The Ferry Boat Inn – Tottenham Hale, N17

20140524_161340Like lots of Walthamstowers, one of the foodies was caught out on Friday night by the tube disruption and was forced to do the long walk home across the reservoirs from Tottenham Hale. But this reminded us that we’ve been meaning to post for ages about The Ferry Boat Inn.

The old inn has been trading for over 250 years at the crossing of the River Lea, and after a recent major refurbishment the place looks great. Tottenham isn’t exactly famous for its drinking establishments, so with its winter log fires, stone-flagged floors, oak beams and large garden for a summer’s evening overlooking the reservoir, this is like escaping to a local country pub (even if it’s the chain version).

The drinks include some interesting craft and real ales, wines from about £3.50 a glass, and a wide range of soft drinks. The food is reasonably priced with an emphasis on pub classics of steaks, sausage & mash, burgers and scampi & chips. There’s a Spice Night special on Wednesdays when curry and a drink will only set you back £7.75.

20140524_161029

We opted for the classic 7oz beef burger in a brioche bun with tomato & jalapeno relish and an upgrade to sweet potato chips for £8.85 served up on a wooden board. It was simple, happy pub grub – nothing more or less. But the unexpected winning meal was from the ‘under 500 calories’ range.  This was a plate loaded with the Superfood Salad – shredded beetroot, edamame beans,  cucumber, tomato, mixed leaves, coriander, spring onion, radish and pomegranate served up with a tasty 8oz chargrilled rump steak. Not bad for only 490 calories! (£10.45).

20140524_161400

We keep saying we’ll go back for the all day Sunday Roast – with a tasty sounding 35-day aged rib eye of beef for £10.95 or pork or turkey and all the trimmings for £9.95. We’ll let you know how we get on.

Ferry Boat Inn
Ferry Lane
London
N17 9NG

Tel: 0208 8084980

 

 

 

 

Posted in pubs | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bygga Bo – Scandinavian cafe

DSCN6491We love Bygga Bo (meaning ‘to make a nest’) – how did we live without it? We waited months for it to open, and when it did we were there! It’s in an old hairdresser’s shop just near The Bell. The décor is a comfortable mix of modern and vintage, complete with original mirrors, brass panelled ceiling and even the old hair perming heaters converted into lights.

DSCN6512

Malin and Eva serve good coffee in pretty cups and our Saturday morning indulgences include sourdough toast with jam & butter, their popular cinnamon buns and the quinoa porridge topped with fresh pomegranate.

Bygga Bo 2There’s a good range of Swedish teas and bottled juices, but I’m a fan of their fresh smoothies!

DSCN6529But there’s more to this place than breakfast; just pop in for a cinnamon bun and a coffee and be prepared to fall in love with a pair of Swedish clogs, the Skandi designer homeware, cute kids clothes, Fjallraven bags or the beautiful toiletries…

DSCN6498

DSCN6494There’s also one-off events – art exhibitions, live music afternoons … We really enjoyed welcoming in the Midsummer with homemade schnapps and tongue-twisting Swedish drinking songs! Marinated herrings, potato salad and meatballs, and fresh strawberry cake also added to the traditional evening.

DSCN6567If you thought this place couldn’t be more bang on trend, The East London Cheese company has kicked off a weekly Saturday residence in the garden. We highly recommend the Drunken Burt – a stunning washed Cheshire, the buffalo milk Pendragon, and the Fosseway Fleece ewe’s milk cheese from Somerset.

DSCN6569And if you find yourself still lingering there at lunchtime … try the open sandwiches – meatball with beetroot; smoked salmon & horseradish, and exciting toasties – butternut squash & blue cheese; ham, cheese & mustard or cheese, tomato & basil butter. There are also specials … the quinoa, butternut squash, pomegranate & feta salad is lovely.

Bygga Bo 1So when you’ve done your shopping, bought your cheese and had a lovely breakfast or lunch in the decked garden … a cheeky pint is only a couple of doors away at The Bell – what a great start to the weekend!

Bygga Bo
8 Chingford Road
E17 4PJ
Open: 9am -5pm, daily
twitter.com/byggabo

Bygga Bo on Urbanspoon

 

Posted in Restaurants in E17, Shopping in E17 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sodo – Sourdough pizza cafe

SoDo 3

Fancy an amazing pizza this weekend? Get yourself to Sodo in Clapton or in the George & Vulture pub in Hoxton (they have a branch in Honor Oak Park – but that’s south of the river!).

We went to the Clapton ‘pizza cafe’ on a Saturday night earlier this year and it was packed – you’ll need to reserve a table. It’s only a small place, squeezing in about 25 people at an array of high tables, small tables and counters. The service is lovely and so is the home-made ginger beer! They also offer wine from Borough Wines and local Hackney beers from Beavertown, the Kernel and the London Fields Brewery.

So a few weeks ago we tried the Hoxton version. This is housed within the George and Vulture – a big Victorian boozer on the edge of Shoreditch.  They offer a good range of real ales on the pumps and a wine list from £15.

SoDo 2

The menu is short and very reasonably priced especially considering the authentic Italian or locally sourced ingredients that they’re using. In Clapton, but unfortunately not available in Hoxton, the sides include a bowl of mixed Nocellara, Queen Green & Botija olives for £3.50 and a green salad from local Growing Communities farmers market (£4).

SoDo 6At both places they have a sliced meat plate from local curers Picco Salumi with sourdough and pickled cucumber slices for £6, and our favourite indulgence – the heavenly (but sinful) cream-filled, fresh mozzarella Burratina with olive oil and basil (£5).

SoDo 4

But what about the pizza? Well, on a light and crispy sourdough base they have some great veggie options including the Sunny Goat – goats cheese, sun dried tomato & rocket, and the Lorena – mozzarella, butternut squash, rosemary, feta & pine nuts for only £8.

For a couple of quid more there’s the meaty versions, such as the Dirty Boy – topped with caramelised onions, mushrooms & smoked pancetta, or the Cured Meat – salami Napoli, salami Calabrese, Parma ham & chilli. In Hoxton there was also a fishy Jon Bon Chovy – anchovy, olives, capers, & chilli.

Plus there are weekly specials; we had a fiery London Sexy with ‘Nduja’ – a spicy, spreadable pork and roasted pepper Calabrian salami. As a gluten-free alternative in Hoxton they also offer the pizza toppings baked a butter bean stew. 

Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the pizza as it was so good!

SoDo 1

For dessert there was a choice of the Italian classics of Tiramisu or espresso coffee & ice cream Affogato for only £4.

Sodo Clapton
126 Upper Clapton Road
E5 9JY
020 8806 5626

Sodo Hoxton
The George & Vulture
N1 6BU
020 7253 3988

Sodo Pizza Café on Urbanspoon

 

Posted in Restaurants beyond E17 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mussel Men Sunday seafood roast

20140525_141614This is my kind of Sunday Roast; when the sun is shining and the seaside is calling, Mussel Men in Dalston is the place to eat bucket loads of seafood. Mussel Men offer a short menu – focusing on what they do best, mussels (mariniere, curry or Buerre Blanc) & chips, lobster and rock oysters.

I like that this isn’t pretentious seafood fine dining, it reminds me of the seafood bars and cafes around the markets in France and Spain. Mussel Men has evolved from street food to restaurant pop ups and bring a new approach to dining out. They’ve recently moved along to 584 Kingsland Road and are open for BBQ weekends, late night cocktails and live music. The staff are super friendly, the furniture is rustic and the walls are covered in graffiti art.

20140525_153809

The Seafood Roast Platter is a monster tower of  steaming mussels, clams, razor clams, langoustines, tempura-battered soft shell crab and cheesy Rockefeller oysters. It’s served with all the Sunday Roast trimmings of fat chips, mini Yorkshire puddings and veggies. £20 pp for min 2 people. It was outrageously delicious!

20140525_141550

The drinks are decent price to quality ratio – £5 for a glass of Prosecco or wine, craft beers for £4, and some unusual seafaring cocktails at £7.

20140525_152351

For dessert we had the homemade waffle with bacon ice-cream and maple syrup – like eating bacon crisps flavour ice-cream; it was wrong on so many levels but strangely addictive! If you fancy a Sunday roast with a difference give it a go.

584 Kingsland Road
London
E8 4AH

1 minute walk from Dalston Junction overground

Mussel Men on Urbanspoon

Posted in Restaurants beyond E17 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brazilian food & football fever

Brazilian shop at night

With the football fever of the World Cup 2014 about to kick off, I thought this would be a good time to post about our local Walthamstow Brazilian butchers and deli, Boi Na Brasa and Ki Delicia. Everything seems to be going ‘Brazilian’ from Lucozade flavours to Latin feasts at The Goose, but it’s great to see a surge of interest in Brazilian food.

20140517_103250

‘Boi Na Brasa butcher and Ki Delicia cafe’ is a bit of an unusual concept – it’s like two businesses sharing one shop – but it seems to work. They’ve been trading since just before Xmas on Hoe Street near The Bell.

The butcher’s counter at the front of the shop stocks a great range of homemade spicy sausages (Linguica) at £4.99 per kilo. These are smoke cured, intensely ‘meaty’ bangers seasoned with garlic and paprika – a couple each make a good meal, typically served with rice, beans and salad.

There are Costela ribs and Alcatra rump steak on offer, but we go for the Picanha which is more like a rib-eye steak. This is the prime Brazilian beef cut, popular in all Churrascaria restaurants. Seasoned, grilled and sliced to share, it makes a fantastic steak & chips, beef salad or stir-fry.

20140517_102840At the back of the shop is the cafe and deli. They specialise in Coxinhas  – delicious Brazilian chicken croquettes made of shredded chicken and cheese encased in a deep fried crispy dough, which is shaped like a chicken drumstick thigh.  There are also Lebanese- influenced beef Kibbe and other popular Brazilian street snacks – eat in or take-away at £1 -£1.50. The coffee is strong , dark and cheap – about £1 for an espresso.

They’ve recently started doing lunchtime special including a drink for £5.99, and the Brazilian classic black bean and meat stew Feijoada is available at the weekend.

20140517_102816

In the deli / shop they stock Brazilian staples that aren’t always easy to find – Manioc (cassava) flour, Farofa, frozen snacks including cheese bread ‘Pao de Queijo’ and drinks including my favourite pick-me-up Guarana Antarctica.

If you live in the area this is a great place to get sausages and steaks for the BBQ, and maybe some snacks and drinks too before you settle into the sunshine and the footie.

Whichever team you’re backing – enjoy the football season!

Boi Na Brasa and Ki Delicia
40 Hoe Street
Walthamstow
London E17

 

Posted in Foodie finds, shopping, Shopping in E17 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lithuanian Zeppelin dumplings

Cevapalini
A trip to Lituanica, the Lithuanian supermarket on the High Street this week led to lunch… usually we only stay for a coffee and one of their amazing curd doughnuts. Today I decided to try Cepelinai, the Lithuanian dumplings named after the Zeppelin. They may resemble the airship’s oval shape but they’re certainly not light enough to fly away!

These boiled Lithuanian national specialities are slightly sticky, giant potato dumplings stuffed with minced meat. They are traditionally served with Smetana sour cream and topped with fried bacon – a half portion was about £3.

Borscht
Lituanica also has a daily soup for £1.90 – on our visit it was Borscht. If you’re imagining a light vegetable soup you might be disturbed by the big hunks of smoked pork! This rich beetroot soup, full of onions and spiced with juniper berries, was also served with a dollop of thick sour cream and dark, sweet rye bread.

Lituanica is a great deli and Eastern European grocery shop. They stock a great range of bread, charcuterie meats, marinated fish, frozen pierogi, fruit tea and grains.

CIMG0131 (2)

Posted in Foodie travels | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Rotorino – an Italian night out in Dalston

20140503_195638In a converted old bank on Kingsland Road, Dalston is Stevie Parle’s new East London restaurant. It’s only been open since mid-April but already seems to have developed quite a following. Stevie was the youngest ever chef at The River Café, writes for the Telegraph Food, has four cookbooks out which we love, was on TV in the Spice Trip and has launched Rotorino after success in West London at The Dock Kitchen.

Rotorino has a relaxed feel – leather clad booths hug one wall of the restaurant, and there’s wood paneling from the old bank and retro 60’s tiles on the back wall. The staff are friendly and warm too and seem knowledgeable.

The food is inspired by Southern Italy but also features local products such as cold meats cured in Highbury. To follow the complimentary Sardinian pane carasau crisp flatbread, we chose Coppa (beef) with sweet and sour fennel to share.  Our waitress emphasised that this was ‘small plate’ dining, but we thought it was generous at only £4. Wafer-thin, deliciousness!

20140503_194109

We moved on to another shared plate of Sausage Casarecce – a homemade pasta with a slow-cooked sausage, red wine and chilli ragu with crispy fried breadcrumbs – an old Italian alternative to Parmesan. This comes in two sizes at £8 or £12 – we shared a large portion. The food is served simply on old tin camping plates and mis-matched crockery.

20140503_194504

Next in our meaty feast we went for a flash-cooked hanger steak on the grill, £10. It was served ready sliced and was expertly cooked medium rare, but the Calabrian chilli sauce needs more of a kick to bring out the flavours. Side dishes of fried new potatoes with rosemary and garlic and a simple green salad were great. The mainly Italian wine list is good value and drinkable served by the glass, carafe or bottle selected by Street Vin.

20140503_200653 20140503_200638

Open for brunch, lunch and dinner at the weekend and dinner and drinks come school nights, Rotorino is modest in size offering only sixty covers, but the aim of the game is a relaxed ambiance here, and that’s one that Stevie has achieved with ease. Be it the beautiful oversized table that greets you as you walk in (perfect for large groups), the leather clad booths that hug one wall of the restaurant, the cherry wood details, the warm golden lighting or the tiles that adorn the back wall, both Stevie and Mango London Architects (who were also responsible for East London places like the Clove Club and Sager and Wilde) haven’t overlooked but one perfect detail in the decor. – See more at: http://www.justopenedlondon.com/rotorino/#sthash.k7P7Mn7Q.dpuf

Finally we opted for the chocolate cake with honeycomb and pistachios and sour cream. Disappointingly this was the low point of the meal – the cake was an odd soft scoop of ganache – souffle which just didn’t taste rich enough after the steak. Next time we’ll go for the cheese.

20140503_204747

Rotorino is fairly-priced, frill-free Italian cooking using great ingredients with an emphasis on Josper grilled meat and fish.  It’s open during the week from 5.30pm for dinner and drinks and at weekends for brunch, lunch and dinner. For either a special occasion blow-out or a simple pasta and steak dinner – we’ll be back!

434 Kingsland Rd, London, E8 4AA
020 7249 9081
eat@rotorino.com

Rotorino on Urbanspoon

Posted in Restaurants beyond E17 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beetroot & horseradish meatballs

DSCN6432We were so excited when our recipe for beetroot & horseradish meatballs appeared in The Guardian ‘Cook’ Readers’ recipe swap on Saturday 3 May 2014.

These meatballs bring back happy memories of lazy days exploring Berlin in our 20’s. Beetroot and horseradish is a classic German combination and works well here served in a rye-bread roll with sour cream. If you can’t get hold of fresh horseradish then a teaspoon of hot horseradish sauce would be an alternative. The meatballs are light and juicy, they’re healthy too as they’re oven-baked and beetroot is low in fat, full of vitamins and minerals and packed with antioxidants.

Beetroot & Horseradish Meatballs

You need:

250g minced pork
250g minced beef
1 onion, finely chopped
2 raw beetroots, grated
1 tbsp grated (fresh) horseradish
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp finely chopped dill
salt & pepper
1 tbsp rapeseed oil, for frying

Method:

Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.

DSCN6442Mix all the ingredients, except the oil for frying, in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Shape into about 15-20 golf ball-sized meatballs.

DSCN6452Heat the oil and pan fry the meatballs for 2 minutes on each side, then bake on a tray for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

DSCN6461

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hummus with lamb & sumac

DSCN6341Recently we changed our Supperclub starters to sharing platters and they’ve been going down a storm – especially the hummus topped with lamb and sumac, so I promised to share the recipe. I need to credit Silvena Rowe’s cook book ‘Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume’ – which inspired us. This is a life-changing hummus recipe, promise! The ice cubes help to produce an almost whipped cream-like light texture.

The secret to a good hummus is the quality of the chickpeas. Too often in the UK we have really old dried ones that no one else wants or rely on a tin. I bought dried chickpeas from Maghreb, the Moroccan butchers shop on Hoe Street, Walthamstow. They recommended that the best ones in stock were from a company called Garrido – £2.49 for 1kg.

Hummus with lamb & sumac

You need:

500g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
4 ice cubes
3 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
juice of 1 -2 lemons

Method:

Put the chickpeas into a large bowl, cover with plenty of cold water and leave to soak overnight. Alternatively, put the chickpeas into a large pan and cover with water, bring them to the boil, then take the pan off the heat and leave them to soak for an hour.

Drain the chickpeas and rinse thoroughly. Put them into a large pan and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes to kill off any toxins. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chickpeas are soft but not mushy. The skins will float to the surface so skim them off the top of the water when it builds up. It will take about an hour depending on the quality of the chickpeas for them to cook. Or we have found recently that soaked chickpeas will cook in a pressure cooker in about 20 minutes.

DSCN6385

Drain and cool the chickpeas for a few minutes. Pop them into a food processor and blend them adding the ice cubes one at a time. This is pure magic – as you blend them you will slowly see the chickpea paste get paler and look almost like whipped cream.

DSCN6389

Remove the paste from the food processor and place in a large bowl. Add the tahini, crushed garlic and juice of 1 – 2 lemons, depending on how juicy they are, and season with salt to taste.

For the lamb topping:

100g lean diced lamb
3 tsp ground sumac
1 tbsp olive oil

Chop the lamb into small cubes. Add 2 tsp of sumac and a sprinkle of salt and rub into the meat. The sumac has a warm, lemony flavour. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the lamb cubes until crispy. For a veggie alternative, reserve a handful of the whole cooked chickpeas and gently fry with a roughly chopped red onion and the sumac until caramelised.

DSCN6403

To serve put the hummus into a large pretty bowl, top with the hot lamb cubes, a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle over the final teaspoon of sumac.

 

 

 

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Morrocan beef & date stew

DSCN6265The weather has been so unpredictable lately that it has been a challenge to decide in the morning what we’ll be wanting to eat by the evening. Saturday was quite warm with a hint of sunshine so fish was on the menu, however with rain forecast for today I went for a comforting beef stew. This is a stew with attitude, it’s all about the spices and the slow cooking giving the warm flavours time to develop.

I used good quality Dexter beef from Pick’s Organic Farm stall at the Walthamstow Farmers Market and served it with couscous and a stir fry of rainbow chard and lentil sprouts. The sprouts were in our OrganicLea vegetable box apparently as a filler to bridge the growing-food gap between the end of spring into summer. The chard was from Growing Communities at Stoke Newington Farmers Market.

DSCN6138You need:

500g Dexter stewing beef
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp rape seed oil
1 roughly chopped onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2cm fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 tsp sweet, smoked paprika
1 tsp hot paprika
2 tbsp fruit / onion chutney (we used homemade apricot & marrow)
5-6 large dried dates, roughly chopped
300g tomato passata
800ml water or chicken stock
salt & pepper

Method:

Take a large bowl, add the flour and roll the beef in it until covered. On the hob, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large heavy pan that has a lid.  Add the flour coated beef and brown the meat, then remove from the pan to a plate and set aside.

DSCN6251Add the onions, garlic and ginger to the pan and cook on a low heat until soft. Put the meat back into the pan and add all the other ingredients, except the water. I often add chutney to stews to add intense flavours – it’s also good if you want to use up a jar that has been kicking around the fridge for too long! I choose an onion-based apricot and marrow chutney which married well with the dates and paprika flavours.

DSCN6257Increase the heat and bring the tomato sauce to almost bubbling before adding the water. Now cover with a lid and put the pan into a preheated oven at 200C/ 400F/ Gas Mark 5 for 2-3 hours. Check and stir every hour.

We served it with couscous and stir-fried greens, but the stew would also go well with mashed potatoes, brown rice or polenta.

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment