Sunday, 22 February 2015

Parma ham soldiers for dipping

These parma ham soliders make any brunch look extra special, and don't tell anyone, but they're so easy to make.

Perfect for taking a simple boiled egg to another level of sophistication, or to sit temptingly next to a dish of baked eggs.

Serves two

Lightly toast two slices of some wholegrain, seeded or any substantial bread that won't fall apart easily. While it's toasting, take the parma ham or prosciutto and slice it into long slices that are around 2cm thick. Make sure you have eight slices.

When the toast is golden use a sharp knife to make four soliders from each slice of toast, and then drizzle with olive oil.

Take a solider and wrap with a length of the parma ham - the oil should help it stick. And repeat with the remaining soldiers.

Place on a baking tray and bake for a couple of minutes at 200 Degrees Celsius to firm up. Serve hot from the oven next to your chosen breakfast dish. 

Enjoy x

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Breakfast at Buvette, West Village, NYC

Buvette is a gorgeous little gem of a bistro located in New York's West Village. Pint-sized and welcoming, this is my ideal place to go for a lazy weekend brunch.

While I found the coveted Balthazar refined and regal, Buvette felt to me much more relaxed, with splashes of character that the straight-laced Balthazar was missing.

Precariously placed around a tiny table near the bar, my two friends and I admired the cute menu, which was not just small in size, but had a sweet little pop out with line drawings, including one of a puppy suggesting a "hair of the dog" cocktail.

We ordered our food, coffees and juices, and admired the framed prints on the wall and the chalked map of France detailing wine regions. Our juices arrived in miniature carafes, and when the coffees joined there was hardly any room for the cups and saucers, never mind the food. While normally this would have bothered me, I was clearly in a NYC-infused foodie tourist bliss.

We started with two croissants, and while I'll praise the sweet jam and creamy butter, this was a little cheeky up-sell and we thought at first it was given to us on the house. We asked and decided to enjoy them anyway - but be wary of that.

The food arrived on dainty plates - waffles with berries, the special omelette with sweet sundried tomatoes and goats cheese, as well as the avocado and chilli on a doorstep of whole grain bread. And everything was beautifully presented and very delicious.

This tiny little French bistro has a lively atmosphere and serves fantastic food – it’s pretty much how I imagine the breakfast cafe I’d like to open one day.  Be careful of the upsells and don't expect a cheap meal, but definitely worth a visit.

Food and drinks (no cocktails) for three over $100 - not including tip.


42 Grove Street, West Village, NYC

Friday, 13 February 2015

Mug of the Month: Love is in the air

Happy Valentine's Day

Making a cup of tea in your loved one's favourite mug is sometimes all it takes to show you care. And my favourite is my Emma Bridgewater Pink Hearts 1/2 pint mug - guaranteed to always put a smile on my face.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

A DKA from the Dominique Ansel Bakery, NYC

A few days in NYC presents a whole host of culinary problems: Where do I eat? How many meals can I fit into one day? How do I eat the optimal amount of food so I can still fit in dinner later? What if I miss out?!?

Visiting the Dominique Ansel Bakery was one of those problems. I knew I wanted to go, but I didn't have enough time to arrive for breakfast, which means I would miss out on the bakery’s world famous and trademarked Cronut. 

Dominique’s Cronuts sell out within minutes of opening, and you have to join the 100+ strong queue to be in with a chance. So rather than stressing and queuing, I went for breakfast on my way Downtown and arrived for around 11am, when I was still so full from my EggsBenedict.

I found the bakery a little difficult to locate, but it felt like a pilgrimage for the food geek inside me. I just had to find this hallowed ground. Once I found it, my fears were confirms - they had indeed sold out of cronuts, but I was told to try a DKA instead, so I took one to go and sat in a nearby park to bite into this flaky croissant creation.

DKA stands for “Dominique’s Kouign Amann”, and is described on the menu as a tender, flaky croissant-like dough with a caramelised crunchy crust. It’s a French delicacy, which I first came across last year when Paul Hollywood challenge the bakers in the Great British Bake Off tent.

I saved the rest of my DKA for later, stuffing it into my bag next to my guidebook. And throughout my day tourist trekking around the city, I snuck a sweet bite or two until there were only crumbs left in the bag.

Maybe next time I'll complete my pilgrimage by joining the queue for a Cronut, but by the time I visit again, I'm sure there will be a new foodie trend to hunt down instead.

Dominique Ansel Bakery

189, Spring Street, NYC

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Breakfast at Bubby's High Line, NYC

A walk along the High Line is a great way to build up your appetite for a big American breakfast. I explored it early one morning, and in mid-winter with the trees bare it was a breath taking and eerie sight. I wandered slowly down the 1.45 mile stretch occasionally stopping to take in the sights from its unusual position above the traffic, as well as appreciating the public displays of art littered along the way. 

If you walk south along the disused elevated freight rail line - now converted into a public park - at the end you'll reach Bubby’s diner, sittings there waiting to welcome you with its bottomless mugs of coffee and home-made “fries".

I warmed my hands up on a mug while choosing from the all-American menu which claims to use locally sourced ingredients. The menu covered all the basics, waffles, pancakes, huevos rancheros, house-cured bacon and bagels.  

I had my eye on the sourdough pancakes made with a  starter from 1890, Klondike, Candada, but at the last minute I went for a classic eggs benedict with farm eggs, house-cured Canadian bacon, homemade English muffin, and home fries – which are actually fried potatoes not chips to us Brits.

Glancing around while I waited for my order, there were only a handful of mid-week breakfast stragglers at 10am, but Bubby’s has a nice relaxed vibe, with a wooden bar, as well as a separate ice cream soda bar near the entrance, manned by staff wearing traditional white paper hats.

When my eggs benedict arrived, it was monumental in size, as I have now come to expect on my visits to the USA. And while the house-cured bacon, was most definitely ham, it was sweet and succulent which stood out through the creamy hollandaise which I find usually drowns out any ham, salmon or spinach when I eat this dish.

And what is it with Americans and their obsession with potatoes for breakfast? I don’t understand it, but I’m not really complaining, as they were fried in onions with crisp sweet edges, but it did mean I didn’t eat another meal for the rest of the day.

Corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets