Foodie Snippets – Birthday, Duck & Waffle, Disappointing Strudels and Eat Cambridge

Well last week was my birthday! Well it was last Tuesday, but it is good to have a birthday week.

Over the weekend my Mum made Pani Puri for dinner. Traditionally eaten in 3’s or 4’s as a light snack, you tap a hole in the hollow puris fill with with mung beans or chickpeas, boiled chilli potato, tamarind chutney and finally the ‘Pani’ (meaning Water) which is a cold chilli and coriander chutney. You put the whole thing in your mouth at once and when you crunch down you get a refreshing hit of cold chutney. I bought a box of puris (it is very hard to make Pani Puri Puri’s so most people buy them ready made and they are just as good) home with me and I plan to make them and blog it soon.

To start the day (after presents of course) we had breakfast at my favourite cafe, Gog Magog Shop – almond croissant for me and a trusty cheese scone for the Mr. Then we headed for the train to London.

Our first stop was Fortnum and Mason’s for tea in their ice cream parlour. The tea (Afternoon Blend for me and Darjeeling Orange Pekoe for the Mr) was fantastic and served in ornate silver teapots with colourful cups, very swish and fitting. Unfortunately the strudels we ordered were really awful – soggy pastry and nondescript floury filling, and at £5.50 for two tiny strudels it wasn’t cheap. I know Fortnum & Mason is popular with tourists but I had hoped such a legendary place wouldn’t fall prey to becoming a poor tourist trap. Oh well. Along with the glacially slow service and the bad sweets won’t bother again.

Things improved with a bit of shopping and sitting in Green Park, the weather was beautiful – the sun shone only on my birthday, which I think says something?

We then headed to the highlight of the day, Duck & Waffle, for a meal at sunset. This has been blogged about all over the place, so I will spare you another long review.  The view 40 floors up (and the ride in the glass lift), the food, the cocktails and service was all great. We ate our way through the menu and rolled out of the lift back to the train station happy. I even got a little plate of Petit Fours with a candle in as a birthday treat, so lovely. You must go. Order the duck and waffle (obviously), any of the breads (we had cherry tomato and goat’s cheese) and the torrejas. It wasn’t a cheap evening as we did over order a little, but you should have a blowout on your birthday. I grabbed a few pictures before the sun started to set and the lights came down.

Since the birthday blowout things have taken a healthier (ish, I still have birthday chocolate) and I’ve been enjoying this salad combo for lunches and also for dinner. Mixed leaves, cherry tomatoes, crunchy sliced radish, avocado, houmous, olives and salsa verde. You won’t believe what a good combination salsa verde + avocado is – try it!

The other thing I must not fail to mention is Eat Cambridge, it started last Friday and is a week long food festival – starting off with lots of fringe events and a food market last Saturday and continuing with a street food market, food tastings, bread making, etiquette evenings and many more things. You can still catch some of the action this week – there is a street market at Hope Street Yard this Friday from 6pm – featuring some brilliant street food (yes there is street food in Cambridge) including Jack’s Gelato, Steak & Honour, Fired Up Pizza and lots more – details here: http://www.eat-cambridge.co.uk

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