Tonkatsu Pop-up at Proud East, Haggerston

Mark and I decided to venture somewhere close last Sunday when the sun was shining- Ok seriously though it was hot AF. We sat on my roof for 30 minutes and decided, Nah, this ain’t for me. I kept envisioning a nice cold pool to jump into and then opened my eyes and realised I was still in London. I really need a holiday, can you tell?- MIAMI HERE I COME.

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Anyways- for lunch time we decided to head down to the Canal in Haggerston and realised that a Tonkatsu pop up was going on in Proud East for twelve weeks only.  Now if you haven’t been to Tonkatsu, you’ll know that their speciality is ramen. Now, don’t get me wrong- I love a bit of ramen. However, the thought of eating it in 30c is not my idea of a good time. However, we noticed that they were doing Ramen salads, as well as other side dishes, so we decided to give it a go.

We went for:

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Pork Gyoza with ginger and chilli

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‘Eat the bits chilli oil’ chicken wings

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King Prawn Katsu

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Chicken Hiyashi Ramen salad with poached and marinated chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, pea shoots and a seasoned egg. Drizzled with a ponzu dressing.

 

The verdict? The food is pretty damn delicious. I’d never had a Hiyashi Ramen salad before. This was essentially a dish made with classic homemade noodles which are cooked then chilled in cold water to retain the perfect bite and bounce, all topped with a tangy dressing. It made a light and refreshing alternative to a hearty ramen broth, whilst still being filling due to the noodles. Furthermore, the Pork Gyoza’s were flavourful and the Prawn Katsu perfectly crispy.

However, the winning dish for us was the chicken wings. Oh. My. God. Mark and I agreed that these were up there for our favourite wings ever- and TRUST ME, we’ve eaten a lot of chicken wings in our time. First, they were deep fried to achieve the perfect crunch and then, they were drenched in their homemade chilli oil sauce. They were just the right amount of spice and perfectly moreish. I’ve always said chicken wings are underrated and wings like this prove me right everytime.

Basically, you have to try these if you’re visiting.

It’s a perfect East London spot to catch a quick bite to eat and the bonus is the lovely terrace that faces the canal, where you can sit in the sun with a cold drink and people watch all day. Don’t tell me I’m the only person who does that….

 

 

 

London Cocktail Week

Yesterday marked my first day at the official London Cocktail Week.

Situated in both East London at Old Spitalfields Market and at the World Class House in Central, the festival has events, pop-up bars, discounted deal on drinks – (cocktails are all 5 pounds) and many bars across London also take part. If you have a festival pass, you can essentially use it to gain access to exclusive offers. The pass is 10 pounds, and the festival lasts for a week. Laura and I went to the cocktail village in Spitalfields, and you definitely need more than one day. This means you can go back to try more drinks and food so…its pretty much a win-win situation, and if anyone needs me, that’s where you’ll find me this weekend.

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Some of the pops up bars also do food and have a deal for 8 pounds so you can eat and drink (the dream). Venues paired specific drinks with menu items: Southern Comfort and fried chicken , Tacos and Margaritas, Bodeans Bbq and Jim Beam and Scotch Eggs. if the food in there doesn’t get you excited, there’s a number of stalls outside the venue that stay open (when I was tipsy this knowledge made me happier than most people).

We started off our evening by trying alcoholic ice cream: toffee and vodka (6%). At first, it tasted just like toffee ( YUM), but as you ate it more, the vodka flavour really came out. This was quite tasty until the end where the alcohol was the most prominent (and overpowering) factor. While the guy said it was one of their most popular flavours, I didn’t necessarily feel like it was the best thing I’ve ever tried. Perhaps the espresso chocolate martini would have been better- I mean I do love coffee and chocolate.  They did have another stall selling alcoholic ice cream so for my next visit, I’ll be sure to give that one a try.

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We then went for some fabulous cocktails. There was one pop-up bar which was serving a twist on classic drinks from eight of the best bars in London. I had a Tom Collins (Hendricks gin, lemon juice, cinnamon sugar and soda) originating from the Beaufort Bar in the Savoy (fancy) and Laura had a bramble Royale (Champagne, Monin Cassis, Hendrick’s gin and lemon juice) from happiness forgets. I just need to take a moment to say that if you are ever in East London Happiness Forgets is a great bar to go to for casual drinks or a date. (you may laugh at me but I know you’ll thank me when you all have to take your tinder dates somewhere hip- hint hint Mark if you’re reading this I want you to take me)

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I also had a delicious chorizo scotch egg with the strangest cocktail. It was called porridge, and it replicated the exact taste (even including oats). Except, the taste was the kind of porridge where people use water and not milk when they make it. (i mean.. milk always triumphs am I right?)

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However, strange did not come close to the cocktail me and Laura were kindly given by Dean, one of the employees at The Winking Pig. The cocktail was: Yorkshire Tea infused rum, lemon juice, tonic and a mini bacon butty! (leighs not included) However, they had sadly run out of bread so we had some bacon on the side instead. I am a coffee person, so when I say that it REALLY tasted like tea- I mean it. The taste of tea was too much for my liking, but I did like that the bar was playing with British classics.

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nice spot of tea

The wackiest cocktail of all and by far a highlight for me was the bacon cocktail I had. It was a genius concept, and I got to eat bacon and drink a cocktail to best accentuate the flavour combination. (bonus) It was: Bacon Oak Gin, Smoked Bacon, Golden Syrup and Angos Bitters.

I definitely want to try different places on the weekend, but I‘ll be going back for that one.  

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happiness= bacon in a drink

 

 

 

 

Sunday Sessions: Brunch & Chocolate Truffles

Recently, a group of us vowed to make full use of our Sundays and always plan something fun. (it’s the one day where everyone is pretending another working week is not about to begin- let’s be real)

Mark and I started off the day by going for brunch. I had always walked past Pamela and had never had the chance to go. It serves food from the southern states of the U.S, and the menu was certainly different and unique to the typical brunch places I’ve ever been to! We decided to be adventurous (nearly everything was different to your standard scrambled eggs or avo toast anyways). We ordered the fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits and gravy (bear with me… this was AMAZING) and the Eggs Pont-Breaux (again I’ll explain!)

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Fried Chicken, Biscuits and Gravy

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Eggs Pont-Breaux

I’m not familiar with authentic American food from the south (a Tescos southern fried chicken wrap just doesn’t quite cut it). So, when the gravy was placed in front of us, and it was not what you would picture as ‘gravy’ if you live in the U.K and have roast dinners I was like…wait whaaaat? It was essentially more of a Bechemel sauce. Alone, it was average but mixed all together…. the southern states of the U.S know what they’re doing! The biscuits were slightly sweet, the chicken crispy and salty and the gravy tied it all together. On the other hand, the Crawfish Ettoufee originates from Louisana (so I’m told). It was like a stew, seasoned to perfection and full of crawfish and spices like cayenne pepper and parsley, laid over two poached eggs and biscuits. I don’t know why someone thought of putting this over eggs but trust me when I say… it works! I honestly could not pick a favourite out of these two. We were pleasantly surprised and satisfied.

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My top = my life motto

Go here if you love brunch and you want to try something to your regular brunch destinations! There are also a few vegetarian and gluten-free options on the menu and if you are out to celebrate (or not) there is a £18 bottomless brunch option (food is not included, and you do have to eat) … next time I’m going to try the french toast with caramel rum sauce.. because.. who doesn’t love caramel and rum?We also went to Junkyard Golf in Brick Lane. They have four different courses, and we went for ‘Helga’. You’ll be pleased to know I came joint third with Laura who always managed to do the courses with flying ease. I say ‘pleased to know’ because I am pretty shit at mini golf and at least I was not last (there were only four of us, though, but we can forget that part). Tickets are 9 pounds, and you can book it online beforehand. There is a bar near every course as well which is handy… booze and mini golf what more could you want.

Then, to top it all off as Mark, Sava and I were walking back home we passed Dark Sugars. It’s a chocolate shop that does truffles, chocolate and vegan treats! (Of course, I was like: wait! guys we HAVE to go in). We ( I say we but I mean I) picked an assortment out: Red Velvet, Salted Caramel, Raspberry, Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Mango and Chocolate Covered Almonds.

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In my element

img_2741My least favourite were the almonds; they were basically just covered in raw cacao powder. But, the red velvet one (see above)… YASSSSS. I only bought us one each and as I’m sitting here writing this waiting for Mark to cook me pasta (thanks, babes) I am contemplating running into his room and eating the rest.

I wish I were joking.

 

Friends and Good Food

As I sit here and contemplate what I want to do with my adult life, I thought there was nothing better to do than to write a blog post to avoid making any concrete decisions (still being productive though right?)

In the past few days, I’ve had my friend Alessandra come and stay at my apartment (hotel sofs as she likes to call it ). She’s visiting London from Dubai and naturally we had to go out and catch up over some good food and drinks. Having shown her East London before, I wanted to take her somewhere different. I decided on a favourite of mine… Homeslice. The reason I even knew about it in the first place was because of my friend Laura, knowing both our love for pizza, got us tickets to a pizza festival for my birthday back in May (BEST BDAY GIFT EVER). We got to make our pizzas (just like the pros), and we basically begged our way around trying the slices off each stall as our ticket didn’t include the tasters. The aim of the festival was to vote the best pizza restaurant in London and each stall gave out their version of perfection in a slice. While we succeeded in trying a lot of them, our puppy-eyed pretty pleases did not go well with the homeslice lady (thanks, gal) but it was winning the votes by a mile and we knew we had to try it.

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The best pizzaiolo’s around

Fast forward to this week and me and Alessandra were on our way. We got a litre of red wine (went down a treat as per usual) and decided to get the 20″ inch half Mushroom, Ricotta, Pumpkin seed and Chili and half Chorizo, Corn and Coriander. I had tried the mushroom one before and I’m not sure why ( maybe it was the wine- jokes) but I particularly enjoyed it a lot more this time than the last. Maybe because it had more ricotta on the topping and I love cheese. The chorizo corn and coriander was great too although if anything a little bit more chorizo would have been even better! Regarding the pizza itself, it is just the right thickness so that it’s not too doughy and not so thin that the toppings fall off as soon as you try and pick it up. I love pizza, and it ranks as one of my favourites in London.

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Still looking glam

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up close n’ personal

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seriously look how happy I am

Also, we also finally tried out this bar opposite my apartment called Map Maison. If you have me on social media, you’ll know that I made that my caption on Instagram. BUT seriously I’ve lived here for two years now and I had never been! They had a 2 for one deal on cocktails in the week; a cute Lewis Carroll kinda vibe with menu’s inside classic books and the drinks are fascinating and complex. Aless had the rosemary martini… sounds weird but trust me when i say the taste was surprisingly fresh and unexpected. On the other hand, Laura and I had pisco sours. She has taught me the incredible ways of this drink- (more on that when we have our Peruvian dinner party.. yes you heard me correctly) and we both agreed they were perfect. If you’re ever in Haggerston check it out!dsc00200

Next time I think we’re going to try their afternoon tea with the optional glass of prosecco because let’s face it, as much as I love fancy tea, I like fancy booze better.

Thai Inspired Prawn Curry

As I left Broadway Market on Saturday afternoon, I couldn’t help but stop at the local fishmonger, Fin and Flounder. Here we eyed up the vast array of beautiful fresh fish (Rebecca waited outside, hating the smell of seafood) and after much deliberation decided on getting 12 king prawns for dinner. Combined with my other Thai ingredients, I was adamant: we simply had to make a Thai dish.

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Inside Fin & Flounder

What we used: 

  • 12 sustainably sourced fresh king prawns
  • Brown rice (we used about 1/2 cup per serving)
  • Eight tablespoons of Coconut Milk
  • 250ml of Water
  • 80g of Mangetout
  • 4 Lime Leaves
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1/8 cup Coriander
  • One Red Chili
  • One stalk of Lemongrass
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • Sesame Oil

What we did:

Firstly we created a spice paste, using the garlic, coriander, lemongrass, ginger and chilli, placing them into a  food processor. After blending for a few seconds, it should turn to a paste consistency. Set this aside.

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NOW: drink a glass of wine. Preferably white… the flavours will really extenuate the fish flavour.. joking I just like wine and needed an excuse. sip sip gulp gulp

Next, I decided to create a stock from the prawn shells. De-head and peel the prawns, making sure to take out the digestive tract. Fry these in a large pan with a splash of sesame oil with the freshly cracked black pepper and lime leaves. This does give prominence to the prawn’s distinct flavours (not joking this time). Cover the prawn shells with enough water and leave to simmer on a low heat for 25 minutes – the longer, the better.  If it appears to be reducing quickly, you can add some more water, and if you are in a rush, you can obviously decrease the time. When you are done, strain the stock through a sieve and keep warm.

While doing this, I would also suggest putting on the rice (this is because I never do this myself and then end up waiting for ages while the rest of my meal sits on my counter idly waiting…lesson learnt and duly noted).

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Fry baby fry disco inferno

Finally, in another saucepan, pour in a little olive oil, fry the paste until fragrant (around 2 minutes)  and add 250ml of the stock. Add the coconut milk, the prawns and the mangetout. Simmer for 3-4 minutes and season with salt. Place the rice in a bowl topped with the curry.

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The finished product

ENJOY and marvel at your food awesomeness. (I know I did)

 

 

Where it all began…

The perfect way to spend a Saturday morning:

Broadway market was one of the first food markets I found myself mesmerised by when I officially moved to East London. It is super local to me and sells everything from vintage clothing, fresh (and organic) fruit and veg, meats, seafood as well as different cuisines from around the world.

When I am not hungover (Like today -wahoo go me) I usually like to spend my afternoon going up and down all the rows of the market to make sure I know exactly what I’m in for. This is also so I don’t get jealous when someone else gets a better dish than me (this happens all the time… so I convince people that sharing is caring… haha suckers there’s always a method to my madness!)

Today my sister Rebecca, Mark and I decided to make our way over on this gloomy September’s day to brighten our spirits (and stomachs).

There was a whole stall dedicated to olives, and Rebecca chose the ones marinated in lemon, olive oil and tarragon, as well as a few items for her dinner. She’s recently moved to London to start uni and she luckily has been inspired by cooking a lot earlier than I ever was (better late than never right). Mark and I got some ingredients for our dinner: coriander, lemongrass, ginger, mangetout… any ideas on what cuisine we’re going for?

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East London food Girl: In my natural habitat

Then we proceeded to get some lunch. I had been eyeing up Deeney’s toasted sandwiches for a while now and after coming back from Mexico recently and eating my entire body weight in guac and tacos… toasted cheese was exactly what I wanted. IT WAS DELICIOUS. Made with a large abundance of cheese, mustard, caramelised onions and rocket, it all was squished under a hot flat-iron and melted to perfection. Rebecca decided to try out the fried chicken (I obviously tried some as well… I am starting a food blog so…) it was crispy. But not as crispy as we quite liked it. Mark got fresh crab tortelloni with a simple dressing of olive oil and parmesan cheese (wise choice as you could really taste and appreciate the filling this way). Below are some of our food pictures (an upgrade, you’ll be pleased to know from my first post)… many of you told me there’s only so much visualising you can do when there’s no proof of the goods- SO HERE YA GO!

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Butchies fried chicken and spicy guac

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Just the way uh’ uh’ I like it

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Hot iron in action at Deeney’s

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And the egg keeps runnin’ runnin’

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50 shades of olives

 

As Game of Thrones likes to remind us, WINTER IS COMING – however; if you love food as much as I do it is a great place to visit at all times of the year. I am currently feeling very food satisfied after that trip so make sure to pay it a visit, and if you have already been then, you know what I’m talkin’ abouuuuuut.

I’m already excited for our evening meal-tune into my next post to see what we made.

Toodles!