Tenerife, The life of the party.

Tenerife, a haven for the drunk and slutty, the holiday location for the brits who enjoy a foreign destination but with nothing foreign about it but the consistent sunshine, the go to piss up for lads and ladies on tour before they tie the knot. This location is not for people who want culture, tradition, native cuisine but it is good for brits who want a little sunshine and see chinese takeaway and chips as their ultimate daytime fix.

All this negativity aside it is a nice place, the hotels are cheap and the drinks a ridiculously cheap, the bars are just giving it away! If you like a good boozer it is for you. Honestly the foodie in me craved something a little more authentic, and sun a bit stronger but I can’t complain for £350 for a week all-inclusive! One can’t complain about the ongoing deal of 5 Euros for 2 drinks a shot and cava. Just wear blinkers on your eyes to keep yourself unaware of the trashy bar names (TRAMPS) and the pushy bar promo teams that hover on the main Las Americas Bar stretch. We stayed slap bang in the middle of the madness close to the strip so we absorbed ourselves in the culture. We ate and drank galor and I am embarrassed to say I succumed to one dreadfully drunk night on my first night there, no regrets.

We went on a girls on tour kinda holiday, so tenerife seemed appropriate and before arrival I had myself fully prepared on what sort of place tenerife was going to be, however some were not aware so were slightly shocked on arrival. I have to say the innate adventure and culture craving within us led us to try doing some very brit-hol things which we did enjoy. We went to the monkey park, where we petted monkeys, whale-watching which was amazing and on the last night found a lovely tapas on the seafront (after alot of searching!!!) that fulfilled our need for good spaniard food.

Was a lovely trip, but either I wish we had got more on board with the ‘Girls on tour’ spirit or alternatively chosen a location that was hotter and had more to do other than drink n eat. But relaxing holiday it was, and boy I needed it:)

DSCN0349 DSCN0351 DSCN0378 DSCN0395 DSCN0452 DSCN0441 DSCN0715 DSCN0711 DSCN0701 DSCN0704 DSCN0605 DSCN0700 DSCN0616

Additions to my London foodie calendar

Want to try London’s finest unique dining experiences and aren’t too excited by Timeout’s alternatives. Try these bad boys:

Taken from Grape Night In Official Website

Taken from Grape Night In Official Website

March Secret Wine Supper

Every month A Grape Night In and The Rookery Clapham Common hosts a Secret Wine Supper, each with hand selected wines paired with a seasonal menu with a secret theme… Check out the poster for some clues for March’s event.

We guarantee that each month will be as topical as it comes, but the final reveal won’t happen until the night! Your challenge – to help us find the best food and wine pairing.

Each night includes 5 courses of ‘mystery’ wines and seasonal small dishes, accompanied by an interactive tasting hosted by the Grape Night In girls – all for just £32!

*Look closely at the poster for clues to this month’s theme

History

Laura & Kiki, who have started pop-up wine company A Grape Night In, are part of the new generation breathing life into the stale world of wine tasting. These girls bring youth and excitement to a normally bland setting – White table clothes are banished and quirky themes welcomed. These wine tasting sessions are designed to bring wine to a new level of coolness, ready to challenge any fancy cocktail or craft beer!

If you like wine, but don’t know why, and want to be able to tell your Cabernet from your Pinot, make sure to find A Grape Night In pronto as their passion will infect you…

Read More… A Grape Night In

Zoe’s Ghana Restaurant [A Pop-Up Restaurant]

Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen is a ‘pop-up’ restaurant creating a look and feel from its Ghanaian roots that merges with a contemporary dining experience. Home spun, home cooked food. Always fun, always relaxed and always tasty…

Born from creating a ‘pop-up’ Ghanaian restaurant in my live/workspace in Hackney Wick in the summer of 2010 as part of Hackney Wicked Arts Festival, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen has grown with popular demand.

We now have a monthly night, the first Saturday of every month at Carlton London Café in East London and regularly take Ghana Kitchen experience to Berlin.

We cater for functions, festivals, private parties and install our ‘pop-up’ experience across the UK and now Europe.

Price and events: see their Facebook  to see up and coming pop up events, prices vary.

Their on going Carlton London Cafe Event is 6 Courses, £20 per person.

See More at: Zoe’s Ghana Pop up Restaurant

The Secret Supper Club Social

Cuisson’s Head Chef, Paul, invites you to join him for one of his secret supper clubs. With a very social format, a rotation through different central London locations, and an ever changing interactive menu – this is one gourmet dinner experience you’ll not want to miss.

THE UN-RESTAURANT

Cuisson’s Head Chef, Paul, invites you to join him for one of his secret dinner parties. This is one (un)Restaurant you’ll not want to miss.

  • Typically involves a five or six course gourmet menu. The photos on this page are for example purposes only, as each event has a different menu.
  • Menus will be available one week in advance, and Paul will endeavour to cater to any special requirements.

Paul prefers an interactive format to his supper clubs, and if you want to get hands-on, you can join him in creating the canapés. If you’re not the cooking type, just relax and chat with the other guests while he prepares the five amazing courses. Butternut squash velouté with home-smoked chicken roulade, and truffled bread are typical of what you can expect on his menu, and as Paul prepares his dishes you’ll learn the inside secrets such as how to make the perfect wild mushroom butter. But be warned, don’t get too excited by the mains as Paul’s desserts are divine — like the thick and delicious butterscotch set cream with autumn pear, spiced blackberry and almond crumble. It is a heavenly end to an evening of culinary bliss.

Read More… Chef Website

Read More… Lime&Tonic Experience london

Pipsdish [Islington]

I’ve already been here and I LOVE IT! Closes at the end of april, so book while you can!

Read more on my blog: Pipsdish Review 

Read more… Pipsdish official site

More London Culinary Experiences

Lime and Tonic – Culinary Experiences

We are pop up – sharing current pop up restaurant experiences in London

London Pop ups – Great list of supper clubs

One Glorious meal at Islington’s pop up restaurant [Pipsdish]

Pipsdish is an amazing little gem nestled in a little alley off of the main highstreet of Islington, London. This charming little restaurant is a well kept secret and has only a limited time open. On entrance it looks like a Citroen car garage, and thats exactly what it was since 2011 when the founder Philip Dundas started the venture. This little place was rented and converted to a foodie heaven. Fresh produce, artisan goods, fine culinary work and simple hearty dishes.

[Visited Saturday 9th March]

Whilst working at my internship in a design agency I was fortunate to find out about this place. I had to delivery tea there for an event and fell for it immediately. Hastely booking the venue 3 weeks in advance (yes it is that much in demand now!). Many have dined here more than once and I can see why. The chef is friendly and talented, and the waiter is just as warm. You immediately feel like your being welcomed into someones home, and the chef cooks in front of you as though you are indeed, in his kitchen.

20130310-205337.jpg

20130310-205431.jpg

The decor is kitsch, country and realistic to being in a garage, contains a mini old citroen van which is quirkely converted into a private dining space.

This cute little venue has another quirk, its menu- There isn’t one. You pay a set 3 course meal rate of £30, but you don’t know what you will get until the day. Food is made daily, depending on the ingredients bought and the mood of the chef. Theres something exciting about not knowing what you will get served, adding to the experience. They are still very accommodating to dietary needs if you tell them prior to the day. I was worried i may not enjoy it as I can be fussy but every dish as lipsmackingly amazing.

Pipsdish is closing in April, so time is tight before we say goodbye. I must make sure I go again before it disappears.

20130310-205355.jpg

Starter: Onion Soup (They gave it a more flowery explanation but this is what it is) topped with pancetta, pumpkin seeds and bread pieces. The flavour was lovely and the textures of the pepper, pancetta and seeds really added to the dish. We savioured every bit.

20130310-205403.jpg

Couscous with Beef. My friend doesnt usually like beef but loved this. And I usually dont like couscous but the lemon herb dressing and the flavour of the beef made this delicious. I have been converted to couscous. When the waiter went to get the dish with only a few spoons left on it. My friend pryed it out of his hand, its not done till its licked clean!

20130310-205413.jpg
This was a highlight. My friend ate hers in under 5 minutes and I finished every morsel too. I am not a sweet tooth but this pear and butterscotch crumble with cream was one of the best desserts Ive ever had!

Philips Dundas explains the story of the pop restaurants birth at: The Wheels of Fortune Turn

Friday at the Borough Market

IMG_4947I have lived in London for 16 years of my 23 year life and yet never bothered to go Borough Market, What sort of foodie am I? I have one paid and unpaid job and a maximum of one day a week free. This one day should be made the most of but I spend so much of it asleep, or lazing about or doing chores that could

IMG_4925have taken an hour for hours as I fly back and forth to the couch to watch another repeat of Friends for the billionth time.

So this friday was different. Bloody cold and miserable for march but I dragged my arse there anyway- no regrets this market it the shizzle. So much good food I was salvating. I tried to make room for as much as possible.

IMG_4923 The baked goods are to die for. Admittedly not so great to buy and eat later, as the breeze and cold air makes it go all dry. I think the smells are more seductive than the actual act of eating as my £2 bread hurt my pocket later. Whilst walking around I found myself so drawn to the scent and the colours and the flavours that I found myself buying things that were ridiculous in price for what they were. Women and spending, you know how it is:))

CHEESSEEE

CHEESE

I love cheese! The french stalls were the best, boasting so many different cheeses. Delicatessen’s are so rare in places like London. In my district of West London there are no local butchers, no fresh local grocery stores and our food is dominated by Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s and Waitrose. It’s not the same, and borough  market just has remember how much I love fresh food.

In my 3 years living in Turkey my mum and me went to the fresh food market every friday to get all vegetables and fruit. Every morning we would go to buy fresh loaf of bread. I miss that so much.

A Meringue Tower

IMG_4969

IMG_5056

It’s like walking back to a time where a community existed behind our food. Where quality trumped quantity. It’s a shame you have to go to a touristy, small area of London to look for something that everywhere should have. Local markets.IMG_5038

It’s great place to go for a half day as a tourist, as it gives you a great introduction to good english produce as well as an insight to the diversity of cultural foods in London.

Getting to the Market: Borough Market is easily accessed by public transport. We’re seconds walk from a major train station, on countless bus routes and even provide bike racks for keen cyclists. Best day to Go: Fri-Saturday

Travel by train and underground:

The Market is located right next to London Bridge Station which is serviced by the Jubilee and Northern Lines on the Underground and by overground trains from all over London and the south of England.

Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul: A day Itinerary

You find that every Turkish person who has connections in Istanbul from living there, growing up there or having family there, has a sentimental attachment with the city. On visiting you find yourself bound in a love affair that you never realised you were committing to on arrival. It has an atmosphere and energy that no other turkish city has.

Izmir has a lazy laid back city feel, and the capital of Ankara the personality of an overworked dull businessman from Canary Wharf: grey, boring and just talks business. Istanbul has an entirely different persona. The hub of turkish culture, it is the birthplace of turkish architecture, art, music and history. It tells a story about a past empire that no other place shares. It is the haven for the socialite, the student and the family man. It has the best schools in the country, the best nightlife and the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan Turkey. For the people who has never been to Turkey this city is the perfect location for seeing the modernity of the country, far from the conception of turkey as a highly eastern muslim culture. It displays how the eastern world meets west in a compatible union between modernised society and traditional religious values.

(For more on Turkish Culture read next weeks blog post to give you a further understanding)


I have family who live in Istanbul so went to visit them for a week. During my stay I wanted to make sure I went to all the must- do tourist destinations. As I was travelling alone I did not indulge in restaurants and nightlife, it will be something I will definitely be doing on my next trip next summer (stay tuned!). Instead, I made sure to visit the biggest tourist attractions in the area.

I spent most of my week with my grandmother and aunt, watching and helping them cook and eating with them in the evening. They spend a huge amount of their day in the kitchen preparing their whole day around the evening meal when family get together and eat. I love this part of the culture, and made sure I got to enjoy their company every evening. However, I did at times find myself claustrophobic with many people in the home. My family can be very overbearing which is very difficult for an independent free butterfly like myself. These trips gave me peace from this, and allowed me appreciate traditional turkish culture at it’s finest.

On my one day out on the city I made sure I ticked all the major attractions off on my list. If you are looking for a day itinerary for istanbul I recommend doing the following. Sultanahmet district: Pazar, Aya sofya mosque, the sultanahmet mosque, yerebatan (underwater roman channels), and the istanbul turbeler muzesi (istanbul tomb museum). All very close to each other. For the evening I recommend the Beyoglu district for nightlife and dining.

Wake up early and take a tram to Sultanahmet. This is a relatively easy trip as the tram has directions in english as well as all the major attractions listed underneath. Tram can be taken via Taksim which is the main transport hub for istanbul to all other districts. If in need tell them you need the ‘Tramvay’ to Sultanahmet someone can probably help you. On taking the tram you go up the hill. Good pitstops are the Archeology Museum. In fact sometimes getting off that stop and walking up can be enjoyable as you have the distant view of the Aya Sofya Mosque and pass some of the most famous turkish Kofte (turkish meatball) restaurants in Istanbul. Istanbul koftesi is famous so it is a must. It is a straight road up to the main Bazaar in Istanbul too, so you cant miss it.

I walked up this route had lunch then walked to the Aya Sofya Mosque, I went really early as the queues are massive at Aya Sofya, so getting into all attractions before 11am is a must. Thankfully, the queue was shorter for turkish citizens, and price for entrance cheaper! I got a card for £10 that gave me entrance to all the top locations.

CIMG1547

CIMG1569

CIMG1567

CIMG1530

The Aya Sofya was spectactular. It doesn’t host the same grandeur as St. Paul’s Cathedral in Rome, but it still has an unexplainable charm in its strange combination of christian and muslim architecture. Signage of Arabic is ornately held against Christian tapestry and mosaics. Flickers of gold are found on artwork and hanging drapes, reminiscent of its catholic history, but more recently a display of the wealth and achievement of ottoman- turkish take over. I found myself dreaming to own one of the beautiful hanging gold chandaliers and spinning beneath the dome of the Mosque, admiring its artistic grandeur.

For more on Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia) History see my article ‘Bitesize: Hagia Sophia‘.

I then walked the path across to the Sultanahmet Camisi (Sultan Ahmet Mosque/ Blue Mosque) only a stonethrow away and overlooking the Aya Sofya, I thought that I had to take a peek. Unfortunately, I badly timed my visit and ended up there during ezan (Prayer time) so could not enter the internal building. All I could do was look at the outdoor grounds, which more than sufficed as it was quite a large space in the courtyard.

CIMG1518

CIMG1507CIMG1517

CIMG1510

After my visit to the mosque I made my way to the Yerebatan Sarnici (Basilica Cistern) which was 3 minutes walk from the mosque. This was the water channels for water collection during the Byzantine Empire, and previous to that hosted a Cistern for the Romans. This place hosted to many films and video games and has one architectual roman ruin, the column of medusa.

CIMG1607

One last stop for me was the Tomb Museum which was located on the walk down from the Mosques. It has a small discreet sign and looks on entry like a small mosque in that you remove your footware. You then enter a room of coffins drapped in cloth, with muslim mosaics decorating the surfaces of the room. In the tombs are a family of Turkish royalty and walking in is a sign of respect.. as well as really creepy.

CIMG1522

CIMG1529

After all the tourist attractions I love to get outside and take a walk in main bazaar. Nothing like a bit of shopping to sooth your soul.

On walking through the large main entrance you walk into the gold market, and the antique and turkish bits and bobs you might want to buy (tables, pillows, nargile: shisha, jewellery boxes, fake brands…) It can be irritating a people hound you, and never accept the first offer on a price. It is diffcult because it is a maze, if you like something, find a good price and leave, its unlikely you will find it again. Be prepared to pay 60% of any given price. (Feel free to message me for assistance on knowing prices and turkish terms to help) if they offer you tea they are being nice, but they also expect to secure business at the end.

On exit of this main large pazar you should find the food and drink market, which has a fine array of turkish sweet goods and spices. I loved trying the different nuts, tasting the lokum (turkish delight) and the different teas they have on offer. Great for any foodie new to Turkey. It is madness so only alittle time int here can make you feel overwhelmed.

CIMG1647

CIMG1644

CIMG1642

If you walk in the other direction from the market it gets even busier, full of beauty and cosmetic shops and bridal parlours, everyone will be asking you whether you would like a wedding dress. Turkish weddings are very bling, and it will be shocking how elaborate the dresswear is. I recommend not wearing anything short or revealing as a woman as you will be pestered if you are not dressed modestly. I found myself so hungry after walking this area that I had to tuck into a good oldfashioned turkish kebab. Unlike england these things are divine! so well seasoned, the meat is of a good standard and if your feeling abit more adventurous tuck into a kokorec 

Kokorec: is a dish of the Balkans and Anatolia consisting mainly of lamb or goat intestines, often wrapping seasoned offal, including sweetbreadsheartslungs or kidneys. The intestines of suckling lambs are preferred

Kokoretsi is usually roasted on a horizontal skewer over a charcoal, gas, or electrical burner, and resembles a kebab when given to you.

A quite different preparation mixes the chopped innards with chopped tomatoes and green peppers, and then cooks them on a large griddle with hot red pepper and oregano added. The cook constantly mixes and chops the mixture using two spatulas. When done, the dish is kept warm aside on the griddle until someone orders a serving.

CIMG1640

DAY TRIP IN ISTANBUL SUMMARY:

  1. Hagia Sophia Mosque 10am
  2. Blue Mosque 11.30am
  3. Tomb Museum 12.30 – 30 minutes is enough
  4. Basilica Cistern 13.00 – 30 minutes is more than enough
  5. Istanbul Kofta Lunch with Turkish tea
  6. Grand Bazaar (And food and drink market)

Other things that you MUST do:

  • The Palaces in Istanbul
  • The Princes’ Islands
  • Boat Trip of the Bosphorus
  • Nargile (Shisha) in Tophane
  • Nightlife in Beyoglu

Nightlife and Nargile can be done in the same day as the day itinerary if your really pushed for time!

San Lorenzo, Rome (Roman Street Art)