Recently I spent an evening with two of my favourite indulgences: Gin and Mele e Pere. Of course, to use 'indulgences' is to claim that I enjoy either of these things in moderation which, of course, we all know is not the case. Finger pointing aside, I was excited to head to a tasting of a new London gin, The King of Soho, at one of my favourite London Italian restaurants, Mele e Pere.
Just last week I nipped across the Irish sea on a surprisingly sturdy propeller plane to my motherland. It had been years since I’d been back and with a full itinerary ahead of me I knew there would be plenty anew for me to see. During my trip I can wholeheartedly say the rumours of Dublin being a hugely expensive, 10 euro a pint town, are about as true as that there are leprechauns walking around. However, the stereotype that the Dubliners know how to party, well that is all too true…..
...the reason for my trip? The 15th birthday of the Guinness Storehouse. Hangovers at the ready, read my 3 day guide of what I got up to!
Every cook needs a good basic tomato sauce base. This forms the foundation for so many recipes: pizza, tomato based pasta, sauces for meats or fish. Learn this well, adapt with other flavours to make it your own and you can form literally hundreds of new recipes!
Here's my basic tomato sauce. It's not rocket science but it tastes, simply, good.
It's totally possible to make fantastic pizza at home in a conventional oven. All you need is a can do attitude and a pizza stone to cook them on. This latter item is vital (as is the former, really!): you heat the pizza stone red hot in the oven before putting your dough on it - this ensures a crispy base, unattainable normally outside of a specialist pizza oven. Invest in one - they're about a tenner.
First up: the dough itself.
I use Jamie Oliver's basic pizza dough as my standard one. All of his recipes are fantastic and super reliable.
Part 1 of my royal trip to Edinburgh with Royal Salute whisky saw fine dining, even finer whisky and a luxury itinerary to make a duchess blush. If you thought that was good, however...just wait for what came next....
As our convoy rolled away down the endless driveway of Jupiter Artland, we got cosy and watched the views as the driver took us past luminous Lochs and towards Inveraray Castle. The drive took about 3 hours, but with my wonderful company and dramatic scenery adjacent, time passed quickly.....
This event was cool, really cool. I’ll tell you why. This event fulfilled the holy trinity of hipster aka the three ‘B’s: Beer, Beards and BBQ, and let me tell you, all three were utterly resplendent. The event was based out of ‘Micks Garage’ opposite the ‘CRATE’ brew shed. The space that was formerly ‘Mick’s Mechanics’ Garage will now be home to DJ’s, Pop ups and supper clubs (see what I mean??). Upon my visit Micks Garage was offering a plethora of delights such as beer from CRATE, kombucha from Jarr and Israeli BBQ from ShukShuk!
The Great British bistro is a marvellous thing. Long gone are the days where our marvellous dining rooms bow in deference to the French, quivering in the culinary shadow of the tarte tatin, souffle and flamiche. We stand proud with our pies and pork belly, grill seared Aberdeen Angus and fresh water fishes. British cuisine is a fine, fine thing and I get invariably excited when I find a place that dishes it up with the aptitude it deserves.
As such, it was with great anticipation that I dined at the Holborn Dining Room. I’ve followed their chef Calum Franklin for a while on social media and always been impressed at the photos of the food he’s dishing up there. Top this with a recent crowning of ‘Best Scotch Egg 2015’ and I was pretty hyped for my table reservation.
As the ever relevant Spice Girls once said; When you’re feeling sad and lone, People of the world, Spice up your life. And so, with their philosophy ever present in my mind I went to Barrio Soho to check out their exciting re-launch. This re-launch boasts a new interior, new menu and a new Chef. The interior’s warm colours and raw finishes set the tone for an evening of food, drink and fun that lacks pretension but not tequila.
It is no news that I am blown away by Scotland; my recent review of Edinburgh couldn’t have been more positive. So when whisky connoisseurs Royal Salute sent me a mysterious invitation to a 'luxury trip' in the post, intrigue and over-the-moon excitement got me booking time off work midweek for their Royal Salute adventure. Oh boy was I in for a good one…….
I like Sundays. This is the only day in the week that I can, and do, give myself solely over to self-indulgence. Monday-Friday sees my day job compete with my evening ‘job’ of food blogging (and in October-November it literally is every evening), Saturdays I claw back the tattered remnants of my social life, so neglected in the week, and Saturday nights….well, these are better left undisclosed. By the time Sunday comes around I am tired, hungover (often) and ready for a day dedicated only to M.Y.S.E.L.F.
Recently I found a perfect spot for this at the Mirror Room at the Rosewood Hotel...
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