Rosé has always been my Summer wine of choice. I think it's hard to beat a glass of crisp Rosé, served perfectly chilled on a long summer evening. So when I was invited to a Rosé tasting I jumped at the chance - particularly, as although I drink it quite often, it's probably the wine I know least about when it comes to varieties and flavours.

So on a sunny Wednesday evening a few weeks ago I jumped on the tube across town to the Queen of Hoxton where we celebrated pink pleasures from the region of Angers, France.

Having got over the embarrassment of saying to lady on the door "I'm here for the Rosé evening" and responding that my name was 'Rosie', I hot footed it up the many flights of stairs to find the roof in all its evening sunlit splendour.

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Over the next four weeks there's a treat in town! Stolichnaya® vodka have teamed up with everyone's favourite gelateria, Gelupo, to create a vodka lemonade sorbet that they'll be giving out for free across London over the next few weekends. They've created a low-fat alcoholic sorbet using Stoli vodka, fresh lemon juice and zest and natural sugar syrup, that's the perfect Summer refresher for 2014.

You can chase the free samples all round London this Summer, as the sorbets are being served up from the Stoli lemonade van which is a customised 1950's Citreon H Van from the South of France. Free samples of both the Stoli and lemon sorbet and the Stoli and lemonade drink are being handed out to passers by. You can find the van in the following well known London locations from 12-7pm each day:

28th June      Truman Brewery
11th July        King’s Cross
12th July        Coin Street, South Bank
19/20th July  Box Park, Shoreditch

If you miss the van or can't make it to one of it's stop offs then you can get the Stoli lemon sorbet in-store at Gelupo (7 Archer Street) in Soho throughout Summer.

I really suggest you track down the van to get your sample, or failing that, pop into Gelupo and buy yourself a whole portion, as it's such a delicious mix. It doesn't taste too sweet and sickly, so is wonderful on a hot sunny afternoon. And I've even managed to get hold of the secret recipe for the Stoli Lemonade cocktail for you, so you can whip up a batch at home for a BBQ and really impress all your mates!
Stoli Vodka Lemonade Recipe:
50ml Stoli Vodka
20ml Lemon juice (fresh) 
10ml Sugar syrup
Wedge of lemon to garnish

Pour ingredients into a glass and fill with lots of ice, top up with still water.

For more info find Stoli on twitter and if you pick up a free sample, don't forget to get a photo and upload it using the hashtag #StoliLemonade!
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After our mammoth lunch at 64 Degrees in Brighton and a quick trip back to our Airbnb flat, we wandered back into town for some arcade and dodgems fun on the pier before our friend's play started that evening. We had a lovely time mucking about, and really enjoyed the play. Afterwards we went to the pub next to the theatre for a few drinks with the cast, but Brighton was heaving and all we really wanted was to find a nice pub, with good beer, where we could relax and drink for the evening. Our friend whose play it was suggested we go to The Jolly Poacher, run by a mate of hers, so we jumped in her car and headed 10 minutes up the hill to the pub. I'm particularly fussy with pubs, and even if I'm just drinking in one I like the ambience created by a good gastropub, and that's exactly what The Jolly Poacher is. In fact, whilst perusing the menu over late night Saturday drinks we decided this was where we should come for our Sunday lunch the next day before the drive back to London. We booked a table, drank more beer, stumbled home and awoke on Sunday SO ready for some good food.

I already knew what I wanted before we even got to the pub on Sunday. When we'd been there on Saturday night I had a long chat with the chef, who'd said he had one portion of a few things on the menu left, so I'd reserved one of those things for my lunch! Although with their seasonal menu using locally sourced ingredients, most of their dishes were right up my street.

As we were in Brighton and near the sea I couldn't not start my meal with a couple of juicy, fat oysters - served with a really good red wine shallot vinegar they knocked my slightly fuzzy hungover head straight back into shape!

These were swiftly followed by goose liver parfait (yes, that is a sneaky way of saying foie gras), rhubarb compote, pickled asparagus and toasted brioche - it was so good. The parfait was smooth and iron-rich, and served with some of my favourite seasonal ingredients. I thought the brioche was the perfect bread to serve with this dish as it wasn't too heavy like normal toasted bread would've been.

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A couple of weekends ago we jumped in the van and headed to Brighton for 24 hours. I really love Brighton, but most of my visits have been at night to see friends who are DJs or musicians perform there, so I've never really got a true feel for the town. So we booked a flat via AirBnb and went to make the most of the lovely weekend. This also meant we had the opportunity to book a couple of places for food that I'd heard about and really wanted to try out, as again, we're normally there late at night, or staying with friends so going with them to eat. One of the places I'd heard about was a new, tapas-style restaurant in The Laines called 64 Degrees. It only opened this year but has had rave reviews already so I was thrilled that they'd managed to book a table for us on Saturday afternoon. That was until we got on to the M25, and didn't move for about half an hour. A small panic rose inside me as I calculated miles left til Brighton, amount of time we were stuck and potentially missing 64 Degrees' opening hours. We were booked for 2.30 - they stop serving food at 3. We got to Brighton at 2.45, found a parking space and ran through the throng of tourists to get to the restaurant in time. We got there with seconds to spare... Luckily! In fact by this time we'd agreed to meet with our friend and her son, and try and squeeze them onto our table as well, which we did.

64 Degrees is tiny. It probably seats a maximum of 24 people at any one time - one table of 4, one table of 6, two of 2 and 6-8 seats at the bar in front of the open kitchen. After a bit of re-jigging we were put on the largest table, as people were leaving and the kitchen closed.

The idea of 64 Degrees is that you order 3-4 dishes per person, and share them... if you want! The menu is split into meat, fish and veggie and there are 4 or 5 dishes per category. The waitresses were very thorough in talking us through the menu, and also checking if we had any allergies so they could advise us what to avoid, which was really helpful, as menus don't necessarily list every single ingredient in a dish. We ordered plentifully and dishes arrived one after another, until we were so full the only thing we could do was polish off an espresso martini and head to the flat for a little rest!

This is what we ate:

Lamb, asparagus, fregola, anchovy. This was one of my favourite dishes - the lamb was cooked to perfection and the flavours of the dish so harmonious. It was Spring on a plate and just so good. The anchovies added the perfect amount of saltiness against the slightly creamy fregola.

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Last week saw the launch of a new event in London - The London Produce Show set up home in the Grosvenor House Hotel for 3 days, filled with fruit and vegetable producers from all over the world. The lovely ladies organising the event invited me down, via amazing boxes of fruit and veggies that arrived at my house, to the opening cocktail evening and the show the following day.

The first I knew about the show was when Liz got in touch via Twitter to ask if I'd like to come and if yes, what my postal address was. This was followed by a box waiting on my doorstep, that contained a bottle of rum, a cocktail shaker, dragon fruit, grapefruit, limes, mint and lychees. I made a dragon fruit and lychee mojito, which was just like a super healthy fresh fruit juice (with added rum!)

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This is a really quick and straightforward salad that I made for dinner a few nights ago. It was so well received on social media (and at home!) that I wanted to share the recipe for it here. Other than making some mayo, it's really just a case of boiling the veg - all of which can be done in the same pan. Mayonnaise might seem like it's going to be complicated to make, but honestly, once you've made it once and realised how easy it is, you'll make it over and over again. I've posted a recipe for mayo here before, but actually make it slightly differently when I'm using it as a dressing rather than a dip, so the recipe below is adjusted for this. 

Makes enough for 2 people as a main course, or 4 if served as a side

300g new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks the same size as the smallest potato
125g asparagus
250g frozen peas
1 or 2 avocados
1 tbsp nonpareille capers
1 free-range egg yolk
1 heaped tsp English mustard
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp cider vinegar
40ml rapeseed oil
40ml sunflower oil
Zest of 1 lemon

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A couple of weeks ago an email from The Handbook landed in my inbox that stopped me in my tracks - a pub within half an hour's walk of our house was about to reopen having been closed for a major refurb, which included adding a kitchen to the venue. I'd never heard of The Barge in Chiswick before, but was intrigued, as we live a little bit in no man's land  where pubs are concerned (in between Chiswick and Acton there's a lack of good pubs) so was excited to find out about The Barge. I popped down last Tuesday for a drink, and met the manager, who invited me back, with the boy, for some food. Even on a rainy Tuesday post-bank holiday it was busy in there, so we decided to go down on Friday night and try out the new menu.

Luckily by Friday the rain had stopped so we had a lovely walk through Chiswick's house and tree-lined roads until we got to the river. We were early so sat outside, right on the towpath, enjoying a drink and some people (and dog) watching.

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