I don’t think anyone who really knows us will be surprised by this diary of our trip to London. Yes, we did some exhibitions (I highly recommend the Radical Geometry exhibition at the Royal Academy) and shopping (we liked Margaret Howell, Selfridges and Marylebone High street), but mainly we went to London to catch up with friends and enjoy the food… The highlights:
Intrigued by the accolades heaped upon chef Oliver Dabbous, we have been trying to eat at this restaurant in Whitfield Street ever since it opened (as we usually book our london trips 4 months in advance, this will give you an idea for how hard it is to get a table here). We started off with some fabulous cocktails downstairs: the Sting & Police was a blend of pink peppercorn infused scotch shaken with lemon verbena and smoked black tea. The day Christopher Ralm Left a concoction of americano, manuka honey, lemon verbena, orange blossom and mead. The food that followed was mind blowingly tasty and fresh and served with delicious sourdough bread and smoked butter: peas and mint, a coddled egg nestled in straw with tiny pieces of mushroom, barbequed skate with cockles and scottish raspberries as dessert. Remember: patience is a virtue, keep trying to book here people and if you have any connected friends, shamelessly use them!
A coffee shop in an underground deserted public toilet definitely sounds weird but we liked the atmosphere and coffee here so much we even braved hurricane Bertha for a second visit. The cold brewed coffee was very intense but refreshing and the salted caramel brownie out of this world good .
Right next door to the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, Lovage offered the best juice menu we’ve ever seen (with roots and bulbs a close second). I loved the Banana & soy shake which included tahini, dates, lucuma powder, pink rock salt and wildflower honey.
Peruvian food seems to be a new trend. The ceviche and pisco sours were very good here. Do order the corncake as a side to mop up all the lovely juices.
Close to where our hosts live, this place is not only convenient but also offers great authentic italian food (with some very friendly waiters).
Tags: eating out, food, london
Having a ‘staycation’ in antwerp and looking for things to do? The next two sundays mark the last occasion to taste the Otark pop up breakfast at Atelier Solarshop. Hadas and Charlotte from Otark Productions cook up all kinds of deliciousness. Last sunday we had the rubarb lemonade and shrimp on toast with fresh jalapeno and ginger sauce, as well as the chakchouka eggs fried in rosemary and cinnamon butter. They also do a delicious yoghurt and muesli bowl with fresh fruit. Can’t get there? Keep an eye on their website for other food related events such as the Otarkino cinema nights.
This condiment should come with a warning as it is seriously addictive. Don’t believe me? I made a whole bowl of it on friday and two days later this little smear was all there was left. I barely managed to take a picture of it! It is definitely full of flavour (consisting mainly of roasted tomatoes and paprika with a kick of chili and coriander), but what I really like about it is its versatility. We’ve been eating it slathered on steamed veggies, spread over pan fried fish and it even brought to life a mediocre bowl of celeriac soup. I’m guessing it would also make a great dip.
1 red pepper, stem and pits removed, roughly chopped
6 tomatoes, rougly chopped (remove the pips and watery centre)
a small onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of unflavoured coconut oil or olive oil
a small bunch of coriander
harissa (start with a pea sized amount as this is hot!)
lime juice to taste (about 3 tablespoons)
Preheat the grill. Combine the red pepper, tomatoes and onion on a foil lined baking sheet and toss with the oil. After about 10 minutes, check: the vegetables should be slightly collapsed with charred edges.
Peel the pepper and place with the tomatoes, onion and the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and puree. Add salt and more lime juice to taste if necessary.
Note: you can use flavoured salt, for an extra kick I used this paprika salt by Anxoves L’escala we bought at the food market in Barcelona
Living in rented accomodation and moving across continents (twice!) meant we never had a lot of plates or other breakables as it was just easier to buy everything new locally. I’m now slowly building our crockery collection having chosen the beautifully pure and simple Pieter Stockmans plates from Serax. The plates are glazed on the top but onglazed on the back which makes for a beautiful contrast. Now available in the Joy of Little Things shop here.
PS I also have my eye on their beautiful marble presentation platters I saw during their recent open days but being the new collection, they won’t be available until later this year though… just in time for my birthday…
Tags: borden, Crockery, Pieter Stockmans, Serax
I don’t think that anyone who knows me is going to be terribly surprised that the list below of my favourite places from our recent trip to Barcelona seems to consist mainly of restaurants… We love this city for many reasons: its position right next to the sea, warm climate, beautiful wide avenues, nice shops and green parks, but the food is definitely one the main reasons we appreciated our three days here. Having visited all the major attractions on our previous visit, we were free to just stroll, drink coffee and go from one meal to the next.
Hotel Praktik Bakery
We loved this hotel for its fairly central but quiet location (off the Ramblas, from our balcony we could just see the Sagrada Familia) combined with modern design. In the reception area there is an outpost of the famous Barceloneta based Baluard bakery so you wake up with the smell of freshly baked bread. What’s not to like?
The meal at this restaurant alone would have been worth the trip. Chef Albert Adria (brother to the famous Adrian) serves an amazing tasting menu based around peruvian japanese fusion kitchen. The many little dishes were incredibly flavourful and beautifully presented, from the herbal cocktail to the corn tuile, the razor clam with tamarind and nori, the ceviche of guanabana fruit, the squid maki… everything was just perfect. We’re already planning another trip to Barcelona just so we can have another meal at Pakta.
Incidentally, I only realised I had been clipping images from this restaurant for its amazing design of coloured cords once we got there, check out the review on Dezeen here.
Many restaurants claim to serve the best burgers in Barcelona, I didnt try them all but definitely loved Bacoa. The burgers are superfresh, the buns and ketchup home made. The Japanese burger with terriyaki sauce was fingerlicking good!
The menu at Saboc is divided according to cooking temperature 20C, 80C, 100C and 200C. We loved it for its simple use of good ingredients (and the lovely design!).
Though we were very tempted by the beach bars in Barceloneta (unfortunately we didnt get to eat at the much recommended Pez Vela), we ended up eating traditional tapas at Bar Jai-ca. This part of Barceloneta is fairly quiet with people sitting around squares and beautiful houses.
Other places we liked were Teresa Carles, a vegetarian cafe, for fresh juices and the best pear chocolate muffin I have ever eaten, Oval burgers ( a close second to Bacoa) and snömelk artisanal icecream. You can check out the full album here.
I just love the clean lemony taste of lemon balm but find it hard to get hold of. Since we’ve planted some in our herb garden, I have been using it a lot to make this refreshing lemon balm mint drink.
a handful of mint sprigs
a handful of lemon balm sprigs
3 tablespoons of rice syrup
juice of 1 lemon
Bring 250 ml of water to the boil and remove from the heat. Add the rice syrup, the mint and lemon balm (no need to take off the leaves) and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Remove the leaves and add the lemon juice. Pour into a clean glass jar and let it cool in the fridge.
When you’re ready to make up your drink, pour some in a glass and dilute with water. I like a 1:3 syrup to water ratio so the taste isn’t too strong . Add crushed ice, lie back on the balcony and pretend you’re on holiday.
Tags: drank, drink, recept, recipe
Once in a while you come across objects that are both incredibly beautiful and useful at the same time. I love the ceramics created by Clair Catillaz in her Brooklyn based studio, Clam Lab. Her objects make me think of Morandi still lifes. In the shop you can now find her tea bowl, pour bowl medium and small and burnished carafe. I had a chat with Clair about shapes, clay and inspiration.
1) What attracts you to making ceramics?
I’m interested in tactile utilitarian objects of all kinds, so the medium lends itself well. I also love how directly the materials are connected to the earth. And clay feels so good.
2) Can you tell us more about the materials you use, the types of clay and glazes?
Most of my materials are commercially mined and prepared, but I really love to collect clay from places I visit and incorporate it into my glazes. I’m still learning about making things from scratch, but it’s incredibly entertaining and very educational. I like to make limited runs of things based on the materials that are available.
3) The shapes of many of your objects like the carafe and the bowls is quite primitive and sculptural. What inspires you right now?
I’m interested in how forms resonate with human hands, and vice versa. Trends come and go, but the objects that have staying power always feel good to hold. How cool is it that a vase made tens of thousands of years ago is still “good”? I hope to make objects in this spirit.
4) If you weren’t living in NY creating ceramics what else would you be doing?
Maybe living a more nomadic lifestyle? I love to to travel. But I need to have busy hands wherever I am.
photos copyright Dorotee Dubois
Tags: decoratie, Decoration, interieur, interior, objects