Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mini Martha's Christmas Bread
Held by her 'hunky' hubby and blue-eyed baby.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Present-ation is everything
As you get older, the holiday season becomes filled with extra stuff that is unnecessary; random gifts you get from acquaintances, unnecessary stress caused by rushing around to do christmas shopping in a sea of people all shoving under hot store lights, spending lots of money and more. This is the stuff that is not necessary, not appreciated and the stuff that is bought gets opened in 10 seconds and then forgotten about in ten minutes (especially in the case of toys for the little ones).

One of the best gifts I got this year was this box of cookies from the gorgeous P. His chef-lawyer lover made all the cookies and then the box was carefully wrapped by P with two beautiful bows, one inside and one out in a simple white box. The card was hand made, as he is an artiste extraordinaire, with a beautiful note. The box came hand delivered and was opened and shared over a coffee, chat and a laugh. The best gift of all. Mille grazie!

p.s. not to say that I wouldn't like two tickets to Tahiti next Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidaysphoto copyright ©2003-2008 Sam Javanrouh of Daily Dose of Imagery

Am in Canada for the holidays, posting will resume shortly, am just eating as much as possible before I return to Blighty. My mum made great cookies the other night -main ingredient - 1 cup of butter! The muffin top tales continue...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pizza party
It was a secret Santa, Shoot Christmas party the other night. We went to a pizza place on Columbia Road in the east end and had some great pizza and some interesting gifts exchanged! More to come am packing all my toys to take on my sleigh to the snowy and colder climes of Canada. Brrr...B's Christmas face
A bad secret Santa gift - cheap beer
Mmmm calzone
Stu pretending he wasn't loving his millionth slice of pizza
Toby already enjoying his organic vino

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ho, ho, ho

I think my fridge and stove are feeling neglected as they haven't been used in the past few weeks. They have been mainly there to chill champagne and desserts and to hold take away food. Oh joy - the Christmas season is filled with cheer and also loads of yummy calories that will add to the ever expanding muffin top.

Went to a great pizza restaurant in Columbia road this evening and had some interesting meals in Geneva this past weekend, the most notable was an oyster fest at a traditional Swiss restaurant, more to follow...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rainy daysIt was a grey and rainy day ALL day today in London, just the type of day that makes you want to stay in bed and drink a steaming cup of coffee or hot chocolate, pic is of one bought at Monmouth. The sun is due to come out tomorrow just as I am off to Geneva where the weather forecast predicts clouds, aargh! I will post more next week when I return, hopefully with some Swiss foodie finds.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Momo's - fit for the Queen

The Queen, Paris Hilton and a princess showed up at Momo's on Heddon Street the other night. The food was fantastic and the endless supply of mohitos were also perfectly made with loads of mint. More to follow...the Christmas party season is quite busy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Turkish CandyHome made candy, being put together at an after dark market in Istanbul as during Ramadan no food can be consumed before sundown.
Today is my favourite little boy's birthday too so HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY to my little prince charming! I will buy you lots of candy and ice cream over the holidays!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

You left the lid openAm thinking of bringing this chain of restaurants to London, would you take a date here or your parents for their anniversary dinner?
The decor is so understated and sleek...

You even get poo shaped ice cream in cute little toilets...more to follow - just on a call from a foodie in Abu Dhabi who said she is feeling cold in the 25degree weather! WE DO NOT FEEL SORRY FOR YOU!

Salutations from under the covers with a hot water bottle.
Wonky Carrots
I always remember that when I ate fruit and veg from my grandparents' gardens they never looked perfect like they did at the supermarket. They were always curvy, wonky and weird but always tasted better. We would fight for the baby cucumbers or the funny shaped ones as we were told they were good luck. I also recall Bergy chucking perfectly good eggs into a separate basket for chicken feed if they had any spots or blemishes on them. Thankfully the EU has decided that we can now eat vegetables that are not totally perfect.

Edited from the BBC News Magazine

Regulations that stop strange-shaped fruit and vegetables being sold are being changed by the European Union. But are we willing to eat wonky veg?

When you see a carrot with two prongs, a knobbly potato or a blemished strawberry, does your stomach turn?

If so, you are not going to like what the European Commission (EU) is now doing. "Marketing standards" for 26 vegetables are being repealed.

(wouldn't you love to eat this potato?)

Blemishes and discolourations

Class I cucumbers must "be reasonably well shaped and practically straight (maximum height of the arc: 10 mm per 10 cm of the length of cucumber)". Class II "slightly crooked cucumbers may have a maximum height of the arc of 20 mm per 10 cm of length of the cucumber".

These are allowed to have some blemishes and discolourations. Any cucumber more crooked must be packed separately and must be otherwise cosmetically perfect.
Pink Fir Apple (picture courtesy of British Potato Council)
This potato is said to be one of the tastiest, but would you eat it?

So if a cucumber is crooked and has a blemish on it, it cannot be sold in a shop or market. It is allowed to go for processing, but often the cost of transport to a manufacturer is prohibitive and the produce is simply allowed to rot.

Carrots are in the same boat. Commission Regulation (EC) No 730/1999 of 7 April 1999 says they must be "not forked, free from secondary roots".

Commission Regulation (EC) No 85/2004 of 15 January 2004, any apple under 50mm in diameter or 70g in weight cannot be sold.

Every year tonnes of perfectly-edible produce across the EU is thrown away so that when you walk into the supermarket all you see is rank after serried rank of cosmetically perfect fruit and vegetables.


Avoiding waste

If there's anything that can break our conditioning for liking regular-shaped vegetables, it's the current economic climate and the increasing awareness of the environmental cost of food production.

"The idea is to avoid waste," says Mr Mann. "Economic times are hard. Why shouldn't people be allowed to go into supermarkets and get apples that are smaller and cheaper?"

The looming recession could well spark a market for misshapes when the law changes next summer, says Michael Barker, fresh foods correspondent of the Grocer magazine.

"When people are short of money the last thing we want to be doing is to be restricting the amount of fruit and vegetables we can sell. It may be stuff with blemishes, slightly misshapen, not that there's anything wrong with it.

"There is all sorts of anecdotal evidence that people are really much more interested in the authenticity and heritage at the moment."

Cookery shows have started paving the way for wonky veg, with many emphasising taste over presentation, realness over blandness and variety over conformity.

The regulations that are being repealed say nothing about taste. But once prejudices are set to one side, that is probably what most people want from their produce, however knobbly.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The DinerI had what I thought was food poisoning but was told that was a bad flu bug that is going around; either way the sight or smell of food put me off in the last two days and I found it difficult to do food research or even blog about food.

I am feeling better now and can actually look at the bean burger in the above pic. I ate it with such joy the other night at The Diner on Curtain Road in Shoreditch. It was after the Sickboy opening night. Spoken about as the next Banksy, Sickboy is the graffiti artist who has decorated many a wall in the east end. His show was an interesting mix of pieces large and small and even a funny house that was up for grabs if one had the 'magic key', Charlie and the Chocolate Factory style, remember the golden ticket?

(Babushka below without her furry hat)In the buying frenzy of some very young and trendy people - my friends and I got into the spirit and bought a piece each. K should get a commission, as we had no clue about this until we got the invite last minute. At our dinner afterwards at The Diner, Stu entertained the ladies, and we all devoured our burgers and fries and ate the most fattening items on the menu - 'tis the Christmas season to eat out every night! The only thing I have in the fridge is a jar of jam and some GU desserts.Next time we go to The Diner I will order a soda float (I have only had those in Canada) and an all day greasy breakfast. 'Free your mind and your ass will follow,' £2k (this one was snapped up quickly!).
The 'house' with a conveyor belt which spat out some Sickboy candies.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Malade

I got food poisoning last night and have been sick in bed all day, can someone deliver some toast or Momma Dolce to me?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Jamie MagazineNot sure if we need another cooking magazine but Jamie Oliver has launched one this week in the UK. I think he is trying to be like Oprah -own magazine, own TV show, best friend writing columns (in Jamie's case his wife writes one) and everything about his life sold to the public for general consumption.

I had a look at the magazine and saw that my buddy Mark Hix is in it, I liked the paper quality, which I heard is from sustainable forests and I thought the food styling was great. I am not sure I would buy this magazine again as the recipe that I randomly fell upon while flicking through is one from his cookbook or that I saw on TV.

Hmmm....we are amidst a credit crunch so not a great time to launch a magazine. Am sure people would think twice about spending £4 on a magazine which gives them recipes they already have in his cookbook, non? Will have to have a proper read and comment back. Anyone else pick up a copy?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cynthia's chocolate cakeCynthia's chocolate cake made with condensed milk.

Condensed milk is made by removing the water from the milk and adding sugar which makes it suitable for baking. It is a thick, sweet liquid that lasts forever if unopened. This cake was made doubly sweet and delicious by this little addition to the mix.

A busy week for posting, but today went to a fantastic restaurant in Chelsea called Ziani's which I will have to post about later. A must visit and a place I will definitely return to, hidden on a back street off the Kings Road. It was like eating at Momma Dolce's!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ali's Salad
Ingredients: toasted pine nuts, arugula, organic lettuce, brussel sprouts (I passed on those), fried courgette, leftover thanksgiving chicken and a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil for the dressing. Divine.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Betty & I
With a little help from Betty Crocker and the Bunny rabbit, we made 4 cakes to create this 4-0 for Jappy's bday. It had a layer of white icing in between and was decorated with some lovely toppings that I bought at Waitrose.

There were a few glitches before the final product came to fruition e.g. cake sticking to the pan, the cakes exploded in the oven into pimple-like structures so some creative cutting was in order, icing and cake crumbs all over the kitchen, trying to open the door with chocolate frosting covered hands, general icing difficulties, finding chocolate icing on my arm at the club and more... but, the end result looked good and it didn't get jostled too much in the taxi.
Luckily the designer-extraordinaire was in town from Prague to make the '4.' It looked like it would be an arrow with a 0 cake before she stepped in to make a cutout of a 4. Thanks E!
Even the waiters loved it.
The delivery.The birthday boy