Food glorious food. Prepping for a rather comforting and delightful Italian menu featuring all my favourite pasta dishes.
Italian food week from May 2nd at Samantha’s
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. William Arthur Ward
There have been moments where I have experienced a deep gratitude for everything – the super high moments to the low points. Expressing gratitude for the simplest moments is the most uplifting feeling for the soul.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs can attest to this. If we never fall, or go through tough times, we won’t be have the opportunity to learn from those tough times and rise. We all fall at some point in our lives and as challenging as it may be, it passes. The victory is always in rising.
I love a great breakfast. Even though I think chefs have a difficult relationship with it. I like breakfast to be functional on weekdays and more grand at weekends. Bowl of cereal, fruit salad, hot chocolate on the go (I never skimp on the cream). That gets me going even though sometimes breakfast is more an 11am affair.
Taberna Do Mercado
Old Spitalfields Market, 107b Commercial Street, E1 6BG
Taberna Mercado by Nuno Mendes, the Portuguese chef best known for helming the kitchen at the Chiltern Firehouse: 2015’s best-loved celebrity hangout, beloved by a stream of A listers, and making Mendes indirectly responsible for most of this year’s celebrity gossip. Can we forgive him? Perhaps (if he sneaks us past the doorman on a Friday).
Mendes’ new restaurant in Shoreditch is a different proposition. It’s a modern, unassuming eaterie tucked away at the back of Spitalfields Market, which counts the award-winning Bleeker Street Burger and Galvin’s Bistro among its neighbours. There’s no sign of Lily Allen or any of the Delevingne/Nick Grimshaw/Pixie Geldof crew: just one small dining room, a couple of outside tables, and a deceptively simple menu celebrating Mendes’ Portuguese roots.
The menu offers a choice of small plates, from which the staff suggest choosing 2-4 per person. ‘Small plates’ is a bit of a misnomer in London: there’s no standardisation, and a small plate can mean anything from a single scallop to something akin to a full-blown main course (case in point, the hearty beef ragu at Florence Knight’s Polpetto). At Taberna Mercado, the portions really are small – a hangover from the size zero Chiltern crowd no doubt – but what they lack in size they make up for in taste and invention.
Tiny, delicate bowls of scallops and monkish cheeks come with slivers of pickled cauliflower and grilled bread to soak up the juices. We chose the ratte potatoes and ovos verdes simply because we didn’t know what we’d get, and ended up with an unusual, crispy, very more-ish combination of crispy greens and devilled eggs. Two sandwiches, tender pork and rare beef, came with an unexpectedly ‘normal’ touch: shop mustard in a squeezy yellow bottle, while our highlight was the simply named ‘cuttlefish and pig trotters’: a shallow bowl of sliced, tender cuttlefish swimming in a rich broth of shredded meat.
The puddings feature eggs, sugar, eggs, eggs, and more eggs. And more sugar. And then more eggs. We try a gelatinous sliver of yolk and sugar, resting in a sauce of warm port. We order their version of Pão de Ló, a Portuguese sponge cake which comes soft, warm and wrapped in paper, cooked with olive oil and hiding – you’ve guessed it – an egg yolk, caramelised on the outside, raw on the inside. We try a soft meringue spiked with fennel – an interesting, fragrant combination, less artery-thickening than the others.
Unlike the Chiltern Firehouse, the toilets are mercifully free of 20-something celebrities taking selfies and snorting coke; instead they’re reached through the kitchen, where at the end of the night we watch a crowd of kitchen staff writing tomorrow’s shopping list up on a chalkboard (butternut squash, in case you were wondering). It’s an informal touch which suits the surroundings – and a gentle reminder that their focus is on food rather than celebrities.
Price for 2 with wine: £50-60
Find a goal or goals.
Centre your energy around it.
Remembering to not dwell on the negative aspects or shortcomings.
Focus your energy, channeling positive energy from your surroundings and push through.
“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?”
George Bernard Shaw