November 2009

I’m definitely more of a baker than a cake decorator (although fingers crossed that will all change after the cupcake decorating workshop I’m going to at The Make Lounge this Saturday), so I had to enlist some help when making moustache-themed cupcakes for this year’s Movember appeal. With the lovely Vicky to make stencils and provide inspiration (the name, which I’ve borrowed as the title of this post, was her particular stroke of genius), and Paul’s infinite patience and steady hand to cut out icing shapes, I was free to make some plain but hopefully tasty sponges and go a bit crazy with my new collection of food colouring pastes.




If you fancy making a donation to a very worthy and hirsute cause, all proceeds go to The Prostate Cancer Charity, and the cowboy in the picture below has a fundraising page at:

If you’re wavering, just gaze in awe at my colleagues and their moustache-growing prowess:




I’ve been something of a regular visitor to Terroirs since it opened near Charing Cross station last year. I think it’s exactly what the Covent Garden area needed; a haven of good food and fine wines away from the overpriced tourist traps. The fact that it’s conveniently located near my workplace is neither here nor there… honestly. The delicious food, friendly service, and convivial, bustling atmosphere mean that it’s become my first choice for a weekday lunch that’s just a bit special.

One of the main reasons I’ve been back to Terroirs several times is the caponata from their selection of ‘small plates’ – more than enough for lunch when accompanied by their excellent bread – it’s seriously, meltingly delicious and is served with goat’s curd and garlic toast. Seasonal eating being what it is, however, it was absent from the menu on last Friday’s visit. C’est la vie. Instead, I tucked into a bright bowl of autumnal pumpkin soup with parmesan and chestnuts (delicious and beautifully textured – I saved the chestnuts till last to enjoy them all the more), accompanied by a green salad and a glass of verdicchio. Laura’s snails, bacon, garlic and parsley were, I’m told, rich, tasty, and very garlicky indeed.

With the aforementioned bread, the soup would have been plenty for lunch on a normal day. However, I was recovering from the flu and desperate to get back on the eating horse, and there was no way I was leaving without trying the salted butter caramel crêpes:

Although they eventually defeated me, I’m so very pleased I tried them. The caramel was cooked to just the right side of dark and bitter, and the sprinkling of salt cut through the sweet sauce for a perfect balance.

Laura opted for the pear and almond tart:

I’m not much of a pear fan but this was excellent, with moist sponge and biscuity, buttery pastry of the kind I long to be able to make myself. We left Terroirs stuffed to the gills, but oh so very happy. So happy, in fact, that I’m going back next week, possibly to try out the newly opened downstairs restaurant. I can’t imagine that it’ll be anything less than fantastic.

Post-flu and in need of a cheering yet low-key night out, a trip to Moro on Exmouth Market for tapas fit the bill beautifully. It had been far too long since my last visit, but last night was a reminder that it’s equally perfect for a post-work drink, some snacks, and a catch-up as for a special occasion. The lovely Sophie and I perched at the bar – ideal for two people but, I imagine, awkward for a larger group – and worked our way through some deliciously moreish babaganoush, tortilla packed with creamy caramelised onions, and slices of manchego with membrillo, all incredibly delicious and accompanied by plenty of Moro’s own sourdough bread. With Tio Pepe for me and house red for her, we spent a few hours chatting, snacking, and eyeing up the platter of unclaimed tapas left tantalisingly close to us on the other side of the zinc bar.

In the mood for something sweet, we settled on Malaga raisin ice-cream (but were almost tempted by the yoghurt cake with pistachios and pomegranates, as well as the rosewater and cardamom ice-cream) and forgot our restraint altogether with a glass of Pedro Ximénez each. I’ll admit it: I heart Moro. It won’t be long before I’m back at that bar.