Vegetarian lunch at Honey and Co.

Honey and Co

Honey and Co is a small and colourful Middle Eastern restaurant in a quiet backstreet of Fitzrovia. It was opened by Israeli chefs Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich in 2012 and it focuses on a selection of Middle Eastern classics that are special like you’d expect for chefs of that caliber but never lose the je-ne-sais-quoi of home cooking. Of course, because it’s me we’re talking about, this is not a review that amounts to uninterrupted fangirling, but like any person who truly loves food,  I have one or two things I would have done differently and it all comes from a place of love rather than criticism. I’m not an evil food critic, I feel like I am on the same side as those who make the food. 

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Japanese Chicken Curry with HYPERJapan and S&B (collaboration)

Guess who was panicking in an airport M&S looking for ingredients for a Japanese curry the afternoon before an event where she had to present the recipe? That’s right, me. Some time in August, HYPERJapan came to me with an invitation to a Curry Party with chef Avinash Shashidhara. As the weeb I am, I couldn’t say no, even if I knew it was the day after I would be flying back from visiting my family (and dinosaurs) in Italy. It sounded like a fun challenge too, especially when I expected to get a cosy Waitrose delivery on Sunday morning to get all the right ingredients to show off my knowledge of niche Japanese food (katsu chicken is not the only thing you eat with a curry roux) and make some nice Hokkaido-style venison curry (it may not be Sika deer but it’s still a deer). 

Of course, things never go to plan, and that’s how this recipe came to be. 

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Afternoon Tea at Brown’s Brasserie

Afternoon Tea (Brown's)

I’ve loved Brown’s since I had breakfast in the Oxford one many moons ago. It’s a mid-price range place that covers your needs from breakfast to dinner and looks really nice inside without being stuffy and pretentious. It’s a smart casual place, which is what you need when you want to have a good time without putting in the effort to dress up. We had a couple of gift cards that came from family members that insist they need to buy Christmas presents, and it was a very welcome compromise. Back in the time before lockdown, we have attempted to go for an evening meal at the Mayfair branch after Mass at Farm Street, since the worse-half was, at the time, reading Brideshead Revisited after two years of me pleading for it to happen.

Mayfair is still closed, and I was itching for a change of pace even if it came at the cost of wearing an uncomfortable mask that makes me cough and get a headache, so we decided to turn it around and have an early afternoon tea at the Victoria branch instead, before Mass at the Oratory. It’s a quiet hidden spot in Cardinal Place, or at least it was at the time. We passed by the Botanist on Sloane Square on our way back to the station and you’d think Covid-19 was never a thing judging by how packed it was. It was still well attended and lively, even with the social distancing measures, and the staff was courteous, so it never felt like living in some kind of dystopia. 

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Intuitive Eating: my experience

Food in 3 plates

In the latest Soul Care post about nutrition, I mention in passing that my food philosophy nowadays (after a lifetime of disordered eating of various shapes and forms) is Intuitive Eating. Intuitive Eating is not a diet, but rediscovering the way our bodies were created to work. For me as a Catholic woman, God has made us need food, but also able to enjoy it, giving us hunger cues and other signals that indicate to us that it’s time to eat, or that we’ve had enough and we are satisfied with what we had.

This approach to nutrition originated with the work of Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in the mid-90s, but it has some commonalities with previous discourses in psychology and the way the 3rd wave feminist movement looked at fat and women issues in the 70s. To this day, it appears to still be strongly linked to the fat acceptance (also referred to as liberation) movement, but I believe it shouldn’t be the stuff of radicalism and instead be the mainstream. The diet industry keeps us engaged in a rat race that replaces God’s vision for humanity with a lot of negative feelings life self-loathing, desire for controlling and punishing the body for just existing and taking space and moralising our food choices even when we’re in no real danger to our health, and so far the best option I have found to counteract this mentality is Intuitive Eating. 

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My 5 favourite comfort food recipes

Woman Cutting Cilantro

If this title gave you a vision of me as a perfect tradwyfe who always cooks wholesome meals from scratch with organic ingredients and doesn’t spend a significant amount of money in take-aways, I’m here to reassure you that I am not. I had two take-away pizzas last week alone. But, unless I am ill or out of food and unable to go buy some due to illnesses, I tend to cook from scratch. I love cooking, as you’d expect from someone writing a cookery book, but I also have my times when I just want to feed myself something comforting and nourishing that takes little time to make. How long it takes is one of my criteria for “comfort food”, but for others, it may be different. 

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