Breddos Tacos at Trip Space

I blogged about Breddos Tacos last year (see post here), during their residency at Slider Bar in Soho. A few months ago they moved east and found a new home at Trip Space in Haggerston, where they serve their Mexican / American inspired dishes for dinner and brunch from Wednesdays to Sundays.

The brunch menu is a new addition to their offer and it features dishes like classic American pancakes, Huevos Rancheros and fried chicken. I think it sounds amazing and I'm really keen in trying it soon. Have a look at the photos on What Katie Does and I bet you will want to try it too!

Breddos Tacos at Trip Space
Breddos Tacos at Trip Space

I was invited in May to try Breddos Tacos for dinner and I've delayed blogging about my experience for so long because I was hoping to go back for the brunch and combine all my photos in one post. Unfortunately with all the travelling and the fact that Haggerston is an hour away from my home, I haven't had a chance to go back yet.

So without further ado, here are the photos of my dinner at Breddos Tacos @ Trip Space!

Breddos Tacos at Trip Space
Breddos Tacos at Trip Space

The dinner menu is divided into 'shack favourites' from Breddos' street food days, such as tostadas and tacos; ‘the plancha’ which features new dishes like glazed chicken wings, grilled mackerel and roasted pork belly; the 'sides' (pickled chillies, charcuterie, fried chicken and chips); vegetables and desserts.

We ordered a few tacos and tostadas with some vegetable sides, but we didn't get try any of the 'plancha' dishes in this occasion (we arrived there at 21:30 and only decided to order more food after 22:00, but by then the kitchen was closed). Another reason to go back soon!

We tried the 10hr slow roast chipotle beef short rib tacos; the Conchinita pork pibil tostadas; and the pickled beetroot, carrot, queso fresco and pine nuts tostadas.

Breddos Tacos at Trip Space
Breddos Tacos at Trip Space
Breddos Tacos at Trip Space
Breddos Tacos at Trip Space

I have eaten Breddos' tacos many times at Street Feast and they are definitely among the best you can find in London. I think that with the Trip Space residency they have upped their game, now serving "refined" tacos that look beautiful and taste as delicious as their street dishes.

We ate the tacos and tostadas with different vegetable on the side: street salad with jalapeno & lime dressing (not pictured below); charred spring onions with sour cream and queso fresco and triple cooked chipotle patatas bravas.

Breddos Tacos at Trip Space
Breddos Tacos at Trip Space
Breddos Tacos at Trip Space

Obviously I had space in my tummy for dessert, so we shared a slice of Mississipi Mud Pie: the tart base was not as crunchy as I would have liked, but overall the cake was quite good.

Breddos Tacos at Trip Space

You can find Breddos Tacos @ Trip Space, Arch 339-40, Acton Mews, E8 4EA.

Also don't miss their street food stall at Street Feast in Dalston Yard and at Model Market in Lewisham.

Disclaimer: I was offered a complimentary dinner at the restaurant. All opinions are my own.

Trip Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda

This is the summer to celebrate all things Brazil and, even though England and Italy are out of the World Cup, there's no reason to stop me from joining the celebrations!

Last week I was invited by Tilda to a Brazilian Supperclub cooked by 2010 MasterChef winner Dhruv Baker with Hot and Chilli blogger Rosana McPhee. The dinner was hosted at the beautiful Islington home of Luiz Hara, aka The London Foodie.

Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda
Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda
Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda

It was a balmy summer evening, so before dinner I chatted with the other guests in the garden, drinking Brazil's signature cocktail Caipirinha and eating canapés: bolinho de arroz (rice fritters), coração de galinha,(chicken heart bbq sticks), empadinha (mini pies with palm heart filling) and pao de queijo (baked Brazilian cheese bread).

I was too squeamish to try the chicken hearts, but I loved all the other canapés, especially the cheese bread which was piping hot and so delicious!

Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda
Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda

The dinner tables were beautifully set with mix-matched vintage crockery and a Brazilian "Wish Bracelet" (Fitas do Senhor do Bonfim da Bahia) of different colours on every plate. Rosana explained that the bracelet is given by a friend and it needs to be tied up around your wrist by another friend. So the gift was from Rosana, while Luiz walked around the table to tie the bracelets around our wrists.

Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda

As a starter we had Feijoada - mini bowls of black bean stew, Portuguese sausages calabresa and paio, sundried meat, smoked ribs and bacon. Dhruv prepared the dish using the Tilda Limited Edition Brazilian Samba Rice (cooked with shredded greens, orange and toasted with cassava flour) which is available in stores now and until November.

There is something very comforting about a bowl of rice and beans, it's a simple and hearty dish that that I would love to recreate at home.

Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda

After the starter we were served two main courses. The first one was Moqueca, a white fish stew from the region of Bahia cooked in coconut milk, tomato, onion, coriander, annatto and palm oil.

It was served with Pirao de Peixe, a traditional accompaniment to this type of stew, made with fish, onions, herbs and broth thickened with cassava flour.

Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda
Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda
Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda
Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda

Before dinner Dhruv was in the back garden barbecuing rump cap of beef on the grill. This is a cut of beef that is very popular in Brazil where it is called Picanha.

Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda
Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda
Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda

So the star of the night at the Brazilian Supperclub was Picanha with pimenta de bico, manteiga de garrafa which is beef roasted under a blanket of rock salt, served with Brazilian chilli pepper and drizzled with clarified butter and roasted garlic bulbs.

It's a great cut of meat and I liked how it was cooked medium rear and served with the chilli and garlic.

Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda
Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda
Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda

The side dishes complemented the grilled meat perfectly: juicy tomatoes with palm heart and red onions; sautée cassava and fried plantain. I had never eaten cassava before, but it's so good! I must try to cook it at home.

Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda
Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda

To finish this fantastic dinner, we were served a trio of Brazilian desserts: Caju sorbet (cashew fruit sorbet), Brigadeiro de copo (a Brazilian sweet made with chocolate and condensed milk) and my favourite Quindim (egg yolks and coconut tart). I have tried Quindim before and it's a great recipe to make when you have a lot of egg yolks left over from making meringue or macarons!

Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda
Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda
Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda

And after all the food and bubbly, I couldn't say no to a Brazilian espresso!

Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda
Brazilian Supperclub with Dhruv Baker and Tilda

Brazil was already at the top of my dream travel list, but now I'm itching even more to visit this country and taste all this amazing food again!

Thank you very much to Rosana, Dhruv, Luiz and the Tilda team for inviting me to such a nice dinner and introducing me to Brazilian cuisine!

Disclaimer: I was invited to dinner at the supperclub. All opinions are my own.

Tuscan Cookery with Tuscany Now

Last month I attended my first ever cooking class, a Tuscan Cookery workshop for food bloggers organised by Tuscany Now and hosted at the Open Kitchen in Hoxton.

Chef Anna Bini was our teacher for the evening.

Anna has got 60 years of experience in Tuscan cuisine, she manages three restaurants in Paris (Casa Bini) and runs cooking classes in both France and Italy. She is charismatic, strong, smart, funny and it was an absolute pleasure to meet her. She reminded me so much of my grandmother: the way she talks to anyone despite not speaking English, sharing her knowledge and experience. I also have a soft spot for Tuscan accent, so it was lovely to hear her speak! :)

We started the evening with a Tuscan aperitivo of red and white wine, cured ham and salami, pecorino cheese and taralli crackers.

After the aperitivo, we moved upstairs to the kitchen. I loved the space, as we were each assigned to an individual space with all the ingredients and tools ready to start cooking.

Here we met Anna, who demonstrated us how to prepare a traditional and rustic Tuscan dish: Courgette Flan with Chicken Liver Pâté.

There were a few “oohs” from the audience of bloggers during the demo: at the sight of precious (and impossible to find in UK) courgette flowers being diced, we all let out a small cry! I was also surprised by the quantities of butter used in both the courgette flan and the chicken livers. Finally, I was dubious about using stock instead of salt, as I find it hard to judge the right amount to use and would risk over-seasoning. I guess that is not an issue when you have 60 years of cooking experience! ;)

This courgette flan is a great recipe idea for a dinner party: perfect as a side dish to both meat and fish. I also enjoyed the chicken livers: I wouldn’t have ordered this in a restaurant, but I was surprised by how tender and tasty they were.

Ingredients

For the flan

* 8 courgettes with their flower
* 300g béchamel sauce
* 50g unsalted butter
* 50g grated parmesan cheese
* 2 eggs
* Nutmeg
* Breadcrumbs
* 2 spoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 2 cloves garlic
* 1 bunch of fresh parsley or mint
* 1 stock cube

For the pâté

* 500g chicken livers
* 20g unsalted butter
* 2 spoons olive oil
* 1 beef stock cube
* 1 finely chopped onion
* 1/2 glass white wine
* 2 anchovy fillets
* Juice of 1/2 squeezed lemon

Preparation

Wash the courgettes and dice them, cut the pistils off the flowers and shred them into small pieces. In a pan put 1/2 glass of water, the butter, stock cube, diced courgettes and flowers, garlic and shredded parsley/mint.

Cover the pan and cook on a high flame for 5 minutes. Take the lid off and keep stirring so that the liquid evaporates.

Once the courgettes are cooked, chop the mixture finely and mix with the béchamel, add a pinch of nutmeg, 2 eggs and mix carefully.

Add the grated parmesan at the end. Grease an oven mould (preferably use one with a hole in the middle) and dust with breadcrumbs, pour the courgette mix in and bake in the oven at 220 °C for approximately 30 minutes until it is golden.

Wash the chicken livers thoroughly and cut them into small pieces. Put them in a pan with the butter, olive oil, stock cube and onion. Sautée on medium flame for approximately 15 minutes with the lid on. Take off the lid and turn the gas to maximum and keep turning and sautéing them.

When they are nicely done add a tiny amount of wine and keep turning them; add more wine this way 2 or 3 times until it is finished. Add the anchovies and the lemon juice at the end.

Tip: Don’t add the lemon during the cooking and don’t stir the livers too hard, as this will make them mash. I might have been “told off” by Anna at this point, as I eventually burnt the meat! :P

When the flan is ready and has cooled down a little, flip it over on a plate and serve it with the pâté in the centre.

As part of the Tuscan Cookery Challenge, we were asked to recreate this dish at home, adding our own twist to the recipe. My re-interpretation of the Tuscan dish was: Courgette Baskets with Fried Mozzarella Balls.

I liked Anna’s flan, but I felt that the courgette taste was too strong (troppo saporito!) and there was something missing to balance it. I decided to add pastry to create a crunchy texture and transform the vegetable flan into a mini-cake.

Using the same recipe, I made a courgette mixture to fill little baskets of filo pastry. I used filo, instead of puff or shortcrust pastry, as I wanted a soft shell case that held the courgettes together, without covering their flavour. I also replaced the béchamel sauce with single cream, to keep the mixture light.

As my fiancé is vegetarian, I replaced the chicken liver pâté with Fried Mozzarella Balls (this vegetarian idea was proposed by Anna during the cookery class, though I missed her demo so I used my own recipe here).

Courgette Filo Baskets

I followed Anna’s recipe, reducing the dose to one big courgette (unfortunately I couldn’t find the flowers) and adjusted the other ingredients accordingly. I used very little butter and olive oil, and stewed the courgette in little water with 1/4 stock cube.

I cut six squares of filo pastry and laid them onto the cases of a muffin baking tray. I brushed the pastry baskets with milk and poured the courgette mixture inside them. Cooking time in the oven at 180 °C was about 20-25 minutes.

Fried Mozzarella Balls

For two people, I used one mozzarella (150gr) cut into eight pieces. In three bowls, prepare: salted flour, 1 beaten egg, breadcrumbs with chopped parsley. Coat the mozzarella in the flour, then dip in the egg and finally coat it with breadcrumbs. Fry it hot olive oil for 3 minutes and leave to dry on a plate covered with kitchen paper.

I prepared and cooked the mozzarella balls while the courgette baskets were in the oven, so overall it took me less than one hour to prepare this meal. Reducing the quantities of butter/oil and removing the béchamel made the dish lighter and healthier, while replacing the chicken with mozzarella made it suitable to vegetarians.

The event was sponsored by Tuscany Now, a company specialised in the rental of luxury holiday villas in Tuscany. They also organise personal cookery classes at the villas, with chefs such as Anna Bini, to create a true Tuscan experience.

Special thanks to Propellernet for inviting me to this event.

Seventeen: Szechuan Dinner

One of the perks of being a food blogger is getting invited to nice events, such as tastings, cookery lessons and opening parties. These occasions offer the chance to experience different dishes, discover new cuisines and meet people with whom I share the same passion.

That’s why I loved the Szechuan food event at Seventeen in Notting Hill: at the dinner, which took place in May, I discovered that Chinese food can be incredibly flavoured and spicy and I also met some very nice bloggers!

I extended the invite to my friend Charlotte, only to discover later that she is actually from Szechuan and hence would become the perfect judge of the food’s authenticity! Well, she loved it and also took some amazing pictures of the dishes (waaaay better than my poor attempts at defeating the dim-lit setting), so go have a look at her blog post.

The lovely restaurant manager, Mark, welcomed us downstairs where there is a big room with a bar, a privé area (where we sat) and many small tables. There are many waiters and you never feel un-attended (in a good not-pushy way).

After spending some time introducing each other, chatting, drinking wine, the food started to come our way: Cumin Lamb Skewers and Beef Shank in Spicy Sauce. I liked the lamb, but they got easily over-shadowed by the beef, which was fantastic! In fact, it was probably the best dish of the night: tender meat, melting in the mouth and bursting of flavours.

However, the star of the show was the Sezchuan-style fish: beautiful ceramic bowls of boiled fish, swimming in a broth of peppercorns and red chillies. It was not the kind of spice that hits you at the first bite, but after a few minutes (and for hours afterwards) it will make your mouth burn! I loved the idea of fishing the pieces out of the bowl using the special metal colander (trying to leave out the chillies!).

There was more food to come – believe me! Chongqing Chicken, a cold dish of steamed meat in chilli and sesame sauce; Twice-cooked (boiled and stir-fried) Pork Belly; Green Beans with Pork; Choi Sum Garlic.

By then, I had eaten so much chilli that I couldn’t taste any more flavours! That didn’t stop me from eating, though, as I kept picking at the last pieces of beef shank left from the starters! ;)

The Szechuan “chilli party” finished with Mango Jelly and Mochi Balls with black sesame and peanuts, followed by a soothing Jasmine Tea.

I had a great dinner and enjoyed the atmosphere, service and food. I really appreciated Mark’s efforts in spreading the word about this restaurant, which offers good authentic Szechuan dishes, yet is located out of the “foodie trail” and can be easily overlooked. If you are a fan of spicy food (and are not a vegetarian!), you should pay Seventeen a visit!

For more reviews, visit Feast To The World, Yummy Choo Eats and Dolce Dini.

Disclosure: the dinner was kindly offered by the restaurant. All views are my own.

Warm Asparagus & Broccoli Florets Salad

It’s the asparagus season, which apparently has come early this year and won’t last very long. So it’s time to try your hand at cooking this vegetable and experimenting with new recipes!

I love salads and I loved this recipe in particular, for Asparagus Salad with Broccoli Florets & Radish. I found this recipe on 101 Cookbooks. It comes with a tangy lemon and shallot vinaigrette and it’s presented with toasted pine nuts and Parmesan shavings. It’s a simple, yet original, recipe. Perfect to impress your friends on a dinner night!

Ingredients

* 12 spears of thick asparagus, sliced into 2cm pieces
* 10 small broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
* juice of 1/2 lemon
* 1 shallot, chopped
* extra virgin olive oil
* 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
* 7 radishes, very thinly sliced
* Parmesan shavings
* salt and pepper to season

Preparation

Start by making the dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, salt, shallot and olive oil. Set aside.

Wash the asparagus and broccoli, then cook them in a large skillet with olive oil and salt. Toss well and cover the skillet with a lid. Cook for five minutes, then remove them from the heat and stir in the radishes. Toss with half of the dressing, adding more as needed.

Toast the pine nuts and add to the salad, then finish with the Parmesan shavings on the top.

Dishoom

On Sunday night I had dinner at Dishoom with my fiancé, my brother and my friend Charlotte.

Dishoom is a “Bombay style café” located in the West End, two minutes away from Leicester Square station. The atmosphere is that of cafés in Bombay in the Sixties (such as Britannia, Leopold and Naaz): brick walls, floor tiles, low bulb lights, faded family portraits on the walls and fans on the ceiling. Opened by Persian immigrants, they were part of the urban life of the city: rich and poor, artists and politicians, would go there to eat and drink.

Anyone, irrespective of religion, caste or creed could wander in and find comfort in the energy of the place (quote by Saloni Shukla, a Bombay filmmaker).

The majority of these cafés has now closed in the modern-day Mumbai. Dishoom draws upon their heritage to create a café that serves Bombay street food and drinks all day.




My first visit to Dishoom was in September, on a Thursday night at the end of the summer. It was unseasonably warm and the London crowds were out and about in the West End. I was in the area with friends for a music gig and I suggested Dishoom for dinner.

A few Indian friends had recommended the restaurant before and I was keen to try it for myself. We arrived around 9pm, but only got a table at 10pm and managed to place an order by 10:30pm. The waiter was impolite, unable to tell us which dishes were vegan or not. He forgot to bring us the bill, then gave us one that was wrong. We had a good meal, but it was a painful experience.

None of my friends had ever experienced bad service at Dishoom, so I knew I had been unlucky. However I was too disappointed to give it another chance.

I wrote a mention on Twitter the next day and I was immediately contacted by the restaurant’s PR. They apologised for the poor service and invited me back for dinner (with the offer of a bottle of Prosecco or a discount on the bill) to make things right.

It took me months to finally come round to it. In the meantime, I met a new friend who absolutely raves about Dishoom: Pooja of A Table for One has written about it on her blog, often eats there and knows their menu by heart. After hearing so many good things about Dishoom from Pooja, I decided to finally go back!


We were greeted with a complimentary glass of Bollybellini: a rose, lychee and raspberry Bellini cocktail.

Sandy was in charge of ordering for the table. Mixing our favourites Indian dishes with Pooja’s recommendations, we started off with: Pau Bhaji, Spicy Lamb Chops, Paneer Tikka and Portobello Mushrooms.


As main, we ordered Chicken Berry Biryani, Chicken Kofta, Cheese Naan and Garlic Naan. To mitigate the heat of all the spices, we drank Lassi: Rose & Cardamon, Mango & Fennel.

For dessert, we had the delicious Kulfi ice-cream in three different flavours: pistachio, mango and malai.

Throughout the dinner waiters checked on us and made sure we were being attended to. On a Sunday evening, the restaurant was busy, but not packed as it was on a Thursday. When we arrived at 20:30, there were some free tables, so we didn’t have to wait at all. The service was impeccable, fast and precise.

I’m incredibly impressed by the efforts they made to make sure I had a good experience and that’s only for having expressed disappointment on Twitter. I didn’t have a food blog last year, there was no danger for them of getting a bad review. And yet, they tried hard and made sure that one customer (out of thousands) was happy. This is great customer service!

So my final verdict is: Dishoom is buzzing all the time, the cocktails are great, the food is spicy and authentic. Yes, it can be very crowded and noisy. Yes, you might have to wait for the table and the food. Will you have a real Bombay experience? Oh, yes!

More photos of our dinner by the talented Charlotte Hu.

Mauritian Supper Club

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Selina’s, aka Yummy Choo Eats, first Mauritian Supper Club. Hosted in Selina’s house in Croydon, the supper club consisted of starters, main dishes and a dessert, all made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. With the help of ‘Mama Choo’, she put together a fantastic 3 course dinner that left us full and satisfied.

We had a small food bloggers meet-up as Sela of Chocolate Walks, Katy of Feel Good Food Book and Laura of The Writing Type were also there. With a total of twelve diners, plus Selina’s husband, mum and in-laws, it felt more like a big family reunion and there was a lovely and warm atmosphere!

We arrived at the dinner just after 7pm and had the time for a rum cocktail before sitting down for dinner. The starters consisted in crispy Chilli Cakes (Gateaux Piment) and Aubergine Fritters (Gateau Bringele), some aromatic Coriander Chutney and a fresh Cucumber Salad.

The main course was impressive – I was glad that I had eaten very little all day and prepared my stomach for this beautiful feast!

The cuisine of Mauritius is a blend of Creole, Chinese, European and Indian influences. As a main course we had Chicken curry (Cari Poulet), Potato and Butterbean curry (Grois Pois), Tomato Chutney (Rougaille) and lentil flat bread (Dhall Pouri) – though they might be inspired by Southern Indian cuisine, the Mauritian recipes have their own distinctive flavours and taste – more delicate and sweet.


Also the way of eating the bread is very different from India, as we were told to make a wrap with it, rather than dip pieces in the curry.

As part of the main course, we also tried an exotic vegetable named Chou Chou, a coconut paste (Chatini Coco), pilau rice and pickles.

I always look forward to the dessert and I was very pleased with my generous slice of Polenta Cake (Pudine Mais). A hot cup of chai at the end of the meal was exactly what I needed.

Yummy Choo Eats’ Supper Club was my first encounter with Mauritian culture and it is clear that food is an important part of it. I wish Selina a great success in promoting Mauritian cuisine in London, this dinner was certainly a great start!

If you’re also a fan of Selina’s blog, vote for her here!


Edible Experiences