Honey and
Ricotta
a food journal

Thursday, 31 August 2017

The Good Egg


It's rare that I'm willing to wait more than five minutes for breakfast. Let alone an hour and a half. Especially when that hour and a half means I could be late for a flight. But when we'd finally found an opportunity on an all too rare trip back home to visit The Good Egg, the flight and my rumbling tummy were going to have to be a little patient.

After a walk round Abney Park Cemetery, we soon returned for coffees on the bench outside, and finally a table was ready. Once you're inside with a second cup of coffee in hand, and a slice of babka to nibble on, it's clear why everyone's so unwilling to give up their precious seat on a Sunday morning. 

As New Yorkers, we're spoilt for babka options. With Breads being the hands-down favorite in this city, it was with slight trepidation that we tried our first slice of British babka. Thankfully Oded, The Good Egg's chief babka chef, who has Ottolenghi on his list of "people who trained me and taught me magic," knows how to make the perfect twisted, chocolate-filled, yeasted bread. 


Rumbling stomaches had been silenced with this perfect chocolate breakfast, so now it was time to figure out how we could order as much of the menu as possible. A return trip sadly isn't going to happen in the near future, so the choosing pressure was on. I opted for a classic: shakshuka. With fried halloumi. Because when adding fried halloumi to your breakfast is an option, why would you say no?


Other highlights from our table overflowing with food were the Iraqi aubergine pita with eggs (see top), and the house beef salami hash. Everything was packed full of flavor, ridiculously more-ish, and if I lived nearby, I'd be here every weekend.

The Good Egg have been on an amazing journey, which has been so fun to watch (from afar) over the last couple of years. Joel and the team have created such a buzzy, tasty place. I'm so grateful I finally got a chance to brunch at this top spot, and Londoners, you better get yourselves there ASAP. I promise it's worth the wait.

The Good Egg, 93 Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16 0AS.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Sardine


Our penultimate night on our trip back home, we unexpectedly managed to get both our families together. Where can you find a table for nine people at short notice for a Friday night in London? I thought we were on to an impossible task, but somehow, by some lucky occurrence, perfectly-located (for us, not for the rest of the world. Its location behind the McDonald's on City Road, is actually a little upsetting) Sardine had space for us all.

On this beautiful summer day, Sardine provided the perfect opportunity to imagine we were all on holiday in the South of France, rather than by City Road. I imagine that on less gorgeous summer days, stepping into tiled, sleek Sardine would be a welcome escape from this typically grey, drizzly city.

As there were so many of us we were on a set-ish menu. Shorter than the normal one, but there were still choices. We started with the prettiest array of appetizers to fight over amongst ourselves. There were plenty for everyone, but we're a greedy lot, so fight we did. Colorful crudités with a garlicy, rich anchoïade (see the photo above!); delicate slices of Jésus Basque salami; salty, satisfying more-ish brandade toast.


We were then split between ajo blanco & melon and chicken liver parfait. If you like chicken liver parfait, that was great. I don't love it, but I did love the bowl of creamy, satisfying chilled gazpacho-y soup, with sweet chunks of melon dotted around the center.

By this point, we'd all fallen in love with Sardine. We were sipping on carafes of the wine 'on tap' (both the white and red were elegant, dangerously drink-able, and a perfect match for the simple yet perfected food) and our loud voices echoed round the space.


Everything continued to get better and better. The options for mains were rabbit Leg, borlotti beans, rocket & mustard, i.e. hearty comfort food, brightened by greens and tangy mustard. Cod, clams & saffron stew, courgette & anchovy toast may not have been beautiful, but was the ideal fish stew: bright, messy, and full of seaside dreams. Girolles, grilled polenta, rainbow chard & crème fraîche was earthy, with a total array of textures: crispy polenta, soft mushrooms, almost crunchy chard, and velvety crème fraîche.



And yes, you better believe that after all that we had dessert. Yes, we were already full, but there'd been a beautiful apricot & brown butter tart sitting on the counter of the open kitchen staring at me all night, so everyone needed a slice. It was perfect. Yes. Totally, utterly, completely perfect.

Sardine, 15 Micawber Street, London, N1 7TB

Sunday, 13 August 2017

2 Years On In NYC

Two of us two years later.
And that was two. Two whole years in NYC. There are still a few (we're unsure as to how many) to go, but two felt like a lot. This city sure isn't easy. One minute you're in love, the next it's hell. It goes from uplifting, inspiring, and engaging to punishing, stress-inducing, and far too challenging in a matter of seconds.

We bought a plant. We'll be here for a while.
But, for now, it's home. It certainly doesn't always feel that way. I still spend probably too much time reminiscing on our London days, and we definitely won't be here forever, but it's a special place, with certain welcoming hints of magic jumping out to surprise me every now and again. 

An example of magic.
Looking at last year's list of bizarre UK-US differences, some of them don't seem so bizarre anymore. "How are you?" has become a normal greeting, I always tip, and I've got my egg order down. B always laughs at what he calls my "Americanisms," which I've unwittingly picked up along the way. So, in case you're wondering how American I've become, here's a few things that have changed (without me even realizing):

1. It's an apartment. Not a flat. Having said that, I'm still stuck on flatmates. Roommates hasn't entered my regular vocab yet.
2. Oregano is pronounced orAYgeno. But with a British accent.
3. Cilantro. Eggplant. Scallions. Zucchini. Fries. Soda. I work in food; what did you expect?
4. I have learned to sign for everything I buy. My signature is a random squiggle. Okay, a line. But, in my defense, writing on those iPad pay stations with a finger is hard.
5. Walks are hikes. Always.
6. Bagels are a necessary staple. I can't remember what I ate before them.

A typical breakfast.
7. Specialty not speciality. Why bother with an extra syllable when you don't have to.
8. I get the subway. Even when in London.
9. It's nice out. It's hot out. Not outside. Just out. 

It was nice out on this day.
10. No words have a u. All words have a z. 
11. Z is pronounced 'zee.'
12. I have a suitably annoying, particular coffee order.
13. Wearing sports kit to work is totally acceptable.
14. Ice cream is an important part of life.
15. Driving 5 hours for a weekend away is a normal thing to do.

Or 4 hours for a day of skiing...

But don't worry, I still don't know the words to the national anthem and I don't know how American football works. These things continue to puzzle me, let's see how I feel about them next year...:

1. Apparently I look tan. Not tanned. But tan. Is this a color rather than an adjective? I'm unclear.
2. Vacation. The lack of it. Not the word itself.
3. Erbs. What happened to the h? 
4. Pudding vs dessert. These words are not interchangeable. Pudding in the US describes some specific types of dessert, which, confusingly, aren't what would be described as a classic 'pudding' (I'm thinking steamed, seventies-style) in the UK.
5. I still can't write the date.
6. I don't call my trousers pants. I still don't know what to call the underwear definition of pants. 
7. Sneakers. If I think about saying this word I doubt myself and return to trainers. It sounds weird coming out of my mouth.
8. Fahrenheit. Still clueless.
9. How to hold a knife and fork. It seems Americans hold a fork like they might murder you any second. Also, cutlery is not a word. It's flatware. Nobody can explain why.
10. Cinnamon raisin bagels with cream cheese? What the what?
11. Parmigian. Taglatiell. They're not spelled like that but they're pronounced like that. I'm not sure if they get bored before the end of the world or what happens here.
12. If the recipe you're using calls for a red chili, you can give up hope of finding it. You will only be able to find a jalapeño. There is no other chili.
13. How the health service works (or doesn't work) is beyond me. I think my visit to the doctor was free. It may not have been. I may be in crippling debt because of a check-up. I don't know.
14. What is seltzer? Is it just sparkling water? Is it soda water? Is there even a difference?
15. Trump.

The Trump thing isn't just me.
This next year's going to bring a lot of running, a little bit of traveling, lots more coffee, hundreds of bagels, a few visitors, and a lot more unknowns and adventures that will be thrown our way, whether we want them or not.



Saturday, 12 August 2017

5 Things & 3 More


5 happy things from the last 5 days:

1. Mini meditations.
2. Summer salad.
3. Marathon training exhaustion.
4. Post beach-day blues (and slight sunburn).
5. WFH Wednesday.

3 things to explore this weekend:

1. In case you ever thought baking a wedding cake would be a good idea, Molly's here to make you change your mind.
2. My friend made this amazing app, just for fun. If you're based in Brooklyn and shop at the Park Slope Co-op, download it now.
3. This article on naming a baby is both amusing and interesting. Who knew there were laws on what you could call a child?

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Snapshots from Home






















In mid-July we took a week off work and flew back home. Days were filled with long walks (and runs), beautiful food, amazing wine, and so much love, laughter, hugs, and smiles. Being back at home and in our old London stomping grounds fills my heart with so much joy, and inevitably makes me question why we ever moved away. But really I know why, and there's so many opportunities, discoveries, and adventures to be had over in this crazy country too. That doesn't make leaving any easier, that doesn't mean that I miss home any less than I did in our first day in this busy, hectic city, and that doesn't mean that I don't dream of returning one day (not quite) soon (enough). 

But for now, we are where we are. We live in the present and make vague future plans, not clinging to them, allowing them to change, and flowing through the weeks that come and go in the blink of an eye. 

These are just a few snapshots from some of our most adored UK spaces: home (my home), maman's veggie patch, Broadway Market, Regent's Canal (and the Towpath Café), Pavilion Café, Bar Termini (a new discovery for us), and, of course the space and countryside that shone beautifully on a perfect British summer's day.

 photo s_03.jpg  photo s_05.jpg  photo s_06.jpg  photo s_09.jpg  photo s_10.jpg