Barefoot in London

Category: Cooking

Steak Glorious Steak

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Right. So this week I moved into a new flat. This new flat means I no longer have a horrendous commute and it also means I am once again running about in my own kitchen like a lunatic. Thus, this means I have to continue this wee blog of mine which I have missed something rotten over the past few months but simply didn’t feel as though I had the head space to deal with it, or the creativity for that matter. However, the move has inspired me to start it all again. So, here’s the first dinner I cooked in my new kitchen…

For the past few days I had been really craving steak, and even though I’m not the biggest fan of it, I am a huge advocate of listening to what your body wants so I decided to obey. I went for some lovely steak medallions as they weren’t too fatty and looked nice and meaty and like they’d curb my craving pronto! I looked to Rosie, from Cider with Rosie, for my steak-spiration as I recalled reading a mouth-watering steak recipe on their from her.

I served up with blanched asparagus and home made garlic and rosemary sweet potato wedges. De. Lish.

Also, this meal made my want for a cast iron skillet even stronger. May have to treat myself next month!


2 steaks

Extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

6 cherry tomatoes

2 big cloves of garlic

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Cracked black pepper

Sprinkling of sea salt

  1. Pop a nice big glug of oil into a bowl, add in a couple of table spoons of the balsamic, sprinkle in salt and pepper, crush one garlic clove and just chop another into chunks and stir together with your sprigs of rosemary. Add the rosemary into the marinade and massage it into your steaks.

  2. Leave the steaks in the bowl with your marinade for at least an hour – longer is fine too – but remember to take it out of the fridge at least 40 minutes before cooking as you want it to come up to room temperature.

  3. I have the heat under the pan for a good five minutes before putting the steak in as I want the edges to get that lovely caramelised, almost burnt burnt flavour but have to have the middle a nice medium-rare. About three minutes on each side and leave to rest for five seemed to cook these a treat, however, I think steak is one of those ones you have to play by ear as everyone has different preferences and methods!

  4. Whilst cooking the steak, I popped the cherry tomatoes with a little balsamic and garlic into a sauce pan and allowed to cook until soft and sweet. This is a great alternative if you’re not planning on serving your steak with a sauce as it add a gorgeous, sugary and fruity edge to your meal as well as using the tomato’s natural acidity to bring out the flavour of the meat.

  5. Serve up with some tasty sides and enjoy!


Zumba + Wellness Week + Slow-Cooking Chicken Chilli



Last week, thanks to Mode Media’s Wellness Week, I got a chance to take part in a Zumba class at the Pineapple Dance Studios. In my mind I saw a room of 60+ people shimmying about a little and generally just having a bit of a jolly. Nah. I couldn’t have been more wrong – it was a fast-paced, leg-tangling romp of an exercise class that was actually a lot of fun and really felt like it had done me some good.

I, myself, was a little like a bow-legged bambi in roller-skates but still managed get most of the steps right and if not I just styled it out (or I like to think I did…)! I definitely think that if you’re looking to get fit but don’t fancy the idea of endless hours on the treadmill that Zumba is worth a gander – maybe even grab a couple of friends and instead of doing a night on the cocktails, do a night in your trainers shaking your bum and waggling your limbs about!

And, in fact, if you did make a night of it then once the class was finished you could head home and cook something up from the incredible Zumba cookbook which I was lucky enough to be gifted after the class. It actually couldn’t have come at a better time as it contains a few slow-cooker recipes and I just purchased a lovely, shiny slow-cooker!

One particular recipe I’m eager to try is the “Slow-Cookin’ Chicken Chilli” which is a nice, healthy and leaner version of the regular chilli con carne we know and love! I have adjusted it slightly – no surprise there! – for when I try it later this week


1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp chilli powder

2 fresh jalapeños

3 chopped tomatoes

2 chicken breasts

1 can of cannellini beans

1 can chickpeas

1 can sweetcorn

2 cups chicken broth

2 diced green bell peppers

Salt and pepper

  1. Chop and prep all veggies and meat.

  2. Fry off onions and garlic with the cumin in a pan.

  3. Add all ingredients to your slow-cooker and cook on high for 5-6 hours.

If you don’t have a slow-cooker then pop into a big ceramic pot with a lid on top and cook in the oven on a nice, low heat for a good few hours.

Wonderful Weekend: Burnt Toast + Coffee Workshop


This weekend has been, as the title of this post indicates, utterly wonderful. I have spent it with some of my very favourite people and visited a couple of new foodie places that I’ll be sure to be going back to. Now I know this post is a little out of the ordinary for me but I’m going to try and start reviewing places I go out and eat in as well as posting recipes!

Friday evening was spent with my friend Sam at the National Theatre watching the wonderful new production JOHN by theatre company DV8. This completely blew me away and I think I’m definitely going to try and get back to see it again before it finishes. If you’re around in London be sure to check this out – or, I believe it’s going to be broadcast in cinemas as a part of NT Live so if you can’t get down here maybe see if you can see it in your local cinema!

I love the National Theatre and I love walking along the South bank; I can’t wait for the Christmas market to arrive here bringing with it all those delicious scents of festive food and drink. Without any street food to choose from this time though Sam and I decided on Wagamamas for dinner which is always an excellent shout!



Saturday morning and in fact most of Saturday was spent in Brixton with my best friend, Lorna. Now Brixton isn’t an area I know particularly well in London but I have been there a few times recently for one reason or another and I’ll be making sure I go back again and again as Brixton Village was absolutely chock-full of wee eateries and incredible food stalls that I want to visit.

We decided upon a place called Burnt Toast for brunch; there was a little bit of a queue but we didn’t mind as we had plenty to catch-up on and a good brunch is always worth the wait. There were several little wooden tables and chairs (all seating outside; don’t fret as cosy blankets were provided) and the inside looked to be a tiny crowded hubbub of kitchen activity. There were toasters and condiments set up next to the tables so you could toast your own bread and top with whatever you heart desired.

Being indecisive, and not wanting a horrible case of food envy, Lorna and I decided to share something savoury and something sweet. Brunch main and dessert, if you will. We went with the feta, tomato, kale and mushroom baked eggs and the blueberry, raspberry and maple pancake.

It was absolutely delicious. The eggs were nice and tender and full of flavour and the pancake was so big I thought we were never going to even make a dent in it but we did our utmost and nearly saw the whole thing off! I wonder, perhaps, if they may have been better off serving two slightly thinner pancakes as this was certainly “cakier” than I expected, however, if I get to eat half a plate-sized cake for breakfast who am I to nitpick?!

The coffee – a black americano – was also wonderful with beautiful, mellow caramel notes.

I definitely want to go back and try some more of their menu!

Saturday evening was spent with Adam, drinking red wine and cooking up a spicy, tomato-y Indian curry which I will definitely post a quick recipe for later this week as it was pretty healthy, very tasty (if I do say so myself!) and super easy. After a somewhat exhausting week, I definitely needed a Saturday night filled with Shiraz and a home-cooked meal!


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Sunday afternoon this week was reserved for spending a few hours with my lovely Jozef. He’s been off travelling the world this past year and having him back in London is downright excellent. He suggested we try Coffee Workshop on Clerkenwell Road which is in between the gorgeous Farringdon and Clerkenwell.

It was pretty busy with Sunday brunchers and we had a wee bit of a wait but it was a gloriously crisp and bright day so standing outside whilst we waited for a table to free-up was no hardship. It’s a fab place with a real mesh of aesthetics – bare-brick walls, wooden floors, skull covered wallpaper, walls of shrubbery, Marmite and mustard jars lining shelves. There was a great balance of edgy, quirky and twee and from the mini Kilner jars filled with sugar to the industrial looking black lamps hanging from the ceiling everything felt perfectly suited.

The food looked amazing but we opted for aeropress coffee and cake instead of eggs or burgers (I have to go back and try some though!).

We ordered both their blends of aeropress – the Githiga from Kenya and the El Rodeo from Costa Rica. It was excellent and has made me want to look for classes on making aeropress coffee; I had a quick chat with a lady who worked there and she briefly explained the process. I can feel my inner barista stirring again!

I was also incredibly naughty and had a giant brownie (which I woefully couldn’t finish) but it did go perfectly with my coffee so it would have been really rude not to. It was so crisp on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside; I always forget how much I love a good brownie because so often they’re disappointing and dry and I’m certain one decent throw and they could knock someone out! However, I’d highly recommend sampling Coffee Workshop’s one if you’re knocking about in that part of town!

Coffee Workshop is totally worth a visit; it’s cool and chic and should be something that is full of espresso snobbery and Shoreditch hipster kids but instead it’s welcoming, inviting and the staff are super cheerful and chatty. I really couldn’t recommend it enough for a lazy few hours of laughing and chatting with friends.


I know. Monster post.

How was your weekend?

Spicy Summer Chicken with a Mango & Feta Salad








Autumn is starting to roll in and it’s making me nostalgic already for the lovely summer we’ve just had. And whilst I’m starting already to crave soup and bread and all manner of hearty, or cinnamon-spicy things I find myself harking back to some of my favourite summer dishes as I look over my camera roll on my phone. I have been the most horrendously absent food blogger this past three months but it isn’t that I’ve abandoned my kitchen, I’ve just been less attentive with the writing up of my culinary creations. Ergo this little gem of a recipe slipped through the net.


I ate a variation of this for my birthday lunch and since then I’ve been a little besotted with the sweet, salty and spicy combination; with its melee of textures and flavours. It’s an incredibly easy dish and the only thing that really takes time is the marinating of the chicken and even that’s just dependant on how long you plan on letting it marinate for. I try and go for doing it the night before  but, if you’re short on time, an hour or so is fine.


What’s been your “taste of summer” this year?




8 chicken legs

6 chilli peppers

5 spring onions

3 cloves of garlic (crushed)

6 tbsp clear honey

Juice of a lime

Fresh coriander

Salt and pepper to taste




1 large mango

Feta cheese

Romaine lettuce

Balsamic glaze


  1. Chop up your chillies and pop into a mortar with the coriander, crushed garlic and spring onions and half the lime juice lime juice. Use your pestle and bash everything up – this should release all the favours and the smell will be incredible!
  2. Add the contents of the mortar to your honey and stir in the rest of the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Score the skin of your chicken lightly and massage in the marinade. Refrigerate over-night.
  4. Preheat oven to 160, cover the chicken with tin foil and cook for 20-25 minutes. Take the chicken out of the oven, remove the foil and drizzle with a little of honey before turning up the oven to 200 and popping back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
  5. The chicken should be sticky and crisp when you take out of the oven.
  6. Chop up the lettuce, thinly slide the mango (a potato peeler does this beautifully) and crumble over some feta cheese. Drizzle on the balsamic glaze and top with your chicken hot or cold. A squeeze of fresh lime wouldn’t go amiss here either then — enjoy!

Lemon and Oregano Lamb Kebabs

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This was a Greek inspired dinner; I have to admit – despite having some the very best food I’ve ever tasted in a wee family-run restaurant at the top of Olympia (honestly, also one of my favourite memories I think I have too) – that Greek food is not a staple at my table. I’m not sure I could really say why it hasn’t been previously but I think I’m going to try and include it a little more often.

It has been an age since I went to Greece. As a twelve year old I spent a month out there whilst my Dad was working and then a few years ago, after interailling through Eastern Europe, I spent a couple of weeks wandering around the Peloponnese. The history, the scenery and the people are just all so fantastic. I wasn’t wild about Athens but I loved meandering around fishing villages, travelling up through the mountains, camping in olive groves and spending many a day on the beach. Food and family and spending long, lethargic evenings around the dinner table are values so engrained into the Greek lifestyle that I couldn’t really help but fall in love with the place.

What’s more, I was cooking for friends when I made the kebabs and, as Greek is one of Lorna’s favourite cuisines and as I was taking over her kitchen for the evening, it seemed polite to make something I knew – hoped! – she’d enjoy!

This dish is full of light, summery flavours and these kebabs would be perfect for shoving on the BBQ. They’re bright and colourful (seriously, look at those photos, gorgeous colours) and really rather tasty if I do say so myself!



500g Lamb rump

Juice and rind of 1 lemon

3 cloves of garlic

2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

A handful of chopped, fresh oregano

1 red onion

3 peppers (I tend to go for any colours except green)

1 courgette

A punnet of cherry tomatoes



  1. Pop your olive oil, lemon juice and rind, crush garlic, oregano, salt and pepper into a bowl and mix well.
  2. Chop your meat into nice cubes, leaving the fat on, and place into the marinade. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Chop up your peppers, courgette and red onion nice and chunkily; doesn’t have to be particularly fancy, or perfect, just nice big bite-sized pieces.
  4. Take your skewers and layer with the meat and veg. Try and make sure the fat on the lamb is all facing the same way.
  5. Make a slit into the tomatoes and place in the bottom of a baking tray; sprinkle with salt, chopped oregano and drizzle with a little oil. Place your kebabs over the tomatoes and empty the remaining marinade out over the kebabs.
  6. Pop under the grill, with the fat on the lamb facing upwards. Grill for 10-15 minutes before covering with foil (you don’t want to dry the meat out!) and putting in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes.
  7. Take out the oven and enjoy!

We served with pitta bread, humus, tzatziki and olives

Hear, hear, Julia Childs.

Now, as with most things I stumble across on the internet, I’m going to take this with – excuse the pun – a pinch of salt. I don’t know if she actually said this, but it certainly seems like something she would say from what I’ve read of her, and it reminded me so much of my own thoughts on plates of food that look far too fancy for their own good that I had to share.


“It’s [Food] so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.”

– Julia Childs

I cannot stand the thought of food being touched too much. Of it going through ten thousand processes before it finds it’s self on my plate. I like things to look a little rustic, a little down home, a little less than perfect. I like my cooking wholesome and from scratch. Jamie Oliver’s bish bash bosh approach is more my style than Heston’s scientifically-crafted art. And whilst I have a respect for the other, I can’t seem to quite embrace it. Restaurants that serve it make me feel alittle uncomfortable, a little out of place and, Kitchen Gods preserve me if I ever attempt it!

What about you? Are you a fan of fancy dining?

julia childs

Brilliant Balsamic Red Onions



When I led a meatless life I used to despair of folk who would lament I was missing out on so much flavour in my food. And, yes, whilst meat adds all different kinds of tastiness I never felt like I was missing out, really. Spices, oils, vinegars, herbs, cheeses, fruit and vegetables – sharp, sweet, tangy, savoury – I really did have a wealth of variety. One of my very favourite things was – is – the salty, sweet, sticky tang of balsamic red onions. You can make a batch of these onions and eat them with a nice sharp cheddar on crackers, sprinkled on a pizza or, as I did, use them to line my goats cheese tart!


3 red onions

5 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

A few sprigs on fresh thyme (totally optional, but yummy)

  1. Chop your onions up into half-moon slithers then pop in a saucepan with your balsamic vinegar, sugar, seasoning and thyme.

  2. Cook on a low heat until the balsamic thickens and becomes gloriously sticky and deep, deep purple. Taste it – if it needs more salt or pepper, add away and enjoy. So simple.

For the tart I simply rolled out some lovely puff pastry, popped on the onions – leaving a wee border – tore up some goats cheese, drizzled with a little oil and whacked in the oven for 40/50 minutes on 180. I finished with a wee bit of torn up fresh basil and watched it disappear.





Fall-apart Italian Baked Chicken

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Well, I began this post a few days ago and then life got all up in my face and distracted me. It started by talking about the turning weather, about balmy evenings and sunny afternoons. I now come to finish said post and find myself staring out at a grey, abysmally rainy, day with lots of people rushing past my window clutching umbrellas. There’s something lovely about a street of colourful umbrellas but I am glad to be currently sat in my nice warm lounge with Ina Garten on the TV.

However, no matter how vile it is outside, this baked chicken – which literally melts in your mouth – is a perfect Mediterranean meal that can help you fool yourself into thinking that you are in fact somewhere a little warmer (or, at least, that’s what I tell myself). I served this with some gorgeous pesto covered linguine, a tasty salad and lots of beautifully cold and crisp Prosecco.


2 brown onions

3 cloves of garlic (crushed)

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

200ml balsamic vinegar

A handful of fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

4/5 pieces of chicken (I used breasts but any cut would be beautiful)

  1. Preheat oven to 160.

  2. Chop and sauté the onions until translucent, then add in the garlic.

  3. Pop your chicken into the pan and sear on all sides, then place to one side into your baking tray. You want a nice deep baking tray or it’ll all be spilling everywhere.

  4. De-glaze your pan with the balsamic, getting all those beautiful flavours involved. Then add your basil, oregano, salt and pepper and tinned tomatoes. Allow to simmer away for ten minutes.

  5. Pour your sauce on top of the chicken, and cover the tray with tin foil. Place in the oven for 2 hours, then whack up the oven to 200 for the final 10 minutes and enjoy!

Chunky Rustic Pesto

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There is nothing better for a quick and cheeky dinner than a pasta/pesto medley and, as with most things, making your own is far superior to popping open a jar! This’ll take twenty minutes tops and you’ll have a divine dinner before you know what’s happening.

I’d never really considered the old pestle and mortar too much in the kitchen before – mainly because ours is full of cracked black pepper, pretty much permanently – but this recipe has been the changing of me. From now on I endeavour to use these wee tools a little more.

There are no exact measurements for this recipe as it’s just one of those imprecise arts that relies on how much pasta you have and how you like your pesto to taste. I made about 400g of tagliatelle with the following recipe but, as I said, add and subtract as you see fit!


3 cloves of garlic

50g pine nuts

75g grated parmesan

2 large handfuls of fresh basil

1 handful of rocket

1 handful of watercress

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

  1. Pop your pasta in some water on the hob.

  2. Crush your garlic then place in the mortar with a little glug of oil and grind with your pestle until it’s a nice garlic paste.

  3. Add in your pine nuts, basil and a little more oil. Once your basil is well and truly smashed and bashed up add in your watercress, rocket, more oil and the parmesan and then beat it all together a little more.

  4. Finally, season with salt and pepper, drain your pasta and coat with your pesto. The heat from the pasta will gently cook the leaves in your pesto and you can scoff it all down.


Pretty Wee Courgette and Mozzarella Polpette




So, I’ve started remembering how much I love vegetarian food (who am I kidding, I’m always going to be a wee bit of a vegetarian at heart) and these little treats are great as finger foods, starters, with spaghetti or…just as a cheeky snack. They’re really easy to knock together, super tasty and just good wholesome wee bites!


2 medium-sized courgettes

3 cloves of garlic

50g breadcrumbs (I toasted a slice of bread and just grated it into

½ ball mozzarella

30 g parmesan cheese (grated)

50g cheddar cheese (grated)

1 egg

Salt and pepper to season

  1. Preheat oven to 180.

  2. Dice up the courgettes and fry them in a little oil until lightly browned. Crush your garlic and add in with the courgettes.

  3. Cube the mozzarella (I know, I’m disgusting, mozzarella should always be ripped and torn) and grate the parmesan and cheddar.

  4. Beat the egg and add in the breadcrumbs, courgettes, cheeses and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Squidge little bits of the mixture together and roll into balls then pop on a sheet of greaseproof paper. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and scoff them down.



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