Category Archive: Reviews

  1. Shades of Orange – Sicilian Gold

    Sometimes, you’ve just got to eat your way through an orange grove worth of luscious, vitamin-c rich oranges to get through the winter.

    I am so happy to see the back of January – the bluest month of the year. February has a couple things going for it and one of those is undoubtedly the Italian orange season, particularly those grown in the cradle of citrus – Sicily.

    Sicily Orange

    Yesterday for dinner we ate a deliciously heavy dish of handmade gnocchi with Alfredo and pancetta. It really was divine. But what sort of dessert can you possibly fit in to follow a main like that? The answer is of course citrus.

    After a heavy winter meal I often peel a bowl full of oranges and then segment half and cut rounds of the other to create a simple dish of plentiful citrus. It’s a boost of vitamin c and helps the stomach digest, especially all that starch, butter and cheese we happily gorged ourselves on last night.

    Blood Orange, Navelina, Blush Orange

    Having oranges like this reminds my of my honeymoon, where my husband and I stayed at an old monastery turned boutique hotel in the foothills of Mount Etna in Sicily. The Monaci delle Terre Nere sits smack dab in the middle of an eco bio farm and orange grove lined with rows of different varieties of orange you can simply pick and eat (with permission of course). There are Navelina, Blood and Blush oranges, even one called Vanilla. The top photo in this post is apparently a Tangelo – a cross between a tangerine and pomelo. Just amazing. I also counted at least 5 types of Blood and Blush orange alone just walking through the grove. These photographs are from the early spring, but the real season starts in February.

    Siciliy Orange Grove , Monaci Delle Terre Nere

    We are so used to eating the over-popular navel variety that it’s hard to believe how many others there are out there, so if you ever get the chance please remember Sicily in February. Either go there to eat these amazing fruits or venture to your local farmer’s market and spend the extra coins to discover what they have. You won’t be disappointed.

  2. Foxcroft and Ginger

    When I first heard of Foxcroft and Ginger it was because of the introduction of their new hybrid pastry the Cruffin – a croissant/muffin crossbreed both flaky and chewy,  filled with ganache or custard. I thought it a triumph and spread the word via an article for Good Housekeeping.

    Today I had to stop myself ordering another, as I am here to sample some of there other goods. After all, one cannot live on pastry alone! (Though I am always tempted to try…) 

    The shelves are teaming with beautiful Viennoiserie and cakes, including the gorgeous pistachio lemon loaf (on of those please!) and individual Victoria sponge (and one of those!). So that’s dessert sorted then, now how about lunch…

    The menu has everything you would hope to find at an artisan cafe – showcasing the baked goods they are known so well for with a bit of imagination thrown in for the food adventurer. The Kimchi  Burger immediately catches my eye. A few salads thrown in and we are good to go.

    Service is quick and my burger is delivered stacked high. The kimchi is not overly fermented or hot – it tastes fresh and adds a welcome kick to the juicy (obviously high quality) meat. However, the real winner in each bite comes as no surprise given the roots of this bakery cum cafe. The bun has all the desirable elements of a fresh, chewy roll baked this morning, with a crisp crust, just enough sour from the ferment and salt to give each crumb full flavour. It’s very easy to eat the whole thing, even if there is a lot of it!

    The salads are fresh and crunchy, but lacking a little flavour. A bit more seasoning would really bring out the best in these vibrant vegetables, but then, maybe I like things a bit more on the salty side. They do make me feel healthy, and it’s a nice touch that you can get all three on the same plate when you order. Variety is the spice of life in my book, particularly when it comes to salads.

    On to my favourite course. I nearly consider dessert as an essential part of the meal, though of course in moderation… only once a day.  


    The pistachio lemon loaf nearly glows green the pistachios are so fresh. It’s moist and packed with flavour. But the really fabulous treat is the individual Victoria sponge. Thick cream holds the top and bottom together and creates a moat for the sweet strawberry jam. It’s a simple recipe made decadent. 


    Served with beautifully brewed flat whites in adorable mismatched tea cups to end a perfectly lovely lunch. 

    In a nutshell – you can taste the effort. 

    Foxcroft and Ginger have two more cafes, one in Whitechapel and one opening in Dalston that promise all their Soho branch offers and more. As one who is inclined to top almost anything with a poached egg, I am desperate to try their new Dalston poached egg bar, a venture I can only applaud. It launches on Thursday 18 June 2015.

  3. My Home From Umbria with Grub Club

    It’s warm, the sun is still bright at 6pm and Exmouth Market is buzzing in a manner I would normally associate with a European market square. Londoners are happy! All chattering away over glasses of wine or beer, sat under this large and beautiful church, which is the venue for tonights event. It’s the perfect setting for an Italian feast.


    And speaking of buzz, our host Assia is the kind of person who makes excitement fizz in your blood. She is warm as today is, and as energetic and positive as any other Italian I have met. Is it just me, or does a certain friendly mischief seem to beam from every Italian’s face, as if to invite you out to play and break the rules? Maybe it’s all that sunshine.


  4. Cooking Adventures

    My goodness how time flies! I can’t believe my last post was in September! I have been getting all sorts of experience in the food, including a fabulously beautiful trip to the Amalfi Coast where I ate my weight in pizza, pasta and gelato. Definitely put this on your bucket list. Visit Positano, you will not regret it. The beauty almost hurts your eyes.


    I have worked a month as a chef at Kome, a marvelous pop-up restaurant and catering company with food crossing the divide between Korean and Mexican flavours. Then a few more work experiences starting with 10 Greek Street in their pastry section,  a few days with Southerden bakery right near me in Peckham, followed by a life changing week at Restaurant Story with Tom Sellers, who I owe a lot to for nudging my towards starting a career in food. Check out some of the snacks I helped make while I was there:

    Crispy cod skins with emulsion and gin botanicals


    Eel flavoured take on the Oreo with vinegar dust, delicious I swear!


    And the beautiful Egg with salmon roe and egg emulsion


    You would not believe the amount of prep work that goes into making these little snacks. Now just imagine how much work goes into creating one of their main dishes. Snacks of the Sea for example (I think they like the word ‘snack’…


    Or Almond and Dill (I got to make the dill oil!)


    There are 10 courses on the tasting menu with 6 additional snacks and every dish is magical. The Story team is so talented and they are more dedicated than most, hence the Michelin star. They are also some of the most thoughtful and humble. I am so lucky to have learned some of the magic. Phew, it’s almost emotional!

    In between all that I have done some exciting private catering and before you know it here we are in November. Very little sleep but a whole lot of fun!

    Anyway now that I’ve swiftly updated you all with the new notches in my CV, on to an updated version of one of my favourite foods in the whole world… pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner (OMG I HAVE NOT EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT THIS YET) and the only thing that could possibly make us feel better about the flames bursting from our pockets as our wallets spontaneously combust is to eat delicious things like pie. So here we are: Vanilla Pumpkin Pie

  5. A Remarkable Oyster – 69 Colebrooke Row


    I was delighted to try any drink at the bar with no name – 69 Colebrooke Row – but this Oyster was a real treat. With slightly spicy booze and an amazing pop-in-your-mouth purified tomato juice, it’s like a Bloody Mary explosion with just a nip of that brine flavour we so love in an oyster.

    May I also reckommend the Rhubarb Gimlet, madam?

    Oh yes please, I’ll have two….

    Booking a table in advance is highly recommended ~ please note that they do not accept bookings for more than 6 guests*

    69 Colebrooke Row, London N1 8AA
    Tel: 07540528593

    Sunday to Wednesday 5pm – 12 midnight
    Thursday 5pm – 1am
    Friday & Saturday 5pm – 2am

  6. Gastronomica is back … and it’s better than ever

    You’ll remember that last summer I reviewed a delicatessen-come-cafe in Pimlico called Gastronomica. Well, it’s back and it’s better than ever! With a new sign and newly renovated interior, Gastronomica is sparkly clean yet remains down to earth and is again offering its Aperitivo for high quality imported Italian cured meats, cheeses, veg, pasta and wine every Wednesday from 6-9pm.


  7. Story – Never miss a good one…

    Are you ready for a story? It’s gonna be exciting I promise you…

    Those of you who haven’t heard of Story just don’t read the news of the foodie world. You simply can’t miss it. In fact, I recommend you don’t.

    In the case of Tom Sellers, his culinary creations really do make you feel part of the story of his beautiful restaurant and, like Tom, there is a fun and slightly cheeky side to things… take your food seriously but not life, he seems to say.


  8. 12 Oysters and a Dungeness Crab, please! – Why Seattle is a Cloudy Paradise

    Things have been quiet here on After The Market because I have just started a new job (very busy!) after getting back from a trip to visit the Cloudy Paradise of Seattle, inclusive of its neighbouring Cascade Mountains and its islands.

    There are many wonderful things about the port that flanks the Salish Sea: the parks, the views, the music (who can forget Nirvana or Jimmy Hendrix (there’s a whole museum devoted to him) and have you heard Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop’ yet? We Seattlites are oh so proud…, the art scene and lively coffee shops, however my favourite things, you might have guessed, are the food and drink.

    Rich and vibrant and full of cuisine creatives, Seattle is a place to have a foodie experience inclusive of succulent fruit from the state’s orchards, perfectly sweet crab and balanced, briny oysters pulled from the bays, beef grown on grassy island farms and fish straight out of the waters of the Pacific. And did I mention the fried chicken?  It is a feast of color with plenty of cocktails and local wines to drink on the side. The micro brews are incredible too and growing fast thank goodness, because no one can get enough!

    I know it’s not considered the sunniest spot for a vacation but for a foodie, you’d be crazy to pass it up. Seattle has got it goin’ on!


  9. Food at 52 – Italian Cookery in Clerkenwell

    To spite the recession’s efforts to make us feel dull, restaurant footfall has hit a high among 20 and 30 somethings in particular. We’re saying ‘To Hell with high rent! We want lobster, duck and waffles, macaroons and infused jellies, micro-brews and copper-stilled cold compound gin and we want 7 course tasting menus paired with wine ON A WEEKDAY! We want it all, and some of us want to know how to make it too.

    Cookery classes seem to be popping up all over the place in response to the foodie revolution that has so graced this big city (Thank Gawd for that!) and with so many options – especially in London – choosing can be a little overwhelming. I am forever scouring the internet for fun, high quality, not too expensive cooking classes, so I was delighted to find Food at 52 in Clerkenwell.

    Walking in the door you would think you were entering a friend’s house for dinner, which makes sense because when John Benbow started up he was teaching friends and family out of his own home.

    Now he and his lovely wife Emily have expanded, opening an airy school where you can see the handy work of John’s past life as a furniture-maker in the wood and stone of a beautiful open plan kitchen designed for teaching in a communal way.


  10. London Fields Brewery

    I recently turned the big 2-9. For my birthday we went to London Field’s Brewery – a fabulous place in East London bubbling with delicious ales and unfiltered lager. I enjoyed the tour so much I just had to hug one of the tanks.

    Not for those who only drink Carlesberg, London Fields’ concoctions are robust and bursting with flavour. As someone unlikely to order lager at any time other than with spicy street food, I was surprised to find their unfiltered lager scrummy and my favorite of all their brews. It is just as complex as a great ale with layers of taste while it’s also refreshingly citrusy. It’s closer to a pale ale than you’d expect from a lager, which is a definite plus in my book. I also loved the Hackney Hopster, an ale that has a nice clean malty flavor with a spike of grapefruit. Divine with steak and chips.

    London Field’s Brewery only opened shop in August 2011, so they’re newbies, but they certainly know how to brew. You wouldn’t believe how small their brewery is for what they produce. It seems a miracle they get it all done! I would highly recommend giving them a try, particularly if you’re a beer obsessive like me! You can find their beer in pubs and restaurants all over London (click here for a list).