Sunday, 31 October 2010

My amazing new local - A Little Of What You Fancy

I have eaten in every establishment Elaine Chalmers has ever cooked in.  Ten years ago when she ran the restaurant below Smallfish Records on Old Street I would go in for my breakfast, back for my lunch and often pick up something for my dinner, it was easy to eat healthily as the salads were inspired, interesting and so delicious.  Elaine's is a genius with food.  

After a stint cooking at the hugely popular Dalston Superstore Elaine has teamed up with Lola Coone and opened their own restaurant A Little Of What You Fancy.  I couldn't be more delighted to have such a fabulous new local restaurant.

The vegetables and the salad leaves come from the Wenlock Basin Estate (just off City Road on the Islington side).  Elaine makes all her own preserves, chutneys, piccalilli and other gorgeous things which are also available to buy.  Serving local, seasonal and fresh produce and a menu that changes daily, I know there'll be something I fancy every single day.  And I can walk there in five minutes.  Marvellous!

Last night The Actor and I went for dinner.  I cannot tell you how good it is.  So good we rang back this evening to try and go again.  Unfortunately the kitchen was already closed.

An inconspicuous door on Kingsland Road with no sign

I love the subtle nod to Halloween

There was so much on the menu that I would have picked.  I would happily have eaten every single starter.  It was hard to choose so we asked our charming waiter Jamie to help us decide.

A Little of What You Fancy
Saturday's Menu

Cauliflower and Colston Basset stilton soup
Chicken, pork and sage terrine with hot London piccalilli and sourdough toast
Chioggia, golden and red beetroot salad with goat's cheese, caramelised walnuts and French beans
Smoked fish plate (mackerel and salmon) with rye bread and capers


Home preserved duck confit, braised red cabbage and dijon mash
Slow braised oxtail in red wine, tomato and herbs with spicy leaves
Locally caught Slip Sole with new potatoes, French beans and caper and lemon nut brown butter
Seven vegetables Casablanca tagine with chickpeas and sultanas served with rose harissa and coriander flat bread


Wenlock barn estate green salad


Baked quince with star anise, cinnamon, lemon Greek yoghurt, caramelised walnuts and rose petals
Earl Grey sponge with rose syrup and Greek yoghurt
Flourless chocolate cake with vanilla double cream
Panna cotta with blueberries


Neal's Yard cheeses with Elaine's quince and apple chutney and oatcakes
Brie de Meaux with figs and sourdough bread


The Actor had a London Porter beer and I had a Sipsmith London Dry Gin and Tonic to begin

We shared the beetroot and goat's cheese salad with caramelised walnuts and French beans.  I didn't know what chioggia was but it's an unusual type of golden beetroot.  The salad was the best I've tasted for a long time, you could tell how fresh the leaves were.  There was rocket, alfalfa cress, escarolle and green mustard leaves with a very light dressing.  Absolutely divine.

The terrine and the amazing homemade piccalilli were stunning.  I thought The Actor was going to lick the plate.

The duck confit was wonderfully crispy, every bit of fat had been roasted to perfection, served with dijon mash and braised red cabbage

Melt in the mouth oxtail in red wine, tomato, herbs and spicy leaves and a side of French beans

The Italian red recommended by Jamie was spot on

We shared a slice of Elaine's legendary flourless chocolate cake with vanilla cream and blueberry and apple compote and a double espressos

An absolutely wonderful  meal.  Love, love, love this place.

See you again very soon - I'll be back for my breakfast! xxx

Happy Halloween

I was about to run to the shops to get a load of sweets for the trick or treaters when The Actor informed me we are going out for a very late Sunday lunch.  Last year we had so many kids knocking all evening.  I wasn't at all prepared so I kept giving them a pound coin each.  It was getting rather expensive in the end.  I think sweets is better than giving them money for fags or whatever.  

Last night the streets were full of people in fancy dress.  There were some amazing outfits - one guy was dressed in a Victorian wedding dress, a tiara with a long veil and fake cobwebs all over him like Miss Havisham.  He was pushing another lad in a dress in a wheelchair.  It's definitely not normal around here.  I wish I'd taken his picture but my camera had run out of battery.

Have a very Happy Halloween xxx

Saturday, 30 October 2010

I'm probably too old for these!

I'm sure these lace bunny ears are not aimed at my age group but I don't care!  I've never minded looking silly in the past.

I saw them in a magazine as a suggestion to wear for Halloween.  At a mere £12.50 from Top Shop and being a fan of silly head gear I immediately ordered a pair.

They were really long and stuck straight up so Mrs Jones fiddled around with them and they are much better now.

Lace bunny ears from Top Shop HERE

Have a great evening xxx

Dr Feelgood

Mrs Jones and I watched Oil City Confidential the other night and absolutely loved it.  I'd caught a little bit of the film when it was shown on BBC4 and knew it was right up my street.

I've seen director Julien Temple's films on the Sex Pistols - The Filth and The Fury, Joe Strummer and Glastonbury.  I liked all of them a lot but this I think is his best.

I didn't know that much about Dr Feelgood, a band that started in pubs in Canvey Island and ended up by 1976 being one of the biggest bands in Britain and selling out everywhere.  I would have loved to have seen them live as their energy is truly amazing.  They are a force of nature to watch.

We both agreed that there was something really sexy about the young Wilko Johnson (left) and Lee Brilleaux was a superb front man.

Oil City Confidential a brilliant documentary and and a wonderful piece of British music and social history.  I strongly advise any fans of rock 'n' roll to get a copy straight away.

Buy it on DVD HERE

Have a great Saturday xxx

Friday, 29 October 2010

Friday quotes - Joan Collins

"The problem with beauty is that
it's like being born rich and getting poorer"

Joan Collins
(b. 1933)

I've always been a huge fan of Joan Collins, she's a British institution.  Joan looks amazing, she's funny and she has balls.  I think she's fabulous.  When her first book came out I bought it immediately - who wouldn't want to know Joan's tips for looking good?

One of my dream nights out would be with Joan and Christopher Biggins!  I am mad on Biggins, I love him he's hilarious.

Joan says she's never slept with a man younger than forty two.  Her fifth husband Percy Gibson is thirty two years her junior.  Joan says this is the happiest she's ever been and that Percy is her best friend.  Good on her!

"I've never yet met a man who could look after me.
I don't need a husband.  What I need is a wife"

"According to my sister Jackie, most men stray.  And sex doesn't mean anything to most men.  But I wouldn't date a man who slept around.  Absolutely not, I've divorced people for that"

With Warren Beatty

Photograph © Slim Aaron

"Show me a person who hasn't made a mistake and I'll show you somebody who hasn't achieved much"

"I think it has something to do with being British.  We don't take ourselves too seriously as some other countries do.  I think a lot of people take themselves far too seriously; I find that a very tedious attitude."


"I have always lived my life with enthusiasm and pleasure"

"Age, in my opinion, has no bearing at all, that is unless,
of course, one happens to be a bottle of wine"

"I think dieting is bad for you.  I believe in eating well, not eating too much but eating a variety of foods"


"The unfortunate statistics are that there are far more available and fabulous over forty women than there are available and fabulous over forty men"

"Even my dressing room at the studio has candles and cushions and cashmere rugs and things"

"I consider you as old as you look and feel.  And in that case I feel about thirty nine, like Jack Benny"

"I have to do something.  Whether it's painting, writing, acting, shopping, going to the gym, being with friends, going out - I'm just a very active person.  I have a lot of friends and I travel a lot"

With Christopher Biggins

"I have a lot of male friends, we go shopping and to the cinema.  A lot of men friends I know love shopping"

"He's my best friend.  We've not found any generational gap at all.  If he wants to go to a football game, he goes.  If I want to go to a fashion show, I go.  We don't have to do everything together.  But we like doing most things together"

"After a certain age you get the face you deserve"

When asked about the age difference between her and husband Percy, Joan quipped:

"If he dies, he dies!"

Joan Collins
(b. 1933)

I love it! xxx