Saturday, 27 September 2014

Photography by Rebecca-Monique Williams

Salutations! 

I recently launched my photography website www.rebeccamonique.com, and thought I'd share some linkage with you. 

I've got a photography blog going, too, so please show it some love by having a look (and if you like what you see, subscribe via Bloglovin'), if and when you get a few minutes. :)

As ever, 
Rebecca-Monique

The Modern Pantry | Eating Out

I'd heard good things about The Modern Pantry, and wanted to experience the hype for myself, so made a dinner reservation for myself and a couple friends after work. Plus, it was the perfect opportunity for a much-needed catchup. 

Located in Clerkenwell, London, the team at The Modern Pantry embrace the "desire to please and excite the palate by fusing everyday cooking with modern ingredients". I'm not entirely sure what "modern ingredients" are exactly, but the food was certainly a party in my mouth. 
Our booking was for 6pm. We were escorted to the restaurant, located on the first floor, which, for that time, meant that we were the first diners of the evening. It was lovely. The natural light beamed through the large windows, letting in majestic rays of sunlight. 

Though very classic, traditional, and somewhat romantic, the decor - namely the wall fixings - reminded me of the playroom of a well-to-do child. It really does works so well; neutral, but with pops of complementary colours and character.  
We ordered bread (focaccia, lavoche and soda bread) and olives for the table. Marvellous!
Overall, I would say the food was well presented, very good quality, and rich in flavour.  
I can't, for the life of me, remember the names of the dishes we ordered. I've probably incorrectly captioned them below, but will update this post as soon as I am more the wiser. 
Goats curd, pickled gooseberries, broad bean, golden beetroot, quinoa & landcress salad, toasted seeds, Shaoxing, verjus & rapeseed oil dressing (above)
Grilled tamarind & miso marinated onglet steak, cassava chips, Kalamata olive salsa (above)

Preserved lemon, cumin & yoghurt marinated Welsh lamb rack, pea & yuzu puree, daikon, Lebanese cucumber & samphire salad, sesame tarator, lemon & cumin dressing (above)
Heritage potatoes
Towards eight o'clock, the room was buzzing with conversation as it filled with more diners; at points, a little too noisy for my liking, but good, cheerful vibes, nonetheless. 

During our visit, staff were very polite, helpful and attentive; always making sure our glasses were full. 

How gorgeous is the above ceiling light?! 

Starters and desserts are very reasonably priced, and, to be honest, for the quality ingredients, so are the mains. We split the bill three ways and paid just under £35 each. Is it filling? Let's just say three courses will leave you wishing you'd wore that elastic-waisted skirt instead of those well-fitting trousers (if you know what I mean).

I'd definitely dine there again; I'm keen to go there for brunch or afternoon tea. 

Have you been to The Modern Pantry before? If so, what did you make of it?

As ever, 

Rebecca-Monique

Monday, 15 September 2014

Chicken Tinola | Recipes

There are very few soups that are fitting all year round, but tinola is definitely in that small group of them. This Filipino dish is guaranteed to warm the cockles in summer and winter months. You can eat it with rice, or, quite simply, on its own. It's an easy dish to make, so requires very little prep and cooking time. 


INGREDIENTS: 
Chicken (whole)
Garlic x half a clove
Ginger x 5 inches
Bird's eye Chili x 6
Pak choi x 3
Bay leaves x 2
Jasmine rice
Lemon and parsley to garnish

METHOD
Begin by prepping the jasmine rice for steaming. For this recipe, I used a rice cooker.  
Thoroughly rinse the rice twice. Save the water from the second rinse; you'll need it for later. 
As a tip: dip your hand to the bottom of the pot, to measure the level of rice. The amount of water used to cook the rice should be double the level of rice. 
Now let's prep!
Thinly slice the onions and ginger, and finely chop the garlic.
Now the main ingredient!
After cleaning the whole chicken, chop into serving chunks of preference i.e. drumsticks, thigh, breast.  
Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil. 
Add the ginger.
Then add the chicken. Gently fry to lock in the flavour. Continue stirring until ingredients are lightly browned.
 Pour the rice water into to mix and add two bay leaves. Bring to the boil for about 5 minutes.
Lower the heat and pop the lid on for roughly half an hour or until the meat is tender. 
Greens time!
Chop the chow chow into large chunks.
Chop off the bottom of the pak choi and throw away. Cut the pak choi in halves. 
Place the chow chow in the wok, and ten minutes later add the pak choi and some chillies. 
Turn off the fire, place the lid on, and let the heat of the mix cook the greens. 
Serve with steamed jasmine rice, and squeeze some lemon juice into the tinola to complement the chicken. Wash down with sparkling water and a hint of mint. 
Kain na!

SERVES: 4 
PREP TIME: 25 minutes
COOKING TIME: 1 hour

What are some of your favourite year-round soups?

As ever, 

Rebecca-Monique

Monday, 28 July 2014

Light Trails and Long Exposures | Photography

One thing I love the most about summer is the opportunity to do more photography projects and really hone and develop my skills. 

I've been meaning to do some night time shooting and experiment more with long exposures and light trails. I absolutely adore the vibrant colours, patterns, squiggles and lines that light can produce when captured.    

Show and tell time! Me and my beau went for a casual stroll around Westminster on Sunday evening and captured some of these shots:

The night before, I shot a wedding by Royal Victoria, and to end the evening, I decided to muck about with the torch on my iPhone and use my camera remote to produce these:
As ever, 

Rebecca-Monique

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Breakfast at Albion | Eating Out

When it comes to reviewing, be it a product, a service, an experience etc,  honesty is undoubtedly the best policy, and I'll make no reservations for Albion. 

Albion is a cafe, bakery and food store neatly nestled away in Shoreditch (east London), that prides itself on simple, long-established British recipes and ingredients. The store's shelves are stocked with everyday cupboard essentials, organic meats, British dairy, seasonal treats and patisserie favourites.

Don't get me wrong: the quality of food is absolutely fantastic. The concept, interior, layout and staff uniform are all wonderful. Albion, itself, is very charming with heaps of character....
Full English with black pudding!
Flat white
Left: Raspberry and strawberry smoothie | Right: Honey and vanilla smoothie
...But, I find the service to be extremely pretentious and rude at the best of times (surprisingly, I mainly get this vibe from the senior staff, who should be setting a good example. This attitude trickling down to serving staff). When I asked for a table for two, the senior waiter looked at me as though it was an absurd request. When ordering, the waiter asked how I liked my egg, and paused for my response. I was about to reply, "fried over-easy", when he abruptly responded, "Poached, fried, scrambled...". Erm, OK. If he wanted a scripted response, he should have given me those options as part of the question. If I wasn't hungry, I would have walked out. Thinking about it now, I should have asked them to take off the discretionary service charge from the bill, and I wouldn't call it a "cheap eat" as Time Out suggests.

A friend of mine dined there recently and overheard a customer asking for milk in his shot of espresso. The waitress responded, "That's odd; most men don't ask for milk". Erm, sorry, what?! Firstly, how rude of her to question his masculinity purely because he would prefer to add a dairy product in his coffee. Secondly (and most importantly), she's a waitress whose job is not to question the paying customer on how they'd like to consume their drink, but to attend to their dining needs. I'm disgusted. If I'm not mistaken, she picked that job. Don't be mad, don't be moody. Do it properly. You are employed to provide a service, and a good one at that.

During my meal, I managed to smile, but only because I was in great company.  
Atmosphere and vibe is extremely important to me, wherever I am. Bad service can completely overshadow any positive elements of an experience. I think Albion could learn a lesson or two about customer service skills from their neighbours, Dishoom (blog post here).  
I won't be dining at Albion again, though I will certainly pop in occasionally to purchase delightful treats from the store. 

Shame. 

Have you dined at Albion before? What was your experience there like?

As ever, 

Rebecca-Monique