Sunday, 31 March 2013

Soup, Salad & Giant Croutons.

Make Your own Soup & Serve Your Own Salad

Cooking Time : 15mins
Feeds: 6/8

Spinach Soup
1 x Nob of butter about 10 g
1 x White onion (roughly chopped)
2 x Cloves of garlic (crushed and roughly chopped)
1 x Potato (chop into small cubes and wash off the starch)
1 x pot of single cream -250 ml
2 veggie stock cubes in 2.5 pints of water
2x Big bags of fresh Spinach- 500g in total (make sure you wash it thoroughly)
Zest of half a lemon
1x tsp of freshly grated nutmeg or powdered.
Salt & Pepper- White if you have it.
Freshly Grated Parmesan to garnish.

Add the nob of butter to a pan on a medium heat and add in the roughly chopped onion, garlic and potato- season with salt and pepper and let it cook for 3/4 minutes- don't let anything stick or burn, then add the vegetable stock and 3/4 of the spinach (you need to save some to add last minute which helps make it super green) let this cook for 7/8 mins so the potato is soft. Then add in the cream and the remaining spinach and blitz with the hand blender. Don't forget to then add in your lemon zest and nutmeg- also test the seasoning and add if necessary. Let it cook for a further 2 mins and you're ready to serve.

Basil Pesto- (minus the pine nuts)
1 x Pack of fresh basil
1 x Lump of fresh parmesan- finely grated
2 x Garlic cloves- crushed
Sprinkle of rock salt

Instructions- Muddle together in pestle and mortar and add half a mug of extra virgin olive oil when it's all ground up.


Extras for the Soup-
2 x Leeks- Roughly Chopped
2 x Big handfuls of Spinach
1x Tin of Black Eyed Beans
Salt& Pepper

Feta crumbled and ready to sprinkle on top of your soup.

Instructions- Slice and add to a small nob of butter in a pan and let is cook on a medium heat for 3/4 mins then serve with the soup.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad-

3 x Big balls of buffalo mozzarella - roughly torn
4/5 Large Ripe Tomatoes- beef tomatoes are good if you can get them- sliced
2 x Gem Lettuce
1 x Handful of Basil- roughly torn
Black Pitted olived 
2x Spring Onions- finely sliced
-Glug of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Garlic, seeded croutons.

Seeded Garlic Croutons-
1 x Turkish Flatbread- Sliced in half - then chopped into rough cubes 4cm x 4cm ish!
2 x cloves of garlic- chopped in half then rubbed over the toasted bread
Olive Oil

Slice the flat bread in half- long ways you you've got double the bread then toast either under the grill or in the oven. Cut the garlic cloves in half and rub the bread with them, drizzle with olive oil,
sprinkle with seeds and place back in the oven for a further few minutes to roast the seeds slightly.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Dirty Double Dog


3 Mustard Mix- Dijon/English/French's...or a 'Genuine American Mustard'
For the Dirty Dog-'Real German Frankurters' ideally in a brine
Smoked Bacon
Red Chillies
Crispy Sweet Red Onions
Extra Mature Cheddar
Home Bake Baguette
Gherkins to Garnish

All In 15 Minutes!!

Step 1-Get the oven on high & add the following- 

-Chillies (alternatively for smoked chilli place chilli directly into gas flame so it blackens-mind your fingers!!)
-The bake in the oven baguette -They're amazing for crunchiness- they take 10mins
 -Take x2 of the 'Real German Frankfurters' and wrap them in the smoked bacon (add these on a separate tray-so no bacon juice interferes with your crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside baguette)

Step 2-
Finely slice the red onion into loops and cook in oil & 1 x tsp of sugar until golden sticky & crispy.-Takes 5/6 mins

Step 3- 
 Make up your 3 mustard mix...mix the mustards up!

Step 4-
Finely grate your mature cheddar & add to the baguette half way through cooking it so it goes crispy on the outside.

Step 5-
Finely slice up your gherkins

Step 6-
Get the Ketchup ready to go

Step 7-
Once baguette is cooked, slice in half add a serious amount of the 3 mustard mix, half the portion of onions followed by the ketchup.

Step 8-
 Make sure bacon is crispy enough and place the double dog into your baguette

Step 9-
Add another layer of the mustard mix and another layer of onions.

Step 10-
Garnish with gherkins and roasted chilli and GET IT IN YOUR GOB!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Smoked Haddock, Fennel & Mussel Chowder- Dinner Party Dish

Cooking Time- 30mins


Ingredients Needed

1x Whole fennel- finely sliced into rings
2 x Cloves of Garlic
1 x White onion- finely sliced
1 x Leek sliced into rings (optional)
2 x Carrots finely grated
1 x Bag of fresh spinach- (optional)
1 x Small jar of black olives (optional)
1 x Tin of black eyed peas (optional)
1 x Nob of butter
1 x Pot of single cream
1 x Bag of mussels- 1kilo -wash and scrap any nasty bits off- (optional)
1x Pint of fish stock 
1 x Side of smoked haddock- cook in the oven in milk for 6-8 mins (optional)
3 x Bay leaves
1 x Fresh bunch of parsley
Black Pepper
White Pepper
(no salt as fish stock has)

NOTE- You can do a simpler version of this, just using mussels or just the haddock and with less veg too...I got carried away but it was good and worth it.

NOTE- Would also be good with a big fresh loaf of bread and butter!!

-Place the haddock fillet in a heat proof dish and cover with 1/4 pint of milk- place in an oven on 180 for 10 minutes.

-Finely slice the following-1x Whole fennel,1 x white onion, 2 x garlic cloves, 1 x leek and grate 2 x Carrots add to the pan along with a big nob of butter, 3 bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Let it cook down for 3/4 minutes. The onion should start to go translucent.

-Add the fish stock and half the bag of spinach, and then add the mussels. 
NOTE: Make sure that you don't put in any open ones (when cleaning them you can give them a gentle tape with the side of a knife and if they're good to eat and still alive they should close back up- store them in cold water before cooking them and don't eat any that haven't opened once cooked)

-Add the second half of the bag of spinach over the mussels and olives on top- helping the mussels to cook/steam. This helped as the lid could barely fit on.

When the mussels have cooked/ are all open mix the spinach into the sauce, add the milk that the haddock had cooked in along with the cream, black eyed peas and add the haddock- removing it from the skin before adding-this should be easy as it's already been cooked.

Add your finely sliced parsley, a squeeze of lime and taste for seasoning- add white /blk pepper and you're ready to serve.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Sweet (ISH) Thursday!!! Review...

A reasonable menu...some big deal about the wine shop being in the restaurant, they charge a  7.50 corkage fee and it just means they can offer a larger wine list and even they seemed confused about what the plus side of having the shop was. In fact when we ordered a bottle of prosecco (it was pay day) they didn't have stock of it...thank god for the wine shop!!!

 Aside from the lighting almost being on the mark it was still a bit bright...and everything still a bit average.
The food wasn't anything to complain about but equally we made our own pizza so the menu wasn't that inspiring either. Despite their efforts to swap out the classic tomato sauce base for various other puree'd veg. I have to say I'm more into a classically and well made pizza, no scrimping on the mozzarella or chosen additions....which they did a bit on the mozzarella!! WHY!?? Why mess with something that works so well!!??

 The burrata and stewed cherry tomatoes were all good but hate a stingey effort on the basil, however on asking for extra they delivered in abundance so all was good there!!

 We opted for a make sure your own pizza...he's veggie I'm not...and I'm defo not into a white or orange sweet potato base pizza so this seemed like a fair option and we got to choose all the good bits...egg, olives, fresh chilli and mozzarella. 

Kind of like there to be mozzarella all over the pizza base...not too many solo tomato sauce spots.

Courgette fritters with savoury doughnuts. A little aioli wouldn't have gone amiss here!

Was actually into the chilli oil in the Coca Cola's the little things!! Plus it it had some kick to it.

MEZCAL CANTINA 127 Kingsland Road- TRY IT

So I'd heard good things about this place...

A taco platter...a strong starter option- the tacos included pulled pork (the only pork options on the menu other than the ribs, although I'm not complaining, they were great- the meat completely fell off the bones)-there was also beef and veggie taco options. The salsa was fresh and I like getting stuck in and combining a bit of everything, I can obviously also accommodate my chilli craving this way too, adding as much extras fresh and bottled as possible.

Chicken Mole Enchiladas - good but slightly misguiding-they gave it the chilli sign and there was NO spice in sight. Super rich, the chocolate really comes through but a bit too much, plus it was swamped in it, some fresh chilli would have cut through the richness of the sauce and given it the kick it promised.

This on the other hand was a wise choice, the make it yourself route is a safe option here, can't believe I'm mentioning this but the grilled spring onion really struck a chord for me!! Salsas were good but again could defo do with more punch-chilli it up. The beef was good, rare and cooked to perfection.

This what I opted for for my main- chicken enchiladas verdes, and with it being the one main course that they gave the double chilli sign to I thought the chilli side of things would defo be it turns out there was still NO heat here!!  But with the addition of the fluro green jalapeno sauce I was back on track. This was good, I was happy but again felt like they could have gone a bit easier on the sauce- totally swimming in it...just a tiny bit less!! Give me an option to not have it with every mouthful.

Obvs still managed to demolish it.

And then there's these...had a few of good!! Should have probably tried the mezcal but obsessed with the PISCO SOUR.

1/4 Cup of Pisco
1 tbsp of Sugar
1 tbsp fresh lime
1 teaspoon of egg whites

Blend all of the above with x3 ice cubes and serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Overall totally into it all.

The chaos and atmosphere of the place made for a fun night out, we all got a bit carried away with the cocktails and let loose a bit...and money wise the cocktails weren't too pricey around £7 each and were super strong, mains varied from between £12 and £16 for the steak and starters weren't too pricey either.

Overall, there was a good atmosphere in there, I like the chaos.
7/10 Give me more Chilli and this could be up'd!