Visiting food markets is high on my list of Life’s Greatest Joys. It’s up there with the feeling I get in my spine when relaxing back into bed after a tiring day, and biting into a really great chocolate chip cookie, and wearing Jason’s T shirts to sleep in, and the two week stretch of spring where it seems as though every tree in England is covered in blossom.

One of the few things higher on the list than visiting a beautiful food market? Being dropped off in the middle of a beautiful food market in a place I’ve never visited before, and let loose with a camera!

I’m hopping around a little in the order in which I’m sharing photos from our trip, but I figured that there’s nothing better for perking up a Wednesday than photos of food! We visited the market on our final morning in Brive, just a few short hours before heading back to the airport and flying back to a surprisingly chilly England. The market is a huge one- spreading across the entirety of the central town square, and into a giant covered exhibition space too. It didn’t feel at all like the produce was just on show for cameras and tourists like myself, like I sometimes feel it is at Borough Market- most of the people there were French, armed with roomy wicker baskets, and were stocking up on the likes of green beans and salad leaves and eggs. And, of course, I saw countless people with paper-wrapped baguettes tucked under their arms and poking out of baskets, which did my heart good!

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What struck me most, during the few days I was in France, was quite much passion and respect the people there have for food. Each meal, whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, was a sit-down affair. Starters were always preceded by an amuse-bouche and bread, desserts always followed by coffee and petit fours. Our guide Karine told us that in some regions of France, it’s quite normal for offices to shut down entirely for an hour or so over lunch, to allow workers to head home or to a local restaurant for a meal. I can’t even imagine that happening in the UK!

The vast majority of restaurants we ate in didn’t play music and had such a calm and peaceful atmosphere, which in turn led to the focus being on the food and dining experience itself. The effect was fascinating- I found myself enjoying what I was eating *so* much, but also getting full so quickly because I was really concentrating on my food, instead of just eating mindlessly.

I felt the same respect and love for food at the market- the produce was so artfully arranged, vendors encouraged us to help ourselves from bowls of olives and plates of finely sliced saucisson, and Karine explained that many of the vegetables would’ve been grown by the stallholders themselves in their gardens. Children were encouraged by farmers to pet and engage with the chickens and ducks and rabbits they had on offer (I asked whether the rabbits were pets or for the table, and the reply was ‘Both’!), and sampled ripe cheeses and cloves of pickled garlic and shellfish with abandon. It was beautiful to see.

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I left with a happy heart, a memory card full of photos, and a jar of acacia honey destined to be drizzled over soft cheese and creamy porridge and never, ever eaten in a hurry.


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CiderwithrRosie-Crosstown-doughnuts-review London-doughnuts-Cider-with-Rosie Crosstown-Doughnuts-London Tania-Cider-with-Rosie-London Peanut-butter-and-jam-dougnut Crosstown-dougnuts-Cider-with-Rosie

From yoga to…doughnuts? #balance.

If there’s one culinary trend I wish would filter over across the Atlantic at a quicker rate, it’s the artisan doughnut movement. From what the internet/TV/those lame episodes of Man vs. Food I just can’t help but watch on slow Sunday afternoons tell me, the streets of the good ol’ U S of A are positively littered with bakeries selling hot from the fryer, freshly glazed/sugar-rolled do(ugh)nuts! American readers- is this true? Is it really as easy to find great doughnuts in the States as I’m imagining? If so…I think I need to move.

Whilst it’s true that we have got Krispy Kreme here in the UK and you really can’t ever go wrong with a KK original glazed, I’ve sort of fallen out with them ever since they got rid of my all-time favourite doughnut (the vanilla cruller, FYI). I’d heard of Crosstown Doughnuts on the grapevine a couple of weeks ago, so made plans to visit when I was in London with Tania a couple of days ago. It’s a funny location- a mini cafe tucked down one of the passageways out of Piccadilly Station- with seating for maybe four or five people at a push. We ordered a little selection box of four- a cinnamon swirl, vanilla bean glazed, banana cream, and peanut butter and jam- and settled in for a taste test.

The doughnuts at Crosstown are all made fresh daily, which meant that by the time we visited at around 3pm they’d been out a little while and maybe weren’t as fresh as they could’ve been. The flavours of the premium doughnuts more than made up for a little dryness in the dough though, and the originals (vanilla glaze, + cinnamon swirl) were saved by giving them a bath in a little shot cup of the hot chocolate supplied on-site by SAID (our favourite chocolate cafe!). A totally decadent and delicious experience. And yep, those are two words I never thought I’d associate with a London tube station cafe…

If you’re in the area or just passing through, stop in for the banana cream doughnut. Or, to give it its full and deservedly fancy title- the ‘Sea Salt Caramel & Banana Cream Doughnut’! It’s beyond delicious.

Crosstown Doughnuts- Piccadilly Tube Station, W1J 9HS.
Doughnuts:  approx. £3 each.


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Say hello to the plainest-looking, but most insanely delicious salad you’ll meet today.

It’s a humble one, this salad. There’s nothing particularly indulgent or extravagant about it- there’s no meat, or dairy, or wheat, or sugar, or any of those other things that usually make a dish a showstopper. And yet, I’m totally hooked on it. I ate something similar for lunch at The Lancaster hotel way back before Christmas, and had totally forgotten about it until a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been making up mass batches a couple of times a week (it keeps well for 48-72 hours in the fridge), and marvelling at how it somehow tastes better and better as the days pass and the tangy vinaigrette dressing melds with the flavours of the roasted vegetables and tart apple pieces.

It’s the roasting of the broccoli and cauliflower that really makes it a memorable dish. Without that 15 minute stint in the oven to bring out their nutty depth of flavour and the slight bitterness of the cauliflower (enhanced by a few chopped almonds and a scattering of creamy toasted pinenuts), this salad would really just be a crudite platter that’d been upended. It’s a total whizz to put together too- the sort of dish that takes the plainest of ingredients and really makes them sing.

Make up a batch today, then pat yourself on the back every lunchtime for the rest of the week as you shun ordinary, boring old sandwiches and instead sit down to a dish of the most revitalising and satisfyingly toothsome of salads around.

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Makes 3/4 lunch portions, or 2 large dinner portions.
Ingredients ::
1 broccoli
1 cauliflower
1 crisp apple (Royal Gala works well)
2 handfuls almonds
1 handful pine nuts

2tsp Dijon mustard
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp cider vinegar
1 generous pinch of Maldon salt

- Cut the broccoli and cauliflower up into florets (we’ll slice them smaller once they’re roasted), and arrange on a roasting tray. Place into an oven preheated to 180 degrees celsius to cook for 15 minutes, until they’re very lightly browned in places and smelling nutty and fantastic.

- Slice the apple into chunks, roughly chop the almonds, and toast off the pinenuts in a dry pan until lightly golden. Chop up the roasted broccoli and cauliflower into bitesize pieces, then combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

- In a jam jar, add in the mustard, oil, and vinegar and seal the lid tightly. Shake until creamy and amalgamated, then season with salt to taste. The vinaigrette should be tart and strong, since it’ll mellow when used to dress the salad.

- Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, and use your hands to massage together. Serve right away, or portion up and save for a few days of glorious lunches.

Cider-with-Rosie-winter-salad-recipe Roasted-cauliflower-broccoli-recipe


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It’s a glorious thing, pancake day. A day dedicated to the world’s simplest, and possibly most gratifying sweet treat? What could be better!

For me, pancake day evokes nostalgia, and brings back memories of childhood. I remember it always seeming to come out of nowhere- my Mum would announce that we were to have pancakes for dinner when I came home from school, and the day would instantly be an exciting one! My Grandma was always in charge of the pancake making, and aside from when she stopped to eat the slightly raggedy first and last pancakes of the batch, would stand at the stove for what felt like hours, turning out a seemingly endless succession of pancakes for my Mum and I. Lemon and sugar were the toppings of choice, of course.

Nowadays, Shrove Tuesday (as we should really call it), is one of the few days of the year you’ll find Jason in the kitchen through choice, and not because I’ve disappeared off to Pilates classes and left him (begrudgingly ;) in charge of dinner! We usually wind up having a competition over who can make the most perfect, thin, and symmetrical pancakes, and because this is my blog and I can say whatever I fancy, I’ll tell you that my pancakes are always the best. Seriously though, they totally are…

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Simplest Ever and Totally Failsafe Pancake recipe!  {Originally J.O’s, adapted minimally}
Ingredients ::
1 cup {of any size, filled to the top} plain flour
1 cup {filled to the exact same level as with the flour} semi-skimmed milk
1 whole egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 or 3 tbsp melted butter, for greasing the pan

- Measure out the flour, and put into a large bowl. Measure the milk out and whisk it together with the egg and vanilla extract, and then whisk slowly into the flour.

- Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then set aside. Brush a large frying pan with a coating of melted butter, then set over a medium heat.

- When the butter begins to sizzle, spoon in a ladleful of pancake batter into the centre of the pan, tipping and swirling it to get an even coating of batter across the whole of the pan. Cook for a minute or two, then flip and cook for another minute before setting aside and repeating the process to use up the rest of the batter.

- The cooked pancakes can be kept warm in a low oven if needs be, whilst you cook up the batch of pancakes. Bonus points if you manage to flip any successfully- I flipped about a gazillion whilst taking these photos, and learnt (the hard way!) that it’s a thousand times easier to cook a pancake that’s already been cooked on both sides than a partially cooked one! Much easier to rectify, too, if you have a mishap and end up with a folded-in-half pancake!

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Finally, let’s talk toppings! Are you Team Lemon and Sugar, or Team Nutella & Berries/Banana? I’ve got a foot in both camps, if I’m honest…meaning that I’ll be eating at least one of both types of pancakes this evening.

Have fun pancake-flipping, friends!

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