People seem to like my new series about the food highlights of my week. I love writing them and thinking each day about what I’ll add to the next week’s post. So … here goes with the past week’s food.
Tuesday – Food & Poetry on Richmond Hill
This was the day I met friends at Swagat Indian restaurant after first going to my book club where we read and discussed the poetry of John Clare. For my review of Swagat – click here.
Wednesday – Freezer Day
I had a busy work day then an Italian lesson in the afternoon. I took the easy route for supper and got a chicken breast and portion of homemade tomato sauce from the freezer to thaw. At suppertime I turned this all quickly and easily into Pollo alla Milanese – click here for recipe.
Thursday – Day Trip to Sevenoaks and Return to Valentina’s
I drove to Kent see my brother and family and took my niece and nephew out for lunch at Valentina’s in Sevenoaks as a birthday treat for both of them – Clara’s birthday was last month (into teens at 13) and Leo’s was due on Sunday (11). I reminded them of our visit last autumn. We had as much fun as last time and the food was great again – click here for review of our first visit. I had Capella Romana – tagliatelle with homemade meatballs, Parmigiano Reggiano, all wrapped in speck ham, baked and served with a basil & tomato sauce. It arrived as in photo above – I don’t know what I was expecting but not this. The waiter said it was one of his favourite dishes and warned me that it was so big and filling I might not finish it. I doubted that as I have such a big appetite! But in the end, I actually couldn’t, even though it was so good and really delicious. Opened out it looked like this:
Leo asked how they’d managed to wrap all that pasta and meatballs in the ham. I really couldn’t guess. A bit of magic, I think!
Friday – Heavenly Bread
I spend a lot of time in Your Bakery Whitton now, especially in the mornings – meeting Lyndsey and Freddie for morning coffee and croissants and with just Freddie on Wednesdays and Thursdays when Lyndsey is at work. Their croissants are just the best I know: light and flaky and wonderfully buttery.
I share one with 13-month-old Freddie and he loves them. Now he’s wanting to eat more than a broken off third and soon I’ll have to buy him his very own! Meanwhile, I also bought a sourdough loaf on Friday.
That was fabulous too.
Saturday – Early Birthday Treat at Orso
I was looking forward to seeing my friend Elsa who is just back from an adventurous 3-month trip to South East Asia and Australia. We had a lot of catching up to do! I’d received a voucher from one of my favourite restaurants, Orso, as a birthday gift, giving me a free 2-course set lunch. I suggested to Elsa that we meet there and we had a great meal – antipasti (above photo), grilled chicken and salted caramel gelato to finish. You too can get a birthday treat from Orso by signing up to their e-newsletter: www.orsorestaurant.co.uk. This will also give you advance warning of their brilliant regional dinners – click here for review – which are just starting up again after a winter break, so try to get along to one if you can. They’re wonderful evenings with great food from a particular region of Italy and matching wines for each course.
Elsa and I then moved on to the nearby Courtauld Gallery to see exquisite Botticelli drawings on display there at the moment. Next stop was the British Film Institute to see the classic old film Kind Hearts & Coronets in their classic film series. Our day ended at the excellent Meson Don Felipe, a Spanish restaurant in The Cut near Waterloo. We’d been there before and I like it a lot – though haven’t written a review yet so it will have to go on my list for a future post. Their tapas are brilliant and it’s a great bar with a lively atmosphere and live music – Spanish guitar – in the evenings.
We weren’t massively hungry after our lunch so ordered just three tapas to share and a half carafe of red wine. It was a great way to end a lovely day.
Sunday – A Day of Peace, Quiet – and a French Treat!
It’s so nice to have a treat with the main meal on Sunday and going to the French bakery Paul to choose one of their lovely cakes or fruit flans is one of the best food treats on offer. I chose this gorgeous rhubarb tart.
Monday – Lunch on the Run Mexican Style
Now you’ll have to forgive the photo as it’s quite hard to photograph a burrito wrapped in foil, oozing grilled chicken, rice, guacamole, black beans and sour cream, that you’re eating as street food! But my son Jonathan had been extolling the gastronomic virtues of Wahaca’s burritos over the weekend, which can now be bought from their ‘street’ vans parked at places like Canary Wharf (where Jonathan works) and by the British Film Institute, just under Waterloo Bridge. I’d had to go into central London in the morning and on my way home around 1.00pm thought I should take the opportunity to try one of these infamous burritos before boarding a train home. I chose chicken – Jonathan said I should have had the pulled pork – but whatever, it was still really, really good and I’m definitely going to make that a stop for lunch on the run again.