Sweetcorn & Courgette Pancakes

4 Jul IMG_0448

This is a little overdue, but I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful #LDNBloggerPicnic organised by the lovely Aftab back in May. When I was thinking about what to bring to the picnic, I knew it would be easier to just buy something from the shops, but I wanted to make something instead.

I decided to go with the savoury option, as I was sure people would be bringing plenty of sweet stuff. So I made my popular Gougères (Cheese Puffs) which went down a treat! And I made a big batch of these sweetcorn and courgette pancakes using a recipe from the BBC food website, which I added my own twist to.

So many people asked me for the recipe, so here it is. This works great as a snack or a starter – enjoy!IMG_0083

Ingredients (serves 4 – 6 people):
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garlic granules
2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp caster sugar
4 eggs
150ml milk
2 (approx. 200g) medium courgettes, grated
1 can (325g) sweetcorn
6 tbsp vegetable oil

Lemon & dill mayonnaise (optional):
1/2 (approx. 1 tbsp) lemon, juice & zest
1/2 cup (120g) mayonnaise
1/2 tsp dill (dried or fresh)
1 garlic clove, mashed into a paste
Salt & Pepper to taste

1) In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.


2) In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add to the dry mixture and mix until fully combined. You may have to use a whisk to make sure there aren’t any lumps.


3) Take a big handful of your grated courgettes and squeeze as much of the water out as you can over the sink. Then place the courgettes in another bowl and use your fingers to gently separate the clumps into strands again. Repeat with the remainder of the courgettes, add the sweetcorn and give it a mix.


4) Add half the batter to the courgette and sweetcorn mixture, give it a mix and then add as much batter as you need for it to bind, but making sure it’s not too loose. This may mean you don’t end up using all of the batter.



5) Heat 1 – 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat. Place spoonfuls of the mixture in the pan to form mini pancakes – I was able to do four at a time. Cook on each side for 2 – 3 minutes, or until it’s brown all over.IMG_0444


6) Place the cooked pancakes on a plate with kitchen paper to drain any excess oil.IMG_0446

7) Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you use up all of the mixture. Serve warm with the lemon and dill mayonnaise (optional).IMG_0448

To make the lemon & dill mayonnaise:

Combine the mayo, lemon juice, zest, dill and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste and give it a good mix. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Ceru Pop Up at London Riviera

12 Jun Spiced cauliflower

I was invited to a bloggers event by the lovely Patricia from Ceru to check out their new pop up location at London Riviera, More Place, right by Tower Bridge.

Some of you may remember my blog post about Ceru a few months ago, when I organised a little Foodies Meetup there. I instantly fell in love with the flavours of Levantine cuisine and have been craving it since! So when I was invited to this, there was no way I was going to say no, despite how busy I am at the moment.

Tower Bridge

I’ve never been to the riverside at More Place before, so walking up to it was actually incredible – what a magnificent location. You see the beautiful Tower Bridge right in front of you, with City Hall on your right. Then slightly to your left, you see a cluster of sky high buildings in the city, including the Gherkin. It captures so many iconic landmarks that makes me feel so lucky and happy to be living in this great city of London.

Bloggers event

It was lovely to see some familiar faces and meet new awesome foodies/bloggers too. I genuinely love meeting new people and finding out about their stories – everyone has one!

Ceru Menu

Everyone was served 3 cocktails on the night, but I had their delicious fresh house lemonade of course. They all seemed to enjoy them though so I’ll leave it up to them to describe it to you.

Cocktail 1 & Fresh Lemonade

Cocktail 2

Cocktail 3

To start, we were served freshly baked Greek pita bread with 3 dips – Pancar (a beetroot & yoghurt based dip), hummus and a red pepper dip with a kick, which was amazing.

Greek pita bread

Ceru Dips

What I loved most about the event (apart from the food of course) was the fact that we finally got to meet Executive Chef, Tom Kime, who made the effort to speak to each and every one of us before explaining the story behind his food creations.

Executive Chef Tom Kime

He has gone above and beyond some popups by thinking about the variety of customers he gets, and even how to cater to all their dietary needs. For example, he wanted to make sure that vegetarians don’t draw the short straw, by creating delicious veggie friendly dishes, one of which was this amazing combination of spiced cauliflower, pomegranate, watercress & walnuts.

Spiced cauliflower

The other thing that I particularly appreciated is the fact that all the meat they serve is halal (WOOHOO!) and the fish is all sourced sustainably. Could they be anymore accommodating and considerate?

Slow roasted lamb shoulder

Once again, I cannot praise the slow roasted lamb shoulder enough. It is cooked with 20 spices, and boy do those spices work! It’s melt in your mouth soft, with some crunchier charred bits, which all add even more depth to each bite. There is also this pop of freshness that the pomegranate, pistachio and mint leaves provide. This is truly my favourite dish, and I would happily order the same thing every time I go. I don’t even care if you judge me.


The carrots with pine nuts in a vinegar dressing was an interesting combination, but it really worked. It’s not even on their regular menu, so I felt honoured to be one of the first people to try it.


Crispy fried squid

Some of the other dishes served and enjoyed by many were the courgette & mussel fritters as well as the crispy spiced squid.

Bloggers at Ceru

Honeycomb ice cream with baklava flavours

The evening slowly came to a close with a serving of the ever so tasty and moreish honeycomb ice cream, served with the flavours of baklava – roast nut brittle and burnt honey caramel. Enough said really, but I totally could’ve eaten more of that deliciousness!

Ceru at London Riviera

The city

Tower Bridge

As I was leaving, the sun hadn’t completely set yet (don’t you just love the summertime daylight hours?) and so everything seemed to have a bit more of a glow.

Ceru at London Riviera

London Riviera

I had a brilliant time at the bloggers event, and felt very lucky to have tried some dishes that weren’t even on the menu yet. After we all stuffed ourselves, I had the pleasure of chatting to Tom Kime and it really was evident how much hard work has gone into making Ceru what it is today. I look forward to the day Ceru secures their permanent site in London. It’s definitely growing though, as Tom told us that he’s opening up a restaurant in Sydney, so watch this space!

Tom Kime's Street Food Book

I bought Tom’s latest cookbook, Street Food, which he kindly signed for me and I can’t wait to try out some recipes!

Ceru will be at London Riviera, More Place, for a good few months over the summer, so I would definitely recommend you pay them a visit. I mean, how can you go wrong with good food and an incredible view in the glorious sunshine? Well… fingers crossed about the weather anyway!

Greek Yoghurt & Honey Cake

7 Jun IMG_8484

Have you ever been in that situation where you’d bought some Greek yoghurt for a recipe and then had lots leftover? Well even if you haven’t, this is a super easy recipe using some basic store cupboard ingredients to whip up a deliciously simple Greek yoghurt and honey cake.

I know a lot of people eat greek yoghurt, especially for breakfast, but I’ve never been one of those people. So when I was researching recipes to use up the rest of my Greek yoghurt, I came across this one. I’ve adjusted it a tiny bit and converted some of the US cup measurements into grams and millilitres. So try giving it a go yourself!

Ingredients (serves 8 – 10 people):

2 cups (260g) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 cup (230ml) Greek yogurt
1/4 cup (60ml) honey
180g butter, at room temperature
1 cup (225g) sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract

1) Pre-heat the oven at 180ºC. Grease and line a 9″ springform cake tin.


2) Mix all the dry ingredients (except the sugar) together and combine the yoghurt and honey in a separate small bowl.


3) Using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one by one, along with the vanilla.


4) Add the yoghurt and honey and mix well.


5) Add the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated.


6) Transfer the mixture into the cake pan and bake in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, depending on your oven, until golden brown. Test if the centre is done by using a toothpick; if it comes out clean, take it out and let it cool for 10 minutes, before removing from the tin to cool completely.


7) Serve with a drizzle of honey and even a dollop of Greek yoghurt if that tickles your fancy, and enjoy!


Fortnum & Mason – An Afternoon Treat At The Parlour

1 May Fortnum & Mason - The Parlour
My friend and I went to The Parlour at Fortnum and Mason for an afternoon treat, courtesy of the lovely people over at Zomato. I haven’t eaten there before, so I was very excited to visit.

The Parlour

I love Fortnum and Mason. I mean, how can you not? It’s one of those places that is a real delight to visit because it is the epitome of luxury – from the food they serve, to all the wonderful things they sell.Fortnum & Mason - The Parlour

I really liked the relaxed and welcoming feel. The ice cream parlour decor was perfect for the setting. I also liked that it was full of pastel colours, yet still bright with bold prints.The Parlour - wall

The Parlour - Counter

As we scanned the extensive menu, we found it so tough to choose what we wanted to eat. We had a nosey at what others around us were eating and it still didn’t help us choose as it all looked so good!
The Parlour MenuI couldn’t resist taking photos of some of the orders on the counter ready to be served. I was also quite impressed by the size of these, at which point I decided I must come back even before trying anything!

Ice Cream Sundaes

Ice cream & banana splitChoosing an ice cream flavour for our sundae was one of the most difficult decisions we had to make on our visit. It made me think that maybe we should just order scoops of every single ice cream they sold… but then the lovely waiter helped us narrow down our options. He kindly offered us a few samples of the flavours.

Ice Cream SamplesI got to try the Salted Caramel (obviously) and Fortnum’s Florentines, which was the waiter’s recommendation. And my friend tried Fortnum’s Mint Chocolate (delicious) and the White Chocolate.

The Salted Caramel was delicious! I have a slight obsession with anything Salted Caramel as my friends will know, so I have tried a lot of ice creams claiming to be ‘Salted Caramel’ and I’ve ended up being rather disappointed. But this was actually one of the best ones I’ve tried, so I was quite impressed.

Pick of the Parlour

In the end, we decided to go for the ‘Pick of the Parlour’, which was a little bit like an afternoon tea option. It came with a Spinach & Gruyere Tart, 2 scones – one plain, one with fruit, served with clotted cream and jam as well as a Mini Parlour Sundae. Also a pot of Fortnum’s famous tea blends. We thought it was such a great deal; all of that for £19.50 per person.Peppermint Tea

Can we just take a moment to truly appreciate one of Fortnum and Mason’s incredible teas…

The peppermint tea was by far one of the nicest minty teas I have ever tried. An amazing intense flavour, yet so refreshing. I don’t usually drink hot drinks at home, but even I was tempted to go downstairs to the shop and buy some myself. I didn’t want our pot of tea to end!

Gruyere and Spniach Tarts

I thought the Spinach & Gruyere Tart was rather nice, and just the right level of savoury needed before we indulge on the sweet stuff!

SconesTo be totally honest with you, the scones were ok, but not my favourite. Obviously everything tastes amazing with a spot of jam and clotted cream, but they were a little bit on the crunchier side for my liking. But to be fair, I’ve had the pleasure of trying some of the best scones around London in my time (which isn’t really that long) so it’s hard to compare. But I’m sure this would be a different experience if I were to go for the proper Fortnum & Mason afternoon tea experience (totally going on my list).

Fortnum's Mint Ice CreamI decided to stick with the minty theme as I was enjoying it so much, and went for Fortnum’s Mint Chocolate ice cream for my mini parlour sundae which was everything I dreamed of. Especially with the little bits of honeycomb and the tasty waffle cone-cup! My friend went for the Pistachio flavoured sundae and enjoyed it a lot.

Pistachio Ice CreamAt first we were both hoping these would be as big and beautiful as the ones we’d seen on the counter, but later on, we were glad this wasn’t the case. I didn’t realise how full I was going to be by the end of it. After our mini ice cream samples, the savoury tart, 2 scones and 2 huge pots of delicious peppermint tea… we didn’t have that much space left in our stomachs!

It was the perfect ending to a delightful afternoon treat and we left with full stomachs and a big smile on our faces. The staff were lovely, the ice cream was genuinely tasty and I already feel like I can’t wait to go back.

#PretSessions with About Time Magazine & Pret’s new Superbowl salad menu

20 Apr DSC_0777

I’ve been thinking about how I can improve my blog recently; looking up all the little tips and tricks the internet has to offer. One of the obvious things to me (and probably to everyone) is to actually blog in the first place. That is where I have been failing, due to my busy lifestyle (and probably because of my addiction to the show ‘The Good Wife’).

But then I discovered on Twitter that the lovely people at About Time Magazine were holding a ‘About time: You broke into journalism #PRETSessions‘ this weekend, which was focusing on getting into magazine and online journalism, as well as advice on how to build your personal brand and use social media effectively. I happened to be at the right place at the right time, as I saw that they were giving away 1 free ticket to this session. I tried my luck and BINGO, I got it… I’m sorry (not sorry) to everyone else.


This session also happened to be held at the Pret A Manger Headquarters in Victoria, London. We were given the opportunity to try their new spring Superbowl salad menu alongside some other items that are being launched in Pret shops on Tuesday (21st April). So I was very excited!


We were greeted with tea, fresh juices and an endless supply of pastries. There were so many pastries… it was like a dream. After some mingling and networking with fellow wannabe journalists and bloggers, I sat down with my peppermint tea and delicious pain au raisin, and we got started on the session and were looking forward to lunch.

IMG_9153We got to try their new Dairy Free Coconut Yoghurt, which is topped with caramelised nuts, dried coconut & cacao nibs. Personally I wasn’t a big fan of it, as it wasn’t exactly sweet enough for me and I also found the cacao nibs left me with a slightly bitter aftertaste. But saying that, I can totally see others loving this, especially as so many people in the group couldn’t stop raving about it. This will be a big hit with all the healthy eating fanatics and dairy-free food seekers. They said that many people like to have this at breakfast or after lunch as a dessert alternative.



The Pret Food Development Team introduced their new salad menu and explained the story behind their food which was really good to hear. I’ve always liked Pret, but I’ve never really been a regular or loyal customer, so to speak. I usually just go wherever thats close by when hunger strikes. But just hearing about the work that goes into researching and developing each and every item in their shops, really won me over. I liked the fact that they aren’t generally an overly competitive company, which in a way shows how much they believe in their product.


I also liked the fact that they’ve done their research well and are trying to give people the best value for their money. For example, their new Salmon Superbowl contains 75g of salmon… that’s nearly 10g more salmon than other leading high street lunch providers. That totally blew my mind, because I remember looking into the bowl and thinking ‘Wow, that’s quite a lot of salmon’, but it didn’t exactly register in my head that it’s more than what you’d get elsewhere.

DSC_0752It was amazing looking at the array of goodies on offer. They are introducing 4 new salads, 2 grain based and 2 noodle based. Salmon, chicken, crayfish & roasted vegetables are one of the main components in each of these bowls.


Now onto the taste. I only managed to try the salmon and that was quite yummy! It had the right balance of flavours and wasn’t overpowering. The superbowl also contained quinoa (not something I usually eat in my day-to-day life), peas, edamame (also yum) and baby kale – apparently the new best thing! It came with a honey mustard dressing, which added a nice kick to it. I liked the way the fresh peas popped and the slight bite the edamame added to each mouthful. 

IMG_9162The shape of the lid also means that you can shake the salad once you’ve added the dressing to give it a good old mix – apparently that’s what people do in the states. I honestly couldn’t finish the salad though, and the fact that I’d eaten so many other things throughout the day, could have contributed to that. But in a way, it was nice to be able to go back to it later. They cost around the £5 mark, some slightly less, some a bit more, but definitely good value for money for lunch in my opinion. I spend a fortune at work on not so amazing food, so this will be a welcome change.
DSC_0777I haven’t had the cucumber seltzer before, and I like cucumber water, but this was a bit more intense. You either love it or hate it. I also tried kale crisps for the first time and fell in love with it. I’ve never really been into kale, especially as a side dish. I tried adding it to some vegetable soup once, and I just couldn’t understand why people liked it so much. But after trying Pret’s version, I was converted. So flavourful and tasty – I wish they did bigger bags of it!


They also had a sweet quinoa pot with fresh mango, pomegranate, shredded mint & a wedge of lime. Again, I can see lots of people loving this. Can’t exactly see myself buying this as a snack, but I know others who would.

DSC_0744I would much rather eat these delicious pots of fresh fruit though. I could eat this combination all day long, it is that good!


We got to take some treats home with us too, so I’ve been enjoying Pret food all weekend and can truly see myself going there for lunch more often. On a side note, I’m intrigued by their porridge, as it’s meant to be their best seller. Apparently, 20% of their sales is from porridge alone. That is crazy. Porridge, here I come!

I enjoyed the session run by the About Time team and picked up some useful tips, especially around pitching ideas, making your blog stand out and increasing followers. I also met some lovely people and it felt like it was over so quickly, even though we had been there for nearly 4 hours. But as they say, time flies when you’re having fun.

Ceru London – Foodies Meetup

6 Mar Ceru - dips

Myself and Snita (@herfavfood – go check out her blog) decided to organise a little Foodies Meetup with some fellow food bloggers.

We are so lucky to live in a brilliant city like London, with incredible food from around the world. Having met some awesome people at foodie events, I wanted us to organise our own gathering with like-minded people who share the love of food; so this is how our foodies meetup first came about.

Ceru sign

I contacted the lovely Patricia from Ceru London, one of the new London pop-up restaurants that everyone’s been talking about in the world of Twitter. We decided to keep our first meetup fairly small as the restaurant isn’t that big, but there’s talk of a bigger venue coming soon, so there will definitely have to be a next time!


Ceru specialises in Levantine cuisine, serving food influenced by Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon and Israel. Executive Chef Tom Kime has done a great job in combining seasonal locally sourced produce with beautiful and vibrant flavours of the Levant.


We were all served drinks on arrival and there was a lovely selection of fresh juices on offer, including their daily specials. My juice was pineapple based and was so tasty.

Ceru - drinks

The aromas coming from the kitchen were just to die for! It has to be one of my favourite smells of all the cuisines I have been lucky enough to try. It made me salivate just thinking about the food that was about to be served.

To start we had a selection of dips to share with some warm flatbread. I’m so happy we got to try all of them as they were all delicious and wonderful in their own way. The houmous had a smooth, creamy texture with a slight kick from the green chilli which was a welcome addition in my opinion.

Ceru - dips

But my favourite was a beetroot dip called Pancar which consisted of roasted beetroot, yoghurt, garlic and pistachio. Usually I find beetroot to have an earthy taste, which can overpower a dish. But this really wasn’t earthy at all and in fact was fresh and tangy, which tasted great with the flatbread.

Ceru - bread

The other 2 dips were called Fadi (fried baby courgette puree with tahini, roasted garlic, yoghurt and lemon) and a spicy roast red pepper dip (with chilli, walnuts and pomegranate molasses).

Ceru - slow roasted lamb

I chose the slow roast lamb shoulder with shawarma spices for my main and it was the best decision ever! Words don’t really do this dish justice. It was melt in your mouth soft with an aromatic scent from the spices and a nice tangy dressing topped with pomegranates and pistachio. Each element added value to the dish and I have not stopped raving about it since eating at Ceru!

Ceru - sea bream

My foodie friend had the roast sea bream with oregano and chilli, topped with delightful garlic chips which I felt made the dish stand out even more as I have an unhealthy obsession with garlic. The fish was cooked perfectly and drizzled in a lovely warm lemon dressing.

Ceru - bean side

Our main came with a side of white bean & parsley salad with tomato, chilli and extra virgin olive oil, as well as some lightly spiced roasted potatoes.

Ceru - potato side

For dessert, we went for the Ice Cream Baklava which was a pistachio nut ice cream with roast nut brittle and a burnt honey caramel. It was just… WOW.

Ceru - pistachio ice cream

In my head I expected just a deconstructed baklava, which I would’ve liked as I have a weakness for baklava, however, this was a million times better!

I have tried what I thought to be pistachio ice cream before, but this was like nothing I have tried before. It tasted authentic with no hint of artificial nut flavourings you typically get with pistachio flavoured food. The consistency was incredible – so smooth and creamy. And I felt like there was just the right level of honey caramel drizzled on top to add a different flavour dimension to the dessert. I would honestly go back to just have this if I could.

Ceru - Muhalibiyya

And last but not least, we got to try their new dessert, the Muhalibiyya, which is a pudding made from milk, rice flour, sugar, rosewater and chocolate with an apricot puree centre. I know so many people who dislike rosewater in general, so it’s not for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. The flavour combinations were different and it wasn’t a heavy dessert. So both desserts were the perfect way to end our meal.

I want to thank Ceru for their wonderful hospitality and great food. Everyone who attended our Foodies Meetup had a lovely time and I have been craving the slow cooked lamb for a while now so I must pay them a visit again soon.

Ceru - Foodies Meetup

Also thank you to the lovely ladies who came along to the meetup – I hope this was just the first of many more meetup’s to come!

You can find Ceru’s pop-up restaurant at 29 Rathbone Place, London. W1T 1JG.



Amuse your bouche on Valentine’s Day!

5 Feb mushroom-sesame jelly

So a friend of mine is a gastronomist and therefore, a great cook. She is always cooking for family and friends with great success, but she wanted to take this a little further and put on a small hors d’oeuvres party for Valentine’s Day.

She asked me to spread the word to the good people of London who happen to follow or read my blog, so here’s the lowdown…

Malani has a wealth of experience in the food industry in Asia and London. Over the past 14 years she has been a personal chef, culinary demonstrator, food stylist, recipe developer and food writer. She has also worked with numerous food brands and even catered for corporate clients such as Fendi, Chanel and Guess.

Malani has worked with famous chefs from around the world, from Alan Ducasse to Maria Elia to name but a few!

So here’s your chance to be lured by the seduction of food this Valentine’s Day.

You don’t t have to know anyone – it’s a great opportunity to mingle with new people in a cosy and friendly environment on a night that is typically disappointing for singletons.

Make new friends and chat to people who are also passionate foodies, whilst enjoying an eclectic range of homemade modern Asian food, with contemporary styling.

Get ready to uncover the layer of flavours in an informal setting. There’s no formal dress code or a dining table to sit around; just come in your smart casual clothes and sit comfortably on sofas and chairs.

Date: Saturday 14th February 2015

Time: 18:30 – 22:30

Location: Colliers Wood, London, SW17 9DL


  • Devilled egg topped with coconut pea puree
  • Mushrooms & scallions served on crackers
  • Hot dogs on grilled croissants topped with onion curry sauce
  • Sesame chicken meatballs
  • Thai tuna sweet corn patties

Drinks: BYOB. Water & soft drinks will be provided.

Price: £20 per head (To be paid in cash on the night).

Reservations to be made by email to malani.g@gmail.com. Details of the full address and any further updates will be sent after booking confirmation.

Mal - food balls

I will also be attending, so I hope to see you there!

Dinner at Acciuga – #ZomatoMeetup

14 Dec DSC_0992

I was invited to a #ZomatoMeetup along with 20 or so food bloggers at Acciuga, an Italian restaurant on Kensington High Street. We got to pre-select our 3 course meal in advance and it all sounded amazing, so I was very excited by the time the day came around.

The restaurant isn’t exactly in an area where there’s a lot of footfall in my opinion, so the walk from the station took a little longer than anticipated, but it was certainly worth it.

We arrived and were greeted by friendly faces and welcome drinks. Even though I don’t drink, I could tell the people around me were enjoying Accigua’s new ‘Madness of Gold’ cocktail.


We were then introduced to head chef Guglielmo Arnulfo, who is from the Liguria region of Italy and he explained that the passion behind his food comes from wanting people to rediscover traditional Italian cuisine. And that’s exactly what we did!snacks

We got to nibble on different types of bread. Two of them were fried doughs – one was plain, but the other had the delicious fragrance of sage with a little salty kick which I loved. There were breadsticks too of course, but my absolute favourite was the Focaccia Ligure topped with caramelised onions… just thinking about it right now is making me drool! Focaccia is my absolute weakness – I can easily eat a whole slab of it in seconds, which I don’t think is a good thing…

We were then taken to the kitchen where chef Arnulfo did a demonstration of his signature poached egg with fresh black truffle. I didn’t have the best viewpoint so when I heard the whirring of a machine I was a little confused, then I realised ‘poached’ was what he was trying to make it look like – he was going for the deconstructed method.DSC_0969

The fluffy eggs certainly intrigued me but unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to try it on this occasion – but I suppose that’s a good enough reason to go there again, right?IMG_4666

Walking into the space where we were going to dine was very exciting. I liked the bright pop art on the walls and seeing a long table set up like this always fills me with joy. The one thing I love just as much as food itself is talking about food with like minded people.IMG_4669

A shout out to the lovely Alexandra from Zomato who came up with the genius idea for this anchovy which opens up to a list of names of all the attendees and their blogs – so clever and such a great touch! It was a great conversation starter and it allowed people to get their phones out and start following each other on Twitter & Instagram straight away.DSC_0972

It was so nice to actually put a face to some of these names. It turns out that I already follow a lot of these people on their culinary adventures and knew far too much about them than they’re probably comfortable with, but I was really pleased to meet them all in person.DSC_0978

Luckily we had already pre-selected our meals so we didn’t waste time deciding on what to order, but it all sounded incredible.IMG_4682

I went for the breaded and fried Mediterranean Anchovies to start. Did I forget to mention the story behind all this talk of anchovies? Well it’s because that’s the meaning of ‘Accigua’, which happens to be a staple ingredient of Liguria. So how could I not try the anchovies after all that?IMG_4690

It came with a simple tomato sauce in a clever tin; I think we were all surprised that it didn’t taste overly fishy, which I know usually puts people off from eating pungent fish like anchovies unless it’s hidden in things. DSC_0992

For my main, I went for the Trofie Pasta with Basil Pesto, which also had green beans and potato in it. This was the best decision ever! Everyone else had serious food envy as they’d gone for one of the meaty dishes.

I have never had this style of pasta before so I was intrigued and it certainly didn’t disappoint. In fact, it was absolutely delicious in my opinion. I heard that someone said it wasn’t al dente enough, but to be honest with you, I thought it was cooked to perfection. I loved how the basil sauce wrapped around each piece of the pasta and the beans and potato added a fuller texture to each mouthful. I let my fellow neighbours have a try and they all seemed to love it too – what a great dish!DSC_0988

I didn’t get to try the other dishes as they weren’t halal, so I can’t really pass any judgement on them, but I managed to take a few photos. This was the Slow Cooked Beef with Nebbiolo Wine Sauce & Vegetables.DSC_0996

Piemontese Pork & Beef Stuffed Ravioli with Vegetable Sauce, which I heard some people raving about down the table. But there seemed to be some mixed opinions elsewhere.DSC_0999

The Salted Cod Fried with Garlic Sauce & Panissa would’ve been my other choice but I’m still glad I went for the veggie option – mine looked a bit more filling than a lot of the other dishes too!


For dessert it looked like everyone pretty much went for the same dish – the Cream of Pistachio Millefeuille and Raspberry. I don’t know about anyone else, but this was not what I was expecting. I also didn’t seem to have raspberry in mine, which was a shame as it could’ve done with some sharpness. But I appreciated the fact they were trying to do something a bit different – maybe the Italian take on the millefeuille?DSC_1019The pistachio cream was really tasty, but I must admit, the rest of it was lost on me. Maybe it’s because I have had some of the best millefeuille in the world when I was in Paris so this was hard to compare. But the ‘pastry’ element in this pot was lacking the flaky lightness you expect from pastry. Presentation wise though, I am a sucker for food served in jars and quirky pots!

Overall I had a wonderful night; I met some lovely people and ate some delicious food. And if I’m ever craving that basil pesto trofie pasta again, I know exactly where I’ll be going. Thank you to Zomato for my invite and for helping me discover this place.

If you’re in London and love food, then download their app – it’s awesome! And I truly mean it, because I have been able to refer to it many times recently when looking for inspiration on where to go with friends and it has been really useful.

Savoury Cheese & Vegetable Muffins

27 Nov IMG_4410

I’ve been craving savoury muffins recently, reminiscing about the delicious ones my lovely friend Sucre Belle made on her last visit to London. So I decided to make some myself to use up half a bag of grated cheese I had in my fridge and the vegetables I’d bought from the market.

I looked at several recipes online, but most of them seemed to be over complicated for no reason or didn’t incorporate many vegetables. But then I found and adapted a great one from Julie Goodwin’s website, Australia’s first Masterchef winner.

I took these into work the next day and my colleagues loved them – lots of people even asked for the recipe, so here you go guys!

Ingredients (makes approx. 16):

3-4 cups (450g – 600g) vegetables of your choice – I used the following:
Half Courgette, finely grated
3 Spring Onions, diced
1 Small Red Pepper, chopped finely
Half Can Sweetcorn
1 Medium Sweet Potato, diced
1 tbsp oil
1 heaped tsp Ground Cumin
2 tsp Salt
Pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups (150g) Mature Cheddar Cheese, grated
2 cups (300g) Self Raising Flour
½ cup (120ml) milk
3 eggs
60g butter, melted

1) Pre-heat the oven to 180°C or gas mark 4. Heat the oil in a pan for 1 minute before adding the sweet potato, ground cumin, 1 tsp salt & pepper to taste. Cook for 2-3 minutes before taking the pan off the heat and tilting it to drain the excess oil. Transfer into a bowl and let it cool.

IMG_43622) Prepare all the other vegetables and place in a bowl. Squeeze as much water out of the courgette as you can. It will clump together, so make sure to separate the strands again.IMG_4366

3) In a separate bowl add the egg, milk and melted butter and lightly whisk, then set aside.IMG_4369

4) In a larger bowl, add the self raising flour, vegetables and cheese.IMG_4372

5) Mix the vegetables in with the flour until it is all well coated.IMG_4373

6) Add the egg mixture to the bowl and give it a good mix.IMG_4374

7) At this point, add the last tsp of salt and any additional pepper to taste. I also added 2 tsp of dried tarragon, just because I felt like it, but I don’t think it’s necessary as part of this recipe. I only decided to add sweetcorn at this point (hence not in the first few pictures) because I thought there may be too many vegetables at first, but I found it actually enhanced the taste.IMG_4375

8) Distribute the mixture evenly into cupcake or muffin cases, filling it approximately 3/4 of the way up and bake in the oven for around 25 – 35 minutes depending on your oven – I baked mine for 35 minutes. Make sure to turn the tray around half way through baking in order for it to brown evenly.IMG_4410

9) Now enjoy this cheesy, veggie, savoury muffin – I ended up eating 2 myself straight out the oven! :)IMG_4412


Taste of London Winter 2014

23 Nov DSC_0864

So I’ve been quite lucky recently. I entered a competition on the lovely Rachel Hosie’s blog (Handbags and Cupcakes) and won 2 tickets via Electrolux to the Taste of London Winter at the Tobacco Dock in East London.

I went to the Taste of London in Regent’s Park in the summer and had the most amazing time and got to eat some incredible food. So I was really looking forward to this.


I went on Thursday evening after work on their opening night. The venue is a strange one, you’re inside but outside so it was a little chilly, but we were lucky that it wasn’t raining. Although, I’m sure the people who went on Friday weren’t so lucky with the weather.

DSC_0864I loved the sparkliness of it all! It really made me feel like winter had arrived and Christmas was around the corner.


And would you believe it – we bumped into the one and only Michel Roux Jnr just as we entered the building! We were a little star struck and I felt a bit paparazzi stalkerish, snapping away on my DSLR camera, but it was a great start to the evening for sure.IMG_4481

We also got to see twice Michelin starred chef Atul Kochhar at the Electrolux Taste Theatre. I actually went to his restaurant Benares back in the summer for my birthday and had a wonderful dinner with my friends.IMG_4496

Then the eating began…! There weren’t as many food stands as the summer event, but there was plenty to choose from for sure. I mainly tried to go to the restaurants I haven’t eaten at yet, with a few favourites thrown in too.

We started off at Assado by Cyrus Todiwala where we tried the Chickpea Xacutti in Pao – flavoursome Goan chickpea curry served in a bun.DSC_0860


We went to Ember Yard to try their creamy Truffled Mac and Cheese, and boy was it good! I loved the crumb on top, it rounded the texture and flavour off so well. I could really do with some of this right now…DSC_0866


Although I’ve been to Kurobuta a couple of times now, my friend was yet to try their incredible Nasu Dengaku (miso grilled aubergine) so it obviously had to be done! Love the candied walnuts served with it.DSC_0865


The 5* Action Against Hunger stand is always a must – 5 top chefs each put together gourmet Haute Dogs in 5 varieties to please everyone’s tastes. And to top it off, all the proceeds go to charity. I even ended up buyng raffle tickets from them – you never know eh!DSC_0883

I went for the Haute Dog designed by Alfred Prasad of Tamarind restaurant – the ‘vada pav’ which was a spiced potato ‘hotdog’ with chilli coconut chutney, mint chutney and red onions.IMG_4485

My friend went for the hotdog designed by Jason Atherton with an apple puree, onions, crispy pancetta and Gruyere.IMG_4486

I am yet to go to Shake Shack, so I wanted to try this to see what the fuss was about. My friend had the Cheeseburger and I had the Lil’ Shroom Burger which was actually rather nice.



We also tried their Pumpkin Pie flavoured frozen custard… this was interesting. The consistency was certainly different, much thicker, but I kind of liked it. The crunch from the crumbled biscuits was definitely welcomed.IMG_4487

I’ve heard good things about Gaucho before, but the only thing I could eat from there was the dessert – the Dulce de leche cheesecake. DSC_0859


The Gü Garden of Temptation was surprisingly one of my favourite things from Taste of London. We got to see the lovely Head Chef Fred do a demonstration, making a Lemon & Chestnut dessert which was delicious. I loved the set up too – like a mini winter wonderland. I also got to have a go on their swing!IMG_4502

Can you believe these baubles are made out of purely chocolate? Every single detail of it! There were a few things around the room just like it, all so impressive.IMG_4494

I was asked to help ‘assist’ in piping the first layer for this dessert, which was a little embarrassing, but no-one else was volunteering to go up so I thought, why not!IMG_4504

Andina was the last restaurant I ended up going to. I wanted to try their Peruvian Pumpkin doughnuts, served with purple maize honey. Pumpkin seemed to be the running theme, and actually I was pleasantly surprised by the lightness of the doughnuts. Although, the honey sauce may have been a bit too heavily spiced for my liking. After that I could not eat another bite!DSC_0935


Asda Extra Special had a lovely warm and cosy demonstration area set up too, which had a lot of pretty food on display.IMG_4501I kind of have a weakness for palmiers, and when they’re shaped as Christmas trees, how can you resist?

DSC_0903It was really nice to discover the B-fresh  cold pressed juice stand. These types of events are great places to sample food from all sorts of producers and it’s where I like to give new brands and businesses a try. I sampled the orange and carrot juice and fell in love with it’s sharpness.


Loved their variety of flavours as well. I’ve started making my own smoothies at home but I’m not brave enough to do full-on healthy green smoothies just yet, I really don’t know how people do it.IMG_4497

The Meringue Girls had a stand there of course, bright and full of creative displays. I always end up being drawn to them!

In summary, it was a very different experience from the summer Taste of London and definitely had a different vibe. This is great for people who like to drink – there was alcohol everywhere! In fact, that was the only thing I was slightly disappointed about, just because I found it very hard to find anyone selling non-alcoholic drinks (other than that one juice stand & a few coffee stands).

I liked how all the stalls had standard food allergy and ingredient signage, which I’m sure was very helpful for those with special dietary requirements.

The new top-up card system certainly sped up the ordering process, but the downside to this was when it came to sharing dishes with friends. It was harder to split the cost, especially if you don’t want to have a ‘joint account’. My friend and I made it work because we pretty much shared everything.

Overall, I preferred the summer event, but still had a lovely evening, which is nicely summed up by these photos :)



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