Monday, 28 May 2012

Pork Ribs and Beans in a Sticky BBQ Sauce

I was doing my daily shop in our local supermarket and was scrounging around in the reduced meat section and I came across a rack of ribs, which I just managed to grab before another person. Could have been fun having a tug of war over £2.50, but not this time.

Now that I had got them I was actually at a loss at how to cook them, whether to marinade the rack whole or divide them up. I remembered seeing a recipe in my favourite recipe book Good Housekeeping Cooker Book, my food bible, and this is based on that recipe.

I marinaded the ribs for over three hours, but you don't have to do as the finished products is such as good. If you can't get any sun-dried tomato purée normal tomato purée will be fine.

  • 1 rack of ribs or 8 pieces
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4tbsp light muscovdar sugar
  • 1tbsp French mustard
  • 4tbsp sun-dried tomato purée
  • 150g (5oz) passata
  • 4tbsp malt vinegar
  • 4tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 568ml can dry cider
  • 2 x 410g cans black eyed beans, drained
  • 4tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • (serves 4)

Cut the rack into individual ribs and trim any excess fat off the ribs and put to one side.

Pre-heat the oven to 210c(190 fan assisted)410F/gas6/7

In a roasting tin and the chopped onion, chopped garlic, sugar, mustard, sun-dried tomato purée, passata, vinegar, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and mix all together

Place in the ribs into the mixture and stir together. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Take out oven and turn the ribs over and cook for another 30 minutes, until crisp and brown
Take the tin out of the oven and pour in the cider and stir into the sauce, scraping any sediments on the bottom of the tin. Add the drained black eyed beans and cook for another 15 minutes.

Garnish with the chopped flat leaf parsley.

Serve with rice or vegetables.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Al Hamra Review

kafta yoghurt

Occasionally I have sat down at a restaurant and thought I should leave because I feel it is not going to be a good experience, which is exactly what I felt when we sat down at Al Hamra I at 31-33 Shepherd's Market n Mayfair.

The outside tables were set-up for 6 people and there were four of us and our waiter started to move us toward and table where two people were already sitting, but there was no gap between the tables and I said no, as this was not Wagamamas. The waiter moved us towards an empty table without a smile but with a look of disdain as if to say who are we to decide were to sit.

From there it went down hill. The spirits were being charged at £7.50 and I asked if they were single or double measures and our waitress didn't know, but also didn't offer to find out. Whilst looking at our menu we noticed a small note on the front cover of the menu saying there was a minimum spend per person of £25 excluding drinks. Now I appreciate with outside tables that they don't want people to take up seats to have coffee, but what a cheek to say a minimum spend. It meant you had to have a starter and a main course, because there was only one dish, Dover sole, that was more than £25. There was a discussion about whether we should leave or stay, but we decided to stay. A plate of crudities was brought to our table which was colourful and fresh. We thought it was a nice gesture, until much later when we got the bill we saw that we paid £2.50 per person as a cover charge for this, oh this also included some flat bread.
kibbeh maklieh
We ordered three starters, falafel (ball or patty of chickpea deep fried), kibbeh maklieh (ground lamb meatball with spices) and fatayer (spinach, pine nuts and onion in a pastry) The falafel and kibbeh where warm and tasty with a nice hint of spice, both had a crispy coating from the deep frying and were not greasy. The fatayer pastry was soggy and you could only taste the onion in the filling as the spinach and pine nuts were tasteless.
I ordered samakeh harrah (baked trout with tomato sauce) and my friends ordered kafta yoghurt (spiced diced lamb with yoghurt), kafta antabieh (spiced ground lamb on a skewer and bbq'd) and veal escalope. The trout had been filleted and was moist, tasty with a wonderful pinkness to the flesh, but the sauce was totally overpowering and destroyed the delicate flavour of the fish. The veal escalope was over cooked and too dry and my partner said it was very bland. The kafta antabieh was well cooked with wonderful aromatic flavours. The kafta yoghurt was also tasty and the lamb was fresh and well cooked.
veal escalope
After we finished our meal the dishes were left on our table for about 30 minutes and we ended up moving them to the spare two seats on our table. Eventually the staff got the hint and removed them.
kafta antabieh
The staff were miserable and standoffish. At one point I went into the restaurant to use the toilet. I asked a member of staff were the toilets where and he just ignored me. I politely but forcefully asked him again telling him not to ignore me and he just pointed to some stairs, although his colleague did apologies. The only saving grace, regarding the staff, was our last waiter, he was very polite and witty, but by then the damage done.

The restaurant must be doing something right because it's been established since 1984, so you can't argue with it's longevity, especially for a restaurant in fickle London. Just because they are located in Mayfair, a very expensive part of London, doesn't mean you can treat people like something the dog dragged in. We all agreed we would never go back as there are much better Lebanese restaurants in London, whose food and service is much better and at cheaper prices. Our total bill came to £196 for 3 starters and 4 main courses with no wine, but with 10 beers and 2 barcardi and cokes, which we all felt was far to expensive for what we received. There is a better middle eastern restaurant around the corner from Al Hamra, calledSofra where the food and service are much better.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Baked Cod with Chorizo and Butter Bean Stew

Like a lot of English people I am always talking about the weather, as the quote goes “if you don't like the English weather, wait a minute”. But yesterday the weather was great, it was hot and sunny all day, but had a downside, as it was humid and airless and made for a difficult night, well for me anyway. So you might think it a bit odd that I had a stew, as you associate a hot steaming stew with cold and wet miserable nights, but this dish was perfect for the heat

This recipe is based on the Angela Harnett recipe from her book “A Taste of Home”, RRP £25. I'm not really sure you can call it a stew, but it is very tasty and a dish that is going to become popular in our house. As you gently fry the chorizo, it releases it's wonderful flavours which gently infuse into the warming butter beans and the wilting lettuce leafs add a light crispy bite.

I used Cod in our recipe, because as usual, our local supermarket didn't have everything I wanted, like Halibut. You can use any firm white fish and you can either grill or place it in the oven, this recipe is based on placing it in the oven. If you want a little extra heat you can use a chorizo that is called piccante, which has some chilli in the sausage. You can also use any kind of gem lettuces, I used red gems, because again our supermarket didn't have any baby gems.

2 ripe tomatoes
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 100g/4oz chorizo, diced into small cubes
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced (optional)
  • 400g/14oz can of butter beans, drained and washed
  • 4x130g/5oz cod fillets (or any white fish)
  • 1 bunch of spring onions (scallions)
  • 2 baby gem lettuces
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 2tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • (serves 4)

Pre-heat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4

Cut the tomatoes into quarters and with a spoon remove the seeds and core, then dice into smaller pieces.

Place 1tbsp of olive oil into a frying pan, heat gently and add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the diced chorizo and fry for 5 minutes. The oil in the chorizo will slowly release and add a wonderful flavour in the frying pan.

Add the chilli (if using), butter beans and the diced tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Place the fish onto a non-stick tray (I used a silicon based baking mat) Brush the fish with the other tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the fish into the oven and bake for 7-10 minutes or until it's cooked

Once you have placed the fish into the oven, place the lettuce and spring onions into the frying pan and stir together.

Add the parsley for the last 3 minutes of cooking.

Serve this is a fresh green salad. I quickly create one, using advocado, cucumber, celery, watercress, red gem lettuce, cress and made a lemon and Dijon mustard dressing.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Potato and Watercress Soup

It's great to see the sun, but that means that I have no excuse to not do some gardening, damn. I had to come up with an excuse  and quickly to get out of it and decided to make some soup which took me ALL afternoon. Although I did manage to sit in the garden to have a G&T whilst the soup was cooking. I couldn't do any gardening as I need to stay by the kitchen so I could keep checking on the soup and stop it from burning – that's my excuse and I am sticking by it. I see the weather is going to be good again tomorrow, so I will have to find another recipe for tomorrow, any ideas people??????

The great thing about any soup is you can use any ingredients and it will nearly always work. It's also very hard to get it wrong and this soup so simple that even I couldn't cock it up.

You don't need to peel the potatoes because it add an earthy flavour and it will increase the amount of fibre in the soup.

    • 25g butter
    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
    • 2 large potatoes, unpeeled and diced
    • 85-100g watercress
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1litre vegetable stock
    • 4 tbsp crème fraiche (optional)
    • (serves 4)
Heat a pan and add the butter and oil. Once the butter has melted add the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the diced potatoes, watercress and bay leaf and stir into the onion mixture. Cook for a few minutes and then add the vegetable stock.

Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.  

Once the potatoes are soft blend all the ingredients together and allow to cook for a few more minutes.

Serve in bowls and place a tablespoon of crème fraiche into each one.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Oxtail Stew

This might sound odd to you, but not for me – “I love this cold wet weather, I want more” is that odd or stupid, actually don't answer that. But it's a perfect excuse for me to keep having some great slow cooked stews and casseroles and this recipe takes 4 hours to cook and is gorgeous. Luckily for me I've found a butchers that sell a whole tail and then cuts it up either in small or large parts and it's a lot cheaper than supermarkets that sell a few pieces in a lot of plastic.

4 hours is a long time to cook, but it's well worth it. The bone marrow slowly releases from the bone and produces a wonderful flavour. As we all know the longer the meat is cooked the more tender it becomes and because it's on the bone it gets a lovely gelatinous texture. Just writing this is making wished I'd made more. This is not the healthiest of dishes, but worth doing a session at the gym to work it off.

  • 15g/2tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1.5kg oxtail
  • 60g/4tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 900ml/1½ pints of beef stock
  • 150ml/¼ full bodied red wine
  • 15g/1tbsp tomato purée
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 2 medium carrots, washed and diced
  • 450g/1lb parsnips, washed and diced
  • 250 button mushrooms
  • parsley to garnish
  • (serves 4)

Place the flour in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Put in the oxtail and mix together so that the flour has covered the pieces

Put the oil in a heavy based pan and bring to a high heat and add a few pieces of the oxtails at a time to brown it off. Once browned out take out of the pan and put to one side and repeat until all the oxtails has been browned.
Turn down the heat and add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes or until they are soft and starting to brown. Add any left over flour into the pan and mix together for a minute

Add the beef stock, red wine, tomato purée and lemon zest and bring to a rapid boil.

Once boiling put the oxtail back into the pan. Stir and bring it back to the boil, then reduce the heat so that the stew is simmer and cook for two hours, occasionally stirring it and skim off any fat that floats to the top.

Add the carrots, mushrooms and parsnips and any extra seasoning you require and cook for another 2 hours or until the oxtail is very tender.

Serve with mashed potatoes or rice and garnish with chopped parsley

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Almond and Orange Torte

The last time I attempted to bake anything was the 29th April, which was a complete disaster. One thing it taught me though, I won't be entering The Great British Bake Off any time soon, maybe in about 10 years time. This also wasn't perfect because I forgot to dust the torte with the icing sugar, but at least it didn't collapse :-)

This time I decided to make something a lot easier so that I can prove to myself I can bake. Also a confidence boos to try and attempt something a bit harder next time. If you are new to baking then you can't get a recipe much easier than this and apart from the boiling the orange it's very quick to put together.

  • 1 medium orange
  • 3 medium eggs, room temperature
  • 225g/8oz golden caster sugar
  • 250/9oz ground almonds
  • 7.5g/½tsp baking powder
  • icing sugar to dust

Place the orange in a pan and fill with water until covered. Bring the water to a rolling boil and leave the orange to boil for about an hour.

Take a 21cm/8” cake tin and put in some screwed up grease proof paper. Screwing up the paper makes it easier to place into the cake tin

Pre-heat the oven to 180c/350f/gas 4

Remove from the orange from the pan and allow to cool. Once cooled down cut the orange in half and and remove any pips. Put the whole orange into a blender and whiz until you have a purée and put to once side

Take a bowl and put in the eggs and caster sugar and with a whisk together until thick and pale. Fold in the ground almonds, baking powder and the orange purée.

Pour the liquid into the cake tin and place in the oven and cook for 40-50 minutes. To ensure it is cooked place a skewer into the torte and if it's clean when removed then it is cooked.

Take it out of the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Take out of the cake tin and place on a wire rack and allow to completely cool down and then dust with icing sugar.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Dry-Spiced Potatoes and Cauliflower (Aloo Gobi)

I am a big fan of cauliflower and the spices used in aloo gobi compliments the vegetable perfectly. This is a great side dish for any curry, because it's healthy because it is low in fat and high in vitamin c. So, I decided to make aloo gobi as a side dish for my curry night and it was perfect with the tarka dhal and lamb and spinach curry.

This recipe came from a the best ever curry cookbook, which I have mentioned many times, see below if you want to purchase it.

  • 450g/1lb potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 30ml/2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5ml/1tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped (keep seeds in if you like a heat kick)
  • 450g/1lb cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 5ml/1tsp ground coriander
  • 5ml/1tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5ml/¼tsp chilli powder
  • 2.5ml/½tsp ground turmeric
  • 2.5ml/½tsp salt
  • fresh coriander chopped for garnish

Put some cold water in a pan and add the cubed potatoes and boil and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain them and put them aside

Add the oil to a pan and bring to a medium heat and add the cumins seeds and fry for 2 minutes, until the begin to splutter. Then add the chilli and fry for another minute.

Add the cauliflower florets to the spices, gently fry and stir occasionally for 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes, spices and salt. Stir altogether and cook for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked, occasionally stirring.

Serve in a bowl and add the chopped coriander for a garnish.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Lamb with Spinach Curry (Dilli ka saag gosht)

In my previous post I made a tarka dhal as a side dish with a curry I was making and for the main dish I made lamb with spinach. This is a full on flavoured main dish, with wonderful hints of herbs and spices and because it's cooked for a minimum of 90 minutes the meat is juicy and tender. It is best to make the day before to give the herbs and spices as much time as possible to enhance the flavour of the dish, but fine to make on the day. But it should be cooked for a minimum of 90 minutes, but it's well worth the wait.

This recipe is based on Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooker, which was first published in 1982, which I purchased in 1992. The book looks dated but there are some great recipes in there. When I purchased the book it had sold over 500,000 copies and thanks to the internet can still be bought. Although Madhur has written many other books which might be a better option.

One good tip I learnt from the book was how to stop the yoghurt from splitting. Beat the yoghurt before using and then add to the mixture a small spoonful at a time and ensuring it's completely mixed in before using again.

  • 4tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 whole black pepper corns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2.5cm ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 450g/1lb diced lamb (you can use beef if you prefer)
  • 1tsp cumin seeds, grounded
  • 1tsp coriander seeds, grounded
  • ½tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp plain yoghurt, well beaten
  • 450g spinach, washed and chopped, you can use frozen but must be thawed out first
  • ½tsp garam masala
  • (serves 4)

Put the oil into a pan and bring to a medium heat. Add the peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves and cardamom pods and stir together for a few seconds.

Add the onion, ginger and garlic, stir and fry until the onions begin to brown.

Add the meat, ground cumin and coriander and cayenne pepper and cook for a few minutes stirring occasionally.

Using a small spoon take some yoghurt and add it to the curry and stir it completely into the mixture. Repeat this until you have added all the yoghurt.

Once the lamb as a brown look add the spinach a handful at a time and stir until the leaves have wilted and then repeat again until all the spinach has been used.

Cover the pan and turn down the heat and cook for a minimum of 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the lid for the last 15 minutes and add the garam masala and cook until nearly all the liquid has disappeared and you are left with a tasty thick green sauce.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Tarka Dhal

It's been a while since I've made an Indian curry and I decided not to hold back. I am making a lamb and spinach curry, with aloo gobi and to top it off my favourite tarka dall. This actual post is about making the dhal and the other two are coming in future posts.

Tarka dhal is a standard dish whenever I order a curry, whether a home delivery or in a restaurant, I also use how good the tarka dhal is on whether I will use or go back to them. If the dhal is flavourless, soupy with no tasty onion and garlic flavour then I not only complain but I don't go back. A great dhal should be earthy with a smoky flavour with crunchy onion, garlic and chillies.

Tarka is what is put on top of the dhal, which should be a combination of sliced onion, red chillies, garlic with onion and mustard seeds pan fried in hot oil and then topped on top of the dhal. If you want you can make the dhal the day before, so it has time to infuse all the ingredients into a great flavour and all you need to do is complete the tarka on the day, which only takes 10-15 minutes.

This recipe is loosely based on the great Best-ever Curry Cookbook, by Mridula Baljekar. It has over 150 curries from India and Asia. I’ve made a lot of recipes fom the book over the years and can highly recommend it. You can buy it from the link below or just google it and you could find it cheaper elsewhere.

This recipes serves 4-6, I actually pour the dhal on top of my rice.

  • 50g/20z/¼cup chana dhal or yellow split peas
  • 600ml/1pint/2½ water
  • 115g/4oz/½cup red lentils, washed
  • 5ml/1tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 5ml/1tsp garlic, crushed
  • 2,5ml/¼tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 fresh green chillies, chopped
  • 5ml/1tsp salt

  • 30ml/2tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2,5ml/¼ mixed mustard and onion seeds
  • 4 dried red chillies
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1tbsp chopped coriander

If you are using dry chana dhal or yellow split peas, soak them overnight.

Place the chana dhal (yellow split peas) into a large pan, add the water and bring to the boil, Once boiling, reduce the heat and add all the other ingredients and stir it all together and cook for a minimum of 20 minutes.

Mash the lentils, with the back of a spoon until you have thick soupy consistency. If the mixture looks to dry add some more water, but if it looks to thin cook longer to reduce the amount of water.

To make the tarka, heat the oil in the pan and fry the onions. After 5 minutes add the mustard and onion seeds and stir together. Then add the red chillies and sliced tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Pour the tarka on the dhal and garnish with the chopped coriander

Saturday, 12 May 2012


If you are like me and have a small kitchen you will probably have a small freezer too and meat and fish comes in stupid packaging and takes up more space which in turn reduces the amount of items you can store.

One day my partner, (who I think is sad because he loves watching QVC) ordered the Foodsaver V420. When he took it out of the package I thought what a complete waste of money. Oh, how I had to eat my words, as it's one of the best kitchen gadgets in our house!

It allows you to vacuum pack almost any food to put in your freezer. It helps stop freezer burn because it takes out all of the air and the (specialist) plastic bags are very durable and don't spilt, which also helps the food last even longer. As it takes out all the air, it reduces the amount of space the food (or rather the packaging) takes up in the freezer.

Look at the salmon, chicken and sardines pictures below to see how well it helps to reduce space.

There is one little downside in that if your meat has bones sticking out it can put a hole in the bag and so wont vacuum. The machine will still seal the bag though and stop the food from getting freezer burn. The bags can also be put in the dishwasher and reused.

The Foodsaver is also very easy to use- just put the food into the bag and then place the end of the bag into the Foodsaver. Push the sealing bar down and in less than 30 seconds the food is vacuum packed and sealed.

Unfortunately they don't make this model any more, but you can still purchase foodsavers, which I recommend. They are not cheap, but well worth the expense. I have a couple listed in my online shop, under Kitchen Utilities. They are not the same model, but they are made by the same company. As I said they are not cheap, but you can also Google the models to see if you can buy cheaper ones.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Chinese Pork Belly

I am very stuck in my ways when it comes to cooking pork belly,I like to roast it or pan fry it. I know it's rather boring but I just love crispy crackling, the fat and the firm most meat with no added flavours. Even in restaurant I will order it only if it's plain. But I read some great posts on other food blogs regarding pork belly and thought it was time to do something different and decided to make Chinese pork belly. I have always been a nervous of doing Chinese style dishes, because of the lack of knowledge of the ingredients and how to cook with them. I remember going to my brothers who made an amazing Chinese meal from scratch, even marinating the duck for over 24 hours to make crispy duck pancakes and was very impressed with the prawn toasts, spare ribs and all the other dishes that I have always thought I could never do that.

I did the usual recipe search on the internet and decided the easiest was a Nigel Slater recipe that was published in 2009, you can see four other pork belly recipes on this link, which also sound tasty. The dish came out very crispy and full of flavour. Although from the picture they looked burnt, which they weren't. I'm glad they came out well and now I'm ready for something a bit harder.

I am serving it with a vegetable and noodle stir-fry, all very easy. Ideally you should marinate the pork in the sauce over night, but four hour is long enough.
  • 500 pork belly
  • 2 cloves of garlic - crushed
  • 1tbsp light soya sauce
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1tsp Chinese five spice
  • ½tsp salt
  • (serves 4 as starter or 2 as main)

score the skin of the pork belly and place into a oven proof dish.

Put all the other ingredients into a bowl and mix together.

Pour the sauce into the dish holding the pork and rub together. Once completely rubbed together place into an fridge for a minimum of four hours, oven night is best.

Pre heat the oven to 220c/425f/gas 7. Place the pork into the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180c/350f/gas 4 and cook for a further 30-40 minutes.

Take out of the oven and cover for 10 minutes.

Serve with rice or as I did a vegetable stir fry.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Greek Salad

I love a good salad, but considering how easy it is to put together, it's not always easy to get it right. There has been many times when I have been served a salad that is either drowning in dressing or the leaves are limp and not very fresh. There is nothing worse than getting some fresh crisp salad leaves that are drowning in a tasteless or too strong a dressing, which is why I always request my dressing on the side. It is much better to taste the dressing first and then pour on the amount you require than allowing an eager chef over doing it. But a Greek salad hits the mark for me every time and it is so simple to make and very difficult to ruin.

I love the saltiness from the feta, the strong taste from the kalamata olives, which are all mellowed down by the tomatoes, cucumber and green pepper, then if you're lucky you get a strong hit from the red onion. For me it's the perfect salad to accompany most meals and it is even great on it's own.

Kalamata olives are very strong and not everybody likes them, so you can replace them with plain black olives. Do not use green olives as I personally don't think they work with this dish.

This salad is perfect with Turkey Escalopes.

  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ½ cucumber, roughly chopped
  • 1 block of feat cheese, diced
  • 75g kalamata olives, stoned and cut in half
  • 2tsp oregano
  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to season
  • (serves 4)

Just add all the ingredients, accept the oil and seasoning and mix together.

Pour in the oil, again mix together and add salt and pepper, be careful with the salt as the feta and olives can be salty and you don't want to ruin the salad with too much salt.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Turkey Escalopes

It official, I've become a Nigella Lawson clone. I was looking in my freezer the other day and I came across some frozen breadcrumbs and thought I would use them. When I started this blog I said that I hated the way TV cooks always had stuff just laying around in there freezers or cupboards and now it's happening to me....bugger.....there goes that argument.....But it's better to freeze what you have left over than throwing it in the bin or as I do by leaving it out for your resident fox, as we do frequently.

This is a another very simple dish and doesn't take long to prepare and about 20 minutes to cook. I cooked them in the oven as it's healthier than frying in a pan with lots of butter, but either way is okay, depending on how you prefer to cook it.

  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 2tbsp sage, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 large egg, whisked with a fork
  • 4 turkey steaks
  • vegetable oil
  • (serves 4)

If you are cooking in the over pre-heat the oven to 180c/350f/gas 4. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate and mix in the sage and season to taste.

Take one steak and dunk it in the egg, so the turkey is completely covered.

Place each turkey steak into the breadcrumb mixture turning it over a few times until covered.

If you are doing in the oven, place each escalope on a lightly oil baking tray and cook for 20 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown

If you are frying add 25g of butter and a splash of oil into a frying pan. Once the butter has melted add the escalopes and cook until the breadcrumbs are golden brown

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Bibendum Review

For over five years two of my friends and me meet up once every 8-12 weeks for lunch on Fridays. We each take it in turn to pick a restaurant so we get to visit a great array of different style restaurants. One of my friends took us to one of Terence Conran's first restaurant called Bibendum and has become a firm favourite.
Feuillete of asparagus with poached egg
The restaurant is housed at 81 Fulham Road, which use to be the offices of the Michelin Tyre Company, when the moved out Terence took over and in 1985 turned it into a French Style cuisine restaurant. The building is a wonderful display of Art Deco and Art Nouveau with great stain glass windows of the Michelin man, whose actual name is Bibendum hence the restaurant name.
Open Ravioli with Sweat Breads
The reason this restaurant has become a favourite lunch time haunt is because they change the menu almost daily and have always have a set price menu with a tasty array of dishes. They do have an al a carte menu, but I have yet to pick from it because the set menu is always good and this time is didn't disappoint. The reason for this visit is I have some great friends over from Dubai and they have always wanted to go to Bidendum as we have talked about it so much.
Leek and Brown Shrimp Risotto
I started with open ravioli of lamb sweet breads with wild roasted garlic and watercress sauce, which was a perfect way to start the meal. The fresh ravioli was firm and the sweet breads were crispy with a meaty moist texture, the roasted garlic were sweet and the watercress sauce was a prefect accompaniment. Two of my friends had feuillete of asparagus with poached egg, truffle duxelles and hollandaise. The asparagus were fresh and firm and the egg cooked perfectly. The feuillete was fluffy, light and golden which helped soak up the golden runny egg yolk. My other friend ordered the leek and brown ship risotto, which was rich and creamy very tasty if a little on the large side.
calf's liver venetian style

Raj and I ordered daube of pork with chorizo, olives and pimentos. The pork was well cooked and melted in the mouth, the chorizo was succulent with a delicate hint of garlic, my only disappointment the chorizo wasn't piccante (spicy), the olives were strong which complimented the rich sauce. Although towards the end the sauce was so rich it was getting hard to finish. Lyd ordered the Haddock and Chips and the portion was massive. The haddock was firm and succulent, but was served with french fries and not chips. I know we were being a bit pedantic, but chips are not french fries and I know we where in a French restaurant. There was also far too many french fries which couldn't be eaten and went soft and soggy. Jeff ordered the calf's liver venetian style. The liver was chopped into pieces and served with onions and butter. He said it was very tasty and as good as ever. When ever we see liver on the menu we know that Jeff is going to order it, so he's a very good judge on how to cook liver perfectly. We were served a side dish of french beans and small roasted potatoes which were included in the price.
duabe of pork with chorizo, olives and pimentos
To be honest we should have stopped at the main course because we were already full, but Lyd was eager to have a dessert and she loved the sound of blueberry cream pot with white chocolate cookie. Lyd also wanted to try another dessert so convinced me to order the chocolate marquise with hazelnut anglaise. I actually ended up eating the blueberry cream and my Lyd didn't like the texture, but I found it very tasty and smooth. Not sure why it had blackberries on it considering it was blueberry but it didn't detract to much from the dish. The chocolate marquise had a was wonderfully rich and dark with a bitter chocolate flavour, which would have been to rich if it wasn't lighten by the light tasty hazelnut angliase.
haddock and chips
The staff are very formal put very polite, always there when you need them, but not in your face. The restaurant is fairly formal, but it's not stuffy. What I like about Bibendum is that you don't have to dress up but you still get excellent service which is can't be said for some other fine dining restaurants I’ve been to. This visit was very enjoyable, just like my previous visits and hope for that to continue.
chocolate marquise with anglaise
feuillete is puff pasty
truffle duxelles is chopped mushrooms and shallots in sauteed butter
daube is pork shoulder
pimentos is paprika
chocolate marquise is a thick dessert of chocolate, sugar and butter
french fried ARE NOT CHIPS :-)
blueberry cream pot