magdalen, london se1

as ever i have a list of restaurants that i want to try. frugal january means i’ve not been eating out much but on a whim i decided that we needed a treat to get us to the end of the month. so i booked a table at magdalen, a restaurant which offers a fabulous range of british food.

opposite the unicorn theatre (london’s newest theatre for children and well worth supporting) magdalen is a buzzy restaurant spread over two floors. the walls are painted a deep oxblood and it felt very cosy on a windy wintery night (i’ll be interested to see how it feels in the summer).

after polishing off the lovely chewy bread that we were given as we arrived, i chose potted devon crab to start. this was truly delicious, gently spiced and flavoured with a hint of orange. david’s goat’s curd and greens on toast was equally good, the mild creamy curd contrasting well with the slightly oniony flavours of the greens.

we decided to share the slow cooked shoulder of milk-fed lamb for our main course. this came with potato gratin and we ordered a side of sprout tops. the meat was beautifully tender and flavoursome but, for me, it was the combination of fresh greens with the creamy potatoes (perfectly flavoured with a hint of mace) that made me smile the most.

our puddings were, in my opinion, less good. david was very happy with his apple and calvados trifle but i’d have liked it to be a little less sweet. my chocolate pot served with brandied cherries was incredibly dark and bittersweet and i’d have liked a few more cherries to balance the flavours.

magdalen is a lovely place to spend an evening, with delicious food, a buzzy atmosphere and incredibly friendly and genuinely interested staff. there are several large tables and with its good value wine list i’d love to come back with a group of friends. i just need to come up with an excuse for such a gathering…


152 tooley street, london se1 2tu

telephone: 020 7403 1342


prawn miso soup with noodles, ginger and pak choi


finally! i have finally managed to take a photo of miso soup that looks vaguely appealing.

miso soup is something we eat often, in various guises, and i’ve been wanting to write about it for quite a while. however, steaming bowls of soup are tricky to photograph so it’s taken a while to get a photo i was happy with.

delicious and nourishing, it is the perfect healthy comfort food. as a result, this is my contribution to meeta’s monthly mingle which has comfort foods as its theme. meeta, i hope you like it!

miso soup is also very quick and easy to make and can easily be adapted to what you have in. this recipe has prawns as the star of the show but we also make it using chicken or, for a veggie version, a mixture of interesting mushrooms. give it a try or, if you’re already a fan, let me know which combination is your favourite.

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winter salads: roasted pear and parma ham salad with goats cheese


as you’ll know, i’m a sucker for pears in a salad. this salad combines the traditional flavours of sweet pears with salty parma ham and creamy goats cheese.

it was a lovely starter for our new year’s eve meal and is definitely something worth trying if you’re not already familiar with these flavours. it was also the perfect homage to last year’s italian holiday – ham from parma and aged aceto balsamico from modena (balsamic vinegar aged over 20 years to create a rich, sweet but slightly acidic syrup – apparently it’s also good with vanilla ice cream…).

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daring bakers: lemon meringue pie


jen, the canadian baker chose this month’s daring bakers challenge – lemon meringue pie. this is not a dish i’ve ever made although it is something i remember eating when i was growing up.

as ever, the rules meant that we had to stick to the recipe we were given and very little variation was allowed, which wasn’t a problem as i love both lemons and meringue, and my memories of the combination of the two in a pie were pretty good. i decided mini pies would be one variation.

so, how did i get on?

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eating out with abby

strangely enough, i spend quite a lot of time thinking about food. increasingly this includes thinking about this blog and different things i’d like to write about.

i do try and make sure that i only write about things which excite or interest me which means that inevitably there are a reasonable number of meals which are never going to be featured. the same is true of restaurants which, for whatever reason, just didn’t wow or inspire me. or where there’s simply nothing particularly interesting to share.

but the fact that i only write about some of the places i eat is only part of the picture and increasingly it feels that i should be sharing more, including the bad, the ugly and the mediocre. it also appeals to my general nosiness – i like reading the minutiae of what people eat.

so, as a trial i’ve been keeping a diary of the different places where i eat when i’m not eating home-made (by me or friends) food. this is what it is looking like, with a few comments.

if people find this interesting i’ll try and do a quarterly update as i'm intrigued to see what patterns emerge . let me know if there is any extra info you’d like. apart from financial that is - i'm not feeling brave enough to add up how much money i spend on eating out!

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