Project Food Blog

Going Underground

I had the great pleasure of being treated to an afternoon of tea, absinthe and burlesque on Saturday, at the very lovely venue that is known as Cellar Door.

As previously reported in an earlier blogpost, we Hospitality Girls love a bit of risqué humour and nudity to accompany our cucumber sandwiches, and the afternoon did not disappoint.

We got all 'Fluffed Up' by Vicious Delicious, Fan Danced by Bouncy Hunter, and serenaded on the ivories by former Dexys Midnight Runners keyboard player Pete Saunders. Blackjack and cocktails were served up in equal measure, along with the quintessential High Tea that regular readers will know we love. I now even have my very own jar of sandwich spread!

On the way home, we popped into The Criterion Bar and Restaurant for 'just one more cocktail', before (eventually) making our way home in the glittery bubble that can only be gained from the secret world that lies beneath the pavement at Zero, Aldwych.

We enjoyed Finger Sandwiches, Earl Grey Tea and Cupcakes at Cellar Door, interspersed with Champagne and Courtesan Cocktails (Absinthe and other secret ingredients)  followed by Citrus Cocktails (Russian standard vodka, passoa, cranberry juice, grapefruit, watermelon liqueur, served long over ice) at The Criterion. Happy Daze...

Rabbit Pie – easy, seasonal, sustainable, delicious!

Went into the Butchers (the incomparable Dove's) on the way back from running club on Monday morning – and as well as my usual mince and smoked bacon January stalwarts, I saw them preparing some rabbits for Linda's rabbit pie - and asked if I could buy one.

I was thinking of making a Spanish rabbit stew with paprika, but the thought of a pie seems a far better idea – and I had some ready made shortcrust pastry left in the freezer from Christmas.

It was as easy as this to make:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 rabbit, skinned and boned, chopped into chunks
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 300ml white wine
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 cube chicken stock
  • 300ml water
  • 1.5 oz butter and 1.5 oz plain flour
  • 1 pack ready rolled shortcrust pastry

1. Heat oil, brown rabbit, season with salt and pepper, remove, then brown vegetables.
2. Add bay leaves, herbs, wine, vinegar, stock and water.
3. Simmer for 45 mins, adding more water if needed.
4. Tip into a casserole dish, leaving sauce in the pan and heat oven to 220.

It will look like the picture above.

5. Mash butter and flour together, then add to sauce and stir lumps out.
6. Pour over rabbit mix, then top with pastry, brushed with a little milk.
7. Cook for 30-40 mins until golden brown.

Eat and enjoy!

Holiday highlights from a foodie perspective

What a foodie summer it's been. Whether at home or abroad, we've both been lucky enough to experience many new culinary joys this month. Good food to me is synonymous with so much - time spent in an unhurried fashion with family and friends, passing on my passion and sharing new experienced with my daughters, meeting chefs and food producers who are passionate about their craft and constantly strive to create sustainable quality. Here are four of my personal favourite foodie moments of the past month:

Ancient Egyptian feast for 16 in Ibiza
Researching and creating ancient Egyptian cakes with my 7-year-old, Jasmine, who chose the theme for our annual Ibiza villa's fancy dress party this year. She's crazy about Egypt and learned so much as we poured through text books seeing what they would have eaten. We finally settled on a dried fruit, honey and nut concoction, only to remember that one of our villa party had a severe nut allergy. Luckily, we improvised, and the resulting cakes really made the feast (have to hold my hand up here and confess that the other dishes had a certain amount of poetic licence - well, when you're asked to create fresh fish from the Nile, what would you do…?)

€30 10-course gourmet feast in SW France
Ah, our time in Miradoux, home to some of my dearest friends and most-loved foods! On our last night, we took our lovely hosts to the restaurant in Gramont, home to an exceptional cookery school and an exceptional chef. For €30 a head and €10 for the children, we feasted on excellent food in unimaginably huge quantities, including a raspberry Champagne cocktail, plenty of foie gras, and all wines and coffees.

First ever family sushi experience
A great new restaurant, Toyko Joe has just opened round the corner, and we tried our first sushi takeaway once back from our holidays to keep that vacation spirit alive. Watching my four-year old try her first bite of ebi sushi, nod vigorously and say "That's really nice" filled my heart with joy. Next stop - sushi making at home, we've got the mat and all the ingredients.

Wild sea bass and samphire
It had been a frantic week and we were on our last legs. The obvious choice would have been to go out for a meal. Instead, I thought we'd try and relax over a bit of husband-and-wife cooking. We headed to the excellent fishmongers in Chelsea Green and that night feasted on a wild sea bass (caught that morning) and buttered samphire, which we served with a few Jersey Royals. Travelling the world and eating the delights of each area is fantastic, but nothing can beat a best-quality, locally-sourced, simply cooked supper - the memory of that dinner eaten in our back garden will linger long after my tan fades.

Breakfast of Champions

I seem to be surrounded with friends who are running marathons, half marathons or enduring other craziness such as coasteering...

As a pre- adrenaline or endurance breakfast, try these little drop scones which are as light as a feather and take moments to make. Using wholemeal flour instead of refined white flour, they are also a  healthier and more sustaining version of the traditional drop scone, or scotch pancake, and are equally good with sweet or savoury accompaniments. (Replace Golden Syrup with Agave Nectar... far better for you and even more delicious... even the kids think so!)

 For less active people try them with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for a special and STILL not too naughty, nutritious weekend brunch treat.

Easter Eggs Benedict

There is nothing more lovely than sitting in the garden on a warm day, with great friends, kids playing, a couple of bottles of Fizz on the go, and a plate full of Eggs Benedict. This dish has to be my all time favourite breakfast, I don't have it often, but boy do I enjoy it when I do. This morning was no exception. A fantastic opening gambit for Easter, which will be spent between friends' houses, in a whirl of good food and good company.
Our blog this year has been punctuated,sadly, by a few, what I can only term, 'Big' Life events, yet every time I sit at my computer (still the useless, dodgy battery, no memory laptop...although this is all set to change VERY soon) to write, I feel so fulfilled, as I am recollecting special times.
There are a few close friends at the moment who are in recovery (from illness, they are not alcoholics!) and so we will both be looking into more wholesome ways to enjoy food and drink, as well, of course, as the occasional indulgence. I haven't quite gone to the extreme of buying my kids carrots for Easter rather than chocolate, but there is a first time for everything! Happy Easter everyone.

St Patricks Day Fadge (potato scones) - gluten free

My husband's half Irish, so our daughters are quarter Irish, and although we don't celebrate St Patrick's Day at home, I've offered to go into Jasmine's Year Two class and do a cookery demonstration. One of her friends cannot tolerate gluten, hence this recipe being gluten free.

If you ever need to do a cookery demo to 30 kids, with minimal equipment, in a state primary school with no kitchen (yes really), but one small oven in the staffroom, here is it! Happy St Patrick's Day.

Ingredients for fadge cakes

1/2 pound mashed potatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 oz gluten free flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 medium egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder

2 tablespoons chopped chives (optional)

Extra gluten-free flour blend for rolling dough

Extra olive oil to brush tops before baking


1. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper cut to the size of the try

In a mixing bowl blend mashed potatoes, olive oil and egg.

3. Measure and blend the flour and baking powder in a bowl.

4. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Turn fadge dough out onto a lightly gluten-free floured cutting board. Roll or press the fadge dough with hands to 1/2-inch thickness.

Use a round biscuit cutter to shape the fadge cakes or cut them with a knife in any shape you like. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Brush with olive oil OR melted butter and bake in preheated oven at 200/400 for 20 minutes. Turn and bake for a further 5 mins.

Serve warm spread with Irish butter and a pot of strong tea.