Tag Archives: London

Spelt Focaccia Bread

I’m no Paul Hollywood but I have to say I’m quite liking my bread making experience recently. For Christmas I got Ajay a bread making course. I thought it would be a nice brother sister bonding day making bread together…etc.etc. Although the class wasn’t as mind blowing as I thought but I did learn how easy Focaccia bread is to make!

Serving 2

For me this is one of those things to make on a Sunday when bored! The smell the bread makes whilst in the oven is incredible! I know it’s strange to say but personally I feel like an old Italian grandmother when making this. You seriously don’t need any special equipment just the tools god gave you (your hands)!

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I think you can add anything to this bread…from peppers to oregano, even to different infused flavoured oils…it’s one of those chuck it all in and see what we get types of dishes!

 

Yeast mix

The base to every bread is Yeast, Sugar, Warm water and salt…then you’re ready to go!

 

Flour

As you can see the post is called ‘Spelt’ Focaccia so I’m obviously going to be using spelt flour. You can use normal white flour just be careful how much flour you add. And don’t panic if you get carried away with the flour, just add a drop of water. I am one of those, ‘Organic is best’- but if you cant get it don’t worry tesco values is just as good (I’m lying).

 

And no I don’t think your dumb if you don’t know how to knead. There is kind of an art to it! once you mix the dough till smooth, plonk it on the table. Make sure you’ve sprinkled a little flour on the table!

Kneading 1

Push the dough, using the bottom of your palm away from you.

 

Kneading 3

Then pull the furthest tip back toward you and repeat the process for a good few minutes. This is if you using spelt flour. If using normal white flour knead for 10-15 minutes! By the end of it you’ll have a good set of guns!

 

Kneading 2

You’ll notice you’re folding makes layers. With White flour the kneading makes the dough more stretchy, that will be the gluten-Food Devil. Why I think its the devil is because that is what bloats you, making it a bad carb! Yes my mum is a health food addict! she is the reason I made this with Spelt flour-so she could eat it!

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To make that authentic Focaccia style. you literally just dab 2 fingers into the bread, to create those dimples. Obviously you start from one corner to the other.

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Ingredients:

  • 200ml of lukewarm water
  • 1tsp of dried active yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (this is to feed the yeast and help it grow!)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Spelt Flour or Flour (Now I haven’t given a precise amount because it can vary. Just have at least 1/2 a pack at your side)
  • 1 Sun-dried Tomato
  • 5 olives (either colour)
  • A Few sprigs of Rosemary
  • Olive Oil/Rapeseed Oil (I use basil infused oil. Try Garlic oil or even chilli oil)
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning on top
  1. Add together the water, yeast, sugar and salt and whisk together. I would advise leaving it for a couple of minutes
  2. Gradually add the flour until a good consistency. You would rather add less flour to start so you can add more when kneading. Especially with spelt flour, use less flour and see.
  3. Now, use those guns and knead the dough for a good 3 minutes!
  4. Put in a bowl and cover with cling film. leave in a warm place for an hour. I usually leave the oven on and keep the door slightly open. that’s my warm spot!
  5. after 40 minutes place into square tray and flatten down. using your 2 fingers dab all over and sprinkle your delicious toppings and oil.
  6. Whack it in the oven on 200c for 30 minutes or until golden!
  7. leave to cool for another half an hour and enjoy!

 

serving 1

I love this literally cut up and served with Balsamic reduction and olive oil! you could even use chilli oil with some salt rocks in it!

 

The idea of this is to give you inspiration to jazz it up yourself. add more crushed salt, experiment with different herbs, go wild. Just don’t forget to mention me when you get asked for the recipe!

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Pudding Bar, Soho

The Pudding Bar is a pop up dessert restaurant which well you’ve guessed it only serves desserts. Its a very tiny dainty little restaurant with rustic furniture. The only word I could describe this as is hipster. Why? A)The menu is served on clipboards and B) The tap water is served in glass cordial bottle. But trust me there is nothing wrong with that. So how I ended up here? Well I finally got to see one of my favorite artists play live at the royal Albert Hall, Gregory Porter. If you don’t know who he is then you clearly have shit taste in music. Joking…But anyway I kind of had to force my brother, Ajay into coming with me since no one and when I mean no one would come with me to see him. And I was not going to sit for 2 and half hours like a larry. Anyway we ended up eating late and getting to the show half an hour late thanks to my brothers time keeping who made me wait at the bar of the restaurant for over an hour, whilst having the bar tender giving me that sympathetic look that says, “honey, just give up already. He’s not coming.” So once the show finished (which by the way was amazing!), Ajay and I was going to Ronnie Scott’s after but decided it was getting late and to be honest I did not fancy running for the last train home or worst getting the night bus! So instead We decided to go for some dessert.

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So this was my order…S’more Cheescake

The marshmallow topping honestly was to die for. it was honestly so light and airy. I mean I honestly dont like Meringue, just something about it just puts me off. But this, was just too addictive. It literally felt like I was eating clouds. Then the filling well it was average if I’m honest. just a normal chocolate cheesecake filling. Silky and smooth, everything I think it should be. Now this was the part was which really disappointed me, the base.  The idea behind it sounded nice. a gingernut biscuit base. The only problem was it tasted stale. You know when you were younger and your mum used to buy those cheapish frozen dessert and you leave it to defrost and then serve and you get that horrible stale frozen taste. That’s what I had. So I had to eat around the base.

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Baked Alaska. I have never had this before. I always used to remember on suite life of Zack and Cody, yes I was one of those who used to watch it. But I remember them saying Baked Alaska as if it was one of the most extravagant desserts. ever! I always do this thing where no matter what I always want to try more than 1 dessert so I make who ever I’m with get something different So i can try it. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched Made of Honor. Where the girl, Michelle Monoghan always shares her desserts with Patrick Dempsey. I like to think that’s what I’m like, sharing my dessert with Patrick Dempsey.

But  the Baked Alaska was amazing. It was an apple tart topped with ice cream and with a thick fluffy coating of marshmallowy cream with a toasty nutty crisp finish. I literally had no fault with this. It even had maple syrup drizzle around the plate. Enough said.

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I would Definitely recommend this place if you fancy somewhere for afters! just maybe don’t order the cheesecake.

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Japan at Your Doorstep

I get a random text from my dearest older brother Ajay asking me to meet him for dinner. Quite out of the ordinary but I was happy to meet. Since he’s now transferred to Westminster from Manchester University and me now working in Peckham, South London. We can actually meet up for dinners which I reckon won’t happen as often as I’d like but still, I’m still happy. And Ajay was taking me to a new Ramen Bar…Kanada-Ya.

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Kanada-Ya reminded me of Japan’s own version of McDonalds. Just seemed to casual, full of Japanese Natives. This Noodle bar is small but definitely not grotty; very trendy and hipster like. Thank god they haven’t all discovered this place yet, or maybe they’re too intimidated to go.

If you’re not entirely sure what a Ramen is…Well its Amazing. It’s like a Much Better and healthier version of Pot noodle. So its a soup that originated in Japan Consisting of Noodles, Meat/ Fish Broth topped with sliced pork, spring onions and seaweed and occasionally a soft Tea-boiled egg (not to keen on that part). Honestly its the most amazing thing EVER!

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There’s only 3 types of Ramens you can get here. 18 hr Pork Bone broth, Chashu pork belly, wood ear fungus, nori and spring onions; 18 hr Pork Bone broth, Chashu pork belly, wood ear fungus, nori and spring onions topped with beansprouts; 18 hr Pork Bone broth, Deluxe Chashu pork collar, wood ear fungus, nori and spring onions. Fairly cheap from £10-£12.50.

Miso broth

Ajay and I both ordered the Pork with Beansprouts, but the weirdest thing was the waitress asked us how we like our noodles cooked. Has that ever happened to you? Apparently in Japan they like there noodles hard because it’s still cooking whilst in the broth. So I asked for mine to be hard and it was so worth it. Al Dante. Perfect. They didn’t turn to slush; weren’t too chewy just right. Now I’m usually the annoying customer who shoves a whole load of soya sauce in the bowl because it needs more flavour. But here I didn’t need to add anything in. The broth was a lot more Cloudier but had really strong clean flavours.

The thing that I was intrigued to try was the Wood ear fungus. it was like an crunchy mushroom. Really words couldn’t describe the bite it had. It was over powering and strong, just so there but not too in your face. If people don’t know what nori is its a sheet of Seaweed. You just add the sheet into the broth and let it slightly wilt and just shove it in your gob. It gives the broth a fishy taste and not in an unpleasant way.

Just saying I ate my bowl of ramen with 7 minutes. I’ve worked out, you’re meant to stretch the noodles first, well the bit you want to eat and then and then whack it in! And you slurp the noodles in. I know it sounds disgusting but you know you’re eating right when you make the noise.

But Ajay decided to be more experimental by picking Spicy Miso. It wasn’t nice. It was like Wasabi. Apparently you’re meant to pinch a little bit at a time with your chopstick to taste. DO NOT STIR THE SPOON INTO YOUR BOWL.

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This is I think is like Pickeled Carrot but I really wasn’t sure. The lady next to us was putting it on her spoon and adding it to her noodles using the chopsticks. I didnt try some unfortunately I was to busy shoveling the noddles down as fast as I could.

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Whenever I try to experiment I fail Miserably. So for drinks I thought I was ordering what the guy opposite was having (PS he looked like a Japanese version of John Lennon). Instead I got this. Now I know Arji buys these from Cyber Candy but I have never been temped to try a bottle of E numbers waiting to kill my insides. And I was right, It was Artificially disgusting!

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The cool thing about this was opening the bottle there’s a cap which you push down which releases a glass ball in the neck of the bottle. In Japan They have this thing we’re you see who can open the top and get the glass ball out the quickest without smashing the bottle. Well that’s what the Waitress explained to us. Me and Arji tried this…We both failed miserably.

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This Waitress, was the coolest waitress at a ramen bar, I personally thought. usually they’re really quiet and have that look that says “don’t disturb me b*tch”. But instead she helped explain everything, from the noodles to the drink! I think we became abit annoying towards the end, constantly asking her what certain things were.

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I would definitely recommend this restaurant to every Ramen Lover! And order extra noodles.

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Rhodes 24 – Tower 42–for my birthday!

hello all, okay so i have been wanting to post this up for AGES but just really haven’t had the time. so i have managed to squeeze a bit time to go over. hope you enjoy. xx

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IM OFFICIALLY 18! YAY! to celebrate Mum booked for us, as a family, to go to Gary Rhodes Restaurant. Now I know you’re probably thinking, what? Gary Rhodes, Seriously? AND hell yeah! i love Gary Rhodes, well Loved, ever since we went to ‘Taste of London 11’ where I actually met Gary Rhodes and had a picture with him…ooo…AND got a free lemon tart off of him! So Basically Taste of London is a food Festival where all stalls are set up and Celebrity chefs have there own restaurant stall where you can taste small dishes,(which i go to every summer!). And Gary just happened to be checking on his stall whilst mum and I walked past. It was hilarious how mum seen his face, and she just lit up ad ran to him. he was really polite though, asking me about my cooking and that kind of thing. I even got a little signature and message! SAMSUNG

the day was actually really nice. mum surprised me at work to take me out. my loving brothers went all the way to north London to pick up these lovely cupcakes which i could enjoy whilst at work. now if your thinking “wait work?”; yes working in education, towards the end of the school term is enrollments week. which yay for me is on my birthday. so all staff have to be in those days no matter what! i know right? piss take! but these cupcakes do look nice right? my favourite was the golden coloured with the mini fudge pieces. i have to admit they were a little stale like the cake itself. but it was a nice thought!

Dolly's & Cream Cupcakes

oo i ended up getting 3 cakes; the cupcakes; a homemade cake which Sue made me. Oh and next the the picture below is what everyone in the office brought me. ain’t it perty! Bless her she thought this was really me…so i come across as fashionable hey?

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and a surprising cute cake cake Ajay and Arji personalised for me.

Pig Cake

As you can see most of my day was spent eating cake…my HEAVEN.
Now you might think this was a bit of an insult or just cute in a kiddish way. But there is a story behind this. My nickname in the family is Pigso. I know, what? Apparently it is said that when I was younger and went on my first holiday, to Florida, aged 2; there was a Muppets show which we just missed and I was supposedly obsessed with Miss Piggy in Florida and cried the whole way back to the hotel. What a bundle of joy I was! So that’s where the pig come from. Now I wear glasses (only for computers) and supposedly look like Ugly Betty with my glasses and braces, which is what Ajay tried to interpret. AND finally you see this scar on my/the pig’s forehead. This story is, when I was 3 I fell on some pin nails and scraped by forehead, which has scarred me for life (but has cleared quite a bit now). But when I was 11 in my school Selfie, you can see the scar and Ajay took the piss out of me ever since and called me HARRY POTTER! So like the annoying Brother he is, he had to get all my outer beauty perks!!

Back to Rhodes….So the reservation was for 8.45 (mum left it too late to book the reservations), and we got there for 9.30 (traffic) and the kitchen was closing, dad still had to find parking, oh it was a disaster. We had literally 10 minutes before the kitchen closed so had to rush and pick our food. THE best thing from the evening had to have been the afters selection. Starters was ‘ite’-soup. cream of cauliflower. Yeah so nothing to special. The main me and Arji ordered vegetable risotto-it was utterly the worst risotto I have tasted. So you might think I’m over exaggerated, BUT even the cafeteria have served better risotto with their ‘bruschetta’ on the side. I don’t know you might say like it if you go but maybe I expected too much and my expectations were just splattered as soon as the waiter brought over the tiny espresso cup filled with off white loose puree. I have to admit maybe it was partly our fault as to why it wasn’t the best…hmm mum. Next time learn to time manage!

But overall I think I felt like I was made to feel special and blown away with the food. At moments if I had closed my I eyes I could have sworn I felt I was at Toby Carvery. Enough said. Overall the highlight was the magnificent view of London’s Urban Jungle laid out in front of us. Honestly the view just took me away. Gherkin literally adjacent to the window. There was this peculiar building with a 30 floored building, with an elevator lined with blue lights which you could see go up and down speedily. I could even see in the buildings ahead, employees working till 10pm in the office; I was literally praying I won’t turn out like that in the future. another thing which really touched me was the afters the waiter brought to us at the table. since the kitchen had closed the waited plated mini treats piping happy birthday for me. I thought this was soo nice of them and it kind got to me a little.

dessert

okay so what you see here is chocolate truffles rolled in freeze dried raspberries (top), cute mini blueberry muffins (middle) and individual Lime cheesecakes which wasn’t the zestiest (bottom).

I was a little disappointed with this night. mainly because I had this weird fantasy that Gary would randomly do a check on Rhodes 24 and i so happened to be there at the same time….you get where I’m going with this, right?

overall because of the view and mini afters i would rate this a 3/10 and that is purely because of the dessert. Nothing like the previous fine dining places. But hey ho, at least I can say I have finally been to my ex-favourite chef’s restaurant. Next thing on the list…Gordon I’m coming for you…

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