Saturday, 25 September 2010

the first hot chocolate

it is a rather cold and chilly day in london. winter is definitely on its way in. so i made omair and myself a 'pick me up' hot chocolate. a pinch of cinnamon, some cardamom crushed in my mortar and pestle, two tablespoons of green and blacks cacao, two squares of lindt dark ginger chocolate and a tablespoon and a half of sugar heated with two mugs full of milk.

really really good!

Sunday, 19 September 2010


o and a and i met at caravan in exmouth market for brunch on sunday. as is the trend these days we couldn't make a reservation so we waited at the bar. it was very busy and we did have a considerable wait. what was nice though was that we were kept updated on the progress on our table. o ordered a filter coffee to start with. the bar was a wonderful place to wait at. the centre of the counter had a little structure which held ceramic coffee filters. every time a filter coffee was ordered hot water and a cup would be added to the structure and you could watch the coffee drip its way through. caravan is a family friend place as well and the music does well to mask the ruckus of children. 

Sunday, 12 September 2010

sunday brunch; cornbread

o loves cornbread. 
or correction he loves the cornbread that ottolenghi serves. their's is light and has a loose crumb with a hint of red chilli.
i decided to make some at home. there was nothing delicate and light about mine. it has a dense crumb and is very wholesome and filling. i shied away from adding any savoury and spicy elements to it because i wanted to be able to teem it up with different sides. o and m had their's with a cheese and dill omelette and baked beans. i had mine with honey cream cheese.  i am thinking it would be nice with roasted aubergines and garlic cream cheese. 

the recipe i used is an amalgamation of a number of recipes. i upped the cornmeal content reducing the flour accordingly. to make cornbread at home here is what you need -

1 and a 1/4 cups coarse corn meal
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 a teaspoon salt
1/2 a teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 tablespoons sugar or honey or brown sugar
an egg
one and a half cups buttermilk* [to make buttermilk at home add a tablespoon of lemon juice per cup of milk and let stand for five minutes]
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or unsalted melted butter 

place all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix together to ensure that the baking powder and baking soda are well incorporated.
whisk the egg lightly then add the oil or butter and the buttermilk. add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix until no steaks remain.
pour into a lightly greased nine inch cake or pie pan (square or round) and bake at 200 degrees celsius for 25 - 28 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. the corn bread should shrink from the sides and turn a golden brown on top.

let it cool slightly before cutting into slices and tucking in.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

foxcroft and ginger

soho seems to be the post code of choice for flat whites. the newest addition is foxcroft and ginger which interestingly enough is just a couple of yards from flat white itself. the milk bar is right around the corner.  foxcroft and ginger is quite different from the milk bar and nearby flat white. it's more open and spacious and is slightly brighter too. it has a slightly industrial feel on account of the high ceilings with exposed pipes. the sitting space is more comfortable and lends itself well to sitting around. so much so that i spent two hours alternating between reading, writing postcards and bbm-ing virtual flat whites to a in pakistan and s in dubai which was followed by a rather long description of flat whites themselves. if you don't already know see my two beans worth coffee blog for a fantastic description including latte art.

to return to foxcroft and gingers flat white, it's probably not the smoothest one i've had. the coffee here is sharp and robust and very strong. there is no doubt that the milk adds a very creamy and round note but it isn't mellow like at flat white or the milk bar. nonetheless, it's very good. and i loved the quirky manner of serving. a delicate porcelain cup with a gold rim sitting on a mismatched saucer with blue and white patterns. 

as i was heading to ashtanga post coffee i had to forgo the goodies on display but i am definitely coming back for the chelsea buns. the man at the table next to me was having one that was sliced thickly and smelt of cinnamon and citrus peel and was dark with currants. 

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Monday, 6 September 2010

yalla yalla

so yesterday, i finally made it to yalla yalla. s, r, o and i turned up at yalla yalla for an early dinner. it was seven and the place was packed but luckily we only had to wait fifteen minutes. i stress the only because the previous four times that i have tried coming here i've been told the minimum wait is forty minutes. and i've usually been too hungry to wait that long.