Archive | August, 2009

The icing on the cake

18 Aug

Weddings can always be a heated affair. My cousins wedding was no exception, the expected family spats and drunken loons dancing around the dance floor having one too many shandies. Despite this, I actually enjoyed the evening.

I was aware that my mum was going to be producing 250 wedding cupcakes for the event. This was her first wedding so as you can probably imagine, she was nervous. I arrived at home on Friday evening and journeyed into the kitchen. Let me tell you, our kitchen is not big, it is awfully small but I walked in and saw a mountain of cupcakes sat on a beautiful cake stand. I knew she was a good cake maker but I had no idea she was THAT good. They looked perfect, each one decorated with a perfect white icing, black butterflies or a silver ball. She had made a square cake for the top tier, a little something for the bride and groom to save until their first wedding anniversary. She had even provided mini cupcakes for the children. My job was to decorate and I couldn’t think of anything more that i’d liked to be doing on that Friday evening. I set to work sprinkling with red, purple, bright pink sparkles, marshmellows, smarties and blue, green and cream butter cream.
Mini cupcakes
The main event was unveiled to a gaggle of ‘ooos’ and ‘aahs’. The flavors on show included butterscotch, vanilla, chocolate, caramel, white chocolate chip and lemon.
Wedding cake stand
Maybe i’m being bias or maybe I just haven’t been to enough weddings but it’s the best wedding cake that i’ve ever seen!

I’ll be making some cupcakes for sale at the KiosKiosK by the mayors office on the Southbank, London on Sunday 23rd August. Come down, say hello and try a cake or two!

The Zetter, Clerkenwell

13 Aug

I had been here before on a dodgy business breakfast meeting at a previous job and I rather enjoyed it. Very good scrambled egg I thought and you can never go wrong with a good bit of smoked salmon. So when I saw the offer for 50% off the a la carte menu on Toptable I couldn’t resist.

My dad was due to take me out for dinner and I thought it would be good to save him a few pennies too. My boyfriend joined me and we arrived half an hour early. That was no problem as we could sit in the comfortable ‘snug’ area as they like to call it. I had a wine and Jack caught up on some emails. I ordered the drinks at the bar but they seemingly forgot about us and after 15 minutes, the waiter who I ordered with popped his head around the corner and made a face, a face that told me he was shocked and sorry! They were then very quick to arrive.

We sat down and pondered the menu. I ‘d already had a sneaky peak online so I knew what I wanted! I had deliberately saved room during the day as I knew I was in for the long haul.

What we ordered:

Me – Garlic roasted prawns with chorizo, sweet potato & glazed pork belly followed by “Orzo” seafood paella and cherry and pistachio tart with greek yoghurt sorbet to finish.
Garlic roasted prawns with chorizo on pork belly
photo(3)
<img src="http://sarahjanek.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/photo.jpg?w=225&quot; alt="Cherry and pistachio pie" title="Cherry and pistachio pie" width="225" height="300" class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-51" /

Jack – Grilled squid & chorizo with borlotti beans, capers & anchovies followed by “Orzo” seafood paella and an espresso to wash it all down.
Grilled squid & chorizo with borlotti beans capers and anchovies

Dad – Crab salad on toast with avocado, lime, chilli & grilled peach followed by Whole roasted lemon sole with Piquillo peppers & panzanella and a coffee to wake him up for the long drive back to my hometown.
Crab salad on toast with avacado
Whole roast lemon sole with

Now, I can only speak for my own food (although I did try a morsel of the other dishes) but my starter was fantastic. I would never usually think to pair prawn with pork and chorizo but it was heaven in a mouthful. I’m always a fan of purée so the sweet potato purée was an added delight. The main arrived and looked small (I’m a big eater) but I didn’t finish it, not because I couldn’t but it was getting, well, boring. I’d had an orzo risotto at Harvey Nichols and worshipped it so I was expectig big things. Alas, no. Jack demolished his and polished off mine.

Greek yoghurt sorbet, isn’t that just a fancy way of saying frozen yoghurt? It came with an excuse from the waiter (who I’ll get to later) that it had not been made long ago so was served in a small (chipped!) ramekin and was a little runny. Surely if they knew they were going to have a busy service this should have been prepared well in advance?! The pie didn’t have strong flavors, in fact it was quite bland but the texture is always a winner.

My dad was convinced that the waiter was from Croatia despite him having a thick and unmistakable French accent. I think what he was trying to say was that it sounded put on, over the top it was. He brought us the wrong bill after us asking for it twice. In his defence there only seemed to be two waiters for the whole restaurant, which by the time we left was nearly at capacity!

The end of the evening was nigh and it was bill time. Add a couple of glasses of wine into the mix and the total came to £70 with service charge, not bad!

The Zetter is your typical East London hotel/bar/restaurant. I would recommend it but I doubt i’ll be rushing back.

Zetter Restaurant & Rooms on Urbanspoon

Smokin’ salmon fishcakes

11 Aug

‘I just bought a whole salmon for £10!’ exclaimed my other half on Sunday. I had one too many white wines on Saturday evening and I ate like a horse the morning after. A fry up followed by a burger, chips and chocolate pudding from The Walton’s hotel in Nottingham. As you can imagine, I wasn’t really in the mood for salmon.

I arrived home and my friends were sat in the garden enjoying the balmy summer evening, having just devoured half the salmon with balsamic onions, butter sauce and asparagus. I was duly served a small plate and I ate it with great intent. The sauce was inspired by last weeks episode of Valentine Warner’s what to eat now and was lip smackingly gorgeous.

The left over salmon was refrigerated and used to make salmon fishcakes the following evening. Have a look at the recipe below, if you can get a whole salmon for £10, it’s a cheap and delightful eat!

DSC00677

1/2 of a whole salmon
1 red onion (finely chopped)
1 garlic clove (crushed)
30g butter
250ml full fat milk
50g plain flour
1 sprig of thyme
2 tsp fresh tarragon leaf
2 tbsp double cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dojon mustard
1 tsp tomato purée
1 litre sunflower oil

Batter
2 eggs
3 slices of bread, toasted and blended
3 tbsp ground almonds

Pea purée
1/2 onion
1/2 tbsp White wine vinegar
Salt
Pepper
1tbsp cream
100g peas

Method
1. Bake salmon in oven in foil for 10-15 minutes
2. Remove bones and skin and leave to cool
3. Add butter to a pan and sweat off onions for 4 minutes and crush in garlic. After 1 minute seive in the flour and cook for a further 2 minutes
5. Gradually add the milk, constantly stirring
6. Once all of the milk is added keep stirring until smooth and remove from the heat
7. Add tsp of mustard, tomato purée, cream, tarragon, thyme and lemon and leave to cool
8. Once cool add salmon and refridgerate for a minimum of 3 hours
9. To prepare the batter you will need 3 bowls. In the first bowl place3 heaped tbsps flour, in the second
with 2 beaten eggs and breadcrumbs and almonds in the third
10. Mould the fish mixture into burger shapes and roll in the flour, dip in egg and toss in breadcrumbs and alomond mix
11. Repeat with each fish cake
12. Heat oil to 180degrees maximum
13. Deep fry fish cakes for 2 minutes each
14. Fry off onion. Add 1 teaspoon of White wine vinegar and reduce for 2 minutes
15. Add frozen peas along with boiling water and boil
16. Warm through and blend
17. Add 1 tbsp off cream and blend until smooth
18. Serve with asparagus and a wedge of lemon

We thought that we had burnt the first batch but we didn’t, it was in fact lovely and crispy!

DSC00680

BRPsummit

11 Aug

BPRsummitI have to say that yesterday evening’s #bprsummit at The Rubens hotel has somewhat inspired me to write a blog post. I myself work in food PR, albeit for a few months. As you may be able to tell from my previous posts (however sparse), I love food. I love eating, I love baking, I love talking about food and I love Reading about food. My personal journey started after my mums love for baking took shape and honesty, this was in the last couple of years. I am a self confessed music lover and always thought this would be my calling but after a few stints at a well known social networking company and a ‘fantastic’ fashion/music magazine and being subjected to a mass throng of industry insiders I decided it was not for me, thanks.

I was at the right place at the right time with the right experience for my job. I joined Wild Card as a junior account executive (technical and digital) and my job is to facilitate the knowledge and learning for the rest of the Wild Card team along with learning about traditional PR methods. On a day to day basis I contact print journalists and increasingly bloggers. Now, this has been a hasty subject for a while now and the #brpsummit was a fantastic way to introduce bloggers to PRs. I learnt how they like to be approached and also how other agencies work in terms of blogger relations.

The speakers for the evening included Luchford PR , Sarah Canet, Oliver ‘thringforyoursupper’ Thring, Tim Hayward and Anthony Silverbrow.

It was great to hear the opinions of those that really do matter to me, the bloggers. There were many laughable ‘#prfail’s’ mentioned but I really think that it boils down to common sense. I put myself in a bloggers shoes and I know that I would not want to be receiving countless samples and press releases that weren’t relevant to my blog, what I write about.

As a PR, I took away from the summit some very important ‘rules’, which I will abide to when I make my approaches.

  • Never assume that a blogger will want to write about a product that I offer them
  • ALWAYS read the blog and tailor my approach
  • Do not contact too many bloggers with the same products. No one wants to write about the same things at the same time!

If any of you have seen the blog post on the Wild Card blog, I am in fact the graduate that has been hired to facilitate the digital knowledge and learning of the whole of Wild Card and I am loving it. Everyone wants to learn and it is an exciting time for us all indeed.

Other bloggers that kept me interested last night:
Lizzie of Hollowlegs
Chris of cheesenbiscuits
Daniel of Young and foodish

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