Passo London, a one week pop-up and the impeccable pizza of Nancy Silverton…

Nancy Silverton. Californian, chef, baker, restaurateur, author and, oh yeah, casual pizza legend.

I have a teeny, tiny, giant, supersized girl crush on this funky, talented, smart, warm woman which began with her ‘Chef’s Table’ episode on Netflix and was firmly assured after lunch last Friday at her one-week pop-up in Passo, one of London’s loveliest Italian restaurants just off the Old St roundabout.

Beautifully shaded in a palette of nudes that Bobbi Brown herself would be proud to out her name to, this is a vast dining room but one that feels delightfully intimate thanks to the cosy bar, the varied table sizes, the honeyed caramel décor accents and the warm daylight that streams in through floor to ceiling windows at the back. Staff are friendly & welcoming, happy to chat and eager to ensure your time there is a good one plus there’s a buzz through the space that was apparent as both a gentle murmuring at the start of service and then a fully obvious delivery of all-out good times once every table was full.

Silverton, dough master & all round exceptional culinary talent, was visible during our lunch on the last day of a residency that saw 900+ covers make their way through the restaurant in a week and her touch was apparent in every dish that emerged from the open plan kitchen.

*Sidenote, whilst waiting for my friend to arrive, I may or may not have texted that I could ‘see Nancy on the pass’, thereby forever cementing my place as a total geek on the food landscape in which I live…judge me not dear reader, you too dwell there or you wouldn’t be reading this.

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Surrender your lunch to the colours and flavours of the Med…

Weekend lunches. They’re the best because they’re generally tastier, usually a little more involved & often more exciting than the midweek, midday meals that sometimes sustain rather than delight…agree?

I knew you would, you’re such a well-read, edibly curious & always adventurous crowd and so with that in mind, let’s talk tapenade. Named after the Provencal word for ‘capers’ but with the first records of it being eaten emerging from Italy, this spread of the Med is traditionally made with a mixture of finely chopped olives, capers & olive oil. Whilst the components of a tapenade have been adapted over the years, two things remain constant – made right, this soft paste is always packed full of savoury flavour and made for you, it’s a total cheat’s dream for speedy meals. Read More

The speedy supper goes Italian with a classic Pesto alla Trapanese…

Late last year I was fortunate enough to attend a cooking demonstration by the rather lovely chef & food writer Rachel Roddy at the brilliant Divertimenti Cooking School on Brompton Road in London.

Among several evocative dishes cooked by Rachel, all of which transported me to sunnier Italian climes, one stood out as being an arguably perfect plate of pasta. So delicious was it that it’s been recreated in my own Islington-rather-than-Italy kitchen with great success – I feel it’s ok to modestly give it that label since bowls were left empty at the end of dinner so no further evidence needed, si? Grazi. Read More