The hamper I’d be very happy to receive for Valentine’s Day


I think I’ve made my feelings on the whole Valentine’s Day thing clear before, but if I had a choice of one Valentine’s gift, then it would be this one:


Modern Pantry Hamper for Valentine's Day

This is the Valentine’s Breakfast in Bed Hamper from The Modern Pantry, and I love it. I mean, I love The Modern Pantry full stop, it would be up there in my top 3 favourite restaurants in London. And I love their design aesthetic. And I love their flavours.

So it’s probably no surprise I love this, and the breakfast it would produce (and breakfast in bed also one of my favourite things). Glass of pink fizz, possibly with a drop or two of rose mojito syrup. Tick, that’s got to start the day off well. Granola first, and then toast with the kumquat marmalade.

And then a strong coffee to get over the fizz.

Perfect start to a lazy weekend day. And not a lazy cliché in sight, just nice twists on tradition. Which is what I exactly would expect from The Modern Pantry. Perfect.

Now, the only question is who to share it with? Or possibly whether or not to share it at all!


The Friday Five – my golden tickets


I wrote last week about the Great Charity Cookbook Swap that I’m organising, and the Golden Ticket books we are bringing together. I feel really thrilled that the first book we had was from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, and I know I would be very happy if this was my golden ticket book.

So, just for fun, these are the five writers I’d love to find I was holding the golden ticket for:


real fast food


Nigel Slater – I’ve written before that the first cookbook I ever bought was Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Food, pretty much in the first edition. I still have it, and I still have a real soft spot for Nigel’s writing and to find any of his books behind a golden ticket would be fantastic. I don’t know if I could pick a favourite. I really loved Eating for England but then I really like Tender…too many to choose, would be happy with any.


Too Many Chefs


Sat Bains – every morning I pass, in the space of about 5 metres, three, possibly four brown signs for Restaurant Sat Bains. I eat my lunch about a mile as the crow flies from the restaurant, and a million miles in culinary terms. I’ve been lucky to have eaten there once, back in the days when the restaurant did lunch, and we had expense accounts. The book would be about the closest I get, other than that daily passing of the sign.


The Modern Pantry


Anna Hansen – lunch at The Modern Pantry has been one of my favourite eating experiences of the last couple of years. I’ve recommended it to numerous people, but still not managed to get back myself. I love the flavour combinations and would hope that I could translate some of that from the cookbook. Especially the fig leaf ice cream.


Bill Granger Every Day


Bill Granger – I know that warmer weather is here when I reach for Bill’s books. I think I have about four, because for the summer (all 3 weeks of it) I love that style of cooking. I also love the look of the lifestyle: the sunshine, the Australian coast, all that white linen. Well, a girl has to have a dream. I think I reach for Every Day most, although Bill’s Food probably is a close second.


Tamasin's Kitchen Bible


Tamasin Day-Lewis – this really would thrill me, as Tamasin’s Kitchen Bible is one of my all time fave cookbooks. Put it this way, if I was rescuing stuff from this house, I’d rescue this (if only because it now costs a fortune to replace). I love the variety of her books, and I love her recipes, I’ve never had one fail yet. Though they’re short on white linen in the photography!

We are at early days of Golden Tickets books but we’ve had some amazing donations already. So, if you were coming to Graze the Vale what would you hope to find behind a Golden Ticket?


The Friday Five – books that may well be on my wish list


I really don’t need any more cookbooks, or books about food. But then Christmas is not always about need, so these are a purely indulgent list of ones that I might enjoy finding space for. Just in case Santa is watching.

Although does depend, I guess, which list I’m on!


Cake Angels - gluten, wheat & dairy free cakes


Cake Angels by Julia Thomas – I’m really interested in how to create gorgeous cakes without relying on wheat flour, given the fairly poor ranges you see in our supermarkets. This book takes it all the way so bakes without gluten, wheat or dairy, and I am interested to see how good they could be. Be interested to see if the team can spot the difference!


Do Ahead Dinners


Do-Ahead Dinners: How to Feed Friends and Family Without the Frenzy – with the changes in the household over the year I’m doing more weekday cooking now, and try as far as possible to cook ahead. I’ve featured this book before, but it really appealed to me both as a concept and for some of the recipes. I can imagine marinated baked goat’s cheese being very popular with MGG.


The Modern Pantry - one of my favourite places to eat, probably could be one of my favourite cookbooks


The Modern Pantry – I’ve written recently about how much I loved The Modern Pantry, and I’d really love the cookbook of the restaurant. Though I imagine the fig leaf ice cream might need an ice cream maker!


Pomegranates and Roses


Pomegranates and Roses: My Persian Family Recipes – I love the rich variety of Middle Eastern cooking, and it’s something that I love to experiment with, and discover more of. This book would sit alongside Arabesque and I could have many happy afternoons working through this book and the fabulous flavours it evokes.


Great British Bake Off Winter Kitchen


Great British Bake Off: Winter Kitchen – I love winter cooking, love the comfort food, and this is a great book for that. I’m guessing that when there are casseroles, then there’ll be dumplings, otherwise it’s stretching the baking bit a little far!

So, who knows what Santa might pick? Or whether I need to clear space on the bookshelf or in the coal bucket!


The Modern way to Pantry loveliness


I love my trips to London, especially when there’s a chance to go and try somewhere new to eat. The only problem that gives me is that there are then some places that I want to go back to again.

And again.

I feel that way about The Modern Pantry. I had a wonderful catch up lunch with the equally wonderful Lisa Eldridge there, and it’s been calling me back ever since. I loved the ambiance, I loved the styling, I loved the company I was with, and I was very much in love with the fig leaf ice cream.


The Modern Pantry


I could have chosen many things off the menu, and am only sorry I’ve not been back since. I loved the clever use of flavours, particularly more unusual flavours, but also very modern and clean flavours, like the fig leaf. So I’m really happy to find that their online shop is now properly up and running, as it will allow you to get some of those flavours into your own pantry, or to make fabulous gifts for other foodies on your gift list.


Modern Pantry Dessert


You could make up your own selection, or choose one of their ready made selections. I love these for the more adventurous cooks amongst us, so for things like the Dessert Selection which gives you liquorice paste, tonka beans and rose petals. I have no idea what I’d do with them but it would be fun to experiment.


Middle Eastern Collection


The Middle Eastern collection provides flavours I’m more familiar with, and love. I mean, what cupboard doesn’t need pomegranate molasses, Persian spice, sumac and rose petals? I feel warmth and sunshine just thinking of those flavours and what I’d do with them.


Canvas bags from The Modern Pantry


And there are the beautiful canvas bags, which would mean you could choose different lovely products and wrap them up in one of these, job done. I think the prices are incredibly reasonable for something this lovely, and a bit different. And if you want to slip in a reservation for afternoon tea, then I don’t imagine that will go down badly either!


What are you doing this weekend?


All steps lead to...tasty treats in Regents Park


Me, I shall be exhibiting some very bad dance moves under the influence of half a shandy at Party in the Park. Which is a serious dent in my foodie credentials (not to mention cool rating) as I guess I should have been heading to Taste of London. And having read Niamh’s review of her preview of the food over on Eat Like a Girl then I’m quite sad that I won’t be there.

From Niamh’s post, I would be making a beeline for Salt Yard’s stuffed courgette flowers, and Bentley’s fish and chips. If you head over to their Facebook page you can see all the menus, and I’d have to add The Modern Pantry’s chermoula baked sea bass, Odette’s whipped goat’s cheese and pickled beetroot, and the fois gras parfait from Tom’s Kitchen. Quite how many dishes you can fit into one visit I’m not sure, love to know what anyone’s record is!

And then there’s the shopping as well. I’d have a few tins of Nudo extra virgin olive oils in my bag, some Munchy Seeds for the journey home and then a tasting selection from Paul A Young’s gorgeous chocolate. None of which would do my waistline much good, but what the heck? You could go the whole hog and go for the whole weekend. Even stay within stumbling distance and still have great food at your beck and call with a night at York & Albany.

There is still time to book and buy your crowns, which is a great system I think, as you get to set your budget in advance. I would allow a little leeway though, you just know you are going to get tempted by something additional on your way round!

I loved this photo of the event from another year by acme over on Flickr. Enjoy if you are going!