Raspberry porridge

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With the recent bout of chilly mornings, there is nothing better to set you up for the day then a good old bowl of porridge. Here is my fruity take on the classic:

Ingredients:

Handful of frozen raspberries
1 cup of gluten free oats
1 cup of Alpro unsweetened unroasted almond milk
1 handful of berries (optional)
sprinkle of nuts/seeds

Method:

1. Put the oats, frozen raspberries, and almond milk into a saucepan on a low heat. Stir slowly
2. Once the milk has been absorbed, remove from the heat. (Keep on the heat and add a little water if its not quite ready)
3. Pour into a bowl and top with berries and seeds
4. Enjoy!

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Sticks’n’Sushi, London

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Sticks’n’Sushi is a small chain of restaurants, with four in London, and one in Cambridge, serving sushi and yakitori sticks. What’s not to love? I have visited the Covent Garden restaurant on numerous occasions, and from the moment you walk in, to the last bite of dessert, this restaurant ticks all the boxes.

Upon sitting, I can highly recommend one of their delicious cocktails, or for a non-alcoholic option, the rhubarb fizz from Denmark. Food choices are obvious. Of course it going to have to be both a selection of sushi AND sticks. I mean the clues in the name! If you’re sitting downstairs you can watch your meal being prepared in front of you, or alternatively you can salivate over the choice of your neighbours selection… Easy way to avoid this, order everything.

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Once your feast arrives, you won’t know where to start as it all just looks so delicious. When ordering from the menu, I was sure that the sushi element would obviously be my favourite part of the meal, with sushi being my guilty pleasure. All this changed though upon receiving this platter of heaven. The sushi was perfect, but in strong contest were the yakitori sticks. Once the chicken meatball stick had reached my tastebuds, all thoughts of sushi had slipped my mind, it was just so simple, yet so incredibly scrumptious.

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And if the sticks’n’sushi weren’t enough, the desserts just tipped it off. After the overdindulgence in the previous courses, these were the perfect size. However I recommend ordering a selection, strictly for taste testing purposes.Obviously.

So all in all, I cannot recommend Sticks’n’Sushi more highly. It works as a restaurant you can just drop in to after a hard day of shopping in your jeans and jumper, but equally, if you want dress up, you won’t be out of place at all. After all, ‘sushi is just fish in haute couture’.

(You will need to book this restaurant in advance as it does get very busy, particularly on Friday and Saturday night)

Taste of London, Regent’s Park

Taste of London is a food festival that celebrates the great culinary delights that London has to offer. It give people a chance to try dishes from the top restaurants for affordable prices, and to engage with chefs and food & drink suppliers. Taste festival started in 2004 at Somerset House in London, and since then it has spread to cities all over the world. What makes these events so likeable is that they take down the barriers between fine food and money. It allows people of any background and income to sample dishes from michelin starred kitchens without paying michelin prices.

This was my first Taste festival and it did not disappoint. The entry was very well organised and quick, considering the crowds of people they had to get into the park. Once you were in you could go and buy your ‘crowns’. This was the currency used to buy dishes from the restaurants, where 1 crown = £1. About 20 crowns is enough to sample a wide variety of dishes with most costing about 4-6 crowns. On the food and drink suppliers stalls you could generally just use normal cash to purchase items. What I really loved about this event when compared to other similar ones, is that there was plenty you could do and try for free. Samples of food and drink were being given out at every other stall, there was music to watch, a silent disco at Mortimer’s Orchard, cookery classes, and talks from many of the chefs exhibiting at Taste.

Chef Gina with Ox heart
Chef Gina with Ox heart

One such talk I attended was by head chef Gina Hopkins from The Drapers Arms. This was a fantastic talk as she talked about using offal in cooking. At the beginning when the crowd heard that this was what she would be talking about, there were a few disgusted faces. However by the end,  everyone was fully on board, mainly because of Gina’s genuine enthusiasm for her ingredients, and no doubt, her menu at The Drapers Arms will be a testament to this.

Calves brain
Calves brain

Another way that visitors could get hands on with cooking was through one of Taste’s sponsors, AEG. They had set up a cooking theatre, where guests could free of charge, take a cooking class with some of London’s top chefs. I was lucky enough to take part in a session with Jeremy Pang, founder of School of Wok. This was a thoroughly entertaining session, where we learned how to make wontons and venison stir fry, using AEG’s induction cookers, of which we also learnt about. Jeremy helped guide us through each step and taught us the correct way to use a wok. Although my wonton folding technique was questionable, and the end result looked nothing like Jeremy’s (a bit more practice needed I think…), they certainly tasted delicious, and in my mind, that was all that mattered!

wong coachcooking demo utensils

A bit of relaxation was needed after this, so we perused more of the many food and drink stalls, drinking cocktails, and sampling plenty of tasty morsels. We also headed over to Mortimer’s Orchard to take part in their silent disco, the perfect way to while away a summers afternoon. Highlights for me were the Chinese roast duck in mantou bun from Chai Wu, the iconic duck and waffle, from (you guessed it..) Duck and Waffle, macerated strawberries and yoghurt mousse from chef Ben Donkin (one to watch), and of course the gorgeous endless cups or refreshing iced T2 Tea that were being given out, which were appreciated by many I am sure.

mortimers silent disco

Overall I cannot praise this event highly enough, and I hope to return again next year. What I loved about it was that there was plenty to try and do without having to pay extra, and you could even fill yourself up without having to buy any dishes due to the many samples that were being offered. My only criticism would be that there were perhaps one too many coconut water stalls, but then of course, if you like coconut water, this is just one more strength Taste of London 2015 had to offer…

band stand

Early bird tickets on sale now for the Winter Taste festival at Tobacco Dock London: http://www.seetickets.com/search?q=taste+of+london&search=