Tag Archives: london

Preparing for the festive season? Here some ideas…

I went to Borough Market last Friday morning, looking for some early Xmas spirit and I found: a bowlful of meaty Cep mushrooms, my 3-bird Christmas roast to order and some juicy medjool dates to stuff with marzipan, amongst other delights…

Where to get your Christmas shopping

Here is where to get your Christmas shopping…

My Christmas lunch menu is taking shape and the 3-bird roast from Borough Market will be its central piece. I wanted a traditional 3-bird roast but as there are only 5 of us and the goose version serves at least 8, I have settled for a more modest  version: So it is turkey breast and sausage meat with cranberries, inside a pheasant, inside a duck! The classic 3-bird roast is a pheasant inside a duck inside a goose, all boned and stuffed…

For starters, we will have a celery and stilton soup, then the roast with duck fat roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes, followed by a lemon posset with shortbread and a little of the traditional Christmas pudding – my husband insists! May be a glass of Port with it, although the pudding will be flambéd in rum.

I love using Christmas markets to furnish my table at this time of year and we plan to visit Winchester lovely English Christmas market and maybe even go for  a day to Birmingham German inspired market, one of the biggest in Europe.

In London, there are plenty to choose from and one of my favourites is already up in front of the Tate Modern and along South Bank. Visit at dusk for a really atmospheric experience.

Borough Market

Borough Market

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The countdown to Christmas starts on Monday the 1st with a suitable Advent calendar and then from the 4th, the decorations can go up. I will start with a Christmas wreath on the door and this time I will delay buying my Christmas tree until mid December, having learnt my lesson last year: I chose a majestic Nordman Fir tree but having bought it far too early, it was dry as fire wood by Christmas night…

Choose a beautiful wreath to hang on your door on the 1st!

Choose a beautiful wreath to hang on your door on the 1st!

London French TV clip, a few addresses and “Bienvenue à Londres” to all!

The line up at the Institut Français- south Ken

The line up at the Institut Français- south Kensington

The conference Bienvenue à Londres last Friday gathered 6 speakers in the Salon of the French Institute with the sole objective to introduce our favourite city to new comers. We talked false friends, language tricks, cultural differences, culinary treasures and local secrets! All credit to the organisers, the room was packed.

Check out the clip done by Cedric from London French TV.

My task was to present British Gastronomy, a tall order in 15 minutes but obviously my number one subject, as you know from this blog! You cannot read my posts and not be convinced that London is the best place to be for food and drink! Especially right now and here is why:

In October, with the London Restaurant Festival in full swing, this town goes crazy about food – something very un-English some would say…  But crazy it goes indeed and there are some wonderful discounts around for the discerning palate. So here is a post about eating out rather than eating in!

WE just sampled the most wonderful food from l’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Covent Garden and were looked after by the most charming staff, from sommelier to doorman. The food was creative and beautiful and I loved the lush green plant wall, the exotic wood counter and the eccentric wall covering made of spices behind glass panels. I just regretted not being able to climb to the bar-terrace for a post dinner cocktail but weather not permitting at all.

Spice wall at Joel Robuchon

Spice wall at Joel Robuchon

SO before the end of the month, I urge you to go and try out the LRF offers and support the thriving restaurant scene out there. October is decidedly the best month to eat out, take my word for it – I have been out constantly!

Tchin!

Tchin!

 

 

Healthy eating – the imperative read on the matter!

Whether you are training for the London Marathon, putting an end to Dec/Jan excesses or just keen to stay in shape, Healthy Eating is for you!

Here I have compiled a list of the important tips and food lists to keep in mind and of the sort of meals you should be eating to feel great throughout winter and look even better when summer arrives! I get quite evangelical about all this, as my long suffering kids and husband know only too well…

The best place to start is with the Harvard Healthy eating plate:

The Harvard eating plate

The Harvard eating plate

Basically, half of your plate should be covered in vegetable, fruit and plant -based food and the other half divided between whole grains (carbs, cereals, wholewheat flours) and lean, healthy protein – some of which can again come from plant, and some from animal sources. If you stick to these ratios, you can pretty much add anything to your plate and eat a variety of food – so long as you respect the general ratios on this mock plate you will be fine!

Food is generally what makes us ill as research shows all cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and even most cancers have their roots in unbalanced eating habits; so by the same token, food can become our medicine and should be treated as such.

Make sure you eat plenty of raw and cooked vegetable and that your intake of fibre is at least 15 to 30g per day: This means eating two slices of wholegrain bread, a helping of cooked sweet potato and a handful of nuts every day as a minimum.

Smoothies are great for vitamins but juicing and blending breaks up the fibre so it is important to have enough of the whole plant as well as the juice! Meat and animal based food contain no fibre so make sure you eat fibre with it in order to help digestion and to clean the fat deposits off.

Protein should come in the shape of fish and especially fatty fish because you need the good omegas and the real thing is always better absorbed than the supplement. Try sardines, salmon, haddock and more. You can also find essential oils in nuts  and olive oil. Lean protein include tofu, chicken, fish, eggs. Liver is a good source of amino acids and some important vitamins and minerals.

Avoid white flour and white bread for the “fibre” reason again: wholegrain and brown grains contain more! So use brown rice, bulgur, oats, brown couscous.

Choose fibrous vegetable such as kale, chard, cabbage, parsnip, celery, sweet potato, spinach and green beans. There are plenty of recipes on this blog!

Try to avoid eating animal protein and carbohydrates at the same meal and rather combine veg with meat or carbs with veg. It is also one way to make sure you will be eating enough plant based food at every meal. There is only so much greens you can add to a plate full of steak and fries!

Try and limit cheese and dairy, reserve red meat to special occasions, limit alcohol and sugar.

To give you plenty of energy, make your own healthy flapjacks and nut balls, bake cakes rather than buy them, try using honey or agave in yogurt or no sugar at all and drink pure and filtered water. Swap black tea for green or white and use herbal tea in the evening. I love an infusion of rosemary or lavender…

The advice seems to be that unless you are exercising a lot, 6 glasses of water is enough – beyond that you might just use it for water retention!

Embrace good fats such as olive oil, ghee, goose fat, rapeseed oil, linseed and avoid low-fat products which tend to be full of sugar and/or preservatives and seem to encourage an enlarged waistline, according to some recent studies.

If you exercise, drink as soon as you are thirsty, eat bananas to recover and make sure you eat enough carbs (in the form of pasta, rice, quinoa etc…) on the days that you train. Remember also that the rest days are as important for your overall fitness as the exercise days and do not overdo it,  that is the best way to avoid injury.

Also, give your pancreas a proper eight to nine hours rest by eating early in the evening and nothing until the morning. Something I am definitely working on…

At the moment I am gearing up for a big personal challenge and training for the London Marathon so as I learn more I might be able to let this new found wisdom trickle into this blog! I will keep you up to speed with what I will be gleaning on this journey: I still have 10 weeks before the big day…

So that my efforts might benefit a good cause, I am raising funds to fight abuse and child cruelty so if you want to help, please donate on this page to the NSPCC or click the link below. Anything you can give will go towards helping a vulnerable child and there is no better cause, I think. Thanks for visiting.

I hope you enjoyed this post. And if you have, please sponsor me!

 

By the serpentine, at the week end - love this bird!

By the serpentine, at the week end – love this bird!

 

October is a month for…

October is a month for :
… ringing up friends for dates in fun cocktail bars in Fitzrovia or Shoreditch,

… visiting the London Book Review bookstore and its cake shop in Bloomsbury,

… making the most of seasonal squashes and root vegetables everywhere,

… visiting IncrEdible Edibles on show at Kew Gardens !
Find the Kew app on your smart phone now to plan your visit.
I loved the humongous magic mushrooms sculpture display, enjoyed the vanilla orchid flavoured ice cream, marvelled at the sight of the dozen of chillies varieties in the lily pads house, browsed rows over rows of gorgeous marrow flowers, bright beet root and elegant kale leaves… Why have flower displays when you can have vegetable ones?! It’s all edible and wonderful at Kew until the end of the month.

Who wants roses when you can have veggies?!

Who wants roses when you can have veggies?!

And, last but not least: …celebrating all libras’ birthdays by booking into london restaurant festival! You have a choice of dates and themes ranging from the Shard Gourmet Odyssee, tapas tour, Japanese journey or Cicchetti trail. Lots of top restaurants in London are also offering special menus at fantastic prices. I am real lucky it’s my birthday month… I think I ll go Japanese this time. Sayonara!

Matcha latte- A drink made in Chelsea

This is the sort of posh drink you would imagine the cast of “Made in Chelsea” sipping for their breakfast, still wrapped in a White Company fluffy toweling robe and all the while discussing the latest antics of so and so on their crystal studded Blackberry…

It is also delicious and healthy and packs a good punch against free radicals so your skin will remain radiant and smooth – and Botox-free!

A communal garden off Sloane street

Ingredients list for two glasses:

  • Matcha latte powder 1 tsp
  • Soya milk 250 ml
  • Agave or brown rice syrup 2 Tbsp

Dissolve the green Matcha tea into a little bit of cold milk, then add the rest of the milk into a pan, add the sweetener and warm this over gentle heat.

Just before boiling point, switch off and beat the liquid with a whisk to make it frothy.

Serve into two tall glasses. It should be very warm but not boiling.

You can add some more frothy milk on top like a cappuccino and decorate with a pinch of Matcha.

This is a particularly warming, lean but nourishing drink. I find it is a wacky alternative to coffee and it gives you the zing you require to go bouncing into the afternoon!

You can customise and add more or less sugar according to your taste and mood.

Tombo in Thurloe place (South Kensington) makes a very sweet and indulgent version – and I find myself regularly coming back for more… They also sell divine Mochi sweets to nibble on with your latte. I could give you the exact address but then I’d have to kill you afterwards…