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Saturday, 6 November 2010

Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill

11 – 15 Swallow Street
London

W1B 4DG

T: 020 7734 4756




Sandwiched in between Piccadilly and Regent Street, but somehow sheltered from all the madness, mayhem and shopping frenzied tourists of the West End, is a little haven of charm; Swallow Street, just tucked in nicely, with its own little vibe. And Bentley’s restaurant is pretty much the same. Salient and somewhat grand, (without being fussy and affected) it feels cool, comfortable and solid, so a reflection of its owner I suppose. In fact, I’m such a fan of Richard Corrigan that I’d love to write this whole piece on him; but I suppose I’ll be doing that anyway as the emphasis with Richard is always on his food, not his ego, of which he has little of when compared to many Michelin starred chefs. His personality is so apparent in the vibe of this place; not just in the food, but in the considered selection of a rather tight front of house team who genuinely looked pleased to be there. So, whilst it’s important to mention the integrity of the interior - rich, elegant and masculine fabrics and fixtures - and the food, as implied by the décor, also very accomplished, it was the solicitous service that left a lasting impression.


I think Corrigan has cracked it with this little lot – or as near as damn it – because this was such a slick, competent and sassy team of people who moved so effortlessly around each other that it just made you sink into your chair, in a secure fold, feeling like you were in large, cupped hands. From our charismatic Romanian waiter Octavian, (well informed by a passionate kitchen team and a sense of humour more Richard Corrigan than Ceausescu,) to the chirpy sommelier who, having decided on Riesling or Vertliner, had a change of heart when this 'lady', ‘moi’, mentioned ripe, lush fruit. Before we knew it, his double-act, a mature and self-assured bar steward stuck his comical two-penneth in and we landed up with a biggish, flavoursome Verdicchio from Marches, which pulled and tugged at our taste buds in a surprisingly unexpected way.




We barely got beyond the special’s board when ordering the food, everything was screaming out to be eaten. So we opted for an ‘amuse bouche’ in the form of an anchovy & olive tartlet; clean, zippy flavours but strewn with rocket which looked rather like an after-thought than an intended garnish. Starter of crab on toasted Irish soda bread with glistening samphire was all it was cracked up to be and by the time I stretched my fork across the table to try it, was all gone. Big, succulent, curvy pieces of crab are hard to share, I admit, so all I got was a measly mouthful of the soda bread. Hold on, “when did soda bread get to be this good?” I asked. Apparently, it’s all down to the black treacle, Octavian assured me, which gave it a pleasing colour and nutty sweetness; so good infact, it inspired me to buy Richard’s book, ‘The Rattle of Forks & Spoons’ with the recipe in it. My starter of squid had the pleasing acrid flavour of the char-grill with a fresh, bouncy texture (which has a tendency to 'go on a bit'; but hey, that’s squid for you) and a subtle chilli dressing which was slightly overpowered by the ‘fly me to the moon’ proportions of wild rocket it came with.

My DP moved on to steamed plaice (in its seasonal pomp) with wilted lettuce, artichokes and Chanterelle mushrooms, which was very good, if slightly virtuous. No doubt the chef had slipped a knob (or two) of butter to cook the mushrooms, but felt the plaice itself was almost too fresh, too plump and too pure to dress up! £24 for my half a lobster, (even a native) another veritable heap of rocket (!) and chips, seemed a bit rich, like the pungent garlic butter that accompanied it indulgently. But somehow this dish is indicative of what this place is about; it feels special and posh like lobster, but it’s just as down to earth as chips! And if you’re used to eating chips without cutlery, nobody looks at you like you’re a throwback. No time for dessert, I’m rather embarrassed to say but we managed to scoff a few hand-made chocs with our coffees; incredibly moorish and not a strand of rocket in sight.

Bentley’s is a great advert for London dining and almost an institution in the mould of Sheekey’s and Le Caprice. It has a corner for every occasion, from our cute little two-seater by the window, to a snug booth with friends, or the formal dining room for ‘important people’ (my words, not theirs) upstairs. I’m not so sure they’d want me up there though, because I do have a tendency to eat chips with my fingers.


Thursday, 29 July 2010

Salmon & Prawn Noodle Salad

Salmon & Prawn Noodle Salad
Ingredients for 4 people

4 pieces of wild salmon
200g packet of cooked king prawns
Packet of fine egg noodles – approx 250g
1 whole Chinese leaf – finely sliced
Small bunch spring onions – finely chopped
1 orange pepper – cut into long thin strips
1 red pepper – cut into long thin strips
½ cucumber – cut into batons with soft seeded centre removed
Packet of green beans – approx 150g
Packet of baby corn – approx 150g
1 red chilli – de-seeded and cut into the smallest pieces you can manage.
1 small packet of radishes – finely sliced
Decent handful of fresh coriander


For the dressing:


1/2 bottle of sweet chilli and lemongrass sauce by ‘Thai Taste’ from Sainsbury’s Otherwise any other good quality sweet chilli dipping sauce
½ bottle of dark soy sauce
Approx 5-7 tablespoons of stir fry oil (Sainsbury’s), or sesame oil.

I made the dressing up as I went along, so these measurements are a rough guess. I suggest you blend equal measures of the chilli and soy sauce, then add the oil slowly. When the consistency looks right, taste and add more if you think it needs it.


What to do….


Ok, start by getting the annoying, boring stuff out of the way; steam/boil your green beans and baby corn for about 3 mins so they are still crunchy, then leave to cool.
Cook the noodles according to the instructions then drain and rinse under cold water, separate them with your fingers and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, pan-fry or bake your wild salmon. Remember it won’t take so long if it’s wild because it’s less fatty, so don’t overdo it as it’ll dry out. Leave it to cool off.
Now, prepare the rest of the ingredients as described above. Get them all in a big bowl then add your cooled beans, corn, noodles and prawns. Toss them all around really well – get in there with your hands, don’t pfaff about. Serve into individual bowls. Now gently break your salmon into pieces and scatter over the top of the salad. Prepare your dressing, as above and allow everyone to use as much as they like. I had to make extra because we all loved it so much.
This is healthy grub that feels naughty, because it’s so good. Tuck in. Extras allowed with this one!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The King's Head Review


The place, the memories….

As with all relationships, they have their ups and their downs. So, after a period of detached absence it was back to the King’s Head, my old ‘local’ and probably the most iconic pub in Winchmore Hill; its iconic status drawn mostly from the building itself – bold, beautiful and perched majestically on the green, for all to esteem. It doesn’t disappoint inside either; it’s got that lovely unpretentious feel about it and an open fire that creates a warm focal point and coveted place to gather with friends. I’ve been coming to this pub on and off for about 20 years and suffice to say, there’s been some good times and some bad times, and more recently some cold times (it’s not that easy to heat a building of this size you know!) But it has something that always pulls me back. Maybe it’s the memories - I drank my first tequila shot here on New Year’s Eve 1989, and was promptly chastised for dancing on the ‘throne’. “Don’t sell tequila then” I drunkenly retorted. Now I tend to avoid pubs where cocky young girls throw back shots of tequila and dance on chairs (unless I'm having a relapse) and I aim for somewhere that serves good food and fine wines……like the King’s Head! Ironically, it would seem that we’ve done our growing up together. And it’s hard sometimes not to be nostalgic for the days of our miss-spent youth and lock-ins, when we all knew the landlord/lady and smoked fags all night. Times have changed and so have we; we’re 20 years older for a start! Jeronimo Inns now manage this prize site, adding it to their already impressive portfolio of ‘great neighbourhood bars in London villages’. Their company ethos is sound and they are a group that looks long and hard at what they do, not taking anything for granted, so not surprisingly they have a good little team in here, looking after customers that, reassuringly, have been coming here for even longer than I have. The food was ok - a bit hit and miss and nothing I couldn't have made at home myself, so they won't be winning any awards. Neverthess, it was better than the time before, so if they remain consistent, they might win a few more hearts back.  Read my full review at
http://www.n21.net/taste-matters.html


Thursday, 20 May 2010

Food for Mastermind Contestants.

A quick and easy supper when you’re in a hurry is this lovely homemade coleslaw with some smoked fish, like Mackerel. Serve with some fresh beetroot (not the pickled jar variety, please) and you’ve got a great little supper on your hands (plate). Uncooked, fresh fruit & veg, combined with high omega fish - you don't get any healthier than this.

If you’re not ready for Mastermind after this little lot, you never will be.







Apple Coleslaw


What you need:


200g white cabbage
200g carrot
100g apple (preferably pink ones)
50g onion (preferably mild)
25g sultanas
25g walnuts – crushed a little
½ lemon, juiced
Mayonnaise to taste – choose a good quality one


What to do:

 
1 Coarsely grate all the vegetables and apples.
2 Mix in sultanas and walnuts.
3 Squeeze over lemon juice, and mix in mayonnaise to taste.
4 Chill and serve.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Biscuits to bake for.

I made these with my children earlier. I found the recipe in this month's (May) Waitrose magazine (which I love) and I couldn't believe how easy they sounded to do (and they were)and how delicious they turned out to be. Waitrose recipes are the best; I've kept so many over the years and have them all safely filed in my recipe folder to revisit from time to time. This is one I will certainly hold on to and it was so simple, the kids could have probably done it without me!

Almond & Pecan Biscuits

Ingredients for approx 12 biscuits

150grams - unsalted butter - softened
100grams - golden caster sugar
100grams - self raising flour
100grams - ground almonds
60grams - pecan nuts - crushed with a pestle & mortar or finely chopped
2 tsp - vanilla extract
1/2 tsp - ground ginger

Get the oven on, 180c, and line a flat baking sheet with parchment paper. Cream the sugar and butter together then add in the remaining ingredients. I used a fork initially, but after a while got stuck in with my hands as it seemed to blend it all together much better. Then roll a small amount, size of a golf ball say, into a ball (the kids will enjoy this bit, and licking the bowl after, obviously) and pop on the tray, patting them down slightly. Leave room between each one as they will obviously expand and you don't want to end up with one enormous biscuit! Actually, maybe you do; at least you could justify eating it all..... "How many have you had?"...."Just one, honestly."

Bake for 15 minutes - they'll turn a lovely golden colour and will smell divine. Nothing like that homemade baking smell to make you put the kettle on. Leave them to cool a while then move to a rack to cool further, but be careful, they're a bit crumbly when they're warm.

Hate to say it, but I don't think the kids are gonna get a look in with these little beauties.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

l'Anima Restaurant Review

I love it when people tell me about somewhere they've really enjoyed eating at, but when it came to L'Anima, what had rocked their boat, had kinda sunk mine......

Read the full review on Foodepedia...

http://www.foodepedia.co.uk/restaurant-reviews/2010/apr/anima_london.htm

The Lambshank Redemption: Barnes Storming

The Lambshank Redemption: Barnes Storming

Monday, 29 March 2010

Vegetarian food for carnivores!


Portobello Mushrooms with Gruyére & Hazelnuts.

Oohh, this is another classy little vegetarian starter for you, but I s’pose, if you’re a veggie you’d love this as a main , because Portobello mushrooms have that lovely meaty quality……hold on, perhaps that’s not the right terminology to use when trying to appeal to vegetarians (!), so I’ll just stick with firm, filling and fantabulous! I found this recipe in Grazia magazine would you believe. It’s not all gossip and fashion ya’ know! It’s easy peasey to make and I like the fact that it’s a modern combination of mostly classic ingredients.

For 4 people – should take around 15 mins to prep and 10 mins to cook.

What you’ll need: -
4 large Portobello mushrooms
1 large clove garlic, crushed
½ -1 tsp of Dijon mustard (go for Maille, it’s the real thing)
4 tbsp of virgin olive oil
25g of slightly salted butter
4 leeks, thinly sliced
100 g aged (if poss) Gruyére cheese, grated
20 g of finely chopped hazelnuts
4 tsp of good quality (preferably aged) balsamic vinegar.


 Get your oven warmed up to 190⁰c (Gas 5). Prepare a baking tray with either baking paper or foil.

 DON’T wash the mushrooms - they absorb it and it ruins the flavour and texture - just brush them off or peel them, then remove stems.

 Combine the Dijon & crushed garlic with 2 tbsp of the oil then brush over the mushrooms. Season them and bake for 10 mins.

 Meanwhile, cook the leeks in the butter and remaining oil in a frying pan for approx 5 mins until they soften and turn a little brown and smoky. Less time in the pan if you like ‘em crunchier.

 Top the mushrooms with the grated Gruyére and chopped hazelnuts and return them to the oven for a few minutes so that the cheese can just melt.

 Lastly, put some leeks on each plate and drizzle with the balsamic, then pop on your mushroom, serve and tuck in.

*Final Tip – always take mushrooms out of their packaging when you get them home as they’ll last longer loosely covered with kitchen roll.

Who said vegetarian food was boring? Bloody nonsense.

Covent Garden, full of surprises.







The Forge 14 Garrick Street, London, WC2E 9BJ. Tel: 020 7379 1531
http://www.theforgerestaurant.co.uk

It came as a bit of a surprise, The Forge. I had no idea it was there, nudged up Garrick Street in Covent Garden, and it felt like such a find I assumed it was relatively new, which it isn’t. It’s a stone’s throw from the fumy bustle of St Martin’s Lane and Long Acre, so mark it on your radar for a pre or post-theatre visit, as it’s ideal for that. It’s fairly formal, but with an acquiescent vibe that West End restaurants seem to manage with ease and city restaurants often fall down on, for various reasons that I won’t elaborate on now.

We were greeted genially by Robert Seigler, the owner, although we had no idea of this at the time. It’s always a good sign, I think, when the proprietor is prepared to work alongside their team with a finger on the pulse of their business. No stuffy or sultry staff here either; everyone seemed rather relaxed in fact, oozing a quiet and efficient confidence. Elegant but understated styling gave the place an air of erudition. It’s quite grown up with detail you tend to notice and appreciate if you are over 30 and have been faced with decorating dilemmas, like “Do we retain the original features, or do we modernise?” Exposed brick walls are punctuated and softened with warmly lit alcoves and an abundance of fresh flowers. Comfy dining chairs, that didn’t cause you to fidget with a numb bum after a while, were the main colour contributor to a simple scheme of teal and white. However, such a beautifully decorative ceiling should be left alone in my opinion, and down-lighters hidden elsewhere rather than proudly ruining one of the room’s finest features.

The Modern European menu was a one-pager; a big page though and it was quite difficult to choose. This is always a good sign I think, so when guidance was offered from their knowledgeable PR we took it and opted for: Seafood salad – fresh, uncomplicated, but just slightly bland for my ‘sock-it-to-me’ taste buds. Impressively served on a dish of ice though, which I thought was a nice touch. Roasted Piemontese pepper with goat’s cheese and anchovy – again, a very simple dish, but proclaimed very tasty by my D.P (dining partner) Clare, who said the anchovy was unusually subtle and didn’t overpower the cheese. Mains were pan-fried sea bass with aubergine & basil risotto. Now, these are two things that I wouldn’t have put together, but Clare loved the combination. The risotto’s aubergine had a cumin infusion, an ever-so-subtle lift that was just the ride the sea bass was asking for; although this was a 5***** piece of fish in my reckoning, so no rides strictly necessary. My braised ox cheek with celeriac fondant and roasted parsnips made me very happy and I daydreamed about that succulent, hearty meat in that rich jus for days after. Meanwhile, we knocked back a rather delightful half bottle of San Vincenzo, Monteforte 2008 from an impressive and well thought-out wine list; a seductive little Italian number that convinced us a half bottle was a stupid idea after all.

We made tracks after a chat with their rather charming chef, (now, they’re a rare breed I can tell you) Andrew Barber, previously at Bleeding Heart among others. He gave me tips on how to cook his Ox Cheek recipe; these are the kind of chefs I like, not the irascible, superior type that don’t believe you’re capable of cooking their dishes yourself. I’ve since discovered
Andrew runs their cookery school, teaching novices like me, so this would explain his courteous and forbearing persona. And apparently, Robert Seigler runs a wine club, so their 500 strong wine list isn’t down to an over-enthusiastic sommelier, just a passionate owner, who thankfully is on-hand to guide you if you haven’t got a spare couple of hours to read it!
Clearly, there’s lots of talent contained within these old walls and I’m chuffed to say that this surprising little find, turned out to be surprisingly good.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Roasted Peppers with Halloumi, Pine Nuts & Chilli.

Here’s a really simple little recipe I do for the occasional dinner party as a starter or side dish. You don’t need to be a Delia to knock this one together, it’s dead easy because I can do it! And it costs very little too, but looks fab on the plate.


Ingredients for 6 people:

3 red peppers – cut in half – trim off white bits inside but leave stalks.
3 yellow peppers – as above
Halloumi – approx 500g block, sliced into 12 pieces
Wild Rocket to serve.

For the dressing:

2 lemons – juiced, discard the rest.
2 cloves garlic – crushed
1 large (or 2 small) red chillies – finely chopped
pine nuts – 4 tablespoons – dry pan-toasted
parsley – small bag/handful finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil – approx 5 tablespoons plus a little for drizzling.


What to do.

Pre-heat your oven – 200c (Fan 180c) or Gas 6. lay the peppers out on a flattish baking tray, hollow side up. Season with salt & pepper & drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for approx 10 mins until they have softened, then place a slice of halloumi on each and grill until the cheese turns golden brown. While this is happening, whiz together (or pestle & mortar if you haven’t got a blender) the dressing ingredients. If your blender is good (unlike mine) the pine nuts may be un-recognisable, so maybe keep a few back to scatter on with the dressing before you serve. Don’t dilly dally when you serve this as the halloumi needs to be warm otherwise it will become rubbery. Lay just a little wild rocket on the plate as this will just give it a bed of colour to sit on and make the whole thing look that much more impressive.

Enjoy x

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

7 course slap up at Va Bene.

‘Va Bene’…….roughly translated means, ‘ok’. Somehow this seems a very inappropriate name for this Italian restaurant, as it’s far more than ‘ok’. I rocked up on a rainy day; chucking it down it was. The kind of weather that makes you stay at home. Oh boy, am I glad I didn’t. Once I got settled in, downstairs in their cosy and almost cave-like basement, I forgot very quickly about the weather. And when I glanced at the menu that Exec Chef and Patron, Philippe Seiler had created for us, and I'd tasted the Pinot Grigio, I was enormously grateful to have been invited.

Va Bene in Brewer Street, Soho (near Piccadilly) is just down the road from another of my favourite restaurants, Randall & Aubin. It’s a completely different vibe there of course, more uber cool and casual, with a chic Parisienne vibe, which seems, in some ways, more suited to this area. But in its typicality, Va Bene offers what people fundamentally love about Italian dining – charm, character and warm hospitality – so this place works well here and the number of customers on that wet, miserable day kinda proved that. I prepared myself for the feast ahead. Good god, it’s been a long time since I managed 7 courses at lunch, but I managed it. This is why.

A classic selection of antipasti was served in ‘tapas’ dishes on a raised wooden bridge, lengthways down the table. What a clever idea. The space on the table wasn’t compromised and the aromas of the food met the nose without even a tilt of the head! The chicken livers with little pieces of poached pear and a rich balsamic glaze were sublime. The calamari was light and crisp; delicate slices of Parma ham were perfectly sweet and well-aged; vibrantly green, gob-stopper olives tasted freshly picked and the smoky, char-grilled bruschetta was topped with garlic and tomatoes and drizzled in a rich, virgin olive oil. We could have stopped there; it was enough food for lunch. But we didn’t. Next came smoked salmon with crab, celeriac & beetroot salad - fine flavours that worked effortlessly together. The salmon had a wonderfully firm, clean texture which made me think it must be wild, not farmed.

Next up, two delightful little cappuccino soups – forest mushroom with truffle oil, followed by lobster & tomato bisque. Wow, big pungent aromas from the truffle oil, and intense flavours from the bisque. The sautéed scallop parcel with fennel, lollo rosso and white wine was very enjoyable but not overly remarkable. Homemade pasta with a rich, porcini, prawn and speck sauce gave this tasting menu back its oomph. Flavours to knock your socks off; or, give you chronic indigestion if you over-did-it. The momentarily unwanted grilled lamb cutlets were succulent, tender and cooked to perfection. In the aubergine and lentil accompaniment was where Patron Philippe’s experiences and influences were evident. The use of cumin was very apparent but it didn’t overpower or camouflage any of the ingredients; it merely gave them that punchy lift they deserved.

Finally, a selection of desserts. The obvious ones were there like tiramisu - not the best I’ve had, more coffee soaked sponge needed - and pannacotta – not the best consistency, a little heavy on the gelatine it seemed. But it was the chocolate fondant that got everybody talking. A pudding as light as my daughter’s lashes, encasing that rich, chocolaty, goey warmth that flows with a gentle prod! The last time I had one this good was at Il Convivio in Belgravia. Their German chef, Lucas Pfaff, cooks some of the most inspiring Italian food I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. And here at Va Bene, this Swiss-French chef is setting some pretty high standards too.

Valentine’s Weekend Tasting Menu – 6 courses only £48.00 per person. If my meal was anything to go by, this represents amazing value and it would make a lovely choice for a romantic night out.
Buon appetito!
www.thevabene.com

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Getting the balance right.

The way I see it is you can eat a bit of junk food (for want of a better phrase) every now and again if you balance it out with some good stuff....as in fresh veg, fruit, oily fish etc. So, this morning, after polishing off 2 croissants following my run (my body tells me what I need, so I darn't deny it), my conscience got the better of me and I opted for a healthy lunch. I love recipe books and mags, so often my inspiration will come from them; but on this occasion I was dictated to by the contents of my fridge. 3 white cabbages (I still haven't mastered the art of on-line shopping), a big bag of carrots that were taking up far too much space, and some fennel, which was intended for a recipe that I never got round to making. It took me 5 minutes to do the following, and boy did my body thank me (you just have to convince yourself of that one; same way I do when I give it croissants.)

Grate the white cabbage into a bowl - however much you fancy, or plan to use.
Grate your carrots - same again, but keep the use of ingredients fairly balanced.
Grate your fennel. Perhaps slightly less on this one as it has a far more distinctive taste and you want it to work with the mustard, not battle with it.

Add a couple of spoonfuls of good quality mayonnaise - none of this low calorie stuff either, it just doesn't hit the spot. Unless you're seriously watching your weight, then of course, I strongly advise you do.
Then add a spoonful of course grain mustard - once again, a good quality brand like Maille (the French really know their mustards, believe me).
Mix/toss all together and low and behold, you have a FRESH and healthy coleslaw that is a scrummy acompaniment to meat, fish or whatever takes your fancy.
It was a piece of smoked mackerel that took my fancy. I need all the oily fish I can get to boost my diminishing brain cells. Let your body tell you what it needs, just be mindful to get the balance right.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Staying Local

Living in Surburbia means that there aren't many stylish, decent restaurants to visit. But, there's some great pubs and a lot of them are now upping their game (and their prices!) and producing some great food. Nevertheless, if you fancy getting togged up and having a special night out, I always feel I need to go into town. But you end up spending a fortune on cabs, or sitting on filthy tubes and paying ridiculous prices just for the privilege, of which I am not always convinced it is. Of course, you can't beat the thrill of places like J Sheekey's, Bentley's and Hakkassan; they really are worth the effort, in my opinion. And Shoreditch has always been one of my fave places to hang out, although not necessarily where I'd go for a special meal; until I discovered Les Trois Garcons and Shoreditch House that is! But dining locally has always been a bit dull, like you've settled for second best, or you're broke, so have no choice. Until recently that is, when I was asked to review Willow (dodgy name, I know) in Winchmore Hill Road, London N21. I went with a girlfriend because I didn't think my husband deserved my company that night. We had a lot of catching up to do, so staying local suited us perfectly. However, once inside, you could have almost (not entirely though of course, for reasons I'll leave you to work out) forgotten you were in Winchmore Hill. Willow is really quite stylish. There are things missing for me, (they need to address the soft furnishings and dying plants) but without being too picky and pedantic, we were really both quite impressed. Fantastic cocktails, as good as any I've had in Shoreditch, and a particularly lovely restaurant upstairs. They've got it all sorted up here, including the food. There were elements that weren't great, like the Gnocchi (appalling actually0 and the Cremé Brulée (think thick packet custard), but the rest of it (Sea Bass and Fillet of Beef)was very good. Good enough for me to go back. But then, we're not exactly spoilt for choice in suburbia! Read my review at www.N21.net and decide for yourselves - local or not......?

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Onions

I think most of us understand the benefits of eating vegetables by now, it's been shoved down our throats for some time by the Goverment's '5 a Day' campaign to get us all living healthier lives. And quite rightly so, I think. I love vegetables (and secretly I love the fact that they don't/didn't have a heartbeat, as there's always a tiny element of guilt when I eat meat, which I do frequently) and the onion is one of my faves. So versatile and full of nutritional benefits that most people are blissfully unaware of. Google 'health benefits of an onion'.....the list is endless. So, when I received an email containing the following info, I was intrigued. I am not certain if it's true, (haven't had enough time to research it) but it certainly makes enough sense for me to want to share it with you. Let me know if you find anything out that completely contradicts this story, won't you?!


In 1919 when the 'flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu. Many of the farmers and their family had contracted it and many died.
The doctor came upon one farmer and, to his surprise, everyone was very healthy.
When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different, the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then).
The doctor couldn't believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions.
She gave him one which he placed under the microscope he found the 'flu virus in the onion. It had obviously absorbed the bacteria, thereby keeping the family healthy.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Taste Matters

Having just seen my first Taste Matters review go live on http://www.n21.net/, I thought it was time to introduce Blogging into my life....see where it takes me....report on all the things that The Cutlery Club (my freelance writing, pr, networking business)gets involved with; from lunches in lovely places, to meeting interesting people that make the world go round. And of course, there is my genuine passion of food and wine -which lead me to write the Taste Matters column - and sharing it with interesting folk, so I see this blogging thing almost as a diary entry; a chance to share some of those great moments with anyone that's interested. And if they're not, then nothing lost really.....these diary entries will provide me with a memory box when dimentia kicks in, which is likely if the past 2o odd years of hedonism are anything to go by!

Ok, so on the food front, been cooking at home a lot lately and last night I threw together linguine with bacon, peas, St Agur and walnuts, in a creme fraiche and mascarpone sauce. No good if you're on a diet but bloody delicious nonetheless. Having worked with some great Italian chefs over the past decade, dishes like this come naturally now. I was doubtful about the peas, but they added a little colour and asparagus is out of season, if there is such a thing anymore. If anyone wants my thrown together recipe, I'll do my best to provide it.

Boun appetito. (Hope I've spelt that right, otherwise my Italian buddies will have something to say about it!)



Looking forward to my blogging days...or should I say, diary days?