Monday, 28 April 2014


It is so hard to write this blog at the moment as I am currently doing the How To Lose A Stone In A Week Diet and I really don't want to think about yummy, scrummy delicious food!! Thankfully I am only doing three days of the diet and I stop tomorrow….so far I have lost 3.5lbs in two days….and no doubt I will put it all back on Wednesday as it's Pascal's birthday and we are off to Gola.

Anyway I have had a good month of eating (hence the diet) and last week Pascal and I went to try Blanchette in Soho. I had read about it and loved that it is French tapas - perfect as I always find there are too many good things on a menu and at least with tapas you can order more!!

We arrived at the restaurant at 2pm on a Wednesday and Pascal immediately turned his nose up as it wasn't what he was expecting - from looking at the website he had imagined something much smarter. I dragged him in and luckily they had one table for two left. As soon as we sat down and Pascal surveyed the surroundings he realised he had been quick to judge and he actually loved the place - very quaint and cute - it was filled with old french "artefacts" albums, books, pictures displayed in a rustic environment.

We ordered a couple of drinks and studied the menu. The concept of the restaurant is sharing small French family style dishes with charcuterie plates, homemade terrines, oysters, cheese and so on.

The menu was fantastic - so much to choose from, it was really hard not to over do it. Most importantly we ordered a bottle of rose from Provence which was delicious.

Then to start we had bread and butter and saucisson with hazelnuts. We wanted the saucisson with truffles but they didn't have it unfortunately. I was initially disappointed as I love truffles but the saucisson we had was amazing, served with a celeriac coleslaw and cornichons - we wiped the plate clean.

We also wanted the homemade terrine but they didn't have that either so went for the duck rillettes instead and I have to say, it was the best rillettes I have ever had, so soft and it literally melted in your mouth.

We then also had the cheese beignets with onion confit. These were Pascal's favourite - they were so light and fluffy. I would have preferred the croque monsieur but it was worth it to see Pascal thinking he was literally eating Heaven!!

For mains I chose the warm confit of salmon with duck, puy lentils and herbs. The salmon was seared and lightly cooked but still pink in the middle and tasted so fresh - my only complaint was the pieces of duck were minute and so you couldn't really taste them. It was still all delicious though.

Pascal ordered the chou farci of braised beef shin with spring vegetables - I thought this was a random choice but obviously I do not know French food as well as I like to think…it was amazing - if you go here, you have to have this.

To round the meal off we had fries with béarnaise - the sauce was so good, we had to order another one!!

Unfortunately we had no room for cheese which was a major bummer as they had such a good selection but I know we will be here again soon and I can get stuck in then. If you like French food, definitely pay a visit but book a table as this is already a very popular place.


9 D'Arblay Street
Tel: 020 7439 8100

Square Meal
Bistro Blanchette on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 27 April 2014


The other day Pascal and I decided to do something "cultural" rather than our usual, eating drinking and watching box sets….! Pascal is not a museum fan however I love them and one I have never visited is the Museum of London so we headed there. It was really good however it focused a lot on the time BC and had an impressive flint collection - however I was more interested in the Plague, the Great Fire of London, Victorian times etc where there wasn't actually as much to look at. Pascal was bored after 5 minutes which did make me chuckle as he has to go back there next week when his kids come over from France!!

After two hours it was time to eat - Pascal was thinking of a proper Italian restaurant like his local in the city Taberna Etrusca but I had other plans….Hummus Bros! I am a huge hummus fan (thankfully so is Pascal) and I have been wanting to go here since it opened in 2003. Well good things come to those who wait.

Hummus Bros serves a bowl of hummus, various toppings such as beef stew, sides of salads or vegetables, pitas, wraps, puddings and juices. They focus on taste, value for money, freshness and simplicity. Here is the menu - I had obviously read it several times online so knew what to order while Pascal went to find a seat. It is a pretty small restaurant but lots of people come in for take aways or eat quickly so there is a big turnover.

They suggest you order a bowl of hummus with a topping(s) and a side salad. The bowls come in small or regular which actually just means you have one pita or two.

I ordered the small hummus with a topping of falafel and mushrooms and then a side of a Greek salad.

I wish they would open one of these in Fulham as it was all delicious and totally lived up to my expectations. The hummus bowl was filled with hummus (duh), a big falafel, tzatziki, tahini and mushrooms which are simmered with herbs and caramelised onions. The hummus itself is wonderful and it works so well with the other ingredients.

The Greek salad was one of the best I have had, lots of feta, big chunks on red onion, pepper, cucumber and cherry tomatoes topped with a generous sprinkling of oregano and extra virgin olive oil.

I mixed the two bowls and scooped it all up in my pita - yum!!

Pascal was unsure what to order and so he went for their most popular dish which is hummus with chicken sautéed in a light tomato based sauce, some sour cream and guacamole with two pitas.

This was absolutely amazing as well - everything does indeed taste so fresh. He didn't have a side and instead went for a falafel wrap which was packed with falafel, hummus and salad and served with tortilla chips (his favourite) which was also great, really chunky.

With two drinks it came to a total of £20 which I have to say is a real bargain as it was very filling as well.

Other than my brother, everyone I know is obsessed with hummus - it's so good for you in that it can help lower cholesterol, it is high in protein so can help with weight management, it may help even lower cancer risk apparently. I once read somewhere that one British supermarket does it in 20 different flavours!!

Such a great concept and obviously very popular….I will definitely be going back for more and lucky Pascal gets to go again next week after his second trip to the Museum of London!!!

There are currently 4 Hummus Bros around London in St Paul's, Holborn, Exmouth Market and Soho.

Hummus Bros

128 Cheapside,
Tel: 020 7726 8011

(closed weekends)

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Hummus Bros on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 26 April 2014


When I opened my new Fay Ripley cookbook for the first time, this is the recipe that jumped out at me the most - I am obsessed with Mediterranean flavours such as falafel, feta, sun-dried tomatoes and basil. The only thing missing here is a dollop of hummus!! 

I have a feeling this is a recipe that will be cooked over and over again as a lunch or light supper on their own or as a side to meat or fish. We had these on Easter Sunday as an accompaniment to our Roast Leg of Lamb and I would really recommend it.

Ingredients for 2 people:

2 large red peppers
200g tin green lentils, drained and rinsed (I googled why you do this and apparently it is to remove any "funk")!
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and finely chopped
15g fresh basil, leaves chopped
100g feta
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
4 ready made falafel balls

Preheat the oven to 180 C fan / 200 C / gas mark 6.

Half and deseed the peppers - you want to try and cut them through the middle and through the stalks.

Chop the feta, basil and sun-dried tomatoes and drain and rinse the lentils.

Then mix altogether in a bowl with the olive oil, vinegar and season (I could just eat this).

Fill the peppers with the mix….my peppers weren't big enough for me!!

To make the falafel breadcrumbs you can blitz them in a food processor but I just crumbled them with my fingers over the peppers so there was minimal washing up!! Very lazy I know but it was "basically" the same…

Bake in the oven for 35 minutes. If the breadcrumbs start getting too dark, cover with foil halfway through (I did this).

Then serve and enjoy!

These were just as good as I imagined and I absolutely loved them. This was the perfect meal and I can't wait to do it again soon. They would also make a great veggie option at a dinner party too.


I am really late in writing this but on Easter Sunday Pascal and I cooked a roast lamb. I wanted to cook lamb with feta and mint but we had cooked that recently so he wanted a change. It had to be lamb and it had to be a roast (so we could pop to the pub for a scotch egg while it cooked!) and this is what we ended up eating along with Mediterranean stuffed peppers.

Here is the recipe for 8 people using a leg of lamb. We were only cooking for the two of us and couldn't buy a leg so had to use a shoulder so please bear that in mind when you see the photos!

Ingredients for 8 people:

1.8-2.2kg whole leg of lamb
Sea salt
6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
12 anchovies, sliced in halved lengthways (I didn't slice them - too lazy)!
15g pack of fresh rosemary (7-8 sprigs - Pascal went OTT picking some from the garden)
3 tbsp groundnut oil (only if you have it - I used olive oil)

For the sauce:
100ml dry white wine
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
500ml chicken stock

Season the lamb with salt.

Cut the garlic into slivers. Then take a slice of anchovy and wrap it round a sliver of garlic and two rosemary leaves. Continue to do this until you have used all the anchovies…it is a pretty messy process. 

Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over a high heat. When the oil is smoking is smoking hot, add the lamb and sear until golden brown on all sides.

Put the lamb on a board, using a sharp knife cut slits in the surface of the lamb at regular intervals. Use a small spoon to enlarge the holes and stuff them with the anchovies, garlic and rosemary. This was messy once again and pretty difficult in a shoulder of lamb as it kept moving around! Mine should have been a lot neater...

Place the remaining sprigs of rosemary in the bottom of a roasting tin and place the lamb on top.

Pour 150ml water into the bottom of the pan and cook as recommended on the packaging or to your liking (ours took a couple of hours). When it is cooked, remove the lamb from the oven, wrap it in foil and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes.

While the meat is resting, it is time to make the sauce. Place the roasting tray over a medium high heat and allow the lamb juices to come to a boil and reduce by half.

Add the white wine and use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape all the delicious bits from the bottom of the pan. Once again allow the liquid to reduce by half. 

Add the chicken stock and wait for it again to reduce by half.

Pour off any excess fat and then strain the liquid through a fine sieve. Stir in the whole grain mustard and pour into a jug to serve.

Finally open up the lamb, carve and serve.

It was absolutely delicious - even if you don't like anchovies it doesn't matter as you don't even taste them, they just enhance the flavour. I can't tell you how good our lunch was - amazing!! I will be cooking this again before next Easter rolls round!!

Friday, 25 April 2014


I am a huge fan of anything slow cooked - it started at my best friend's 30th birthday party many many years ago (only joking Mands)!!! Her father cooked a slow roasted lamb and it was so good we still talk about it now. Amanda then recreated it last year and it was so delicious that Pascal, myself, Amanda and her husband Boris ate enough to feed a family of 10 and so I thought it was finally time for me to have a go.

Luckily Fay had a recipe in her new book for pulled pork and it looked amazing plus it wasn't loaded with a million ingredients and was simple to make. 

Ingredients for 2 people:

1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika (I just had normal paprika so used that)
1 tsp runny honey
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
zest and juice of half a small orange (go easy on the orange as otherwise it is too sweet)
750g boneless pork shoulder
1 onion, peeled and finely sliced

(Serve with buns, coleslaw and grated cheese)

Preheat the oven to 150 C fan / 170 C / gas mark 6.

Mix the cumin, paprika, ketchup, honey and orange zest together in a bowl. I don't like it too sweet so would only add a quarter of an orange zest but it is up to you.

Then cut the fat off the pork and chop the onions.

Rub the paste all over the pork until it is completely covered….it's best to use your hands although it is quite a messy process. Once that is done put the pork on the bed of sliced onions in an roasting / casserole dish (you need something with a lid) and pour over 75ml water and a squeeze of orange juice from half an orange.

Put the lid on and then pop it in the oven for about 3 hours (you can do just 2 but the longer you leave it, the better). Check it every 40 minutes because if the water evaporates, the onions will burn. If this is the case just add some boiling water - we didn't find this necessary.

When it is ready, remove the pork from the dish and wrap it in foil.

Heat the liquid on the hob until it reduces to a thicker saucy consistency (about 10 minutes).

Pull the pork apart into shreds with two forks.

Then pour the sauce over and mix in.

Finally serve in a toasted bun with some coleslaw (I was lazy and just bought some ready made from the shop)!

It was delicious but missing one ingredient…..

This made the bun turn from brilliant to outstanding!! It was all so so so good - the meat so tender, the onion and sauce brilliant and cheese and coleslaw is one of my favourite things (like my BFF Manda)! I will definitely be cooking this again very soon and for friends as it was so easy. My only complaint was it was slightly sweet so I would go easy on the orange as I mentioned.

I think pulled pork buns have the potential to be the new burgers for me….so watch this space for more pulled pork reviews….I need to get my bottom down to Pitt Cue Co asap!!!