Perfect Guacamole

Avocados are quite possibly one of my favourite green things. Creamy, sweet, bright green and jam packed with goodness – the only thing that could potentially make this natty fruit any better… 
mixing it with this little lot..

Quick and sickenly simple guacamole.

INGREDIENTS:

Serves 6 as a dip or smeared on wraps..

  • X3 ripe avocados
  • X1 spring onion
  • X1 fairly large tomato
  • X2 limes
  • X1 clove of garlic
  • 400g of creme fraiche 

Chop the avocado into small pieces, squeeze into the mix the juice of two limes.

Finely chop all of the other ingredients, crush garlic and add the creme fraiche with a sprinkle of sea salt. Mix well.

That’s it. No really, it’s finished – simple as that.

Ready to dip in whatever it is you fancy..

A Juicy Bird

This lovely yellow little corn-fed chicken will soon have a can of Fosters shoved up her butt… 
Transforming her into a rather juicy bird.

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Otherwise known as beer-butt chicken. The process of roasting a chicken standing upright, balanced on a can of beer. The chicken is steamed from the inside outwards which speeds up the cooking process and makes the meat incredibly moist, juicy and tender with a hint of hoppy flavour.

INGREDIENTS

  • A free-range or corn fed whole chicken
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can of Fosters (or any other beer you fancy giving it a go with)
  • Fresh thyme
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Slice of fresh lemon
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
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Step 1. Open the can of beer and drink about a third (you knew this recipe was a good idea)

To the can of partially consumed beer add a few sprigs of thyme, a whole gently crushed clove of garlic, spring onion, bay leaf and slice of lemon. Be warned, the beer will undoubtedly fizz and bubble over.

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Smother your chicken in olive oil and rub in a good amount of sea salt.
Get yourself a baking tray, remove any elastic ties that may be holding the bird together and stretch open it’s little legs ensuring the hole in the carcass is large enough for the can to fit snugly inside.
Place the chicken on top of the can, standing upright in the baking tray. You made need to reposition legs slightly for balance (the chicken’s  – not your own)
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Place in a hot oven at 200 degrees C for approximately 1 hour for a chicken of about 1kg (slightly less for a smaller bird, slightly longer for a large one – the juices of the meat should be running clear when cooked. You can check this by pulling away a leg, which should come away easily when cooked and taking a peek)
Balance is key here. Arrange oven trays in advance ensuring there is ample space for the upright chicken.
Whilst cooking. Start making your crunchy slaw accompaniment.
INGREDIENTS:
  • Small white cabbage
  • Small red cabbage
  • Large handful of spinach
  • 400g Tub of creme fraiche
  • Handful of parsley
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Celery salt and pepper
Shred the white and red cabbage and slice the spinach into thin ribbons.
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To a large mixing bowl add a tub of creme fraiche, chopped fresh parsley, juice of a lemon, sprinkle of celery salt and lots of cracked black pepper. Stir.

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Add shredded vegetables, mix well and stand to one side.

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When the chicken is cooked, remove extremely carefully from the oven making sure not to topple the upright chicken over.
 For the next step you will need to pairs of hands. The first to hold the chicken with some kind of tongs/prongs. The second to hold the can of beer upright below, the can will be incredibly hot and still filled with lots of hot liquid. Being careful, remove the chicken from the can and place on a board to rest. 
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Pour the can of beer into a baking tray on the stove over a medium heat. Add gravy granules, stir constantly and add let it bubble away and reduce until you have a thick, glossy gravy.
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Slice the chicken, serve with a large serving of crunchy, creamy slaw, lashings of boozy gravy and crusty bread to mop up the juices.

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When nobody is looking, return to for a sneaky leftover sandwich. Lashings of butter on crusty bread stuffed with juicy chicken and crisp slaw. All dunked in gravy. 
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Hummus for Tiffany

My big sister has a rather humongous heart. A fairly large portion of which holds a special place for two things…
Hummus & Peanut Butter
This one is for you sistaa…
ALMOND BUTTER HUMMUS
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INGREDIENTS:
– 400g can of chickpeas
– Two heaped table spoons of almond butter (a slightly healthy option – opt for the standard peanut if you fancy -always crunchy)
– One large clove of garlic
– Juice of one small lemon
– Olive oil
– Smoked paprika
– Sea Salt 

Using almond or peanut butter as an alternative to tahini (the traditional hummus ingredient made from sesame) makes the end product a bit sweeter and much nuttier. And I strongly believe that more things in life should be engulfed and immersed in nut butter.

Rinse the chickpeas and add to a blender. Crush the garlic and add. drop in large scoops of almond butter. Top with a hefty glug of good quality olive oil, lemon juice, a sprinkling of sea salt and BLITZ.

Taste for seasoning, add more olive oil to loosen the mixture if necessary. Serve with more oil, a sprinkling of smoked paprika and fresh coriander if you fancy.

Dip, Spread and Enjoy..

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hummus recipe, peanut butter hummus, almond hummus, best hummus recipes, almond butter

We Feast

This weekend I ventured to Wapping for a feast.
Not just any feast, This was ‘We Feast’ where London’s finest gathered to do what they do best – street-food style.
Held at Tobacco Dock Wapping. I made the rather squelchy, windy walk over Tower Bridge and east to the vast old tobacco warehouse sitting just north of the Thames. 
Wet and windy walks are worth it when this kind of grub awaits you.
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Crumbling brick and dark arches lit with twinkling candles and were lined with old wooden benches dressed with bunches of lavender. Steam and smells filled the huge space and live music echoed over the excited chatter and growls of hungry stomachs.

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London’s finest restaurants and street food vendors filled two floors all serving just a couple of dishes – done to perfection.

Miss Manchu and Pisco….

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Wright brother oysters…

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Caravan coffee and brownies…

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I promised myself I would not head for anywhere I have been before. With so much on offer I wanted to try out the new and unknown. But it was friday night and I got over excited. I smelt sizzling beef, my eyes fell upon brioche, soggy with sauce… before I could restrain myself I was half way through a Patty & Bun ‘Ari Gold’. I inhaled. And it was gone.

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Next stop. Pizza Pilgrims. Another repeat offender. Melted cheese, spicy sausage – SOLD!

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Sadly there was simply no room left for Hix Fish Dog or Mishkins Reuben Hero Melt that I had my eyes on.

But there is always a small gap for something sweet. Waffle On buttermilk waffles…

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I waddled back over Tower Bridge feeling immensely full with a big chocolate-y grin smeared across my chops.
Another successful We Feast weekend. The only drawback was not having a stomach large enough or pockets deep enough to eat everything they had on offer.
Look out of the next feasting event here or follow We Feast on twitter for all the latest.

Beetroot Pesto

Take a couple of round, muddy beetroot’s.
Cook. Cream. Spread, stir or dollop on what you fancy.. it’s florescent purple, it is full of goodness and just a spoon full is jam-packed with deliciousness to add colour and flavour to an abundance of foodie things.
INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 medium sized raw beetroots
  • a glug of olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 40g of pine nuts
  • 40g of parmesan cheese
  • a fistful of fresh basil
  • rock salt

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Drizzle the beetroot in olive oil, sprinkle with rock salt and cook in the oven on a medium heat for about an hour, depending on size. The skin should should bubble and brown slightly and the beetroot should be easy to slice through. 

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Beetroot pesto recipe, beetroots, basil, parmesan, pesto recipe, pasta sauce, root vegetable recipe, basil and pine nuts, jar of pesto, make your own pesto

Whilst warm, rub the beetroot with a paper towel and the skin should come away easily. Make sure all the skin is removed and roughly chop the soft, deep purple bulbs.

Drop into a blender with the pine nuts, basil, finely grated parmesan cheese and a good glug of olive oil to loosen to the mixture.

then BLITZ!!!

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 Taste the paste and season as you like.
If the pink puree is simply too good to wait for. Toast a slice of thick, crusty bread. Smear on the beetroot pesto, top with goats cheese and dig in.

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For something a bit more substantial, mix a big dollop with hot, steaming pasta to change it up from the traditional green stuff. I topped mine with alfalfa and bean sprouts for a spot of greenery and side of crunch.

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Sterilise a glass jar by placing it into a hot dishwasher cycle and removing it whilst hot and steaming. Add the mixture and before tightly screwing on the lid, add another swig of oil on the top. 

Keep in the fridge and add use within 5 days. 
Some inspiration on how best to consume your concoction here

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Brockley Market

If I wanted to be surrounded by an abundance of good grub. Outdoors. At it was a Saturday. As a South East Londoner I would head in a heartbeat to Maltby Street.
However I have just discovered a new haunt. I now have options.
Every Saturday on the hill joining Lewisham and New Cross (directly opposite St John’s train station) Brockley Market is bustling in a small car park off the main road. 
Unlike lots of London markets it is small and still feels simple, unspoilt and friendly. There are just a handful of stalls and producers, all passionate and focused and smothered in smiles. You won’t find numerous of producers and long lines of queues. But you will find good food. An uncomplicated handful of them and a collection of wooden stools and benches scattered around to perch a bum and get stuck in.
There is produce to purchase and take home for a weekend cooking up a feast.
Fish, vegetables, meat, bread, jams and sauces, pick-a-mix leaves, dairy and charcuterie and cheese…
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And then there is the food to devour there. Don’t expect to leave without parting with your pennies for at least one snack. They are simply too good to resist.

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It was a cold and crisp Saturday morning. The night before had been a late one. This meant one thing.. bacon sarnies.

Cured. BLT’s of the very best kind. Crusty, soft sliced bread, deliciously smokey bacon, crisp lettuce, sweet tomato and mayonnaise oozing from the sides when squeezed.

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With all the sights and smells, my stomach was not suitably satisfied with just one sandwich. (delicious and substantial as it was)

Next stop – Spit and Roast. For a ‘light’ snack to see me from breakfast to lunch: Buttermilk fried chicken, fennel coleslaw and hot sauce, all sandwiched in a soft white bun.

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With just one bite my heart melted.. fluffy white bread, crisp fried chicken, layered with a creamy, sweet and crunchy slaw, all topped off with a good slug of fiery red sauce.

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A crisp, sunny morning, two hefty sandwiches, a basket full of goodies and home by 1pm for a cup of tea – Saturday Heaven.

Brockley Market Website here. Follow the gang on Twitter here for updates and information of the upcoming Saturday market. 

Patty & Bun

Wrapped in striped paper and emblazoned with a red circle, it was sent down from the heavens, crash landing on planet earth, in London, just off Oxford Street, and brought before me on a silver platter. 
Patty & Bun.
YES it’s another brioche-d burger joint in London. NO you cannot book and will undoubtedly be forced to stand outside waiting for a table, looking onwards at those warm inside, burger juices running from their chins. 
But this burger… it was sent from heaven. It’s destiny to be placed before you.
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5pm. Up from my desk, out the door and I hit the ground running. By 5.30 I was on James Street, my sidekick in arm and we were seated in an instant by a grinning team of angels, ready to share what had been sent from the Gods.

  • X1 ‘Smokey Robinson’ Burger – caramelized onions. Need i say more. 
  • X1 ‘Jose Jose’ Chilli Burger – beef patty, cheese, tomato, lettuce, picked onions, smothered in smokey P&B mayo, ketchup and lashings of chorizo relish
  • Coleslaw
  • Rosemary Fries
  • Winger Winger Chicken Dinner – BBQ smothered meltingly good mouthfuls

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Just minutes after ordering and a tray laden with goods was placed between us. The chips were perfection, fluffy on the inside, crispy on the out – with rosemary and sea salt.

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The burgers were halved and shared.  The beef was rare, the sauces smokey and the lettuce crisp. Juices and sticky sauce oozed everywhere. I am fairly confident I had a faceful. A big, saucy, grinning faceful.

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Smokey chicken wings, smothered in smokey, dark sauce and sprinkled in green spring onions.

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If you love burgers. With all the trimmings – get your butt to Patty & Bun. On weekends and evenings prepare to queue. Prepare to get messy. Prepare to sigh loudly in satisfaction.

Takeaways available.

Check it out here

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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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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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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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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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.

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With skinny chips. Of course.
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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)
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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
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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)

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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