When I think of Vauxhall I don't necessarily think of culinary delights, but there are 3 places in the area that serve fantastic food.

The first is the The Canton Arms on South Lambeth Road. You can't book tables here, so you just have to turn up and try your luck - if this fails, just go to one of the other great food places below - they're all within 5 minutes walk of each other. The Canton doesn't have a menu on it's website - it changes everyday, dependent on the freshest ingredients the great female chef can get her hands on. There are bar snacks though in the form of foie gras or haggis toasties, or other toasties made from my parents' friend's delicious Montgomery cheddar - these stay the same everyday.

When I ate at the Canton for my dad's birthday I had the lovely, smooth, chicken liver parfait, melba toast and pickles, for starter. My only criticism is the that the portions are enormous! I had hardly any room left for my main course of melt in the mouth lamb and veggies. The menu at the Canton has been very meat centred whenever I've been there - my brother tells me the hare lasagne is the best - but that's the joy of not knowing what the menu's going to be before
you arrive to eat.

The second place and the one I've most recently discovered is Hot Stuff, a bring your own booze (with no corkage fee) Indian on Wilcox Road. For about £15 a head you can eat like kings. We went for my brother's birthday, and just asked for the chef's recommended selection of starters and mains. We had piles of food, rich and deep flavoured chilli paneer and tender garlic chilli prawns for starters, and vegetable curries, king prawn dopiaza and biryanis galore for mains.

My boyfriend can't eat chilli or curry, but the chef came out and had a five minute chat with him to establish exactly what he could and couldn't eat, and went on to serve him 5 or 6 of his very own curry-and-chilli free Indian food! It went down a treat. Unlike the Canton, you can book a table at Hot Stuff - if there are a lot of you book early as they can only seat about 30 or 40 people in the whole restaurant.

Finally, the last place worth a visit for a good meal in Vauxhall is The Fentiman. This is my favorite of the 3 for it's layout and decor. Cosy cushioned bench seats and old wood tables inside make it a lovely weekend afternoon hang out, and the garden is big, with lots of tables for the summer and blankets for the evenings! The starters at The Fentiman make for great sharing plates, and were recommended to me by brother's gorgeous girlfriend. Recently we had their pressed terrine of smoked ham hock with pickle chutney and toast and crispy fried Cornish squid and garlic mayonnaise.

The Fentiman's class of food is really, really good pub food. They do the best fish pie in London, creamy and rich, with an oozing egg of top, covered in melting cheese, a brilliant hangover comfort!

Go to Vauxhall and eat!
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This is really a mix between paella and kedgeree and works brilliantly for dinner, or with salads and/or barbecue for lunch.

For 4

1 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
2 cardamom pods
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
Zest of 1 lemon
200g basmati rice
400ml vegetable stock
2 large free range eggs
2 smoked haddock fillets

Fry the red onion and red pepper for 5 minutes. Add the cardamom pods, turmeric, caraway seeds and the zest of a lemon. Make sure the onion and pepper are coated in these spices before adding the rice. Stir the rice into the spicy veg mix and add the vegetable stock. Cover with a lid, turn the heat onto the lowest it can go and let it cook for 12 minutes. Check it half way through, and give it a stir if the rice is sticking to the bottom of the pan.

In the meantime put two pans of boiling water on. In the first pan boil the eggs for 9 minutes. In the second, boil the frozen smoked haddock fillets for 11 minutes. When the eggs are ready, peel and mash them, and when the haddock is ready, remove the skin and flake the bits of fish apart.

Gently stir the flaked haddock and broken eggs into the rice mixture and return to the heat for just long enough to make sure all the ingredients are piping hot.

Serve with a generous wedge of lemon and a sprinkling of home grown cress.

Cress is so easy to grow, and very satisfying. Take a piece of kitchen roll and line a tupperware with it. Sprinkle with water so it is damp and then sprinkle your cress seeds onto the paper. Cover with some paper for the first few days, ensuring the paper remains damp, then remove the paper, wait until your cress is a couple of inches tall, and enjoy!!
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Ever since I was invited to the candlelit dinner in the Wilderness Wood over a month ago, I was counting down the days to Friday 3rd June. And when that day came last week I was not disappointed.

We left London at 6 on Friday (BIG mistake) and were stuck in the car for 3 and a half hours. All the time, all I was worried about was that we would miss the food! I really had been waiting for this meal for a very long time! However, my concern turned to calm, when our gorgeous hostess, owner of the beautiful Wilderness Wood, Joanna Yarrow, texted us to check on our progress and assure us we would still get some food, whenever we showed up!

We arrived at 9.30, and having missed out on the choice of seating, we were given our own little table for 2 - everyone else sits on two long tables, but it was actually quite special to have our own corner of the beautifully lit barn. With in a minute of sitting down we were brought a glass of organic wine, and our starter to eat whilst the evening's speaker, Lucy Siegle, Observer columnist and ethical champion, continued with her talk.

An amazing smelling stuffed mushroom was presented to us, a lovely pearl barley and preserved lemon surprise that had not featured on the dinner's website. The fresh, zesty taste of the lemon complimented the woody mushroom so well. The whole thing was delicious.

As we finished our starter it was nearly time for everyone's main course, and we hadn't missed as much of the meal as I'd thought we would. This was thanks to the brilliant scheduling of the evening. Lucy Siegle gave great mini talks between each course, not only educating us on sustainable and fairtrade fashion and entertaining us with question and answers sessions, but letting the guests digest each course, instead of galloping on to the next.

The main course was better than I'd ever hoped. Rare roast fillet of beef with incredibly smooth and creamy dauphinoise, British asparagus and yummy hollandaise. Absolutely divine. Jonathan, who runs Wilderness Wood with Joanna, told us the next day that Joanna and he sit down with their chefs once a month to choose their menus, and always go for something that would be just a bit too difficult to cook for everyone themselves. What a wonderful idea. Nothing was pretentious or too 'cheffy', just big, bold, fresh flavours.

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Wandering round Brigton on Saturday we passed a lovely looking fishmonger and popped in to pick up some freshly caught and cooked crab pinchers.

I was going to make a delicious avocado and crab salad on Sunday, but felt like something much more sumptuous so decided to make crab linguine.

For 3 hungry people

1 cooked crab
240g spagetti
Olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 anchovies
1 glass of white wine
1 tbsp double cream
1 spoon creme fraiche
Juice and zest of half a lemon

Smash the crab shell using a rolling pin. Be sure to wrap the pinchers in a plastic bag or something similar so bits of crab shell don't fly all over the kitchen! Once you have cracks in the shell you can use a chopstick to poke and pull all the bits of crab meat out of the shell. Set the meat aside.

Put some water on to boil, and as soon as it's boiling add a pinch of salt and 80g spagetti per person (I made this for 3).

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan and add the garlic and chopped anchovies. Fry gently. After a couple of minutes add the crab meat and stir fry for a further couple of minutes. Remove the crab and garlic and put in a bowl to one side. Put the pan back on the heat and add a glass of white wine. Swish it round the pan, and let it bubble away until you can't smell the alcohol coming off it anymore. Add the cream and creme fraiche and stir.

When the spagetti is cooked, drain and add to the wine/cream mix with a spoonful of the pasta water. Mix together and tip the crab in. Add a squeeze of lemon, a grate of lemon zest and a large handful of parsley, combine with the pasta and crab, and serve.
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Such a simple supper, this meal only has 5 ingredients and takes about 10 minutes to make. It's perfect for summer evenings after long, hot days at work.

British asparagus is still around, mine came from the gorgeous deli on Fulham Road, courtesy of Peter Elliott.

However, when the british asparagus runs out I'll be making this with green beans or mangetout.

Supper, for 2

50g butter
1 free range egg yolk
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 bunch of asparagus
2 salmon fillets

Put a pan of water on to boil.

Whilst the pan is coming up to the boil make some hollandaise sauce. This is a cheats hollandaise but tastes just as delicious as the real thing. These are the quantities I use for 2 people. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Put the egg yolk, lemon juice and a couple of drops of vinegar in a blender. Blend, and once the butter is melted and bubbling slowly pour it into the blending egg/lemon mixture. Blend for a few seconds, until it thickens.

Trim the ends off a bunch of asparagus and peel 2 of them into thin strips for later. Once the water is boiling put the rest in the pan to boil gently for 4 minutes.

Put the salmon fillets in a lightly oiled frying pan and sear for just over a minute on each side, then leave to rest for 2 minutes.

Plate up, add a good grind of pepper to everything and you're ready to go.

If you want to bulk the meal out, add boiled potates, and if you want to make it lighter, don't make hollandaise, just squeeze some lemon over the salmon and veg.
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