#FiftyChefs: The Hands that feed London | Photography | Shoreditch

I grew up in a family where food was very very important. It was never just fuel. Food is social. It’s an import  moment in the day where you should get together with friends, family or someone else.” says Michel Roux Jr on the introductory picture of Fifty Chefs: The Hands That feed London.

From that moment on, I knew I’d love it. 50 or so chefs, facing the objective of the talented Katie Wilson, revealing how they came to cooking and showing how a lifetime behind the pots and pans has changed them. Showing their scars, reminding us that despite it looking like a very glamourous choice of carreer, life in a kitchen is tough, loud, tiring. But in the honest eyes and the tired smiles, each one of them still shows that cooking is their life and no matter how hard, they wouldn’t exchange it for the world.

Cake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | PhotographyCake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | PhotographySome of the UK’s top chefs and some not-so-well-known, yet still top-knotch restauranteurs.Cake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | PhotographyI especially liked reading about Nuno Mendes‘ (of the Chiltern Firehouse fame) tatoos (and how they remind him where he comes from and went through).
Cake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | Photographyfifty-chefs-7Also very touching where those stories about those places which became some of London’s top dining spots almost by accident. Because the people who created them worked hard, day and night, and cared about the quality of the food and the service they were providing to their customers.Cake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | PhotographyCake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | PhotographySo many hands, so many faces, so many stories making up London’s exciting, incredibly diverse food scene.Cake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | PhotographyMy favourite of the pictures was probably that of Bread Ahead‘s Justin Gellatly, which reminded me of my dad’s (who started working as a pastry chef when he was 15). I guess when it comes to food, we never really forget what we grew up with…Cake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | PhotographyFrom Shoreditch, with love! ❤

#FiftyChefs: The Hands that feed London | Photography | Shoreditch

Bitters & Rye | London’s best cocktail bar.

There are very few places that make me smile from ear to ear every single time I visit. Bitters & Rye is one of them.

We first visited on Valentine’s Day, and the love story has been going on since then. And just like it is always difficult to find the words to tell people about a fairly-new-but-definitely-here-to-stay love story, I’ve been looking for the words to tell you about this little gem.

The first time we visited, it was because we saw the sign advertising brilliant cocktails. We had a bit of time before heading to dinner (at another one of those London gems I could talk about for hours), so we thought we might as well check it out. We were really early, so the bar was entirely empty. The team was putting the finishing touches to their Valentine’s decoration. We sat at the bar and ordered two cocktails from the Valentine’s menu. And nobody raised an eyebrow when I asked for the St Clement’s Sour. First good sign; I usually get a lot of “are you sure that’s what you want, wouldn’t you rather have *insert any flower-flavoured drink here*?”.

We got our drinks and they were really really good indeed. Perfectly balanced, and both with this little touch that keeps things interesting. We chatted for a little while over our empty glasses when Stav came and introduced herself with a simple “Talk to me“. So that’s what we did. The discussion was fairly simple tough as we were just asked “Which spirit?“. And after a bit of stirring and shacking, another glass appeared in front of us. And that secret cocktail was perfectly designed to match both of our tastes. That was it, we were hooked.

As we left for our dinner reservation, we were hugged like old friends and told to come back very soon. And that’s what we’ve been doing since then.

Cake + Whisky | Bitters & Rye | London's best cocktailsWe usually order our first drinks from the menu. Take the time to read the descriptions; it’ll give you an idea of what this place is about: really good cocktails, but most importantly, creativity, memories and people. And making sure everyone meets their perfect drink.Cake + Whisky | Bitters & Rye | London's best cocktailsCake + Whisky | Bitters & Rye | London's best cocktailsI doubt I’ll ever run out of things to discover. The bar is far too well stocked for that. Cake + Whisky | Bitters & Rye | London's best cocktailsI fell in love with the Whisky Sour the first time I tried it and haven’ changed my mind since then (also, *THOSE* amaretto cherries!!).
Cake + Whisky | Bitters & Rye | London's best cocktailsA little caramel and whisky number (as with all of Stav’s mystery creations, we weren’t quite sure what we were drinking, but that’s part of the fun!)Cake + Whisky | Bitters & Rye | London's best cocktailsMy favourite of that night (another surprise cocktail, with vodka, lemon and violet). Cake + Whisky | Bitters & Rye | London's best cocktailsStav truly is the heart and soul of this place, in her own words her “baby”. She makes every one of her customers feel like they’re the most important person in the bar. Also, I’m pretty sure she reads minds. How else would she always get it right when she whips up something for you without you even saying a word?Cake + Whisky | Bitters & Rye | London's best cocktailsCake + Whisky | Bitters & Rye | London's best cocktailsCake + Whisky | Bitters & Rye | London's best cocktailsOld fashioned (?) and Grapefruit Daiquiri. 

There was a third round, and also some limoncello shots as well, but by that time, I was obviously smilling a lot too much to click pictures. I went back home with that fuzzy feeling in my stomach that only a handful of places gave me. And the need to tell the world about Bitters & Rye. Just say hi! for me when you go!

What: London’s best cocktails. And most definitely London’s niccest bar team. They make you feel like family and you’ll never want to go anywhere else.

How much: around £8 per cocktail. Plus things money can’t buy.

Where: Bitters & Rye, Paesan’s basement, 2 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4PX

Bitters & Rye | London’s best cocktail bar.

5 Quick, Easy, Healthy Lunch Ideas

I’m one of those people who always, ALWAYS carry food everywhere they go. No matter where I’m going, it’s extremely likely you’ll find some sort of snack in my bag. And by “some sort of snack”, I mean enough food to feed a small army. For several days.

Of course, I am also obsessed with lunchboxes but I tend to almost carry the same things (mainly leftovers). There’s absolutely nothing wrong with leftovers BUT if I want to make sure I don’t get food-envy come lunchtime (and end up going down to Pret for some chocolate croissants), I clearly needed some change! So I’ve been working on some healthy-bunny recipes over the looooong weekend and here 5 of my favourite new lunch ideas!

No-carb Burritos with Broccoli & Avocado (V)
Cake + Whisky | Recipes | Healthy Lunch IdeasCake + Whisky | Recipes | Healthy Lunch Ideas
Inspired by a few of Chocolate & Zucchini‘s recipes (see links underneath).

(Serves 1) Prep your charred broccoli/avocado/tahini salad as explained here (I added chilli flakes and pomegranate seeds too). Make a one-egg omelette as explained here. Over-fill your omelette (isn’t that the only way to make a burrito anyway?). Serve with more charred broccoli.

Now that I think of it, I’m sure the salad would be lovely with hard-boiled eggs mixed in too (and probably more convenient to put in a lunch box…).

Warm green beans salad with Jamon and walnuts
Cake + Whisky | Recipes | Healthy Lunch IdeasInspired by Chocolate & Zucchini‘s excellent eponymous book.

(Serves 1) Cook green beans in salted boiling water. Meanwhile, make a grain mustard + olive oil + cider vinegar + black pepper dressing. Toss in the beans. Sprinkle with Jamon (I brought mine back from Barcelona!), walnuts and grated parmesan. 

Zucchini noodles alla puttanesca (V)Cake + Whisky | Recipes | Healthy Lunch IdeasCake + Whisky | Recipes | Healthy Lunch IdeasInspired by The Londoner‘s brilliant “Slutty Pasta but adapted to be vegetarian!

(Serves 1) Using a vegetable peeler (or a spiralizer if you have one of those!), make linguine-like ribbons with 1 big-ish zucchini. In a pan, cook 2 cloves of garlic into a spoonful of olive oil until slightly caramelized. Add in 6-8 sliced black olives, a spoonful of chopped capers and a pinch of chilli flakes. Toss in 1/4 of a can of tomatoes, 2 table spoons of soy sauce and let the whole lot reduce for a few minutes. Pour the sauce on your coodles and top with cracked black pepper, a little bit of olive oil and some grated parmesan.

Pan-fried kale, soft boiled eggs and parsley sauce (V)

Cake + Whisky | Recipes | Healthy Lunch Ideas(Serves 1) In a food processor, blend 4 garlic cloves, half a bunch of parsley , salt, pepper and olive oil until you get a fairly homogenous green sauce. Put a pot of water to boil. When it is, add in your eggs and cook for 5 minutes, then cool the eggs under cold water and shell them off. Pan-fry about a bowl of shredded curly kale in a spoonful of olive oil (add a bit of water if it browns too quickly). Sprinkle with salt, dried garlic, black pepper and chilli flakes. Top with the sauce. 

Vietnamese Prawn SoupCake + Whisky | Recipes | Healthy Lunch Ideas 1(Serves 2) In a big saucepan, fry some ginger, a few garlic cloves and the white part of a couple of spring onions. Add in two carrots cut into little straws, half a can of sweet corn and a few handfuls of bean sprouts. Add in some stock (I used some I made, but that would work as well!). Season with salt, chilli flakes, fish sauce and soy sauce, thenadd in your prawns (I used frozen un-cooked ones). Let the whole lot simmer for a few minutes, then pour the soup in a bowl and top with the green part of the spring onions, a small handful of chopped mint leaves and chives. 

What did you have for lunch today? Anything I could be inspired by? I’m always looking for new ideas!!

5 Quick, Easy, Healthy Lunch Ideas

My current leg workout routine

I never thought I would say that, but I think I actually enjoy working out. Anybody who knows me even a little bit is most probably laughing already! But I swear it’s true. Plus endorphins are the best thing ever!

I’m currently trying to work a lot on my legs as they are currently the part of my body I like least and I’d love to be able to wear shorts this summer without feeling bad about them. I’ve been sticking to more-or-less the same routine for about 3 weeks and I can already see results: my legs look thinner, stronger (and for some weird reason, I seem to walk taller, which is a good thing when you’re teeny-tiny like me!).

But God! is it exausting! As I write this, I just finished this exercise and my legs are TIRED! But if you want to give it a go, here is my current leg workout routine!

I start with 15 sumo squatsCake + Whisky | Leg Workout Routine 1I go down, stay there for 3 sec. and then go back up again.

Then I do 2 reps of this (it’s all part of a workout which was published on Cosmopolitan that I found on Pinterest)Cake + Whisky | Leg Workout 1After that, I do 15 more sumo squats and then go on with 30 calf raises (I stay up for 3 sec. before going back down).

Afterwards comes a real killer: a 1 min. Tip Toe Squats. Cake + Whisky | Leg Workout 1I first read about it there and thought ‘eh, that sounds easy and fun!’. Boy was I wrong about it!!

I cool down with 2 more reps of the Cosmo workout, following up with a second 1 min. Tip Toe Squats.

I then switch off my brain and follow all the steps of this video (I LOVE workout videos, I find it to be a very relaxing way to exercise as I don’t have to count or time myself or anything!!).

Moving onto 15 more squats (either the normal ones, or 15 more sumo ones, depending on my mood and how much my knees hurt…). Cake + Whisky | Leg Workout Routine 1Working a bit on my balance with 10 single-leg Romanian Deadlift (on each side).

Then flat out for 15 reps of Thrusts and Holds (while squeezing a medicinal ball between my knees. I know it doesn’t seem like a big difference, but trust me, it DOES!).Cake + Whisky | Leg Workout Routine 1 Polishing off with 10 Lateral lunges (on each side), one more rep of the workout video and  a 1 min wall sit with medicinal ball (squeeeeeze it between my knees to make my thighs work harder!). Pffff! So tired!

I cool down with a few strech-ey moves and a BIIIIIIG glass of water! And then I start it all over again the next day!

What does your workout routine look like? Anything I could include into mine? Send me your blog posts if you’ve written about it! 

My current leg workout routine

The Gate | Creative vegetarian food | Islington

I’m on a mission to find the best vegetarian food in London. Mainly because Ophélie of Cross my Heart and Hope to Die always finds good excuses to visit London (and also because I like looking for the best restaurants and vegetarian ones are usually quite creative and therefore, inspiring).

We had been to Mildred’s last time she visited (and I’m still so so much in love with the place, its staff and its basil mayo). This time, we decided to keep exploring and went to The Gate, which is known for its international dishes and its inventiveness.

What I wasn’t prepared for though, was how beautiful the place actually is! Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonCake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonHigh ceilings and well stock bar: always a winning combination!

We ordered a few starters to share. First up were the Mediterranean Peppers.Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonFilled with an artichoke & hazelnut paste, and served with tapenade and pesto, this dish was basically the sun on a plate. The peppers themselves were melty and artichoke paste had a very delicate, slightly sweet flavour, which worked really well against the stronger flavours of the accompaniments.

Our second starter was the Three Onion Tart.Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonThe tart itself was absolutely flawless: thin, cheesey, flakey pastry covered with a smooth, creamy, leek-ey filling. I wasn’t as much of a fan of the caramelized red onion sauce, which was slightly too sweet for my taste. Much better was the pesto oil, with brought clean, fresh flavours balancing perfectly the creaminess of the tart.

For mains, we were tempted to order the whole lot, but ended up being more reasonable and got only one each! Ophélie went for the Wild Mushroom RisottoCake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonNot only did it look spectacular, but it was also delicious! The mushrooms were perfectly cooked and the risotto rich and creamy. So was the sauce, but with the rocket salad with lemon dressing, it worked fairly well  all together and wasn’t overly rich. It might have been missing this little touch that made me go all “wow” though…

I got the Broccoli Flower Ravioli (which was really more of a gyoza-type thing!)Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonEven a week after having eaten that, I’m still not entirely sure what to think about it. I really, really loved the wasabi and pumpkin puree (definitely an idea I’ll try to make my own version of as it was both delicious and surprising!), but the aubergine and water chesnut salsa was a bit too gooey and the ravioli were a bit dry since they were filled mainly with broccoli…

The winner dish though? *THAT* Aubergine Schnitzel!Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonSilky-smooth grilled aubergines, layered with smoked cheddar, pesto, roasted red peppers and tomatoes. SO GOOD! At some point, there were as many as 7 plates of those babies on the pass, so I think it’s fair to say we weren’t the only ones thinking they were ace!Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonWe also got polenta fries with aioli, which were good, but maybe a bit too big to eat in any kind of classy way. The aioli was good (fairly garlic-ey, but you already know that’s a good thing in my (French) book…).

After that feast, we were pretty full so skipped dessert and headed for cocktails instead (keep your eyes pealed, cocktail-porn coming soon to this blog!).

What: An international menu of vegetarian dishes where everyone should find something they like (yes, yes, even the carnivorous!). Bit of a hit-or-miss in terms of dishes, but if you’re not sure what to get, just go for the Aubergine Schnitzel, you won’t regret it!

How much: It doesn’t come REALLY cheap but it’s not crazy expensive either. We ended up paying about £20 each. Without dessert or drinks though (as we were heading for cocktails…).

Where: The Gate, 370 Saint John Street, London EC1V 4NN

The Gate | Creative vegetarian food | Islington

The Creative Bloggers’ Award

Cooking without limits not only have a cracking blog name and brilliant photography skills, but also happen to have excellent tastes (if I can say so myself) and just nominated my little blog for The Creative Bloggers’ Award!

I’m naturally over the moon and being told what I write here has value makes me want to work even harder to build something I’m proud of and you, all my lovely readers, enjoy!

Cake + Whisky | Natural History Museum LondonLovely pic from my even lovelier sister. Isn’t it just the most beautiful stone you’ve ever seen? It reminds me of old-fashioned plates…

The Rules

1. Thank and post the link of the person/people that nominated you

2. Share 5 facts about yourself

3. Nominate your favourite blogs and pass the rules on to them!

5 things you’ve always wanted to know about me (don’t lie, I know you do!)

1. I don’t like Nutella. Shocking, I know.

2. I do however like what most people consider to be “boring” books. As in French-classics-that-are-nothing-but-detailled-description-from-the-first-page-’til-the-last-one.

3. Up until 3 years ago, I had no idea soy sauce was a thing. Needless to say, I also didn’t know the first about Asian food. Pathetic (but I’m trying to catch up!).

4. I think I’m starting to enjoy exercising (but don’t tell my dad, he’d make me go on a run with him and I don’t think I’m ready fot this just yet!).

5. I am absolutely obsessed with postcards and convinced I’m one of the main reasons with the Post Office still has work to do (well, that and my boyfriend’s Ebay habits…).

Brilliant blogs I love reading

A Certain Adventure: It’s just like being taken along on an adventure with a friend. Plus she’s a sweety and a half (and often contemplating eating pie, which is something I can definitely relate to!)

A Little Lusciousness: This blog is at the very top of my list of reasons why we should invent a way to send food through a screen. Also one of the most passionate cooks I’ve met.

Cross My Heart and Hope to Die: Ophélie’s been strong enough to deal with me for over 20 years, so she’s more than earned her way in this list! Plus she gives me good reasons to try all the veggie food in London!

Little Miss Katy: I love the chatty tone (+ she’s far more fearless a blogger than I will ever be!)

Marine Loves Polish: I struggle to put clear nailpolish on, but she creates real wonders!

Pretty Hungry: We share a passion for peanut butter, which clearly is a mark of people knowing what’s good. Also, drool inducing pics EVERYWHERE!!

The Londoner: I don’t think I’ve ever had that much life-envy before.

… not on my list yet? Follow Cake + Whisky on Bloglovin’ and I’ll add you to my reading list!

The Creative Bloggers’ Award

Battersea Pie Station | Covent Garden

Covent garden has been near the top of my absolute favourite places in London since the first time I went there back in 2011. I tend to hate touristy places, especially when they’re really crowded, but there’s something about Covent Garden I simply can’t resist.

As for most heavily touristy places, food is still a bit meh around there though. And/Or rather expensive. But, as for any general rules, there are always exception and I think I’ve found Covent Garden’s!
Cake + Whisky | Battersea Pie Covent GardenBattersea Pie‘s shop is a tiny unassuming shop located on the lower level of Covent Garden’s Plaza. It is really easy to miss it as everything else around is so buzzy and colourful and loud, but somehow, I always find my way there when I’m in the neighbourhood. Most probably because it’s the best value-for-money meal you’ll find! And also, PIE
Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian fod at The Gate IslingtonNo-nonse there: as soon as you get through the door, you’re greeted by those golden beauties! And there begins my your agonising mission of choosing just ONE of them to inhale bring home with you!Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian fod at The Gate IslingtonCake + Whisky | Vegetarian fod at The Gate IslingtonCake + Whisky | Vegetarian fod at The Gate IslingtonDecisions, decisions… Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian fod at The Gate IslingtonThe whole place is pretty simple. It’s all white tiles, marble-like tables and wooden stools. Plus all the necessary condiments. Which is perfectly fine by me (for some reason, I rather like this no-fuss look).Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian fod at The Gate IslingtonBut what I like even more are the pies, that are really quickly brought to your table by one of the lovely, always smilling members of staff. From then on, it becomes really difficult to resist the urge to dive in. Which I somehow managed to do for a few seconds to click those pictures (what a dedicated blogger I am!!) before I gave in to buttery, flaky pastry encasing the most moreish mince beef and onion filling. Hot, salty and very satisfying, there isn’t much more to ask from a pie, is there?
Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian fod at The Gate IslingtonThe pastries aren’t bad looking either! And from what I’ve heard, really good too!Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian fod at The Gate IslingtonWhat: The best cheap meal on the Plaza.

How much: Pies are around £5 (prices vary according to what you get, and also if you eat in or take it away). £10 should be more than enough for a very filling, satisfying lunch of pie, mash, gravy etc…

Tip: If the weather happen to be nice, I’d really recommend you take your pie(s) to St Paul’s Churchyard and enjoy it in the sun. Best lunch break ever? I sure think so!

Where: Battersea Pie Station, 28 The Market, Lower Ground Floor, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8RA

 

Battersea Pie Station | Covent Garden