The London Fox | Currently on sabbatical in New York City

Month: March, 2012

Baking a cake

The London Fox loves to cook, but hates baking. There is nothing skillful about baking: one is at the mercy of his equipment which makes the results too variable for the Fox’s liking. Don’t get him wrong, he still likes a good cake.

It was the day of the Northern Hog’s birthday, and to show my gratitude for her companionship I decided to bake her something.

One of my favourite blogs, aptly titled the Londoner has some great recipes usually, but her Double Stuffed Oreo cake recipe (here) really caught my eye. Mainly because it looks hugely impressive and didn’t seem too challenging. How wrong I was about the latter…

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Tools at the ready

I have to confess: I don’t get baking. Girls seem to do it so effortlessly, mixing and beating while humming the Sound of Music soundtrack (or something), leaving not a hint of a trace of flour and sugar on work surfaces. In contrast, my efforts were definitely evident: the kitchen was covered with everything that went into the cake. Plus my sweat.

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Anyway here are the results. Don’t judge a book by its cover

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Breakfast at Ottolenghi

London Fox’s mum always told him that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It certainly is – especially on weekends. London Fox believes that a good breakfast is the food of Gods.

It was one of very few Saturday mornings I wasn’t hung over. This was good for two reasons. My parents were in town and we were going to meet for breakfast, and I could get up early enough to get a table at Ottolenghi.

20120311-190936.jpgCake lover’s perfect place for window shopping

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Once you get past the queue you enter into a clean and simple interior. The decor is really more the food they put out on show than anything else. And the food really speaks for itself. With food that looks this appetising, it’s no wonder the place is constantly packed (no booking for breakfast, and booking for dinner needs to be done farrr in advance).

The clientele is a mixture of young-ish professionals and yummy mummies. No wonder it was my first time.
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Teas and coffees ordered, we had a look at the menu. Don’t expect a slap up fry up here. What’s on offer is mix of North African and Middle Eastern influences in a hearty and healthy way.

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I went for the Cannellini bean stew with bacon and chorizo ​​(£9.50) and there was some Shakshuka (£9.59) ordered too. The bean stew was a kind of North African fry up – fried egg, beans on toast with chorizo bits, black pudding and rocket. I love a good fry up, and this alternative was great. It was a kind of healthy version, sprinkled with cumin.

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I used Ottolenghi’s recipe for shakshuka in the past but the real deal has to be tried. Not least because it comes in a mini pan! The issue I have with shakshuka is that it gets boring after a while. The absence of meat (yep, it’s veggie unfortunately) coupled with cumin overload (they like cumin in Ottolenghi – not a bad thing at all, just that I find cumin needs meat, preferably lamb) restricts the dish somewhat.

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You have to go to Ottolenghi for breakfast, it is a beautiful place. If you can get up early enough that is.

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Breakfast till 12 on Sat, 1 on Sun

New Culture Revolution

The London Fox *loves* very few things in life. Some insist that he is void of emotions which is a pretty fair comment. However, present him with a plate of Chinese dumplings and he crumples up into a litle teary-eyed Anime character.

Good dumplings are hard to come by London. Most Chinese restaurants have some on the menu, but they tend to be defrosted ready meals rather than hand wrapped delights. I stumbled across New Cultural Revolution on a (rare) jog along Regent’s canal one afternoon. Panting, I read the menu outside. It featured a variety of dumplings, soup based and guo tie (which means they have also been shallow fried to give them a crispy shell). Also featured are the usual Cantonese style dishes (including sweet and sour – which I am a sucker for) you get in other places.

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They do a killer sweet and sour (only pork on the menu but you can request chicken instead). It comes with a bowl of rice at just £7 or so which is cheaper than most inferior takeaways.

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The star of this place has to be the dumplings. I highly recommend the Mushroom guo tie, delicious bundles of mushroom mix with a vinegarette dip. The pork filled soup dumplings are also very good. Often with soup dumplings the broth is tasteless unless our friend MSG is added. They claim on their site that they do no use MSG which is surprising as the broth here is packed with addictive flavour. The dumplings are more like a wonton soup, mixed with some pak choi . Succulent and light, a good alternative to a big bowl of soup noodles.

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It looks like they are also have a place on the King’s Road, which I haven’t tried but the menu online looks more extensive than the Angel branch, though it doesn’t have as many dumpling delights.

xoxo

No, the London Fox has not been watching Gossip Girl, rather, he fed on Thai food tonight. XOXO is a new restaurant/bar on Upper street, one of his favourite prowling zones in London. He loves strolling down Upper street…there’s always something new every time.

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I always have Massaman Curry when eating Thai and this time I coupled it with a fried chicken and aubergine combination I can’t pronounce the name of. Padded out with a pot of coconut rice and jasmine rice, the food was all in all very decent.

The place is a bit too clean cut to be cool (which it tries hard to be) but it was pretty empty when I was there. Filled out on a weekend evening, with some cocktails, XOXO is probably a lot better. I will certainly come back for more.

Address: 74 Upper Street , Islington, London, N1 0NY

Bukowski

The London Fox loves a good burger. Sometimes nothing hits his oesophogael G-spot better than a succulent piece of beef wedged between two baps.

I’ve been on the hunt for London’s top burger for ages. So far there’s been some impressive venues and when a friend said that their favourite was found in a little known place called Bukowski, I had to check it out.

Located in the pop up Boxpark food court outside shoreditch high st station, Bukowski is a small, simple restaurant with only 3-4 tables sitting 4 each. The menu is equally simple, offering classic delights (with additional toppings to your taste) as well as more adventurous options (pork variations).

Mother F’er!

I had to go for The Mother F, two juicy baps with Gloucester cheese, gherkins and thick cut bacon (£9.80). It was pretty divine, I must say. My partner in crime opted for the Chicano pulled pork (£6.50) which was more of a hog roast style sandwich than a burger. We shared some triple cooked chips (pretty good) and coleslaw (the light option). A nice touch in Bukowski was the condiments (I’m a huge sucker for table sauces) which consisted of homemade ketchup, horseradish mustard and scotch bonnet relish (delicious). They also do bottomless filter coffee like in those American diners.

Piggy burger

So far, the best burger I’ve had in London.

http://www.bukowski-grill.co.uk/
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Unit 61 BOXPARK
Bethnal Green Road
E1 6GY