A Slice of London http://asliceoflondon.co.uk My London life one slice at a time Thu, 05 Jul 2018 10:25:19 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 126768648 Smart health with Thriva and VITL http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/smart-health-with-thriva-and-vitl/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/smart-health-with-thriva-and-vitl/#respond Wed, 04 Jul 2018 22:58:11 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=608 Over the last couple of years smart health has become a huge market, from wearables and fitness trackers to home blood and DNA tests to help in preventative medicine there are so many players. I’ve been using an Apple Watch for nearly two years now as my fitness tracker but recently decided to check out some of the other products on the market aimed at health.

For the past few months I’ve been using VITL and subscribed to their monthly recommended vitamins and supplements package. After downloading the app from the AppStore and creating an account you’re presented with a questionnaire asking about your day-to-day habits with questions about diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol etc, which ideally you go through every few months so they can identify anything that changed and recommend new supplement packs. My initial few packs were to cover common multivitamins, supergreens, Co-Enzyme Q10 and a supplement to help clear out toxins, I definitely noticed a difference from taking them but still felt like I was lacking in energy.

I saw an offer for Thriva, which is a subscription based home blood test to check vitamin and enzyme levels every few months. I noticed on VITL that I could actually upload the results I would get from the blood test, so this week I got my first test and I was instantly impressed with the service. The speed of getting results and the amount of data was amazing. I chose the baseline test which tests cholesterol, liver function, Vitamin D, iron levels and B12, once they have the results from your first test they give you add-on options based on things that came up from your test.

The package that arrives in your letterbox from Thriva feels very Apple. Inside you will find the following:

  • Sample collection tube
  • 1xAlcohol swab
  • 1xMoist wipe
  • 2xPlasters
  • 3xSpring loaded lancets
  • 1xPlastic protective casing
  • 1xReturn form
  • 1xReturn envelope

The whole process is pretty simple and painless, you use a lancet to prick your finger tip and then drop a few drops of blood in to the vial up to the line, for me this was about 8 drops. Pop it in the return envelope and post it to their labs and then in my case I received an email 24hrs later saying they had received my sample and would get back with my results within 48hrs. To my surprise they actually only took a couple of hours to get back to me with my test results. The results alerted me to a few things to keep an eye on and a couple of areas I was deficient like B12 and Vitamin D with notes from a Dr on things I could do to improve these areas.

It’s all pretty interesting (although slightly scary) stuff, with lots of information on what each area means and what affects these enzyme, protein or vitamin levels. The next step is where it got really interesting for me though. I uploaded my blood test results to my VITL account and half an hour later I had some more Dr’s notes on things to watch out for and my recommended monthly vitamin pack had been changed accordingly to improve these areas of my health. Due to the vitamins that had come back as low I now had immune defense and energy vitamins added to my month pack to help boost my B12 and Vitamin D.

VITL also sell a DNA test which can tell you things from whether you have the fat gene, how you metabolize caffeine or take to certain vitamins based on your genetic makeup. This also has a direct effect on your monthly subscription, helping make sure you get a more tailored and personal monthly supplement pack which will change over time if you retake the questionnaire or provide future blood test results. If you’ve ever done a DNA test with someone like AncestryDNA like I have then you can actually upload your DNA from them to use this feature without needing to pay for another test kit. After uploading I had my report within the hour and again it had made a couple of changes to my recommended monthly supplement pack.

I’m looking forward to seeing what impact my new supplements and changes to my lifestyle, due to all this information, have on my health over the next few months. Hopefully when my next test is due in September I’ll be seeing a lot more green on my charts rather than amber.

If you want to try out Thriva for yourself head to the site via my referral link where you’ll get 50% off your first test. If you’re interested in trying out VITL as well then get in touch with me here and I can send you a referral link to get a free 2-Week Trial worth £20. I hope you found this review useful and you too end up as interested as I’ve become in these preventive medicine services.

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Urban Village Fete http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/urban-village-fete/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/urban-village-fete/#respond Sat, 19 May 2018 21:36:06 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=599 If you’re looking for something fun to do this Sunday (20th May) for all the family then down to Greenwich Peninsula for the yearly Urban Village Fete curated by Wayne Hemingway. I’ve been the last two years which have attracted over 25,000 people and I can’t wait for it again this year.

Urban Village Fete is a yearly one day event with a mix of arts, design, music, craft workshops, marketplaces and talks hosted by BBC Radio London’s Robert Elms. The festival always ends with a 2hr set from the amazing Gilles Peterson, which always creates an amazing and electric atmosphere to end the day.

The event is right outside North Greenwich station and The O2 from 11-7pm and amazingly its free, so get yourself down there.

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Park it in the Market – Greenwich April ’18 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/park-it-in-the-market-greenwich-april-18/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/park-it-in-the-market-greenwich-april-18/#respond Fri, 27 Apr 2018 11:43:30 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=582 Last night I headed over to my first Park it in the Market event in Greenwich market and had a great time. If you’ve not heard of it its an event held after the market closes for the day where people can bring along their classic cars, hot rods and bikes for other people to enjoy while drinking a beer or a nice warm cup of tea/coffee and listening to live music.

Its great to be able to get up close to these cars, from Chevrolet’s to Lincolns to Jaguar E types and Ford Mustangs. There is something for everyone and this showed in the eclectic crowd that was there, people from all ages packed out this after hours event. One of my highlights was chatting to an owner of a VW Beetle who bought it new 52 years ago and could tell you every little detail on how he kept it in such immaculate condition.

They hold these events on the last Thursday of every month so I definitely recommend heading down if you ever get a chance. In the mean time here are some of my photos from the evening.

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The Grinning Man http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/the-grinning-man/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/the-grinning-man/#respond Sun, 08 Apr 2018 18:27:59 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=478 If you haven’t already been to see this gothic masterpiece and adaptation of Victor Hugo’s L’Homme qui rit then make sure you do it soon as it enters its final weeks at Trafalgar Studios, now extended for 3 final weeks until 5th May. Other than knowing this show had amazing puppetry, from the same team that worked on Warhorse, I didn’t know much about it but I loved every minute when I saw it a couple of weeks ago and it left the majority of the audience on their feet applauding when it reached its spectacular ending.

L’Homme qui rit fits with one of Hugo’s popular themes seen in his other popular works such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, whereby a man with a deformity shows up the society he’s living in. The difference here is that the main character, Grinpayne, is not born with his deformity but is the victim of an attack as a child. The early story is told through childhood puppets of the two main characters Grinpayne and Dea and throughout there is an amazing wolf, which all feel almost as alive as the rest of the cast. Despite the tragic premise this show is full of wit and many one-liners and the brilliant clown Barkilphedro, breaking the show up and making it much more of a tragicomedy. I laughed a lot more than I thought I was going to.

Trafalgar Studios is a really small theatre so its even more amazing that the cast of 16 and impressive sets all fit, but the sets are cleverly designed so that what spends a large chunk of the show as a circus cart spins round to be a royal bedchamber. Some parts of the show the cast even spill out in to the auditorium making it even more intimate and adding to the spectacle. Add to this an amazing song list of around 30 songs which are enchanting and often hummable, I’m still humming “Stars In the Sky” a few weeks on. 

So what are you waiting for, book your tickets while you still can here

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Creme Egg Scotch Eggs http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/creme-egg-scotch-eggs/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/creme-egg-scotch-eggs/#respond Thu, 29 Mar 2018 08:47:39 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=466 As soon as I saw the recipe for Creme Egg Scotch Eggs from Omm Nomm being shared on Facebook I just had to try it and as its Easter week I thought I’d share the recipe incase any of you want to give it a go. I doubled it up as I was making for my workmates so this recipe is for 12 eggs, just halve the recipe if you making a smaller batch.

I’ll warn you now, expect a serious sugar overdose but its so worth it for this sweet take on a savoury classic.

Creme Egg Scotch Eggs
Serves 12
A sweet take on a savoury classic
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Cake mixture
  1. 350g Softened unsalted butter (room temperature)
  2. 350g Caster sugar
  3. 8 Medium eggs
  4. 240g Self Raising Flour
  5. 1tsp Baking powder
  6. 120g Cocoa powder
Buttercream
  1. 240g softened unsalted butter
  2. 240g Icing Sugar
  3. 40g Cocoa powder
Other Ingredients
  1. 12 Creme eggs
  2. 600g Milk chocolate
Equipment
  1. Food processor
For the cake
  1. Start by preheating your oven to 160°C and line two 8 inch cake tins with greaseproof paper.
  2. Add butter and sugar to a large bowl and cream until light in colour and fluffy, this usually takes me about 3-4 minutes with an electric hand whisk.
  3. Now add the eggs one at a time and beat well.
  4. Add in flour, baking powder and cocoa using a sieve to reduce large lumps in the box. Fold the ingredients in to the mixture until you have a consistent, smooth batter.
  5. Pour the mixture in to the prepared cake tins and bake for around 25 minutes, until the cake springs back when you touch it or inserting a skewer in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Leave the cake to cool on a cooling rack, leaving you with some time to clean up from the first part of this recipe ready for the fun bit.
Decoration
  1. Once the cake has cooled gradually add it to a food processor and crumble until the cake mix resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add butter, icing sugar and cocoa to a bowl with the crumbled cake and mix again until you have a firm dough, it should be similar in texture to shortcut pastry dough.
  3. Prepare a plate or tray with baking paper and take a handful of dough at a time and mould around each creme egg until you have a fist sized ball. Place each egg on to the prepared tray/plate and put in the fridge to chill until firm.
  4. Whilst they are chilling in the fridge grate 200g of chocolate into a bowl or plate large enough to roll the eggs in. Melt the remaining 400g of chocolate in another bowl over a pan of hot water, once melted leave it to cool slightly.
  5. Once the dough balls are firm remove from the fridge and dip into the chocolate mixture making sure the entire surface is covered, then roll in the grated chocolate and place back on the tray to cool. Place your scotch eggs in the fridge for 10 minutes to help them set and then they are ready to serve.
  6. Not that these need any more chocolate but if you wanted to help with the scotch egg theme further you could melt some white chocolate to make dips and colour them red & yellow to resemble tomato ketchup and mustard.
Adapted from Omm Nomm
Adapted from Omm Nomm
A Slice of London http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/
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My First Month With Gousto http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/my-first-month-with-gousto/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/my-first-month-with-gousto/#respond Thu, 08 Mar 2018 13:39:37 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=416 For a long while now I’ve wanted to try one of the home delivery food services so I can inject some variety in to what I cook and also have less waste, after a bit of research I set my heart on Gousto and I’ve not been disappointed. As a single person and therefore someone that generally cooks for one my initial worry was having enough options that I could cook and at least freeze the other portion. Gousto seemed to have a lot of options with 20+ recipes available each week and good value for money.

I went for the 2 meals per fortnight option, you can be quite flexible with your subscription, weekly/fortnightly or monthly are all options and you can choose to upgrade each meal individually from 2 to 3/4 people. Here’s a quick overview of my thoughts on my first 4 recipes.

Beef Keema pie with turmeric potatoes

This Indian inspired dish was super tasty, the timings maybe took me a little longer than the recipe card but it was simple and totally worth it. I think turmeric and coriander roast potatoes might be my new favourite alternative to have instead of rice with a curry.

Chicken peperonata with cheesy rosemary potatoes

I often cook Italian food but I don’t think I’ve ever had what can only be described as an Italian stew. As if a side of slow cooked peppers in a tomato sauce with chicken seasoned with oregano wasn’t enough, the cheeses rosemary potatoes just top this quick but melt in your mouth dish off perfectly.

Baked cheesy fish with potatoes and courgette salad

I’m always keen to add more fish to my diet so when I saw this recipe pop up and my mum was visiting I thought I’d try it and I wasn’t disappointed. This dish consists of basa fish in a cheesy breadcrumb coating and served with a courgette and tomato salad, simply but delicious. So good in fact my mum asked for the recipe 😉

Chicken with mushroom and tarragon orzo

I’d never tried orzo pasta before but I’m a big fan of risotto and especially chicken served with mushroom and tarragon so I had to try this recipe. With the leek, chicken stock and cheese thrown in to the mix with this recipe as well the taste was amazing, especially given it was so simple to cook.

I’ve loved all of my dishes from my first month with Gousto and I can’t wait to add more to my repertoire going forwards. Not only have all the dishes been tasty and simple, the ingredients are super fresh and perfect portion sizes so no waste but the other massive bonus is not needing to be in when the box arrives. Even if the box arrives after I’ve left for work in the morning everything is fine if I open it after getting home and collecting it from my concierge.

Although this isn’t a sponsored post if you want to check out Gousto for yourself head over to their site here and feel free to use my referral code.

 

 

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Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/orchid-festival-at-kew-gardens/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/orchid-festival-at-kew-gardens/#respond Fri, 02 Mar 2018 14:29:45 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=363 Kew Gardens is always a great way to visit and spend some time on a weekend so last Sunday I headed there for a day out and to check out the annual Orchid festival, running from 10th February to 11th March. If you get chance to head over before it ends then you definitely should.

The Thai themed festival is held in the Princess of Wales Conservatory and is a feast of colours, Thai culture and amazing plants and flowers. From elephants to houses covered in orchid displays this festival really is a treat for the eyes and a perfect excuse to get out of the cold we are experiencing at the moment.

For more information you can book tickets or check out the website here.

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The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/the-painted-hall-at-the-old-royal-naval-college-in-greenwich/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/the-painted-hall-at-the-old-royal-naval-college-in-greenwich/#respond Sun, 18 Feb 2018 18:16:16 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=270 Every 80 to 100 years works are carried out to conserve and restore the painted hall in the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich to its former glory from the 1700s. Until September this year you can experience it close up with a guided tour and climb 60ft up to see the ceiling from a platform just 2m below it. Having done it this weekend I can definitely recommend this extremely rare opportunity to get up close and personal with this ginormous and intricate art piece, you’re so close to it you will notice details that won’t be seen again until the next time they decide to undertake conservation work on this masterpiece. 

The painted halls ceiling and walls were conceived and carried out by Sir James Thornhill between 1707 and 1726 at the time when the United Kingdom was created and became a major power in Europe. The centre of the piece is comes in the form of William III and Mary II who were on the throne at the time, surrounded by hundreds of characters representing rivers, zodiac, mythical entities and historical references. Overall this piece covers an area of 40,000 square feet and is with out doubt one of the greatest examples of baroque artwork art in Europe.

Tours are around an hour in length and cost £11, with proceeds going towards the costs of the restoration. Costs are around £9million, of which they’ve raised about £7.5million so far so the more people take this once in a lifetime opportunity to see this piece of art the more people have helped towards restoring this artwork for future generations. The tours are really informative and you’re all provided with a mirror to help you see the ceiling without looking up all of the time. See if you can identify the UK’s rivers from their character representation, find the references to the relationship with Europe at the time or spot any of other the numerous Easter eggs that Sir James Thornhill hid in this artwork.

For more information and tickets book up here.

 

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Halloween Red Velvet Brain Cake http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/halloween-red-velvet-brain-cake/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/halloween-red-velvet-brain-cake/#respond Tue, 31 Oct 2017 00:37:16 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=260 This Halloween I thought I’d challenge myself and bake something creepy but new, so when I came across How To Cake It’s brain cake recipe I had to give it a go. Here’s the metric adapted recipe I  used to make my cake. Using a red velvet cake as its base it is then coated in an Italian meringue buttercream, decorated with fondant and then to finish coated in raspberry jam. This is one delicious brain.

Halloween Red Velvet Brain Cake
A delicious but gory brain cake, perfect for spooking out work colleagues or taking to a Halloween party.
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Red Velvet Cake
  1. 170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 60ml vegetable oil
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  4. 500g castor sugar
  5. 3 eggs, at room temperature
  6. 2 container red no-taste gel colour
  7. 450g self raising flour
  8. 2 tablespoons cocoa
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 350ml buttermilk
  11. 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  12. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  13. 8" hemisphere cake tin
Italian Meringue Buttercream
  1. 200g granulated sugar
  2. 60ml water
  3. 4 large egg whites
  4. 227g unsalted butter, room temperature
  5. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  6. Electric whisk
  7. Sugar thermometer
Decoration
  1. 1.5kg white fondant icing
  2. Red icing colouring
  3. Yellow icing colouring
  4. 1 jar seedless raspberry jam
For the cake
  1. Heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan).
  2. Prepare a hemisphere tin by greasing and lining with greaseproof paper. I find it best to use 1-inch strips from one side of the tin to the other, gradually going around the tin until covered.
  3. Whisk together the dry ingredients of flour, cocoa and salt and set to one side.
  4. Add the butter, vegetable oil, vanilla and sugar to a bowl and beat until well blended (around 5 minutes).
  5. Beat the eggs in one at a time.
  6. Add the red food colouring.
  7. Add the flour and dry ingredients alternatively with buttermilk, beating until combined. (Add dry ingredients in 4 stages and buttermilk in 3).
  8. Add baking powder to a small dish, stir in vinegar and then beat in to cake batter for 10 seconds.
  9. Pour batter in to prepared bowl and bake for around 1hr40 mins (reduce slightly for fan assisted) or until a skewer comes out clean.
Italian Meringue Buttercream
  1. Bring sugar and water to the boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Place egg whites in a bowl and when the sugar hits 230°C on a sugar thermometer start whisking your eggs, I used a medium speed with my electric mixer. Make sure not to over beat, whites should become stiff but not dry.
  3. When the sugar reaches 240°C remove it from the heat immediately and pour straight in to the egg whites. Taking care as the sugar is very hot, mix on a high speed.
  4. Whip the mixture until no there is no heat left in the bowl, it should feel like its room temperature to touch.
  5. Add the butter gradually and beat until spreadable (around 5 minutes).
  6. Finally beat in the vanilla, and don't try to resist take a little taste. How light and delicious is it?
Preparing the brain
  1. Using a serrated knife carve the sides of the cake and start shaping in to a brain shape, use a model or pictures for reference if it helps. To help with the overall brain effect cut out a dividing line down the centre of the brain and take the cake in a little at the bottom.
  2. Coat in a thin layer of buttercream and chill.
Adding the detail
  1. Coat the cake in another thin layer of buttercream to help the icing stick.
  2. Colour your fondant with a few drops of red icing colouring and a tiny bit of yellow, this should create a flesh like colour. I found it easier to colour around 250g of fondant at a time.
  3. Take a random amount of fondant, roll to around 1cm diameter and then lay on the cake in a random free flowing pattern and repeat to gradually cover the outer surface of the cake and create the brain tissue. Try to avoid the two hemispheres touching if you can to keep the definition between both sides of the brain. Using a ruler in the groove you cut earlier may help with this and to stop fondant from either side sticking to the other.
  4. Make sure the fondant covers the cake all the way to the bottom.
  5. Finally using a brush coat the cake in generous layer of seedless raspberry jam making sure to get in to all of the grooves.
  6. And thats it you should hopefully have a gruesome but tasty brain cake to tuck in to, enjoy!
Useful extra tools
  1. Spatula for spreading buttercream
  2. Paring knife to help shape and sculpt the fondant
  3. Ruler
  4. Brush
Adapted from How To Cake It
Adapted from How To Cake It
A Slice of London http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/
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Streatlife at Alexandra Palace http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/streatlife-at-alexandra-palace/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/streatlife-at-alexandra-palace/#respond Sat, 22 Jul 2017 10:57:22 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=238 Over the summer each year there are 4 weekends at Alexandra Palace, or as its better known Ally Pally, packed with street food, pop-up bars and live music. This weekend (22nd/23rd July) is one of them, I popped by a few weeks ago to check it out and wasn’t disappointed especially given the glorious London weather that weekend. If the weather does take a turn for the worse there is also plenty of space inside.

From jugs of Pimms to tiki bars to a gin popup with more gin varieties than you can shake a stick at there is something for everyone at Streatlife, accompanied with a soundtrack of classic tunes and an amazing relaxed vibe. I’d wanted to try a Popdog for a long while so I went for the funnily named Jamaican Me Horny, a chicken hot dog was something different,it tasted great, and I loved the kick of the jerk sauce. Other options included a Dirty Dog – beef dog with chilli, cheese and jalapeños or Clinton’s Lovechild – pork dog with caramelised onions, pickles and sauerkraut. My friend Holly went for some Filipino food which was a really tasty curry. Other options for food can be found on the Streatlife website but theres all the usual suspects such as pizza, waffles, burritos, seafood, fried chicken, churros, paella, the list goes on. Basically there is something there for everyone 🙂

Music comes in the form of everything from DJ Yoda to brass bands performing classic dance hits or steel drums. Whenever I’ve been theres never a shortage of people up dancing in front of the stage. So if you’re looking for an afternoon of great music, amazing street food and a wide selection of cocktails and drinks get your self down to Ally Pally this weekend.

For more information on Streatlife check out the website here. Its a great afternoon/evening out. 

 

 

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