Thursday, 12 December 2013

Have you checked it out yet?

Hey there! Make sure you head over and start following the new website!

 You'll find my Christmas Gift Guide which includes some of these goodies... 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Important update, I'm Moving!

Hey there happy campers! Merry December to you - have you well and truly go that Christmas feeling? 

Now, I first must apologise. I know I have been incognito for a week or two and that is a lifetime in the blogging world so a slap on the wrist for me. However, I now have some exciting news for you all - Christmas has come early over here in my world and I am delighted to share with you my brand spanking new and oh so fabulous (if I do say so myself) website!


Please head on over and check out my new home, where you'll find all the old goodies, and soon some new ones too! To keep in touch with my posts from now on you'll need to follow me on Bloglovin' here...
Happy December!
N xxx

Friday, 22 November 2013

Getting our skate on

On Wednesday some of the girls and I headed over to Somerset House for some good old fashioned iceskating. Now I know what you're picturing - there I am skating around Jane Austen style with a gorgeous coat, fur hat and looking oh so glam as I effortlessly glide around, the epitome of elegance & grace...  
Potential skating tallent aside, the setting itself is stunning, with the rink beautifully framed inside the impressive courtyard of Somerset House, the architecture glowing in colored lights giving a lovely feel to the whole atmosphere. I have skated at The Natural History Museum in the past and Somerset House is by far the better setting. 
Of course there's a big old Christmas tree too! 
After taking in the surroundings we headed in for our session on the ice - end to glamorous images, queue the iPhone gems... Pre-skate selfie as we get booted up! (NB: the skates are really so comfortable. I used to go iceskating as a child and the level of comfort of rented boots have improved ten fold).
We went on a night when there was a live DJ, pumping out some retro beats
We were loving the tunes and *attmepted* to have a little boogie - Fran just looks terrified, but after a few near misses, and one fall later, she was all smiles. 
Well after a good hour on the ice it was time for a well deserved drink, so after trading back in our skates and getting used to solid ground again, we headed over to Tom's Skate Lounge, conveniently next to the rink.
As well as an impressive selection of beverages - hot chocolate, mulled wine, soft drinks etc (I'll let you guess what we went for) - there was also a number of yummy goodies to choose from if you were feeling a little peckish 
We sat down in the lounge and enjoyed a good chinwag catching up on all the Christmas plans we were making and entertained ourselves watching others falling over on the ice (of course by this point completely ignoring the fact that that was us only 20minutes earlier). Just before we were about to leave these lovely ladies came into the bar and started singing some fabulous Christmas tunes, old school a cappella jazz style. 
And that was the end of our night. For those of you who fancy heading to Somerset House to get your skates on, whether it be with friends or an alternative wintery date, you can continue your fun off the ice by heading up for some dinner in Covent Garden, just a hop skip and a jump (not in your skates of course!) away. 

Happy Friday everyone! Remember to wrap up warm this weekend!
N xxx

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Getting down to the bare essentials at Pieds Nus

A current phenomenon hitting the streets of all fine cities are pop up restaurants. Whether a little pizzeria or an english inspired home kitchen (PipsDish - see post here - started off as a pop up) this 'for a limited time only' dining experience is taking storm. And why not? It's a great way to trial a new concept to see if it takes off, and makes you as a diner feel a little exclusive. 
A few weeks ago some friends and I headed over to recently opened Pieds Nus. This new pop up's concept is all about stripping back to the true flavours of the ingredients used in each dish, with a 'less is more' motto; the translation of it's name meaning Barefoot. Each dish is described with just three core ingredients. 
With 'Great food is best shared' titling the menu, yup you've guessed it, it's all about the sharing here. And trust me, you will want to get your taste buds on every single one of these dishes. The layout and atmosphere too is very stripped back, with an almost industrial feel to the appearance of the restaurant and the low lighting creates a lovely ambience (if not terrible for taking good photos! Sorry)
Whilst browsing the menu we started off with some gorgeous Iberica ham and a bread basket - the highlight being a bacon and onion brioche.
The menu is then split into sections of vegetarian, fish and meat. We went for 2 veg, 3 fish and 3 meat.
Slow cooked duck egg, potato, belper knolle (a type of cheese)
This was delightful, and I can only describe it as tasting a little bit like cheesey gnocchi...ish. The rich egg yolk with the cheese gives a spectacular rich smooth flavour that immediately warms you up inside. I also can't help but love it when they give you a bit of 'do it yourself' in a dish.
Pickled, raw and charred vegetables with a celeriac oil (optional truffle supplement)
This was a great compliment to the rich potato dish, giving a bit of zing to your taste buds. The only thing I'd say is we went for the truffle but I don't actually think it's necessary. 
Seared yellow fin tuna, pepper, black olive
If you like seared tuna, you will love this dish. Perfectly seared around the edges and just gorgeous combined with the salty pieces of olives.
42c Confit salmon, cocoa beans, piquillo peppers
With out a doubt the tastiest dish I have eaten in a long time. The salmon is out of this world, just melting in your mouth. Then add the sauce, accompanying beans and peppers it's just perfect. It's that type of dish that you would happily go to the restaurant and just eat 5 of them. It is a must for anyone, everyone, 
Charred and tartare of cornish mackerel, beatroot and apple
Often I find mackerel just too fishy, if that makes sense, so it was 50/50 whether we ordered this dish or not. But it was yet again another great flavour combination, and a nice light dish to add into the mix. 
Rose veal carpaccio, tomato, girolles
I was intrigued by this dish as I had never heard of veal carpaccio so keen to try it out. It tasted less 'raw' but more gently warmed meat and the tang of the tomatoes was a lovely compliment. 
98c 12 hour  slow cooked pig belly, potato, carrot
I am not a big fan of pork belly so I actually didn't try this but one of my fellow diners is a huge fan and assured me that it was incredibly good. both this dish, and the one below - 65c 48 hour braised short rib, potato, shallot - were cooked for long periods at a low temperature so to keep the natural flavours. It worked a treat. 
Now for pudding. I was absolutely stuffed at this point. Literally, I couldn't imagine fitting in another morsel of food. But, it seems I was having dinner with people who had bottomless stomaches so pudding was ordered... and I might have had a nibble of some of the dishes....
Doughnut with raspberry crème (mini)
I have to be honest with you here, after all the incredible savoury dishes you can't help but have great expectations when it comes to the deserts, but I was disappointed with the doughnuts. There just wasn't enough raspberry in there for me so the doughnut just felt a little dry. I'm of the opinion that if you're going to have a filled doughnut, you want lots of filling. BUT...
New York cheesecake, blackberry ice-cream, blackberries
...this deconstructed cheesecake more than made up for it. Never too sure about how I feel about this deconstructed malarky but I have to say here it was perfect. It allows you to choose your quantities of each element, so if you're keener on the biscuit base with only a little bit of the creamy topping, no problemo. You prefer more of a fruity flavour, just dip a raspberry in the cream and crumble. And the flavours again were divine. 
Overall the food was just incredible and the variation in flavours on the menu spectacular. Without a doubt the concept of simplicity is best has well and truly won here, particularly with the fish dishes, and I hope that this pop up ends up becoming a permanent feature on London's culinary map as it is a truly unique and wonderful experience.  

My top three dishes?
Slow cooked duck egg, potato, belper knolle
42c confit salmon, cocoa beans, piquillo peppers
new york cheesecake, blackberry ice cream, blackberries

With that I wish you a happy Wednesday and leave you to enjoy this miserable weather we are having today in London - rain & hail, but no snow - boooooo!

N x

Friday, 15 November 2013

The Ugly Christmas Jumper conundrum

When a friend booked a group of us all in for an ugly christmas jumper bar crawl later this year, the hunt was on for the perfect outrageous, Bridget Jones number. However, as I started to think it through, does an 'ugly christmas jumper' even exist anymore? Looking around the highstreet, I realised that most stores have fully embraced the Crimbo jumper trend and are now stocking a number of different multicoloured marvels. 
You have the tongue and cheek...
...the modern take on the classic alpine patterns...
...the traditional/slightly more conservative numbers...
or just go literal...
And of course the remake of Colin's favourite, you just need a sexy english gentleman to go in it ;)
Which is your favourite? 

Of course if you're looking for something a little different, and more retro, check out Etsy and ebay. As for what I'll be wearing for our outing in a few weeks? You'll have to wait and see ;) Until then I'll leave you with this dreamy 2012 Net-A-Porter Christmas collaborations shot and a link to some truly spectacular inspiration here

Happy Friday!
N x

(from top left to right: Next (£25), Primark (£12), River Island (£35), River Island (£45),    New Look (£22.99), New Look (£27.99), ASOS (£26),  New Look (£25.00))