The Orange - Pimlico

My sister from another Mr and I try to meet up every now and then for a good old gossip over vino and a decent meal. This time we decided to be lazy and didn't venture out too far from home. Our venue of choice was Mr D and I's favourite gastro pubs 'The Orange' in Pimlico. 

Not only is this pub beautifully decorated inside, it also serves extremely decent grub and has the added bonus of a great atmosphere.

They have three dining areas, upstairs is a more formal setting and bookings are advised. Downstairs there's a dining area operating a no bookings policy and is slightly more relaxed. Thirdly, the bar area, is mainly used for drinking however, they still serve the same menu should you wish to eat here as well. What is nice however is that the same menu is served throughout. 

Picture courtesy of The Orange website (downstairs)
Downstairs (Picture courtesy of The Orange website)

Upstairs (Picture courtesy of The Orange website)
The menu ranges from Salads to seasonal dishes to pizza's which I cannot recommend more. They even do a spelt 'lighter base' option should you be calorie counting. 

After a long day at work we were both starving and therefore decided on having a starter and then followed by one of their 'mini pizza's' which are about 9" in comparison to their 12" standard size. 

Knowing how good their chilli salted squid is (I order this every time!) we both went for this as our starter and as always it hit the spot... the batter is really light and the salt/pepper/chilli flavouring is just right. The menu changes slightly form time to time and this time the squid came with 'salt cod croquettes, smoked garlic mayonnaise' which was a great added extra as the croquettes are usually another starter and I have always wanted to try them.

The pizzas of choice were a Monmouthshire Beech smoked air dried ham, caramelised pear, gorgonzola and fresh mint for sister from another Mr and Confit Yellowfin tuna, prawns, capers, Laverstoke Farm buffalo mozzarella and tomato for me. I know a lot of people whom aren't huge fans of fish on pizza's however for me it's usually my first choice. 

The bases were thin and crispy, toppings went deliciously well and the size was perfect for us two girlie's for a mid-week treat. We left feeling satisfied and not too stuffed. Pudding was tempting as the new menu does house a great selection of classics and the sticky toffee pudding is always delicious! Sunday's they also do a roast which again is good and the other dishes off the menu are never a let down.

They also now have some gorgeous rooms upstairs which if I wasn't a Londoner I would definitely be booking one of these soon. I think you will agree they are stunning... (room pictures courtesy of The Orange website)

I cannot recommend this place more, it's so relaxed yet you feel like it's a real treat every time you go. Head for a drink after work one evening and try your hardest to not be tempted by the delicious pizza's cooking in the oven...yum!

The Orange on Urbanspoon
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Supper (and art) in a pear tree...

The weekend just gone held one of my school girls' hen do's. Living in Manchester meant that she was forced to pack her bags (she paid no attention to my advice of packing a snorkel and a spatula - heaven knows why not?!), hop on the train and have a good girls weekend in London. Friday night was spent at the hilarious and infamous Austrian restaurant in Bayswater The Tiroler Hut where the bride to be was dressed in a not-so-glamorous pink suede-esque Dirndl dress for the meal and the activities that followed, many a song from The Sound of Music was sung.

Saturday however, is what I wanted to write about as I believe it warrants a mention. 

'Supper in a Pear Tree' is a small pop up restaurant situated within the Lavender Hill Studios in Battersea. We arrived at 7pm in a beautiful, rustic artists studio and handed a glass of red wine (much needed for what was happening next) and... some charcoal, 15 easels were set up around a central point in the room and from here we were to be given a life drawing lesson. I haven't touched a paintbrush since A-Levels so lord knows what 'masterpiece' was going to be produced on my paper! 

The evening is run by two lovely sisters, Charlotte, an artist, whom is rather talented have a look at her work, and Annabel, a chef, from the renown 'Petersham Nurseries' and now working under the ex-head chef, Skye Gyngell. 

The model Tom was brave enough to step up to the challenge and Charlotte took us through some pointers for the evening on drawing, shadowing and (generally) how to get a picture that resembles an actual figure. We drew for about an hour or so and my attempt is below...I somehow made the poor bloke a lot fatter than he is in real life.

Not entirely sure it would ever end up on a wall, but it's nice to have a memento...

Supper was then served...

We started with a bruschetta of ricotta cheese, chilli and agretti which resembled some sort of sea herb. This was a really refreshing and I really enjoy finding new combinations to taste and then recreate at home (if I knew where to get the agretti). This and the salty cheese went perfectly and the chilli kick was a nice contrast - really yummy and a good idea to do as a starter at home. 

The main was a lamb and apricot tagine with cous-cous, pomegranates, coriander and flaked almonds. I love most Moroccan and curry dishes and tagines are one of my favourite one pot wonders. I hardly ever make them, but love them when do, and this one in particular was delicious, the lamb was so tender I don't think I needed to use my knife once throughout. The addition of pomegranates and almonds (lots of) gave the dish a good crunch element and some nice sourness from the seeds.

Pudding was something I have always been intrigued about but never had, Key-Lime pie. Sadly I ate this before I took a piccie but realised toward the end of the scrummy pie hence the picture being of a half eaten pud... whoops! This was sweet and sour to taste but so more-ish every girl polished it off around the table. A lovely revitalizing dish after an indulgent meal.

It was rounded off with some yummy truffles, port and plenty more wine. By this point we were all stuffed.

The evening is a BYOB basis and at £35pp plus whatever booze you choose to bring I think it's a steal!! A wonderful evening and a fantastic idea for a hen do. 
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Rolo cookies

These I made by accident... I was meant to buy white chocolate and totally forgot and all I have at home are the Norwegian equivalent of our old favourite the Rolo.

Makes 20

You will need 

10 Rolo's quartered - keep in fridge
100gms unsalted butter
120gms light brown sugar
1 egg
200gms plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 vanilla pod (seeds only)

Put a bowl over simmering water and melt the butter and sugar. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, vanilla and salt. 

Once the butter and sugar has melted and mixed together beat in the egg and then add to the flour mixture, followed by the Rolo pieces and stir well.

Cool the mixture in the fridge for about 30minutes or until pliable. Preheat the oven to 180c.

Roll dough into walnut sized balls and place on a lined baking tray about 3cm apart. I prefer my cookies plumper however flatten them more so for thinner cookies.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until turning slightly golden. Leave them on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

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Mustard crusted Lamb

This was my Valentine meal...for one as Mr D was away...sob sob...

However this serves 2

1 x French trimmed rack of lamb
A large handful of breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tbsp flat leaf parsley chopped
1 tsp rosemary chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to season
1 1/2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Mix together the breadcrumbs, parsley, rosemary and olive oil. Season well.

Pre heat the oven to 220C. 

Season lamb with salt and pepper. Put an oven proof pan on the hob with a bit of oil and when hot, but not smoking, brown the lamb on both sides. 

Once browned, spread the meaty side with a thin layer of mustard. put the breadcrumb mixture ontop of the mustard and press lightly so that it sticks to the lamb.

Roast the lamb for 10-12minutes if you like it pink like me (about 15-18 minutes for more well done) then set it to rest for 5/8 minutes before slicing and serving.

I had mine with a warm bean and spinach salad (fry coooked beans in garlic and onions then adding the spinach) 
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Chicken and beansprout stir-fry

Serves 4

2 x chicken breasts cut into slices
2 tsp light soy
2 tsp shaoxing rice wine or sherry vinegar
1 tsp corn flour

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 x handfuls of beansprouts
8 shiitake mushrooms - sliced and soaked in hot water
1cm square cube of ginger grated
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 x red chilli chopped finely
1 tsp sugar
1tbsp light soy sauce
Bok choy - optional
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Firstly marinade the chicken in the soy, rice wine and corn flour for approximately 20minutes... this is literally the holy trinity of chinese cooking. It keeps your chicken tender when frying under hard heat and therefore making it really juicy and also adding great flavour. I promise you, it'll change your life for stir frying.

Here's a cheat find of mine...head to Sainsbury's or Waitrose and buy their frozen garlic, ginger and chilli all fresh straight from the freezer and ready chopped - bliss! Always used in stir fries and useful for other dishes too its half your prepping time instantly.

In a wok, add the oil and when hot add chilli, ginger and garlic. After about a minute add the chicken and fry until turning brown. Take out of the wok and set aside. 

Add a little sesame oil to the wok and add the mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes adding a tbsp of water to create some steam and help with cooking. Add the bok choy if using and return the chicken to the wok. Fry for another 2 minutes.

Add the beansprouts, sugar and second lot of soy sauce and cook lightly for 1 minute until the sprouts are slightly translucent. 

Serve immediately with steamed rice.

I added the bok choy as I had it in the fridge however it is totally optional and think it as an added bonus however not necessary. 

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Ebi Sushi - Derby?!!!

When I say Derby, I mean "Derby Derby" saying it twice emphasises that this is in the centre of the city, just off the busy inner ring-road, and also it is so unexpected of the place it deserves to be said twice.

Seriously? Yes! With Toyota being down the road, chef Ebi was taken from Nobu to set up an authentic sushi restaurant to feed the Japanese business men and prevent them from being home-sick. Since then it is one of my Dad's favourite places to go to and has earnt a respectable name amongst sushi lovers. Not only is it fantastic but it is so unexpectedly good that when I was up visiting "home-home" we booked here for the 4 of us to have a yummy supper.

The outside of the restaurant is certainly nothing to write about and please do not be put off by this. It is (I am told) typically Japanese, not flashy and really REALLY simple. Japanese television is on throughout (on mute) and the bar around the sushi master is always full of the Toyota staff from opening till late, so it is advised that you book. 

We arrived at 7:30 with tables already 'reserved' ahead and several others already taken with happy diners. They serve traditional Japanese beers, sake's and wines as well as a decent list of French, Spanish and Italian wines. A small but yummy tasting seaweed dish was given to us as a taster upon arrival.

The menu is extensive and there are several mixed platters of sushi which seemed to be popular with the diners and also a large selection of hot noodle soup bowls which the Japanese guests were tucking into. As I haven't been here for a few years and 2 of our diners weren't the most fond of raw fish we decided to get a selection from the A la Carte and share. 

We started with their 3 fish sashimi selection (Tuna, salmon and Turbot pictured at the top), some nigiri which was Tuna belly, Salmon and Scallop (2 of each) and some soft shelled crab. The sashimi was absolutely amazing, and is quite literally better than anywhere I have ever eaten- ever! The tuna was deep red and had no white lines through it indicating that it was high grade, the salmon had more fat content through them (the white lines) again showing that it was a high standard and was equally delicious! The nigiri rice was served traditionally at room temperature and again the fish was perfect, so much so that Mr D and mum whom aren't huge fans enjoyed these. The scallop nigiri was pushing it a bit for them and so Dad and I had these which was a different texture as it was a raw scallops but being my ultimate favourite food type I was not disappointed.

tuna nigiri

We ordered two lots of the soft shell crab and also a mixed tempura which consisted of 3 prawns and some vegetables both were delicately fried, light and super tasty. The soft-shelled crab was my particular favourite throughout the whole meal.


Our mains arrived and consisted of a very hot and sticky teriyaki (eaten too fast to get a photo) with beansprouts, chicken skewers and a salmon teriyaki the sauce was delicious the chicken was perfect and the salmon slightly pink so no fear of it being over-cooked. 

Chicken skewers

Salmon Teriyaki

Mr D chose a spicy pork and cabbage dish, which was a really nice contrast to the sweet teriyaki sauces in previous dishes and the cabbage was a welcome addition to the very protein heavy meal we have had so far. Another dish of breaded pork was also unexpectedly light, fat free and again a really pleasant dish, yet another favourite amongst the dishes.

Breaded pork


For some stodge we had some plain steamed rice and pork gyoza's, which were so delicious and lightly steamed with a crisp bottom - very different and ten times better to those served in Wagamamma's. 


The winner for the majority of us however was the Miso black cod. As delicious as E&O/8over8 but at less than half the price and the portion size was generous. Silky, sweet, glazed cod served simply and it was to-die-for... I no longer need to satisfy my cod craving at yet to visit Nobu.

miso cod

Overall this meal was the best Japanese I have ever tasted. Sadly it blew the socks off my beloved Kulu Kulu in London and shot out way ahead of the fail-safe Itsu. Therefore I am still in slight wonder as to whether my Dad either used floo-powder or teleported us to London for the meal as it was seriously that good. 

Ebi has recently had some huge press, being voted one of the UK's top 10 Sushi restaurants and the same with the Independent and The will therefore only get busier I fear. Reading up on reviews it seems that lots have gone here having visited Japan and have stated that this is second to none if you aren't eating real thing in its native country. Therefore I do find it slightly hard sharing this little star with you all, however if you are in the area and love sushi then it is a must.  

Around £40pp
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Muriel's Kitchen...

When the night before, or even on the weekend, all you've done is veg I sometimes am in desperate of some healthy food quickly and easily on a lunch break. The office is based near to South Kensington and therefore the area hosts a small collection of great foodie gems near the tube for residents, workers and tourists. 

I'm a big fan of small independents as you can almost always guarantee that the food is home made on the site and made fresh and with care. This particular lunch break I fancied a veggie meal and therefore went into Muriel's Kitchen which is a place I have often walked past and never popped in. 

The cakes in the window are a perfect example of what to expect when you're inside, they look so delicious, I found it hard not to have a lunch treat of a blueberry iced cupcake. Luckily a healthy mind for lunch won me over...

The inside of the cafe is also rather cute, a mix of low and high seating with flowers, cooking paraphernalia and books dotted around. Should you sit in try get a spot by the window so the hustle and bustle of South Kensington keeps you company.

On this occasion there were nine types of cold salads to chose from, two savoury tarts and also meat and veggie selections from the hot section, a beef stew, chicken and veggie curry, lasagne - meat and veggie,  shepherds pie and kievs all to be served on their own or with rice/salad of your choice - very tempting.

Sticking to my guns I opted for the choice of 4 'salads' for £8 - which isn't cheap in comparison to Pret across the road but for (hopefully) home made goodness I thought I'd try this out. 

Firstly the portion size was enormous!! Almost enough for 2 people but my choices were as follows:

Curried Cauliflower, goats cheese and chick peas
Aubergine, roasted peppers and parsley
winter 'slaw
Barley grains, roasted tomato, edamame beans and goats cheese.

Each salad was delicious, the Barley grain and goats cheese especially and the winter 'slaw is one I was never going to detest beings a coleslaw freak, this was really yummy and a mixture of red cabbage, white cabbage, carrots, celeriac and not overly dressed. My only fault would be that the tomatoes weren't as roasted as I would have liked but apart from that it was a really nice alternative to a sandwich or having to make your own.

If after lunch you're still hungry, grab a bag of their home-made spiced nuts, or for a naughty treat, their honeycomb from the counter and try your hardest not to go back for a second bag!! 

Muriel's Kitchen on Urbanspoon
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