Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake

I think for most people your association with the Ferrero Rocher is christmas or your parents dinner parties. They are something we used to insist on having at Christmas at our house as they were seen as so luxurious… maybe be it was just me and my siblings (shiny things when younger are so appealing!)  Now its more associated with slighty kitche or being funny and saying ‘Ambassador you are spoiling us’.

For me I never stopped like the Ferrero Rocher, they combine hazelnut and chocolate, what is not to love. It’s like a grown up spoonsful of nutella! But for some reason they seem to have stopped coming out at Christmas, and you very rarely seem them in shops, they are usually hidden at the bottom on the sweet aisle of the supermarket. When did Ferrero Roche stop being cool?!

who doesn't love these guys?

who doesn’t love these guys?

Well I have decided to say hurrah for the Ferrero Rocher and I recently found a cheesecake recipe that brings the FR back to life. It was my birthday recently and I had a small wine and cheese soiree with friends as one of my many celebrations and I decided as hostess I was going to make this Ferrero Rocher cheesecake as it just looked simply decadent. The original recipe calls for it to be made as one large one but I decided to go crazy and make enough individual ones seen as I have an abundance of ramekins lying around the flat.

Ingredients

140g unsalted butter

300g digestive biscuits, broken up

500g cream cheese, softened ( I used low-fat cream cheese in mine and worked perfectly)

85g icing sugar

300ml double cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

15 Ferrero Rocher, 5 roughly chopped

4 tbsp hazelnut chocolate spread

25g hazelnuts, roughly chopped

1. Make the cheesecake base first by melting the butter in a small pan over a low heat. Then blitz the biscuits in a food processor until they are a fine crumb. Add the meted butter to the biscuits and pulse until well combined. Tip the biscuit mix either into a 23cm spring form cake tin or into individual ramekins( you will get 10 individual cheesecakes if using ramekins) and press the mix down firmly into the base. Chill while you make the filling.

For the base, blitz the biscuits

For the base, blitz the biscuits

and then mix with the melted butter to make your base

and then mix with the melted butter to make your base

2. Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar in a bowl until soft. In another bowl whisk the cream and vanilla into soft peaks then fold it into the cream cheese. Stir through the chopped chocolates and spoon the mix on top of the biscuit base ( either large version or individuals). Cover with cling film and put in the fridge to chill. The large version will take at least 6 hours to chill but the small ones take about 2-3 hours until they are fully set.

Mix the cream cheese with the icing sugar

Mix the cream cheese with the icing sugar

add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mix

add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mix

Get those chopped up chocolates in the mix!

Get those chopped up chocolates in the mix!

Take the bases out of the fridge and top with the cream cheese mix

Take the bases out of the fridge and top with the cream cheese mix

mmm cheesecakes... back in the fridge with you

mmm cheesecakes… back in the fridge with you

3. Once the cheesecake has set its time to top it. Place the hazelnut spread in a small saucepan and melt over a low heat for 3-4 mins until runny. Spread the chocolate over the top of each cheesecake ( or the one large one) and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and the remaining chocolates.

Melt the hazelnut chocolate spread for topping the cheesecake

Melt the hazelnut chocolate spread for topping the cheesecake

Top the cheesecakes with the melted chocolate, along with chopped hazelnuts and ferrero rocher!

Top the cheesecakes with the melted chocolate, along with chopped hazelnuts and ferrero rocher!

Chill the cheesecake until you are ready to serve.

This was a massive hit! Its rich and creamy and covered in chocolate and nuts, there is nothing not to love. Of course you can use the basic cheesecake mix as a starting point for creating any kind of cheesecake you like if Ferrero Rocher doesn’t take your fancy. You could make a cookie based one ( Oreos seem to be everywhere), or some soft fruit like blueberries.

If you are having a party or friends round for dinner this is a real winner!

Enjoy xx

Interview with Jimmy Garcia

I was lucky enough back at the beginning of summer to go to Jimmy’s Pop up in Clapham which I have posted about here. He is one busy chap with a Tuesday night pop up in Brixton Village but also he is planning on opening a pop up Alpine Lodge in Balham ( conveniently located very close to my house) for the winter.

This is one chef who is on the up and up and I recently did an interview with him for one of the online food websites I write for, Flavour First. As he is always so busy with one project or another it was hard to pin him down but I managed to pick his brain about his food history, what inspires him and what is in the future pipeline!

http://www.flavourfirst.org/work-food-jimmy-garcia/

Check it out and enjoy! xx

South Africa – Cape Town

When you arrive into Cape Town the landscape is dominated by one thing, Table Mountain! It’s ever present when you are staying there and the views from it are beautiful. Situated on the coast of the Western Cape, the ‘Mother City’ as it is known due to its historical role in the development of modern South Africa, has golden beaches, a national park at the heart of the city and is multicultural with many stories to tell.

There is so much to see and do on the Cape Peninsula, you are surrounded by history, a beautiful national park, wildlife and of course the winelands. I had just over four days in the Cape and it was not enough. This is a destination where you could quite happily spend a week or two exploring the beaches, walking through the various parts of the national park and of course head to the winelands. Instead of rambling on about it, here are some of my favourite photos, hopefully they will give you an idea of just have stunning it is. I have fallen for Cape Town and will most definitely be returning to carry on exploring and getting more of its fantastic food and wine!

Cape Town

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, a fabulous development of shops, restaurants and entertainment

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, a fabulous development of shops, restaurants and entertainment

For something a little more challenging why not walk up Table Mountain rather than get the cable car - not for the faint hearted as its steep and hot but the views are well worth it - Cape Town at dawn!

For something a little more challenging why not walk up Table Mountain rather than get the cable car – not for the faint hearted as its steep and hot but the views are well worth it – Cape Town at dawn!

Cape Town and the ever dominering Table Mountain from the ferry to Robben Island

Cape Town and the ever domineering Table Mountain from the ferry to Robben Island

Cape Town is full of architectual diversity thanks to its colonial history and more recently becoming the world design capital for 2015

Cape Town is full of architectural diversity thanks to its colonial history and more recently becoming the world design capital for 2015

While in Cape Town we went on a walk around one of the townships, it was incredibly eye opening to meet the people who lived there, see how things are and how they are changing.

While in Cape Town we went on a walk around one of the townships, it was incredibly eye-opening to meet the people who lived there, see how things are and how they are changing.

One of the ingenious ways that people are making life better for themselves in the townships is by using old shipping containers and turning them into shops and business, such as hairdressers, clothes shops and street food venders.

One of the ingenious ways that people are making life better for themselves in the townships is by using old shipping containers and turning them into shops and business, such as hairdressers, clothes shops and street food venders.

night time at the V&A Waterfront

night-time at the V&A Waterfront

One of the best things about Cape Town is that you are only short taxi rides from the next town. Just around the corner from Cape Town is Camps Bay, a fantastic spot to go and watch the sun set. There are sea front restaurants and bars a plenty to enjoy it from.

One of the best things about Cape Town is that you are only short taxi rides from the next town. Just around the corner from Cape Town is Camps Bay, a fantastic spot to go and watch the sun set. There are sea front restaurants and bars a plenty to enjoy it from.

 

Around the Cape Peninsula

The scenery around the Cape is just beautiful, so hard to capture on camera but I tried, this is up the road from Houts Bay.

The scenery around the Cape is just beautiful, so hard to capture on camera but I tried, this is up the road from Houts Bay.

One of the highlights of the Cape Penninsular are the terribly cute Cape Penguins at Boulders

One of the highlights of the Cape Peninsula are the terribly cute Cape Penguins at Boulders

so many penguins, so little time!

so many penguins, so little time!

The Cape of Good Hope!

The Cape of Good Hope!

The beautiful beach at the Cape of Good Hope

The beautiful beach at the Cape of Good Hope

The rugged coastline of Cape Point, just beautiful

The rugged coastline of Cape Point, just beautiful

The Cape Penninsular- where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic

The Cape Peninsula where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic

 

The Winelands

Beautiful Colonial Stellenbosch

Beautiful Colonial Stellenbosch

One of the best things about Stellenbosch, other than the wine were the sculptures that were dotted around the streets, an interesting way of exhibiting art and a great insight into the minds of young south african art students

One of the best things about Stellenbosch, other than the wine were the sculptures that were dotted around the streets, an interesting way of exhibiting art and a great insight into the minds of young south african art students

The beautiful landscape of the Winelands of the Western Cape

The beautiful landscape of the Winelands of the Western Cape

wine tasting in Franschhoek

wine tasting in Franschhoek

Blue skies, stunning landscape and wine tasting, this is the place for it!

Blue skies, stunning landscape and wine tasting, this is the place for it!

I very much recommend a trip to Cape Town!

This was the end of my South African journey, and I can say I fell in love with the country and its people who are all so welcoming. I will most definitely be going back!!

 

 

Black Pepper and Parmesan Beer Bread

Summer, its the time of picnics, long lunches in the sun and staying out of a hot kitchen for as long as possible. When its hot and the sun is shining you want food that takes little effort and can be enjoyed al fresco or in a picnic. I look for any excuse to have a picnic on the common and having yummy food to bring along is even better.

Last week I went to a fabulous evening of Jazz at Fulham Palace, it was beautiful. Jazz in the background as we sat in the gardens of this historic house and enjoying the wonderful company of friends. It was an uber picnic affair, some people were taking it very seriously. We of course took the Pimms very seriously, but a few home made treats did make it including this delicious black pepper and parmesan beer bread which just goes so well with slightly warm camembert!

A fabulous evening of Jazz in the gardens of Fulham Palace

A fabulous evening of Jazz in the gardens of Fulham Palace

The beautiful gardens of Fulham Palace

The beautiful gardens of Fulham Palace

This little loaf slices perfectly, is a great picnic staple.

This recipe comes from the fabulous ladies at Spoon Fork Bacon, one of my favourite blogs!

Ingredients

485g Plain Flour

2 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

385ml beer ( get a good one full of flavour)

115g melted unsalted butter

zest of 1 lemon (optional0

85g grated parmesan cheese

2 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees, lightly grease the loaf pan and set aside.

2. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt ina  mixing bowl and whisk together. Create a small well in the flour mixture and add the beer, half the melted butter, lemon zest, parmesan and black pepper. Stir together until the dough just comes together. Do not over mix it!

Add the beer, black pepper and cheese to the flour mix

Add the beer, black pepper and cheese to the flour mix

lots of cheese and pepper - two great ingredients

lots of cheese and pepper – two great ingredients

Mix to a dough!

Mix to a dough!

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Pour the remaining butter over the top and bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour 10mins, or until a scewer comes out clean.

Into the loaf pan and top with the remaining butter

Into the loaf pan and top with the remaining butter

4. Remove the load from the tin and allow it to cool until warm to the touch before slicing. Serve with butter or eat plain.

Slice and serve warm with lots of butter!

Slice and serve warm with lots of butter!

Enjoy! xx

Discovering the Stromboli

I am always looking for new recipes to try, new exciting flavours and interesting ingredients combinations, because at the end of the day boring food is just boring! So when you discover something new its great. For me its recently been the Stromboli. Before coming across a recipe for one I had never heard of it! I know shocking! I thought I knew all the pizza forms. For those that do not know, a Stromboli is a rolled up pizza – its ingenious and I do not know how I haven’t come across this before.

It’s just as easy to make as pizza but it has a novelty factor. If you are in the mood for making pizza ( and home-made is always so much better than shop bought!) then give this a go for something different!

Ingredients

250g Basic Pizza Dough

3 tbsp tomato puree

100g thin salami

120g spinach

100g thinly sliced mozzarella

1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees and place a large baking tray in the oven to heat up. Roll out the pizza dough to a 24xm x 30cm rectangle.

rolling out my dough!

rolling out my dough!

2. Spread the tomato puree over the rolled out pizza dough. Then lay the salami over the top, then the scatter the spinach. Finally put the mozzarella over the top. Carefully roll the dough from the shortest side with the seam facing down. Brush with a little olive oil.

base!

base!

layer up those toppings

layer up those toppings

what is a pizza without cheese!

what is a pizza without cheese!

carefully roll that bad boy up!

carefully roll that bad boy up!

3. Carefully lift the rolled pizza onto the pre heated baking tray and place in the oven for 20-25mins until golden brown.

full off oozy cheese goodness - its sooo good!

full off oozy cheese goodness – its sooo good!

To serve slice the stromboli and serve with a green salad. To make it veggie why not use ricotta, spinach and mozzarella or through in some roasted peppers – Yum!!

Enjoy! xx

South Africa – The Panoramic Route

Its been a while since my last South Africa post, I thought I would give you all a break! One thing that amazed me most about South Africa was it’s ever changing landscape, there is just so much to see that its impossible to do it all in one trip. Leaving our lodge on the edge of Kruger we travelled to Hazyview which is further south but still on the edge of Kruger and used by many people as their base for safaris. We used Hazyview and our lovely hotel, the Hippo Hollow as a base to explore the region and of course the world famous Panoramic route.

We had been blessed up to this point with great weather, however that all changed the morning we were due to head out onto the Panoramic Route – the heavens opened and it didn’t look like it was going to stop!!

As we left Hazyview behind and wound our way around the hills and climbed higher, even through the rain soaked windows we could see the amazing scenery outside – deep valleys, thick forests and stunning waterfalls, we were a long way from the flat savannahs we had experienced while on safari. On a clear sunny day this would have been a photographers paradise.

Our first stop was Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world. As we stepped out of the bus to make the short walk to the viewing areas it suddenly stopped raining, we couldn’t believe it! As you approach the viewing areas the sheer vastness of the canyon becomes apparent, its beautiful. You feel like you are not in the modern world but this is the landscape for some prehistoric era. This was certainly the place to just sit on a rock and take in the majesty of your surroundings.

Panoramic of Blyde River Canyon - the rain stopped just long enough to get a couple of photos in

Panoramic of Blyde River Canyon – the rain stopped just long enough to get a couple of photos in

 

Blyde River Canyon

Blyde River Canyon

This is of course the ideal place for great photos, and we ladies did not hesitate to get some posed photos in while the sun was trying to come out.

Selfies at Blyde River Canyon, of course!

Selfies at Blyde River Canyon, of course!

 

Now of course the Canyon is stunning but it’s not the only stopping spot on the Panoramic Route. Our next call was Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Now I had no idea what we were going to see when I heard the name, to me potholes are the things in the road that cause all sorts of trouble! However when you see these potholes you are in awe of the sheer power that water has to shape rock. The power of the river has over centuries formed amazing rock formations and pools in the striking red rock.

Bourke's Luck Potholes

Bourke’s Luck Potholes

Bourke's Luck Potholes

Bourke’s Luck Potholes

 

Bourke's Luck Potholes

Bourke’s Luck Potholes

Now I would have loved to have filled this blog with fabulous panoramic views of the valleys and scenery we passed but unfortunately the rain came back and the rest of my photos are pretty grey and miserable.  The weather got so bad that we had to skip Gods Window! The Panoramic Route is definitely worth a visit as it gives you a whole different view on the country but also lets you delve into its history and see what life was like back during the days of the prospectors and gold rush.

The chance to go on an elephant ride - amazing!

The chance to go on an elephant ride – amazing!

While we were in Hazyview we got the opportunity to go on an elephant experience with Elephant Whispers. I have had the amazing chance to ride elephants and play with them before but in Asia, so the chance to get up close to an African elephant was a definite must. We spent about an hour learning about the elephants, getting to feed them, touch them ( the back of their ears are SO warm and soft!), it was truly unique. After that we went for a short ride, not the best I have done, but the first timers loved it.

Standing between an elephants legs.... not in the least bit scary!

Standing between an elephants legs…. not in the least bit scary!

One thing that we all enjoyed was the Boma Dinner that our hotel put on. We had an amazing traditional dance show which was so high energy, I don’t know how they kept going for so long! I know it’s quite a ‘tourist’ thing to do, but it was really fun!

Boma Dinner - traditional South African dancing and music- the energy these dancers have is amazing!

Boma Dinner – traditional South African dancing and music- the energy these dancers have is amazing!

Panoramic Route - South Africa

Fabulous dancing!

It’s such a shame we had such terrible weather the day we were due to drive the Panoramic Route but we still got to see some of it and it did not disappoint. Spectacular scenery that just made me further fall in love with South Africa. Having Hazyview as a base was great as we got to further explore and enjoy a bit of the culture. We were here for three nights which was enough time as we had already done our safari. Next and final stop on the adventure was Cape Town!

 

Afternoon Tea at the Ham Yard Hotel

Behind buzzing Shaftesbury Avenue and the throngs of people who fill the street lies a haven. A small paved courtyard lined with trees, sits hidden behind one of the busiest streets in London, and this little courtyard belongs to the Ham Yard Hotel. In the heart of Soho hides a respite from the chaos, an elegant hideaway. It is here in the cool and quiet courtyard that I devoured a beautiful afternoon tea, it was so very easy to forget that I was in London in the middle of Soho.

From the moment we got to the Ham Yard Hotel you felt relaxed, the staff were lovely and nothing seemed too much trouble. Afternoon tea can be served in the bar, restaurant or lounge area, but our waiter had assigned us a table outside presuming that we would want to enjoy the glorious weather, he presumed correct. I had a quick snoop around the lounge (and the restaurant area of course!) and in autumn or winter this would be a great place for tea, big deep sofas and chairs, a place you could while away the afternoon away from the cold and enjoy delicate cakes and tea.

From the moment we sat down I felt taken care of, our waiter returned now and again throughout the tea to make sure we were ok, and chat away with us, he was such a sweety! The staff were friendly but not overbearing. We choose the basic afternoon tea, you can upgrade for a little more money and have their speciality teas but I was more than happy with my Earl Grey. As our afternoon tea arrived I could feel myself wanting to dive on it straight away, everything looked amazing.

Afternoon Tea at the Ham Yard Hotel

Afternoon Tea at the Ham Yard Hotel

Love the china pattern

Loving the china pattern – I want!!

The savouries included a chorizo sausage roll ( so going to have to make some of these myself), pea and mint tarts, sandwiches of course (salmon and black pepper and cucumber) and a duck slider with hoisin sauce. This is clearly not your delicate traditional tea but a great modern spin using a range of flavours that made it exciting. Each individual item was full of flavour, not to big or over powering, they all just worked together.

The tower of delightful treats

The tower of delightful treats

the savoury selection

the savoury selection

Going up we had the cakes, yum! There were chocolate macaroons, a pretty little éclair filled with crème patisserie and gold dusted blueberries, strawberry mouse, chocolate and lemon battenburg, bakewell tart and a coconut cupcake. Nothing was too overwhelming, sometimes you go to a tea and the cakes are all to big, they are meant to be small and delicate, these cakes worked well. They all had a slight twist on the traditional which I liked and surprisingly nothing disappointed me, the sponges moist, the éclair crisp and the macaroons delightful.

Cake anyone?

Cake anyone?

the delicate and delicious strawberry mouse and meringue

the delicate and delicious strawberry mouse and meringue

Now I always find the real test of an afternoon tea are their scones. So many places give you massive scones or they are dry, it’s hard to find a really decent scone, but the Ham Yard did pretty well. Their scones were small which I liked, you were not faced with a scone eating challenge, and instead you were given several small scones which were light and fluffy. With two types of jam and plenty of clotted cream it was really hard not to try to devour them all at once. I managed to maintain a small amount of ladylike behaviour while eating them.

As we lazed away the afternoon with our tea I could have quite happily stayed there all afternoon, the bar certainly looked tempting and as I walked through they were making some interesting looking cocktails.

On first visit to the Ham Yard Hotel I instantly loved it. I of course have a great love of the Firmdale brand as the Charlotte Street Hotel’s restaurant and bar are a favourite, it’s so annoying living in London as I have no excuse to actually try them out as a hotel! The Ham Yard is now a firm new favourite and with the afternoon tea being so reasonably priced at £18, I know! The quality of the food was worth much more, but at this price it means I can keep going back without having to make up an excuse for a treat, plus the menu changes every week so there is always a new surprise waiting. I look forward to experiencing the restaurant and bar as well as more tea!

Jimmy’s Underground Pop Up Restaurant

Jimmy’s passion and excitement for his food is infectious as he explains the evenings menu. The food is locally sourced as much as possible and carefully considered. From the rabbit that was shot by his friend to the chorizo from his grandmothers village in Spain, it all gives such a personal touch that I think is sometimes forgotten in many restaurants today.

The pop up is located beneath Dvine wines in Clapham North, which is a great place to grab a bottle of wine. There was the choice of matching wines to each course for £15 but we decided to just grab bubbles.

Down the stairs you are whisked away to Jimmy’s Underground pop up. There are two tables of 8 and one of 10. If your party doesn’t fill a table then it all gets a bit communal so get to know your neighbours it makes for a much more fun evening.

In the intimate setting you are never far from the food!

In the intimate setting you are never far from the food!

The food itself was delicious, everything was brilliantly cooked, full of flavour and beautifully presented. The evening started with a trio of canapés, two were presented on slate and the chicken lollipops in a jar – very fun! For starter and main you get a choice, I went for the Duck and Orange Salad, which was a mince duck ball breaded and fried ( a touch of foie gras in the middle) with duck skin and fresh orange. It was light and fresh and just the right amount to get you salivating.

Duck and Orange Salad

Duck and Orange Salad

In between starter and main comes the surprise course, this was one of my favourite things, rabbit ragu! This rabbit ragu however had a Spanish twist with chorizo in it. It was lovely ( not sure it was as good as mine – sorry!) and I liked the idea of adding chorizo, something I will try next time I make my ragu. The main course was what we were all waiting for – Old Gloucester Pork and Apples- pork loin, crispy bacon and pork belly served with apple puree and fondant potatoes. Pork belly is one of my favourite things and when served with two other types of pork – divine!

Wild Rabbit Ragu

Wild Rabbit Ragu

Gloucester Old Spot Pork and Apples

Gloucester Old Spot Pork and Apples

Now desert…… what can I say it was like a girls dream desert! Chocolate brownie, nutella ice-cream, shortbread and raspberry coulis – yum!! The brownie was delicious and I am determined to get the recipe, it was rich, dense and not too sickly, perfect!!

Desert!! Nutella Ice Cream and Chocolate Brownie!

Desert!! Nutella Ice Cream and Chocolate Brownie!

Overall this was a fabulous introduction to Jimmy’s cooking skills, especially as I had heard so much about them from his girlfriend! We all enjoyed the evening immensely and all said we would go back. This of course isn’t Jimmy’s only venture, he has a pop up in Brixton on a Tuesday and also does catering for weddings – he is one busy chap! Next on the list is heading over to his Tuesday night in Brixton, and I really should squeeze in a night at his Burger and Bordeaux before he disappears to France for the winter.

I would recommend a trip to Jimmy’s Underground Pop up to everyone, as it is great, fresh food with little fuss and if you live in SW London then its just around the corner!

Sinabro

As I walk to work everyday across Clapham Common and down Battersea Rise its hard not to look in all the shop windows that I pass, it allows your mind to wander and get ready for the day ahead, however one day not so long ago I noticed a new restaurant was opening, Sinabro. Then a couple of days ago my colleague walked past and said it looked like it was open, oh the excitement, somewhere new to try!

So like eager children we got on the internet and pulled up the website, a soft launch today and tomorrow – half price, well that is just an offer we couldn’t refuse. So a table was booked for a thursday lunch time and we patiently waited.

The freshly painted blue front is instantly welcoming, as you step inside its simple decor, with light and airy colours used to create the illusion of space. There is no getting around it, this is a small restaurant of only 30 covers. There are two tables in the window and then a bar that overlooks the kitchen and round the back there are a handful of other tables, which in an evening if looking for a touch of romance it would be perfect as its quiet. We were instantly greeted by Sujin Lee the manager and chef who is also partner to Yoann Chevet the head chef and owner (both their CVs are detailed on their website which is an interesting touch but emphasise how much they want people to know their background and food pedigree). It was quiet but it was lunchtime and they have only been open for a day so its to be expected.

Inside the restaurant

Inside the restaurant

the small tables nestled at the back of the restaurant

the small tables nestled at the back of the restaurant

We were seated at the bar and had prime seats to see everything that was happening in the small but proficiently organised kitchen. The menu is short and simple and with a kitchen the size they have anything more would be overly ambitious. With a choice of three for Entrée, Main and Desert it doesn’t take long to decide what to have. Its a nice change to go into a restaurant and not be faced with a ridiculous number of choices and then be faced with food envy when someone elses plate arrives – I like this simple menu, may it spread to other establishments!

A lovely glass of Prosecco

A lovely glass of Prosecco

Vichyssoise amuse bouche

Vichyssoise amuse bouche

Naomi, my lovely colleague, went with entrée and main while I, having an enormous sweet tooth, went for main and desert. Her entrée was Mackerel, Beetroot and Spinach – mackerel filet on a bed of wilted spinach with beetroot puree. It was simply but elegantly presented and tasted lovely. Unexciting we both went for the same main dish of Risotto, Green Vegetables and Parmesan. The risotto was beautifully cooked, creamy and not too rich. The saltiness of the parmesan created a slight edge to the fresh asparagus and broad beans, I couldn’t find a fault with it.

Mackrel, Spinach, Beetroot

Mackerel, Spinach, Beetroot

Risotto, Green Vegetables, Parmesan - delectable!

Risotto, Green Vegetables, Parmesan – delectable!

Desert of course is the real test, my favourite thing. Overlooking the kitchen meant I got to see the whole dish get put together. Crisp short bread topped with piped creme patissiere, artfully positioned strawberries and sweet strawberry ice cream. To top it all off chewy meringue sticks. This was a beautiful looking desert, all the flavours and textures worked together, it was summer on a plate.

Strawberry, shortbread, meringue - perfect!

Strawberry, shortbread, meringue – perfect!

I couldn’t fault the food it was all delightful and I would go straight back to try the other menu items. I am, however, not sure I would want to sit at the bar again, being so close to the kitchen does mean you can feel the heat from the oven and on a warm summers day it’s not the best seat in the house. The restaurant is small and they have gone for optimising space which is great, other people may enjoy being able to see into the kitchen and seeing these chefs at work and not bother about the heat, but for me I think I will ask for a table next time.

Overall this was a great introduction to a new Clapham Junction restaurant and one that I know I will go back to. Speaking to Sujin you can feel their enthusiasm and their drive to do well, and I really hope that they do well as the food was fabulous, simple and flavourful, Yoann has really bought a little bit of French fine dining to the area.

Duck and Waffle

Located on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower is the UK’s highest restaurant, and that restaurant is Duck and Waffle.

I have been wanting to go there for a while as I only hear good things and lucky enough so did my sister so as her birthday present I took her there for lunch. We were blessed with the weather, gorgeous blue sunny skies, so the views out over London were superb! One of the things that they are known for is being open 24 hours……. the food was great but it’s definitely not the sort of grub I want at 2am when I have had a little bit too much to drink or danced my socks off…. but I guess everyone is different. I know people who have booked a table for 4am just so they can watch the sun rise over London, nice but I like my sleep, so I think I will stick to lunch and dinner visits.

So when you arrive you get up to that magical 40th floor by a dedicated super fast lift, yes your ears will pop a little, but going up the views are pretty cool of the City. To get to the restaurant you head through the bar area which is all open plan and basically a holding pen for those waiting for their table ( they do say on their website that you only get it for 2 hours if there are two of you, saying that we never felt rushed). The restaurant area itself is all open plan, with an open kitchen at one end and floor to ceiling windows on the other three sides. I would recommend requesting a window seat, however if there are more than two of you that won’t happen as its only tables of two around the windows, the bigger tables are situated in the middle of the restaurant. The views do not disappoint, and on a sunny day you can see the very edges of the city, it makes you remember why you love London town so!

View from Duck and Waffle

View from Duck and Waffle

Now of course what is a restaurant if it’s just all views and no substance – Duck and Waffle impressed as it had the views and the substance. The food was amazing and instantly decided after the first mouthful that I was going back! We were there for brunch so had the choice of breakfast or their brunch menu. As much as the Colombian eggs tempted me we decided on the brunch dishes. The house bread which was freshly baked, puffed up and delicious, accompanied our foie gras crème brulee ( possibly my new favourite thing) which was rich, creamy and sweet and hit all the right notes. The wild Cornish Pollock meatballs in a lobster cream sauce were light and flavourful, the lobster cream was rich but light and to round it all off so we were not completely comatose in cream and butter we opted for the smoked mozzarella salad which was fresh and completely the right thing to go with our rich dishes.

Fresh bread!

Fresh bread!

Pollock balls in lobster cream sauce - heaven"

Pollock meatballs in lobster cream sauce – heaven

Foie gras creme brulee my new favourite thing

Foie gras creme brulee my new favourite thing

Yum!!

Yum!!

We of course went for desert, you cannot go to a restaurant with waffle in the name and not have a waffle. I went for the banana waffle with caramelised banana, nutella and ice cream – divine, while my sister went for the rhubarb compote option.

fabulous banana and chocolate waffles

fabulous banana and chocolate waffles

The food just didn’t disappoint, it was simply presented and left all the impressions to the skill behind the cooking and flavour. This may be a hip place to go and you have to book months in advance to get a table but it has the substance behind it so you know what…. I just don’t mind!

Now I am no wine connoisseur, but the wine list is pretty hefty in price, however, the wine by the glass wasn’t too bad. The cocktail list is definitely worth checking out though, it has a list of the usual suspects but with the D&W spin on it, plus their own creations.

Overall this was a rather lovely visit. The staff were all very friendly and attentive, the food wonderful and of course you cannot argue with the views. I will definitely be returning and would recommend it to anyone that asks!