Monthly Archives: June 2012

La London fête- Marylebone Summer Fayre

Marylebone High Street is one of my favourite places in London and I’ve happily spent many a weekend browsing the beautiful shops and having brunch and coffee at The Providores or Le Pain Quotidian.  Sundays entice me even more to visit to Marylebone as they have a farmer’s market with around 40 stalls of artisan food producers.

This Sunday was no exception, especially because it was the annual Marylebone Summer Fayre. I had heard about this in previous years and for one reason or another had never been able to make it. I had felt pretty gutted about this, so made sure this year that I didn’t miss out- and I wasn’t disappointed!

The Marylebone Summer Fayre is a bit like an old school village fête but with all the convenience of not having to leave zone 1! The Fayre is run by the Howard de Walden Estate and most of the local restaurants and shops have stalls, as well as all the usual farmers market traders and some extra little independents. There was an awesome looking funfair in the car park…

There was a veritable feast on offer with every different genre of food available

Beautiful cupcakes from the Yummy Boutique Bakery

 

Burgers from Byron and Mac n Cheese from Anna Mae’s Southern Street Food.

 

Wonderful looking flavoured oils and dressings and middle eastern sweet treats.

I would have liked to have tried everything, but my tummy could only stretch so far. This is what I grazed on:

 

Braised beef with spanish rice- this was so tasty and tender!

The BEST chicken gyoza EVER from The Garlic Farm. The little lady who runs the gyoza section of this stall is often at the farmers market near my office on a Thursday- dangerous I tell you… last week I managed to eat 8 in one go (in my defence- they’re not huge!).

Organic strawberry smoothies made with frozen strawberries.

Donuts made with fresh strawberry jam from La Fromagerie.

Owing to my recent infatuation with trying to ‘get into’ gardening (which is difficult when you only have a small balcony) I was also loving the Culinary Herb Company stall

This stall selling beautiful personalised embroidered cushions and keepsakes was my favourite of the non foodie offerings.

Make sure you check out the fayre next year, it really is a unique ‘villagey’ experience which is often so rare in London x

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Pizza Party

For quite a long time my boyfriend and I had been pondering the idea of making home made pizza. In hindsight I feel quite bad about how loudly I had voiced my affliction to the idea- it just seemed like it was going to be a messy and time consuming process and generally a bit of a faff. Plus, as much as I love baking I have this aversion to anything pastry or dough related as I’m rubbish at making it. Despite my protests, he was really pushing the idea and a few weekends ago surged ahead and gave it a go.

Like many things, it turned out I was totally wrong about the home made pizza. It wasn’t a huge ordeal- although it did make quite a mess. It was actually pretty easy and incredibly yummy which in the end justified the layer of flour covering the kitchen.

We used a great Jamie Oliver recipe which you can get on his website here. All the exact details are outlined in the recipe, but vaguely speaking….

We started by making the dough. I was probably overexcited about this part because it meant I got to try out the dough hooks on my new Kenwood hand mixer- which is awesome by the way.

We then left the dough to prove in a warm space (next to the radiator in case you’re wondering) until it had doubled in size.

After the proving stage you have to knock back the dough, which basically means beating all the air out of it. Then you can make it into your pizzas!
Trying to get the dough to go into a pizza-esque shape turned out to be hardest part of the process so I wouldn’t even bother next time- it doesn’t need to be a perfect circle to taste good.

We then prepared all of our toppings- the roasted aubergine and peppers were my favourite.

Then you can decorate until your heart is content…. I like my pizza loaded with lots of healthy veggies and not too much cheese. One of the great things about making your own pizzas is that you know exactly what’s gone into it and it’s probably a bit better for you because of that.

There isn’t exact cooking instructions on the recipe but we baked our pizzas in a really hot oven- around 240c for about 8-10 mins each or until they are all crispy and golden. We used a thick baking sheet with foil on top- make sure you put it in the oven to preheat before.

So be a little bit more open minded than I was and try making home made pizza, as the results are delicious. We also froze some of the dough and used it a few days later- it tasted just as good.
After the success of this little experiment we have even invested in a pizza stone, so will let you know how that turns out! Enjoy x

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5 Australian things I can’t live without…

Sometimes it can be tough living so far away from home and my family, but having lived in London for quite some years now I think I’ve become acclimatised to being away from Australia. There are however, some Australian bits and pieces that I just couldn’t live without and because of their fabulousness I felt the need to share.

Lucas Papaw Ointment


This little multi-purpose gem has been a long standing obsession of mine, mainly because it makes the BEST lip balm ever. It’s a natural remedy made in Queensland from 100% papaya and its uses are endless (seriously- this is what the packaging says: burns, chafing, cuts, cracked skin, splinters, wounds, rashes, insect bites and nappy rash). I really couldn’t overstate its brilliance here if I tried. I pretty much have a tube of papaw to hand at all times- handbag, bedside table, work desk, bathroom cabinet- and I wouldn’t go on holiday without it. It’s readily available in all chemists and supermarkets in Australia but you can also buy it through amazon and websites like http://www.pawpawshop.co.uk/ in the UK. Get yourself a tube asap- you know what they say, if its good enough for Miranda Kerr…

Bill Granger

Bill Granger’s cookbooks are my food bibles and go-to reference when I need a bit of inspiration in the kitchen. Bill is a self taught Sydney chef (originally from Melbourne- like all the best people are!) who has a series of casual restaurants in Australia. Excitingly, he has also recently opened a restaurant in London- Granger & Co which I am dying to try (blog post about that coming soon!).
Bill has published lots of recipe books over the years (I have a grand total of 4 of them- all fantastic) and his recipes are simple, tasty and always impressive looking, particularly if you’re cooking for friends. My favourite of the books I have is Bill’s Basics which has so many great staple recipes which I can’t help but come back to time and time again

Flat whites

Melbourne coffee is the best. There I’ve said it- its a fact. The cafe culture in Melbourne is world class, and I love going to cute cafes when I’m at home and reading a magazine over a flat white which is a small, strong and smooth white coffee.
Happily, the flat white phenomenon has recently spread to London and there are now a few places where you can get a great coffee here. My favourites are Lantana on Charlotte Place and Flat White on Berwick St- both of them are Australian so you can have a little taste of the cafe culture from down under right in the heart of London.

Junior Masterchef Australia

While trawling the dregs of the Sky channels a few months ago I stumbled across a little program called Junior Masterchef Australia. We all know about Masterchef UK, and even Junior Masterchef UK- but the Australian version is in a league of its own. The children to be perfectly blunt are a little bit freaky- they are REALLY into cooking. Weirdly into it for 11 year olds. These little kids make amazing looking food like vanilla infused scallops and duck larb and are even cooking with Tetsuya. These Australian chefling prodigies make for very compelling viewing- did I mention they’re only 11?!

Swimmers

Whenever I take a trip home to Australia I’m usually on the look out for some new swimmers (or swimming costume to non Australians). Australia has some brilliant swimwear brands- I think the best, but I am probably biased. I think Australian swimmers are generally better quality and the patterns and designs are a little bit more exciting. My favourite brands are Seafolly (I even have the pair in the picture- I’ll have to keep up the pilates if I want to look as good as that girl though!) and Tigerlily. I also got a great one-piece at Country Road last time I was home. Swimmers from these places are probably slightly more pricey than in the UK, but if you look after them properly (never put them in the washing machine people- only rinse under cold water!) they’ll last for ages.

I hope this has made you want to visit Australia, writing it has made me a little bit homesick! Enjoy x

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This little piggy went to Koffmann’s

I’m a big fan of a Sunday set lunch as a way to eat in really top quality London restaurants without the often hefty price tag. Usually I would be a bit more organised when deciding I wanted to go for this type of meal, but luckily when my craving for a nice lunch set in we were able to get a table at Koffmann’s for later the same day.

We had eaten at Koffmann’s a few times before, but not for about a year and a half. So being able to get a reservation quite easily I was thinking maybe it had gone downhill and we shouldn’t expect it to be as great as it had been previously. But it really hadn’t- it was still as fab as I remembered.

Koffmann’s is Pierre Koffmann’s French bistro-style restaurant in the Berkeley Hotel which specialises in all things porky!

The set menu is very varied though, so you don’t need to eat 3 courses of entirely pork based dishes- unless of course you want to! We tried the leek and potato soup and the ham terrine to start, both of which were delicious.

For main I had the roast piglet which was so yummy and my boyfriend had a Provençal Duck type dish which looked great too. Dessert was probably the most disappointing of the 3 courses, simply because it seemed a little on the small side and the chocolate pudding didn’t quite melt in the middle. Both desserts we tried (sorbets and chocolate fondant) were still very nice, but when you look forward to dessert as much as I do it was a bit of a anticlimax.

One of the best things about the meal was that it was such great value- £70 for 2 including drinks and a set lunch which includes amuse bouche (delicious onion tart) and petit four (the BEST mini madeleines).  Given the value for money, lovely service and of course the yummy food I really can’t recommend Koffmann’s enough for a weekend lunch. Enjoy x

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