Wednesday, November 26, 2014

La Bouchee



When in London, catching up with my gorgeous girls, a fabulous dinner is essential. With no plans made, we decided to wander in South Kensington and see what gem we could uncover. Boom! Enter La Bouchee. After walking up and down Old Brompton Road, we return to the French joint that had caught our eye. La Bouchee is a darling little French bistro, with wooden tables and an old world feel. It is busy and has instant atmosphere. You walk in and feel transported. It is Paris, sometime in the early twentieth century, but it is not dated, it is classic.


With snails on the menu, Skye and I cannot pass them. We share the little devils, smothered in garlic and parsley. Utterly delicious. Melinda, the American, refuses to try one, but I coax her and she enjoys it. She wants more. That was the last one!



I have been craving meat. I order the burger. I know it's not going to be a burger burger, all dinted and greasy, but I want a big hunk of meat and I want fries. Done. The burger is good. And for £16 is a London bargain.



Other dishes ordered include a steak cooked to perfection and labelled one of the best steaks in London, and a duck that falls apart in your mouth. 



Skye's favourite dessert, île flottante, features on the menu, and even though I had already promised my heart to a gelato place down the road, we share one. This dessert of poached meringue is light and gorgeous, and it tickles your tongue as you spoon it into your mouth. Mmmm.

Of course, no proper catch up would be complete without lashings of red wine. We order a bottle. And then another. The 2011 Bourgogne Vincent Girardin Pinot Noir is utterly delicious: cherry and berry and not too heavy. 

The service is delightful, all very French. I am tempted to order in French #bilingualwanker makes it into the status update.

This boîte is one to be remembered and frequented. In fact, I think we should make it our regular haunt. J'adore.

La Bouchee on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tukdin

Located in Lancaster Gate, Tukdin is a bustling little restaurant filled with regulars who look like they know good Malaysian cuisine. 
Coming from Sydney where there is such a large Asian population, good Asian food is never very far away for me, however, in London, it is certainly not as prevalent.
In fact, I am rather excited to sit down to some Asian food. It's been far too long.
The Beef Rendang is packed with flavour and falls apart in your mouth, however, the meat is dry, and lets the dish down. Also, it is described as mild, and is more of a medium heat level. To me, that is not a problem but for the Beautiful Man, it is right on his upper heat limit threshold. 
The Sawi Goreng, which is described as green vegetables with prawns and squid stirfried in Chef Fauzi's special sauce, is a cracker of a dish. Certainly on the medium-high end of the heat scale, this dish is full of punch and flavour. The seafood is tender and well cooked. 
I feel that due to the other reviews of this restaurant and the clientele (mostly Malaysians) that there are many great dishes on the menu, it's just a matter of knowing what to order.
For a restaurant in central London though, it is relatively cheap, with dishes around the £8/£9 mark. Service is prompt and friendly. Due to its religious affiliation, it is a dry restaurant. A beer would have gone down nicely with that spice, but nevermind.


Tukdin Flavours of Malaysia on Urbanspoon

Crosstown View




After spending a number of weeks up north in Scarborough, it is glorious to be back in London, especially with the Beautiful Man. I feel alive and it makes for a perfect start to a Sunday to be perched atop Selfridge and Co, with a flat white and a gorgeous Autumn Fruit Crumble from Crosstown Doughnuts. Filled with spices and autumnal fruits, it is utterly perfect. Mysterious yet comforting and warming. Crosstown Doughnuts are serious stuff. They will take your definition of a doughnut and smash it.  And how 'bout that view?


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fish and Chips






After being in the UK for over four months now, it was finally time to have the infamous fish and chips. Seamer Fisheries, just a mere 50m from my door is reputed to have awesome fish and chips, and should set the benchmark for the classic national dish. "Would ya like scraps?", the lady says in her thick Yorkshire accent.                                    "I don't know what that means, sorry."                                                                               Scraps are the crispy bits of batter that are leftover from each batch. Yes, I would like scraps. I cannot believe how big this piece of haddock is. It's more like whale. It is the biggest serve I have ever encountered in my entire life, and all for £5.50. I eat the whole thing. It is crunchy and juicy and delicious. Exactly how I wanted it to be. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Shake Shack


I had heard the praises of Shake Shack from a chef I used to work with at Recipease. I trusted her opinion, so was excited to see how it measured up. The queue on a Sunday is ridiculous, and then so it the search for a table. But, they seem to have the ordering procedure down and it doesn't take as long as you think it will.


I opt for the cheeseburger with bacon, as per usual, so I can compare it fairly to other burgers, I should have ordered the double as the single is quite small. Before I bite into it, I know it's good already as it's ugly. For those who are new to my blog, one of my prerequisites for an awesome burger is that it needs to be ugly. It needs to look beaten up and neglected. I am not interested in pristine looking perky burgers. They always disappoint, trust me. 


I bite into her. Yes. She is greasy and full of flavour. This is a lipsmackingly good burger, but it will be over too soon. I SHOULD HAVE ORDERED THE DOUBLE. Oh misery.


The Beauiful Man has ordered the special limited edition burger, in collaboration with chef Massimo Bottura, which comes with an Angus patty ground with cotechino sausage and parmigiano reggiano, topped with salsa verde and balsamic mayonnaise. He enjoys it very much, but for me, it's too fancy. When I want a burger I don't want no gourmet stuff,  just gimme the good ol' basic stuff.



The chips are crinkly and crunchy and delicious and the shakes, oh boy! The Beautiful Man claims the vanilla shake is the best he's ever had. My chocolate is pretty damn good too. They are thick and cold and super satisfying full of their fresh made frozen custard base. Mmmmmm.

Shake shack is definitely one to put on my list of regular haunts, although midweek to avoid the plague, I mean crowd, would be a wise decision.

Blueprint Cafe


I made a reservation at Blueprint Cafe after looking up London restaurants with a view. Located on the southern side of the Thames in the Design Museum, it looks out over the Tower Bridge and makes for a lovely nighttime view; perfect to try and show The Beautiful Man how pretty London can be.

There is a market special on where one can get three courses for £23; a bargain for London. We also want the venison, so order it as an extra main. Piggies.

The food is contemporary British cuisine and for the most part is good with a few highlights and lowlights along the way.

Without a doubt, the hero dish is the starter of Jerusalem Artichoke Soup. Anything with Jerusalem Artichoke captures my heart, and this creamy soup with its earthy notes is my lover for this evening. I practically guzzle it, much to the dismay of The Beautoful Gentleman, with whom I am meant to be halving everything with. He adores it too, well the two meagre spoonfuls he gets. Its awesomeness cannot be captured on film. 


The Salt Beef is bountiful and has good flavour, and makes for a simple, fresh starter. I love that horseradish cream. Pow!


The lightest of the mains is the Pollock with Spiced Puy Lentils and Cauliflower Puree. The fish isn't amazing but the lentils are well-seasoned with lots of flavour and lift the dish.


Now, having never eaten anything that comes with the warning, "may contain shot", it is like winning the lottery when I find a ball of steel in my mouth - "I won, I won!". The pheasant is pleasant, dark and gamey, however, there is so much shot in it that you get over the novelty very quickly. I appreciate game slaughtered this way, at least it had a lovely, natural existence, however, the warning really should say "contains shot". The bed of sweetcorn, mushrooms and cocktail onions it lies on is a bit of a tribute to 1968: a random combination. Corn is never that fabulous unless it is barbecued on the cob, and cocktail onions need to live up to their name and come swimming in gin and vermouth.


Highlight of the mains, is the venison. It is tender and juicy and is complimented well by the tangy Savoy Cabbage and woody Chestnuts. 


Desserts are hit and miss. The Caramel Poached William Pears with Vanilla Foam and Bitter Chocolate tastes generically sweet and lacks and robusticity or definition of flavours. It's nice but doesn't deliver what its title suggests.


The Peanut Parfait with Chocolate Ganache and Passionfruit on the other hand, is rather scrummy. The flavours are distinctive and well balanced and the passionfruit gives it a zing to awaken your palate.

Blueprint Cafe has an adequate wine list with many available by the glass, however, there is no cider on the menu, which astounds us. At first we thought the European waitress didn't understand what we were saying, but alas, alack, there is no cider. It seems rather incongruous, as come summertime, when they open the windows up and the sun glimmers on the Thames, nothing would be better than sitting there with lunch and a cold glass of cider. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Peanut butter Cookies

When faced with emptying out the pantry, there is inevitably always a half jar of peanut butter. What to do with this rascal? Make delcious, super easy cookies to share. 


Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt

Method
1)Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

2) Mix the butter, caster sugar, brown sugar, egg, vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy.

3) Add the flour and the salt and mix well with a wooden spoon.

4) Roll into balls the size of large marbles and flatten slightly.

3) Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.


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