Wait For Me To Come Home

Help the summer holidays are looming! Its like a dark cavernous void of childcare dilemmas! As usual I will spend the next couple of weeks in total denial and then wake up in a cold sweat the Sunday before the holiday starts, freaking out about how the hell I am going to actually do any work! The youngest starts school in September which is a blessing and a curse. Pavlina their part time Nanny, is leaving to go travelling! No no this is not right, did she not realise she signed a contract to NEVER leave me!

Denial still standing, work and projects are beginning to arise at an alarming speed. I will never ever complain about work coming in, the juggling of rug rats however is a whole job in itself.  I have a wedding coming up at the end of July, flowers not food. I am hosting a Pop Up on the 9th of August and a load of stuff is happening in between.

The highlight of the week had to be my few hours kid free in Carnaby Street.  I was invited to preview a few of the vendors who are going to be representing at The Carnaby Street Eat on the 20th August.  I managed to deposit the kids armed with pizza and wine at  my friend Gordon’s and escape for a few hours to Kingly Court. A little gem nestled away in the back streets of Carnaby Street. You walk down a narrow covered path and enter into a smorgasbord of eateries. The idea of the evening was to give a bunch of us a taster of a few of the restaurants who  will be participating in the food festival on the 20th July. We met at Wright Brothers a wonderful seafood, oyster specialty restaurant. The chef Sasha Ziverts talked in detail about the Duchy Oyster Farm and Fishery in Cornwall. He showed us how to shuck and oyster and we tasted the most amazing Sashimi with cucumber and a soft paratha cheese dish which was sublime. Next off to Choccywoccydodah which I’m sure you guys have heard of. The original shop is in Brighton established 20 years ago. Its chocolate madness and more. You really have to check out their store. We were given a tour of their “Secret Garden” upstairs is an Alice in Wonderland inspired tea room, filled with grass covered surfaces and pretty mirrors and vintage lampshades. We left armed with choccy goodies, to sample some of the menu at Shoryu Ramen. We tried some gorgeously sticky goyoza with their signature Hirata Buns, filled  char siu pork belly and also wagyu beef. So delicious, you have to go. I unfortunately had to leave early to rescue Gordon from the clutches of my children. I really love this part of London. It is a tradition with me and the kids to come to Carnaby Street at Christmas to see the lights then grab lunch at Wagamamas. I think we will now visit Kingly Court for our Christmas treat. I leave you with a few pics from the evening and a little video of  Sasha (Wright Brothers) expertly shucking an oyster, which I then consumed…Bloody delicious!

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When He Says It’s Alright

I don’t get out much, well with three kids and a childminder who leaves at 6.30pm there isn’t much room for wild nights and dinners out. I do occasionally get invited to foodie events but mostly I turn them down due to all the above. All the babysitting stars aligned this week when I was invited to an event hosted by Walkers Crisps featuring Tom Aikens. I turned up at my friend Gordon’s and threw my kids at him with a bag filled with pizza bread and wine then ran before he could change his mind.

I turned up at The Natural Kitchen running a little late, I grabbed a cold glass of Sancerre, which I was immediately told by one of the staff goes really well with the Garlic Pitta Chips. Ok fab. It did in fact they had paired the wines perfectly with the chips and canapés that were created for the evening. Tom created a hearty posted up Mac n Cheese. Great evening and the 2 giant bags of crisps lasted about 4 nano seconds when I turned up at G’s to collect the kids, nuff said!

I leave you with a little video of Tom  and some more info on these yummy snacks!

tom2 SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Deli BALSAMIC 165g[2]

Deli Pita GARLIC 165g[1] Deli TC Red Chilli &#18E743[1]

WALKERS LAUNCHES NEW MARKET DELI RANGE
MADE WITH REAL INGREDIENTS FOR AN AUTHENTIC TASTE

– Walkers takes flavour inspiration from the finest European markets and delis to launch the latest in premium snacking –

This summer sees the launch of Market Deli, the exciting new range of premium snacks from the makers of Walkers crisps. The range – which has been inspired by authentic produce found in delicatessens – aims to bring home the great variety of flavours as found across Europe and the UK.

Available nationwide from 23rd June, the Market Deli range will feature pita chips and tortilla chips, in addition to the classic potato chip – providing even more variety for those with a passion for food.

The Market Deli range comes in eight mouth-watering flavours – with each flavour featuring irresistible real ingredients such as Mature Cheddar from Cornwall to aged Aceto Balsamico di Modena PGI and delicious Sundried Tomatoes from the Manisa region in Turkey.

Each of the flavour combinations and the ingredients used to create the new products, have been selected and crafted by food experts to ensure a truly indulgent and immersive taste experience, making Market Deli the perfect addition to an evening in with a partner and a drink.

Thomas Barkholt, Marketing Director at Walkers, said: “the new Market Deli range has been made with the finest real ingredients from across Britain and Europe to create a truly delicious snack that is perfect as a pre, or after dinner snack and will appeal to people with an interest in good food and great authentic flavours.

Market Deli will be available in potato, tortilla and pita chips in eight flavours, in 165g sharing bags at a RSP of £2.39. The potato chips are also available in single bags in Mature Cornish Cheddar, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and Flame Grilled Spanish Chorizo with Roasted Onion with an RSP of £0.83.

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Honey Now

First I need to apologise for being an absent blogger! I have not been neglecting my duties deliberately. Circumstances beyond my  control turned my life upside down and backwards for the last few weeks. I cannot tell you how happy I feel to be behind my Mac typing away.  My biggest obstacle appeared when I opened my Mac a few weeks ago to find the screen totally obliterated. After the initial horror and shock,  I then started the interrogation of the under 9s.  It wasn’t pretty. All of them denied all  knowledge of the incident and I for a very very split second wished that there was a 101 number for the immediate sale of your children. My Mac was returned to me on Friday, new screen and the children are no longer allowed to look at it let alone go within 20ft of it.

Luckily I had enough to distract me from my technical woes. I was invited to visit Feast In The Fields. A pop up event at London Fields Brewery. I had a much needed kid free day, so what did I do? I spent the morning making Jamaican patties and poaching a ton of chicken legs and thighs to fry up later. I call them Jamaican loosely.  The pastry was a traditional patty recipe but the filling was sort of more Moroccan influenced. I had quite a lot of veg in the fridge that needed to be used up, potatoes, carrots, onions, spring onions. Threw it all in a dutch pot and seasoned it with cumin, coriander, chilli, cinnamon bark, salt, pepper, sumac. Cooked the veg for 15 mins slowly then added a tablespoon of corn flower and a couple of teaspoons of vegetable bouillon and enough boiling water to make a bit of liquid for everything to braise in.

Armed with my Jaroocan Patties, I met Uju the fabulous Mother and Shaker and owner of Babes About Town and we headed to the brewery. This year seemed a lot busier then last year and it was great to see so many new foodie start ups. I chatted to the guys who just a few weeks ago launched 7 Bridges Deli. These guys smoke their own pastrami and make super stacked Reuben’s with delicious artisan rye and sourdough bread. I had to try some of the local beer. I really rarely drink beer, just a few times a year. I tried the Hackney Hopster and the Unfiltered. Both very distinctive flavours, nothing like that tasteless watery stuff you get on tap at your local. I had a really tough time deciding what to eat, but after sampling some very moreish smoked polish sausages from The Polish Deli London oh and the most fabulous mini canapé like pies from The Square Pie I finally decided to keep with my sort of moroccan theme of the day and try a wrap from Doukan, I was not disappointed. Spicy, juicy chicken with lots of fresh salad and hot spicy sauce.

Uju and the kids and I then spent the rest of the afternoon on London Fields with a bottle of wine and I ran home to finish frying off the buttermilk chicken I had made in the morning, as you do.

I leave you with a few pics. Im busy editing a few videos of Ru and I cooking some of our favourite dishes. I will be posting them shortly. I’m also designing my menus for a pop up restaurant this summer. Exciting times. I will keep you posted.

Have a lovely week!

feastinthefields feastinthefeildsmay feastinthefeids tildamay rumay jamacanpattiesMay

 

 

 

 


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When The World Has Dealt It’s Cards

Where to start? Its been a busy few weeks, no excuse really for not writing but a girl can only do so much. I have eaten some amazing food, styled some amazing food, made some amazing food, and fed some amazing people.

So I may be exaggerating a tad about all the food I ate being amazing. My kids harangued me to feed them some KFC during the half term break. It was late, I was tired and I caved. I ate a piece. You see fried chicken to me is a real treat, KFC well hmm. Sorry its pretty horrid. I am not even being a food snob. It just tasted of well soggy saltiness.  I guess it was a good thing though because it inspired me to make a batch for Lola’s birthday.

I use free range chicken thigh and drumsticks, with the thighs trim the excess fat. The key is to poach them first in butter milk, well 1 pot of butter milk topped up with milk. Or I sometimes just use milk and squeeze some lemon juice in. Cover the chicken pieces with the milk and gently simmer for about 20mins or until the chicken is cooked through.  It looks pretty gross. Pasty chicken with lumps of boiled milk stuck to them.  Just pat off as much of the milk as you can and leave the pieces to dry.  I then season plain flour with lots of spices. I make up different combinations of spices and seasonings. garlic salt, salt, pepper, chilli powder, dried thyme. Remember to be quite liberal as the process of frying can dull the flavour a tad. Beat a couple of eggs in another bowl and then using one hand. Flour, egg, flour. Fry in a couple of inches of oil until golden brown, season with salt as soon as they come out of the pan. Now that is fried chicken!

No fried chicken to be found at Layla Restaurant in Wimbledon, but I am not complaining. Lisa Barber and I grabbed lunch there last week. A Lebanese restaurant and a lovely space, Lisa and I sat in a cozy alcove and then proceeded to order what felt like the entire left side of the menu! Baba Gannuge, Hummus with diced lamb, wonderful little filo parcels filled with cheese and served with a spicy dip. We had the most tender lamb dish, Castaleta Ghanam. The lamb was cooked and seasoned perfectly and served with roasted veg and soft dauphinoise potatoes.  Lisa and I rolled out of the restaurant! Lovely.

We also shot at The Avenue Restaurant in the West End. Crazy mad hectic shoot but again Lisa and I pulled it out the bag! The Restaurant was originally designed by American architect Rick Mather and has recently had a revamp and it looks spectacular. The food looked and tasted bloody good too.

I leave you with some photos of the lovely Layla Restaurant yumminess and also of course the fried chicken.

laylarestaurant laylarestaurant3 leylarestaurant friedchicken bananacrunchmuffins


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Lets Make Something Happen

rutilda

 

This year Its all change for me and my family. I am officially divorced as of Febuary this year. I am moving home and it seems all my hard work over the last few years is finally coming into fruition. At the beginning of the year I try to but sometimes fail to, put my goals and aspirations for the next year onto paper. This year I signed up to Lloyds Bank Make It Happen App. It totally encourages you to make a share your goals whether they be to do with business, the home or life choices.

I think for me the biggest aim of 2014 is to really push forward on my business. I have a few irons in the fire which are looking like they are coming to fruition. I think one of the hardest things about being self employed is that there is no one to bounce ideas of, therefore writing down my goals has really helped me focus on what I want to achieve. Don’t get me wrong being a single mum of three children and the only breadwinner and self employed writing lists has become a way of life. I have gotten to the point of writing lists about writing lists. But sometimes I forget to look at the bigger picture.

After sitting down and writing a list the length of my arm , Ok maybe that 4 bedroom house bought outright on London Fields may be a little unrealistic. I paired it down to what I thought was achievable but also kept one or two aspirational  things in too. Its always good to aim high wish me luck!

You can pledge your goals too and make your 2014 the year you make it happen at http://www.lloydsbank.com/makeithappen.asp

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Don’t You Worry Child

Gosh well its been a crazy few weeks. I can’t believe how busy I have been with work and kids and divorce rubbish and Christmas and New Year and well you know..

November flew by and I think my son spent half of it wearing his Halloween costume! We finally  extracted Rufus from his Giraffe Costume after nearly 2 weeks of solid back to back wearing.  He finally allowed it to go into the washing machine when assured Giraffe would not get dizzy. Tilda did the honours holding the offending piece of material away from her muttering “this is sooo going in the wash”.

Halloween done and dusted and then we were hurtling towards Christmas. My ultimate favrouite time of year. I know I have said it before but my god I just love it. Its not just the food and the best excuse ever to spend 3 days cooking, baking and prepping for the best roast dinner ever. Its the fairy lights and the tree and children’s excitement. It is palpable..Plus the best threat ever for bedtime best behaviour…”Father Christmas is watching you”…Admitedly I do kind of start using that threat around the end of October. I took a ton of photos of the Christmas festivities and will upload them very soon.

Recently I was invited to meet an Atomic Kitten whip up some fabulous Florida Grapefruit inspired dishes. Liz McClarnon was really lovely and funny and what a great afternoon. We had a little segment the grapefruit competition and then Liz demoed 3 recipes, A Florida Grapefruit Fajita Platter with a fresh and sunny salsa, Honeyed Florida grapefruit with pancetta, goats cheese and pine nuts and also a fresh Florida grapefruit, lime and mint sorbet. All delicious and different.

All really simple to make and delicious. I learn’t loads about this delicious fruit. I know everyone thinks Grapefruit is bitter and needs to be slathered in sugar. I remember my mother religiously slicing hers in half every morning and shaking spoonfuls of sugar over it then placing it under the grill.

Florida Grapefruit however is sweet and juicy and easy to peel and delicious. Its in season from November to March/April.  Don’t get the ones from Cyprus or Turkey or wherever. It was a lovely afternoon and brought a bit of summer to a dreary winters day.

I leave you with a few photos of the event and also Liz’s recipes.

Have a wonderful Weekend.

Rachelle x

Liz chopping 2 copy Grapefruit segments copy Florida grapefruit salad copy Florida grapefruit fajitas copy Eating sorbets copy Liz and florida grapefruit fajitas copy

Liz McClarnon’s Florida grapefruit recipe

Honeyed Florida grapefruit with pancetta, goats cheese and pine nuts

Serves 4

Ingredients

6 slices pancetta
2tbsp olive oil
2 small knobs butter
4-5tsp honey
1 Florida grapefruit, peeled and segmented by hand (not a knife)
3tbsp balsamic vinegar
2tsp Dijon mustard
Handful of pine nuts
Salt and pepper
Bag of salad leaves
150g goat’s cheese, sliced
Method

1. Fry the pancetta in 1tbsp of the oil in a pan until nice and crispy, then place onto kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil.

2. Wipe out the same pan with more kitchen paper to get rid of the excess oil. Add the remaining oil, 1 small knob of the butter and about 2-3tsp honey. Mix it up a little, then add the Florida grapefruit segments to the pan (they need to be in their original segments and not cut to prevent them falling apart when cooking). Stir and make sure they are coated and caramelised (that should take about 4 min), then add 1tbsp of the balsamic vinegar. Put the segments to one side so you can use the pan again.
4. To the pan, add the remaining knob of butter, the remaining balsamic vinegar, the Dijon mustard, the remaining 2tsp honey, the pine nuts and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix everything together and heat through for about 2 min.
5. Make up the salad: cut the pancetta into bite-sized pieces. Place the salad leaves onto four plates, then add the caramelised Florida grapefruit, the goat’s cheese, the pancetta and pour over the dressing to serve.

Per serving

341kcal

12g protein

26.4g fat

10.6g saturates

14.5g carbs

14.2g sugar

1.5g fibre

1.4g salt

22mg vitamin C

0.2mcg vitamin D

 

Florida grapefruit fajitas platter with sunny salsa

Serves 4

Ingredients

4tbsp squeezed Florida grapefruit juice

4tbsp fresh lime juice

Pinch of salt and pepper

1tsp all-purpose seasoning
2tbsp olive oil

1 red and 1 yellow pepper, seeds removed and cut into strips
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
450g lean beef, cut into strips
8 tortillas
1 avocado, peeled and stone removed

120ml reduced-fat sour cream
75g cheddar cheese, grated

For the sunny salsa:

3 tomatoes, chopped

1 onion, peeled and diced

2 mild chillies, seeds removed and finely diced

Fresh chopped coriander

½ Florida grapefruit, peeled and finely chopped

Pinch of salt

1tsp lime juice and water

1. In a large food bag, combine the Florida grapefruit and lime juices, salt and pepper, all-purpose seasoning and 1tbsp of the olive oil. Add the beef, seal the bag, and squeeze the marinade together so that it covers the meat. Put in the fridge for a few hours to marinate.

2. Add all the Florida salsa ingredients to a bowl, mix and set aside.

3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet pan. Cook the peppers and onion until soft and brown, then add the beef strips and cook until browned. Place in a serving dish together.

4. Heat the tortillas according to the pack instructions.

5. Slice the avocado lengthways and place in a serving dish and put the sour cream grated cheese in dishes

6. Place everything on the table so everyone can dig in.

Per serving

721kcal

42.2g protein

27.5g fat

9.8g saturates

79.9g carbs

18.2g sugar

9.8g fibre

2g salt

158mg vitamin C

0.6mcg vitamin D

 

Florida grapefruit, lime and mint sorbet

 

Serves 6

Ingredients

200g sugar

Juice of 5 Florida grapefruit plus zest of 2

Juice and zest of 5 limes

1 bunch finely chopped mint, plus sprigs to decorate

Method

1. Put the sugar in a pan with 275ml water and bring to the boil. Then turn down the heat and simmer for about 5 min. Leave to cool.

2. In a bowl, mix the cooled sugared water with the Florida grapefruit and lime juices and zest, and the chopped mint.

3. Transfer to a freezer-proof dish, cover and pop into the freezer for 2 hours, stirring it about 3-4 times during this time.

4. Serve in glasses, decorated with fresh mint sprigs

 

Per serving

156kcal

0.4g protein

0.1g fat

0g saturates

40.8g carbs

40.7g sugar

0g fibre

0g salt

25mg vitamin C

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Halloween Cocktails

I love this time of year, not just because all the trees match my hair! I think the food that is seasonal is my favourite. Halloween is rapidly approaching and the kids will be carving pumpkins with me, I will make my usual batch of “scary spider” cupcakes and the kids will eat enough candy to keep them awake for 24 hours.

Of course its not all about the kids, I usually have a few friends over in the evening for a drink and a little something to eat. I usually make a few simple canapés. Halloween cocktails are invented and I discovered this one recently. Its called The Red Widow, Its a kind of twist on a Bloody Mary and I am definitely adding it to my cocktail list!

A twist on the Bloody Mary…The Red Widow

Ingredients

40ml Smirnoff Red

100ml Tomato juice

Fresh Crushed Garlic (or Wasabi for an extra kick)

Dash of soy sauce

1 lemon wedge

2 cherry tomatoes

1 celery stick

Contains 1.5 units

 Method:

  1. Fill a glass (or a julep cup / chalice) with ice.
  2. Using a jigger, pour 40ml Smirnoff and 100ml Tomato juice into the glass (julep cup / chalice).
  3. Add a drop of Crushed Garlic (or Wasabi for an extra kick) and a dash of soy sauce
  4. Stir the ingredients together slowly using a bar spoon or teaspoon
  5. Garnish with two cherry tomatoes, a lemon wedge and celery stick
  6. To get in the Halloween spirit, serve alongside a candle or hollowed out pumpkin for the ultimate spook-tacular cocktail experience!

 

For more drinks inspiration visit thebar.com  inspiring creative drinking at home with hundreds of easy-to-follow drinks recipes

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Feast In The Fields

The summer break began for my kids yesterday. I am totally in denial and haven’t planned at all what I am going to do with them. I am so grateful though to be living in Hackney. I live right next to, practically on London Fields and in the summer its totally brilliant. This fabulous weather has meant long and lazy weekends spent picnicking in the fields watching the cricket and drying off soggy paddling pool children.  I am diving into a few foodie festivities this weekend and will tell all next week….Feast In The Fields is happening this Saturday and Sunday.

Its a monthly gathering of popup restaurants and my kids and I are all over that action. Best loosen my belt now. Will update y’all on our eating adventures next week. Better still come join us….

Rachelle x

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Dressing The Kids for a Stylish Restaurant Trip

Do you remember how exciting it was when you were younger to get all dressed up in your best outfit and your newest shoes? A part of that never leaves us as we grow up. Getting dressed to the nines for any occasion, no matter how small or grandiose, is always fun. Now, it’s even more special when we can pass that tradition on to our kids. Whether we’re heading out to a special party at a swanky restaurant or just out for a casual family dinner, make a celebration out of it and let your kids dress up for the occasion.   Read the rest of this entry »


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A Mothers Day Wishlist

“Mum I can’t wait for Mothers Day, we are going to bring you breakfast in bed”…Ahh so sweet. I am now remembering back to last years breakfast in bed debacle..I mean experience!   Burnt toast, smoke alarm going off, jam on the carpet. I think if I remember correctly, there was some random food element as well. yes it was cucumber. Rufus (he was 2 at the time) decided, actually insisted I had cucumber with my burnt toast and jam.

I am sure breakfast in bed will go swimmingly this year and I will love the home made cards covered in glitter and random fluffy bits.  Read the rest of this entry »


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