As a country girl at heart my ideal Sunday is spent mooching round the countryside in wellies, dog(s) in tow, working up an appetite for a hearty Sunday roast in a beautiful village pub. And that's exactly what I spent the Sunday after I got back from Japan doing (blog posts on Japan coming next week btw). I'd been sent the press release for a pub called The Pointer, in Brill near Oxford, by a PR I work with, accompanied by her “favourite pig picture ever” and an invite to spend the morning on the farm that produces most of the fruit, vegetables and meat used at The Pointer, where I would then have lunch.

Polly and I jumped on the 3o minute train from Marylebone to Thane and Haddenham Parkway, where we were greeted by Fiona, who along with her husband David, owns and runs the farm, pub and butchers in the village, as well as running a weekly market in Brill where local producers can sell their wares. She whizzed us straight to their farm (which they've grown from what was essentially an extended five acre garden when they bought it, to 150 acres) where we donned some wellies for our guided tour of the land and animals. I’m a massive believer in eating good quality meat (and veg) and it was so refreshing to see how well looked after all their animals were. Fiona and David are absolutely committed to growing chemical free food and rearing animals to the highest welfare standard. They breed cows, sheep, chickens and pigs on the farm that are reared on natural feed and live full, happy, free lives. Some of the animals are bred as show animals and have won many prizes, and others are bred for meat. We saw their Highland cows, Longhorns, Tamworth Kune Kune cross 10 days old piglets, Indian runner ducks, Middle White pigs, Hampshire Down sheep and lambs, a couple of horses and their bee hives!

View Post



“All great women of our time achieved great things because they dreamt, dared, and created.
I am Laetitia Casta, and with Cointreau we created the Cointreau Creative Crew to reveal your creativity, in order for you to achieve your dreams.”
View Post



The Ship Tavern isn't somewhere you'd normally find me eating. Hidden away behind Holborn station it's an old fashioned pub (tavern) with a narrow staircase that takes you to a dimly lit restaurant upstairs. I'd looked at the menu online before going (obviously) and the food looked good so decided to try it out after being invited down to check out their offerings. I arrived and was shown to our booth seating for the evening, which was next to a long table full of businessmen, who seemed to be delighting in the presumably company paid for beers they were getting through at some speed. I waited for Georgie to arrive, slightly nervous about what to expect in such an odd setting - heavy curtains hung over the windows and every inch of wood panelled wall space was covered in paintings.

Georgie arrived and I got stuck into a beer, while she was offered one of seven types of tonic water after she asked for tonic and lime. I forget the one she ended up choosing but it was the best tonic water I've tasted.

We decided to share our dishes and things got off to a good start with the starters. The first dish out was trio of mackerel - tartare, grilled and rillette. Each element was really tasty, though it did feel a little like three different dishes on the plate, though that can be expected when ordering a "trio" dish.

View Post



I've written a few recipes using French goat's cheese previously, and today I've got a few more for you. They're all pretty simple, as the cheese is so delicious by itself that I don't want to overcomplicate things. These recipes use three different types of goat's cheese, but they're interchangeable so don't worry too much if you can't find the exact cheese I've used. Any good French goat's cheese will do. 
Roast peppers with goat's cheese, pesto and olives
Serves 2
8 mini bell peppers (red, yellow and orange)
French goat's cheese log
Tbsp capers
Chopped parsley
Bread, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200C. Slice the peppers in half, removing the seeds. Add a slice of the goat's cheese to each pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Spread the stuffed peppers out on a baking tray and cook for ten minutes. Add a teaspoon of pesto to each pepper and cook for another five minutes. Remove from the oven and scatter capers and olives over the peppers. Serve with chopped parsley and a thick slice of bread.

View Post



Earlier this week I wrote about my favourite Chinese meal in London. And today's post is about my favourite Japanese restaurant in London - Yashin Ocean House. This post was meant to go live while I was actually in Japan last week, but due to a massively heavy schedule out there I didn't get any time to write or work, as I'd thought I would (not a bad thing - just means I'm a bit behind on posting!)
I've been to Yashin Ocean House before, once for food and once for drinks before a friend's wedding at the Armenian church round the corner... Yashin is a beautiful restaurant on Old Brompton Road, with a huge oval bar in the middle of the room, and tables dotted round one end of it. They also have a little terrace with outside seats for the warmer months. Yashin merges traditional Japanese techniques with more contemporary cooking ideas and their dishes are absolutely spectacular. I was invited down to sample some of their delights, and headed there just before going to Japan. I wanted to go before Japan so I could see how their food compared to "the real thing". There were lots of parts of the menu that were very similar to the food I ate in Japan and Yashin have the same emphasis on nose to tail cooking as they do in Japan. I love this attitude towards food and wish it was more prevalent in restaurants in London as it's so important to use as much as the fish or animal as possible.
A lot of the dishes at Yashin are real wow dishes, and one of the first of those we tried was the sashimi island without soy sauce. The plate of sashimi arrives at the table smoking with dry ice and each of the six types of raw fish is served with a non-soy based jelly or sauce to compliment it - fatty tuna with truffle infused ponzu jelly, prawn with coriander sauce, salmon with tosazu (Japanese vinegar) jelly, yellowtail with kizami wasabi, sea bream with a sweet sauce and rice crackers, and mackerel with grated ginger and chopped chives. I'm a sashimi fan anyway and this platter was my idea of heaven. Each fish and sauce had such a distinct flavour, and I didn't even miss the soy sauce. In Japan they rarely serve soy sauce with sashimi, and I did start to miss it a little there, but it really makes you appreciate the other flavours without having a pot of the salty sauce to dunk your fish in! Thinking about the meal at Yashin now, having been to Japan since, I'm surprised they serve mackerel sashimi. It's one of my favourite fish to eat raw, but I learnt in Tokyo that they never serve raw mackerel in Japan so it's interesting that it's on the menu at such a traditional Japanese restaurant here.

View Post



Chinese New Year may've been yesterday, but you can carry on the celebrations, as the Chinese do, all week and beyond, thanks to HKK's fantastic specially crafted Chinese New Year menu that they're serving at their Michelin star restaurant, near Liverpool Street, until the 20th February.

I've reviewed the tasting menu at HKK before, and was expecting the same menu with little tweaks to add a CNY vibe, but their CNY menu is completely different (bar the duck course) and actually better than the menu I'd had before, in my opinion. To start with, the menu itself is beautiful. Not only does it give you the history of each course, but you're allowed to take it away with you as a memento of the meal you've had there (which is helpful when there are that many courses!)

Having just got back from a sake tour of Japan, I was interested to see that the first drink matched with the menu is a sparkling sake. In fact, the drinks paired throughout the meal are from all around the world - from Japan, to Venezuela, to France - and they all worked fantastically with each course. The cost of the CNY menu is £88 per person for food, plus £48 for the drinks, and I think if you're going to go for it, then definitely get the drinks too. I know it's not cheap, but as a special treat it's definitely worth it.

Course number one of nine (!) is the prosperity platter - a fresh and tasty salad of jellyfish, mouli, seaweed, ginger, leeks, roasted peanuts and crispy salmon skin - that's tossed high in the air for good luck and happiness. This is served with grilled spiced and salted Welsh pork with mustard and a goji berry foam, and a dried oyster sauce and iberico ham dumpling with black moss. All of which get the meal off to the perfect start.

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