LANES OF LONDON.

Lanes of London are very kindly offering the staff where I work a discount on their small plates so it was obviously imperative that I went to check them out. The restaurant is situated in the Marriot hotel on Park Lane and is oh so beautifully elegant. It has a delightfully quaint but relaxed vibe and with luxurious leather seating and glamourous details it really does feel like a treat.

They offer a mixture of sides, mains and small plates but from the moment I saw the menu I knew the small plates would be for me. There are lots to choose from and they all sounded incredible but the ones that stuck out as the winners were obvious. We ordered the following: Masala fries with curry sauce / Salt baked pumpkin, black quinoa, goat’s curd, pumpkin seeds / Meantime ale battered fish, hand cut chips, minted peas, tartare sauce / Duck hash, fried duck egg, hp sauce / Beef brisket sliders, roasted bone marrow, horseradish cream / Crispy soft shell crab, fennel, chilli, apple and for dessert we had the East India Dock ginger cake and Sticky toffee ice cream tin. They were ALL sublime. I really do mean it when I say that each dish was a masterpiece and I wouldn’t even be able to rank them fairly if I tried.

The masala fries with curry sauce were basically extremely upmarket ‘chips and curry sauce’ and were without a doubt the most perfect way to start a meal. The duck hash absolutely blew my fucking mind. I would do pretty much ANYTHING to have it back in my mouth right now. Other favourites have to be the soft shell crab and the sticky toffee ice cream but I am struggling to find the words to describe how amazing it all was. The presentation of everything was on point and it was all so fresh and well cooked. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING was less than perfect.

I’d also like to mention that the waiting staff were delightful and our waiter Jackimo without a doubt made my evening. Him and the duck hash!

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ETHOS FOODS.

Ethos is a new restaurant concept which is the first of its kind, that’s opening next week right round the corner from my office. It’s a meat free, serve yourself, pay by weight restaurant that seems to be the future of dining. They very kindly invited me down to check it out before it opens and I have been well and truly blown away. Ethos pleases all my senses and ticks all the boxes when it comes to aesthetics. It’s décor is a delight, the venue is full of trees and beautiful flowers and the simple, minimal interior and huge windows makes it the perfect spot for lunch with friends. The food is served on big white plates and they have huge round tables that makes group dining a dream. I enjoyed everything about Ethos and what they have to offer and cannot wait to see how it does when they open on Monday.

The fact that it’s meat free shouldn’t put you off – even if you’re a big meat eater. If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll be fully aware of my love for a good burger. Even the owners aren’t vegetarians but they’ve done their research and they seem to think there’s a niche for this kind of cuisine and I’m fully with them. The food is not only delicious, but it’s beautifully put together, innovative and interesting. I had things in my mouth that I’d never tried before and it was a delight for my senses. The food is colourful, fresh and very well put together. The chef really knows what he’s doing.

Highlights definitely have to be the scotch egg, the miso aubergine, the rice and the ribs. Yes, the ribs. I don’t know what they’re made of or how they make them but the ribs are an absolute culinary delight. My favourite salad had to be the courgette ribbons and feta cheese and do not even get me started on the desserts. The Victoria sponge cake ball was mind blowing. Absolutely bloody mind blowing. I tried all of the desserts and each and every one of them was a sensation in my mouth that I will be going back for time and time again.

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If you do one thing next week I would say go and check it out. Even if it’s just to have a look, I assure you – you’ll be impressed.

INSPIRALIZED.

Anybody that spends any time at all with me / follows me on Instagram will know that recently bought a Spiralizer. For those of you that are blissfully unaware, you are about to discover the greatest kitchen appliance known to man. A Spiralizer is a device that basically turns vegetables into spaghetti. GENIUS HUH. For the last few weeks I’ve been experimenting like crazy and I’ve finally mastered the art of making the most sensational Courgetti, AKA courgette spaghetti. The Spiralizer I use is the Lurch Spirali and I got it off Amazon – there are a few others you can choose from but I love mine and highly recommend it. It also turns vegetables into ribbons so you can create an amazing stir fry  or salad if you get bored of Courgetti. It makes vegetables look ever so fancy.20140628-182353-66233107.jpgThe Spiralizer is pretty easy to use. Essentially all you’ve got to do is attach the courgette to the machine and turn the arm until the Courgetti starts coming out the other end. It takes a bit of practice but you’ll get there in the end. There are 3 different blades so you can create Courgetti (or whatever vegetable you wish to manipulate) in 3 different shapes and sizes, its very exciting and I’m sure you’ll discover what works best for you after some practice.

It’s hard to say how many courgettes to use per dish but I’d say one large one per person as a side dish or 2-3 as a main depending how hungry you are. You’ll find that there are rarely leftovers no matter how many you use because it’s so moorish! I always plan on making extra for my lunch the next day but it just never happens. I suggest chopping a large courgette in half to make it easier to spiralize and then once it’s all done it’s good to chop it up a little bit so the length isn’t long and unmanageable. I also sometimes dry it out with kitchen towel if I have time to take out some of the moisture. No matter what I cook it in or how I cook it there is always quite a bit of liquid that is produced whilst it’s cooking – the best thing to do is just drain this away before serving it up. it doesn’t make the courgetti soggy or anything it just doesn’t look great.20140628-182420-66260500.jpgThe picture above is Courgetti Bolognese. Pretty simple and so satisfying, you really won’t miss the spaghetti and you can eat as much as you want without feeling half as guilty as you would with real Spag Bol. For my bolognese I did the following…

Ingredients: Extra lean beef mince / chopped onions (red or white – I like to use one of each) / crushed garlic / tomato pesto / 1 tsp Marmite / tomato puree / a big squeeze of Heinz tomato ketchup / chopped sun-dried tomatoes / a splash of tabasco / salt, pepper & a tablespoon of brown sugar

Method: Fry off the onions and garlic until soft, add the mince and cook through, simmer for a while and add seasoning (leave the sugar until the end), add the sun-dried tomatoes, pesto and puree and stir through, add everything else (add as much or as little as you like – keep tasting it), leave to simmer for half an hour on a low heat. Use a big pan to cook the courgetti – fry it off lightly in Lurpak’s cooks mist and mix in the sauce. Leave to cook through for about 10 minutes.

FYI – Usually for my bolognese I’d add chopped tomatoes but with the courgetti being so watery it’s better not to.20140628-182454-66294504.jpg

20140628-182523-66323540.jpgMy most popular Courgetti dish yet has got to be my Homemade Pea Pesto with Toasted Pine Nuts and Fresh Basil. I’ve made it quite a lot and it’s gone down a treat every time.

Ingredients: Frozen peas / olive oil /pine nuts / fresh basil / fresh parmesan / salt & pepper

Method: Place the frozen peas in boiling water to defrost slightly and then drain. Throw in a blender with all the other ingredients (I haven’t given quantities because it’s best just to do it to taste) and whizz it all up until it resembles a thick paste. Heat the courgetti in a large pan and spray with Lurpack’s cooks mist, leave to simmer for 5 minutes. Stir through the sauce and leave to cook through for about 10 minutes. Sometimes I add roasted veg (see below), sometimes I add sugar snap peas (see above 2 images) or sometimes i just top with toasted pine nuts and fresh basil and serve. it’s extra delicious with a handful of shaved parmesan on top too but that all depends on how naughty you’re being.20140628-182545-66345420.jpg

20140628-182803-66483268.jpgBefore I dissevered the pea pesto recipe I was experimenting with different things. Something that really worked well was the dish above. Creamy King Prawn Courgetti with Avocado & Sugar Snap Peas.

Ingredients: Raw king prawns / sugar snap peas / low-fat creme fraiche / 1 small avocado / frozen peas / sweet chilli sauce / chilli flakes / salt & pepper / lime juice / coriander / parmesan

Method: Fry off the prawns in the sweet chilli sauce until cooked through and pink, add a squeeze of lime and a handful of chopped coriander, stir in the peas and the sugar snap peas and cook for 5 minutes then stir through a big dollop of creme fraiche and let it simmer. Cook the courgetti exactly how I’ve previously mentioned but this time also stir through a mashed up avocado and add the sauce. Top with a drizzle of the sweet chilli, some shaved parmesan, chilli flakes and a sprinkling of coriander.20140628-182818-66498082.jpgThe dish above is my Courgetti with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto. It’s exactly the same recipe as the pea pesto but instead of whizzing up peas in the blender I used roasted red peppers and tomatoes that had just come straight out the oven. I added a healthy squeeze of tomato puree and topped with LOTS of fresh basil, rocket and grated mozzarella. See below.20140628-182830-66510425.jpg

20140628-182856-66536430.jpgCourgette’s don’t always have to resemble spaghetti, they also work very well as noodles. See above my Oriental Vegetable Stir Fry with Courgette Ribbons.

Ingredients: 3 courgettes (two spiralled into noodles and one into ribbons) / frozen peas / sliced shiitake mushrooms / bean sprouts / soy sauce / sweet chilli dip / lime juice / salt & chilli flakes

Method: Fry off all the ingredients in a wok until soft, add seasoning and sauces as you go – VERY SIMPLE. This dish would also be delicious with prawns or chicken added in.20140628-182917-66557766.jpgObviously there are only so many courgettes one can eat in a lifetime. I mean I’m pretty certain I’ll NEVER get bored of Courgetti but I had to see what else my Spiralizer was capable of. Turns out cucumbers are also very versatile. I’ve only just started experimenting but here are a couple of my cold cucumber noodle salads. Above is a delicious and fresh Avocado, Coriander & Lime Cucumber Noodle Salad for you to have a go at. it’s one of my favourites.

Ingredients: Half a large cucumber (spiralized into noodles) / 1 lime / 1 large avocado / a handful of chopped coriander / soy sauce / salt & pepper

Method: Slice the avocado and put it in a bowl with the cucumber noodles, add the lime juice, soy, coriander and seasoning and stir through. Leave to marinate for at least half an hour. Voila.

P.S. this dish is AMAZING with chopped raw tuna – leave it all to marinate over night and the tuna cooks in the acid from the lime. IT’S DIVINE.20140628-183041-66641969.jpgI decided I wanted to make a Vegetarian Satay Salad and created my own satay sauce from scratch. I wouldn’t say I have perfected the recipe but it was definitely a good try.

Salad Ingredients: Half a large cucumber (half ribbons and half noodles) / sugar snap peas / chopped baby corn / frozen peas / chopped celery / bean sprouts

Sauce Ingredients: 1 large spoon of low-fat peanut butter / toasted sesame oil / sweet chilli dip / soy sauce / a drizzle of honey / boiling water

I’m not going to give you a method for this one because it’s pretty simple and I want to try it again but I basically reduced all the ingredients for the sauce down in a pan and stirred in boiling water until it was a good consistency. Then I waited for it to cool down and stirred it into the salad. As I said it wasn’t perfect but it was pretty damn tasty.20140628-183100-66660917.jpg

20140628-183514-66914075.jpgI’m going to experiment a bit more with cucumbers and I want to see what I can do with other vegetables but in the mean time feast your eyes on tonight’s dinner…20140629-210410-75850704.jpgOriental Vegetable Stir Fry with Okra & Water Chestnuts

Ingredients: 2 large courgette’s (spiralized into noodles) / frozen baby Okra / tinned water chestnuts / kale / sugar snap peas / frozen peas / baby corn / sweet chilli sauce / lime juice / coriander AND THE BIGGEST CHEAT OF ALL – a Sainsbury’s packet terriyaki & ginger sauce sachet!

Method: stir it alllllll up in a wok and add the sauce. DUH.

I will be back with more riveting recipes soon y’all – I hope you enjoyed that and HAPPY SPIRALIZING!

P.S. I am not the genius that came up with the term ‘INSPIRALIZED’, this girls is…. Ali Maffucci.

TASTE OF LONDON.

The last couple of weeks have involved a LOT of free food. It’s a wonder my jeans still fit me. You’ll have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while and that was mainly because I needed to cut back on all the eating out. What ended up happening was I continued to eat out I just wasn’t blogging about it. So I’m back (and bigger than ever). I hope you’ve enjoyed my last 3 posts, that was me easing you in lightly. What you’ve all been waiting for is this…

I went to Taste of London last Wednesday to write a blog post for Delicious London‘s Eateasy blog and ended up going again the next day because it was so good. Check the blog post here.
I couldn’t neglect my blog and not show you what I got up to so here are my photos from the event. I really did indulge.photo 1 (2) photo 1 photo 1 (4) photo 1 (3) photo 5 photo 5 (3) photo 5 (2) photo 4 photo 4 (3) photo 4 (2) photo 3 photo 3 (4) photo 3 (3) photo 3 (2) photo 2 photo 2 (4) photo 2 (3) 20140625-125351-46431563.jpg 20140625-124129-45689604.jpg

BLUEBIRD CHELSEA.

When planning my friends birthdays I tend to get pretty into it. On Sunday I was celebrating one of my most chicest of friends 22nd year of being alive so we made the journey to West London to dine in one of Chelsea’s finest eateries. The Bluebird cafe is popular for many, many reasons, one obviously being it’s Made In Chelsea fame. I’ve wanted to go for a very long time but it’s just never happened but now I’ve been I know it’s going to be a regular brunch venue for my friends and I. The sun was shining and it was heaving with beautiful looking, wealthy people. Absolutely perfect for people watching. I wasn’t blown over by the service but the food well and truly made up for it. Best eggs Benedict ever and our cheesecake was purple! The birthday girls fish and chips was DIVINE and everyone was extremely satisfied with their meals. Highly recommended to anyone wanting to play posh for the afternoon.

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VAPIANO SOHO.

Vapiano is a firm favourite when it comes to lunch options for everyone I work with. They have a branch just up the road on Great Portland Street and it’s the perfect quick, easy option for Italian food nearby. It’s very reasonably priced and it’s delicious every time. Today is the opening day of the new branch in Soho on Wardour Street, if you work/live in the surrounding area I highly recommend you get down there to check it out. They had their soft launch last Friday as the final part of the training for their staff. I was lucky enough to get invited down for lots of free food and drink and I took a group of the girls I used to work with at Personal Shopping. They’re always up for free food and this was a right treat! 20140624-075825-28705158.jpg20140624-075816-28696754.jpg20140624-075821-28701903.jpg20140624-075818-28698667.jpg20140624-075855-28735276.jpg Luckily, I got to spend a large portion of my evening last night at their official opening party. We headed over after the Propercorn party and the atmosphere was well and truly banging by the time we got there. I’ve honestly never seen so much prosecco, pizza and pasta circulating a room in my life. It was a dream. Well done Vapiano you really spoilt us and it was bloody great. Cannot stop thinking about pasta! photo 4photo 220140624-081303-29583399.jpg20140624-081309-29589015.jpg20140624-081301-29581763.jpg20140624-081300-29580163.jpg20140624-081512-29712067.jpg 20140624-081515-29715603.jpg20140624-081305-29585208.jpg

PROPERCORN’S POP UP SUMMER.

Last night saw the launch of the Propercorn ‘popup summer’ installation at Golden Square. All this week you can head down for free to get involved in the fun. It’s highly recommended if only for the free popcorn and Instagram opportunities. Yeah I said it. Click here for more information, including the full lineup of activities throughout the week!
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DIRTY BONES.

A few weeks ago my manager won the Instagram competition at Dirty Bones and chose me as the lucky person to join her for a free meal. I’m never one to turn down free food so I went along for a post fashion week celebratory dinner at High Street Kensington’s newest hot dog joint.

Louise had been banging on about the place after she visited, on my recommendation at the end of January so I was really excited by the time I actually got to go. Dirty Bones by day is just your average hot dog stand, serving up just the one dog in the middle of High Street Kensington; but once the clock strikes 6 it turns into so much more. Go through the secret door and down the ‘red light district’ esque stairs and you will find yourself at the hostess’ pinball machine. The hostess herself was a dream, all big hair and sultry voice as she directs you over to the bar for appropriately named cocktails whilst you wait. We weren’t waiting for anything because our table was ready but we enjoyed our cocktails on the comfy low sofas in the dimly lit bar area anyway.

After we took our seats and ordered more cocktails it really didn’t take us long to decide what we wanted. We went for two dogs; the Asian and the Mexican. Sounds like a dodgy porno I know but was actually a great combination. To accompany our dogs we went for fried chicken, garlic buns and the glazed and charred sweetcorn. The dogs were a lot harder than expected, I’m used to biting through a soft hot dog bun to find an equally soft sausage inside it (forgive me again for making this sound incredible filthy) but Dirty Bones hot dogs have a much firmer texture than any sausage I’ve ever tasted before. (Again, filth but there’s not really any way around it when describing sausages). The chicken was dreamy, apparently they cook it in boiling water before they deep fry it to ensure it’s soft and juicy texture. The garlic buns were essentially just posh garlic bread which was great with the sweetcorn smothered on top.

The meal was delicious and I was very impressed but it wasn’t until the dessert came out that I was really blown away. Your options are simply Milk & Cookies or Coffee & Donuts; Warm chewy cookie dough cookies with milk flavoured ice cream or warm sugared donuts with coffee flavoured ice cream. The Coffee & Doughnut was the winner for me and I’d go back for that alone.

It was far classier than I expected it to be with a name like Dirty Bones and I blame the location. There’s nothing dirty about it and in my eyes that’s a good thing. Well worth the trip out of the Central/east London area and definitely worth the money. Big up yourself Dirty Bones.

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THE FABLE.

Once upon a time in a far away land… (I’d like to write this entire post fairytale style but I’ll refrain)

I don’t usually go for drinks in the city but after attending the launch of The Fable in St Paul’s I may make it a thing. It’s taken me a while to post this because I’ve been busy but last week I attended the opening of Drake and Morgan’s latest fairytale themed venture. We were greeted with glasses of prosecco and fed an array of intricate little canapés throughout the evening. They’d put so much thought into every little detail and although I wouldn’t necessarily say they were the best canapés I’ve ever tasted they were definitely the prettiest. They had cocktail bars dotted around the ground floor as you came in where we were served drinks out of a metal teapot with dry ice, carrot and cucumber cocktails that tasted like a crack addicts version of a juice fast and glasses of prosecco with floating flowers. All very beautiful and imaginative and like something out of a fairytale.

I’d like to have got some better pictures of the food and I would really have liked to try it all but thanks to the kind of good looking, northern and if not a little arrogant kitchen manager directing all the waitresses away from the people hovering around the kitchen (standard) I didn’t really get the chance.

There were cheese and wine tastings, story tellers, a free bar and the music was good. It was an interesting crowd, not all city wankers, a few bloggers and just generally a load of people making the most of the free bar.

Those of you that read my post about The Anthologist a couple of weeks ago will probably recognise that that was also a Drake and Morgan bar. I gather they’re all fairly similar, not your average city bar, something a bit more special. The food served in the restaurant looked really good and I plan on going back to sample it properly some time soon. I’ve already started recommending The Fable to people for after work drinks and I’d definitely go back with friends. It seems like Drake & Morgan are a really great chain of bars and I look forward to sampling them all.

The end.

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