… Little yummy snippets
I do love a good dollop of chilli sauce, but not one which blows my head off, and hides all the taste. The three authentic Korean sauces from Yogiyo (literal meaning “Over Here”) tick my boxes, bags of flavour and provide a gentle nudge to a chilli kick. The range includes Gochu Jang dipping sauce (rich and spicy), Gochu Jang cooking sauce (spicy, sweet and peppery) and the Galbi miranade (sweet, rich, fruity and filled with umani). The company attracted the attention of Peter Jones in the Dragons’ Den and can now be found at Sainsbury’s, £2.20 / 300g bottle. Twitter: @yogiyo_co
On the occasions that I travel from St Pancras, I nearly always stop for provisions at Sourced Market. Importantly they serve excellent coffee and have a fabulous range of deli treats to take away – perfect for eating on the train, or as a hostess gift. The company supports young, small, local businesses, (stocking items for over 110 producers) and stands out against the increasing homogeneity of the High Street and our railway stations. I am delighted to see that they are opening next year at Victoria, which I use far more often. To help fund their expansion Sourced are launching a crowded funded bond to help raise the funds. I am please to see they are nearly 70% of the way to their target. Twitter @sourcedmarket
We received some meat from the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre, situated in Conwy, North Wales. The centre sells a wide variety of food, and has a cookery school and tea rooms. Made from 100% Welsh black beef and Anglesey grown horseradish, the sausages had a succulent, meaty texture, the horseradish is perfectly integrated, discernible while not being overpowering. Bodnant Melts with Aberwen cheese are densely packed, large and well flavoured burgers. One burger is possibly an overgenerous helping for one person, but there is a core of molten cheese for added wickedness. We did think that a little more cheese would have been welcome. Ed enjoyed and appreciated the lamb chops when I was away for a few days. Twitter @foodcymru
Small producers Heck make a wide range of sausages, burgers and balls, and have a good range of chicken products. We always prefer the unmessed about with regular, finding them meaty and not at all fatty. The pork and apple were nicely seasoned with a hint of sweetness. The chorizo sausages were subtly spiced and suitable for all the family. We did think that they all had a fairly thick skin however. The Fair & Square patties are perfect sandwiched between two slices of lightly toasted bread for breakfast. Twitter @heckfood
Ed and I took our respective Godson and Goddaughter to Pizza Express last month. The two of them hugely enjoyed it, and we appreciated the activity sheets, hats and patient staff who were unfazed by mess and quickly found places to park the scooters. E & T tucked into the very reasonably priced children’s menu (£6.95)offering dough balls (with healthy crudities) a choice of pizza or pasta, followed by an ice cream sundae and bambinoccino. Thumbs up all round from the children. I had a very needed and very reasonably priced glass of prosecco (£4.65) and we sampled the new Potato Noccoila, golden light balls of potato, with a crisp crust and soft fluffy inside and the new Risotto Mio, soft creamy with two types of mushrooms, pine nuts and some cheese (£5.60 starter). On a return visit we tried the new Autunno pizza, crisp and topped with roasted squash, chorizo, chilli, spinach and mozzerella which will become my new favourite for our pre-cinema Pizza Express trips. Twitter @PizzaExpress
I sent Ed off to learn more about coffee making with Thermos
Over the summer we enjoyed cold brew coffee but it’s a bit too autumnal for that now, and nothing but the real, hot, deal will do anymore. Our standard brewing method at the moment is a Chemex, which we use for larger amounts, and a V60 pour-over cone for single cups. While this is all very well for when we’re at home, with kettle and grinder easily available, it doesn’t really help when we’re out and about. In London we’re luckily well served by coffee shops, but when we’re not here, we just have to go without.
However, Thermos can help. They have been making vacuum flasks for over 100 years, and to show the efficiency of their stainless steel flasks, had us try the overnight coffee challenge. We were presented with a flask of coffee that had been filled the previous evening, about fifteen hours earlier. The coffee inside was still impressively hot, but to get a real feel for the flask we filled it with boiling water and left it for 24 hours, to find that the liquid inside was at a more than acceptably drinkable 66 degrees C.
As well as trying the coffee made the night before, we also ran through some easy to use home brewing methods; the V60 and the Aeropress. Seeing how the professionals use the equipment was illuminating: for the cone, I haven’t been pouring round the edges enough. Likewise, being shown the way to use the Aeropress’s plunger to create a vacuum to keep the coffee brewing before plunging, as well as the right amount of stirring for best results should result both of us being happier the next time I’m presented with one when staying in an Airbnb. Twitter @Thermos
Many thanks to all the brands mentioned for gifts and invitations. All opinions our own.