The MONTH of April 2019 in food

I went to so many great restaurants and made such great food on this month (if I say so myself 😌)

And yes, it can’t get any more belated than conflating the entire collection of weekly posts in a monthly one. But I’m embracing it!

Here are the highlights of this month:

Sole’s BAKING FRENZY

I made several breads and baked goods this month (specially during Easter, as I had a lot of time to prove and ferment things! yay!).

Some turned out really good. Some were an absolute disaster. Others were recoverable. That’s how you learn!

Sourdough spelt bread

With Spanish organic flour from La Mancha I brought from Spain. It was fermented for a very long time, it was also really nicely fluffy.

Spelt bread
Spelt bread
Spelt bread - inside
Spelt bread – inside

Vegan aquafaba meringues

I made some falafels and I thought I’d experiment and see if it was actually true that chickpeas cooking water (also known as aquafaba) would turn into a meringueous-substance if you whisk them for long enough. Answer: it is true.

Unbaked aquafaba meringues
Unbaked aquafaba meringues

Also: they collapsed in the oven and became an empty shell. I think the temperature was too high!

Collapsed aquafaba meringues
Collapsed aquafaba meringues

Kefir bread experiment

I accidentally fermented my kefir too much and it had gone past the point where it’s fizzy and becoming a bit more like cheese. I decided to try and make a bread with this liquid instead of throwing it away. I used the recipe for whey bread from Dan Leppard’s book as a base (but with kefir instead of whey).

Kefir bread
Kefir bread

It smelled and looked very nice… (even if it looked like a… bottom 😂)

Undercooked bread
Undercooked bread

But it wasn’t properly cooked inside 😭 – I think the oven was, again, too hot, and so the outside browned too quickly and didn’t have enough time to cook throughout.

My solution was to slice it very thinly, and freeze it before it went off (very easy with uncooked, moist dough). To eat, we’d toast it heavily, straight from the freezer. This helped to finish cooking it. Since it had lots of butter and honey, it caramelises very nicely, and the smell is ohhh so good when toasted.

Monas

This is a sweet bun typical from my area in Spain. It’s eaten around Easter time. I tried making them last year but they came out really flat, so this year I tried another recipe, with the finest Italian flour I could find (I figured it’d be closer to Spanish flour), and poured lots of love, kneading and proving into this. The result?

Mona de Pascua
Mona de Pascua

Pure magnificence! These lovelies stayed moist, springy and fresh for more than a week. I shared some with our Spanish friends and you should have seen their faces when I showed them the crumb…! And when they tried them… Ah! I’m still feeling very smug about this!

The crumb of the Mona de Pascua
The crumb of the Mona de Pascua

Rollitos de anís

Another type of sweet that is typical from my area in Spain, although it’s more of a Christmas thing, but I fancied them anyway.

Rollitos de anís and other delicacies
Rollitos de anís and other delicacies

I served them at coffee time, with some slices of mona and with the ice cream our friends had brought home. This was after I fed them paella—I felt like a proper Spanish grandmother that day 🇪🇸👵🏼🇪🇸 😂

Everyone was pleased.

Swedish Rye bread

This was so bad. So bad. The top got stuck, then it collapsed, then it burnt outside and was raw inside. This was so not recoverable, I threw it away.

Rye bread failure
Rye bread failure

I was following (or attempting to follow) another recipe from Dan Leppard’s book, but I was gifted the Bread Ahead cookbok for my birthday, and it has a recipe for rye bread too, so I might try it because baking a nice rye bread is another of my Life Goals™.

Coffee lab intensifies

Making v60 filter coffee
Making v60 filter coffee

I’ve signed up for a Pact Coffee subscription on the basis that they’d send me this Hario v60 in my favourite colour (teal). I’m subsequently spending some meditative time brewing really great coffee at home, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Also, feel free to sign up using my promotional code (SOLEDAD-C94DD7) so I can keep having great coffees, thank-you-very-much. You and me get £5 off our orders! 🤑

Eating out

Lunch at Brunswick House

Lamps at Brunswick House
Lamps at Brunswick House

I love the decor at this place (and the fact that you can buy the lamps), the efficient and affable service, and I’m still thinking about the celeriac soup… yummmm! This place never disappoints me.

THE Celeriac soup
THE Celeriac soup

T4P4S

We tried out this “new” place (it’s actually Drakes Tabanco, with a new coat of paint, but same waiters and a reduced menu). They still have sherries, so I can breathe a sigh of relief.

The ox cheeks
The ox cheeks

Pro-tip: do not go for the mega chocolatey dessert as it’s super rich, go for the other one (whose name I can’t remember), it was subtler.

Chocolate dessert
Chocolate dessert
Custardy dessert
Custardy dessert

Yauatcha

I was here about 7 years ago, so it was interesting to come back, “now that it has a Michelin star”. It was too busy for my taste, and I’d prefer not to listen to what the other table are discussing, but the food was good (and it was also a lot if you chose the set menu; we couldn’t finish it!)

Desserts at Yauatcha
Desserts at Yauatcha

Riding House Cafe

We went here for breakfast. The eggs Benedict were yummy!

Eggs Benedict at Riding House Cafe
Eggs Benedict at Riding House Cafe

Rambla

We tried this pseudo-Spanish restaurant in Dean Street, and after eating there I don’t quite understand its raving reviews. The portions were pretty minuscule, the waiters didn’t let us know, and everyone went on to get a snack elsewhere because they were still hungry!

Three prawns - is it worth £7?
Three prawns – is it worth £7?

Other things I was not impressed with:

  • the horrid stink of fish as soon as you approached the restaurant. It was like one of those old salazones shop where you would buy dried salted cod, but infinitely worse, because you couldn’t even see the culprit hanging on the walls.
  • the determination of staff to freeze us to death, by aiming the air conditioner vents at us, despite our request not to, a good 20 minutes after we sat.
  • how horribly noisy it was—I couldn’t hear myself think!
  • the formatting of the menu.
  • this isn’t Catalan food, don’t fall for this lie.
A menu with questionable typesetting choices
A menu with questionable typesetting choices

If you told me you want to get some Spanish [inspired] food in London, I’d send you to:

  • Sabor
  • Barrica
  • T4P4S
  • Barrafina

All these have better food and atmosphere!

Bonnie Gull seafood shack

We’ve been meaning to go to this place for the loooongest time and after visiting it for the first time, I’m disappointed we didn’t visit before!

It was excellent: everything was delectable—and I’m not a big fan of seafood!

Sweet bread with butter
Sweet bread with butter
Some sort of fishy pâté
Some sort of fishy pâté
Super fancy fish & chips
Super fancy fish & chips

I really liked the freshness of the produce, the flavours were so good, and the cocktails were so stupendous we decided to skip dessert and have more cocktails instead.

Negroni and Dark & Stormy
Negroni and Dark & Stormy

The restaurant is very tiny so you’d better book a table.

Koya Bar

Cat and fermentation at Koya Bar
Cat and fermentation at Koya Bar

The best thing about not travelling anywhere during Easter? You can go to all the restaurants without reservations! We turned up at Koya bar, home of legendary queues, and it was virtually empty!

Empty Koya Bar
Empty Koya Bar

This breakfast was very nice (also very filling—we had to do a long walk around Soho afterwards).

Japanese porridge with mushrooms
Japanese porridge with mushrooms

Blacklock

Since I’d been mostly vegetarian during Lent (I wondered how easy would it be) I thought this would be the best place to “break the streak”.

Lunch at Blacklock
Lunch at Blacklock

Pro-tip: the cheesecake + rhubarb dessert is vastly superior to the sundae.

Rhubarb cheesecake
Rhubarb cheesecake
The Sundae
The Sundae

Mere

We’ve been here several times, as we really like the food (and the wine pairings are also superb-they complement each dish perfectly). So we came back here for my birthday!

Fish
Fish

We also sat in the upstairs bar for a post-dessert cocktail. It’s a very swanky space.

Cocktail at Mere bar
Cocktail at Mere bar

Random images to finish off

Feminist but not vegan?

Something to think about. At New Cavendish Street, London.

Feminist but not vegan?
Feminist but not vegan?

An image of doom: Domino’s dough getting out of control

Exploding bags of dough
Exploding bags of dough

I’ll leave you with this ominous image of exploding bags of dough, left outside a Domino’s shop. It sort of reminded me of the Ghostbusters’ movies, I don’t quite know why!

Everyone who walked past this put such a face of disgust and there was more than one very audible “eeeew!” 😂

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