Wednesday, 4 December 2013
Breakfast and vegetarian doesn't often spark the most excited of reactions among Muesli Lover's chums, but before you switch off, give this place a chance.
Orchard's local, seasonal, foraged and vegetarian roots make for wholesome and innovative breakfast dishes although the staples are an equally delicious choice. The porridge (£3.95) was creamy and was topped with flaked almonds and homemade compote (this changes seasonally), although there was also a tempting muesli, yoghurt and fruit option (£2.25) along with toast and homemade preserves with English butter (such a triumph of menu wording that I ordered it for £1.75 and was delighted with the crispy, fresh toast and rich butter).
The changing specials often revolve around duck eggs, mushrooms and a homemade brown sauce, such as the dish above (£5.95). The coffee too is superb and this place knows its flat whites from its lattes.
All-in-all a fine spot for a central London breakfast with friendly staff and a cracking menu that will convert even the most ardent fry-up fan.
Details: 11 Sicilian Avenue, London, WC1A 2QH; www.orchard-kitchen.co.uk; open from 8am weekdays, 10am Saturdays, closed Sundays
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Ok, ok, parody away. A draughty Victorian terrace in north-west London with an Aga... yes, they're made for farmers' kitchens with a warming oven for premature lambs and a frontage for Bessie the sheepdog to cuddle up to, but laugh away because at about this time of year, the ML Aga is the house teddy bear.
People are drawn to it for a lean, a snuggle, or a cuppa when the mercury drops, and once you get to know these cast iron beauties, it's hard to imagine (winter) life without one.
They are perfect for fry-ups for starters - moving items around ovens until you're ready, then there's stove-top fried eggs cooked on bake-o-glide, overnight or baked porridge, toast in the toast rack and perfectly moist muffins.
So they are expensive to run, a little un-environmentally friendly (unless you manage to hook yours up to heat the water, or get a snazzy new one with a timer), and pricey to buy, but once you succumb, it's a slippery, and bum-warming slope to Aga love.
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
Ahoy there sailors! A weekend on the high seas in a blustery Southampton Water tested the ML tummy to the limits, but there's nowt better than starting off with a fry-up (possibly ancient mariners' lore, possibly a misleading piece of foolhardy advice...).
Amazing what can be done in a tiny galley kitchen with a gimballed cooker and chest fridge. The key is timing - cooking the bacon and sausages first because they can be kept warm, then doing the eggs last minute while having the galley slave on toast duty.
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Every now and again, nothing short of a muffin will do - forget saccharine, cutesy cupcakes, a good wholesome chunk of a muffin is just the ticket.
This recipe is from the Ottolenghi: the Cookbook, a book that Mr ML and I were given as a wedding present and one I frequently dip into.
Now, sadly, the outcome was so mouthwatering that ML forgot to take a final piccie, but if you want to see what the finished product should look like, you can squint at the cookbook picture above, or check out the divine pictures on the Mint Tea & Tagine blog. Here are the instructions, rather ingeniously laid out by the Bluebell Cafe in one of their blog posts on the same, popular, recipe.
Make the topping first:
75g plain flour
25g muscavado sugar
15g sunflower seeds
25g pumpkin seeds
10g sesame seeds (and I added a sprinkle of poppy seeds too)
1tsp veg oil
Rub together the first 3, then add the oats and seeds and finally mix in the liquid to give you a messy crumble mixture, set to one side.
Now mix together with a fork:
160ml vegetable oil
280g caster sugar
220g carrot, grated
200g apple grated
100g pecans, roughly chopped
50g flaked coconut
Finally lightly mix in the dry mixture, which is:
300g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
Now fill muffin cakes or a silicon muffin tray with the mixture and then sprinkle topping over the top. Into the oven at 170 C for 25-30mins.
Wednesday, 6 November 2013
A little colour for a grey month... I bought these scales in the wonderful Vintage Home and Garden at Drove Orchards in North Norfolk, a real gem of a place and right next to the Farm Shop for Norfolk's finest fruits, veg and more.
Ok, so I've never actually used them as scales, but were I to buy a set of weights, I'd be measuring out my pancake flour in them in no time... until then they look rather pretty on the shelf.
Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Brighton is a veggies heaven, and it ain't half-bad for breakfasters either. There are countless little cafes, juice bars and fry-up joints. That said, finding a good one can be tricky.
A little Googling came up with this place near the train station courtesy of a rather fun blog called The Breakfast Menu, a breakfaster after my own heart based on the south coast.
I was not disappointed - fabulous nutty, but not bitter coffee sans curdled soya milk as is so common with the non-dairy frothy coffees. To follow it was a kind of posh fry-up affair. I had poached egg, spinach, sausage and tomato. All were cooked to perfection, fresh and hot. The sausage was herby and tasty. My fellow breakfaster enjoyed her scrambled egg, halloumi, spinach and bacon number too - a success all round, a a charming clattery kinda atmosphere.
Wednesday, 23 October 2013
Moment is pretty hard to beat (in what is increasingly becoming a more competitive West Hampstead breakfast scene) because a) it opens early b) it does smoothies and juices and c) you can go healthy or hangover... read my review here.
More breakfast spots in North-West London:
Moment, West Hampstead
Wet Fish Cafe, West Hampstead
Melrose & Morgan, Hampstead
Ginger & White, Hampstead
Curled Leaf, West Hampstead
Kitchen Table, West Hampstead