said chocolate

31 July 2014

My sister tipped me off to this place, Said. Seemingly a kind of chocolate heaven, we headed there after our little jaunt in Carnaby Street for an indulgent dessert.

The shop/cafe itself is small, lined with delicious looking truffles and cakes and other things that make you dizzy with sugary desire.

I actually went there for a specific item - their salted caramel chocolate tart. Unfortunately, it wasn't available that day - a bit of a bummer, but having marched there with salted caramel chocolate-y goodness in mind, I couldn't leave empty handed.

So we decided to go for the decadent looking chocolate cake they had on display, and sat down to tackle it on one of their al fresco tables.

That cake was flippin' fantastic. Not too sweet (major pet peeve for me, when a cake just tastes like sugar), the icing light and mousse-y, incredibly chocolatey and just delightful.

I shall be back to take revenge on the absence of the caramel tart, but so far, so good.

summer idea 03 :: affogato

29 July 2014

As I said, these summer ideas are not, I repeat not, recipes. E's youngest nephew could probably make this. But it's something that you may not know of, or not thought of for a while, so why not plant the seed?

Affogato is an Italian drink/dessert that involves vanilla ice cream and espresso. Already sounds good, right?

I just love this. 3 steps:

1) Brew a nice espresso.
2) Scoop some vanilla ice cream into a glass or bowl.
3) Pour espresso over ice cream.

Eat straight away - the ice cream will immediately start melting, but in a really, really good way. Trust me on this.

If you're feeling indulgent (me, always), crumble a chocolate cookie on top. We got given some quadruple chocolate cookies recently and they took over my life for a while.

As has this.

street eat @ carnaby street

27 July 2014

If you know me even a little bit by now through WTW, you'll know I have a weakness for street food fests. There's so many popping up all over London these days that it's hard to keep track, but one held in Carnaby Street is hard to miss.

There were stalls from various restaurants and cafes in the Carnaby Street/Kingly Court area, which meant one thing to me: make a beeline for those pillowy, pork belly-filled Hirata buns from Shoryu. The rest could wait.

E grabbed a spicy pork belly burger from the Korean street food stand Busan BBQ which was pretty delicious. We also tried to queue for some wings from Randy's Wing Bar, but the queueing was all over the place so we gave up and headed elsewhere for a little dessert.

It was buzzing with people, almost a little too much in such a narrow area - but there were amazing smells coming from all directions and if we had had a little more patience, we may have done a little more queueing. We had a nice little afternoon nonetheless and I like the idea a lot - I know I didn't exactly venture out and try a stall from a restaurant I hadn't been to before, but it was nice to see what was on offer and I put a couple of places on my to-go list as a result.

Just wait 'til you see what we had for dessert that day though....

summer idea 02 :: pork lettuce wraps

25 July 2014

There have been quite a lot of hot, sticky days in London lately, and as much as I love the beautiful weather, this kind of heat without air conditioner is not easy. It generally means sitting outside in the shade is the coolest place with a bit of breeze, and whipping up quick and simple eats and drinks are essential!

Hence the little series of "Summer Ideas" that I'll be posting on the blog. Not exactly recipes, as they are all so straight forward and simply just ideas, as the name suggests. The gazpacho was the first one - and today's is nearly as easy, inspired by the lovely Michelle and her recipe for pork lettuce wraps.

These are healthy, flavourful and very filling - and as all the most convenient recipes are, you can customise it however you like.

Followed by ripe, donut peaches for dessert (the best peaches in my opinion), it was a great no-fuss dinner - just what we needed.

200g-250g minced pork
half a large aubergine, finely diced
a couple large stalks of celery, finely diced
a bunch of spring onion, finely diced
a small chunk of fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
la yu (chilli sesame oil), optional
one iceberg lettuce head (or gem lettuce, for more delicate looking wraps like Michelle's)

To make:
1) Cook the garlic, ginger and spring onion in sesame (or other) oil on a hot pan until fragrant.
2) Add all the vegetables, cook for a couple of minutes, add the meat and sauces.
3) To serve, fill the lettuce leaves with the meat mixture. Add la yu if desired.

e cooks: gamberetti e zucchini tagliatelle & tarte tatin

23 July 2014

When my sister was here, she took over my camera for one evening and snapped photos for the blog of E cooking dinner. I'm fairly picky about the photos I post on the blog (I'm a total amateur with the camera at best, but even I have to have standards), but I knew I could trust her completely to take some great pictures - she's naturally very talented and very used to taking photos of food, obviously.

So all credit goes to her for these shots! And the credit for the food goes to E. What credit do I get? Spreading the love by sharing these photos, and eating. Eating a lot.

Just a few simple steps for this pasta:
1) Either pan-fry raw king prawns, or buy them cooked.
2) Grate courgettes/zucchinis. Pan-fry with olive oil.
3) Marinate prawns and courgettes in plenty of extra virgin olive oil, raw crushed garlic and chilli.
4) Once the pasta (fresh or dried) is cooked and drained very al dente, mix with the sauce in a frying pan until well mixed.

Fresh pasta is very rich, but really makes a difference with simple sauces like these. Easy for me to say as I'm not the one doing the hard work, but E is evidently happy enough to put in the extra effort! (Not as happy to listen to me complain about the floury mess.)

Hope you enjoyed my sister's photography skills - more of which you can enjoy here!