Journey Across the Waters

As a Brit who has never travelled across the pond, my obsession from watching MasteChef US has always caused me to crave for rustic American food, especially Southern cuisine. A while ago, I came across a blog on the traditional biscuits and gravy, and that made me wonder if these old American comfort classics could also be found in London.

After a quick google search, I found the Fat Bear – a superb Southern-style American restaurant tucked away in a small alley near Blackfriars station. The place isn’t very big itself but this adds to its homey atmosphere alongside the comfort food they serve. I was sat on the bar table, giving me full view of the wide range of drinks they had available. Since it was Friday, why not start the evening with a little cocktail? πŸ˜‰

For starters, I ordered deviled eggs and the classic gumbo. The eggs were so enjoyable with their creamy texture, and the spices in the gumbo were a perfect stimulation to my appetite for the rest of the evening.

The main was the one I was most looking forward to, given it was my craving for biscuits and gravy that drove me here in the first place. This buttermilk biscuit chicken sandwich literally composed all of the most beloved things in American cuisine in one single dish- buttery biscuits; crispy fried chicken; and a rich, creamy sausage gravy. It was the king of all comfort foods.

The other thing that I really enjoyed this evening was the friendly atmosphere between the staff and the customers. The waitresses were very friendly and welcoming, and the owner who was bartending at the table had very kindly offered me a free sample of their treasured whisky. (It was super strong!) I was sat next to two other customers at the bar. It turned out one of them was a friend of the owners and the other was visiting from the State. I was pleasantly surprised when we struck up a conversation and they even offered to share a piece of their cornbread with me. We all chatted like a group of old friends with the owners, bonding over food, that I forgot that we were just mere strangers who happened to cross paths this very night. But what I did feel was the warmth of humanity that brought me smiling from ear to ear. It almost felt too soon that I needed to say goodbyes to these people.

Feeling fuzzy from the warmth (and the alcohols πŸ˜‚), I decided to take a walk along River Thames, stumbling across various spots along the waters to walk off the calories. Despite being nine in the evening, the outside was still bright like early afternoon.

After a brief walk along South Bank, I came upon one of my favourite frozen yogurt spot. It won’t be like me not to stop for a short dessert break, right?

Let the weekend begins! 😁

It’s Pizza Friday!

I doubt anyone can resist the temptation of a delicious pizza. And they always taste better after a night of heavy drinking to celebrate the end of the week! I particular enjoy the taste of homemade pizzas, given the fact I am one of those people who likes to go crazy with the toppings. Whether you like a plain old Margherita or a rich Meat Lovers, one of the best things of making pizzas at home is that you can put whatever you want on it!

The pizza dough recipe I used came from a Pizza Margherita recipe on BBC Good Food. (Link: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4683/pizza-margherita-in-4-easy-steps ) It is very easy to adapt to make any types of pizza you want!

Pizza

Quantity: 2 pizzas

Ingredients:

300g strong white/bread flour

1 tsp instant yeast

1 tsp salt

200ml warm water

1 tbsp olive oil

Toppings of your choice

Method:

  1. Place the flour in a large bowl. Stir yeast and salt into the flour.
  2. Make a well in the flour mixture, and pour in water and olive oil. Mix until well-combined and you have a soft, fairly wet dough.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 5 minutes and until smooth.
  4. Cover and set aside before use. (You do not need to leave the dough to rise but it is not essential for a thin crust.)
  5. Prepare the toppings.
  6. Roll out the dough on a floured surface. The dough needs to be very thin as it will rise when baking in the oven.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 240C/fan 220C /gas 8.
  8. Place toppings on pizza and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until crisp and toppings cooked.

Why not give it a try to start your weekend? Have it ready to cure your hangover the next day!

What is your favourite kind of pizza? Tell me in the comments below!

An 1-Hour Trip To Tokyo

After a few days of less than ideal weather, London finally welcomed back the sun. In fact it was so hot today, I had been constantly filling myself up with cold drinks and ice creams! πŸ˜…

Despite the heat in the underground threatened to melt me alive, I continued my search for good food and arrived in Eat Tokyo. Those of you who lived in the city might be somewhat familiar with it as they do have a handful of branches dotted around London. Japanese cuisine is definitely one my favourites to eat. Before it has become such a mainstream cuisine internationally, it used to be quite a high end thing to eat back in the days. During my childhood whilst growing up in Hong Kong, my family and I used to spend ages queueing to eat in Japanese restaurants. It was quite a luxurious treat to me back then!

The one thing I like about Eat Tokyo is that, besides big, bold flavours, they serve large portions for around the same price you will get in similar restaurants. My first dish was a yellowtail sushi. Yellowtail is one of the best fish to eat raw in my opinion. It has a very tender and light texture, and pairs very well with the pickled ginger that accompanied the sushi. I must confess I have an obsession with pickled ginger, which my grandmother used to make regularly when she was still with us.

The second dish was a foie gras with daikon. Most people when they think of foie gras, their mind immediately jump to French cuisine but it’s actually also a fairly commonly used ingredient in Japanese cuisine as well. Daikon, for those of you who are not sure, is a Japanese radish. This radish is famous for its juiciness and sweetness, and it is best served after cooking for a long time in a broth or sauce, where the daikon will become very soft and flavourful. (My family is obsessed with daikon and used to fight over who gets to eat the last pieces!) In this dish, the richness of the foie gras contrasts very well with the lightness of the daikon, though I do think the sauce is slightly on the heavy side.

The last dish was what they called a katsu sara, which to me was a katsudon with rice served separately. Katsudon is a classic Japanese dish consisting of breaded pork cutlets cooked in eggs, vegetables and a sweet soy sauce, and then served over a bowl of rice. It is also an old favourite of mine since I was young. I had so many happy memories eating this dish as a kid.

I wasn’t able to finish it however, so I got a doggy bag with me when I left. At least that’s my lunch set for tomorrow!

(P.S. As if it wasn’t enough to fill me up already, I also went for a gelato afterwards…. πŸ˜‚ You heard of the saying that “you always have room for desserts”?)

Anyway, you can NEVER have too much ice creams!

It’s NEVER Too Cold For Ice Cream

Remember the iconic scene in Roman Holiday when Audrey Hepburn was eating ice cream on the Spanish Steps? Unlike her though, eating ice cream on a warm, sunny day pose more of a challenge for me thanks to the lovely British weather. (Yes, I am being sarcastic. :p)

As I walked under drizzles of rain, buying groceries in Central London today, I nonetheless paid a visit to my favourite ice cream shop in town. I stumbled across Yolkin one night a couple of months ago when I was wandering around near Chinatown. Their unique, Asian-inspired flavours are some of the most innovate ideas I’ve seen in ice cream anywhere. Some of my favourites of theirs include egg tart, mango & mochi, white rabbit candy and pocky biscuit sticks, and honestly I have been kept coming back for more ever since my first visit.

They also do the most fabulous macaron ice cream sandwiches.

Here is a link to their Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/yolkinmacice/?locale2=en_GB

Tell me about your favourite ice cream flavours and desserts in the comments!

Waking Up with a Spaghetti Brain

It’s Bank Holiday Monday today, which means no waking up altogether, and sleeping until the end of the world! Yet, when I woke up this morning, I was strangely craving for pasta, so I hit up one of my favourite spots in town for lunch.

When I was a teenager, I always imagined pasta as a soggy, bland mess like those I used to be served in school lunches. That was until I discovered fresh pasta a couple of years ago. Once you had a taste of fresh pasta, there is no going back from there! Pasta Remoli does some of my most favourite pasta dishes, with their lobster linguine being one of my all time favourite (sadly they don’t have it in store today :/). All it takes is a bowl of pasta to cure my “spaghetti brain” for today!

What is your favourite pasta dish?