A couple of weeks ago, pre-ankle injury, and wearing a pair of heels for the first time in forever, I tottered down to Covent Garden for the re-launch of newly refurbed bar/restaurant/cabaret venue, Circus. I've said before that I'm lucky enough to be invited to some pretty cool places because of my blog, and this was definitely one of those. You walk into Circus through an almost unmarked door, and a huge room opens up in front of you. A large table runs down one side of the room while the rest of the space is filled with regular tables, and a cocktail lounge at the back which is where we headed to start our evening. I'll get to the bit later where I say you have to go to Circus for a night out, but if you can't go for the whole thing, then you must go to try the cocktails. They're real works of art. Even the cocktail menu is beautiful, with each drink illustrated by the very talented Andrea Wan. I started with the most delicious cocktail. Made from Mezcal San Cosme, fresh lime juice, red chilli syrup and apricot brandy, it was served with a little dish of pineapple chunks that had been dusted with smoked chilli salt. Libby, my plus one for the evening, wasn't drinking but they made a gorgeous fresh juice mocktail for her, which tasted almost as good as my cocktail.
My second cocktail was as good as the first - called the Mystic Cactus, it was made with Olmeca Altos Blanco, fresh lime juice, Asian spiced blood orange, chipotle chilli, dash of citrus bitters and orange blossom mist. A lovely, tangy long cocktail served in a tankard - my perfect kind of drink!

After our fill of cocktails we took our seats at the long table I mentioned, that runs the length of the room. There's a new pan Asian menu that's now being served at Circus and we sampled most of the starters between us. The food at Circus is seriously good, and highlights from the starters included lobster tempura with white truffle aioli and lemon ponzu, which had the lightest batter and richest sauce.  
Yellow tail sashimi with kizami wasabi, truffles, shallots, garlic and tomato salsa was fresh and light, and a great starter option if you're indulging for mains. The dressing was delicious - I really liked the wasabi that added a gentle kick.

Shredded duck and watermelon is a typical pan Asian dish found in many restaurants across London, with this being one of the best versions I've tried. A great balance of flavours and ingredients, with enough green to combat the rich duck.


Dumplings are a favourite of mine anyway, but the ones we had at Circus were really special and impossible to choose between - on the left the chicken truffle shumai with lemon ponzu and on the right the black cod and prawn dumpling with saffron and soya beans.

Full with starters, here's where the night got really interesting. The long table we were sitting at wass completely cleared, the lights dimmed and this sign projected on to the table.

We did as instructed, and before we could do anything else, acrobats jumped up on to the table and put on an amazing show. We were entertained by belly dancers, contortionists, hoop spinners and nearly naked dancers between each of the courses.


As you can see, the performances happened just inches from where we were sitting!!

After each act our table was re-laid and the next course served.

Mains were Scottish black angus fillet steak, shitake and caramelised butter soy, Chilean sea bass, chilli bean, black bean, shaoxing wine, garlic and ginger, and sides of baby bok choy with soy, ginger and garlic, and smoke aubergine, white miso, and chipotle chilli, which was the most delicious aubergine I've tried.


So much delicious food! The night, food and performances continued until it was time to slope off home, drink lots of water and try and get some sleep before work the next day. I was grinning from ear to ear having had one of the best nights out I've had in a while. Circus really is a unique experience, and unlike other venues that try and offer it all, every element of the evening was top quality, from the drinks, to the food, to the entertainment. If you want to try it for yourself, make sure you book ahead. Full details of how to book can be found on their website here.
View Post



It's been all about the food round here recently, but I've been testing out lots of drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) over the last few months, and have got a round up for you today on what's hot in the liquid world. There's some I'm sure you've heard of, and others that maybe you haven't, but you should definitely check out....

Cocktails to make at home...

Aperol Spritz. If you haven't heard about Aperol (an Italian aperetif made with orange, rhubarb, herbs and roots) then I guess you've been away all summer?! This year's seemingly most talked about drink has been everywhere, including my house! I was sent a bottle to try out, and have played with various concoctions using it. There's the obvious - the Spritz, made with 3 parts prosecco, 2 parts Aperol and 1 part soda water, it's a slightly bitter yet very refreshing long drink that's topped off with a slice of orange, to accentuate that fruity bitter taste. Another way to drink Aperol that I really like is with whiskey and ginger beer, finished off with mint leaves.

Cocchi Rosa Spritz. Another Italian aperitif that's not dissimilar to Aperol is Cocchi Rosa. Made with a wine base that's blended with aromatics tasting of wild rose and summer berries, its ingredients also include herbs, fruits and spices, as well as ginger and rose petals. Make your own version of Cocchi Rosa Spritz at home by mixing the aperitif with prosecco, strawberries, basil and soda. 

VII Hills. VII Hills is a new (1 year) to the market gin that was created by the team who work at Mr Fogg's. It's made with ancient Roman botanicals and tastes of juniper and sweet orange with a slightly sweet, peppery aftertaste. Perfect for tonic and citrus based cocktails - keep it simple with a shot of VII Hills, a dash of lemon juice, topped up with champagne, or mix it up a bit by combining VII Hills with lemon juice, egg white, grapefruit juice and soda.

View Post



I love it when a pop up I've watched grow and develop gets a permanent (ish) home, which is what's happened for the boys at Smoke and Salt. One of the original Grub Club pop ups, they're now residing at Platform 1 in East Dulwich, a beautiful space with a bar full of homemade syrups and a garden where they grow as many herbs and vegetables for the kitchen as possible. I sadly missed the press night, but popped down a couple of weeks ago with Erica to try out the food. Dulwich isn't particularly close to where I work or live (nearly a three hour round trip) but it was SO worth it.

View Post



So. Many. Recipes! Having posted a lot of restaurant reviews here recently, I wanted to balance those with some recipes, so today I've got another recipe for you. This one's not my recipe - it's actually from the lovely chef and cookbook author Jo Pratt, who's written some holiday inspired recipes for James Villas Holidays, one of which I've made, and I hope you can recreate at home. This recipe is from Spain, and is one of my favourites. It's light, but full of flavour and can be served on its own, with a bit of bread, as a salad, or as a side dish.

View Post



A couple of weeks ago Emily and I went on a bit of a culinary adventure. Bespoke Offers, a discount site run by Barclaycard (think Groupon but much better), had teamed up with Bompas and Parr, creators of crazy food and drink experiences, to host a 200 course meal over 24 hours. Each set of 20 courses was colour themed, so we went along for the Red Party Time session, which ran from 10-12pm. Except it didn't quite.... They were running a bit late. We arrived at the venue (which also happens to be where Dragon's Den is filmed) just before 10pm, and took a seat downstairs where our glasses were kept full and we were entertained with egg healing practice (don't ask!) and trying to chop the top off a magnum of champagne with a sword. Minutes, then hours passed, our drinks were drunk and refilled, and finally, at 1am, we sat down to eat a 20 course meal. I'll talk you through what I remember, though I won't lie, three hours of drinking champagne had me slightly blurry before we even started.

We went upstairs and joined four troupers who were in it for the long run, eating 200 courses over 24 hours. Three of them were journalists, the fourth a (un)lucky competition winner. They all looked jaded, despite the in house medics' best efforts to keep them awake and able to carry on eating.

As we were there for the Red Party Time, all 20 courses were red themed. Having somewhat lost my appetite before we'd started eating (it was after midnight), I struggled to finish any of the courses, and while some of them were delicious, there were others it was easy to pass on. Also, my photos are rubbish. The whole event was being filmed, so the table was covered in spotlights, and I couldn't get a single photo that wasn't covered in shadows. But considering all the bubbles we drank, just be glad I managed to get photos at all!! And excuse the mucky tablecloth in some of the piccies, it all got a bit red!

My absolute favourite dish of the night, which I did eat all of, was the carabinero red prawn with lobster stock. The chef (Tom Whitaker for this course - he cooked the first five, then Tim Yates cooked the remaining 15 dishes) had cooked the prawn meat, but also deep fried the shell of the prawn, so we ate the entire thing, and it was absolutely delicious. The lobster sauce was delicate and light and let the prawn take centre stage.

View Post



For me, eating organic when possible is really important. I say when possible because organic produce is more expensive than non-organic, and also, when eating out it's hard to know where the food has really come from. So instead of striving to eat 100% organic produce, there's a few things I do/changes you can make to your shopping that will eliminate eating the foods with the highest amount of pesticides by choosing organic options. There's certain fruit and vegetables that have thin skins, and are therefore more likely to contain a higher amount of pesticides if not organic. These include apples, peaches, nectarines, potatoes, tomatoes, snap peas, spinach, cucumber, strawberries, grapes, basil, chilli peppers and kale. It makes sense if you think about it - foods like avocados, melons, citrus fruit, onions and sweetcorn all have thick, protective skins that will stop them from absorbing as many of the nasty chemicals used in farming. So if you're eating any of the fruit and veg with thinner skins, if you can get organic, it's much better for you. I've been working with Waitrose and The Soil Association this week to come up with some recipes using organic produce. Using a combination of Waitrose's Duchy Organic range, food from my parent's garden, and herbs from my window sill, I've switched one meal a day this week to organic.

I started with breakfast. My mum brought me some delicious plums from their garden which I chopped up, put in a pan with a small squeeze of honey and a splash of water, and slowly cooked on the hob over a low heat for around half an hour. On day 1 I added these to the some Duchy fat free natural yoghurt along with mixed seeds and chopped stem ginger. The stewed plums and yoghurt lasted for another breakfast, this time with slices of nectarine and fig.
View Post



Apparently one in four of us book holidays based on the food we'll eat while we're there, which makes a lot of sense - I wouldn't want to be away for a week or two without being able to eat good food. I think often the best food you get while you're on holiday is the really authentic food, and that which is made using fresh, local ingredients. Travel Supermarket think the same, and recently hosted a street food challenge where five street food vendors battled it out to be crowned champion holiday street food stall. Competitors made dishes from France, Italy, The Seychelles, Sri Lanka and America. I was asked to recreate one of these recipes at home and picked the New York style wings from Orange Buffalo. This is my version of their recipe (as always!)

View Post



I love discovering a new food brand, especially one that's packed full of good ingredients. I was contacted by the people behind Holy Cow recently and I asked to write about their sauces. I was unsure. I like to make my own sauces, but this can be a long process, and not one you necessarily want to embark on after a long day of work. I had a look into the brand, and my mind was made up as unlike a lot of ready to use sauces, the Holy Cow range uses only natural ingredients, with no gluten, nor artificial colours, flavours, preservatives. Basically, exactly as I would make the sauces myself. I've also been working with Love Rice on recipe projects, and they'd sent me some mixed rice packs to use in my cooking, including my favourite, the Tilda wholegrain basmati and wild rice, which is not only delicious but also packed full of nutrients.

As the Holy Cow sauces are so good, I only needed to add a couple of ingredients to make a complete meal. The sauces come in various different flavours, including Mangalore Malabar - an aromatic tangy sauce made with coconut and curry leaves; Kashmir Roganjosh - a hearty caramelised onion and tomato sauce flavoured with cardamom and clove; and Goan Curry Sauce - a hot and spicy coconut based sauce, which is perfect for serving with prawns.

Serves 2

120g Tilda wholegrain basmati and wild rice
12 king prawns
1 pack of Holy Cow Goan Prawn Curry sauce (made with onion, coconut milk, rapeseed oil,  tamarind, roasted coconut, garlic paste, ginger paste, green chilli, tomato paste, salt, chilli powder)
1/2 courgette, sliced into large matchsticks

View Post



I've already mentioned that I want to do everything I can to support charities working with refugees who are trying to save their lives and the lives of their families, having fled the countries they lived in, as they're no longer safe to stay there. I feel so useless and detached from it all here in London, but despite not being able to help directly, there are things we can all do to support and help. As well as marching through London tomorrow, and donating all the profits from my October pop up to grassroots charities working with refugees in Calais, Hardeep and I have decided to put on an event to raise money to donate to charities supporting refugees.

On Wednesday 30th September we are cooking for and hosting a sit down, seven-course dinner at Storeys in Shepherds Bush, for 60 people. We've called it Ginger Spice, and it's a feast of Indian inspired food. Tickets are £49 per person and 100% of profits will go to Action Aid's refugee appeal campaign. We are hoping to get sponsors on board so that we can donate even more money.

I would really, really appreciate it if you can share this far and wide - the more tickets we sell, the more we can donate, so please, save the photo below and share it on all your social media, along with this link to buy tickets.

If you want to come but don't eat something from the menu, there's a comments section when booking so just mention your intolerance/allergy/dislike there and we will email you alternative options to choose from.

Thank you,
Rosie xx
View Post



Crocker's Folly is a gastropub like no other. In fact, it's not really a gastropub at all but that's what it's described as on Google, slightly confusingly. It looks a bit like a pub from the outside, but as soon as you go inside, the chandeliers, grand dining room, and luxurious interiors are more those of a top end restaurant.
View Post



It makes me so happy when fun, new foodie ventures open in West London. When I was away on holiday I'd read something about a new street food venue opening on top of the old BBC centre car park, near Westfield, Shepherd's Bush. I couldn't make the first couple of weekends it was open, but have been there a few times since, and had such a great time, delicious food and really good value cocktails. Storeys is exactly what West London needed. 15 floors up, on top of the BBC centre car park, it looks out across West London, and hosts some of my favourite street food traders, has a DJ playing tunes, 2 bars to choose from and loads of different seating and chill out areas - so pretty perfect! I spent all day at Storeys for my pre-birthday celebrations yesterday, and as I arrived so early, I managed to get this photo before everyone else arrived - I love the tower of TVs in the middle of the space.

Food traders rotate each weekend but include Le Bun (pulled confit duck, straw frites, bearnaise spread, champagne slaw, brioche), Crabbieshack (soft shell crab served with amazing salads), Yum Jungle (incredible salt and chilli squid), Little Ghost Bagels (beef brisket braised in master stock, gochujang braised pak choi, pickled cucumber, pickled red chilli, spring onion, coriander and kewpie mayo served in a toasted squid ink sesame bagel), Pulled (slow roasted, melt in your mouth, hickory and maple smoked, pulled free range lamb shoulder, finished with pickled red onion and mint slaw topped with bursting pomegranate seeds) and various others who alternate weeks there.

Cocktails are all £8 and there's a huge variety - you can choose from drinks like a BBC Ice Tea, made with vodka, gin, rum, triple sec, fresh lemon/sugar mix, topped with cranberry juice and lemon, or an Aperol Spritz from the Television Bar, or a Wray & Ting - Wray & Nephew overproof rum mixed with Ting and a squeeze of fresh lime, or a Storeys Rum Punch - their very own sunshine brew with Plantation 5yr old rum, white rum, triple sec, dark rum, orange, passion fruit and pineapple juice from the Rum Shack. There's also a Bloody Mary bar serving up varieties on that theme.

The venue's been buzzing each time I've been, and they've got artists doing live artwork, and stacks of old TVs that make up a centre piece in the middle of the venue. Storeys will be open throughout until 11th October on Fridays from 5-11pm, 11am-11pm on Saturdays and 11am-8pm on Sundays. See you there!! And as I've become so enamoured with Storeys, I'm actually planning a weekend pop up there at the beginning of October (of which profits from the Saturday will go to charities working with refugees), where I'll be cooking with Hardeep, so I will post more info about that up here when we've made a proper plan!
View Post



This week the press has been full of images that have pulled at the heart strings of many of us. Sadly, these images are just the tip of the iceberg and highlight something that's been going on for far too long, and has been largely ignored by the UK government. It is not acceptable that people are dying to try and save their lives and those of their loved ones. It is not ok that the UK has closed its doors to the people who most need our help, as it is no longer safe for them to live in the countries they call home (yesterday the government promised to take in 4,000 refugees - 4,000 people is only 0.1 percent of the total number of Syrian refugees). I've got a stack of blog posts about expensive restaurants and nice food I've eaten that are ready to be published, but it doesn't feel right to write about that now. I have a privileged life that means I can do what I want and go where I want without question but I know I'm one of the lucky ones - born in a country that allows me freedom, but that now makes me feel embarrassed to be British. But being embarrassed isn't going to change the minds of government. Yes, we voted for the people who now make the decisions here, but despite their wrong decisions, there's still a lot of things we can all do to help the refugees who've had to flee their own countries. As millions of people are making a life threatening journey to seek safety there are aid agencies doing all they can to help and support them.

Action Aid is one of these agencies, and they've been working with refugees from Syria and many other war torn countries, who've had to leave their homes after four years of conflict in their country, for many years. Action Aid provide urgently needed support and supplies, clothing, food, water and medicine to refugees from all countries, and with our help they can continue to do this, and work on a plan to further increase their response to the humanitarian emergency that is happening on our doorstep. Action Aid are raising money for their emergency response to the refugee crisis and you can donate to that here. As Mike Noyes, head of humanitarian response at Action Aid says, "our common humanity demands of us compassion, support and protection of those in fear now". So please, donate what you can.

If you want to help further there are still so many ways you can do so. 

There are individuals, all over Europe doing all they can to help. This is a fundraising page set up by a girl who works for refugee organisations and now lives in Greece. She is raising money so she can provide food, water and shelter to refugees in Greece. A friend is raising money to provide basic aid to refugees who are in now stuck in Calais because our country's government won't allow them to travel any further. There are hundreds of people raising money to help refugees, and you can donate to any of them.

Newspapers have published ways that we can help too, listing aid agencies and grassroots groups to support, lists of petitions we can sign and details of marches to take part in. On 12th September, come and join us as we march through Westminster to show our solidarity with all refugees.

I found this poem, written by Somali poet Warsan Shire, which so darkly explains the situation that refugees find themselves in. No one chooses the country they are born in to so no-one deserves to be persecuted because of it, especially if the country they are born in to has been torn apart and become unsafe to live in because of war that is funded by our own government. 

"HOME," by Somali poet Warsan Shire:

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border...

when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbours running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it's not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn't be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i've become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here.

by Somali poet, Warsan Shire

View Post
© a little lusciousness. All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Made By pipdig