Blok Knives - Beautiful handmade Kitchen knives

My new baby arrived...

In the form of a razor sharp and perfectly crafted paring knife. This has proved to be one of my more useful purchases in the kitchen - I am a kitchen gadget/novelty item freak! My drawers are full of garlic peeler's, chilli choppers and the likes. Some used weekly, others hardly touched but I love people's inventions to make cooking easier - the banana saver thingy however I just.don't.get...

So, let me talk you though my perfect knife...  I first heard of Blok knives through my father. They are handmade in Derbyshire, which is where I was born, and therefore I love that this is supporting a local craftsman. 

Ben Edmonds set out on a mission - to make 'the best knives possible' and 'Blok knives' was born.

Each knife is unique, handmade and pretty gorgeous if you ask me... it's probably the sexiest item I own in the kitchen. There's no surprise Chef's such as Sat Bains and Tom Herbert are already using Blok knives personally and I'm sure Blok's name will soon be in every knife block across the country. 

Once contacted, Ben will talk you through the metals available at the time - in my case it was Carbon steel however Stainless steel is also on offer. 

It's the sharpest knife I have ever owned. Sometimes thus meaning it can be a little scary to use but it has totally changed my thinking into buying knives - it's worth spending the money to get something you will treasure for a long time. 

The handles are hand carved from pieces of specially sourced pieces of wood. Mine is made from Ebony and other knife handles are shown below - a photo I pinched off Blok's instagram feed:

I think you'll agree they are things of beauty. Ben's mission of making 'the best knives possible' has been met bang on. I cannot wait to add to my collection. 

Should you wish to own one for yourself there is a small wait time - good things do come to those that wait!! They're priced at £140 for the paring knife and £240 for 'The Chef'.

You can contact Ben here the website is visit and see one being made from start to finish - it's rather fascinating! 

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Leong's Legend - tasty Dim Sum in Soho

My friend and I had a slight hangover and thus meaning I had one of two cravings - dim sum or sushi. Today dim sum was calling and therefore being a short hop to Soho I decided to try somewhere other than my beloved New World. 

Hearing mixed reviews about the Taiwanese restaurant Leong's Legend I decided to try it for myself one lunch and left with my craving content. The restaurant is set out simply and similar to a small Chinese tea house, lots of wood, low tables and as traditional exterior as possible in Soho.

Exterior pic found here

Prawn and pork Sui Mai were good if a little over cooked but still yummy pockets of juicy meat and prawn for £3.50 you can#t complain!

Char Sui buns were light, fluffy and filled with mountains of gorgeously sticky sweet pork (£2.80) 

Crystal Prawn dumplings were some of the best I've had if I wasn't so full I would have ordered two of these. The dumpling dough was light and the filling was a perfect mix of minced and whole prawn. 

I always, always order one more dish as I'm more or less finishing and then immediately regret it as I'm then over-full... in this case it was my favourite roast pork Cheung Fun. The rice flower wrapping was perfectly thin and bouncy but I prefer when the filling is sliced in larger peices and in this case it was minced, which gave a rather sloppy texture and sadly I didn't enjoy Leong Legend's version. See my post of Royal China for their Cheung fun.

The whole meal came to £13 which when sharing between two is next to nothing and we left pretty happy. Leong's Legend does good dim sum but by not means perfect then again I'm not sure you can expect flavour fireworks for £6.50pp. A perfect little pit stop should you need to fix a craving.

4 Macclesfield St, W1D

Leong's Legends on Urbanspoon

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Chinese crispy aromatic duck - healthy version (ish)

Most Sunday evenings Mr D and I treat ourselves to Chinese duck pancakes and sit in front of the tele watching Homeland, movies and preparing ourselves to be back at work on Monday. After a roast lunch it's the perfect evening supper to not fill you up too much.

This weekend I decided to make it from scratch - the easy way and try find a healthier version. Therefore I wrapped them in lettuce leaves instead of pancakes, this also gives a really nice crunch to them and sat the Duck on a rack to stop it sitting in the fat. 

You will need this feeds 4 people:

1 x 2kg duck

Chinese Five Spice

2 x Iceburg lettuce
Plum or hoi sin sauce - I use Itsu's reduce salt one

1/2 cucumber - sliced into matchsticks

1 bunch of spring onions - sliced into matchsticks

That's it!

Preheat the oven to 170ºC gas mark 3. Rub your duck with a lot of salt inside included (don't worry most falls off!) then dust with the Chinese five spice. 

Place onto a roasting rack over a tray to catch the fat. 

That's all you need to do now for 2.5hrs but check on it every now and then and pour the fat our of the cavity. 

I whack the heat up to 180ºC for the last 20mins or so to get the skin real crisp!

Whilst this is cooking prep your veg and lettuce. Make your leaves into cup shapes ready to hold your meat.

Rest the duck for 10mins or so before carving and then shred by using two forks to get smaller pieces or a knife if easier. Put it on a big serving platter or board in the middle of the table to serve.

Take a lettuce leaf, put some duck, a bit of onion, some cucumber and then squidge a bit of your sauce on top... roll it up and it's ready to go!


Approx 130cals per serving. Cheaper than the take away too!

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Bob Bob Ricard - Russian decadence in the heart of Soho

From the BBR website 

Organising this years couples dinner the pressure was on. Miss G used her membership and got us into the lovely Soho House last year and I decided to take up the role for 2013... I wanted somewhere we wouldn't easily think of going, somewhere a little bit random and somewhere definitely a little bit special... 

'Press for Champagne' in each of the dining booths is all I knew of Bob Bob Ricard before my visit last week and what a great 'thing' to be known by. It immediately ooozes fun and glamour with only three small words and a button press away a waiter whisks over to your attention to take drinks orders... brilliant no more waiting!!

Ten of us hired out the private salon. True to Bob Bob Ricard's main restaurant this was richly decorated, OTT and felt like you were in the formal dining room of a rather wealthy Russian Oligarch. We had our own waitress for the evening allowing us to relax and make as much noise as possible without getting 'the glare' from other tables...

The slightly Russian inspired menu reads incredibly well, burgers, Wellington, sole, venison and therefore a lot of the guys found it hard to choose. Mr W had to take time out and literally get into the menu in order to make up his mind...

A couple of us went for some of the Russian options of Potato and Porcini Vareniki. I however, had the scallops with black pudding (sans cooked apple) and two huge plump scallops arrived excellently seared the black pudding was (I think) home made and reflected this in taste as it was far superior to that of other efforts. Simple but tasty - what more could you ask for...

Other starters were:

Bob Bob Ricard prawn cocktail

Seabass ceviche with avocado

Venison tartar with quails egg...I has a taster of this and it was delicious!

For mains I actually went with one of the waiters recommendations as it sounds such a treat I couldn't resist. Bob Bob Ricard Lobster Burger - I expected a fish type patty, and instead what arrived was far more 'WOW'

Literally a lobster in a burger...

lightly breaded and fried lobster tail lay within a brioche bun and served with a tangy Marie Rose sauce - uh-mazing!!! It was juicy, meaty and impossible to eat but who cares this is what Lobster burger dreams are made of!

I had this with a very pretty green salad...

Others around the table had...

3 bird burger: crispy quail, guineafowl and duck - how cool?!

Lemon Sole goujons, minted crushed peas and chips...

Not quite full enough we decided on some puddings:

White chocolate Ice cream with berries

Strawberries and cream souffle with a warm strawberry coulis and pouring cream... delicious!!

Bob Bob Ricard isn't your average Soho restaurant. It's decadent, rich food served in equally opulent settings. Therefore the prices can reflect this for some choices. My only grudge was that I do feel as it was Christmas the table settings could have reflected this however it was pretty much bare... it certainly didn't spoil my evening.

We had a wonderful dinner amongst great friends and the private room here is perfect for a gathering... just don't find the 'press for champagne' button too early on or you'll be regretting it come the bill!! Our bill came to £67 per person inc. 3 course and plenty of booze.

Address: 1 Upper James St, London W1F 9DF
Phone:020 3145 1000

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Bob Bob Ricard on Urbanspoon

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