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Chasing Pineapples

an English girl tasting her way around the world

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Uyen Luu: The best Vietnamese supper club in London

Delicious fusion food and fascinating acquaintances made at Uyen Luu’s Vietnamese supper club in central London.

Supper clubs are the best way to taste what Londoners are cooking, whether they’re British, European or from further afield.  This communal dining experience is usually reserved for East Londoners, but we were delighted when Uyen Luu, author of The Vietnamese Kitchen, decided to host her Vietnamese supper club at Carousel in Marylebone in Central London. Continue reading “Uyen Luu: The best Vietnamese supper club in London”

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Street Feast London Street Food: How many pop ups does it take to fill a bun…?

Last night I visited the weekend Street Food festival that calls itself Street Feast and calls home Dalston Yard. I love street food and it was fascinating to see the display of different cuisines being carefully stuffed into buns… pulled pork, duck, Indian food, even lobster. Continue reading “Street Feast London Street Food: How many pop ups does it take to fill a bun…?”

The best naan bread in London

It’s always nice to get something extra with your food, especially when it involves meeting characters who share insight into their culture. I recently discovered the best naan bread in London when I was least expecting to do so… Continue reading “The best naan bread in London”

Hello Spring Supper Club to Celebrate the New Season

Those daffodils peaking up through the ground are a metaphor for the promise of spring and longer sunny days ahead. I celebrated the coming of Spring by attending Hello Spring Supper Club… Continue reading “Hello Spring Supper Club to Celebrate the New Season”

Highlights of 2013 Gastronomic Wanderings!

2013 was a great year for my appetite for new tastes and adventure, along with landing a job in the food industry! Here are some of the highlights… Continue reading “Highlights of 2013 Gastronomic Wanderings!”

The best places to eat and drink in Bethnal Green

We’ve been walking from Bethnal Green tube station for fifteen minutes, past some of London’s best pie and mash shops and cocktail bars. I drag a little group off the main road, along a deserted side street lined with warehouses, through an unmarked door and up some back stairs, to a back alley sweat shop…

Keep your hat on, what was once a clothing sweat shop has now been transformed into the stylish Bistrotheque. The rails of clothes and factory lines of workers have made way for elegant waiters and delicious brunch classics accompanied by jazz renditions of favourites fluttering out of the baby grand in the corner. The factory windows and interiors still remain to create a breezy loft ambiance that perfectly compliments the stylish but casual clientele. We order chorizo with buttery fried potatoes, fluffy pancakes with creme fraîche and a tart sweet blueberry compote, and avocado on toast with fiery Sriracha.

Bistrotheque Bethnal Green

On our trip back we spot a sign luring us in with the promise of Italian produce through an inconspicuous door. We find an art gallery with a centre piece displaying olive oils, huge blocks of parmesan, bottles of prosecco and various cured meats. We are lucky enough to catch the Italian procurer of 4 Cose, Andrea Sassi, who brings the produce over from his hometown of Reggio nell’Emilia and sells impeccable quality of authentic Italian products at prices that are far from extortionate.

Last weekend I finally got to revisit an instant favourite business that I had the pleasure of coming across at Street Feast a few months back. Their fun and friendly attitude coupled with the simple, no frills Taiwanese food offering make BAO (translated as BUN) a sure winner. Little pillowy pockets of steamed milk bun filled with sweet, slow-cooked pork and topped with peanut shavings; buttermilk fried popcorn chicken in paper bags; and a colourful veggie slaw.

Bao Taiwanese Pork Buns

The home to this little shack is a school playground which transforms weekly into the lively Netil Market. Vintage clothing, record and book stalls sit alongside thriving food businesses that surround a small area of wooden benches where purchases can be enjoyed and new acquaintances met. Charlie and I enjoyed our little buns on a bench in the sunshine surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the stalls and food lovers. A couple sat near to us observed our appreciation and we got chatting to the self-confessed burger addict. Having tried pretty much every burger in town, she said that Lucky Chip behind us in the market is the best. We couldn’t quite hack the 40 minute queue, but we’ll take her word for it and make a bee-line on the next visit! Thank you La Fromagerie lady 🙂

Netil Market, Hackney

 

Well worth a visit for all of the above reasons and also to the monthly late night art gallery openings on Vyner Street, Bethnal Green is a thriving place full of interesting folk and independent businesses. We’ll be back!

Pull Up A Spoon.. Delicious Desserts!

At the London Coffee Festival a month or so ago a delightful girl bounded over asking if I would like to try their latest product offerings. Not one to turn down the chance to taste something new I followed her to the stand of The Collective Dairy. I was offered a sample of their most popular passion fruit yoghurt. I am not a huge fan of yoghurt in general, but passion fruit is one of my ultimate favourite flavours, so I grabbed a spoon. The little pot was full of the most dreamy creamy sweet yoghurt I have yet come across, with the passion fruit pips cutting through the thickness with their slight tang and crunch. The consistency was divine- thick and smooth, reminiscent of one of my favourite textures found in clotted cream! The fun, tongue in cheek company sparked off in New Zealand with the passion to provide the world with ‘the greatest dairy imaginable.. no bull!” And it has made it’s way all the way across the world, so they must be doing something right!

Passion Fruit Yoghurt... Pull up a Spoon!
Passion Fruit Yoghurt… Pull up a Spoon!

I somehow temporarily forgot about this delicious find that I had vowed to buy the day following my first taste. This made the delight in discovering it again in Waitrose last week all the better. £2.39 buys you a sizeable pot from which a spoonful has been forced in front of the faces of many housemates and friends with the standard phrase “try this, it’s the best thing ever!” (this action is a regular occurrence, other desserts of note that have been subject to this are the much loved Speculoos spread and M&S Salted Caramel Billionaire Shortbread). All agreed that my enthusiasm had good grounding (with all three products actually!) and I guess this short post is a more accessible way of spreading the deliciousness, I wish I could treat you all to a spoon!

Someone offering you a spoonful of something delicious and new is never going to go down badly, so I encourage you all to spread the joy and, well, pull up a spoon!

Other desserts that are perfect for spooning:
tiramisu: or four… https://comomanger.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/four-spoons-please/
M&S Billionaire shortbread pots, so delicious!
clotted cream: …on its own… Is that bad?!
– this Russian Fudge variety of the Dairy Collective Yoghurt looks extremely tempting too http://www.thecollectivedairy.com/uk/index.php?link=products&cat=yoghurt500g&product=russian-fudge

 

Make Today Delicious

Before leaving work today an article about M&S’ new Summer Food caught my eye. This post is not in fact a disguised plug for my employer, however a short summary of how this recently launched campaign completely fits with how I feel about food. The phrase I have chosen from the article is that “Great food can transform the mundane into something special.” Here is why I agree whole heartedly with this statement..

Over the past few months I have loved getting into the swing of two completely new aspects of my life… living in chaotic London and fully entering the working world! Both are fast-paced, roller-coaster experiences that are at the same time thrilling yet with a danger of becoming mundane and repetitive. Whilst searching for a stable place to live I had temporary accommodation here and there, living with people who I did not know or who had very different timetables to me. Therefore I would often find myself coming home from work with a whole empty evening ahead of me. Rather than falling into the trap of a daily routine (don’t worry, I am not going to tumble into a rant about loneliness, I have plenty of lovely people surrounding me), I choose to rustle up a plan of some sort.

I have always followed the philosophy that you should make every day count, therefore I do not allow myself to shut my eyes before I have done something that made that particular day special in some way. This sounds exhausting but it really doesn’t need to be. Yes, my friends and I are gradually discovering and ticking off restaurants and bars on our hit lists and having a jolly good time of it, but doing this every night would be both extremely expensive and exhausting. All you need to have is one little experience that makes the everyday a little different.

I have had many a moment since my arrival in London that makes the everyday delicious; whether it be popping into La Fromagerie‘s Cheese Room to select some creamy treats with the knowledgeable affineurs to eat later that evening, or chatting to the vendors on my Thursday lunchtime trips to the pop-up street food market next to work, or visiting Clifton Greens grocer to find a beautiful and delicious baby aubergine to accompany my dinner. The list goes on and on because, at the end of the day, that is really what my blog is about; the little moments and the passionate people that surround food and make every day delicious and exciting!

Therefore I personally don’t believe that there is any excuse for people to be down in the dumps because they are bored with working life as there is an abundance of opportunity out there to add a dash of excitement. (Plus great food doesn’t have to be expensive, but that’s for another post..!)

So onwards I shall travel, tasting my way around wherever I may be, on the pursuit of foodie happiness and to make today delicious!

Here is the advert, illustrating that we don’t have to wait until the weekend to treat ourselves to something special…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GP0SErWR36o&feature=youtube_gdata_player

And the article that inspired this one: http://corporate.marksandspencer.com/media/press_releases/make_today_delicious

Unravelling the Food Industry, One Character at a Time!

As may be evident due to my lack of posts over the last few weeks, I have recently been a little lacking in inspiration. This does not by any means suggest that I have not eaten some incredible things in fantastic places. The main reason I started writing was to document my adventures on our Food and Wine Tour around France and Spain and give myself that extra push to go and find out more about this product or that farmer, this restaurant or that chef, this little shop or that entrepreneur. With no immediate project to explore another land other than embarking on my career in the Food Retail Industry (quite a large project in itself!), I am no longer scooting across foreign cities and fields meeting local producers who can tell me of their own adventures in the world of food.

Hearing the stories of all of these fascinating people on my European travels was so inspiring that my long term career ambition has recently evolved. This idea is still young, however it does involve working with personalities of all sorts in the Food Industry. Upon my wanderings of London’s streets, markets and food festivals; I have met an enormous wealth of personalities with individual tales to tell and who are passionate about their foodie products. I have therefore decide to explore this treasure trove of market hideouts, back street cafés and bustling specialist shops to take my posts in a new direction, centred around the people at the heart of the food I eat and what has lead them down these paths. In this way I hope that I will be able to demonstrate the beauty of the diversity of the people behind our food in the city of London, the UK and beyond..

Always Inquisitive Ready to Discover a New Story
Always Inquisitive Ready to Discover a New Story

If you know anyone with a foodie story to tell (or have one of your own!) I’d love to get in touch and discover some interesting products and ventures!

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