This week so far has been a fabulously foodie one. I'll start with Tuesday... lunch at the National Portrait Gallery restaurant kicked off with a lychee champagne cocktail, fine selection of cured herring and then lincolnshire poacher cheese with spiced flatbread. The views over Trafalgar Square are amazing (especially if you like a bird's eye view of Nelson;s ass) and there's a spot where- if you stand looking in the mirror behind the bar- looks as if you could be in Rome, or Venice.
Which is exactly the vibe I went for that night for dinner. I popped into Lina Store in Soho for some taralli, buffalo mozzarella and their gorgeous fresh ravioli- PROPER fresh ravioli, not the nasty plastic crap sold in supermarkets that purport to be fresh but have zillions of e numbers. Went for spinach and ricotta, two dozen for a light main course for 4. The old chap who runs the shop is finally retiring, to the Amalfi coast. He invited me to visit him anytime, and when he handed me my purchases he gave me a big, sloppy kiss right on the lips! I think he must be trying get in as many snogs as possible before he leaves London for good.
Berwick Street market is still a bargain hunter's paradise, with loads of good fruit & veg for a pound a bowl (I LOVE a bargain!). Got some lovely courgettes which I fried in a light batter and sprinkled with red wine vinegar, served at room temperature. Grilled some aubergines, and red peppers with olive oil and garlic, seved with rosemary focaccia (thank you waitrose!) And then I put together a huge platter of multi-coloured tomatoes- red, green, yellow, baby Marzano, mottled purple...with torn mozzarella and basil, olive oil, sea salt & pepper. Washed down with a Camas Rosé from one of my fave domaines, Anne de Joyeuse in St Hilaire, near Limoux in France.
For dessert I made one of my favourite cakes, and the easiest in the world to boot. I was testing the recipe (again!) as I have been asked by my friend Allegra to contribute a recipe for her new cookbook, Fairtrade Baking, due out next year. So keep an eye out for my Fabulously Fast Chocolate Cake- half an hour from start to finish!