Month: December 2011

Granger & Co

It’s the day before Christmas Eve in West London. A black car sits waiting by the curb across the road from a grand London townhouse. Young professionals wander down the streets and into boutiques for a spot of last minute Christmas shopping. Mark Ronson casually walks across the road and clambers into the black car, careful not to knock his large white hat on the way in. Passers by don’t look twice. Such sightings are normal in these parts. Across the road, a new restaurant buzzes. Granger & Co, the first and long awaited London based restaurant from Bill Granger, Australian culinary God, opened in November. A long bar runs down the right hand side at which diners sit, casually eating their food whilst watching baristas perfecting their latte art. Objects adhering to the gold and cream colour theme adorn the bar and the windowsills around the room, including a beautiful lamp that I wished I could slip into my handbag. Tan leather banquets line the dining room, which the morning brunch brigade fills, along …

First Great Western Pullman Carriage review

It’s Friday evening and London Paddington is buzzing with tired commuters awaiting their ride to freedom for the next couple of days. Sushi and sandwiches are munched, cans are cracked open and the aroma of (bad) coffee fills the air. I find myself sitting in a quiet and brightly lit waiting room, filled with complimentary refreshments. I grab two packs of biscuits, a couple of clementines, a plateful of nuts and sandwiches and a cappuccino from the self serve machine. I watch in distain as the coffee machine pours hot milk out of the nozzle into the cup before spurting out a small amount of coffee on top. As I take my first sip, I wince and place it on the coffee table not to be touched again. I sometimes wish I wasn’t such a coffee snob. The platform number of my train emerges on the screen and I wind through the tables with my suitcase onto the platform and onto the train, which is almost full after only a few minutes of opening its …

Sponsored post – clementine marmalade glazed ham recipe

You may notice that this is a sponsored post but all of the views expressed in my little intro paragraph are my own. I am a huge Le Creuset fan, despite not actually owning any of their cookware. In fact, my mum called me on Saturday when I was dying in bed with a hangover after my work Christmas party asking me what I wanted for Christmas. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be thinking about at that moment in time but my first answer was a Le Creuset cast iron pan. My second answer was slippers. What? A girl has to be comfy around the house in winter! If you want a change from the usual Turkey this Christmas (I know I do), the below recipe for clementine marmalade glazed ham is a pretty good alternative. And if you have left overs, wedge them between two slabs of sourdough bread for a Boxing Day sarnie. Clementine Marmalade Glazed Ham Ingredients 3-3½kg (6½ lb) boned, unsmoked gammon joint 3 bay leaves 2 onions, quartered …

Eden Project

Last week I walked around a rainforest. In England. Really, I did. I also took a stroll past olive trees, lemon trees and fragrant herbs in the Mediterranean. Don’t believe me? Then you obviously haven’t heard of the Eden Project in Cornwall. Situated in a former China clay quarry, the Eden Project opened in 2001 and has fast become a world wide tourist attraction. And I can see why. We were lucky with the weather on our visit – it’s mid December and there were no gloves, hats or scarves needed. The sun was shining over the whole site and as a result each and every part looked stunning. During the winter months, the main stage area is turned into a magical ice skating rink. Guests can hire skates and take to the rink for a mere £5 for 40 minutes. But if you have forgotten your knee pads and prefer to watch, you have the option to sit and watch on a viewing deck whilst eating a Cornish pasty and drinking a steaming cup …

The Lugger, Cornwall

“Ohhh, you’re so lucky”, exclaimed my workmate when I told her that I was going to be spending my birthday weekend at The Lugger in Cornwall. Being from Cornwall herself, she had once treated herself to a night a couple of years ago and loved it. Driving down the narrow country roads in pitch black, I only had the memories of images I’d seen on The Lugger website. Upon arrival I had to imagine the beautiful view that I would be waking up to in the morning. And when I woke at 8am, I wasn’t disappointed. Having not closed the shutters intentionally, I opened my eyes and watched the sea lolling, causing small waves to lap the shore. The room that we stayed in for two nights was quaint with low ceilings, white walls and New England style furnishings. A large desk / dressing table stood by the window and was surrounded by windowsills furnished with cushions, two bedside tables, an old alarm clock (which I had to hide under a large pillow due to …

Eggy bread with berries, crème fraîche and maple syrup recipe

Christmas party season is in full swing. Knowing that I had my work Christmas party on Friday evening, I bought all of the neccessary food supplies for the weekend on Thursday evening after work. And I’m so glad I did. I have a huge amount of eggs in the house at the moment so thought of ways to use them up. One idea was eggy bread, something that my mum used to make me every weekend when I was younger. I adored it but for some reason I’ve never made since I flew the nest. It is best made with brioche but I used granary bread and it was still delicious. Eggy bread with berries, crème fraîche and maple syrup (Serves 2) Ingredients 4 slices bread / brioche 2 large eggs 120ml whole milk 1/2 vanilla pod, deseeded 2 tbsp golden caster sugar 2 tbsp crème fraîche 100g butter Handful of berries Drizzle of maple syrup Dusting of icing sugar Method 1. Whisk the eggs, icing sugar, milk and vanilla pod seeds together in a …

Carrot, ginger, apple and celery juice recipe

Trying to be healthy at this time of year just doesn’t work. But it’s a time when we all need to try a little bit harder. Illness is a plenty and most people I know have been hit with the dreaded lurgey over the last couple of months, myself included. I explained how awful I was feeling to a friend over breakfast a couple of weeks ago and she gave me some great advice. Make a fresh juice for breakfast. Not only do they cut down on the calories but they are packed with vitamins needed to keep those winter blues at bay. So the first thing I did was dust off the juicer, buy two huge shopping bags full of veg and set to work. It is best to drink the juice as soon as you have made it, otherwise you run the risk of losing the essential vitamins. But if you haven’t got time to juice in the morning, do it at night before you go to bed, place in an air tight …