Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Boydens Kitchen Review Barnet

Cinnamon French Toast

Cuisine: British Artisan Cafe

Location: Barnet (Friern Barnet Rd)

Food: ★★★★★
Atmosphere: ★★★★★
Setting: ★★★★☆
Service: ★★★☆☆

Boyden’s Kitchen is the definition of homely and quirky. The mismatched tea cups, board games and knitted dolls for sale all add to the charm of the place, but it’s the food that will keep you going back.

Their breakfast/ brunch style menu has every food lovers essential from cinnamon french toast to pancakes, poached eggs, salmon, porridge and eggs with soldiers. The green tea with mint and rose tea is particularly memorable, as in fact is their Monmouth coffee.

Fresh home made cakes pastries boyden's kitchen

Fresh home-made cakes & pastries

Their selection of home-made cakes and pastries changes on a weekly basis and serve to add to the already fabulous menu.

Boyden's Kitchen Knitted Dolls

Boyden’s Kitchen Knitted Dolls

The itself menu isn’t extensive, but what they lack in variety they make up for in quality; the food is fresh and arrives quickly despite the cafe always being busy. The dishes are every Instagramers dream, as each plate is beautifully prepared so that it looks as good as it tastes and the portions are what every food lover hopes for: hearty and inexpensive.

Fluffy Pancakes

Fluffy Pancakes

The staff were helpful and accommodating with order changes and substitutions and there are newspapers, magazines and free WiFi to keep even the most impatient diner occupied until the food arrives.

The decor is charming and haphazard and is the perfect place to visit on a lazy morning. The only criticism I could give Boyden’s is that you have to go to the counter to pay and they’re only open until 5.30pm.

That being said, the parking is free which adds to the already extensive list of pro’s and tips the scale in favor of making Boyden’s your next must visit place.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Marco Pierre White Kings Road Steakhouse Chelsea

House cut steak, triple cooked chips and salad

Cuisine: Steakhouse
Location: Chelsea

Food: ★★★☆☆
Atmosphere: ★★☆☆☆
Setting: ★★★★☆
Service: ★★★★★

With Marco Pierre White’s name above the door, I expected great things (or at the very least great steak). Kings Road Steakhouse & Grill is situated in the chic Chelsea neighborhood and the restaurant promises a classy night out.

The decor can only be descried as clean and plain; it features white walls, white table cloths, white chairs and plenty of mirrors. Individual table lamps and a large chandelier add some modern touches to the otherwise classic surroundings.

Kings Road Steak house

Kings Road Steakhouse Cosmopolitan

Courses came out quickly and the waiters were charming enough; as for the food itself, it was pleasant if not slightly unremarkable. The soup of the day was caramelized onion soup which was creamy and tasty but was lacking any accompanying bread, which would have been a nice if not entirely necessary addition to the starter.

The pièce de résistance, the much awaited steak came with a choice of sauces and for those who like their steaks bloody, I am sure you would have found the cut masterfully cooked. For me, it was underdone, I ordered medium but received a rare steak. This being said, the steak itself was tender, flavorful and juicy.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Marco Pierre White Steakhouse

Sticky Toffee Pudding

The couple on the table next to us also felt their steaks had been under cooked and their medium steak were sent back only half eaten.

At this point I should add that the tables are packed quite closely together and whether you like it or not, a dinner for two becomes a dinner for six (you, and the couples either side of you).

The desert, accompanied by an ice-cold Cosmopolitan slipped down nicely and may well have been the best of the three courses.

The Kings Road Steakhouse offers various online deals to dine in for two which most of the patrons in the restaurant had pre-purchased (as they were eating from the same fixed menu that I was).

Whilst the fixed menu is somewhat limited (and requires you to pay extra for sides and certain cuts of steak) it made an otherwise expensive meal quite reasonable.

Marco Pierre White’s Kings Road Steakhouse & Grill is pleasant enough if it’s a quiet meal you’re after, however as restaurants go I wouldn’t consider this one a core shaker.

Read Full Post »

The Byron Burger

The Byron Burger

Cuisine: Burger Bar
Location: Various

Food: ★★★★☆
Atmosphere: ★★★★☆
Setting: ★★★☆☆
Service: ★★★★★

My experience at Bryon Burger is the definition of a ‘beautiful accident’. ‘Accident’ because after waiting an hour for a table at another eatery, I sought out a restaurant that would be kind enough to seat three hungry girls on a Friday night, without a reservation.

The restaurant itself is nothing to look at, I can only describe the interior as simple like it’s menu. Byron Burger’s philosophy is “do one thing and do it properly” so if it’s variety you’re after, go elsewhere. If burger’s are your food of choice however, I’d say you’ve come to the right place.

Mac & Cheese and Skinny Fries

Mac & Cheese and Skinny Fries

As a meat enthusiast, when it comes to burgers I border on obsessive. Whilst I’m un-moving on my requirements, they are pretty simple: good quality meat, perfectly seasoned and cooked to perfection (which they were, the burgers at Byron are served medium unless requested otherwise).

The patties are juicy and flavorful, the buns are soft and the mac & cheese was not far off perfect. In fact it’s no wonder that over the last years several new branches have sprung up around town, after all, where the food is good the people will follow.

When it comes to burgers in London, finding a place to eat isn’t hard. Finding a restaurant that will serve you a “proper burger” is another matter altogether, however as long as you’re happy with your gherkin on the side of your burger and not in it… then if you ask me, Byron’s have all the fundamentals right.

The skinny fries were nothing to write home about but the courgette fries and proper olives are on the money. The price is reasonable, the staff were attentive but most importantly, their meat is definitely worth hopping a train into town for.

Read Full Post »

Ken looking at the BBQ thinking "Tucky is that you?!"

Ken looking at the BBQ thinking “Tucky is that you?!”

There’s never been any doubt in my mind that my family is a little bit country.

Easter Sunday was spent chasing the chickens away from the BBQ hoping they wouldn’t make the connection between themselves and their not so distant herb covered cousins.

Some cultures dye their Easter eggs red, others mould them out of chocolate but my family decided all that was far too main stream. We weren’t having any of it, we were going back to basics and making our eggs from scratch.

In the incubator at a tropical 37.5°c - tempted to get in there myself!

In the incubator at a tropical 37.5°c – tempted to get in there myself!

I’m not talking Nigella Lawson here, I mean straight up Old MacDonald type stuff; 18 fertilized eggs, 1 incubator and a 22 day wait. I can safely say it is by far the longest I’ve ever had to wait for eggs. I am only left to hope that it is culturally acceptable to give live chicks to people for Easter because 18 children is somewhat more than I planned on having.

The first beak came through while I was at work and apparently “I’m about to be a mum” wasn’t enough to get me out of work for the afternoon. I should have definitely used the “surrogate” excuse as opposed to the “one of my eggs have cracked” explanation I went with.

The first beak.

The first beak.

It turns out it wasn’t an issue, these babies brought a whole new meaning to the term ‘slow cooked chicken’; they weren’t ready to come out and so they didn’t.

I even tried to Google how long it takes for a chick to hatch (incidentally the number 1 suggested search when I started typing was “how long does it usually take for chicks to text back” reminding me that the days of rearing your own chickens at home are well and truly coming to an end).

As for the birth of my first chick. Well I missed it.

You know those men whose wives are in labour for hours? They sit next to a heavily breathing woman for what seems like forever, then the poor sods pop out for 3 minutes to get a sandwich and end up missing the entire birth. Well today I reach out to poorly timed men the world over and express my understanding. From this day forth “but I got hungry” will be accepted as an excuse for being absent at the birth, because missing that final moment… apparently is not that hard to do!

Tweet tweet

Tweet tweet

My first chick

My first chick

That being said of course I did have 17 more chicks to follow.

As for this one, well he needed a name that proclaimed ‘first born’ and so I named him Adam. A stroke of genius on my (the internet’s) behalf.

Ruined only by the fact there’s still a 50% chance it turns out to be a girl.

Read Full Post »

I’ve lived in London my whole life. I was born over here so I suppose that makes me, if not English, then British at least. So what separates me from all my English friends? Because despite the fact we all went to the same school, watched the same cartoons growing up and all now live within about a 2mile radius of each other, there is a definite difference.

It’s our families, and while my classmates were all bought up with some level of normalcy, I was raised by a man who herded sheep as a child and the woman who chose to marry him. On face value we might seem the same as every other Londoner, but once you know how to read the signs, you’ll notice that you can actually spot us as mile off…

1. You know you’re dealing with someone who has foreign parents when it takes them 10 minutes to explain to the Fed Ex guy how to spell their surname. “No… an.. as..iou… iou… no just one iou… here let me just write if for you!” Because apparently even spell-check can’t help you out with Athanasiou.

2. It doesn’t matter if she’s 26, while she’s living at home, if you’re picking her up for a date, the chances are you’re going to have to wait around the corner.

3. Also, once they do move out, it’s of no consequence how many years they’ve been living away from home, if they’re going to visit their parents, they will be coming back with a clean basket of laundry and 6 assorted Sainsbury’s carrier bags. This is has nothing to do with being spoilt, this is just how our mothers show us love.

Quiet Sunday Dinner...

4. Cooking for Sunday dinner doesn’t involve a quiet meal for 4. No, it involves peeling potatoes until your arm goes numb; after all it’s rude to cook and not invite the whole family over. And even if the whole family isn’t coming, it’s best to cook for them anyway… just in case. Don’t worry this isn’t wasteful, what doesn’t get eaten today will be re-heated four times and eaten every night next week.

5. If while cooking together you pass them the wooden spoon and they duck, I promise this is completely normal. It’s a reflex deeply ingrained in them from the age of about 10 when they brought home their first bad report card and in turn got their first beating. Other such painful memory triggers include: slippers, brooms and their mums hand.

6. This one may be Cypriot specific but, we don’t say turn ‘on the lights’, we say ‘open the lights’. And no, despite being corrected several million times, we still don’t care that it doesn’t make any sense.

7. We have all at some point in our lives received a lecture which is a variation on the classic: “I came to this country with only two pounds in my pocket and I worked hard to build all this for you so you and your sister could have everything…” This may have something to do with the fact our parents believe we don’t recognise hard work due to the fact we have never ploughed a field.

8. “I’m going on holiday to see my family” tends to mean “see you in 5 weeks. I may have a twinge to my accent upon return and if all goes to plan I will be almost black”.

9. Despite being born over here, and having cultivated just about every British tradition going,  we still refer to everyone else as: “English People“.

Souvla Sunday...

10. Again, this may be a Cypriot specific adaptation, derived from the days where public transport was called Laki The Donkey, or perhaps it’s a result of our families missing the village days where everything you ever needed was a 3 minute walk away. Either way we all live pretty much down the same road, or at a push a couple of roads over. This essentially saves money on phone calls because you don’t need to call everyone to invite them to a Sunday BBQ, you just put the meat on and wait for them to smell it.

Read Full Post »

I’m a girl who likes her meat.

Don’t look at me like that, as a Cypriot I was brought up believing two things. The first is that anything edible can and should be barbequed. The second is that nothing compliments meat, like another side of meat.

You can imagine my concern therefore upon up-taking a two week vegetarian challenge, that the burger cravings might kill me. There was an honest moment of panic where I seriously considered carrying chicken slices around in my purse for emergencies, (I was however dissuaded by the prospect of hungry dogs chasing me down the street).

I also decided to document my progress as I went along, so my story would live on if I did not survive the challenge:

Day 1: To be honest I don’t see what all the panic was about. Scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, poached eggs, fried eggs… my solution to a vegetarian life. And I am happy in the knowledge that my lunch is only a fertilisation away from being real meat.

Day 4: Drove past KFC today. A little part of me wanted to do a head drive through their front window and live happily ever after with a bucket of chicken wings.

Day 5: My parents made steak for Sunday dinner. Twenty-one years of Sunday dinner and I don’t once remember seeing a steak. A blatantly tactical move to make me suffer. They bought me quorn. It tasted a little like breaded cardboard, but one jug of gravy later and I was a Yorkshire pudding away from a Sunday Roast.

Day 6: Started work experience at London Greek Radio in Finchley. I work oposite Nandos, McDonalds and Chimi Changa. My mouth could be having a chicken enduced party right now. Instead I’m eating a cheese salad sandwhich from the Cafe next door.

Day 8: I dreamt of burgers last night. No, seriously, I did.

Day 11: I accidentally burnt everyone’s dinner. They ate blackened lasagne and suddenly my little quorn burgers are looking very appealing to them. Unintentional revenge. Ha.

Day 13: Went for a curry with my girls. Now for the record, curry without meat is just vegetables with sauce. I’m just saying if I wanted mushy potatoes blended with onions and peas, I could have saved myself twenty quid and eaten processed baby food.

Day 14: Eggs, Peanut butter, pasta, bread, cheese, chocolate and about fifteen teas a day are what got me this far. There is a strong possibility that a permanent vegetarian lifestyle would be a short stop away from obesity for me. And having lived in the body of a chubby teenager I can confirm the double-chin look does very little for me.

Two weeks later and I’m just about ready for an onion-smothered hot dog.

Do I feel bad for eating meat? When I was younger I used to, I can’t say that I do any more. If I had a pet cow or sheep I don’t doubt I’d change my mind again, but seeing as my garden isn’t big enough for either, that’s not an immediate issue of mine.

As for my experience, what can I say…

Do I think I could live without meat? Yes.

Do I want to? No.

Read Full Post »

“There’s no such thing as a funny girl”. What. “Girls aren’t funny”. Come again. “They try to be funny but it never works”. Stop now.

All these years I’ve been reassuring myself that I can compensate for all the areas in life which I am lacking, with my good sense of humour. My friends have made no effort to correct my life long belief system that my ability to make people laugh will balance out the fact I am vertically challenged (okay short) and opinionated (mouthy).

Mankind has however decided it is time to put me in my place. Well, actually, just a singular man, but he assures me he is a designated mouthpiece for the male species in general. And the news he has to bear? “Comedy should be left to us men”. That’s right.

And us ladies? We should stick to the areas our intellects can handle…perfecting our polite laugh and mastering a good meatloaf. Now don’t get me wrong, as a Greek girl I understand the importance of managing to look sexy in an apron and being able to make the perfect halloumi sandwich. I just didn’t realise that was all we were meant to do.

The problem now is, I’m going to have to find myself a new niche. Something to help me stand out from the crowd: aside from my apparently piss-poor jokes and curly hair. One of my friends for example can do the chest flex: not impressed? What if I tell you she’s a girl? Now that’s pretty cool, and that right there, is a niche.

So I asked him, this friend of mine, who told me there’s no such thing as a funny girl (and even if there was, no one would want to date her). I asked him what would be a more desirable female quality. After all, I don’t want to make the effort to develop a new talent, only to be told it is also obsolete.

Cooking? Probably not right? That’s what a guy has his mum for. Being champion of Mario Cart’s Rainbow road? Sure, if you want to be one of the lads. Guess that rules out competitive eating too. Which is a shame really, growing up in a family where Sunday lunch consisted of 30 people, the eat-or-have-it-eaten-for-you mentality means I can eat anyone under the table. Quantity and speed.

And then he told me the secret to being desirable, and asked me to pass it on to female-kind.

“The sexiest thing a girl can do, is laugh at my jokes”.

“What if they’re not funny?” I had to ask because, bless his soul, generally they’re not.

“Laugh anyways”. Just like that. The answer to love and all its problems summed up in two simple words.

I’ll get right on that, as soon as I find somewhere to store my dignity for a while. Though, maybe, until I find a big yellow storage for my soul I’ll stick to my average jokes and unladylike sarcasm.

And as for my friend, (and in fact all men that that like the silent-cooking types) perhaps you should invest in a bread-maker and forgo the trouble of a real relationship. I promise, you’re going to save yourself a fortune in texts.

Read Full Post »