First stop, and I think it was my favourite foodie stop. Duck and Waffle Bishopsgate. It's in the Heron tower and on the 40th floor, I've been here before but was over for work and on my own so it was way more special this time for our birthdays. I got the Elvis and I'm not joking you the flavours were incredible. I was never hugely gone on rhubarb but this was just YUM! It was the 'spring fever elvis' and if it's ever on the menu, get it! Picutre..buttermilk waffle, rhubarb, blood orange& lemon tea jam, almond butter, mascarpone chantilly! Heaven on a plate, oh and freshly squeezed orange juice.
A trip to London wouldn't be complete without a trip to a market, or two and I manage to tick one off my list on the first day, we hopped straight off the plane, filled our bellies in duck and waffle and since Broadway was only 15minutes away in a taxi it would have been rude not to go!
Violet bakery was of course a must, those mini cupcakes were gone in one bite but that one bite was enough, pure heaven. I got the salted caramel but I could have chosen so many things, the cinnamon buns were calling my name but I had crosstown on my radar aswell so I had to restrain myself...a little anyway.
The Crosstown doghnut I went for was a seasonal one, blood orange and it was so good, the doghnut was soft and just a nice amount of icing. They make everything from scratch and by hand so it's a great producer. I was going to say little but they're growing by the minute with new stores popping up and venturing to other markets across London. They have a vegan store that was opening when we were there but I didn't manage to get there, I think I would have pushed a certain someone over the edge if I had of dragged him to one more foodie spot!
Those duck fat fries below...to die for! I'm surprised I even managed to get a snap before he had them all eaten, as you can seen I almost missed the boat!
Dominique ansel was high up on my places to go list, and I'd been eyeing up their cronuts for a while but nothing could have prepared me for how insanely good it was, I guess we were lucky though too, they change their cronut flavour monthly and when we were there it was a passionfruit one, it doesn't get much better than that! I must warn you though I did go the first day and they were sold out. you can however place an order for collection the next day, but how lucky was I that our hotel wasn't even five minutes walk from there! I may have even went twice!
Lets talk hot chocolate, so there's hot chocolate and there's the dominique ansel hot chocolate, otherwise known as a blossoming hot chocolate, they brought it to your table and dropped the marshmallow in and as it melted it turned into a flower, (and the softest marshmallow may I add).
After getting the hot chocolate we went to see the changing of the guards which is well worth seeing, if nothing else just to see the vast amount of people who go to watch it, it's incredible. We were well warmed up for standing in the cold. We normally have any excuse for a hot chocolate but didn't need one with all the snow in London that weekend!
I'm not exaggerating when I say this is the best pizza I've ever had, we were going to see the Lion King (which was phenomenal), but wanted a little nibble beforehand and I had scouted this place out online, they queues were too big to wait for a table so we ended up getting a slice to go, it was snowing so it was actually pretty special eating pizza in the snow in the little square (Neal's yard) beside the restaurant. So this place is Homeslice Neals yard and the pizza above was nothing short of amazing, ricotta, mushroom, pumpkin seed and chilli, the flavours were out of this world.
The chin chin ice cream however was a little of a disappointment. I though it was going to be this delicious creamy hot chocolate but it was a bitter, and I love dark chocolate but wasn't so keen on this, I LOVE marshmallow and usually am the one going for extra to top up my hot chocolate but there was almost too much of it on top of this, it was so hard to get through the marshmallow to the hot chocolate, despite the fact the marshmallow was really delicious!
Next stop. China town! The last time we were in London we went here, to Bejiing dumpling, actually this was my third time as the first time I was brought here was with Donal & Sofie Skehan when we did a china town food crawl. I'm the worst person (or maybe the best depends what you like) to go to a restaurant with because I want to get a little of everything! I always order too much and then can't eat it all, at least I've got to try lots right!! The firecracker chicken I've got here everytime because it's that good and of course you've gotta get dumplings!
Unfortunately I'll have to leave out where we went for breakfast on my birthday morning it was super disappointing as I was really excited to go there, it was just down from our hotel and both the staff and food were a let down, but this place definitely made up for it, I know I know another Duck & Waffle but seriously they're that good.
We went to Duck and Waffle local and their brunch menu was brilliant, from sweet waffles to savory sensations, and a sensation it was. I had my eyes, and stomach, on the duck beni, yes you've read that right, slow cooked shredded duck topped with poached egg, lashings of hollandaise and crispy duck skin, oh it was so good and the waffle it was soft and light. This dish was actually so light I could have eaten again after it. I had a watermelon iced tea to go with it, tasted a little sweet for my liking but it was still great.
Someone I know, LOVES eclairs so I had tried to find a really great eclair place but couldn't seem to find any, this place was all that kept coming up, Maitre de choux but I had no real desire to go here as he just loves a plain milk chocolate and cream eclair. One night when we were strolling around the streets though I spotted this and I'm so glad I did. I went for the praline on, oh baby it was so good, crispy creamy and oozing with flavour. If they weren't so expensive I would have gone back for two!
I love my brunch but I love a good dinner just as much, Sometimes you just need something full of flavour to hit the spot and Dishoom did just that. I have actually been following Eimear Varian-Barry for a while now and she raves about Dishoom and now I can see why! it's just bloody deadly. It was super special because we waited out in the snow for a table and drank chai.
I got the most amazing mocktail when we got in and went to the cocktail bar downstairs, It was botanical spiced one and I didn't know until I saw the guy making it but egg white is used to make it really frothy, but wow was it delicious, and I was skeptical after seeing the egg added.
We then got moved up to our table, and got a booth which was so snug and comfy and were right beside the kitchen so could see everything being made.
I went for the Murgh Malai it was a spicy chicken dish made using chicken thigh meat and we got chicken tikka too along with garlic naan, I could have eaten several helpings of it!
Market day, my favourite day! We didn't get any of the salami but how gorgeous does it look, this stand was incredible it was done using loads of old crates and suitcases, how could I not take a picture!
A trip to the borough market, and even London wouldn't be complete without a purchase, or two from the bread ahead bakery, we went on my Birthday and that doghnut was gone in two seconds flat, of course it was my favourite, praline!. I tried an amaretti too, mainly because they looked cute but I actually hadn't had one before! I now know what I was missing out on!
We had lunch in the market after visiting the sky garden, I had my eye on the scotch eggs since the last time I was there and it was only deadly! I got one of them and an onion baji, because well look at them,how good do they look! They scotch egg was so delicious and they used burford browns which are delicious, and look at that yolk!! The stuff photography and styling dreams are made of!
Our trip winded down with a sneaky pit stop in Blondies kitchen, I have to say the cookies I make at home are better but I am glad I tried them as in fairness they were pretty tasty! And then we went on to padella...oh there are no words, we got the best seat in the house, at the counter overlooking the kitchen. It was made my birthday. I got the crab dish after the chopped chicken liver to start, The chicken liver was so good I nearly got it again after my main. Almost drooling now thinking about it. Do you know what I just loved, the flavours just came to life in the dishes because they were so simple, fresh ingredients.
On the way back we managed to get a sneaky breakfast in, in Gatwick, of course we went to Jamie's diner.
We had already been to London so had done the usual spots but our real reason for going back was to see the Lion King and the star of the show, the Harry Potter Studios, I'm as gobsmacked now as I was then, it's incredible what people can do, with their minds, but also create with their hands, JK is a pure genius but it wouldn't be what it is without all the people that made it possible and the studios allows us mere mortals to see it all. It was snowing so much the day we went out and the parts that were outside were covered in snow and gorgeous. If you do plan on ever going though book well in advance so that it isn't booked up on you when you plan to go!
I absolutely loved our little trip to London, still can't believe we hit so many good spots! Let me know any places you love in London. There's lots still on my list but for now I'm so lucky to have been to so many already. Let me know your favourite spots and where you think I'd love.
What's better than smores? Blondie smores. I'm bringing you the ultimate combination of brownie and smore just in time for easter! Seriously great one if you've loads of chocolate lying around after the mayhem you can just chop it up and throw it into the blondie mix. The Mcvitites digestives I used here are their 'thins' but you can of course use regular digestives aswell. Either way it'll be delicious.
It's so important to work quickly with your marshmallow to get it in the tin and biscuit pieces in before it sets. the toching is the icing on the cake, it makes it seriously good
The trick to cutting up your smore slab is using a hot damp knife wiped dry, I get a big jug on the go with just boiled water and leave the knife sitting in it before I'm ready to go!
Grease and line a 20cm square baking tin with parchment.
Melt the butter and sugar together in a saucepan, set aside and leave to cool a little. Pour into a bowl and whisk until doubled in size and light and fluffy.
Fold through the flour, baking powder and chocolate. pour into the tin and place in a preheated oven to bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked but still slightly soft in the centre.
While this is baking make your marshmallow, place the sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, while this is boiling place the soaked gelatin in a small saucepan with 25ml water and stir until dissolved. once it has reached 121 celcius
Roughly break up the biscuits and stick into the marshmallow straight away, toast the marshmallow with a blow torch and cut into 16 squares using a hot knife, torch each side of the the squares, serve.
When I saw Dollop ghee I just had to try it, to have an Irish made Ghee is just brilliant and plus it tastes so much more delicious than using coconut oil or olive oil! So lets talk Ghee, not only is it made in Louth by the lovely Sophie but its bloody genius and delicious. We automatically think Indian cooking when it comes to Ghee but its so brilliant in so many dishes. Why is it so delicious? it's because during clarification the milk solids are toasted and this creates the most delicious nutty flavour. The smoke point of Ghee is 252 celcius compared to butter at 177, so ideal for cooking steaks, buttery flavour without being burnt, the dream! These Ghee is also made from 100% irish unsalted butter which is a win win for me anyway!
Good bread is a make or break to a seriously decent sambo. I just love sourdough, despite still not having got around to making it myself I really love the Pettits supervalu one in wexford, I used wholemeal for this recipe but the granary always wins my heart!
for the bechamel the addition of a little garlic gives it the most insane flavour, remember to season the sauce well, and the gruyere, wow it makes it so so creamy and delicious!
To me using good ham (even leftover from a baked ham would be amazing) then the addition of caramelised onions brings it to another level. The vinegar really helps to break down and soften the onions and the ghee gives it the most delicious buttery flavour without burning the onions. Don't be afraid if I don't like vinegar, it'll cook off during the onions cooking and you'll never even know it's been added!
It may seem tricky but this recipe is so simple to make, you could even double to sauce and have enough for another sambo later on! yes i constantly think of my belly!! To find out more about Sophie's Dollop Ghee head over to her website where you'll also find stockists aswell!
for the caramelised onions:
1 tbsp ghee
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
for the becahmel:
2 garlic cloves, crushed
25g plain flour
half tsp dijon mustard
25g gruyere, finely grated
4 slices sourdough
4 slices homecooked ham
25g gruyere, finely grated
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
In a small pan over a low heat add the ghee along with the onions, stir the onions through the ghee and allow to coat, then add the vinegar, cook for 20-25 minutes until softened.
in another pan add the ghee along with the garlic cloves, stir until aromatic and then add in the flour, using a whisk combine until a thick paste forms, add the dijon along with a little milk at a time until all the milk is used up and a thick smooth sauce has formed, season to taste and set aside.
Put the grill on a high heat and toast the sourdough on each side until lightly golden, divide the ham between two slices of bread, pour quarter of the sauce on each of these and then divide the caramelised onions between them aswell. Top with the other slice of toasted sourdough and then divide the remaining sauce on top of these, sprinkle with the remaining 25g gruyere and place under the grill until golden and bubbling.
You can't go wrong with 'nut' milk and cookies! Especially these coconut sugar cookies. I always am trying to come up with ways to make some of my favourite sweet treats a little healthier. When they're as easy to make as this recipe it's all the better!
If you haven't tasted Bean and Goose you haven't yet lived! Apart from the fact it's made in wexford it really is delicious. My favourite is the spiced hazelnut dark which is actually free from dairy so it's perfect for this recipe! Just look at all those lovely caramelised chunks of hazelnuts, oh momma!
I'm actually surprised I didn't devour this whole bar before it made it to the mix, it's usually what happens! So the mix should be thick and it'll make 10 cookies, trust me don't double the recipe you'll have them all eaten at once!
The coconut sugar gives these the best texture, crunch and chewy, YUM! Make sure that the coconut oil isn't rock hard when you're adding it to the mix or you'll be left with lumps, don't have it liquid either but just softened.