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Daylesford Organic Farm Shop

Being a country girl I was more than excited to discover a “Daylesford Organic Farm Shop” tucked away in Notting Hill. Even though there are supermarkets like Whole Foods available around London, it is still nice to find a smaller and less commercialised organic food shop. Once you’ve made your way past the vibrant organic food, you’ll find a lovely restaurant which offers breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and supper. There was no queue to get a table and the service was fast and friendly, rare for a restaurant offers brunch on a Sunday!

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The shop

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The restaurant

I headed here for brunch on a Sunday morning and being a poached egg and smoked salmon fanatic I had to get the poached eggs, smoked salmon and hollandaise (£12.50), the eggs were cooked to perfection. However, I definitely could have done with more sourdough bread to mop up the hollandaise sauce (to die for) and the egg yolk. I would thoroughly recommend the hollandaise, it was rich and creamy, just as it should be.

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George had scrambled eggs, toast and streaky bacon (£9.50). The eggs were buttery and there was plenty of them but even though the bacon was delicious, it wasn’t crispy enough for me!

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Organic love heart, what a lovely view!

I’m a fan of anywhere that serves a Bloody Mary or an alcoholic beverage with brunch, However, I opted for a non-alcoholic Virgin Mary (£5) at Daylesford – it definitely packed a punch! The fiery pepper and tomato juice gave more of a kick to my morning than any caffeine could have done and it’s far better for you, worthy of try if you like it hot and spicy.

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Virgin Mary

The highlight of my meal had to be the walnut and fruit toast with jam and butter (£4) which I ordered separately. I’ve never felt so comforted and satisfied by a piece of toast and I probably could have eaten three to four slices more. At least you know you’re getting some protein in from the walnuts whilst curbing your carb cravings, it isn’t all bad!

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So, it may not have been the healthiest meal in the world with the creamy hollandaise, streaky bacon and bread. However, Daylesford do some seriously healthy and yummy looking yoghurt bowls with ingredients such as goji berries and flax seeds if you’re trying to stay fit this January. I think I’m going to have to head back here just for the fruit toast.

 

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So, this has to be my favourite dessert of all time! My mum has made it for me on countless occasions and I have her to thank for this recipe. As opposed to English cheesecakes which are often heavy and thick and made using Philadelphia or other cream cheeses, this cheesecake is whipped full of air and made using low fat quark.

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The final product – berries optional

Ingredients

Base

75g butter

15 digestive biscuits

Filling

5 egg yolks

140g (5oz) vanilla sugar  *make in advance* – Scrape the vanilla out of two vanilla pods into a container with 140g sugar, then mix the vanilla and sugar together, add the used vanilla pods to the sugar mix and leave to infuse.

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Vanilla sugar

1/2 kg (1lb.) quark

1 tablespoon cornflour

5 beaten egg whites

1 tsp. vanilla essence

4-6 oz. berries of your choice to cover the cheesecake (optional)

Nutritional Information: One serving (1/8th) without icing sugar or berries = 263 calories, 33g carbs, 12.4g protein, 9.8g fat

Making the biscuit base

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Cake tin with removable bottom, measuring 23cm wide x 7cm high

  1. Butter up the cake tin until the whole tin is covered. It’s important that you use a cake tin with a removable bottom, so that when it comes to removing the cake from the tin there are no disasters!
  2. Crush 15 digestive biscuits in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or any other kitchen utensil that can do the job. Make sure they are crushed to a fine mixture.
  3. Melt 75g of butter in a pan, make sure it doesn’t boil or burn, then turn the heat off and add the crushed biscuits to the melted butter and mix well until completely blended together.
  4. Pour the biscuit & butter mix into the cake tin and using the bottom of a big spoon, compact the mix into a layer that should be around 1cm thick.
  5. Leave to cool in the fridge for at least an hour.

Making the filling

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade.
  2. Cut a section of greaseproof paper that is 14cm high and 74cm wide, then fold it in half length ways and cut it down the middle. This will be used to line the cake tin when the biscuit mix has cooled.
  3. Cream the egg yolks and vanilla sugar until a golden smooth mixture has been made.IMG_7897IMG_7905IMG_7906
  4. Add the quark, cornflour and vanilla essence and whisk thoroughly.
  5. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl, if you haven’t already done so, until they become so stiff they can create peaks.
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    Egg white

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    Whisked egg white with stiff peaks

  6. Last of all, add the beaten egg whites by folding it in to the mixture slowly, adding the egg whites bit by bit. Make sure you don’t stir or whisk the egg whites into the mixture, only fold to keep adding air to the mixture – this is what is going to give it it’s fluffy and light texture.
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    Fold in the egg whites with a spatula to add air

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    The finished filling

  7. Take the cooling biscuit base out of the fridge. Line the circumference of the tin with the greaseproof paper, ensuring that the waxy side is facing inwards. Place the greaseproof paper on top of the biscuit base so it is resting. Don’t push the greaseproof paper in between the biscuit base and the tin and don’t leave a gap between the greaseproof paper and the tin. Make sure your greaseproof paper pieces overlap by at least 1-2cm to ensure that the cake mixture won’t stick to the tin.IMG_7916
  8. Pour the mixture into the cake tin on top of the biscuit base, making sure that the sides don’t collapse or move.
  9. Bake at 180 degrees Centigrade for 45 minutes. IMG_7921.jpgIMG_7922
  10. Take out and leave to cool for half an hour minimum. Don’t be alarmed, it will come out absolutely huge and probably looking a little charred on the top. However, you must leave the cheesecake to cool for at least half an hour. In this time it will deflate to around half the size and the “burnt” looking topping won’t taste burnt at all.IMG_7907
  11. Add around 3 -4 handfuls of berries if you wish, we used mixed berries but you can use whatever you want. The sour berry flavours compliment the sweetness of the cheesecake, you could even be adventurous and make a raspberry coulis which would also work wonderfully as a sauce to accompany the cheesecake. IMG_7935.jpg
  12. Finally, dust over some icing sugar to finish off the cake.
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    Delicious!

     

 

The celebrations may be ending but the new diets are definitely beginning. It’s the cliche “new year, new me” and guaranteed you will feel like you aren’t hearing the end of it. But in all fairness, after a month of gluttony, everyone could benefit from a bit of dry January and some “detoxing”.

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The Detox Kitchen on Mortimer Street

The Detox Kitchen Deli on Mortimer Street is where I kick started the new, healthy approach this weekend. It’s quite hard to spot if you don’t know where it is.  There is no grand advertising outside the restaurant on this very dormant street, yet it was packed to the brim on the inside. There is even a fitness studio on the lower ground floor. Their slogan – “where healthy meets delicious” – couldn’t be more relevant.

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The Detox Kitchen offers a pick and choose service where you can pick the size of your portion and then choose your salads and protein accordingly. All of their dishes are wheat free, dairy free and free of refined sugar. A medium sized container is £5.95 for three to four salads and a portion of protein will cost you an extra £3.

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There were around eight delicious salads to choose from, three different types of protein and three vegetarian protein options. All of the food was packed full of flavour, defying the myth that healthy food has to be boring. On top of the deli food on offer, there is also an eat in brunch menu available here.

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There are also a wide range of smoothies and juices to choose from if that’s all you’re after – I had “protein power,” which was heavenly, and a meal in itself! One warning I would issue is that strict dieters beware as the calories aren’t listed on the food description labels. However, if you have the “My Fitness Pal” app, you can probably work it out yourself (give or take a calorie or two).

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Delicious vegetarian frittata at the front and other protein in the back

I’ve got to say, the food was absolutely delicious! They really go all out on flavour here, the “roasted squash, grilled pepper and paprika dressing” salad had to be my favourite – not to mention the pesto courgetti or the cauliflower and avocado salad. They don’t do boring salads here and you really have to try the food to experience the flavours.

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A medium sized portion with protein

The Detox Kitchen was heaving on a Saturday afternoon. The layout of the restaurant is made up of two long tables that fit about seven people each and there are a further three separate tables that can fit four at a push, meaning that if you can’t get your own smaller table you will have to share with others who are trying to enjoy their Detox Kitchen experience too.

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The decor is simple and modern, yellow tulips on the table definitely added a brightness to the dining experience. A wall of live plants greets you as you come in, adding to the whole earthly, detox feel they are going for here.

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The wall of live plants

You’ll need to check that there is available seating when you walk in as I witnessed a couple of people buying a delicious “eat in” plate of food, without first checking there were free tables to sit at, needless to say they were left standing there for a while whilst they waited for a table to free up.

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The staff were all incredibly lovely and three different members came over to check that the food was okay and that we had what we needed. There was a slight delay in making my smoothie so they upgraded it from a regular to a large at no extra cost which was an unexpected surprise!

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Protein Power

We were also given added extras of hummus and sweet potato with our meal at no extra cost. I couldn’t actually finish my regular size portion because they were so incredibly generous with their portion sizing.

The Detox Kitchen is perfect for a healthy lunch outing, I was left feeling comfortably full and extremely satisfied by what I had eaten, it’s even left me considering a dairy free & wheat free way of life. I’m dying to go back again. There are also other Detox Kitchen outlets in London that offer services such as grab & go.

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Enjoying a Protein Power smoothie

Lunch for two with two regular sized portions, two pieces of protein, a regular smoothie and a coffee came to just over £24.

If you want to visit: Fitzroy Place, 10 Mortimer St, London W1T 3JJ

Take a peek at the website: http://detoxkitchen.co.uk

Like many of the wonderful places I have discovered in London, I stumble upon most of them by accident.

Beaufort House was definitely a worthy discovery. After getting the wrong bus home from Soho, Beaufort House was the first place we layed our eyes upon. It’s ideal if you want to let your hair down on a Friday night, but don’t want to go the whole haul with central London or a nightclub.

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Beaufort House

We absolutely couldn’t make our mind up when it came to the vast cocktail menu. I opted for a honey berry sour (£9) which was divine and looked the part too, you can tell they don’t compromise on cocktail ingredients here! Check out the drinks menu here.

The atmosphere in Beaufort was fun and flirty and everyone seemed like they were having a very good time, including the staff and it felt more like we had stumbled upon a party rather than a bar with a mixed crowd. When the bar was closing up we were taken upstairs with our freshly made cocktails by a member of staff to a louder, more lively bar which was pretty packed, so much so that we made a swift exit. We didn’t quite feel like we were meant to be there and upon more research we realised we were in the private members club area, but it seemed to be totally okay, even for a Friday night where a private party was happening.

I was so impressed by the staff and cocktails at Beaufort House that I headed back with another friend for dinner on a Saturday night and it was much quieter than the last time I’d visited, far more fitting for a quiet catch-up dinner.

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Jess with her halloumi salad

The menu definitely has a healthier feel to it and the mains weren’t overbearing at all – perfect if you’re starting your January diet but still want to eat out this weekend.  I had sesame seed coated salmon and it was moist and fresh with mouthwatering flavours, whilst my asparagus side was crunchy and buttery – just the way you want it. There are salads, fish dishes, and the majority of the sides are on the healthy side even though they do offer the classic sides such as chips.

Dinner for two including two mains, a side, two cocktails and two glasses of wine was £65 including service charge.

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Beaufort House on a quieter day

Beaufort House also do a wonderful brunch menu and afternoon tea – which I’m dying to try out!

Take a peak at the website here: http://www.beauforthousechelsea.co.uk

If you wan’t to visit: 354 Kings Road, London, SW3 5UZ