15 July 2014

in absentia

I have been so wrapped up in the bliss of a deadline free and social summer that I have gone completely awol and my blog has been left without any attention or loving. My stomach, you will be pleased to hear, has not.

In absence of a new recipe to whet your appetite and tickle your taste buds, here are some pictures of the food I have been merrily scoffing. I would not go the lengths of calling this foodporn as for it to qualify as foodporn, the photos have to be attractive. Unfortunately, being highly impatient when it comes to food, I do not ever exercise the self-restraint required to get a great shot. Instead, please trust my judgement that all this food was exceptionally tasty and you ought to wish you had been there.

Here is a picture of my birthday cake made at the Shoreditch House which happens to be from a year and a half ago. But hey! When a girl gets a cake as pretty as this, you gotta share it with the world.

I'd say these are some of the ideal components of a perfect picnic... salad leaves, carrot batons, salami, boursin, pâté forestier, nachos and guacamole with a side of the Hunger Games.

This is a bed of rocket, topped with couscous, tomatoes, tzatziki and lemon-roasted salmon.

Sorry for the terrible picture of my mum's roast chicken dinner but just look at that glorious blue cheese and pancetta salad.

This is a spicy salad of hot smoked salmon, avocado, spring onions, chilli flakes and a drizzling of balsamic.

Don't you wish your girlfriend baked like me. Just kidding. Kind of. Luckily for my boyfriend, these are the double chocolate sprinkle cupcakes I baked for his birthday.

This picture makes me tear up. It's a delicious, spicy Shrimp Tom Yum soup with a side of California rolls from no place other than the gone but never forgotten, delightful and delicious Nahm Jim, may you rest in peace.

This is a big bowl of happy. For those of you that have never experienced said happiness, it is Häagen-Dazs' Strawberry Cheesecake ice-cream, topped with fresh British strawberries and sprinkles for good measure.

This was originally made for the blog but I overcooked the bloody poached eggs and was too ashamed to share it with you. Yet here I am, showing that despite popular belief, I am not actually perfect. This would-have-been-should-have-been glorious brunch dish is a slice of toasted organic bread with generous spoonfuls of creamy garlicy mushrooms and a poached bloody stupid egg.

This is the Eggs Benedict at Urban Angel Café in Edinburgh. A cute little place, with a great brunch menu and fantastic fresh orange juice.

This is a nutricious and carb-low breakkie I made for myself of avocado, poached egg, smoked salmon, spinach-stuffed oven-roasted mushrooms and some roasted tomatoes.

I lovvvvve Greek night at my house... these are spicy lamb koftas with tabbouleh, feta salad, baba ghanoush and taramasalata (do not pull a face at this last addition all you haters).

This is probably the most disgusting photo of food I have ever had the misfortune of taking but OH ME OH MY IT WAS DIVINE. If you haven't, get yourself down to MEATliquor to sample some great food in a restaurant whose motto is my favourite thing since Diet Coke, 'come hungry, leave drunk' and where your table has all the necessary condiments accompanied by an enormous and entirely necessary kitchen roll. Need I say more people... need I say more?!

You are seeing cheesy fries, fried pickles, a cheeseburger and the exquisite Dirty Chicken Burger...

This is an Asian meal bought from the Asian supermarket on Caledonian Road. Shopping in there is really quite the adventure... nothing is in English and noone speaks English either. Just frozen dim sum galore. Deeeelicious and addictive.

This was a great meal with great friends in the garden of the Drapers Arms. My absolute favourite garden pub in Islington is the Albion, but book cause it gets real busy!

This monkfish was doused in a rich garlicy-butter and served with a bucket-load of chips at Swansea's La Braseria aka my grandparents' home away from home.

Patisserie Valerie knows how to treat a traveller. A chocolate croissant accompanied by a diet coke to start off the long schlep up to Scotland.

This was great. Really, really, really seriously great. Seafood platter at the Rocketeer for two for just £26.95 - don't mind if I do. You go North Berwick, you go.

I mean it doesn't really get better than runny poached eggs and avocado does it. Unless you accompany it with a thirst-quenching carrot, apple and ginger juice. Caravan is a trendy restaurant in the newly done up and very pretty Granary Square. Definitely one to visit on a sunny day!

I've just been to Juan les Pins where the beaches are beautiful and the restaurants are extortionately expensive. If you're on a budget like me, you just cross the road and the prices are immediately halved! This was a crispy friture de la mer of whitebait, squid and prawns with a side of garlic mayonnaise.

And from the same restraurant, a terrine de foie gras de canard, the cheaper, quacking and just as delicious version of the traditional and revered foie gras.

One night we crossed over to the beach and I opted for the Moules Marinières, an absolute favourite. It's mussels in a creamy garlicy shalloty winey delicious sauce accompanied by a crisp glass of Provençal Rosé. Heaven in a pot.

And more friure de la mer...

This is one of the laziest salads I've ever cobbled together and really is so glutonous that it ought'nt be considered a salad. It's more a serving of blue cheese and avocado with a side of salad and a generous drizzling of balsamic glaze...

Now this was fun. Pop along to Magnum x Selfridges and make your own masterpiece for only £4.50... Behold a vanilla ice cream, coated in milk chocolate with a sprinkling of honeycomb, popping candy and mint piece and a drizzle of molten white chocolate. Perfect for those sweltering summer days.. that is, until you get out onto the crammed and bustling hell that is known as Oxford Street.

Here is another lazily thrown together salad of rocket, tomatoes, beetroot, mozzarella, pesto and pancetta all drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette

The next bunch of photos are from a really fun day out at the Real Food Market on the south bank. I had the most delicious chicken sausage from these dons at Label Anglais, and just gawked generally at the rest of the food. It runs every weekend from Friday-Sunday and is worth a little jaunt.

(do not buy this ^^^ it was not as exciting as it looked)

Next isn't so much meals but just two photos of heaven on earth aka Borough Market. I love Borough Market with a passion, although my mum says it's tourist central and that there is a new, more hip one nearby which I don't actually know the name of and can't find it out cause she's in Oklahoma but I shall let you all know. You should probably know, because my mum is in the know.

These are two exceptional dishes from Wahaca... the Ceviche taco is refreshing and tangy and the Pork Pibil is spicy and juicy. They are both divine.

I'm actually going to blog about this little picture but haven't gotten gotten up the nerve quite yet as it really just does not look that appetising. The Cod Cheeks on Braised Lentils with Salsa Verde are from the beautiful cookbook of the restaurant Polpo, as well as the calamari and deep fried queen olives filled with anchovies and parmesan. The griddled courgette salad is an invention of my own and we bought some not so nice Aranchini from Waitrose - but more about this later...

Oh my goodness I am besotted with Lebanese food. I went to Le Comptoir Libanais in South Kensington following my outing to see the live butterflies at the National History Museum and was blown away by the delicious food and the generous portions! To start, a Toufaha - apple, mint and ginger lemonade... moreish. And then a mezze platter to share. He had the Fattet Lamb Kibbeh (waaay too much yogurt) and I had the Chicken Kofta Wrap (perfection in flatbread).

As well as the South of France, I have been lucky enough to visit Turkey this summer. The restaurant food where we were staying was definitely geared more towards a tourists tastes than traditional cuisine but we squeezed out as much authenticity as we could and boy was it fab! Below is a mixture, with: calamari, all sorts a dips (tomato salsa, baba ghanoush, yogurty things, humus...), chicken fajitas, lamb koftas, lamb chops, halloumi salad with a pomegranate molasses dressing, more lamb kebabs, a hefty green salad, tomatoes, roasted aubergines with tomato and olives, and a very, very, very authentic turkish kebab selection.........

Authentic and healthy Mediterranean food at its finest wouldn't you say?!

Yesterday was probably the best meal I have had in ages and of course, is the second worst photo I have managed to ever take. My sister just graduated and in celebration we hit up the Wolseley for a fancy-pants dinner. Of course my sister just opted for the closest thing to fish fingers (Lemon Sole Saint-Germain) and my father to nuggets (Wiener Schnitzel), but I went for the seared ducks livers on wilted spinach and a pretty special potato rosti, completely drowned in a creamy marsala, shallot sauce. DIVINE. And, of course, accompanied by a glass of the delightfully dry and light Rosé de Triennes

However, despite all these glorious meals, this is all I really desire in life.

And here is a picture of my sister graduating yesterday. Although I didn't eat her, I want to gobble her all up she is so clever and wonderful. I'm a very proud big sister. WOO GO SOPH!

Once again I apologise for the horrendous photography, and if you have made it down this far, I salute you.

And you wonder why I'm eternally penniless and chubby...

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