Month: March 2011

Kêu! Old Street

How much do you pay for a regular sandwich or baguette at a central London cafe? I say regular but even the fancy pants ones aren’t really that special and you can be paying nearly £5 for one. That’s what annoyed me about lunch options when I used to work in central London. It was either a cardboard sandwich from Tesco, a mayonnaise full small portion from Pret or a nicer albeit a lot more expensive option from Leon. I don’t work in Shoreditch or anywhere near but as I am always on the look out for amazing new places that are opening in London, I took a trip down to Kêu!, the new Vietmanese Banh Mi deli from Hugh Trung Bui of Cye Tre and Viet Grill fame. Now I do have to say that I have been doing a bit of freelance work for a friend of a friend on the launch of the deli but my trip was completely independent to this. The concept is simple – to provide a delicious and …

Coffee at Caravan

If you ever fancy taking any advice from me, I suggest that those of you out there that haven’t managed to get to Caravan for a coffee do. Nestled in the lovely Exmouth Market, Caravan does a hell of a lot – acting as a cafe, restaurant, bar, wholesaler and shop. Interesting. When I first heard the name, it conjured up images of a small porter cabin with drapes and women sitting around looking like fortune tellers. So when I got around to visiting, I was surprised. Pleasantly surprised mind. I don’t know why though as I’d be more surprised if I had found the porter cabin in it’s place. Wooden rough and ready tables, rustic jugs and bare floors, Caravan has taken the minimal approach and it’s one that I love. Many of my friends have dined at Caravan but I was most interested in visiting to see the ginormous coffee roaster that I heard is hiding in the basement. And my it looks pretty. The coffee that it roasts is a delight too. …

Sticky Black Gingerbread

Another day, another recipe. A girl that I used to work with made a fantastic batch of gingerbread for a Macmillan coffee morning competition that we held in the office last year. She took the recipe from the Leiths School Baking Bible and won the competition hands down. Her prize was a delightful bottle of Laurent Perrier champagne, lucky girl. So, inspired by her fantastic baking, I decided to bake a batch myself. I have the book that she used at home and it had been sitting dormant on the shelf for a while so I put it to good use! I adapted my recipe to include nutmeg, which worked really well! The result is a light, airy and fluffy gingerbread – It is best left for a day so that the flavour really has time to kick in. Ingredients 225g butter 225g dark muscovado sugar 225 black treacle 290ml full fat milk 340g plain flour 2 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground nutmeg 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 2 eggs, …

Allpress Espresso

Since I started drinking coffee (a few months ago!) I have been on a mission to try out all of the great independent cafes that London has to offer. Another weekend and another visit – this time to Allpress Espresso in Shoreditch. I had heard and read good things so took a trip down one Sunday afternoon for a coffee and a slice of cake. First impressions were not fantastic and it didn’t blow me away. Sure enough, the enormous roaster in the window is designed to stop passers by in their tracks and it is impressive as it’s not normally something you’d see in a coffee shop but the decor inside was plain and slightly corporate looking. But maybe I’m being harsh. After all, I am extremely grateful for coffee shops like this as they are far better than the usual chains that we see on the high street. Allpress hails from down-under (no surprises there really) and positions itself between boutique and corporate, which is exactly the feeling that I got. The coffee …

Mayonnaise Chocolate Brownies

A really good advertising campaign has recently caught my eye and I’m sure it has caught the eye of a few other women too. I bake at least twice a week and since I don’t have an office of hungry, sweet toothed girls to share my creations with anymore, a lot more of it goes into my own stomach. Now while my tastebuds and stomach may not be complaining, my waist line might be! My first ever batch of brownies was what started my roller coaster ride filled with sugar, flour, butter, eggs, sugar and chocolate. So when I saw the advert for using mayonnaise instead of butter, I was very intrigued. Normally I don’t like to mess – it took me a while to come to terms with chocolate cake baked with beetroot but when I eventually tasted it, I realised that it was amazing and you couldn’t taste the beetroot at all. These Hellmann’s Mayonnaise and Green & Blacks chocolate brownies are gooey, chocolatey, absolutely delicious, so easy to bake and 55% lower …

Ping Pong Chinese New Year menu

Pardon me for being so late but I have a post related to Chinese New Year! A few weeks ago I was invited to dine at Ping Pong to celebrate their special Chinese New Year menu. I had only ever been once before and I was nicely hungover so wasn’t able to appreciate the food – so when the invite came, I duly accepted. What I didn’t realise was that we were only going to be dining with a handful of others and that we would get to try almost everything on the menu, including any extras from the regular menu that we might want. Despite Chinese New Year falling on 3rd February this year, the special menu at Ping Pong ran for the whole month of February. We dined at the original venue on Great Marlborough Street in London and I found the restaurant to be well designed and very sleek. I looked at the special menu and was excited to try everything. Chinese isn’t my favourite cuisine, which is no secret and I …

Maple and Pecan muffins

I love breakfast foods, which is why I’ve been making a lot of loaves and muffins recently. Since it was pancake day this week and I bought a bottle of Maple Syrup especially, I thought I’d carry on the theme and make some Maple Syrup and Pecan Muffins. I have the Hummingbird Bakery book but their recipe called for more buttermilk than I have in the fridge so it was back to the drawing board. I came across a recipe from Nigella Lawson, which uses wheat germ. I had some oat germ in the cupboard which needed using so I decided to substitute it. There is no sugar or butter in the batter – instead I used milk, vegetable oil and of course, maple syrup. The result is a light and fluffy muffin with a delicious crunchy sugary and nutty topping. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they’re healthy but i’m sure they’re not as bad as your regular muffin. I have an American cup measure so I used this – if …