Category Archives: Food

The Tagine Fancier

I’ve been looking for a reason to buy a tagine.  They fascinate me with their cone like lids that sit atop a heavy bowl.  I find myself eyeing them surreptitiously every time I’m wandering round a cookery shop (which is probably more often than I should admit to!).

Recently I’ve been concentrating on baking.  Desserts and baking are a weak point for me so I decided (partly because of the cakes that I have baked for The Depressed Cake shop) that I’d like to perfect the art of desserts/baking.  After all, who doesn’t like cake!!

My point being that my tagine fancying has been set aside for a while but yesterday whilst shopping for a cake stand, I came across a relatively cheap tagine and couldn’t resist.  The conversation with myself went something like this:

“cake stand or tagine?  tagine or cake stand?”  

Backwards and forwards, trying to decide which  I’d use most.

So at the point that people started backing away from the muttering mad lady with a tagine in one hand and a cake stand in the other, I decided to buy both and I have to say I’m delighted with my purchases!!!

My cake stand will be perfect for the Jamie Oliver Hummingbird cake that I plan to make next time we have guests and the tagine….well the tagine is something I’ve desired for a long time which is why I’m spending my Sunday morning researching tagine recipes!

I’m not familiar with tagine cooking apart from having eaten in Comptoir Libanais a few times.  That said, I’ve managed to become a self-taught competent baker so this is just another challenge to overcome!  Watch this space….

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Something to Waffle About

Books, food and cats.  My three greatest passions in life (apart from hubby of course!), not necessarily in that order.

I love to eat, try new recipes and restaurants, places that I’ve read about, with good reviews and interesting menus.

Recently Hubby and I had the chance to try the Duck and Waffle.  It was a fantastic experience.    The Duck and Waffle is on the 40th Floor of the Heron Town in the city of London so you can imagine what the views were like!  In some ways it is better than The Shard because you are lower down in the Heron Tower so you can see more detail.

Generally it has good reviews on Trip Advisor and although some reviews said the food was average, I have to say I don’t agree.

The food was delicious and the whole feel of the restaurant was pretty amazing!  I was too busy looking at the views to concentrate on what I wanted from the menu!

Only downside for me was the glass lifts on the outside of the building….not great for somebody who is afraid of heights!!

Duck egg en cocotte /  wild mushrooms / gruyère / truffle / soldiers
Duck egg en cocotte /
wild mushrooms / gruyère / truffle / soldiers
View from our table
View from our table
View from the windo
View from the window

photo 2

Bar area
Bar area
Looking down on Liverpool Street
Looking down on Liverpool Street
View of the Gherkin from the bar area
View of the Gherkin from the bar area
Freshly squeezed orange juice
Freshly squeezed orange juice
Ox Cheek Benedict
Ox Cheek Benedict

 

Bodeans BBQ Restaurant, London

One of my favourite restaurants in London is Bodeans.  It isn’t the poshest restaurant in London or the place with the Michelin starred chefs, I like those places too but for me (and for hubby!), Bodean’s has to be up there.

I love its lack of prention. There are a selection of sauces on the table and kitchen roll because believe me you’ll need it when you start tucking into saucy wings and ribs which are delicious by the way!  I have a real chicken wing fetish but you’d be amazed at how difficult it is to find good chicken wings…thankfully, on this count, Bodean’s consistently delivers.  I was most disappointed when TGIs changed their wings.

Anyway….

One of the criticisms on trip advisor is the amount of meat on offer and the kitchen towel on the tables.  I’d expect there to be a vast selection of meat from this type of restaurant.  I’ve been lucky enough to travel in the USA and eat at several BBQ restaurants.  One of the best places we visited was Dave’s Famous BBQ.  I love that place.  It makes me wish I lived in the USA!  The menu is similar (albeit bigger) to Bodeans and we were delighted to find somewhere in London that served similar food.

Hubby and I share a platter and I always order the cornbread muffins.  I’m such a sucker for cornbread.  I haven’t quite cracked how to make it at home so it is always a treat when we are out and we find somewhere that sells cornbread.  I’m in piggy heaven! 

The platters are advertised as being for 2 people but they’d easily feed 3 – 4 depending on how hungry  you all are.  We always takeaway our leftovers and have them in sandwiches.

I’d definitely recommend a visit next time you are in London!

 

Boss Hog Platter for 2., mac and cheese and a side of cornbread.  We always end up taking a doggie bag home!
Boss Hog Platter for 2., mac and cheese and a side of cornbread. We always end up taking a doggie bag home!

Dirty Habit

I want to tell you about my Dirty Habit experience.  No not that kind of Dirty Habit!  The Dirty Habit.

The Dirty Habit is a gorgeous 11th century pub in the picturesque village of Hollingbourne

Inside, near the bar area
Inside, near the bar area

in Kent.  I’d had it recommended to me by a foodie friend and was dying to give it a go! 

The opportunity presented itself last Friday. The sun was shining, I had a day off work, what better way to spend the day…..so off we went!

I was enchanted with Hollingbourne itself.  It has a very olde worlde charm with glorious chocolate box cottages.  Hubby described it as a typical old Kent village and he was absolutely right.

The rest of the restaurant
The rest of the restaurant

I’m pleased to report that the Dirty Habit didn’t disappoint.  It is beautiful inside with lots of beams and a lovely beer garden.  We opted to sit indoors by the open door. The staff were friendly and attentive.  Not too much attention, just the right amount. I thought it was good value for money too.  3 courses each and a bill in the region of £70.  We only had soft drinks  but we had a couple each.

I was surprised to find that The Dirty Habit was part of a chain but that said, I can’t wait to try the rest of the pubs in the chain!  Watch this space!!

Fishcake starter with Hollandaise sauce.  If I was being picky, I'd say the fishcake had a little too much potato for my taste but that is just picking holes.  It was very good
Fishcake starter with Hollandaise sauce. If I was being picky, I’d say the fishcake had a little too much potato for my taste but that is just picking holes. It was very good
Hubby's pate starter
Hubby’s pate starter

Hempstead House, Bapchild

I’ve only been to Hempstead House in Bapchild for work functions – team away days, Christmas lunch etc so I can’t comment on what it is like for evening functions or the al a carte menu but I’ve enjoyed it when I’ve been.

It is a cosy venue that markets itself as a country hotel and spa.  While it may lack the elegance of the more modern hotels, it makes up for that in charm and character.

I must go back and try the evening menu because the set menu has always been good…especially the lemon tart!

View from the gardens
View from the gardens
Delicious!
Delicious!