Christmas Dinner in an hour – Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

The countdown to Christmas has -almost- officially begun! Only 25 days to go!

Which means it’s about time to get organised so you don’t run around like a headless chicken trying to hit the stores in quest of the perfect present / the necessary bits to cook up a worthy feast, plus getting it all wrapped, cooked and appropriately festive a few hours before the whole family rings the door bell.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

I’ve been there and I wouldn’t even wish that on my worst enemy.

Luckily, this year, I’ve had a bit of help from the expert es Super-Duper-Organised-Christmas, Katherine Frelon, whose Hall of festive fame includes a detailed plan on how to cook Christmas dinner in an hour.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

And while I’m still working on the one-hour-feast, I’m already well under way when it comes to edible presents, thanks to a little push from Mrs. Frelon herself and the kind folks at the Borough Market who recently invited me over for a little preview of Katherine’s demo sessions.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

We drank mulled cider, nibbled on festive treats (read: all the dried/candied fruit that were really meant to go into making said treats) & got a headstart on making all sorts of edible treats to be enjoyed by your nearest and dearest.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

First things first: the secret to Katherine’s mulled cider.

Because you’re definitely going to need some hot, liquid form of encouragement to get through the mountains of organisation and prep any Christmas feast requires.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

The one and only secret is home-made ‘Christmas spiced fruit bombs’. Aka mixed fruit and spices, wrapped up in tea bags and infused into your choice of hot drink for an instant festive hit!

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

Christmas spiced fruit bombs (makes 24):

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon, thinly pared without pith
  • 1 orange, thinly pared without pith
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, crushed
  • 10g cloves
  • 20g crystallised ginger, crushed
  • 1 nutmeg, smashed into pieces
  • 10 juniper berries, smashed with the back of a heavy knife
  • 80g dried blueberries
  • 75g dried cranberries
  • 80g dehydrated strawberry or raspberry flakes
  • 24 x 10cm squares of muslin
  • Undyed cotton string

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

1. Place the citrus peel on a lined baking sheet and leave in the oven set at 60C-80C until the peel has dehydrated, but not coloured, so at least 60 minutes or more depending on the moisture of the peel.  Alternatively leave the peel overnight in a warm airing cupboard or by the Aga if you have one.

2. When the peel is cool chop it into small pieces and add to a bowl with all the other ingredients. Stir to combine well.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

3. To make the bags place approximately ½tsp of the fruit spice in the centre of each piece of muslin, gather up the corners and then twist and tie up each bundle securely with string. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

4. To make a serving, place one bag in a mug and pour over boiling water (or use boiling apple juice / cranberry juice / red wine / cider…) and leave to steep for 5 mins, then remove the bag.

To make a big batch, place one bag of mulling spice in a heavy bottomed saucepan with 2l of your choice of liquid, place on the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Remove the bag and serve the cider in heatproof glasses or mugs.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

Next up, an absolute festive must-have in the form of a gorgeous Crimson Christmas Chutney.

Sweet and sour, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a beautiful cheese plate. Presented in Kilner jars decorated with pretty ribbons and handmade labels, it also makes for a great gift.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

Crimson Christmas chutney (makes 1.5kg)

Ingredients: 

  • 1.2kg cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 700g cranberries
  • 400g soft dates, stoned and chopped
  • 4 clementines, zest and juice
  • 500g soft brown sugar
  • 2tsp ginger, peeled and grated
  • 30ml ruby red port or cherry brandy
  • 3 cloves
  • 7cm piece cassia bark
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 10g flaked sea salt

1. Place all the ingredients in a pan and bring to a simmer for approximately 60 minutes, until all the ingredients are soft.

2. Bottle in sterilised jars, seal and ideally leave to mature for a few weeks.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

Last but not least: CHOCOLATE! Because what’s even the point of Christmas if not as the number one excuse to have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, eh?

Katherine’s jewelled Borough bark is super simple treat to make and the ultimate oh-gosh-I-have-no-present-for-[add the name of any last minute guest here] present.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

Just melt, stir and swirl to achieve a dramatic edible gift for friends and family. Plus you get to lick the spoons, so it’s definitely a winner!

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

Jewelled Borough bark (makes approx. 600g)

Ingredients:

  • 250g good quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 350g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 150g Turkish delight, chopped into small dice
  • 40g green unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped

1. Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stir occasionally until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat and repeat the process with the dark chocolate.

 

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

2. Spread the dark chocolate onto a lined baking sheet to a thickness of 5mm.  Drop spoonfuls of white chocolate on top, and swirl the chocolates together with a skewer to make patterns.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

 

3. While the chocolate is still molten sprinkle over the pistachios and Turkish delight and lightly press into the chocolate so they set firm. Chill until set, approximately 60 minutes.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

You can also jazz up the bark with your favourite dried or candied fruits, nuts, coffee beans or even liquorice if you dare.  Or try some heat and spice with crystalised ginger, chilli flakes and crushed cardamom.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

To package as gifts break the bark into large pieces and wrap in parchment paper with a pretty ribbon, fill a glass jar or a clear bags, or place in a pretty box and wrap with tissue paper.

Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

Want to get a piece of the – Christmas prep – action?

Katherine will be in residence in the Borough Market Demo Kitchen (in the glass market hall) throughout December showing the shortcuts to the most amazing Christmas meal without spending days in the kitchen.

Throughout her demo sessions, Katherine will be focusing on the following topics, so make sure you come down to the Borough Market for tones of festive tips, a little nibble (and maybe a headstart on the grocery shopping too, ’tis the best place for it after all!) on the following dates:

1st December – 12.30-2pm – Edible Gifts.
8th December – 12.30-2pm – It’s all in the planning.
15th December – 12.30-2pm – The final countdown: 60 minutes in the kitchen on Christmas Day.

*All Borough Market demo kitchen sessions are free for all to attend. I was invited by the Borough Market to attend a preview of Katherine’s demo sessions, but all pictures, words, opinions & love for that iconic foodie spot, its legendary traders & tendancies to compulsively eat any fruit/nut/candy I can get my hands on my own.

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Christmas Dinner in an hour – Katherine Frelon Christmas residency at the Borough Market

Exploring London’s Bankside – Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

When I’m asked for recommendations for things to do in London, my first answer is always the same. Bankside.

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

Located on the southern bank of the River Thames & running from Blackfriars Bridge all the way up to London Bridge and down to Southwark Street, Bankside has it all.

Some of the most stunning views of the city, legendary theatres and museums, and that unique mix of old and new architecture, there’s nowhere else quite like it.

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

Lunch at the Borough Market followed by a leisurely walk alongside the River or a spot of culture at the Globe or the Tate Modern, is my favourite to spend a sunny weekend afternoon.

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

But limiting yourself to the most walked upon places would be a mistake.

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

Bankside’s inner area, built around the rail arches that have been part it for over 150 years, is full of hidden gems and well worth exploring too.

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

History, mysterious pathways, architectural gems…

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

Urban art, golden folliage and yet more architectural gems…

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

Hidden theatres, some subtle / refreshingly direct signs, London’s ‘Wonky Wonderland‘ and, yes, you guessed it, even more architectural gems…

Everywhere you look, there’s something to be discovered.

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

With the old brick buildings taking on soft bronze shades, golden hour is a magical time to visit.

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

… But then again, since the opening of Flat Iron Square, lunch time might be an even better one!

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

Located in the heart of London’s Bankside, Flat Iron Square is Bankside’s one-stop destination for all things food, music, entertainment, retail and culture.

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line flat-iron-square-11Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

Opened just a few months back under those same arches that are the backbone of the area, Flat Iron Square is a labyrinthe-like complex, comprising of several theatres, just as many bars, some pop up exhibition and retail spaces (currently featuring TINCT’s gorgeous luxury leather goods), a vintage and makers market on Sundays…

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

And then there’s the food.

Oh the food!

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

There’s a whole court full of it: a good dozen of vendors, plus a handful of restaurants and food trucks onsite.

It comes from every corner of the world. Pizza, ramen, Pad Thai, burgers… you call it, Flat Iron Square has it.

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

It’s all cooked up and served by passionate, talented people. And it truly shows as it’s some of the best in town both in terms of quality and value for money.

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

From Burnt Lemon Bakery‘s delightful sourdough & pastries (made even better by a chat with the man himself!)…

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

To Baz & Fred‘s revolutionary Chadwick Oven-baked pizza, drizzled with pesto & served alongside some fantastic garlic aioli for crust-dipping purposes…

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

Ekachai‘s authentic, vibrant South Asian plates…

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

Tatami‘s incredibly rich, warming ramen…

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

Edu‘s creative Spanish small plates (promise me you’ll try the pig head’s nuggets? It’s a life changing experience!)…

Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line Exploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low LineExploring London's Bankside - Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

… and many, many, many more delightful options,  you’ll want to have it all.

Choosing simply isn’t an option, so you better bring a group and come hungry!

Flat Iron Square, 68 Union St, London SE1 1TD (open 7 days a week, 12 til late)
Exploring London’s Bankside – Flat Iron Square & the Low Line

London’s Dry Martini Bar

Hidden at the heart of the rather unassuming Mélia White House Hotel, London’s Dry Martini Bar is a cocktail bar like no other and a must visit for Bond-wannabes and true martini lovers alike.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

The first of its name in the UK, this unique bar pulls together the sophistication of the marble-clad hotel and the traditions and heritage the Dry Martini Bar trademark is built upon.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

The Meliá White House was built in 1936 and was originally launched as The White House luxury apartments. The hotel’s building still preserves its architectural value as a prime example of late 1930s architecture.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Mélia White House boasts an eclectic style, where contemporary design meets classic.

The area hosting London’s Dry Martini Bar, with its resolutely modern Spanish surrealist art selection, art deco stylings and blues and rock soundtrack, illustrates this perfectly.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar LondonHotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

But the true gem in the room is the bar itself.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Inspired by the glamourous 1920s, with its leather chairs and polished brass details, it’s a jewel in its own right.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar LondonHotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

And a really well stocked one at that!

Dozens of whiskies, about as many rum varieties…

And enough bottles of gin & vodka to make any martini lover’s head spin with the endless possibilities opening to them…

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar LondonHotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

The perfect spot for the ultimate Martini-mixing lesson*!

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Under the watchful eye of bar manager and expert mixologist Diego Cruz, we take turn behind the bar to stir the perfect classic Martini.

Which is much more work that the simple-looking cocktail might let you think.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

First, fill a cocktail mixing glass with ice. Use a bar spoon to swirl it around a few times to cool it down.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Remove the excess water.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar LondonHotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Pour in a double measure of your poison of choice (this would be mine, in case you were wondering)…

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Add a few drops of sweet vermouth and stir carefully with a bar spoon.

Make sure not to bang the ice to much as this would result in a more diluted Martini, miles away from the potent, botanical-heavy beast a proper dry martini is.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Strain through a Hawthorne strainer into a clean, chilled martini glass.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Up to the very last drop!

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Twist some lemon peel over the glass to express oils, then rub around rim of glass.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar LondonHotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Garnish with the lemon peel or an olive.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

Actually, if you’re mixing one for me, make it two olives.

HotJoint launch at Dry Martini Bar London

I like my Martini like I like my men: with a pinch of salt, slightly dirty and concerned about preserving the environment, if only to make sure there’ll always be enough ice to mix a proper Martini whenever one’s necessary.

Dry Martini Bar London, Meliá White House, Albany St, London NW1 3UP

*I was invited to attend a Martini masterclass at London’s Dry Martini Bar by HotJoint, London’s latest food website, aiming at bringing together the capital’s foodies to tell the stories of the city’s best eating and drinking venues. A little bird tells me they’re planning many more fun events of that kind in the new year, so make sure you subscribe to their newsletter to know what’s cooking!

London’s Dry Martini Bar

Giving thanks (and food) with #tub4grub

Friends that are there when things are not quite as fun/easy/good as they usually are.

A partner that takes care of you when you stuck in bed with the flu.

A colleague that always has your back (and a sneaky bar of chocolate in his/her drawer for when nothing else will do).

A neighbour that’s always happy to keep an eye on your little ones when you need to pop to the store.

A concierge that makes sure none of your parcels ever get send back to the post office.

Nice, kind, supportive people all around.

We all have a lot to be thankful for, but in the rush of life, giving thanks can be a challenge.

Giving thanks & food with The Collective Dairy's #tub4grub | Cake + Whisky

I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but there’s something about the message behind this typically American holiday that deeply touches me. Giving thanks & giving back is something we should all do more of.

And what better to show gratitude than the gift of homemade, yummy food?

Giving thanks & food with The Collective Dairy's #tub4grub

I know nothing makes me happier, especially when one of my favourite brands does all the hard work and the whole thing results in a massive good deep for Action Against Hunger…

Sounds like the most brilliant way to spread love & give thanks (and cookies) to me!

Want to join in?

First off, treat yourself to some of The Collective Dairy’s fantastic yoghurt!

Giving thanks & food with The Collective Dairy's #tub4grub

There are many fantastic flavours to choose from, ranging from super creamy plain yoghurt to more unusual, gorgeous combinations such as honeyed plums & ginger, rhubarb & vanilla or even Russian fudge or coffee, so that part really shouldn’t be too hard!

Giving thanks & food with The Collective Dairy's #tub4grubGiving thanks & food with The Collective Dairy's #tub4grub

One empty, peel off the label.

Giving thanks & food with The Collective Dairy's #tub4grub

Then fill your (clean) tub with yummy grub.

You could go for the world’s best brownies, a festive saladcake, or soup of course, but I thought something green & wholesome would go down well to balance out all the sugar, so I made a big batch of kale crisps.

Giving thanks & food with The Collective Dairy's #tub4grub

The recipe’s below, it’s the quickest, easiest and yummiest thing ever & I promise it’ll turn even the most cabbage-resistant people into kale lovers.

All you have to do is wash & dry a big bunch of kale, then separate the leaves from the stalks. Massage with a spoonful of olive oil, then spread onto a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and your favourite spices (I love using chilli flakes, lemon zest and maybe a little bit of parmesan), then bake for 10 min at 200°C. Let it cool down a bit before packing into tubs.

Giving thanks & food with The Collective Dairy's #tub4grub

Personalise your tub…

Giving thanks & food with The Collective Dairy's #tub4grubGiving thanks & food with The Collective Dairy's #tub4grub | Cake + Whisky

Then give it away & make someone’s day!

And make sure you share your good deep on social media using the hashtag #tub4grub: The Collective Dairy will donate an extra 50p to Action Against Hunger on your behalf!

Eat it, make it, fill it, give it, share it, repeat! Happy #tub4grub-ing!

 

Giving thanks (and food) with #tub4grub

Coconut Curry Roasted Cashews

‘Tis -almost- the season.

Sorry for all the Scrooge out there, but it’s true!

And though tradition plays an important role in end-of-the-year celebrations, this year, I’ve decided to go slightly off track, break with convention and try something new.

Coconut curry roasted cashews

Not too new though. As I recently explained, the whole idea is to take traditional ingredients and combine them in a creative way to achieve a fresh take on the traditional holiday dinner.

A sort of Thanksgiving/Christmas Dinner 2.0 if you will.

Coconut curry roasted cashews

One of my favourite things to make this time of the year are roasted nut.

With salt & rosemary, with soy sauce or with cinnamon, roasted nuts never fail me, and these Coconut Curry Roasted Cashews are no exception.

Coconut curry roasted cashews

Vegan, dairy free AND not boring, sweet, salty, spicy and incredibly more-ish, they are both satisfying and healthy, hence make for an excellent snack and an even better edible gift.

They’re so easy & quick to put together and keep really well, so you can make a big batch & hand out small bags of them to neighbours and visitors…

Or make a big jar for yourself to snack on while writing Christmas cards/wrapping all the presents/convincing your introvert side that it’s excited for all the socializing to come…

I won’t tell if you don’t!

Coconut curry roasted cashews

Coconut Curry Roasted Cashews (makes one 400ml jar)

Ingredients:

  • 130g raw cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp yellow curry powder
  • a good pinch of sea salt
  • zest from 1/2 lime, finely grated

1. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C.

2. In a bowl, mix together the cashews and coconut oil until they’re all well coated. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until well the nuts are well coated.

3. Spread the nuts onto a baking sheet & sprinkle with a bit more salt.

4. Bake for 15 min or until golden. Leave to cool completely before transfering to an airtight container.

Coconut Curry Roasted Cashews

Le Relais de Venise, Marylebone

One of London’s worst kept secrets, Le Relais de Venise is a bit of an institution amongst steak ‘n’ fries lovers for a very simple reason.

They do really good steak at a really good price.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

You don’t come for the decor.

To be honest the place feels like a somewhat-dated French café and has that same busy atmosphere as Paris’ local favourites.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

You don’t come for the service.

It’s better than what you’d get from most grumpy French waiters though. In a efficient, to-the-point, almost transactional sort of way.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

No, the only reason that keeps people queuing for both lunch and dinner is the quality of the food.

Now, if you don’t want salad, steak and fries, don’t go. That’s really all they serve at Le Relais de Venise.

The only thing you do get to choose is how you’d like your steak cooked: rare, medium or well done.

Though that last option is strongly frowned upon (sacrilège!)

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

You might also have to take your pick from the 10-something strong wine menu.

Featuring 3 reds, 3 whites, 1 rosé and some bubbly, all really quite good both in terms of taste & value for money, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

And then that’s it.

All that’s left to do is sit back, relax and get your teeth sunk into the set menu.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

First, Walnut salad with French mustard dressing and fresh baguette.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

Followed by the pièce de résistance, Le Relais de Venise’s signature Steak-Frites.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

Trimmed entrecôte steak, full of flavour and cooked beautifully, and drizzled with a generous amount of the ‘secret sauce’ (a herb-y, creamy concoction I’d swear contains sorrel) the place has become famous for since its Parisian early days.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

And a mountain of fries.

Don’t be fooled by how small the portions might seem from the above pictures. It’s only the case because at Relais, they do that amazing thing of only serving you half a portion at a time, thus garanteeing you get to eat every single bite while it’s still warm!

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + WhiskyLe Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + WhiskyLe Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

The dessert menu is full of homemade French classics including brilliant Profiteroles (choux buns stuffed with vanilla ice cream and served with hot chocolate sauce), but on our last visit, we couldn’t resist the traditional Crème Brûlée.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

Good food, great value (we paid about £60 for two including drinks and service) & no agonising menu-pondering choices to make, Le Relais de Venise is just the spot when you want to focus on the people you’re sharing the meal with, whether it’s for a date, a long-time-no-see reunion or a casual business meeting.

The only down side? It’s a strictly no-reservation business, but since the company will be top notch, a little bit of queuing should be not problem…

Le Relais de Venise120 Marylebone Ln, Marylebone, London W1U 2QG

Le Relais de Venise, Marylebone

Festive Brussel Sprout Slaw

‘Tis the season of red cups, festive (ugly) jumpers start popping up everywhere (some more succesfully than others…) and the main conversation topic in the office has moved from the usual weather-politics combo to Christmas plans…. so I suppose it’s about time to get planning from the festive season ahead!

Festive Brussel sprout slaw | Cake + Whisky

With Thanksgiving in just a few days, and Christmas no all that far behind, I’m sure you have a plethora of parties to look forward to.

The only issue with festive parties though? The. Same. Damn. Food. Every. Damn. Time. Turkey, ‘tatoes, Brussels sprouts, roast and repeat.

Festive Brussel sprout slaw | Cake + Whisky

I’m all for traditions but eating the same damn meal every other day or so for the next two months? Not quite so much so.

Festive Brussel sprout slaw | Cake + Whisky

That’s why in the build-up to the holidays, I’ll be sharing fresh twists on classic festive dishes, starting with this Festive Brussel Sprout Slaw.

Festive Brussel sprout slaw | Cake + Whisky

Light, crisp, textural and vibrant, this recipe features many elements of a traditional festive side dish (Brussel sprouts, citrus, nuts, cranberries…) but prepared in a not-quite-so-conventional way.

A new take on the classic, if you will…

After all, there’s no reason why Santa should have the monopole on surprises this festive season!

Festive Brussel sprout slaw | Cake + Whisky

Festive Brussel Sprout Slaw (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 500g Brussel sprouts
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 4 tbsp grapefruit vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp pecan nuts or walnuts, crushed into small bits
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberry
  • salt, pepper

1. Using a sharp knife or a mandoline, shred the Brussel sprouts very thinly.

2. In a bowl, combine the mayo, Greek yoghurt, vinegar and poppy seeds.

3. Add the cabbage and season to taste.

4. Sprinkle with the crushed walnuts & cranberries and serve immediately.

Festive Brussel Sprout Slaw