First time Supper Club

It’s Saturday night and I find myself in the depths on Maida Vale accompanied by my trusty friend Steph in search of an elusive parking space. The reason for our North-West London expedition, is we will be attending our first ever “Supper Club”. It’s one of those things I have often heard people speak about, but like the concept of eating Kale I don’t think I really understood. Steph in her wisdom had signed us up a month before and after the previous chaotic week; being a bridesmaid (more about that in my next post) I welcomed the chance for a relaxed Saturday, whilst being fed good food.

But what were we to expect, as I said my experience of Supper Clubs was limited/ non-existent, so with a quick google I found various definitions, including being described as:

“An underground restaurant, sometimes known as a supper club or closed door restaurant, is a social dining restaurant operated out of someone’s home, generally bypassing local zoning and health-code regulations”

“The overriding purpose of Supper Club is the consumption of meat and alcohol by like-minded individuals in a suitably comfortable environment.”

Well I can’t say the google search helped much, but we had paid in advance and nothing else planned, so off we went to Jason’s Little Kitchen Supper Club, in search of good food and company.

Jason owner/ creator and host describes the experience as:
“West African supper club based in London, which plans to bring and share authentic homemade West African dishes using organic and locally sourced ingredients”

We sat on communal tables, decorated in traditional Kente cloth and Ankara wax print fabrics that encouraged the interaction between diners, adding to the relaxed atmosphere as we discussed which wine is best served with Chin Chin.

We ate:

 

Jason's Little Kitchen

 

Ghanaian Tuna Pie

 

Jason little kitchen

 

Spinach Stew and Rump Steak, served with Yam and Plantain

 

 
DSC_0298
 

Chin Chin Crumble (Who knew such a thing existed?)

 

The food was impeccably presented, a welcomed surprise, being of West-African decent myself I am used to the “pile it high” method of serving food, presentation not being a top priority. However on this occasion each dish was thoughtfully presented the result being traditional Ghanaian cuisine, served in a gourmet fashion.

 

As an added bonus Preet Sahota of Edgmond Wines was on standby to offer expect advice as to the best South-African wines to accompany our meal. In answer to the previous question: KWV “The Mentors” Noble Late Harvest goes well with Chin Chin Apple Crumble, though be warned this wine is very sweet and may not be to everyone taste.

 

 

Overall it was a great evening, a mixed crowd average age ranging from late 20s to early 30s provided good conversation and interesting company. Not forgetting the whole restaurant wishing me a happy belated birthday, the highlight of my year thus far.

Jason's Little Kitchen

I will endeavour to attend again, any opportunity to support those bringing a positive light to Africa and if they feed me good food, even better!

The Jasons of the Kitchen
Jason's Little Kitchen
For more on Jason and his little kitchen see the website: jasonslittlekitchen.co.uk

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Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings, Friendship disection

Those that know me well will know that I have been brainstorming the whole concept of friendship of late. We dedicate so much time to analysing our romantic relations and there is a deluge of literature dedicated to being a better wife, parent, employee; but very little in reference to being a good friend.

It’s so easy to take real friendship for granted and forget even the strongest of bonds need time, effort and a little love sprinkled on top, to renew that union you share for the next 10 years.

So when Steph invited me out for a late lunch I jumped at the chance to hang-out with one of my best friends, on a sunny bank holiday with the stress of work long forgotten.

The lunch was not just about the food, though it was delicious and we happily overate with willful abandon. No we were here to work, I enlisted Steph’s input and advice to help me formalise my thoughts around the subject of “Friendship” by the end of our meal we had dissected and categorised the different friendship types, from the “faux plutonic friend” to the “default group buddy”. Too much to write in this post, which lead me to the conclusion I need at least a whole post dedicated to the subject matter if not an entire series.

Anyway back to today’s lunch, we found ourselves at Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings in Clerkenwell London, a relaxed eating environment serving all day breakfast and brunch.

For full details of what I wore, see my LOOK BOOK.

Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings

The all day brunch menu has something for everyone

We ate the full works breakfast with a “side” of pancakes
Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings
Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings

Tropical print chairs

The indoor conservatory/ green house
Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings

Steph’s dress encompassed the botanical tropical theme beautifully “happy accident”
Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings

Stacked rings and sparkly things.For full details of what I wore, see my LOOK BOOK.

Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings

Travel Diary: Return to Bangladesh, Dhaka, June 2015

Bangladesh is the world’s second largest manufacturer of garments, most of which are supplied to many of the brands you and I wear. Working in the fashion retail industry means I have become a frequent visitor to the country, more specifically the capital Dhaka. It’s early June, meaning the temperature and humidity is high, as soon as I stepped of the plane I was greeted by the heat, reminiscent of an open oven door in a hot kitchen.
Dhaka city itself is a living contradiction; from the high rise modern buildings, versus the simple shacks many of the city’s residents still live in. On the roads the traditional rickshaw riders have equal standing against the larger buses and shiny 4×4 cars. The common thread being everyone’s desire to beat the traffic and not to be caught in the dreaded “JAM”.

The readymade garment industry in Bangladesh is still relatively new compared with its other competitor countries such as China and India. However the growth has been exponential, making Bangladesh a strong contender in the market of fashion manufacturing.

This growth hasn’t come without its challenges with recent tragedies such as the Tazreen factory fire and the collapse of the Rana Plaza building, highlighting the need for resource and investment to support this rapidly growing industry.

The people were friendly and as I was a very obvious foreigner I did attract some curious stares, especially in the more remote areas just outside the city.
People Bangladesh Dhaka

People Bangladesh Dhaka

I have an hour to spare so I accompany my colleague to a food market, while she shopped for dinner.
Food Market Dhaka Bangladesh

Fresh produce is easily available, supplied by the surrounding farmlands of the city.
Bangladesh Food

Bangladesh Food

As we drive out of Dhaka city, leaving behind the beeping car horns, crowded streets and congested city life, I get to see the other side of the country. Sprawling forests, green farm land and most importantly quiet empty roads, a complete contrast to the city center.
Bangladesh

My London: Brick Lane shopping

After filling our stomachs with what seemed like all the pancakes at Hoi Polloi Restaurant, Ace Hotel (see my previous post), it made sense to go for a walk to try a burn off some of our very large brunch. So myself and my friend Carina headed over to Brick Lane only a few minutes’ walk from Shoreditch High Street.

 

 

Brick Lane is an interesting place, where you will find some of the best curry houses, vintage shops and street art which line this very unique street. The street style fashion is amazing to observe from 90’s throwback, 80s punk and modern day mod-tailoring. There is a high concentration of people wearing Mom Jeans and a 2.8 average jaunty hat ownership per capita (note these statistics are completely fictitious though probably not far-off).

Brick Lane Vintage shops offer an array of retro fashion, though not the cheapest but you will be spoilt for choice.

Our first stop is the ever popular Rokit Vintage and Retro Clothing Shop, which has everything from old school Puma sneakers to cut-off vintage Levis 501’s.
Rokit

 

The Vintage Market Brick Lane.
Indoor market with various vendors all under the one roof.

Carina tried on this hat for so long I thought she actually had bought it, at only £15 it was a bargain.
Brick Lane Vintage Market

 

 

Today I’m Wearing: Topshop Parka, H&M printed blouse, Daniel Wellington Watch and Vintage Silk Scarf from my trip to Hong Kong.
Topshop with Vintage Silk Scarf

Brick Lane BookShop
I’m not sure when William Shakespeare wrote Othello, he had “MR T” in mind, but I think it works.

We accidentally happen upon a Street Art tour group, and decided to tag along for a moment, which is another great thing about Brick Lane the art is everywhere. Round every corner or side street you can find another piece more thought-provoking than the last.

As the afternoon sun starts to dim we head back to Liverpool Street Station to catch the tube home, I’m very proud of myself having controlled my urge to buy anything, but there is always next time.

Jackson + Rye restaurant: Chicken with a side of girly chat

After an eventful week of mishaps and unnecessary stress, I ended the week in a somewhat reflective mood, pondering on life, my future and what happens next.

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m spending time with one of my best friends having a girly chat over fried chicken and pancakes.  Our location of choice London Soho Jackson + Rye restaurant and the topic of discussion “self-improvement”.

Often we become so focussed upon what everyone else is doing wrong we forget that to action real sustainable change we need to start with ourselves.  This year 2015, the year of the Goat just happens to be the year of me. I’m embarking on a journey of enlightenment I want to learn new things and remove all the dead-wood, so I can focus on achieving my goals. What those goals are, I’m not quite sure.

 

We ate authentic southern fried chicken, butter pancakes and enjoyed fresh green juice.

Jackson and rye
Jackson and rye

Green Juice: Avocado, Spinach, Watercress, Mint, Cucumber and Chia seeds (I confess I don’t know what this is)
I settled for the fresh Carrot and Apple juice with a Ginger kick.

Jackson and rye

Jackson + Rye the heart of London Soho, Wardour Street

Jackson and rye

COOK BOOK: Cauliflower Rice

It’s post-Christmas and New Year and like many I’m in detox mode to remedy the overindulgent festive period and ready myself for the elusive British summer. Therefore while googling carb alternatives (please don’t  judge me) I came across this great rice substitute, made from 100% cauliflower. Low in carbs, fat, no gluten and most importantly guilt free.

Cauliflower Rice
Things you will need: cauliflower, food processor, small amount of cooking oil, seasoning and small amount of onion and a touch of ginger (last two ingredients are optional)

Using a food processor grate the cauliflower florets or as an alternative a cheese grater can be used, though this method does cause more mess.
Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower Rice
Then experiment with how fine your want your cauliflower rice, from very fine similar to Couscous or if you prefer like me large pieces reminiscent of easy cook rice

Now there are various ways you can cook the rice including frying, steaming in the microwave, oven baking or even eating raw as is. My preferred method is lightly tossing in a pan for a few minutes to heat through. I add a small amount of onion, ginger and lightly season to taste.

Cauliflower Rice

I then serve as normal, like any other rice dish.

Tomato chicken stew served with Cauliflower Rice

For great step by step instructions on the many delights of cooking Cauliflower Rice check out: thekitchn.com

I think I am going to try the pizza crust recipe next.

Look Book: Vertical Stripes served with lunch

Its a rainy, cold Sunday afternoon and I’m spending time with my lovely friend Joké . Its our first meet-up since the New Year so loads to catch-up on. Due to the bad weather we didn’t venture far and headed to the nearest warm place, serving hot food, which happened to be Cafe Rouge Tottentham Court Road.

Joké is wearing:

Vintage shirt from her Grandma, Jeans BDJ Urban Outfitters, Zip Front Cardigan H&M, New Balance Trainers and Necklace from  Accessorize 

Joke

Read more about Joké including her amazing Mexico adventure at: www.jorisocentric.blogspot.co.uk

Dishoom Bombay Café, Kings Cross

Indian restaurant in the heart of London.

It’s late December post-Christmas and just happens to be my birthday, after working a full day in the office I made the short journey down the Euston road to Dishoom King’s Cross, located at the newly developed Stable Street. The restaurant was slightly tucked, meaning very easy to get lost which some of the attendee’s to this special dinner found.

It was my birthday, yet it wasn’t actually my birthday dinner, I was invited to celebrate with my friend Carina. Who by coincidence has the exact same date of birth as me, down to the year making us “twins from another mother”, as we like to refer to ourselves.

I was a little nervous about attending, as I knew the fellow birthday girl but I wasn’t familiar with the other attendee’s. As part of my New Year’s resolution I have decided to say YES more frequently so when Carina extended her kind invitation to me I immediately said yes, and then fretted about it after. I knew this would be a great test of my introvert nature and opportunity to exercise my New Year resolve (more about my New Year resolution coming soon to the blog). Anyway I have completely digressed, let me get back to the topic in hand …. Dishoom!

Dishoom

I had been planning to visit the restaurant for some time, since it opened late 2014, however was put-off by talks of 2 hour queues just to get to the bar. However on this occasion we had pre-booked and were seated upon arrival.

We were a large group, so instead of ordering separately, a number of different dishes were selected to create our very own custom buffet, including my highlights of Garlic and Cheese Naan bread, Chicken Tikka and my surprise favourite of the night Okra Fries (who knew such a thing existed).

The venue and décor were impressive, think 19th century Bombay colliding with this historic former railway shed and you start to get a flavour of what I’m talking about. The restaurant literally oozes history, from the tiled floors to the dark wood table tops. I was also surprised by the size of the venue, you will find a basement lounge, ground floor restaurant and mezzanine level bar all under the one roof.

Dishoom

I will return again, this time to sample the breakfast menu.

www.dishoom.com