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Showing posts from March, 2009

Tomoe, Marylebone (Restaurant Review)

I have found my sushi heaven.

Having trawled countless foodie threads from eGullet to Chowhound, one recommendation kept cropping up time and again - Tomoe. This small, unassuming restaurant was apparently just off Oxford Street, so my husband and I made it our mission to go there for our anniversary lunch. We didn't book, as I decided that if it was Meant To Be, there'd be plenty of room to fit us.

We made our way past a dozen identikitbistros on James Street, before finding Tomoe on Marylebone Lane, well secluded from the bustle of Oxford Street. Indeed there was a table for two free, and I was comforted that all the faces around us were Oriental because that means it's good, right?



As soon as we sat down, they brought us complimentary Japanese tea. I looked around and was a little frustrated by that Japanese custom of having special, off-menu dishes written in kanji on little signs adorning the walls. At least that was my gaijin assumption - they could equally have said &q…

Bento Box, Kingsway, Holborn (Japanese)

I'd just bought my lunch at Samurai (salmon tempura salad if you're interested) when I ended up wandering aimlessly round Holborn. Suddenly, I came across a place I hadn't seen before - Bento Box on Kingsway.

Bento Box is a takeaway joint along the lines of Samurai or Wasabi, with sushi and Wafu salads as well as hot Japanese food like ramen noodles on offer (though I heard only Cantonese being spoken by staff).

The cold selection was so beautiful and tempting that I decided that I would stick my salad in the office fridge for next day's lunch and buy another lunch here. Other factors in the decision were that I am (a) an idiot, (b) impulsive and (c) a glutton.

Unlike Samurai or Wasabi, you can't buy individual wrapped sushi pieces (though that's probably marginally better for the environment). Instead, they sell most sushi in packs of three for £1.95 which is a brilliant deal considering unagi (kabayaki eel) and tobiko (flying fish roe) are amongst those availabl…

Heston's Roman Feast (TV Review)

Guess what the secret ingredient is?

"Contains Adult Humour and detailed scenes of Pig Butchery"

No, not this, but Heston Blumenthal's Roman Feast. It's Week 4 and we’ve come to the climax of our gastronomic journey, where we find ourselves in the Roman Empire for a feast that will be "theatrical, deviant and orgasmic".

The Ancient Romans were all about culinary boundarylessness, and their lusty appetites encompassed everything from flamingos to parrot tongues. Heston tells us that they particularly loved to create "theatrical spectacles to astound their diners" (anyone else getting massivedéjavu?).

This week's guests are the Yes Man himself Danny Wallace, Pimms O'Clock Alexander Armstrong, coquette Greta Scacchi (or Skakky as I like to call her), the utterly bonkers Marquess of Bath (sadly sans wifelets), food Agony Uncle Matthew Fort and lastly the cheap version of Tara Palmer-Tompkinson (you know, the one off the rubbish new What Not to Wea…

Best Macaroni Cheese Ever! (Recipe)

Google "macaroni cheese recipe" and you'll get over 400,000 results. So why am I giving you another recipe for mac 'n' cheese, aka macaroni cheese, aka mac & cheese, aka macaroni and cheese?

Simple, because this recipe is genuinely the BEST ever! Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese is all very well, but a few simple ingredients, a short stint in the oven and, according to everyone who's tried this, you're looking at mac and cheese heaven :)

Of course, what really makes this cheesy manna is the hitherto top secret ingredient which I am now ready to reveal to the world ... ready salted crisps (ie plain potato chips)!

This recipe serves four hungry people, six who are less so ...




The Best Macaroni Cheese Ever(IMHO)


3 heaped tbsp plain flour
2 heaped tbsp margarine/butter
2 mugs milk
500g pasta tubes (I like them fat so I use rigatoni or tortiglioni rather than actual macaroni)
300g grated mature cheddar
2 packets of ready salted crisps
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp Worcester…

Mrs Kibble's Olde Sweet Shoppe

One of the best bits in "Supersizers Go Seventies" was when Giles Coren and Sue Perkins visited a fantastic-looking old-fashioned sweet shop and found themselves face to face with glorious sweets from yesteryear - cola cubes, humbugs, peardrops, spacedust and the like.

I've never been able to track down this particular establishment, but Mrs Kibble's Olde Sweet Shoppe fits the bill just as well.



The windows are crammed with enormous jars stuffed with good old-fashioned jaw-breaking sweetness, but I was surprised to discover they also have three shelves of sugar-free sweets for diabetics (or the more abstemious) amongst us.

Overwhelmed by choice, Hubby and I eventually plumped for a mix of 50g each of Butterscotch Gums, Sour Apples, sugar-free Lemon Sherbets, and sugar-free Strawberries and Creams.



As the lovely Scottish assistant packaged up our goodies, I also noticed a chocolate counter containing luscious-looking hand-made truffles.

Thus into the basket went a dinky b…

Rant: Heston's Tudor Feast (TV Review)

Heston's abomination
"Throw away your cookbooks - and please don't try this at home!"

Confusingly commanding us to neither follow recipes nor copy his antics (what are we meant to do then?), this week Heston Blumenthal visits the Tudor Era.

The royal court of Henry VIII was flamboyant and spectacular - with Shakespeare wowing the crowds at the "the-AY-tre" (sic Heston), it was the 1st Golden Age of English cookery.

Heston decides this is his opportunity to recapture lost greatness by making three dishes that would make Henry VIII "proud to be an Englishman".


For once I like everyone in this picture.
This week his guests are Sophie Ellis Bextor (Janet's little girl), the rambunctious Cavalier Jay Rayner, hotelier Ruth Watson (Channel 4 says she's off "Country House Rescue"), Kelvin MacKenzie (a journalist of some sort), and Ms Cillaaaaaaa Ber-lack! (sorry - was channelling Our Graham). Oh, and there's failed doctor Alex Zane.

(I know…

Easy Toad in the Hole (Recipe)

When I was little, I always had school dinners and one of my favourites was Toad in the Hole.
This traditional dish of Yorkshire Pudding batter and sausages is about as comforting as food can get, and its name is about as silly (bar Spotted Dick perhaps).It's a dish that's also beloved by my husband, but I try not to make it too often in case he gets fat.I've tried various different combos for the batter and I found that Brian Turner's Yorkshire Pudding recipe gives the best results and is also fairly idiot-proof. As for the sausages, I use nice quality pork ones from my butcher's counter, Debbie & Andrew's, or The Black Farmer, and when our veggie friends come for tea, Cauldron's vegetarian sausages.

This recipe serves four (or three greedy people who want 4 bangers each)Dead Easy Toad in the Hole12 good quality pork or vegetarian sausagesA mug of beaten eggs (a standard coffee mug - not a monster from Whittards)A mug of plain flourA mug of half milk/hal…