Posts Tagged: gluten free

Aug 13

Pescheria Mattiucci


I had a bit of a tourist moment on my way to Pescheria Mattiucci. It’s actually situated on one of the most recognizable roads in North London and is slap bang opposite the travel bookshop, made famous by the film, Notting Hill. It’s also next door but one or two from the foodie heaven: Books for Cooks.

Stepping into Pescheria Mattiucci is like being welcomed into a cosy vintage-filled home. It is a family business owned by Luigi Mattiucci, with branches in Naples and Milan, it’s certainly a very unique restaurant in London – unlike no other I’ve visited.

The menu changes daily according to the catch of the day, and all dishes are cooked to authentic recipes mastered by the fisherman’s wives in Southern Italy. All fish used is wild and sustainable, with some caught in Italy, and some from the British Isles.

To start, we tried the Crudo Mediterraneo – otherwise known as the raw fish platter. It simply was a plate of thinly sliced raw fish, all beautifully fresh, serves with olive oil, fresh lemon and orange juice and a little salad. We tried tuna, ricciola, swordfish and prawns. It was really unusual but absolutely delicious and superbly fresh fish, making a really light start to the meal.

We then moved on to try the razor clams with garlic and chilli which were extremely tasty, and I found myself mopping up the delicious juices from my plate.  We also tried the Blue Scottish lobster served grilled with mashed potato. The lobster was absolutely stunning – meltingly soft and tender and fragrant with lemon and orange zest on top, and was served with some great garlicky mash.

Dining at Pescheria Mattiucci is a unique experience set in the heart of Notting Hill and well worth a visit and is an absolute must if you are a fish lover, like me. Dinner for two is around £60-75 including wine.

Jul 13

The Lido Cafe


Brockwell Lido is one of the few original London Lidos which are still running and open to the public. Whilst you might think of going there for a swim, you might not have thought of going there to eat. The Lido Cafe is an award-winning modern British restaurant which is situated overlooking the Lido and is a seriously popular local haunt which is well worth a visit. 

The Lido Cafe runs parallel to the pool and has a large number of poolside outdoor tables which offer an absolutely gorgeous place to sit and enjoy a meal. A friend and I recently visited for a weeknight dinner and were able to sit out and enjoy the sunshine whilst we ate, which was really lovely. There aren’t many places apart from pubs where you can sit out and eat, particularly in London, and the Lido Cafe offers a lovely relaxed atmosphere with very friendly staff.

The food, too is great; simple, seasonal and delicious. We started with a really excellent glass of Prosecco Silvola Frizzante, priced at £5.50 per glass. For our starters, I went for half a pint of prawns with roast garlic aioli and lemon which was an absolutely perfect starter for a hot day. My friend chose the whole globe artichoke with dijon vinaigrette which was really, really good too. It is rare to find a whole artichoke served in the UK, and we really enjoyed it. Starters are priced at around £6 each.

For our mains, my friend tried a courgette, stuffed with pine nuts, olives, ricotta and peppers which she thought was excellent. It was a tasty and unusual main and was a really good light choice. I tried their steak, which is supposed to be their best selling dish. It is a 35 day dry aged longhorn sirloin steak and was very good indeed. Mains are priced between £10-£18.50 and all offer excellent cooking and great quality ingredients for the price.

We finished with a delicious cup of coffee and headed off as the sun was setting. If you live nearby, The Lido Cafe is an absolute must visit, and is very strongly recommended for a special visit, too.

Jul 13

Les Deux Salons

Les Deux Salons

Les Deux Salons

Les Deux Salons has been running in London’s West end since 2010 and is the third London restaurant set up my Michelin-starred chefs Anthony Demetre and Will Smith.
Styled on a Parisien brasserie, it aims to offer good value quality robust French cooking from the centre of Paris to the centre of London.

I recently popped along with a friend for lunch to try it out for myself. Les Deux Salons is a large and busy restaurant which seems to attract a mix of tourist and business clientele over lunch. Service was loud and bustling when we arrived just after 1pm, but the tables are very nicely spaced apart, meaning my friend and I could have a proper catch up, without being distracted by the conversation on the next table.

We each started with a glass of the superb Gosset Brut Excellence Champagne which was recommended by our waiter. And what a lovely choice it was, too. As we met for lunch, my friend and I decided to opt for two courses each; a starter and a main. To start, I chose the Grilled Cornish sardines which were served simply with capers, lemon, chilli and olive oil. Priced at £5.50, it was a superb starter – really fresh, and light. I loved the fact that the sardines were still really hot when they arrived on the table. My guest opted for the Beetroot and goats cheese salad for £4.50 which was really tasty and a light start to our meal.

Moving on to the main course, my guest tried the spring vegetable risotto (£11.50) as, being a vegetarian, there wasn’t too much choice for her. She really enjoyed it and pronounced it to be perfectly cooked and included lots of lovely vegetables. My choice was the whole lemon sole cooked with a caper and parsley butter (£18) and was really excellent.

We finished with a quick coffee and dashed back to reality. Les Deux Salons is a lovely restaurant for lunch and dinner. The food is fairly simple but delicious brasserie fare cooked extremely well and priced sensibly. The dining room is also beautiful – you feel as though you have just stepped into France for lunch, which for me, really appealed. I’m really looking forward to returning.

Jul 13

Clockjack Oven


Clockjack Oven is a chicken restaurant, a name which really doesn’t do it justice. This is a restaurant which focuses on one thing, but does it really, really well.  The menu is short and offers a small number of dishes using their home cooked rotisserie chickens. The difference between Clockjack Oven and other chicken restaurants is that all chickens are delicious, plump and free-range, and are cooked in the rotisserie oven situated behind the bar, where the meat is prepared.

The restaurant itself is small and cosy with the bar and rotisserie oven running along the side wall. We visited on a Saturday evening and the restaurant had a lovely relaxed feel which was due, in the large part, to the lovely staff, who were genuinely really friendly, helpful and chatty.

The weather was warm and so we decided to start with a glass of Pimms which was extremely welcome and really well-made, which so often is not when buying it out as opposed to making it at home. To start, we tried the Chicken Bites and Barbeque Wings. Both were outstanding. The chicken bites were small chunks of chicken cooked in a type of southern coating. The coating was made using gram flour and was absolutely delicious, so they are a great wheat free option, too. The Barbeque wings were a triumph, too, with a gorgeously smoky and sticky sauce and crispy skin. We’d never usually choose these types of dishes in a restaurant but completely loved them here – they were so delicious.

Next we moved on to our main course. You choose how much chicken you would like by the number of pieces and which pieces you would like. We went for four pieces to share between two and for those to be chicken breast pieces. There are some very lovely looking salads and vegetarian options on the menu, too. The chicken was exceptional – really, really juicy and tender with the most delicious salty, crisp skin. It really was outstanding.

To accompany our mains we chose the fries, coleslaw and a tomato and onion salad. All of which were excellent. The coleslaw was seriously good – made using very finely sliced vegetables and an incredibly light but creamy dressing. The tomato salad was great, too, using a selection of sweet heritage tomatoes.

To finish, we had some delicious Purbeck ice cream and some homemade Chocolate and Bailey’s truffles, made to Operations Director Cieran’s own recipe and using the deliciously fruity Valrhona 64% chocolate.

We absolutely loved the food at Clockjack Oven. We thought every component was really delicious and cooked perfectly. What’s more, is it is clear to see that this is a company that chooses its raw ingredients well and serves them simply and priced reasonably. Dinner for two including a lovely glass of Malbec each came in at under £50. We had a really excellent meal and look forward to returning very soon indeed. Very highly recommended indeed.


Jul 13


ToziTozi is a newly opened Italian restaurant situated on Gillingham Street near London’s Victoria railway station. It’s a busy and bustling part of town and a very convenient place to meet people being so close to the station, which is not just a coincidence as the name of the restaurant, “tozi” is apparently Venetian slang for a bunch of friends.

The dining room itself is really large and open plan, with glass windows running down the entire length of the dining room. The kitchen is open, and there is a large open oven at the back of the restaurant for baking the breads and pizzetta on offer. There are also number of artfully decorated tables towards the back of the room draped with breads, herbs and hams which all look very attractive.

The concept behind Tozi is that it offers cicchetti: small sharing dishes, rather than large dishes, which is, apparently, a popular way of eating in Venice. Think of it as Italian tapas. There is a huge amount of choice on the menu and much of it is allergy friendly – or can be adapted to be. Dishes are priced at around £5-8 each, with some larger sharing platters of hams and cheeses at around £12-17.

The service is very friendly and Italian, and our waiter recommended 3-4 dishes per person. I’d say 3 is about right and you’d have to be really hungry four four.
We particularly enjoyed the Grand selection of cured meats and cheeses, which contained proscuitto, mortadella and some fantastic cheeses. We especially loved the Testun al Barolo – a cow’s milk cheese which barrel aged with Barolo grapes and the Grana di Pecora, a hard, aged ewe’s milk cheese.

Next, we enjoyed the gnocchi with duck ragu, which was very richly flavoured and tender. The only thing we’d change was to have more ragu and less gnocchi. The buffalo ricotta ravioli with shaved black truffle was seriously good and with three ravioli for each portion, we could have ordered two.

In terms of desserts, we were feeling pretty full by this point so we opted for some very tasty sorbets. Tozi is a great new restaurant and seems to be very popular. We even heard the people on the next table raving about how they’ve made several visits already. Highly recommended

Jul 13

A trip trip to Christopher’s



Christopher’s restaurant is a firm West End favourite in the heart of London’s Theatreland. It’s been open since 1991, but has recently reopened following an extensive refurbishment. It is famous for it’s America theme, offering a wide range of fish and meat dishes, including old favourites such as steak, lobster and surf and turf and now offers some interesting modern dishes such as ceviche and tuna tartare, and classics such as Caesar salad, and pasta and risotto dishes.

Christopher’s has recently reopened following an extensive makeover and looks wonderful. On the ground floor, you’ll find the Christopher’s Martini Bar, which is very glamorous indeed and offers a very wide range of delicious cocktails and drinks. We particularly enjoyed the strawberry and lychee martinis. It’s a really lovely space to sit in and would be perfect for a celebration or after work drinks. Upstairs is the main restaurant and the tables enjoy the most lovely view looking down over Waterloo bridge to the other side of the river. The dining room is very elegantly decorated and feels grand, but comfortable and intimate with a relatively small number of tables.

To start, we both could not resist the grilled asparagus with truffle oil and parmesan. It was very nice; four short spears of asparagus topped with parmesan cheese and a drizzle of truffle oil and priced at £11. Starters are priced between £8 and £14 and main courses between £18 and around £40, although you can splash out on a fillet of Wagyu steak for £68 if you wish.

To follow, we shared the grilled lobster and a fillet steak: two of Christopher’s signature dishes. Both were very good – both dishes were clearly made using excellent ingredients and cooked very nicely. The sides of sweet potato mash with maple syrup and fresh vegetables were really very good. Steaks, for example are mainly sourced from the US, but there are some Scottish steaks on the menu, too.

Sadly, we couldn’t manage anything for dessert after our feast, but there were some seriously delicious sounding treats on the menu. We really enjoyed our evening at Christopher’s. It is a great place to meet with friends, and a stylish and romantic place to spend an evening in the centre of London. We can’t wait to return already.

Jun 13

Mozzarella and More

Mozzarella and More

Mozzarella and More

Mozzarella and More, located on the King’s Road in London is a great place to stop for coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Owned by a group of Sicilian foodies and run by Antonio from Naples, it offers authentic, homemade Italian food served in a cosy and welcoming environment.

As I walked in on a wet lunchtime, it felt warm and inviting with the delicious smells of cooking lingering in the air.

The menu offers a wide range of choice, with small nibbles, sharing plates, and a daily seasonal choice of fish and meat on offer.

So much of the food here is homemade; the focaccia and ciabatta, burrata, mozzarella and ricotta, the sausages and all desserts and cakes, made by Valentina, one of the owners.

I started with the homemade burrata, which was served with warm caponata filled with carrot, pine nuts and raisins. It was a very tasty, generously portioned and priced at £9.80. To drink, the Sicilian Leone d’Almerita 2011 was a very light, floral and refreshing.

Next on offer were Mozzarella and More’s homemade pork, pistachio and fennel sausages, which were beautifully flavoured and chunky in texture. I finished with a delicious fillet steak served with parmesan and shaved black truffle at £28 which was excellent. The aged parmesan and slivers of truffle complimented the steak very nicely indeed.

Not only is Mozzarella and More a great place to visit for a meal, it offers a trattoria style service with takeaway dishes offered and catering available for events.

Mozzarella and More is highly recommended and dining there is a generous, welcoming and authentic experience.

Jun 13

Peanut Butter Cupcakes


Some of you may know that I run a cake company, Go Free Foods. We make award-winning allergy friendly cakes to order. We very occasionally make some special cakes on demand for customers who are after something specific. I recently made these for a customer’s 40th birthday and they went down a storm, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you.

With cupcakes, it’s really important to make sure the mixture is mixed really well at the wet stage – i.e. before the flour is added. This will make for a light and fluffy cupcake. Use electric beaters or a stand mixer if you can. The same goes with making the buttercream.

Use a great quality muffin pan – I used this super one by Kaiser, which is so great you don’t even need to use paper cases if you don’t want to.


Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Makes 12


For the cakes

35g butter or dairy-free spread

145g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large free-range egg, beaten

3 tbsp peanut butter (I used smooth)

100g gluten free plain flour or 125g wheat flour

120ml milk, or soya milk

For the cupcakes

250g icing sugar, sifted

70g butter, or dairy-free spread

4 tbsp peanut butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

50ml milk, or soya milk


1)   Preheat the oven to 170C. Place your cupcake cases into your muffin tin.

2)   Place the butter and sugar together into a large mixing bowl. Beat together until light and fluffy.

3)   Add the vanilla extract and egg and beat into the mixture. Next, add the peanut butter and beat until smooth

4)   Sift the flour into the mixture and fold in gently.

5)   Now, add the milk and mix until smooth.

6)   Spoon the mixture into the cake cakes, so that they around half to two thirds full.

7)   Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cupcakes are well-risen and lightly golden.

8)   Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool fully.

9)   Whilst the cakes are cooling, make up the frosting. The cleanest way to make this is to do it in a food processor – I use a Magimix. Place all the ingredients together into the machine and blitz until smooth.

10)  Frost the cakes when they are cooled fully. Either spread on the frosting or pipe it on using a nozzle. The cakes will keep for 3-5 days in an airtight container.

Jun 13

Caxton Grill, London


Caxton Grill is a newly opened super-smart restaurant in the St. Ermine’s Hotel in Westminster. Tucked away near St. James’ Park station in London, its entrance is very discreet – so much so it’s almost easy to miss.

The restaurant has been newly refurbished and offers a really cosy, calm and comfortable place to stop for dinner. The menu is short and typically offers traditional grill fare; steaks, roast chicken, venison and fish. Expect to pay £45 for a two course meal with wine.

To start, we shared the crab and the scallops, which were really good, very fresh and presented most attractively.

For our mains, we tried the grilled 35 day aged sirloin steak and the venison loin with some delicious sides including broccoli hollandaise gratin. Both mains were extremely well cooked and we were impressed by the really excellent quality of the meat.

The service at Caxton Grill was really relaxed yet extremely attentive allowing my friend and I a chance to enjoy a much overdue catch up.

Caxton Grill is a great choice for a good value meal, offering well-executed food in really comfortable surroundings in central London.

Jun 13

Jessica’s Recipe Bag

Jessica from Jessica's Recipe Bag

Jessica from Jessica’s Recipe Bag

Have you ever wondered what it is like to have your meals delivered to your door? Well, last week, this was something I gave a go, when I tried the home delivery meal service by Jessica’s Recipe Bag.

The service includes the ingredients to make four meals for either two or four people, planned by a nutritionist, and are delivered fresh to your door by a courier alongside the accompanying recipes, meaning you avoid the planning and shopping part of your meal planning.  You’re not given any choice over the meals and ingredients you receive, but it does make unpacking an exciting experience as you discover what’s on the menu for the next few days. The ingredients in the bag were really fresh and looked great. The recipes included in the bag were interesting and a little bit different, so I was very keen to get cooking.

We tried all the meals and really enjoyed them. The portion sizes are carefully considered and the meals are well balanced. We found it easy to chop and change ingredients accordingly for our dietary requirements.

Jessica’s recipe bag comes in at £69 for 4 meals for 4 people, but is ideal if you love to cook tasty, healthy meals from scratch every night, but lack in either time or inspiration to do so.

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