Tag: Star

A Cozy British Pub With a Michelin Star

Photo by The Sportsman

The most serious food-lovers who visit Great Britain manage to make the pilgrimage down to Whitstable on the south coast (a ninety-minute train journey from London). Cab drivers at the station are used to ferrying diners out to The Sportsman, a pub with a Michelin star and some of the best food in the country.

The chef and owner, Stephen Harris, is entirely self-taught and his food truly is a “cuisine de terroir.” He cures pork from the pigs that eat in the apple orchards nearby and drags buckets of seawater up the beach to make his own salt. Over the years he has taken inspiration (and technique) from many French chefs, but in the last decade or so he has been learning from chefs in Scandinavia, Belgium and the Netherlands—and many of the top chefs from these countries make regular visits to The Sportsman.

Photo by The Sportsman

Some of his dishes are perfectly executed versions of simple British classics, such as roast pork belly with apple sauce; others are his own, dishes for which he has become well known, like slip soles in seaweed butter. Harris is obsessed with technique, but not out of cheffy posturing, only in the pursuit of better flavors.

He eschews fame so you won’t find him on the television or doing pop-ups in Lima (though he has just written his first book, The Sportsman). One of the most intelligent chefs I know, he truly cares about food and is happiest in his kitchen. Get on that train.

Do you have a favorite restaurant just outside of London? Tell us in the comments!

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Button, Star & Leaf Cut Out Sugar Cookies

Button, Star & Leaf Cut Out Sugar Cookies | Playful CookingButton, Star & Leaf Cut Out Sugar Cookies | Playful Cooking #sugarcookies #cookies #foodphotography

Continuing with the holiday season indulgence, I am now gearing up for all kind of Christmas cakes and cookies! Last weekend, I baked these Button, Star & Leaf Cut Out Sugar Cookies, along with my little helper. You have to pardon the terrible piping skills on the cookie, but I am assuring you on the taste.

Button, Star & Leaf Cut Out Sugar Cookies | Playful Cooking #sugarcookies #cookies #foodphotography

Button, Star & Leaf Cut Out Sugar Cookies | Playful Cooking #sugarcookies #cookies #foodphotographyButton, Star & Leaf Cut Out Sugar Cookies | Playful Cooking #sugarcookies #cookies #foodphotographyButton, Star & Leaf Cut Out Sugar Cookies | Playful Cooking #sugarcookies #cookies #foodphotography

After a fun Thanksgiving break, we are back to our routine and today the house feels very quiet. It was not easy this morning, starting with getting out of the bed to getting out of the house. While I am the lucky one to stay at home, there is still a boatload of laundry to finish, meal to cook and work deliveries to meet. Good thing I have these cookies to brighten my mood.

I baked these cookies over the weekend with my little helper. If you follow my Insta-story, you must have seen some glimpse! He had so much fun cutting those cookies and I was impressed at how careful he was. I feel cut out cookies are the best kind of baking with little toddlers. I am not good at piping, and so it went a little messy with the button cookies. As for the leaf, I made a quick frosting with orange color and gave Avyan my food styling brush. He absolutely loved it and now he wants to do it again.

Button, Star & Leaf Cut Out Sugar Cookies | Playful Cooking #sugarcookies #cookies #foodphotographyButton, Star & Leaf Cut Out Sugar Cookies | Playful Cooking #sugarcookies #cookies #foodphotography

The cookie dough comes together effortlessly and so was the rolling and cutting. I did keep the cut out cookies in the refrigerator before baking just so the shape retains. The key point while making these cookies is to keep the dough cold. It bakes to perfect soft and crumbly texture.

KEY points to hold the shape of the cookies:

  • Use good quality butter kept at room temperature, not melted or cold.
  • The butter should mix with the flour completely. If there were chunks of butter then it would melt when bakes and there by loose the shape.
  • Chill the dough before rolling and cutting, and also leave the cut out cookie for about 15 minutes in the refrigerator before baking.

Button, Star & Leaf Cut Out Sugar Cookies

Button, Star & Leaf Cut Out Sugar Cookies


  • ½ cup softened (not melted) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 egg kept at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt


  • In a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, beat the butter until soft. Then add the sugar and beat once again until light and fluffy. Add the egg and orange zest and beat until combined.
  • Now sift the flour, baking powder and salt and beat just until everything comes together into rough dough. Do not over beat.
  • Divide the quantity into two clear wrap and tightly wrap the dough. (I divide in two as it is easy for me to roll individual small portions)
  • Let it sit in the refrigerator for few hours. I kept it over night.
  • When ready to roll and cut out the cookies, make enough space in your refrigerator to chill the cut out cookies before baking.
  • To roll the dough, place the dough on a big parchment paper, and place another piece of the parchment paper on top and start rolling with gentle pressure. Roll it to 3/8” thick.
  • For the button cookies, I used a small 1inch diameter cookie cutter and then pokes the holes in the center using a plain round small piping tip.
  • For the star cookies, I used a small star cookie cutter.
  • For the leaf, I used these cutouts I got from Amazon (…)
  • Once the cutouts are ready, place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper on, and leave it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. (You might have to do it in batches)
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F and bake the cookie in middle rack for 8 minutes. Once done, take the cookie sheet out of the oven and leave the cookies on the sheet for 2 minutes. Finally remove the baked cookies on a wire rack and let it cool completely.
  • For frosting, I used store bought frosting for the button and star. As for the leaf cookies, I loosen the texture of the store bought white icing by adding little milk and then mixed orange food color to it.
  • Let the icing set completely before you store the cookies in air tight jar.



Copyright: Playful Cooking

Button, Star & Leaf Cut Out Sugar Cookies | Playful Cooking #sugarcookies #cookies #foodphotographyButton, Star & Leaf Cut Out Sugar Cookies | Playful Cooking #sugarcookies #cookies #foodphotography

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Easy, Cheesy Pasta and Stuffed Zucchini Star in This Roman-Style Dinner Party Menu

We’re partnering with Lagostina to celebrate the Italian Sunday dinner with stories, recipes, and videos about this special family tradition. Up first: Katie Parla, a Rome-based journalist, culinary educator, and author of Tasting Rome.

Although I grew up Italian-American in New Jersey, I didn’t have those big blowout Sunday dinners so well documented on film and television. By the time I was a kid, most of my extended family had left the Tri-State Area for the South, or headed out west.

My first sustained encounter with the Italian Sunday dinner came when I moved to Rome in 2003. Here, it’s called il pranzo della domenica and, to be sure, it’s a time for Roman families to gather. But perhaps even more significantly, it’s an opportunity for non-natives to get together and share the foods of home.

Back then, I lived with three university students from Abruzzo: Marianna, Pina, and Sara. Though their home villages were only a 90-minute car ride away through the mountains, Rome was a world away. But each weekend, a package brimming with carefully portioned and packaged foods arrived from a mother, aunt, or grandmother. Sometimes it was delivered by friends driving into Rome, and more than a few times it arrived, unaccompanied, by train. The idea of trays of simmered vegetables, meatballs, and lasagna traveling solo from Avezzano to Roma Prenestina station is still thrilling to me.

Regardless of how it got to Rome, the package’s arrival set in motion a flurry of events: water would be put on to boil pasta; meatballs and pork ribs and the sauce they were cooked in would be reheated in a warped aluminum pan; the table would be set with our mismatched dishes; wine would be poured. The pasta would be served first, dressed in the warmed-up sauce, and only once it was finished would the meatballs and ribs be divided among us. Not having an Abruzzese family to send me food—and having a microscopic kitchen not particularly adapted to cooking—I would always provide the wine and salad.

Zucchini does double duty in these two classic Roman recipes, prepared using Lagostina cookware.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

I may not have cooked Sunday dinner back then, but now that I have my own place I often do. I find myself drawing from the lessons of my roommates’ care packages. I love serving primi (in Rome, the pasta course) and secondi (protein courses) that connect with the season. In the winter they tend to be hearty affairs, like pasta served in a sauce simmered with oxtails, followed by the fall-off-the-bone oxtail segments.

In the late summer and fall, I lean heavily on produce and serve dishes like gricia (a classic Roman pasta condiment featuring guanciale, Pecorino Romano, and black pepper), enriched with the insides of zucchini leftover from making zucchine ripiene (I’ll get to that in a second). After all, there’s no sense in wasting the cored inside of the zucchini, which is suited to cooking in rendered guanciale fat until creamy. Then, in the Roman style, I cook the hollowed-out zucchini filled with a sort of modified meatball mix until they nearly fall apart.

My pranzi della domenica may not have the cache of trans-Apennine travel, but it’s comforting all the same.

In partnership with Lagostina, the premium Italian cookware brand that values high-quality materials and time-honored craftsmanship, we’re highlighting the #LagostinaSundayDinner with a new series all about the Italian tradition of Sunday dinners. Every Sunday, we’ll share go-to recipes from some of our favorite chefs and cookbook authors—they’re perfect for celebrating these casual, all-day affairs with friends, family, and delicious food.

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