Friday, 20 November 2015

Jazz at Verdi

Benoit Veillefon and some of his Orchestra playing jazz at Verdi Italian Kitchen at the Royal Albert Hall. They raised the roof!

Pizza was followed by a very good coffee.


Outside the RAH the late afternoon sun illuminating the Albert Memorial.

The Royal College of Organists is next door to the RAH and intricately decorated with musicians and instruments.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


 OTTOLENGHI 's has 3 restaurants and 2 delis in London.
The one in Belgravia  is a deli takeaway with one communal table at the back for about 8.
It is in Motcomb Street, a short walk from Knightsbridge tube.
It is opposite Rococo Chocolates reviewed in my last post.

There is a splendid array of beautiful salads and breads, cooked meat and fish dishes and some impressive patisserie.
I was like a kid in a sweet shop looking at the goodies and eventually came away with about 6 different salads to take home,
colourful, unique and different delicious flavour combinations.

Also there are some interesting and unusual condiments for sale.

Well worth a visit.

Friday, 16 October 2015

The Secret Garden at Rococo Chocolates

We emerged from Ottolenghi's deli in London's Motcombe Street, laden with interesting salads. I spotted this photogenic shop over the road and remembered reading that it has a little walled tea garden at the back. 
Through the interesting shop and cafe, down some steps and there it was in the heart of Belgravia, a little secret oasis of a Moorish courtyard.

 An intense chocolate shot with a raspberry marshmallow,
both very good.

Mirrors make the space seem larger and give interesting perspectives.

A robin watched hopefully.

Mosaic tiled tables and beautiful floor tiles. 

Meanwhile back upstairs there was a group chocolate tasting event taking place.
I'll be back. I see on their website that they have dark chocolate  flavoured with rose or violet and for a warm summer's day ice cream.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Lunch at Arbutus

Lunch at Arbutus, Frith Street London.
We started with a lovely cocktail of Prosecco with St Germain liqueur with elderflower and mint.

Starter Citrus cured trout with smoked buttermilk

Elwey Valley lamb with roast aubergine and peanut.

Vanilla cheescake with peach slices and peach sorbet.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Nettles for Dinner

Nettle tops (Urtica dioica) foraged from the end of the garden. They are best picked before the flowers appear as they become coarser. Nettles are said to beat spinach and broccoli for vitamins and minerals. They were used as a tonic and various health benefits are claimed.

These were washed, drained then microwaved for 3 minutes and served with roast potatoes and chicken that had been marinaded with smoked garlic, ginger and soy sauce. Like spinach the nettles made quite a bit of green liquid. They tasted milder than spinach.
They didn't sting as the hot water inactivates that. There was a residual warm effect which may have been the nettles or the chilli and ginger with the chicken. Mr Raspberryandchipotle suspects the nettles.

For more information and recipes from Hugh Fearnly-Wittingstall click here 

Monday, 27 April 2015

Coffee and Cake in Vienna

Our first experience of a Viennese coffee house was at Heiners in Karntnerstrasse. I had truffle torte with a cup of melange. A melange is similar to a cappuccino but creamier and in Vienna is served with a glass of water. The truffle torte was the best I had in Vienna and all the coffees were good.

 At the cafe at Sconbrunn palace I had an apple strudel with a melange.
Several times a day on the hour there is a demonstration showing how an apple strudel is made.

 Sacher torte at the Cafe at the Spanish Riding School

Plum streusel cake at the hotel breakfast.

 Cafe Central in Herrengasse (below) dates back to 1876 At the turn of the 20C it was frequented by Sigmund Freud.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Pickled Figs

I get lots of unripe figs from my tree and look for different ways to use them. The first recipe I found to use them was for candied figs. Rachel tried the recipe then came up with another idea. She comes from Sri Lanka and preserves vegetables in a hot spicy pickling paste so had the idea of trying it with some figs and it works well.

Pickled Figs in a Sri Lankan pickling paste
200g unripe figs cut the figs into quarters and boil for 15 min, leave to cool, replace the water, repeat this process and drain the figs.
200g shallots and 10-15 green chillies,  blanch for 5 min then dry on a paper towel

Pickling paste
100ml vinegar
3 cloves garlic crushed
1tsn grated ginger
1  125g jar mustard paste
1 tsp chilli powder
1tsn sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Mix  all the pickling ingredients in with the other ingredients and bottle in sterile jars.