Thursday, July 31, 2014

I can't believe you're not eating this butter


There's butter, and there's butter. This is the latter, where the word is emphasised, plosive 'b' shooting from your lips.

This is butter for the serious; for those who mean business (again, that plosive 'b'). Its texture is what sets it apart from other butters. It has crunch. Flakes of sea salt lie within and transform any slice of bread into sheer delight.

Use on bread alone. It would be a waste to use in any other way. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Egomaniac

I have a *slight* obsession with food or drink with my name on it. When Coca Cola introduced their Share a Coke With campaign a few years back I stocked up on all of the Catherine bottles I could find. I even stuck (in jest) a few of the labels up in my kitchen. They were still there three years later, and when I finally took them down, the kitchen just wasn't the same anymore.


Catherine Wheels. Oh what luck! These are officially my new favourite treat as I adore chewing on some bootstrap liquorice. In my egomaniacal feeding frenzy, I ate the entire pack in one go. All seven wheels. It was a good afternoon.




Sunday, July 27, 2014

Croissants

I finally had two days in a row where I had the luxury of making croissants. Yes they take two days, however, when you bring them out of the oven and see them in their finished glory, you smile, and are rather impressed with your effort.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Harrod's - The Kitchen

Harrod's is ridiculous. The chief item of ridiculousness was a toy Hummer petrol car (for children) that had a price tag of a whopping £39,995. Looking at exorbitantly priced goods can make one rather hungry so a spot of lunch was in order. 


The Kitchen at Harrod's, dare I say it, is almost reasonably priced, save for the glasses of soft drink for £4.35. Having only been open a few months, The Kitchen serves a mix of Mexican and American: mini dogs, sliders and tacos, and it makes for a rather tranquil place to dine amidst all of the rather heinous tourist activity.

Although not much of a visual feast (I apologize for the lack of a better photograph, I think I was starved and slightly expired from our walk Bank, Borough, Knightsbridge), the smoked chocolate-chilli beef sliders are morsels of goodness. The chocolate flavour isn't very strong, but there is a lovely smokiness and the meat is tender and melty, accompanied well by sour cream, lettuce and pickled red onion. 


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bacon and Banana Cookies

On a hot British summer's afternoon, there is nothing nicer than sitting in your back garden and browsing through recipe books; a feast for your senses, the choice of what to make is almost painful. I want to make it all.

Finally the choice is made, and Dan Lepard's lemon cake is a close second to Heston Blumenthal's bacon and banana cookies. I dash to the shops to pick up vital ingredients only to find my hopes of dashing, dashed, as I become utterly confounded and overwhelmed in the bacon aisle... Yes. This Sainsbury's the size of Tasmania has an entire aisle dedicated to bacon. Too much choice. 

An hour later, I return home and set to work. These cookies are simple to make, but the combination of ingredients make for that wow factor and conversation. They also are delicious, and the flavours compliment each other in a surprisingly awesome way.


Ingredients
40g smoked streaky bacon (approximately 5 slices)
220g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
120g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
260g unrefined caster sugar
2 large eggs
60g dried banana, roughly chopped

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius.

2) Place the bacon on a baking tray lined with baking paper and cook in the oven for ten or so minutes. When out of the oven, pat the bacon dry with paper towel, and when cool enough to handle, cut the slices into small pieces.

3) Sift the flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.

4) Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (beaters are fine too), cream the butter and the sugar on medium speed until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. This should take 5 minutes.

5) Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well.

6) Add in the flour mixture and continue to mix for 3-5 minutes until a dough is formed. Add the bacon and the banana and continue to mix for 2 minutes.

7) Dollop fat spoonfuls (approximately 40g) onto a baking tray lined with paper, roughly 10cm apart and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden around the edges. Once out of the oven, allow the cookies to rest on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. The cookies will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container, and the dough can be frozen in individual portions and baked whenever you need to delight an unexpected guest.





Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Best Burger in London - MEATmarket


A new city, new turf to find the best burger. Just like everywhere else in the Western World, the Americana food fad is alive and well in the Mother Country. Above the insanity of Covent Graden, littered with its backpack-clad tour groups and street buskers, is the Jubilee Market Hall, and here lies MEATmarket. Although a Saturday, there is no large queue which is good, as I feel like I've run a marathon (I'm learning that commuting a mere few miles down the road in London leaves you feeling like you've run a marathon in high heels and a mini skirt, especially if you decide to exit Covent Garden tube station via all 193 stairs). 

MEATmarket is fun looking: bold and American. The menu has some more exotic burger choices (think halloumi and chilli) however, you know the drill if you are a regular reader of my blog, I must get the cheeseburger possibly with bacon, as it's my control. 


As I pick up the burger to unwrap it, I notice how heavy it is. It's a double pattie burger, and they are fat. Don't think you can order the bacon cheeseburger because you only want something small. You can't. It will fill you up and make you order a side serving of broccolini come dinner time when you're out at the next haunt. Sigh.


The cheeseburger has the regualr parade of ingredients: beef, cheese, bacon, mustard, pickles, lettuce, mustard, hold the onions... And it is good. There are nice amounts of juice and grease and it's ugly. Ugly is always a contributing factor to a good burger. If it's ugly, you know it's all about the taste. It's not one of those vacuous, showy burgers with only looks and no flavour. For me, there isn't enough char or smoke. But aside from that, it is a solid cheeseburger with a pretty pink middle that I'd return for. Next time, I might try one of the other MEAT ventures, either MEATliquor (the original) or MEATmission (the latest).

Accompanying the burger are delicious salty fries, I enjoy how the menu makes it clear they are not chips, and a Bleached White shake (plain vanilla). Somehow a burger just feels wrong to me without these little friends to play with it. Note if you order the onion rings, they are mammoth, made from some giant Gondwanaland onions that roamed the earth millions of years ago.

Service at MEATmission is friendly, considering it's a fast-paced environment. It's nice to know there are still people who genuinely enjoy customer service. Make it your mission to get here.

MEATmarket on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's all about the berries

I have been in London for a little over two weeks now, and let me tell you, it's all about the berries. I knew it would be. Berries have stolen my heart and I cannot get enough. Their gorgeous deep hues, and their wonderfully diverse textures, from the hairy little raspberries to the smooth, waxy blueberries and the meaty strawberries... Oh berries!


Porridge with blueberry yogurt and fresh berries.  


Wimbledon final with traditional strawberries and cream. 


Fresh raspberries from Borough Market. Strolling and eating.
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