Food reviews and recipes

Fresh Pasta Making at Borough Kitchen

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was pretty certain that a good pasta dish was down to the sauce.

Borough Kitchen Fresh Pasta ClassBorough Kitchen Fresh Pasta Class

Fresh pasta, in particular, never seemed worth the effort. That all changed, though, when I went along to the fresh pasta making course at Borough Kitchen, in Hampstead.

Borough Kitchen Fresh Pasta ClassBorough Kitchen Fresh Pasta ClassBorough Kitchen Fresh Pasta Class

The classes take place from 6.30 pm in the Borough Kitchen store, which is full of the most beautiful kitchen things – all of which are just so tempting.

The classes are small, and intimate, meaning that you get to ask questions throughout, and the demonstrations are easy to see. If you’re more of a spectator, then this isn’t the class for you – you’re going to get your hands dirty, but it’s an incredibly practical class.

Borough Kitchen Fresh Pasta ClassBorough Kitchen Fresh Pasta ClassBorough Kitchen Fresh Pasta Class

We worked with basic and wholemeal pasta, and made tagliatelle, which we were able to take home with us. We also made butternut squash and goats cheese ravioli and cannelloni, which we also made to go – there was enough fresh pasta for the rest of the week, which was so handy for lunches!

Borough Kitchen Fresh Pasta ClassBorough Kitchen Fresh Pasta ClassBorough Kitchen Fresh Pasta Class

After all of the hard work (all that kneading!), we had a delicious roast vegetable lasagna, with a salad and a glass of wine – an excellent end to a great evening!

Borough Kitchen Fresh Pasta ClassBorough Kitchen Fresh Pasta Class

Inspired by Ottolenghi’s talk at Wilderness, I had some of the leftover tagliatelle with his smoked oyster sauce for lunch later that week.

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At £89, I think the class is incredible value – not only for the amount of food you get (I ate fresh pasta for about three days), but for the valuable skills and tips you learn as well. Now, excuse me while I add a pasta maker to my Christmas list….

Have you ever made pasta from scratch? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram

Galvin La Chapelle

I really love street food, and casual dining at lunchtime – it’s where I feel most at home.

Galvin Brothers La ChapelleGalvin Brothers La Chapelle

But, just occasionally, it’s nice to go somewhere a bit special for lunch. So when the lovely Kirsty invited me to go for lunch at Galvin La Chapelle, I was really excited. First of all, it’s in a beautiful building, and has some great credentials, having won ‘Best French Restaurant’ at the Bookatable awards this year.

Galvin Brothers La Chapelle

Spitalfields is a funny area for lunch – you either have to go pretty casual (street food) or go for a chain, so I was really excited to check La Chapelle out.

What really stood out for me was the attention to detail when it came to service. Kirsty had rung ahead, and said we only had an hour for lunch – something they brought up as soon as we sat down. It was such a small thing, but really made an impact, especially as we were on a tight schedule with client meetings shortly after.

Galvin Brothers La ChapelleGalvin Brothers La ChapelleGalvin Brothers La Chapelle

I opted for the heritage tomato salad for a starter, which came with a slice of prosciutto, while Kirsty went for the rabbit terrine.

Galvin Brothers La Chapelle

(As an aside, I absolutely love going to restaurants with other food bloggers, who never mind you taking photos of their meal!)

Galvin Brothers La Chapelle

For my main course, I went for the trout with gnocchi, which was cooked perfectly. Crispy and salty skin, while the flesh was still juicy in the most beautiful sauce.

Galvin Brothers La ChapelleGalvin Brothers La Chapelle

They’re really into their gnocchi at La Chapelle, as Kirsty opted for the chicken, which was also served with gnocchi.

Galvin Brothers La Chapelle

The whole experience was just seamless – everything was timed so well, and we were able to enjoy our meal comfortably, without feeling rushed.

Galvin Brothers La Chapelle

I really enjoyed my lunch at La Chapelle, and would definitely recommend it as a great place to take clients – especially ones you want to impress.

Have you been to La Chapelle? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram

Galvin La Chapelle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Very Lazy Chicken Satay Udon

I’ve always loved cooking. To me, nothing is more relaxing than making a tomato sauce from scratch at the end of a busy day, or spending a Sunday morning prepping meals for the week ahead.

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It’s definitely one of the things you have to get into the habit of doing, and there’s nothing wrong with cutting a few corners along the way. I was really excited to have been invited along to a class by Very Lazy at the Food at 52 Cookery School with Hugo Davies, the man behind the @HugDeCook Instagram account.

Very Lazy were a staple in my university days, and I was surprised to see how much the range had grown beyond crushed chillies and garlic, but with products made using lemongrass, too.

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Hugo took us through some absolutely delicious recipes using Very Lazy products – my favourite being the honey and sriracha chicken with grilled pineapple and sesame broccoli.

We even incorporated some into the desserts as well, and baked an apple, blackberry and ginger puff pastry with ginger dust and caramel.

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Hugo’s class got me thinking about the ways in which I could use their products in some of my weekly go-to recipes as well. I was extremely pleased with the end result, and hope you’ll give it a try and tell me what you think!

Satay sauce is so easy to make, and making it at home is so much nicer than buying it straight from the jar. You can also adjust the level of spice to suit your tastes, too.

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Ingredients:

300g Pre-Cooked Udon Noodles (I used Sainsbury’s)

300g Skinless, Boneless, Chopped Chicken Thighs

2 Tbsp Crunchy Peanut Butter

1 Can Coconut Milk

4 Tbsp Very Lazy Chopped Red Chillies

4 Tbsp Very Lazy Smoked Chopped Garlic

2 Tbsp Very Lazy Chilli Paste

2 Tbsp Very Lazy Garlic Paste

1 Tsp Soy Sauce

1 Onion

Handful of Coriander

Sesame Seeds to Serve

Recipe:

  1. In a frying pan, fry the smoked chopped garlic and onion in oil until soft.
  2. Add the chicken thighs to the pan, along with the chopped red chillies and some salt and pepper until they are cooked through – set to one side.
  3. In a saucepan, add the coconut milk, garlic paste and chilli paste and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add the crunchy peanut butter and the soy sauce, stirring constantly. Taste as you go and add more chilli or peanut butter to taste.
  5. Go back to the chicken, and heat it through before adding the pre-cooked udon noodles. Stir thoroughly, making sure each noodle is coated in the garlicky-chicken.
  6. Once the noodles are heated through, add the satay sauce to the pan, making sure each noodle is coated in the peanut sauce.
  7. Top with the sesame seeds and coriander – I had it on a bed of salad.
  8. Enjoy!

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Using the products definitely made the process go a lot speedier – and it all tasted delicious, too!

Have you ever used Very Lazy products? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram

A Weekend in Brussels

For the August bank holiday weekend I hopped on the Eurostar to visit one of my best friends in Brussels.

Cafe du Sablon, BrusselsCafe du Sablon, BrusselsCafe du Sablon, Brussels

I hadn’t been back since I was a kid, and I’d also never been on the Eurostar before, but we nabbed such an excellent deal with Eurostar Snap that we just had to make the most of it.

Cafe du Sablon, Brussels

I love visiting friends in different cities. While we ended up doing the usual touristy stuff (checking out Manneken Pis, going to the European Parliament) we mostly ended up relaxing, and eating at the most amazing places.

The coffee was also excellent, and we had a great night out at Madame Moustache. Some of my highlights included:

La Clan Belges, Brussels

Carbonnade at Les Clan de Belges – a meaty and comforting Belgian stew, served with fries.

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A cappuccino at Cafe du Sablon.

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Window shopping on Rue Haute and the Marolles.

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We spent most of our time there walking around, and seeing a lot of the town – we frequented several chocolateries, and picked up some speculoos as souvenirs from Maison Dandoy.

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It wouldn’t have been a proper trip without sampling a lot of beer – and our favourite place was Delirium Cafe, although it is incredibly touristy.

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The waffles were best off of the street, in a van, and the best mussels we had were at Le Pre Sale.

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It was the most beautiful weekend, and I can’t wait to go back again soon!

Have you been to Brussels? Did you go to any of these places? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram

 

Fischer’s at Baslow Hall

I was tempted not to write this one up, as the occasion was a family wedding (and what better way to celebrate) but the food was just so good I couldn’t help myself.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

Fischer’s at Baslow Hall is in beautiful Derbyshire, a part of the country I hadn’t really been to before. Our meal there was the cherry on top for the most beautiful weekend – the rest of the time we spent exploring, and doing a bit of wild swimming (just outside Chatsworth House, I highly recommend it).

Anywhere that Jay Rayner describes as “being buried inside Laura Ashley’s coffin“, while also getting his seal of approval is definitely worth a visit. We celebrated the nuptials of some of my favourite people with a seven course tasting menu in a grade 2 listed manor house in the peak district.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

Our first course was a melon gazpacho with lime leaf and lemongrass – topped with the most beautiful and delicate egg-white foam.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

The combination of flavours and textures in the next dish really reminded me of my childhood in Japan, mostly with the salty flavours and the crunch of seaweed and tempura batter. The Norfolk quail was complemented with a mirin jelly and toasted seeds, and the buttery flesh worked incredibly well inside its light and crispy shell.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

While perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing of all the dishes, the next course was probably the weakest in my opinion. The Cornish crab and tomato were incredible, but the Stanage cheese ice cream was a bit bland – the cold temperature made the rest of the dish seem tepid.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

The next course was exquisite – the pan-fried cod with a lentil and herb puree, served with an onion bhaji was probably one of the best things I’ve eaten all year. The cod was fresh and firm, and the puree combined with the crisp and light bhaji was unreal.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

The final savoury course was a classic, and done to perfection. The shorthorn beef with onion puree was everything you’d ever want in a good beef dish – and also looked almost too good to eat.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

I’m always a terrible judge of desserts, as I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but the peach melba tasted just like summer.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

The thing I love about weddings is that generations just come together. By the time I reached my dessert course (we did a lot of swapping around, so everyone would get the chance to chat) I was sat next to someone who was able to tell me the origin of the peach melba. It’s actually invented in 1892, and named after a soprano – and has now given me a new life goal to attain to. Getting a dessert named after me, and not singing, as anyone who has been unfortunate enough to come to karaoke with me can tell you.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

The second and final dessert was a pistachio cake, which was served with a strawberry tea and a toasted marshmallow. Despite being a big fan of the Great British Bake Off, I’m not actually that into cake, but I really enjoyed the marshmallow. I will be holding all other marshmallows to this unattainable standard moving forwards.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

Fischer’s at Baslow Hall was perhaps the most beautiful meal I’ve had this year, for more reasons than one – but the food was undeniably spectacular. They also apparently have beautiful rooms, too, so if you’re lucky enough to nab one you can live the dream and just roll upstairs afterwards.

 

Have you been to Fischer’s at Baslow Hall? What were your thoughts? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram

 

Fischer's at Baslow Hall Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato