Thursday, 8 October 2015

Li Veli Winery & Bistro, Covent Garden - Restaurant Review

Li Veli Winery and Bistro, on Long Acre in Covent is bringing the simple authentic cuisine of Puglia, the boot of Italy, to London. I was invited in for a review for Love Food Love Drink,* and as soon as we arrived we were treated like VIPs. Our reserved table in the window was perfect for people watching, both on the street and inside this modern, spacious and stylish eatery featuring elements of Apulian design.

Li Veli Winery & Bistro

Our very charming maitre d', Nicolas, ushered us to our seats and remained attentive but not intrusive for the evening. From the Antipasti menu he recommended the Apulian 'Frisella' Bread and the Fave e Cicora, a broad bean mash with chicory. Not being a huge fan of tomatoes, I tentatively ordered the Frisella, a wholewheat bagel bread covered in organic cherry tomatoes and doused in San Domenico olive oil. It was good, really good. A sizable portion too. Himself went for the red tuna tartare instead of the Fave, and both of us were stuffed after our starters. 

Frisella Bread; Red Tuna Tartare; San Domenico Olive Oil;
Aubergine Parmagiana; Orcchiette; Pistachio Ice Cream
Most of the wine served in Li Veli is sourced from the owner's own vineyards in Puglia, The Masseria Li Veli. The white wine was light and fresh and extremely drinkable. The red, served with our mains, was earthier and slid down our throats like silk. 

Li Veli wines
Li Veli wines

For mains, we followed Nicolas's advice and plumped for homemade organic orecchiette, little ear-shaped pasta, served with melted anchovies and toasted breadcrumbs. For me, aubergine parmigiana, topped with smoky caciocavallo cheese - delicious. 
The menu catered well for vegetarians, with only a few meat dishes, but every was organic, fresh, and simple. This simple yet sophisticated style is typically Italian, and more so Pugliese, taking quality ingredients and serving them in time-honoured traditions.

Dessert was the highlight of the meal. Tiramisu, of course, and an enticingly flavourful pistachio ice cream, drizzled with San Domenico olive oil. This you have to try for yourself. You won't believe it works, but it does. 

Join these two families, one culture, and the traditional Apulian taste in Covent Garden. Not your typical pizzeria...

69 Long Acre, WC2E 9JS
020 7240 8163

Pre-Theatre Dinner (5-7pm) 2 Courses £18, 3 Courses £22

Li Veli Winery & Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Square Meal

*I'll post the link as soon as it's published!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Godiva Chocolate Challenge #2 - Chilli Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry and Lime Italian Meringue

This year's entry to the Godiva Chocolate Challenge - an added incentive to submit this before tonight's deadline is that Godiva are very generously donating a fiver to Breast Cancer Awareness for each entry. After last year's challenge, I know the standard will be ridiculously high, so here is my humble attempt.

Chocolate Chilli Mousse with Raspberry and Lime Italian Meringue


Prep Time: 1 hour plus 1 hour chilling
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Serves: 4


For the chilli chocolate mousse:

120 g Godiva dark chocolate callets
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp chilli powder
4 tbsp milk
2 eggs, separated
1 tbsp caster sugar

For the raspberry coulis:

200 g fresh raspberries
50 g caster sugar
50 ml water

For the meringue:

2 egg whites
Juice 1 lime
120 g caster sugar
60 ml water

First make the chilli chocolate mousse:

Melt the chocolate callets in a heatproof bowl over a bowl of simmering water. Stir gently until smooth.

Combine the milk, cocoa powder and chilli powder into a smooth paste and add to the melted chocolate, stirring well.

Beat the egg yolks and add to the chocolate mixture. Cook this gently over the simmering water for about five minutes until thick, stirring all the time.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until there are soft peaks, then add the sugar and whisk until glossy. Gently fold the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture with a metal spoon.

Divide this mousse mixture into four cocktail or wine glasses, or glass ramekins, and chill for about an hour.                           

 Next, prepare the raspberry coulis:

In a small saucepan, put the raspberries, water and sugar, and bring to the boil.

Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Strain the coulis so you get a thin dark pink coulis, and set aside.

Finally, prepare the Italian meringue:

Make the sugar syrup by placing the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stirring constantly until it boils. Allow it to boil for about five minutes.

While the syrup is bubbling, whisk the egg whites with the lime juice until you get soft peaks.

Slowly pour in the hot syrup and keep whisking until you get the correct consistency - stiff peaks.

At the very end of whisking, add about a teaspoon of the raspberry coulis to turn the meringue a light pink colour.

Once the mousse has set, pipe the meringue on top, and drizzle some of the remaining coulis around the side of the dish.

Good luck to all the entrants and most of all, thanks to Godiva for their generous donations to Breast Cancer Awareness.
The final takes place on 13th October, where four finalists will have their dessert - chocolate, meringue, and ... a touch of pink, judged by Mark Hix, William Sitwell, and Gizzi Erskine.
The winning dessert will be served at Hix Selfridges for a week!

Link up your recipe of the week

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Indonesian Coconut Chicken - Recipe

As ever, for dinner, I wanted something quick and delicious, and had a few leftovers to use up. An opened packet of mini chicken fillets, the most of a can of coconut milk and a spanking new ScanPanCTX to try out.

I found a recipe in a little book called Step-by-Step Indonesian Cooking, which I brought back from Bali, about a million years ago. I just needed an inspiration so this one for Beef in Toasted Coconut appealed:

As I only had about half the ingredients, and a few other things I wanted to use, it was time to devise my own recipe. Here, my friends, is Indonesian Coconut Chicken. You Are Welcome.

Indonesian Coconut Curry

Serves 2

Prep Time:
Cook Time:


6-8 mini chicken fillets
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lemon rind, grated
2 cm piece ginger, chopped
1-2 chillies, chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp palm sugar (or demerrera)
1 tin coconut milk (a little less will do)
oil for cooking
handful peanuts, chopped
3-4 tsp desiccated coconut
sprinkle of fresh coriander, chopped


Place the coconut milk in a bowl and add the garlic, lemon rind, ginger, chillies, ground coriander and turmeric, palm sugar, and the chicken. Marinate for as long as you wish, but 15 minutes is fine. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and drop the chicken in. Fry off gently until the chicken is cooked. Let the sauce to reduce but don't let it get dry.

Once the chicken is cooked, add the desiccated coconut and toss it through. This will toast the coconut and add a lovely texture.

Serve on a bed of rice, garnished with chopped peanuts and fresh coriander.

Link up your recipe of the week

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Ruby Murray Curry

The best thing about food blogging is other food blogs. Love them. Always an inspiration, always something you need at just the right time. The first night back after our Spanish holiday (yes, I've been away - what, you didn't notice?!) nothing else would do but a curry. And for some reason, it had to be a Ruby Murray from Dishoom. It was a yearning. It had to be made. 

I found the recipe on The Food I Eat, written by an East London food blogger, with unending knowledge of the London food scene, restaurants, recipes and all the latest trends. She was sent the recipe for Chicken Ruby Murray by Dishoom themselves, after visiting their Southbank Pop-up a couple of years back.

It's relatively easy and doesn't take long, though I did have all the ingredients in my store cupboard. Although I do need a new bay tree... I may have left it simmer a little too long as the sauce reduced a bit too much, but the delicate flavours and tender chicken were just what I needed after landing back to the cool rain of London town. 

It's delish. Make it. I certainly will again.

Ruby Murray. Recipe by The Food I Eat. 

Oh, and speaking of food blogs, I was delighted to be included in an infographic by Rebatezone, a website which offers coupons, discounts and offers on shopping, and has collated their Top 50 Food Blogs in the UK. There I am at Number 39! That's me! Thanks folks!

Lots of lovely food blogs to read now...

Top 50 Food Blogs In UK

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Addis, Caledonian Road - Restaurant Review

 Another new cuisine for me. Ethiopian. I'm not sure what I was expecting - beans and rice maybe. At Addis, we were served by a Macy Gray lookalike, smiling but abrupt. We did take an awful long time to decide... My friends had been before and just remembered it all being good, so I was sure to be in for a tasty meal.
Ethiopian Red Wine

And I was. The Ethiopian wine was a must, just because. It was a light red and went well with all the dishes. We had an aubergine salad with tahini and yoghurt to start - Selata Aswad. If you're a fan of aubergine, this is another take on it. Creamy and savoury with a hint of sweetness.

For mains (and in Ethiopia they usually only serve main dishes), we ordered four. The most traditional dish is the Wot, a hot pepper and spice stew with the meat of your choice. I ordered the Doro Wot (Hot) and Macy Gray looked at me as if it were too hot for me, was I sure? I was. It wasn't. It was delicious. All dishes are served on a large Injera, which is a type of soft pancake. Each person has another rolled up on the side (and more if you require), and all the dishes are poured onto the centre. We had Awaze Tibs, a lamb dish, fried cubes of meat with Ethiopian peppers, onions and spices; Shiro Wot which is a chickpea sauce; and Fuul Musalah, a fava bean stew with feta. Each dish, all of them a 'stew', was unique, full of flavour and eaten with the fingers, by rolling up a piece of unleavened bread and scooping it up. Don't come to eat here if you are OCD.

Selata Aswad; Fuul Musalah; Doro Wot; Awaze Tibs; Shiro Wot
Only a couple of minute's walk from King's Cross station, my first foray into African cuisine certainly won't be my last. We didn't have time for dessert or coffee but apparently the ceremony surrounding the coffee is worth coming back for alone, as if the exceptional Ethiopian food wasn't enough. 

40-42 Caledonian Road
N1 9DT
Meal for two with wine ~£40

Square Meal Click to add a blog post for Addis on Zomato

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Ziferblat, Old Street - The Time Café (ZomatoMeetUp#2)

Time is money. In Ziferblat, you only pay for your time. A 10 minute walk down Old Street (keep going, you'll find it!), on the junction with Shoreditch High Street, you'll see a non-descript shopfront with a door to the flat upstairs. Get yourself buzzed in, take a clock and enjoy the relaxed homely feel of somebody's living room. You can work, you can chat, you can drink coffee. No menus or table service, you can avail yourself of whatever you find in the kitchen: tea (of many varieties), coffee, cereal, bring your own food and heat it up... There are board games, bookswaps, and even a piano. Can't be bothered to hoover? Host a book club or an informal meeting here instead of in your house.

With free Wi-fi and comfy chairs, endless tea, and biscuits, you could end up staying for longer than you mean to. At 5p per minute, your clock ticks but you don't notice. The lovely David will help you with whatever you need.

I was there for the Zomato Meet Up. A bunch of lovely food bloggers, who all write reviews on Zomato, as well as their own fabulous food blogs. All foodies, all singing from the same hymn sheet. We all brought a dish of our own to share, and devoured each other's. David made us tea, and Zomato's Alexandra and Sheepa made us feel like VIPs.



Malaysian Curry Puffs by Vi Vian
Vi Vian's Food Blog

Ricotta and Chocolate Bundt Cake by Federica
Whatever Gets You Through The Day

White Russian Cupcakes by ME!
Recipe from KatieCakes
I made 'em, I didn't invent them!

Salted Caramel Brownies by Sheepa
Food That Makes You Smile

Dairy-free Zebra cake- with Nutella!  by Naomi

Feta and Spring Onion Bouikos by Sheepa
Food That Makes You Smile

Roasted Vegetables and Couscous with Balsamic Dressing by Ellie
The Young Domestic Goddess

Vietnamese Mango Noodle Salad by May
Red Velvet London

Initially I was apprehensive about the absence of alcohol, but I came away at the end of the evening just as buzzed up and feeling as though I'd been drinking wine all evening. The chat, the food, and the common love of food and writing made it an event to cherish.

Thank you Zomato, and Ziferblat for hosting.

All photos by Sheepa.

Square Meal Click to add a blog post for Ziferblat on Zomato

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Kaspar's at the Savoy - Hot Table review for Fabric Magazine

This month's issue of Fabric Magazine is out and on page 49 there is a Hot Table feature. Written by yours truly:

Hot Table: Kaspar's at the Savoy

Amazing food. Amazing feeling!

Here's some shots of the food I had:

Seafood Starters: Salmon tartar, oysters in apple and celery with caviar, lobster bisque, scallops on squash puree, tuna sashimi, and smoked haddock in watercress soup with a poached quails egg.

Slow roasted lamb with chorizo risotto
Sea Trout with asparagus and Jacqueline sauce
Red Mullet on fennel puree with dessicated olives

After Eight and Balsamic Eton Mess
Big thanks to Fabric for sending me along.

Fabric Magazine
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