Saturday, June 30, 2012

Discover Veliac: Electric Bikes and Trikes

The first time I met my friend Pedro, I made fun of his T-shit that said 'Veliac'. In retrospect, he took it quite well given that Veliac is the name of his electric bicycle company. He designs and sells bicycles and tricycles that are battery powered. These are perfect for people who use cycles to commute to work or are into mountain biking or generally cycle long distances, unlike me! I just recently learned how to cycle a couple of months ago with very shaky balance.

But oh my, when he came to London to exhibit at the London Bike show, I hopped on to one of the trikes and they are awesome! You can start off just cycling like a regular bike but once you turn on the power it's like a high speed scooter. And since it has 3 wheels you technically don't even need to know how to cycle - which made me feel a lot more confident. 

If you want to know more, here is his website. He has dealers all over England and Europe. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Taste of London: the ultimate food festival in Regent's Park, London

Every summer there is huge food festival in Regents Park called Taste of London where around 40 of the top restaurants in London set up stalls showcasing their signature dishes. As you can probably guess, this is a major event in my calender! This year I went with my Welsh friend Rhys and we ended up stuffing ourselves silly.

The Iberico pork and foie gras burger from Opera Tavern was sooo good. I’m not exactly sure if the foie gras was in the burger patty or on top but the taste of the meat and sauce with bread made it an amazing burger. I defintely want to visit Opera Tavern now.

Plump, juicy pan-fried scallops with pancetta, chilli and lentils from Theo Randall.

Salt and Pepper fried Squid from Maze – sadly quite forgettable and left an unpleasant peppery after-taste.

Lamb Hotdog from Bar Boulud – was quite disappointing as well. It looked gorgeous but the lamb tasted a bit strange.

Fried balls of Tomato Risotto, Mozzarella and Olive/Veal from Bocca di Lupo made me want to revisit Bocca di Lupo. 

Slow cooked pork belly with apple sauce and truffle potato mash from Launceston Place. Looked quite unassuming but was so delicious.

A beautiful Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Cake from Yauatcha. I’ve never seen a dessert look like this – it captivated me and despite Rhys misgivings, I insisted on getting it. It tasted as good as it looked and even Rhys was glad we got it.

Passion Fruit Tart from Rhodes 24. On the first bite, my tastebuds died and went to heaven. The tart was perfect – it was like a lemon tart but the passionfruit adds a gentle sweetness.

It is bit pricey though, the tickets are about £20 and that’s just for the entry. Then you pay £3 to £7 for each dish, which could add up if you go a little crazy like us. But I think it’s worth it – it’s a chance to explore and try food from restaurants you might have not heard of but are now keen to visit. There are also dozens of independent stores where you can sample and buy things like bread, cheese, ham and olives. And free cooking demonstrations from famous chefs and wine tastings and outdoor bars strewn all around. All in all, you could spend a lovely day out in Regents Park in food paradise J

Taste of London runs from Thursday 21st till Sunday 24th of June.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Burger & Lobster: Great Value for Money Lobster near Green Park

After reading so many good reviews of Burger & Lobster, O. and I were dying to go check it out. However, warnings of the long waiting queue put us off but one surprisingly sunny Saturday we made our way to Mayfair (if you live in London, any sunny day is huge surprise, even if it’s in June.)

The queue wasn’t so bad when we went at 1:30 pm – we spent a pleasant half an hour chatting at the bar, having a cocktail called the ‘Summer of Love’. Gentle foretelling of the future, I suppose J

Burger & Lobster operates on the simple premise that you can either have a burger or a lobster or (for those who can’t decide) a lobster roll for £20 with a salad and fries on the side. We decided getting a burger wasn’t worth it – it would have to be the lobster – a much better deal.

However, dedicated readers will remember my inept handling of the crab from Wright Brothers and I balked at the thought of dismantling a lobster, however delicious it might be. And it did look good, seeing other tables where people were fishing out delicious lobster bits and dunking them in garlicky butter sauce.

But I opted for the easy way out and chose the lobster roll. Chunks of lobster in light, mayo sauce, cradled in a generously buttered brioche roll.

It was really good but still didn’t match up to the lobster roll I had in New York at Luke’s Lobster in the East Village – where I was transported to joyful oblivion on the first bite. However, given that I am in London and Luke’s Lobster roll is a distant memory, perhaps I should stop waxing on about something I ate in 2010 J

So if you want to get your hands dirty and deconstruct an entire lobster or just simply inhale a lobster roll in one breath like I did, make your way down to Mayfair to the queue outside Burger & Lobster.  

Burger & Lobster

29 Clarges street, Mayfair London W1J 7EF
Tel: 02074091699       
Tube: Green Park

Burger & Lobster on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Saturday Lunch: Spaghetti Carbonera

I had a traumatic experience back in 2010 when I tried to make  Spaghetti Carbonera. It seemed so easy to tackle but I ended up a scrambled egg spaghetti mixture. Ghastly.

But then the Guardian  published a  lovely article on this comforting bacon-y goodness pasta dish, quite fun to read since they deconstructed each step of the recipe, like debating using Parmesan vs  Pecorino, and that you don't need to add cream or butter - that I just had to try out when I realized I had all these ingredients at home.

Pasta + Eggs + Cheese + Bacon seems uncomplicated but I realized the trick is in the timing.
The recipe published at the bottom of the article seemed to be massive quantity of food for two people and since it was just me,  I downsized the proportions for just 1 serving. I started by grating about 1/4th cup of Pecorino cheese. Cracked open one egg and mixed both together with lots of pepper.

In the meantime, I boiled about 70gm of spaghetti. A habit I picked up from my flatmate, always weigh my pasta out before cooking thereby preventing me from stuffing myself with pasta- which is so easy to do!

About 5 minutes before the spaghetti was done, I started frying the pancetta in pan (with a little bit of garlic which I later removed). When the spaghetti was done, I saved a little bit of the starchy cooking water and then added the spaghetti to the pan and mixed together with all the pancetta.

Then this is the important bit, take the pan off the heat and quickly mix in the egg-cheese mixture so that all the strands of spaghetti are coated, adding a little cooking water and serve immediately. DONE!