Barrafina Dean Street, London

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What a beautiful week we’ve had: record-breaking temperatures and hours of uninterrupted sunshine. It was almost like being on holiday. Hours of reading outside, coming inside to find your skin a little pink despite the shade of the umbrella. With temperatures like that you can see the appeal of a siesta in the heat of the afternoon or waiting until 10pm to eat your dinner like the Spanish do. However, although it’s a Spanish restaurant, Barrafina is very much on a British schedule. There is absolutely no point in waiting until 10pm to eat there; without doubt all the specials will be sold out and you will almost certainly still have to wait in line. Then you’ll just be sunburned and hungry, nobody wants that.

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CAULIFLOWER AND STILTON SOUP

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What else do you need on a cold winter’s night but a big bowl of comfort? And this soup from Jamie’s Great Britain series really delivers. Hearty cauliflower, warming broth, golden bread and bursts of melted Stilton make you look forward to each bite more than the last.

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LEFTOVER ROAST CHICKEN CURRY

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I know there haven’t been many recipe posts in the last few months, but I promise the time hasn’t been misspent! I’ve recently started a supper club in Folkestone which is super exciting for me and has taken up quite a bit of time. But I will definitely try to share recipes more frequently because, at the end of the day, that’s what this blog is all about!

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THE GLASSHOUSE, KEW

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Last weekend was pretty food-centric. I mean, we went to three restaurants on Sunday alone − and within the space of about four hours! This was truly a weekend of excess, but we like to make the most of if when we’re in London together and starting the weekend out with lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant is never a bad thing.

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MEATLESS MONDAY SPINACH AND FETA FILO PARCELS

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I recently volunteered to start making the food for my weekly cribbage league, I wanted to do something different than the soggy sandwiches we were used to having. These little morsels are a party food, snack or with a side salad a very satisfying supper. Filo parcels are no new thing, and spinach and feta is quite a classic filling. Because of this there are a range of recipes out there and each one is quite different. I couldn’t be bothered amalgamating all these different recipes, nor could I find one that I liked the look of, so I made it up as I went along and they came out pretty well.

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Kyoto Sushi and Grill, Ramsgate

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As with most of the seaside towns along the Kent coast, Ramsgate has been heralded as ‘up and coming’, the next big deal, the place where it’s all happening. On a drizzly, dark October night, I can’t say this is the impression I got. However, once we sat down at our table at Kyoto Sushi and Grill and started reading through the extensive menu, I began to think that maybe there was something about this town that was slightly ahead of the Kentish curve.

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The Ambrette, Canterbury

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Not far from Canterbury High Street, in what was formerly a sticky floored boozer, is The Ambrette. Miles of dark wood meet the eye as you enter, punctuated by colorful floor tiles and the glow of candlelight. The cavernous room has been cleverly designed to feel cozy while still allowing enough space between the tables for comfortable conversation.

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TURKEY SAUSAGE ROLLS

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Sausage rolls are a British staple. I didn’t even know they existed before moving over here and I must say that the supermarket version, cold as ice and like papier mâché in your mouth, did not make me believe I had been missing out on anything very special.

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6-HOUR CONFIT SHOULDER OF LAMB WITH SALSA VERDE AND ROASTED ROSEMARY BEETS

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Yes, this takes 6 hours. Yes, you will need arm extensions to read the ingredients list. Yes, there are a few steps involved. BUT, I promise this will be the best shoulder of lamb you have ever had. Confit sounds indulgent, and maybe it is a bit, but what it should really say to you is: low, slow, and meltingly tender. No matter what it is you’re confiting, it will be caressed for hours in a luxurious and moisturizing layer of, well, fat. But it will emerge with ignorable fattiness and with an incredible silkiness that can only come from this method of cooking.

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A HOMEMADE CHRISTMAS: PICCALILLI

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As Christmas is less than two weeks away, A Crust Eaten will be getting in the Christmas spirit this week with some incredible edibles you can make to share or gift this holiday season. There are a couple of things I make each year, chocolate chip cookies and lemon curd come to mind, but this year I wanted to try something new.

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CAFÉ MAURESQUE, CANTERBURY

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Hello? HE-LLO-OO? Anyone there? I know I’ve been MIA recently, but I hope the world hasn’t moved on too much and that there’s still someone out there who wants to hear about another great place to eat in Canterbury! Over the last few weeks I’ve been here, there and back again − actually just to California and back, but you get my drift − and I’ve been doing a lot of eating and cooking, so I have lots to share! It’s just a matter of getting the time to sit down and write. First on the list is Café Mauresque in Butchery Lane in Canterbury which we visited way back in December.

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TEXAS JOE’S BBQ AT BREWDOG SHEPHERD’S BUSH

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The slogan of many a Texas barbecue joint (sub BBQ, Bar-B-Cue, barbeque − I’m not trying to upset any of the barbecue factions here) is this: “You don’t need teeth to eat our meat.” And right they are. Proper barbecue should be melt-in-the-mouth, tender, moist pieces or, more appropriately, hunks of meat served up in large portions with delicious and plentiful sides. And I expected no less from Texas Joe’s BBQ.

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FALL IN LOVE WITH FOLLIES, FOLKESTONE

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Sandgate Road in Folkestone has had a much needed boost with the opening of Follies, a new cafe/restaurant/awesome hangout. Filled with antique furniture and vintage knickknacks, all of which are for sale!, and with a great laidback vibe, I’m sure it won’t take long for Folkestonians to fall in love with this place. The building itself, which used to house a furniture shop, is a tardis with three floors of seating and what seems like an endless number of rooms. Despite the space, there is already a great community vibe and the array of seating options means you can bring a book and curl up on a sofa in a quiet corner, host a study group upstairs or enjoy a family breakfast in the window seat while you watch the world go by.

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THE REAL FOOD MARKET, SOUTH BANK, LONDON

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Last weekend, well more accurately last Sunday, we trekked from Greenwich to London Bridge hoping to be dazzled and delighted by the foodie wonders Borough Market has to offer. We arrived, stomachs rumbling and hopes riding high, only to find it deserted. Closed up. Empty. Dead.

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SWEET SUNDAYS: MARBLED CHOCOLATE CRUMBLE CAKE

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In the last year or so, one of my good friends has gotten into baking. Until now I hadn’t seen any benefit to this whatsoever as not a crumb had passed my lips, but this past Sunday she came over, Rachel Allen’s Cake in hand, and we set about making this cake.

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Meatless Monday: Pumpkin Rotolo

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Lasagne is one of those foods that I’ve had enough of. In my 27 short years, I’ve eaten enough lasagna to last me for the next 60 or so. Rotolo is like lasagne, admittedly, but this recipe is sufficiently different from vegetable lasagne that I decided to give it a try. The original recipe calls for butternut squash, but I had a pumpkin that had been sitting on my kitchen floor for the last month that needed using. This was a true store cupboard dinner: stale old dry lasagne sheets, frozen spinach, half a block of feta, one-month-old pumpkin. But it was delicious! Crispy bits of pasta, soft slightly sweet pumpkin, earthy spinach, salty, melted feta – how can you go wrong?

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