Recipe of the Week: Harry Eastwood’s Cinnamon Banana Bread

Harry Eastwood's Cinnamon Banana Bread. Batch #10 or 11... or maybe 12?

Harry's Cinnamon Banana Bread Batch #10 or 11... or maybe 12?

Yes I know, two Harry Eastwood recipes in a row, but I just cannot get enough of this woman at the moment. When I got her book Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache last Christmas, the Cinnamon Banana Bread (p. 97) was the first recipe I tried. Since then, I’ve made it about ten times and my latest batch (above) was definitely the best one yet.

Absolutely packed with bananas, nuts and courgettes, it sounds ridiculously healthy for a cake and quite honestly far too good to be true. A cake that’s full of slow energy release foods that keeps you FULL UP? Damn right. This cake makes an absolutely brilliant morning snack, satisfying (and quashing) my regular-as-clockwork 11am sugar cravings. I can’t think of anything that goes better with my cuppa.

Harry’s book is an absolute must for anyone who loves cake (which is just about everyone, right?) She has perfected the art of the light, moist texture and the best thing is that they can be enjoyed by anyone as they’re entirely wheat-free. In her own words: “I have tested all the recipes in this book using white rice flower as well as plain flour. This is partly because I like its lightness of texture, but also because I didn’t want those with wheat intolerances to miss out on the fun.”

Isn’t that nice of her? Now, if only more catering establishments thought that way…

Qype: Pompoko in Brighton

BrightonEating & DrinkingRestaurantsJapanese & Sushi

Sesame Prawn Don @ Pompoko (my fave)

On a drizzly, cold day of shopping in North Laine, Pompko is one of the best places to head to for a hot snack. Big bowls of soft, fluffy white rice topped with stir-fried chicken, king prawns or beef accompanied by miso soup. Absolutely perfect.

This Japanese-style cafe is sat just opposite the Brighton Dome and Corn Exchange on Church Street, which is the perfect location for popping into when you’re on the go. The service is polite, friendly and fast. It’s far more of a place to go for lunch than have an evening meal though, as the portions aren’t massive and the little space gets very crowded. The best time to head here is in summer when they fling open the shop front and you can sit out on the pavement watching North Laine buzz by.

At about a fiver for a bowl of food, Pompoko offers great value for money. It does what it does and it does it brilliantly. Definitely a must-visit place.

Check out my review of Pompoko – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Vodka Tasting at Bob Bob Ricard

London – Eating & Drinking – Restaurants – British – Eating & Drinking – Pubs & Bars – Bars

Vodka: Kauffman Special Selected Vintage 2006

Having never officially ‘tasted’ Vodka before, I had absolutely NO idea what to expect at Bob Bob Ricard’s tasting (a Qype event organised by Qype London Guru, Siany). As it turns out, it’s nothing like wine tasting AT ALL. With wine tasting, you look at it (a lot), sip it, swill it around in your mouth, make appreciative noises like “Mmm” and “Ahh”, then say things like: “The legs on that are rather impressive, don’t you think?” While doing this you nibble on things like cured meats, cheeses and smoked salmon blinis talking about how they complement your wine perfectly.

When you taste vodka on the other hand, you knock it back then quickly take a bite of a bizarre salt-saturated Russian snack. You know what though? I thought it was absolutely brilliant, despite being incredibly dubious about drinking neat vodka with my meal. But hey, they do it in Russia all the time apparently!

Jellied Ox Tongue with Creamed Horseradish

We were expertly guided through a range of vodkas served at BBR by co-owner Ricard, including the Kauffman Private Collection Luxury Vintage 2003 – only 25,000 bottles were produced and at £18 per SHOT, it’s something I could only dream of being able to afford. The general consensus of the group was that our favourite was the Kauffman Special Selected Vintage 2006 (about £8 per shot). So we all had another one at the end. I was also impressed by the Imperia by Russian Standard which, at £4 a shot, is much more in my price range.

Scallop, Black Pudding and Cox Apple Slices with Baby Watercress and Chive Salad and Truffle Dressing

In terms of food, I got the opportunity to try things I’d never usually dream of ordering like Jellied Ox Tongue with Creamed Horseradish (which was surprisingly delicious), Salmon Row and Quails Eggs (hmm… not so much) and Scallops and Black Pudding with Truffle Dressing (SUPER yum!) I also was very impressed with the Wafer-Thin Cured Orkney Beef and Pickled Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese Salad. You can see all my piccies of the wonderfully unusual food (if you like) here.

Everything was enjoyed in a beautiful private room adorned with Art Deco-themed decoration. This is definitely a restaurant with a big ‘WOW’ factor (helped immensely by their ‘Press for Champagne’ buttons at all the tables) and I cannot wait to get the chance to go here again.

Check out my review of Bob Bob Ricard – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Las Iguanas in Brighton

BrightonEating & DrinkingRestaurants

In terms of food, I don’t think Las Iguanas presents particularly good value for money, which is why I haven’t eaten there in ages. Being wheat intolerant, I can hardly eat anything on the menu apart from the Chilli Con Carne which I found very disappointing (…and bizarrely presented with tortilla chips stuck into the chilli at odd angles). It was OK, but definitely not great. I can’t say I’d ever be tempted to eat here again unless they radically overhaul their menu.

BUT – and this is a big but – if you want a place to go for a few drinks, or more specifically a LOT of cocktails, then Las Iguanas is fantastic value for money. I’ve been here many a time to take advantage of their two-for-one cocktail offer, which works out at under £3 per drink. Superb value, as that’s even cheaper than a pint in most places in Brighton.

My current favourite is the Ipanema Breeze – I can’t remember for the life of me what it has in it, but DO know it’s absolutely delicious. Their Mojitos are also brilliant (but, sadly, not in the BOGOF offer). The Caipirinha (don’t ask me how to pronounce it) is their signature cocktail – made with Cachaça (a liquor made from fermented sugarcane), fresh lime, sugar and crushed ice it’s wonderfully sweet, fantastically refreshing and well worth a try on a hot sunny day.

Check out my review of Las Iguanas – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Buddies Plaice in Brighton

BrightonEating & DrinkingFastfood & TakeawayFish & Chips

Buddies Plaice is undoubtedly my favourite place (or rather ‘plaice’, geddit?) to go for whatever-you-fancy ‘n’ chips. I first discovered this place after a particularly heavy (…ahem…) night at Casablanca’s nightclub on Ship Street at about 3am on a Thursday morning. At that moment, their chips tasted like the most incredible thing I’d ever eaten in my life. The next time I went to Buddies, I’d had a few cans of lager on the beach on a beautiful sunny day and again the chips were just to die for.

Their food all comes in a nice polystyrene box – not particularly environmentally friendly, but it means you can quickly snap it shut at any given moment to protect your meal from those nasty seagull creatures. The portions are a great size too and their chips are the best value for money on the sea front – don’t go to the overpriced places under the arches, pop up the steps and across the road to Buddies. You’ll not only save yourself a good 50p (hooray!), but you’ll get more for your money.

Check out my review of Buddie’s Plaice – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: The Gladstone in Brighton

BrightonEating & DrinkingPubs & BarsPubs

Ask anyone in Brighton if they’ve been to Gladstone and they’re most likely to respond by saying: “Hmmm… the Gladstone? Is that the MASSIVE YELLOW PUB on Lewes Road?”

Yes, it is.

The Gladstone is situated in the heart of Brighton’s student-land close to the Lewes Rd bus garage and Sainsbury’s. Consequently, it’s always full of students and was a favourite watering hole of mine when I lived nearby. Even now I do still quite like it here, particularly in the summer as they have a lovely trellis-covered beer garden which is very pleasant during the warmer months.

I’m not sure if they still do it, but they used to offer their back room for “private” functions. A word of warning: it won’t be private seeing as the only way to access the beer garden (aka smoking area) and the toilets is through that room. I had a party here and it just ended up totally full of randoms. Not exactly what I was going for, but never mind.

Their back room is the nicest part of the pub, it’s full of comfy sofas and is even candlelit in the evening. The Gladstone is definitely a t-shirt ‘n’ trainers pub though – great for relaxing lunchtime or afternoon drinks but not really a ‘let’s have a night out’ kind of place.

Check out my review of The Gladstone – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Bombay Lounge in Brighton

BrightonEating & DrinkingFastfood & TakeawayIndian

Bombay Lounge is an all-you-can-eat Indian Buffet on North Street. I’m not really a big fan of these stuff-your-face-on-mediocre-food type places but as far as they go, this one is OK. On the menu you’ll find chicken wings, poppadums, naan bread and onion bhajis to start, along with a selection of salads and dips which are all actually pretty tasty; this is usually why I have a plate full of starters and sundries and not of a much main course at these places.

The main dishes which include lamb, chicken or vegetable curry along with saag aloo and rice aren’t particularly outstanding. In fact, they’re usually pretty bland which is good if you like that sort of thing, but I love curry and like to actually taste it.

In terms of pricing, it’ll cost you just over £5 at lunchtime and just under £10 in the evening. Not bad, but much better value for lunch than dinner.

Check out my review of Bombay Lounge – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype