Rise

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Confucius

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.

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Breakfast – the most exciting meal of the day

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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

Taberna Do Mercado

Old Spitalfields Market, 107b Commercial Street, E1 6BG

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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

#Worlddiabetesdayng Poached croaker fish with a tomato & caper base

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Poaching fish is a very simple technique to ensure a full flavoured and wholesome fish.

For the fish
1 medium sized croaker, cleaned and gutted, cut into pieces
Fish stock or bouillon cube
1, bay leaf
1 clove of garlic, minced
Teaspoon, dried thyme
Slice of lemon
Black peppercorns

For the tomato caper base
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 fresh tomatoes
1 small purple onion,  diced
1 tablespoon of capers
Pinch of paprika
Salt to taste

Method

In a pan,  combine the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the water is just simmering. Add the fish and poach until it is cooked through, about 6 – 8 minutes.

When cooked,  transfer to a plate. Brown the skin of the fish lightly in a hot pan with a little olive oil.

For the tomato and caper base,  in a hot pan on medium heat, cook the minced garlic for less than a minute. Add the tomatoes and onions, soften slightly but not over cook. Now add the capers and paprika. Salt to taste.

Serve with steamed sweet potatoes and enjoy.