  Thank you, Dan, my messy kitchen thanks you. Most importantly my belly thanks you.

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Smashburger

Have you ever flirted with someone in a bar for most of the evening…  Then you go in for the kill to seal the deal. You are making out when someone entirely more appealing catches your eye.  Not because you are some sort of a Casanova, but your kissing companion is a really repulsive kisser that has you questioning the meaning of life with every smack of their lips?

Nope?  Me either, but I’ve seen it at least once in the movies.

Smashburger has risen to fame in my home state of Colorado.  This has happened since I left the US many moons ago.  I was mega excited to try their burgers when we heard that they were expanding to the UK.  Sadly, they had no initial plans to open in London.  Other towns like Brighton, Glasgow, Leeds and Newcastle

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Handmade Pasta with Creamy Pesto

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

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Old Compton Brasserie

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.

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Salted Lemon Vodka Smash

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.

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The Lucky 7 – My Best Bits from August

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. 

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Brunching at Bloomberg Arcade

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.

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Fridge Essential: Quick Pickles

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… 

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