Sunday, 1 December 2013

Tiramisu, Pizza East & Mini Apple Crumbles

Last Saturday I made tiramisu, which I haven't done in a long time (over a year!). I had forgotten what
a fun and easy dessert it is to make. Now I have electric egg beaters (moving up in the world) it is even easier; much less arm-work. I always marvel at how strong our grandmother's arms must have been from all that baking without our modern kitchen gadgets. I embellished the traditional recipe a little by adding an extra dusting of cocoa powder between layers, and also using amaretto instead of brandy. I let the tiramisu rest overnight, and served at a friend's place for Sunday lunch pudding, following the best chicken roast ever made (which I didn't make, by the way - this was a friend who has the gift of chicken roast, among others). I do think there is much room for improvement in my tiramisu however, especially after the tiramisu I tried the following evening.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Hungarian Goulash

It's been a long time since my last post... I've spent the past year planning, executing and recovering from my wedding. I think I am now safely recuperated.

My last post was on the wonderful city of Budapest, so it follows nicely for this post to be about the famous Hungarian dish, Goulash, or Gulyás in Hungarian. I have been thinking about Goulash for a few months (probably since it started to get cold in London), and I recently encountered some at a cafe in Neal's Yard, Covent Garden. It was a miserable rainy day, and Goulash was a perfect antidote to sustain my friend and I, battling the shopping crowds in the drizzle. So, I got to thinking about making some Goulash myself. Something that I always meant to get around to doing after I left Hungary.

The key ingredient in Goulash is paprika. And not just any old Sainsburys paprika; you want the real
deal Hungarian paprika. Paprika is a spice that can vary wildly from place to place, it depends I guess on how they grow their peppers, and also whether it is smoked (as it is in Spain - think chorizo). So to get the right flavour, you need to find quality paprika from Hungary - paprika is what flavours this dish so it is worth investing a bit of legwork into finding this stuff.

And so it was that I set off on a Saturday from South London all the way north to Green Lanes, Harringay. Walking these streets is like being transported to Istanbul; humming with people busy making and eating Turkish bread, kebabs and sweets. There are also a few Eastern European shops dotted about; among them, Paprika Store, where I found my Hungarian paprika. Careful when you buy this - there are two different varieties, hot and sweet. The sweet one is what you want - mine says 'csemege' on the packet. I also picked up a tube of hot paprika paste, which can be added to Goulash at the table to spice it up.

Monday, 20 August 2012

A Perfect Day in Budapest

The perfect day in Budapest started off at the Margit bridge, Pest side of the river Danube, heading towards the chain bridge. Walking along the riverfront here isn't the easiest - there isn't a nice esplanade - you have to skitter along tiny half-pavements, step over low chain fences, dodge speeding traffic to cross the road, jump over road barriers, and avoid eye contact with policemen guarding parliament grounds - but if you're game it's worth the walk. You get a good view of the gothic parliament building from here.

Further along the Danube, you come across the memorial to those shot by Arrow Cross (the pro-Nazi Hungarian party in power during the 2nd world war) into the river. One of the most powerful memorials I have ever seen - I had read nothing about it and just stumbled across the vast collection of realistic steel shoes strewn across the wall along the river. So powerful because each shoe is an intimate portrait of the person who might have owned it - each pair was a different style, a different size, worn in different parts - they were utterly human. And seeing them discarded along the Danube, you knew what had happened to the owners of those shoes without knowing any of the details of the actual story. Haunting. 

Saturday, 11 August 2012


Following two fabulous days at Lake Bled - the most picturesque lake I have ever seen - we arrived in Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia. After wandering through the central markets, we came across a cute café and stopped off for coffee. Café Cokl, Krekov trg 8, named for the family name of the owner, Tine Cokl. Tine is absolutely passionate about coffee – if you get him started on the subject, you’ll have a hard time getting away. His knowledge is immense and his enthusiasm is catching. It was hot, and we ordered Tine’s iced espresso, €1.50; strong espresso, a little sugar, poured over ice to beat the heat, and topped with frothed milk. Excellent. And as cool as anywhere you’d find in East London. 

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Chalet girl cake

A few years back when I was a little younger, I spent a couple of months working as a chalet assistant in Courchevel, in the French Alps. I turned up in this little ski town, found myself a job as quickly as I could (replacing a girl who was being sent home with a broken arm), and got set in learning to ski.

My day involved rolling out of my bunk bed at 6.30am, racing to beat my revoltingly stinky room-mate to the bathroom, and slipping my way down the hill to the chalet by 7am to start breakfast, picking up fresh baguettes from the front door. During breakfast service I would whip up afternoon tea - my favourite part of the job, and a job that I quickly wrestled away from the head chalet girl - usually making a yoghurt cake.

One of my chalet afternoon tea creations

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Lunching Londoner #2: Exmouth Market - Moro market stall

It is a stunning day today in London. You cannot, under any circumstances, visit your basement cafeteria on a day like this. So I hailed a number 63 bus Exmouth Markettowards Kings Cross, getting off at Mt Pleasant, where the fabulous Exmouth Market resides. This is one of my favourite markets; compact, excellent food, and most excellent (Kiwi!) coffee at Caravan. I pick up my fortnightly supply of ground coffee here, and sometimes have a sneaky pre-lunch espresso if I feel I need it.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Lunching Londoner #1

It came to my attention this dreary Monday morning that I have a mere 3.5 weeks left at my job, located near St Pauls in London City. And yet, I still have so many lunch experiences to try.

I am, if you have not figured out by now, a foodie, which means I will travel far and wide to find incredible things to eat for my lunch. All totally justifiable, even on a budget, because it's usually £5 or under. There is amazing lunch food to be had in London if you are willing to venture outside your local Pret a Manger. As long as you have access to a tube, a bus, or a train, you can easily whip out to different places in the City and be back at your desk before your boss has even noticed you're gone.

I am also aware that I have been a little absent from this blog of late. So, I thought I would start a little project to get a few more posts on here; to chronicle my daily lunch in London. I promise it won't be egg and cheese sandwiches every day.