To say that I was blown away by my weekend in Lisbon might be an understatement. Having only spent one particularly unmemorable holiday in the Algarve many years ago, my expectations of Lisbon were reserved. But from the moment I stepped of the plane and was greeted with the most incredible light, followed by three days of walking through a sensory overload of colours and beauty both old an new, it was clear that Lisbon was the design destinations of my dreams. The highlight, outside of lunch at A Cevicheria (thank you Joanna Brennan for the recommendation) and consuming a years supply of Pasteis di Nata from Manteigaria was A Vida Portuguesa. A shop specialising in all thing Portuguese from speciality foods and their aspirational packaging to stationary, games, homewares and of course tiles. With three destinations all offering slightly different collections it is a must visit on your Lisbon getaway.
This inexpensive, indispensable piece of kitchen equipment is the secret weapon of cookie success. With swift scooping of each batter it allows for perfectly even sized cookies time after time. No more batter covered fingers or the need to be particularly adept at the 2 spoon scoop method. And it allows the cute balls of raw dough to sit in the freezer ready to bake for any emergency cookie needs.
I am aware of the frequency with which I wax lyrical about local, seasonal food, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and revel in the imports. Its the 80/20 rule right? I do buy this incredible New Zealand peanut butter locally so I hope it at least counts that I walk to to the shops to buy it (and anyway peanuts are hardly indigenous to the UK). I first discovered Pics at Maltby Street Market, but luckily it is now stocked at my local speciality delicatessen, Panzers where you can buy just about anything you never thought you needed and now cannot live without. We do keep a regular stock of what seems like an endless variety of nut butters in this house, but this one wins the peanut category hands down.
The 17 year old Pavoni coffee machine has pride of place on my kitchen counter. It is the first thing you see as you walk in, and has its own designated space far away from the rest of the crowded collection of kitchen machinery that lives at the other end of the worktop. And while it still consistently produces multiple excellent coffees a day for me with perfect foam (not the milk kind), I still go quite far out of my way at least once a week for what I consider to be London’s best cup. Greeted by the best of all chalk boards, always with something tempting from the in house kitchen at the counter for breakfast, lunch or just a little pick me up, and consistently good coffee with just the perfect milk foam, Kaffeine is the place to go. There are only 2 venues (funnily enough around the corner from each other) and they are worth travelling across town for. And of course while I am there I can pick up my favourite beans to enjoy at home.