Category Archives: Dining


Sorry, no belly dancers

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Look what we’re doing! For three nights only, James is conjuring up the tastes of the Middle East in the fabulously evocative atmosphere of Ziggurat. Newly inspired by our recent trip to Marrakech, expect an aromatic menu of fusion flavours, and some surprising twists! (Sorry, no belly dancers).

Book quickly, tickets are selling like gold dust!

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Ceviche 708

Tiger’s Milk

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Our recent gastronomic tour of London took us to the dizzying heights of many a dining institution. Luck was on our side as we bagged notoriously elusive tables at J.Sheekey, The Ivy and The Wolseley, where we devoured decadent dinners, lunches and brunches, and in keeping with the situation, sipped the odd glass of fizz. But despite the fabulousness of these big smoke stalwarts, it was the relative new kid on the block that really got us going. Enter Ceviche, purveyor of all things Peruvian. On a freezing January night this bustling little Latin American joint warmed us to the bone. It’s a humble sort of space oozing character by candlelight with the colour of Lima popping from retro posters and hot sassy Latino music courtesy of the owner’s record label. It’s a spirited, social and happy place; everybody is busy at Ceviche.

To the food. Well we ate ceviche, signature dish of namesake and country. It’s a simple concept born from the need to eat freshly caught fish with no means of popping it in a fridge. The fish is ‘cooked’ instead in a citrus marinade and then eaten immediately, resulting in super fresh and vibrant flavours. Everything has an exciting evocative taste – chilli, garlic, lime, coriander, pomegranate, ginger – and also has the name to match: Tiger’s Milk (Leche de Tigre) is the marinade; add national drink Pisco to make a Panther’s Milk cocktail; ceviches named Drunk Scallops or Barranco I Love You; and the “daddy of all ceviches”, Don Ceviche. The Japanese influenced Sakuru Maru, a zesty mandarin and soya marinated carpaccio of salmon and rice vermicelli was worth the whole trip alone.

The candlelit menu also offers up old family recipes of the chef and proprietor Martin Morales, like cosy comfort Baked Corn Cakes and Dulce de Leche  condensed milk ice cream, which even on a winter’s night still seems to warm the cockles of your heart in this little place. So herein lies our first restaurant recommendation from us at Cooked, on the discovery of all things deliciously Peruvian: Ceviche, Frith Street, London. If you need somewhere closer the book is beautiful and inspiring, but either way, go forth and eat ceviche.


(Al)pining for Snow

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With winter firmly upon us in the form of driving wind and rain, we’re desperately dreaming of snowy climes. Yes we love to trudge through crisp pure snow, but mostly it gives us an excuse to pretend we’re in the mountains and to exploit the spirit of après ski. While the world goes detox dotty this month, we’re in hibernation mode and are resolutely in favour of cosy comfort food accompanied by a goblet or two of red wine. Sitting by the fire with one fork suppers, we’re indulging in traditional alpine fare to warm us up from the inside out.

A firm favourite is a super-easy potato dish from the Savoie region of France. This recipe serves four people and is perfect to pick at the next day… if you’re lucky enough to have leftovers. Serve with cornichons/baby pickled onions, charcuterie, crusty bread and a healthy big green salad!

What you’ll need:

  • 1.5kg waxy potatoes like Romano. We leave the skins on for ease and a bit of goodness.
  • 250g pancetta or bacon lardons
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • A knob of butter
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 200ml half fat crème fraiche (you can use cream but this is a lighter version)
  • Sea salt but go easy as the bacon will be salty, and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole Reblochon cheese. Slice it round the middle to make two rounds and then half so there are 4 semi circles. If you can’t find Reblochon, Camembert would do but it won’t have the nutty quality that’s the star of the show here.

Here’s how to create this beauty:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 7.
  2. Par-boil the potatoes whole in a pan of boiling water until tender then drain and put aside.
  3. Heat a frying pan, add the knob of butter and fry the bacon, onion and garlic for 5 minutes or until the onions are softened. Add the white wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, then add the crème fraiche. You should now have a quite splendid sauce.
  4. When the potatoes are cool, slice them thinly (about 0.5 cm) and place a layer into an ovenproof gratin dish. Cover with sauce and layer potatoes on top. Continue this process until you finish with a thin layer of sauce. Layer the lovely Reblochon slices on top.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is oozy and golden.

Now put on your PJs, pour a glass and grab a fork. Et voilà, alpine fare extraordinaire.