Sunday, 31 January 2016

northend road market

In between the gusts of wind and misty showers, we managed to head out to our favourite London market. It's not much of a looker but my goodness is it good. Located on the Northend Road in Fulham is a proper Landaan market, with barrow boys hollering out to punters and old carts parked up on the side roads. Having lived just a stones throw away from here last year, I learnt the best places to visit, so even now when we live south of the river, we know where to get the freshest of produce. 

Our main reason to skip over to SW6 was to stock up on fish. One of my best discoveries since moving to London was a fish shop on the Northend Road. Depending on month and what's in season, you can get some fantastic bargains. Just before Christmas I bought a whole salmon, filleted in front of me, for £10 - a supermarket will never do such a great deal. This time I wanted sea bass and luckily for me the deal was five for £11. Again, I got them filleted and have since frozen them in perfect portion sizes; we will happily eat delicious fish for the next month or so. I find sea bass is best when simply done; seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon, pan fried and served with new potatoes and steamed asparagus. 

We also picked up some delicious vine tomatoes, sweet plums, ginormous avocados (three for a pound) and courgettes. I resisted buying fresh herbs and clementines but next time I'll certainly get some. I'll also keep an eye out for forced rhubarb as that's just come into season. The market runs from Monday - Saturday. Either get there early for the freshest produce or later for some real bargains, and preferably in the sun as there is nothing worse than queueing for your vegetables in the rain.

This week I'm looking to cook my easy Mediterranean Chicken with the vine tomatoes, pan fried sea bass and a courgetti dish (The American bought me a spiraliser for Christmas so I'm experimenting with different recipes and vegetables).

I can't believe it's February on Monday, time is flying by! Spring is on the horizon, hurrah! 

^^ these are the narcissi I bought earlier in the month! They are bring me so much joy! 


P.S. I went to Sexy Fish this week and it really is as good as the hype (I'm definitely very biased about it as I work for the interior designer but, MY GOD). I couldn't recommend a better place for a birthday night or fancy date so go, go, go! I also went to an incredible Moroccan restaurant in Wandsworth Town on Wednesday called Doukan. It's the perfect place to go with girlfriends or a hungry boy who loves lots of different plates of food - I really can't stop talking about it!   

Thursday, 7 January 2016

neal's nurseries

It's that time of year again, the streets are littered with sorry looking Christmas trees and we're dodging showers. January, you never fail to disappoint. 

With a little bit of extra time off this holiday I'm making the most of my additional hours. Today I went to Neal's Nurseries, right in the shadow of Wandsworth Prison. We have the smallest of patios and I'm very much looking forward to getting green fingered and planting tomatoes, climbing roses and maybe some chilies. But my visit today was to find some spring cheer to brighten up our home. 

This morning it bucketed down but once the sun burst through I wrapped up and made the short walk over to the garden centre. And what a beautiful day to go: 

I picked up a single blue hyacinth and some narcissi. I've potted them up and can't wait to see them bloom over the next few weeks. 

I hear snow might be on the way next week so won't be putting anything out on the patio for now. Much like my plants, I'm enjoying staying wrapped up in the flat. Going back to work on Monday is going to be a struggle I fear. 

Until then! 


Sunday, 3 January 2016

sweet & sticky ham

There is something very comforting about cooking a ham on a Sunday evening and knowing it will see you through the whole week, whether in sandwiches or for dinner. I like to cook a ham at least once a month; it's delicious and sticky and such good value and SO much better than the wafer ham you buy in packets. 

A kilogram of ham is enough for the two of us but if you do require a larger piece, it's very easy to multiple the timings. 

Here is my method, inspired by my mum's delicious, sticky recipe. 

You will need:

1kg ham joint
Half onion
10 cloves
1 bay leaf
Pinch salt
A few pepper corns
Muscavado sugar

The first thing to do is boil your ham. Slice you onion in two, add the herbs and place the ham in your pan. Cover the ham in boiling water and leave to simmer for 45-60 minutes. The general rule is 30 minutes per 500g. 

Once you ham has boiled, take it out and remove the layer of fat on the top (be careful, it will be hot!). This looks like a horrible job but it's so simple. Make sure you leave a little of the fat on top as this is where you'll add your honey and sugar.

Once the fat has been removed score a cross cross pattern across the top of your cooked ham. With a spoon, rub your sugar into the slashes on top and drizzle some honey. If you want, pierce the ham with some cloves for extra flavour. 

It's not the prettiest of things but trust me, you're going to love it! 

Pop the ham into a preheated oven for a further 20ish minutes. The sugars will caramelise and run into your baking sheet but don't be alarmed if your meat smells like it's burning, it's not! If you think your ham is burning pop some tin foil over it to keep it nice. Keep an eye on it if you're worried, but really it should be fine. 

Once cooked you can serve immediately with new potatoes and seasonal veg. Or, like me, keep it chilled and enjoy in some fresh bread with some chutney and lettuce! Delicious either way around. 

It will never be a thing of beauty but my goodness will you enjoy it and it will keep you full and content all week long. 

A great start to a more savvy way of cooking at home. Enjoy! 


Friday, 1 January 2016

new beginnings

And so we find ourselves in 2016! After the merriment of Christmas and the celebrations of last night, I have found myself thinking to the future (as everyone does) and looking forward to using a new year as an opportunity for a fresh start. My resolutions are as follows:

1. Visit my family more than five times a year

2. Travel to a new country

3. Rediscover my love for playing music

4. Find a new favorite stationery provider

5. Actually run that half marathon 

6. Blog more often, eat a little less

They aren't big nor groundbreaking ideas but it's the little things that count. And so, whilst watching Robin Hood from my little London flat, The American hungover still on the sofa, I wish you all a very happy new year and twelve months filled with love, laughter and little moments of joy.