Friday, 25 September 2015

Breakfast with my dad - Milk cafe

My food bible!
I have a long list of restaurants, bars, cafes and pop-ups that I want to visit in London. In fact I have a food bible where I take clippings from various magazines and newspapers and use it as a kind of foodie to-do list. Problem is, these places are on a lot of people's to-do lists, and with the increasing popularity to go with the no reservations policy, you can often struggle to get a foot in the door unless you queue for 45 minutes plus.

But that's the weekends.

So I have a couple of days off and my dad up to visit me - suddenly my options are limitless. So knowing my dad is a lover of coffee, I refer to my food bible and know just the place: Milk in Balham.

This trendy white brick cafe sits along Hildreth Street Market and I'm told is a popular place for the mummy and baby groups of Balham. Obviously they took this particular day off as it was filled with a mixture of young professionals gazing at laptop screens, tourists and the odd family (summer holidays of course).

Seated, we took a look at the clipboard menu, and began to work our way down the list to decipher what was what. It seemed that the menu essentially served all your traditional breakfast menu items, each with an added something extra, be it woodfired sourdough bread, or "hangover" sauce.

The Convict appeared to be the manly full English option, and not wanting to be outdone by my dad, we ordered two of those, a black Americano and a flat white.

Out comes our breakfast in what my dad called dog bowls (oval silver bowls that it seems obligatory for all London burgers to be served in). Placed within was a tower of breakfast items topped with an even bigger tower of grated cheese.

The Convict at first glance is a glorified sausage, bacon and egg McMuffin. But delve in and you will find layer upon layer of deliciously lavish ingredients, including a homemade hash brown and sausage patty. Stealing the show and standing out in this tower had to be the scrambled egg. A silky, creamy consistancy, delicately cooked and not at all representing any kind of dried up curdled egg that many places serve. A close second and providing a bite to the Convict, were the sweet bacon rashes. No flabby bacon in sight, just deliciously crisp and mouthwatering wonderful rashes of bacon.

All of this is wedged between two halves of a muffin, with the added richness of a tangy hangover sauce and grated cheese, bringing all the flavours together and delivering an indulgent breakfast that will leave you full for hours.

The coffee lived up to expectations, providing an equally rich taste to our breakfast banquet, and even had the seal of approval from my coffee-loving dad.

Overall two breakfasts and two coffees came to £22 and with increasing prices of coffee in London these days, this is easily a steal. Next time I go back I have to try their homemade juice served in a novelty glass milk bottle.

Yelly-fi-felly-food-belly x

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Chorizo and paprika rice

This is a genuine "use what I had left in the fridge" recipe. The egg and crispiness from the grilled finish really makes this dish. I cooked for one (plus a bit spare), but the recipe below is for two. I also cooked this in a ovenproof frying pan, but for two or more I would probably transfer into individual ovenproof serving dishes as serving the egg in one piece is quite tricky / messy!

Ingredients (serves 2):
100g chorizo, cut into 1cm slices
1 red onion, diced 
1 green pepper, cut into 1cm strips
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp paprika 
1/2 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 4 cups of boiling water
2 cups of rice
Olive oil
2 eggs
Salt and pepper

1. Soften the onion in a little olive oil over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
2. Next add the chorizo and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the edges of the chorizo starts to crisp.
3. Add the peppers, paprika and garlic, coating all of the ingredients with the paprika and allowing a few more minutes to cook.
4. Throw in the tomatoes and rice, making sure the rice is properly coated in the paprika mix.
5. Now add the stock bit by bit as if you were cooking a risotto, adding more stock only once the previous stock has been absorbed. If you need more liquid, just use boiling water. It's probably worth turning your grill on at this point too.
6. When the rice is cooked and the liquid has been absorbed, take off the heat and make two slight indents where you would like your eggs and carefully crack them into there.
7. Season the egg and place under the grill until the egg is cooked.


Yelly-fi-felly-food-belly x

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Chicken, leek and pancetta pie in a pan

I posted a picture of this on my Twitter a while ago but never got round to writing up the recipe. It is a great all in one dish - just make sure you can use your frying pan in the oven and avoid touching the handle when you bring it out!!

Ingredients (serves 2):
250g chicken, cut into small chunks
50g smoked pancetta, cubed
1 large leek, cut into 1cm slices
Large knob of butter
1 flat tbsp plain flour
200ml milk
1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry (or make your own!)
Olive oil

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Cook the chicken in a little olive oil for 4-6 mins over a medium heat.
3. Add the pancetta to the pan and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the chicken starts to colour and the pancetta starts to turn crisp. Set the chicken and pancetta aside, draining the fat from the pan.
4. In the same pan, melt the butter and soften the leeks over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat and add the flour, allowing the butter to be absorbed by the flour.
6. Slowly add the milk (save a dab for glazing the pie) mixing well to avoid lumps, and reintroducing the pan to a low heat.
7. Add the cooked chicken and pancetta, season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
8. Lay the puff pasty over the pan, trimming the edges to fit and brush with the leftover milk to glaze.
9. Place in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes or until golden.


Yelly-fi-felly-food-belly x