Pig and Butcher - a great roastie!

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Pig and Butcher has been high on my list for a roast dinner for quite some time. As I’d behaved myself all weekend and not spent much money I thought it was only fair to allow a treat of a roast potato or two. DG came along for the ride as he can’t resist a meal out, especially if meat is involved.

The Pig and Butcher occupies an attractive pub on Liverpool Road, Islington, built in the mid 1800's. Once inside it has a very cosy cottage feel with wooden benches and rustic style ornaments, it’s a great atmosphere for a Sunday lunch. A huge bull’s head overlooks the dining room to keep an eye on diners and make sure you are behaving yourself.

I suspected the portions would be huge, and I was right, so chose to go straight for mains. 35 day-aged roasted Hereford Sirloin for me and roasted leg of Speldhurst Farm Lamb for DG. All the roasts come with a huge Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, creamed leeks and vegetables.

I usually think that nobody can cook a roast potato as well as me, that’s BIG bragging right there. However the Pig and Butcher did me proud, they were very crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. Considering how busy the restaurant got during our lunch this was very impressive, I’m sure even MY roastie standards would falter if I was serving to over 30 people.

I really enjoyed my lunch at the Pig and Butcher, the meat was cooked perfectly and the Yorkshire pudding was stomach-satisfyingly massive. You can never have a Yorkshire too big I think. I’d highly recommend a trip to Pig and Butcher to get your meat and 2 veg fill on a Sunday.

I was stuffed afterwards so a stroll home followed by a nap was all I could manage. The best way to spend a Sunday.

Pig and Butcher -
Cost: £20 p/head for a large roast dinner and soft drink
Food: Gastropub
Address: 80 Liverpool Rd, London N1 0QD
Type: Lazy lunch / dinner with friends  

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Little London Girl x

World's Best Brownie Recipe

Friday, 25 April 2014

This is a big moment. I have won many a bake off with these bad boys and now its time to pass the recipe on to you. It was DG's birthday a couple of weeks a go so I thought I'd make some brownies for him and so it was the perfect opportunity to take some photos and share the recipe with you! 

Welcome to the World's Best Brownies.

So here's what you'll need:

185g unsalted butter

185g dark chocolate

85g plain flour

40g cocoa powder

50g white chocolate

50g milk chocolate

3 large eggs

275g caster sugar

Candles (optional)

Cut up the butter into small cubes and pop them in a bowl with the broken up dark chocolate. Boil some water in a saucepan and sit the bowl on top (not touching the water). 
  • Keep stirring until the butter and chocolate have melted together. Leave the melted mixture to cool to room temperature. Try to resist eating it!  

Whilst the chocolate is cooling you have some work to do. 

First whack the the heat up on the oven (160C fan / 180C conventional / gas 4). Next choose your tin, its recommended to use a shallow 20cm square tin. I'm a rebel and used a rectangle one. Cut out some non-stick baking parchment to line the tin. 

Now grab a little bowl and sieve your plain flour and cocoa powder together. Tap and shakey shake the sieve so they run through together and you get rid of any lumps.

Next you'll need a chopping board, your white and milk chocolate and a sharp knife. You can lean down on the knife to cut the slabs of chocolate into small chunks. 

This recipe creates quite a lot of washing up!! Next up, you'll need your eggs and caster sugar, a medium bowl and a whisk - ideally an electric whisk if you have one.

Break 3 large eggs into the bowl and tip in the caster sugar. You want to whisk the eggs and sugar until they look thick and creamy, like a milk shake. If you have an electric whisk then turn it up high and have a rest. If you don't have one then get ready for some hard work. My arm was almost falling off my the end of this. You’ll know it’s ready when the mixture becomes really pale and about double its original volume. I gave up a bit too early with mine!

Now its time to get mixing all the bowls together. 

First take the cooled chocolate and pour it over the eggy mousse, then gently fold together with a wooden spoon. Plunge the spoon in at one side, take it underneath and bring it up the opposite side and in again at the middle. Continue going under and over in a figure of eight, moving the bowl round after each folding so you can get at it from all sides, until the two mixtures are one and the colour is a mottled dark brown. 
The idea is to marry them without knocking out the air, so be as gentle and slow as you like – you don’t want to undo all your whisking work!

Now grab your sieve and resift the cocoa and flour mixture over the eggy chocolate. Gently fold in this powder using the same technique as before. Be gentle with it and should end up looking gungy and fudgy. Finally, stir in the white and milk chocolate chunks until they’re dotted throughout. Now your mixing is done and the oven can take over.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, scraping every bit out of the bowl. Give the spoon a good lick to make sure it tastes delicious. Pop it in the oven and set your timer for 25 minutes. 

    When the buzzer goes, open the oven, pull the shelf out a bit and gently shake the tin. If the brownie wobbles in the middle, it’s not quite done, so slide it back in and bake for another 5 minutes until the top has a shiny, papery crust and the sides are just beginning to come away from the tin. I always use the trusty "clean knife" technique, stick it in the deepest part of the brownie and if it comes out clean then its done. 

    When the brownie is cooked, take it out of the oven. 
    Now for the hardest part. You need to leave the brownie alone, totally alone with no tasting until it has completely cooled down. Messing with it before its cool might mean it'll fall apart so break the rules if you dare! 

    Once its cold you can cut it up however you wish. I usually cut it into triangles. 

    I popped some candles in mine and sang in my bestest loudest voice to celebrate DG's birthday!! 

    So there you have it. The best brownie recipe ever Let me know how yours turned out. 

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    Little London Girl x

    Meat Liquor

    Tuesday, 22 April 2014

    Its always cool to be late to the party but sadly with Meat Liquor I am unfashionably late!

    If you’ve read my blog then you’ll probably know that I’m a huge fan of a big plate of meat; whether its steak, burgers or ribs, I’m there, getting stuck in. So it was only right that I finally headed off to Meat Liquor to try out their burgers.

    I hadn’t see Jane in ages as she’s been snorkelling her way around the Red Sea and tanning for the past 2 weeks. Lucky thing! So I dragged her along to Meat Liquor for some meat, some liquor and some gossip. Notorious for its queue, we tried our luck on a Friday night, crazy girls that we are!

    Here’s the view that greeted us.

    Meat Liquor operates like some sort exclusive VIP club which felt a bit over the top for a burger joint. There’s a big security guard / bouncer who stamps your hand to make sure there’s no queue jumping and the walls are covered in rules about what is and isn’t allowed. Rules on a Friday night do not make me happy!

    We made it in the door within 30 mins so we thought we must be really lucky. Then when we were inside we realised that the queue just continues but at least you are inside and can prop up the bar. The vibe of the place is like a nightclub, its dark with pounding music and a crammed bar. Cocktails were ordered to make the wait a bit more interesting. We thought they were overpriced for what they were but they did the job.

    The system for seating you is just walking around the bar shouting your name so make sure you listen out or you’ll be there all night. We were seated by 8:10pm (45 min wait altogether) which wasn’t a bad wait at all for a Friday night.

    I ordered the meat burger – burger grilled in butter served in a bun grilled in butter. Basically a heart attack grilled in butter. Jane had the chilli dog – smoked pork frankfurter topped with meat chilli, cheese, onions, jalapeños and mustard. For sides we chose the enormous onion rings and a generous portion of fries. The food is served on a platter which is slightly too small to share across a table so be prepared for a tug of war!

    Unfortunately we were sat in a bit of a dark corner of the restaurant without much atmosphere. Jane’s chilli dog was extremely spicy and it was so dark that we had to keep taking photos to actually see the jalapeños that were piled high then scraped to the side.

    My burger was good, it tasted nice and juicy but I wouldn’t rave about it. If you want a burger to make you go “WOW” then head to Patty and Bun which is just down the road.

    For me, the whole experience felt like a bit too much hard work after a long week in the office (which makes me feel old). It was too busy at the bar so you keep spilling your expensive drink then you spend the whole time shouting as the music is so loud (again, feeling old). If you are in a party mood and fancy eating in a nightclub then head down but definitely do not come here for a first date!

    Meat Liquor -
    Cost: £20 p/head for main with sides and a cocktail
    Food: Burgers / Hotdogs
    Address:  74 Welbeck St, London W1G 0BA
    Type: Quick dinner – no bookings

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    Little London Girl x

    Easter Bunnies Little Helper

    Saturday, 19 April 2014

    So as its Easter, I thought I'd share my first recipe on littlelondongirl.co.uk, its quite a tough one so I recommend you grab a little person to help. This little one is always my first choice - my brother! When I'm back in the Shire for the weekend, we always get our aprons on to do some baking. Sadly they don't do a Gruffalo apron in my size. 

    Your favourite chocolate - we like Cadbury's Dairy Milk
    Cupcake cases
    Mini eggs
    Little chicks or Easter bunnies 

    First step, get your little helper to break the chocolate into small pieces. You need to keep an eye on them at this stage as chocolate does tend to go missing. 

    Next its the grown ups job (but as mum was away for the day I had to do it myself) - melting the chocolate. Boil some water on the hob and place the glass bowl on top making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. 

    Lots of stirring until all the chocolate chunks have melted. 

    Get your little helper to start chucking handfuls of cornflakes into the bowl whilst you keep mixing.
     Warning: if your little person is as messy as mine then the cornflakes will end up everywhere!

    Once all cornflakes are covered in chocolate start spooning the mixture into the cupcake cases. Get the little one involved if you want the spoon to be licked clean after filling each case. Clearly we are very hygienic so we did not do this till the end, honest!

    Here's the cute decorations for our cakes. 

    Pour all the decorations on a plate and leave your little helper to get creative.This is their time to shine!

    Our cakes are very egg heavy and don't they look great. No eating allowed until Easter Sunday!

    As you can see this recipe is a tough one, but give it a go!

    We were in a crafty mood so the fun didn't stop there......oh no! Next we made this Easter basket which took ages and I got quite protective of it so it was mostly my handy work so the little bro got bored and played with his lego instead. Its pretty impressive, right!?

    I did let him do this own thing with painting though. It started off very neat....

    Then he went all modern art on me and mixed the whole lot together. 

    We had a great day together, its always fun being 4! Tomorrow will be all about Easter egg hunts, chocolate and family time. We'll be making some amazing Easter bunny bread rolls to go with our lamb casserole so look out for a pic on twitter. 

    Happy Easter! 

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    Little London Girl xx

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