Wednesday, 24 September 2014


So it was time for another (girl) date night and, after a few ridonkulous weeks at work, I was seriously lagging. The thought of a late night train back from central London was not appealing so we had to get our thinking caps on. Where can we go that was local that wouldn't make us feel like we'd forfeited a good night out of sheer laziness. I'll tell you where....HARRISON'S! Being a Balham dweller, this is literally on my doorstep therefore perfect for a nice midweek dinner out before rolling back home straight into bed in 5 minutes flat. I'd heard a lot about Harrison's so it seemed a good a time as any to give it a try. 

Located on Bedford Hill, Harrison's almost completely glass exterior makes it easy to spot, especially at night when it's all lit up. The inside was spacious and modern, albeit almost in a clinical way. However, this was quickly overlooked when we realised they had a huuuuuge list of cocktails, all of which were £5 all evening Sunday through to Wednesday. I've lived in London long enough now to know when I've come across a bargain! The cocktails seemed like a good place to start along with some nibbles.

We opted for the Raspassion Martini and the Vanilla Apple Martini, along with some mini chorizo and padron peppers (both firm favourites!). Probably not the greatest combination in the world but someones gotta do it...

The chorizo had an amazing kick to it and, unlike most chorizo, wasn't overly fatty which I personally prefer. The padron peppers were equally as good and were chargrilled enough to give it an extra element of flavour without just giving you the feeling of eating a lump of coal. For saying Harrison's is a typically British menu, their tapas was definitely something worth trying!

Starters were up next. After bickering over who would have what, we decided to go dutch and have the best of both worlds. The calamari was pretty good although I can't say it was the best I've ever had. It could have done with a lot more seasoning and perhaps less oil as it quickly became quite soggy.

This little baby on the other hand, was amazing! Meet Cornish Crab on Toast with Samphire and Brown Crab Mayonnaise. Pretty pricey for a starter (£13.50) but was worth every penny. When the rest of the Harrison's menu is so reasonable priced, I figured there must be a reason why this one was higher. It was so flavoursome and was plenty to share between the two of us. Would 100% recommend!

There was one main course which stood out to both of us. Pan Fried Sea Bream, Roast Courgettes & Chilli with Harrisa Aioli. It doesn't matter if you have no idea what half that means. Just give it a go and you'll be so glad you did. The sea bream was cooked absolutely perfectly with a crispy skin which wasn't oily. Because of the courgette base as opposed to the standard carby base, it was relatively light as well. Harrisa tends to be quite spicy, and this was no exception. However, it wasn't blended in to anything so you could easily push it to one side if it wasn't your cup of tea. I LOVED this.

Once again, our eyes had been bigger than our stomachs and we were struggling by now. Neither of us fancied sharing a desert, let alone having a whole one to ourselves. However, for a sweet fix, Harrison's do these great little "Brookies". They're basically almost like mini chocolate chip muffins but really gooey at the same time. These would be perfect with coffee but, not thinking about the hangover, we decided to get ours with another (large) glass of red. Were the Brookies needed? Absolutely not. But just as a small sweet fix, they were perfect. 

If you're ever in the area, I would honestly say that Harrison's is worth giving a go. The food was lovely and the atmosphere is good no matter what the occasions. However, next time I may order less food and just work my way through the £5 cocktail menu... has to be done. 


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Vanilla Chia Breakfast Pudding

Any foodie will have become well aware of chia in recent months, apart from those living under a rock. It has burst into the health-food scene as one of the most nutritionally dense foods around. So what exactly is it? These tiny little "superfood" seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, as well as being rich in fibre. Originating in Mexico, these seeds are far from new. Evidence has shown that they were a staple food for the Aztecs who, needless to say, probably didn't have to pay a whopping price tag like we do nowadays! Yep... unfortunately, as with most emerging health-foods, they don't come that cheaply but, if you have a look around, an offer is always found somewhere. 

Health wise, chia seeds have been shown to lower cholesterol, aid digestion (thanks to the healthy dose of fibre), and stabilise blood sugar. Studies are currently going on to see whether chia can act as a natural treatment for type-2 diabetes which could be life changing for an ever increasing number of people. How? Nothings been proven yet but it is thought that, due to chia seeds slowing down the rate of digestion, they help to prevent major blood sugar peaks and troughs. 

Anyway! Enough of the science talk. This breakfast pudding contains an absolute minefield of goodness to start your day. The texture may put some people off (think cold semolina?!) but I promise you'll be won over (possibly). The recipe below gives two large servings but you can easily adapt it if necessary.

You will need:

-450ml almond milk
-80g chia seeds
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-2 tbsp. honey (raw if possible)
-fruit and/or nuts of your choice for topping

Combine almond milk, chia seeds, vanilla and honey in a bowl. Mix well until combined and the mixture starts to thicken (chia is incredibly gelatinous so gentle stirring for about 5 minutes will achieve this). Store covered in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight if possible. If the pudding becomes to thick, add a little water before serving.

All that's left to do is to top it! I used peaches, plums and blueberries, but any fruit would do.

This is sooo easy to make. Worth a try just for the fact that it's something a little different!