Food, Fun

Make My Magnum

Today I made and ate my very own Magnum, and if you’re anywhere near London you can have yours too. IMG_20140714_175750

Selfridges latest popup hosts Magnum in celebration of their 25th birthday – and they know how to celebrate in style. Magnum fans will have seen the gold and silver limited editions in supermarkets, but you get that bit more from the magnum experience at Selfridges, which is oh so bespoke.
You choose your ice cream flavour, your type of chocolate, your toppings, and even the colour of Magnum’s signature ‘M’ which is placed on your ice cream delight like the cherry on a cake.

IMG_20140714_175210So what are you waiting for? Oh, yes, you’re in the queue. The inevitable popularity of designing one’s own Magnum, particularly amongst tourists, has resulted in quite a wait for your dessert. After around a fifteen minute delay I started to wonder whether the experience would be a bit like a theme park: queuing for what seems like forever only for the ride to be over in a flash. I feared that it wouldn’t be worth waiting for. But I was wrong. As soon as it was my turn to choose which toppings would adorn my creation, I felt a child-like excitement wash over me.

IMG_20140714_180150I chose crushed meringue, hazelnuts and rose petals as my toppings over a dark chocolate covered vanilla base, and it was divine (even if the rose petals did look more interesting than they tasted). My regression to childhood seemed to continue as I managed not only to get chocolate round my mouth as I devoured the treat, but in single-minded  delight lost track of my sticky, chocolaty hands which proceeded to touch my trousers.

So I made a mess, but overall I loved my ice cream making experience. Next time though I’d be sure to take a friend to make the queuing fun and to tell me where the chocolate is on my face before I get strange looks on the street. And if the mark on my trousers decides to stain I shall just have to think of it as a souvenir of my very own Magnum… and a reminder that until the end of August I can go and get another one.

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‘Make My Magnum’ costs £4.50 and is around until Sat 30th Aug 2014

 

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Food

Street Food Soundbite: Little Jack Horner’s

little jack horner's 4The stall that caught my eye at last Tuesday’s farmers market at London Bridge Guy’s Campus was Little Jack Horner’s sausage rolls. These generously filled delights were piled high in various varieties, and were calling out to me to be munched on.

Their owner, James, was lovely to chat to, and told me about the exciting flavour combinations, and mentioned the fact that they also create pies; and if the pictures on their website are anything to go by, these pies come in special Little Jack Horner’s pie dishes – a great addition to devouring the hand crafted beauties.

Listen to James and I discuss what Little Jack Horner’s has on offer below.

Little Jack Horner's Street Food Soundbite by Holly Newson on Mixcloud

I opted for the black pudding and apple sausage roll for my lunch. I was a black pudding virgin so this felt like a little bit of a risk next to so many other varieties – but after my first taste no hesitation was necessary – I gobbled the whole lot down. It was so satisfying for taste buds and stomach alike. And, as James will tell you, this one is full of iron too! I can’t wait to try every flavour.

Little Jack Horner’s also cater, so a feast for you and your guests could be just round the corner.

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Food

Street Food Soundbite: Bunnychow

img-main-gall-01Last week I discovered Bunnychow for the first time. I feel like I must be late on the bandwagon as they’ve already got big plans for expanding beyond their awesome looking van. The food is delicious, fun and filling – this is grub you’ve got to try.

Bunny chow or ‘bunnies’ were first created in the 1940s in Durban, South Africa. They are traditionally hollowed out bread filled with curry: portable and edible – that’s what we like. Nowadays creative imaginations fill the bunny chow bread with a variety of culinary delights and at Bunnychow they look to flavours from all over the world for various fun takes that will please all pallets.

The weekend before last I chatted to Sam from Bunnychow at a pop up street food market at Stratford Westfield. Listen below.

Bunnychow Street Food Soundbite by Holly Newson on Mixcloud

I ate the Monkey Gland Bunny; the meatballs were plentiful and succulent and the sweet and sour BBQ sauce had just the right amount of kick. I’d definitely chow down on those again. Also, keep your eyes peeled for their more permanent residences opening in Boxpark Shorditch and Wardour Street, Soho.

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Food

Down to The Well

Yesterday I took some close and extended to family to visit The Well restaurant in Clerkenwell – an excellent decision if I do say so myself. My choice of venue for a late Sunday lunch was decided with help from various reviewers online and a friendly little push from Tastecard (which gives 50% off for a party of up to 8 at The Well). The result was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

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I received a message from my mum last week informing me that her cousins from America were coming to London, and could I, with my ‘expert knowledge’ of London (I wouldn’t go that far, but thanks mum), recommend somewhere nice to eat. I was given specifications: free parking nearby, close to Euston/Gower Street, and nothing too out of the ordinary cuisine-wise. Naturally, excited about hopefully discovering a new dining gem, I wasn’t inclined to pick purely based on location, so I began to browse.

The Well first caught my eye when scrolling on Toptable, and after viewing the menu, and praise from many diners, I was sold. Not only did it match every criteria I was looking for, I discovered I could get money off our meal too with Tastecard – this was already looking like a definite winner.

My boyfriend and I arrived at the restaurant first, discovering straight away a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The décor in the restaurant on ground floor at The Well consists of weathered wooden tables in a wide variety of sizes, a bar area with many options of drink on display, chalked specials and cocktail boards, and two walls of ceiling to floor glass windows letting in a lot of light and making the place particularly inviting. The Well downstairsDownstairs from here though (as discovered when popping to the bathroom) has a completely different vibe. Round leather stools and wall benches are dotted around, and dark stained wood is the order of the day. Yet, what you notice first in this area are the marine tanks, full of brightly coloured fish, which really bring the area the life (excuse any unintended pun). This is clearly designed as an evening venue, and looks like quite a nice one; it can be rented out for parties and corporate events.

But, back to the main event. When my parents and relatives had arrived we all began to examine the menu, and to my delight there was something for everyone. A few of us opted for starters – I am told on good authority from Phil, who chose the oysters, that they were delicious. However, it is the mains that I can’t wait to rave about. Between us we sampled the full variety of Sunday roasts on offer: Roast rump of Cumbrian beef, Slow roast Middle White pork belly, and Roast half free range Devonshire Bronze chicken; as well as my mum and I each choosing the Roast breast of guinea fowl, confit leg ravioli, Grelot onions, heritage carrots and tops, with a Madeira jus. But I’ll start with the roasts – very generous portions (especially the chicken roast, which was undoubtedly fit for a king, and a rather large king at that) were accompanied with a wide variety of trimmings and sauces, all full of flavour and nicely cooked. The pork came with apple and thyme stuffing and an apple sauce, which I did eye-up enviously a few times, and the horseradish sauce which accompanied the beef apparently had a lovely flavour and just the right amount of kick. I was chuffed that our American guests were able to enjoy such a high quality version of a British classic. The Well 1As for my lunch, it was the confit leg ravioli, as part of the guinea fowl meal, which was the real winner of the dish. Succulent and well filled, I could have eaten it many times over. This was also the first time I had eaten guinea fowl and, particularly flavoured with the Madeira jus, it was lovely.

The service at The Well was also great. The staff were very helpful and accommodating, despite the restaurant being quite busy when we first arrived. They were even happy to let my family sit at our table for hours after our meal as they weren’t fully booked until the evening. However, I can’t go without mentioning the desert. The real winner on the table was the sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and fudge ice cream, which was one of the best sticky toffee puds I’ve tried. There are many other deserts to be tempted by too, such as their Chocolate marquis with salted caramel ice cream. This actually goes for the majority of the menu, both their Sunday lunch and a la carte are full of tempting dishes that I can’t wait to try in the future.

The Well provided the perfect place for our gathering, and the food was delightful. Plus, on Tastecard it was the biggest of bargains. I couldn’t be happier.

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Food, Fun

Brockley Market – a new favourite

brockley market logoThis weekend my love of food markets took me to Brockley Market in Lewisham. I’ve been meaning to go for some weeks now and I’m very glad I finally did.

Brockley Market is a mix of delights with both lunch made in front of your eyes, and farmers produce that you can take home and enjoy. Mike + Ollie’s flatbreads filled with lamb, veg or mackerel (with a focus on foraged foods) were an exciting offering I’d read about in advance,  but it was the quality of every stall there that made it a really worthwhile visit. Some of the ‘stop and eat now’ options included meatball calzone, schnitzel, and a smoked salmon and cream cheese bun. The latter of these was particularly exciting as the fish was taken out of a smoker right in front if your eyes, and the deep red salmon smoked with beetroot, fennel and juniper was a sight to see. I couldn’t resist trying this, so The Greenwich Little Smokery got my lunch money, and much deservedly – it was delicious.IMG_20130831_122642 This is also a stall that crosses into the realm of ‘take me home’ goods, as a variety of freshly smoked fish was on offer in whatever amount might take your fancy. Other stalls of this type include those selling breads of many sorts, pork pies and similar pastry based goods, cheeses, meats, fruit and veg, and baked goods.

Out of these it is the meat that stuck in my memory. An array of venison – diced, sausage or steak – sat next to portioned up or whole rabbit. I already know I love venison, and these looked like fantastic cuts, and my food curiosity is now burning to try rabbit too.

IMG_20130831_122526On this sunny day the market was busy and bustling and free places to perch to enjoy your lunch were snatched up very quickly. The overall effect of this was a great atmosphere, despite the queues. And the rich and famous aren’t adverse to queuing for these goodies either; Millie Mackintosh (best known from Made in Chelsea) apologised as her dog sat on my foot as she stood in the queue behind me for the salmon, meanwhile her fiance Professor Green waited to purchase a range of breads and was holding a bag full of meat in prep for the barbecue they were having later. I get the impression that Millie and Green come to the market often as Millie pointed a friend who with them to the other side of the market: “right by that red tent, you can usually get a drink over there”.IMG_20130831_122435 (I know it’s rude to eavesdrop, but I think overhearing a conversation between fellow food market lovers is allowed).

I wasn’t going straight home after this truly delightful food market experience so I didn’t pick up any smoked fish for the fridge or juicy meat for the oven, but there is no doubt about it that in the next couple of weeks I’ll pop back to Lewisham on a Saturday and some beautiful looking diced venison will make its way into what will be a lovingly crafted pie.

What a lovely day to have visited such a bountiful market for the first time – and what will be the first time of many.

mike and ollie flatbreads

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Food

Company means people to share cookies with

It’s been too long since I last made a bumper batch of cookies, so I decided I’d start again with my staple – milk, white, and dark chocolate chip.

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They’re crispy at the edges and chewy in the middles, just as a cookie should be. A definite crowd-pleaser.

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I also love experimenting with flavours, such as my cranberry, white chocolate and rosewater cookies, as well as some already known favourites such as hazelnut and milk chocolate chunk. And I have an oh-so-vast list of flavour combinations I’ve yet to try.

But today, I decided I’d go for basic and many, as today the last but one of my new housemates moves in – and company calls for cookies, lots of them. So, let’s hope that my go-to bake of chocolate chip cookies, which have pleased so many in the past, will be a winner once again.

I think that the cookie monster and I would be friends:

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Food, Fun

My love for Southbank

IMG_20130825_142817For the second weekend running I’m wandering around the Southbank Centre and the Real Food Market near Waterloo. They just can’t keep me away, especially over the summer when the Southbank Centre is stuffed with free events. Seven days ago it was Pelourinho weekend and today it’s a village fair, not to mention Beano Town, a popup that’s been lasting the length of school holidays. Pelourinho weekend consisted of bright costumes, dancing and drumming, whilst this weekend has a calmer feel with arts and crafts stalls, most of which are full of children and adults having a go at making bracelets or designing cards.

However, it is the weekly draw of the Real Food Market which means I can never turn a trip to Southbank down. Today my lunch was a pumpkin and cheese strudel from a stall called Karantania, this tasted incredible.IMG_20130825_144016 In the past I’ve had hog roast, cheesecake, burgers, various salads, Indian street food, ice creams, and I’m not sure that’s even the complete list. It certainly isn’t the complete list of what’s on offer here. There’s every type of wrap you can imagine – a lamb and chickpea version is the one that appeals to me most – as well as crepes; bruschetta; bread, cheese and fruit stalls; cakes and brownies; chorizo; Japanese gyoza; and that’s just off the top of my head!

My love for the Real Food Market has also made me want to discover others across London. I’m excited to visit Brockley market in Lewisham (my planned trip yesterday was rained off, in a relentless downpour kind of way), as well as Exmouth market. I’ve been to Borough market many times and, despite how packed it often is, I like it very much. Chelsea food market has some lovely stalls too.

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I don’t know precisely what it is that I love so much about a food market. Perhaps it’s the smells and the huge variety of types of food. Perhaps it’s the delicious samples that get thrust your way. Perhaps it’s just my fascination with food in general. But either way, if I can fit a forage at a food market into my plans, that constitutes a fun day out for me.

I often follow my Southbank wanderings with a walk along Embankment – another reason I can’t resist this area: the atmosphere. And as I am currently occupying one of few chairs for people to perch on as they indulge in their purchases I should probably get on the move. Stomach full and senses satisfied – thank you Southbank.

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