Sunday, 28 August 2011


So as August draws to a close and the first twinges of Autumn begin to set in, it's time for a Crayfish Party. Swedish friends held an incredible one last night, with 10 kilos of live crayfish bought from Billingsgate on Friday and cooked until the early hours of Saturday. Potatoes, rye bread, home made aioli and lots of dill made quite a spread. Many bottles (!) of white wine c/o Borough Wines and the weather relenting from horizontal rain for the evening meant it felt like one of the best outdoor eats of the summer!

Robert and Sam who put on yesterdays evening will soon be opening a cafe with lots of cold Scandi treats and some delicious coffee very soon. SKÅL!!

There were also a couple of buttery, salmon quiches alongside that TUB of cray fish!
My first plate. I got through a lot more. Though nothing to rival the 40 odd shells one enthusiastic Swede managed.
The Swedish Chef!

Below artwork (C) 2011 Martha Pym. Note her attention to detail on the claw juice spilling out as this delicious limb is snapped from the crayfish body and ready to be eaten. Roll on next year!

Fabulous Ferdie's Food Lab

Ferdie's Food Lab last night was great fun. I arrived with my three friends with fellow diners arriving like murderers at Midsommer or aristocrats at a weekend retreat hosted by Suchet's Poiroit.

The location of Toynbee Hall was weird and great with busts of Profumo & Dr Evil style portraits on the wall amongst shields.

All of this theatre played into the evening and as we all were led through to the dining hall we buzzed around the seating plan like flies around ganache (more on this later).

We sat down already buzzed on a couple of lagers we'd had in the Golden heart and first tucked into bread and White emulsion of tomatoes.

I'm the 1/3rd of 3M&ABL who doesn't eat meat so missed out on the liquorice infused beef.

Our wine was Italian Gavi and it was delicious and lubricated the conversation.

Next was Serrano ham and leaves but again I had the vegi option which was curd & strawberries.

Then fish course was king crab - juicy and sweet hunks of lobster like meat.

A main course of lamb & potatoes was served in giant pots with great bit of showbusiness as it was laid out in the banqueting tables but my asparagus & carrots in passion fruit tasted nice but didn't have the gusto of the others' meat & potatoes.

Pudding was an awesome banana tart tatin followed by olive ganache and Seville Zebras - jellied orange & blancmange halves that I think can't have been vegi/Pesci friendly.

It was great fun, with great people, good table wines and tasty crab and pudding. As an unhelpful fish eating vegi i must have seemed like the obnoxious American in a miss marple episode and I understand it's a bore to cook for different requirements.

A great evening, but I couldn't review most of the food as I didn't eat it.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Monday, 22 August 2011

Going Coastal - Whitstable

Grabbed a strong cuppa from Espressoteria I jumped in the car with the Persian and we headed to the coast.
Couple of wrong turns later and we where at Whitstable - ( 1.5hrs from East London without the wrong turns).  And that old song is true "i do like to be beside the seaside"... light air and water and jovial day trippers all happy to escape the smog for a day.

First stop was at one of the small markets on the beach for a takeway tray of oysters, sploshed with tabasco and lemon juice, some small and firm others plump and creamy - never sure about the creamy ones but they all tasted grand.

Then a bit further along revelling in the holiday atmosphere we stopped at the next fish market for a tub of cockles and vinegar - weirdly i never buy these from the man in the market on Bethnal Green Road but here it all made sense and I woofed them down like a rescue puppy's first bowl of Chum.

We then wandered and strolled amongst wanderer and baby stroller until we reached our destination: the Whitstable Oyster Co. in the Royal Native Oyster Stores building.

We booked a table and sat outside whilst we waited drinking a shifty pint of Oyster Stout dodging rain and the occasional escapee from The Only Way Is... A quick look round the town and the menu at Wheelers almost tempted us away from the seafront setting we'd booked into - if we go back it will definiately be to Wheelers.

Back at Whitstable Oyster Co. We started with Dabs & Garlic Mayo which was lovely.

Then razor clams - wasn't 100% sure about how these had been cooked. Again a nice garlicy butter and chargrilled taste but the clams themselves too chewy for me and although i know nothing about razor clams they look a bit squiffy and I longed to be down the road eating something much more exciting.

Then the sun properly came out and I suddenly didnt care. Ross Kemp sat down at the table beside us and I knew we were in the right place ;).

Lobster and crab salad tasted great - simple, in the sun, glass of wine all good in hood!
Tomato salad to accompany and tucked in.

But again I thought of the lobster lasagne with roe on the menu at Wheelers. Only the sun brought me back from my reverie.

An afternoon nap on the beach, quick paddle in hipster jeans then ice cream from a shack before home.
Thinking back on it all the setting of Whitstable Oyster Co. makes it a great spot. But for damn near £90 for two with one glass of wine and no coffee/pudding it has to be simple done really really well.  But we loved it - the setting, the escape from london, fresh tasting lobster, cold wine and Grant Mitchell in case it all kicks off!

Still can't help but wonder if we shouldnt have gone to Wheelers!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


Got on the train to Stroud Friday night (someone told me there was a Popeyes in Birmingham and Manchester- not correct as it turns out, but a lot of branches in Bahrain!)

Farmers market in the morning, very good bacon and sausage sandwich before heading to Hobbs Butcher in Chipping Sodbury and buying 6 lovely fat pork chops. And a homemade scotch egg that was still runny in the centre...

Hangover was almost gone by this point, so popped into the Woolpack and had a pint of bitter, eggs, bacon and chips.

Got on the train to the grandparents in Worcestershire, passed out and the rest is a bit of a blur as we went through a rack of ribs (home made honey pepper sauce), baked salmon and potatoe salad (with the delicious addition of runner beans), Carlos the Jackal (not Olivier Assaya's finest hour), fruit with lots of whipped cream and meringue, orange cake made by some local old dears and I slipped into a coma in a cosy corner of the modernist mansion. Woke up, granny tried to shove bacon sandwich down my throat, we compromised on toast with A LOT of butter, and then I put those aforementioned pork chops into roast. Photo says it all really. All you need is a decent pork chop and a very good oven.

Cooked an extra one and ate it cold in the smog of London with nothing but a slice of cucumber, some hot mustard and a piece of sourdough for company.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Can You Lead a Horseradish to Water?

Running out of funds means not every night is date night. But you still gotta make an effort, right? So you dig out your coupons and head off to the grocers and rattle together a recipe half remembered from a TV chef.

Tarteness of the Watercress sauce, bangs of fire from the horseradish and a little spice from the parika cinnamon oatmeal crust with snap crackle and pops of coriander seed and a little peppery watercress on top made for a delicious supper!

Mackerel with Horseradish, Balsamic Beetroot & a Watercress Sauce

served 2
Mackerel filets - 1 large pp / 2 small pp
Porridge oats
Creamed Horseradish
Watercress (bag of)
New potatoes
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Coriander Seeds

Beets: Boil fresh beetroot - half a large one each, did the job - when they have softened drain and add balsamic, reducing to a sticky mess.

Watercress Sauce: add 4tbspns Yoguhurt to salt & pepper to taste, white wine vinegar, olive oil, tspn sugar, and then watercress - blitz until all the watercress is incorporated.

Horseradish: Add 2tspn horseradish (creamed) to 4tbspns yoghurt.

Mackerel: blitz porridge oats, debone mackerel filets and douse in the oatmeal sprinkel of paprika cinnamon & coriander seeds - fry.

New Potatoes: boil, salt, splash oil.


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Sitting outside of popeyes eating chicken and fries

Clipse know what it's about, from Paris to London to Vegas. Last unorganised blackberry photo download of the last month on here ever I promise. That's an English scone in with those fried chicken pieces and BBQ sauce.


Welcome to Hash House. Yeah, that's bacon in dem waffles. It's wearing a rosemary hat. So priddy.

Late night tapas. Was not expecting it to be this good. So pink and oh so salty. Ayo! Campari, soda, lick lips, sleep.

Greedy crab lunch. I'll bang on a lot about Steve Hatt, ma monger. The glut of British cucumbers, parsley, mint and somewhere in that fat boy lunch for one is some home made mayo...

One of the few picnics of this disgruntled British summer. But certainly one of the best. Appreciate picniquers looking good as the sun went down and a lovely old terrier. Butter rubbed roast chicken, leaves, apples, sourdough, (more) unsalted butter, moon peaches. All blankets and cutlery courtesy of Mama Swan. She always make sure I'm well stocked in outdoor eating essentials.
And finally plums stewed with brown sugar, mint, water and a tiny bit of nanna's marsala. With Neil's Yard yoghurt. Don't know why I haven't bought that before now. Tastes proper farmy. Whiff of manure but in a good way. YUMMY,, MUMMY!


St Catalina Mercato

Jazzy had to take a trip to Mallorca for a wedding. Arrived tired and hungry, wandered into the old town looking for a restaurant (Fabrica 23). It's closed down (allegedly for being a front for drug money- allegedly). Found myself next to the main market which has two lunch time eateries. One looks a bit smelly and as a result only has smelly cab drivers hanging around it. The other consists of a bar front teeming with people, 4 tiny tables behind this for Spanish tourists, and then a tiny open kitchen to the left. The latin Johnny Depp look a like throws out some insanely simple stuff from his macro work top and stove. I managed to try over two very full sittings the following: roast chicken with patas bravas, a delightfully simple salad nicoise with just tuna, egg and some gorgeous leaves, the creamiest and herbiest meat balls I've tasted in a thick tomatoe pasata and a paella which consisted of very good stock, very fresh peas and equally alive squid (almost got a bit Old Boy- - JOKES). Very strong coffee and buttery, floppy apricot tart to finish with.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

St Ali

Not Sure who St Ali is but picked up some grounds from them yesterday from their awesome new joint in Clerkenwell.

Totally what I was after- suits the presso and delivers really fruit filled tasty espresso.


Sunday, 7 August 2011


Had a totally delicious supper at Brawn last night - third time i've been there but best yet, Started with some amazing brown shrimp on toast - was it nutmeg in there - nto sure but honestly amazing, Then some mackerel, plaice, heritage tomato salad and some risotto - all shared with friends & family, Finished with Fig & Almond tart, Delicious & fun!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Are You Kirin Me?

Led by the Persian into the world of pop-ups and secret societies of those that sup I banged off an email to her about some new place rssed on Hot Dinners that said nobu, japanese, popup and was in my Endz so thought yeah why not...

..Turned up with reservation tho without reservations and given free drinks token.

Sat with beer in what seemed like a wall-less garden shed decorated with "urban art"

They had already run out of the tofu and fishcake option.
Ordered the prawn.
The persian ordered the pork, chicken & prawn.

6 deep fried unexciting sticks of food later  and we were done.

Cheap at £10 but just a bit pointless at least the proceeds are going somewhere good.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Beatific Soup

Beatific Soup - Serves One

1 x diced onion
4 x small diced beetroot
cube of butter
tblspn olive oil
tblspn rice
tblspn pearl barley
chili flakes

fry onion, beets in butter & oil
when turning add rice & barley & tspn chili flakes
add 300-500ml water

needed no salt and no pepper

Monday, 1 August 2011

Tinie Tempeh

Last Night I made Fresh Beetroot, Carrot & Goat Cheese salad with Tempeh cooked in soy & pomegranate molasses and a green salad.

Got a lot to learn about Tempeh, texture great but marinade was all wrong.

An extremely vegetarian meal.

Pan Fried Mackerel w/Rhubarb , Wilted Lettuce, & Sweet Potato Dauphinoise

For my 30th I cooked Pan Fried Mackerel with Rhubarb Compote, Wilted mini-gems, Sweet potato Dauphinoise followed by Strawberries & Cream. Just managed for 16 people.

For the Mackerel simply dip in flour.

Fry skin side down before briefly flipping & finishing.

To chunks of Rhubarb add Ginger, Vinegar, Sugar, Water, Pepper.

Wilt the lettuce in butter with LOTS of pepper.

Photos by JK