Señor Ceviche and Late Night Cake

Back in December, I went on my first ever blogger date! 

It only made sense for me to take the leap with the lovely Miho of Wander to Wonder, a blog I've adored since last summer, and one that you absolutely must take a look at if you don't know it! Just reading Miho's beautifully written and photographed lifestyle, food and travel posts convinced me that she'd be exactly the kind of lady I'd love to be friends with. So it was that we arranged to meet for some Peruvian feasting at Señor Ceviche.

I've been a bit of a hermit this winter, but to my great relief, hanging out with Miho came as the easiest thing in the world. We chatted, sipped cocktails (reduced for happy hour! You know how much I love a good discount...) and laughed uproariously as if we'd been pals for years. It's pretty strange knowing so much about someone's life before you've even met them properly, but also kind of wonderful! Oh, the joys of blogging.

I ordered a fruity Ayahuasca cocktail (rum, peach liqueur, spiced pineapple syrup, bitters and ginger beer!) and Miho went for a classic pisco sour. Delicious as these were, we girls cannot live on five pound cocktails alone. So we called the waiter over and ordered a whole host of exciting sounding dishes (Miho's listed all the ones we've ordered on her blog!) As I've said time and time again, I seriously love tapas style sharing dishes - and Señor Ceviche did not disappoint.

There's a lot of happiness to be derived from going out to eat with someone who understands the importance of taking photos of all your food, I can tell you!

I had a tiny moment of disappointment with the Pachamanca pork belly ribs - I'd been hoping for sticky, tender meat, but they were a little drier than I'd expected.

But the incredibly tender Flat Iron Anticuchos beef skewers were outstanding and more than made up for the little blip with the ribs! The beef was cooked to perfection (i.e. fairly rare!) and the spicy aji rocoto sauce made it the zingiest flat iron steak I'd ever had.

The signature Señor Ceviche dish of sea bream ceviche with tiger's milk, avocado and tempura baby squid was also a winner. Mmmm. 

The dishes were so fresh and light, they felt...dare I say...healthy. Which obviously gave us free reign to go all out with pudding! But we were wanting something a little more substantial than the posset or brownie on the SC menu. Our quandary was that we didn't really know many places (aside from ice cream pit stops like my beloved Gelupo!) where we could walk in and grab dessert without a main meal. But Zomato came to the rescue, and after deliberating over a few recommendations, we knew where we were going.

We headed out into the cold December night to marvel over the central London Christmas lights (I've been missing all the Christmassy decorations so much, can't lie) and strolled over to our destination: L'Eto Caffé on Wardour Street.

L'Eto has a huge range of cakes - I always salivate in front of the window when I walk past - and best of all, it serves right up until 11PM on a Friday! So if you're ever craving something sweet late at night in central London, you know where to go...

We ordered a super cute glass teapot of camomile tea and picked our cakes. 

All the cakes were beautiful. Except one. And I, of course, was won over by a taste of it. Sitting in a dish, the soggy Dulce de Leche cake called to me, and I just had to respond. Couldn't help it.

I'd say this was the Tower of Pisa of cakes. Amazingly creamy and custardy, but wonky as a result of how wet it was. And no amount of angling the plate could disguise its monstrous iceberg-like form...Ha! I'm such a bad blogger.

Luckily, Miho saved the day by choosing the most aesthetically pleasing cake on display: the honey cake, topped with a jewel-like raspberry.

With beautifully crisp layers, this was definitely a cake any self-respecting blogger could be proud to be seen with! *Retreats into corner clutching ugly cake*

Photo courtesy of Miho!
It was so lovely to meet a fellow blogger and be able to chat about blog things that my friends wouldn't understand - oh, and to be able to photograph my food without shame! Can't wait to meet many more of you wonderful bloggers. Miho and I have already planned our next date and I'm so excited...I know it's going to be a good one!

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Dishoom King's Cross

Once upon a time, many moons ago (November) a plucky young damsel (Tamsin) leapt aboard her metallic steed (the Tube) and embarked upon a perilous journey to the east (King's Cross) for a banquet that would surely change her life (Dishoom). 

So I really liked Dishoom. I realised upon stepping through the doors of the restaurant that I'd never had a 'nice' Indian meal. That's not to say I haven't had great Indian takeaway - we've got loads of those around north-west London - or the fantastic mamak Indian food in Malaysia - but somehow, I'd never been to a proper Indian restaurant in central London. Luckily, my first experience of decent Indian dining didn't disappoint!

I seriously love a theme. Give me a theme and I'll be head over heels with your bar/café/restaurant/indie pop-up straight away; the more niche the better. The recently vacated dilapidated home of a vicar? Yes please, Reverend J.W. Simpson. Obviously the food and drink have to be excellent to match - and if they do, I'm in Disneyland for grown-ups. Dishoom's theme is fantastically evocative. Housed in one of the high-ceilinged old warehouses off Granary Square, behind King's Cross, it only makes sense for the restaurant to emulate a godown (warehouse) serving street food to the harried, hungry Bombay commuters bustling in and out of the neighbouring train station in 1928. Right?

Well, it had me hook, line and sinker...

Alex and I visited the restaurant during its soft launch period, and the queues were slightly intimidating. But the service was great from the outset, with a waitress venturing into the cold to bring us little shot glasses of warm spicy chai, which was just the ticket on a nippy November night. After the initial queue, we went to the bar to await our table. The godown theme continued in here, too - the bar is called 'The Permit Room', so called because in Bombay alcohol is prohibited, and a 'permit room' is a place where one can imbibe liquor, supposedly for the preservation of one's health. Being health-conscious citizens, we naturally we had to order a couple of pegs of drink (pegs being a measurement used in the Punjab, of course...) - a Chai Paanch and a a Viceroy's Old Fashioned, which came in beautiful little glass bottles. 

The 1920s Indian railway theme continued when we'd been seated with wonderful broadsheet newspaper-like menus that begged to be spread out across the table and read at leisure. When we'd had our fill of perusing, we ordered (okra) fries to soak up the booze, garlic naan, a paneer and mango salad, and a marinated lamb biryani to share.

The most rictus grin ever.

The mains were lovely (next time I'll be ordering more!) but the highlight was definitely pudding. The moment we saw the menu, we knew there would be no escaping the pineapple crumble infused with black pepper and Keralan vanilla... 

This one's got a smug face because way back in the day, when we first met, he cajoled me into eating a slice of mango sprinkled with black pepper because he thought it was a wonderful flavour combination.

Sweet and peppery do make for an delicious mix, I'll give him that. Especially when served with warm custard! (P.S. please note the candle moved right up next to the ramekin in a bid to combat every food blogger's nemesis, the dark restaurant...)

Oh, and most important of all - the 'water closets'. I had a bit too much fun in there...and not only because of the fantastic vintage prints on display. You too will see what I mean if you take a trip back in time to the toilets of 1928 Bombay...

Greeted by the magical colour-changing jets of water splashing rhythmically in the Granary Square courtyard, I was quickly transported back to the 21st century. I will most definitely be returning to Dishoom soon, particularly for their breakfast! I hear the bacon naan roll is to die for...

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A Very Foodie Lim-Mas

Happy New Year, one and all! Now that the festive season is safely behind us, I might as well tell you: my family takes Christmas incredibly seriously. More specifically: we take Christmas food incredibly seriously. I'm pretty sure that collectively, the four of us gain the weight of a small child.

We stay up late on Christmas Eve to do any food prep needed for the next day, such as boiling and roasting the traditional Christmas Day ham. This year we also decided to prepare our stomachs for the big day with a melted Camembert and sharpen our minds with a particularly taxing game of Trivial Pursuit. (Sadly, my dad tends to wipe the floor with all three of us womenfolk. T.P. is stacked in favour of old people. I'm sure of it). 

On Christmas morning my sister and I open our stockings and then go downstairs to ooh and aah over the presents under the tree. When we were kids we did all of this at 4 AM. Poor Mum and Dad. Now we tend to rise at a much more civil 11 AM...

We check that Santa has eaten his mince pie, taken his treat for the reindeer and drunk his tipple of choice. He seems to rather enjoy a tot of Baileys.

Next we make sure the dining table is attired in a suitably festal manner and start preparing food for Christmas lunch. Snacking along the way, of course. It's hard not to when you've got a prime cut of Hansen & Lydersen salmon just begging to be served with crème fraîche and blinis...

While the roast meats (duck and turkey this year!) are in the oven, we gather around the tree for the best bit: present opening!

 Here's a few of my favourites from this year...

A leather wallet and notebook that smell delicious.

Isabel Marant earrings.

A bevy of wonderful books. The Bone Clocks was my Christmas Day read and I can highly recommend it: a marriage of thriller and fantasy that had my fingers glued to the novel all the way through Boxing Day and beyond.

Susanne Kaufmann goodies.

Sunscreen from Bri. One of my New Year's resolutions is to wear this every day. More on my resolutions in an upcoming post...(maybe).

Alex and I made stockings for each other this year, and the highlight of his was this phone case! So utterly perfect for me. The boy knows me well.

And my favourite of all, this black leather rucksack. I'd been searching for one for ages but my parents found this one and it's perfect. Smart enough to take to work, but practical too - I need a bag that won't damage my back.

After present-opening merriment Bri and I worked together to make a pavlova. The meringue should really be made the night before, but this year we forgot completely. I blame Trivial Pursuit.

At about 4PM, it's time for Christmas dinner! Lunch? Feast?? It's such a weird in-between time that no one really knows...Next comes a whirl of delicious food, drink, cracker-pulling and general conviviality. 

After dinner we watch a spot of Christmas TV and movies (this year, Frozen and Miracle on 34th Street) and when the effects of our gluttony have worn off slightly, we decorate and serve the pavlova. 

And that concludes Christmas 2014! Bit of a late post on my part, but I'd love to know anyway - what did you get up to this year (well...last year?) Do you have any Yuletide traditions? 

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