Category Archives: London

Winner of the Francis Francis X7.1 Coffee Machine!

On my last post, I announced a competition to win a Francis Francis X7.1 Coffee Machine from EspressoCrazy. Well, the response was absolutely amazing and it has been my most popular competition to date. To enter the competition, you had to get the following question correct:

Who designed the appearance of the Francis Francis X7.1 coffee machine?

The answer was: Luca Trazzi

Thank you to everyone who entered. The full list of everyone who did is here: Francis Francis X7.1 Comp Entrants I have selected the winner from all the correct answers using and I am pleased to announce that the winner is Rosa Blacker. Congratulations! Rosa, if you can please email with your address and contact details, I will ensure that the coffee machine gets sent out to you as soon as possible.  Thanks again to everyone who took part. Please stay tuned for another competition soon.

I will be back at the weekend with a post about my trip to the Ludlow Food Festival.

Happy Cooking!🙂

Win a Francis Francis X7.1 coffee machine from Espresso Crazy!

I love coffee. I cannot start the day without it so I was very pleased to be invited to a coffee masterclass in London from the good people running Galleria illy, a month long pop up that will arrive in London (after Berlin, New York, Milan and Istanbul) from 13th September till 16th October. On offer is an unmissable programme of gastronomy, art, literature and design events.  What’s more it’s all free! To book your coffee masterclass at Galleria illy, just visit EspressoCrazy Unfortunately, due to medical issues I am now unable to attend.

However, I am very pleased to announce that I have been given a beautiful Francis Francis X7.1 coffee machine, worth £199 to giveaway. Effortlessly sleek and compact, the X7.1 uses illy coffee iperEspresso capsules to create a smooth, full bodied espresso with just one touch of a button. It is a coffee lovers dream!

To enter the competition, all you need to do is answer the following question:

Who designed the appearance of the Francis Francis X7.1 coffee machine

Please email your answer to by Monday 19th September at 6pm. All the correct answers will then be put together and the winner will be selected by The competition is open to everyone from the UK only. The prize will be delivered by EspressoCrazy.  Any questions about the competition, please email

This competition is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered. The winner will be announced in the next few days🙂

Good luck to everyone!

Many thanks to Molly at Galleria Illy for giving me this fabulous prize to giveaway🙂

A Night at Odettes

Stuart and I are fans of the Great British Menu, the BBC TV programme. We have watched it since the start and we were particularly taken by a young chef, Bryn Williams who appeared in series 1 and got to cook the fish course for the Queen’s 80th Birthday banquet. Therefore, on our second night in London, it was a fairly easy decision as to whose restaurant we wanted to eat at.

Odette’s is located in Primrose Hill and Bryn has worked there since 2006, becoming the chef patron in 2008. We arrived at 7.45pm on a wet and windy Sunday night to find a quiet yet buzzing restaurant, barely noticeable on the High Street unless you knew it was there.  We were seated promptly and left to make up our minds from the fabulous looking menu. Having already looked on-line, we had a fair idea as to what we wanted and when Stuart mentioned that he would like the Roasted turbot, braised oxtail, cockles & samphire for his main (the dish that Bryn cooked for the Queen), we were informed that there was only one left and needed to reserve it, if Stuart wanted it. We did as we were told and reserved it for later.

As an Amuse Bouche, we were served a Cream of Mushroom and Wild Garlic Velouté which was delicious, light, full of flavour but not overpowering. For my starter, I had Roasted wood pigeon, foie gras, pickled cherries, chocolate, vanilla salt (minus the foie gras- pregnant people can’t eat it!) and Stuart had Crab lasagna, salt & pepper squid, shellfish sauce. My starter was amazing. All the flavours worked really well together and the roasted pigeon leg, which was wrapped in filo pastry was like a spring roll. It was delicious. Stuart’s starter was great too as the crab and the squid really worked well together and did not overpower each other.

Stuart’s roast turbot and oxtail was fantastic. I can see why it was served to the Queen. It is a combination that really should not work but it does. The rich oxtail compliments the turbot and brings out it flavours. I only got to try one spoonful of it. Wish I could of tried more. My main of Loin of Elwy Valley lamb, potato fondant, baby gem, peas & mint was perfect too. It comes from Bryn’s family farm in Wales and is melt in the mouth tender. I  wish I could cook lamb half as good as this at home. It was yummy! If I had not of been in public, I would of licked the plate clean.

As a pre dessert we were served panacotta with berries.  The panacotta was rich and creamy, but not so rich that you could not finish it. For dessert I had Lemon curd arctic roll, cranachan & raspberries. I have loved arctic roll since I was a child and was interested to see Bryn’s take on it. The lemon curd in the arctic roll gave it an extra dimension and moved it beyond the ordinary. He can start selling it in supermarkets at any time. I will happily buy it. The crunch of the cranachan and raspberries brought more textures to the plate and cut through the richness of the arctic roll. I will eat it again at anytime.

Overall, we had a fantastic evening at Odette’s. We would like to thank Bryn and his team for a fabulous meal. We will be as soon as we can. In the picture above, I am wearing a Diamond Dress from Lush Mummy who make glamorous maternity wear and I have been lucky enough to be sent some. I will be doing a full post about them and their clothes on Jo’s Nursery soon.

Happy Cooking!🙂

Restaurant Review: Bloomsbury Street Bar and Restaurant

A few weeks ago, Stuart and I had a lovely weekend in London. We went and saw Harrod’s and Borough Market. One evening we were there, we went to the Bloomsbury Street Bar and Restaurant, located in the Radisson Edwardian Bloomsbury Street Hotel. We arrived at 7.45pm on a busy Saturday evening to be greeted by two members of staff, who told us that they were fully booked, barely looking up from their computer screen as they did so. We informed them that we had a reservation, which they then could not find. Eventually, the manager turned up, found our reservation and we were seated by the restaurant entrance. This was not a good start and it did not really improve greatly from there.

To nibble on, while we looked at the modern European menu, we were brought bread and butter, with some olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar to dip. The bread was fantastic.Very warm and very fresh, however the olive oil was very bland and tasteless. It did nothing for the bread at all. To start, I had Cream of Wild Mushroom and Rosemary Soup and Stuart had Marinated fillet of beef with horseradish rosti, mushroom cream. Stuart loved his starter; the beef was beautiful and complemented well by horseradish rosti. Mine was a bit disappointing as it was under-seasoned and  I could not taste any rosemary in it all.

For my main, I had Potato gnocchi with butternut squash and baby spinach and Stuart had Char-grilled rib eye steak from Dillon’s Farm in County Londonderry, pink pepper corn sauce and chips. Stuart’s main was fantastic. The steak was cooked perfectly, the chips were amazing and the peppercorn sauce was lovely. Mine, on the other hand was bland and unseasoned (again!). The sauce was good but it needed more flavour. Something to bring it up a level or two. We shared a green salad as well, which was needed as a contrast to both our mains.

For pudding,  I had Crème brûlée with lemon sorbet and Stuart had lemon sorbet on its own as he is not really a dessert person and did not really like anything else on the menu. My crème brûlée was lovely, very creamy and delicious however the sorbet it came with was not lemon. It had a very strange flavour to it and I could not place what it was. (I think Stuart had all the lemon sorbet!) My sorbet was placed in a wafer basket that would not have looked out of place on an ice cream van. It was not what I expected of a 5* star London hotel. We left the by now empty restaurant at 10pm and went to back to our own hotel.

Overall, I think that the Bloomsbury Street Bar and Restaurant provided acceptable food that would be fine if you were staying in the hotel for one or two nights to eat. However, I do not think that the food is worth a special journey for and it is not what I consider to be 5* London restaurant standard.

You can find out more about London Hotels here.

Note to readers: Stuart and I dined as guests of the Raddison Edwardian Hotels. We received a free three course meal for two with a bottle of house wine. We stayed at the Raddison Edwardian Grafton for two nights with breakfast at a discounted rate. Many thanks to Jimisha for arranging this for us.

PS: Sorry for the haphazardness of my posts of late. You can find out why I have been a bit irregular posting on Jo’s Nursery, here.

A Postcard from Borough Market

On a recent trip to London, I visited Borough Market for the first time. It is complete foodie heaven and I cannot wait to visit it again soon. As it was a busy Saturday afternoon, I did not get chance to really chat to the stallholders so I took photos of the things that interested me while we were walking around. I hope you like them. I will be back with another post soon

Happy Cooking!🙂

A Postcard from Harrods: The Food Hall

Stuart and I recently had a weekend in London. There will be more to follow from this trip soon but for now, please enjoy some pictures that I took in the fabulous Harrod’s Food Hall. (I would live there if I could!)🙂

Browse Bullring Guest Post

I have written a guest review on the Browse Bullring website about Brown’s in Victoria, London. Brown’s Birmingham will be coming to the Bullring in the Winter 2011 as part of the Spiceal Street development. You can read my guest post here.

Hope you like it.

Happy Cooking!🙂