recipes etc.
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pea and bean salad with smoked scamorza and mint


the skye gyngell roasted red onions i made last week have been adding delight to a number of dishes recently, most notably a puy lentil dish which we topped with roasted salmon and this gorgeous salad, where the fresh green taste of peas and beans worked beautifully with the smoked cheese and sweet onions.

incredibly easy to make we had this with roasted chicken thighs that had been rubbed with herbs and salt. leftovers were demolished as packed lunches the following day.

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the garrison, london se1

many months ago, when i was detoxing, i had supper with friends at the garrison, a gastropub in bermondsey, which i’d heard many good things about.

i had a disappointing meal – my blue cheese and walnut salad had no blue cheese in it (they’d run out and didn’t think to let me know) and the walnuts were large and untoasted which meant they had that slightly soapy taste that raw walnuts have. the fish dish that i chose, trying to navigate my detox rules of healthy eating, was smothered in a rich buttery sauce rather than being the light healthy dish i’d been told it was by the waiter.

no matter though, it was an enjoyable evening in a charming setting (visit their website to get a sense of the decor) with good service and the company provided many reasons to be happy.

my visit at the weekend, for lunch, was much better as this time the food lived up to expectations, as well as the company. 2pm on a saturday lunchtime and the pub was quiet enough that we could get a table without a reservation. most people there were eating rather than just drinking and with all windows open and the sun shining in it was a lovely place to wile away a few hours.

i started with mussels in a creamy sauce with a good chilli kick. the mussels were large, full of flavour and fabulously fresh. my friend taz started with the blue cheese and walnut salad, served with a pear chutney and much more successful this time round. we both had burgers to follow which were delicious as were the chips made from skin-on potatoes. a plate of ripe cheeses to follow, with oat biscuits and more of that pear chutney, finished things up nicely.

add 4 glasses of wine and we had a bill of £60 between us. i’m already planning a return visit and hoping that this, my second experience, is the truly reflective one.

the garrison

99 bermondsey street se1 3xb

if you’re planning a party the garrison’s basement room is worth checking out – you can have a seated meal, canapés or ask them to transform it into a mini cinema (20 people for a screening).


courgette and lemon fettucelle


thanks to generous friends we’ve had an abundance of courgette garden-bounty to work our way through. courgettes are not something i buy with much regularity so thinking of ways to eat them, on a weekly basis has been a good incentive to be a bit more creative than the usual roasting or cutting into strips for a salad.

this pasta dish is very quick and easy and in my case was perfect on a day when the kitchen was almost bare, home to a lonely courgette and a couple of lemons. you know it’s time to shop when that’s all the fresh vegetables and fruit you have to hand!

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skye gyngell's peppers piedmontese


as i mentioned in june, my new favourite (still!) cookery book is skye gyngell’s a year in my kitchen.

skye talks about having a culinary toolbox which comprises ingredients which can be used in a variety of dishes to really make them sing. i find this approach hugely inspiring as it’s a simple way of lifting the quickest, easiest-to-assemble dishes to a new level. it’s the sort of trick that makes the food at bill’s so delicious to eat.

i’ve been trying a few of the toolbox components recently – basil oil and roasted red onions.

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oops, i did it again...


....indulged myself with kevin's pizza dough that is.

this time the topping was fennel salami, peppadew peppers for the chilli kick and oak-roasted tomatoes atop the tomato sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella.