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.
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.
When you have about a hundred bananas lying around the office that need eating you just have to make banana cake. Chuck in some leftover dark chocolate (the rest of the bar you’ve just bought and eaten a few squares of counts as ‘leftover’ in my book), a tablespoon of cocoa powder and a little extra butter and you’ve got a deliciously sweet and bitter cake.
Handful of roughly chopped dark chocolate
4 teaspoons double action baking powder
1/2 tsp sodium bicarbonate
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
8oz plain flour
4 1/2 oz butter
4oz caster sugar
3 banana’s smushed
2 room temperature eggs
2 bananas, sliced down the center along the ‘spine’ curve for the top of the cake
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!
It’s STILL freezing outside. Brrrrrrrrrr. All this ‘spring starts on the first of March’ malarky is just that: malarky. First of all, see above (it’s freezing) second of all, the Old Farmer’s Almanac, which MUST be right, says the Vernal Equinox (that’s Spring) is on the 20th of March, so maybe we’ll have better luck in 5 days. I dunno – somehow I doubt it.
OK, enough of this talking about the weather – what I really want to share with you is my first experience with Beef Wellington, which might be just what you want to make for Sunday lunch this weekend. I highly recommend it for a small dinner party and I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s not as hard as people make it out to be, especially if you buy ready-rolled puff pastry!
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.
Every cook needs feedback on culinary experiments. I find the best way for me to get a review of new recipes is to break out the china and invite the girls over for tea to test out new creations. So I baked and baked and swirled my way through endless bags of flour and sugar and brought out 4 new recipes to share with the girls. Boil the kettle and off we go!
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).