After I started working with food and dietary requirements I have become a bit more conscious of what I eat that contains dairy and gluten. Mostly because I am a tiny bit intolerant, although not loads. So, sometimes I choose the free from options. I have to say that I am a fan of the mini moo chocolates, they don't really taste like they are made without dairy, and they are a good size for a mini snack. If you give me a big bar of chocolate I will probably eat it all, so it's better if we just limit what is available for me to eat, hence tiny chocolates are good. Also they are cute. Right?
Today is one of my favorite days, Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day if you prefer. I like any day that starts with pancakes, really. I got up early this morning to make a small stack, to start the day right, and I thought it would be best to make something semi healthy so I used one banana, an egg, a bit of gluten free oats and a bit of gluten free flour. All mixed together and a bit of milk added to give the mixture the right consistency. This batter makes the pancakes quite fluffy and american style. Best enjoyed with fresh blueberries and buckets of maple syrup. If last year is anything to go by I will be making pancakes every day for a while, next up are these cream cheese ones, and I want to give real american ones a go too.
I don't think it is a secret that I am a fan of eating, whether that is at a restaurant or at home. Although I prefer having my food cooked for me, rather than by me. True story. Luckily London is one of those cities where eating out does not have to break the bank, and there are just so many places to choose from. The eggs benedict above are from The Alice House in West Hampstead, and possibly the best eggs benedict I have had this year.
Dinner with friends at Chop Shop by Piccadilly where the meat is tender and the G&T's have cucumber in them. For someone who never drinks a G&T, that thing was delicious! The sausage rolls to start, yes! and the house pork crackling. I could have just eaten that all night.
Another dinner with friends (other friends, of course!) where we went to Electric Diner in Notting Hill. Before this meal we also went to Rum Kitchen for a drink and I discovered that ginger in a drink can be oh so right as long as the drink is called Dark n Stormy. We ordered way too much food at the restaurant and they had a really amazing starter with squid that just killed and for mains I think we ordered 50% of the menu, with a sausage and mac n cheese to share. How full do you think we were after all that?
The husband does not like sushi, so whenever I feel the need (all the time) I have to talk friends into going to dinner to get my fix. We tried out Sticks n Sushi and I really loved that place. Food was good, so so good, and that dessert just made my whole day. Also funny how it is a bit Danish with Danish words and phrases everywhere. Danish sushi? Ok then.
When it gets warmer outside (and inside, our apartment is like a sauna on especially hot days) and the sun is shining I find it difficult to wake up and crave a serious bowl of porridge or scrambled eggs with bacon. Not that I would turn down bacon if anyone handed it to me on a plate, what fool would? But it sounds more appealing to eat something like fruit, berries, yoghurt or just drink tons of water in the morning and then have a bigger lunch. But most times the yoghurt with berries scenario wins, I'm not one to skip meals if I am going to be honest, food is love. Or something like that.
Ah West Hampstead, thank you for being you! #whamp is not too far from where we live and lately we have spent a lot of mornings/afternoons/evenings in their food establishments. Sometimes I even go there on my own when working from home. This is from last week when I needed a break from our apartment and some time to think and be creative. Thinking time is very useful, don't you agree? And I definitely think much better if I have a coffee and possibly a poached egg and bacon salad in front of me. Weird, huh? This one was from The Alice House. Anyways, it's worth a trip, West End Lane is filled with quality food!
When you work with and socialize with people that have to avoid dairy due to health reasons, it becomes quite normal to look at the list of ingredients in a dark chocolate bar, brussels pate and any packets of cooked chicken. Add an intolerance to gluten and soya into the mix, and things become rather, ehhh... challenging. Not that there is nothing you can eat if you don't eat dairy and gluten, there is plenty to eat, just not much pre-made stuff. It's all about clean eating and cooking from scratch, but certain things are a bit more challenging. Dark chocolate is usually gluten and dairy free, but that can become a bit boring after a while. So that is why these amazing truffles from Booja Booja are such a treat. They are expensive, for sure, but they taste amazing. My favorites are the banoffee ones (OMG they are decadent) and the hazelnut ones are a bit like eating a Nutella truffle. But all their flavors are good, let's face it. I recently gave the raspberry ones a go, and not only are they gluten and dairy free, they are also sugar free and raw. And for me that means they can be consumed all day every day.
So many weeks (months...) ago, so many I don't want to even think of it, we went to Hunter 468 for a dinner. It might have been back in March, it might not. But more than likely it was March, and I have had these pictures lying around ever since. Why I haven't shared them before is a bit beyond me, because I really love this place.
It was one of those pre-wedding visits my mum would make to London and we probably had tons of stuff to do during the day and then in the evening we would meet my now husband for dinner and since he works very central in London, we try to find places not too far from Bond Street Station. Which is of course a serious challenge, unless you want to eat A. fast food, B. fancy burgers that you have to queue for, C. Any type of chain restaurant, D. coffee shops. Finding fun, well-priced and independent restaurants is not the easiest in this area, and my mum would probably not appreciate dinner at McD or similar. Neither would I. So we did the obligatory internet search, came across Hunter 486 (should have asked what the name was all about) and decided it looked like a winner. Now you never know if it will be good, but this place did not disappoint. It is inside a hotel and hotel restaurants can be, ehhhh, not good? Yeah, let's just be honest. But from the second we walked in, we all felt welcome, taken care of and, once the food arrived, very satisfied.
It's been a bit of time since we went there (we are at the end of May after all...) so I can't remember what I actually ate, but I liked it! And, well, here are the pictures and I vaguely remember a really good piece of beef, followed by stealing my husbands chocolate dessert. He wasn't happy about that.
Last week, Thursday, my future husband turned 26 years old and I had plans. Yes, grand plans. We normally don't do too much on his birthday, not that we do that much on mine either, and as it was May 1st and we are getting married on May 9th and my mums birthday is in between, there was a lot of stuff going on. Still is. But he deserves a little surprise so I though I would get a little surprise dinner together and make him happy.
The day started with breakfast, coffee and presents in bed (he was both surprised and happy with the gifts, well done me!), then he went to work and I also went to "work". I had to bake a cake. I always wanted to make a Guinness chocolate cake and future husband loves Guinness and he loves chocolate, so it was definitely the day to make it happen. It's just been so long since I have baked a cake, there hasn't been much need really with all the cake I have access to at work all the time, and it did take me a little longer than expected. But, it did look decent in the end.
So I grabbed my cake (that thing was heavy!) and some champagne and made my way to Pimlico (so far!) to drop off the cake, and then made my way to future husbands workplace to blindfold him and get us both into a taxi. The poor taxi driver was a bit concerned about the whole blindfolding business, but we made it to our friends house where we were greeted with glasses of champagne and the smell of fondue. And the rest was a bit of a wine blur but we definitely had fun!
I still love a good afternoon tea, even after working with tea 3 days a week, nothing beats a good scone. Nothing. So when the girls from the tea room decided it was time to do something social together, of course we go for afternoon tea! As one of our team members can't eat gluten or dairy we did have to have a little look around London to find a place that could cater for both. A challenge, but not impossible. We ended up at 108 in Marylebone for an afternoon of tea and treats.
I think it is really important to take a little time to enjoy a meal with colleagues to get to know each other better and get away from the stress that a workday normally brings. It was so nice to sit down, chat, drink crazy amounts of tea, chat some more and then go on to a nearby pub to finish the night off with a little bit of prosecco.
Although I don't participate in the 40 day fast that follows, Pancake Tuesday is a day I can get behind. A day dedicated to eating pancakes? I am in. Every year after Pancake Tuesday I start making pancakes EVERY day, but this year I have just been too busy and breakfast is usually oatcakes whit peanut butter. I love that too, but NOTHING beats a pancake breakfast, or brunch. I had to wait a couple of weeks after Pancake Tuesday before I managed to get some in my belly (and I didn't even eat it on a Tuesday!) but it was still good. This picture is from The Breakfast Club in Soho where I met a friend specifically to have pancakes, but then there was bacon on the menu and it is difficult to turn down bacon. Or eggs. And home fries. So I had it all and it was delicious, but there was a plate of pancakes with berries and vanilla whipped cream that walked past our table and I almost regretted my choice. Almost.
I'm Christine and I currently live in London with my husband where I do my best to go to as many restaurants as possible, bake, DIY and occasionally let my hair down and go to a museum. x