South Africa + South London = food to celebrate at Kudu…

Peckham. For as long as I can remember, all I knew about this south London borough I learned from Desmond’s.

Yes, Desmond’s. The TV barbershop.

I know.

Age and lack of current pop-culture-cool shown right there in one fell swoop. Not a place I’d normally find myself given an N1 abode, it’s now fairly clear to me that with the arrival of Kudu, great swathes of future weekends may be lost here.

Flaunting beautiful South African inspired dishes made with local seasonal produce, this place is prettier than Oscar night Blake Lively in a rose garden with a leashful of tumbling pug puppies. All teal velvet banquettes, rugged blush walls, peachy marble tables (the cutest of which are date-night-perfect as they sit you side by side with your sweetie) and gloriously modern yet thankfully filament free lighting. Finally it seems as if the time of oversized, bare naked lightbulbs swinging from the rafters like the last-gal-standing-at-a-TOWIE-themed-hen-party may be coming to an end.

Run by Amy Corbin, daughter of Chris Corbin from the Corbin & King restaurant empire, and her partner & former Paradise Garage sous chef Patrick Williams, this is a place where the service is as warm & beguiling as the country that inspires the food.

Their cast-iron cossetted bread, currently reigning over Instagram like a soft, squidgy, parsley-flicked, butter-slicked champ, was almost enough to convince me that my first venture here should be an evening affair but the relentlessly restorative power of brunch won out as is usually the case with me. Read More

Flavouring your world Japanese for an evening…

If there’s one thing I love, it’s eating food.

Ok well, it’s actually eating food and cooking food, my bad.

And learning about food…ok, so if there’s three things that I love, it’s learning about and cooking and eating food.

Divertimenti is a cook shop in the beautiful beating heart of South Kensington, an area of London whose museums and galleries and restaurants make up some of the prettiest streets in the capital. As well as being the sort of store that makes you want to buy things you never even knew you needed until you saw them – FYI that is the entire range of cookie cutters – its basement is also home to some of the hardest working staff in London’s cooking schools and it was here that I recently found myself swept away to the Far East courtesy of a Japanese canapes workshop and the very talented Reiko Hashimoto.

Kyoto born Reiko has been teaching Japanese cooking to students in London for over a decade following time spent travelling the world with the airline industry and living in the global melting pot that is Hong Kong. Setting up her own cookery school ‘Hashi’ thirteen years ago has allowed her to inspire both novice & experienced food lovers and her first book was released in 2011 with a sibling on its way. Normally based in Wimbledon, it was absolutely delightful to spend a few hours in the company of her and four fellow food enthusiasts as we learnt a little about the ingredients, the dishes & the cooking techniques of Japan in Reiko’s first Divertimenti class.

My favourite food of the night was this incredibly warm, comforting & moreish take on the traditional Italian ‘arancini’ using miso and mozzarella. Cooking everything – rice, mushrooms, leeks & sauces – together in the same pot made it reassuringly simple and I can’t tell you how delicious the savoury, earthy flavour of the miso was when paired with the freshness of the leeks and the nuttiness of the rice.

Panko breadcrumbs should be in every home cupboard; try them once and lament at how many years you spent using the pale imitation churned out by other brands. Bigger & flakier & sturdier than their counterparts, these are breadcrumbs that give you a gorgeous crunchy texture on anything you coat them in and deep fry and, word to the wise here, you will want to coat & fry everything you can get your hands on once you start…you have been warned.

A crispy, golden crumb exterior that gives way to soft & yielding umami flavoured rice with a nugget of molten mozzarella at its core…that my friends, is how you take a classic and flip it to reveal something pretty delicious underneath. Read More