I have so much blogging to catch up on it’s ridiculous. There are cakes, breads, Band of Bakers, wedding bake offs and some glorious dinners to tell you about, but I’ll start with a belated round up of all the food & drink I documented on my Instagram in April. Follow me here if you so wish.
This weekend was the first weekend of spring. After months of grey skies and freakishly low temperatures the sun finally broke through and warmed our cockles, a few degrees at least.
The temperature change was minimal, but there was enough of a change on Saturday for East London to emerge from it’s winter hideout en masse. The parks were littered with groups of friends, sat in their coats and hats, beer in hand, enjoying what sunshine they could. The pavements outside of the pubs were crammed with punters savouring the early evening rays with their beer and I had to dodge more than a couple of people on my evening run who had over-indulged during the afternoon.
Sunday was slightly colder, but the sun was still bright so The Boy and I ventured out for brunch and a little walk. As it wasn’t market day I didn’t get distracted by the delights of Spinach and Agushi so we made it all the way down Broadway Market to try Market Cafe. I’d heard good things about the new set up and the brunch had got a special mention.
The second I saw the words ‘eggs benedict’ my mind was made up as for some reason it had been on my mind all week. The Boy tried the ham hock hash with a fried egg and a flat white to contrast my breakfast tea. The atmosphere was just what I look for in a brunch venue, busy enough to feel lively, but not packed to the rafters or so loud that you can’t hear each other speak.
Both dishes looked great. The ham hock hash was a big pile of crispy, meaty goodness topped with a beautifully fried egg. My eggs benedict was almost perfect. The sauce was creamy and slightly sharp and the ham was lovely. The muffin was a little over toasted, but I love slightly burnt toast so I’m not really complaining, and while one of my poached eggs was spot on, the other was a bit watery and just not quite right. If I’m honest though, I could have licked the plate clean afterwards, so it can’t have been too bad.
2 Broadway Market, London, E8 4QJ
As The Boy has been in America with work this week we didn’t get to spend the Easter bank holiday together, so when he returned this morning we decided we’d make up for lost time and go out for lunch. There was a slight hitch in the form of a mini blizzard outside, which didn’t make going out very appealling. Luckily we now have a choice of eateries just along from us on Richmond Road, so we didn’t have to walk very far.
After hearing many good things we decided on Lardo and arrived like intrepid explorers, covered in snow. The Italian restaurant opened last year and I’m embarrassed to say that despite it being just 5 minutes walk from out house, this was our first visit.
The Boy plumped for pizza, which I managed to resist as I have already had two this week and three pizzas in a week is a little indulgent. He went for the Taleggio & Mushroom and after much deliberation (the Lardo, Spinach & Egg pizza was calling me the entire time) I ordered the Oxtail Brassato with White Polenta. I cooked oxtail for the first time a few weeks ago, and I figured this was a good opportunity to see how it should be done.
The waitress explained that the oxtail would take 12 minutes to cook, which was fine as for once we were in no rush. There was also a glass of wine or a soft drink included in the price of every Hearty or Pasta dish, which included the oxtail, so I savoured my free diet coke while waiting for lunch to arrive. I took the opportunity to drag details out of The Boy about his trip, he never wants to talk about work once he’s home so it’s always hard work. Then I had plenty of gossip for him from friends I’d seen over the long weekend.
The food arrived steaming hot and smelling extremely inviting. The Boy’s pizza was generously topped and by all accounts was extremely tasty, although I can’t actually comment because mushrooms are pretty much the only thing I won’t eat. I did steal some crust though and it was thin, crisp & lightly charred, snapping lightly as you bit into it. It was my idea of the perfect pizza crust to be honest, and the fact that the pizza oven it came out of looks like a giant disco ball somehow made it even better.
My oxtail was soft and rich and falling off the bone. The sauce was thick and mixed with the smooth, pearly white polenta to create the perfect comfort lunch for a day when snow was streaming past the windows. It put my home cooked attempt to shame.
While it took us a while to visit Lardo, but there are so many other dishes I’d love to try I’m sure it won’t take us long to return. We didn’t even manage dessert this time which is pitiful, but the main was deceptively filling. I think if you’re looking for hearty, classic Italian cooking in Hackney and cracking pizza to boot then Lardo is well worth a visit, or two.
197-205 Richmond Road, London, E8 3NJ
Recipes from this month’s Instagram recap: spiced stout sourdough hot cross buns / chocolate & Guinness sourdough hot cross buns / chocolate & Guinness sourdough cake with whiskey caramel glaze.
I was lucky enough to spend last weekend in Paris. This wasn’t a normal weekend in Paris though, this was for my Grandmother’s 80th birthday and that entire side of my family went. In total there were 14 of us, which made choosing what to do and where to go almost impossible! So The Boy and I decided that the best option was to not make any plans, and to just go with the flow, which turned out to be a wise decision.
We covered all the visiting Paris basics. We drank lots of coffee and ate lots of pastry. In fact we drank and ate a lot of everything really. We walked for miles and miles. Went to beautiful shops and markets and gazed at many beautiful buildings. I got to practice my French and cringe at my family speaking English to everyone. C’est la vie. Can’t wait to go back.
Highlights included the food market Marché des Enfants Rouges, lunch at Café Le Brebant, browsing around Merci boutique, the whole family going on the carousel in Le Jardin des Tuileries, the Sunday foodmarket on Rue Montmartre, Notre Dame and the fascinating bird market on the Ile de la Cité.