Cosmic eggs, velvet hearts & a snapshot of Spring at the M&S Press show…

Spring is in the air dear readers, spring is very definitely in the air!

Ok, perhaps my sunny optimism is a little premature given that we seem to be enduring the tail end of one vintagely named storm after another – Gertrude & Henry anyone? – but I could be forgiven for thinking warmer, prettier days were just round the corner at the recent M&S Spring Press Show with this wall of heady-scented, velvet-petalled roses…

Beautifully laid out in the charming period space of One Horse Guards Avenue on the banks of the Thames, this was the perfect spot in which to lay out room after room of trends to see you through the next few months of seasonal events so, in the words of Nat King Cole, let there be love… Read More

The 12 best dishes of 2015…

Hello darling readers and welcome to the last post of 2015, a year that has been immense for so many different reasons. I really want to apologise for being very MIA over the last few weeks…between searching for and then moving into a new home, being out of the country, changing jobs and getting ready for Christmas, my free time has been scarce to say the least; not an excuse I promise, rather a small explanation of what has kept me from you lovely people – I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and readership and here’s hoping 2016 is a touch calmer!

I always find the start of a new year is accompanied with a multitude of feelings, not the least of which is awe that another 12 months has skipped by in the apparent blink of an eye! There are always things to celebrate in the form of accomplishments made & steps taken, however there can sometimes be a tinge of regret or wistfulness if the journeys begun haven’t walked quite the path expected. Be it good or bad, I hope each and every one of you can commend yourselves on surviving the year, whatever it brought for you and however you feel as you bid it farewell.

As we look back on all that we have done and seen and of course eaten in 2015, I wanted to pick out 12 of my own favourite dishes. Some I have enjoyed in London, some I have loved further afield and a few, I’ve been proud to make in my own kitchen with the help of J of course, the man who is the (freshly baked sourdough) bread to my (salted of course) butter. I hope some of them inspire you to get cooking in the new year and to get out and explore your own neighbourhoods…I would love to know what dishes rocked your world this year!

Tomato salad with pomegranate molasses from ‘Persiana’

Persiana

Sabrina Ghayour’s seminal cookbook has had pride of place on my shelves since it came out in 2014; I have loved many recipes from it including the lamb & sour cherry meatballs which are so perfect for a dinner party as they can be made the night before and the chicken bastillas which manage to be both light & filling, sweet & savoury, delicious & err, even more delicious at the same time!

This simple and elegant tomato salad drizzled with pomegranate molasses and speckled with crescent moons of pepper & red onion as well as earthy chunks of walnuts is about as perfect a side dish as you could wish for. Visually it’s a glorious Technicolor feast and each mouthful is refreshing & energetic; if you’re after an unassuming but show stopping platter to accompany a dark, rich & meaty main course, this is what you’ve been searching for. Read More

Seeing the doughnut shaped light thanks to Dum Dum…

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Fact is, I’ve never really been a doughnut girl. I’m not a big fan of jammy treats and in my youth – a time when doughnuts meant a sugar speckled bag of 6 from Sainsbury’s – that’s what they meant to me. I rarely strayed from the double chocolate muffin path but recently, I’ve become somewhat of a convert; whilst I still really can’t handle the oil-slick that is Krispy Kreme, I can definitely get on board with the baked doughnuts found at Dum Dum’s.

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Purists may scoff that if it’s baked and not fried then it can’t actually be called a doughnut but I’m quite happy for these to be the doughnuts of my future – they’re pretty, they’re not soaked in grease and their sugary sweet & fluffy lusciousness also happens to taste fan-freaking-tastic. Boasting traditional type doughnuts at £1.80 as well as yum yums and cronuts from £3, this is definitely a place with imagination; the Zebra is a baked croissant dream of a doughnut, stuffed with chocolate buttercream & topped with chocolate ganache while my favourite, Pete’s Yum Yum Dum Dum, is a dulce de leche caramel buttercream filled beast.

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Those who sway more towards the traditional doughnuts of  days past might be appeased with the timeless raspberry preserve or strawberry puree creations but my philosophy is that if you’re going to be bad, hell, you might as well be the absolute worst and let’s face it, despite being baked rather than fried which reduces the fat content by about 2/3, you’re still never going to win Slimmer of the Year with these bad boys in your hands, given their generous stature.

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There’s nowhere to sit at this Boxpark branch which is probably just as well since greasing you up and rolling you out the door while you lick the sugar from your fingers is probably not something the staff fancy doing much. Far better to take these beauties home, put on your sweatpants and let the sofa take the brunt of your utter indulgence.

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