Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Simple supper - pan fried trout with chickpeas

After a hard, late night at work, I needed something quick and tasty for dinner. I was inspired by a great looking dish I saw Nigella cook over the weekend. So using some of my favorite ingredients and one pan, here you go, super supper in 10 mins!

2 trout fillets
1 can chickpeas
Chorizo - chopped into small chunks
A couple of handfuls of curly kale

1.  In a large pan over medium heat, heat the chopped chorizo until the oil comes out.
2.  Move the chorizo to the edge of the pan, turn up the heat and place the trout skin side down. Cook for appox 4 mins until the skin is crunchy.
3.  Turn the fish over and lower the heat to medium.
4.  Scatter the chickpeas and the kale in the pan. Cover loosely and cook for another 5 minutes or until the fish is fully cooked through.

Season with some pepper to taste et voila, dinner is served!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Sushi from a belt

It has been a long time, but with the help of the new blogger app, I'm going to see if this is easier to keep up!

I return with a review of Sushi Hiroba ( It is located just around the corner from Holborn and is made up of a sushi conveyer belt where you can sit at the bar on low stools or booths where you can order dishes.

This evening we feasted on sushi from the belt. We started with a soft shell crab roll, rolled in roe and covered with mayo and a brown sauce (picture below). The mixtures of flavours and textures was amazing! We followed that with selection of maki of salmon eggs, crunchy prawn tempura, salmon roll topped with a slice of blowtorched salmon and the winner, eel maki with brown sauce (plus couple others I can't remember now!) There were plenty more choices available but we got too full.

It is quite busy so it can sometimes be a challenge to get the waiters' attention - but better busy than empty, right? The seats at the bar are not the most comfortable, but I guess that is so you don't stay too long once done eating. This was my second visit and I will definitely be returning again to try more!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A twist on risotto

Again I must begin by apologising for my recent lack of posts, life just got in the way :-) But I'm back!

So tonight I surprised myself with this recipe. It was born of some leftover brown rice, a few small slices of chorizo and a fridge full of cheese. I based this on a risotto, but the brown rice, chorizo and chilli really give the dish an oomph of flavour.

Brown rice pea and spinach risotto

A bowl full of cooked brown rice
Chorizo, chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon of olive oil
Frozen peas and spinach, handful each
Chunk of gruyere cheese cut into small pieces
1 pickled or regular chilli (mild)
A pinch of salt and pepper
A sprinkle paprika

1. In a teaspoon of olive oil heat the chorizo. Add the chilli and fry for about 5 mins
2. Add the spinach and peas and cook until they are fully heated through
3. Add the rice and a splash of water, to stop the rice from going dry and crunch. Mix together and fully heat through
4. Add the cheese and mix until completely melted. Add paprika and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot, maybe with a cheeky glass of white. Perfect and a bit different to your usual risotto!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

My mother's adobo

I was one of those kids blessed with parents that could cook well.  Really really well. Often we would choose to stay home, rather than go out for dinner, as food at home was simply better. And I guess my love of food came from this!  I spent much of my younger years in the kitchen, sometimes helping, sometimes eating and sometimes coming up with new recipes (microwave cheese doughnuts, yum).

My mother is half Spanish and half Filipino, and her cooking has influences from both places.  She has a number of crowd pleasing favorites, with one of my favorites being adobo.  It is a typical Filipino recipe, usually made from chicken and pork and a sauce of vinegar and soy sauce.  Make sure you use white vinegar - I once made this with malt vinegar and it was really weird and not very nice.

This recipe is really flexible.  If you are not on a diet, treat yourself and use a pork cut that is quite fatty like pork belly - it really makes it much more tasty.  Also leaner cuts of pork can end up becoming quite dry.  Alternatively for a more healthy version, just use chicken - skinless thighs are probably the best choice.

My mother's adobo

Serves 4
5 chicken legs and/or thighs - with or without skin
3-400 g pork - belly pork is ideal - cut into chunks
3-4 big cloves garlic - minced
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/3 cut soy sauce
1 cup water
3 bay leaves
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tbsp oil
3-4 handfuls of fresh or frozen spinach

1.  In a heavy pan, heat the oil and brown the chicken and pork.  Do this in batches if necessary.  Put the meat to the side.  If there is too much fat left in the pan, pour some of it out.
2.  Add the minced garlic and lightly fry for minute or two.  Add the vinegar and bring to a boil.  Then add the soy sauce, meat, bay leaves and black peppercorns.  Add enough water so that the meat is just about covered in liquid and stir.
3.  Bring to a boil, then turn it down and simmer covered for about 45 minute to an hour (or until the pork is really melting and tender - the longer you leave it, the better it gets).  Taste the sauce - if it is too strong, add some more water, and if it is too mild, a bit more soy sauce.
4. Add the spinach and cook for another 5 minutes.  Then it is ready to eat!

This dish is served best over white steamed rice or rice noodles.  And always make sure you make extra - it is especially good when eaten the next day!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Yummy breakfast - chessy egg cups!

So I got the idea for this from Annie's Eats, which I saw on a friends post on Facebook. I couldn't wait to make them, they looked so good and is my favorite combination - cheese and eggs! I particularly like that it makes cute little portions.

I made a slight change to make it vegetarian - instead of bacon I used sundried tomato.  I used the dried type, rather than the one in oil, as the oil would probably have made it too wet.

Cheesy egg cups

Serves 2
4 eggs
Shredded cheese
1 sundried tomato, finely chopped
2 slices of oval bread

1. Preheat the oven to 200
2. Grease a 4 hole muffin tin with butter.  
3. Cut each slice of the bread and place each half into each muffin hole of the tin.
4. Sprinkle a bit shredded cheese and sundried tomato in the center of each slice of bread.
5. Break one egg per muffin hole and carefully place on top of the bread and cheese. This is surprisingly tricky so be careful!
6. Bake until the eggs are cooked through - approx 10 mins.
7. Lift the egg cups out and serve - 2 per person

Monday, 12 September 2011

Mac and cheese - comfort food at it's best!

America is home of comfort food.  Everything about typical American food is comforting, filling and perfect for when you need a great big food hug.  Philly cheese steaks are dreamy with a side of curly fries.  Sausage gravy - the world's best hangover cure.  Jambalaya and gumbo warms the soul.  Clam chowder on a cold winter day is necessary.  But my absolute favorite has to be mac and cheese.

There are so many different variations of mac and cheese.  There are the packet ones - Kraft and Velveeta (I always have at least one pack of each at home, specially brought over from the US).   The side options from places like Boston Market (how I miss Boston Market!) and KFC.  Or the gourmet ones that you get at Thanksgiving, made with 4 or 5 different cheeses and often with added ingredients like bacon and/or onion to make it extra special (heart attack on a plate!)

My personal favorite is mac and cheese as a main course (when it is served as a side, I end up eating too much and feeling ill) made with Velveeta and filled with loads of other ingredients.  Every single English person I have ever introduced this to was initially a bit horrified by the bright yellow cheese (as you can see from the picture below!), but after tasting it, understood how very good it is.  It cures any hangover, warms a cold day and is easy and quick to make - comfort food at it's very best!

1 x pack Velveeta (any shape pasta / any cheese flavour)
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
3-4 frankfurters, chopped
Frozen chopped spinach
Mushrooms, chopped
Chillies, to taste, finely chopped (optional)

1.  Cook the pasta as instructed.  Set aside
2.  In a pan put a bit of oil and lightly fry the onions until they are translucent
3.  Add the frankfurters and mushrooms and fry for another 10 mins or so.  Add the chillies and spinach (if it is frozen, cook until it is fully cooked through)
4.  Add the cheese sauce and pasta and stir

That's it - serve warm in a big bowl and enjoy (and if there is any leftover, it is good cold as a snack!)

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Brussels - La Tortue du Sablon

I apologise for my lack of recent posts.  I have been oh so busy what with summer, friends visiting, trips abroad, festivals and carnivals.  But now that we've had our last bank holiday, the weather is getting cooler and summer turns to autumn, I will have a lot more time to post regularly!

I thought for this one that I'd do a review of a restaurant in Brussels.  Before going, I had read that while there is not a whole lot to do in Brussels, the food is one of the best in Europe.  So when our hosts asked what type of food we wanted for lunch, the immediate answer was the typical Brussels meal - moules frites!

We decided on La Tortue du Sablon, which translates to the turtle of the Sablon - one of the most prestigious and attractive areas in Brussels.  It is a beautiful little restaurant specialising in seafood.  On arrival we were offered a glass of champagne with a hint of lavender - don't mind if I do!  For food there was a choice of menus - the set menu of the day, a couple of other set menus or the a la carte.  Two had the set menu, one had a specially made vegetarian set menu and I had the moules frites.

The set menu consisted of a starter of fois gras rolled in crushed hazel nuts and a main course of half a lobster served on a salad of greens and beans.  The vegetarian menu began with vegetable tempura, served with wasabi cream, followed by raclette covered with truffles.  The moules came in a white wine, garlic and cream sauce, with a side of french fries (of course!)

All of the food was well cooked and a real delight.  I have to say that with food like this, because I really like quite aromatic food, I can find it quite bland.  This meal though was well balanced and delivered on everything.  Overall though, the best part about the visit was the service.  When we explained that was had a vegetarian, the chef came out from the back to explain what he could make to ensure that the customer was happy and the waiter was extremely friendly and attentive, without it feeling like we were being constantly watched.  A very pleasant meal!