Tuesday, 25 February 2014

February 2014 Favourites List

This has been a wet, cold and pretty miserable month, hasn't it? We've had an unbelievable amount of rain. My brolly is cursing me for taking a complete battering! If any of you have suffered over this period of fairly freaky weather, my thoughts are with you.

My working life has been frenetically busy too. Exam marking is a necessary evil of my job and it has taken a lot of time. You can't miss anything. Each student needs to be given full credit for every item which demonstrates their knowledge and understanding. So I've had to concentrate and put the necessary hours into careful and painstaking reading of my students' work. As a result, I've been disorganised, low in focus and have not been cooking as much as I would like.

My students will, at the end of this month, have exactly two months before their big knowledge exams, which are centrally set. That's enough time, if they start now to cover and learn everything they need to pass. 

I was a student once, and not a hugely talented one. I have my lazy streak, and I can be a real procrastinator. As a result, I always suggest a 6-8 week revision period to allow for all those days where your revision goes slow. Or you get distracted by friends or family and get nothing done. Or you spend a day on facebook instead of knuckling down. Or you stare at the page and nothing goes in.

Revision is exactly that: RE-vision. So the first thing a student needs to do is to ensure they have covered the syllabus once before making a start. I know that as a student I had to be honest with myself. I had to look over what I had studied and made notes on and identify the gaps. They had to be filled first. Then I had to ask myself which topics were the ones I had an incomplete understanding of - they were my next target. Then I could safely say I had studied the topics over the first time. Only once this process was complete could the true revision begin. 

Revision can be a tedious business, and it is always stressful. I hope you will wish my students well with theirs. If any of you have any advice or suggestions for them, please do get in touch and let me know. 

I am regularly tweeting tips for effective revision and study, which you can find by searching for the hashtags #revisiontips and #studytips. If they are of any use to any of you, I would be delighted.

I started a series of posts all about Vienna. So it is no surprise that this month's pictures are from my trip. Hope you like them!

The iconic Weiner Schnitzel

Blogs Worth Following:

http://vohnmcg.com/ Vohn's Vittles - lots of cooking and recipes

http://www.italiankiwi.com/ Authentic Italian cooking

http://thisisrocksalt.com/ Cooking and eating out - the Rock Salt blog


The humble Chilli Con Carne gets a makeover with some tempting high quality ingredients: http://metro.co.uk/2014/02/04/how-to-cook-the-ultimate-chilli-con-carne-4288936/

Feeling under the weather? Cold, cough or similar? Time for some Aadha cha - Ginger tea! http://cookingwithsj.com/2013/12/08/ginger-tea/

I really like Dishoom. the Bombay cafe style eateries in London's Covent Garden and Shoreditch. They serve authentic food which is a cut about the rest. Here is their Whisky Sour cocktail recipe.

Making "couscous" out of cauliflower. A sneaky way of getting kids to eat their veg? http://food52.com/recipes/21165-spice-merchant-cauliflower-couscous

Proper posh Valentines' day cooking by Mr Ottolenghi. Forget the steak & Black Forest Gateau! http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/feb/07/valentines-day-recipes-yotam-ottolenghi

Vegetarian and vegan easy lentil and veggie soup for cold days: http://www.getmecooking.com/recipe/simple-kitchen-sink-soup

I'm not sure Mozart used a mobile phone...

Yakisoba by Junya Yamasaki, head chef at Koya (a stir-fried noodle dish you can make for less than £5): http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jan/19/recipes-under-5-yakisoba-noodle

A south Indian style Cashew nut curry, in tribute to Vineet Bhatia Rasoi in London's Chelsea: http://www.thepasadenachef.com/2013/03/cashew-nut-curry-southern-indian.html

A speedy soup supper with the bold flavours of chilli and blue cheese (and broccoli, a superfood): http://metro.co.uk/2014/02/03/how-to-cook-broccoli-chilli-and-blue-cheese-soup-4285743/

My favourite colour is purple. But did you know purple fruit and veg contains anthocyanins which reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s? Here is a purple salad recipe to make the most of them!  http://familyspice.com/recipes/recipe/?recipe_id=581

I've been asked about what to do with whole Urad dahl. I'd say something very slow cooked. Dahl Makhani is a Punjabi classic. http://www.tarladalal.com/Dal-Makhani-%28-Punjabi-Recipe-%29-30900r
Alternatively, http://chefinyou.com/2012/09/dal-bukhara/ Dahl Bukhara.

Pan roasted cauliflower with some Sicilian influences: http://food52.com/recipes/24372-cavolfiore-palma-a-la-leah-pan-roasted-cauliflower

Articles/Know How:

I've reviewed Brixton Market's Kao Sarn restaurant at Snig's Kitchen. Here is a broader round up on Brixton Market: http://editer.com/food-drink/brixton-village/

French chefs call time on food photography in their restaurants... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-26189607

Forceful and passionate response to Edwina Currie on food banks by the Trussell Trust's Chair. http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2014/01/edwina-currie-is-wrong-about-food-banks/


A Separation (Iran)


When Rock Goes Acoustic (documentary)


Temples - Sun Structures

Heaven 17 - The Luxury Gap

Warpaint - Warpaint

Led Zeppellin - III

Viennese hot dogs with a hollowed tunnel for the sausage

Friday, 21 February 2014

Naschmarkt, Food Market, Vienna

"Naschen" is the German verb for "to nibble". So it should come as no surprise that Vienna's Naschmarkt is a fantastic place to find all manner of food. It is truly a nibbler's paradise! It is full of shops for buying ingredients, delicatessens, ethnic grocers, hot and cold food snack bars, take aways, restaurants and small bars for a tipple. (There is another story about how the market got its name, which suggests that it used to be called Aschenmarkt because of the ash wood milk bottles which used to be sold here, but that just doesn't fit as well, so I'm going with the nibbling if that's all right with you all!)

If using public transport, Naschmarkt's closest station on the U Bahn underground system is Kettenbrückengasse on the U4 line. An alternative is Karlsplatz Station which is served by the U1, U2 and U4 lines. It is not far, however, to walk from the city centre and is close to the Secession Museum. If you have trouble finding it, just ask someone where it is, because everyone who lives here knows where it is!

It is a large space, of a length of around one and a half km. If you want to explore it, I would advise that you allow yourself a good amount of time. If you love food and drink then you won't want to rush. Besides, you'll miss out on the fun and energy of the place if you have to march around quickly through a lack of time. I understand there are guided tours available of the market, but I'm more of a wander around and see what you stumble upon kind of person, so I didn't bother with one. It's up to you how you want to see the market, and a guide isn't really necessary, just follow your nose and what looks appealing on the day! Most of the traders speak English, and the restaurants all have a menu in English.

Naschmarkt is, apparently, Vienna's most popular market. We visited on a Saturday, and we can vouch for that fact. It was as if the entire city had come out to soak up the sunshine and atmosphere! Perhaps elsewhere the crowds of people would have resulted in chaos, but somehow here it is all very joyous and pleasant. It's a happy, friendly busy rather than a stressful and shoving busy. Locals and tourists alike wander around, shopping for food, eating, nibbling and drinking. 

The tourist board reckon there are 120 different stalls. I didn't count, so I take them at their word. There are so many stalls that I do think you need to consider your strategy. You either have to visit when hungry, ambling and eating as you go or you have to do a reccy, scope out the place and then home in on where you really want to eat. It depends on the size of your appetite or your belly and what your plans for the day are. 

The array of fresh fruit and vegetables in the market was incredible. I was so impressed. The variety beat almost any other market, shop or supermarket I've ever seen. It made me more than a little envious that we have nothing quite like it in London. What a joy it would be to be able to get such a diversity of fresh produce so easily and in one handy place!

A good selection of cuisines are represented in the Naschmarkt. You'll find Austrian food alongside the food of other central European countries, and going further afield, Turkish, Persian, Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese. Whatever your tastes, roam freely and you will find something delicious.

I heard that Anthony Bourdain featured a visit to Naschmarkt on one of his TV shows. He visited a charcuterie shop called Herr Urbanek, which he heartily recommendeded as a brilliant place for cured meat and cold cuts. I personally did not visit it, but pass this on in case you want to follow in Bourdain's footsteps.

Some of the stalls can be pricey. If you are on a budget, you may want to ask about the cost of items before buying. Check the quality before you pay. Markets anywhere in the world have a range of goods, going from really great to naff. This place is no different. 

We had a enjoyable afternoon just grazing, stopping off for a drink a couple of times and doing a bit of people-watching. Families came out together to eat, others met their friends. It was great to see so many people kicking back, enjoying food and having a good time. My idea of heaven.

On a Saturday, the far side of the Naschmarkt is given over to an eclectic flea market, or "Flohmarkt". It's a fun mix of second hand goods, although a lot of it is frankly old tat. Whether you visit this part of the market depends on how much you feel about flea markets and car boot sales. The food market begins to peter out into a clothes market before the Flohmarkt starts, so you can choose to call time on your visit once you hit the clothes section. 

The market restaurants and bars stay open late, so it's a great place for a late bite or for a night on the tiles. 

The market reflects the seasons, being particularly fun in December with Christmas trees and Gluhwein (mulled wine). Vienna is very cold in Winter, but it sure sounds like fun! Maybe one day I'll go back then... [drifts off into fantasy travel dream mode.....]

1060   Wien
Closed Sunday

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Where to eat in Vienna: my fave food places

Vienna is famous for its Imperial history, and extraordinary contribution to music. Baroque architecture fills its streets with a noble and dignified beauty. Authors and painters have soaked up its unique atmosphere before launching into inspired and inspirational creativity. And of course, Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychology, is a son of this city. For sightseeing, museums and concerts, this is a must visit city.

But what about food? 

I was delighted by the variety, quality and devotion to gastronomy I found in Vienna. It was a struggle to fit in all the places we felt we simply had to visit during our trip. Our list of restaurants, cake shops and cafes was substantial, to say the least. But, in my determination to eat my way across the city, we marched around with purpose. 

So here is my selection of my personal favourite food places in Vienna. Fuller posts on some of them will be coming to Snig's Kitchen, so come back if you want to know more about them!

WARNING: Many places close for the weekend. Very few places are open Sunday. Just so you know!

Dom Biesl

A "Biesl" is a traditional, simple, down-to-earth place to eat. Less a restaurant, more of a canteen or refectory. They typically serve down-home traditional Austrian cooking in basic surroundings, often wood panelled and plain. However, modern Biesl are becoming increasingly popular with the Viennese, serving slightly more sophisticated and contemporary versions of classic dishes in slightly less austere dining rooms. This restaurant, holding one Michelin star gave us a wonderful experience of fine food and great service without fuss or being pretentious. We would have gone back, but failed to realise they are closed in the weekends! 

Dom Biesl
Schulerstraße 4  1010 Vienna, Austria
+43 1 5120302 
Open Monday to Friday from 11:30 to 15:00 and 18.00 to 23.00
Closed Saturday, Sunday and holidays


Steirereck currently holds 2 Michelin Stars. It is also ranked 9th in the San Pellegrino list of the 50 Best Restaurants in the world. We booked a table at Steirereck roughly at the same time as we booked our flights, knowing that it is in demand. It was to be our special treat for our 3rd English wedding anniversary. As we counted down the months and later weeks to our trip, we didn't know what to expect, other than amazing food. 

What we got was one of the most memorable meals of our lives. Despite its accolades, status and reputation, nothing about the service was snooty. This was sheer class without any of the nonsense of eating at a 'fancy' restaurant. Smiles, chat and a little bit of banter from the staff made this a warm experience where you are not made to feel out of place. The food was off the scale amazing! The presentation was pure art. If you're not convinced that such a highly regarded restaurant isn't po-faced, check out the toilets - someone here has a sense of fun and humour!

Am Heumarkt 2A, 1030 Vienna
+43 1713 3168
Open Monday to Friday 11:30 to 14:30 and after 18:30


Everything is just peachy in the Manner shop! Seriously, everything is coloured in the signature peachy pink which screams out to the hungry customer to buy, buy, buy!

Josef Manner wanted to spread the joy of chocolate to the masses, his motto being "Chocolate for everyone" when back in 1890 he opened his first factory. The most iconic of all of the Viennese chocolates, the Manner Neapolitan wafers can be found throughout the town. Here you can buy larger packs and memorabilia. The crispy wafers are layered between hazelnut cream and can be broken into little manageable bitesized rectangles. They are simply delicious and highly addictive. 

I couldn't resist buying a big box to take home! (Sadly it wasn't quite as big as the one you can see me carrying.)

Stephanplatz 7
10am to 9pm, open all week (surprisingly)

Tian Vienna

Imaginative, innovative and gourmet Vegetarian restaurant, with nods to Ferran Adria and Heston Blumenthal for their take on 'molecular' gastronomy. The colours and presentation have to be seen to believed as photographs don't do it justice. Flavours which you can hardly believe can come from simple fruits and vegetables. 

Tian Vienna
Himmelpfortgasse 23, Vienna 1010
+43 1 890 4665
Open Tuesday to Saturday 12:00 to 24:00
Closed Sunday, Monday and holidays


Functional brödchen (open sandwich) eatery off the main shopping street of Vienna, this is a great place to pause and refuel before more sightseeing. Authentic and hugely popular with the Viennese, you can pretend you've been coming here for years after your first reconnaisance visit! 

Dorotheergasse 1
1010 Wien
8.30am-7.30pm Monday-Friday
9am-5pm Saturday
Closed Sunday


The cakemaker to the Hapsburgs has their historic and sumptuous shop and cafe located just outside of the gates of the Hofburg Palace. The royals did not have far to go for delicious cakes! This is one of the best places to sample the Sachertorte, if you are interested in trying it (more about Sachertorte below). You can see the staff hard at work making these superb creations on your way to the seating upstairs as the kitchen is exposed via giant glass windows. 

1 Kohlmarkt 14
Open daily from 09.00 am – 7.00 pm


The sweetmaker to the Hapsburgs, Gerstner's used to make the candied violets to which Empress (or Kaiserina) Elizabeth (known affectionately as Sisi) was particularly partial. In Vienna, her portrait with luxurious flowing hair bedecked with stars made of hundreds of diamonds is found everywhere. Gerstner's have been around since 1847 and their lovely little cafe is right in the centre of Vienna, serving up several wonderful cakes, including Vienna's famous Sachertorte. However, I recommend the Gerstner torte, a special creation, exclusive to the place!

1 Kärntner Straße 13-15 1010 Vienna
+43 1 5124963
Open Monday to Saturday  8.30 - 20.00
Open Sundays and holidays 10.00 - 18.00


Famous and fabulous food market. A 1.5km stretch of delis, ingredient shops, cheese and charcuterie shops, ethnic grocers, snack bars, take aways, cafes, restaurants and bars. Possibly the best food market in the world!

1060   Wien
Open 6 days a week and into the night
Closed Sunday