“Food, in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy. It’s not about nutrients and calories. It’s about sharing. It’s about honesty. It’s about identity”. ~ Louise Fresco

It has been a hot minute since I last posted an entry to The Food Diaries!

Last November, I was invited to Lotus Bar to try out their new Christmas canapés. I also had the opportunity to try out one of their Christmas cocktails, as well! 

Located on Clapham High Street, Lotus Bar specialises in Italian food making an emphasis on unique flavours. Their recipes come from family secret ingredients and I could definitely tell this when I got to try their food!

Lotus Bar is a great place to hang out with friends, if you’re on a date or if you’re looking for a new place to try out solo.

My companion and I arrived at Lotus Bar and were immediately given a seat by the window. I had already emailed over my preferences for which canapés we would try and so I was excited to get going. Our waiter kindly explained what cocktails they had on offer and I decided to go for the Christmas Tease. This contained rum, dark rum and Wray & Nephew – it was like a party in my mouth. 😍 Rum is sometimes too overpowering for some, especially if there are more than one in the drink, but this was surprisingly sweet and not too strong.

It didn’t take too long for the canapés to come out and we feasted on the following:

▫️ King prawn skewers with strawberry and balsamic vinegar
▫️ Deep fried croquettes with parma ham and cheese
▫️ Bruschetta with pan-fried aubergine, fresh chopped tomato, basil and ricotta cheese
▫️ Creamed dried cod served with warm bread
▫️ Warm chocolate brownie with custard

Everything was so delicious. My favourite canapé had to be the king prawn skewers! The sourness of the vinegar was offset by the sweetness of the strawberry, making it even tastier. I really liked the croquettes, as well, although I do feel there should have been a little more ham in them. 

When the dessert came out after we finished out canapés, my eyes lit up. I love brownies and I love custard – put them together and you’ve got gold. Heartwarming, delicious and filling; I definitely could have eaten another helping!

The presentation of the canapés was really beautiful, so not only is your stomach feasting but so are your eyes. I didn’t even know where to begin when the food came out!

The service was really good and our waiter was patient in explaining everything on the menu. This is something I always look for when I go out to eat. If your waiter is rude and not willing to be accommodating, then what is the point? 

Will I be visiting Lotus Bar again? Yes! I also love that it is so local to me. If you love Italian food, then you should definitely check this place out.

76 Clapham High St
London
SW4 7UL

T: 020 7720 2516

I was provided with free food and drinks in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and are not influenced by Lotus Bar in any way.

That’s the presents unwrapped, the turkey eaten, the pigs in blankets devoured, all of the films watched. That’s Christmas done for another year! Can’t lie, I’ve definitely eaten enough to feed a small army today, not mention drank so much Moscato that it’s practically pouring out of my ears.

I hope you all had a magical Christmas, wherever you are in the world ~ 2018 is around the corner, so let us all wish for the best in the upcoming New Year.

PS. Doctor Who was pretty good this year. Scream for Lethbridge-Stewart. Scream because we have finally got rid of Steven Moffatt. Scream because of the new Doctor’s Yorkshire accent.

PPS. That’s Weekmas done and dusted! I hope you all enjoyed. I will be back New Year’s Eve with my year round up post 💕

Merry Christmas Eve!

Tomorrow is officially Christmas — are you ready?! I literally just finished my Christmas shopping yesterday. Since finishing work up for the holidays, I have eaten a ridiculous amount that it’s no wonder that I don’t look like a small whale, right now. I mean as I am typing this, I am eating 😂 That’s my favourite part of Christmas, not that I need an excuse, but the amount of food consumption. To be fair, I should be careful though because I have definitely started to feel the effects of eating too much… At the moment, though, can’t stop, won’t stop!

This week, I’ve had three Friendsmas gatherings and they have been so wonderful. On Thursday, a few work colleagues gathered at our friend’s house and we cooked, drank and ate and it was so nice. We had a whole feast going on including: roast beef, potato bake, mac and cheese, honey roasted parsnips, brussel sprouts, pigs in blankets, quiche, fried chicken and lumpia. We also had sticky toffee pudding and custard for dessert, which was so so yummy. 

My Secret Santa at work got me a framed picture of Rick from Rick & Morty with Szechuan sauce and some drawing pens. 😭💕

On Friday, I went down to Dirty South in Lewisham for me and my friends’ annual Secret Santa dinner. We originally wanted to go to a place for actualy Christmas dinner, but most places wanted you to put down 50% deposit and yadda yadda. I suggested we go to Dirty South instead where they do Other Side Fried burgers. If you follow me on Instagram then you would have seen me posting quite a bit about these burgers. They are soooo delicious. I went for the Honey Butter burger (fried chicken, smoked honey butter, bacon, pickles, lettuce) and Dirty Fries (bacon, parmesan, hot sauce, ranch sauce). Nom, nom, nom. 

My Secret Santa got me Harry Potter socks, a Harry Potter mug and a Doctor Who mini calendar which I will definitely be using at work. Thank you, 🎅🏾 💕

Last night, a few uni friends and I gathered and again we cooked, drank, ate and played Cards Against Humanity to show everyone just how depraved we are. Our feast included: turkey with stuffing, pigs in blankets, yorkshire puddings with gravy, sweet potato hash, mac and cheese, vegetables and lumpia. We also had gateau for dessert and there was plenty of wine and rose flowing, as well. It was such a lovely evening, and I was absolutely shattered by the time I got home.

Do you have any special gatherings with your friends during the Christmas period?

I wanted to go to several markets to write for this post, but I only managed to visit one with my mum the other day.

Nevertheless, I had fun wandering around Borough Market and looking at all the goodies the sellers had on display. I love grabbing a mulled wine from one of the stalls and browsing what’s for sale. With 14 different herbs and spices, the mulled wine I chose was so delicious. I also managed to pick up some fudge from Whirld and beer sticks from Canon & Canon. I also got to smell some truffles, whilst my mum was in the background telling me that they look like poop 😂 We passed by a barbershop quartet who were singing Christmas songs, as well. So, so lovely. The market itself was decorated beautifully and I loved the Christmas trees they had up 😍 

There are still some markets running after Christmas, so I definitely want to hit those up. Took a few photos on my trip to Borough Market, so enjoy. Do you like going to markets? If so, what’s your favourite thing about them?

A blog post in the middle of the week?

Yeah, your eyes aren’t seeing things. I realise I’ve been away from the blogosphere for the longest time, but that was entirely unintentional. I’ve been putting most of my time and energy into NaNoWriMo this month and a lot of other things have happened since I last posted, but I’ll write about them slowly but surely and catch you guys up.

Anyway, moving on…

A few weekends ago, I went to Hertfordshire to join some fellow bloggers in a cooking lesson at The Cookery and had the best time ever. Just need to get this out of the way but is it just me or do you start singing ‘Peng ting called Maddison, I tell her come and jump in my Addison Lee’ every time they get in an Addison Lee? No? Right, then, haha.

As soon as I entered the room, a glass of white wine appeared in my hand before we were introduced to the people behind The Cookery. The cooking area was so spacious and airy with AEG ovens installed on the back wall. After seeing what the ovens can do, I definitely need to speak to my mum about possibly getting one. (A round of gasps could be heard when Simon pulled  the turkey out of the oven, I kid you not)

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We started the afternoon off making winter vegetable wellington – this involved using filo pastry, something which used to give me nightmares back when I had to use it when we did Home Economics in school. I was pleasantly surprised with how mine turned out and the end result was to make it look like a Christmas present. Cute, right? Mine had a mushroom, aubergine, courgette and yellow and red peppers. It was so delicious, especially with the red wine jus. (Yeah, I said jus. I can be fancy like that.)

Mince pies were next on the agenda and they showed us how to make the pastry. Thankfully, they had already helped us out by making our pastry for us because I’m pretty sure it would have been a disaster if I tried to make it myself. We had different cutters to make closures for our pies; a mixture of stars, Christmas trees and hearts.

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With Christmas music playing in the background and the room suitably decorated, it was definitely a fun afternoon. The pièce de résistance was definitely the fantastic Christmas dinner that they cooked for us: turkey, beef, pork stuffing with all the trimmings. I am so glad I wore my stretchy pants because I genuinely felt like a balloon.

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The fun didn’t stop there, though, as we also got driven down to Tobacco Docks for Taste of London. For those that don’t know Taste of London is an event where London’s best restaurants, chefs and food and drink brands come together and showcase their signature dishes. It is basically a foodie dream come true.

I’d been wanting to go to Taste of London for the longest time, so I genuinely cried with happiness when I got there. After a glass of champagne on arrival, the first stop was Les 110 de Taillevent for their yellow breast chicken stuffed with foie gras, fettuccine and supreme sauce. The sauce was so delicious and creamy, and the pasta just the right amount of chewy.

It was super packed at ToL, which is to be expected, so I had to wait a bit. However, they were kind of enough to also offer me one of their desserts, which I would have taken if I weren’t allergic to nuts.

Toilet break and then it was off to go eat some dumplings from Dumplings’ Legend. I opted for xiao long bao and they were extremely delicious. I basically hoovered them up before you could say, “So, what dish is that?” What I really want to try is the huge xiao long bao where you poke a hole in the dumpling and drink the soup and then go in on the meat. The pork and soup went well together in the dumpling, and the flavouring was beautiful.

My last stop was Bubbledogs. I originally wanted to try the mac and cheese, but again my nut allergy got in the way so that was a no-go. Nevertheless, I had the most delicious hot dog at Bubbledogs alongside a shot of bubbles… geddit? Bubble. Dogs. Heh heh heh. (Okay, I’ll just leave now).

I went for their Taste Exclusive which was the Ding Dong Dog: bacon wrapped beef frankfurter, sprout slaw, brown butter breadcrumb and cranberry ketchup. The hotdog was perfectly juicy and the bacon was so crispy. Anything that has bacon in it, I am all over.

I’m not a fan of Brussel sprouts, and I don’t think many people are, to be honest, and you’re only really going to eat them at Christmas dinner, but they were actually really good in the slaw that was on the hotdog.

The whole experience was amazing right down to learning how to cook new recipes and exploring the different dishes they had at ToL. I had a fantastic time and a quick thank you to AEG, Currys PC World, The Cookery and Joe Blogs for having me!

If you’re the one in charge of making Christmas Dinner this year then be sure to check out Currys PC World post on how to nail it! Usually, my grandma makes all of it, but I might actually get stuck in this year and make some dishes too.

Note: Photos marked (*) are courtesy of Joe Blogs. I was not financially compensated for this post and the opinions are completely my own based on my experience.