International Street Food Challenge: Copper and Wheat’s Croque Monsieur au Comté

DSC07691My version of Copper and Wheat’s croquet monsieur au comté

I had a lot of fun foraging my foodie way through TravelSupermarket’s International Street Food Challenge a couple of weeks ago in Shoreditch. The free event offered guests the chance to sample a variety of authentic and delicious dishes cooked by a variety of vendors from around the world. Most of the traders on hand were from London. However, flown in all the way from Copenhagen was the popular duo of Frenchy gourmand maestros: Copper and Wheat.

Never having tried Copper and Wheat’s food before but having heard the hype (and bing intrigued that the organisers would find it necessary to import traders at all for a street food happening in London), I was keen to eat what they were serving. The duck fat frites were amazing, and the croque monsieur was among the best I’ve had.

Confident and open, Copper and Wheat made their recipe for croque monsieur au comté available to any and all. I gave it a go a few days later at home. It’s pretty easy to prepare (as long as you get the béchamel right). Comté seems a brilliant choice for an especially rich nutty flavour too.

Check out my previous post about another tasty treat I savoured at the Challenge and then attempted for make for myself back home: Orange Buffalo’s hot wings with blue cheese dip.

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London Daily Photo: Kensington Square Garden

LDP 2015.09.02 - Kensington Square Garden

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International Street Food Challenge: Orange Buffalo’s Wings and Blue Cheese Dip

DSC07661Orange Buffalo’s wings

I had a lot of fun foraging my foodie way through TravelSupermarket’s International Street Food Challenge a couple of weeks ago in Shoreditch. The free event offered guests the chance to sample a variety of authentic and delicious dishes cooked by a variety of vendors from around the world. One of the highlights for me was getting to chat with Nick White, one of the founders of Orange Buffalo, and have a bite of his awesome and fiery Buffalo wings.

Already a fan of Orange Buffalo, I was chuffed to learn some tips from Nick on how to make my own wings at home and to receive the Orange Buffalo recipe for rich and creamy blue cheese dip – the quintessential accompaniment (along with celery) to a plate o’ wings. Cooking up my own wings was a breeze. And that dip may very well become a refrigerator staple in the tikichris household.

DSC07699My homemade version of Orange Buffalo’s wings

For some reason, Nick and crew weren’t so keen to share their recipe for their award winning hot sauces. Funny that. But my own concoction equal parts Frank’s Redhot Original and Frank’s Redhot Xtra Hot plus a gob of butter did the trick well enough (though was no where near and yummy as OB’s sauces).

Stay tuned for an upcoming post about another tasty treat I savoured at the Challenge and then attempted for make for myself back home: Copper and Wheat’s croque monsieur au comté.

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London Daily Photo: Red Green White

LDP 2015.09.01 - Red Green White

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Making the Most of These Last Days of Summer (OneTravel)

Summer Travel

You don’t have to be a Game of Thrones fan to realize that winter is coming. Days are getting shorter, and there’s a hint of autumn in the air. As summer winds down and fall sets up camp, take advantage of the change of seasons to evaluate your 2015 summer. Did you travel as much as you could have?

Here are a few tips to help you transition and plan ahead before another summer is long gone.

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Enter

LDP 2015.08.31 - Enter

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My Food Assembled: Bon Appetit!

Food Assembly - DSC_9211

So. The Food Assembly. After a month of trying out this convenient new way to shop locally and seasonally, it’s safe to say I’m a fan. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to give the service a go over the past month and to sample some of the tastiest butter, ricotta, bacon, chicken, seafood and fresh veggies I’ve ever come across in London. And getting to meet the actual producers and see where my money went added such value to the experience!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my series of posts about The Food Assembly. Special thanks to everybody who participated in my (much more popular than I had anticipated) competition giveaway! To help you browse the posts I’ve published about my experience with The Food Assembly, here’s a list with links to all of them:

My Food Assembled!

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Whether you’re shopping for a box of veg, a jar of vegan jam, homemade buttermilk, fresh caught fish or a big juicy steak – The Food Assembly can help you assemble a week’s worth of gorgeous groceries produced locally. Started in France in 2010 and now with “assemblies” sprouting up across Europe (I’ve heard this concept is especially popular in Spain), The Food Assembly already has more than a dozen assembly points across London and is proving to be a smarter, fairer and more delicious alternative to making a trip to the supermarket.

Find out more about The Food Assembly at thefoodassembly.com.

Cheers for following My Food Assembled!Please feel free to take a look at all my miniseries and special features.

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London Daily Photo: Wellington Row

LDP 2015.08.30 - Wellington Row

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Donostia Social Club at Pop Brixton

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I’ve snooped round container village Pop Brixton a few times now since it opened back in the spring. I like the vibe. I love the food there too – especially what’s being cooked up at street food trader Donastia Social Club’s first permanent pintxos bar loftily situated on the top level and near the entrance.

Scaled back to clapboard basics with fierce focus on the menu, DSC’s bar is a Spanish food lover’s dream come true (well, as long as such dreams are bound within the M25) … and a more than decent spot for a quick drink, light bite or full on Basque feast. Rather than a stone’s thrown from Brixton Station, if the bar were situated on the polar opposite end of the Victoria Line near my Walthamstow home, I’d be in there bending my elbows and wearing down the utensils all the time. Indeed, I tried to coax Chef Paul Belcher to come up my way for a reccie. I’m not holding my breath until he brings his bar north though; so, I guess I’ll just have to make do with commuting south now and again to get my pintxos fix.

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But, with regular menu features such as seared scallops with pisto, green chilli sauce and almonds (£3.50 each); braised Iberico pork cheek with butter bean purée and herb oil (£6); and membrillo glazed duck breast and carrot purée (£6.50); alongside daily specials along the lines of octopus with pepper stew, lemon oil and paprika salt (£7.50) – it’ll be worth the time on the Tube. I was really impressed with all the dishes I sampled – not to mention an ace assortment of quality charcuterie and cheeses (mostly sourced from Flavours of Spain) and an equally excelente range of emphatically Spanish drink. I very much enjoyed my bottle of dry Isastegi Still Cider (£5.50).

If you’re down Brixton way, you could do a lot worse. And if you love Northern Spanish cuisine I doubt you’ll find much better.

Donostia Social Club is at Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ. For more details go to donostiasocialclub.co.uk.

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London Daily Photo: Druid Street

LDP 2015.08.29 - Druid Street

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Rare Chilli BBQ Masterclass with World of Zing and London BBQ School

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The flavour experts at World of Zing have teamed up with the London BBQ School in Peckham for a new Rare Chilli BBQ Masterclass to demonstrate how to use chillies to “turbocharge your rubs and compliment the natural flavours of BBQ cooking.”

I attended the inaugural class a couple of weeks back. Alongside a small group of friendly flavour enthusiasts (there were maybe ten or fewer of us), I learned a few tips for making my own hot sauces and rubs, had a glass of spiced rum punch plus a couple of beers, and took home a pack of WoZ rare chillies. I also ate extremely well, sampling a range of wings grilled with the sauces and rubs we’d been taught to make.

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The school’s outdoor (with covered seating) area was a great setting for the class, and I loved getting to play around with its Kamado Joe ceramic grills (and to ask a bunch of questions – and getting solid, honest answers – about what the best kit for my home BBQing might be.

The Rare Chilli BBQ classes are monthly. The next one is scheduled for Wednesday 23 September from 7 to 8.30pm. Tickets cost £20. You can book online at londonbarbecueschool.co.uk/barbecue-classes/bbq-chilli-workshop.html.

London BBQ School is located at Unit B, Dolly’s Land, Copeland Park, SE15 3SN. Find out more at londonbarbecueschool.co.uk and worldofzing.com.

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London Daily Photo: Morning Yellows

LDP 2015.08.28 - Morning Yellows

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7 Very Nice Blogs about Vietnam (OneTravel)

Vietnam

Wanna Visit Vietnam?

Be sure to have a snoop of these local blogs to help you have a fun filled Vietnamese vacation. Not surprising to any lover of Vietnamese cuisine, a good number of the best blogs coming out of Vietnam are about food.

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Sky Garden

LDP 2015.08.27 - Sky Garden

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Buckingham Palace Gives a “Royal Welcome” This Summer (OneTravel)

Buckingham Palace

The State Rooms of Buckingham Palace have now opened to the public for the summer 2015 season. An annual occurrence, the opening is an excellent opportunity to tour one of the world’s few royal palaces that is still in use as a royal residence while experiencing the grandeur and learning about the living history of Britain’s most famous home.

The State Rooms are the public rooms of the Palace, designed for monarchs to receive, reward and entertain subjects and visiting dignitaries. Today the State Rooms continue to be used by The Queen and members of the Royal Family to receive and entertain guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions.

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Sky Garden

LDP 2015.08.26 - Sky Garden

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Holiday Like a Local in London (Urban Travel Blog)

A video posted by Chris Osburn (@chrisosburn) on

Urban Travel Blog and Skrill online payment system have teamed up to show folks how to “Holiday Like a Local” in some of the world’s most exciting cities.

Urban Travel Blog contributors in Barcelona, Rome, Paris, New York, and yours truly in London were each given a Skrill Prepaid Mastercard loaded with €500 and sent on our merry ways to enjoy our respective cities to the fullest extent – while taking notes to share insider tips for when others visit these cities we love so much. Dream gig? Pretty much.

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So I had €500 (just under £340) burning a hole in my proverbial pocket that had to be spent in 48 hours and could only be spent on having fun and playing the tourist in London. Was I up to the challenge? I was certainly keen to take advantage of my newfound wealth to pay for some things I’ve been craving to do and try to treat my girlfriend, Kemey, along the way as well. So have a read over my two-day insider’s itinerary and see if you reckon I made the most of my “free money”…

Read my complete post at Urban Travel Blog.

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London Daily Photo: Sky Garden

LDP 2015.08.25 - Sky Garden

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The Pinkertons: New Period Crime Drama Set in America’s Wild West

The Pinkertons

A new UKTV period crime drama called The Pinkertons, based on the story of a real life crime fighting agency of the same name, is scheduled to premiere Sunday 30 August at 8pm. I had the pleasure of catching a sneak preview of the show’s first episode and I reckon it has what it takes to captivate an audience keen for rootin’ tootin’ shoot ‘em up crime-fighting action tempered with historical accuracy, laced with strong plot lines, and loaded with mystery.

Bringing law and order to Reconstruction Era Kansas City while establishing a thriving business that exists to this very day, Scotsman Allan Pinkerton (played by Braveheart’s Angus Macfayden,) created the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Working alongside him was his son William, (played by Jacob Blair) and America’s first female detective, Kate Warne (played by Superbad’s Martha MacIsaac).

The soon to air series is to feature stories based on actual cases from the early days of the agency. A key component of the show is MacIsaac’s portrayal of Warne, who seems capable of solving crime with methodical objectivity as she deals in stride with the machismo and sexism of the era. Juxtaposed against this is the more impulsive approach of her fresh-faced colleague William. Situations arising in the premiere episode suggest there’s going to be plenty of humour interspersed throughout this action-packed drama as Warne and the junior Pinkerton learn to work together despite their divergent styles and dispositions.

Fans of Ripper Street, Murdoch Mysteries, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries should especially enjoy tuning in to watch The Pinkertons. As for me, I love a good Western and appreciate a thoughtfully produced period drama – if there’s a touch of reality in the story then so much the better. The first episode of The Pinkertons replete with a train robbery, bushwackers, and tense scenes in a shady saloon was a lot of fun. I’ll be on the lookout for a chance to see next episode for sure.

Post sponsored by UKTV.

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London Daily Photo: Sky Garden

LDP 2015.08.24 - Sky Garden

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Classic Old School Italian Night Out at Getti, Jermyn Street

Getti, Jermyn Street - DSC07666

Hey, I’m all for innovation and for people attempting to wow my palate in new and different ways. Indeed, that’s what’s made writing about the London dining scene such a killer gig over these past several years. But – and it’s a big ole booty butt – if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And in the case of Jermyn Street’s mainstay trattoria, Getti, everything seemed A-Okay and in delicious working order during my recent visit.

Likewise, sometimes I simply want to have something simple. Basic dishes such a Caesar salad or a plate of pasta – when well prepared and made with quality ingredients – can really hit the spot. So when presented with an opportunity to drop by Getti and have a taste of its Italian comfort food classics, I was adamantly andiamo about the affair. Presented with grace and panache, backed up a great wine list and served in a romantically lit (and really quite convenient) setting, it was a great meal. From stuzzichini (a small bowl of buttery green olives) to dolci (a moreish tiramisu followed by a quick espresso), I was pleased with every aspect of the experience.

I dined with my dear Kemey, who if co-writing this review would interject now with a mini-rave about how much she loved the grilled tuna steak with olive sauce and steamed vegetables (£21.95). I had a bite; she wouldn’t have been out of place to say such things about the dish. Back to me and my favourite morsels, I loved the flavourful tagliatelle della casa (fresh tagliatelle with truffle cream and porcini mushrooms, £13.95).

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A gorgeous glass of “top cru” Chianti Classico Molino di Grace 2011 (£12.50 for a glass, £23.95 for a carafe, £46.95 for a bottle) was something I probably never would have considered ordering, but I was glad to have had it recommended to me by our waiter – the same fella who so aptly steered Kemey toward her much appreciated fish main. Twelve quid was a bit of a treat for a glass of vino – definitely a quality quaff though (and don’t worry; the restaurant has plenty of good, affordable wines).

For back to basics dining done right, Getti is located at 16-17 Jermyn Street, SW1Y 6LT (there’s another outlet on Marylebone High Street). Find out more at getti.com.

Click to add a blog post for Getti on Zomato

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London Daily Photo: Mother & Child

LDP 2015.08.23 - Mother & Child

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Ninth Ward, New Orleans Style Bar in Clerkenwell

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Ninth Ward is a New Orleans style restaurant and bar that opened several weeks back near Farringdon Station (there’s a more established sister restaurant in New York as well). It’s a good place to consider for your next Clerkenwell drinking session with a menu of bar snacks and American fixings to abate any appetite.

Named in honour of the (in)famous Ninth Ward district of New Orleans (and the area hardest hit by – and still recovering from – Hurricane Katrina ten years ago this month), Ninth Ward London offers an experience that’s more NOLA lite than properly Nawlins immersive. Whaddyamean there’s no Sazerac on your drinks list? But I must admit there were some especially authentic Louisiana elements enjoyed during my visit that could have me heading back. And everything sampled from the menu was super tasty.

Scroll down for a list of special offers and discounts for your visit to Ninth Ward.

Chief among the handful of reasons I’d return was the Abita beer. Brewed in Louisiana at Abita Springs about 30 miles north of New Orleans – and among my most regularly downed beers when I was a student back in the States – it’s one of my favourite beers. Ninth Ward is the only place I’ve come across it in London and is to the best of my knowledge the only bar in town to stock Abita.

Ninth Ward serves Amber and Restoration Pale Ale in bottles. I commend the bar for it. If it was to add Abita Turbodog brown ale to its drinks list, I’d hoot and holler with glee.

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Food was worth mentioning too. I was particularly pleased with the bar snacks. Hot wings served with Slap Yo Mamma sauce and house bleu cheese (£7.50) did it for me and would be an easy recommendation. Curried okra lightly fried in Abita beer batter (£4.50) was a dish I’d order again (and again). A heaping bowl of house cut dirty fries “smothered” in beef chilli, cheese, jalapeños, and American mustard (£6.50) was an indulgent treat as well.

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I liked the look and feel of Ninth Ward too. Although, I found it more Voodoo/Bourbon Street kitsch (if impeccably done and worth taking a gander at) than actual Ninth Ward-like. I loved all the reclaimed wood, repurposed industrial fittings, and long tabletops. Staff kept the light low and dim while I was there, and I very much appreciated the atmospherically dark effect.

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Discounts, Special Offers, and Such

My visit to Ninth Ward was upon invitation by PocketHighStreet, a free service helping local shops and new customers connect online with mighty fine offers such as the following Ninth Ward deals:

Ninth Ward is located at 99-101 Farringdon Road. Find out more at ninthwardlondon.com.

Click to add a blog post for Ninth Ward on Zomato

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London Daily Photo: Hers & His

LDP 2015.08.22 - Hers & His

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Win a £30 Shopping Spree from Food Assembly in London

Win £30 Shopping Spree from Food Assembly in London

COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

I’ve had a wonderful time exploring the delicious locally sourced possibilities with Food Assembly these past few weeks. And now here’s a chance for you to say yes to local and have a go shopping for fresh, healthy and ethically sourced food directly from your local farmers and food producer… for free.

However you find pleasure and sustenance in your provisions, Food Assembly helps assemble a week’s worth of gorgeous groceries. Started in France in 2010 and now with “assemblies” sprouting up across Europe (I’ve heard this concept is especially popular in Spain), there are already with more than a dozen assembly points in London alone.

Here’s how it works:

Order online
Choose from a wide range of local products: fruit, vegetables, bread, cheese, meat, beer and much more… it is up to you how much you buy and how often!

Collect Your Order
Every week your Assembly takes place in a local venue. Collect your order from here and meet both the people behind your food and your neighbours.

Eat Better
Every season taste the freshest food available in your region.

Shop Fairly
Support your local producers and economy! In each Assembly producers set their own prices and receive an income that is both fair for them and good for the local economy.

I really enjoyed my Food Assembly shopping experience. Hosts and producers present (at the Roman Road assembly) were all super friendly, avid and enthusiastic about their products. There were plenty of samples and nibbles on hand as well as a lovely community-spirit about the casual event that made mingling with the producers and other shoppers a delight.

Sounds like a great alternative to slogging your way through the aisles of the supermarket, right?

To be in with a chance to win, simply tweet the following:

RT to win £30 of free shopping with @FoodAssembly compliments of @tikichris: ow.ly/Rbdkh #YesToLocal #MyFoodAssembled

Please take a moment to read the terms and conditions before tweeting!

T&C

I’ll pick one winner at random on Monday 31 August at 11.30am BST. The winner will receive £30 worth of free online shopping at thefoodassembly.com. To be eligible to win, you need to be able to pick up your shopping at one of 18 (at the time of publishing this post) Food Assemblies in London.

Find out more about Food Assembly at thefoodassembly.com and keep an eye out for all My Food Assembled! posts.

COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

Check out more tikichris competitions.

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London Daily Photo: Crown

LDP 2015.08.21 - Crown

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Vinothec Compass: A Stroke of Food and Wine Genius in North Greenwich

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Realising that one of the better meals served to me this year and the best wine list I’ve come across in London in quite a long while both happened to be on offer at a new golf range in North Greenwich really threw me for a loop. But hey, I’m apt to take a swing at virtually any possibility if there’s the promise of great food and drink. Accepting an invitation to what seemed like a long shot – an evening of “Terroir and Turf” at Vinotech Compass at Peninsular Golf Range – turned out to be an ace culinary experience that’s easy to recommend and one that I hope to repeat soon.

Me and golf? There’s nothing there, no history (unless you allow encounters when the term was hyphenated with “mini” or “crazy” at the front of it). But I found the chance to try out the Peninsular range with a complimentary quickie lesson to be a lot of fun. With a flute of Pol Roger and some tasty tapas to augment the session, I’m now all fore gourmet golfing and find myself hankering another attempt.

Opened at the beginning of July by N1GOLF, Peninsular is a 60 bay driving range near London’s O2 Arena featuring panoramic views of the Thames and Canary Wharf (taking aim to drive a ball at the glass towers across the river was a cathartic way to get some exercise). From what I could gather based on my instructor’s patience and ability to get even a novice like me to hit a few balls in the right direction and with some distance, I’d say it’s a great place to learn to play golf. And with most of the other bays filled with folks who seemed to know what they were doing and enjoying the heck out of it, I reckon the range just as ideal a destination for seasoned players as well.

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Whether I make it to North Greenwich for golf again or not, I’m certain to head back for another dine at the range’s Extremaduran and Catalan accented restaurant and bar: Vinothec Compass. An opportunity to sample highlights from Chef Jordi Rovira Segovia’s menu truly impressed. Simple but full flavoured Spanish dishes like baby squid with tomato and coriander, smoked trout salad, and suckling pig with piquillo peppers where gastro-delights, as delicious as they were stylishly presented. Other wonders from his kitchen included a sophisticated cod confit with Romesco sauce and a perfectly grilled longhorn onglet.

But wait there’s more. Lots more, actually. Vinothec Compass has a cellar with more than 600 wines (not to mention a smartly curated Craft Beer Counter to boot) with an emphasis not on region or price tag but great taste and diversity and an admirable aim “to promote the pretty, unusual and iconic – from indigenous grapes nurtured by small independent growers, underlining the importance of sustainable, organic viticulture.” Great quaffs had during my visit included a crisp Bulgarian Chardonnay, a tantalizing Tempranillao from Morocco and some rather umph-y French reds. All (I sampled a mix of nine or ten wines over my evening meal) sparked conversation and could be classified in the best of wine tasting categories: distinctive and interesting.

A stroke of delectable genius, Vinothec Compass Restaurant and Bar is located at Peninsular Golf Range, Tunnel Avenue, SE10 0QE. Find out more at greenwichpeninsulagolfrange.com and vinotheccompass.com.

Click to add a blog post for Vinothec Compass on Zomato

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London Daily Photo: In the Palace

LDP 2015.08.20 - In the Palace

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Celebrating St Stephen’s Day in Hungary (OneTravel)

Budapest

August 20th, St Stephen’s Day, is the biggest day of the year in Hungary. The day commemorates Stephen I, the first King of Hungary, being canonized in 1083 (45 years after his death) by Pope Gregory VII for bringing Christianity to the people of Hungary. The actual feast day for St Stephen is the 16th of August, but it is celebrated on the 20th as that’s the day the king’s relics arrived in Budapest.

The national holiday sees festivals across the country with the most significant national events taking place in the capital city of Budapest.

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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A Happy Pig is a Good Pig: What Free Range Really Means

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Pork has got to be the most versatile meats, Leila Dukes reckons. From roasting joints, loins for chops, legs for gammon, ribs for barbecue  you can create all sorts of wonderful dishes from nose to tail.

While it’s tempting to rush off and start a cooking marathon as soon as possible, it’s important to consider where your meat comes from first. Of course, discerning shoppers always try to source the best quality possible to be sure of welfare standards and good flavour. However there are so many labels to decipher and even the savviest foodie is likely to be confused by the terms “outdoor bred”, “outdoor reared” and “free range.” Based on my recent visit to Blythburgh Farm in Suffolk, here’s what they all mean:

    • Outdoor bred: born outside but then moved indoors to be reared intensively for the majority of their lives;
    • Outdoor reared: intensively reared outside; they may be in huts or tents but they’re shut in for the whole time;
    • Free range: born outside, reared outside, freedom to roam large paddocks for all of their lives.

If the pork you’re about to buy has none of the above labels or is imported pork, chances are it is from animals who have had relatively miserable lives.

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The explanations above are courtesy of Jimmy Butler, an experienced farmer and head of Blythburgh family farm in Suffolk. The Butlers converted their pig farm into the “absolutely, totally free range pork” venture it is today back in the 1990s. Today, you can find pork bearing the Blythburgh stamp in specialist butchers around the country including my local, Hennessy Butchers in Battersea.

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You may have come across Blythburgh pork, also known as Jimmy Butler’s pork, on menus at the Savoy, the Fat Duck, the Ivy and the Hind’s Head – as well as street food favourites Chipotle and Yum Bun. The label “Blythburgh pork” means that the meat you are buying is traceable back to one truly free range farm, which has ideal conditions for raising happy pigs.

The pigs that produce Blythburgh Free Range Pork spend their entire lives outdoors in the fresh air, with freedom to roam. Large airy tented barns in each paddock with plenty of bedding straw provide shelter when needed. Better welfare and better taste – these pigs grow at a slower rate, so develop more flavour and succulence that is not easy to find in intensively farmed oprk. Jimmy’s son Alistair tells us that pigs are curious, intelligent animals who love to root and play. As Jimmy puts it, “a free range pig is a happy pig and a happy pig is a good pig”.

The open spaces of the free range farm is clear to see just off a main road near the town of Blythburgh; the pig farm has become something of a landmark in these parts. You can see for yourself how the pigs happily roam in large paddocks, playing and rooting around as is their nature in the sandy Suffolk soil. I was lucky enough to cuddle one.

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After the visit, the group of food writers I was with were invited to a butchery demonstration by Gerard King, from local craft butcher Salter and King, who skilfully broke down a whole side of pork and shared his top tips for preparing each cut. His recipe for rolled pork belly stuffed with chorizo sounds like a winner!

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With fine quality meat like Blythburgh pork, the simplest recipes are often the best to showcase the natural flavours. The Butlers shared one of their favourite family recipes for slow-cooked pork sholder:

Ingredients

  • 6kg Blythburgh pork shoulder, boned, rolled and scored;
  • 2 tablespoons oil;
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds;
  • Salt

Method

  • Heat oven to 220C;
  • Place the pork in a roasting tray, rub the skin with oil and salt, and then sprinkle with fennel seeds;
  • Roast for 30 minutes and then lower the oven to 120C;
  • Cook for a further six and a half hours;
  • When cooked remove pork and rest for 15 minutes;
  • Remove crackling, shred pork and serve in rolls with apple sauce or with vegetables and gravy.

Find out more at freerangepork.co.uk.

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London Daily Photo: Palace Grounds

LDP 2015.08.19 - Palace Grounds

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16 of the Best Bars in Bali (OneTravel)

Best Bars in Bali

Welcome to paradise!

Here have a drink and enjoy perusing this list of the best bars on the beautiful island of Bali. Cheers!

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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Limited Edition Mast Brothers Chocolate Beer Float at Shake Shack Covent Garden

Shake Shack/Mast Brothers Chocolate Beer Float - DSC_9541

This week only Shake Shack and Mast Brothers are teaming up to present a limited edition Chocolate Beer Float. Available at the Covent Garden Shake Shack location through Sunday 23 August, the float costs £5 and combines the Shack’s vanilla frozen custard with Mast Brother’s non-alcoholic chocolate beer served together in a Govino wine glass.

I had a taste of this craft New Yorker combo at the launch last night (along with a burger … and some cheese fries … and a certainly alcoholic pint of ShackMeister Ale). Quite the treat for a Monday night!

The float was the highlight of my meal. Rich, creamy, not overly sweet – Mast’s chocolate beer is brewed with freshly roasted cacao, cane sugar and water before being carbonated with nitrogen. With a scoop of custard slowly melting into the brew, the float’s flavour altered ever so slightly with each sip.

Trying the beer was also a delicious reminder that I’ve to pay a visit to the new Mast Brothers shop in Shoreditch … and that I really really should. For more about Mast Brothers go to mastbrothers.co.uk.

Shake Shack is located at 24 Market Building, The Piazza, Covent Garden, WC2E 8RD. Find out more at shakeshack.co.uk.

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London Daily Photo: Epping

LDP 2015.08.18 - Epping

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Swindon Hotels Provide Great Comfort

Swindon Hotels

No matter where you may be traveling to or for whatever reason you may be traveling one of the most important aspects of your trip is going to be the quality of the hotel that you are staying. Just because a hotel charges you a lot of money does not mean you will get a quality stay with comfort and amenities you are pleased with. Likewise a hotel that saves you money, while great for your budget, can often be disappointing to you once you arrive and realize the quality is just not there.

Finding a place that strikes just the right balance of quality, comfort and affordability can be tricky when you are traveling to places like Swindon but if you look at the City Centre Hotels in Swindon and see what is available you can find the ideal space.

Qualities You Should Look For

There are a number of qualities you want to be looking for when you look at hotels available in Swindon. Finding a place in the City Centre can be perfect for your needs since you will be close to many of the top attractions, dining spots, entertainment, shopping areas and more. You will also have easy access to public transportation so you can get around the city without having to worry about driving and parking. You want to look at the hotels and check the different amenities that they offer to see if they have the qualities that are most important to you when you are looking for a comfortable place to stay. Once you have looked over everything you will find that of the Swindon hotels available the Holiday Inn Express Swindon City Centre has everything you are looking for.

All You Could Hope For

A room at this hotel is going to provide you with all you could hope for in a quality hotel in the City Centre area without breaking your budget. The hotel has six floors of rooms so they are several sizes available to accommodate whatever your party needs may be. The hotel itself is located in the heart of the City Centre so you have great access to everything whether you are in town for business or for leisure. You will also find amenities like Wi-Fi Internet access, HD LCD televisions, en-suite bathrooms with power showers, comfortable bedding, in room coffee and tea facilities, workspace with proper lighting and other comforts. You can also use the restaurant and lounge on-site for your meals or as a place to relax and unwind at the end of the day.

You get all of the amenities you could hope for in the location in Swindon that you want at one of the best prices of any of the hotels in the City Centre area when you stay at the Holiday Inn Express Swindon City Centre. Instead of spending hours looking over all of the hotel listings you find, go straight to the website of this Holiday Inn Express and find exactly what you are looking for in quality, price and comfort.

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