Archive | June, 2010

Vintage at Goodwood tea party in Hyde Park

27 Jun

This Saturday, armed with flyers, cakes, music and deckchairs, a few of us trailed to Hyde Park to enjoy the glorious sunshine before the Stevie Wonder gig in Hyde Park. We set up camp with our picnic table beautifully dressed, right before the entrance gate and staged a mini Vintage at Goodwood tea party having encouraged people to come down, bring a cake and join us for a cuppa.

Vintage at Goodwood Hyde Park

Vintage at Goodwood will be a celebration of British popular culture from 1940 – 1989, set in the glorious surroundings of the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex. The festival, in it’s first year will take place on 13th-15th August and will play host to a plethora of bands, DJ’s, stalls, cafes and fashion shows to name but a few of the goings on. There will even be the worlds biggest vintage fare (so get saving your pocket money now)

Expect to hear live music from Faces, Buzzcocks, Earth Wind and Fire, Noisettes and what will most likely be my favourite – The Sandy Shaw Review, which will see a host of female artists take the stage to sing classic songs (originally sang by men that they believe should have been sang by women!) Think ‘It’s a mans mans mans world’ by James Brown, sung by Sophie Ellis Bexter! There will quite literally be something for everyone – with an arena for each decade, each curated by an expert in their field, i’ll be looking to dress for a different decade each day!

A few photos from the day below – the cakes were a success, as were the deck chairs!

Victoria Sponge

Sandwiches and tea

Scones

Vintage at Goodwood cakes

Taste of London 2010

19 Jun

Taste_London_nodates_c4

I only had two hours to hot foot it around Taste of London this year before jumping on a train to Nottingham and my aim was to try as many dishes as I could in a short amount of time.

I was on a mission – the tube journey on the way consisted of revising the programme and circling every restaurant that I wanted to visit and every dish that I wanted to try. There were quite a few and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to try them all due to time, money and stomach restraints (I did however skip breakfast so I could fit a little more in). To me, there didn’t seem much point in choosing dishes from restaurants that I have either visited before or that are easily accessible to me in terms of price.

I chose to ignore the four lip-synching Malaysian dancers that greeted punters and headded straight to The Grill at The Dorchester where I ordered Pan roasted scallop with sardine pie and a cauliflower puree. A dude in the queue next to me seemed slightly shocked by the portion size and claimed that he wanted to opt for something ‘that fills the hole’ – he missed out. The sardine pie resembled a sausage roll but as you took the first bite, the sharpness of the sardines was surprising – but good!

The Grill at The Dorchester - Scallop with sardine pie and cauliflower puree

Next stop – Toms Kitchen to purchase his 7 hour confit lamb with balsamic onions and mash. The lamb was impossibly tender and the ‘mash’ was of a foam consistency. I can’t make my mind up about it. A couple of bites of the balsamic onions made it to the bin as they were slightly too tangy and took away some of the wonderful flavours of the lamb.

I was on my way to find L’Anima when I stumbled upon the food theatre, a great big open tent where different chefs showcase their talent during the course of the weekend. Francesco Mazzei himself was cooking as I walked past so I stood and watched before forgetting where I was going – I never made it to L’Anima.

Taste theatre

Le Gavroche received my next 10 crowns. When you arrive at Taste, you need to purchase crowns, which enable you to ‘purchase’ your food and drink. 2 crowns = £1. I ordered Daube de boeuf with olives and soft polenta. It was slightly cold but the beef dissolved as soon as it hit my tongue and the polenta added a welcome roughness to the dish. I didn’t get any taste of olives but that was a blessing in disguise because i’m not a fan.

Le Gavroche - Braised beed with olives and soft polenta

You can wander around stalls selling fresh produce, sample testers and even play games such as ‘wheel of fortune’ at the Whole Foods stall and ‘hook a duck’ on the Good Natured stall before knocking back a glass of bubbly and heading to the next restaurant.

I was on a quest to satisfy my sweet tooth and was a little disappointed by the lack of desserts on the menu. I spotted Beas of Bloomsbury and yes I do find her pecan pie hard to resist, but remember my objective? So the pudding rather than the name of the next restaurant drew me to spend my last crowns of the day there. I’m a sucker for custard tart (the best in the world can be bought from Birds Bakeries in the East Midlands) so I opted for the Baked egg custard tart with raisin syrup from Rhodes 24. The custard was smooth and silky and it more than satisfied my needs but I would be disappointed to find it on my plate in a fancy restaurant.

Rhodes 24 - Baked egg custard tart with raisin syrup

Two hours literally flew by and I loved every second of it. Next year I’ll have to look at rearranging fathers day celebrations or get my dad down to Taste for the day.

Oh yea, and before I leave you I just wanted to say thank you to the man who laughed at me for forgetting to take the lens cap off my camera. You made me laugh.

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Taste of London
17-20 June 2010
Regents Park

Bluberry and Pecan Granola Bars

11 Jun

Fed up with the usual boring bowl of milky cereal for breakfast? I am. I’ve been having a lot of porridge recently and it’s quite often ended up dry and yukky. It’s not the best to eat and certainly not the best to look at sitting on your desk half eaten.

I’m not overly fond of pre packaged cereal bars because one just doesn’t satisfy me and if I eat two I feel like little miss piggy. So… I decided to make my very own granola bars using a few left overs from another baking sesh. They take hardly any time to make, are delicious and full you up until your stomach groans to tell you it’s hungry again at lunch time.

Ingredients

100g butter
200g porridge oats (I like Jordan’s)
100g sunflower seeds
50g sesame seeds
50g chopped pecans
3 tbsp runny honey
100g unrefined light muscovado sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100g dried blueberries

Method

1. Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter and line the base of our tin. Bake the oats and seeds and nuts in the oven for 10 minutes
2. Melt the butter, honey and sugar in a pan and then add the oats mix plus dried blueberries and cinnamon. Stir well until coated
3. Pour the mixture back into the tin and press until flat
4. Bake for 30 minutes and leave to cool before slicing
5. ENJOY!

Cod wrapped in Parma Ham with Asparagus tips and Watercress salad

9 Jun

Cod and parma ham go so well together. Plate it up alongside a few asparagus tips and a watercres salad and you’ve got a healthy albeit tasty meal.

This one also goes into the quick and easy category – it took about 20 minutes from start to finish. You can bake the cod if you like but it takes longer and I prefer to pan fry in olive oil.

Ingredients

2 Cod fillets
4 slices of Parma Ham
12 Asparagus tips
handful of watercress
4 small vine tomatoes
2 spring onions
glug of olive oil

Method

1. Prepare the salad by chopping the spring onions and tomatoes and place into a salad bowl. Toss with salt, pepper and olive oil
2. Sprinkle the cod with black pepper and wrap two slices of parma ham around each fillet and hold together with four cocktail sticks
3. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in the pan and fry for 1 1/2 minutes on each side
4. Meanwhile steam the asparagus
5. Plate and enjoy

Homemade Pizza (is very satisfying)

7 Jun

My boyfriends mum bought a pizza oven for her garden last summer. We tried to use it a couple of times but failed quite miserably and had to resort to the oven.

Ah, the good old oven. Unfortunately we don’t have access to the pizza oven in London so the conventional oven has become our pizza doughs new best friend. I can bang on and on and on about my love for tomatoes, mozzarella and bread so there really is no better meal for me.



Homemade Garlic Pizza Bread, originally uploaded by Food For Think.

We started off by testing the dough to make garlic and rosemary pizza with homemade chilli oil. Yum. Next to go was the mozzarella pizza with basil, rocket and watercress. We make our own tomato bases regularly and use them for anything from soup to pasta sauces and pizza bases.

We’re desperately hoping to get the pizza oven working this summer because a charred base is just to die for!

For the base (recipe from Baking Mad)

Ingredients
500 grams strong white bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 sachet Allinsons easy bake yeast
2 tsp Unrefined Golden Caster Sugar
325ml warm water

Method
1. Mix the flour and yeast and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre of the mix
2. Stir the sugar into the warm water then add to the well in the centre
3. Mix all the dry ingredients into the water, working the dry mixture from the outside. When the mix has come together turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. At this stage the dough should be soft and spring back when lightly touched
4. Flour the dough and cover with cling and leave to rest for about 15 minutes
6. Divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces depending on how many pizza bases you want to make.
7. Taking one pieces at a time and roll out on a very lightly floured surface. Ideally the base should be 5mm thick but you can be creative on the shape. Place on a baking tray and leave the rolled bases for 15 to 30 minutes to rest. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180 C/ gas mark 6.

For the sauce and topping

Ingredients
6 medium tomatoes
50ml water
2 medium chilli’s
1 medium red onion
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 tsp tomato puree (or as much as you like – I like loads)
handful of basil, chopped
1 ball of buffalo mozarella
handful of watercress and rocket
drizzle of homemade chilli oil (simply add chilli flakes to olive oil)

Method
1. Lightly oil a pan and fry the onion and chilli until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and fry for another minute.
2. Add the tomatoes, water, tomato puree and basil and leave to simmer for 5 minutes
3. Place in a blender and blend until the sauce becomes smooth
4. Season to taste

Smother the topping over the base and add whatever ingredients you want to use. We chose watercress, fresh basil, Laverstoke Park Farm Buffalo Mozarella (if you haven’t try it yet, do – OH MY GOD is all I can say) We also used homemade chilli oil, which consists of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Chilli Flakes. If there are two words I would say to you all now, they would be – Do It.

First BBQ of 2010

2 Jun

I’m just a tad excited becuase I had my first BBQ of the year today. It consisted of sausages that were in my goodie bag from Dine With Dos Hermanos at Foreman & Field on Monday evening, asparagus and a whole Sea Bream stuffed with garlic and chilli butter.



First BBQ of 2010, originally uploaded by Food For Think.

Here’s to many more…

Roasted Tomato, Garlic and Butter Bean Soup

1 Jun

Odd to want to make soup in late May isn’t it? Well this particular day just happened to be a little chilly and I just happened to fancy a bit of soup.

I just love soup because it’s easy and you can blend pretty much whatever you want. One of my favourite foods is the great tomato and i’ll always choose a tomato base over anything else. I remember when I first moved to London I would walk past a newsagent where they sell fruit and veg outside and if I was a little hungry, I would purchase just one tomato and walk down the street eating it like an apple. I got some funny looks.

Another favourite food is roasted garlic – oh my, there’s not much better. Then there’s the butter beans. I became obsessed with butter beans when I was a child because of a cafe that my dad used to take me to every weekend called The Peppermill in Nottingham. It was the absolute best cafe that Nottingham had to offer. I think I may have cried when it shut down about 10 years ago (I was young ok!)

Ingredients (serves 4)

12 medium tomatoes
1/2 tin of butter beans
1 medium onion, finaly chopped
handful of basil
2 medium red chillis
10 cloves of garlic
salt
pepper
1/2 pint of vegetable stock (I like Bouillon)
8 slices of ciabatta

Method

1. Chop the tomatoes in half and place in a baking tin along with the garlic – drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes on a high temperature (depending on what oven setting you use) I would recommend 220C
2. Meanwhile heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and fry the onion until it starts to go translucent. Add the chilli and fry for a further 2 minutes
3. When the tomatoes and garlic are ready, remove from the oven and place in a blender. Add the onions, butter beans, stock and basil and blend
4. Heat a griddle pan and drizzle the bread with olive oil. Season and fry until toasted
5. Season to taste and enjoy

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