Posts filed under "delicious dish"

The Lovely Drawer | Gingerbread Blondies

I love brownies like every other person,

but a blondie has certain mystical appeal to me.

I'm not sure why, 

but if I have the choice-

I almost always will defect from the chocolatey hero

and cling starry-eyed to it's paler counterpart.

You can imagine my wonderment 

when Teri whipped up these 

gingerbread blondies

in her kitchen

for this month's recipe.

Gingerbread yumminess

combined with a blondie

drizzled with white chocolate?

My mind was as blown 

as the first time I encountered

Slutty Brownies...

which my sister hilariously refers to as

"the Tur-Duck-En of desserts."

It's just one of those creations

you encounter that has 

so much goodness 

wrapped up in one tiny thing.

It's like, as the Brits say,

all my Christmases have come at once.

Here's Teri to walk you through

this lovely creation.

(Don't forget to read it to yourself

in a sweet English accent... it makes it so much better.)

*    *    *

These yummies may look like brownies but they are in fact gingerbread blondies and each gooey bite is worth every calorie. 

These are really straightforward to whip up and make a nice change to a standard brownie. They work well as a dessert with some vanilla ice cream or as an afternoon treat with a cup of tea or coffee, yum!

225g dark brown soft sugar

150g butter

4 tbsp black treacle

2 tsp ground ginger

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

125g plain flour

125g wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

100g gingernut biscuits

150g white chocolate

METHOD:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 and line or grease a 20x 20 baking tin.

2. Mash the dark brown soft sugar, butter and treacle together in a bowl with a spoon until the mixture is totally combined. Mix in the ginger, eggs and vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the plain flour, wholemeal flour, baking flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add the flour gradually, incorporating between each addition.

4. Break the gingernut biscuits and 100g of the white chocolate into small chunks and stir into the blondie mixture.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Leave to cool. 

6. Melt the remaining white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a simmering saucepan of water, stirring constantly.

7. Pour the chocolate into a bottle with a small nozzle or wrap a sheet of greaseproof paper into a cone shape and snip the end off to drizzle the white chocolate over the blondies. Leave the chocolate to set a little and then cut into squares.

*    *    *

Yum.

Teri is off to Brussels for a week,

and I'm hoping the sticky and sugar waffles 

provide some inspiration for her next recipe!

Check out her (amazing) blog,

The Lovely Drawer.

Posted on March 21, 2014 and filed under "delicious dish", "dessert", "guest writers", "the lovely drawer", eat, recipe.

My Notting Hill | Talkhouse Coffee

Our friend Reuben is generally very nice...

except when it comes to coffee.

You should have seen the snarl I got when I asked if 

he had served instant coffee after we had dinner  at their house one night.

The death look was given and noted.

So when he says that a place by our flat has really good coffee,

we listen.

Well, actually, Tyler listens

and then takes me....

and then I remember that this was the place

 that Reuben was talking up so much.

Talkhouse sits on Portobello Road,

at the end of the market.

It's a small coffee shop

that discreetly boasts

that it's barista won 3rd in the 

World Latte Art Competition.

(Who knew such existed, right?)

But not only does Talkhouse serve coffee so fancy

that it could make a hipster feel insecure

but the food is top notch.

We reallllly love the St. John's custard donut

and the chocolate chip cookie sprinkled with sea salt.

Yum.

The lunch options are also really good quality

and amazingly fresh.

If it's nice outside,

snag a seat in the outdoor garden area

at the wayyyyy back of the shop.

(Just keep going, it's there. I promise.)

Enjoy this good, good place.

I know you won't be disappointed.

Talkhouse Coffee

275 Portobello Road

London W11 1LR

*photos by Noah Darnell

EDITOR'S NOTE: Permanently closed.

The Lovely Drawer | Pad Thai

When we moved to Oxford,

I fell in love with Thai food.

I'll be honest:

before we moved over,

I don't think I have ever had it.

Why? What? 

Why was I wasting so much of my life?

These are all valid questions.

And to be honest:

I can't give you a good reason. 

I guess it just hadn't made it to Tejas yet.

But oh me-oh-my... 

I fell hard for some Pad Kee Mao

(from Oxford's Old Tom Thai),

and now Thai takeout

(from Walmer Castle or The Churchill Arms)

is a weekly happening in our home.

The great news is-

there is an Asian supermarket

about 100 yards from our flat.

So now, I just need to put this recipe into use

and save the cash from our takeout bill

for something special.

Who knows...

it could be save up for a vacation to Thailand

when I can go to town on some authentic deliciousness.

Welcome back, Teri,

and thanks for bringing this amazing dish our way.

Yum.

*        *        *

Surely everyone likes Pad Thai? Well perhaps if you have a peanut allergy it's not top of your 'to make' list but it's a winner none the less. This recipe is a mixture of handy tips from my neighbour who recently cooked us this yummy dinner and a bit of good old experimentation. Now it's something I'll cook time and time again. 

You can equally enjoy this meal with chicken instead. I know some people get creeped out by seafood. (Personally, I could eat my body weight in the stuff!)

HOMEMADE ZINGY PAD THAI 

(serves four)

1. Make a marinade for the prawns using the chilli flakes, one garlic clove (minced) and half the coriander (read: cilantro). Marinade for at least an hour but ideally over night.

2. Thinly slice your onion and fry on a medium heat with some vegetable oil in a pan. Mince the other two garlic cloves into the plan and then add the bean sprouts.

3. Meanwhile bring a pot of water to the boil and add your noodles to cook. 

4. Mix the juice of 2 and half of the limes, sugar and fish sauce and chilli sauce in a bowl or jug. Mix well and add to the frying pan.

5. Turn down to a low heat and add your peanut butter, stirring to combine. Then add your prawns and marinade and cook.

6. Once your noodles are cooked, before draining, transfer a ladle's worth into the pad thai pan to give the sauce creaminess. You can add more depending on the consistency you like.

7. Add the noodles to the pad thai pan as well and combine on a low heat. 

8. Pour your peanuts into a blender and pulse until they become small pieces. When your prawns are pink, serve your pad thai with the peanuts sprinkled on top, the rest of your coriander (chopped) and a wedge of lime to squeeze on each.

9. Now you can devour it all! 

*      *     * 

Oh my yum.

Who's having me over for Pad Thai?

Please?

. . .

Get a bigger dose of Teri's creativity & aesthetic at

The Lovely Drawer.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on February 24, 2014 and filed under "delicious dish", "the lovely drawer", recipe, eat.

My Notting Hill | Honest Burgers

I'm not really a meat eater.

Most of the time,

I stick to veggies...

unless it's exceptionally delicious meat.

Like boeuf bourgignon at a favorite French restaurant

or pork barbecue sandwiches when I'm in the South...

or Chick-fil-A nuggets by the handful because they are goooood.

We don't really eat at ton of red meat,

so we save our burger splurges

for the best...

which means we don't eat them in England.

Burgers in England are gross.

I hate to be a downer, but it's just true.

They're nasty (in my Texan snob opinion)

for two reasons:

1. The cows are grass-fed and it makes the beef taste weird.

2. They use breadcrumbs in the patties so it makes them have

a weird, meatloaf-y consistency.

Now, a year ago,

I could have written off this entire

soggy island and it's soggy burger patties...

but I actually, have to allow for a few exceptions.

Now that the US darlings Shack Shake & Five Guys

have come to town,

it is possible to get a good burger...

AND because

Honest Burgers

is here.

Since they are British and have created a good burger,

they get an extra gold star.

There are a few locations,

but we go to the one in Notting Hill

on Portobello Road

(duh).

They offer a

really simple menu

,

but it's a good one.

Go with the Honest burger (bacon, cheddar, carmelised onion relish)

 + homemade fries with rosemary salt.

Once your tummy starts protruding

with a burger pooch,

you'll singing John Cougar Mellancamp

and swearing to yourself that you were

back in the good ole US of A.

(Except you actually won't be... so don't sing... Just hum.)

*      *     *

Honest Burgers

189 Portobello Road 

London W11 2ED

+44 (0) 7229 4978

(Other locations available

here

.)

*photography by Noah Darnell

The Lovely Drawer | Spiced Pear Cheesecakes

So the holidays are over.

Womp. Womp.

Unless you are planning (re: neglecting) your Christmas tree

until it's a dry skeleton of what it once was

and hanging Valentines Day cards from it

like we run a high risk of doing...

January is a bit of dry spell of celebrating.

So... 

here's a little party you can throw for yourself:

these cheesecakes.

We went to dinner at Teri

& Nick's the other week

and she made these for us as "pudding" (re: dessert).

With it's pretty figs setting on top for decoration,

I jokingly referred to is as a Figgy Pudding...

and I, of course, also flipped out

because it was delicious.

* * *

Any cheesecakes is usually a winner but I have to say I spend a lot more time making baked cheesecakes than set ones. In my head I'd somehow resolved that they were far superior. But then again the appeal of a dessert that doesn't actually even need cooking is quite tempting, especially when it involves mascarpone! 

I adapted this cheesecake recipe to form a spiced, winter version which would almost be warming...if it was so...chilled. I used a 3x1.75 inch mini cheesecake pan with removable bases. You could even smaller versions and make more or use 9 inch springform/ loose-bottomed tin for a standard cheesecake. My tin equated to 7 mini cheesecakes. Mini desserts are my fave! 

Cheesecake

1 C crumbled spiced biscuits, like Lotus (read: Speculoos) biscuits or similar.

1 oz walnuts 

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 pears

figs for decoration

2 tsp cinnamon 

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar

14 oz full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

11 oz mascarpone, at room temperature

3/4 C icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 C water

1. Put the biscuits and walnuts in a bag and crush with a rolling pin until fine or blend in a food processor. Add 1 tsp of the cinnamon.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and then take off the heat stir in the biscuit and nut mix.

3. Press the mixture into each mini cheesecake tin. Compact well with your fingers or the bottom of a spoon and leave in the fridge while you prepare the rest. 

4. Peel and cut the pears into small chunks. Heat the water in a saucepan and add the sugar and the other tsp of cinnamon. Stir in and allow to dissolve. Add the pears and cook covered for about 15 mins. Allow to cool.

5. Combine the cream cheese and mascarpone in a mixing bowl and use handheld electric mixer to blend the cheeses together until light and fluffy.

6. Add the icing sugar a little at a time to incorporate and then add the vanilla to the mixture.

7. Make sure the pear mixture is cool and then squeeze the excess liquid out, gently through a sieve. Stir into the cheese mixture.

8. Spread this over your biscuit bases. Fill each mini tin and smooth over the top with a knife or spatula. 

9.Chill in the fridge for at least a few hours, ideally over night. The cheesecake firms up best when you remover them from their tins a few hours before serving and leave them in the fridge until you are ready to eat. Cut your figs into quarters and place on the top of each cheesecake.

Caramel sauce

1 1/4 C powdered sugar

5 ounces double cream (or heavy whipping cream)

3.5 tablespoons butter

1. Transfer the sugar into a heavy based frying pan, stir in 4tbsp water and then place over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Turn up the heat and bubble for 4-5 mins until it forms caramel.

3. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream and butter. Leave the sauce to cool and then transfer into a squeezy bottle.

4. Drizzle over your cheesecakes.

* * *

So, there you have it.

2014 just got a lot more awesome.

Check out more of Teri's cool creations

on her prettier-than-mine blog,

The Lovely Drawer.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on January 6, 2014 and filed under "delicious dish", "dessert", "the lovely drawer", eat, recipe.

The Lovely Drawer | Maple Carrot, Apple & Bacon Soup

In the spirit of holiday fun,

I ate at least half of a pie over the weekend.

Maybe more, if I think about it,

but I don't really want to.

It's not like I regret it,

but... 

okay, fine,

I kinda do.

Woof.

I'm trying to do some meal planning

for the week ahead

and making it a bit.... lighter.

I'm envisioning making a slew of salads

and meals involving ingredients

that would make my Southern mom say, "Ew."

(Hey, Quinoa & Flax!)

And also, this:

Maple Carrot, Apple & Bacon Soup.

Yum.

Doesn't that sound

perfectly cozy and perfect

for a December night in.

Plus, soups are typically pretty economical

which means a few more greenbacks can go

towards the Christmas shopping.

On to Teri for the recipe...

best read in a British accent.

*    *    *

I don't deal too well with the cold. 

Winter is in many ways lovely 

but I pretty much cart a hot water bottle around with me 

and gravitate towards radiators where possible...

Oh yes and I will probably have soup on the brain! 

If you share this feeling then here's a winter warmer 

to melt away the chills in your boots. 

It was a little bit of an experiment but it worked out well. 

I really enjoyed the sweetness of the maple syrup and apple 

against the saltiness of the bacon. 

It's like a hug in a bowl and is very straightforward. 

That's the great thing about soup! 

You'll need:

1.2kg/2.5lb carrots

3 apples (Braeburn, if available)

2 small sweet potatoes

1 large onion

Handful of rosemary

90ml/3.5oz maple syrup

drizzle olive oil

250g/9oz smoked bacon

3 large garlic cloves

vegetable stock

1 tbsp mixed herbs

1 tbsp paprika

drizzle of balsamic vinegar

Makes 6-8 portions

How to:

1) Preheat the oven to 200 C

2) Peel and chop the carrots,apples and sweet potatoes. Cut and chop the onion.

3) Line a baking tray. Spread the veg out over the tray. Crush the two of the garlic on top, season and sprinkle a bit of the rosemary over the top. Drizzle the syrup and the olive oil over the top and rub it in with your fingers, mixing the garlic in too. 

4) Cook for about an hour or until everything is well roasted, stirring every now and again to cook evenly.

5) Then transfer to a large saucepan and then pour in vegetable stock, season and add the rest of the rosemary. Add the vegetable stock until all the veg is well covered and bring to the boil. Then put a lid on the saucepan simmer for about 20 mins. Add extra stock or water if you want a thinner consistency.

6) Meanwhile heat a drizzle of oil in a pan and fry the bacon, along with the remaining garlic clove (crushed). Drizzle balsamic over the bacon halfway through frying. Once cooked add to the soup, saving a little for garnish.

7) Then blend the whole lot with a hand blender until smooth. Once again if it looks too thick you can always add some water. 

8) Serve hot with a sprinkling of bacon, a sprig of rosemary and your favourite winter blanket.

*     *    *

You can get a full helping

of Teri's cuteness & unstoppable creativity

over on her blog,

The Lovely Drawer.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on December 2, 2013 and filed under "delicious dish", "the lovely drawer", eat, recipe.

The Lovely Drawer | Pumpkin, Pancetta & Sage Lasagna.

Pumpkin, Pancetta & Sage Lasagna?

I'm just going to stop talking now

and let Teri do her thing

as she is obviously on a hot streak

with this amazing recipe.

Now she can do the talking (yes, in her fab-o British accent),

and I'll let you do the pinning/planning/reservation canceling

so that you can get this recipe

added to tonight's dinner plans.

YUM.

One more thing: 

I think it's cute how Brits say "lasagne" instead of "lasagna."

Lasagne actually the correct way, oops!

Okay, I really am done talking now.

*  *  *

Pumpkin, Pancetta & Sage Lasagne

It's come to that time of year when I'm compulsively pinning pumpkin recipes as though my life depends on it and daydreaming about the smell of roasting squash wafting through my flat. All things considered, it seemed fitting to dig out this tasty dish. 

It's a healthier version of the creamy, oozy lasagne we are all so familiar with. Now let me clarify, this isn't going to win you lots of diet points but it is 'better' for you than most. Seeing as my tummy can't handle lots of creaminess and I'm no fan of mince (read: ground beef), I've ended up with this hodge podge of ingredients which I would say is actually (in my humble opinion) more flavoursome than the old classic. 

Plus my husband liked it so much he had the leftovers for breakfast and lunch the next day. I'm not advocating that, but it is impressive! 

To make:

1. Chop up your onion and dice your pancetta (depending on how you've bought it) and start to fry them in a pan along with the crushed garlic. Add the sundried tomatoes, most of your sage (chopped), paprika and mixed herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Once cooked stir in the passata sauce and simmer for 5 mins. Set aside.

3. In another pan wilt your spinach and season lightly. When cooked drain the tin of spinach and add to the pan to bulk up the greens.

4. In a bowl, mix the pumpkin with the nutmeg until combined and set aside.

5. Crack and whisk the egg and then in another bowl, beat the egg and ricotta together.

6. Lightly grease your baking dish and then start layering up the lasagne, making sure each layer is spread right to the edge. Place two pasta sheets on the bottom (side by side, overlapping if they don't fit), followed by a layer of spinach, followed by a layer of pumpkin, followed by another two pasta sheets (side by side), followed by the tomato and pancetta mixture, followed by another two pasta sheets (side by side) followed by the ricotta mixture on top. Make sure the pasta is covered right to the edges. Finish by sprinkling the chedder cheese over the whole thing and scatter the remaining sage. 

8) Cook on 190ºC for 25 mins and then place a sheet of baking paper or foil over the top and cook for a further 15 mins and then serve. It tastes really good with a balsamic and rocket (read: arugula) salad.

*   *  *

Isn't she the cutest?

I know you'd love hanging out with her.

She's pretty awesome.

Check out more of Teri's creative side

on her pretty blog,

The Lovely Drawer.

Posted on October 30, 2013 and filed under "delicious dish", "the log", eat, recipe.

Dallas: Oddfellows

In the midst of the usual emails

that people send me

asking for advice

on European hotspots

such as

London, Paris & Florence...

I've been receiving a few

for a place that I know just as well:

Dallas, Texas.

I'm a born & bred Texan, mes amis.

I get to go back a handful of times

each year in between semesters.

I was there over the weekend

for a quick work trip...

and got to add a new place

to my "go" list for the Big D.

Don't miss a breakfast/brunch

at

Oddfellows

the next time

life brings you through the Big D.

It would be so sad.

In fact, don't skip out on the Bishop Arts area in general.

It's got so many amazing places tucked in it.

And with how popular it is becoming, 

you may feel like the odd man out

if you did.

{Sorry, couldn't help myself.}

Obviously, we weren't planning on getting our pictures taken when we rolled out of bed. Oh well. In living color.

Also,

a few other "musts" for your required visit:

Start with an order of the Beignets,

don't ask questions.

Just trust me.

I personally will recommend the Huevos Rancheros

for many reasons, but mainly because

that bottom layer of corn tortilla is a crispy wonderland.

Go ahead and follow your instinct with the gingerbread pancake-

though skip the red velvet, it's a disappointment.

Lattes are great there.

Fresh squeezed orange juice is a treat.

Oh my, 

I really think

you're going to love it there.

*    *   *

Go getcha some:

Oddfellows

316 West 7th Street

Dallas, Texas 75208

Local Tip: Get there before 9 on the weekend

or be prepared to WAIT (like 30-45min) for a table.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on October 24, 2013 and filed under "dallas", "delicious dish", "travel", dallas, travel, eat.

The Lovely Drawer | Peach & Lavender Cobbler

Before moving to Oxford,

my job in Dallas was selling paper.

Really nice, fancy letterpress paper.

We had pretty books of invitations 

to lavish weddings & bar mitzvahs 

that stores could use to show their customers

what our work looked like

and what options they had to customize these 

to make them perfect for this event.

In the back of the book,

clients could sift through envelope liner options,

row after row of different typefaces,

and of course- ink colors!

We had all of our ink colors 

lined up and, there, where the soft purple sat,

was a small swatch labeled "lavendar."

"Lavendar," in case you aren't familiar,

is a mispelling of the gorgeous provencal flower, "lavender."

I still cringe thinking about that typo...

and the return address that was from "Greenwitch, Connecticut."

My spelling & grammar needs had to eventually deal with it

and wait for the book to be corrected at the next reprinting...

but fortunately,

I can eat one of these YUMMY peach & lavender cobblers immediately.

Welcome back, Teri of

The Lovely Drawer

(and my in-real-life friend)

for her monthly recipe of British goodness. 

We are always glad to have you here at AK!

*    *   *

Hello again and here is something sweet and yummy to get your taste buds excited. 

I always use

this cobbler topping recipe

as it's 

definitely my favourite. 

Perhaps it's the buttermilk that makes it taste so delicious and cakey! 

You may notice in this recipe the topping serves 6. 

Call me greedy but I like a generous hat on my fruit and so I've used it for 4. 

I decided to try making a peach version but adding a twist to the flavour.

 Enter lavender.

 I wasn't entirely sure these two flavours would go together

 but it was definitely worth the risk.

 You can use tinned or fresh peaches.

 I'm of the opinion that peaches are one of the few foods

 that are totally acceptable from a tin so go for it!

Peach & Lavender Cobbler

Here's what you'll need:

For the topping...

140g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

25g butter

25g caster sugar

150ml buttermilk

1 tbsp demerara sugar

A sprinkling of cinnamon 

For the filling:

2 410g cans of tinned peaches (sieved) or 800g fresh (stoned and cut into slices if fresh)

25g caster sugar

1 tbsp of honey

1 tsp dried lavender (de-stemmed)

Serves 4. 

Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5

.

1) Firstly simmer the peaches in a pan with 25g of the caster sugar, the honey and the lavender for about 5 mins, until all the ingredients combine. Set aside to cool.

2) Then sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a mixing bowl.

3) Then rub in the butter with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs and stir in the caster sugar.

4) Mix in the buttermilk to give a soft, sticky mixture.

5) Spoon the cooled peaches into the 4 ramekins, distributing evenly and then spoon on the cobbler. 

6) Sprinkle with demerara sugar and cinnamon and cook for 25 mins or until golden brown.

7) Serve warm with a scoop of  ice-cream and a sprinkle of icing sugar on each.

 *   *   *

So... who's having me over tonight

so that I can eat some of this gorgeous, yummy goodness?

Any takers? :)

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on September 30, 2013 and filed under "delicious dish", "dessert", "the lovely drawer", eat, recipe.

The Prince Bonaparte Rules the World

At times, 

I can be slightly dramatic.

I've been known to make some fairly bold claims in my day.

I can't help it. 

I feel the moment. 

And last night,

I was really feeling it

when we were at

the posh neighborhood pub,

The Prince Bonaparte

and trying their sticky toffee pudding.

Listen to me, friends:

I eat a lot of dessert... a lot.

After countless bowls of this national treat,

I can confidently say:

This sticky toffee pudding is the best I have had.

While Napolean never achieved his dreams

of world dominance,

The Prince Bonaparte has dominated all others

in this special recipe.

In case you think Sticky Toffee Pudding is,

as the name implies, a pudding like we know in America,

well, you're wrong.

"Pudding" is a term that just means dessert.

For example,

the classic Christmas "figgy pudding" 

that we all blindly reference in carols & plays

 is not a gelatinous clumpy mess, 

but a cake.

I know, it's confusing...

but don't worry about it.

Back to the matter at hand:

The cake is just perfect,

the caramel pool it sits in is just right...

and the clotted cream ice cream on top

makes the whole experience heavenly.

If you're searching for a serving of this famous cake

on your trip the England,

don't go anywhere else

other than Notting Hill.

And don't even think about sharing-

you'll be starting a war

that even Napolean would have avoided.

* * *

The Prince Bonaparte

80 Chepstow Road

London W2 5BE

020 7313 9491

*image original to Aspiring Kennedy

My Notting Hill | Daylesford Organic

Daylesford Organic

is another repeat offender

that frequents my instagrams.

It's literally a 2 minute walk from my house

and it's such a great place to meet up with friends,

as it offers great food

for pretty much every time of the day.

Plus, the coffee isn't any more expensive

than I would pay at Starbucks,

so it's perfect for a quick catch up.

The food, that's grown & raised, on their

organic farm

in Gloucestershire,

is another story.

It's pricey,

but it's healthy

and the quality is hard to beat.

You get what you pay for.

And what you're paying for

is freaking delicious.

I love their pearl barley risotto,

their raw slaw salad,

and most every one of their quiches.

Also, their bakewell tart

is what made first love bakewell tarts.

It marries almonds, cake & jam

together just right...

And if you're fancy

and like almond, soy, etc

in your coffee....

they've got you covered.

Oh, and of course-

there's a cute market

to bring home any jams, juices, farm fresh eggs

or high quality cuts of meat

that you may so desire.

Add

Daylesford Organic

to your Notting Hill bucket list.

And who knows, 

you might see a celeb or two

while you're there. :)

Daylesford Organic

208-211 Westbourne Grove

Notting Hill W11 2RH

***

Take a peek at my other favorite places

to go & eat in Notting Hill

here.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

To A Tea | BRGR.Co (Say What?)

Tea?

At a burger joint?

Indeed.

Sometimes, my friends,

you gotta shake things up.

And speaking of shakes,

this tea included a mini shake...

so I had no choice but to try it immediately.

BRGR.Co

is a cute place in Soho

that has often intrigued me,

but I'd typically always been heading to another room

when I saw it,

so never had a good excuse to try it out.

Fortunately, my friend

Grace

forwarded me an email about their

version of "Afternoon Tea."

After reading of sliders (chicken, lobster & cheeseburgers!),

mini pots of fries, 

cheesecake, donuts, the aforementioned miniature vanilla shake,

iced tea (because what "tea" would be complete without it)

and a glass of prosecco

all for £17,

I realized this was my moment to check it out.

So off we went.

The staff was so friendly

and sat us 30 minutes before our reservation.

Food came out quickly

and was super good.

I was a big fan of the sliders, the fries, the donut, the tea...

well, I guess we could say

I pretty much liked everything.

Viola even had her first high chair experience...

giving her convenient access to swiping at food.

Obviously, I watched her grab at the cheesecake and fries

with true motherly pride.

So yeah, add

this place

to your list.

Whether it's for the "afternoon tea"

or just for a good bite

while your strolling Soho or shopping on Oxford Street.

It's a good one.

And the regular menu looks pretty awesome, too. 

Check it out!

***

Not your cup of tea?

Check out some of my other favorite places for tea

here

.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

The Lovely Drawer | Broad Bean Bruschetta

Wait.

What is that noise?

Is that...

yup, I thought so.

It's the faint sound

of people around the world

reading this blog

clapping in delight

that Teri from

The Lovely Drawer

is back with another recipe?

I'm joining in with you

and singing the praises

of all of her gorgeous food creations.

(Remember that gorgeous Victoria Sponge? Oh mama.)

I'll let her introduce this tasty new dish

that she's whipped up for us.

Don't forget to read this in your mind

with a British accent (like Teri has)...

it's so much more fun that way.

*  *  *

These bruschetta's are a yummy snack or an easy way to add colour to your party food. Broad beans may not instantly fill you with mouth watering excitement, but stick with me. The combination of flavours is so fresh and zesty that you may well be singing this humble little bean's praises. 

How to:

1) First cook your broad beans. In the name of speed I fried mine in a pan with the garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and a teeny bit of water.

2) Once cooked allow them to cool. Meanwhile heat up the grill.

3) Rub the slices of bread with a little olive oil 

and then toast lightly under the grill.

4) Meanwhile blitz the broad beans, mint, Parmesan, lemon, rock salt and a few glugs of olive oil. Blend until it becomes a paste. I left mine a little chunky for texture.

5) Spoon the broad bean mixture on top of your toasted sour dough slices and then sprinkle over your feta. Garnish with a mint leaf and some black pepper. 

*  *  * 

See?

What did I tell you?

This girl is good.

And the good news for us

is that she's going to be sending us these

little nuggets of love

every month

from now on.

I don't typically do outside contributors,

but since she's a good friend

and she makes AMAZING food...

I just had to

beg

ask her to do this on the regular.

Posted on August 23, 2013 and filed under "delicious dish", "guest writers", "the lovely drawer", eat, recipe.

Rise To The Occasion

On Friday,

there was a small table

of really nice people

having a great time

over some awesome soufflés

at Dallas' beloved

Rise No. 1.

It was such a great time,

and- as admittedly awkward as those parties can be at the beginning-

turned out to be a FUN evening.

It's always so refreshing (and dare I say, "flattering?")

to meet people who read my blog.

The internet can be a tricky place

with false identities (ahem, Aspiring Kennedy?)

and tiny little profile pics...

You can never be too sure about who you're meeting out there.

So to show up and meet completely awesome/normal people

really floored me.

I can't believe that such cool people

 take the time to read my blog.

I'm not even sure my own mom reads it.

Ok, I'm drifting...

All that to say,

I was on a high from getting to hang out

with so many sweet ladies.

Thanks for coming out-

blogger meet-ups wouldn't be nearly as fun

if no one was there to actually meet up!

And now, 

some pictures

to prove that it actually happened.

the set-up.

fancy fizzy water

viola got some swag from the party. a sophie giraffe from  helen! merci. :)

getting our instagrams on... #dallasbloggerbash

marshmallow soup  with floating "marshmallows" of mini goat cheese souffles!

crab souffle.

les femmes du blogging :)

bread pudding soufflé

table dancing.

me & my co-host,

beth dotolo

.

this strawberry souffle has been on my mind ever since the party. gorgeous!

last ladies standing. closing down the party!

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on August 19, 2013 and filed under "blog world", "dallas", "delicious dish", "parties", dallas.

England, meet Baby Shower. Baby Shower, meet England.

My friend, Grace, is pregnant.

So like all good, Southern American girls,

I offered to throw a baby shower for her...

because, duh, that's what friends do.

Except here in England,

they don't actually do that.

And they think it's a little weird

to have a baby shower, too.

Oh well.

By the time I learned this was a bit of an anomaly,

the invitations had been sent,

the cake had been designed,

and I had raided the Baby Gap sale

and robbed them of all newborn clothes.

We were committed.

It ended up being such a fun day.

It was hilarious explaining to our Brit friends

what types of parties we as Americans have

for the various occasions in life.

{Lingerie Party, Engagement Party, Wedding Shower, Couples Shower, Bachelorette Party, Gender Reveal Party, Baby Shower, Mega 1st Birthday Party, etc.}

One of our friends summed it by saying

"Sooo, basically, it's just really expensive to be an American?"

Yeah...

and it'd be a lot worse if it weren't for Costco & Target.

***

Grace is a book publisher

and cute children's books

have a pretty big place in her heart.

So, naturally, we had to include them as much as possible.

We also based the party off a pretty pattern

from

Laura Ashley's Hydrangea tea set

since we were using this pattern for the serving pieces.

The food matched the theme

with an sparkly orange & almond cake,

yellow ombre mini cakes (white chocolate mud!),

lemon meringue mini parfaits

& savoury egg cups (for something a little savory!)

And even Viola matched the party colors!

I loved the cake that was the centerpiece.

{It was so moist & so soft.}

The combo of orange & almond

was perfect for a hot summer day.

I loved the gorgeous bunting of mini classic books

that Meg handmade for the shower.

I loved the beautiful

cut glass cake stand

from Laura Ashley

that it sat so prettily on.

Not only was it delicious at the shower,

but I ate it for breakfast for the following two days...

because let's be honest, it's not any worse than a donut, cinnamon roll, danish, french toast.

And this little tower of edible goodness?

Well, what the Tower of Babble did to the people building it

so this tower of temptation did to my summer diet.

(Read: ruined everything.)

I really love the pretty grey & yellow hydrangea pattern of it.

{Laura Ashley is so perfectly English...

which is exactly what we needed for this day!}

It was such a fun day

and I hope my dear Grace felt loved...

because, after all the cake & presents, 

that's actually the point

of all of our crazy American parties.

Thank you, Laura Ashley, for the gorgeous serving pieces.

They made our day all the prettier.

***

If you want to recreate any pieces of this fun day,

I've done the dirty work & compiled it all for you here.

DECORATION 

Cut Glass Crystal Cake Stand (Laura Ashley)

Hydrangea 3 Tier Cake Stand (Laura Ashley)

Polka Dot Pitcher (Laura Ashley)

Glass Canister (Laura Ashley)

Lovely Little One Bunting (SALT Etsy)

Children's Classic Cake Bunting (Upon Request via Meg-Made Etsy)

Jane Austen Quote (Dancing & Press Calligraphy, Etsy)

Stuffed Rabbit (Laura Ashley)

FOOD

Orange & Almond Cake

Lemon Meringue Mini Parfaits

Salted Caramel ANZAC Blondies

*Special thanks to Laura Ashley for donating these gorgeous serving pieces for our special day! I love them!

The Lovely Drawer | Not The Dowager's Victoria Sponge Cake

What Victoria was to Albert,

so Victoria Sponge cake is to a cup of tea.

Until I moved to the United Kingdom,

I had never heard of or tasted this classic treat.

For all of the Americans out there

who, like me, may not have grown up

with this on the table at tea time,

I'll walk you through the basics.

Two sponge cakes

+ one layer of whipped cream

+ one layer of strawberry jam

_______________________

Classic Victoria Sponge Cake

When my friend Teri of

The Lovely Drawer

(you know, the one who did that killer

Chorizo Stew recipe?)

mentioned she didn't like cream

(as in cream, whipped cream & ice cream)

I slapped her in the face.

Fine.

Not really.

But I was really sad.

Fortunately, she offered a peace offering

in saying that she accepted marscapone cheese.

Which, obviously, is the next best thing.

{Or maybe the best thing. Not sure how to rank the dairy family. They're all winners!}

And when she made me this cake

for dessert after dinner at their house one night,

I not only forgave her

for shunning my camarades in the dairy section,

but I vowed to never settle for regular Victoria Sponge again.

{Which means, I'll also need to start crafting up a lot of reasons to invite myself over to her house.}

Here's how you can make one

with instructions from Teri, herself.

(This reads better if you read this in an English accent.)

***

So.....Victoria Sponge with a twist. Not so typically British but far superior, I think. I've been of the opinion that this classic can so easily be dry and boring but replacing the cream with mascarpone icing and the changing up the jam to raspberry gives it a whole appeal. My friend made me this cake originally and I totally had to eat my Victoria sponge-dissing words, along with my huge slice of cake. 

Here's the recipe...

Ingredients; 

225g self raising flour

225g butter (softened)

225g caster sugar (US read: normal)

4 eggs

2 teaspoons 

vanilla extract

For the filling;

Raspberry jam

250g mascarpone cheese

2 heaped tablespoons icing sugar plus extra for dusting (US read: powdered sugar)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract. 

A punnet of raspberries to decorate (US read: little plastic basket of raspberries)

Method:

Whip together butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy

Then add vanilla extract and one egg and beat again. 

Add each remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of your flour and beat thoroughly after each addition. 

Once mixed, fold in the remaining flour with a spatula until combined. 

Pour mixture into a lined 20cm cake tin and put into the oven. 

Bake at 150 C degrees (US read: 325F) for about 45 mins or until golden and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the middle.

Leave the cake to cool slightly and remove from tin to cool completely. 

Once cold, cut horizontally in two to put your filling in. Spread the top half with as much jam as you want.

Mix all the mascarpone, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl until fully mixed and spreadable. Spread this mix on your bottom half and put the two halves back together. 

Dust the top of the cake with plenty of icing sugar and then arrange raspberries on top of the cake. 

Lightly dust some more icing sugar on top of the raspberries.

Who's mad about that?

Now, go...

make this immediately!

Or at least pin it for later

and let me know

so I can stop by accordingly.

(Also, check out Teri's SUPER CUTE blog. You'll be impressed.)

*all images from The Lovely Drawer

Posted on July 26, 2013 and filed under "baked goods", "delicious dish", "dessert", "guest writers", eat, recipe.

Hugs & Quiches

I'm not really a cook.

I mean, I'm not terrible at it,

but if it's just Tyler & I eating at home,

we typically just eat like a couple of college roommates.

Cereal. Domino's. Kraft Mac & Cheese. PBJ.

Since we both work from home most of the time,

we have a pretty hard time wanting to stop what we are doing

to make food for ourselves.

{Now don't get me wrong, going out to eat is a totally different subject. LOVE IT.}

I've been missing France

since our long weekend last month

and a quiche felt right with the warm summer temps.

So I rolled up my sleeves and made the classic Quiche Lorraine.

And in case anyone else wants to make one too,

well... now you can.

This is the perfect dish

served with a light salad

with the windows open

and Carla Bruni playing in the background.

{Trust me, I know.}

Quiche Lorraine

Serves 4 people (or 2 fatties like us)

GET THIS:

1 store bought pie crust

5 eggs

150 ml single cream

50 ml double cream (that's about 8 oz of half & half, US. Just replace both creams with it.)

4 strips of bacon (that's "streaky" to you, UK)

1 large pour of milk (about 1/2 cup)

1 onion, chopped

1.5 cup of grated cheese (Gruyere or Cheddar)

Salt & Pepper

A handful of halved plum or cherry tomatoes (optional)

DO THIS:

Put the pie crust in a tart pan like a pie crust should go.

Add some baking beans or whatever you have and blind bake the crust

at 190C/375F for 15-20 minutes. Pull it out when it is a nice golden brown

and let it cool on a window sill like your in an old fashioned movie.

(Or you can just let it sit on your counter. Whatever, really)

While the crust is baking, brown your bacon in a skillet.

Add the onion and let it caramelize. Eat a few pieces along the way.

That combination is a gold medal.

Beat the eggs, milk, & creams together in a bowl. Grate your cheese. Toss it in.

Add salt & pepper. Whisk it all up.

Sprinkle the bacon & onion mixture on the bottom of the cool(er) pie crust.

If you want to add the tomatoes, put them in now, too.

Then pour the egg mixture over the pan. (Depending on the depth of your pan, you may have extra egg mixture.)

Pop it in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until it is starting to turn golden brown on top.

Let it sit for about 30 minutes so everything can set up like it should.

Thats about it.

I'd serve it with a light salad with this

mustard vinaigrette

tossed up with some crumbled goats cheese + beetroot.

But then again, this is your party

so do as you please.

Posted on July 8, 2013 and filed under "delicious dish", recipe.

The Lovely Drawer | Chorizo & Butter Bean Stew

Sometimes it can be scary when people offer to cook for you. You just don't know if what tastes good to someone else will taste as good to you.

But with a newborn baby, you kinda don't really care. You just relish the idea that you won't have to think through what to make, bother with running to the store or have to spend any time in the kitchen... other than the few seconds it takes to slide something into the oven & pour yourself a drink.

Luckily for us, our friends all have really good taste and we had zero disastrous meals. {I attribute this to the fact that most people here don't cook dishes that are structured around cans of "Cream of Mushroom/Chicken Soup," which as a southerner, I can admit comprises approximately 85% of most home-cooked meals.} Everything our friends made for us was really delicious. Especially, this stew that our friend Teri cooked for us.

It was so good that I asked her to share the recipe with me...and with you, too! You'll love it. It's simple, it's filling, it's packed with flavor, and, well, it's just an all-together good recipe that you need to add to your collection. PS. You've got to check out Teri's gorgeous blog, The Lovely Drawer. It's crazy-cakes cute, just like you'll see she is in the pictures below.

* * * * *

CHORIZO & BUTTER BEAN STEW

{with lemon couscous}

Here's what you do:

1) Chop the red onion, chorizo, orange peppers and sun dried tomatoes.

2) Heat a little olive oil in a pan on a medium heat. Then fry the onions with the garlic salt & paprika.

3) Add the chorizo and orange pepper. Season and stir.

4) When the pepper is cooked, add the sun dried tomatoes, beans, mixed herbs & half the thyme- after you've pulled the leaves from the stalks.

5) Turn the heat down. Slowly add your stock, in turn with the chopped tomatoes. Stir as you go.

6) After everything is added, let it simmer for 10-15 mins, until the flavours have infused and the sauce has thickened a bit.

7) Meanwhile pour your couscous into a bowl and add boiling water. Let sit for about 5 minutes and then use a fork to separate the grains. Add the lemon juice & zest and combine with the fork.

8) Sprinkle the remaining thyme over the stew and serve with the couscous.

* * * * *

Did you make sure to bookmark this recipe? Pin it? Print it out and tape it your fridge? Okay. Thanks. Because it really is that good and I really want you to love it, too.

*photos by

The Lovely Drawer

.