Restaurant La Ferme, #ExmouthMarket’s newest #French bistro

Whole courgette, stuffed with fetta and olives. Corn purée, candied beetroot.

It’s not often a quality opening in London escapes the city’s food press, bloggers and instagram community. But from what I can tell, La Ferme has. We stumbled across it on the way to one of our regular neighbourhood haunts, and were suprised. Could it be that a restaurant can arrive in London and grow through the quality of the product, rather than the usual hype?

Nestled on the traditionally maladroit corner between Exmouth Market and Farringdon Road, La Ferme is an authentic French bistro and delicatessen. A spin-off from a market stall in Angel which imports French cheeses and meats. The delicatessen still honours those roots, while in the restaurant, you feel as if you’re sitting in a favoured Bordeaux café, with shabby chic tablewear and country charm ornamentation. But La Ferme feels effortless. It is authentic, without trying. And, with a seasonal, consummate and decidedly brief menu, La Ferme has a right to be self-assured. 

Our visits spanned the spring and summer menu’s, so some dishes won’t be available now.

In the evening, the service is à la carte and starts with a range of French themed cocktails (£8), from absinthe mint frappé to a Provençal pimms, complete with rosemary sprig. A simple menu continues, with three of four choices for each starters, main and desserts.

On our first visit in late spring, we were greeted with a massive whole artichoke. Which, happens to be one of our favourite dishes thanks largely to the insistence a whole artichoke makes that you appreciate it slowly and wholeheartedly, before it gives up it’s treasured centre. Accompanied by three dipping sauces, including a deliciously light hollandaise, it announced to us that a skilled craftsperson was in the kitchen. A massive goats cheese salad (£8) was next; topped with a crispy candied walnut topping.

On a second visit we enjoyed the set lunch menu for just £12.50. A round courgette, cooked and filled with a Provençal style feta, olive and tomato sauce and served atop an earthy, creamy, sweet corn purée and finished with candied beetroot. A surprising dish, tasty, creative and delicious. It screamed that someone in this kitchen knows how to invent with veg which to us is a true measure of culinary skill. 

someone in this kitchen knows how to invent with veg which to us is a true measure of culinary skill

Of course no French chef can be judged without a close assessment of their tart au citron. The slither we had as part of the set lunch was dainty, though more than adequate. It ticked all the boxes, a bold filling, so citrusy, almost metallic, with an instant, balanced sweetness that forgives the initial surprise. The pastry, short, crispy and buttery. To top it off, a lemony granit accentuated with thyme provides a refreshing summer twist. Tres bon, innit.

The kitchen, like the atmosphere, confidently does what it ought too, without shouting about it. Go quickly, before it’s discovered.

4 / 5

Restaurant La Ferme, #ExmouthMarket’s newest #French bistro

Restaurant La Ferme

102-104 Farringdon Road London EC1R 3EA

Reviewer: EdibleJared, June 30, 2015

Marksman Pub: It’s hype-worthy…

Asparagus, egg, flax & sunflower seed, £8.

In my mind it was always going to be a stretch that two culinary brains, developed at the meat-focussed St John, would open a restaurant kitchen that catered well to veggies. But the refresh of the Marksman Pub on Hackney Road by Tom Harris and Jon Rotheram has attracted considerable hype. We’ve seen dishes on Instagram, heard about “that” Brown Butter & Honey Tart (even that some diners’ had been pre-ordering a slice), so we simply had to check it out.

We visited in the opening week, along with fellow foodie of the “almost meat only” variety, AllThingsMeaty. An early summer’s day like the one we visited, is a great time to appreciate this boozer-cum-dining room. Light streams through the windows revealing an interior that hasn’t honours the Marksman’s iprior incarnation. There’s plenty of varnished wood and upholstered leather while fitting yet somewhat mismatched chandeliers adorn the ceiling. The locals still frequent, lending authenticity. Here you’re eating at an east-end pub, not a pre-fab’d, shipped in, ultra-cool pop-up.

The food, however, is strikingly now. The menu has a particularly vibrant small plates and starters section. The night we went (the menu changes frequently) there were six veg choices in the starter section, including olives and bread, though only one amongst the mains. But reading the menu I saw brown shrimp rissoles and devilled mussels on toast; our group decided to order them and, well, it would have been rude not too try, right?

The rissoles seemed quintessentially British to me: I could imagine eating them at Padstow restaurant. The shrimp a tasty grit smothered in lightly seasoned sauce, scalding hot when teeth crack through the breading. An experience. But the mussels were really something. Meaty, with a hit of curry flavour and chilli, and a light creamy broth that meant the sour-dough toast was deliciously soggy.

Of the veggie starters, the fried potatoes have proved a hit, if controversially so. A hit, in that they press all of the satisfaction buttons that drive food hype: salt, fat and carbs and they’re insta-friendly. Controversially, they aren’t terribly far away from a confit potato number that The Quality Chop House has been making for years. We noticed the similarity immediately, though, I have to say, Quality Chop’s version is denser and dirtier. The burnt onion mayo is fab, a really pungent smokiness that meant we licked the plate clean. The asparagus, seasonally fresh and dressed with a sauce I mistook for tahini, was actually sunflower pureéd with egg and flax. We also had the cos salad: far from boring, the creamy, almost caesar-like buttermilk dressing was invigorating and decadent.

Our table shared three main courses between three people – a decision which took some time, as we were wary of over ordering and mindful of dessert. But in the end we ordered the much hyped curried kid, grilled chicken with beans and anchovie and the vegetarian main, a pressed potato dish with caramelised leeks and a deliciously rich sauce of Bermondsey hard press cheese.

The veggie main had a casual elegance to it; the fennel added a sweet freshness to the press, while the sharp, rich cheese sauce again pushed all the satisfaction buttons. And although these chef’s are known for their simplicity, it did seem the meaty dishes had a little more going on.

Pressed potato & fennel, leeks, bermondsey hard press, £11.

Pressed potato & fennel, leeks, bermondsey hard press, £11.

The desserts when we visited were formidable. A buttermilk ice cream with pickled pear and oats. A chocolate and barley malt. But we’d decided before we even arrived to try the brown butter and honey tart. It did not disappoint. The soft biscuity pastry contained a satisfying orgy of delicousness; a rich, custardy filling which somehow maintained a paste like quality despite being baked set. The browned butter and honey delicately fight for precedence in your mouth as you devour every mouthful.

And ever so kindly, they let us take a slice home. Which was still quite delicious the next day.

Take-away tart: Brown butter & honey tart, £7.

Take-away tart: Brown butter & honey tart, £7.

We thoroughly enjoyed our evening at the Marksman. The service was friendly and approachable, the atmosphere sunny and authentic and the food simple yet surprising. But, is it veg friendly? Just. If you lean toward the starters and allow yourself to be pushed over the line by the desserts. Which you will, because they are well worth the hype.

3.5 / 5

Marksman Pub: It’s hype-worthy

Marksman Pub

254 Hackney Rd London E2 7SJ

Reviewer: EdibleJared, June 11, 2015

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Review: Brunch at Sunday Hemingford Road, Barnsbury N1

Post updated June 2015 with new images and dish descriptions.

The problem with Sunday brunch in London is that Everyone wants one.  Every man and his iPad toting dog wants to sip a latte and enjoy a scrambled egg on stone baked sough dough. Shed loads of demand, and limited supply. Disaster.

So when a quality establishment opens just around the corner, and, when it’s slightly off the beaten track, escaping the bulk of the aforementioned hordes, this is a very, very, good thing.

“Sunday” has opened on the Hemingford Road site of what was Christoffer Hruskova’s  “unpretentious bistro”, Fig. After a considerably makeover, it’s opened serving lunch, dinner and, as I’m most interested in, Brunch! We arrived it evoked a casual cool, a place you would want to sit and read the papers. You know, a place to sit and enjoy your sunday sleepy haze.


A light and energising interior with plenty of natural light, polished timbers and “effortlessly-shabby-skandi-look-furniture”.

You’ll find a comprehensive brunch menu. A granola, fruit, eggs a few ways and the obligatory french toast. You know the drill.

I pride myself on my home cooked brunches, so to say that the dishes we had were solid is quite a compliment. Served on decent, chunky bread, with properly poached eggs and reasonable serving sizes. They were more than accommodating about removing salmon here and adding a poached egg there. Coffee was well made from Caravan roast beans. The service we found solid and friendly, and, shock horror – the bill came to just over £20, including coffees, result!

And I can’t not mention the objects that show up, around table settings and sideboards. A vintage glass paperweight here, found objects there and neat little jam jars for the orange juice, everywhere. It seemed to me that someone had put their heart into these touches. And rather than be trite or overdone, they landed, quite nicely.

Jam jar'd OJ. It could have been cliched, but wasn't.

Jam jar’d orange juice. It could have been clichéd, but somehow it wasn’t.

Word has certainly got out, although it only opened in mid-summer, Sunday was heaving by the time we left. Some customers came in to make enquiries for later. Sadly, Sunday couldn’t transport us to an alternate reality with fewer seeking out their Sunday brunch, but we can’t blame them for that. And it’s great to have another quality brunch on the N1 Brunch list. I’ll certainly be back.

Foodstinct ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ (4)
Non-meat options ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
(4 because they don’t mind subbing)
Service ♦ ♦ ♦ (3)
Atmosphere ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ (4)

169 Hemingford Rd
London, N1
(020) 7607 3868
Twitter: @SundayBarnsbury

Reviewer: Jared
June 14 2015

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Veggie Myths Busted: vegetables don’t belong in dessert

Some of the best puddings in town are based on veg… and here to prove it, is our tried and tested list of the finest.


It’s a no brainer, as our American friends would say. Think pumpkin pie, cheesecake, even brûlée. At Chiltern Firehouse, the standout dish on a frankly stunning dessert menu is the brown butter pumpkin tart: silky smooth custard, crisp buttery pastry, gentle cinnamon and nutmeg – it’s like the best Thanksgiving you’ll ever have.

2015-03-10 22.16.32-1

Chiltern Firehouse’s standout brown butter pumpkin tart.

And Cinnamon Soho have jazzed up their puddings with some veggie specials: our favourite was the pumpkin brûlée – smooth, rich, a proper crunch of bronzed sugar, and a shortbread biscuit interestingly spiced with carom seeds.


There are beetroot chocolate cakes galore – but head down to Columbia Road for Lily Vanilli’s eponymous bakery – where you can find beetroot, hibiscus and coconut macaroons – sticky and chewy and gluten free – not to mention a very on-trend shade of deep maroon.

Eat your greens

Try The Manor in Clapham for what must be London’s most inventive puddings – created in front of your eyes by pastry chef Kira Ghidoni. Among her inventive twists: an olive oil cake with apple gel, sorbet and shards of meringue – set off by a verdant sorrel syrup – and topped with a flash frozen sorrel leaf.

Olive cake, The Dairy Clapham

Topped with a flash frozen sorrel leaf, an olive oil cake with apple gel, sorbet and shards of meringue.

Her latest menu includes a dessert of peas, mint sorbet and smashed buttermilk, which is unbelievably good.


Bruno Loubet’s experiments with veg don’t just involve savoury dishes. On of the desserts at his wonderful Grain Store Unleashed is a white chocolate parsnip cream mousse with yuzu gel and matcha powder. If you want to try his tasting menu – you’ll need to be quick: the popup won’t be there for long.

Grain Store Unleashed: a white chocolate parsnip cream mousse with yuzu gel and matcha powder.

Grain Store Unleashed: a white chocolate parsnip cream mousse with yuzu gel and matcha powder.


London’s very best carrot cake – and we’ve done some pretty exhaustive research – can be found at the Holborn Dining Rooms – on sale in the deli during the week and at the restaurant for weekend brunch. It’s moist, packed with flavour and has just the right amount of cream cheese frosting.

Holborn Dining Rooms: London's very best carrot cake.

Holborn Dining Rooms: London’s very best carrot cake.

Or for a more unusual take on the popular root veg, Gail’s Kitchen has a carrot cream tart – another custardy concoction which works brilliantly with a warming hint of ginger.

Our Top Eats in #Puglia, #Italy

The southernmost tip of the Italian peninsular is a gastronomic delight. Vegetarian’s will be pleased with the pasta and antipasto choices, but might find it difficult to escape that this is a land traditionally fed by the sea. Our Top 4 has a decided bias toward Salento, the southeastern peninsular, as we were based in Galatina.

Use the left and right arrows above to see our top 4.

Visitors over the winter months should be aware that many restaurants close when tourist numbers drop. At Christmas and New Year this is more so. Here are a list of places we dearly wanted to try, but couldn’t get into due to the season, we hope you have more luck!

Le Zie, Lecce ( – Said to be like visiting an Italian family, this trattoria is run by three women and serves classics like chick pea and pasta, eggplant parmigiana and delicious home made deserts.

Cibus, Ceglie Messapica – ( – We were warned in advance that this place is good, despite the fact that  “the mother is no longer in the kitchen”. This restaurant takes local classics and enhances with a modern twist. We really want to try the dried fig ice cream.

Pietro Zito ( – Recommended to us by many who’ve passed through the northern part of Puglia, Pietro Zito uses much organic produce with local dishes cooked in an  honest, inspired way. Great wine and great value.

#Top5 restaurants in #Hobart, Tasmania

The sleepy riverside city of Hobart is fast becoming an Australian cultural destination. We visited in April and ate our way around the city (and the island). We weren’t disappointed, the only trouble was choosing a top 5.

Use the left and right arrows above to browse our top 5.

Veggie Myths Busted: @bao_london’s Daikon Bao is “just a radish sandwich”


The day I visited Bao London was an uncharacteristically hyped day for me. With a glamorous fellow food blogger on my side we queued at Bao, the latest critically acclaimed, “must try”, Taiwainese steamed bun joint. We tried to disguise our ogling of the dashing Times food critique, sat in prime window position, as we feverishly poured over hashtags to see what #foodporn we’d be competing with. Indeed, this day was unquestionably and perhaps quintessentially HYPED.

Bao is *so* on trend. Obviously, one orders by scratching numbers onto menu cards with disposable pencils. Obviously, the interior’s sleek, lined with raw timber and obviously you’re crammed onto benches with coats hung above your food. Obviously, darling, there are highly instagrammable desserts and obviously, you have to arrive at 11.30 in order to make the first lunch time sitting.But because this place is hyped, nobody cares about that. Obviously.

Highly instagrammable desserts. Fried Horlicks Ice Cream Bao, 4.

Highly instagrammable desserts. Fried Horlicks Ice Cream Bao, 4.

We ordered a range of meat (did I mentioned I was dining with an Italian?) and veg dishes. There was plenty of both, though the menu’s certainly got an offaly edge a la trotters and pigs blood not to mention a flock of guinea fowl. So if reading such delights turns your veggie innards, you may want to skip.

The aubergine with wonton crisp is a really special starter, popular with many meaty fellow foodies too.

Aubergine with Wonton Crisp, 3.5.

Aubergine with Wonton Crisp, 3.5.

I’d probably not go for the century egg again. The Turnip greens with Salted egg, was virtuous, if a little bland, still we managed to chomp away at it.

Turnip Greens, salted egg. 3.

Turnip Greens, salted egg. 3.

The main attraction are of course the Bao, and, sad to say, there’s only one veggie option at this stage of the menu, a crumbed and fried Daikon number. Not unlike a pan-asian chip buttie. And that dear reader is where I take a brief interlude into a rant, to bust a #VeggieMyth.

You see we couldn’t help but overhear our earlier mentioned food critique exclaiming loudly to his mate “What, you mean a radish sandwich?” in response to what I assume was a suggestion he try the Daikon Bao. Yes, it’s a vegetable focussed main. No, nothing died in order for you to devour it. Yes, the average cost per gram of what goes into this dish is probably less than comparable dishes on the menu. But are those reason enough to dismiss?

The Daikon Bao, as both my carnivorous friend and I supposed, was a highlight of the menu. Carb-loaded and satisfying, dressed with crispy pickle and lathered with a zingy coriander dressing and a decent squirt of something spicy, it’s a must try. As long as you’ve got nothing to prove.

The peanut milk. You gotta have the peanut milk. 1.5

The peanut milk. You gotta have the peanut milk. 1.5

So veggie friends, believe the hype. Go to Bao. Order the radish sandwich. Drink the creamy overnight soaked peanut drink. You wont be overloaded with veg choice, you may not make it a regular (we spent £40 on lunch with no booze), but you will be comforted in steamy pillows of deliciousness, dazzled by hype that actually has substance.

3.5 / 5

#VeggieMyths Busted: @bao_london’s Daikon Bao is “just a radish sandwich”

Bao London

3 Lexington Street, Carnaby, London London W1F 9AS

Reviewer: Jared, April 25, 2015

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Veggie Myths Busted: Italian = meaty? @FelicitySpector reviews Cicchetti

Silky fava bean puree with toasted ciabatta

Now if you thought Italian food was nothing without a slow cooked beef shin ragu, slices of salami or packs of Parma ham: then think again. Think asparagus. Pumpkin. Aubergine and tomatoes. And truffles galore: all on the menu as Aldo Zilli bounded constantly up to our table, bearing a succession of dishes he’d designed for Vegetarian week. At one point, he decided to broadcast the lunch live on Periscope: Zilli is certainly not a man to hide shyly in the background.

Aldo Zilli is certainly not a man to hide shyly in the background.CREDIT: Stevie Thomas/The Amalgamate(s)

Aldo Zilli is certainly not a man to hide shyly in the background. Photo credit this and above: Stevie Thomas/The Amalgamate(s)

And neither is his food, judging from the preview we had at Covent Garden’s Cicchetti, a long narrow space tucked between the tourist spots of Wellington Street. It takes a lot for me to enjoy quinoa, but this version, cooked risotto style with baby asparagus and – I suspect – copious amounts of cheese, may have won me over.

It takes a lot for Felicity to enjoy Quinoa, but this one tipped her.

It takes a lot for Felicity to enjoy Quinoa. Credit: Stevie Thomas/The Amalgamate(s)

A courgette flower was crisply battered and stuffed with a mushroom risotto: there was a silky fava bean puree with toasted ciabatta, and a slice of grilled aubergine rolled around spaghetti and a tomato basil sauce, lifted by a pool of excellent aubergine ‘caviar’ beneath.

But for me, it was the pasta and rice dishes which really shone. My favourite dish: individual pumpkins, roasted off to a melting sweetness, and filled to the brim with pumpkin risotto, and a scattering of truffle.

Courgette flower stuffed into  a mushroom risotto

Pumpkin risotto in individual pumpkins

A platter of what I thought was polenta, with grilled asparagus, turned out to be chick pea fritters – crisp and soft at the same time, with plenty of flavour. Huge ravioli appeared, filled with Swiss chard and ricotta, and a trio of different cannelloni: I tried one filled with pumpkin puree.

Huge ravioli, filled with swiss chard and ricotta.

Huge ravioli, filled with swiss chard and ricotta.

Zilli has carved out a bit of a niche for himself with his vegetarian food – his latest book, Fresh and Green, has more than a hundred recipes: and if the dishes we tried are anything to go by, there’s no shortage of flavour or imagination.

Other restaurants are rolling out special menus for Vegetarian Week: Zaika of Kensington is promising an “unforgettable” evening of vegetable-based Indian delights, while Vivek Singh at Cinnamon Soho has dreamed up some irresistible sounding veggie desserts – including spring rolls stuffed with beetroot halwa and clove infused ice cream, or spiced pumpkin brulee – all available until the end of May. There can surely be no better way of getting your five a day.

Vegetarian week runs from 18th-24th May 2015. Foodstinct is busting #veggieMyths all week. Veg food isn’t what it used to be, and we think Felicity’s first post shows us that. Keep an eye out for more as #VeggieWeek progresses. 

3.5 / 5

#VeggieMyths Busted: Italian food is meaty food. @FelicitySpector reviews Cicchetti


30 Wellington Street London WC2E 7BD
Phone: 020 7240 6339

Reviewer: Felicity, May 14, 2015

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Event: @momahobart Mindfulness meditation on #hunger 

Yup, I'll be in this teepee.

It’s great to be visiting my home town of Hobart. And it’s great to see increasing international attention that Tasmania’s pristine wine and produce, creative restaurants and edgy, self-confident art scene is getting. It seems Tassie is no longer apologising to its mainland counterparts, instead owning its position as a place of difference. In my mind this shift is in no small part down to the influence of the Museum of Old and New Art (MoNa), which has been making waves since 2011.

So when I was asked to do a workshop on my recent Masters dissertation topic at MoMa (the market at MoNa), I was delighted. Not least because one of the themes they’re running with is “#EatMyFriend” a call to think about and know about where the meat you’re eating comes from. Very me, innit.

Eat your Hunger, Yo
Ever noticed yourself eating when you’re not hungry? Over eaten but still felt empty? As well as thinking about what you eat, I want to get you thinking about why you’re eating it.

If you’re at MoMa Easter Sunday, April 5th, take a few minutes from the bustle of the market and the festivities on the river to visit the hunger teepee. The workshop will run from 1.30 to 2.30 in a teepee by the main stage, but you can drop in for one of the 5 minute sessions rather than stay for the whole hour, if you choose. The workshop will use mindfulness techniques, visual art practices and a variation of Edward Brown’s ‘potato chip meditation‘. You’ll get a chance to see your hunger from a different angle.

If you’re in town and can make it, I’d love to see you there.

Jared is visiting Tasmania from London, where he’s trained as a Psychotherapist. He completed a 2 years Masters study last year on the experience of feeling hungry.  Participants may opt for their feedback to be part of a qualitative study.

Felicity visits @birdrestaurant in #shoreditch and finds, serious #foodporn!


Wait. A fried chicken restaurant, on a vegetarian blog? Bird in Shoreditch, as the name suggests, is primarily there to flog chunks of poultry to the Shoreditch masses. Paul Hemmings, its Canadian founder, gave up a career in investment banking to pursue his culinary dream. “Fried chicken had a real image problem”, he says, gulping down his first coffee of the day from the ‘bottomless’ jug. “It’s become so popular – but most consumption has been economically driven. Really low end.” Across the Atlantic, though, it had suddenly become a trend. Even three star Michelin chef Thomas Keller produced his own twist on the deep fried bird. “Here, no-one treated it with much respect”, says Paul – and with a promise of free-range, affordable food, Bird Shoreditch was born.

“We’re not a gimmick”, he insists, brushing aside that uber-hipster stereotype which surrounds every new food venture in these parts. Even if the menu is full of Instagram-ready dishes like a giant chicken and waffle sandwich, and the decor is urban-chic diner style, with booths and bright wooden chairs and chicken themed graphics on the walls.

the decor is urban-chic diner style, with booths and bright wooden chairs

Instagram ready: Did someone say #donuts?

Now, though, there is more than chicken at Bird – which has just launched a new breakfast menu full of all-American favourites. We were invited along to test it out.

For non meat eaters – there’s a skillet of eggs cooked together with jalapeno cornbread, or the option of a breakfast bun, minus the sausage patty: a demi brioche stuffed with egg, cheese, and a hash brown. I bypassed that one in favour of the stack of pancakes with maple syrup, while my friend, who hails from Alabama and is made of sterner stuff, went for the full on bacon waffle with extra fried chicken on the side. Plus a glazed doughnut bacon sandwich which has been attracting widespread publicity.
Prices are very affordable, with nothing over a fiver – and coffee refills come as often as you like.

Stack of fresh griddled pancakes and Canadian maple syrup - £5

Stack of fresh griddled pancakes and Canadian maple syrup – £5

Our food arrived. The stack of five pancakes was enormous: I’d have preferred them hotter,  but the maple syrup was thick and intensely sweet, and even though I couldn’t finish everything, they happily boxed up the rest to take home.
My friend made short work of her chicken bacon waffle extravaganza – although she was forced to admit defeat about a third of the way through the bacon doughnut. Unsurprisingly, perhaps: portions are certainly generous.

It’s early days yet for the Bird breakfast. We enjoyed the variety and the pricing – and service was swift and friendly. If the food could come to the table consistently hot – they’d be on to a real winner. Breakfast, any time. Like liberty and the pursuit of happiness – it really is the American way of life.

Felicity Spector (@FelicitySpector) writes for a number of UK food blogs and, oh, Channel 4 news where her interest topics are food and US Politics. She is a guest blogger (and in this instance photographer) at foodstinct.

3 / 5

Is @birdrestaurant in #shoreditch ready-made #foodporn?

Bird Restaurant

42-44 Kingsland Road London E2 8DA
Phone: 0207 613 5168

Reviewer: Felicity, January 31, 2015

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