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Thursday, 26 June 2014


So I told you how I was going to Taste of London right? Well, that happened last week and it is safe to say it was amazing. A personal heaven of wine and food and pimms and more food. Taste of London returned to Regent's Park this year for its annual celebration of all things yummy. It was a perfect day for Taste; sunny skies and not a cloud in sight. Makeshift foam caps were even being handed out! So the currency of Taste are 'crowns' which equal a pound and (slightly annoyingly) can only be bought in packs of 5. 

I rocked up with my mum, our crown stock already burning a hole in my pocket and headed straight to Flesh and Buns for a portion of their roast pork belly with mustard miso and green apple in a steamed bun. It was amazing, a perfect delicate balance of the miso and pork and the bun was light as a feather. 

We wandered round for what seemed like ages, trying to get a 'flavour' of what's about, Taste of Thai exhibited some of the best Thai Restaurants in London at the moment, from Blue Elephant to Thai Tho. There was also a great 'Fruits of Thailand' section with carved watermelons and exotic fruits to experience. 

Lining the walkways of Taste were marquees of various companies and producers; I swear I got more free food and alcohol from the sample tents than I did from actual restaurants. We tried Cumbrian beer, sugared Indian flatbreads, Prosecco, Kimchi, Rose wine, lots of strawberry cheesecake truffles and a tonne of olives Bodega Olives, which we ended up buying 4 packs of!

Anyway, on to what I spent my crowns on. The best two dishes I sampled were from Salt Yard and Andre Garett at Cliveden House. I spent 5 crowns at the former on the famous deep fried goats cheese stuffed courgette flower drizzled with honey and at the latter we gorged on the prize winning peanut butter parfait with salted caramel and raspberry compote.

This stuffed me for the rest of the day and was possibly one of the best desserts I have ever eaten! Le Gavroche was surrounded by pappers trying to get a picture of Mr Roux himself- as was Maze and Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa, both popular choices for Tasters. Le Gavroche offered a luxurious sounding Lobster and Truffle Salad, Maze; the popular Bang Bang Chicken Hand Roll and Barbecoa- amazing sounding white chocolate Panna Cotta with Champagne strawberries and basil. Not only is there plenty of food to gorge on; there were sushi classes, a cooking tent and demonstrations from chefs such as Colin McGurran. I would happily come again to get involved with the classes! We finished the day off with a number of drinks; the best of which was a huge Pina Colada from the Mahiki tent served in a hollowed out pineapple. Nothing says summer better than a hollowed out pineapple after all. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014


Coconut loaf yeees

In all fairness this isn't really bread. It's a loaf cake. But I just used the word bread m'kay? A relatively simple recipe adapted from the wonderful Sift 315g of flour with 2 tsp of cinnamon powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 2 tsp of baking powder, then mix with 140g of shaved coconut and 200g of golden granulated sugar. Whisk 2 large eggs, 300ml of milk and a tsp of vanilla extract in a separate bowl. Then- making a well in the middle of the flour mix, poor the egg mix in and combine until well mixed. Then add 85g of melted butter into the mix until smooth and loosened. Line and flour a loaf tin then bake at 180 degrees Celsius for around hour and a half. Keep checking because all ovens are different of course! The best way to check is to insert a skewer into the loaf, if it comes out clean- it's cooked! Leave to cool in the tin. When ready to eat, slice and smother with jam, butter or thick manuka honey (it needs that extra moisture as coconut can be a tad drying). 

Monday, 16 June 2014



Admittedly I chose Taste of London because I am going there this year and I am so excited! The event takes place in London Regent's Park over 4 days starting THIS Wednesday; let's hope the weather picks up. Taste of London offers food from some of the best global chefs; Noma's Redpezi, the Rouxs, Raymond Blanc to mention a few over the years. Pop up stands and mini restaurants will be giving out tapas sized portions of some of the most exciting food in London today. As well as this there are sushi making classes, champagne tastings and interactive cooking masterclasses. A self proclaimed 'foodie wonderland'.


Heading North we find ourself at the picturesque Loch Lomond in Scotland. The famous festival lasts only two days from the 6th to the 7th of September but there is plenty to cram in during this time. Both fantastic local Scottish and International produce are showcased at this event; expect haggis pizza, fresh salmon and hog roasts. Not only this but there are street food sellers, live music and a deserved trip around the Brewery to sample some golden liquid. The chilli chocolate sausages are tipped as worth a try? Or stick to the shortbread.


Maine Lobster festival is hailed as one of the most popular fishy festivals in the world. The Maine Lobster is the celebrity guest of the seafood world and this event is a must for anyone who loves the pricey crustacean.  Running for over 60 years now in Rockland, Maine; the festival boasts 'creative' lobster prepping, lobster crate races and carnival rides. If that doesn't excite you (why wouldn't it), a giant steamer boils lobsters for visitors on the spot, served fresh and tasty. This year the festival is running from July 30th to August 3rd, so er book your flights now kids!

Thursday, 12 June 2014


I've been to Salvo's before, but last time I was too excited by the food to take any pictures, in fact I barely achieved it this time. Salvo's, located in Headingly, is a favourite of Leeds locals serving fresh, simple Italian food for decades now. I chose this place for my birthday dinner (I turned 21 this week yo) and although it's a bit pricey for an average student dinner, I justified it as birthday occasion-worthy! Salvo's has a great selection of pasta, meat and fish and an excellent wine selection. The menu exhibits some of the best Italian ingredients cooked to perfection. My favourites are the Pasta Al Forno; a meatball and salami baked pasta dish smothered in a mozzarella gratin and the Pasta Alla Pecorara; a pork ragu dish with roasted peppers and smoked ricotta. Other recommendations; the giant belly-filling Calzone's or the Pollo Braciole; chicken thighs stuffed with sausage and sage, wrapped in pancetta (my mum is still raving about attempting to re-create this one). The specials often have a range of mouth-watering pricier options, which change weekly depending on what's in season, this has ranged from venison to seafood pasta or roman piglet. What I love most about Salvo's is how relaxed it is, the friendly atmosphere and fact it's full even on a Monday evening without feeling cramped. The decor is nice, straying away from pomp and fancy with pictures of Salvo and family which decorate the walls, highlighting Italian values of community and family strengthened by a love of food. Makes me feel a bit Italian. Salvo does also have a cafe and a deli around the corner, demonstrating how popular the restaurant has become in the neighbourhood. Outstanding cuisine, excellent service and a meets-all-needs atmosphere makes Salvo's a long-standing Leeds favourite.

Friday, 6 June 2014


 Walking into The Botanist last night was like walking into the most well organised garden shed ever. Decorated with trowels, watering cans and posters of various seeds and beans; The Botanist milks its gardening-based brand. The jug of water we got on the table was stereotypically granny-kitsch in their pink floral designs, the plates were a mismatch of tea-set patterns and colours and there was certainly no lack of cladding. The food ethic was good British pub food; well-cooked, big portions and classic tastes. For starters we ordered; tomato and basil soup served in a mug, Cumberland pork chipolatas, Welsh rarebit fondue and a home-made scotch egg with piccalilli. The egg was perfectly cooked and soft in the middle and the piccalilli just sharp enough to offset the Scotch egg. The fondue was praised around the table, served with mounds of crusty, thick bread. For mains it was a case of; steak and ale pie and three portions of flattened rump steak (I ordered a side of peppercorn sauce with mine). Although flattened, the rump was still pink and flavoursome and the peppercorn sauce creamy and spicy. The steak and ale pie came with more gravy than anyone would ever need- we are in Yorkshire after all. The portions were huge; although the idea of a banana and coconut kebab for pud was tempting, I was stuffed after just two portions, you certainly get enough for your money! Lastly, although pricey the cocktails are worth seeking out even if you don't have dinner there. A range of fruity and herb-infused flavours, standouts to try for me are the raspberry amaretto sour, watermelon martini and the cherry and sage sling. I'd love to try The Botanist again, although I reckon I'll have to wait for fourth year now! 


Monday, 2 June 2014


Land of Fire and Ice? You might mistake it as a place from Game of Thrones but I'm talking about Iceland. Iceland has everything I personally love; whale watching, midnight sun and a foraged food culture. Not only this but the capital city of Reykjavik offers circus festivals, Viking history and classic European nightlife. As the world's most northern capital city, Reykjavik is 'high' on my list of places to go. No but really, there's plenty to do both in and around the city. Dill Restaurant is a pioneer in the foraged foods movement offering unusual Icelandic concoctions. A room at the Reykjavik Marina- a converted factory, offers stunning views of the dock. The hotel displays industrial chintz at it's best; fishing net washing bags and pine covers galore. Directly outside of the city, short excursions can take you Humpback-whale watching or Puffin sighting. April-October is the best season for the bigger animals of course. Geothermal pools and spas are famous in Iceland; the Blue Lagoon is set in an atmospheric black lava field, warming waters at a toasty 38 degrees C. Locals apply the volcanic silica mud directly to their skin which is said to have excellent cleansing and exfoliating results. Alternatively you could talk a walking trip to the isolated island of Videy or go diving in Icelandic waters for some of the best visibility going and ship wrecks abound. Granted it might be a bit chilly but that's what the Geothermal pools are for after.