Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Monday, 22 December 2008
I often worry about attempting to eat out during a lunch break as the clock is ticking so bad service is especially frustrating. This didn't seem to be a problem when we visited. We entered at about 12:45, paid for our meals on entry and were then seated within minutes. The venue itself is vast and has a slightly glamorous feel to it if you like simple industrial; dark wood and soft lighting. They have kept things simple too with no extravagant place settings or table clothes which keeps the place looking slick and, of course, keeps turn around quick between customers. Now, the food. For £6.50 (12-3pm lunchtime deal), you have a whole selection of prepared foods to try and come back as many times as you like. There are several fresh food serveries, including a sushi bar (which wasn't open for lunchtime) and a Teppanyaki bar (which was). All of the food seemed fresh, of a fair quality and replenished regularly. Drinks cost extra on top of your meal price and can be ordered from your table. There seemed to be a large team of serving staff who were diligent and very helpful. Although drinks weren't overly expensive, we asked for tap water which was provided without a quibble. For pudding, there is a separate bar. It was a little disappointing in selection and quality but seemed fresh.
Cosmo have branches all over the South of England. All in all, you get what you pay for. The food is plentiful and of fair quality overall. The service is great and we were in and out within the hour.
Saturday, 20 December 2008
Easy Cheesy Pinwheels
Puff Pastry (from frozen, fresh or handmade)
Plain flour for dusting
Grilled Smoked Bacon (finely chopped)
Olives (finely chopped)
...or whatever goodies you fancy/have!
- Preheat oven to 220C
- Roll out pastry. It doesn't matter how much you have so long as it is about 5mm thick when you've finished
- Sprinkle half of the pastry with cheddar cheese and spread the other half with a thin but even covering of soft cheese
- Spread out the bacon across the cheddar cheese and the olives across the soft cheese. You should aim to have an even covering so you will get a little of the filling in each pinwheel but not so much that the cheese is completely covered otherwise they might not stick together.
- Fold the opposite outer edges into the middle of the pastry (across the two fillings). This can be tricky if you have a large area of pastry. Get some help from someone useful or use a spatula.
- Fold the outer edges (of the folded sides) into the middle again. This sounds like a complicated process and is a bit difficult to explain but is actually really easy when you're doing it.
- Cut 5mm slices across the folds to form each pinwheel and lay on a greesed tray or onto a tray lined with reuseable baking paper.
- Bake for ten to fifteen minutes until golden.
Use whatever you have - different cheese work well. Indeed, you could simply do a "Four Cheese" version with cheddar, parmesan, stilton and mozzarella. We found that the pinwheels with soft cheese baked differently and didn't rise like the cheddar ones which was strange but they were just as tasty. Other ideas are:
>Goats cheese with pinenuts and pesto
>Mozzarella with sun-dried tomatoes
>Cheddar cheese and anchovy
Oh and we also made some Tiny Cheese, Onion and Olive Scones served warm, filled with blue or soft cheese. I'll leave Delia to tell you how it's done!
Thursday, 11 December 2008
This is not the case at Gourmet Burger Kitchen or GBK as it's affectionately known. After an evening of giggling and falling our way around an ice rink in Oxford, we were in need of some sustenance. According to their website, GBK don't take bookings (though in truth, I've only ever visited on the spur of the moment anyway) and although it wasn't quiet, there was a free table for my party of three. You can choose a burger from the vast and great-tasting menu. I'm a fan of their bacon and avocado burgers but just go along and choose; don't be shy! Their fries are amazing but with the huge burgers, should be rationed one between two even if you're hungry (you can always order more!). Highly recommended are their milkshakes. Yum! They also have a great selection of beers, which makes it popular with my male friends.
The price is pretty good - a burger, chips and a beer will set you back about £15 depending on which burger you choose. They have branches all over the country having started out in London. A great venue for a meal with friends.
Saturday, 29 November 2008
The Cheesecake Shop can be found at 33 Devonshire Square, Town Centre, Loughborough, LE11 3DW.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
In the company of my dear mother, we ventured to the bank of the Avon to a creative haven called Spike Island. Housed in a converted tea packing factory, it provides 80'000 square foot of exhibition and studio space. We wanted to take in the latest Richard Long and Simon Starling exhibition (incidentally, it was a little weird but very interesting with ideas about site and reflecting on journeys) and worked up quite an appetite.
Spike Island have their own Canteen/Bar which seems to have artistic souls floating about, sketching and drinking coffee. It's a light and airy space with great homemade food and friendly staff. We indulged in thai green vegetable curry all round, which was very tasty and not too harsh on an artist's pocket.
Monday, 3 November 2008
For any other first time quail-cookers, they don't take long to cook at all due to their size but they have very little fat on them so they need to be basted often. Another option is to put a few rashers of bacon on each quail to roast, which will add more fat and moisture to the meat. The bacon can then either be left on the quail when served or peeled off, chopped and added to the gravy but remember to lay off the salt if this is the case! You can also use the metalic wrapper from a block of butter gently wrapped around the meat while it roasts to infuse it with butteryness. They generally only need twenty to twenty-five minutes in a hot oven (220C/Gas Mark 7).
Saturday, 1 November 2008
The market runs on a Saturday (and a Thursday if the websites are to be believed) from early until about 4pm. There are lots of stalls and it was pretty busy so I'd recommend keeping your wits about you. Stalls provide plastic bags but it's always a good idea to bring your own - I find fabric ones are kinder to your hands if you have a bit of a walk. Selection is good and the prices are competitive, differing on the stall so check about before buying. We bought:
- Some pork and tomato sausages and bacon
- Aubergines (three for £1)
- A bunch of fresh beetroot (£1)
- Carrots and parsnips
- Purple sprouting brocolli (£1.79 for 1lb)
- A dozen freerange XL eggs (£1.90)
Friday, 31 October 2008
Saturday, 25 October 2008
Roasted Onion Squash Pasta
(Not the most appetitising of photo's, sorry!)
One onion squash or half a large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
Two deseeded red peppers, chopped
One (red) onion, finely chopped
Garlic, to taste
Smoked Bacon, cubed
- Roast squash and peppers in an oiled tray, preheated oven (190C) for about twenty minutes or until softened and golden. Set aside.
- Put pasta on to boil in lightly salted water
- Heat a medium sized pan with a little oil then gently fry onion and garlic.
- Add bacon and brown all over.
- Add the roasted vegetables and fry enough to warm through
- Drain pasta. Stir about a tablespoon of creme fraiche into mixture to coat everything but not so everything is swimming in liquid. Add more if required.
- Add drained pasta, stir well and serve.
Friday, 24 October 2008
Friday, 19 September 2008
- fresh sausage baguettes in good company
- a plant which I thought grew peppers but turned out to be chilli's...
- a beautiful colourful flourist
- a truly fantastic greengrocer selling three avocadoes for £1
Having spent a month in and around SE1, Borough Market has become something of a bolt-hole. I walk past it day-to-day and pop into it's warm, shadowy depths to browse, buy or just become inspired.
I wonder if people today think that markets are reserved for highly strung chefs and pretentious foodies? Or maybe that they are intimidated by the range of products and services available? Or maybe supermarkets have spoilt the public, making shopping a sterile, pre-packed, plastic fest. Either way, I would encourage anyone to pay their nearest market a visit from time-to-time. The people are friendly, the produce is often very good and the whole experience has so much more character than a stress-filled sprint through Tesco. Jump in!
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Their website seems quite good and they provide a full .pdf of their retail list online into the bargain. They have five outlets in London.
Monday, 15 September 2008
Having raved previously about my love of coffee, it must be said that I'm an equal fan of tea. I usually have the obligatory cup of Breakfast tea with milk (appropriately) at breakfast time often followed by a cup of Earl Grey with friends later in the day. I originially happened across a lovely contemporary café called Teapod when I was on work experience near London Bridge when I was fifteen. It's a fresh and friendly place, only a stones throw from Tower Bridge. You can choose from more than twenty different kinds of loose tea which they serve to you in a small, Japanese teapot. I've only really tried their Earl Grey as from the first cup, I was addicted, but I hear their selection is very good quality. Their food is also quite good (their soup particularly) and isn't too bad price-wise for the London area.
Saturday, 13 September 2008
Friday, 12 September 2008
Thursday, 11 September 2008
I discovered the Monmouth Coffee Company while perusing Borough Market. It has an honest aesthetic - various coffee beans in tantalising heaps awaiting customers to make their choice and take them home in paper bags for their own private delectation and a large scrubbed wooden dining table to sit around. In the mornings, a breakfast of bread and jam (£2.50 per person) is laid out with a variety of jams (and marmite -yuck- if you're that way inclined). A little pricey for a meer student like myself but their coffee is good and you'll often hear murmurs of appreciation about a particular jam or another around the table so maybe one day I'll have to bite the bullet, open my wallet and give it a try. (All in the name of research, of course...)
*Maybe they're just pretending to like it because grown ups can, I reasoned with myself, like they do with wine, football and kissing.
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
Tuesday, 9 September 2008
I have been prompted, however, to pause in some places and take in the sites, sounds and smells. Borough Market in SE1 is one of those places. A vibrant, bustling energy fills it up to the rafters from Thursday to Saturday each week while some traders hold permenant positions among the fray during the week too. It's only a two minute walk from our studios so it's perfect for a break. I'll keep you posted during my journey of discovery and, in the meantime, why not do some exploring yourselves?
Monday, 14 July 2008
In short, Fishworks is a great choice if you enjoy seafood. There are a few things to keep in mind though: Don't book for Monday if you want their full selection (it was a bit of a case of "Okay, so can you tell us what we can have, please?") and it's a little pricey.