Monthly Archives: September 2012

Bibendium at the Michelin Building

Sharing a space with the Conran Shop’s London flagship, and home to the most fabulous stained glass windows!

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Bibendium
Michelin House
81 Fulham Road
http://www.bibendium.co.uk

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Dinner at Tomoe, 62 Marylebone Lane

Due to my mum and dad’s later arrival and my losing myself in Marylebone High Street’s Skandium shop…we had no choice but a late dinner. Recommendation courtesy of Time Out London’s iPhone app. I just hit the ‘find restaurants nearby’ button and found a wee Japanese restaurant near the hotel called Tomoe.

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We are a family of sushi and sashimi lovers, so we ordered some scallop and sea bream sashimi, unagi (eel), fatty tuna and an eel avocado roll. All super fresh, especially the scallop sashimi, which was almost sweet…beautiful!

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The white fish with plum came with a cheek-suckingly tart preserved plum condiment that was intriguing…it was like nothing I’d tasted before, and I have had A LOT of Japanese food in my life! My only complaint would be the amount of preserved plum presented did overpower the fabulous fresh fish. How’s that for illiteration?!

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My dad, the militant meat eater in the family, decided on a stewed pork belly char shu. This came as tender slices of belly, not overly fatty as stewed pork is so prone to be.

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I of course need a noodle course, as I am a carb fiend! Mine was a kitsune udon, a braised and fried bean dish that was full of flavour. Couldn’t fault it, the udon was springy with just enough bite, the broth was savoury and rich, and there was a distinct lack of random vegetables floating lost in a sea of soup. Just plain, simple, tasty food.

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The only disappointing dish of the evening was the chicken teriyaki, which was bland and nondescript. It was reminiscent of takeaway Chinese chicken in a generic sauce, no distinctive teriyaki flavours at all.

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A lovely, unassuming and authentic Japanese dining experience!

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Tomoe
62 Marylebone Lane
http://www.tomoe-London.co.uk

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Marylebone High Street: Fish Works

Fishworks on Marylebone High Street seems like the urban version of Tobermory’s Cafe Fish, a seafood restaurant at the back of a fishmongers.

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I started my late lunch off with a platter of bread served with salsa verde and aioli. I don’t think the bread was home baked, something in the crust told me so. Pleasant enough but a bit bland. I do love the concept of dips for artisan bread as opposed to the plain old standby butter. This would have been beautiful if the aioli were homemade and the salsa verde less uniformly smooth…I like to see and taste texture!

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A half dozen oysters followed – 3 prestige (salt and savoury), 3 Dorset rock (sweet and delicate). The Dorset were so lovely and gentle it would have been wrong to defile with mignonette…the prestige needed a taste of something acidic to cut through the saltiness.

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My main course was a spaghetti with clams, because I am utterly predictable. It’s only of my favourite dishes, and had become over the years one of my ‘yardstick’ meals. It’s simple and unfussy, and relies entirely on the freshness of the (few) ingredients and the talents of the chef to execute well.

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This version included, oddly, a mirepoix (carrots.onions and garlic as a base). A little too oily, possibly not enough butter and too much olive oil, or not enough white wine to cut through.

Nothing extraordinary, but the oysters were lovely. I think sometimes the freshness of the ingredients speak for themselves, but sometimes (in this case anyway) a bit more effort should have been made in the details.

The Fishworks
89 Marylebone High Street W1
http://www.fishworks.co.uk

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Cocktails for lunch

I needed a cocktail to perk my tired self up and found myself in The Marylebone, a funky yet cosy bar with an awesome cocktail menu!

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Of course I had to sample a martini…

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Mine’s a lychee chilli! That’s gin, lychee liqueur, cranberry juice, lime, vanilla syrup and chilli…topped off with a whole lychee. So tasty!

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They don’t have a kitchen, but they do have a selection of local takeaway menus you can order delivery from… Such a cool idea!

Oh and of course, what drew me in the door was their funky decor outside. Bikes!

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The Marylebone
93 Marylebone High Street
http://www.themarylebonelondon.com

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London in the morning!

I have arrived! After 7+ hours on the sleeper, in a surprisingly comfy bed…I’m in London!

Breakfast…

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Still summery baked couscous (with tuna, artichokes and almonds)

A bit of a cheat, this recipe! I used ready-to-roast vegetables, deli counter artichokes and tinned tuna! But it just goes to show what you can do with fresh supermarket ingredients, and how you can jazz them up with funky combinations! The step that took the longest was waiting for the roasted vegetables!

Still-summery couscous bake

110g dried couscous (I used Waitrose lemon & garlic couscous but you could use plain or Wholewheat)
2 oranges, juice and flesh
Packet ready-to-roast Mediterranean vegetables
1 tin tuna
175g deli chargrilled artichokes
Generous handful flaked almonds

Place the vegetables (in their tray!) into the oven to roast, about 45 minutes.

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Remove the juice and flesh from the oranges by any means, I used a messier method by halving the fruit and pulling out the flesh with my fingers. This will get the juice out as well in one easy step!

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Add couscous, tuna and artichokes (halved), topping with 200ml cold water. Stir. On the hob bring everything to boil, cover and remove from heat. Let rest 5 minutes.

Once the couscous is cooked, add the roasted vegetables, stirring through. Place the mixture in an ovenproof dish and top with flaked almonds. Bake a further 15 minutes.

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Beautiful healthy dinner: figs, dunsyre blue cheese and prosciutto

My god I love colourful food! This was beautiful, both the flavours and the aesthetic appearance! I’d be stretching the truth if I claimed this was a proper recipe, but I had to share as it was so tasty!

Quarter 6 figs. Figs and satsumas are where my minor OCD comes out, I need to eat them in pairs! Crumble some dunsyre blue cheese over top. Tuck slices of prosciutto alongside the figs and some torn fresh basil leaves.

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Crayfish and mango noodle salad with sweet chilli dressing

Remember yesterday’s post about my epic grocery shop?  Well today I thought I’d use some of the lovely ‘random’ ingredients I’d brought home to make a light and breezy crayfish noodle salad.

This was one of the meals I’d envisaged making when I was wandering the aisles, because crayfish and mango salad seems to be ubiquitous on the ready-made salad shelves in any supermarket (M&S does one, Waitrose does one and I believe Sainsburys does as well).  And they are always disappointing.  Lacking in flavour, limp crayfish and either undercooked or overcooked noodles.

I thought I would give it a kick with a dressing made from some lovely Trucklemans chilli jam, soy sauce and the tiniest splash of rice wine vinegar (which found its way into my trolley yesterday morning).   Such a simple and quick meal to make, and so much tastier than the ready-made version!  I have to admit I did use a few cheats here, with ready prepared mango (which I diced into finer pieces), ready cooked noodles and of course cooked crayfish tails.  However you still get the fresh flavour coming through, and I was happy with the result.

Crayfish and mango noodle salad with sweet chilli dressing

Rapeseed oil
150g crayfish tails
150g diced mango
300g cooked rice noodles
2 tsp chilli jam
2 tsp soy sauce
Splash Chinese rice wine vinegar

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Combine the chilli jam, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar in a bowl.

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In a wok heat rapeseed oil, add cooked noodles and stirfry quickly over a high heat. Add crayfish, mango and chilli-soy dressing and toss thoroughly until heated through. Add a little water if the noodles are sticking.

Serve hot or cold as a salad, adding fresh coriander as a garnish if needed. Chopsticks optional!

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What’s in my fridge this week: Waitrose

Today I did something I haven’t done in years, triggered by too much partying and holidaying over the past month. I went and did a…wait for it…huge supermarket shop. Maybe it was because I’m still worn out and recovering from the weekend. Perhaps I was feeling lazy and the lure of a home delivery from Waitrose was far too strong. Besides I needed to stock up on some storecupboard supplies. So off to Morningside I went, armed with a delivery time slot and a very basic list…I came out with this!

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Yes that’s right, the world’s longest receipt! That’s my pantry sorted for the foreseeable future, enough dog and cat food to last the wee critters for a long time, staples, fruit, vegetables, dishwasher tablets, laundry supplies and other boring essentials.

I have however decided that this is the week I am going to start menu planning. Stocking up on items I wouldn’t usually get was actually kind of fun, though I’m not sure about the whole supermarket experience!

Fresh
Baby avocados
Large navel oranges
Potted basil
Raspberries
Mango
Chestnut mushrooms
Nectarines
Corn on the cob
Haricots (green beans)
Pineapple chunks
Baby spinach
Chantenay carrots
Ready to roast Mediterranean vegetables
Roseval baby new potatoes
Leeks
Sugar snap peas
Red onions
Bananas

Dairy & eggs
Yeo valley half fat creme Fraiche
Beurre d’insigny full fat creme Fraiche
Sea salted butter
Semi skimmed organic milk
Creamed goats cheese
Saint augur creamed blue cheese
Free range eggs
Duck eggs

Storecupboard
4-pack Cirio plum tomatoes
Tinned tuna
Lemon and garlic couscous
Wholewheat israeli couscous
Wholesome soup mix
Grain mix
Casserole mix
Soft dried apricots
Green & blacks organic cocoa
Halen mon sea salt

Meat and fish
Hot smoked trout fillets
Unearthed prosciutto crudo
Raw king prawn tails
Pork tenderloin with apple butter
White Cornish crab (fresh, flesh only)
Crayfish tails

Asian
Chinese rice vinegar
Amoy ready to wok noodles
Amoy ready to wok udon noodles
Rice noodles

Italian
De Cecco spaghetti
De Cecco tortiglioni
Sacla sun dried tomato pesto
Sacla fiery chilli pesto
Sacla diavolo pasta sauce (tomato and chilli)
Sacla tomato and garlic pasta sauce
Sacla organic tomato pesto
Fresh pumpkin and pine nut stuffed fiorelli
Tideford organics tomato, basil and butter pasta sauce

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Snack foods & deli
Grilled artichokes
Unearthed hummus with yoghurt
Unearthed hummus with pomegranate
Tyrells sweet and salty popcorn
Tyrells sea salted popcorn
Duchy originals chicken and heather honey pâté
Taiko akane sushi
Seriously fruity mini apple tarts

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Drinks
Copella pink apple lemonade
Pink lady apple juice
Cherry juice

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I will be crossing items off as and when I use them!

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Weekend at Linkylea 2012

The last you all heard from me I was on my way to Linkylea Festival in Gifford, an event put on in aid of the Linkylea Trust. I love smaller festivals, the folk we met were so lovely and such good craic, fabulous sounds and just better atmosphere than the big name fests! Oh and of course I love Black Diamond Express, and am in no way biased just because they’re my mates!

I met up with friends for a pre-game breakfast at the Roseleaf in Leith…this is what one would call a ‘Big Yin’…chased by a couple bloody marys and perhaps a wee cocktail!

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Our first stop was the VIP tent…

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Miss Speedycat was chilling before the festivities kicked off…

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We met the Rogue Milliner and complimented his wonderful outfit…

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Miss Speedycat rocked some funky face paint…

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Then we bumped into some lovely ladybirds…

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We met a green haired faerie princess…

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And then of course we made our way over to the main tent to enjoy Black Diamond’s performance!

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