vienna :: pöschl schnitzels & city sights

30 November 2014

Looking at these photos now, I'm reminded yet again of how beautiful Vienna is - it really is one of Europe's best treasures. Walking around the centre of town, surrounded by stylish shops and incredible buildings, it's really something special. 

The Stephansdom is looking amazing after a long while of being completely covered in scaffolding, and it was luckily great weather on my last day. 

For dinner, we went to Gasthaus Pöschl, a place so old school they don't even have their own website! Known for their Schnitzels, an Austrian classic, it was an appropriate last meal of my short trip. The schnitzels were the best I'd ever had - not at all greasy, perfectly fried to this gorgeous golden colour and accompanied by a potato salad that was surprisingly refreshing. Is it a sign that I was eating too much when potato salads become refreshing? Don't answer that.

We had such a nice evening with my sister's close friends S and J, and ended the night with a brisk walk to the station as they chatted about the upcoming Christmas market season. Although I don't miss Salzburg, I do miss the Christmas markets - huddling around with mulled wines and fresh, hot food from the stalls, it was one of the best things about my time in Austria.

Isn't this lovely? It's displayed in the walkway towards the underground station, and reads "In love in Vienna today", with an ever-increasing number of people who, presumably, are in love in the city. 

Well, I'm in love with Vienna and I'm just lucky my sister is the perfect excuse to visit such a great place. But of course, quality sister time was the highlight of the trip!

healthy peanut butter & chocolate granola bars

28 November 2014

I've mentioned before that my favourite breakfast is avocado on toast. I'm mostly a savoury girl, although I do get the occasional granola craving, for which I make this maple & walnut one

But lately, avocados aren't tasting as good... obviously, as they are not exactly in season. So I was trying to think of another option that I would equally love, but this isn't easy for me (can you tell that I take breakfast very seriously?).

I have three pet peeves when it comes to breakfast: 1) it doesn't keep me full until lunchtime, 2) it's a hassle to make, and 3) it doesn't taste good. Number 1 is especially important for me - I'm not much of a snacker (although I have picked up the habit of having a square of dark chocolate or three with my afternoon coffee) and I hate being hungry. 

In the past, any cereal or granola bars I tried kept me full for all of 5 seconds, and then I was ready for lunch. But I think I've finally found something that is not only seriously easy to make (you don't even need to bake them!), but are also full of good ingredients and keep me full for hours! Mission accomplished.

They don't even taste "healthy" either - I'd happily eat one as dessert. Anything with chocolate in is good enough in my books.

If you like the sound of these and want to make them for yourself, the recipe is down below. I'd suggest keeping them in the fridge or freezer (I keep mine in the freezer) as coconut oil tends to melt very quickly, but they should keep for a good couple of weeks or so. 

{Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows}

120g rolled oats
35g brown rice puffs (I used Kallo Organic brand)
50g toasted sliced almonds
20g desiccated coconut 
20g chia seeds
50g coconut oil, melted
120g peanut butter (no sugar added)
55g agave nectar (or liquid sweetener of choice)
50g dark chocolate chips

To make:
1)  Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. 
2) Add the wet ingredients.
3) Press the mixture evenly into a parchment-lined brownie pan (8x8 or 9x11).
4) Place in freezer for about 20-30mins.
5) Slice into 12 bars, wrap individually with cling film. Pop back in fridge or freezer to grab whenever you like!

l'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

26 November 2014

For me, food isn't just fuel. Sharing a meal, experiencing new cuisines, sitting around a table together to eat - it's simply a wonderful and natural way to connect and spend time together with friends and family. When the preparation and cooking goes beyond a certain level, it becomes an art. Not that casual dining or cooking isn't, but fine dining like the one I'm talking about today is undeniably something quite special.

I am incredibly lucky to have been brought up in a family of food lovers and appreciators, and my parents took me and my sister out to some amazing restaurants growing up. Having said that, eating out wasn't taken for granted - it always felt like an occasion, and I loved that. 

E and I are so well matched in this regard. We are passionate about food, about talking about food, about appreciating and enjoying a €2 souvlaki (like the one we had in Santorini!) with the same enthusiasm as we do eating in Michelin starred restaurants. We don't like places that are pretentious for the sake of it, nor do we like street food vendors who don't care about what they do. Basically, we are big fans of any place that does their thing well. As with anything, really!

On my birthday, my husband took me out for one of the best meals I've had in London, and anywhere else for that matter. 

For fellow foodies, the name Joel Robuchon is no stranger - only one of the best chefs ever. And so, when we were searching options for where to go and saw that l'Atelier de Joel Robuchon offer great lunch menu options, we knew we'd found a winner. 

Their lunch menus are honestly fantastic value for money, considering eating a la carte would cost an arm and a leg. You can choose from 2, 3 or 4 courses, and each comes with the option of including matching wines with every dish. 4 courses without wine is £41, which I consider a very reasonable price at a restaurant of such calibre. 

As we were celebrating, we took the menus with the matching wines - which at £64 with the generous amount of wine you are given (really, very generous), is a very good deal. I don't like to go on about money and such, but I think it's important to know your options when you want to go somewhere special - it's your hard earned cash!

We were sat at the counter facing the open kitchen, to which E exclaimed, "Perfect for you! You can take lots of great photos!" - he has definitely become used to being the partner of a blogger. It really was great though, seeing the chefs and the staff work so calmly and efficiently and with such precision. 

We started off with some delicious bread and the complimentary amuse bouche, which was a foie gras, sweet wine and parmesan froth. Amazing. 

For my two entrées, I chose the game pâté with caramelised pear and the soft boiled egg with watercress purée and parmesan. E had the egg and the kipper (can't remember the exact description for any of these, so I'm doing my best!).

The pâté came with crisp pieces of toast, and it was delicious - the sweetness of the pear was perfectly matched. The egg dish was even better, and the purée was completely different to anything I had tasted before. Before E started on his egg, he said, "Don't you want to take an action shot?" I swear, I don't pay him to say this stuff.

For my main course, I went for the slow-braised beef cheek with parmesan crisp and E had the lamb with samosas - a Moroccan inspired dish. I wish they had the menu online so I could tell you more details about them, but I can tell you that my beef was outstanding. I literally stabbed my fork into the meat too hard because I wasn't expecting it to be so completely tender! The flavour was perfect, and E's dish was superb too.

As a bonus, they gave us a serving of Robuchon's infamous potato purée, about which E has talked my ear off about and was hoping it was on the menu. This is so completely, utterly not your typical mashed potato. It tastes like potato and butter got married and had the most beautiful babies. I know, a bit weird, but I don't know how else to describe it!

And then came dessert.

E chose the tarte au citron, and I went for the white chocolate and strawberry cheesecake. Stunning. I was pretty full by this point, but you couldn't have paid me to not finish every crumb. E's lemon tart was so pretty and tasted as good as it looked - I have to say, they were both pretty big portions too. The dessert wine we were given (we were given different ones, the one pictured below was mine) were excellent.

They had 3 choices for dessert - the other one was a macaron which also looked delightful - but if you're more of a cheese person, they have that option too.

But it wasn't over! I was given a beautiful plate of Happy Birthday petit fours. Turning 27 might not be as exciting as turning 7, but adult birthdays sure do have their perks!

Aside from the food, the service was impeccable. They were friendly, clear, attentive but not obtrusive - not an easy feat. I really had the best time and I loved every minute and mouthful!

Thank you E for spoiling me, you're la crème de la crème. Sorry, I had to.