Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Delicious times at Wahaca

I love food that is interesting in not only flavour, but colour and texture too.  So bring on the culinary delights at Wahaca - Mexican Market Eating.

We went to the original restaurant based in Covent Garden, located along Chandos Place.  You cannot book a table at Wahaca, so you just need to turn up when you want to eat.  We went on a Saturday, around 1pm.  Given there were only 2 of us, we got a seat straight away.  Parties of 4 or more had a little wait.

The restaurant was thriving and full with happy customers, some with tables full of food, others sipping on cocktails.  The decor is simple and bright, with a paper menu on the table.  We had a very helpful waitress who offered to talk us through the menu and made suggestions on what we might want to eat.  We were offered tortilla chips with a variety of dips and our drink order taken while we made a decision on what to order.

We've been a couple of times before, but wanted to try a variety of street food.  I always think this is similar to the Spanish tapas style of eating, so you order 2-3 dishes per person and share it all.  It was suggested we try the Wahaca Selection (£19.95) which gives you the favourites from the Street Food menu for 2 people.

The food started coming out within 10 minutes and by 20 minutes all five dishes were placed in front of us.  We hungrily worked our way through:

Pork pibil taco - Slow cooked pork in their own special Yucatecan marinade.

Broad bean & feta quesadella - Crushed new potatoes, broad beans, peas, feta and mint.

Chicken tinga tacos - Tender chicken in their own smoky chipotle sauce.

Black bean tostadas - Wahaca's special re-fried beans topped with avocado salsa, crema, Lancashire cheese and fresh tomato salsa.

Summery new potato taquitos - Seasonal potatoes, shredded lettuce, feta and their own habanero salsa.

Each plate was full of flavour and different to the rest.  My favourite meat dish was the chicken tinga tacos and then the summer new potato taquitos vegetarian dish went down a treat.  Both mouth mouthwatering delicious!  We washed this down with a couple of Pacifico Clara, Mexican beers, which was recommended by the Waitress.

I rate Wahaca very high on my list of great places to eat in London, they can do no wrong with their great attentive service, exciting food and good value for money.

Wahaca was co-founded by Thomasina Miers who won MasterChef in 2005.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Cheese and beer in Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace has a great new foodie shop - Good Taste Food and Drink.  To quote from their facebook page about their store:
"To offer a well-selected variety of tasty produce that are unlikely to be found in any supermarket."
I've been keeping an eye on these guys on facebook and Twitter and I have certainly noticed the locals commenting on how great the food is.  So what did I do about this?  Well, went and had a look for myself of course!

Firstly we looked at their fine collection of beers and purchased a few for a friends birthday.  They only stock British beers and there was certainly a large range to look through.  Manish (the owner) helped us choose each beer.  His knowledge on each was brilliant!  Some of the names like 'Nanny State' and 'Hardcore IPA' grabbed your attention and made you giggle.  We chose a variety and included a lovely sounding Espresso beer from Darkstar.

The following day we went back to sample some cheeses.

I had an appetite for blue cheese and I mentioned that to one of the staff and he suggested a couple of blues for us to try.  We were offered slivers to taste and ended up buying Harbourne Blue (Devon, England) and Lanark Blue (Lanarkshire, Scotland).  Both were delicious, one slightly creamy and the other quite crumbly.

Next I asked if we could try a hard cheese, something sweet and nutty.  We were offered some Comte AOC (French-Comte region of France) and this was perfect!  It was certainly nutty and it was difficult not to eat it before we even got it home.

To help you remember what you bought, you are given a little card with the name of the cheese, the price and it's flavour.  Very helpful for my next visit.

The shop also sells wine, cured and cold meats, breads, chutneys, tea and coffee.

So if you are ever in South East London, I recommend you drop by Good Taste Food and Drink and sample some of their delights.  Actually, why not make a special trip down, you won't be disappointed.

More information on Good Taste Food and Drink can be found on their facebook page.

Monday, 27 June 2011

I made a pavlova this weekend!

I know, it might not sound THAT amazing, but I haven't made a pavlova since I was about 15 years old with my mum standing there giving me instructions on how to do it.

It was surprisingly quick and easy to make the meringue mixture.  One of the things I remember from being a child is my mum making pavlova and then passing the egg beaters to me so that I could sit there and eat the raw meringue, most of which then ended up all over my face.

I used a trusted recipe from the Edmonds Cookery Book - a book that is in every household of NZ!  It makes me think of summer time in New it was fitting for this past lovely weekend we've had in London.


3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup caster sugar
3 teaspoons cornflour

Preheat oven to 150℃.  Using an electric mixer, beat eggs whites until stiff.  Add water and beat again.  Add sugar very gradually while still beating.  Slow beater and add vinegar, vanilla and cornflour.

Line an over tray with baking paper.  Draw a 22cm circle on the baking paper.  Spread the pavlova to within 2cm of the edge of the circle, keeping the shape as round and even as possible.  Smooth top surface over.

Bake pavlova for 45 minutes, then leave to cool in the oven.  Do not open the door during the cooking time.  Carefully lift pavlova onto a serving place.  Decorate with whipped cream and fresh fruit.


Friday, 24 June 2011

Are the British obessed with the weather?

View from my bedroom window
To quote my friend Emma on Twitter this morning:  #happyfriday can we have sunshine all weekend please? Also does the UK tweet more about the weather than anywhere else?

After reading this, I scrolled through my twitter updates and there were no less than six different people talking about the weather, all within the first hour of their working day.

So what did I do, even before I got out of bed?  I grabbed my trusty iPhone and looked at the BBC weather page.  Phew, now I know what everyone is talking about and I can join in the weather banter!

I'm slightly obsessed with it after living here in the UK for the past 9 years.  I also check first thing in the morning and then also before I go to sleep - just to mentally prepare myself!

There seems to be three things linked to the weather that people are updating us about this week.  Those interested in the tennis at Wimbledon and don't want to get soggy strawberries. The others going to Glastonbury and trying to decide if wellies or a small dingy is needed to keep dry.  

But most importantly there are those that are lucky enough to be going on holiday within the next week.  Yes, those great people that post up a link to a weather report stating 35 degree plus sunshine and blue skies at some Spanish beach, while the rest of us sit here in the UK, looking out our window and watch as four seasons in one day, flash before our eyes...

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Fancy biscuits?

My own cupcakes
Now I'm a cupcake kind of girl.  I love making them just as much as I like buying fancy ones from stores such as Hummingbird Bakery and Lola's Kitchen.  When I spotted a link from a Tatty Devine post on Facebook, my eyes lit up!

What a great idea!  These biscuits are absolutely adorable.  I can't wait for a birthday / special occasion so I can grab some. I think they are just gorgeous in all the colours and the designs they've come up with. 

How about a sewing kit, or tea for two?  I'm now also inspired to bake some myself...

Well done I just have to taste them!  ;)

Friday, 3 June 2011

Tatty Devine has made my Friday!

My goodies arrived from Tatty Devine this morning, thanks to a lovely post lady knocking on my door.

I absolutely LOVE the music note bracelet:

The cat bangle is for a friend and it's adorable!