Category Archives: Foodie

Post play date

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We went to a musical play date this morning. It’s half an hours brisk walk from where we live, but today the sun is out and there’s no breeze so we had to walk pretty slowly and I had to wipe off the dripping sweat every other minute. But hey, it’s all exercise.

On the way back Elliot couldn’t keep his eyes open anymore. Luckily he fell asleep just when we passed one of the many local eateries/hawker centres.

And thanks to his new miniature clip-on fan he doesn’t get too hot in the buggy while he sleeps.

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This meant I could sit down in the shade and enjoy an ice cold lime juice and a chicken murtabak – a sort of Indian pancake filled with chicken and onion and egg that you dip in a spicy sauce. So good. 6 dollars for a huge portion.

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Once upon a time we spent a SUNNY Sunday at the Real Food Market

Oh my, the weather is crappy at the moment. All you want to do is curl up on the sofa with chocolate and a steaming hot cup of tea.

But if it hadn’t been pouring down we might have packed the bag and the baby and taken the tube to Embankment, as we did quite a few weeks ago.

We crossed the bridge and found ourselves amongst the touristy crowds on the South Bank. But we were hungry, so we headed straight towards the back of the Southbank Centre & the Royal Festival Hall.

And found what we were looking for: The Real Food Market. A small collection of food and drink stalls focusing on quality produce and serving up anything from gourmet hotdogs and burgers to slow-cooked pork, paella and churros.

You can also buy cheese, olive oil, pastries and other high quality produce and delicacies.

There is even a “food busker” – a guy called John Quilter – who cooks up different dishes every week and then it’s up to the customer to pay him what they think it’s worth.

After circling the stalls for a while we decided that what we needed was a big, fat smoked sausage-based hotdog with salad and pickles from the Polish Deli.

Delicious!

After a bit of sausage & sun it was time to get the baby home, so back we went, over the bridge.

And one ting is certain: we’ll be back as soon as that damned sun decides to make an appearance in London again…

What: The Real Food Market
Where: Southbank Centre, Royal Festival Hall, outside Canteen restaurant (Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX)
When: Friday:12 am – 8, Saturday:11 am – 8 pm, Sunday: 12 am – 6 pm

New Year in London 2011

Happy New Year! I hope you had a great day and got to spend it with the people you love.

As for us, we decided to go for a long walk on the last day of 2011.

From Maida Vale…

…and all the way through Regent’s Park to Camden, where we pushed our way through the touristy crowds of the Camden Markets. We ended up in the cobbled lanes of the Stables Market and suddenly felt very hungry.

It was time for some Japanese fast food in the shape of a yummy chicken katsudon.

Then we turned the pushchair around.

And walked back  through the beautiful Primrose Hill.

Halfway through the park, Elliot decided that he was having no more of that pushchair nonsense and wanted to be carried in the BabyBjörn instead.

Back home and with the baby snoring in bed it was time to crack open the champagne.

And prepare the ginormous and oh-so-fabulous fillet steaks we had ordered from the East London Steak Company (more about them later).

The first attempt at making béarnaise sauce ended in a disaster when I decided to add a bit of water, but the second attempt was perfect.

After the meal, and after three glasses of champagne = the largest amount of alcohol I’ve had in 15 months, I managed to fall asleep on the sofa moments before the fireworks lit up the London sky.

The perfect end to a perfect day….and a pretty good year. I hope 2012 will treat you well.

Easy peasy blueberry muffins

I was having a friend over for tea the other day and wanted to offer her something sweet. I knew I couldn’t leave the house as I was waiting for a guy to come around and install our broadband, so instead of running to the bakery I had to get my hands dirty.

And I’m not much of a baker, especially not when recipes get just the tiniest bit complicated. So I went for the simplest of blueberry muffin recipes.

They were quite yummy, not too unhealthy, and couldn’t have been easier to make. Also, I had most of the ingredients in the cupboard.

Here’s what you need…. (10 muffins)

110g butter
65g caster sugar
2 eggs
110g flour
1½ tsp baking powder
A tiny pinch of salt
1 small pack of blueberries (or other berries or even dark chocolate, if you’re naughty)

OPTIONAL: Orange zest OR a pinch of nutmeg

How to do it…

Whisk the sugar and butter together with a wooden spoon until fluffy. Add the eggs, whisk gently, add the flour, salt,  (orange zest or nutmeg) and baking powder. Leave in fridge to set for at least an hour – preferably overnight.

Put the mixture into lightly greased muffin forms until forms are a bit more than half full, and put around 8 blueberries in each. Bake at 200C for around 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm with creme fraiche or greek yoghurt.

Wahaca – modern Mexican market food

I have this weird relationship with Mexican food. And when I say Mexican I refer to the Tex-Mex Americanised version….ooooh how I have fond memories of eating huge burritos with guacamole & tortilla chips while sipping from huge jugs of frozen margaritas in a rainy New York.

It’s sloppy comfort food and I like the idea of it more than the actual food (which often turns out to be pretty awful).

I have a similar thing with horror movies: the concept and anticipation of snuggling up on the sofa while eating popcorn and watching a horror flick is often so much better than actually doing it, as 9 out of 10 horror movies are crap.

But back to Mexican food – the problem is you don’t feel too hot after swallowing tons of melted cheese and refried beans.

So the next time you’re in the mood for an inexpensive, non-grease-dripping Mexican meal, I suggest you try the restaurant chain Wahaca, that specialises in modern Mexican market/street food.

They have restaurants all over London, but I’ve only been to the new(ish) one in Wardour Street in Soho.

You often have to wait a bit for a table, but that’s no problem as the friendly staff hand you a buzzer and send you downstairs, where you can kill time with a drink in the big colourful bar.

The food is lo-key and you can either go for one big plate or several smaller ones. You eat the smaller ones tapas style and order around three each.

If you can’t be bothered to browse the menu, just go for the Wahaca Selection; a selection of the restaurants most popular plates for two people to share (costs £20 for two).

That’s what we did, as we were a bit indecisive. Five minutes later the first dishes started to appear. We had everything from vegetable tacos….

to chicken taquitos.

And some pork pibli tacos (slow cooked pork in Yucatecan marinade).

The food is good, although it doesn’t blow your mind. But I’ll still recommend this place because of its friendly staff, upbeat atmosphere and very reasonable prices.

And the food is not too greasy or covered in 10 cm of processed cheese.

Wahaca, 80 Wardour Street, Soho
(See website for more locations)

Café Bang & Jensen in Copenhagen

Ok, I just have to introduce you to one more of my favourite cafés in Copenhagen: Café Bang & Jensen, which is situated in an old pharmacy in the nice end of Istedgade on Vesterbro. If you look closely at the picture below you can just make out the beautiful old Art Nouveau frieze/mural on the back wall.

This place is very special to me.

When I first moved to Copenhagen many years ago I shared a flat on a Vesterbrogade with a good friend. We were both single, so all weekends were spent partying, and on lazy late Saturdays and Sundays mornings we would drag our hung-over bodies down to Bang & Jensen to recuperate over brunch. You order brunch by filling out a slip, indicating how you want your egg, if you want plain or chocolate croissants etc.

And a few years later Sam and I went here on our first date. We had been to the cinema to watch The Sixth Sense and ended up having quite a few pints here, as you do when you’re a bit nervous on a first date.

So this is a place I’ll always return to and I often arrange to meet up with my friends here when I’m in Denmark. And I quite like the haphazard decor with red café tables in the front room and a sofa and armchair lounge in the back. In the summer you can sit outside.

The menu is just as unassuming with cheap and easy-to-prepare café fare (they don’t have a proper kitchen) such as baba ghanoush (see pics), chili con carne, burritos and sandwiches.

In the evening Bang & Jensen turns into a proper bar and is open until 2 in the morning.

Café Bang og Jensen
Istedgade 130
1650 København V
Website
Map

Kopapa – Kiwi coffee and brunch in Seven Dials

Fancy a cup of some of London’s best coffee plus a yummy brunch?

Then head straight for Kopapa. This new all-day diner/cafe/restaurant is co-owned by New Zealander Peter Gordon who is also the man behind the excellent The Providores and Tapa Room in Marylebone.

Kopapa is laid-back and buzzing and the location near Covent Garden couldn’t be better as you often struggle to find quality cafés in this all too touristy area.

If you can’t get a table straight away you can always enjoy your food by the big marble counter, just as we did, while you flick through the big selection of magazines and newspapers. I actually think this particular corner of the bar is a lot cosier than the tables if it’s just the two of you.

During the weekend Kopapa has an extensive brunch menu, similar to the one at Providores, which is made up of Kiwi-inspired lovelies such as Kopapa toasted oat & dried fruit granola with Greek yoghurt & NZ rata honey (£6). Or what about a Chorizo hash with a fried egg, rocket, salsa verde & crispy shallot (£7.40)?

I chose one of my favourites: Hot-smoked salmon on toasted sourdough with spinach, 2 poached eggs & yuzu hollandaise…..omnomnomnomnom (£10.50).

Sam had the bacon fry-up, that comes with slow-roasted tomatoes and 2 eggs of your choice on buttered sourdough or granary toast (£7.80).

And don’t forget to pair you choice of food with a splendid flat white. Those Antipodeans sure know how to make a good coffee! (And if you’re in the mood for even more sublime coffee after leaving the café, you can always head straight for Monmouth Coffee further down the street).

Kopapa Café and Restaurant
32-34 Monmouth Street
Seven Dials, Covent Garden
Website