Indulging in a swoonsome slice of London’s finest birthday afternoon tea…

Afternoon tea. Tricky thing isn’t it? Not so much the actual consumption because that, after years of full on, fine china training, I’m quite au fait with. Tiny sandwiches, petite cakes, warm scones and teacups pillaged from Downton? Yep. Totally on board with all of that.

No, the tricky thing is finding good afternoon tea, something that’s worthy of your hard earned pennies & treasured free time. A brisk Googling of ‘afternoon tea in London’ will see nearly 25 million hits pop up faster than you can ask ‘one lump or two?’ so when my gorgeous sister V and I were looking for somewhere suitably fabulous but not completely wallet draining to celebrate my birthday, the choice was vast and the word ‘overwhelming’ used on more than one occasion.

Luckily, I can report back that there is indeed a place out there that will treat you like a queen and cater to every one of your champagne tastes but on your lemonade budget…the Soho Hotel. Centrally located off Dean Street, this hotel is one of eight in the Firmdale’s London family and while it’s a mere tiptoe away from the relentless Soho hustle, stepping inside feels like entering the sanctuary you didn’t know you needed until that very minute.

If your idea of heaven is patisserie on a plate, get ready to enter the promised land…

image9 Read More

Getting our Italian groove on with Ms. Paltrow and Mr. Oliver…

Which celebrities are at your dream dinner party? Yes, I know it’s a game as old as time and right up there with such classics as Desert Island Foods (bread, cheese, wine, chocolate, avocados) and who your Would-But-Shouldn’t is (Michael Bolton pre AND post haircut, he just makes it work) and I’m not saying your choices have to be final and committed to and laminated a la Ross Geller but indulge me and play along…

Gwyneth and Jamie might not be sat at your table in your dream scenario but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t turn your nose up at them catering your soiree. Now before you scoff and tell me that Jamie would be welcome in the kitchen but dinner from Ms. Macrobiotic sounds as much fun as a colonoscopy, let me just say this in her defense…

…ready?

Best. Brownies. Ever.

I’m not even joking – her recipe for dark and chocolatey, fudgy and oh-so-gently-coffee-laced brownies creates something that is insanely, ridiculously delicious and will have those you give them to weeping at your feet for the recipe.

And again before the scoffing starts, yes, there are unusual ingredients that you might not use all the time in her recipes but I’ve found every single one at my local supermarket and so could you. Anyway, this is not an ode to Gwyneth although I absolutely could write that because I adore her All-American-wholesome-and-glowing-with-healthiness-aura; this is me saying give the woman a chance when it comes to her cooking. You might not agree with the naming of your children after fruit and I won’t deny that she can sometimes speak before thinking but I promise you, the woman knows how to make food that is good for you and tastes wonderful. And so onto today’s kitchen experimenting…Jamie’s home-made pasta with Gwynnie’s dazzlingly fresh and light lemon Parmesan pasta.

gwyneth pasta (11) Read More