Thursday, 29 November 2012

‘Tis the season to be eating!

I love this time of year. Fairy lights and hot mince pies mean we are finally nearing Christmas. It is the only thing that makes the biting cold worthwhile. Ho, ho yes!
Now, I’m a local girl; South-East born and raised, and I think our lovely area has so much to offer this season. Here is my guide to the best buys this holiday.

Have a Butcher’s
Meat, fish and trimmings
Christmas would not be Christmas without a roasted bird, and this season, I urge you to go to make a ‘flying visit’ to the recently opened Flock and Herd, in Peckham and William Rose Butchers in East Dulwich. A good indication of their stock’s quality and friendly customer service is that they are both always packed with customers. This Christmas they have got beautiful game birds, juicy marinated cuts of meat, freshly made sausages, cured hams and pork shoulder and festive trimmings. If you’re a vegetarian, or just fancy a bit of a change, your best bet is to head just across the road to Moxon’s Fishmongers. I absolutely love fish, and these cheeky chappies are a pleasure to talk to and a credit to their profession. This year the guys are smoking Salmon, by the kilo. They are sold whole to preserve their moisture, and are ready to be sliced and thoroughly enjoyed- superb.

5-a-days of Christmas
Fruit, vegetables
Yes, Christmas is more than just a meat feast, it’s important to source wholesome vegetable too. For big boiling spuds, King Edwards, Maris Piper and the like (perfect for your roastie potatoes), head to TFC- a relatively untapped haven for fresh produce. Another relatively recent find for me is SMBS Foods on Lordship Lane, a veritable treasure chest of not only great fruit and veg, but wheat-free, gluten free and soya based products. Here you can find brussel sprouts growing on the stem, fresh seasoning, such as tarragon and rosemary (perfect for juicing up your bird) and colourful seasonal vegetables such as rainbow chard.

Say ‘Cheese’
Cheese, crackers, platters
You can’t think of cheese, and not think of The Cheese Block (in the good sense of course!) I have always been a massive fan of these guys. This Christmas they are selling some original blends of cheese, which would be perfect for any cheese platter. A particular favourite mine is their Gorgonzola and Allenoci block with walnuts. Another hot spot, is El’s Kitchen, which has unsurprisingly been voted Deli of the Year. Friendly, yes, and whatever you need this Christmas- whether you are catering for a party of 1 or 10, their great choice of cheeses, olives and bread mean you are sure to find something that you’ll like.

Jimmy Jams
Chutneys, jams, accompaniments
One of my favourite finds this year is street trader Denver Bennett. After teaching for over 25years, Denver deciding to go into the food industry- and thank goodness he did! Whether it’s his crunchy Sourdough bread or wonderfully fragrant chutney’s, you will be certain to go back for more. DB  Foods has also introduced a wonderful Christmas hamper, which you can customize with Christmas pudding, glorious cape-town preserves (such as Lemon curd, watermelon preserve, fig preserve, mango chutney, lime pickle, tomato relish, pear chutney, apple and rhubarb chutney and fruit Chutney) and even a luxurious pheasant pate that Denver is whipping up especially for the season. You can order online or hunt him down every Friday and Saturday at Brixton Food Market, and every Thursday at The Talent Factory for their weekly Pop-Up Lunch. 

Tea for Two
Mince pies, puds, after dinner hot drinks
If you’ve never been to East Dulwich Deli, this is the perfect time to make a trip. Now these guys have been around for a while, and certainly know their food. They have a stunning collection of tasty cheeses, salami and prosciutto, oils and vinegars that are displayed in every food lovers dream pantry. However, make sure you don’t miss their sweet section of mince-pies, shortbread and other moreish after dinner treats. Nothing better than a cup of tea and a bite of those festive berries! And speaking of tea, have you been to Les Chandelier? If not, WHY? This place is absolutely stunning. Filled to the brim with..well chandeliers, and delicious sweet treats, they also have a superb selection of tea. For a tea-spread with a difference, why not buy a wintery Blackcurrant and Hibiscus fruit fusion or even some Flowering Red Amaranth, (which I am told literally ‘flowers’ when you add the water on top)? What a simple way of making a Christmas tea party come to life.

Flower Power
Floral arrangements, decorations and centre-pieces
Now, much as I’m loathed to admit it, Christmas is more than just eating. It is also about entertaining and with it, transforming your house into a winter wonderland. One stop you must make if you are having anyone over for the holidays is Bonnies Flowers. This is an Aladdin’s cave of one off reeves, baubles, paper chains and of course gorgeous seasonal flowers for table center-pieces and arrangements. Where else can one invest in a hand sized mini Christmas tree? That’s magic!

Article features in this month's edition of Living South, look out for your nearest copy!

Flock and Herd – 155 Bellenden Road, Peckham SE15 4DH
William Rose - 126 Lordship Lane  Dulwich, SE22 8HD
Moxons- 149 LORDSHIP LANE, SE22 8HX

The Cheese Block - 69 Lordship Lane
SE22 8EP

El’s Kitchen - 71 Ladywell Road * London SE13 7JA

Fruit and Veg
TFC - 163-165 Bromley Rd, SE6 2NZ
SMBS Foods – 75 Lordship Lane, Dulwich SE22 8EP 

Paul Wayne Gregory - Electric Avenue, Brixton SW9 8JX
Pat-a-cake - 358 Brockley Road SE4 2BY

Bonnies - 63 Lordship Lane, Dulwich SE22 8EP

DB Foods (Friday, Saturday) Electric Avenue, Brixton SW9 8JX, (Thursday) Unit 8, Barmeston Road, London SE6 3BH

East Dulwich Deli - 5/17 Lordship Lane London SE22 8EW
Les Chandeliers - 161 Lordship Lane SE22 8HX

Monday, 19 November 2012

Love my Grub meets A Light Perspective

Crikey, it seems like it's been forever...well more like 1 month and 8 days- certainly the longest time I've ever been away from you. But fear not, my lovely grubbers, I have not forsaken thee...more like sharing the Grub.

After taking on a monthly spread in Desi-Info, things have gone from good to great, and I have more and more requests to take on more food articles. Got to say peeps, I'm a little bit  buzzing right now. To kick off, fellow food blogger A Light Perspective kindly approached me to write up my hit list of top tips to jazz up your food photographs. So here it is, my top 5 must haves.

Food and design are my two greatest loves. Food photography is for me, the perfect combination of them both. There is nothing worse than a beautifully prepared meal that is terribly photographed- case and point, many of those horrible 90’s cook books. You all know the ones I mean- sterile, flat and unappetising.

Before I began cooking, painting was my thing, and I have found that a lot of the great food stylists out there apply the same rules of the canvas to the lens. Here’s my hit list of 5 easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy tips to styling your food shots.

1. Texture

Texture plays a huge part in food; both in it’s preparation and it’s photography. Often when we cook a meal, we are advised to add ingredients that will form layers of texture, and this is something I would also greatly advise when you photograph your food.  Dishes that have dynamic exteriors, or those that have great contrast in their surfaces make for great subjects. Even something as simple and un-extraordinary as a humble strawberry can be a pleasure to photograph with it’s pitted skin and green foliage.

2. Props/ authenticity

A fantastic way of transforming your shots, is to use accessorize your plate. The lists of possibilities are endless, crockery, cutlery, ribbon, chopping boards and so on. The trick is to find to things that will match your dish and give your photos an extra lift. Cooking a curry, then why not photograph in an authentic tiffin carrier? Homemade bread looks great in an organic basket and chopsticks make for a simple stamp of the East. You get my point. If you can’t find what you want in your own kitchen, then raid your mum’s house- trust me, I’ve picked up some absolute gems from mine; and if you’re after something a little different, then head to your local charity shop. There’ll be a veritable treasure chest of goodies there. Last visit, I picked up a set of beautiful hand glazed 1920’s tea-cups for 80p. Who say’s you can’t put a price on happiness?

3. Garnishing

Another prop that people often forget is garnishing- and I’m not just talking about a sad sprinkling of parsley- I mean, enough already, there are other herbs out there! No, by garnishing, I mean, taking any part of your dish and using it to really tell the story of it. Jamie Oliver is an absolute master of this. After you have prepared your meal, always leave a handful of ingredients so that you can topple it on the surface and finish your dish. Items like seeds and herbs are great as they will give great texture and vivid colour and will always look fresh.

4. Difference in heights

Now this seems like an odd one, but photographing food that is stacked looks amazing. There is no particular science to it, but as with the element of texture, stacking techniques create shadows and the more inventive the food arrangement, the more interesting the shot.

5. Creativity

At the end of the day, food is meant to be fun, so have fun with photographing it. There are no rules, so always try to push what you can do with it. More inventive and adventurous presentation will engage your viewers and make your food come alive, so give it a go!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Picture Perfect

Hello all you Grubbly people,

Well, I think this might be the longest time I have spent away from you! Believe me when I say, you have never been out of my mind…

So, what's new pussy-cat? Actually, it's been a really crazy few weeks. Love My Grub has now seen the first of it's monthly articles published in Desi-Info. Check out issue two later this month! I have also been doing some holidaying…and researching in Mauritius, hence why I haven't been blogging as much as I normal.

So let me tell me about my trip! Should you find yourselves looking for a paradise holiday, then look no further than Shanti Maurice. My husband and I first visited the Nira Resort on our honeymoon, and I have been dying to go back ever since (mainly for their tikka paneer…maybe the greatest dish in the world…ever,  no exaggeration). This picture perfect spa resort boasts wonderful innovative cuisine and is ideal for honeymooners, families, spa lovers and sports enthusiasts alike. However, those who read my blog regularly know i'm not exactly the fitness fantastic, so when we checked in, I got out my fat pants, and settled in for 7 days of muchos munching. While my husband went for bike rides, and wind surfing, I soaked in the sun and glorious new food creations such as tamarind sorbets and thai fruit punches. 

The dining experience is one of the highlights at Shanti Maurice. 'Stars', the signature restaurant, serves Mauritian and South African-inspired cuisine under the night sky, whilst 'Pebbles' showcases diverse Mauritian and international all-day dining. We landed on sunday, and this was our first port of call. Shanti pride itself on offering an experience, so we sampled a different dining experience everyday. On Monday, we hit the the 'Fish and Rhum Shack' a rustic beachside barbecue, with authentic Mauritian entertainment and freshly grilled meat and prawns literally as big as your head. Mentally good. Later that week, we had the Tafel Brai- a fine dining grill, Thai buffet and on our last day fireworks on the beach (now this was really for the owner, who happened to be visiting the resort for his birthday, but we liked to think it was just for us!) Suffice to say, we have come back a chins heavier and 2 tyres wider. Hardly a great time to put my first ever video post up, however, when I learnt that they had an on site Vegetable and Herb Garden, I could not resist! So with many thanks to Shanti Maurice for permitting me to film all of their glorious yum yums…

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


I love satay chicken. Strike that, really love satay chicken, however, one thing about being married is that, with the old saying 'What's mine is yours', often means that this also applies to culinary dislikes. After a few failing attempts to offer this as a tasty dinner treat, yesterday I finally asked the 'last straw' (proving that, yes, persistence pays off!) and am proud to say that this dish is our newest addition to our hit list.

This really is simple, and boy does it taste good. Here comes the science.


1. 1 baby chicken/ or 4 breast pieces
2. 1 tbsp soya sauce
3. 1 tbsp fish sauce
4. 1 tbsp sesame oil
5. 2 tsp peanut butter
6. Handful of coriander stems
7. 1/2 red chilli (or to taste)
8. 1 garlic clove
9. 1 inch of ginger
10. Juice of 1/2 lime


1. Blend or grind in a pestle and mortar until the ingredients are coarsely ground
2. Pour marinade over the chicken and mix
4. You can either put the chicken straight into the oven at this point, 200 degrees for 30mins (covered with some foil), or you can place the chicken on skewers and put into the oven. ( To be honest, I don't even have skewers, so have just used some coffee stirrers that I had lying around for some reason! I just wet them before I put the chicken through, and there you go!) Add about 1/4 cup of water and put into the oven.
5. After 30mins or so remove the foil and turn the chicken. Then cook for another 10mins. 
6. As an extra step, but extra bite, remove from the oven, drizzle a bit of honey on top and cook for 5mins, or until golden. YU-UM!


I'm feeling particularly warm and fuzzy today- and no that's not the humidity frizzing up my hair. I have just been reading some comments back on the blog and Facebook, and made me think how lucky I am to have had such great people who have taken the time to be so generous with their compliments. So with that in mind, I must take this opportunity to thank everyone for their kind words and support with my food journey. I am especially chuffed to have receive such great feedback about these Snickers cupcakes- to be honest, wasn't too happy with the photos or frosting, so they barely made it online! Big love to good people like Lauren, one of my nearest and dearest who actually made them and sent in a piccie- it made my day and I'm on top of the world! Virtual hugs and sloppy kisses to you, my Northern chum xx

"They looked so amazing that i had to have a try! Just finished the decoration (bit low on the neatness factor.. Had to improvise a bit - piping bag broke!) and now can't wait until we've eaten dinner to have a try!

Thank you for devising such yuminess! xxx "

Friday, 7 September 2012

Get some nuts!

TGI Friday everyone! Well, it's been a long week, and frankly, even if it hadn't been a long week, everyone deserves a treat, and I know just the little bit of happy I'm going to make myself.

Introducing my Snickers cupcakes- a bit of chocolate, a bit of peanut butter and a lot of calories, but worth every tyre around the tum.

Here's what you need to get some nuts:

Makes 6 cakes


(1/2 that of your standard sponge mix)
1. 2 oz margarine (at room temperature)
2. 2 oz caster sugar
3. 2 oz self raising flour
4. 1 egg
5. If you are feeling particularly cheeky, and don't have any diabetic tendencies, you could also diced up a snickers bar and chuck into the batter- for me, I feared this might take me over the edge, so I abandoned this plan for today, but would be perfect for a special occasion…or sweet tooth lovers.

1. Chocolate frosting
2. Peanut butter 
3. Handful of granola- the only way I could eat this and not feel like a total lard face
4. Sprinkle of desiccated coconut


1. Use a mixer to beat the margarine and caster sugar until you barely feel the sugar granules.
2. Add the egg
3. Sift the self raising flour  and fold in so that the mixture remains fluffy. 
4. Now bake for 25mins at 200 degrees.
5. Once these are cooled, give each cake a generous spread of peanut butter, and pipe with thick chocolate frosting. Finally garnish with a dash of granola and desiccated coconut.
6. Find a comfy spot on your sofa, make a brew, and attack.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The cheese stands alone

After purchasing a whole plank of feta cheese for my girlie get-together the other day and finding out that neither of them, nor my usually 'anything' eating husband could stand it…I have been in rather a pickle…or rather cheese and pickle. Am I alone here? Does the rest of he world hate feta and just me, and possibly Micky Mouse love the smooth, creamy taste of one of the best cheeses in the world? No, I decided, they were mad, and I was right. None-the-less, I did have rather a lot of cheese left over, and only a handful of days before my delicious dairy turned into blue stilton. 

My mind cast back to my friend, Asya and her dad's absolutely heaven-dish spinach and cheese pie. Now, despite the fact she tells me how to make this every time I see her, my sieve-like-brain has once again forgotten, and so I decided to wing my way through it, and of course add my own little twist to it. 

Here are my Spinach and Feta bakies.

Makes 3 mini pies


1. 1 egg
2. 25g feta cheese
3. 1 tsp green pesto
4. Handful of fresh spinach
5. 3 tbsp olive oil
5. 3 spring roll pastry sheets


1. Whisk the eggs and pesto together
2. Stem the spinach, then add to the mixture
3. Crumble the feta into the mixture, and beat well
4. Now fold each one of the pastry sheets twice (so that it is a quarter it's size) and push into an oiled deep cupcake baking tray
4. Add a tbsp of olive oil to the tops of each pie and brush the edges of the pastry
5. Now bake for 25min at 150 degrees
6. Finally finish with a final crumble of feta, and enjoy!

Best news is that as I know my hubbie doesn't like feta, these babies will not need to be divided. Win win situation.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Crunchy nut

Well, it's been a great couple of days and I have started the bank holiday as I mean to go on- friends, food and well…more food!

After a heavy duty night of chitter chatter around a big table of tapas style munching, me and the girls fancied a treat that would be fun, but a little lighter on the tum. I suddenly remembered a simple cookie recipe and of course, after a rummage in the old cupboards, knew we could glamour these babies up.

Introducing my honey, coconut and pistachio giant cookie monsters.


1. 300g plain flour
2. 250g margarine (room temperature)
3. 140g caster sugar
4. 1 egg yolk
5. Bowl of crushed pistachios
6. Handful of desiccated coconut
7. Roughly 3 tbsp honey


1. Mix the margarine and sugar until dissolved (by hand)
2. Add the egg yolk
3. Pipe the mixture into circles onto a sheet of greaseproof paper
4. Now place in the oven for 20 mins gas 150 degrees, middle shelf.
5. Once these are golden, remove from the oven and spoon a half tsp honey per cookie, and add a sprinkling of pistachios and desiccated coconut.
6. If you can bare the wait, allow to cool for 10mins and devour.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Mo-rocking chicken

One thing you absolutely mustn't do during Ramadan is watch cookery programmes- firstly, they can make you pretty hungry, but the second and more fatal, is, no matter what you are watching being cooked, you want. Strike that…the first thing you see being cooked, you want. Case and point, this morning, and my hubbie and I watching Rick Stein in Morocco- now, all of a sudden, this is what we 'HAVE TO EAT TONIGHT'. OK, so as we have no ingredients at home, we trek to Tesco and even though we somehow leave the all important cous cous at the counter, my husband is at present going to purchase some more… I tell you, it becomes an obsession.

However, despite all of this shlepping, I'm a pretty big fan of Moroccan cuisine- the colours, the spices- serious treats for the eyes and tum. Tagines, on the other hand were a bit of bother to me- the idea of dates in tagines or overcooked vegetables really left me feeling a little underwhelmed, but after visiting Marrakech last year, I learned that tagines are so versatile. You can literally put anything in it, and they become little pots of personality. So, as I don't like dates in tagines- in my pot of gold, I've taken them out, and overcooked vegetables? I just add them later. No set ingredients- often what I have in the garden or left over in the fridge.

Give this a go- Mo-rocking chicken with a side of spinach and lemon and squashed coriander and tomato salad.

To serve 3-4 people

Chicken tagine
1. 1 baby chicken
2. 1 onion (finely chopped)
3. 1/21 inch ginger (finely chopped)
4. 1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
5. 1 tsp cumin seeds
6. 1 tsp fennel seeds
7. 1 tsp all purpose seasoning powder
8. 1 tsp coriander powder
9. 1 tsp cayenne pepper
10. 1 tbsp tomato puree
11. 1 tbsp honey
12. 1 carrot (cut into big pieces)
13. 1 courgette (cut into big pieces)
14. Handful of green beans


1. Heat a heavy base pan with 3 tbsp vegetable oil.
2. Add the onions and cumin and fennel seeds. 
3. Once these are brown, add the chicken pieces, and the garlic, ginger and powders 7-9. Stir and add tomato puree and honey.
4. Add 2 cups water and leave to boil for 20mins.
5. Now add the cut vegetables, and leave to cook for a further 10/15mins. (If you like them more cooked, you can add these earlier).
6. With the final minutes to go, add the handful of green beans. If you do like dates, add these in now. If you like olives- add in now!

Spinach and lemon

1. 1 bunch fresh spinach (finely chopped)
2. 1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
3. 1/2 onion (finely chopped)
4. 1/4 lemon diced (with skin on)


1. Add ingredients 1-3 to a pan.
2. As the spinach is fresh, it will cook really fast, so keep turning it and smashing up the onions and garlic.
3. This should take only a matter of about 5mins, so with the final few stirs, add the lemon pieces and work into the spinach.

Squashed coriander and tomato salad

1. 4 ripe tomatoes (finely sliced)
2. Handful of coriander (finely chopped)
3. 1/2 lemon (finely chopped)
4. 2 tbsp olive oil


1. As all ingredients are finely diced/ sliced. Put the contents into a large bowl, and squeeze! Best part of the whole process- I like to imagine I'm doing my own neck massage- work those knots!
2. Finish with some salt and olive olive- ooooh. emmm. geee. Delish!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Compare the Market

Yesterday was a triumphant day for Jamaica, as Usain 'Bolted' in the 100m men's run last night- but Catford itself had it's own victory yesterday as it's Fortnightly market hit for a second time and actually had a spot of glorious sun to seal it's approval.

This time, I had been asked back as a photographer! Blush blush, yes, check my snip snaps and more on the Official site: Lewisham Fortnightly site

Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympic Flames

It's finally here- day one of the Olympics- home turf, big up, much love- this is epic!

After all the crazy building, lane closures and inconvenient construction, we Brits finally get to see the fruits of our labour- a glorious Olympic Stadium and a country of united fans all proudly awaiting the starter pistol's shot at 20:12 this evening. Now, I'm not even a big sports fan (as my best friend, Karen, will attest- I was the very chubby kid picked last on sports day and thinking up any excuse to get out of sponsored walks), however years later, the thought of watching someone else in the prime of their sporting life, in my home town, battling it out for a gold medal- well, I salute you, sir.

So, today's menu has got to be EPIC. As usual I asked my hubbie what he felt liked eating today, and unflinching, he replied "Meat and Burger". Should have known, eh? Men, and bravado only ever mean Meat! So dedicated to the one I love, for the country I love, here they are, my Olympic Flames.

Makes 4 burgers.


1. 2 tsp coriander powder
2. 2 tbsp soya sauce
3. 1 tbsp tomato paste
4. 3 tsp all seasoning powder
5. 2 tsp ground cinnamon
6. 1 tsp chilli powder
7. Minced lamb


1. Add ingredients 1-6 to to the minced lamb.
2. Fork the mixture together
3. Make into balls, flatten and drizzle with olive oil on both sides
5. Flame grill or barbecue for approx 10mins

I've done some 'Olympic' onion rings to have on the side- anything circular, really. Slice them up and show your support London!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Oh, Soup's you Sir!

OK, so day 4 of Ramadan- as sod's law would have it, the weather has picked up and the sun is in full beam. Bright and sunny, but also this means sticky tubes and sweaty journey's home- lovely.

So, by the time it comes to break your fast, water and replenishment of the day's nutrients is essential. A big tip I'd give anyone who is fasting, is to pace the amount that is eaten for Iftar (evening meal to break the fast). And the best way of doing that is by having a light starter before your main meal. Tempting as it might be to delve into a tasty fried treat, the truth is, after a long day of being without any food or drink, your body needs to be eased into eating again. This poached egg and chicken broth is perfect for this. I've snuck in a few vegs for my meat loving hubbie, and as a result, I know there is a good balance of flavour and sustenance.

Poached egg and chicken broth 
Ingredients (Serves 4)

1. 1 chicken breast
2. 1 inch ginger
3. 1 table spoon sesame oil
4. 1 table spoon fish sauce
5. 1 table spoon oyster sauce
6. 2 table spoons soya sauce
7. 1.5litres water
8. 1 finely chopped carrot
9. Handful of sweetcorn
10. 4 eggs
11. 1 spring onion


1. Simply add ingredients 1-7 in a deep pan and leave to boil for 20mins
2. Once the stock has thickened slightly, add the carrots and sweetcorn and boil for a further 10mins
3. Add salt and pepper
4. Now, crack the eggs in the pan. Bring to boil for 6 mins (If you do not feel confident about poaching the egg in the broth, then you can do this step separately and add the eggs later) 
5. Garnish with spring onions and serve

Serve hot and, I rarely say this, take your time and eat! Remember, this may be a main event recipe, but is still a first course serve- so pace yourself!