Aman da Bravo at Frescobaldi

I love a good pop-up. After my last incredible experience at Frescobaldi’s Winemakers Dinner, I was really excited to head over there again – but this time, to try some Turkish fare.

Aman da Bravo at Frescobaldi

I fell in love with the story behind Aman da Bravo, a ‘bistronomique’ from Istanbul started by two friends – Inanc Baykar and Melis Korkud. Having established a successful catering company, the two women were offered several spaces to host a restaurant, including hotels, but nothing felt quite right. They then decided to pop a table in the kitchen of their catering business, which is in a largely residential area of Istanbul – only open for lunch, and seating only twenty, the two entrepreneurs managed to turn it into a success via word of mouth.

In Turkish, the name ‘Aman da Bravo’ is apparently play on words (‘what a great idea’) – which apparently one of them had suggested sarcastically.

Their menu is seasonal, and developed out of what is available at their local farmer’s market – and until the 17th of September, they have brought their dishes to London, at the fabulous Frescobaldi.

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I love Turkish food, but I’ve never had it like this. We were lucky enough to sample everything on the menu, and started off with spinach roots and pears, which were baked in olive oil with fennel and tangerine zest.

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We also got to sample the delicious calves liver with tabbouleh – marinated in molasses with celeriac. While delicious, my absolute favourite starter (and the must-have dish of the lot) was the manti – Turkish dumplings filled with lamb, sage butter, and pine nuts. Served with a little shaved parmesan, these were almost like tortellini, and were so moreish – I could’ve done with a few plates of the stuff.

Aman da Bravo at FrescobaldiAman da Bravo at Frescobaldi

Then we were onto the mains – the standout dish for me being the octopus. It was cooked to perfection (no rubbery flesh here) – it had been poached in red wine, and was served with grilled Romaine lettuce and a sun-dried tomato salsa.

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I also adored the cauliflower, ground meat and egg dish – roasted with turmeric, it was smoky, but the runniness of the egg gave it a creaminess to the dish, too.

Just when I felt I was fit to burst, the desserts arrived. Not being one for desserts particularly, the Sütlaç (rice pudding) was not one for me, as it was rather sweet, but the curd cheese, figs and honey were a perfect way to round off the meal.

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An evening of lovely food, and of course, being Frescobaldi, fantastic wine – in such a lovely venue, too! It’s also got me hankering after a trip to Istanbul, to visit the actual premises, but make sure you get over to FrescoBravo before the 17th! You won’t regret it.

Have you ever tried manti? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

London Barbecue School with Branston Pickle

Just tucked away off a little side street near Peckham Rye Station is the London Barbecue School, which specialises in all things B-B-Q.

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We were to play with the Kamado Joes and experiment with marinades and sauces using the quintessential British picnic accompaniment – Branston Pickle.

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Cooking with the Kamado was completely different to any other kind of barbecue I’ve tried – it was more like an oven, in the way you could control the temperature, but gave all the meat a deliciously smokey flavour.

The Branstons team had developed a few recipes using their signature pickle, as well as their range of barbecue sauces.

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My personal favourites were the marinades made using the pickle – it was really flavourful and went really well as an accompaniment. The Tex-Mex Chicken Tacos and sticky pork chops in particular were really lovely. Branston Pickle in marinades – who knew?

Have you ever been to the London Barbecue School? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Grain Store

A couple of months ago I was invited to an event at Grain Store in Granary Square hosted by the lovely folks at Open Table.

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Grain Store is just a few minutes walk away from King’s Cross station. Not only is it super convenient to get to, but the food is divine – a great place to take your vegetarian friends, as their menu really focuses on the veg, making it the main feature of each dish.

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But, having grown up with a parent who thinks a meal without meat is just a big side dish (I know, I know) – the Grain Store also specialises in delicious, sustainable meat and fish, too. The difference here is that it isn’t the main feature of each course.

I was invited down to the Grain Store for Open Table’s #ConnectedbyOT event, which celebrates the food scene in two cities close to my heart – London and New York. I’m terribly late with this post, but it seems almost fitting, in a way, because I actually moved to New York this week over 15 years ago.

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My first course of the evening was a delicious seaweed salad, presented in the most beautiful way and adorned with delicate blue flowers.

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Every dish was surprising, unusual, and most of all delicious – as was the wine. I hadn’t really had a soup quite like the one above – a tomato broth that was translucent, and not red like any other tomato soup I’d had – but bursting with fresh flavour.

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Vegetables pickled with raspberry vinegar was served with the most mouthwateringly tender venison – complemented perfectly by the delicious red (Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir).

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The final course was the best dessert I’ve had all year – a peach melba with beautiful sugar work. I felt terrible crushing it to get to the cream and juicy peaches underneath, but I felt less terrible once I finished eating it. It was glorious.

I had a wonderful meal at Grain Store, and would wholeheartedly recommend it as a place to go with a large group of friends, or even for a work meal – it’s a lovely venue, with superb food and wine that is conveniently located. What more could you ask for?

The Open Table event really made me appreciate and feel grateful for the fact that I’ve lived in such amazing cities for food – and while New York will always have a place in my heart, London is home.

Grain Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

FujiFilm X70 Camera

When I first started blogging, I would lug my massive DSLR to events. It would be really annoying, because it was doing some serious damage to my handbags – and as a food blogger, a larger camera would be really intrusive, especially at restaurants.

So I invested in the Sony RX100 II, and it was one of the best things I did for my blog – it’s compact, but with all the features I loved in an DSLR, as well as WiFi, and loads of other features, too.

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When the folks at John Lewis asked if I’d like to check out the FujiFilm XA2, I couldn’t resist – I’d heard some amazing things from friends, and was really tempted by many of the features.

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For its compact size, the X70 is a powerful camera – it’s simple to use, and the picture quality is incredible. I’ve enjoyed using for food blogging, especially – close up shots of dishes work really well with this camera.

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Some people might find the lack of viewfinder to be a drawback, but I quite like the large touchscreen, which gives you a lot more detail.

I also love the WiFi capability, which makes sending shots to Instagram so easy – it’s all controlled through the FujiFilm app, and is a lot more user-friendly than my Sony in that respect. Perfect for food blogging on the go!

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My favourite type of photo to take with the X70 is a selfie. The touch screen flips over, so you can see exactly what you’re taking, which makes it also perfect for vlogging (if I ever take the plunge, that is!)

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The quality is so great, and there’s no more guesswork involved – meaning that there will probably be a lot more photos of me in my posts moving forward (sorry guys).

FujiFilm x70

All in all, I am super thrilled with it, and haven’t found fault with it so far, with the exception of cases – I am way too accident-prone to trust myself with such a beautiful camera without it in a case, and they are all fairly pricey.

FujiFilm x70

Other than that, I adore it, and would definitely recommend it as an alternative to a fullsized DSLR, especially for food blogging.

Have you tried the X70? What are your thoughts? Be sure to comment belowor let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Cane & Grain, Manchester

Last weekend I popped up to my university town of Manchester for a rather messy reunion with some friends.

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The weather was absolutely glorious, and in Manchester, you can always be sure of a good night out. A little too good, in my case – I was feeling particularly fragile after dancing the night away, and was in desperate need of a hangover cure.

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We’d heard great things about Cane & Grain, but it was when we took a look at the menu that we knew it was just what the doctor ordered – fries with delicious toppings, wings, burgers, shakes – the works.

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The cocktail list also looked good, although we were in no state to be ordering anything of the kind, and stuck to coffee.

Between the two of us, we had the hot wings, smoked corn on the cob, truffle cheese fries, and jalapeno hush puppies – a fried jalapeno and cheese ball. We decided to be vaguely healthy, too, and ordered the sauteed greens and beans as an afterthought.

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Everything really hit the spot – the truffle cheese fries were a highlight, as were the sauteed greens and beans, which are definitely worth getting!

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It was all absolutely delicious, and a brilliant hangover remedy – between us, the meal cost £12 each, which was a total bargain. I’d definitely recommend you pop in for an American-style meal if you’re ever in the Northern Quarter!

Cane & Grain, Manchester

We also popped into Fig & Sparrow for a coffee, which was lovely – although prepare to be tempted by all the amazing stock in their shop, it’s all very hard to resist.

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Have you been to Manchester? Where are some of your favourite places to eat? Be sure to comment belowor let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Cane & Grain Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato