Author: The Fishwife's Kitchen

Street Food in Greenwich – not everything I ate recently was wonderful.

I didn’t actually know there was a market in Greenwich, so you live and learn. I haven’t been to Greenwich since I was a kid but it still seemed so familiar. I guess those old naval buildings appear in so many films, that you feel you know them, even though I think I was about 10 when I was last there. The Clipper from Bank was fast and with great views of the city in the sunshine, you have to wonder why people don’t commute this way more often.        Anyway, I was here to see a friend, so no time to admire the Cutty Sark apart from a fleeting glance through the glass dome that surrounds the ship’s hull. Great idea – tried hard to convince Plymouth they should so something similar with a copy of the Mayflower once upon a time….anyway enough of that. Greenwich Market, where I met said friend is a sort of artsy crafty affair, very pretty, lovely atmosphere. Good pub. It also, I discovered, has the ubiquitous street food …

Passing through Neal’s Yard? Homeslice Pizza- perfection.

So you know, you just wander around a small bit of London and the history and stories of the town never cease to take you by surprise. I know Seven Dials quite well, but not as well as I thought. I mean, how come I had never actually wandered into Neals Yard and Monty Python’s old gaff? Well with a bit of time to spare before a hair appointment, we popped in for some lunch. The sun was shining, the crowd was mingling and the smell of freshly cooked pizza was just that bit too much to resist. It was ages until dinner, in any event. Homeslice Pizza was buzzing, the place was rammed, queues were out the door, the woodfired oven was on full and the pizza smelled divine. Homeslice is rooted in streetfood, starting as precisely that (as so many do now, and it’s fab) and now has 3 permanent sites in Covent Garden, Fitzrovia and Shoreditch, so not a chain and I think it shows in the sheer quality of the pizza. Do something simply …

The Smoking Goat, Soho

So, here’s another gem, this time in Soho. Nestled between any number of guitar and musical instrument shops that stretch the whole length of Denmark Street is the entirely unassuming Smoking Goat. The ‘Goat describes itself as “Thai Barbecue” but it is as far from the usual fare that this implies as I’ve seen. Moreover, they specialise in using rare-breed British meat. Again, with much owed to Thai street food, (the guys behind this place travelled extensively in the northern regions of Thailand) this amazing food has transitioned perfectly. The Smoking Goat is small with around 20 covers at the front (if you include eating at the bar) and some more space at the rear (10 maybe?). The food is to die for, honestly, the flavours, textures and execution were just fabulous. Like The Oystermen in Covent Garden and, indeed, Rok in Shoreditch, I love the intimacy of these little places, each having a distinctive vibe and located in interesting places and characterful old buildings. I am pretty much done with stuffy formality and reverence when I’m …

There is no “r” in the month. But what the hell. The Oystermen, Covent Garden.

As you know, I’m an ostreophile. I love a good oyster (and, no, no chewing, just a push up against the roof of the mouth and a swallow, see earlier posts and please God, don’t cook them), so the opening of “The Oystermen” in Covent Garden just the week before our most recent visit to London put this squarely on the “hit list”. The Oystermen is small, like the Smoking Goat (more of that superb place later), located on Henrietta St just beside Covent Garden Market. Small, as in, maybe 20ish covers? but perfectly formed. Simple, fresh, seafood, trendy, bearded owner and chief shucker.  Not only am I a fan of oysters, I love a fresh boiled crab. I can dissect one with alarming alacrity, even if I do say so myself. Keep your boring, expensive lobsters and give me a good old fashioned brown crab.  I was at home the moment we walked in. I started with the oysters, (natch). Half a dozen, 2 of each type (the FWD can’t cope with the texture *rolls eyes* so she passed). Maldon Rock, Blackwater …

Adam Handling’s Frog in E1

As you may know (check out my blog post from 2015) I have been a fan of the lovely Adam Handling since the evening before the first airing of Masterchef, the Professionals (in which he featured) when I tweeted my view that he looked like a winner (he didn’t win, but still emerged the star of the show). The FWD would almost certainly dispute that I am a fan, and would probably suggest I am more of a rather embarrassing, aging groupie, with an inappropriate crush on a late 20 something year old chef… and this is probably fair.  We first ate Adam’s food at the Caxton and it was amazing even then, and we tried again when he opened the Frog last year but events intervened and we couldn’t make it. However, last week we rocked up to the rather cool The Frog in Spitalfields.  It feels like a pop-up but isn’t. It’s not what you’d necessarily expect  – after the slightly stuffy formality of the Caxton – with it’s graffiti-style logo and scribbled billet doux to Adam (and his food) on the walls. It’s kind …

Dry Ice and Petit Fours – a culinary “masterclass” at Ye Olde Bell

I was delighted to be invited to a “culinary masterclass” recently at Ye Olde Bell in the rural village of Barnby Moor on the border of Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The ‘Bell is a 59 room hotel which dates back to the 17th century. It  has a fascinating history, rising to prominence as a stopping place between Edinburgh and London for the new postal service established in 1635. It has also served as stables, a chapel and the HQ of the 1st Cavalry Division during WW2. Its a bit of a hike out from my side of the county, but I didn’t know this venue at all so my curiosity was piqued. The hotel has been fully renovated by the current owners, Paul and Hilary Levack, combining modern and traditional features and now also has a multi-million pound Spa attached. Unfortunately, as I had an excruciatingly early morning the next day, an option to stay over and try out the spa wasn’t possible. Maybe next time. It is clearly a popular venue for a wedding, banquet or …

Sunday Lunch at The “Old Vol”, Caythorpe

Well, well, another great pub. Thinking I am on a bit of a roll here and it must all go horribly wrong before much longer. Still for now, we visited the lovely Old Volunteer in Caythorpe with the FWH for Father’s Day. The pub is set in the pretty village of Caythorpe in the heart of the Nottinghamshire Countryside and within striking distance of some great walks along the Trent. As it was Father’s Day it was extremely busy, inside and out (weather was good) and the service was a masterclass in organisation (with the aid of technology – earpieces for the staff and communications with the kitchen – pretty impressive operation for a village pub). Jo, the landlady greeted every guest individually whilst simultaneously coordinating the food and the staff as well as noticing any slip in service (and making known she had spotted it…..), and even when I began to make a move on ordering my gravy on the side (as I had forgotten to ask when I first ordered) she was on it without a blink. In …

Chicken Gyros, my version

I love a good gyro, they put me in mind of the so many wonderful, heady Greek and Cypriot holidays of my youth. I’m always at the front of the queue at the gyros stand at food markets and fairs (chuntering about the entry price usually). So, here’s my simple recipe (well if you buy the flatbreads or pitta rather than make your own, its simple) for a chicken version, as requested via my Twitterfam. No photo of the finished delight as we ate them and forgot to photograph them (blogging schoolboy error, there). All the amounts are only guides as I basically just threw the spices in. This works really well on the bbq as well. Ingredients: – 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (sliced lengthways into thirds) For the marinade:- 4 tablespoons olive oil then according to taste, (roughly twice the amount as the other spices though) dried oregano, then ground cumin, coriander (dried or fresh), sweet paprika, small bunch of chopped fresh mint, zest and juice 1 lemon, 4 crushed garlic cloves, pinch of cayenne, generous seasoning with …

The Black Bull at Blidworth (Blid’uth)

Sometimes you just find a find, don’t you? The Black Bull is one of them. I had a stunning breakfast at the Black Bull a few months back in the company of Master Butcher, Johnny Pusztsai but this time we went for dinner. Got to be honest, from my side of Nottingham, Blidworth is a bit of a hike – around 30 minutes in a cab, but it is worth every penny. A traditional village pub, stylish and friendly, with absolutely superb food, an imaginative menu brilliantly executed and a great gantry. This may be my spiritual home in the coalfields… The Tasting Menu was very tempting but the dinner menu was just too hard to resist. We started with home-made bread and beef butter with puffed barley – put me in mind of Adam Handling’s chicken butter and crispy skin starter, and it was just as good. I was particularly tempted by the Lobster/Oyster/Cucumber/Caviar combination. I’m a sucker for oysters and caviar (cheap date, I am not) and the FWH went for the lamb …