All the food; both home cooking and eating out!

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Last week was rather full on, but in the best possible way! Monday I mainly prepped for the day after when I had my friends Gaby and Ro over for dinner after work. For once I wasn’t rushed and it was such a nice feeling. We started with nibbles; obviously Jamon Iberico and saucisson from Spain, nice olives and my homemade dill hummus with pitta chips.

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Then I served trout fillets with dilly new potatoes and a lovely sauce for fish and finished the dinner off with dulce de leche pannacotta. Gaby also brought a selection of canelés from Babelle that were amazing!

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My childhood friend Therése arrived from Sweden on Thursday evening and we had dinner together at mine while chatting away. I made a selection of tapas including the Jamon Iberico and saucisson, Nocellara olives (our favourite!), Manchego and Ossau Iraty cheese, padron peppers, calamari and my asparagus with wild garlic mayonnaise.

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On Friday we met after work and had a speedy but delicious dinner at Barrafina Drury Lane before going to the theatre around the corner to see 42nd Street.

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Saturday was lovely and sunny, so we put our sunglasses on and went shopping in Chelsea where we also had lunch. A pit stop at home to change and we were off to dinner. We had amazing sushi that I will tell you all about later and finished the evening with champagne at Kettner’s Townhouse.

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Therése’s last full day here we went back to an old favourite for lunch; La Fromagerie in Marylebone. The food, the cheese and the ambience is just a winning combination.

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In the evening I made us a nice chicken salad and we had ice cream and chocolate chip cookies for pudding. It was such a lovely weekend and I’m so grateful my friends make the effort to visit me while living abroad!

 

 

Dill-y hummus and pitta chips

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Dill works really well in hummus, I discovered this summer when I thought of trying it for a dinner party. It went down really well with my friends and especially with my best friend Emma who liked it so much she urged me to make it again a few days later when cooking at her house.

Dill-y hummus, serves 4-6

1 can (400 g) good quality chickpeas

100-150 ml nice olive oil

1 1/2 – 2 tbsp tahini

1/2 -1 lemon, the juice only

1 medium garlic clove

1 pot or a large bunch dill

plenty of salt and black pepper

Rinse the chickpeas and pour into a food processor bowl. Add 100 ml olive oil, 1 1/2 tbsp tahini, the garlic and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Mix for a good while until you have a smooth paste. Add salt and pepper and taste. Add more oil, tahini, lemon juice, salt and pepper – whatever you think is needed. Add the dill and mix again. Season to taste and adjust the flavours once more if needed. Place in fridge until serving. Keeps for 5 days in the fridge.  

Pitta chips, serves 4

5 pitta bread

olive oil

salt, black pepper

Cut the pitta breads into smaller pieces using a pair of scissors. Place on a parchment lined baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper (and any other seasoning you might like) and place in 200C oven for approx 10 minutes (until golden and crispy). Serve immediately.

Wonderful food at Honey & Co, Fitzrovia

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I’ve wanted to go to Honey & Co, a small all day restaurant on Warren Street, run by a seriously passionate couple, for ages now. It’s difficult to get a table, so book ahead.

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I went here with my friend Daisy on a Friday night and the small space was filled to the brim with guests and staff. The atmosphere was nice and busy without being too loud.

We started our meal with three different types of mezze as they all sounded so nice! My favourite was the poached quince with curd cheese and hazelnuts (top), the flavour combination was just fantastic. The citrus and tomato salad with za’atar (above) was also nice, but not as amazing.

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The hummus with fried mushrooms, crispy onions and pitta was one of the best hummuses I’ve ever eaten. The mushrooms worked so well with it, I feel the urge to instantly copy it at home.

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The mezzes were all really big, so three was too mush for two people but we really wanted to try them all so ate as much as we could.

We decided to share two main courses as well. The barbecued aubergine with tahini crust and jewelled rice salad (above) was just amazing.

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And the slow-cooked duck with clementines and apricots baked in kadaif pastry was tasted like nothing I’ve ever tried before. It was a little sweet and a little sour and just full of flavour. The meat was very tender and rich and the crispy pastry was a nice contrast.

Apart from the bad lighting (too white for an evening), I thoroughly enjoyed our dinner here. The service could have been a little more switched on, but they did a decent job and besides the amazing food makes up for everything else.

Honey & Co, 25A Warren St, London W1T 5LZ

Cannellini bean spread

Another crostini topping is this cannellini spread with sage. It is the Italian cousin of hummus but tastes very different.

I added sage, garlic and lemon juice to make it fresh and add to the Italian feel of it. Mix it together the day before and leave in fridge overnight for the flavours to really develop.

Just like the chicken liver mousse, we served this in a mini copper pan and the crostinis on the side so each guest could help themselves.

Cannellini bean paste, serves 4

400 g canned cannellini beans

1/2 lemon, the juice

5 sage leaves

1 small garlic clove, pressed

salt, white pepper

mild olive oil

Rinse the beans and drain. Mix together with the lemon juice, garlic and sage, add olive oil until desired consistency. Season. Refridgerate overnight.

Mezze: Hummus, chilli dip and flatbread

I have grouped the recipes from Friday’s dinner, so this is the first lot.

When eating mezze it is a must to have a few dips for the bread. The most common one is of course hummus, and here is my version:

Hummus, serves 6 as mezze

1 can chickpeas (400 g)

a splash of water

olive oil

2 tbsp tahini

2-3 tbsp lemon juice

salt

white pepper

1/2 clove garlic

Pour lemon juice, tahini, water and drained chickpeas into a food processor (or use a stick blender) and add some oil. Mix and add oil as you go until the hummus has the desired texture. Season to taste with lemon, garlic, salt, pepper and tahini. 

The next dip is almost as common as hummus in the Middle East, but less known here. The proper version is the one I made with ground almonds, but sometimes you can get a cheaper version were the almonds are substituted by breadcrumbs. We learned the rule in Syria, that if you get the almond-version in a restaurant it is a good restaurant, and if you get the bastard-version then of course, it is not as good.

Muhammara, serves 6 as mezze

120 ml ground almonds (or breadcrumbs)

2-4 garlic cloves

1/2 small onion, finely chopped or 1 tsp onion powder

spicy pepper purée (mine is from Syria, but a combination of sambal oelek and pickled peppers will probably work)

70 ml tahini

70 ml pomegranate molasses

salt

ground cumin

aleppo/cayenne pepper if more heat is required

60 ml olive oil

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste with cumin and salt. The dip should have she same texture as hummus so adjust accordingly.

Flatbread is another must when it comes to mezze, and the homemade version is miles  better than the storebought option. This recipe is from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage Everyday and it is incredibly easy to make. We had a few leftover and I can happily tell you that they were just as good the next day.

Flatbread, makes 8

250 g plain flour

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil/ rapeseed oil

150 ml varm water

Pour the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the oil to the water and pour it into the bowl while stiring with a wooden spoon/fork. Mix thorougly and knead with your hands for a few minutes. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or cling film and let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Divide it into eight pieces. Roll each piece flat with a rolling bin with plenty of flour. Heat up a dry frying pan on high heat, then lower to medium heat before cooking each bread for a few minutes on each side.