JUST SNAPPED @littleswallowchinadoll

Cafe East, Surrey Quays

According to Miss O, who was extremely shocked I'd never heard of Cafe East, I'm "too white" - hence why no one has ever mentioned it to me. Basically, because I don't have many asian friends, I've seemingly been denied the best pho I've tasted in London until now.

Cafe Da (Vietnamese coffee), Sua Dau Nanh (sweet soya milk) 

Banh Cuon

Goi Cuon

I have to say, Cafe East is a trek if you don't live south east. A ten minute walk from Canada Water  station, past media offices and in a densely residential area, it's not the kind of place you're likely to just stumble upon.

Pho Tai


But boy, is the food good. This is definitely the best Vietnamese I've had in London - and I hereby formally retract my previous claim that pho in London sucks compared to Sydney (even if the beef wasn't really rare). This stuff is good. Real good.

Cafe East on Urbanspoon Square Meal

Olympic Fever

I gotta tell ya, I'm a pretty lucky lady. Not only did I get to experience Olympic magic in Sydney in 2000, I'm getting to do it all again now in London. 

I freaking love these mascots. Even though they look like aliens. 


So I got to watch the torch run by outside my office (thankfully our facilities manager wasn't there to stop us hanging out the windows - up until that day I honestly believed him when he said the windows couldn't be opened).


And then yesterday we went to the boxing (sadly, the only tickets we managed to get out of the stack we applied for in the lottery) where we got to witness Australian and Great British victories.


According to the CG that's a "W" for "winning". Hmm.

For all the flack that the organisers have had to deal with in the lead up to the games, I have to say that our experience today was brilliant. No issues with transport, great directions issued from smiling, helpful volunteers, and quick clearance through security checks, again with extremely cheerful staff.

Actually my only criticism is of fellow games goers who booed the entry of the opposition to the Great British boxer we saw. It's really not cool, or sporting. Next time, just try politely clapping instead of cheering wildly, yeah?

A Taste of Noma at Claridge's

To go to Copenhagen to eat in the world's best restaurant, 3 years in a row, or to jump online and furiously try and nab myself a table when Noma sets itself up in Claridge's for just ten days over the Olympics? And while we're on the subject, how good was the opening ceremony last night? Feeling very proud of my adopted home right now (but seriously, what are these mascots?).


Today we finally got to experience firsthand why Noma is so highly regarded. 


A glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne to start? Don't mind if I do...


Oh yes, those were really ants.


And then it was time for a spot of afternoon tea...


...the most addictive bread and butter...


...tartar and oyster...


...celariac and the pièce de résistance - lamb. Major foodgasm.


Finished off with a little something sweet.


If you've got tickets, you are going to love it. If you don't...well, Copenhagen is just a plane ride away!

Bea's of Bloomsbury's Crawfish Boil


Ever since I travelled for a month with a Texan, I've dreamt of trying deep fried turkey (yep, apparently there are fryers deep enough to fit a whole thanksgiving turkey), a turducken (a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken), and a crawfish boil.

Yesterday, one of those dreams came true.

Tucked away under a railway arch off not far from Tower Bridge, every Thursday for the next month, Bea's of Bloomsbury is holding a crawfish boil. 



By 7:30pm the place was rammed, every spare bit of table taken up with dipping sauces, jugs of margaritas, hot out of the oven slabs of garlic bread, and deep dishes full of spicy crawfish, corn on the cob, potatoes and tasty sausage. 



These phone pics don't really do the glory justice - but with bibs on, industrial rolls of paper towel at the ready, and nothing but our hands to peel crawfish and shovel delicious morsels of goodness into our mouths, fishing my camera out of my handbag was not an option.



The cajun butter dipping sauce was ridiculously good. I'm going to have to make that bad boy at home somehow. 



Squeezed elbow to elbow on our benches, we got through four big serves of boil between the five of us. Personally, I think we could have gone for more, but our fingers were getting a little sore from all the peeling.


And when we were done, we got to finish off with the most real strawberry ice block (ice lolly for you British folk, and popsicles for you Canadians) I've had the pleasure of, er, sucking. 

I loved the whole rustic, casual vibe - plus how can you go past any eating experience that warns you to wear clothes that "you may need to burn in shame afterwards"?! Book your spot here - you won't regret it!

A cheeky trip to Boubers-sur-Canche

I don't mean to brag, but I gotta tell you - I had the perfect relaxing long weekend. 

We gorged ourselves at Goodman in Mayfair with Miss O and B on 900g porterhouse steaks, mac and cheese, garlic mushrooms and salty green beans - heaven. And that was just Friday night!

For the main event, Team A kindly invited us to their parent's place in the gorgeous French countryside, in the teeny little village of Boubers-sur-Canche. Delicious BBQ and crisp, cold wine were at the ready when we arrived.


With the sun shining, we were waited on by the a-ma-zing Mrs A, who is definitely the best hostess and superman cake maker around. I am not even exaggerating when I say that we once agreed it was lunch time and less than 3 minutes later there was hot food ready and served up. For 10 people! Pretty sure she has the super power of preempting every guests need (preempathy? preempathising?). 


And the rest of the crew weren't bad company either...although I know far too much about sleep habits and belly button fluff now.



This is how I want to work every day:


Well, a girl can dream, can't she?

Try it Thursday: Seriously loaded potato and chicken bake

I wouldn't say I'm competitive exactly...I just like to win. 

To kick off the launch of one of our new products at work, Seriously Strong Cheese Sauce, we were all handed tubs and tasked with spicing up a recipe for a grand prize of champagne and bake ware. Frankly, I did it for the glory, not the prizes - but I certainly won't say no to champagne. 

Inspired by a recipe I've been seeing on pinterest lately from Cook Lisa Cook, I decided on a Seriously loaded potato and chicken bake (see what I did there? SERIOUSLY?!).

Throw whatever seasonings you have to hand into a bowl – I used crushed garlic, salt, ground pepper, Tabasco, crushed chilli flakes and paprika.


Mix into a marinade with olive oil.



Dice up potatoes (I left the skins on) and coat thoroughly with the mix.




Spread out in a single layer in an oven proof dish, and put into a 250C oven for around 35 minutes, tossing as necessary, until crispy.




While the potatoes are roasting, throw diced chicken fillets into the remaining mix, allowing them to marinade.




In a separate bowl, mix diced bacon, chopped green onions, and a handful of whatever hard cheese you have on hand – I used a mix of Seriously Strong Cheddars, obviously.



  


When the potatoes are done, pull them out of the oven and lay the raw marinated chicken over them.




Place dollops of Seriously Strong Cheese Sauce around the dish – use as much or little as you like.





Cover the lot with the bacon mix and pop back into the oven, reducing the temperature to 200C for 30 – 35 minutes until chicken is cooked through.




Serve up with a simple side salad and enjoy!




Fingers crossed for the winners announcement tomorrow...

Mid week at McQueen, Shoreditch

Miss O is da bomb of last minute deals and one off specials. And apparently, this time, she was just one of 1,400 people to snap up this timeout deal at McQueen - at a mere £25 for 3 courses and a bottle of wine for two, wouldn't you?


  





I blame the dodgy photo quality above on my sniggering at their definition of "key lime pie". Still...I do want a new compact camera that works in dim light. Hmm. Can I wait until Christmas?


Not knock-your-socks-off, but not bad for £12.50 a head in Shoreditch!