Aubergine Salad (V)

For the longest time, I thought I didn’t like aubergines.

I blame it on my mum. Though she is an excellent cook, aubergines are really not her forte. Unless you like them spongy and bitter, in which case you’ll be just fine.

Aubergine salad (V, GF) • Recipe • Cake + Whisky

So I put aubergines on the (very short) list of vegetables that weren’t my thing and pretty much forgot about them altogether until the day we went to Ottolenghi for lunch and their famous aubergine salad made its way onto my plate.

Aubergine salad (V, GF) • Recipe • Cake + Whisky Aubergine salad (V, GF) • Recipe • Cake + Whisky

Thanks to the magic of the internet, it didn’t take long to discover the secrets to the incredible, rich and silky texture that made Ottolenghi’s aubergine salad such a success.

Needless to say, it’s taken the aubergine right off the ‘no thanks’ list and there has been countless versions of the original salad on my table since.

Aubergine salad (V, GF) • Recipe • Cake + Whisky Aubergine salad (V, GF) • Recipe • Cake + Whisky

They’re a winner for entertaining and meal prep alike. They’re big and bold and never fail to add a wow factor to a meal. And everything can be done in advance and then assembled right before serving.

Aubergine salad (V, GF) • Recipe • Cake + Whisky

The below version relies on contrasting flavours – the gentle heat from the chilli, the warmth of the curry and the fresh acidity of the yoghurt balancing the subtle sweet taste of the aubergine perfectly.

Colourful, refreshing and so satisfying – it’s absolute aubergenius, if I may say so myself!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:29]

More amazing salad recipes

Classic Panzanella Salad (Vegan)

Satay Chicken Salad (GF, dairy free)

Autumnal Quinoa Salad (V)

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Aubergine Salad (V)

What to pack for Paris in the summer

August is my favourite time to visit Paris.

It’s my birthday month, which means I always have brilliant excuse for any kind of ‘treat yourself’ shopping (ahem! Princesse TamTam & macarons).

And because August is the holiday month for Parisians (they do have 6 weeks to use up after all…), the French capital is at its quietest.

Which means that:

  1. As long as you stick with local spots (there’s no such thing as ‘no tourists’ Paris ever), you might just get a table at one of the city’s most coveted restaurants – fact we very much intend to make the most of this upcoming weekend.
  2. Eurostar tickets are somewhat affordable (even at the last minute… #enabler).

What to pack for Paris in the summer • Travel Tips • Cake + Whisky

Once thing that’s not quite as easy-breezy though is choosing what to pack for Paris in the summer, thanks for that, dreamy ‘freezing one minute, hot ‘n’ sweaty the next with some heavy rain thrown in for good measure’ unpredictible European summer weather.

Which almost unevitably results in overpacking yet never having quite the right thing to wear to that dinner out or to walk along the Seine – and nobody wants that to happen, especially not in Paris!

But I’ve been to Paris and back (and that several times!) and this is what I think you should pack/wear:

1. Your passport – because you won’t go far without it! #duh

2. Your best striped tee(s) – if not now, then when?

3. Black jeans – the French love their jeans and they wear them pretty much everywhere (the parc, bars, shopping, fancy restaurants…), which is rather convenient when you’re not sure what the weather will be like.

4. A camera – How else are you going to take the gazillion pictures of the Eiffel Tower/croissant ‘n’ coffee breakfasts / cute cafés / colourful macarons (…)? (Do not answer ‘with my ipad’. You deserve to be slapped in the face if you do.)

5. Natural, no-make-up make up –  Concealer, foundation if you really must, powder, mascara and maybe a little red lippy… Less is more.

What to pack for Paris in the summer • Travel Tips • Cake + Whisky

6. A big scarf – The French style ultimate basic. Great both for fitting in and warming up.

7. A REALLY GOOD cleanser – Pollution pics are a real thing in Paris in the summer, which means you skin might need a little help coping. I’m also packing my new skin bff in case any spot decides to invite itself to the Paris party…

8. Confortable shoes – The best way to see Paris is by foot. Which means no matter how long you stay, you’ll walk. A lot. And the vast majority of Paris streets are cobbled. So yeah, comfortable shoes are an absolute priority. However, French people don’t wear trainers unless they’re going to the gym and they will look at you strangely if you do. So maybe switch those up for a cute pair of ballerinas or something?

9. A little bit of change – It’ll come in handy for tips (it’s customary to add a few euros to the bill), or should you make small purchases (a lot of stores don’t accept cards under a certain amount).

10. Your favourite little black dress – Think ‘day to night’ dress; it should be confortable enough to walk/sight-see in and dressy enough for dinner and drinks!

11. An umbrella – Because as much as I’d like to pretend torrential summer rain is only a London thing, it isn’t quite the case…

What to pack for Paris in the summer • Travel Tips • Cake + Whisky

Have you been to Paris in the summer? What did you pack and what would you have packed differently, if you had known?

More Paris posts

The lesser-known Paris sight you must visit

Breakfast in Paris

10 souvenirs to buy from a French supermarket

What to pack for Paris in the summer

Ben’s Canteen, Battersea

There’s more to Clapton Junction station than a gigantic transport hub.

Exibit A: Local-favourite joint Ben’s Canteen.

Ben's Canteen, Battersea • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

Obviously, it got me at striped awning.

Ben's Canteen, Battersea • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

But neon lovers should feel right at home too…

Ben's Canteen, Battersea • London Restaurant Review • Cake + WhiskyBen's Canteen, Battersea • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

There’s also a gorgeous bar, serving up faaaaaantastic frosé cocktails.

And if you’re still looking for a sign to justify commandeering a table…

Ben's Canteen, Battersea • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

… well, here it is!

Better go hungry though, because the menu is full of amazing options.

Ben's Canteen, Battersea • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

There’s finger-licking good pulled pork & guac’ nachos.

Ben's Canteen, Battersea • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

Smash-your-own guac.

Ben's Canteen, Battersea • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

Because there’s no such thing as too much guac’… and a bit of aworkout can’t hurt before moving on to the main event!

Ben's Canteen, Battersea • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

Though to be fair, the special BrewDog burger (two beef patties, double smoked cheese, streaky bacon, BrewDog’s flagship Punk IPA barbecue sauce, stacked with crack fries to give it that extra crunch) will give your jaw plenty of exercise!

Ben's Canteen, Battersea • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

If you’re after something a bit more novel, try Ben’s Canteen’s National Burger Day special: the Juicy Lucy Goat Burger – just think goat’s cheese IN a goat burger!

I’m still the worse French person on Earth and don’t like goat’s cheese, but even I had to admit that was a winning combination!

So yeah, burger goats achieved!

Ben's Canteen, Battersea • London Restaurant Review • Cake + WhiskyBen's Canteen, Battersea • London Restaurant Review • Cake + Whisky

Now, let me tell you one thing about Ben’s Canteen: the burgers are good but the fries are NEXT LEVEL.

Buffalo-fried chicken chips with homemade sauce, house ranch and blue cheese, nachos-style, Chip Shop-style or (my personal favourite) Korean-style, complete with deep-fried pork belly, kimchi, crispy seaweed and Korean hot sauce… Picking just one is basically impossible!

So better get a bunch of people together and head to Ben’s Canteen… Not having to choose will be the #1 reward for strong, burger strengthened friend-chips!

Ben’s Canteen, 140 St John’s Hill, Battersea, London SW11 1SL

Ben’s Canteen, Battersea

27 things I’m looking forward to

Today’s my 27th birthday.

And for the first time in literally forever, I’m not sure how I feel about it.

Birthday wishes • Cake + Whisky

Not because I don’t want to be old or any of this nonsense, but I’m going through a rough patch at the moment, with lots of things to work through and sort out and I somehow wish my birthday wasn’t caught in the middle of it all.

So yeah, not the happiest of birthday this time ’round.

But it doesn’t stop me looking forward to the year ahead and all the good things it will bring, including all of the below…

  1. Going to Cuba
  2. FINALLY eating at El Pastor (muuuuuuch excited for dinner tonight!!)
  3. Wearing my new blue suede ballerinas
  4. Christmas – family gatherings, Christmas cocktail parties, glittery lights, wrapping presents, over-eating, all of it!
  5. Seeing Wicked in the theatre
  6. And Les Miserables too (hopefully)
  7. Watching the new Crime of the Orient Express movie
  8. Reading the upcoming new Dan Brown book
  9. Catching up with friends in Paris
  10. Finally seeing the Royal Opera House’s production of Alice in Wonderland (after all, it did take me 5 years to get tickets…)
  11. Finding prints for our bedroom (I love this one but it wouldn’t really work…)
  12. Getting to wear my signature perfume once again (an early birthday present from me to myself)
  13. Hosting more house parties
  14. Perfecting my skillet cookie recipe (it’s coming people, it’s coming!)
  15. Exploring more of London, always
  16. Visiting my baby bro’ first proper appartment
  17. Teaching myself how to make puff pastry
  18. Buying new underwear (some like shoes, some like bags, I like underwear. Deal with it.)
  19. Visiting the Barbican conservatory
  20. Taking too many pictures (obv)
  21. Seeing Sheldon marry Amy #teamshamy
  22. Lighting up this candle (it smells divine)
  23. Doing more crafty things – be it embroidery, hand lettering or just colouring
  24. Getting a new laptop (fingers crossed)
  25. Finally getting around to watching some classic movies (can you believe I’ve never seen E.T. or Titanic?)
  26. Learning new things
  27. And, most importantly, finding my way back to a happy, peaceful me (hopefully)
27 things I’m looking forward to

Crumble in a jar

Lately, I’m about 75% tomatoes (because tomato glut season and all that) and 25% peaches.

What can I say: when my favourite fruit & veggies are in season (and consequently cheap), I become completely obsessed try and make the most of it.

Crumble in a jar • Recipe • Cake + Whisky

As far as peaches are concerned, that means having them for breakfast with yoghurt, carrying boxes of chopped peach for on the go snacks, making jam…

And of course, crumble.

Crumble in a jar • Recipe • Cake + Whisky

Crumble is one of my favourite desserts.

It tastes THE BOMB and it’s the easiest thing to make.

You know how partial I am to a lazy dessert.

Crumble in a jar • Recipe • Cake + Whisky

Especially when said lazy dessert looks faaaaaaaar more impressive that it actually is.

And even more so if said lazy dessert, like these crumble in a jar, can be slipped into picnic baskets/totes/briefcases or gym bags.

Crumble in a jar • Recipe • Cake + Whisky

Perfect for al-desko/fresco lunches, suppers or a particularly indulgent snack… No matter the time of the day, those crumble in jar are just peachy!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:27]

More dessert recipes

Vegan chocolate mousse

Vanilla lemon posset

Crumble in a jar

Cake for Dinner at Cutter & Squidge

When the London weather is frightful (August? Really? More like November-ish!), few things are more delightful than cuddling up with a cup of tea and a piece of cake.

Luckily, I know just the place!

Cutter & Squidge • London Restaurant • Cake + Whisky Cutter & Squidge • London Restaurant • Cake + Whisky

Located in the heart of Soho, minutes from Piccadilly Circus, Cutter & Squidge is a cake’s lover dream come true – with shelves stacked high with all kinds of sweet treats.

Cutter & Squidge • London Restaurant • Cake + Whisky

Creative twists on classic puds, like this gorgeous Eton Mess layer cake…

Cutter & Squidge • London Restaurant • Cake + Whisky

Dreamy Sundaes…

And shelves full of the most incredible flavours of Biskies.

Cutter & Squidge • London Restaurant • Cake + Whisky

What’s a biskuit I hear you ask?

The most amazing biscuit/cookie creation filled with lightened buttercream, handmade jams, caramels and other delights, that’s what.

All crafted using the highest quality ingredients, all beautiful, all delicious… The only difficult thing is to pick one!

Cutter & Squidge • London Restaurant • Cake + Whisky

Matcha & black sesame? Chocolate hazelnut pearl?

Cutter & Squidge • London Restaurant • Cake + Whisky

Choc O Berry? Lemon meringue?

Cutter & Squidge • London Restaurant • Cake + Whisky

Classic (or salted caramel!!) S’mores? PB&J?

Cutter & Squidge • London Restaurant • Cake + Whisky

Of course it had to be PB&J!

Cutter & Squidge • London Restaurant • Cake + Whisky

What can I say, that’s just my jam!

Add a glass of (incredible!) ice tea and here it is: the perfect spot to escape the rain/cold/overall dreadful weather – or recover from an especially intensive shopping session…

Cutter & Squidge, 20 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 0SJ

(or you can also place an order online)

Cake for Dinner at Cutter & Squidge

On Whisky Cocktails

Whisky is a divider sort of drink.

You love it or you loathe it.

You drink it neat or on the rocks, with maybe a few classic cocktails thrown in for good measure.

And that’s about all the options there seem to be.

On Whisky Cocktails • Cake + Whisky

But while I’m a neat-whisky-loving kind of person with some bias towards a nicely crafted Manhattan, Sazerac or Whisky Sour, I still find this vision to be quite limitative.

Whisky doesn’t have to be the manly-man drink it’s too often seen as being.

Drinking whisky can be done in a variety of ways.

Whisky cocktails don’t always have to be strong – they can also be subtle, and go all the way around the flavour wheel.

Spicy, floral, zesty, herbacious… the only  limit is your imagination – or that of a good bartender, as recently demonstrated by an incredible Bruichladdich-based cocktail I tried recently at The Rosewood’s Scarfes Bar.

Unlike any whisky I’d ever tried before, this was fresh and sour, subtle and floral and all-in-all absolutely fantastic!

So if you’re convinced you’re a whisky loather, give this one a go… maybe it’ll convert you!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:25]

More cocktail recipes:

Pineapple Fizz Mocktail

Classic Old Fashioned

Rapsberry Wine Spritzer

On Whisky Cocktails