Seaweed – A Collection Of Simple And Delicious Recipes by Claudia Seifert, Zoe Christiansen, Lisa Westgaard & Hanne Martinsen

Take off your socks, roll up your trouser legs and wade happily into the world of edible seaweed.

Bladderwrack, Oarweed, Thongweed, Dulse, Laver and Winged Kelp. No, not the names of a new bunch of Marvel superheroes (and haven’t we had more than enough of them by now?) but the names of just some of the seaweeds we should be chowing down on.

Because they are super in themselves – rich in nutrients, sustainable and environmentally friendly. And tasty, let’s not forget tasty.

This immaculately produced book, translated from Norwegian, is not only beautiful to look at, but packed sardine-like with great and frequently beautiful recipes, simple to prepare for single meals or family feasts.

Main courses, snacks, soups, salads and desserts. Vegetarian and with seafood. Plus, some experimental type dishes of tapas, too.

Getting hold of seaweed doesn’t mean having to actually head down to the seashore, although the authors do have guidance for doing so safely and respecting the seaweeds’ sustainability (taking a large pair of scissors is a must). And they do encourage you to do so.

In fact, most seaweed is sold dried, either in specialist shops or online, and has to be soaked at home where it almost miraculously unfurls into large and juicy green leaves and tendrils. The book has a list of useful seaweed stockists at the back.

Seaweed delivers umami, which is why it’s such a favourite ingredient in Japanese cooking and it is also a source of salt. It has few calories or carbohydrates, is low-fat but rich in protein often with minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, as well as amino acids and trace elements.

So, what can you make? Well for a start and for starters there’s classic miso soup of course. Or how about an omelette with peas, feta cheese and sea lettuce? Salmon with coffee, chili and winged kelp sounds delicious too.

It adds flavour to a vegetable stock and will raise up your bowl of ramen. Add it to a quiche along with spinach, wrap it around cod and slow cook for a fish that truly tastes of the sea.

You might also want to browse this delightful book with a Gin seaweed tonic, seabelt Martini in your hand, the recipe is here too.

Each photo is a work of art, none of your tedious top down stuff so beloved by Instagrammers, these are proper professional images that would look perfect framed on the wall.

The whole book is an eye-opener and more than enough incentive to head for the beach

ISBN: 9781910690512. Published by Grub Street

£20.00

Romulo Cafe Restaurant Review

343 Kensington High Street London, W8 6NW www.romulocafe.co.uk

How often have you heard someone say, ‘I know, let’s go out for a Filipino? Probably about as often as you’ve heard someone say ‘I fancy a bit of German food tonight.’

Filipino food is, let’s be honest, not a cuisine that has had much exposure. You’re more likely to find a chef from the Ukraine on Saturday Kitchen than one from the Philippines.

So Romulo Cafe is intriguing.  It’s a branch of a small group, there’s also a Romulo Café in Quezon City, Makati and Alabang in the Philippines.

Located in a rather unprepossessing part of West Ken, next to one of those all-night grocers that has everything anyone from any culture could ever want, it’s actually a lot nicer inside than you might expect. Cosy, even. Continue reading

Going On An Extraordinary Odyssey

Out of my postcode, I go out of this world with The Grand Expedition by the Gingerliners. 

The text message came through at 4pm, as promised, with instructions to go by 7pm to a certain station on the Victoria line with directions to a nearby venue.

Three hours later we are somewhat apprehensively emerging out of an unfamiliar station into an unfamiliar postcode. Here be dragons?

The directions are simple enough. With other travellers, clearly on the same adventure as us, we form up as a squad and chat and compare Google maps to make sure we are on the right track.

Shortly after we are outside the venue, which is not very impressive but rather thrilling. Dark and dingy it seems more a place for a dodgy deal, or to meet a Russian secret agent for a Novichok cocktail. Continue reading

Farzi Cafe London

8 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4BP www.farzilondon.com

They apparently spent £4 million doing this place up, but Nick feels they really needn’t have bothered as the food sells itself

Four million quid?  It’s easy to see where £250,000 of it might have gone – the fancy bar, the metal room dividers, the tables and chairs – but £4 million?

It’s like when the Met police say it cost them XX million to police a small demonstration, you’d think someone in charge really should ask to see the receipts.

Still, whatever, it’s definitely an opulent space at Farzi Cafe which is in that stretch of Haymarket where both high and low restaurants vie for their share of theatre-goers’ dinner money.

It’s part of the empire of Indian MasterChef judge Zorowar Kalra, who began in India in 2014 and now has around ten Farzi locations there, as well as one in Dubai. Continue reading

Restaurant Interlude, Leonardslee Gardens, Horsham

Nick leaves the protective embrace of the M25 to find fine and fun dining alive and well far from the madding crowd.

Reading the London-centric restaurant reviews in the big papers you’d think there was nothing much going on outside Zone Five.

Apart from, of course, on those occasions when the writers have been on holiday, at their second homes or visiting relations, and so have reviewed any half decent local place so as to get their travel costs back on expenses.

You might also think fine dining/tasting menus had all but disappeared in favour of things bunged in a fire or pickled in a jar.

Londoners, well at least the younger ones at least, can be a bit snotty about tasting menus. I think it’s a subliminal fear of cutlery and napkins, as well the potential horror of eating just as a couple with no sharing plates or long tables to distract you, only the ‘phone. Continue reading

Doing Breakfast At Market Halls Victoria

Looking for somewhere to grab a breakfast in Victoria, Market Halls now has plenty to tempt you. I got out of bed and got in.

The last time I went to the building that is now Market Halls Victoria, it must have been around 2004 it was the club Pacha.It was a place to be seen back then, a classy club so close to the bus stands at Victoria that the smell of diesel fumes vied with the Paco Rabanne.

Well look at it now, it’s a fancy food hall and part of the Market Halls group. Daylight, which never dared intrude at Pacha, floods onto the first floor from a massive glass roof. Up there are more food outlets not open until lunch. Continue reading

From little acorns – how the finest jamon is created

While we are all still on a plant based diet kick right now, there is still room for meat that is ethically and responsibly sourced, traditionally made and totally delicious.

Away in the distance, under the hundreds of Spanish oak trees, large dark shapes are moving. An occasional grunt or squeal drifts our way and Antonio Hernández of the Dehasa ‘Los Pinos’ answers back with strange noises.

The black Iberian pigs prick up their ears, or they would if their ears weren’t so charmingly floppy, and a mob begins to move toward us. Continue reading