Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Mr Muesli Lover: YESitisdoneIhavedrunklotsofcoffeeandwrittentheblogpiece
Muesli Lover: I'm sorry, I did not catch a word of that.
Mr Muesli Lover: theLondoncoffeeshopsthatIhavespenthoursresearchingforyoudoneitdoneitdoneit
Muesli Lover: ;-] [attempt by me to portray Muesli Lover’s furrowed brow and unamused face]
Mr Muesli Lover: Coffee. Review. Finished. [5 minutes passes]
Muesli Lover: Well done. It will need a not inconsiderable amount of editing as you may expect. It is also missing a placed called Ozone. It’s a specialty roaster that has just opened, everyone is talking about it. AND IT IS NOT ON YOUR LIST! [Mr Muesli Lover experiences crushing post-caffeine low. Shuffles away. Picks himself up and toddles off to “Silicon roundabout” for another hit.]
Ozone. My first impression was “wow, it smells of food, tasty food, in here”. And “strewth, this place is big”. It’s clearly not a coffee shop. It’s a proper place for food and coffee. Most people seemed to be eating - I had the sense people either sat down for a while or grabbed a coffee to takeaway.
For the purposes of comparison with my previous article, I ordered a Flat White (£2.40) to go. I’m no connoisseur but my general observations would be: (i) that it was served at a comparatively hot temperature compared to other coffees I have had in this review process (what does this mean? I do not know but, for some, coffee temperature is a key consideration); and (ii) it was smooth and strong. I hazard a guess that they perhaps use less milk than other establishments serving a Flat White. It certainly gave me a kick.
I’m not sure that I could drink their Flat White that regularly but it was a welcome shift in gear. I will return and sample their food for sure. As I left, I took a deep breath, a lingering swig (can one take a lingering swig?) and congratulated myself on a job well....WHAT ON EARTH!!!!! The self-congratulatory rise of my head had brought into vision something across the way at Silicon Roundabout: Shoreditch Grind.
Not more, I simply cannot take it. At the very least - and mark my words readers - this little foray around Lahndan Tarn has given me an insight that I am happy to share with you “ahead-of-the-curve” readers: this coffee malarky may just catch on you know.
Open from 7.30am weekdays and 9am weekends
Wednesday, 8 May 2013
Thank you to the wonderful Kitchen Table in West Hampstead, London, for introducing me to this incredible hangover cure/pre-endeavour breakfast recipe. Go on, be brave...
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
Mr Muesli Lover's US of A-based mother came over recently. What to cook for breakfast for the woman from the organic lovin', healthy State of California? I opted for one of the most colourful recipes from one of Muesli Lover's most colourful books: Thomasina Miers' "Mexican Food Made Simple".
I'm sure there's a better way of describing my chosen dish, the great Mexican breakfast, but it is basically a delightful smattering of yellow (egg); and red (homemade tomato sauce); with dashes of green (tarragon) and excellent beige (tortilla). Offset by the addition of a browny-black (refrained beans).
To be honest, there is not too much to say about it. You would have to be a fool to get it wrong. And the only way to be a fool would be to not give enough time to the tomato sauce or the beans. You have to let this tomato sauce simmer down. Primarily because of the delicious sticky nature the sauce develops but also because the sweet aroma that fills the kitchen is absolutely mouth-watering. I could not stop tasting the damn thing as it reduced. I was not even tempted to touch the beans as they cooked. Not really my bag. But definitely crucial to the dish. The savoury earthiness is a beautiful counterweight to the rest of the dish and its lively contents.
The final item not to mess up is the eggs. Leave the yolks runny, please. Please. It oozes into the sauces and creates a bonkers Picasso-esque piece of breakfast art. Yes, breakfast art. Go create.
Frijoles refritos (refried beans)
Ingredients (serves 4)
600g cooked black beans with the cooking liquid reserved (see Tomasina's book for a recipe for black beans)
at least 50g butter, lard or olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
sea salt and black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 chile de arbol, finely chopped (optional)
1 tbsp chopped coriander roots or stalks or epazote
a few fresh bay leaves
Method (30 mins)
Whiz the beans with a stick blender, adding just enough of the reserved cooking liquid to get a smooth, fairly thick puree.
Heat the fat in a heavy-bottomed pan (the heavy base will disperse the heat better, stopping the beans from catching quite so easily) and when it is gently foaming, add the onion. Season well with salt and pepper and sweat the onion until it is soft. Add the garlic, chilli (if you want a touch of spice) and herbs, cooking for a further few minutes.
Add the pureed beans to the onion mixture and cook for another 10 minutes, turning down the heat after a few minutes to very low, stirring constantly. Add a little more of the cooking liquid so you get a nice smooth puree that falls easily from a wooden spoon. Taste and season again. At this stage you can cool the beans and reheat them when you are ready to eat (cover them with a circle of greaseproof paper or old butter papers to stop the beans forming a skin).
The great Mexican breakfast
Ingredients (serves 4)
5-6 tbspn lard or dripping
1 large onion, finely chopped
1-2 red chillies, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tins plum tomatoes
sea salt and black pepper
1tsp piloncillo or demerara sugar
a generous few splashes of Worcestershire sauce
a small handful of chopped tarragon
4 corn tortillas, chapattis or other flat breads
Method (50 minutes)
First, get the tomato sauce cooking. Heat 2 tablespoons of the lard in a wide saucepan and add the onion and chilli. Let them sweat over a low heat for 10 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, cook for a few minutes more, and then add the tomatoes. Season the sauce well with salt, pepper, sugar and Worcestershire sauce, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon to make a roughly textured sauce. Leave the tomatoes to gently cook over a low heat for half an hour, adding a little water if they get to dry.
When you are ready to eat melt 1 to 2 tablespoons of the lard in the frying pan and gently turn the flat breads in the fat. Put them in a low oven, wrapped in foil to keep warm, along with the four plates. Add the tarragon to the sauce and stir.
Melt the rest of the lard in the frying pan and turn the heat right up until the fat is sizzling. Fry the eggs, two at a time, spooning the lard over the top of them so that they turn a golden colour at the edges and absorb some of the flavour. Season the eggs well with salt and pepper.
Put a flat bread on each plate and top with the refried beans (recipe above), then the tomato sauce. Put a fried egg on top and scatter with the Lancashire cheese.
(Mr Muesli Lover also served with avocado and a squeeze of lime.)
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Many thanks to guest blogger James Elliott for his inspired eggy crumpet dish. It's reinvigorated Muesli Lover's appreciation of the crumpet.
This recipe needs very little explanation, just take (for two people):
Dukkah (Levatine spice mix including sesame seeds, coriander, cumin, seasoning)
Whisk two eggs and season. Soak the crumpets for around 5 minutes, turning part way through to get them well sodden.
Fry the crumpets in a non-stick pan until they are slightly browned on both sides. Pop in a warming oven while you fry two eggs. Meanwhile dry fry about one tablespoon of dukkah until you can smell the spices toasting, but not burning. Add a knob of butter to the spices to create a warm buttery drizzle.
Top the crumpets with the fried egg then the buttery dukkah.
Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
I love this Farringdon restaurant - the innovative menu, the airy space and the lovely staff - it's got the perfect weekend brunch ambience. Yom yom
Wednesday, 3 April 2013
One of ML's favourite Antipodean brunch hangouts has opened in King's Cross. It's all rather unassuming and wink-wink-nudge-nudge, but who needs signage when you've got a reputation that has punters queuing around the block?
The industrial/New York/barebrick and metal vibe is the look, while chefs are on show through metal caging, and pastries are piled high beneath a hand-written sign of the day's latest sugar n butter innovations.
The coffee, is as expected, superb, and the brunch dishes quirky - you'll find coconut rice with roasted plums (£5) sitting alongside porridge and granola (both £4.50). On toast, there's creamed corn, and roasted field mushrooms among the selection (both £4), while the plates take their inspiration from breakfasts around the world - parmesan grits, girolles, boar sausage or corn and morcilla fritters, avocado, paprika crème fraiche (both £9) are two examples. Brunch is a lot of fun here.
Details: http://www.caravankingscross.co.uk/. Open from 8am weekdays, 10am weekends (get there early to avoid a queue)