Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Twilight Zone

When I was small nature programs were one of my favourite things to watch. every Sunday afternoon I would tune in to whatever animal-related show was on. My favourites were those presented by David Attenborough, there is something about his manner and soothing tone of voice which means that to this day I could happily listen to him for hours. Coming accros the book for the BBC series 'Blue Planet', which looked at life in oceans accross the globe, brought all of these memories flooding back. The program was a joy to watch aesthetically and though it did not have the emotional pull of some of the more 'cuddly' wildlife shows it was fascinating

My favourite episode was the one focusing on the Deep Sea, featuring animals that live below 200m where there is little or no light. They look so alien and exist in such inhospitable climates that it is hard to believe that are not the product of a sci-fi writer's imagination. In fact one species 'Cystisoma' was an inspiration for the creature in the 1979 film 'Alien'.


Many designers took inspiration from under the sea in their S/S '12 collections. Most of these took a lighter tone, with seafoam hues and bright corals, fishy prints, drapes and sparkling scales.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Weekend Wanderings


Because of work and family commitments the time that I get to spend with my boyfriend is quite limited this holiday and so whenever we have a full day to spend together we want to make the most of it while neither of us is too tired from a long day at work. On Saturday we got up early (for a weekend - neither of us are morning people!) to run some errands, the sun was shining so I decided to give this lime green skirt that I picked up in the Motel sample sale it's first outing. However five minutes after leaving the door I had to run back to the flat to put on a slip as the wind was meaning it was a constant battle to avoid showing the whole of London my underwear!

SKIRT Motel - VEST Tesco - CARDIGAN Uniqulo - EARRINGS Gilda's Tryst


Once I was more suitably attired I headed out again to spend the afternoon wandering round Soho, Oxford St and Mayfair. I finally told the other half about this blog (I still feel very self concious about this activity) his first question? Do I bitch about him on there. I then persuaded him to take some outfit photos to me which led to me prancing around moronically in an alleyway. I was having too much fun for most of the photos to be flattering, my face scrunches up in a very unfortunate manner when I laugh, but a few were salvagable.
After, staggering home to snuggle on the sofa with the deliciously trashy Bond film 'You Only Live Twice' before braving the rain to catch up with friends.

There were some nice 60's clothing moments in the film, however (clearly thanks to Mr Bond's sexual powers) I couldn't find many stills of women wearing more than a bikini!

Friday, June 22, 2012


Crispy soft-shell crab and ham hock, pickled carrot, lychee, cucumber and peanut dressing (artist's impression)

I've been meaning to visit Kopapa since it opened a year or so back to positive reviews from food blogs. It went on the backburner until November when I started working at Gilda's Tryst across the road but it's taken me another 6 or so months to finally check it out.

The place has become quite well known for its brunch offerings but yesterday I was there for dinner. I shut up the shop at seven and headed across the road to meet my friends. Despite the early hour there was already a nice buzz in the simply decorated room, lined on one side by a well stocked bar, and the few tables outside were filled as the evening was quite balmy.

The menu is broken up into bar snacks, sharing platters, small and large plates. We decided to get a selection of tapas-style small plates to share. We started with the lamb ribs which were wonderful; floppy strips of unctously fatty meat in a deliciously savoury pomegranate sauce with sour cream that I enthusiastically mopped up with the bread we had ordered. A note here about the olives we got to go with the bread; plump with a sprinkling of aniseed-y caraway seeds - I can imagine happily munching my way through a bowl of these at the bar.

By this time my already high expectations were ramped up further and I had the burden on my shoulders of having recommended the venue so the rest of the dishes had to deliver.

Out came a procession of lovely looking dishes. Miso English asparagus with fennel salad was a disappointment for me as asparagus is one of my favourite things this time of year and I found these (few!) spears to be uninspiring and watery, the miso sauce was in itself very pleasant with a lovely foamy texture but entirely overpowered the delicate greens while the heap of sliced fennel felt like an afterthought.  Warm individual potato, pepper, caramelised onion, spinach and feta tortilla with black olive dressing was enjoyable and hearty but quite unmemorable for me. The Spring rolls of slow roasted duck, Sichuan pepper, feta and guindilla chillies, tamarind aioli  were stuffed with soft duck and the wrapping had a nice crunch, the sauce had a nice zingy acidity but again I found it a bit harsh for the roll's filling The absolute stand out dish for me was the  Crispy soft-shell crab and ham hock, pickled carrot, lychee, cucumber and peanut dressing, the two sections of crab legs had beautiful sweet flesh but it was the salad beneath that was the real star for me. There was a flavour to it that I couldn't quite put my finger on when eating which must have been the pickled carrot and lychee. With crispy bacon, peanuts and more sweet nuggets of crab bathed in a zesty, slightly sour sauce I couldn't get enough of it. It is perfect for summer and a generous portion so on a hot day I can imagine this sufficing as a light lunch. Both of dining partners weren't too enamoured with it so I quite happily polished off the whole plate.

Overall Kopapa makes a great place for a relaxed dinner with friends. Not all of the dishes we tried were  spectacular but there were enough good ones to make me want to go back. The bill for three of us for five small plates, bread, olives and a carafe of wine came to about seventy pounds and we felt quite full from this as the majority of the plates are a decent size. Not bargain of the month but that is something one often finds with tapas-style meals and it's worth it to be able to try a great variety of foods without having to steal it off people's plates!

Kopapa on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Raspberry Crush

Raspberry Crush
JACKET Chemistry - VEST Topshop - TROUSERS Zara - SHOES Russel&Bromley - EARRINGS Gilda's Tryst - SUNGLASSES Asos

Summertime. Light lunches. Bright colours. Fresh fruit with cream.

I wore this outfit to lunch at the Farmer's club, we ate on the terrace overlooking the Thames and enjoying the sunshine. I love wide legged trousers, they feel so elegant but don't wear them that much as I feel they generally need heels. Today I decided 'sod it' I'll wear them anyway clashing them with a lime green blazer to amp up the summer feel. Excuse the perturbed look, I was only able to get this one photo as we were in a hurry afterwards.

Home-made raspberry froyo with fresh berries and liquor

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ellen Svinhufvud Almond Cake

Ellen Svinhufvud Almond Cake

I've never been so glad to have decided to keep a physical recipie file as when I came to make this cake earlier in the week. I made it a couple of years ago but had not tried again since as although it is not difficult it is sinfully rick and does require a bit of a time commitment to assemble. It came to mind again when I was thinking of something to bake for my father's birthday, he is on a low-carb diet so the traditional sponge was out. I went to the recipie folder on my laptop and could I find it? No. Printed recipies? Also no. I had already set my heart on making this recipie so began a google quest with permutations of 'Finland, court, cake, almond, egg white, cream, coffee etc...' just as I was ready to give up hope I had one last look in the file - and there it was, the pages had just been stuck together with the remenants of my last attempt at it.

So what do you get with this cake that I spent so long (unnessicarily) searching for? Its namesake is the wife of the third president of Finland who would serve this at her coffee evenings over a hundred years ago. It is a decadent combination of layers resembling giant macaroons sandwitched with whipped butter and cream flavoured iwth coffee and more ground almond and then coated in toasted flaked almonds. A small piece is enough to satisfy and it has a lovely chewiness to it from the slow cooked merangue layers. It is also a great gluten free option as it has no flour in it or for those who want something to satisfy a macaroon lover without having to baby dozens of neat little shells.

The recipie that I used (although I'm sure I found it on a different blog) is from here, however it isn't particularly clear and I had to use a bit of guess work as to what was needed basedon my experience making macaroons so I have expanded on it a bit to make it easier to follow.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hythe Bay Fish Restaurant, Kent

Sometimes we forget to appreciate the things that are right in front of us. This summer I have decided to not take on full time work and continue with my part time job so that I can pursue my own thing and visit home to help my parents who have a lot on their plate caring for my elderly grandmother. This weekend I'm down in Kent again for my father's birthday on Friday and Father's day on Sunday - double whammy of presents! Last night we went of for a meal to celebrate in Hythe. In the car on the way there I was suddenly struck by the beauty of the country lanes that we were driving down, the rumpled charm of frothy cowslips and the bright green foliage interspersed with sleepy villages with colourful cottage gardens. I've lived in this area my whole life until I moved to London and although I have liked it I often felt dissatisfaction, knowing how lovely it was (it is known as 'The Garden of England') but wanting to get away to somewhere more alive, so it was good to see my surroundings with new eyes for a change at the time of year when this area is probably at its best.

We headed to the Hythe Bay Fish Restaurant, situated in a coastal town just off the beach it would be a lovely place to relax on a summer's evening if the weather were better. It is owned by Turrloo Parrett who is apparently also the owner of Eastwell Manor, a fairly well known and overpriced Country House Hotel and Spa. The website says his motto is 'Quality not compramise' which I feel is poorly worded at best and the restaurant seems designed to become a franchise - the website tells me there is now a branch in Dover.

This said we have eaten there several times and have always found the food to be quite good although this particular visit was perhaps not the best. Whenever I eat in this area I have to remind myself to not judge as harshly as I would in London as the standards aren't the same - this is no excuse for sloppiness but it means that I would still recommend it if you're in the area although I wouldn't be too bothered about it in London.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

So I finally caved and got Tumblr

I know I'm about three (or more) years late to the party but after years of forgetting about images I see that I like or saving them on my computer I've finally created a tumblr. Check it out at to see things that I come across and like.

Out of Focus at the Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery Out of Focus Private View (1)
I loved this piece by Maro Pascual, a simple, classically shot portrait that could'vecome from a yearbook but the presentation of the ripped and then framed photograph draws you in to wonder about the girl's backstory giving an unsettling quality
 A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to go to a private view of the new exhibition of photography at the Saatchi Gallery, 'Out of Focus', organised by Times+. I went along with a friend of mine who is a brilliant photographer. Below is a snap of us outside the gallery, I'd decided to try a tonal look, I wasn't quite bold enough to go with 100% one colour (nor is it possible with my wardrobe) but I liked the combination of the two shades of blue and the pop of yellow.

SHOES: Russel&Bromley - TROUSERS: Vintage, Balda - BELT: Vintage - T-SHIRT Made by me BAG Fossil - EARRINGS Gilda's Tryst
It was a real pleasure to get a guided tour round the exhibition by the curator, a charming french woman who pointed out key pieces in each room and explained the reasons for grouping certain artists together which was particularly interesting given the lack of a structured theme and the fact the featured artists are relative unknowns.

The show is probably the most enjoyable as a whole of those I've visited at the Saatchi. It explores different methods of photography, going beyond capturing images to the manipulation of existing images from archival footage and magazines as well as abstract works using film damaged during processing. However I found that there was less work that seemed to have the level of 'shock factor' for the sake of it that is often offputting in Saatchi's collections.I wonder if this is because of the medium that the exhibition featured, as photography is relatively new there are more subjects that are yet to be comprehensively explored or can be looked at in new ways. It also means that we have less preconceived notions about what photographs should be, so although the featured collages and manipulations are not what would normally come to mind with photography we are more open to these new ideas.

 Follow the jump for some of my favourite work in the exhibition

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Admiral Codrington

Burger and chips

I hope everyone has enjoyed the Jubilee Weekend. I'm not the biggest patriot but seeing everyone out celebrating despite the miserable weather is really heart warming. On Sunday I went to the Jubilee Festival at Battersea Park where I was lucky enough to bag a spot on the river right opposite the Royal Barge so I was eyeballing the Queen for a good while as the flotilla passed. Yesterday was much more chilled and a lovely opportunity to spend some quality time with my other half. We wandered to the Mall from my flat taking in some shops on the way to take in the atmosphere of all the people out to watch the concert on big screens there before heading down though St James Park towards Victoria. The evening was unexpectedly beautiful, the skies were clear and crossing the bridge I couldn't resist taking a photo of the view down the river to the Union Jack flying high despite the security lady telling people not to stop for photos.

By the time we got to the south side of the park we had been walking for hour and were feeling pretty peckish. The Admiral Codrington came to mind as it has been mentioned so much on food blogs recently so we set off towards Chelsea.

The pub itself is a little off the beaten track and the exterior seemed a little unprepossessing as it is set halfway down a residential street. Our concerns were proven to be unfounded as soon as we entered the building. At the front is a traditionally dark bar area with lots of squishy sofas and cozy nooks which leads though to a wonderfully light and fresh dining room with an open hatch to the kitchens meaning it is filled with the wonderful aromas of cooking. As we sat perusing the menu of quite traditional British offerings we were constantly tempted by the plates of food going past, in particular the steak and the fish & chips.

To get things going we ordered some Pork Crackling with apple sauce and Welsh Rarebit to start with. I found the Crackling a little disappointing as it was just crispy with little of the unctuous fattiness that I enjoy with a good roast although I still happily munched though the lot. The rarebit was much more successful; a single slice of bread oozing with cheese and mustard.

For mains there was no question - we both went for the Cheeseburger made with O'Shea beef, rare, to see if a £15 burger could stand up to the hype. This was a satisfying hunk of meat, beautifully pink and juicy in the middle, that came encased in a smooth, shiny brioche bun with zingy pickles and a slice of classic orange burger cheese. The meat, oh that meat, a rich, slightly smokey flavour from the charred exterior and a smooth almost buttery interior made it quite clear why the meat from this butchers is so famed. The bun was a good thickness that it absorbed the burger's moistness without being to claggy in the mouth. The accompanying chips were pleasant although they didn't have as much crispness as I would liked, however they were still enjoyable, particularly when slathered with the house's home-made mustard-mayo which was quite wonderful.

The service throughout was friendly and efficient and the dining room had a lovely warm atmosphere, although it was not as full as I had expected for a bank holiday weekend. The pricing isn't the most reasonable but we didn't feel robbed, for a bottle of house red, two starters and mains we paid £30 per head. All in all a lovely, relaxed place to unwind over a hearty meal or even to nurse a drink or two in the bar.

Admiral Codrington on Urbanspoon