No Oompa Loompas but lots of treats in this chocolate box London tour…

I recently undertook my first walking tour of London and it was brilliant. It not only gave me the opportunity to see my beloved city in a fresh way but it also introduced me to new things and new people which you don’t always get when you’re head down on the tube, earbuds in and tutting as bewildered tourists weave in and out around you looking for the London Eye and an Angus Steakhouse. FYI – it’s the big wheel on the Southbank and err, don’t. Just don’t.

However I can now tick the second walking tour off a list I didn’t even know I had and this one was super sweet – a tour around central London of several chocolatiers, gelaterias and high class department stores given to me as a birthday gift. Honestly, the things I go through for the sake of this blog amaze even myself at times but with a brolly in my hand and anticipation in my tummy, I set off with J and his lovely parents M and D to spend an afternoon forcing down samples and ingesting and inhaling my own body weight in chocolate. Read More

Entering a breadmakers paradise at the e5 Bakehouse…

On what may well have been the hottest day of the year so far, what better way to spend 6 hours can there possibly be than baking bread in a working bakehouse where the ovens are huge, the customers hungry and the pace fast?

None obviously, so off I trotted to undertake one of J’s Christmas gifts to me (and by proxy I think, himself!) of a sourdough breadmaking class at the gorgeous e5 Bakehouse set in the arches of Hackney.

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Chilli and chocolate – a heaven sent pairing with a gorgeous Mexican turkey mole…

Mexican food always has been and always will be something I love to eat. Seriously, I’m like a dog who doesn’t realise he’s had too much to eat and just…keeps…going.

Self control? Meh. Portion control? Pshhh.

I just completely adore it. I love the spices, the flavours, the fact that so much of it can be eaten al fresco and casually with your hands and the idea of topping everything with guacamole, re-fried beans, sour cream and cheese just speaks to my very soul. Shocking I know.

Mole poblano is a traditional Mexican dish which offers a decadently dark, chocolate chilli flavoured sauce over turkey and it’s exact origins are often debated through two legends…

…the first says that nuns from Puebla de los Angeles were panicked when they learnt that a visiting Archbishop would be coming to their convent. Their desperate prayers for help were answered by an angel who inspired them to combine chillies, spices and chocolate among other ingredients and to boil and reduce the result down until it became the thick, dark, rich product that we recognise now. Serving it with turkey, the only meat available to them, you’ll be happy to hear that the Archbishop loved it and the nuns were much praised for it.

The second legend says that the Aztec King Moctezuma served mole at a banquet to honour the conquistadors that he thought of as gods but whatever its origins, I think we should just send a general ‘gracias’ out there into the ether and honour both the nuns and the king by enjoying this dish not just on special occasions as in Mexican tradition, but whenever we can.

Truly authentic mole poblano has a list of ingredients a mile long so I’m not even going to pretend for one insulting minute that this version of it was slaved over. In actual fact, it was made with ingredients easily found in your local supermarket but don’t let that put you off because honestly, it’s really a delicious and different way of enjoying Mexican cuisine.

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