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.
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.
Also: they collapsed in the oven and became an empty shell. I think the temperature was too high!
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).
It smelled and looked very nice… (even if it looked like a… bottom 😂)
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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
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! 🤑
Lunch 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.
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.
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.
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!)
We went here for breakfast. The eggs Benedict were yummy!
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!
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.
If you told me you want to get some Spanish [inspired] food in London, I’d send you to:
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!
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.
The restaurant is very tiny so you’d better book a table.
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!
This breakfast was very nice (also very filling—we had to do a long walk around Soho afterwards).
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”.
Pro-tip: the cheesecake + rhubarb dessert is vastly superior to the sundae.
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!
We also sat in the upstairs bar for a post-dessert cocktail. It’s a very swanky space.
Random images to finish off
Feminist but not vegan?
Something to think about. At New Cavendish Street, London.
An image of doom: Domino’s dough getting out of control
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!” 😂