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Day 3 of Lent: Vegan Bean Stew

5 Mar

Tonight’s supper was leftover bean stew from yesterday. It’s a traditional Greek meal (pronounced “Fasolia”) that’s made with onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes and, of course, beans!

It’s one of my favourite meat-free dinners and goes really well with sliced spring onion and a hunk of fresh bread for dipping! I’m stuffed!

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Top 5 Things of the Week (September 2nd – 8th)

8 Sep

#1 Meatopia in London

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The annual New York meat and barbecue festival finally branched out to London and the result was an epic celebration with a carnival atmosphere.

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The intoxicating aroma rising from Tobacco Dock in East London must’ve been detected for miles around: grills sizzled with a mix of quail, beef, venison, chicken and an abundance of pork! There were too many dishes to choose from, and it didn’t help that queues were lengthy, but everything sampled was a juicy delight of smokiness and texture.

My full review of the event is posted on The Upcoming so read more here.

#2 Desserts at Vivo in Islington

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The Upcoming sent me to attend a private preview event of this brand new bakery, café and bar, set to open on Islington’s Upper Street at the end of the month.

The pizzas were fabulous but the desserts were out of the stratosphere! My particular favourite was a Cassata Siciliana: a fondant-like Italian meringue housing candied peel and contrasting cream and sponge layers – heavenly! Read more here.

#3 Hiver‘s Honey Beer

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This is the nicest craft beer I’ve sampled in aaaages! Discovered at Meatopia, it’s the perfect balance of sweet and bitter, with a pleasant floral undertone.

Made with urban and rural honey, the beer is long matured and unpasteurised. Hiver tone down the hops with an organic speciality malt to bring out the honey flavours.

#4 Spanish Manchego from Mallorca

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Ah, nothing beats food gifts from relatives returning from a sojourn abroad. Presented with a lovely wedge of fresh Manchego, one of my favourite cheeses, I’ve been layering it with Membrillo and crackers for the perfect daily snack. Delicious!

#5 Barclays Business Seminar
The amount of free seminars, workshops and courses in London never ceases to amaze and inspire.

This week, I attended a seminar sponsored by Barclays and hosted by my local borough council. Offering useful advice and tips on how to launch your own business, from funding opportunities to tax laws!

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Plum + Spilt Milk

28 Jul

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The Upcoming Magazine sent me to sample the beautiful British cuisine at Plum + Spilt Milk in London’s King Cross and I was blown away by the spectacular execution of one of my favourite desserts. Read the full review here.

Top 5 Things of the Week (July 15th – 21st)

21 Jul

#1 Afternoon Tea at The Park Lane Hotel for The Cake Awards

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The inaugural Cake Awards were a wonderful celebration of what has to be one of the greatest sweet treats ever invented, and they even served up a wonderful Afternoon Tea as part of the occasion – delicious and fitting! The cake tier was superb but it’s fair to say that the entire selection of sweet and savoury treats was delectable.

#2 Lemon Collins at Bumpkin Notting Hill
This foam topped cocktail was stunning, refreshing and delicious! It’s my new favourite tipple for the summer.

#3 Moroccan Afternoon Tea at Momo

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For an entire afternoon, I felt as though I was in the heart of Morocco, enjoying a mouthwatering array of aromatic and intricate flavours, in a luxurious Afternoon Tea at Momo in London. I was half expecting a stamp in my passport – but then I remembered that I hadn’t actually left London!

#4 Alexandra Palace 150th Birthday Celebration

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Ally Pally is one of my favourite places in the UK and I was so excited to celebrate the venue’s 150th anniversary with family at their glorious fun day. The atmosphere, weather, live entertainment and Farmer’s Market were all fantastic!

#5 Strawberry Picking at Parkway Farm
It’s an annual tradition in my house to go to Parkway Farm near Hadley Wood to pick strawberries. Although we visit at other times of year for other fresh produce, my childhood memories of strawberry picking will always keep the farm dear in my heart. Its sweet, juicy strawberries are the best!

REVIEW: FEAST IN THE FIELDS IN HACKNEY

1 Jul

London’s pop-up foodie options add a delicious layer of excitement to the summer season and The Upcoming magazine decided to send me to East London in search of Feast In The Fields. The monthly gathering of street food vendors, pop-up restaurants and music performers promises to be the ultimate street party… but is it? Read my review here.

INTRODUCING: Happy Greens Smoothies

16 Jun

Today I was one of the privileged few who were asked to sample a new smoothie range from Happy Greens.

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The Hackney based producer uses spinach as a key ingredient to create delicious, healthy and fresh flavour combinations that just happen to be the colour of Robin Hood’s tights! As these drinks aren’t pasteurised like many other smoothie brands on the market, you get a fully charged, vitamin-packed dose of raw fruit and vegetables to keep your mojo boosted and your vitality in tact. It’s an easy way to get one of your recommended ‘5-a-day’.

I sampled two flavours: the first was light, sweet and flavoursome, adding banana, mango and kiwi to Popeye’s favourite snack. The second paired spinach with lime (rind, pulp and flesh) to deliver a zesty and revitalising energy injection to help kickstart the day.

Watch out for the imminent launch of Happy Greens smoothies in shops and eateries across London. Remember where you heard it first…

REVIEW: One New Change’s Weekly Food Market Spices Up The City of London

2 Jun

Yesterday marked the launch of a brand new, weekly food market in the City of London’s classy and inviting shopping mall, One New Change. Introduced by chef, food writer and style icon Gizzi Erskine (pictured), the arrival of the market reflects Londoners’ growing demands for fresh or locally sourced produce, exciting new flavours and homemade delicacies. 

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There was something to suit all palettes and hunger pangs – from crumbly, handmade cheeses to mouthwatering cakes, biscuits and breads. With the enticement of free samples and cheerful conversation from an eclectic mix of sellers – all set against a backdrop of popular fashion retail outlets just a short walk away from St. Paul’s Cathedral – this new market offers the perfect pit-stop during a Saturday trip into London.

I’ve compiled a list of recommended items to buy from the market but, in all honesty, every stall has something so tantalisingly delicious, you’ll have a hard time deciding what you want to take home. My sweet tooth naturally veers towards confectionery and cakes – as indicated by my recommendations below – but there’s an abundance of savoury options to enjoy so I’ll be making a second trip down to the market within the next few weeks to buy a wider range of yummy goodies!

1. Handmade doughnuts by Cakehole (£1 each / 5 for £4 / 10 for £8)

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These lusciously light buns are available with a filling of jam, vanilla creme or chocolate custard. Lip-lickingly tasty without being too sickly, I came home wishing I could have purchased the whole stall. Family and friends all agreed that the vanilla doughnut I brought home was heavenly – but had left them all wanting more!

2. Bresaola by Picco (£4 per pack)

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This tangy, melt-in-the mouth beef – cured with rosemary, thyme and juniper berries before being thinly sliced – would be perfect in a sandwich, eaten on its own or enjoyed as part of a summer picnic, served with fresh bread, mozarella, rocket and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Utterly wonderful and an absolute must for any charcuterie board!

3. 70% Chocolate Brownies by Galeta (£2 each)

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Deliciously decadent, moist and satisfyingly gooey in the centre, this award-winning brownie is one of the best in the UK. You’ll savour every bite. Guaranteed.

4. Indian Spiced Shortbread & Mini Madeleines by Pistachio Rose (ask for prices)

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Aromatic, fragrant, light and seriously sensuous, Pistachio Rose successfully combine bold flavour combinations into elegant, delicately balanced, biscuits and cakes. They both excite the senses and satisfy curiosity. Outstanding.

5. Chocolates by Secret Garden (Bag of Truffles £4 / prices for bars and slabs vary)

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This small start-up, from North London, only uses ethically sourced ingredients. Their white chocolate, vanilla truffle melted in my mouth to deliver a luxurious burst of flavour, whilst a strawberry and balsamic alternative delivered an intoxicatingly sweet and sharp explosion, quickly followed by the sinful richness of intense, dark chocolate. Superb.

6. Chocolate Cake by Arapina (ask for prices)

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My mother has been making moreish cakes without any butter or preservatives for as long as I can remember. Thus, when I found out that Arapina also makes her signature chocolate cake without using any butter or unhealthy additives, I had phenomenally high expectations. A free sample of her creation thankfully dispelled all my fears. Packed with flavour, it was gratifyingly moist, rich, melt-in-the-mouth and not too sweet – everything I expect from a good chocolate cake. Thank you, Arapina!

7. ‘Biskies’ by Cutter & Squidge (ask for prices)

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Everyone who tried a free sample was quick to comment on the excellent flavour combinations of Cutter & Squidge’s rainbow display of ‘Biskies’ (such as milk choc with peanut and salted caramel; green tea with white choc and raspberry; or raspberry with lychee and rose). Looking a bit like a Macaron-Whoopie Pie hybrid, these are a moist and moreish cross between crisp biscuits and chewy cookies – hence the name ‘Biskies’! Addictive, original and a must-add to your bucket list of things to eat before you die!

8. 100% Raw Local Honey by Local Honey Man (ask for prices)

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Produced using beehives located, amongst other places, in Hackney and Essex, jovial Londoner Curtis (a.k.a the Local Honey Man) boasts an array of delicious varieties to satisfy even the pickiest honey connoisseur. Check out the White Rape Seed and Lucerne options but, whatever your preference, Curtis has the perfect jar of honey to sweeten your day!

9. Mexican Cheese by Gringa Dairy (£5 / 250g)

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This delicious Mexican cheese is made in Peckham and reminded me of fresh, salted ‘Anari’ found in villages across Southern Cyprus (which, if you’re unfamiliar with, is a bit similar to Italian Ricotta). Light, tasty and bursting with flavour, I might add it to my dinner party cheese board and have some fun asking my guests to guess where it’s from!

10. Chocolates by Chocololo (ask for prices)

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Delectable chocolates inspired by Provence, these are everything you’d expect… luxurious, smooth, pretty and sophisticated. They are slightly less rich and intense in comparison to some of the other chocolates and chocolate flavoured goods available at the market – which makes it far less sickly to devour more of them. Result!

11. Curry Bread by The Thornbury Deli (ask for prices)

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Light and airy with a perfect crust, the Thornbury Deli’s wonderful loaves are made even better with imaginative spices and other ingredients. Try the Curry bread or the Cheddar Cheese, Tomato and Red Onion loaf – both are divine!

One New Change Food Market, every Saturday from 10am