Foodie Weekend in England

Many of you may have heard the buzz on the internet and certainly on Twitter about Food Blogger Connect (fbc) in London.  I had the pleasure of speaking at this dynamic, fun and informative conference, that brought food bloggers from the UK and around the world together to share ideas and learn from one another.  I presented with Jeanne of Cook Sister! and Jamie of Life’s a Feast on writing style and how to find your voice; and with Julia of A Slice of Cherry Pie about getting published and finding feature work.  Other talks that had me furiously taking notes were on dissecting my camera by Hilda of Saffron & Blueberry, and on achieving magazine cover-worthy photographs by talented stylists Meeta of What’s for Lunch, Honey? and Mowie of Mowielicious (who revealed “my many faces” on his fbc blog post).  All in all, it was a very successful event, put together by Bethany of Dirty Kitchen Secrets and her little elves.  Keep an eye on the fbc site for updates and blog posts by participants, and be sure to check out the video too.  If you attended fbc10, I’d love to hear what you thought.

London, UK

I was lucky to have some down time before and after the conference to get to know London (and the aforementioned group of fellow bloggers) a bit better.  And also discover Brighton, “London by the sea.”  A mix of England, Miami and San Francisco, with a touch of the tropics, I fell for its charm.  I also fell in love with the Lanes, a cluster of quaint, narrow streets, with a tempting food shop behind almost every other door. [Note to self: make sure to return!]

Brighton, UKBrighton, UKBrighton, UKBrighton, UK

I have been to London before and my sweet radar took me right to Ottolenghi, for their gorgeous prepared foods (if a tad heavy on the spices) and tempting array of sweets that always follow.  Their rugby ball sized meringues were a favorite of mine, and I have since recreated them here in Zürich, more than once.  This time, I arrived in London armed with a long list of addresses.  Most travelers might have category headings like museums, shopping, restaurants, etc.  For me, it was chocolate, ice cream and cupcakes.  London certainly has its fair share of temptations, and I’ll have to return to check them all off.  Stay tuned for my sweet report soon.  But first, a few tastes from my foodie weekend.

Does it get any more British than having fish and chips with mushy peas in a tavern overlooking the Thames River?  I think not.  The more formal dining room of the Trafalgar Tavern in Greenwich offers traditional fish and chips with mushy peas, a sweet tomato salsa and tartar sauce.  Impeccably fried to a perfect crisp, the fish (pollack) tasted fresh and light.  The tavern also serves a beer-battered version at the bar, using haddock.

London, UKLondon, UKLondon, UKLondon, UK

As far as British puddings go… I have but three words for you: sticky. toffee. pudding.

London, UKLondon, UK

The above dessert was devoured at the Tate Modern Restaurant.  If I were in a ranting mood, I would disclose that my dining companions and I had service less than impeccable, if not downright unprofessional and disrespectful.  But I am not, so I will just say that if you order the lemon sole on a dinner menu and receive plaice on your plate, do speak up.  Its quality and price are at a whole other level (much lower).  The Tate’s food was delicious nonetheless, and I thoroughly enjoyed my slow-roasted Hebridean salmon with borlotti bean stew, borage shoots and basil dressing, as well as the line caught pollack with aubergine caponata and aged balsamic vinegar.  While sounding superb on paper, the (cold) Swiss chard and Comté tart would have probably been more enjoyable if warm. The view is spectacular, but you have been warned about the rest.

London, UKLondon, UKLondon, UKLondon, UK

Last but certainly not least, a few treats for the eye to officially kick off the sweet series from London that is up next here on the blog…

London, UKLondon, UKLondon, UKLondon, UKLondon, UKLondon, UK

Clockwise from top left: Ottolenghi in Belgravia; Ms. Cupcake stand at Greenwich market; chocolates at Rococo; signature boxes at Rococo; macarons at Ladurée (food styling by Meeta); churros at Greenwich market.

Food Blogger Connect
June 4-6, 2010
June 3-5, 2011

http://www.foodbloggerconnect.com/

Trafalgar Tavern
Park Row
Greenwich
+44.20.8858.2909

http://www.trafalgartavern.co.uk/

38 Responses to “Foodie Weekend in England”

  1. Heather Davis says:

    Wow Kerrin you did do some fantastic food tasting while in England. What great pics to show off the yummy bites you feasted on! I too am partial to Brighton. When I lived in London it was under an hour away and perfect for a day trip to escape the hustle & bustle and enjoy some seaside frolicing. Spent my 30th birthday there. Ok that was quite a long time ago but it was great! So glad to have met you briefly at the conference. I look forward to hearing more about your life in Switzerland via your blog. Hx

  2. Meeta says:

    Kerrin looking at this I miss you all over again. Did I ever stop? No! but we had an amazing time and am loving your wonderful colorful post. Brighton looks great.

  3. jen laceda says:

    Thanks for the short trip around London. I, too, love Ottolenghi. I should go this year, as the Canadian dollar is pretty good against the Pound Sterling. Hmmm…perhaps.

  4. Lani says:

    I have been to London a few times but now I have gone to “London” with different eyes. The beauty of Brighton and the little streets that are so colorful with little buildings and full of gourmet food stores. How could I have missed this? Thank you for showing me a side of London that is just lovely. I of course, tasted all your foods, experienced all your wandering and the best part is that I see your laughter through your photography. And what exactly happened at Tate Modern?

  5. Kerrin says:

    Heather, it was wonderful to meet you too. And Brighton does seem like the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of London, as you said it best. I really felt like I was in a totally different country. Loved it !

    Meeta, don’t stop ! :) Missing you too, of course. It was an incredible weekend for many reasons, and I’m glad I could bring back a few fun moments here. Loved your fbc post too (http://www.whatsforlunchhoney.net/2010/06/food-blogger-connect-2010.html)

    jen, who doesn’t love Ottolenghi ?! ;) If the Canadian dollar is good, then definitely go. It’s been a few days since I’m back, yet I’m still in sticker shock at London prices. Holy cow !

    Lani, it’s easy to miss Brighton if you are simply going to London. It’s almost an hour away, so you have to take a train, not just the tube. I’d say it’s definitely worth it. To answer your question – if briefly – about the Tate Modern… a few people at dinner ordered the lemon sole. I remember remarking when their plates arrived, “I thought you got the sole?” It was a different fish, noticeably so. The restaurant seemed to be pretty sneaky, giving them a *much* less expensive fish, plaice. I simply asked the waiter what fish it was, and this unfortunately prompted a series of unprofessional decisions on their part, inappropriate service, even disrespectful. Handled very poorly.

  6. Sarah, Maison Cupcake says:

    Hi Kerrin, this is a delightful post and I’m loving seeing the weekend through your eyes. Brighton has such character, my sister in law lives there and we’ve been tempted to move down there too. I never considered it having anything in common with Miami or San Fransisco but yep, I guess you are right.

    I am paying special attention to your words after your talk. You make it look effortless!
    So great to see you again and do remember me if you are over here before the next FBC.
    xx

  7. Jamie says:

    Oh lovely! You bring it all back so simply through choice words and stunning pics! Loved speaking with you and Jeanne and thought we were the perfect balance of writing styles (and speaking styles). You are a fountain of information. Had such a fantastic weekend with you and can’t wait for another weekend together. Between Spice Girls and FBC this was the perfect weekend!

  8. Michele says:

    Hi Kerrin. I was at FBC, but only on Sunday. Sigh. That day was fab though and I’ve already blocked out next year’s dates in my calendar. I loved your speaking style – informative and entertaining. : -)

    Re the second part of your post, I like reading about London through the eyes of others. I’m an expat Canadian and lived in London 6 years before moving to the wilds of Oxford. London has such a fabulous food scene. Personal favourites are the Marylebone Farmer’s Market and food shops (Ginger Pig and La Fromagerie), and Edgware Road for its fantastic Middle Eastern fare.

  9. bethany says:

    Kerrin! Thanks for doing such a wonderful job speaking at the conference. You’re not only a great speaker with tons of useful knowledge but also a FABULOUS entertainer. I loved having you over and hopefully we’ll be over to visit you in Zurich soon! Big kiss x

  10. Kerrin says:

    Sarah, I’m thrilled you like seeing your turf through my eyes ! ;) If you start talking to Bethany too, you’ll be moving to Brighton in no time. Thank you for the wonderful comment above, I do hope to see you soon too. Let me know if you swing by Zurich on your way back to St Malo, ha ha !!

    Jamie, it really was a perfect weekend. We have so many photos and fun memories to keep reminding us of that for sure. And as you said, I do think the three of us doing the writing talk together was great – we really brought three different perspectives and approaches to the table. Hope everyone got a lot out of it too. Oh,… and go spice girls ! :)

    Michele, you have to think of it this way – just great that you were able to be there for Sunday, right ?! And now all ready for fbc11 !! Fabulous ! Thanks for sharing your London favorites too, hope I get to check them out myself (I love cuisines of the Middle East) – next year at fbc !

    bethany, my pleasure !! Thanks a million b, appreciate the kind words here. And Olivier and I are ready for you and Chris ! We’ll just have to not forget to spend some time with Chris’ family here too ! ;)

  11. Sasa says:

    Gah!!! I think Bethany and Catty were LYING to me!

  12. Bruce says:

    Hey Kerrin! It was great to finally meet you! You certainly lived up to my expectations. And I love all the faces of Kerrin – I think I saw most of them in the short time I was there. Hope you have an awesome weekend and hope to see you again soon. B x

  13. Juls @ Juls' Kitchen says:

    I loved your style: you don’t have to be serious and boring to be professional.
    It is a lesson that should be well explained here in Italy! It’s so crystal clear that you enjoy your work, and you communicate your enthusiasm to people! Go Kerrin!!

  14. valentina says:

    I am just loving reading all the posts about the FBC event and what the various people did whilst in London. Great that you got to go to Brighton. Seaside towns are different in each country – they have a particular flair. The amazingly talented Mowie did indeed capture your many faces in that series of photos from Sunday’s talk. I am sure that I speak for everyone when I say that we will always remember you for your fabulous expressions amongst other talents. It was definitely nice to have such bunch of nice and like minded people together for the same event. I enjoyed every minute. In one of your photos I just wished that the lady selling churros at the market had not said ‘Brazilian doughnut’ as churros are originally from Spain and were taken to Latin America by the travellers. She did however have a very colourful board. From your pictures it seems that you managed to do a lot in the days you spent over here. That?s great. I also see the chocolate loving side in the Rococo chocolate boxes. Have you also tried Charbonell & Walker – http://www.charbonnel.co.uk/?

  15. Mowie @ Mowielicious says:

    Darling Kerrin, this is a great post! I love your shots of Brighton in the sun, and all that food! As for your speaking, you’re going to have to give me some tips on how to be so natural in front of a crowd, you’re just amazing.

    Lots of love
    Plaice/Sole (sorry, I can’t decide what kind of fish I am)

  16. Kerrin says:

    Sasa, ha ha ! Ok, perhaps that is true… I can not tell a lie myself, so I have to admit… no, fbc did not “suck” ! lol !

    Bruce, likewise ! What a pleasure to have met the famous B, finally ! Still can’t believe what your man did on his blog, all those faces ! I hope people don’t get sick of seeing me ! haha ! Enjoy the weekend too, miss you boys !

    Juls, grazie mille ! You said it girl – professional does *not* mean serious and boring ! I do love my work and I could not be happier that I am able to share my passion with everyone. Thank you again :)

    valentina, so glad you are enjoying reading the fbc posts (me too) – there are a lot of them ! And thank you so so much for your amazing comment here, much appreciated. You are so right too – churros are from Spain. The Brazilians at the market should have done a stand with Bolos de Coco or something, ha ha ! I haven’t tasted Charbonell & Walker, but I’ll add it to my list for next time, muito obrigada. And speaking of chocolate, stay tuned for the next post…! :)

    Mowie, stop making me blush ;) You were a brilliant speaker as well, comfortable and confident in front of that mike. Bravo ! As for the plaice/sole saga, still makes me laugh – the sheer ridiculousness of it all. Such fun though !!

  17. Gemma says:

    Kerrin, it was great to hear you talk on Saturday at FBC. Glad to see you had such a great trip, your post has made me realise that I really need to go back to Brighton soon!

  18. Charlie says:

    Hi Kerrin
    I so enjoyed reading this. Great photographs too. What a magical weekend. Thanks for your great talks. Can’t wait for next year.
    Love Charlie

  19. Emma says:

    Ooh mushy peas, table for one.

    (drum roll??) sweets! more sweets!

  20. Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels says:

    The food sounds delish, and all the posts I have read about the Food Blogger Connect make it sound like so much fun!

    Glad you had a nice time. I was only in London once and have been wanting to go back ever since!

  21. Kerrin says:

    Gemma, thanks so much. Yes I definitely had a great weekend. If Brighton were only an hour away for me, I’d be back there this weekend !

    Charlie, thank you !! Me too, totally can’t wait for fbc11 !

    Emma, make that a table for two. What I didn’t include about my lunch at Trafalgar Tavern was that I asked for an extra bowl of mushy peas. You bet. And but of course, you know what’s coming next here … s w e e t s ! ! :)

    Elisa, glad you have been enjoying the numerous posts about fbc. Hope you’ll be able to visit London again soon… Easy Jet flies to only one city from Zurich –> London !

  22. Rachel says:

    Hey Kerrin, Although I was lucky enough to be at the fantastic FBC2010, I sadly did not get to say this in person..however, I wanted to say a giant ‘Thank-you!!’ for the inspiring, funny, and downright awesome words of advice at your talks! You (and your site) rock!
    I hope to meet you there next year, and in the meantime, I look forward to following your crazy culinary travels here…Best wishes, Rachel

  23. Barbra says:

    I had something very astute to say but then I saw the picture of the churros. Yum.

  24. dorie says:

    As always, such great pictures. You won’t be surprised that I’d like to meet Ms. Cupcake, would you? Love her apron. Thanks for always taking us along.

  25. Jeanne @ CookSister! says:

    OK, just answer me one thing – where did we have time to do anything but EAT?!? I seem to recall a lot of laughing and talking and rehearsing presentations tucked up in Grandma’s Feather Bed, and one particular DVD (!) – but I have no idea where we fitted it all in around so much FOOD ;-) Spectatular post and wonderful photos – and I loved Mowie’s “Many Faces of Kerrin” too! Can’t wait for the Autumn Spice Girls reunion tour! MWAH!

  26. Kerrin says:

    Rachel, you are most welcome – and a huge thank you right back at you for your comment here. Wow, zoom in on the huge grin on my face right now ! :) I hope you’ll enjoy following me along here – just a warning, there will be lots of sweets, ha ha !

    Barbra, churros what ?

    dorie, thank you so much ! And nope, not surprised at all. But I guess you are not surprised either that I’d like the same apron, right ?! ;)

    Jeanne, ok, I will just answer you that one thing… and the answer is… I have no clue ! We sure did pack a lot of fun into those few days. Wish we could do it all over again. Oh wait, we will… fbc11 ! :) But before that, we’ve got the autumn spice girls reunion, can’t wait ! :) Thanks for the comment Jeanne, really appreciate it.

  27. Sam sidney says:

    Oy…. Those fish and chips look unreal…. i am totally craving something salty and that would be amazing right now. love all the pictures I have been seeing.. Looks like an awesome trip. Xoxox

  28. Andrea says:

    Kerrin, anytime that you want to “life-swap” for a week, i.e., you mother my 5 kids in suburbia (think soccer mom) and I come to Zurich, or Brighton, or Venice, or….let me know.

  29. anushruti says:

    Yes! Did see the pictures on facebook and I have to tell you “can’t miss the glint in your eyes!” That is what also made me write to you I guess. :-)

  30. jkiel says:

    Thank you for the report – we’re headed to the UK this weekend, and I can’t wait to tell all my friends here that they are wrong, you CAN get yummy food in the UK! (ok, the mushy peas… not so much!)
    We weren’t planning on the Tate, and definitely not now – there are a zillion other places to try out, no worries there. Those desserts (all of them, and how did I know you’d have macarons?) look scrumptious…

  31. deeba says:

    Your take on the UK touched a chord in me Kerrin. It’s almost midnight & I am sitting here craving fish and chips, a ride down the Thames, a visit to Ottolenghi which had eluded me so far, those macarons whose feet I still crave to master … and the enviable good time you spicy folk had at the FBC!I absolutely loved lapping up all the FBC pictures, especially Mowie’s fab job. Thank you for the gorgeous post … sigh, I wish I had been there!

  32. Kerrin says:

    Sam, if you’re craving salty, fish & chips are just the thing. But then you’d be craving sweet afterward, and I reckon there’s nothing better than the sticky toffee pudding for that !

    Andrea, you crack me up !! Wow, I don’t think I ever knew you had f – i – v – e kids !! Bravo to you. Just imagine all the goodies I would bake and bring to games if I were the soccer mom, ha ha ! :) Hey, what about bringing your kids to Zurich….. ??

    anushruti, thank you so much, I always appreciate your genuine words.

    jkiel, ooh and you’re off ! Hold up, there’s a sweet post coming up next. And those are a few addresses you’ll definitely want to have with you… hello, chocolate ! ;) Good call on choosing a restaurant other than the Tate. As you said, there are just so many other good ones to try. And you’ll have to let me know where you go, for my next trip ! (But, um, I actually liked the mushy peas !)

    deeba, midnight for you and you’ll be dreaming of London. Just before dinner here for me, and I’d rather be having your Black Forest Cake ! ;) We all missed you too at FBC, really hope to meet you at FBC11 !!

  33. Yeye says:

    Kerrin and her adventures: always unique, always dreamful, always lively. Just one question: would you have the recipe of the delicious fish & chips you ate? i’d like to make some at home. muchas gracias y muchos besos,

  34. Daily Spud says:

    Reading this, you make me wish that I’d had more time to explore and just generally hang out on either side of the FBC weekend (actually I had wished that anyway) – as it was, flight delays meant I didn’t even manage to get to Ottolenghi’s, which had been top of my list. Still, what a great weekend – enjoyable, informative and just plain fun. Sorry we didn’t get to chat – next time, eh? :)

  35. valentina says:

    Hi Kerrin, just to let you know that if you find the portuguese language blog a bit challenging ( http://www.trembom.com) I have today posted in English in a different blog: http://aweebitofsugar.com/.

  36. Kerrin says:

    Yeye, thank you !! I have never made fish & chips at home, I’m not much of a frying person. But I am sure you can find lots of food bloggers experimenting at home with different batters and different fish. Just don’t forget to mush up some peas too ! ;)

    Daily Spud, absolutely – it really was such a great weekend overall. Sorry about the flight delays, that’s no fun. Ottolenghi will be your first stop next year at fbc11 – and YES, we’ll definitely have to spend some time chatting together there too, already can’t wait !

    valentina, oh fabulous – yes, my Portuguese is not exactly up to par !! ;) Love the name of the blog too – a wee bit of sugar ! Or a wee LOT of sugar, ha ha !

  37. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    Wish I could have attended the conference. Would have been fabulous to hear you, and the others, speak!!

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