Michael and I are both from Sydney, Australia where we were good friends for many years. Fate brought us together in London in 2012. We both moved relocated and it wasn’t long until our friendship would take an unexpected turn, and we were engaged within a year. London is a unique and exciting place to live. We both share the same passion for food and travel and we have so much fun exploring the city we now call home!
Being close to Nottinghill and Portobello markets, we do all our shopping there on Saturdays, often riding our bikes and filling up our baskets and back-pack with food provisions. Portabello Markets is famous for antiques and clothing but it is the fresh produce and the interesting vendors that make it our favourite. The stall holders are all very proud to explain where their produce comes from, so you are assured that everything you buy is as fresh as fresh – straight from the farm.
We have been fortunate to travel to Spain, Italy and Morocco this year, going to amazing restaurants and attending cooking classes. Each trip we come back home with an assortment of new goods and inspired to get in the kitchen and replicate authentic dishes like Paella at home.
Coming from Australia where there is strong emphasis on multicultural cuisines, we also like to cook Asian dishes and most of these ingredients are easily obtainable in London, all except kaffir limes leaves which only come frozen in the UK – one of my favourite ingredients for our Thai curries.
Michael and I have an interesting dynamic in the kitchen. Michael is very methodical and strictly follows recipes, measuring everything down to the 1/8 teaspoon (no exaggeration), whereas I’m more of a Jamie Oliver cook. I somehow manage to start off with a recipe but then I suddenly think, we need a bit more chilli or a tad more palm sugar – let’s just say I’m more experimental but somehow, in our different ways, we manage to create something special.
To counter balance our contrasting cooking methods, and because we are extremely competitive people, we have a running joke about who is playing head chef. This highly coveted position (which means you get to give all the cooking orders for the evening) is fought over every time we get in the kitchen. This funny battle we have, usually carried out with a glass of wine in hand, is how Michael and I unwind at the end of a busy day.
While London has become our home-away-from-home, there is something about the Australian dining scene that we will never be able to replace. The fresh, seafood-focussed produce and the stunning waterfront dining destinations, coupled with atmospheric laneway tapas bars and eclectic cafes, mean that Sydney will always be our real home.
Yolanda de Groot