Tuesday, 27 September 2011

take a 'leek'...

Firstly, apologies for the delay.

I'm gearing back up with my studies, so my mind is a whirl with PCOS, metabolism, and other such food/body related topics. I will have more health things to come in the future...

But back to the title...

I don't mean this literally of course, although with the amount of water I down in a day, perhaps I should change the spelling to the more appropriate meaning!

Sauteed leeks, mushrooms with parsley

I mean, take one leek.

The vegetable from the Allium family. His brothers are onion and garlic. Know them?

Leek isn't a vegetable I have often, but I really rather fancied it. I think that there is only one way to eat them, sauteed in butter!

Sizzling in butter and white wine

I also adore sauteed mushrooms with butter, white wine and parsley. So lets throw them all together!

Delicious with fresh sourdough bread...

For 2:
  • 1 leek washed and sliced
  • 8 chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • knob of butter to sizzle in the pan
  • glug of white wine
  • chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
Let the butter sizzle in the pan over a medium heat, then add the sliced leeks and mushrooms. Allow them to cook right down (that is where all the flavour is), but be careful not to have on a high heat otherwise they will brown/burn. Before you are ready to serve, add a generous glug of white wine and a handful of chopped parsley. Let the white wine reduce away and SERVE!

Some fillet steak

With all my extra efforts in the gym lately, my body was needing definite repairing. Enter fillet beef. Hello amino acids...build me!

It is ESSENTIAL you cook a steak properly. Prepare/season your beef first with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put into a searing hot pan. Hot hot, and generally leave for about 3 minutes on one side before turning over. Another couple of minutes on the other side, and perhaps with tongs move your steak around to sear the sides and ends for the nice colour, then take OFF the heat. Your meat will continue cooking a little so take off before you like it done. Then LEAVE it. The longer you leave it the better. If you cut now, it will be dry as a bone. Leave for at least 10 minutes, so that your steak can recover from intense heat shock. He has rather tensed up from all that action, so he needs a few moments to relax, calm down, gather himself and more importantly re-absorb his juices. Then Mr Steak will be carving/eating ready and just melt in the mouth.

Serve both with new potatoes, anything you like or nothing. I also used a little of the crab apple jelly I'm obsessed and some mustard.


Thursday, 22 September 2011

heavy metal

Knives, forks and spoons 11

They say the pleasure in your eating experience is enhanced and influenced by the plate you eat off, the cutlery you use and the setting you create. A plain old orange juice would taste far sweeter and decadent in a crystal champagne flute, would it not?!

Obviously, by the theme of this blog, you might gather that I enjoy food, but with a background in art and in fashion though, I get rather excited when they can all combine together to make something rather beautiful.

My friend suggested that I might like art by Bridget Davies. My friend knows me too well. Much of her work using ink, watercolour, gold and silver leaf. Themes heavily filled with fashion illustration, and intertwined with the occasional 'heavy metal.'

This might make you want to hop down to your closest antique market to pick up some new pieces. Why shouldn't supper on a Monday night for one be a special occasion? You might just appreciate what you're eating...and you might just enjoy it.

Two whisks

Souvenir spoons
Bridget's passion for the bygone era encouraged her visits to second hand shops in search of antique cutlery amongst other bits and bobs. Her first cutlery paintings were slightly different (which can be found in the early days of her blog), and although initially from old worn antique pieces, she now does include a lot of new cutlery especially for the larger pieces. She is currently hastily getting to work on some lovely seed measures tucked away in a beautifully old box and some antique fish sets amongst other things.

Tea strainers 2
Pepper pots
Bridget Davies is exhibiting NOW until the 25th September at the Brighton Art Fair.

Also, at the Palace Art Fair in London from 6th-9th October and at the Windsor Contemporary Art Fair from the 11th-13th November.

Lots of spoons
Cake slices

Monday, 19 September 2011

vegetarian feast

'Casa Moro' pumpkin and chickpea salad

Juicy medium rare iron filled steak or big can of chickpeas?

I could probably easily be vegetarian, but I do need a little animal flesh, or the stock from some broiling bones of chicken. Pure un-tampered genuine protein. I'm a carnivore at heart, but I do have a weakness for meaty pulses (I'm sure most men might gasp at the horror of receiving such a dish...'where's the meat?').

If you have chosen to be a vegetarian, do it this way, as my friend did for me one supper. Or, go down the spectacular vegetarian options route as Yotam Ottolenghi provides (do I have to tell you who he is again?). For whatever reason you might be a vegetarian, please please please, I beg of you, don't tell me you eat those bizarre 'fake' protein, mycoprotein nuggets, or even worse, have fake 'chicken' or fake 'sausages.' Surely if you are vegetarian, you don't need to be tricked into thinking you're eating a real sausage or piece of meat, AND surely as a supposedly health conscious/weight conscious individual you would know the wonders of the pulse/wild, red, brown rice/root vegetable/herbs and flavouring world?

I shiver when someone mentions the word 'Quorn.'

Do you?


My friend chose a delicious Ravinder Bhogal portobello mushroom recipe and a 'Moro' pumkin and chickpea salad.

I was not dissatisfied.

Let the adventure begin...

'Casa Moro' chickpea and pumpkin salad

Pumpkin and chickpea salad with tahini taken from 'Casa Moro' (4)

  • 1 kg pumpkin or squash (peeled, de-seeded and cut into cubes)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 400g can cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt
  • 3 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp tahini paste
  • 2 tbsp water, to taste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Oven - 220 'C/425 F/Gas 7

Toss pumpkin with garlic, allspice, olive oil and some salt and pepper. Place on a try in the oven for about 15-25 minutes until soft. Remove and allow to cool.

While the pumpkin is cooling, make the tahini sauce. Mix the crushed garlic with lemon juice and add the tahini. Now thin with the water and olive oil and check the seasoning.

Assemble the salad by mixing together the pumpkin mix, chickpea, red onion and coriander. Pour on the tahini sauce and remaining oil and toss carefully. Season with salt and pepper.

Ravinder Bhogal portobello mushrooms

Portobello mushroom and cheddar crumble (4)

  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 8 portobello mushrooms
  • extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
Tomato sauce:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 dried red chilli, crumbled
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 200g breadcrumbs
  • 1 heaped tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 20g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 50g cheddar cheese, finely grated
  • 1 handful of torn fresh basil leaves
Oven - 190 'C/375 F/Gas 5

Mix all the crumble ingredients together, season and set aside.

For the sauce, saute the onion until soft and add the chopped garlic and chilli and fry for a couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes, sugar and seasoning. Let it bubble on a low heat for 15-20 minutes to reduce down. Add a little bit of water if it does get too thick. Add the parsley at the end.

Peel and trim the mushrooms.

Spread half the tomato sauce over the base of a large roasting tin, then top with the slice garlic and mushrooms, stalk-side up. Pour the rest of the sauce over the top and finish with the crumble.

Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until it is bubbling on top.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

autumnal air

Freshly picked apples and pears, Bedchester B and B

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
(John Keats, Ode to Autumn)

I've been feeling rather out of sorts for the last few weeks.

Does anyone else feel like this? Please say you do! Let's all share in it together!!

My hormones are giving me unnecessary grief. I have a dissertation to crack on with. I still have a job to go to and it's September, so there has been a definite 'shift' in weather. The season is hinting that it wants to move on, and for me this time of year brings a 'back to school' feeling. A slight chill in the air and new stationery.

London feels like it's in limbo land. Summer is over.

Does this sound depressing? I feel 'SAD' coming on. My past experience tells me that sometimes a change of scenery does one good. Perfect timing then that my artist friend was heading home to the South West to take care of some business. This is my second family. My home away from home, since age 2. I better tag along. The family home also makes a damn good B & B. Where better to enjoy fresh air and the outdoors.

I picked them especially for you!

You might be able to tell that apples are in season right now?

Would you like a bite? The flesh is pink

The first sign regarding the apples lay on the kitchen surface...

Crab apple jelly recipe
Crab apple jelly at the ready

I arrived just in time. Dinner is served. Shepherds pie, and garlic green beans. Followed by apple snow pudding with meringue top. This is perfect. It takes me right back to my childhood. We're still sitting around the circular wooden table. We're still helping ourselves to seconds of shepherds pie and apple snow, and I'm still narrowly avoiding spitting water all over the table from laughing.

This is typically English cooking at its best.

It makes me think of the scent of grass in the air and the smell of fresh air on your clothes.

Shepherds pie and garlic green beans
Apple snow pudding...could you pass the cream please!?

Did I mention that I laugh a lot here...

Did you know you're looking puce?

...and then some more...
Alright we get it...you're laughing
...and then a little more...

If the wind changes, we can smile forever

So, since we're in the garden...let's go for a walk and step into the field. What's going on here?

Black cow says to Patchy cow 'Look at that bloody dog, disturbing our peace. Doesn't she know the tree is our silent zone?'

After a little wander, a little rest, a little fresh air. It's time for lunch.

Nothing better than soup to warm the cockles of your heart.

Some tomato, vegetable, bacon, bean soup is bubbling on the Aga
After a mild pulsing it is ready to be dished up
Some hefty grating of Parmesan, a crack of black pepper and it's good for slurping
A meal fit for a king...courgette quiche, grilled goats cheese...salad to accompany
Last but not least, some pudding (I hope the onions didn't go in that!). I'm told that these berries are for breakfast if you come to stay!

So, after all that colour, food, and fresh air, have I cheered you up???

I said, have I cheered you up??

I might have made you hungry...but the season change and September isn't so bad (she chants to herself). If you do feel a little out of sorts then have a change of scenery like I did and escape to the country for a day or two...or at least get into a warm pub, or cinema.

Try and laugh a little too...it helps!

Bedchester B and B

Friday, 9 September 2011


The hour is Brunch, so here I am...

Act aloof and nonchalant - SNAP!
 ...and 'here' is...


Are you familiar with this beautiful brand?

Joseph Autumn/Winter 2011/2012
Joseph Autumn/Winter 2011/2012

Judging by the disaster that was 'The Fashion Cafe' in the mid 90's, you'd assume that fashion and food don't mix (believe me...I went, I tasted, I walked away!).

Fortunately for us, when Joseph and Joe's are concerned, it does.

After Joseph was established, the first Joe's Cafe opened under the 16 Sloane Street store in the mid 80's and was swiftly followed by the stand alone restaurant at 126 Draycott Avenue. So synonymous with the 90's cool, my favourite 'Absolutely Fabulous' pair got a fair bit of filming done there...

After that, I was hooked. The chic black and white branding. The jodhpur. The knitwear. I was desperate for my mother to take me to Joe's Cafe. I handed out my CV to the stores. I wanted to be a Joseph girl. Fate would have it that I would end up working there for a couple of years later on in life, and fate would also have it that Joseph would go through an incredible overhaul,  re-threading the essential 90's essence back into the brand for a modern era....meaning...DRUMROLL...fantastic advertising, amazing new seasons and, naturally, the organic evolving of Joe's Cafe, including a new Joe's at the Westbourne Grove store.

Refreshing means a little makeover and a new chef. Case in point. Joe's at 126 Draycott Avenue. Enter Maria Elia (previously Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room amongst others). Together. A Winning combination.

Comfortable, cosy, relaxing

The open all day, drop in, relaxed atmosphere, means you can pop by in the morning to pick up a takeaway coffee. Snack on a cake or sandwich up at the bar, or sit down for healthy, tasty flavoursome seasonal fine dining brunch, lunch or dinner.

A drink, a cake, a sandwich, a waitress

Fun and a sense of playfulness is to be had with the new informal black board taking up the wall as you walk in instructing you to drink some water, peruse the menu or try a stylish strawberry and basil margarita 'skinny' cocktail.

What's on the blackboard?
Diner style informality
Coming for brunch meant a range of choices and the prices are pretty OK too considering where you are. Puddings are only about £3.50!

The 'Brunch' menu
I of course was craving a little egg action, so had the smoked ham, poached eggs and sourdough toast.

Can't beat a poached egg

I also couldn't resist the delightful salt chocolate mousse and chocolate 'dirt.' Genius.

The dirt is good enough for me!
Scattered within the tasteful book shelves are bottles of wine and hundreds of magazines...just in case you forgot which industry Joe's was born from. It's like the perfect study. A women's dream!

Perhaps Gwyneth has been here...I know the rest of the fashion pack have

The cosy environment ensures that it will be the perfect backdrop for BRAIN FOOD at JOE'S, South Kensington, where from mid October, Joe's will be hosting weekly hour-long author talks and book signings from the world of fashion, food, literature and more.

Tickets at £5, will include freshly baked madeleines, Monmouth coffee and Joe's own special JOSEPH rare tea blend.

Event details will be updated here: Spoon blog

If you want to see how the fashion crowd do it, more pictures can be found here: Sara Ferrero and Katie Grand host at Joe's

Thank you for dining with us!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

peanut butter square

Hello there handsome!

Are any of you familiar with peanut butter?

Perhaps this might help jog your memory?

Peanut, Almond or Cashew butter?

I am so fond of peanut butter that all the gloating in the world wouldn't be able to convey across the love it deserves.

We had Sun-Pat at school.
I wasn't so keen on that one.
Perhaps it was the many many grubby fingered jammy knives that had been there before me that made it look rather unpleasant.

In the 90's I met Skippy peanut butter. Aaaaah, the American, sweet, smoothed to an inch of its life, dreamboat.

Now. I like it 'no added sugar.' The proper stuff. The whole earth stuff! It's pretty much my staple breakfast. Rye toast. Peanut butter. Sometimes a little unsweetened fig jam.

Sometimes I dabble in some almond.

Have you also noticed how peanut butter is SO good in things.

Are you familiar with this product!?

Sent from the Devil!

If you're not, then I'm worried.

Guess what?
I made my own ones...
...and they're even better...

Here is their story.

All it takes is some good peanut butter, some actual butter, icing sugar and muscovado sugar
Which you must mix mix mix. We don't want any raw lumps of butter now do we?!
Plop into a brownie tin, lined with some greaseproof paper
Smooth out!
Oh hello, what have we here? Some good quality chocolate and more butter?
Better melt some of that together!
Where better to dump it!?
After some refrigerator time...
...those bad boys are ready to get cracked!

Thank you Nigella.

Just be warned. Imagine when biting into these, you are biting into a stick of raw butter. Yup. That is pretty much it. So cut them SMALL.

Mix in a bowl together with a wooden spoon:
  • 50g dark muscovado sugar
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 200g smooth peanut butter
Make sure to get it nice and smoothed out, and that the butter is worked in. The muscovado sugar will stay lumpy in some parts. Then put into a square brownie tin, lined with greaseproof paper.

Then melt together:
  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 100g plain chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
If you melt in a pan, don't keep it on the heat for too long otherwise it'll burn. You can warm through and then keep stirring in off the heat for a while and the chocolate will melt. Spread the chocolate mix over the peanut base and then put in the refrigerator.

Wait a good 3 hours or so until it is very set.

Cut into small squares.