Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Tapas for two

On Saturday Mr. Sprinkle and I took a trip to the Organic Farmers' Market in Stoke Newington.  A great little market where you can find an excellent selection of meat, fish, cheese, bread, vegetables, greens and pick up a coffee or small meal.  We went at a dangerous time i.e. right before lunchtime and went crazy picking up sausages, wild garlic, potatoes, cheese, lettuce and delicious sandwiches from "The Mushroom Table".  These consist of mushrooms fried in a bit of olive oil with herbs served on tasty bread with a wonderfully generous amount of freshly grated parmesan on top.  Simple is sometimes the best way forward.  Bearing that in mind and inspired by the warm, sunny weather we decided to turn our kitchen into a mini-Madrid tapas place for the evening. 

On the menu: patatas bravas inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe, fried chorizo, cheese from the market, bread, olives, a salad, and a bottle of wine (Chianti, I must admit).  I used cooking chorizo from Brindisa which I picked up in my local food mecca, The De Beauvoir Deli. The bread and olives were also from the deli.

The salad was made up of chopped lettuce, sliced tomatoes, diced feta cheese, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. I dressed the salad with olive oil, vinaigrette, salt and pepper. 

Patatas bravas for 4 amigos: 
500g of potatoes
1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 can of tomatoes
sherry vinegar
smoked paprika
fennel seeds
1 peeled diced onion
1 peeled and finely chopped carrot
2 peeled and finely chopped cloves of garlic

1. Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile make the sauce by frying the garlic and onion in a bit of olive oil for a few minutes then add the carrot. Add the canned tomatoes and a tablespoonful of sherry vinegar after another few minutes. Stir and bring the sauce to a boil then lower the heat and let it simmer.
3. Cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces.  Pour olive oil into a pan and fry the potatoes until light brown.  You will probably need to fry them in batches. Place the potatoes in a dish with a sheet of kitchen towel as you finish frying them.  Fry the rosemary with your last batch of potatoes. Sprinkle the potatoes with the rosemary, smoked paprika and fennel seeds.
4. Serve the patatas with the sauce. 

It was a perfect little meal to wrap up a gorgeous day - I think I will be making more tapas this summer! 

The Organic Farmers' Market in Stoke Newington is on every Saturday from 10am to 2.30pm at William Patten School on Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0NX.

The De Beauvoir Deli is on 98 Southgate Road, N1 3JD

Proper posts on both are coming up.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Explaining the queues outside the Breakfast Club

For a while I'd been pondering about the long queues that seem to form every weekend outside The Breakfast Club in Angel and Hoxton.  I mean how desperate can you be for a full english? Why are people spending precious weekend mornings in lines that goes half way around a block?   Can eggs benedict be that good?  Do you get infinite bloody mary refills?  Do the staff serve the breakfast naked?  

Last Friday I set out find answers to all my questions on my cheeky day off with Mr. Sprinkle.  I intentionally went on a Friday as you haven't met a bitch until you've met me in a queue waiting for breakfast.  We fortunately waltzed right in to the BC in Angel and got to pick between 6 or so different tables.  I quickly noticed that the staff is dressed so I crossed the "naked staff" explanation of my list of possible explanations as to why people stand in line for a table.  Upon examining the menu I found a pretty big clue about the queues.  List every single awesome breakfast dish you've ever had and you've got the BC's menu.  Nostalgic for the breakfast you had during your trip to New York?  Have the All American.  Really hungover?  Have the Full Monty. Desperate for something sweet?  Order some French toast.  Something healthy? Try the porridge. 

Mr. Sprinkle went for the Full Monty while I had the breakfast burrito.  I'm still dreaming about my burrito which was filled with scrambled eggs, chorizo, roasted pepper, guacamole and cheddar.   It was quite big, but I was determined to enjoy every bite of it and did.  Mr. Sprinkle was very happy with his full Monty which had everything you would expect from a full English. 

Not only is there a great choice of dishes, but they also serve up freshly squeezed juices, homemade smoothies and delicious coffee.   Best part?  Not one bit of stinginess - you order a smoothie and you get a nice big glass of it.   Likewise with the juice.  No two mouthful glasses here.  Mr. Sprinkle had a delicious smoothie while I had the freshest tasting apple juice in my life.   No coincidence there - I walk past the BC in Angel on my way to work and see the amounts of fresh fruit that goes into their kitchen.  

I can only speak for the BC in Angel, but the place is bound to brighten up any old grey morning.  Bright colours, 80s nostalgia on the walls and a giant orange SMEG fridge.  Moreover, the staff are friendly and welcoming.  

I will definitely be back on my next time I have a day off work or if I happen to wake up very very early on a weekend.  The Breakfast Club is truly awesome.  I can understand why people queue patiently outside every weekend though I best not try given my temper. 

The Breakfast Club has 3 locations in London at the moment (with a forth one planned around Spitalfields):
Angel: 31 Camden Passage N1 8EA
Hoxton: 2-4 Rufus Street N1 6PE
SoHo: 33 D'Arblay Street W1F 8EU