Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Breakfast at the Porridge Cafe, London - last chance to enjoy oats and grains

The Porridge Cafe in east London is the latest in foodie pop ups choosing the capital as its home. Jumping on the breakfast bandwagon after the launch of the Cereal Killer Cafe in December, Shoreditch has been hosting the Porridge Cafe for the last couple of weeks.

Serving porridge-based breakfasts and risotto-style lunches, the Porridge Cafe has been a pop-up success in the heart of hipster Shoreditch. With a weekly menu online lucky locals (like me!) are able to plan their weekly grain intake.

Takeaway or eat in on the wooden benches, and even though the pots are a bit steep at upwards of £4, I can't fault the really inventive flavour combinations. From polenta for breakfast with pear, fig puree and vanilla, and traditional rolled oats with raspberry peach and almond; to risotto, buckwheat or quinoa for lunch matched with meat, veggies, cheese and herbs - both times I was left wanting more. 

But it closes at the weekend (although the cafe told me it hopes to pop-up elsewhere in London soon!), so if you are a fan of oats and grains head over there before March 29.

Porridge Cafe, 70 Paul Street, London

Monday, 23 March 2015

Breakfast at Scandinavian Kitchen, London

The UK's biggest Scandinavian Kitchen and grocery store according to its website, this cafe sits a few streets from Oxford Circus in London.

Its bright red exterior welcomes customers to its cafe full of traditional cheese, pastries and Daime bars.

During the day it serves smorgasbord - a buffet-style selection of small hot and cold Swedish dishes, with the likes of meatballs and hotdogs on the menu, as well as gravadlax and smoked meats.

While for breakfast, you have a simple selection of pastries, muffins, toasties as well as porridge.

A scattering of tables and chairs sit next to a little deli housing Swedish specialties, while Scandi chocolate bars are piled up next to the till.

It's a bright cafe, the red theme continuing inside, with Ikea-style simple furniture and Nordic designs lining the walls - my favourite had to be the road warning sign of an elk propping open the door which leads downstairs to the bathrooms. 

Early on a Friday morning, and slightly hungover, my friends and I decided on cheese and ham toasties and coffee to perk ourselves up, while we could resist a few sugary additions in the form of pastries and Scandi-chocolate. Who says you can't eat a Daime bar at 8.30 in the morning?

The coffee was strong but the cheese was stronger, enveloped by crunchy brown bread and ham - my friend even ordered a second to take to the office. But my other companion found that he wasn't a fan of his 'plopp' bar!

61 Great Titchfield Street,
London W1W 7PP
020 7580 71 61

Friday, 20 March 2015

One for the weekend - Paul Hollywood’s blueberry muffins

More cakey than perhaps I’d like mine to be, these are delicious, which is probably down to patiently leaving the batter in the fridge he suggests overnight. These can be whipped up the night before, and baked one weekend morning… or bought into work with you to score brownie points like I did.

I’m going to be experimenting with oats in my blueberry muffins, but don’t mess with the Hollywood - and give this quick and easy recipe a go one weekend. 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Florentine baked eggs

I love eggs Florentine, and I adore baked eggs, so it makes complete sense to combine the two. This Florentine baked eggs takes a little time to pull together, but is definitely worth the care and attention to detail you put in - give it a go one Sunday morning for a showstopper brunch. 

Florentine Baked Eggs - Serves two

Steam a bag of spinach until wilted, and at the same time finely chop and fry an onion in a knob of butter. When the spinach has wilted transfer to a mixing bowl and thoroughly drain off any excess water. Add the onion, salt and pepper and mix.

Separate an egg, and take the yolk and whisk into a good dollop of cream. Add to the spinach mixture and combine.

Take two earthenware dishes and add a little melted butter or olive oil. Then add half of the spinach mixture to each dish. Make two wells in each dish and crack in four eggs - one in each well. Cover both with grated cheese and pop in the oven at 200 Degrees Celsius for around 15 minutes, so the yolks should come out runny.

Serve with toast drizzled with olive oil, my parma ham soldiers - or both.

Enjoy x

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Breakfast at the Attendant, London

The idea of an abandoned toilet-turned-espresso bar reeks of a trendy hipster joint that should be situated in the heart of Shoreditch, not refined Fitzrovia. But walk down the steps of this old Victorian public lavatory and you will be greeted by a warm little café with no signs of skinny jeans or fixie bikes.

The Attendant was originally built around the 1890s and decommissioned around 70 years later. And after lying dormant for over 50 years, it was refurbished into an espresso bar with many of the original features including its dark green Victorian tiles and porcelain urinals.

The old Attendant’s office is now a minute kitchen, while the urinals now serve the purpose of coffee benches lining the walls of this pint-sized café. 

Strangely enough, it’s not off-putting at all to eat your breakfast in a toilet, and it’s clearly a regular point of call for many of the Fitzrovia workers to grab a coffee on their way to work. The first thing that catches your attention is the coffee bar overflowing with cakes, pastries, sandwiches and juices. And actually, thinking about it, perhaps orange juice for £3 served in jam jar is the only evidence of  "hipster" in this cafe.

With the gentle hum of '90s rock filling the cafe, I decided on a chai latte and a breakfast parfait of granola, strawberries and yogurt, which was served in another jam jar with layers of granola, yogurt and sauce, as well as a rather large strawberry and a couple of mint leaves perched on the top. 

While the breakfast parfait and chai latte were tasty, they weren't anything to dance around the toilet about. I would rather like to try the sandwiches at lunchtime, or the huge array of cakes from carrot to banana. I've been back since for a coffee, and I really enjoy the stillness of this cafe - below the busy streets of Central London, this is a perfect hidey hole for freelancers and creative-types.

The Attendant
27A Foley Street
LondonW1W 6DY

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Mug of the Month: Happy St David’s Day

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus, which is Welsh for Happy St David’s Day.

I thought I’d give a nod to my Welsh roots for Mug of the Month and celebrate the Welsh holiday of St David’s which falls on the first day of March.

When I start to see daffodils they genuinely put a spring in my step as I know warmer weather and hot cross buns are on the horizon.

Happy St David's!