One of the greatest benefits of living in London is getting to spend weekends walking around food, farmer and flower markets. 

I have always had a big interest in flowers and loved gardening. My interest has grown even more since living in the UK. I have totally fallen under the floral spell and this is why I started #JanouFlowers to share my passion. I love creating bouquets for my flat most weekends as I can’t live in a flat without flowers or plants. 

When I arrived in London I was living 10 minutes away from Columbia Road market, this is when I started every Sunday buying flowers to decorate my flat. 

Despite living on the other side of the Thames now, in Oval, I still go to Columbia road sometimes in the early morning as I love the vibe, the colourful stalls and the local shops on the side streets. 

Next to my flat, between Vauxhall and Battersea Park I also have the New Covent Garden Flower Market. I heard a lot about it but it’s only in the last month I’ve started going regularly. The first time I went there, I thought I’d arrived in heaven! 

Every Sunday from 8am to 3pm the quiet street of Columbia Road fills up with stalls selling fresh flowers and plants, and a lots of people!

I recommend to go between 8am and 10am as it tends to get crowded later on. I like early morning in Columbia Road because it’s peaceful, you can walk at your rhythm and you are not pushed by the crowd. You can also  pick the most beautiful  flowers and as a plus you get to listen the chant of ‘’Everthin’ a fiver!” from the stallsholders when they still have a good voice. 

Each season the stalls are different due to the seasonal fresh flowers.  
Spring: hyacint, mimosas, tulips, daffodils, ranunculus, roses.
Summer: peonies, sunflowers, roses, hydrangeas
Autumn: hydrangeas, lavender, roses
Winter: mistletoe, holly wreaths, thistle, eucalyptus, brassica, roses

Open Monday to Saturday from 4am to 10am just down Nine Elms Lane SW8 5BH, New Covent Garden is composed of 21 wholesalers and 10 florists.
They have the widest selection of foliage, fresh flowers, plants and sundries. 

My favourite stand so far are David Gibbs, Bloomfield and Goochild. All the stands are cheap, but be careful, they are all wholesale price, so make sure you anticipate the VAT on top. 

It costs £5 to enter the site with a car, but it’ also well connected with buses from Vauxhall.




The British Summer might not be the best, but on a hot day I like to make simple recipes such as carpaccio. Give me a mandolin and I could slice pretty much anything you give me. 

Recently I made two kinds of carpaccio, one savoury and one sweet. Both recipes are very quick to do and are very refreshing during this summer heat. I like to add a twist to my BBQ with original sides or desserts such as the following recipes.

Beetroot & ricotta carpaccio - serves 2 people

- 2 medium beetroots (different colour)
- 50g of ricotta
- herbs of provence
- balsamic glaze
- olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Wash the beetroot and place them still damp into some tin foil and close the foil tight. Place in a baking dish and bake them for 30-40minutes. They are ready when they are 'fork-tender'. Remove them and let them cool down.
You can prepare the beetroots a day prior to your meal and keep them in the fridge.
Slice the beetroot with your mandolin and arrange in different layers on a plate. Mix the 50g of ricotta with some herbs of Provence and sprinkle on top of the beetroot layers.
Seasoned the dish with olive oil, balsamic glaze, salt and pepper and store in the fridge and serve it chilled.

Orange, cinnamon and chocolate carpaccio - serves 2 people

- 3 medium oranges
- cinnamon
- 2 chocolate cubes

Peel two oranges and slice them using a mandolin or a knife into thin slices.
Place the slices on a plate in layers. 
Sprinkle some cinnamon and grate the chocolate cubes on top. 
Squeeze the remaining orange and use the juice for extra flavour. 
This carpaccio can be served chilled or at room temperature.

I paired on this occasion the orange, cinnamon and chocolate carpaccio with the new Nicolas Feuillate Graphic Ice Rose Champagne Ice Rosé. 
Usually this Champagne should be served on ice, but I just served it very chilled as I do not like the taste of melted ice cube/ water in my Champagne. 
This demi-sec coral pink coloured Graphic Ice Rosé has black cherry and Summer berry fruits aromas and hints of raspberry on the palate with a smooth pleasing finish. It complemented very well the fresh orange carpaccio.

Nicolas Feuillate Graphic Ice Rosé is available to purchase for £32 at John Lewis. They also have a Pale gold coloured Graphic Ice available for £30.



Recently I had lunch with my colleagues at a new restaurant in Clerkenwell. 'Luca' is located on St John Street (where the restaurant Portal was previously) and serves Italian-British cuisine. It was opened in 2016 by the head chef Isaac McHale and his partners Johnny Smith and Daniel Willis, who have also opened the michelin star restaurant Clove Club in Shoreditch.

From the outside the restaurant looks very small, but is pretty spacious in reality as there are several rooms at the back which are not visible from the street.
The first room has some tables for 4 people, a bar and a reception with an hostess. This place is ideal to sip some cocktails and share antipasti.
The second room has wooden tables with red leather seats and a view of the opened kitchen. Finally the last room where we had lunch was a huge veranda with large windows and brick walls. There is also an open kitchen at the back where you can see the team preparing dishes.

Our lunch began with some bread served with olive oil. The olive oil was delicious and it reminded me the one I tried when I was younger in Tuscany near Pescia. Then we shared some antipasti: a salad of artichoke with celery and Pecorino (13 £), and two portions of scallops served on Jerusalem artichoke purée with nduja (13 £ each dish). The team arranged for us free of charge a plate with three scallops rather than 2, so we had one scallop per person. We appreciated the attention.
The scallops were presented on salt. They were excellent and cooked to perfection with a smooth and delicious purée. On the other hand, I found that the salad of artichoke wasn't worth the price. It lacked seasoning and there was not a lot of artichoke.

As a main course, my colleagues ordered the Rump of Hereford beef (£25), the rigatoni with pork sausage, tomato, anchovy & mint (£11), and warm salad of winter vegetables, goat's curd with black truffle (£21). I opted for the pheasant and mushrooms agnolotti, served in a broth with slices of truffle. The broth was good and the agnolotti were perfectly cooked. I couldn't taste any pheasant in the dish and the slices of truffles didn't bring any flavour.
For dessert I had the apple crostata with custard (£8) while my colleagues tried the chocolate mousse (£9) and the pear and frangipane tart and rum custard (£8).

This restaurant is certainly in the running for a Michelin star, just like the Clove Club. You can feel this by the way the plates are presented and the attention which is given to the service by the team. Some of the dishes were perfectly executed but it wasn't necessarily good value for money as the portions were a bit small.
I will certainly come back to Luca for dinner to celebrate a special occasion as I think it will be totally suitable for this, but for a simple lunch it was a bit overrated and too formal.



Récemment je suis allée avec mes collègues au nouveau restaurant Luca. Luca se situe sur St John Street (où se situait le restaurant Portal), c’est un restaurant qui propose des plats Italien-British. Ouvert en 2016 par le chef Isaac McHale et ses partenaires Johnny Smith & Daniel Willis, qui fut aussi à l’origine de l’ouverture du restaurant étoilé Clove Club basé a Shoreditch.

Si de l’extérieur le restaurant semble petit, il est en réalité plutôt grand, composé de plusieurs salles qui ne sont pas visibles de la rue.
La premiere salle dispose d’un bar, de l’accueil avec une hôtesse et de quelques tables de 4 personnes. Elle est idéale pour siroter quelques cocktails et partager des antipasti.
Dans le prolongement il y a un couloir avec des tables et tabourets en hauteur pour accueillir des couples.
Puis la deuxième salle offre une vue sur une partie de la cuisine et dispose de tables en bois avec des banquettes en cuir rouge de type brasserie. Enfin la troisième salle, où nous avons déjeuné, est une veranda composée de grandes baies vitrées et de murs en briques donnant sur une cour intérieure. De cette salle on peut apercevoir une autre partie de la cuisine avec les chefs qui préparent les plats.

Nous avons commencé notre déjeuner par du pain servi avec de l'huile d’olive. Celle-ci était succulente, comme celle que j’avais dégustée dans mon enfance en Toscane près de Pescia. Nous avons partagé des antipasti: une salade d’artichaut cru avec du céleri et du pecorino (£13), puis deux portions de coquilles St Jacques servies sur un lit de nduja et de purée de topinambours (£13 par assiette). L’équipe nous a offert une assiette avec trois coquilles St Jacques au lieu de deux pour que nous ayons chacun une coquille. Nous avons apprécié cette gentille attention.
Les coquilles St Jacques sont arrivées servies sur du sel, elles étaient délicieuses, cuites a la perfection et la purée était lisse et savoureuse. Par contre, j’ai trouvé que la salade d’artichaut ne valait pas le prix annoncé, il n’y avait pas beaucoup d’artichaut et elle n’était pas assez assaisonnée.

En plat principal, mes collègues ont commandé les côtelettes d’agneau (£24), le rumsteak de boeuf (£25), les rigatoni au porc (£11) et la salade de légumes d’hiver au chèvre (£21). J’ai opté pour les agnolotti fourrés de faisan et champignons, servis dans un bouillon avec quelques copeaux de truffe. Le bouillon était bon et les pates étaient parfaitement cuites. Je n'ai pas retrouvé la saveur du faisan dans le plat, et les copeaux de truffes n’ont apporté qu’un coté décoratif au plat.

En dessert pendant que je savourais mon succulent crostata a la pomme servi avec de la crème anglaise tiède (£8), mes collègues ont dégusté une mousse au chocolat (£9) et une tarte de frangipane a la poire (£8).

Ce restaurant a surement dans l’optique d’attirer les guides du Michelin en vue d’obtenir une étoile tout comme le Clove Club. Cela se ressent non seulement dans l’assiette et dans les prix mais aussi car l’équipe porte une attention particulière au service qui est très traditionnel.
Certains des plats étaient parfaitement réalisés mais ce n’était pas toujours un bon rapport qualité-prix car les portions dans l'assiette étaient petites.

Je retournerai certainement chez Luca pour une occasion particulière ou un diner car l’ambiance, le decor et le service se prêtent parfaitement pour fêter un événement special. Mais pour un déjeuner sur le pouce entre amis ou collègues c’est un peu surfait et trop formel.

Bread & olive oil 
 Roast Orkney scallops, Jerusalem artichoke and 'nduja 
Salad of raw artichokes, celery and pecorino
 Warm salad of winter vegetables, goat's curd with black truffle
 Rigatoni with pork sausage, tomato, anchovy and mint
 Rump of Hereford beef stuffed with pancetta, kale and mushrooms 
Pheasant and mushroom agnolotti in broth
 Baked chocolate mousse and roast barley ice cream
 Warm apple crostata and custard
Pear and frangipane tart and rum custard
88 St. John Street
London, EC1M 4EH
Twitter: @Lucarestaurant
Luca Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Square Meal