Sunday, December 27, 2009


I got a cast iron AGA griddle pan for Christmas from my Mum. It's exactly right: takes a while to heat up and then is very very hot. And with all the Bakeries mayhem over, I've finally had a chance to made exactly what she always makes on her's, drop scones. These are usually a tea time treat but there was no pudding tonight so I made them for pudding, and they were just delicious. Especially with Mum's damson jam.

This time of year is brill because you get loads of time to potter and make the things that there isn't always the time to make during the busy year. Tomorrow I'm going to try and make some blinis with rye and buckwheat and dill seeds. Horay. And if anyone has an idea of where to get smoked eel let me know, because that's what's going on top.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


It's been a real haze starting our pop up restaurant. But at last, here are the fruits of our toil. And we are now in full swing, and it's really fun. St. Etienne has been on the sounds system and we've been churning out Syllabubs and stews to the masses.

Mango and Cinnamon Syllabub

Wild Mushrooms for frittata, a paprika and chickpea stew, and Black beans to go with belly pork

American Slaw, bread and oils for the tables

Monday, November 23, 2009

APPLE MINCE PIE super light and fruity

My mum sent me her mince meat recipe last night, and I've been a bubbling with ideas on how to make a mince pie that's lighter than the usual one, and full of kentish apples (par cooked autumnal ones, picked up a car boot sale and waiting in my freezer). This pudding is also a bit inspired by the wonderful german strudel which we ate yesterday at the Manchester Christmas Market - an anglo-german marriage of sorts.

I can't help but fiddle with things, so have adapted Mum's recipe, using light dried fruits - those almost green currants, and turkish raisins, and in keeping with my Brixton surrounds, Captain Morgan rum rather than brandy. Her's is a great model because it's vegetarian, using butter instead of suet, which is ideal if you don't yet know how's coming round for Christmas dinner.

For the tart, i made a sugar pastry with some ground almonds, which has made a brittle and lovely moist case. Then a layer of the mince meat, then a scattering of cooked apples, and then a really light custard made with eggs, sugar and milk, rather than the usual double cream. Latticed and baked, this is a delicious, light, and yet unrelentingly Christmassy pudding. I'm going to serve it at The No.1 Village Bakeries with a natural yoghurt. If you were quick in your booking, chances are you may well get this treat then. If not, now is the time to make your mince meat. Follow Mum's recipe, and jar if for the more traditional little mince pies.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

TONIGHTS SUPPER. simple and effective

Tonights dinner is like many a normal dinner, made up of bits and bobs. I've got my old friend Anna Green Armytage coming over, and hopefully we'll have a good old rant and drink some wine, and generally do what friends do. These are not nights to make a fuss over the cooking. They are about simple trusty friendship. So we've got this lovely looking quinoa salad with smoked trout and cucumber and thyme, dressed with lemon and olive oil. I really like this quinoa stuff, much to my surprise. It's nutty and really satisfying. I'll give her a bowl of carrot and ginger soup too, if she plays her cards right.

As I cooked this, I listened to a brilliant podcast, ideal to run in the kitchen. Check it out here It's two little girls having a very funny time, who have music taste quite beyond there years. Agents should watch this space! xxx

Sunday, November 15, 2009

FOOD MARATHON DAYS and i'm feeling my ways

it's been crazy recently. i've hardly stopped eating and will soon be the size of a truck. but it's been truly worth it. thursday saw us at Mirch Masala gorging on so much onion, oil and spice that we actually, on return, had to walk around the block to get our stomachs digesting. it was really delicious (i went crazy and couldn't stop eating the ochra and aubergines) and cheap to boot, plus you can bring your own wine. so that was the first leg of my marathon. next up was friday night, and jerk chicken fresh from the pan of taketwo. we ate this will a yum hard salad that i'm working on for The No.1 Village Bakeries menu. the dark wet chicken meat went perfectly with the hard crunchy herbie salad. and once again i had to retire straight after eating to the comfort of the sofa and the remote controls. and then we pushed things to a whole new level: saturdays are my busy day and i hardly get to eat. come 4pm, on the train to canterbury, i was ravenous. luckily the train stops at Bromley South. we got out and rushed over the road to the best chips in town. these are really crisp, like they've been fried 3 times, and respond incredibly well to malt vinegar. they were absolutely delicious, and i haven't looked back. today however, i am definitely approaching the size of that truck. if i turn into a heffer, i only have myself and my love of superior fast food, to blame.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


This is a Mango Syllabub with Mint and Cinnamon.

It's pretty good. Especially with a cinnamon stick as the spoon.

NEW DISCOVERIES. i thought i'd seen it all in Brixton Market

I love new discoveries. they give me a massive adrenaline rush and make me feel truly alive. The best discoveries involve human contact. Today, I was lucky enough to meet Margarite, who runs The Islanders Kitchen. It's right in the caverns of Brixton Village which feels really exciting at the moment. Stuff is going on. I can't put my finger on it, but it feels good.

Margarite is Phillipino and cooks beautiful home made food from her country of origin, which is a combination of Malay and Spanish. Palms fall out from the shop front, and food is on show in the hot counter. There are trinkets everywhere and the kitchen looks busy and full of pots and bottles. We sat down together over coffee, with her neighbour Pam, and had a good old gas about trading, cooking, and the nature of running a shop. It could have been any year in any country all over the world. The sitting down, particularly as women, and sharing life, is timeless and warming. I loved every moment.

This is the Sea Bass she is marinading today. Underneath are those lovely little aubergines.

I'm definitely going back on satuday. Margarite talked of steaming lemon grass and has promised her special muscles, which sound delicious. All hail exciting discoveries, lovely ladies and fine food.

Monday, November 9, 2009


first poach some belly pork with star anise, cinnamon, red wine, water and juniper berries for an hour

meanwhile sweat red peppers, celery, red onion and tomatoes, with sumac, chillies and orange rind

bake the pork in the oven, covered with coarse salt and honey on gas mark 3 for an hour

serve up with coriander and spring onions on top



we've finally secured what will be a lovely shop unit in brixton market, called THE NO.1 VILLAGE BAKERIES. there's great potential but a lot of cleaning that needs to happen first! in fact, we did the first cleaning binge on sunday, loaded with vim, hangovers and rubber gloves. anyway it's all very exciting.

to book a table, email me

look forward to produce and fun from the following people:







more pictures to follow.

Monday, October 26, 2009


we woke up yesterday after another late night. we'd been at the academy til about 3am with the 2 bears so needed some serious punch to our breakfast. as Alice gave me the new Jamie book last week for my birthday i thought it was time to christen it with a wacking breka. we made the "Beautiful Breakfast Tortillas". as ever Jamie's recipes work fantastically. it was made up of jazzy scrambled eggs, with lots of garnishy things to put on top.

as i couldn't find tortillas, my mum and i went to Las Americas, a fantastic Columbian and Brazilian butcher that also makes these incredible corn breads at the back. walking in here makes you feel a million miles from London and yet this very feeling is what makes London so special and exciting and various. another change i made is the addition of a mix of meats from Manuel. he sells these vacuum packed cured collections of chorizo, sausage and pancetta. i added this to the pan before adding the eggs and it gave the whole affair a more smokey taste.

it's pretty simple, as breakfast recipes often are. here's the basic outline:

warm some delicious las americas corn bread
chop up coriander
chop up chillies
chop up some tomatoes
grate very ordinary cheese
mash avocadoes with lime juice and season
fry some meats
whisk eggs with chopped spring onions
add to meat
don't over scramble

serve up and then recline with the sunday papers!
i recommend you try it next weekend.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


it's all very exciting. we're doing a pop up restaurant and shop in brixton in december. can't wait to tell you more, but we are about to embark of the cleaning and painting. then we'll know what's going on!

Friday, October 9, 2009

HOPE AND ANCHOR. f**k the rain away

i couldn't work on wednesday as there was a massive fire in a wig shop in Brixton. poor me. after putting on countless washing loads of aprons and scouring gumtree for furniture, a suggestion was thrown out there... Lunch?

so off we went on our bikes, to the much chatted over Hope and Anchor. however by the time we actually got to The Cut, we had been soaked by the dreadful rain this week. rather werrily, we sat down, and i ordered a pot of tea straight away (to ward off any autumnal chill).

this was a real treat. we had crab with garlic mayonnaise, greens (savoy cabbage that day. it was cooked perfectly so it was still alive with bright greens, unlike the more schooly grey mops i remember from my childhood) and a fennel gratin with a dead tasty cheese that i can't now remember the name of. all this was served with a big basket of chewy and very sour in-a-good-way sourdough.

fed and watered, and presented with a perfectly reasonable bill, we got back on the bikes, into the eye of the storm, to go and see The Spivs at the 12 bar. not a perfect day, but definitely one that was improved by this meal and went on into a fun old soho knees up.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


here's the pictures of last nights delicious working-girl pasta. it was indeed packed full of vegetable goodness, and sorted out mine and alice's delayed hangovers. seconds were had, and none is left.

tonight i'm making a pomelo salad with grilled mackerel fillets, and brixton farmer's market greens. i'm pretty excited.

Monday, October 5, 2009


wasn't i sitting in the sunshine yesterday eating breakfast, pretending it was high summer? i really was, but today has brought with it the sudden arrival of autumn. damp and darker. part of me is a little excited. we've been making the flat cosy, and tonight i'm going to make some really comforting pasta with lots of carrot, celery, courgette and general 'verdure' action. pictures to follow. x

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

BREAD GLORIOUS BREAD. right in my head

A big thanks to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and his brill article in the G2 today. the recipe that really grabbed me was for a thing called 'Dukka' that i've never heard of before, an Egyptian spice mix, full of nuts and seeds too. as i've been baking a loaf of bread a day in the last few, it struck me that this little mix would lend it's self rather well to bread. typically i didn't quite have the right ingredients at hand.

so, to make the dukka, i used some ground coriander instead of his seeds, and didn't peel the hazelnuts, because i'm lazy! and on top of all the other toasted aromatics, i toasted a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds too (because they remind me of my mum's steaming loaves). i then added the dukka to a bread that i've become rather fond of: a flat sort of thing that you bake on a tray like a foccacia and kneaded away. and instead of adding mint directly to the dukka, i bruised some fresh mint sprigs with olive oil in a pestle and mortar, and rubbed this on top of the dough, with lots of salt. i've already started pulling off hunks, and it is really rather good. i must save some for alice's dinner or i'll be in trouble.

if this unusual and inspiring dukka recipe is anything to go by, then "Taken from River Cottage Every Day" by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is bound to be an absolute delight and an inspiration to cooks all over.

Monday, September 28, 2009

BRIXTON FARMERS MARKET. you snooze you loose.

i finally made it to the Brixton farmer's market this sunday (the first time in ages i haven't been at a wedding or under my covers all day, dying). and what a lovely market it is too. it really does add to what brixton already offers. we have markets 6 days of the week, both covered and on electric avenue, and now it's 7. so me and my granny shopping trolley can now be occupied every single day of the week.

i've always in the past made my way over to the peckham farmers market, but now i clearly don't have to. the farmers market was rammed with nobbly vegetable stalls and cheese, Luca's bread (now also on sale at Rosie's), fish and even a lovely looking plant stall where my friend Louise bought a little fig tree. and it's on one of my favourite streets in brixton, Brixton Station Road. there's a great portuguese cafe here where you can get a custard tart and smooth cafe con leche after you've done your shopping too.

with my spoils i made my dad a roasted pumpkin and wild garlic salad on water cress, with J.Gold cheddar shaved over the top, mopped up with Luca's Rustic wholemeal and sourdough loaf. we sat in the garden and chatted the sunny day away before heading over to Brockwell Park to meet the salad club girls. and later that evening i roasted the dirty and rather large parsnips that i'd bought, and served them up with a sausage, cider and borlotti bean casserole.

all in all it couldn't have been a better way to spend a sunday. get yourself down next sunday. as i said, you snooze, you loose!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


this is just delicious and nutty from the bursts of mysterious seeds. go to unpackaged and cath has the seeds and the recipe too. it's all rather lovely and interconnected!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


funny you should say.... guess what i did today!

2lb onions6oz ginger
2lb marrow
3 dried small chillies
1 dsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
2lb golden plums
3 small apples
1 tsp salt
1pt malt vinegar + extra 200ml at beginning for sweating
1 ½ lb muscovado sugar

you can substitute the marrow with plums, but will need to cook it longer as there's more moisture to evapourate.

Roughly chop the onions and then place them in a blitzer to finely shred. Turn these out into a really large saucepan. Peel and roughly chop the ginger and do the same with this, blitzing until it is like rice grains. Add to the onions. Finely chop the dried chillies, and add with the cinnamon and cloves. Splash in about 200 ml of malt vinegar and sweat this off for 10 minutes on a medium flame. Mix frequently.

Meanwhile stone and roughly chop the plums into about 8 pieces each. Deseed and dice the marrow. Peel and core the apples and the slice small. Add these to the onion pot along with some salt, and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Add the vinegar and turn the heat up to high to bring this to the boil. When it has reached a rumbling boil turn the heat down but sustain the boil for 35 minutes. Mix frequently. Turn the heat off.

Measure out the muscovado sugar and pour this into the chutney being careful to break up the chunks and again mix well. Bring the chutney back to the boil, and try to avoid sticking on the bottom of the pan. Now decant into sterilized jars and seal immediately. I once burnt my cleavage making chutney as it’s piping hot lava. Do be careful.

CUPCAKES par avion

clem, who helped out at the sink at Rosie's just sent me these lovely pictures of her cupcakes. i packed her off back to paris armed with my classic recipe and am delighted to see her french friends, glazed and sprinkled and so full of joy. and reassuring that my recipes actually work too!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


it's indeed tomato chutney time again. i've got it locked down now which is great. there's 2 mega jars and 2 regular ones, so now all i have to do is decide who's getting it for christmas!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


caught by the river took me by surprise. i thought it'd be a blog about fishing. it's much much more, full of the meanderings of men who know a thing or two about pretty much everything. music, of course fishing, reviews and cultural musings. here's what i added to their lovely pot. and it definitely made me want to take up fishing too.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

GREEN PAPAYA SALAD to allay the carnival comedown

after a pretty hectic Notting hill carnival, envolving 3 separate venues, a lot of dancing in the street, some beers and a pile of ackee and salt fish, i needed some more clean fun.

the thai green papaya salad is laden with small strong chillies and the papaya is steeped in a lime heavy dressing, sweetened with tomatoes and palm sugar. it couldn't be a better way to end the bank holiday, cleansing and double fresh. and the texture of papaya is lovely - really supple and silky. the main thing is to make sure that you mash up most of the ingredients in a pestle and mortar.

1 tbsp palm sugar
2 small chillies, finely chopped
6 cherry tomatoes
2 limes, juiced
2 tsp fish sauce
1 small green papaya
a handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
1 stick of lemon grass, blanched for 10 minutes in boiled water, and finely chopped
2 handfuls of unsalted peanuts

place the palm sugar, chillies and tomatoes in a pestle and mortar and really give it a good grind. this will bruise and bring out all the flavours. add lime juice and fish sauce and give it another good mash up. set this aside. peel the papaya, and then continue to use the peeler to shave off ribbons into a large salad bowl. use about 1/2 of the papaya. sprinkle over the mint and chopped lemon grass. pour over the dressing and clean out the mortar. now crush the peanuts and finally sprinkle these on top.

we ate this with rare brazilian steak from manuel's. it was the perfect antidote to a heavy bank holiday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A SURPRISE DINNER, full of glimmer


Horah for impromptu lovers meetings. I met him at Rake’s behind Borough Market, quite unexpectedly, because he had my house keys. We did the daily debrief, which I love. All the ins and outs of daily monotony makes me feel good. And then we got onto what we always get onto, “what’s for dinner?”.

The options round borough, much to my surprise, were a bit thin: Brindisa? The wait was going to be 45 minutes, and we are just a bit too greedy for that, even though the Monte Enebro with honey is immense; Fish!? Looks grim and was pretty much empty, plus it looked expensive; Feng Sushi? He was game, but I felt a bit uninspired by it. Then we saw Wright Brothers. My suggestion was that we have a dozen oysters for a treat and then head on elsewhere. But as we walked in, his olfactory got going and I was reliably informed it had good smells for a fish joint. Hey presto, we splashed out and had the most perfect dinner.

I cannot hail the experience enough. The service was great. That lovely and very un British combination of efficient and yet not annoying. They made it look easy. And the oysters were banging. We had 2 kinds, as I fancied a geeky compare and contrast of Wild Colchester (impressively arge and metallic and saline) and Carlingford Lough (medium, subtle and delicate. Just what you want from an oyster).

The details were the delicious devil here at Wright Brothers. The sides particularly, as the tomatoes in the salad were skinned, making them really pert and slippery, and the sprouting broccoli was served with really tasty melting butter. And then, then there was the dressed crab. So simple, and no doubt skilfully produced. My favourite I think though was the squid, dipped in a crispy hot batter not unlike a KFC. And that’s a big compliment.

Then we were straight home for another dose of Rick Stein’s latest odyssey plus Levi Roots first episode in his Jamaican series (both very good in their different ways). What better and more spendthrift way to spend a Monday night? If you are lost on where to take a lover, this is the one, and all the more amazing when it’s not even planned.

BRICK LANE ON A SUNDAY, a truly metropolitan hooray

having spent saturday night at a hen party, i was terrified that i'd have a sore head on sunday, when i'd planned to spend the day with my dear old friend Haz. thankfully, the hens were pretty well behaved. we were pleasantly held up in a garden in barnes, drinking pink champagne and giggling at old photos and naughty reminisces. i was up and on it sunday morning only a little fuzzy, and arrived on the wonderful brick lane, thrown right into the thick of vibe bar heavy bass lines and wafting foods from all over the globe. when i first went there 10 years ago, it was buzzy and busy, but not overly cool. now, the bad side of things is that it's totally teaming with bolshy bodies, haircuts and very vintage clothes. the good side of this is that it's like a festival and makes you truly happy to live in the capital, such a loud, brightly coloured and mixed up place.

the bits of brick lane that are as they were when i first discovered it, are for me, still the best. it's all about the indian super stores. here, you will come across vegetables so alien that naming, let alone cooking them, seems a far cry but none the less a really exciting thing. Haz and i spent a lovely few hours putting the world to rights, drinking coffee in the new fangled fashionable brick lane way, and eating some delicious and cheap greekish street food. the dolmas were good. She then bobbed off to a party, and i got back to the old school, trawling the aisles of first, Bangla City, and then Taj Stores, just further down.

i love these stores. they really are supermarkets, but the kind i like. they sell knapkins, cleaning products, incense, pots and pans and ofcourse all the things that are hard to find: unknown leaves and herbs; huge sliced of pumpkin, various wonky chilies and every rice and chili sauce you could wish for. and it seemed fitting to make a good spicey and aromatic curry dinner even more so, because raf was at the ashes being all crickety. i bought mung dhal, freshest curry leaves (which make me weak at the knees, and take me straight back to soft evenings in Gokana); a butternut squash, walnuts, basmati and fresh turmeric which is hard to find.

for dinner for the crickety boys i made a lovely dhal full of curry leaves and mustard seeds (using a new little pot especially for frying spices), a walnut chutney (which must be akin to a pesto, but indian) and a chicken and squash korma, all mild and nutty. it was the walnut pesto that really struck me, and which i found vaguely in madhur jafferey's curry bible, of pakistani origin. fresh, crunchy and bitter and sweet, hot and yet cooling, the perfect alternative to raita, here it is...

2 handfuls of whole walnuts
1 handful of fresh mint
1 whole dried chilli
1 finely chopped garlic clove
1 lime, juiced
4 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tsp caster sugar (or palm sugar)
some salt

this couldn't be easier. place all the ingredients in a blender, and blitz until it is flecked with colour like grains of sugar. not humous, more pesto. serve with dhal, rice and a meat dish.