Naturally delicious real food.

Look who I bumped into!

California proved to be an amazing holiday, we went in November to see our eldest daughter but also to travel down the coast from San Francisco to San Diego, a very special trip which I shall never forget.

Everyone talks about the possibility of celebrity spotting on the West Coast, well for me, I couldn’t have been happier to spend an evening with Yotam Ottolenghi, a lovely, gentle and exceptionally talented cook.

We stayed in San Francisco in the Neo Valley, a great neighbourhood and in an amazing apartment on the lower floors of Andy’s superb house; a find we discovered through Airbandb – walking distance to Tartine, indisputably, the best bakery in the USA and just around the corner from Omnivore, a wonderful cookery book shop where we met up with the superb Yotam Ottolenghi; he was signing his new book Plenty More and we devoured his food. A real treat of an evening and one where we met new friends who then sent us off armed with an incredible list of places to visit and more importantly places to eat!

 

Just in case you are planning a visit to the West Coast here are my top ten highlights from our trip

Airbandb– we stayed  in three fabulous places in San Fransisco, Los Angeles and San Diego – amazing homes from lofts to beach houses in interesting neighbourhoods where we really felt we were part of the city. Fabulous value and inspiring places – if you haven’t yet used this accommodation source do have a look at the website – the choices are incredible

Tartine – the very best bakery in San Fransisco were we queued for our croissants – definitely worth it!

Ominvore – a great cookery book lovers store in San Fransisco

Golden Gate Bridge and our Sunday morning walk across it before heading to the Farmers market in the Ferry building for a grazing breakfast of the freshest local ingredients from producers from all over the Bay area.

Hearst Castle, a wonderful folly built over 27 years by  William Hearst – just off Highway 1 and it’s incredible sea views.

Santa Barbara – the whole town is just great – superb seafood but best of all was the outdoor Olympic sized pool opposite our hotel overlooking the harbour where I swam with the locals each morning.

Baco in downtown Los Angeles for it’s inspiring food – we wait for the cookbook from Josef Centeno.

The Getty Museum – so architecturally beautiful it made me cry and the art – well I could have stayed for the week just here.

Uber cars – sorry black cabs but they were so wonderful – everywhere we went they were efficient, fast and cheap.

The Halloween parade in West Hollywood – 350,000 of the wildest costumes – it was like being in Rio at Carnival time.

Georgios in San Diego – a dining delight on our last night with a wonderful terrace overlooking the ocean and delicious food

 

and thats number 11 so I should stop…..!

 

Since returning I have been cooking lots from  Plenty More

 

Try Tomato and Pomegranate Salad amazing with cold meats over Christmas…and on that note have a wonderful Christmas x

 

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or Pomelo Salad.

The Apricot, walnut and lavender cake is delicious too.

 

Look who I bumped into!

Serves 4

1kg of mixed tomatoes, baby, cherry and medium ( a variety of colours if possible). All cut in a small dice 5mm

1 red pepper cut in small dice

1 red onion cut in small dice

2 garlic cloves crushed

1/2 tsp allspice

2 tsp white wine vinegar

1 1/2 tbs pomegranate molasses

60 ml olive oil

pomegranate seeds from one fruit

small oregano leaves

Mix the tomatoes, red pepper and onion together.

In a small bowl whisk together the garlic, allspice, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Pour over the tomato mixture and mix.

Arrange in a bowl and sprinkle seeds and oregano over the top.

Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

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Through The Natural Pantry I hope to share with you some of the delicious recipes discovered whilst cooking in my kitchen with produce grown in our garden and the very best natural ingredients.