Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 Roundup

December has been a bit tricky for us in terms of posting: the combination of Christmas festivities, and mad work schedules for both A and C have meant that we've rather neglected our blog for the last few weeks. That said, 2013 is another year and we are confident that we'll be getting the blog back on track in January. We already have some yummy posts in the pipeline, and with the addition of a few cookery books to the shelves as a result of Christmas, both A and C are looking forward to getting stuck in again.

Looking back at 2012, we wanted to pick out some of the highlights from this first year of our blog:

Most popular post: Our analytics department (A) has done some number crunching and has come up with the most popular post of 2012. To our surprise, our post on cream tea won by a country mile. In fact, we've been consistently surprised by the choices of our readership and we'll try to carry our insights forward in our content next year.

Our cream tea in Leeds

Best Restaurant: We have sampled the menus of a good few restaurants this year, but after careful consideration, A's birthday treat at Duck and Waffle has to take it. The combination of outstanding food and amazing views, plus the trendy factor, takes the prize for 2012. It's not cheap (the wine list in particular is horrendously expensive) but  we think it's worth it for a treat.

Inventive presentation of mini battered sausages at Duck and Waffle

Best Cafe: This too was a tricky one, but we've plumped for Gail's Bakery. While Gail's is technically a chain, it doesn't feel like one and that's its secret. Having sampled the branches in Exmouth Market, Soho and Hampstead Village and drooled over the pastries at the South Kensington shop, we are confident that this is one of the bast pastry places in our fair city.

A delicious spread at Gail's in Exmouth Market, featuring Ai Weiwei

Best Recipe: The duck eggs benedict were a strong contender, but really there is only one winner: Persian yoghurt cake. Once we discovered this recipe in Pomegranates and Roses earlier in the year, it's been a signature dish. It's been so popular, in fact, that several of A and C's friends have made it themselves and we can't do a party at A's flat in the Docklands without one.

One iteration of the outstanding Persian yoghurt cake

Best Travel PostTurkish breakfast. C was particularly impressed by Turkey's breakfast offering. She enthused about them in one post, and we then recreated it at home in another. The range of flavours and textures, along with the fact that they really are quite healthy, made for a winning combination and one that we can't wait to try again.

Some elements of Turkish breakfast (note the teacup is Western and not Turkish)

Best Photograph: We think the picture speaks for itself, taken at Borough Market in July.

Amazing pretzels at Borough Market this summer

Finally, we'd like to say a big thank you to our readers for helping us make our little experiment a success. We hope you keep reading as we continue to eat our way around London (and elsewhere) in the coming year. Russia and China, we know you're reading!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

A Leeds Brunch (Day 2)

As we've mentioned in other blog posts, A's brother K is quite the foodie, and alongside the scrumptious cream tea and brunch, K also put on a second (yes, a second!) brunch for A and C while we were up in Leeds. While the first one was more of a continental lunch affair, this brunch was about as British as they come.
K put on a full-on fry up with bacon, sausages, tomatoes hash browns, beans and toast. The meat, in particular had been very carefully selected. J's father has been a pretty senior bod at two major UK supermarkets in his time and we understand that at some point during his career working for these supermarkets he ended up learning quite a lot about how to preserve pork. This knowledge has been imparted to J and also to K. K in particular now insists on buying dry-cured bacon only; normal bacon, apparently, is often injected with brine in order to preserve it, which is why you sometimes get the white foam on normal bacon when you fry it (every day's a school day!).
While we jest, the difference in quality is palpable. A usually gets his bacon from Waitrose, but has thus far restricted himself to the "essentials" range, which does produce white foam when you fry. K's offering however came out of the oven (he grilled it) so crispy that each rasher made quite a loud snapping sound when pressure was applied with a knife. The flavour too was rather better than the proletarian stuff that A and C partake of on a regular basis.
K is also quite particular about his bangers. K insists on sourcing sausages which are neither too fatty, nor too dry, all while not breaking the bank. We are not sure where K sourced is sausages from, but they did manage to fulfil this quite demanding list of requirements; they were tasty too!

As ever, it's always a pleasure to see some of the classics accompany a fry up. Hash browns in particular are a very welcome addition to a breakfast of this ilk, but not one that A and C would usually serve up. To have some was therefore particularly pleasing.

Once again, we'd like to thank K and J for their hospitality.