Mini pavlovas (Nigella style)

I don’t know if you this about me, but… I LOVE PAVLOVA.

There, I said it. In capitals for the world to hear.

I think it’s my favourite pudding (and I’m a big pudding fan, so that’s high praise…)

P1110069I’m making mini-pavs tonight for a girls’ dinner at mine, so thought I’d blog the recipe as I go along.

It’s a great option for dinner parties as you can make it in advance and simply top with whipped cream and berries before serving. It’s very quick and easy to whip it out, fuss-free and with a flourish, after main course is done.

P1110068I have tried many a pavlova recipe in my time. My favourite has to be Nigella’s. She uses a lot of egg whites (eight!!) so it’s not for the faint-hearted, but for some reason using this quantity always gives you a perfectly light, fluffy and ever-so-slightly marshmallow like pavlova. I’m not sure on the science behind it, but using 8 egg whites and 500g caster sugar has become a superstition for me (even though, technically, 6 egg whites and 375g sugar should do the same thing).

(Warning: I definitely recommend using an electric whisk with this many egg whites)

P1110030To make around 12 mini-pavlovas you will need:

  • 8 egg whites
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 3 tsps cornflour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • pinch of salt

For the topping grab some whipping cream (about 600ml will be enough for 12 pavs) and any mixed berries or other fruit you fancy. I’ve gone for blueberries and raspberries. A dollop of sharp lemon curd added into the mix is great too.

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C, line 3 baking trays with parchment, and get your electric whisk out and ready to go. Take a teacup (or any round object measuring around 8 – 9cm diameter, I find most of my tea cups are around this size) and draw circles on your parchment, around 3-4cm apart. You should be able to get 4 on each baking tray. (This is a Nigella tip – it’s a great way to make sure they’re all roughly the same shape/size).

P11100352. Add your egg whites with a pinch of salt to a large bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. This will take ages for 8 egg whites – it took me around 12 minutes of continuous whisking on the medium speed setting of the KitchenAid. It needs to look like this picture..

P11100453. Once you have soft peaks, gradually add the caster sugar, whilst the electric whisk is still going. I add it one tablespoon at a time. After it’s all added, keep whisking for around another 8 – 10 minutes, until stiff peaks form and stay when you lift the whisk out of the mixture. When it’s ready it will be thick and glossy. Once it’s the right consistency, fold in the white wine vinegar, cornflour and vanilla extract.

4. Spoon onto the drawn circles on your baking trays. About two tablespoons should be enough for each circle. Try to make indents in the centre to hold the cream and berries. Place the trays into the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 150C. Bake for 30 minutes, and then turn off the oven and leave the pavs in the oven for a further 30 minutes. Then remove from oven and leave on a wire rack to cool completely. Don’t serve them until they are completely cool – it’s the cooling process that forms the marshmallow texture.

P11100525. Finally, top with some whipped cream and your chosen berries…

… et voila, you’re done!

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You win some, you dim sum

I’d always heard of dim sum for brunch being a “thing” but hadn’t had a chance to try it out.

I remember Hakkasan doing a brunch deal which was on my radar last year, but I carried on booking then having to cancel it for various annoying reasons (work, double-booking myself, more work).

So I was very keen when Chris got a group of us together at Royal China a few weeks ago…

P1100296Royal China is a cornerstone of the London dim sum scene – it has quite a few branches now and a loyal following amongst Londoners, tourists and ex-pats. They’re known for the quality of their dim sum (it’s second to none really) and constant churn out of perfectly prepared traditional dishes. I’d been before several times, but never for brunch.

We went to Royal China Queensway. As soon as you get there you can tell something special is going on. There’s a throng of people waiting in the entrance hall, a ticket machine and TV screen showing numbers bingo-style and even more people waiting outside in a messy, continual queue. (You can see from the photo above.)

It looks like a tiny space from the outside but don’t be fooled – it gets bigger and bigger as you go in, like an Alice-in-wonderland rabbit hole’s path to dim sum.

P1100301We settled into our table and started to order dish after dish. We went for a huge mix of things and shared everything – sharing being a crucial part of the dim sum brunch – and I can happily inform you that, apart from one mediocre plate of prawn toast, every single bite was delicious.

I’m afraid I can’t recite the names of everything we had (sorry), but I do have photos of the best things – and the menu, thankfully, has photos in too – I think that may be the first time I have ever applauded a restaurant for putting photos in the menu.

(Reading the menu is like reading a novel by the way, it’s vaaaaast.)

For four people I would recommend getting one or two rice or noodle based dishes, 3 to 4 different dim sums and at least 1 plate of vegetables. You can keep ordering more so don’t feel in a rush to order everything all at once…

P1100306 P1100304 P1100308 P1100307Oh, and order the jasmine tea. It’s delicious, and you get bottomless refills.

Also, I need to particularly point out these to you…. Char Siu Bao (pork buns). They’re sweetened little buns with a sticky pork filling inside (similar to this place).

P1100305They’re one of my favourite dishes – so unexpectedly sweet, salty and marshmallow-esque.

But truly, everything is good, I defy you to be disappointed with the food here.

Now, the service is something which might cause some disappointment. I hate to say it but it wouldn’t be full disclosure if I didn’t. In my experience it’s not always the friendliest service – you tend to get ignored a lot and plates are brusquely slapped down on the tables – but, and now you’ll think I sound crazy, if you know to expect it I doubt it will really bother you that much. For us it became a friendly joke each visit, and the food is so good that you don’t care about any other details (or at least I didn’t).

Best of all, it’s cheap as chips here (or should that be char siu). We spent £15 a head both times and had much more food and tea than we sensibly needed.

I guess all those long queues each weekend can’t be wrong…

Royal China Queensway

13 Queensway, London W2 4QJ





Monday porridge

I’ve been a fan of Deliciously Ella for a while now. I love her ethos to food and her flavour combinations.

In fact, it was after reading her blog that I decided to go vegan for a week (despite my love of meat, it was great – and I genuinely glowed at the end of it).

And it’s also through following her blog that I was persuaded to attempt trying out porridge for breakfast again.

P1100421To be frank, porridge has never really appealed to me – it’s too reminiscent of Oliver Twist and gruel and bland Victorian food (or my idea of what bland Victorian food is, at least). I guess it feels unexciting in some way, like you could do better if you tried.

But Ella convinced me to give it a go again. She has some great varieties of it on her blog so I worked my way through them. And, to my surprise, I became sold on it. Porridge breakfasts have some wonderful advantages  – you feel full all the way until lunch, they’re extremely quick, easy and nutritious, and the topping possibilities really are endless.

P1100418So after a few attempts at different recipes I find myself in the unexpected position of being a full-on porridge aficionado. I love it so much now I consider having it for dinner sometimes (but let’s keep that between you and me).

This recipe is one my all time favourite porridge combos. I call it Monday porridge because it’s packed full of things that are really, really good for you and is guaranteed to get your week off to a flying start. I promise you will zip into work first thing on a Monday in a much better mood after having a bowl of this…

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To make enough for Monday morning breakfast for 2 you will need:

  • 100g jumbo porridge oats (gluten free if you can get them)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 can coconut milk (or about 350ml water if you don’t have coconut milk)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • drizzle of agave nectar, to taste
  • handful of fresh berries – I like blackberries and blueberries best

To prepare, place your oats and coconut milk (or water) in a large pan with a teeny pinch of salt, and heat on high until it starts to simmer. This will take around 4 – 5 minutes or so from cold. Once simmering, turn the heat right down and keep stirring until it comes together to a consistency of your liking. For me it’s usually around 3 minutes of simmering. If you find you’ve cooked the oats too much, simply add a bit more liquid until it’s right. Once cooked to your liking remove from the heat and add the tablespoon of coconut oil (this makes it very glossy and silky and rich – it’s an Ella tip I picked up) and stir it in.

P1100387Now time for your toppings. I like to add half of the agave nectar whilst the porridge is still in the pan, so it stirs through and reaches every last oat. Once this has been added, serve the porridge into your two serving bowls and then layer on all of your toppings (I do seeds first and then berries at the end), and finish with an extra drizzle of agave nectar.

Absolutely delicious!

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Super quick noodles

These noodles are fast fast fast. Blink and they’ve cooked themselves.

P1100352They’re the perfect remedy if you’re feeling a little delicate (read hungover) and not up to cooking anything complicated, plus they’re packed with vegetables so they’re not that bad for you either. And I’ve heard from some reliable sources that they make an excellent breakfast alternative with a runny fried egg on top…

P1100344 P1100348But best of all, they are extremely versatile – you can use up whatever vegetables you have in the fridge and I promise these will still be absolutely fantastic.

To make enough for 2 you will need:

  • 150g dried egg noodles, fine or medium – I like these ones
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons pure sesame oil
  • 1 tabslespoon mirin
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 2cm piece of ginger, grated
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 50g cubed pancetta
  • 1/2 head broccoli
  • 1 whole chinese leaf cabbage
  • 1 large handful green beans
  • 1 large handful mange tout
  • black sesame seeds, to garnish

The recipe couldn’t be simpler. Fry the pancetta in a small pan until browned and crispy, and put to one side. Roughly chop the chinese leaf into wide ribbons and remove all of the florets from the brocoli head, chopping any larger florets into bite size (or chop-stick size) pieces. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil and, once simmering, add the dried noodles and broccoli florets. Put the lid on and leave for 1 minute. Then add the green beans, mange tout and chinese leaf, and put the lid back on and leave for a further 2 minutes. (Yep that’s a total cooking time of 3 minutes – told you it was quick!) Whilst the noodles and veg are simmering, add all of the dressing ingredients to a large serving bowl (soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, fish sauce, chilli flakes, lime juice, grated garlic and ginger) and mix well in the bottom of the bowl. Once the three minutes is up, drain the noodles and veg, pour the pancetta on top and toss thoroughly in the delicious dressing. Finish with black sesame seeds and serve with extra chilli flakes and soy sauce, to taste.


P1100347 P1100352 P1100344You’ll never reach for a pot noodle again…. (!)




Cauliflower pizza: the definitive recipe

Today there’s some magic on the blog for you all (you lucky people).

You see, today I am going to be turning this…


Into – drum roll – this…


Oh yeahhh, pizzaa!! …but not your normal, thousands-of-calories pizza. This is cauliflower crust pizza (or “flower power” pizza as it’s sometimes called). And this is my definitive, fool-proof recipe.


Variations of the cauliflower pizza recipe have been making the rounds on pinterest and twitter a lot (I first saw and tried it back in 2013) but the first few recipes I tried just didn’t work. The crust didn’t come together, and it all got stuck to the baking sheet and for the most part all of it just tasted a bit… meh.

There were some which worked marginally better, but they often had small amounts of flour in – buckwheat usually – which made me wonder what the point of going to all of the effort with the cauliflower was (the whole point of this is to be a grain free recipe as far as I’m concerned). Plus the buckwheat gave it an odd, pancake-like taste. I gave up on the whole thing for a while.

But lately, with Autumn creeping up on us in London and the days getting noticeably shorter, I have been really hankering for some good, comforting pizza in the evenings. So I revisited this recipe (real pizza is completely off limits at the moment – wedding diet) and finally managed to tweak it to get a good result. That’s why I call this recipe definitive – it is tried and tested and tried again, and incorporates all of the good bits from the various versions with my own little tweaks here and there too.

I promise if you follow this step by step you can’t go wrong.


To make the pizza base you will need:

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g grated parmesan
  • 50g grated light mozzarella
  • a big pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tsps oregano
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • olive oil
  • black pepper

And then you can add whatever toppings you fancy. I’ve gone for mushroom, parma ham and rocket. If you want to make the same you’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp organic passata (or homemade tomato sauce – I promise to blog this recipe soon)
  • 2 or 3 slices of parma ham
  • a handful of roughly torn portabellini or chestnut mushrooms
  • buffalo mozzarella
  • black pepper
  • rocket
  • olive oil

1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C and place a lined baking sheet on the top shelf to heat up. Remove the florets from the cauliflower and wash and drain them in a colander. After shaking as much of the excess water off as possible, place the florets in a food processor and blitz them until they are the consistency of coarse bread crumbs. Be careful not to overdo it – you don’t want a big mush of cauliflower.


2. Tip the cauliflower into a large bowl and microwave on high heat for 90 seconds. (I’m not sure what this bit does exactly, but some recipes call for it and some don’t – mine always work better after this step so I’ve kept it in). Then empty the cauliflower onto a clean tea towel or muslin cloth and wring it out over the sink several times to try and remove every last drop of water. You may need to wear rubber gloves for this as the cauliflower will be quite hot from the microwave.


3. Return the cauliflower to a large bowl and add the salt, pepper, oregano, chilli flakes, parmesan, mozzarella and 2 eggs. Mix with a spoon until the dough comes together into a sticky squidgy ball. Don’t worry too much if it doesn’t fully hold it’s shape – it doesn’t need to be rolled out but can simply be spread out using your hands or the back of a spoon.

4. Shape the “dough” on your prepared baking sheet as thinly as you can into whatever pizza shape you wish. Some people use a rolling pin but I just like to flatten it with my hands. If you have any minor tears or holes as you’re shaping simply patch up with more mixture as you go along. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Turn the oven down to 200C and bake on the top shelf for 7 – 9 minutes, or until the top has started to go brown a little (see photo below). Then add your toppings and bake for a further 9 – 10 minutes (or until done).


And there you have it…

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One pizza will feed around 2 – 3 people. The dough is more filling than normal pizza as it’s enriched with cheese. I would recommend serving it on a sharing plate with a big salad or homemade coleslaw on the side.

I should say by way of warning this recipe doesn’t taste exactly like normal pizza of course – it definitely has a cauliflowery-cheesy tang to it. For me it still delivers on the pizza hit massively though and it is so wonderful that you can have it while on a low carb diet. Also the fact that you can slice it and eat it with your fingers (which you can’t with other no-carb pizza recipes) makes this a real winner.

Absolutely delicious…. and grain-free!!

*South Beach Phase One friendly


Slutty Salmon Teriyaki

Before you go wild, I’ve named this dish slutty salmon in the Italian alla-puttanesca sense. By which I mean it uses only cupboard ingredients for the sauce, nothing fresh (what were you thinking).

I’ve tried making this in both slutty and non-slutty (chaste?) versions and the slutty one definitely makes for a much richer, more tangy sauce. And the name is funnier. Win win.



But innuendo aside, you have to try this, it’s honestly delicious. When you roast salmon using this method it cooks to perfection – flaking off the skin in beautifully slippery forkfuls. And the sauce is so easy.

I also have to say that the first time I made this I managed to actually make it up on the spot – with no reference to any form of recipe or internet research. I just added my approximation of what a teriyaki sauce should contain into a pan and went from there. I have tweaked it slightly before blogging it on here (I only blog tried and perfected recipes for you, dear readers) but about 90% of it is the same concoction I made up from scratch that day.

I really recommend cooking on a whim once in a while by the way – it’s such a fun way to stumble on great recipes and it feels so much more rewarding when you haven’t googled the life out of something before attempting to cook it.

To make slutty salmon teriyaki for 2 you will need:

  • 2 salmon steaks
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus a little extra for frying off the salmon
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 2 tsp lazy garlic
  • 2 tsp lazy ginger
  • 2 tsp lazy chillies
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup, plus a little extra for marinating
  • black sesame seeds, to garnish

You can serve this with any vegetables you like (it goes with a lot). I like it best with some plain steamed runner beans finished in garlic and soy, or perhaps a quick plate of crunchy stir fried vegetables. Also, it’s heavenly with jasmine rice (Biona do a wonderful version of it – here).


1. You’ll need to marinate your salmon steaks. Lightly score the skin with the sharpest knife you have, place skin side down in a snug-fitting dish and cover in a mixture of 2 tbsp soy sauce (you’ll use the rest of the soy sauce later on), 1 tbsp mirin, 1 tsp each of the lazy garlic, ginger and chillies and a teeny tiny slurp of maple syrup. Whisk this mixture together, pour over the fish, and cover with cling film and leave for around 2 hours.

2. Once the salmon has marinated to perfection, pre-heat your oven to 200C and pop a good quality non stick baking tray on the very top shelf to heat up. Remove the salmon from the dish and add the marinating juices to a small saucepan. Also add to the saucepan the remaining soy sauce (3 tbsps), the sesame oil, and the final 1 tsp each of the lazy garlic, ginger and chillies. Squeeze in your lime juice at this point too. Bring the mixture up to a very gentle simmer and leave for around 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. This gives you time to get on with cooking the salmon.

3. Take a small frying pan and add a small amount (around 1 tsp should do it) of sesame oil. Bring it up to an almost smoking hot heat, and once it’s sizzling, add the salmon steaks skin side down. Cook skin side down for about 3 minutes (you want the skin to be blackened and crispy) and then transfer from the frying pan to the pre-heated baking sheet with a little sesame oil tossed over to prevent sticking. When you transfer the salmon to the baking sheet, flip it over so the skin side is on top (with the belly meat touching the baking sheet). Return to the oven and set a timer for 12 minutes.

4. The salmon and the teriyaki sauce should take around the same period of time to cook. When the time is up be sure to remove the salmon from the oven and set aside so it doesn’t overcook, whilst you quickly finish off the teriyaki sauce. To do this take a small colander and sieve the sauce mixture to remove all large pieces so you are left with a smooth sauce. Return the sieved sauce to the saucepan, add the remaining tbsp of maple syrup and furiously boil for 1 to 2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

… Et voila. Simply plate the salmon with whichever veg or rice you have prepared and then drizzle the sauce on top. Serve with extra soy sauce and lime if you wish.

Tangy, sticky, spicy and oh-so-sooo-good.


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Before I finish, a quick note on the health attributes of this: A lot of people tell me they think this is healthy but I’m not completely convinced. Whilst roast salmon on it’s own is good for you, and if you serve with veg only and omit the ice it’s good from a carb angle, the teriyaki just has too much sesame oil, soy sauce and maple syrup to convince me it falls firmly in the health food category. One thing I would say though, is if you’re on a diet, you don’t need to go overboard with the sauce – the amounts listed above are designed to make just a small amount – about 1 tbsps of finished sauce per plate.

It’s really strong and sticky so you don’t need to pile lots of it on to enjoy it.

Sloe gin: Part 1

The other weekend Le Ginge and I went to Wiltshire to look after dogs, ducks and sheep while his parents were away.

I really love it down there. It’s beautiful and very relaxing.

IMAG2709-1Plus everyone is so much nicer than in London. (It’s not just a stereotype, it’s actually true.) I mean, look at what we found whilst wandering through the town…

IMG_20140912_130906We had a lovely weekend full of long walks with the dogs and lazy coffees – with me flicking through wedding blogs (I can recite all of RMW from memory at the moment…)


IMAG2797-11And, keeping on the wedding theme, we decided to start making some sloe gin for our wedding whilst we were down there. (Yes, it’s going to be a boozy affair.) Which is where today’s post comes in…

I’ve not made sloe gin before, but George assures me he’s a pro, so here is the recipe (well, the first part of the recipe – I’ll fill you in on the rest as and when it happens.)

To make sloe gin (part 1):

1. You will need to go out and pick some sloes. You can find them in hedgerows all over the UK. They look like this in case you’re as much an amateur as me. Remember to take gloves with you (they can be quite thorny).

2. You will need a lot of sloes. I mean a serious amount. To make 1ltr of sloe gin you need around 500g of sloes (roughly half a bottle of sloes to half a bottle of gin). And there’s no point making sloe gin unless you make lots of it – it will slip down pretty easily once it’s ready (it’s so sweet and more-ish). We returned with bags and bags full of them and we still weren’t certain we’d managed to pick enough.


3. Wash the sloes in batches in a colander and transfer to a large dish where you can pick out any excess stems, leaves or other unwanted bits – you want to keep only the berries as the stems will have a bitter taste. This bit can be time consuming depending on the quantity you have. You can see we had an enormous amount…


4. Transfer to freezer bags and stow away in the deep freeze until you’re ready to use them (we’re planning on getting everything bottled up over Christmas). If you want to be super organised you could weigh out the sloes at this point into 500g portions and freeze individually (that way you will have the right amount to put into a 1ltr bottle when you come to use them). You don’t have to freeze them of course, you could bottle it up straight away, but sloes are only around in September and October so you’ll need to factor that in to your plans. We decided to get our picking done and freeze until we have all the bottles etc for the next stage. Besides, George swears that freezing the berries first makes for a better gin.

… and for now, that’s it!

I will update with Part 2 over Christmas.

(Ohhh the suspense.)



Well hello again fellow foodies.

I’m afraid I’ve been a bad blogger and have neglected my little patch of the internet lately.

But in my defence, I got engaged – YAY! – to Le Ginge. So the past few months have been full of choosing engagement rings and marquees and flowers and photographer recommendations…

It’s dizzying actually. Dizzying but wonderful. I am so incredibly excited.

But anyway, on to today’s post. This actually dates back to pre-engagement times (I just haven’t had a chance to get it up yet). Welcome all to a new(ish) Indian restaurant, Gymkhana…


Nestled in a little spot on Albemarle Street, this place is a far cry from the usual curry fare both in terms of its food (I barely recognised a single dish on the menu – unusual territory for a food geek like me) and its price (it’s definitely in the occasional splurge category).

I think the best way to describe Gymkhana is very posh, very good, Indian curry. It’s also quite traditional in its style of food – all the dishes have provenance and the waiters can take you through their origins.

It takes it’s name from the old word for Indian gentlemen’s clubs (I thought it was something to do with ponies, but I was wrong…) And the interior is very slick boys’ club: the walls are filled with beautiful, nostalgic black and white photos, and huge fans adorn the ceilings and bring to mind a bygone era as they whoosh and whizz. It’s sort of Ralph Lauren meets the Maharahja. I loved it.

Now, I’m afraid I can’t actually tell you the names of any of the dishes we had. Most of the words on the menu were totally new to me and, because I’ve been meaning to write this up for so long, I now can’t remember what our dishes were called… (I know, massive fail. I hang my head in shame)

But the main thing is, I remember they were very good…

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Like seriously good. Particularly those little sausage-looking thingies, and the big puffy bread (dosa I think?)

But everyone’s favourite by a long shot was this beauty…


It was a beautiful (almost) pie with an exquisitely spicy curry hidden inside. It’s also quite theatrical as the waiters bring it over to you all stood up and then burst the top in front of you.


It’s a great sharing place – we went with some friends and it was good fun passing all of the dishes around and talking about our different choices. Although I admit I’m biased as I love to share food – it’s the Cypriot in me I think.

My only criticism really is the price. I thought it was way too much for what it was, despite being very good…

But I guess this is a special occasion type place rather than your local. Still, it’s a shame as if it were priced slightly more reasonably I would be returning time and time again.


42 Albemarle St, London W1S 4JH
020 3011 5900




Granger & Co

Granger & Co is one of those places I just kept hearing about.

We were wandering through Notting Hill the other day and decided to try it out finally. For once there wasn’t a huge queue (probably as it was a week day lunch time rather than a weekend) and given that it’s ethos is healthy eating, it’s a safe restaurant choice if you’re on a healthy-eating kick – particularly if you’re doing low-GI, low-carbs like (South Beach).

And honestly, it lived up to the hype. I mean, check out this pavlova…

P1050743 P1050744This pudding alone explained to me why people queue here for hours on a weekend. It was truly spectacular. Every single ingredient sung out from the plate – the pistachios, the hint of vanilla in the cream, the beautifully soft organic strawberries. It was heaven on a plate.

But let’s start with the basics. Before you even make it in to order pavlova, you’ll notice the beautiful exterior.

It has that very Notting Hill quality of looking laid back and expensive all at the same time – yellow awnings, white outdoor seating and a sort of Farrow & Ball (but cooler) lick of grey across the whole facade. Even in this super polished area you can’t help noticing it.

P1050755 P1050754P1050756The interior is all Ottolenghi-esque with a sweeping bar piled high with plates of desserts, the papers and some very beautiful families sprawling about – shiny-haired children and mummies in yoga gear. I imagine on a weekend it’s absolutely bursting with more just like this.

We took our seats, ordered some wine and looked through the menu.

P1050732I wanted everything on it. Literally everything. Maybe it’s just the diet but, even so, I think it really says something about a restaurant when you’re genuinely that spoilt for choice.

In the end I went for courgette fritters and Le Ginge had a wonderfully big bowl of Asian broth.

P1050736 P1050734 P1050738 P1050737Both were great – really truly great – but George’s broth deserves a special mention. It was so mind-bogglingly fragrant.

Next we shared (read, I ate all of) the strawberry and pistachio pavlova you see above, whilst ogling some copies of Bill Granger’s cook books that are dotted round the place. I made a mental note to buy every single one on Amazon as soon as possible.

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I really, really recommend this place. If you’re there on a weekend I can safely vouch that it’s worth the queue.

Granger & Co:

175 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2SB
020 7229 9111

Also, Bill Granger does quite a lot of press writing and recipes it seems – if you want to get a feel for his style of cooking, look at this piece in the Independent. 



Sesame chicken salad with cucumber noodles

Well, I’m on week two of my revamped South Beach diet and I’m starting, actually, to feel quite good. The sugar withdrawal has disappeared and I’m feeling all bouncy and light on my feet.

Plus my energy levels are absolutely soaring…

Which is probably why I have been reading my new Hemsley + Hemsley cookbook cover to cover since it arrived the other day. The Hemsley sisters really know a thing or two about grain-free cooking, low GI and best of all, healthy eating principles. I just love their book.

So this recipe is taken straight from there and it uses cucumber noodles (similar to the courgette-y spaghetti idea). The cucumber noodles have a fresher, cooler taste to courgette-y though – more akin to the type to glass noodles you find served cold in Asian salads. Absolutely yummy.


As ever, I’ve tweaked this slightly. To make enough for four you will need:

  • 2 organic chicken breasts, cooked and pulled apart (oven baked with salt and olive oil will do fine if you don’t have leftovers)
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • around 4 medium baby pack choys
  • 1 big handful coriander
  • 5 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 – 3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • drizzle of agave nectar
  • 2 limes
  • a few tbsps black sesame seeds

Tip: there is an art to the timing of eating this – you need to let the flavours infuse a bit, but the cucumber noodles will go watery if you let it hang around for too long. Overall you need to leave it for 10 minutes or so, max, I think. Then just toss it all in the serving bowl and serve with extra tamari and lime, as above.

1. Spiralise your cucumbers to make the noodles. You might want to chop the spirals in half so each one is a manageable length when you come to eating (spiralisers make things massssssively long). You need this gadget to spiralise (see further details here in my previous post). Alternatively, this will also be great if you simply use a hand peeler to make long pappardelle-like ribbons of cucumber instead.

2. Finely chop or shred your romaine and pak choy and add to a large serving bowl. Mix your cooked shredded chicken breast into this and add the chopped chillies. Toss your cucumber nodles into the same bowl.

3. Mix up your dressing – add the sesame oil, toasted sesame oil, juice of 1 and 1/2 limes, crushed garlic, tamari or soy sauce, and agave nectar to a jam jar or other container and shake/whisk until it all comes together. Add to your bowl of salad and toss furiously so it’s all coated in the dressing. Sprinkle over the black sesame seeds, coriander and a little extra tamari.

4. Leave for around 5 minutes or so to infuse (see tip above), and then serve with extra tamari on the table and the remaining lime cut into wedges.


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