The Roebuck, Chiswick High Road


Cumber-Cumber-Cumberland, originally uploaded by jaxies.

I know, I promised you recipes but I’ve been far too busy to cook of late. Sorry about that! Instead I have another mini write-up for you.

Yesterday I took David to Wimbledon and made an awesome picnic which consisted of a mozzarella, tomato, basil & avocado sandwich and a parma ham, mozzarella and avocado sandwich, cherry tomatoes, grapes, strawberries, two types of cheese, more bread, and a bottle of Pimm’s & lemonade, but because I made it at 7.30am I neglected to take any photos. We spent the day sitting on Henman Hill (or Murray Mount as it’s been renamed since Andy Murray became the Great British Tennis Hope), eating our picnic periodically, getting a little sunburnt, snapping photos and watching various tennis matches. I know how to pack a picnic, innit.

Anyway, Wimbledon and picnics aside, this evening I took my friends Tyler and Darren (funny story how I met Darren – I was in a gay bar in Portland with some friends, one friend was dancing next to Tyler and said, “My friend Jackie’s from England! She lives in London!” to which Tyler responded, “I’m moving to London! To Chiswick?” at which point I screamed, “OMGz THAT’S MY HOMETOWN!!!” – random, right? Absolutely brilliant, though!) to The Roebuck on Chiswick High Road, my fave gastro-pub. I actually took my first ever blog friend Ashley here when she visited me in London last summer, introduced her to Pimm’s (it’s all about the mint!) and the fantastic Cumberland sausage.


Pho Me Up – Saigon Saigon, King Street


Pho-A-Licious, originally uploaded by jaxies.

Wow. So I have a couple of things to apologise for. Firstly, I am SO sorry about the quality of these photos. Suffice to say I was having some serious issues with my camera that evening. I don’t even remember why, I was just having issues. Secondly, I’ve been pretty quiet, eh? Sorry about that! Things have been a little crazy over the past few days and I haven’t cooked anything new and/or significant. I’m a working girl now, my time is not my own! Well, sometimes.

The good news is that I’ve got a few recipes I’m in the process of developing and they look like they’re going to be REALLY good. I’ve just kinda got to figure them out, test them, perfect them and then I can blog about them. But for now you’ll have to make do with another write-up because that’s all I’ve got on the back-burner!

Oh, also, whilst I remember, my very good friend Alex and I are talking about doing some guest posting. Alex is one of the cleverest, nicest and coolest people I know, not only because he is side-splittingly funny, but also because he’s a damn good cook and a Vegan at that. He also has beautiful tattoos all over his arms. There’s no relation to food behind that – I just like his ink. In the meantime you should check out his Tumblr to see what he’s been eating and making. He and his beautiful girlfriend Catriona often invite me over for an evening of Vegan Tasties and I’m always well fed. In fact, thanks to them, I could quite happily be Vegan… that is if I didn’t like meat so much. Watch this space for a guest post from Alex very soon.

Well then. The meat of this post. Vietnamese pho. I cannot tell you how much I love Vietnamese pho. I had been craving this for weeks before I finally sat down to a steaming bowl. I’d even been dreaming about it. Why is it so great? Let me count the ways.


Do You Mooli? If Not, Why Not?!


These are great times that we live in – we live in the time of the viral. The instant. The I-Can-Set-Up-An-Interview-With-The-Mooli’s-Boys-On-Twitter-In-150-Characters-Or-Less. Yup, this all happened because I Tweeted them asking if I could pop down for a chat and some photos, and their speedy response was, “Deal. Best to come by after peak time though (2pm)”. How amazing is that? Sometimes Twitter is totally useless, but sometimes it’s perfect.

Sam (left) & Mathew (right), the co-owners of Mooli’s, are two of the nicest, most genuine and generous guys you will ever meet… and they’re cute, to boot. Within minutes of me arriving at 50 Frith Street, the Mooli’s home since mid-September 2009, Sam had thrust a complimentary refreshing mango lassi in my hand (which I definitely needed after my jaunt into Soho from Hammersmith!) and was chatting away to me with a big smile on his face, despite the fact that he was watching the England vs. Slovenia match on his MacBook. In fact, all the staff were watching the match on his MacBook, except for Mathew who was across the road at a karaoke bar, watching the match there. Whoops – I scheduled my interview during England’s World Cup match.


Releasing My Inner Foodie Communist: Food For The People By The People #4


Time for entry #4 in my Food Project Competition, which (if you don’t know by now and you SHOULD know by now so haven’t you been paying attention?!) is running up until the end of August and details of which can be found here. Get thinking, get submitting and I look forward to eating!

Floatykatja over at Kudocities submitted her recipe for Linguine a la Vongole, and I have to say, it totally hit the spot. I mean, I like linguine. I like clams. I like tomatoes. I love garlic. How was this not going to be delicious?!

Momma Lee is my main taste tester at home, whenever I cook something she’s there with fork (or spoon, or knife, or fingers) in hand (ha, fingers in hand), ready to dig in and give me her best opinion. Momma Lee is also very critical of food, so when she says it’s tasty you know it’s pretty darn tasty.


I Can Haz New Toyz?


So, as you may have noticed, I have a shiny new badge over on the right-hand side of my blog – yes, I am now a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher! Happy times! I’m just glad that I’ll be able to share my Feeder habits with you all with Foodbuzz behind me – I’m gon’ make you fat. Actually, one of my friends said that to me the other day – we went for a coffee and she said that if we lived together I would definitely make her put on a lot of weight because of my Feeder ways. I guess that’s a compliment to my cooking…

Anyway, Foodbuzz aside, you may have noticed that I have some new toys! There’s a fantastic cooks’ haven called Whisk where I often go to gaze upon their beautiful cookware and lust after items I can’t afford. However, thanks to the end of formalised education and my continued part-time job selling posh baby items (ooOOOooh, seriously though, you having a baby? I can hook you up with some badass stuff), I’m in the money and slowly but surely I’m working on building up my perfect kitchen.

Now I like gadgets just as much as any other aspiring Heston Blumenthall (but female. And with a much easier name to pronounce), but too many gadgets in your kitchen just screams hassle and mess to me. Sure, they may be fun to play with at first, but then you’ve gotta clean ’em up! And put ’em away! And deep down I am just far too lazy for all that hassle. And storage space?! Hello. However, the one thing I was severely lacking were measuring cups and measuring spoons. I KNOW. How does one bake without these vital items? With great deviation between recipe and product, that’s how. NO LONGER SHALL I HAVE MISSHAPEN BAKED GOODS, NO! Those inaccurately measured proportional ways are behind me! I mean, just LOOK at that beautiful set of measuring cups! Look! They’re red and gorgeous! And they come with a leveller! And they didn’t cost me an arm and a leg! I KNOW.


Releasing My Inner Foodie Communist: Food For The People By The People #3


Yet another pretty recipe for you all from my Food Project competition. Remember, if you want to get involved your recipes must be in by the end of August. See this page for further details and if you want to get involved, you know what to do!

The very funny MarkE over at Kudocities submitted the following recipe to me: a summery fish stew. Now, I know what you’re thinking, fish stew? In the summer?! It cannot be! But it’s not super heavy and it’s packed full of flavour, and I don’t know about you guys but summer in the UK is less than awesome, so this is actually a pretty good dinner dish for those cool summer evenings. It also tastes great, did I mention that? This post is rather image heavy, purely because the light was really good so I found myself taking a lot of photos – just a head’s up!

The only real “flavours” of the stew come from these three ingredients – tomato puree, mixed herbs and cayenne pepper. I was surprised by the depth of flavour, though, and the cayenne packed one heck of a punch which I wasn’t expecting.


Not-Quite-Ina But Still Darn Good


I warned you, you’re going to get a lot of Ina’s recipes now that I’ve got her book! I’ve been looking through it like a mad woman, trying to think what I wanted to make (as I write this I’m actually watching her on the Food Network at the same time – I know, I’m an Ina freak), and the only current issue is that some of it isn’t particularly summer-friendly. A little too hot for lobster chowder right now, but trust me, when it gets colder again I will be back in there, lobsters in hand – bow-chicka-wow-wow!

Anyway, this particular recipe was inspired by Ina but deviated a lot from her recipe, so I call it my “Not-Quite-Ina Garlic Bread”. I had some leftover sun-dried tomato bread that was going a little stale, so I drizzled it with a little olive oil to crisp it up, and then slathered it in the garlic-herby-butter. I also increased the garlic amounts a little but it was suuuuper strong (lucky we weren’t going out last night!…or talking to anyone for about eight hours…) so I’d recommend having a little less garlic. Anyway. It came out pretty, eh?

Get your garlic on. Perfect for those summer months… as long as you don’t mind having garlic breath for the whole day – maybe only eat around close-friends. Or people you really hate and never want to hear from again. Yeah, maybe that’s a better idea…


Mai Jauw Ish Schtuck


Thanks for all of the lovely comments over the past few days – sorry for the relative quiet from me, I’ve been super busy since I got results and haven’t had time to cook anything. Today, however, Jun has been over and we’ve made a few things from my new book Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa: Back To Basics. I bought this book because I looove Ina Garten, whenever she’s on the food channels I watch her obsessively. I love everything she does, she’s pretty much my domestic goddess hero.

Anyway, this book is incredible. Everything in it looks so good, and because it’s Ina I trust her and the way she describes what she does. Funnily enough, I saw her making these amazing sticky buns on her show and then found the recipe in my book. I kinda had to make them.

They’re really simple and easy to make and they taste phenomenal. Seriously. I gave one to Momma Lee and she gobbled up another one immediately afterwards. I’ll be cooking a few things from Ina over the next few weeks so expect lots more from her! I love Ina. Seriously. The only downfall? My jaw got stuck together from the stickiness so I couldn’t eat any more! I may or may not have stashed a few away for later, though…


Come Fly Away


So some pretty big news. I got my Uni results today and after four years of blood, sweat and tears (lots of tears) I am finally the proud owner of a BA in American & English Studies, classification 2:1. Absolutely over the moon about it.

When Jun came over last week we did a lot of baking, but our most nostalgic item were our Fairy Cakes. I remember Fairy Cakes from being little and going to children’s parties where they were served along with finger cucumber, ham & cheese and tuna salad sandwiches (always white bread, crusts cut off), cocktail sausages with ketchup (maybe this is why I don’t like the taste of ketchup – too much of it as a child), usually some sort of assorted biscuit selection (which always looked waaay better than it actually tasted), and orange squash that was either too dilute or too syrupy. Then the birthday cake was served, which was often in the shape of big pink ballet slippers (how I ALWAYS wanted to have my birthday cake in the shape of big pink ballet slippers) and I would almost always have some sort of crazy allergic reaction to the food colouring in said big pink ballet slippers, hence why my mother never got them for my birthday.

Anyway, despite that, these butterfly cupcakes are lovely. The originally recipe calls for a little double cream to be placed in the butterfly wing ‘cavity’ along with the jam, but we like to make them with buttercream instead (made with butter and icing sugar). This is the second time I’ve made them with Jun and for some reason they came out a little dry, so either cook for a little less time (we went for 30 mins) or increase the milk/butter amounts ever-so-slightly.

Also, you must use strawberry jam. That’s real jam, none of this jelly stuff. The difference between jam and jelly is that jam are fruit preserves, ie. real fruit, stewed with sugar for a very long time. Jelly is essence of real fruit, made into a gelatin-like substance and a disgrace to all breakfast foods. So now that we’ve cleared that one up… enjoy.


The Barbican’s Balcony Bistro, Silk Street


The (Black) Rock, originally uploaded by jaxies.

I’ve got another write-up for you! Plus one more recipe in the recipe bank (currently), but let’s save that for a day or two.

My mom and I made a deal that once a fortnight we’ll go out on an Arts-related excursion, whether it’s dance, theatre, music, art or whatever. This time we went to the Barbican Centre on Silk Street for a modern dance show by the Michael Clark Company called Come, Been & Gone. It was phenomenal, a really wonderful show. You can read a little more about it on my Life Blog, here.

We got there early enough to have dinner first, so we decided to go to the Barbican’s Balcony Bistro. The Barbican has two restaurants, the Balcony Bistro and Searcy’s, and a more casual cafe, the Waterside Cafe. We were in the mood for something a little less sandwich-y but not too fancy, so the Bistro it was.

The service is generally pretty good, aside from the fact that we stood around awkwardly being ignored by waitresses and the host/maitre d’ for a good five minutes when we first came in. However, after we were finally seated they proved to be both fast and friendly.

Momma Lee had a Pimm’s and I had an “Apple Flower” – apple juice, elderflower fizz and mint. Pretty refreshing, particularly considering how hot it was that day.


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