Naked Sushi

On the first Monday of every month, The Doodle Bar in Battersea turn up the heating in preparation for a spot of nudity. Burlesque style.

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Doodle Bar, Battersea, London Bars, Life Drawing, Burlesque life drawing London, Things to do in London,
Doodle Bar, Battersea, London Bars, Life Drawing, Burlesque life drawing London, Things to do in London,

The wonderful Susan Dray, hosts an evening of music, a well-stocked bar and burlesque life drawing within the confines of four blackboard walls. The class is open for all, you are invited to participate as and when you like taking regular wine/cocktail breaks if you so wish. I finished art college some years ago and now hardly ever take the opportunity to draw. Picking up a pencil is rare as I find myself forever glued to a computer screen & keyboard, kindle or phone. However, there is something to be said for a blank, white sheet of paper in front of you and a pencil in hand. Looking, focusing solely on one thing and recreating it with marks on a page.

On a day-to-day basis my mind flits and skips continually, always thinking forward or dwelling back, planning and worrying, but on the first monday of every month, for just a few hours, I stop thinking and tune out. And it is heavenly.

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Life Drawing, Burlesque, London, Figure drawing, line drawing, art class London, Doodle Bar, Battersea, London Bars, Life Drawing, Burlesque life drawing London, Things to do in London,

Calling all art lovers, part time doodlers and those with a penchant for pencils! You do not have to be Picasso, or have drawn since childhood school days. Shrug off any inhibitions and give it a go.

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Life Drawing, Burlesque, London, Figure drawing, line drawing, art class London, Doodle Bar, Battersea, London Bars, Life Drawing, Burlesque life drawing London, Things to do in London,

Life Drawing, Burlesque, London, Figure drawing, line drawing, art class London, Doodle Bar, Battersea, London Bars, Life Drawing, Burlesque life drawing London, Things to do in London,

Life Drawing, Burlesque, London, Figure drawing, line drawing, art class London, Doodle Bar, Battersea, London Bars, Life Drawing, Burlesque life drawing London, Things to do in London,

Life Drawing, Burlesque, London, Figure drawing, line drawing, art class London, Doodle Bar, Battersea, London Bars, Life Drawing, Burlesque life drawing London, Things to do in London,

Life Drawing, Burlesque, London, Figure drawing, line drawing, art class London, Doodle Bar, Battersea, London Bars, Life Drawing, Burlesque life drawing London, Things to do in London,

The Doodle do not serve food on a Monday so to accompany a chilled bottle of wine we hit Bento, the takeaway sushi spot just around the corner. The fried tempura tuna and prawn crunch are not the ‘light’ option but it would be a travesty to miss these huge rolls of deliciousness smeared in honey and wasabi dip. Generous platters of fresh, scrummy sushi.. there is no better way to start the first grim Monday of the month.

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Bento Battersea, Sushi, Bento box, Tuna Crunch, Prawn tempura crunch, Life Drawing, Burlesque, London, Figure drawing, line drawing, art class London, Doodle Bar, Battersea, London Bars, Life Drawing, Burlesque life drawing London, Things to do in London,

If drawing or rather gorgeous ladies in nipple tassels really isn’t your bag, The Doodle Bar is still worth a visit. They have a wide range of special events ranging from nail painting to bakery sales and comedy nights. A street kitchen opens alongside the bar at weekends serving a bunch of delicious dishes all made from organic ingredients sourced from UK farms. See webpage for a full run down: The Doodle Bar

Next drawing date in the diary – Monday 4th February 2013. 

Bob Bob Ricard

Two very special birthdays. For two very special girls. This meant just one thing – Champagne.
And where better than where it is delivered by the press of a button…

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Bob Bob Ricard.  Hidden in a dark corner of London’s Soho is this glamourous and glitzy diner serving a mix out British and Russian dishes.  Each plush leather booth is lit by glitzy and grand metal lighting and fitted with a button to summon the bubbles!

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To begin. Cucumber Martinis.

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I picked the ‘Old Bay Crispy Quail’. Two spiced and crispy spatchcocked quails served with a sweet apple and beetroot coleslaw.

Bob Bob Ricard, Soho, Archer Street, Birthday Dinner London, restaurant review Bob Bob Ricard, Girls night out London, Where to eat London, Champagne, Press for Champagne
With skinny chips. Of course.
Skinny chips, Bob Bob Ricard, Soho, Archer Street, Birthday Dinner London, restaurant review Bob Bob Ricard, Girls night out London, Where to eat London, Champagne, Press for Champagne
Never one to be satisfied with JUST one dish. I dug in to this magnificent work of art/pie (Chicken, mushroom and champagne to be exact)
Bob Bob Ricard, Soho, Archer Street, Birthday Dinner London, restaurant review Bob Bob Ricard, Girls night out London, Where to eat London, Champagne, Press for Champagne, PIe,
I didn’t have to steal anyone else’s dessert. I felt three was sufficient.
A trio of creme brulees:
Chocolate
Passionfruit
Earl Grey Tea
Bob Bob Ricard, Soho, Archer Street, Birthday Dinner London, restaurant review Bob Bob Ricard, Girls night out London, Where to eat London, Champagne, Press for Champagne
Bob Bob Ricard, Soho, Archer Street, Birthday Dinner London, restaurant review Bob Bob Ricard, Girls night out London, Where to eat London, Champagne, Press for Champagne

Bob Bob Ricard, Soho, Archer Street, Birthday Dinner London, restaurant review Bob Bob Ricard, Girls night out London, Where to eat London, Champagne, Press for Champagne
Where the girls look as good as the food…

Bob Bob Ricard, Soho, Archer Street, Birthday Dinner London, restaurant review Bob Bob Ricard, Girls night out London, Where to eat London, Champagne, Press for Champagne
Bob Bob Ricard, Soho, Archer Street, Birthday Dinner London, restaurant review Bob Bob Ricard, Girls night out London, Where to eat London, Champagne, Press for Champagne
Excessive button pressing will lead to an exorbitant bill, dancing on tables at Archer Street and very VERY sore heads. You have been warned.

Fig and almond franzipan tartlets with almond brittle

I love figs.

Fresh or dried. With cheese, salads, wrapped in ham, in cakes and bubbled down into a sweet sticky jam.

I have adapted a Jamie Oliver 30 minute meals recipe for this quick and simple fig fix. Light and buttery pastry puffs with sticky, sweet, fig topped withy a caramelized, nutty crunch.
INGREDIENTS
  • A jar of fig jam
  • All butter puff pastry (A shop bought block or pre-rolled packet)
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 190g golden caster sugar
  • 150g sliced almonds
  • Tub of creme fraiche to serve (optional)

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Roll the puff pastry on a floured, clean surface and cut into small circles. I use the top of a glass, make sure the circles fit snugly in a greased cupcake tray.

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In a mixing bowl, add the ground almonds, egg, butter and 90g of the golden caster sugar. (leaving the rest for the sugared almond topping) Mix with a metal smooth until creamy and smooth.

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Into each pastry disc add a small dollop of the almond mixture and then a small spoonful of fig jam. Repeat and give each a little swirl and mix to marble the two. Place in the middle try of a hot oven for 15 minutes.

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While the tarts are cooking away heat 100g of golden caster sugar in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of water. Over a fairly high heat the sugar will begin to dissolve and bubble. Add the almonds and. When the sugar turns brown and begins to caramelize, take off the heat immediately and spread onto a sheet of greaseproof paper to cool.

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When the tartlets are ready, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

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When the sugared almonds are cool, place another layer of greaseproof paper on top of the hardened mixture and bash with a rolling pin to break into small, sugary fragments.

Sprinkle over the hot tartlets and serve warm with a large blog of creme fraiche.

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fig and almond franzipan tarts, almond brittle, ground almonds, tart recipe, jamie oliver, baking, home baking, figs, fig jam, cakes, recipe ideas

A snowy day supper

We knew it was coming. Let be honest, we have been checking and rechecking the forecast all week willing the white to arrive. One slippery, boot-crunching walk and tediously long wait for a train home from work later – and the novelty has started to wear thin. The tip of my nose is much like my dogs. Wet and cold.

Creamy pork chops with mashed potato and spinach, pork chop recipe, snow day recipe, winter dinner, pork supper, creme fraiche, mustard and pork, snow, London, home cooking

Creamy pork chops with mashed potato and spinach, pork chop recipe, snow day recipe, winter dinner, pork supper, creme fraiche, mustard and pork, snow, London, home cooking

But unlike the pooch I do not wish to go outside and roll around in the cold, wet, white stuff. I want to stay at home, candles lit, in my onesie AND dressing gown with a steaming plate of this…

Creamy pork chops with mashed potato and spinach, pork chop recipe, snow day recipe, winter dinner, pork supper, creme fraiche, mustard and pork, snow, London, home cooking

Crispy pork chops, buttery mash, glossy green spinach and lashings of creamy mustard and garlic sauce.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 pork chops
  • 2 large waxy white potatoes
  • Butter 
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A small tub of creme fraiche
  • Wholegrain mustard
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 bag of washed and ready to cook spinach

 (Serves 2 for exceedingly large portions)

Creamy pork chops with mashed potato and spinach, pork chop recipe, snow day recipe, winter dinner, pork supper, creme fraiche, mustard and pork, snow, London, home cooking
Drizzle your chops in a small amount of olive oil, X2 crushed garlic cloves and a hefty sprinkling of salt and pepper. Leave to marinade in the fridge for an hour or until you are ready to cook.
Peel your potatoes. Cut into small chunks to speed up the cooking time and boil for about 30 mins or until soft. This will depend on the size of your potato chunks – give them a prod with a knife now and again to see how they are getting on.
When the potatoes are almost ready. Put a frying pan or grill pan on a high heat, you do not need to oil the pan as the meat is slightly oiled. When hot add the chops so they sizzle and spit. If you can, try to hold the fatty edges firmly against the pan with some tongs. This will render down the fat making is deliciously crispy.
Creamy pork chops with mashed potato and spinach, pork chop recipe, snow day recipe, winter dinner, pork supper, creme fraiche, mustard and pork, snow, London, home cooking

Drain the potatoes, add as much butter as you dare, salt, pepper and a dollop of your creme fraiche. Put the lid back on pan and leave to one side.

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The pork should take about 5 minutes each side depending on the thickness of the chops. If you are unsure cut into the meat and take a look – it shouldn’t be iridescent or pink but should still be juicy.

When cooked, take the pork out of the pan onto a board and cover in tin foil to keep warm.

DO NOT wipe the pan clean or try to use another one. The juices left and the burnt, crispy bits stuck to the pan is what will give your creamy sauce its best flavours.

Turn down the heat and add a large knob of butter.

Creamy pork chops with mashed potato and spinach, pork chop recipe, snow day recipe, winter dinner, pork supper, creme fraiche, mustard and pork, snow, London, home cooking
Creamy pork chops with mashed potato and spinach, pork chop recipe, snow day recipe, winter dinner, pork supper, creme fraiche, mustard and pork, snow, London, home cooking

Creamy pork chops with mashed potato and spinach, pork chop recipe, snow day recipe, winter dinner, pork supper, creme fraiche, mustard and pork, snow, London, home cooking

Add three heaped tablespoons of creme fraiche to the pan, a heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard and the juice of half a lemon. Stir.

Put your spinach in a small pan with a small lump of butter (yes, more butter) and a grating of nutmeg. (optional) Turn on the heat fairly high and place lid on pan.

Start piling up your plate with mountains of mash, a glossy greens for good measure, crispy pork and smother in the creamy sauce.

Eat in large fluffy socks.

Creamy pork chops with mashed potato and spinach, pork chop recipe, snow day recipe, winter dinner, pork supper, creme fraiche, mustard and pork, snow, London, home cooking

Going Green

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
A new year and a fresh start. There is no better time for it after copious amounts of turkey, stuffing, chocolates and red wine in pyjamas. After extending the festivities to about a month prior to Christmas Day I am in desperate need of a bit of a detox. A fresh start and an injection of goodness to add a spring to my step despite the grim wet weather and dark mornings. 
Green juice. 
Fad or utterly fab? 
This is what I know: All the main ingredients are jam packed with antioxidants and super food goodness. Gwyneth and Miranda Kerr are avid drinkers of the green stuff and Tracey Anderson (fitness and gorgeous body guru) is an advocate. Worth a (wheat grass) shot?
Here is my recipe for an quick and fuss free morning fix of the green and good stuff:
INGREDIENTS (makes approx 24 smoothie discs ready to freeze)
  • X2 lemons
  • 500g of whole blanched almonds
  • A big bag of washed and ready kale
  • A big bag of washed and ready spinach
  • A knobbly chunk of ginger
  • Coconut water or apple juice (fresh – not from concentrate)
Kale and spinach are pretty key but other bits you could substitute or add in are:
Parsley, mint, cucumber, apples..
OTHER BITS AND PIECES:
  • A blender
  • a cupcake tray
  • freezer bags

Slice the zest from the lemon and de-pip as best you can. Blitz it all up in a blender with sloshes of coconut water or apple juice to loosen the mixture. I only have a minuscule Kenwood smoothie blender  so had to do a few batches and mix it up in a large bowl. Taste as you go and add more lemon or ginger if you fancy but bear in mind this is a concentrated mixture you will dilute with juice or water later.

Once you have a wonderful bright green sludge like this, spoon into a cupcake tray and pop in the freezer.

After 24 hours pop the discs out of the trays and place in freezer bags. 
When your ready to get started with your detox (there is no time like the present!) pop a disc in the blender with a large glassful of coconut water, juice, or just water to keep it simple and cheap.
BLITZ

DRINK

FEEL AND LOOK FABULOUS
For a fruity smoothie alternative, bag and freeze your favourite berries and fruits ready to blend up with your juice of choice.
Pomegranate seeds, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, sliced chunks of bananas are all perfect to keep ready and waiting for when you fancy a fruity fix. I have also frozen some miniatures of my favourite passion fruit yoghurt’s from The Collective Dairy to add to the mix..

Substitute at least one of your milky teas or coffees a day for a fruity or herbal number and drink lots of water. 

Exercise. 
When the maximum effort of the last month has involved raising a large glass of Malbec to my lips – its time to get moving again. Walking a bit more and a bit faster, running on a bright fresh morning, swimming and yoga are guaranteed to make you feel saintly, improve skin, reduce wobbly bits and increase energy levels.
If all the above fails miserably. 
Just focus on the most important of all promises for the year ahead…