It was just a matter of time when you think about it. With London priding itself on its coffee savvy and present generation of coffee roasters, baristas and independent cafes, it was inevitable that someone somewhere would ask the question- what can we do with all that coffee grind? Enter Bio-Bean, a new UK-based start-up that is turning used beans into green energy. It would seem that in London alone over 200,00 tonnes of coffee waste are produced each year. Bio-Bean collects and converts this waste into carbon-neutral advanced biofuel (both biomass pellets and biodiesel), selling it to London businesses to power buildings and transport. If you think this is an extraordinary idea, you are not alone. Bio-Bean has been endorsed by heavyweights such as Ed Daniels (Chairman of Shell), Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (food writer, chef) and London's own, Boris Johnson (Major of London). So when you next drink your latte, feel good that you are potentially contributing to efforts to make London a green city. To learn more about Bio-Bean, watch their video here.
“YOU don’t have to ride a horse to be a cowboy” says Johnny Hoxton of Band of Bandits Jerky. Creator of this new British jerky, he’s bringing this all American classic to London using natural marinades and organic beef.
“Once you’ve tasted the real thing, you can’t go back” is how he describes the experience of eating real jerky. Essentially an air-dried meat, it was food for the trail, made for and eaten by cowboys. While most commercially produced jerky is preserved with nitrates, preservatives and artificial flavours, traditional jerky was 100% pure beef.
Having tasted the real thing in the States, John decided to make his own. For six months, he experimented at home, sharing the results with friends, including South African workmates, and his neighbour -Eddie Ruffett, a stallholder at Maltby Street and now his business partner. Everyone agreed that it was the best jerky they had ever tasted even the dieheart biltong lovers.
I'll be honest - I'm a coffee addict from way back dating from the Italian stove top of my student days to my current use of a FREUD french press. So my recent discovery of Talkhouse Coffee was more than a pleasant one as this is an independent cafe more than dedicated to a decent brew. A relative newcomer to W11, it is all that a good cafe should be. It offers a small but excellent selection of coffee. The staff are passionate, knowledgable and award-winning baristas, and there's a tempting selection of morsels to entice but not detract from the main event - the coffee. Expresso are ordered by the ounce - 1,3,5,8 in a gesture that a true coffee drinker will appreciate. At the brew bar, single estate coffee come into its own with a selection from Workshop Coffee, Square Mile, James Gourmet and Tate Roasting. As for the cafe, it is pure industrial minimalism: lots of wood, clean lines, uncluttered. It works.
A welcome addition to the Ladbroke end of Portobello Road.
275 Portobello Road, W11 1LR. Tel. 020 7221 8992
Hrs: Tue - Fri, 08.00 - 17.00; Sat. 09.30 - 19.00; Sun. 09.30 - 17.00.
One of our first blog entries here at London Food Essentials was about Stuart Carey's ceramics. We fell in love with his pieces when we first saw his work at Ceramic Art London, Royal College of Art back in 2013. Each piece of tableware is beautifully crafted from a palette of muted blues, creams and white. No two pieces are the same, as each is lifted from the wheel whilst wet, allowing individual movements to define the finished object. Stuart has now extended his range into light wave and you can see him at work at The New Craftsman where he has a short-term six week residency. The New Craftsmen, 34 North Row, W1K 6DG
LIKE the perfect chocolate assortment, Alexeeva & Jones is just full of hidden surprises. Owners Gareth and Natalia are trained chocolateurs and their experience, passion and knowledge is everywhere from the design of the store to their selection of award-winning truffles, pralines, ganaches and bars from over twenty-three countries. The staging is exquisite – tantalising displays of chocolate boxes and packaging, ordered lines of truffles and pralines, a small salon for tasting and indulgence. The wonderful Maria will take you on a tour of the different chocolates, highlighting the origin, region, taste and texture of the selection on offer. There are names that you will know such as Valrhona of France and Amedici of Italy but Alexeeva & Jones offers the opportunity to discover new emerging chocolatiers such as Marou. This is Vietnam’s first chocolate artisian specialising in single-origin local beans as well as others such as Duffy’s Chocolates based in Lincolnshire. Sample one of Paul Wayne Gregory’s ganache ingots. More Jackson Pollock than neo-classical, they are instantly recognisable by their flamboyant appeal. There is also Alexeeva & Jones’s own chocolates: the perfected balanced gin and lemon truffle comes highly recommended. Finish your visit with a hot chocolate and then go straight home and join their connoisseur tasting club for your monthly sample of pure indulgence.
297 Westbourne Grove, W11 2QA. Tel. 0207 229 1199.
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