Tenacity

You say I am
tenacious
too much
for my own good,
Holding firm
to all of my ideals
let them go,
I never would.
You say I am
persistent
unwavering
immovable
inexorable
in my existence
but because of that
you listen,
to help make sense
of you.
Here in my
relentlessness,
you
are understood.

@Elena Andrean

Originally posted October 2nd, 2015

https://elenaxtina.com/2015/10/02/tenacity/

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Drinking & Dining in London Hot-Spots

London. One of the most vibrant cities in the world and yet most of us can’t decide where to spend our lunchtimes, evenings or weekends. From drinking in the cocktail bars of Soho to dining in five star restaurants of Canary Wharf, (or grabbing a pizza from an ‘eat with your hands’ takeaway) it’s time we tapped into all that London has to offer…

After working for a company that opened my eyes to the world of client entertaining, I decided (without much self-persuasion) to explore some of the cities culinary kitchens, sky-high watering holes, scenic hot-spots and hidden gems to bring you some of the all the venues I have found to be perfect for socializing on a reasonable budget. 

Oyster Shed

Angel Lane, Monument

What to try: Pearl Barley and Wild Mushroom Risotto, Red Cabbage Steak, Crème Fraiche

Tucked away beneath new office builds, The Oyster Shed sits quaintly alongside the Thames. On approach it’s difficult to determine what you are walking into, but the inside opens up into a spacious mezzanine dinning area that is light, bright and airy. The floor to ceiling windows stream in the cities’ sunlight. Quoted as a Gastro-pub, the Shed over exceeds with it’s adventurous specials menu, extensive wine list and fabulous views of the river. The delicious flavors of the pearl barley risotto were both soft and rich, and the red cabbage steak unlike anything I had ever seen – all presented with perfect precision. The laid-back friendly atmosphere is perfect for a working lunch or casual evening drink, and definitely worth the hunt to find!

Book Here →

Jamon Jamon

Soho, Camden, Islington 

What to try: Mixta paella (seafood and chicken), Parrillada de Carne (meat barbecue) 

The authentic taste of Española found in London. Jamon Jamon offers a fantastic range of Spanish dishes with plenty of kick. The Meat platters and tapas plates are particularly impressive served in generous portions by friendly attentive staff. Emphatic with intimate tables its better suited for a dinner with friends that a quiet date, but the happy go lucky atmosphere makes you feel like you are amidst a Spanish fiesta. I would recommend trying the sangria, but they boast a varied wine collection too, and the waiters will usually suggest one for your meal choice.

Book Here →

Haz

Bishopsgate, St Pauls, Premier Place, Houndsditch

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What to try: Kalamar (Fried squid rocket and yoghurt sauce), Cevizli Kasarli Kofte (Grilled minced lamb with walnuts & halloumi cheese)

Turkish cuisine with a elegant twist. With all authentic ingredients, Haz turns a simple kebab into a meaty masterpiece.  The menu displays all the cultures classics including mixed meze platters, charcoal grills and a sizable selection of seafood including fried sea bass and grilled swordfish. The venues itself is stunning with a spacious dinning area that overlooks the professional kitchens and abundant wine cupboards. Genuine hospitality, scrumptious food and generous portions.

Book Here →

The Blues Kitchen

Camden, Shoreditch, Brixton

AITXyOzVHd7Sobc8SE1nEh_vjjhy8e2QiXFYWcZNurw-610x406What to try: Catfish Jambalaya (Pan fried catfish fillet & prawns served with rice & peas & a Cajun spiced crayfish sauce), Three meat BBQ.

A boasting blues bar serving “Cajun comfort food”! This lively kitchen plays host to several musicians/bands throughout the week that fill the venue with life and soul. Their ever changing ‘Burger of the month’ will entice you to choose the same thing over and over again. If you are feeling adventurous the menu offers Cajun delicacies or Texan BBQ all smoked by in-house smokers with a blend of hickory, oak, mesquite and fruit woods. With the atmosphere just as inviting as the food, this is a must-visit if you are looking for a night of smooth entertainment and a satisfied stomach.

Book Here →

L’anima Cafe

Appold St, Shoreditch

LanimaCafe045What to try: Agnolotti all’ anatra (braised duck raviolli)

Translated as ‘The Soul’, L’anima deliciously lives up to its name. As one of the leading Mediterranean spots in London’s city, it offers an experience that oozes sensuality. The perfect balance between food & drink, it offers a great wine selection and lots of Italian classics with a twist. Perfect for an evening drink or meal, L’anima boasts a beautiful bar area with elegant booths and low lighting for luxurious ambiance.

Book Here →

Buona Sera

Northcote Rd, Wandsworth

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What to try:  Linguine Allo Scogliolinguine with prawns, baby squids, mussels, cherry tomatoes, garlic and chilli

The family run Italian restaurant is the picture perfect embodiment of Mediterranean food, hospitality and lifestyle. Set in the middle of South London, Buona Sera is it’s own namesake offering authentic, cosy Italian evening where friends and families dine at large tables. Reminiscent of Sicily, the menu is made up of all cultural staples and a large selection of seafood. The linguine allo scoglio is a spicy melody of prawns and pasta in a rich tomato sauce, so stay away if you don’t like the heat…or alternatively cool yourself down with the restaurants amazing selection of gelato…chocolate, hazelnut, cappuccino, orange, lemon, coconut, vanilla, strawberry..the list continues!

Book Here →

Aqua Spirit/Aqua Kyoto 

Regent St

What to try: Green tea wasabi yuzu prawn tempura

Aqua Kyoto serves contemporary style Japanese food with a side of beautiful dining in an ultra glossy rooftop setting. This is the perfect place to go for a drink as the Aqua Spirit bar is adjacent to the restaurant.The quality of the sushi is exceptionally high with explosions of flavors and presented so delicately you are almost sad to ruin the plate. The cocktails menu is packed with all the classics and served in elegant new world style glasses, perfect for a high-end evening. The rooftop terrace overlooks London’s skyline, perfect for a summers night or an evening of entertaining.

Book Here →

Dirty Martini

St Pauls, Monument, Islington, Covent Garden

What to try: New Collection Dragon fruit & pomegranate martini, Espresso martini

Located in several spots around the city, Dirty Martini is the perfect place to mix it up in drinking terms. At the heart of London’s nightlife scene, the venue itself is perfect for an evening of drinking and sophisticated socializing with friends. With an array of cocktails included in extended happy hours and platters of finger food to choose from it makes entertaining in the city seem an easy breeze.

Book Here →

 More to Explore…

The Letter

The Letter

I. Martedi

Perhaps if I had chosen differently that Tuesday,
you would have chosen differently that Tuesday.

I keep dreaming about you touching my legs
on the train that night in December.

But I always wake and remember that you sit behind bars.
Now what chance do we stand.

Although I’m sure If I had let myself,
I would have learnt to bend over them backwards to get to you.

 

II. Mercoledi

It’s my simple thing,
remembering you in days.
The ones you were there, and the ones you were not.

Thursdays you would take off for me
and Fridays, after work
we would find a spot to go swimming at the beach,
drive home after midnight still wet in your car.

So you leaving mid-week, like you did
screwed with me like jet lag.
I wish you had waited until Sunday to get caught.

 

III. Giovedì

That’s when I picked up my pen to write.
Not about you at first, to you.

Everyone has a purpose. I felt like mine was to make you feel.
Everything everyone is too scared to.

And so I wrote from the heart.
I was scared too, least of all angry, just sad, because it was to you.

 

IV. Venerdì

Once I started I couldn’t stop.
I wrote from dark until light.

Stamp stuck and purpose filled. Self expression-ed out.
I felt everything I knew it would make you feel.

Freedom under the moonlight.

I sprinted to catch the 9am post. That letter had run me out.

But I was lighter on my feet, and mind.
Friday changed my life.

barley-chorizo-roasted-peppers (1)

Bell Pepper & Chorizo Pearl Barley

Ok so the next recipe I wanted to share with you is sort of an amended version of risotto. Various times in the year I try to make simple changes to the staples of my diet to see what effect they have – aka swapping rice for quinoa or pearl barley. I’ve tried both with chicken and hate them.. But pearl barley is perfect to use in a slow cooked dish like risotto.. So here’s my version… Again with some sweeter ingredients more suited to summer 😍

Ingredients
1 Chorizo Ring
500g Pearl Barley
2 white onions
3 Roasted Bell Peppers
2 garlic cloves
Olive oil
1 Chili
Paprika
1 Can chopped tomato
1 Chicken stock cube

*Not my image*
barley-chorizo-roasted-peppers (1)

Method

Chop bell peppers, drizzle with honey and olive oil and roast for 15 minutes.

Fry chopped Chorizo in a pan with olive oil, salt and pepper until it turns golden. Once browned, remove and set aside.

Chop onions and garlic and heat in a frying pan with olive oil.Once softer, add in the Pearl Barley, mixing well. Then add the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil

Season the pan with salt, pepper and one teaspoon of Paprika and leave to cook through on a medium heat for 40 minutes (checking every now and again that none of the ingredients are sticking, if so may need to add a drop of water).

Once soft, stir in the Chorizo and roasted peppers & season to serve.