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Foodie sights of Notting Hill Carnival 2012

2012 August 27

After only attending the Notting Hill Carnival once in my life around 5 years ago, I was convinced by a friend to attend once again by the promise of the jerk chicken and other Carribean-inspired foods.

I was so overwhelmed by its size and just how busy it was last time, that the food side of things went over my head. This time around, it was to be a central focus of our day.

What we discovered was quite a lot of jerk chicken.

jerk chicken cooking

cooking jerk chicken

You couldn’t turn a corner without a food seller turning chicken in a barrel half or BBQ.

chicken on a bbq

Jerk chicken is native to Jamaica, prepared by dry-rubbing the chicken with a spice mixture called ‘Jamaican Jerk Spice’. Many different recipes are available on the web. All as authentic as the last.

Thai food sellers

Thai food sellers

Other foods were available, as pointed out by these restaurateurs from the local Thai place.

cold beer

Cold beer and drinks for sale

There were pop-ups in many doorways for cold beer and drinks at unreasonable prices.

master butchers

master butchers

Even the local butchers got into the act of offering their finest produce cooked on the premises.

stall people

Stall people

A typical food stall offered a wide variety of Caribbean foods.


Food haulage

Pictured here is a selection of our haulage from the food stalls. Top left was an interesting dish that involved plantin. The jerk chicken appears at the top right, and my favourite of the day a ‘curry goat’ appears down the bottom.

man with feathers

Carnival Costume

But what Carnival is all about at the end of the day is feathers.


Annies in Barnes

2012 July 1
by ruduss
Annies Barnes

  Annie’s in Barnes

Annies in Barnes can be found just around the corner from a lovely part of the Thames, and not far from Barnes Bridge overground station.

The restaurant has a homely, calm feel to it, and the staff make you feel relaxed and comfortable and are attentive to your requests.

When I visited on a fine Wednesday evening, all areas of the restaurant were being enjoyed by a varied mix of people.
Twenty-somethings were enjoying a cheeky bottle of wine on one of the outside tables, with two older women talking over salads sitting next to them. A few tables were obviously on date number 1 or 2.


blush royale cocktail

I started the night with their Signature Blush Royale cocktail. This is champagne with a dash of rose syrup and sprinkling of crystallised rose petals.

The food itself is generous in proportion size, and the menu reflects the homely atmosphere.

spicy squid

spicy squid with wasabi mayonnaise

My starter was lightly-battered squid spiced with chopped chilies, and a wasabi mayonnaise adding an extra element of bite to it.


char grilled lamb gigot

The char grilled lamb gigot for mains was generous in size, with the the lemon aioli adding a freshness to the meat. Broad beans and minted peas that the lamb was served with were a fitting addition to the meal.

creme brulee

pasion fruit crème brûlée

The passion fruit crème brûlée was perfectly prepared. The caramel top was hard and crunchy, and the custard was perfectly formed. It had a deep vanilla taste, with the passion fruit only lightly applied, therefore giving it a hint of the fruit, rather than a full on punch.

I was invited along by Annie’s to sample their menu

Annies Barnes can be found at:
36-38 White Hart Lane, London. SW13 0PZ
T: 020 8878 2020

Eat Scandi Brunch

2012 May 8
by ruduss

The brunching table

The smell of cinnamon rolls greeted us as well as the most perfectly spiced bloody mary when we arrived at the Eat Scandi Brunch.

Run by the fabulous Signe Johanson, with the help Hannaah, we were there to enjoy delightful dishes from Signe’s book Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking.

Homemade Yoghurt

Sweet n’ Crispy Rye Granola, Homemade Yoghurt

There was a smorgasbord of food on offer at this event, so I made sure I bought my empty stomach.

Baked delights of jarlsberg and fennel muffins were available for us to snack on with delicious home made yoghurt, that was so light and fresh with the raspberry compote.

Gravdalax and crisp bread

Gravadlax with Peter’s Yard Sourdough Crispbread

The home cured gravdlax was so beautiful with the three beetroot salad. This food combination is just perfect.

Waffles went down a treat with rhubarb.

Norwegian Vanilla & Sour Cream Waffles

Norwegian Vanilla & Sour Cream Waffles

Cinnamon buns, which I had been smelling since I walked into the door were as good as their smell.

Cinnamon Bun

Cinnamon Bun

Cardamom Doughnut

Cardamom Doughnut

The fresh cardomon doughnuts was something I could not stop just at having the one. They were so light and delicious whilst warm that I had three and didn’t regret it.

Thanks to the marvellous efforts of Signe, Hannah and all others who helped out in the kitchen.

If you want to keep up with Signe’s other brunch dates, her blog is here

The pub ‘lock in’ at the old Devonshire Arms

2012 April 29
Magnus Wood

The host himself - Magnus Wood

  As the Devonshire Arms in Chiswick was becoming my regular pop in pub, all of a sudden it closes down. I was of course devastated at this, having just discovered how nice it was to sit by the fire, eating their prizewinning scotch egg, and drinking a lovely glass of Cotes du Rhone.

  So I was excited a few months later to get the opportunity to go back there once more, albeit just for the one night. The occasion was the delightfully named ‘lock-in’ pop up supperclub, hosted by Magnus Wood.

  He was given the keys just for this one occasion, and was helped in the kitchen with the expert services of Wesley Smalley from the marvellous Charlotte’s Bistro, and Isabel being great in the front of house.



Participants of the lock-in

  The menu was seasonal, with the theme being the ‘arrival of spring’. Starting off with a classic touch of bight-sized trio of vol-au-vents – curried chicken, smoked horseradish mackerel and the a tomato surprise.

Clams and cockles and winkles

Clams, cockles, winkles with pancetta and wild garlic

  The freshest tasting cornish crab I’ve had in a long time came next, served with asparagus and watercress with a grapefruit dressing.

  Probably the most entertaining course to both watch and eat was the clams, cockles and winkles with pancetta and wild garlic. There’s a fine art in digging into the snails with a tooth pick, and pulling out the contents whole.
  You get a great feeling of satisfaction when you get out the snail contents successfully, and do not spear out bits and pieces.

  This dish had the most fabulous broth to go with it. Made up simply of white wine, butter and wild garlic.


Braised feather blade of beef

Braised feather blade of beef

  For the mains, the braised feather blade of beef with roasted beetroot, Chantenay carrots, caraway spring greens and mash was a crowd pleaser. Reminders of Devonshire meals past came flooding back.

  The last course, the pudding, was a tribute to the location we were in. Just exactly what a Devonshire pudding was, we couldn’t quite work out as there seemed to be no images we could find on the internet. This turned out to be like a cross between an apple flamousse and a bread and butter pudding.


The Devonshire pudding

The Devonshire pudding

  Thanks once again to Magnus, Wesley and Isabel for giving us such a fabulous night and I can’t wait for following instalments.

Chicken Liver and Vegetable Layered Terrine

2012 April 11
by ruduss

terrine sliceWell, it’s not the prettiest of dishes, but is certainly quite tasty when you dig into it. This recipe is a different take on the typical chicken liver pate. The layering of this terrine has great complimenting textures with the chicken and vegetables.

This recipe makes quite a decent sized terrine. It can comfortably fill a 28cm Le Creuset terrine pot, so halve the recipe if you feel the need.

For the vegetable purée layer you’ll need:
2 red onions
2 cloves garlic
50g butter
2 bushes of purple sprouting broccoli

For the chicken liver pate layer:
400g chicken livers
80g butter
2 tbsp cognac
fresh thyme

To cook the vegetable layer, add 50g of butter to a heated pot, then the chopped onions and garlic. Cook until softened, then add the chopped broccoli and mushrooms. Cook until tender, and blend to a paste.

For the chicken liver pate, melt the butter in a separate pan, and add the chicken livers, thyme and cognac. Cook until brown, and blend to a paste.

Line a terrine dish with cling film. Start with the liver pate, add an even layer of the liver pate, then the vegetable paste. Stop until either there’s no more room in the terrine dish, or you’ve run out of ingredients.

Cover, and put in the fridge to cool and set overnight.

Take the terrine dish out of the oven, and turn upside down to remove the set terrine from the dish.

This is s best served the next day, or even the day after at just below room temperature with good quality sourdough bread.

Pork chops with cider and apple

2012 April 10
tags: , ,
by ruduss

pork chopsHow could you go wrong with the combination of pork, apple and more apple (cider).

what you’ll need
2 pork chops (1 per person)
4 shallots
4 cloves garlic
2 cups sparkling cider
2 field mushrooms
2 bunches kale
2 apples


How to do it
Chop the shallots, apples, mushrooms and garlic. Add to an oiled, heated pan and simmer for around 5 minutes.

Add the pork chops to the pan. Brown them each side, and add the cider. Simmer for another 20 minutes, occasionally turning the chops.

When the pork chops are just about cooked, add the kale for the last few minutes and mix through the apples and vegetables.

Serve with a glass of the leftover cider (if you haven’t served yourself already).

Foodie April Fools

2012 April 1

I’ve always enjoyed April Fools, especially when quite a lot of thought and effort has gone into a joke. There seem to be quite a few gems this year.

Here is a list of the foodie April Fools jokes I have come across so far. Apologies to those whom I’ve misinterpreted as being a fool!

The Ship

The Ship Pic: The Ship

The Ship in Wandsworth, renowned for its scotch egg, burger, and meat based dishesis reporting that the whole of April is going to be a vegetarian only menu.Replacing their signature dishes would be things such as Chickpea and Lentil Scotch Egg, Foraged Forage and Borage, Tofu and Bean Burger, Roast Pepper, Chilli and Sweet Potato Risotto, and more risottos.
Read on for their full menu (yum!?!)….

Marmite Mango

Marmite Mango. (pic: Innocent)

Innocent drinks have reported a new flavour to their product range. The Marmite mango smoothly is one you either love or hate.
Read more…

Look mum

Look Mum No Hands website

Look mum no hands coffee shop is becoming London’s first Nespresso-only independent cafe. Oh the humanity!
Read on….

DIY Crisps

DIY Crisps (pic: walkers)

Walkers are doing a DIY crisp. Who knew how easy this could be!?!
Read on…

Non-slip bananas

Non-slip bananas (pic: Sainsbury's)

The world’s first non-slip banana is being reported by Sainsbury’s. Supermarket humour?
Read on…

Vegetable lamb

Vegaetable lamb (pic: wikipedia)

I think my favourite has to be from wikipedia. They have an interesting article on the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary. It is a legendary zoophyte (an animal that visually resembles a plant) of Central Asia beleived to grow sheep as a fruit.

The sheep is connected to the plant via the umbilical chord, and it grazes around the plant. When all the grazing is done, both the sheep and plant die.
Read on….

Ocado Livestock-Shop

Ocado Livestock-Shop (pic: Ocado)

Online supermarket Ocado says it has opened the UK’s first web ‘Livestock-Shop’. As the press release says: “Proving that fresh really is best, the new delivery service, in partnership with Daylesford organic farm, will provide customers with a number of live farm animals to produce their own milk and eggs. All available to order from Sunday, 1st April.”.
Read the release here…

Cooking with Guinea Fowl

2012 March 21
by ruduss

the bird in question

Whenever I cook with guinea fowl, I usually just treat it like I do a chicken and place it whole in the oven for the desired time. So it was nice to be shown a few alternatives by the chef and proprietor of Hallidays Restaurant in West Sussex, Andy Stephenson.

For those unfamiliar with guinea fowl, it’s best described as tasting and looking like a gamey chicken. The meat is quite dark on the bird, and lightens up when cooked.

The best birds come from France, where they’re raised free-range on a diet of corn until 20 weeks. So it was with a French bird that we were shown how to cook the bird to go with another French dish – a Normande salad.

Ingredients for the Normande salad

Ingredients for the Normande salad

Another ingredient that’s featured in a Normandie salad is a boudin noir. This is a French black pudding that differs from other black puddings because it uses onion instead of rice for one of its fillings.


For this salad, the ingredients required are:

a breast of hot smoked guinea fowl
2 large handfuls of continental lettuce leaves
as many croutons as you desire (I prefer many)
4 slices of boudin noir
1 peeled apple, cut into slices
50g toasted and chopped hazlenuts
Olive oil
fresh thyme

Chef Andy Stephenson

Chef Andy Stephenson

For the dressing:

4 tbsp hazelnut oil
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon honey
a bunch of thyme leaves

To prepare:
The dressing can be prepared by putting all the ingredients together and whisking.

The salad is almost the same. Start by washing the lettuce leaves, and setting them aside in a bowl.

The boudin noir needs frying in olive oil until slightly crisp.

The apple can either be added in with the boudin noir, or could be fried in a pan with thyme and butter until tender.

Bake the croutons on an oiled tray until they’re crisp and golden.

Slice the guinea fowl into thin strips, and place on the salad with the cooked and chopped boudin noir and apple.

Drizzle on the dressing, and top with crushed hazelnuts and the croutons and serve.

The finished salad

The finished salad

Meatballs in a red wine and tomato sauce

2012 March 8
by ruduss

meatballs in a red wine and tomato sauce

meat balls in a red wine and tomato sauce

Served with the pasta of your choice, a side of vegetables, or simply on its own. These meatballs are a quick and tasty meal to satisfy the hungriest of cravings.

This recipe makes around 10 meat balls, enough for 1-2 people.

What you’ll need:
250g lean beef mince
1 glass of red wine
a bunch of fresh parsley
1/2-1 onion
4 tomatoes
1 egg

Combine the beef mince, finely diced onion, egg and chopped parsley. Season with the salt and pepper.

Heat a pan with oil.

Roll the mince into balls, and place as many as will fit into the pan.

Cook on a medium heat for around 5 minutes and turn.

Pour in the red wine. Cook all sides of the meatballs for around 5-10 minutes more until cooked all the way through.

Remove the meatballs from the pan.

Add the chopped tomatoes, and cook for around 5 minutes on medium heat until the tomatoes are reduced and sauce thickens.

Re-add the meatballs, and stir around until they are covered in the sauce.


Osso bucco à la milanaise

2012 March 4
by ruduss

ossso bucco

osso bucco a la milanaise

Originating from Milan meaning ‘bone with a hole’, osso bucco consists of veal shins braised with vegetables and tomato. Usually served with risotto, I’ve found this recipe in particular filling enough on its own.

What you’ll need:
4 osso bucco (or 1 per person)
250ml vegetable stock
200ml white wine (or red if preferred)
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 celery stick
1 tin tomatoes
4 tomatoes
5 mushrooms
bouquet garni

Pre-heat the oven to 200c.

Season the osso bucco and cover with flour.

Heat the oil in a casserole dish, and add the osso bucco.

Cook until brown on all sides, and remove from the pan.

Add more oil if needed to the pan, and brown the finely sliced onion, celery, and garlic.

Chop the tomatoes and mushrooms and add to the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes, then add the tinned tomatoes.

Re-add the osso bucco, then add the wine and stock. Add the bouquet garni, and cook until simmering.

Cover and put it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Serve with risotto if desired.