A year later…

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A little over a year later and I’ve finally got round to writing again. A lot can happen in 15 months. To summarise, I’ve travelled to 4 different countries, been to two weddings( was honoured to be a bridesmaid at one), got a year older, started running in the mornings before work (which I’ve enjoyed much more than I expected) and have cooked not as much as I hoped in the past couple of months. Work’s taken over a little, as it always does.

Sadly I don’t have a recipe to post up, however, I do have a list of favourites which I hope will ease me back into things and hopefully food will start to follow. In good time. I’m off to Melbourne in less than two weeks and no doubt the trip will inspire me and introduce me to lots of new experiences. I already have my eye on one particular coffee house which serves vegetarian food and can’t wait to sample it. I also can’t wait to be a tourist and explore a new city. Not just any city. Melbourne has recently been voted the friendliest city in the world alongside Auckland. 

So this list begins with things I plan to do in Melbourne and then has a few other bits worth tagging on the end.

  • Monk Bodhi Dharma, in Balaclava Victoria. Their Avignon Apple Pancakes and San Benito Burrito sound awesome. I’ll be ordering both.
  • Lentil As Anything, a not for profit vegetarian restaurant
  • Philip Island Nature Parks. I will be photographing a lot of penguins. And maybe a few koalas
  • Victoria Street is apparently packed with amazing Vietnamese restaurants. I’ll see how many I can manage to eat at in one day.
  • Northcote Social Club for live music in Northcote.
  • Sun Theatre Yarraville
  • Melbourne Cricket Ground
  • Getting a tram from Brunswick to St Kilda. Approximately 1 hour
  • Sylvan Esso‘s beautiful music video for their single ‘Coffee’
  • The Table Cafe‘s all day breakfast menu includes Pancakes with Crispy Bacon, Caramelised Banana and Maple Syrup (pictured above). It’s one of the best dinners I’ve had in a long time. And people say “pancakes are only for breakfast”. Think again.

 

favourites list:how we walk on the moon

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photo (39)The last couple of weeks have been a little mad, a little packed, a little speedy, a little less sane. But now hopefully things are going to be a little calmer. I’ve got the next week and a half off before starting a new jobs in events. Excited and nervous at the same time. I’m going to be thrown into the deep end as June/July are heaving with weddings, parties and summer madness.

I’ve managed to build up a favourites list this month, mainly music, and thought I’d get it up on here whilst I’ve got a bit more time on my hands. I’ve been doing a lot of baking over the last two weeks. Once I’ve taken photos I’ll get Chocolate Beetroot Cake and Shortbread up on here.

Antony Micallef‘s beautiful paintings. This one’s my favourite currently featured on his website.

Julie Verhoeven‘s fashion illustrations. I remember being sat on a bus behind her a few years ago and was very excited and star struck. She had blue hair at the time. She’s quirky and ridiculously cool. There’s a great shot of her here

-A very good friend of mine is a Producer at Lambkini; a New York based production team. They’re latest video is with Margaret Glaspy, check it out here.

-I’m struggling to find the latest issue of Gentlewoman magazine with Beyonce on the cover. The issue also features Susan Sarandon, I’ve got to hunt it down!- A friend has got me hooked on the series Girls (I’m not the first to say Lena Dunham is a genius and I love her) which has an incredible sound track. A few of the songs are on my playlist for this month –

  1. Icona Pop – I love It
  2. Echo Friendly – Same Mistakes
  3. The 1975 – Chocolate
  4. Young Edits – How We Walk On The Moon
  5. Santigold – Lights Out
  6. Battles – Atlas
  7. Rudimental ft. Alex Clare & John Newman – Not Giving In
  8. Bastille – Rhythm Of The Night

-We finally made Baked Doughnuts at our last BISCOCHO Supper Club and they went down very very well.

 

bone daddies

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photo (32)Bone Daddies has been on my list of places to eat for a while. Finally got round to enjoying their lovely ramen dishes last weekend with a friend who thoroughly approved of the giant in house bibs. With cock scratchings on the menu what’s not to like! I went for T22 which was delicious. One of the best parts of the ramen was the boiled egg which soaks up all the flavours of the bone broth and melts in your mouth.

Bone Daddies is definitely worth a visit. Not just for the amazing food but also for the lively atmosphere. The restaurant plays a brilliant selection of rock n roll music with lovely staff looking after the busy tables and making sure the queue at the door were all looked after as well.

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Homemade mayonnaise

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photo (30)I wanted to share this recipe because it is delicious and very easy to make. I bought a pizza last week which I ate with my housemate. She loves mayonnaise and we had none in the flat but lots of eggs so I whipped us up a batch in less than 10 minutes. It tastes so much better than from a jar and it’s still going. I had some for dinner last night with salad and cous cous left over from a BISCOCHO supper club we held the night before ( 27 people – our biggest yet and raising money for Kids Company, post soon to follow) I got this recipe off the BBC website and it’s by The Hairy BikersFoolproof Mayonnaise. Yum, I will definitely be making more.

favourites list: love is touching souls

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Poppy had our BISCOCHO logo turned into a stamp for my Christmas present. It’s perfect for us and I love it. I wanted to make sure there is a copy on here and thought the best place was on a favourites list. The last time I did one of these was August 2012. I have some catching up to do. Anyway, here goes.

– Joni Mitchell’s A Case of You is in my ‘Top 5 Favourite Songs’ list. James Blake‘s cover is beautiful and was on repeat most of the coach ride home yesterday from Stansted airport.

Molly Wizenberg has been posting some beautiful shots of the new addition to their family on Orangette. She is the reason I started this blog and every time I read hers I wish my writing would improve.

– I asked a friend recently what song best described their mood at that moment in time. They picked Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide and that has now become a regular youtube listen along with Joan Baez’s Diamonds & Rust on my way to work.

– I’ve just got back from France and one of the books I came across in the house we stayed in was The Great British Bake Off: How to turn everyday bakes into showstoppers. 

– We started watching series two of Girls in France. I’m hooked and need to watch the first series before going any further.

Bompas & Parr‘s new book ‘Feast’ is now out and on my growing amazon list along with Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth, Cooking for Geeks and Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem.

Blueberry Hill Cakes’ Pinterest

The Zetter Townhouse Cocktail Club is on my list of places to visit this year along with Cafe Royal.

it’s been a while…i’ve been busy baking

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???????????????????????????????I’ve been a little preoccupied and abandoned oranges and lemons for much longer than planned. To summarise… I moved flats in December. It’s the best decision I’ve made in the past six months. I’ve also moved jobs which has been a little scary but at the same time a massive learning curve. And I’ve become a little obsessed with baking and dare I say it One Direction (Bruno Mars not far behind thanks to housemate).

I should be thanking my housemate for a lot of things. One of my oldest friends, we’ve known each other since we were nine and lived together back then but in boarding school halls. Now we’re grown ups (apparently) and we live in a grown up flat with another wonderful person and have made a wonderful home. I love being here and could quite happily stay indoors all day. Being self-employed I’ve had more time to spend at home which means baking happens often. Right now I’ve just pulled a Carrot and Spelt Flour cake out of the oven.

Going back to my housemate, LB, she’s a very supportive and loyal friend who has put up with a lot of my wingeing and taking over the kitchen so when her birthday arrived I wanted nothing more than to bake her the ultimate birthday cake. It was her choice of flavour and the final decision was Chocolate Peanut Butter cake. I found an american recipe which also had a cream cheese icing. I tend to be overly critical and there is a lot I would change about this recipe – cream cheese icing doesn’t go, not enough peanut butter- but it was a lot of fun to make. Having only one cake tin made the process a little slower than if I had three but you make do and it occupied an entire evening of staying in the flat away from the cold.

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José Pizarro me gusta

A close friend took me to José’s on Bermondsey Street this week as a belated birthday present. We had been talking about trying out a new tapas bar for a while. I’d been to Barrafina once before which is beautiful and aside from there we’d both been to La Tasca several times, mainly because of my Tastecard discount ( I wouldn’t recommend it otherwise).We wanted to try somewhere new that transported us to Spain.

José’s would be a great place to go on a date. It’s small but in no way cramped or claustrophobic. It’s noisey but in no way like a night club where you try to lip read what others are saying. Good food in an intimate setting with a lively ambience is a better description.

The two of us shared a fruity bottle of white wine ( I wish I could remember the name but I haven’t got that far yet) with a selection of tapas – pan con tomate, boquerones, mackerel romesco sauce and black pudding with lentils. I think the mackerel was my favourite dish with the black pudding as a close second.

The service was brilliant.Our waitress chatted in Spanish to mi amigo – I caught the odd sentence but it was a little on the speedy side for me – ay que susto. We finished off with a chocolate mousse served with olive oil and sea salt. That’s one to note and try at home next time I have chocolate invading the fridge.

One word of advice; try to get there before 19:00 if you can. It’s a popular venue and people are prepared to queue for a seat. We managed to get a spot by the window looking out onto busy Bermondsey Street and stayed there for a good few hours fortunately.

tramshed

I’ve been useless with keeping up with this blog but I have a good reason. In the last two months the flat I live in has sadly been sold and I have moved jobs. It’s been a little mad to say the least but somehow things seem to be falling into place a bit too nicely. I’m waiting for the bomb to drop….

Tramshed has been at the top of my ‘List of restaurants to try in London’ since it opened in May this year. Timeout gave it four stars and despite chicken and steak being the only choices on the menu “limited options doesn’t need to mean limited success, and Tramshed makes two ingredients go a long, long way”.

I went with two of my old work colleagues and we shared a chicken and two sides. The meat was plenty for three – we all had at least two helpings. The onion rings were sweet and salty, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The greens were delicious and added a nice colour to the plate.

After mains we shared the Parkin with a toffee fondue and marshmallows. Incredibly rich and perfect for those who have a sweet tooth. These were the best marshmallows I’ve ever eaten – beautifully light and fluffy. The parkin was a little dry but complimented the stickyness of the piping hot toffee.

Aswell as the food being so good, you get to enjoy it in a very special venue – a tramshed (hence the name). This grade II-listed building is vast with ridiculously high ceilings conveniently squeezing in Damien Hirst’s masterpiece – a cock and bull in formaldehyde which occupies the centre of the room. Jake and Dinos Chapman have also designed the ‘stop you in your tracks’ wallpaper at the main entrance which could keep you standing outside for a good while fixated on all the bizarre disturbing characters. It’s an excellent way of keeping a queue of hungry customers entertained whilst waiting in the cold on Rivington Street.

chambres d’hotes le vieux couvent

It’s been another early start. My sister and I were up yesterday morning at 04:15 to get a flight to Bordeaux from Gatwick airport. Fortunately the flight was only 1.5 hours and we made it safely to France. The sun was out although the air has been pretty cool since we stepped off the plane.

I’ve been working on a site with mum for their B&B and we’ve scrambled together something today (still lots to do) but I wanted to get it up on here as soon as possible so we can start spreading the word and encouraging people all over the world to come and stay in their lovely new home – Le Vieux Couvent.

The beautiful converted convent is situated in a delightful village called Lauzun in the Lot et Garonne. They have four antique furnished bedrooms ( double or twin) and an orangerie with it’s own living room and kitchen that is suitable for wheel chairs and well behaved dogs.

Since moving here at the start of August they have had guests staying every day which has been a little mad but exciting at the same time. There is a real sense of community in the village and they have a lot of friends around for support and encouragement as this is something very new and ambitious.

I’m coming back again in October and can’t wait to see how things have developed and hopefully meet future guests. If you are looking to visit France anytime soon and fancy taking a trip to the Lot et Garonne, Bergerac airport is only a 25 minute drive away and Bordeaux is 1 hour 40 minutes. Please visit their site and get in touch before they are fully booked!

Chambres D’Hotes Le Vieux Couvent

edinburgh fringe

An ice cream shaped microphone was one of the many funny things to be seen over the bank holiday weekend up in Edinburgh. Four of us travelled on the 06:05 London Euston train to Glasgow on Saturday. The journey took five hours and we semi slept most of the way and munched on almond cake Matt had brought back from Portugal.

Once we got there we met up with friends of mine and had breakfast in a lovely cafe called Fifi and Ally. I should have taken more photos of Glasgow but as we were there for only a couple of hours and half asleep it was a little tricky.

The next step was a forty five minute train to Edinburgh from Glasgow Queen Street station (this chap above sat opposite us) and finally we reached our destination; Castle Rock Hostel. It was nice to finally crash and leave our bags in the double bunk room before heading out to explore the city and experience Edinburgh Festival Fringe which is what we came up for.

Black Medicine is a lovely coffee shop situated close to Pleasance which is where we saw most of the comedy acts we paid for over the weekend. I had a hot chocolate whilst we read through our fringe magazine circling comedy acts we wanted to see. Fortunately we bought tickets for WitTank, Rob Beckett and Rhys Darby before they sold out. All three acts were very funny.

I tried to get a close up of Rhys Darby but it was difficult as our seats were quite high up and he moves around a lot on stage. His comedy sketch got 3 stars in one of the magazines which was surprising as he had the whole audience laughing throughout the hour long set.

The City Cafe is a great place for all day breakfasts. We ended up going twice and both times had the veggie breakfast which included vegetarian haggis (yum!). They do a great stack of pancakes with maple syrup also and free refills of coffee and tea.

We saw quite a lot of free comedy performances at The Free Sisters which is a huge venue. One of their spaces was a yurt, small but intimate, and the guy above had travelled over from Australia and performed 24 nights in Edinburgh.

One of the funniest acts we saw was comedy partners Helen Arney and Rob Wells aka Domestic Science. They performed a DIY science party with specials guests at Canons Gait on the Royal Mile.

On Sunday night we watched a burlesque performance in a church before moving onto an eerie pub called Jekyll & Hyde for some cabaret which was really good. Their show included knife throwing, juggling, people on shoulders on top of a man on a one wheel bicycle and finally a medley of Abba, Spice Girls and Rocky Horror Show tracks.

We were very lucky to have sunshine most of Sunday and then the heavens opened on Monday before we made our way home. Before leaving the city we managed to get a few great shots of the four of us in these funny mirrors near Edinburgh Castle.