menu for hope 4


menu for hope is an initiative by pim at chez pim to raise money for the united nations world food programme’s school lunch programme in lesotho.

pim has chosen the school lunch programme because, as well as providing food for the children which keeps them alive, it keeps them in school. importantly, the programme buys from local farmers which in turn helps them and the local economy.

last year over $60,000 was raised for charity and this year, again, i am keen to do my bit and get involved. find out more about how the event runs here, but in essence you buy a virtual raffle ticket for $10 (pim’s based in the usa so all monies are in us dollars) for the chance to win the prize of your choice.

the prize that i am offering, which i hope appeals to you, is a customised foodie day out in london. with me acting as organiser, host and guide!

depending on what aspects of london’s culinary abundance you are interested in, we could spend some time visiting the world-famous borough market, soho’s china town or tooting’s asian shops and markets.

or maybe you’d prefer to visit some of the fabulous food-halls in our famous department stores, stopping off at some of their in-house food destinations – laduree at harrods or obika mozzarella bar at selfridges.

or maybe we should explore the capital’s chocolate shops?

it’s all up to you! let me know what you fancy and i will do all the research and create a special day just for you.

the small print:

  • you will have to cover your costs when in london, apart from travel around the city (i will provide travel cards that cover the area we will visit).
  • you’ll have to get yourself (or a friend if you are giving this to someone else as a gift) to london at some point before 1 december 2008, on which date this prize expires. maximum of 2 people to attend.
  • the day out will comprise c4 hours of shopping, eating and exploring.
  • i will cover the cost of coffee and cakes (or equivalent) to keep our energy supplies up.
  • the date we choose is obviously dependent on my availability (i’m not cancelling any holidays!).

donate here for your chance to win this (the reference is uk04), or one of the other amazing prizes – cooksister lists details of all the uk prizes and pim has the total list. you must make sure to check the terms and conditions for the individual prizes before you bid, as some will come with restrictions regarding where they ship to or how long the prize is valid for.

how to bid for a prize:

  • go to the donation page on first giving.
  • make a donation! each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. please specify which prize you'd like in the 'personal message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. you must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code—for example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for uk01 and 3 for uk02. (please use the double-digits, not uk1, but uk01. the code for my prize is uk04).
  • if your company matches your charity donation, please remember to check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.
  • please also check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win. your email address will not be shared.

check at chez pim on january 9 when results are announced, to see if you have won!


galvin bistrot de luxe, london w1

when i started a new job earlier this year i discovered my new boss was a foodie. his favourite restaurant is galvin which, as a result, has been on my list of places to try since january. last weekend we finally made it!

galvin serves modern french food in a relaxed but smart bistro setting. the restaurant was busy and buzzy and seemed to be full of people who were regulars or there because they knew the food would be good. which it was, really good. i am so pleased that we finally visited.

i started with a lovely, richly flavoured but quite light pressed terrine of guinea fowl, ham and foie gras. this was served with a spoonful of a delicate apricot-coloured quince chutney which was delicious (i am a little obsessed with quince at the moment so perhaps it’s not surprising i liked this!). david’s beetroot, goats cheese and mache was a perfectly judged salad with particularly flavoursome goats cheese. our friends hamish and sade had tuna carpaccio with quail eggs and endive, roquefort and walnut salad respectively. i had little tastes of both and they too were delicious, particularly the tuna which was sparklingly fresh.

once it came to main courses there was no more sharing across the table. i don’t think this was intentional, more that we each become absorbed in our chosen dishes and were quite happy not to try anything else as nothing was lacking. at least this is what happened with me and my confit pork belly with braised red cabbage, chestnuts and apple compote. the pork was full of flavour and the dish was a real pleasure to eat.

we all decided to indulge with pudding. i chose oeuf a la neige with praline. this dish resembles meringue mixture which has been poached rather than baked. served with a light vanilla custard and pieces of toffeed praline this was a lovely light way to finish my meal. having said that, one mouthful of david’s apple tarte tatin saw me ready to order an extra portion – the sticky treacley apples atop light buttery pastry was superb and will be my dessert of choice when i return to galvin.

galvin bistrot de luxe

66 baker street, london w1ud 7dj

t - 020 7935 4007

menu prix fixe - £15.50 at lunch or £18.50 between 6 and 7pm.


autumnal chicken and butternut squash lasagne


lasagne is a favourite meal when the weather is cold and something warming and comforting is required. traditional lasagne, or a veggie version, are regular meals for us at this time of year but i fancied trying something new and have been thinking about different takes on the dish.

this, coupled with the fact that we needed to use up various things before going away to paris saw the creation of a chicken and butternut squash lasagne which was stashed in the freezer until this week.

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roasted stuffed butternut squash with goats cheese


well, december is here and many of us are starting to think about the festive season and all the parties and celebrations ahead of us. one such person is meeta whose monthly mingle theme is “traditional feasts.”

i don’t celebrate Christmas, or any other feasts, so am exempt from all the madness and rushing about. i won’t shout about it, but i actually find december quite peaceful as everyone else is distracted and i can avoid a lot of the mayhem with a quiet “christmas isn’t my thing” excuse.

however an excuse for a party or a special meal is rarely something i’ll walk away from so here is my offering for meeta’s gathering – a roasted stuffed butternut squash with goats cheese.

this would be a good vegetarian option for a festive meal and it can easily be made vegan by omitting the goats cheese. if you need a wheat-free option try the version i made with black rice earlier this year. seasons greetings!

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bang bang chicken!


chicken thighs are always in my freezer and a regular choice if i don’t want to have to think too much about what to cook. i love to marinade them overnight (lemon, garlic and herbs or harissa paste being two favourites) and then roast them to accompany a salad and some good bread.

however familiarity is not always a good thing so i decided to branch out this week and try nigel slater’s bang-bang,-it’s-bonfire-night-what-can-i-feed-to-the-hordes chicken with black-eyed beans casserole recipe.

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