Great veg breakfasts in London (N1 Angel, Barnsbury, Highbury)


baked eggs food lab islington

When I started to put together a post listing out my favourite veg-friendly breakfasts and brunches in EC1 and EC2, I soon realised Breakfast in N1 (Angel, Barnsbury, Highbury and the like) had a lot to offer to the veg preferring (dare I say, vegetarian) breakfast eater. So here’s the second in my series on brilliant veg friendly breakfasts in this part of London. On the high street Ottolenghi has it going on, the coffee is top notch, the menu […]

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Spring Polenta Chip, a Recipe from Tom @CaravanExmouth


Dappled in spring sun: Think earthy polenta with a healthy splash of fresh.

This week I sat down for lunch with a friend at Caravan, Exmouth market. It was a beautiful spring day, I joked with the maitre de that the table was perfectly dappled in spring sunlight. As we sat and the specials were recited, we spontaneously ordered one of each. Pretty soon we were snacking on mackeral pâté, a humongous Welsh rarebit-cum-Croc Madame, complete with fried egg. But perhaps most exciting, the fried polenta chips, topped with a surprising salsa on a […]

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Most popular posts, pics: looking back on 2013


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From cronuts to horsemeat, 2013 has been an eventful year on a culinary level. As profound as cronuts were, lets focus on the latter. The “horsemeat scandal” triggered, finally, some mainstream awareness that food isn’t always what it’s marketed to be. Since, there’s been a fairly constant stream of media coverage, documentaries and shifts in eating patterns. It seems to me that sustainability and ethical provenance movements in cooking and eating are gathering steam. Could this be the start of […]

Find yourself on a Cornwall Foodie Holiday


A fairly impressive sunset, no?

By the time most of us get to the point of recognising a need for a holiday, it should have happened weeks earlier. The dull tired achey-ness is much harder to rid once it’s penetrated to your bones. Worse still, ever noticed that feeling of wanting another break, as soon as you’ve returned? Like the stress of the return, leaves you so spent you need another? This September had to be different. I took an eco-friendly leap and booked a proper […]

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Brunch at Sunday Hemingford Road, London N1


The problem with brunch on a Sunday morning in London is that everyone wants one. There’s a load of demand and in a very short space of time, every man and his iPad toting dog wants to sip a latte and enjoy a scrambled egg on stone baked soughdough. Right? So when a quality establishment opens just around the corner, and, when it’s slightly off the beaten track, escaping the hordes of shoppers that flood to the established N1 brunch […]

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A country restaurant near Rome: La Vecchia Quercia


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We recently visited Selci, a village in Sabina, just north of Rome. If you are looking for a country restaurant near Rome, well just an hour away, look no further. This was quite delightful… Ever been out for an evening, then wondered, if the whole thing were a dream? Perhaps you awoke remembering a beautiful landscape, etched clearly in your mind yet simultaneously unbelievable. Like an oil painting depicting a verdent landscape so picturesque that it can’t have been real… could […]

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An Italian cooking holiday


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I love to cook on holiday. I find it no chore, rather a relaxing way to immerse in a culture. Since my last cooking filled holiday, I’ve been rather busy. What better than a trip to Sabina, north of Rome near the Umbrian border, complete with farmhouse, local markets and a well stocked kitchen, to restore order. (See related posts: The busier you are, the more you need to cook and A foodie pilgrimage to Tasmania). Stocking the Larder You’ve only really [...]

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A weekend, a wedding and River Cottage HQ


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Scarce few things typify London life than a bank holiday trek to the country. We sped down to Dorset with a packed lunch, foil wrapped toasted sandwiches of manchego and roast veg, no less. Mustard in the ‘slaw dressing, you see. I do like serving a lunch on an enamel plate on a train. The prospect of this weekend had sat on the edge of my awareness for months. Not just because one of my best mates was getting married, [...]

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Can Tesco owned be authentic? Nick Tolley talks coffee


Undoubtedly, a well formed beverage.

I always find it refreshing when a “foreigner” visits London. Whilst it’s often said London is more international than British, it’s interesting how widely adopted some Briticisms are. Like biting of the tongue, not saying what could be seen as impolite, even when it’s true. I knew Louisa when we both worked on an Asia-Pacific ad account. We crossed paths from time to time in Hong Kong or Sydney. Last Autumn, Arsenal FC had flown her and a bunch of [...]

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Food tells a story: memories of Avoca Beach


As I type this post, there is snow falling outside the my London window. It seems a far cry from the week I spent on Avoca Beach, just north of Sydney, back in January. It was the final week of a three week Australian adventure. And it turned out, to be a culinary adventure. Food is rich, on so many levels. In a psychological context, one’s relationship with food can speak to an ability to take in, or a need [...]

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A foodie pilgrimage to Tasmania


As far as pilgrimages go, my traverse of Bass Strait to the isle of Tasmania is a familiar one. I left when I was still a kid. Off to University and adventures new. And whilst I’ve found myself on a 737 bound for Hobart many a time, this journey felt different. Perhaps because it’s been several years since my last voyage. Partly, too, because in the three years since that last visit, a lot of change has happened in my [...]

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Eating with meaning and meaning to eat


I landed in spain in late December. Right away, I began to notice the difference in culture. Things that I knew but that I saw differently on this trip. Most of it revolved around food. What it means to Spanish people and how it threads it’s way intrinsicly through life. It’s important, it’s meaningfull. It’s unapologetically linked to local identity. And the food carries that sense of significance with it when it’s eaten. The focussed generosity of generations of cooks [...]

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Back to basics: Food shopping in Barcelona


I’m a sucker for food shopping in a foreign place. I like that sense of questioning your own experience. You can tell what a product is, but the labels make no sense. You know where the dried pasta should be, intuitively, but the aisle layout design has seemingly been turned upside down. It’s perplexing. Yet there’s a familiarity to the experience, a knowing says that you’d select, purchase, buy, take home – cook. There’s something almost archetypical in the universality [...]

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Why I don’t often blog about baking


banana bread and muffins - done

So if you’ve read a few of these posts you probably know I’m into free-style cooking. Or cooking with your Foodstinct. I don’t often measure, I rarely follow recipes. It’s especially rare for me to follow a recipe to the nth degree. And for that reason, baking rarely shows up in my blog. Baking is a fairly precise kind of game. Things can go quite wrong if you don’t do what you’re told. Then again, I tend to blog from [...]

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Vegetable Tart (Quiche) – the re-used ingredient catch-all!


Spinach and camembert tart

This October Sunday evening called for something warming. Something easy. And something that wouldn’t require too much from the fridge. I hadn’t shopped this weekend so I was just left to the the “ends” of a few ingredients and the kind of staples that I always have floating around. I did a quick fridge inventory: Onions Some eggs Butter White wine Half a slice of camembert The last of a bunch of fresh herbs, fennel, rosemary and parsley Spinach (slightly [...]

Review: Bill’s Angel – Veggie Breakfast


Bill's Veggie Breakfast

I love breakfast. So seeking a great breakfast is a little bit of a pastime of mine. I’ve wandered by a few Bill’s locations, including Bill’s Angel and when I have I’ve generally kept on wandering, suspicious of it’s all too homogenised “fun” decor and suspiciously clean looking branding. It reeked of mass franchise, to which my foodstinct usually says no. But this morning, I googled “best breakfast London” and was somewhat surprised when Bill’s topped the list of the [...]

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The angriest soup I’ve ever tasted


A very angry soup indeed.

I free-styled it the other night. Had a late night at class and saw some odd looking carrots at the local supermarket on the way home. Carrots, but they weren’t orange! (A BBC doco later informed me that carrots were originally purple – ’till the dutch bred the ones we know today). But as I say, I was free styling it, so I grabbed the carrots without thinking a whole lot and off I went. A few days later, it was time [...]

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A walking tour of Clerkenwell Coffee


Prufrock Coffee

I recently wrote a guest post for theislingtonblog on my favourite coffee haunts in Angel Islington. As I put it together, I had a stark and uncomfortable realisation. Most of the better coffee I have in this part of east London tends to be south of Pentonville Road. More Clerkenwell than Angel. Quick sticks, I thought I’d rectify that with a tour of coffee, SoPen. That’s south of Pentonville, in case that needed further clarity. Start at the corner of [...]

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Exmouth or Kings Cross: which Caravan has the most foodstinct?


Roasting Bag at Caravan Kings Cross

It was all pretty touch and go this early September morn. I realised on the way out the door that the hangover I thought was a mild, passing annoyance, was developing. Full blown grouch Jared was emerging. Woe betide anyone who stands in my way when that fella is about. Nevertheless, we were celebrating a reunion so breakfast was in order. And having heard all the rave of the Kings Cross branch of Exmouth market’s Caravan, we deemed it time [...]

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What does food mean to you?


Food as status White bread was only for the rich in pre-industrial times. The finest, purest flour was hard to come by before the mechanisation of wheat processing. So white bread became a symbol of power and status. Sometime in the late 20th century this trend was bucked. With artisan wholegrain sour dough spelt pumpkin seed loaf becoming a symbol of something else: sophistication, green living and perhaps even, a little urban snobbery. Food as a part of your identity [...]

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Cooking for your mind, body, soul and Foodstinct


Popeye eating spinach and yams or sum such

I have an epic weekend of commitments, some to projects I’m working on, others social. It, frankly, all feels a bit overwhelming. Last night I was totally tempted to order a pizza, but instead I made a tomato and mozarella salad with some nuts on top. I had some dressing (a nifty component) that I’d made a little while ago to top it all off. The whole thing took five minutes. I’ve written before about the importance of cooking, even [...]

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Salad on a Train – My tribute to Virgin on the West Coast


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In case you hadn’t heard, Virgin Trains is not going to be running trains on the west coast line (That’s the line from Euston to Birmingam, Manchester, Glasgow, etc.) from December this year. I found myself quite disappointed by this news. I’ve gone up and down the west coast line many times in the last few years. Many times for occasions which I’ll remember always, as they were, how to say, “life defining” moments. On these trips, Virgin whisked me [...]

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Quinoa salad with lime dressing – dinner in 15 minutes


Quinoa salad with Avocado and Peppery Lime Dressing

I’ve been enjoying the delights of Quinoa of late. I know Quinoa has been in the human diet for a long time. South Americans, I think they started it. Along with potatoes, apparently. But my point is, we humans have eaten it for a long time. Westerners, not so much. Unless you’re vegan or a regular healthfood shop vistitors, it seems. It’s great for you. Packed with protein and fibre. Rinse it well to remove nasties that can mess your [...]

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How to wrap a tortilla wrap (aka: Nifty Ingredients, illustrated – VIDEO)


Spicy pepper bean salsa

You might have heard me go on about nifty ingredients a little by now. If not, you can read about them in my reducing food waste section. So remember that Tali sauce I made the other day? Well I had some beans left from that. Plus the spicy red pepper chutney which garnished my weekend breakfast? Well that wasn’t all gone either. These both, are nifty ingredients ready for re-using. I like to make my lunch when I can, but [...]

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Red Peppers: Salsa all the way to breakfast


Best breakfast ever: Hashbrowns with Red Pepper Salsa, served in jumbo basil leaves.

I am a MAJOR breakfast fan. I think it’s the most important meal of the day, not just because it’s the setup for the day energy and nutrient wise, but also because the people that are around at breakfast time tend to be the more important people in your life. The problem is: this fact has become known amongst family and friends. So I’ve kind of setup an expectation that I’ll make something good, or indeed, better. It’s a bit [...]

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Potatoes: Hash browns (not hash tags)


sizzling potato hash browns

I grew up in a family where there was always a 10kg bag of potatoes under the kitchen sink. Usually stored in a thick cardboard bag. In that sort of environment they seemed to last months. Or maybe because we were a bunch of voracious kids, they just ran out. My lifestyle now is quite different: the same volume of potato consumption is not required. Also, the spuds end up living in the fridge, which isn’t dry or dark enough [...]

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Pressure, drive and Tali Sauce. And always remember to cook!


There is an awful lot going on at the moment. The London Olympics seem to be pre-occupying and gripping the emotions of the nation. Yours truly included. Besides that, there’s the usual pressures of work and oh, wait, what better way to spend a summer break from class that to have a 6000 word essay due the first week term is back… Glorious! (sic). Long and the short of it is, I’ve been feeling very pressured. In the past, I’ve [...]

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