This has been one long, busy summer! I have been lucky enough to celebrate my elder sister’s wedding, my own wedding as well as various friend’s weddings and birthdays. I have been on my honeymoon to Abruzzo, spent time on the French Riviera, enjoyed long weekends on the British coast and in the countryside. Along the way, I have discovered a whole host of songs, brands, books, food and drink. Here share a few highlights with you. Perhaps you will discover something that you will love too.
Little Sheep Love It Too!
While on my honeymoon in Abruzzo, Italy, I enjoyed learning more about grapes that never previously found their way into my fridge; Trebbiano, Nebbiolo, Glera. It was also a treat to discover so many delicious bottles of Montepulciano, the grape Abruzzo is best known for.
In the heat of the hills under our poolside awning, it was the Pecorino grape that was enjoyed the most.
Pecorino is a lesser-known indigenous Italian varietal. Typically it is a balance of fresh, tropical notes, lemon or apricot, with delicate florally and an enticing minerailty. Pecorino light and refreshing yet packed with flavour. The name means ‘little sheep’, since sheep in the area are known to eat the Pecorino grapes - how sweet! Usually the label will feature a lamb or sheep, making it easy to spot a shop shelf.
Enjoyed best with grilled peaches, ripped Burrata, basil, crushed breadsticks and toasted flaked almonds, see picture.
Back in London, I found a great bottle at Jeroboams, Portobello Road, Notting Hill last week: CLICK HERE TO ORDER
Get Nosey with Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries Volume. I
I discovered this book in the farmhouse I was staying in in Abruzzo. It is the first book ever I have finished in a single day. I find Nigel’s writing soothing, easy and honest. In this old and simple book, Nigel takes you through his food choices over one year, diarising in few words, what he chooses to eat that day and where he sources his ingredients.
Each recipe includes a handful of British ingredients that are readily available to all of us. They focus on the sourcing rather than the technique to bring flavour to the table. The book goes with the ebb and flow of the seasons. There are 300 recipes in total. 102 without meat or fish. It could be as simple as mushrooms on sourdough or as exciting as Chicken patties with Rosemary and Pancetta followed by Strawberry Mascarpone Tart and Hot Chocolate Puddings.
Nigel highly values his privacy and focuses his time on entertaining only a select few special people. Something I think we can all relate to.
A Brand That Was Made For Me?
As you know, I love British brands as much as I love the countryside. I also love my shoes. Cue, the extremely smart British bred, Fairfax and Favor. Marcus Fairfax Fountaine and Felix Favor Parker - the two boys behind the business, have seriously smartened up the countryside shoe game. Their ranges look as at home on the Kings Road as they do at Badminton Horse Trials. They are best knows for their elegant knee-high tassel boots, inspired by the Spanish Bota, and their classical range of loafers. Their Hembsy Driving Shoe in navy is at the top of my Christmas wish list! (HINT, family!)
Check this entertaining, high quality and quintessentially English brand out HERE.
The Background To My Summer
Winding down in Villefranche Sur Mer this August, rosé in hand, waves lapping, water glistening and boats bobbing (life is tough), there was no better voice to enjoy than Otis Reading.
Otis was one of the great soul stylists of the 1960s and his music is legendary. Whether cuddled up with a glass of red by the fire this Autumn or enjoying last rays of September sunshine, let Otis be your backing music to allow you to descend into uber relaxation mode.
Favourite song has to be Stand By Me, followed by My Girl. The height of nostalgia.
Pasta is KING
Following on with my seaside summer theme, and considering September in the UK is the final month to eat like you're lunching on the Italian coast. I’m sharing a recipe for Spaghetti Vongole - the dish that I have scoffed the most this summer! Pictured here in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat.
Enjoy this dish with a cold glass of Pecorino or a juicy Viognier with plenty of sourdough to mop up the juice.
Find the best recipe HERE, scrolling to the section titled ‘Perfect Spaghetti Alle Vongole’.
I hope that you find some fun in my September musings.
Rosie Florence x
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Luckily for us, London is a city geared up to entertain, whatever the weather.
Since the forecast is looking less than favourable this weekend, I thought that you'd find this list of fun and rain-safe things to do handy. So, here's a list of my top five undercover things to do in London.
A little personal development with a day course. Personal favourites have been bread making at E5 Bakehouse and wine tasting days at Berry Brothers and Rudd within their iconic wine school - inevitably ending up with a little retail therapy in their stunning shop.
Get yourself into a gallery. There are some outstanding shows on in London right now: Van Gogh and Britain at Tate Britain (pictured), Lee Krasner's Living Colour at the Barbican, Christian Dior's Designer of Dreams at the V and A, and Leonardo da Vinci's A Life in Drawing at The Queens Gallery at Buckingham Palace
Hunker down in a specialist London wine bar such as Gordons in Temple, Noble Rot in Holborn, Vinoteca in Victoria (pictured) or the kooky CVS London in Neals Yard, Covent Garden
The Electric Portobello Cinema where you can sip red wine and munch on the most divine brownies, all whilst wrapped up in a blanket, snuggled into an armchair. Bliss! (Just try not to fall asleep...)
Get fit! My personal favourite is F45. This chain is popping up all over London at the moment which is testament to the results they achieve for you. Give them 45 minutes a day for 8 weeks and they will transform your fitness. I highly recommend making their 8 week challenge your summer mission
There you go! Be cooped up no more, fellow Londoners!
And, if you don't live in London, I would love to hear about what you get up to in your home town? Ping me a message right now over on instagram @florencelondonuk.
NOBLE ROT - SEX, DRUGS AND PINOT NOIR!
Noble Rot. My dream restaurant. Located on Bloomsbury’s historic Lambs Conduit Street, Noble Rot Restaurant & Wine Bar has been a wine bar since 1973, and was originally built in 1700. Chefs Stephen Harris and Paul Weaver from the Michelin-starred The Sportsman in Whitstable oversee a menu of fine Harris-style cooking; expect to find oysters, cold cuts, bread and olives in the front bar, with an expanded restaurant menu in the back. The wine list ranges from deliciously undervalued wines by the glass to hard-to-find gems from the worlds leading winemakers; expect to find mature bottles from legendary domaines like Jean-Louis Chave, Armand Rousseau, Château Latour, Château Rayas and Domaine Tempier at reasonable prices.
BOOK A TABLE
TUNES TO CHILL OUT TO THIS SPRING
The hotel that I recently returned from in Goa, India played music into the gardens and pool from sunrise to sunset, every day. The music seeped into the 14 bedrooms and cast a relaxed, friendly mood over the whole place. It was glorious. Run by an ex-bollywood actor and cult film fanatic, his choice of music reminded me of musical heroes that I don’t listen to nearly enough.
Here are a list of classics that my trigger a little nostalgia in you too:
Nora Jones, I Don’t Know Why, LISTEN
Eric Clapton, River Of Tears, LISTEN
Dire Straights, Sultans Of Swing, LISTEN
Procol Harum, Whiter shade of grey, LISTEN
Queen, Another One Bites The Dust, LISTEN
Crémant! Champagne for weekdaYS
If you adore Champagne as much as I do but find it a little, say pretentious, to drink it at the drop of a hat, chuck a couple of bottles of Crémant in the fridge to satiate your craving for midweek fizz.
Crémant is the name the French give to fizz made outside Champagne and you can get delicious bottles from Burgundy, the Loir Valley and Alsace for around £10.
You’ll discover something quite special while saving your proper bottles for the more memorable occasions.
CRÉMENT DESSERT! INSPIRED RECIPE BELOW
Sharing an inspired recipe for Pear Rosemary Crémant Jelly which is brilliant for a birthday dinner as a delicious dessert.
self-help that might actually be helpful
12 Rules For Life. Like many, I feel overwhelmed by advice. Constantly pulled from pillar to post on how to feel, how to eat, how long to sleep for, who to value, what to eat, even what position I should sleep in… It’s too much. I found some clarity in this intelligent book, written by the acclaimed clinical phycologist Jordan Peterson. Peterson can take the most difficult ideas and make them entertaining. This may be why his YouTube videos have had 35m views. He is fast becoming the closest that academia has to a rock star.
When I hit a crossroad or difficult situation, I think about Peterson’s 12 rules. It’s a brilliant place to start, so enlighten yourself, then pass the book onto a friend.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed my May musings.
More next month,
NEVER BORED OF BORDEAUX
Last night I taste-tested the red wine for an upcoming 40th Birthday party. My friends and I went for a Bordeaux - Cháteau Moulin de Mallet 2015. It passed!
It's a refreshing bottle with lots of red fruit and low tannins, perfect even for a warm summer's day.
I can't get enough of a good Bordeaux red, it's my go-too on a pub wine list. You get such quality for great prices and it generally compliments both juicy meat dishes as well as spicy food. We had it along with a fish tikka with saag - bit rogue! But, it was so interesting that the spices really brought out the sweet juicy side to the wine.
At £18.99 for a magnum, it's a STEAL. Sometimes, one bottle between you on a Sunday night just ISN'T enough!
More: Shop House Of Townend
APRéS ENERGY! FROM THE MOUNTAINS TO LONDON
Ever been to Verbier? If yes, then you will be familiar with Aprés venue 'Le Rouge'. For those not been, it's a restaurant and bar with a panoramic view, DJ, gallons of Aperol, beer and Champagne, and people intent on having fun. After being lucky enough to spend a week propping up their bar in March, I was a convert.
When you've spent the day tackling the challenging skiing that VBR is known for, Le Rouge is the ultimate place to loosen up muscles, share a few bottles of rosé and bring out your very best GCSE French!
What makes it though, is the music. I was enamoured to discover that Le Rouge have created their very own Spotify playlist. All that alpine energy bouncing off my office walls puts me in such a good mood. Try it.
More: 'Le Rouge, Spotify'
HONEY TO THE BEE THAT'S YOU FOR ME... INTRODUCING MANUKA KITCHEN
Just two minutes walk from Fulham Broadway is this gorgeous little European bistro. I discovered it three years ago, and it's charm and delicious menu remain sublime.
Manuka Kitchen prides itself on ‘A love of food, wine, friends, and a knack for putting the three together in a way that’s unforgettable.’ . How refreshingly simple.
Just 22 covers, MK has a unique charm. With it's antique wooden tables, terracotta tile and white washed walls and fresh flowers on each table, the space is welcoming and relaxing. The scattered daily newspapers and magazines also make you feel right at home.
MK's spring menu is now up featuring dishes such as Seabass, cucumber milk and spring veg, a Roast Chicken Salad with Alfalfa sprouts and Pistachio and a Delica pumpkin with parmesan, pine nut sand smoked tomato sauce. Drool.
MK received only high praise from our table last week. Now, I am on a mission to find something as charming in White City.. hellllp...
More: MENU | INSTA
I discovered the Italian brand TWINSET through the magic of Instagram spam. I mean...ads...
Their rustic and casual yet glamorous designs caught my eye and I now want the lot!
'The collections are designed for a sophisticated woman with a strong character, who plays with her femininity by combining romantic applications such as sequins, tulle and embroidery, together with striking prints and bolder materials such as jeans, leather, studs and technical fabrics.
Here are a few of my favourite pieces from their range. If I work hard enough this month, perhaps I will treat myself to a piece for the summer.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed my April musings.
More next month,
News, views and stories from Rosie Florence, founder of Florence London. Comment and share and feel free to email her directly on firstname.lastname@example.org