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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?