SW9 – Brixton – Carioca

In every corner of Brixton – be that the editorial favourites of Brixton Village or the restaurants and establishments favoured by those who find the intensity of ‘Village Life’ a little too much to bear – you’ll find one eaterie or another which represents a further flung corner of the world.

Asmara – Eritrean; Caribbean – well you only have to open your eyes; Pakistani – watch our for The Elephant in the Village. And as for American – you’ll taste it quicker than you can say Chicken Liquor.

But where is little Brazil in the capital? Once traditionally Bayswater (dubbed rather crassly as Brazilwater) you’ll now find it in most necks of the London woods. Allow me to introduce to you one establishment which is conveniently located in our urban forest: Carioca.

And it only took me short stroll from my flat to get there (which is especially good if you’re going out for brunch – no one likes a long hike before for a weekend breakfast). To be fair, even if you are coming from the other side of town on a long hike you’ll be duly rewarded. All I can say, get there early, order big, and marvel at the colours on your morning plate.

Carioca Ipanema breakfast (credit Carioca)

The delightful spectrum emanating from this dish called Ipanema is a result of pan-chorizo with capers, sun-dried tomatoes, poached egg and chilli flakes, served on a maize muffin with avocado and salsa verde.

Carioca-brixton-4

This golden gem of deliciousness is no more Brazilian than I, but if you’re feeling unadventurous, then I wholeheartedly recommend the eggs royale. Perfectly cooked poached eggs which pop like giant caviar; lightly smoked salmon – with no stringy bits! Please sir, can I have some more?

Carioca-brixton-5

The Welshman had a long day of Super Saturday rugby ahead of him so you’ll have to forgive him for choosing the English breakfast (and if you’re a rugby fan you’ll understand that it was indeed a long day). Kudos to Carioca though – great mushroom action.

Carioca-brixton-1

And we return again to Brazil with a refreshing (and rather pleasant) bump; the below dish is acai with banana and granola – and a sweet drizzle of honey. I am also told the proprietor is very careful in his sourcing of the berries to ensure this platter tastes just like something you’d find in downtown Rio. The acai is semi frozen – which reminded me of being treated at the local leisure centre with a Slush Puppie (albeit with a far better flavour and none of the blue junk you get in it). So basically, just being treated then.

Carioca-brixton-3

If you’re not heading to Brazil anytime soon, and you’d like to be, or even if you are heading there soon and you want to experience it in our small corner of south west London – it would seem that you should follow the signs to Carioca. And their Bloody Marys are pretty awesome too. Loved it!

 

25-27 Market Row
Brixton
SW9 8LB

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carioca-Brixton/378608922236453
https://twitter.com/CariocaBrixton

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The Hangover Platter – Breakfast Delivery – South West London

Granted, it’s a first world dilemma but don’t you hate it when you wake up in the morning after a heavy night, there’s nothing in the house to eat, and your belly sounds like an angry bear? Topping it all off like a rotten cherry on top is also the fact that in order to get food you’re going to have to circumnavigate your local profit-distorting grocery store (with all the other morons who drank one too many gin and tonics the night before) in order to bring home the bacon.

PLUS none of your favourites on Just Eat have even starting firing up their deep fryers yet.

Who are you, quite literally, going to call? The Hangover Platter perhaps? These folks have come up with a new concept which frankly I wish I’d thought of. You order when you’re hungover, choosing from a mixed selection of savoury and sweet plates, they bring it to your door. The service operates between 9am and 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays, delivering (at the moment) in the following postcodes: SW2, SW4, SW9, SW11 1, SW12, SW16, SW17.

Why small plates? They say it’s because when you’re hungover you can never decide what to eat. To be fair this is true; when I have managed to haul my ass out of bed in order to buy food after an evening of inebriation, I tend to buy the shop. So what do they serve up…here’s what I got delivered to me!

the-hangover-platter-2
Above is baked egg pot with supergreens and toasted parmesan crumbs. Really quite tasty and the egg was still runny. I think they’re working on their packaging still as it was lukewarm on arrival but very fresh and something that I could never be arsed to whip up at 11am on a Sunday morning!

the-hangover-platter-3

the-hangover-platter-4

Above, from left to right working clockwise, toasted granola with grated apple and yoghurt pot; fresh guacamole (which came with some granary bread) – seriously this was banging!; classic full English breakfast pot with a twist – this was a tad on the sweet side and needed toning down a bit; and the baked egg dish again.

the-hangover-platter-1
I also tried the brownie (drowing in chocolate already!); fresh fruit salad and the Haribo (I don’t think they’re homemade but we’ll forgive them in this instance).

You know what, I love this idea, and the food was totally fresh and really reasonably priced. I know they still have a few things to iron out as they only launched at the end of October but it is off the ground, it will fly. Seriously, have a go when you’re hanging next Sunday. It’s almost worth getting drunk for.

The Hangover Platter delivers in the following postcodes:
W2, SW4, SW9, SW11 1, SW12, SW16, SW17.
Open: 9am-2pm on Saturdays & Sundays
www.thehangoverplatter.co.uk
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SW9 – Brixton – Sorry, No Vacancies

Sorry, No Vacancies – if you can find it (because believe me, it’s further and more hidden down Brixton Road than you think) – is located at number 378. The door in the parade of shops – just a little past Morley’s – eventually catches your eye as it’s the last bastion of light (or so it seems) before you hit Kennington. Of all the gin joints in Brixton, we found it!

Classic Magarita

Classic Margarita – old habits die hard!

Priorities / common sense mean the Welshman and I get the cocktails in first. Determined not to be the creature of habit I usually become when I go to new places, I opt for a Californian Sunrise in the hope the gin, Aperol and lillet rouge, topped with San Pellegrino aranciata rossa, casts me to Venice Beach, or at the very least a state of intoxication in which I can dream of the sand, sea and the rest. My tongue always deserves the bitterness; there’s no chance I’m opting for a sickly sweet cocktail. That I cannot abide. Lord also knows why I’ve added the Margarita photo first. I had that next, and while we’re on the subject – that’s more like it! Margaritas are my favourites, and not being a cocktail girl at heart (beer and wine only, and a distinct lack of nail varnish), I slug it down like no tomorrow.

Why are Margaritas always so small?!

Both the Margarita and Californian Sunshine were both more than quaffable. If you go out for cocktails with the girls on a Friday, have dates on Wednesday evenings in low-lit trendy places, you’ll be drawn to Sorry, No Vacancies.

Priority number two: hotdogs!

*Insert wurst pun here*

*Insert wurst pun here*

The hotdogs were pretty suave. Doughy bread (in good way) were filled to the brim with onions, and the dog itself was *oh yes*. The chef responsible for such a mealy hotdog (consider it substantial enough for dinner) is Chris Gillard – the man from St John’s Restaurant. I’ve since heard that they’ve also added a vegetarian option too, if you swing that way.

Californian  Sunshine, in Brixton

Californian Sunshine, in Brixton

Alas, we see a picture of Californian Sunrise, which I was banging on about earlier…the dimly lit bar and red down lighting ensured my photos were sufficiently poor quality enough to put a strong sepia filter on them. American beers also proliferated the drinks menu. The Welshman opted for Brooklyn, which was served by the bottle.

The bar at Sorry, No Vacancies

The bar at Sorry, No Vacancies

Cocktails are priced at the standard rate you’d expect the in London Town,  around the £6-7 mark or just a little over. The decor is dim, 70s, pop-up like (it’s a pop up). Not over enthralling and highly predictable. What was pretty cool though was the upstairs duplex bit, and the cywch (Welsh word, Google it) in the back which is more than passable for a small gathering. Otherwise, I feel it’s a tad lacking in atmosphere.

Sorry, No Vacancies runs from November until January.

378 Brixton Road
London
SW9 7AW

I was invited by Sorry, No Vacancies to sample the menu and cocktails.

Guest Post: A Guide To Eating Out in Brixton Village

It’s ever so nice to hear other people’s experiences about eating out in the area, so as you can imagine I was really pleased when Natalie from South London Blog got in touch to let me know her thoughts about Brixton Village. Here’s her run down of places to go – whatever the occasion.

Brixton Village

Where to Start

Brixton Village has been rapidly growing in size both with its increasing popularity and with new premises springing up regularly. Having lived in Brixton for a year I made it my mission to eat my way round the village, this constant growth has meant that despite my best efforts I haven’t quite managed this, although on the plus side it means I have more new places to try!

From the vast array I have tried here’s my rundown of the top spots to visit in Brixton Village:

For Lunch:

French & Grace – Serving delicious wraps packed full of halloumi or merguez, or both with tons of salad thrown in! French & Grace is great value for money and uses quality ingredients, a perfect lunch time eat!

You can read Natalie’s full review here.

pancake brickbox

Brick Box – Specialising in both sweet and savoury crepes Brick Box is a great spot to visit for lunch. A wide variety of toppings can adorn your savoury pancake from chorizo to spinach and my particular favourite, a fried egg!

BYO:

Elephant – Pakistani street food served from this tiny kitchen with seating spilling out into the market. The menu is small but this just makes the meal decisions easier and everything I tried was delicious.

Koh Sarn – Popular Thai eatery, booking ahead is definitely recommended as this place is always packed. Tasty menu of classic Thai dishes with ample outdoor seating.

Drinks:

Seven – Although Seven does serve food, and tasty tapas at that, you really go here for the drinks and the atmosphere. Cocktails are all at £5 pounds and these are unique and frequently updated. There’s a small selection of Spanish wine which is again good value as is the Spanish bottled beer on offer. Make sure to check out the upstairs area where the walls have been decorated by local artists.

Patatas bravas, Seven at Brixton

Patatas bravas, Seven at Brixton

Wishbone – Fast food at its trendiest this is the South London offering from the people behind Meat Liquor and Meat Market, and this time they’ve ditched burgers in favour of fried chicken. If you want a quick bite in trendy surroundings then Wishbone is worth a visit and what’s more they have a great drinks offering. From hobo beer to design your own sourz, to my personal favourite, spiced rum and ginger beer!

Three Courser:

Cornercopia – A constantly changing menu made with local ingredients, Cornercopia is at the high end of Brixton Village eating. It’s also one of the few places you would want to go to for a full three courser. Book ahead and go with an open mind and you won’t be disappointed.

Quick Eats:

Franco Manca – Sour Dough pizza cooked in stone fire ovens, what more could you want? How about good value wine and fresh salad? You got it! Be prepared to queue although despite the size it does move quickly.

Honest Burger – In light of the horse meat scandal Honest Burger really come into their own. Tasty burgers made with quality meat and all served with the house chips that are amazing and flavoured with rosemary salt.

SW2 Brixton – Boqueria Tapas – Restaurant review

The 101 of writing is that you always start with something to captivate your reader. I tell this to people I’ve taught to write in the past. As we all know, every good teacher lies and breaks their own rules. Every good teacher also however, works long hour days and becomes fatigued with time. So, I trust you are in a captivate-able mood and allow me to bewitch you with my review, as the title of this post suggests, of Boqueria Tapas on Acre Lane in Brixton.

Pan con ali-oli, as you great linguaphile Brits will know, is garlic mayonnaise. Except it wasn’t garlicly enough at Boqueria Tapas, there was very little flavour – even the olive oil flavour didn’t shine. I needed a bit more *hmm*. My compañera and I couldn’t find the right adjective, but we decided if there was an adjective that sounded like a growl, then that’s what the ali-oli needed. More growl please.

Pan con ali-oli

Pan con ali-oli

When the Calamares a la romana (deep fried squid and lemon mayonnaise) arrived, we’d almost forgotten that we’d ordered it. We were still picking at the small plates on our table anyway, so it didn’t matter too much that it had come with a substantial ‘interlude’ between the first set of tapas that had been served. Not to worry, we tucked in. The squid itself was hot and freshly cooked as it should be; tender and nothing like the Michelin-tough cephalopods I’ve had in bygone times. And by Michelin I’m referring to the rubber tyres. So far so good. There were a few little things however, the batter was a bit thin and something was lacking. When I bite into crispy fried calamari I want to jump for joy, and I just couldn’t seem to find the jump in this particular dish. I enjoyed the lemon mayonnaise dip though.

Calamares

Calamares a la romana

Alcachofas salteadas con ajo, perjil y guindilla was a very, very delicious dish. It probably looks the least appealing from all the pictures I have taken, but these sautéed artichokes (served warm) with garlic, parsley and chilli were really fresh and simple. I was struck actually, at how infrequently I eat non-tinned artichokes, so much so that my brain was already expecting the vinegary sour aftermath. It didn’t materialise which made me have second thoughts: “what have I just eaten”? I almost had to do the palate equivalent of a double take. They were a lovely surprise.

Alcachofas salteadas con ajo, perjil y guindilla

Alcachofas salteadas con ajo, perjil y guindilla

The next dish was tortilla española. Could we have chosen anything less adventurous? Probably not. The Welshman sneered at me when I told him that we’d ordered it. But it’s like I said in my last post when I reviewed Amirah’s Kitchen in Wandsworth, you’ve got to check that the establishment is A. capable of the basics, and B. put through their paces. I also need to stop apologising on this blog for what I order. It’s my food and I’m darn well going to eat it.

Tortilla espanola

Tortilla espanola

As the side of my fork pressed into the golden slice of egg, potato and onion, the tortilla crumbled into fluffy semi-aggregated chunks. It was a beautiful, delicate texture and I heaped the morsels into a stable triangle on my fork – like you do when you’re trying to savour every bit of sponge remaining on your plate, long after you’ve finished your allotted portion of cake. The onion, potato, eggs – yes – all the flavours came through and lived up to the very moment I’d pushed through the bronzed top of the tortilla. But hang on a second. What is that? Sweetness. Yes, really sweet! It was not like the sweetness of carbohydrate that finds its origins in a potato. Like caster sugar sweet. This was not good. I hardly ate any more after that, save for the time when I needed a second confirmation on the true seasoning of this dish.

What happened? Had the chef put sugar in instead of salt? It certainly tasted that way. Oh dear.

Patatas bravas were less disappointing. Lovely, perfectly-seasoned potatoes with a millimetre-thin crisp coating were served piping hot.  Naturally they were topped with a piquant tomato sauce (could’ve been a dab more piquant for my taste buds, but then I have an asbestos tolerance to chilli), and ali-oli. Weirdly this ali-oli had the ‘growl’ my companion and I had lamented earlier in the evening.

Patatas bravas

Patatas bravas

Selección de quesos – it’s no surprise I almost forgot to write about the selection of cheeses. They arrived very late indeed. All our plates, cutlery and empty vessels had been cleared. It was a bit odd. Again, my companion and I had forgotten about this dish – tapas is a very distracting meal and we were getting quite full.

Spanish cheese selection

Spanish cheese selection

I asked the waiter if he could provide an description of each of the cheeses. He did. It was vague. “This is manchego. This is goat’s cheese.”

“And what is this one please?” I enquired.

“That is blue cheese.”

Revelatory. I can see that. After he had left, my companion and I looked at each other in the eye, sighed, and then laughed out of bewilderment.

Boqueria Tapas is doing some things very well. There’s freshly prepared ingredients – as we saw with the artichokes and patatas bravas – being executed with a degree of authority. Then we see a few inconsistencies or some attention to detail which is missing – such as the calamari, and the ali-oli (I really did want to jump for that calamari, but I just couldn’t).

Then of course there are the points that I don’t want to have to dwell on, nor skip on the basis of fairness. Sweet tortilla, no thanks. Blue cheese? I know that.

The venue itself was refreshing – a little cold – but so much bigger and more contemporary than I expected; there’s a huge area downstairs which caters for parties and a day cafe annexed next door. But going big is ambitious; they need to make sure they find their growl to fill it.

Boqueria on Urbanspoon

I was a guest at Boqueria Tapas.

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SW2 Brixton – Curry Paradise – Restaurant review

I am not cool. I never have been and I never will be. I was a bit of a geek in school, and even if I did have a bit of a punk phase when I was 15, it was very much a bandwagon which I was tardy to board. I am so not cool; last week I mistook my friend’s record bag as a cool bag, and although she was mortified I had confused her expensive DJ-ing satchel for a vessel that keeps your sandwiches chilled, I brushed it off – not quite realising the extent of my faux pas.

How then have I come to live in Brixton? Food bloggers flock here, you’ll spot a couple of undercuts and NHS-style prescription glasses, and Brixton Village…where does one begin? You only have to look at this infographic which has been doing the rounds on the t’interwebs.

London’s hipster neighbourhoods

I love the wave of Brixton Village restaurants which have ingeniously captured the gastronomic imaginations of this big city; quick, street-side food which relies on simple well-thought out ingredients. It’s not expensive, and great food is accessible to all. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes its bloody marvelous to eat in a place which you’ve been able to book, and where you can sit down on a chair (as opposed to an old beer crate). But it is not that cool is it? Normally one has to go to Clapham for that sort of thing (chairs).

I also found myself heading back to Battersea for a decent curry. You know, like a proper curry. There didn’t seem to be anywhere in Brixton which would fit the bill, everything is – you know –  a bit trendy. Heading up Brixton Hill though there is Curry Paradise. It has such a terrible name that I’d forgive you for not even registering it as a place to eat in Brixton, but perhaps that is something we can address in this blogpost?

Curry Paradise sits on Brixton Hill just below the monstrosity that is the South Beach Bar…yeah you know the building! It’s very pleasant inside (Curry Paradise – I’ve never been in the bar – the BOGOF offer on rose wine bottles has not drawn me in, yet). There’s no neon lighting, and I’d go so far to say that although it’s quite contemporary it’s reasonably cozy.

Our waiter was diligent and blooming friendly – two thumbs up for service. Let’s not beat around the bush; Curry Paradise has everything on the menu that you’d expect from a curry house. I ordered a king prawn channa (medium, mixed spice dish with chickpeas). It never claimed to be super hot (how I eat my curries) so I had to ask for a few fresh chilies on the side, but that’s by the by. This was the second occasion that I had been to the restaurant. The first time was unexpectedly delicious (What! I can get a decent curry in Brixton? ).  This time round I’d say my dish was too oily, which was a bit of a shame as I hadn’t remembered my previous dish being like that. The other complaint I had was that they didn’t include whole king prawns in the dish; they had been halved. I think it is always wise the err on the generous side in curries, don’t you? The ingredients were however very fresh – spices can’t always hide a multitude of sins. Yeah, I’m looking at you Brick Lane.

The Welshman’s lamb pasanda (leave him alone, he can’t take the heat) however, was very flavoursome, and the creaminess was nicely counterbalanced with some piquancy.

I never order rice with curry, and a decent naan for me can make or break the night. Curry Paradise’s naans are very soft, spongy and I know it’s a ridiculous think to say – quite bread like. They don’t top the scale as the best peshwari naans I’ve ever had, but they weren’t too sweet and were buttery and moreish.

Take Curry Paradise as you will. If you fancy a reasonable quality curry that delivers (in more than the literal sense), then it will leave you feeling more than satisfied as long as you are not expecting anything fancy. The ingredients are wholesome and there are even chairs too!

PS. No photos. Not even Instagram can make a curry look that desirable (it was too dark)!

Curry Paradise on Urbanspoon

My Food Week in pictures – A farewell lunch, Brixton style

When you’ve been friends with someone for so long, regardless of how diligent you both are at keeping in contact, you’re always going to feel a little tug on those strings which are, apparently, attached to a frosty cardiac muscle in the centre of your thoracic cavity (my scenario anyway).

My friend leaves Wednesday, having been so close to me in south London, for the Wild West – Portland, Oregon. Having a terrible geographical knowledge of US States (c’mon, they’d never be able to point out where Brixton is on a map) I couldn’t tell you if it is actually the Wild West – you know – with cowboys and all. They still have them, right?

The second farewell I bid this week was another westward escape. This time to Wales; land of bara brith, laverbread, and Welsh cakes (posted a sneaky link to Debs’ site. Hers are, quite frankly, the dog’s proverbials).

Because I need great content for my blog, and, because I love my friend (notice the ordering of that sentence) I invited some of my closest mates for lunch (dinner – nudge to the northerners). All I need is a film crew and I’m basically your next Naked Chef (I throw roughly chopped food into the pan from great heights too y’know).

Pukka.

A farewell dinner which would not be forgotten had to include some of Brixton’s finest produce. Seemed only fair since I had directed the party all the way up Brixton Hill. My cooking of late is naturally following the nature of the weather; increasingly inspired by spring. Elderflower and apple spritzers started us off, with some of my favourite olives on the side – nocerella. If you’ve never had them before and are a fan of olives in all forms, please try them. Bright green (like giant peas) and unusually round (like giant peas), they are a lot less salty than your average green olive, have a fleshy texture and nutty flavour.

I served up two whole sea bass between five of us, stuffing it with mint, basil, parsley, and lemon slices. I really don’t understand people who don’t like to see the animal they’re about to eat whole. I demand to know what I’m eating, which is why I always ask my fishmonger to just clean and gut the fish. Plus, the bones and head keep all the divine juices inside, retaining the fish’s moisture. Dust the skin with a reasonable layer of sea salt and I can promise that you will be fighting for leftover pieces of skin from the plates of the fusspots.

Sea bass from Brixton Village

Offering the carbohydrates for the meal was a large portion of kisir (I may have made too much) – a Middle Eastern dish made principally with bulgur wheat, parsley, and tomato paste. I used a recipe I spotted about three years ago in the Guardian by one of my favourite columnists and chefs, Yotam Ottolenghi. I needed to add more chilli from the original recipe, and I preferred my bulgar wheat a little softer, so I added more water. It’s a beautiful traffic light platter when all is done and dusted, but I can tell you finding pomegranate molasses when your bastion of hope (Brixton Wholefoods) have run out of stock, can be a little unnerving an hour before your guests arrive. Luckily A&C Co Delicatessen saved my bacon, and my kisir, incidentally.

Ottolenghi's Kisir

Ottolenghi's Kisir

And the rest of the week…well just a quick one about a fabulous and entertaining cheese and wine evening at Entrée restaurant, on Battersea Rise. The event was hosted by their new restaurant manager, Chloe Gounder-Forbes. She’s a bit of a cheesy star having been on the judging panel of the British Cheese Awards – she knows her stuff.

Cheese Board at Entree

SW9 – My food week in pictures – Brixton Farmers’ Market

I remember when I was a child sitting up at our kitchen’s breakfast bar watching my mum curate culinary activities and prepare the dinner. Quite often there was only me and her in our house; my dad worked away from home, sometimes several months at a time, and I used to sit and keep her company while she cooked up mountains of food for me – I may have been an only child – but my appetite was equivalent to that of two other siblings. We used to chatter about our days, plan the activities for the week, or sometimes she would tell me about her jungle experiences when she lived in Brunei.

While we chatted I would give her a hand with the preparations. Even though I was young, I was given responsibility with the sharpest Kitchen Devil – chopping and peeling the vegetables – checking every now and then that the carrots were the correct  thickness. My mum liked things just so, and as her only daughter, I aimed to please. By helping out and observing her I learned how to gut fresh fish, make gravy from scratch, and test how al dente the pasta was – never has there ever been a better excuse to thrown spaghetti at the wall! I learned ridiculously simple, yet ridiculously useful tips – tips which cooks learn only through experience – at a very young age. Most importantly I learned about timing. A roast dinner is one of the simplest meals to cook, but allowing the chicken to rest, ensuring the potatoes have a crunchy exterior, making sure the gravy doesn’t burn, and not overcooking the broccoli can be one of the hardest things to coordinate.  Yet by my early teens I was a comfortable kitchen hand and cook.

Between the ages of 19 to 24 I lost my love for the kitchen and the joy of cooking fresh food. It started when I moved to London. I was studying full time, paying out of my nose to live somewhere that, really, I couldn’t afford. It’s not that I couldn’t afford to eat – I obviously did and have survived to tell the tale – but when you have a limited budget you cook up meals with no more than four ingredients. It means the cooking experience lacks joy and creativity. Meals are filling, but uninspiring. Those who try to pay an affordable amount of rent in London do so through the mechanism that is the house-share. We all shudder with the term ‘Gumtree’.  When your living space is not your own, and you share with strangers, you keep yourself to yourself.  Kitchen space is at a premium and you become increasingly accommodating to a lack of utensils, space, and others’ unusual culinary habits. Also, making soup is mightily difficult when the household only has one bowl (my house-mate and I affectionately, and somewhat originally, named it ‘the house bowl’).

But there is a light ahead of this story’s tunnel. It came in the form of The SW Food Blog. I’ve been blogging now for just over a month, and unintentionally it has given me more impetus and desire to cook that I ever have had before.  I set out to review a few restaurants and local producers, but now I’m finding myself planning dishes for a Sunday night and inviting friends over for dinner. I’ve been rekindling those tips and tricks my good old mum taught me (less of the old, she’d say), and for the best part of Sunday I was completely engrossed in the kitchen; making brownies as a teatime treat, as well as home-made fish cakes and cauliflower cheese.  Not only have I been consumed by cooking once again, I have also been consuming the cooking.

The ingredients for Sunday night’s cauliflower cheese were sourced from Brixton’s weekly Station Road Farmers Market which is open from 10am until 2pm.

Meat and vegetables at Brixton Famers' Market

Perhaps it was the sunshine, but the market seemed to be more bustling than usual. Turning the corner under the bridge off Brixton Road, the eyes were greeted with Brassicas of all hues and varieties. Cauliflowers were selling for as little as 60p, and the purple cauliflower (actually a broccoli, although different from purple sprouting broccoli) was one I couldn’t resist. Cavolo nero, other varieties of kale, and leeks, were among the glut of potatoes, onions, carrots and storeroom essentials.

Brixton famers market broccoli

Sampling the wares I settled on a mature cheddar made by Green’s of Glastonbury. Strong, creamy with a grainy texture, it was going to give my cauliflower cheese a tangy bite.

There are so many other stalls there which I have yet to try. I did however pick up Giggly Pig’s Irish sausages; I have it on authority that they were meaty and filling. They didn’t lose any volume on cooking, which says a lot about the amount of water in your average supermarket saucisson.

Colourful and intriguing was the greenery of Wild Country Organics‘ salad leaves. Tatsoi, claytonia, and their mixed salad with spinach and rocket were just some of the highlights.

Wild Country Organics at Brixton Farmers Market

Veggie lovers can delight at Brixton Farmers’ Market, but those looking for something altogether less wholesome can still tuck into the Carribean vegan cakes of Global Fusion foods, and the pastries of the Old Post Office Bakery.

I even had a go myself at counteracting all this beautiful fruit and vegetables. Decadent brownies made with Green and Black’s cocoa, and a whole bar of 70% chocolate, made my Sunday cooking and domesticity a pleasure. It’s so great to be back in the kitchen after this long overdue absence and put the love of cooking and fresh food, learned from my ma, back into practice.

70% Chocolate Brownies

New restaurant Bubbas Dining opens

There’s two rules to the South West London Food Blog.

The first one is that we never speak of The South West London Food Blog.

The second is that we stick within the confines of the SW London postcode.

Or do we? After all, this was a blog designed to be about local eating; celebrating restaurants, food producers, and other independent establishments. So I will.

Bubbas Dining is a new restaurant which is opening in Tulse Hill (postcode SE27 if you were wondering) this Friday. I am lucky enough to be going to their pre-launch event tomorrow.

I’m promised it’s new Caribbean with a twist, and by all accounts it sounds like it could deliver. The kitchen is led by Michelin-trained head chef, Anthony Cumberbatch, who has worked in the likes of The Savoy, The Ivy, and Quaglino’s (Sherlock fans – don’t get your hopes up, I doubt there is any relationship).

Bubbas Dining main course

Bubbas, named after proprietor Antoinette Ledford Jobson’s six-year-old son, aims to produce dishes which are hearty, refreshing and refined; exploring Caribbean cuisine and taking on familiar British fare reinterpreted using West Indian ingredients.

They’re also keen to promote this new Tulse Hill establishment’s cocktail list.

Chili Bubbas Bee

I must admit, I haven’t had a great deal of experience with Caribbean food so I will be looking forward to being enlightened by such morsels as:

– Crab and chive mayonnaise with avocado sweetcorn and beetroot emulsion

– Authentic Caribbean curried goat in a roast petal tuille basket served with avocado puree and plantain crisps

– Carrot cake with rum sorbet and spiced carrot puree

I’ll let you know how I get on!

 

For more information visit www.facebook.com/bubbasdining.

My food week in pictures – I’m no pastry chef

I’m quite organised in life, but when it comes to preparing meals in advance, I’m terrible. I think it’s because I like to eat on stimulus, inspiration, and to be honest I’ll eat whatever I bloody well fancy, whenever I bloody well fancy it. This usually results in paying an extortionate amount in my nearest Sainsbury’s local.

This weekend I was returning to the motherland (Yorkshire) and I knew that on Sunday evening, when I was to return, a flaccid £5 fishcake was not going to cut the horseradish. Pre-empting this disappointment I made, and then froze, an aubergine parmigiana. As it happens, it’s not the most attractive dishes to photograph, but it’s pretty tasty.

Aubergine parmigiana prep

Aubergine parmigiana prep

The aubergines and tinned tomatoes were sourced from various grocers and purveyors of vegetables in Brixton. I’ll give a shout out to A&C Co Continental Grocers on Electric Avenue where aubergines were only 60p! Their parmesan cheese was excellent value and great quality. Furthermore they’ve got a brilliant selection of fresh herbs – even found some fresh oregano which didn’t break the bank. Leave a comment if you’re interested and I will post the recipe.

Thursday night was simply marvellous. I really enjoyed tapas at Seven at Brixton in Market Row which I reviewed. I’ll recommend the patatas bravas, as well as the wilted spinach, rocket and warm manchego salad.

Patatas bravas, Seven at Brixton

Warm spinach, rocket, and manchego salad

I returned a little earlier than I thought on Sunday night, and to keep myself entertained (Sunday night television is simply dire), I made apple pie. Although I love to cook, baking is not my forte. I don’t think I allowed the pastry to rest enough, and as a result it was crumbly and a bit short. But by god, eating it in a cosy lounge when the rain is hitting the window horizontally outside makes it taste flipping good.

Home made apple pie