Archives for posts with tag: the filling station

There’s a lot going on at Kings Cross. Not only is the station itself newly revamped and fabby, but the surrounding conurbation is under huge development too.

First there was Eat Street and now the whole Granary Square area has opened up with Central St Martins taking centre stage and a wonderful new outdoor space in support. This is one of those secret places that once discovered, is a welcome escape to find solitude and calm in a mad busy London world.

I had another reason to visit this area with my work hat on, but more of that anon. In the meantime, it was a great excuse to drag mate JR out with me to explore the new streets of Kings Cross.

The Filling Station at an old petrol station

Naturally where there are trendy developments going on so there are trendy restaurants to support. And who better to represent that definition but the boys from Bistroteque and their new concept Shrimpy’s. This pop up in a former petrol station is funky and cool with a menu to match. I am told the soft shell crab is the thing to have here but today I had other places to visit.

Caravan Kings Cross opened 3 weeks ago and for those of you who know the Exmouth Market one well, this is more of the same with added space and its own coffee roastery to boot.

Great open space, urban design and funky lamps, scrubbed tables and perch seating

The obligatory open kitchen framed with wire screens and rustic storage. Perfect.

Caravan has found the right balance of casual menu, tasty food, relaxed yet efficient service plus cool environment. We browsed our way through really well made coffees, St John sourdough cheesey toast with onion marmalade and then JR tried to move onto the hard stuff, but sadly all the tap beers were sold out. It was a shame and perhaps these guys were a victim of their own success but hopefully they will sort those blips out. This place is here to stay.

Back outside in Granary Square we tripped over the Kings Cross Ice Cream Festival which was a little sad in the murky grey weather but that didn’t seem to put anyone off. The queues for ice cream were crazy long and everyone seemed to be getting into the mood with beaches to lie on, goats to stroke, cows to milk plus much more.

Mad Cap Charlie was mad and had a cap of sorts and was certainly entertaining with his stories of liquid nitrogen ices.

We liked Custom Creams branding and they too were “powered by liquid nitrogen”

Ice cream wise, the favourites seemed to be salted caramel, hazelnut and a variety of fruit based flavours. But the overall winner was most definitely the whole liquid nitrogen ice cream revolution. In years to come we will look back and wonder how we did it any other way.

I am currently between homes, which is an interesting state in itself.

Thankfully I have wonderful friends who are always supportive and so I find myself house-sitting at Junior Masterchef Amber’s home whilst they are on a well deserved break. I moved in over the weekend and found myself raiding my store cupboard to make sure I had all my usual ingredients to hand for the time I am here.

Groceries the Eataly way

It has been fascinating to realise just what I use on a regular basis and also to see someone else’s cupboards to better understand just how different we all are. Everything here is absolutely immaculate and puts me to shame. And clearly, there is a bias towards bakery as Amber is such a queen at the sweet stuff. She has her own special bakery fridge packed with butter and chocolate and sugar and spice and all things nice. Thankfully this is far enough away from the kitchen to avoid temptation. And the kit!! As I see the Great British Bake Off starting again, I marvel at all the tins and cases, decorations and strange one off machines like the cake pop maker and best of all the authentic traditional popcorn machine in the corner of her bedroom. Love her.

The Filling Station, NYC

My bag of tricks included my chosen Maremma olive oil from the Borough Market boys, chilli salt from NYC, tuna (I love tinned catfood tuna!), knorr stockpots, maldon salt, the stir fry combo of soy sauce, mirin & sesame oil plus all the ingredients for my Mum’s salad dressing. This is always a hit whenever I make it and a great base recipe to change around for different salads. More mustard and lots of dill for potato salad or more more mayo and lots of seasoning for coleslaw….

Add a heaped teaspoon each of wholegrain mustard and mayo into a glass, cup or bowl and mix together. Slowly drizzle in sunflower oil, stirring hard all the time to emulsify. Once you have the right level of consistency add the white wine vinegar (1/3 – 1/2 of the oil quantity). Drop in a crushed whole garlic clove and leave to flavour. Perfect.

Thankfully I am not the only one with these guilty pleasures and weird store cupboard quirks. OFM did an article some years ago and never one to miss an opportunity we now see celebrity chefs increasingly giving way to supporting the advertising of these products.

The best proponent of the store cupboard are the wonderful Wildishes of Cape Town. I learnt a big lesson when I stayed there as these guys have such a well stocked cupboard that they have at least 4 meals ready to cook at any time even when the fridge looks bare. Great pulses, carbs, tinned tomatoes and clever use of the freezer are key. I have never eaten better at home and try all the time to emulate their ways.

Sadly, I left my bay leaves at home and the bakery home here are not big on that so my artichoke last night was not quite as flavourful as usual and the Spanish Omelette fall back position is not advised but I will manage.

Any secrets to share? let me know.