October 29, 2014

 

Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to the premier of Annabel's 'A String of Naked Lightbulbs'. 

Annabel's is a private member's club in the heart of Mayfair.

Ridley Scott Associates approached the club to create a documentary covering its history, in celebration of it's 50th Birthday

The film, includes interviews with a handful of its most exclusive frequenters.  

The premier was held at the Curzon, Mayfair. A cinema that is renowned for screenings that appeal to  those with a real passion for film. 

We arrived on the purple carpet at 6:30 for popcorn and champagne before the screening at 7. 



After a couple of glasses of champagne, whilst everyone chatted and sipped elegantly on the bubbles, we were called into the palatial Screen 1 where the showing was about to commence. 

Plied with copious amounts of ice cream and popcorn we were then ready to take our seats and get an exclusive look into this renowned and elusive London basement.  


With contributors including Anna Wintour, Kate Moss and Goldie Hawn the docu-film takes you into the life and soul of Annabel's, a place where the rich, elite and famous could feel safe and dance the night away far from the prying eyes of journalists or paparazzi. 

The film shows the walls covered in art that founder Mark Birley collected throughout his lifetime, along with vaults lit up with strings upon strings of naked light bulbs. 

Alongside the decadently covered walls you can get a glimpse of the dance floor and a snapshot of Annabel's throughout its life. With clippings of royalty and the elite pasted onto worn pages of a diary, these shots moulded around the interviews really gave the audience a fascinating insight into the club. 


A really fantastic show allowing you to step through the doors of Annabel's, leaving you wanting to let your hair down in London's most famous basement.

A little slice of Annabel's in its hey day.

 Take a look at the trailer...




October 23, 2014



French toast, or Pain Perdu as the French themselves like to call it, is a treat like no other. Pain Perdu's literal translation is 'lost bread' the idea that one would be using lost (or stale) bread. 



A pretty ingenious way to use up the weeks leftovers!

A similar concept to that of fondue, (again leftovers) except this sugar hit of a dish requires an extreme sweet tooth!

A delicious crispy yet gooey, sweet and sticky combination of fluffy brioche, soaked in a sweet vanilla egg mixture and then fried. 

Brioche goes against the 'lost bread' tradition but gives this dish a real luxurious edge. 

Not the healthiest of treats but a classic and one of the tastiest around.  

For four generous helpings of Pain Perdu you will need...

 a loaf of brioche (fresh or a couple of days older if you fancy being traditional!)
3 large eggs 
a tsp vanilla paste
2/3 cup milk. 
a dipping bowl
icing sugar and syrup to serve. 

Slice up the brioche thickly...



Crack your eggs into a bowl with the milk and vanilla paste and mix together.

Begin soaking your brioche.


Coat each side until heavy with the egg mixture.


Pile onto a plate ready for frying.


Cook for a few minutes on either side until golden...

Pile high, dust with icing sugar and if you are feeling especially indulgent...


Drizzle with maple syrup too. Of course add as much fruit or extras as you wish.

 Sometimes though it is perfect served just as it is. 


October 16, 2014


Last Saturday, as the rain poured, the sun refused to shine and the realisation that the sun had truly disappeared into its autumn hibernation, dashing any hope of a long stroll in Kew Gardens with a picnic, we decided to head over to Clapham to check out The Dairy. 

This bar and bistro has been on my radar for a while, not only are the reviews great but my cousin is great friends with the head chef so I was over due a visit. 

Nestled back on the pavement on Clapham Common this little place is pretty unassuming from the outside but once you step through the door you feel like you are entering the dinning room of a great friend or relative. 

All the tables are laid with pretty plates and odds and ends of cutlery, no fork or knife matches but it adds to the perfect uniqueness of the atmosphere The Dairy has. 

You are greeted as though you are long lost friends and given the menu. 


Divided into categories, Land, Sea and Cheese you are presented with a selection of tempting dishes. Most of the veg, alongside the honey come from the rooftop garden and bee hives on the roof - pretty impressive!

We decided to go for the Tasting Menu. You don't have to opt in for this but I would highly recommend it. 

For £45 per head you get a really feel for all the dishes and flavor that the head chef is trying out at the moment and don't have to fumble around trying to pick the best combination of dishes on your own. 

(photos are now a little grainy, my phone was all I had!)


We oooed over the menu with a couple of the house cocktails, I went for a Dill Gin & Tonic, he went for an apple concoction. Both were delicious and decidedly quirky. 


First up were deep fried anchovies with Lemon gel. A little morsel of crunchy deliciousness 


Next up was, Cheltenham Beetroot, Hemp Seeds and Kalamata Olives...


Then Hay smoked curd with Jerusalem artichoke and Chanterelles..


The bread course followed. This was an excellent part of the meal. Each table gets a little loaf of sourdough, that you tear and share and spread with the marrow butter, chicken liver mousse and salumi.



Crispy chicken, celler kimchi and burnt kale...wonderfully crispy and tangy too.


West coast turbot, scorched plumbs (these were delicious) salsify, cavolo nero and cobnuts.


Next up was smoked cod, charred leeks and sorrel.




The meat course next...The photo for this was really just too grainy so my description will have to suffice. Presented on a warm marble plate we had tender venison with game sausage and melt in the mouth celeriac.

 Really delicious and just the perfect amount. Leaning back and rubbing filling bellies had begun but we still had a few courses to go...

Of course we opted in for the cheese course (always room for this).

Brie smothered over walnut bread with lashings of truffle on top.
A real must for the tasting menu, nicely separating the savory from the sweet courses up next.



Just look at those lashings of truffle, and gooey brie... ^ 

The first sweet on the menu, Russet apple sorbet, chia seeds and sorrel ice. 


Last up, a fantastic final dish... Salted caramel, drizzled over cacao and chocolate crumb.



This place is really a fantastic lunch time treat. You will have a feast of flavors and certainly not be disappointed. Book tables here... 

October 12, 2014

These cookies are said to be the best in the world.


They are the creation of the Momofuku Milk Bar's Christina Tosi.

These gooey cookies have grown over the years to have several names, 'Kitchen Sink Cookies', 'Spring Clean Cookies', or just simply 'the leftovers'. 

The idea that you can throw a mixture of goodies into this mix and they will turn out as simply the best cookies you have ever tasted, not only that but you have managed to clear out a few odds and ends from your over flowing cupboards too. 

I decided to start with the traditional ingredients list. Seeing as they are filled with american goodies this took a bit of work and research to find the list in the UK. 

In the end Partridges in on the Kings Road happened to have all of the extra American add-ins that you can't find so easily in English supermarkets. 

To make 10-12 large gooey cookies, the Momofuku way you will need...

225g Butter, softened
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar 
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
225g Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda 
1 tsp Salt 
3/4 Cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Butterscotch Chips
1.2 Cup Graham Cracker Dust (Momofuku actually make a crust mix, the recipe can be found here....)
1/3 Cup Rolled Oats 
2 tsp Ground Coffee
2 cups Kettle Chips (these are good as they are thickly cut so keep their shape once in the cookie)
1 cup Mini (salted) Pretzels

First Mix all the butter and sugar in a bowl or mixer until well combined together. 

Nest add in the egg and the vanilla extract. 

Once mixed in add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until all of these ingredients are combined (but be careful not to over mix) 

Now add all your goodies, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, oats, kettle chips, graham dust. mix of this together before adding the pretzels. mix these in with care, your aim to have an unbroken pretzel on the top of a cookie!

Place the mixture in large dollops on a baking tray, with lots of space in between each dollop as these cookies really spread. I put four on each baking sheet. 

Bake at 180C for 18 minutes. you want the edges to be golden brown, but the centre to still be pale. 

leave to cool on the baking sheet as they will need to set. 




Pile high on a plate and enjoy!



These will keep for about 5 days in an air tight tin.


October 06, 2014



Veuve Clicquot have launched an amazing opportunity for all designers out there...

For their next limited edition you can have the chance to design the next Veuve Mailbox, the prize is  extremely exciting too, a profile in Wallpaper magazine with the winning design revealed at Milan Design week by you.  (A pretty good cash prize too!). 

The top 20 finalists will be lucky enough to spend a weekend in Veuve Clicquot's hotel in France. 

A fantastic weekend of luxury awaits! 

The lucky final few finalists will be judged by an internationally renowned panel, including Tom Dixon OBE.

Submit your designs here... you have until the 15th November to get your designs in.


I couldn't help bringing a  bit of foodie inspiration to this post with some melted chocolate. 

I had some fun with the whisk and chocolate...inspired by the video!


The strawberries got a chance to shine too deliciously coated in my favourite chocolate...





So get designing... and maybe melt some chocolate too...

Last friday a fog hung lazily over London in the early hours.

 Mum had come up for a meeting at Kew Gardens and having woken up feeling as though autumn had arrived over night, we set off praying for the fog to lift in time to enjoy Kew, on what felt like the first day of autumn.

As we wandered from the tube up to the gates the sun poked its head through the clouds and bathed Kew in beautiful morning light.

We set off first to the Glass House dedicated to the Princess of Wales, this is a little gem, one that on a previous visit to Kew I had totally passed by.

A glass house dedicated to distant landscapes.









By the time we had ventured out of the temperate glasshouse the sun was well and truly up. 


The water-lilly house was another discovery on this trip. A very humid, mysterious space dedicated to passion flowers and water-lillies,again a must when you go to Kew.




Mum had a meeting over at the Shirley Sherwood Galley of Botanical Art. This is a modern glass building set off to one side of the park. 

A great collection and gallery space in London dedicated to Botanical Art, they have different themed exhibitions through out the year. 

Tastefully designed and right next to the Marianne North gallery. 





I left Mum to get on with her meeting while I went on into the other gallery. I had never heard of  Marianne North before, but her gallery was such a surprise. 

When I was little I used to spend my Sundays watching every type and style of nature program there was. I wanted to travel the world finding new species. And saw myself as the new David Attenborough!

I would venture in from the garden with a new pet, normally a small bug of some kind - who would be subjected to the next few hours in a Pringle pot, fulfilling my longing for discovery and adventure.

Marianne North was a true explorer. She ventured around the world during the mid 18th Century painting every view and fascinating plant, bird or mammal she stumbled across. 

The collection of her work is vast and inspiring. A must see next time you venture to Kew Gardens.



After a couple of hours, tummies began to rumble. We decided to try out The Tap on the Line.

 A pretty little restaurant, brilliantly situated on the platform of Kew Gardens station. 






Big glass windows open up onto the platform.

You can settle down into the comfiest chairs and people watch in peace and quiet.




We settled on lime and sodas and a baked camembert with soft sourdough and a delicious chutney to share.

(I tried this out with a richer cheese earlier this year) It was the perfect amount to fill the hunger gap before an afternoon of window shopping...



You can find opening times and ticket prices for Kew here...

Depending on where you live, if you are a Londoner and long for open spaces and peace and quiet at the weekend I would really recommend becoming a friend.

It costs £72 but you get your entry for that day off and a further £10 if you opt for direct debit (you can easily cancel this after a year) so it really is worth it if you crave a monthly or weekly escape to an open, quiet space you will quickly make up the cost of your membership.

The next few weeks are going to be beautiful as the trees start to turn so hurry!

 
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