Bleecker St. Burger, Spitafields

Last weekend’s lovely weather was clearly a sign to go out and explore some more of London.

City of London | Cake + Whisky

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

With its glittering towers and unexpected modern sculptures at every turn, the City is simply to lovely in the sun, so we settled on exploring the area.

But it’s also worth leaving all of this behind and heading East.

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

Tucked between buzzy Liverpool Street and burstling Brick Lane, Spitafields is one of London’s oldest and most vibrant neighbourhoods.

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

Home to some of the capital’s best restaurants and food stores. An absolute foodies’ paradise.

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

And don’t get me started on how pretty the doors are. Unless you have a couple of hours to spare.

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

Spitafields is also home to Old Spitafields Market, London’s oldest market still trading today.

Built in 1876, it’s an absolute gem of Victorian architecture.

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

If you’re into antiques and/or fashion, you’ll have a great time strolling the brightly coloured stalls.

Whether you’re after up-and-coming designer creations, or if your style is more bohemian-, vintage- or ethnic-inspired,it’s impossible not to find something you like.

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

But my favourite part? The food of course!

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

From pizzas to salt beef sandwiches, donuts, paella and coffee, all your lunch dreams will come true.

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

Choosing what to have, very much like finding a seat at one of the in-very-high-demand table, might be a bit tricky considering the number of possibilities.

But we were on a mission.

A burger mission.

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

So Bleecker St. Burger really was the only option we’d consider.

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

Bleecker St. offers a no-nonsense short burger menu, plus fries, sweet potato fries and a couple of shakes.

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

The bacon cheeseburger is everything a good, basic burger should be.

Excellent, rich, cooked to perfection beef patty, crispy fried bacon, melted American cheese. Done.

When the quality of the meat and the seasoning are that high, there’s really no need to fuss around with anything more.

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

The Bleecker Black is even better.

Two just seared signature beef patties, with umami black pudding, melted cheese and a sweet onion garnish to balance it all off.

Very, very naughty but so, so good.

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

Mixed fries are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, with just a touch of salt and zero greasy taste. Just as delicious as everything else.

Bleecker Burger, Spitafields | Cake + Whisky

Top it all off with a Black & White shake and you’re in for the best burger lunch you’ll ever have. Garanteed.

Bleecker St. Burger, Old Spitalfields Market, Unit B, Pavilion Building, London E1 6EA  Bleecker St. Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Bleecker St. Burger, Spitafields

2016 travel wish list

The year has only just started but I already feel like I could use a holiday. Which led to some serious wanderlusting over the past few days!

I must admit that the cold weather (and the fact that the windows in my flat let quite a bit of wind through!) are probably to blame for this.

Pretty much anywhere that’s sunny and hot would do the trick right now, but on a more long-term perspective, here are a handful of things that are on my travel wanderlust list this year.

1. Eat pasta in Italy

Hopping on a Vespa, roaming through the world’s most famous churches, and eating all the carbs. Doesn’t it sounds like the dream?

2. Paris is always a good idea

For most people, Paris is the city of love, but for me, it’s mainly about croissants, reconnecting with old friends and hopefully seing Versailles’ gardens in full bloom. And I simply can’t wait for all of this to become reality again.

3. Walk in the Incas’ footsteps in Peru

This one has been ranking high on my wishlist for a very, very long time. The Incan civilization is such a fascinating one!

4. Day adventures near home

Except for the odd trip to Brighton to stock up on Bluebird tea, I almost never travel across the UK, and that obviously needs to change.

What’s your dream destination for 2016?

(No worries if you’re a little low on funds though, just take part in the Ice Lolly Holiday #SendMeAway giveaway for a chance to win ££ towards your dream holiday!)

* pictures source available via Pinterest

2016 travel wish list

Candy Cane Brownies

Come Christmas, I always buy loads of candy canes. Ridiculous amounts, really.

I use them for literally everything: I hang some in the tree, use a few as gift-toppers, feature them on every holiday-themed Instagram picture…

But I never, ever eat them.

Or rather, I never DID. Until this morning.

When I had candy cane brownies for breakfast #healthgoals

Candy Cane Brownies | Cake + Whisky

If you like the mint + chocolate combo, you’re in for a treat. Plus it’ll help you use up some of the leftover Christmas sweets. Less food waste, more cake. #winwin

Candy Cane Brownies (serves 2-4)

Ingredients: 70g melted baking chocolate, 70g dark chocolate chips, 1 candy cane, 1 egg, 50g granulated sugar, 40g melted butter, 30g self-raising flour (optional: a few drops of peppermint extract)

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C. Butter and flour a small cake tin (1 used a small enamel dish).

2. Whisk together the egg, sugar and melted butter. Whisk the flour in, then add the melted chocolate and the chocolate chips (and the peppermint extract if using).

3. Using a mortar & pestle, grind the candy cane down to a coarse powder. Add about 3/4 of it to the batter.

4. Pour your batter into the baking tray and bake for about 15 min. Sprinkle on the rest of your candy cane powder on your brownies as soon as they’re out of the oven.

5. Eat warm or cold (ideally with some mint + choc. chips ice cream on the side).

 

Candy Cane Brownies

Mildred’s vegetarian restaurant, Camden

There are so many great new restaurants opening all the time in London that deciding to go back to an old favourite almost always feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity.

But sometimes, the planets align and one of said old favourites open a new restaurant themselves. And then it very much is your duty to go and check if it’s as good as the original (right?).

Especially when the new venue takes reservations!

So, after a walk through King’s Cross to see some of the installations for Lumière London, we made a beeline to the newly opened Mildred’s in Camden.

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

And it was love at first sight. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with warm wood and gold rose accent touches, can you?

It took us forever to choose…

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

Partly because of doing faces (not naming anyone, but that was Ophélie) and taking too many pictures (alright, that was all me!)…

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

But also because we simply wanted to try EVERYTHING!

We started with a round of cocktails (your fave vegetarian being in town is something to celebrate, right?)

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

The Bombay Cooler (rum, mint, lime, chai syrup).

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

The Bourbon Sours (bourbon, amaretto, lemon, sugar syrup)

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

And a (quite spicy) Bloody Mary. And chips.

And the BEST basil mayo there ever was (not pictured because I was far too busy inventing evil plans to keep it all to myself). I could happy have nibbled on those all evening.

But that didn’t quite happened. Instead, we kind of munched our way through most of the menu.

Starting with a few starters…

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

Including this Panfried halloumi with charcoal roasted peppers and leeks and chargrilled flatbread (excellent)

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

Rose harrisa hoummus, smokey babaganoush and chargrilled flatbread (always a crowd-pleaser)

Mains followed shortly after.

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

Sri Lankan sweet potato curry with roasted lime cashews, pea basmati rice and coconut-tomato sambal.

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

Polish burger (beetroot, white bean and dill in a focaccia bun with iceberg lettuce, mayonnaise, pickled cabbage, gherkin and cheese)

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

Classic burger (smoked tofu, lentils, piquillo pepper in a focaccia bun with relish, rocket, red onion, tomato and cheese)

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

And the dish of the night: Mock duck Cassoulet.

I was so curious to try a vegetarian version of cassoulet as it’s a dish that’s so reliant on meat and meaty fats in its original version and it did not disappoint!

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

Despite eating more than my share of yet more chips (#sorrynotsorry), we somehow manage to gather the necessary strength to have dessert.

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

Coconut panna cotta with salted caramel espresso sauce (just a little wobbly and absolutely divine)

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

Peanut butter brownies and vanilla ice cream (rich and dense, just as it should be)

Mildred's vegetarian restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

And a little bit of extra indulgence with Maraschino cherry truffles to polish it all off.

And in the end, a very full belly and a massive smile on my face because this new Mildred’s restaurant IS just as good as the original. And I won’t have to queue ever again when I get a cravings for those basil-mayo drenched chips.

Mildred’s Camden, 9 Jamestown Road, London NW1 7BW Mildreds Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mildred’s vegetarian restaurant, Camden

Lumiere London 2016

Last weekend, Londoners and visitors were invited to see the city in a new light with Lumiere London, the biggest-ever light festival to hit the capital.

Produced by Artichoke and supported by the Mayor of London, a host of international artists illuminated four of London’s most iconic areas: King’s Cross, Mayfair, Piccadilly and Westminster, creating opportunities to see iconic architecture transformed with 3D projections, interactive installations and other extraordinary light works.

There was so much to see we didn’t managed to cover it all, but what we did see was so gorgeous I couldn’t resist sharing a few pictures.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

IFO (Identified Flying Object) by Jacques Rival

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

This giant, neon-lit birdcage has been a KX feature for a while, to the delight of art enthousiastic and kids-at-heart (there’s a swing in the cage’s centre!).

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Joining the Dots by Cleary Connolly clever video installation inspired by the work of psychophysicist Gunnar Johansson on how the mind can perceive the human body.

Very much in tune with its environment, using the newly-opened German Gym as its backdrop!

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Dresses by Tae Gon Kim

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Beautiful, shimmering dresses frozen in London shop windows. One of my favourite pieces.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Circus of Life by Ocubo

Featuring acrobats, jugglers, dancers and performers, as well as the faces of some of the people who live, work, or play in King’s Cross.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Which, judging by the crowds, seemed to have made it a popular piece.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Or maybe we were just all there for the tea…

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

I Haven’t Changed My Mind in a Thousand Years by Beth J Ross

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Bringing the wisdom of the past to the present.

A welcome bit of a modern clash with the very fancy Piccadilly Arcade (where change of heart over a Rollex or a diamond necklace happen far too often!)

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Les Voyageurs by Cédric Le Borgne

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Sitting on rooftops, frozen mid-air in flight, they invite you to glance up and around, offering the possibility of connection between dream and reality.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

It sure got me dreaming of flying away to Neverland ( and I might also have sung a little bit…)

You can fly, you can fly, you can flyyyyyyyyyy!!

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

195 Piccadilly by NOVAK

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

From the home of the Royal Society of Watercolour Paintings to that of the prestigious BAFTA nowadays, the stunning building at 195 Piccadilly is a fascinating piece of London’s architectural history.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Even more so when arts manages to combine past and present and explore the different genres of cinema and television.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Luminéoles by Porté par le vent

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Brightly coloured “dancing” fish, floating and swooping through the air. Simply beautiful.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Shaida Walking. 2015 by Julian Opie

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Yet one more art piece projecting Carnaby at the front of London’s street art scene.

And last but not least…

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

1.8 London by Janet Echelman / Studio Echelman

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Strung between buildings at Oxford Circus, this enormous net sculpture is named after onf of the astonishing impacts of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Such was the strength of the vibrations that the earthquake momentarily sped up the earth’s rotation and shortened that day by 1.8 microseconds.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Using data from NASA, Studio Echelman turned this phenomenon into this wonderful interactive piece of art.

Lumiere London 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Proof is you ever needed one of how beautiful science is.

And a truly brilliant way to start 2016 indeed!

Lumiere London 2016

Tabasco-roasted squash + mozzarella salad

I’m a serial lunch-packer. By which I mean I pack lunch almost every day.

I got into the habit a long time ago, when I was at university and the food on offer on campus was far too unhealthy, expensive and bloating for me to even consider eating it every day. Plus, I had to somehow justify my massive collection of lunch boxes.

Salads have always been amongst my lunch staples. And even more so now that I’ve created the absolute wonder that is this Tabasco-roasted squash + mozzarella salad!

Lunch-spiration: Tabasco-roasted squash + mozzarella salad | Cake + Whisky

Super easy and quick to make, tasty, zingy, healthy yet filling, it’s the perfect on-the-go lunch.

Actually, I love it so much that I also serve it as a side any time I have a chance (I made it for Worksgiving, and it even was on our Christmas Eve’s menu this year!). An absolute winner on all fronts.

Lunch-spiration: Tabasco-roasted squash + mozzarella salad | Cake + Whisky

Tabasco-roasted squash + mozzarella salad (serves 1)

Ingredients: 1/4 butternut squash (peeled and cut into 1/3 inch thick slices), 1/2 avocado (scooped out and diced), a few handfuls baby spinach, some spring onion greens (sliced), 1/2 ball of mozzarella, lime juice, tabasco (I like the green one best), 1 tsp olive oil, pinch sea salt flakes, pinch chilli flakes, pinch sumac, spoonful pesto and/or tbsp pumpkin seeds

1. Pre-heat your oven at 180°C

2. Lay the butternut squash onto an oven-safe dish. Drizzle with the olive oil, chilli flakes, sea salt and Tabasco (to taste). Roast for about 45 min or until nice and golden.

3. In a separate container, make your dressing by mixing lime juice and a dash of Tabasco. Shake/stir until combined.

4. Put your spinach on a plate (or in a lunchbox). Add your avocado, roasted squash, mozzarella and spring onions on top. Season to taste with sea salt, sumac and pesto/ seeds.

5. When you’re ready to eat, pour the dressing on top of the salad.

Do you pack your lunch? What’s your go-to recipe? 

 

Tabasco-roasted squash + mozzarella salad

Orange and Cardamom Galette des Rois

Eating super healthy might make sense after the whole Christmas over-eating. That’s what sensible people would do.

But the French think otherwise. On the other side of the Channel, January is the season for Galettes des Rois (Kings cake).

Orange & Cardamom Galette des Rois | Cake + Whisky

Traditonally eaten for Epiphany on January 6th, Galette des Rois is an indulgent puff pastry and almond cream pie (frangipane).

It contains a porcelain figurine, and the person who receives it becomes King or Queen.

But with great powers (and any paper crown) comes great responsabilities and the newly crowned monarch will have to offer his/her people a drink or host the next king cake party, hence the whole shebang lasting well onto January… (but then it means more cake, so why would I complain?)

Orange & Cardamom Galette des Rois | Cake + Whisky

Orange & Cardamom Galette des Rois (serves 6-8)

Ingredients: 1 block of all-butter puff pastry, 60g butter, 125g ground almonds, 125g caster sugar, 3 eggs, zest of an orange, 4 cardamom pods (shell removed and crushed into a fine powder), 1 egg yolk

1. Heat the oven to 200C/fanC180

2. Divide the puff pastry in half, roll out each piece and cut into a 25cm round. Put one round on a baking sheet.

3. Beat together the softened butter and caster sugar. Stir in the ground almonds, orange zest and crushed cardamom seeds, then beat in the 3 eggs.

4. Spoon the mixture over the pastry, spreading it evenly. Brush the edges of the pastry with water, then cover with the second piece, pressing the edges to seal.

5. Mark the top of the pastry from the centre to the edges like the spokes of a wheel, then brush with the beaten egg yolk.

6. Bake for 25-30 mins until crisp and golden.

Orange and Cardamom Galette des Rois