2 September 2015

Kerb-alicious Street Food Market, Southbank, London

Make Foodies Go Loco.

Who here is a fan of Fergie? Anyone? No one? No I'm not sure I am either but that tune has been going round in my head along with a picture reel of all the food I ate at Kerb when I met up with Sophie and Persephone (aka Lady P) for a long awaited Saturday filled with 'burgers', kimchi and bingo. Kerbingo to be precise. First off what's Kerb, for all you non Londoners, Kerb is one of the best if not THE best street food market in London (ooo contentious). Unfortunately for most of us who don't work near one of Kerb's many London locations, you probably won't have heard of them because they normally only serve up lunch Monday to Friday. For ages I have been envious (mostly of Lisa from Not Quite Enough) of people's gourmet lunches from Kerb. Ok I hate envy it's the wrong word, I've just been drooling over everyone's Kerb-alicious instagrams round about 12pm when I dig into my packed lunch, delicious it may be but it's not a juicy burger, grilled cheese sandwich or wood fired pizza.  

Don't close this window! There's hope for me and you yet because this Summer Kerb landed bankside (Southbank that is) on the first Friday/Saturday/Sunday of each month to treat us weekenders to what all those lucky Londoners have been getting daily. And gee whizz, I'm writing this post just in time for the last Friday/Saturday/Sunday of Kerb's Summer Street Food Fiesta before they bow out when Autumn well and truly hits us. That's right the 4th, 5th and 6th of September are the last dates to witness Kerb in all it's glory at the weekend. So make plans, change plans and get yourself down there because Kerbingo is waiting!

Having conversed for a couple of months or so on twitter, Sophie and I established that Persephone was 100% a real person, and so we did what the two of us do best. The two prong invite attack. What's that you're wondering? Well first one of us (on this occasion me) goes in with the 'Hi Persephone, let's meet up? Do you like burgers?' and then BAM the second one (Sophie) comes in with the 'Hey can I come too?'. We've never discussed this, it's just sort of happened, or at least Sophie and I keep inviting ourselves along. We're training for the Olympic invite relay.

I'm not going to go all weepy on you, but I've met so many amazing gals and guys through blogging. Sophie and I are seasoned chums and when we met up with Persephone we all just clicked. I don't want to say it was magical but you can't deny what's there (pass the tissues).

As three foodies it only seemed right to take Kerb up on it's Kerbingo challenge. When I say challenge I think we all took it on as more of a mission; we've got the right attitudes when it comes to food. The rules of Kerbingo are simple, buy 5 items from 5 different stalls and get a 6th one free from any one of Kerb's traders that you like. The idea being you come back another day for a free lunch. We dismissed that idea and decided to eat all the food in one day but you can do as you please. It's not just food either, items can include a cheeky cocktail or pint, which was really appreciated on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

First bingo up we headed to Donostia Social Club, a tapas style eatery on the side of a van where their dishes range in price from £3 for a chunky piece of French stick piled with goodies to £5 for one of their hot dishes. When I go out for dinner, unless it's a special occasion and Dan (my man friend) and I have gone for a tasting menu, or I'm eating out with people I don't know so well, I always share food which makes tapas my dining method of choice. Sophie went for a strawberry topped, balsamic drizzled log of goats cheese, Persephone went for aioli coated crayfish and rocket, and I went for the scallops with pisto (fancy Spanish ratatouille), almond slivers and green chilli sauce. 

For anyone who thinks Street Food is a dodgy polystyrene container of noodles or a filthy burger, firstly, why are you here? And secondly, Donostia Social Club is here to prove you wrong. That scallop was dreamy, soft and melting on the inside but golden on the outside, I was one lucky lady. The green chilli sauce was spicy but not overly so and the combo of it all with the scallops was an explosion of flavours but in a really good, I'd eat it for breakfast kind of way. Of course we all shared food and the other dishes were delicious but there's no denying the scallop stole the show. I had my eyes on their lamb chops with broad beans, and Spanish black pudding and quail egg rounds, but they'll have to be conquered another day as Kerbingo was calling.   

Round two meant Bill or Beak, and a couple of pints of Camden Hells. It's only right when taking on a meatalicious bun to have a pint of lager on the side. Any woman who says beer is for boys clearly hasn't found the right pint for them yet (p.s a pint of wine does not count, you know who you are). Two buns were on offer; shredded pork and duck topped with tempura shallots, and a salad of coriander, sprunions, mint and chilli with a generous dousing of Vietnamese style dressing, and a chicken Caesar bun complete with parmesan, lettuce and tempura capers. 

It was a hard decision which to choose, but I steeled myself and bought the duck and pork sandwich safe in the knowledge that Sophie would share her chicken Caesar bun with me. It turned out to be a good decision to share because both sandwiches were delicious. My tender duck and porkie delight was fresh from the salad, oh so spicy but with a good level of fat from the tempura shallots to compensate for the heat, Sophie's chicken was an enlightenment. Confession I have never enjoyed a chicken Caesar salad before, but this sandwich had me converted at least to the bun form, in short it's most likely the best chicken 'burger' I've ever had.

And I haven't even mentioned the best bit yet. No it's not the tempura toppings, it's not the tender meat, it's the brioche bun. That's right, the brioche was the ultimate winner. It was the best brioche bun I've ever had (I'm throwing the best out a lot today). Sweet and buttery with a crispy grilled finish, it was the perfect burger bun albeit there were no burgers but Bill or Beak's fillings stepped up to the plate. If you see them grab a sandwich, ask where they get their buns, then send me the sandwich and the bun maker's location to:

Flick's Stomach
They Called It The Diamond Blog
The Foodiverse

A break from savoury food came with a brownie courtesy of Sophie (self-professed brownie queen) and sunbathing on the grass outside the London Eye with a second pint in hand. Once we decided our stomach's were ready we surveyed the stalls at Kerb and struck. The Don's mac and cheese from Anna Mae with bacon and basil was Persephone's soul food, while Sophie and I went halves on a pepperoni pizza from Born and Raised, and a Bulgogi Beef Burrito with Kimchi (fermented vegetables with chili) rice and red cabbage, slaw, cheese, the works from Kimchinary. Today was clearly a day for new found loves as having never been a huge burrito fan before I quickly declared Kimchinary's burrito my soul mate. The pizza and mac and cheese were also solid but I only had eyes for our ugly looking beefy burrito. I don't care if you're ugly to photograph burrito, it's what's on the inside that counts!

 Maybe it's because it was so different to every other burrito I've ever had with it's spicy but clean Korean flavours, or just because the beef was really great quality, and let's be honest burrito restaurants are not famed for their high quality ingredients (sorry burrito sellers). It was just so good! I've changed my mind, stop reading this post. Close it down and go grab a burrito from Kimchinary as fast as you can because you know YOLO. But wait although I've given you my blessing to go and eat Kimchi deliciousness you shouldn't leave before you've read about dessert. 

Dessert took place in the form of ice lollies from Ice Kitchen. I've been thinking about Ice Kitchen's lollies for months, ever since the Summer first began and I saw them creeping on to twitter. They inspired me to buy a lolly mold (which took forever to come and arrived just before September when I placed the order in June! Let's talk about that Online Anonymous Wholesaler! Let's not it's bad blog content) and make some of my own flavours (blackberry and cucumber anyone?). I wanted to try all of Ice Kitchen's lollies but went for the alcoholic mojito to try and break out from my food coma with a refreshing stimulant. Sophie followed suit while Persephone opted for a raspberry and lime ice lolly.  

We sat eating our ice lollies, gossiping and having a laugh while Sophie and I dared each other to eat the large lime slice at the bottom of our ice lollies (FYI it's for display purposes only as it's disgustingly sour. Don't eat it!). I hope these lovely ladies will be joining me at Model Market asap because I don't know anyone better to accompany me on my next mission to see how far my stomach can truly stretch before I implode. If you're a weekday Londoner definitely head to one of their locations for a cheeky extravagant lunch, if not get down to Southbank this weekend to enjoy Kerb in all it's glory for one last time (this Summer)!

I didn't think it would be possible but I am more hungry after writing this post than I was after writing about Dinerama (see that post here). It's either the brioche sandwiches or the burrito that's done it. Has anyone been to Kerb at lunchtime, who's your favourite trader there? There's so many markets I've been meaning to get to, Druid Street Market is high on my list, have you been? I've heard it's really good, I might combine that with a cheeky trip to Maltby Street Market on the road behind and more importantly Little Bird Gin. While I'm there I'm going to grab a doughnut from St John's Bakery because I've never had one (oh God don't stone me), yep I've only ever bought their Danish pastries, such a sin but I can't resist their sugar coated buttery layers and pecans. The Lord made pecans to tempt me. Wait what are you still doing here? Get gone! Vamouss (is this a word?). Kick it to the Kerb!

26 August 2015

Blackberry Ripple No Churn Ice Cream & Brandy Snap Cones

Ever since first making my Ultimate Dark Chocolate and Malbec No Churn Ice Cream, I have been experimenting with creating different flavours. So far there have been no misses. This isn't me being arrogant or modest, I just really think you can't go too far wrong experimenting with this type of ice cream. All my creations so far have set and apart from a wild idea to make Marmite ice cream there have been no crazy flavours coming out of my kitchen. I'm all for interesting flavours, wasabi ice cream maybe, bacon and jam ice cream we'll see, breast milk ice cream 100% not happening ever (why this was ever sold in London I'm not sure).

I've been foraging for urban blackberries from the bushes near our flat ever since they came into season at the beginning of August when I made this artery clogging but delicious Baked Camembert Topped with Blackberries and Walnuts. As my first no churn ice cream flavour was pretty adventurous with a generous tipple of malbec, I decided to strip it back and go simple. Well as simple as homemade Blackberry and Vanilla Ripple Ice Cream can be. Which coincidentally is simply delicious.

The vanilla ice cream is sweet, creamy and unctuous with the hum of vanilla, providing the kind of comforting goodness only vanilla ice cream can. With one or several swirls of tart blackberry jam through the ice cream it's lifted to new fruity heights. And of course where there's ice cream there has to be a cone, I don't buy in to wafers and I couldn't find any biscuit cones in the shops so obviously I had to have a go at DIYing some. For me there was only one biscuit on my mind, brandy snaps. I adore brandy snaps and have been known (on stressful days) to buy a pack and eat them instead of dinner (the ginger in them was very nutritious once).

Ok I'm lying, I've never eaten a packet of brandy snaps instead of dinner. I've always eaten them as well as my dinner. But who can resist a crispy but buttery ginger biscuit. Show me one man (or woman) who can and I will challenge them to a biscuit staring competition. I'm bound to crack first but if they don't I'll eat my packet of brandy snaps! When you try and shape your cones be careful because they'll be really hot. I have 'asbestos hands' termed because I can handle molten lava with my bare fingers (second lie of the post) so I dived straight in to shaping. However, if you are a delicate flower then consider waiting a minute before shaping or just turn them upside down over bowls for hands free brandy snap baskets.

 I meant to post this recipe on Monday but I've had so much going on with work, family and general procrastination aka rereading Harry Potter (I'm on book 6). At the weekend I made my first ever batch of brownies, I don't know how I haven't made them before (must have been knocked on the head as a child), for a BBQ with my boyfriend's brother, his wife, assorted friends and the person of honour, my (almost) 3 month old niece. She is the cutest chubby chops you've ever seen and although you can't have favourites I have already declared her my favourite niece ever. The brownies were so popular (modesty shining through here) that I've been asked to make some for my niece's baptism. Get excited because not only are these brownies, but they're cheesecake brownies...with blueberries and I'll be sharing the recipe shortly (future nieces and nephews just get plain brownies).

In addition to brownie making and BBQs, there was lots of swimming. Which meant only one thing, I had to have my post swim ice cream, which ties nicely back to this recipe as I went home and stuffed myself with the last of this rippled dream. Post swim ice cream is an essential part of my exercise routine, as is lying on the sofa exhausted. It's hard work burning 470 calories doing lengths and going down the fast flume at the pool a million times. Does anyone else have a set post work out snack? When I used to go to a swimming club as a kid it used to be a Caramac bar or a Zap (psychedelic rippled toffee ice cream on a stick). Wait! Stop everything! Rainbow no churn ice cream? Is it possible, am I crazy, should I do it? All valid questions with only one answer, HELL YES!

That's it. End of post. On to my next ice cream adventure!...straight after this recipe.

Blackberry Ripple & Vanilla No Churn Ice Cream
(makes 750ml)

250g Blackberries
1 tbsp Caster Sugar
1 tbsp Water
1 tbsp Vanilla Paste
300ml Double Cream
1/2 can Condensed Milk (~198ml) 

Step 1. In a saucepan heat the blackberries, caster sugar and water on a medium heat to make the jam for the blackberry ripple, stirring occasionally. Once the jams semi set and the berries have all broken up, leave it to cool and then pass it through a sieve so you've got a smooth coulis.  

Step 2. In a large bowl, whisk together the double cream, condensed milk and vanilla paste until you reach stiff peaks. 

Step 3. Pour a third of the mixture into a suitable freezable container, you can buy disposable pots online, use a tupperware box or just pour it into a cake tin. Then dollop on a third of the jam randomly, using a chop stick feather or whirl and swirl the jam using a chopstick through the vanilla cream. Do this twice more but for the two upper layers don't swirl to the bottom just do it for that layer. Make sure you cover the ice cream with a lid or tightly wrap it in clingfilm, then put it in the freezer for 6 hours. 

Step 4. Before you serve the ice cream take it out of the freezer for about 15 minutes to loosen up. 

Brandy Snap Cones (without the brandy...)
(makes 6-8 cones)

50g Butter
50g Caster Sugar
50g Golden Syrup
50g Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. In a saucepan on a medium heat, melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup. Take the pan off the heat and add the sieved flour and ginger into the pan and stir to mix it all together.

Step 2. On a lined baking tray place 2 tbsps of the mix in a circle 10 cm apart from one another. You'll have to do them in batches of two at a time as they will spread and engulf each other if you're not careful.

Step 3. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 to 10 minutes till golden brown and doted with holes. Take the brandy snaps out of the oven and leave for a couple of seconds, then working quickly shape each biscuit into cones you can either do this by wrapping it round a mould or using your hands. It's really about what's easy for you.

Step 4. Brandy snap cones made, fill them with ice cream. The good thing about this ice cream is that it doesn't melt too quickly so it won't leak out of the holes as much as that which must not be named (churn ice cream). I actually ate lots of the cones before I filled them with ice cream, in fact I ate a lot of the ice cream without the cones as well. What does that say about me? Probably that I'm a winner.

Have you tried making a no churn ice cream yet? If you have, drop me a comment below with your recipe, I'd love to see what you've done. I'm super keen for a rainbow ice cream, putting it on my weekend agenda as I type. I might even make it toffee flavoured for old times sake. National Burger Day is tomorrow and I'm going to be celebrating in style, probs with several burgers on the go at once. It's made me upset though because here in the UK we don't have a National Ice Cream Day, I want to rectify that wrong so that's why I'm launching the National Ice Cream Day in the UK as the 26th August. What year? Every year. If you want to join my campaign drop me a comment below swearing allegiance to ice cream. Manifesto to be published shortly.

21 August 2015

Drive ins, Dinerama and Dives in Shoreditch, London

Dinerama is the new Fawkes (first and last Harry Potter reference of the post). 

Like a phoenix it came and was beautiful, then it burnt down and now it's been reborn. I've yet to go see the second coming, but the week before part of Dinerama caught fire my friends and I shuffled over to Shoreditch to do as all cool kids do on a Saturday night; eat, drink and cause a ruckus. It was just me causing trouble, I was involved in the accidental knockage of a ladies pint into her handbag. Small space + clumsy me = angry handbag woman (all smoothed over with a replacement pint). Dinerama is a Night Food Market in Shoreditch and the latest venture from the folks behind Street Feast, it's been controversial (see Rachel Phipps review here), it's been dramatic (hello second fire of London) but it's also been my favourite of their inventions so far.

This statement in itself is going to cause some controversy but there's no denying it. I didn't like Hawker House, I enjoyed Dalston Yard (see my review from last year here) and I've yet to visit Model Market (I've got my eye on you Scoopsy Daisy), but I already know Dinerama is my winner. Maybe it's because there's more spaces and separate tables to sit at, as opposed to the one long bagsy-ed table at Hawker House, or because the vibe is a lot more relaxed (I mean there's a Tikki rum bar) or because all the food is clustered together in one place (it's like they know me). Or maybe it's because I just had such a good night there with all of my favourite people (except you of course, we'll do something soon), who knows! It's probably a combo job. 

There was a huge group of us at Dinerama, so to kick things off we migrated towards the Big Bar. The inclusion of prosecco in the Big Fizz meant that was the only choice for me. Partnered with gin, elderflower and cucumber, this was my perfect cocktail, refreshing, clean with a big fizzy hit of prosecco that left me heady and feeling tipsy before the night had even begun. Luckily I was in the perfect place to grab some food to soak up some of the booze. We grabbed some drinks with two of our pals, Alex (pictured above looking super happy) went for the Dinerama Cooler with tequila, lime, agave syrup, peach and pineapple, while my boyfriend Dan's other lover, Louie, went for a Brit Spritz with Kamm & Sons, elderflower, prosecco and soda. Not going to lie, me and Dan picked the winning beverage.

First cocktail of the night down, Louie and I went in search of meat. Juicy, fall off the bone brisket from Smokestak was calling to us and of course we have to sling it in a brioche bun with some pickled chilli to fill us up before the next round. This is some of the best brisket I've ever had and a mean brioche bun. Together it was sloppy (in a good way) tender brisket, sweet toasted brioche with vinegary pickled chilli peppers. So we may have got splattered with a bit of brisket juice when we were queueing up at at Smokestak from the woman with a giant cleaver, but it was 100% worth it.

A trip upstairs to the gin bar led to lots of Rico's Pink Ladies with gin, orange, pomegranate and elderflower. And of course with a light cocktail we needed some light treats to accompany it. Course that meant some pillowy marshmallow soft bao from Yum Bun with delicious pork belly, salad and crispy-coated prawns. This was followed by some Rainbo pork filled gyozas, edamame beans and salad, personally I would rather have gone for some more brisket but hey it was Dan's choice and he's a health freak (he's not, he's just an edamame bean freak). Too healthy for a drink-filled evening I moved on to more laughing, an apple spiked gin cup and there may have been a chilli back involved. Tequila with a shot of jalapenos, it's a deadly way to start a night but it happened. 

In danger of doing my liver some serious damage, we chilled out. Sprawled on the fake grass roof we gossiped, made Summer plans and kept nipping downstairs to grab more food from the street stalls below. I think the main thing Dinerama has over the other Street Feast venues I've visited is atmosphere, when I went to Urban Food Fest it literally felt like a festival and Dinerama has that same kind of relaxed air except there are no floral headbands or Native Indian headdress. I mean I would have worn one but it just wasn't the time, and I would have stuck out like a childish fairy amongst the super cool, super clean cut, super crowd at Dinerama.

For me the drinks stopped flowing at the chilli back and I turned to more serious discussion points. BBQ Lab's chicken wings. Everything we ate at Dinerama was delicious, but these chicken wings (and the brisker) were stupendous! Coated in a chilli sauce, these wings are mother hecking spicy but at the same time so gooooood. I had mine with blue cheese and some pickles, and after that I'll never look back. I'm never going to create hot wings at home unless they're served with blue cheese, and as for eating out there's only one wing serving stand for me. I've heard great things about BBQ Lab's other wares but have yet to sample them. However, now the second coming is finally upon us I'll be heading back to Dinerama real soon.

Dinerama is an instagrammers dream night out. Rainbow lights, pretty pink and blue striped cups, graffiti and burgers galore, it is by far one of the prettiest markets in town. I want to steal all the diamond pendant lights and string them up in my house. First I need to stop renting and buy a house so I can actually make permanent changes to the décor that don't involve blue tack but all in good time (it's part of the 5 year plan). Anyway to sum up the décor at Dinerama it's so insta.

Towards the end of the night I realised two things, one Louie was seriously drunk and two so was Dan. This became more apparent when I asked Dan to take a picture of me and my girlfriends, and all I got back was a photo of the floor. Likewise when Louie refused to share the doughnuts we bought together with Dan, Dan tried to drunkly grab the doughnut in Louie's hand and whacked the whole lot to the floor. But I'm getting ahead of myself before doughnuts came Indian style tandoori fish at Shack Tandoor, a Baba G creation.

Realising Dan and Louie were in dire need of sustenance we all headed over to Shack Tandoor, I had wandered over earlier to grab a tandoori spiced scallop served with fried cubes of celeriac and a celeriac puree. First of all, celeriac is a massively under rated vegetable, it is delicious in every way, in a gratin, roasted, covered with cream and cheese in a dauphinoise. The scallops (yes there were multiple ones all for less than £10, absolute bargain!) were perfectly cooked. I know everyone says oh yes it's perfectly cooked, but they really were, juicy but crispy on the outside. For the boys I felt like chips was a good option for them, so they went for Tandoori monkfish with a coriander sauce on a bed of fried chippies. Louie being the journalist he is (a show off and a flirt) wrangled some more chips out of the server. The monkfish was delicately spiced with a deliciously zingy coriander sauce, and let's be honest chips are chips but they did the boys some much needed goodness. Shack Tandoor had some of the most interesting food of the night and the kind I'd pay big bucks for in a sit down establishment. Even Alex a self confessed fish hater ate some!

Doughnuts from You Doughnut followed our fishy meal, and for me and Louie they had to be coated in cinnamon sugar and pecans, and drizzled with toffee sauce. Pecans in a dessert are the best, I mean I'd be close to putting them at my favourite nut. They certainly beat pistachios but I'm not so sure about peanuts. I mean think of all the great peanut dishes; satay, peanut butter, topped on any asian style dish you've ever had, in an icing, peanut is the ultimate nut. Anyway back to the doughnuts, having worked in a beach cafe when I was younger alongside various stints in pubs and most notably as a butcher (yes I wore the hat), I can solemnly swear that a warm fresh fried doughnut might be the best thing the world has ever seen. Tossed in cinnamon sugar is my fave way to eat doughnuts, although let's be honest I'm never going to kick a Crosstown Doughnut off my plate (three words: meringue jam doughnut, see that beauty here). You Doughnuts make me nostalgic for those couple of Summers I spent working frying doughnuts, one for me, one for the customer. It was a good system and a good time, coincidentally it was also before I met Dan. I wonder what would have happened without him (I know what would have happened - Ultimate Doughnut Shop).

I'd definitely recommend heading down to Dinerama on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, and checking it out with a gang of your nearest and dearest. I've heard they've got a couple new food stalls so some of our delicious food may no longer be on offer. They're open till the beginning of October so head down there soonish. In fact, I might see you there. What d'you reckon, couple of chicken wings, a G&S (soda) and a lot of gossip? I'm in!

Luckily my friend Alex wasn't too drunk to snap this rare photo of me and Dan, and more importantly my gorgeous skirt. I love this skirt so much, you know if I've worn this out and I'm with you it means two things; 1) I think you're pretty special and 2) I'm here to party (this is my party skirt people). I am going to try having a go at making those BBQ Lab chicken wings at home, if anyone has any cracking recipes drop me a comment below. The question is do I go for chilli or straight sriracha? Or do I double dose and go with both. That might be dangerous, mouth burning, eye blinding kind of dangerous. If anyone has been to Dinerama since it reopened let me know what you think and more importantly what new stands are there, is it worth a second trip?