Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Pickled red onions

If you like pickled onions, gherkins, olives or any vegetable preserved in brine I urge you to make these. It takes 20 minutes and they are delicious.

200ml white wine vinegar
60 caster sugar
pinch of salt
A couple of bay leaves
5 allspice berries
1 star anise
10 cloves
10 black pepper corns
2 red onions
1 large red onion, peeled, and thinly sliced into rings
1 clove of garlic thinly sliced
If you have any all spice berries, chuck a few of those in!

1. Heat the vinegar and sugar until dissolved and then put remaining seasoning in.

2. Slice up the red onion, thin as you like and put into the pan tossing the juices over and simmer for only 1 minute. 

3. Turn the heat off and cool. Once cooled, pour into an airtight jar. The beauty of these as you can eat them straight away of they will keep for a few weeks (maybe longer, I am yet to find out)

Friday, 18 June 2010

Herb box

I wanted to show off my window box.I 'm growing coriander, cumin, ginger mint, dark opal basil, napolitano basil and sweet basil. The cumin is going mental.
I am especially proud of it as it is not on the window but inside the window. When you live on the 5th floor it's not the best idea to hang a window box, very dangerous indeed, although 'killed by falling herbs' does sound romantic my box is soooo heavy. 
Plus, I even checked outside the bathroom window for suitability as it looks out onto a closed courtyard where there aren't any passers by, alas it must be a wind tunnel as I spotted a fallen Michelangelo's David lying there abandoned in the middle of the courtyard. Can you see it?! It made me laugh because I'm a meanie.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Brindisa, London Bridge

So, Nick has moved house and it's ten minutes away from Borough Market, I can hear pennies falling from my pocket. No, make that pounds! But it's great to explore a new area of food and drink. On Sunday night our friend James treated us to a meal at Brindisa, how very kind. 

We munched our way through tapas of prawns, lamb chops, squid, mushrooms, sea bass... and then only managed one pud between the four of us! 

The restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere and you wont find many restaurants in London with better service. The food is delicious and perfectly seasoned (no salt or pepper on the tables!) The food comes dish by dish when it is ready straight from the open kitchen. 

The menu is divided into Aperitif Snacks, Acorn fed Iberico charcuterie, Fine Cured Fish, speciality cheeses, omelettes and main tapas plates.
We had a few more dishes than pictured and for four of us the bill came to £130 without wine. 

I think the photos will say it all..  

We shared a perfect match of sweet juicy strawberries and sharp but creamy ice cream.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Salmon cured in Beetroot and Gin

I have an awful habit of purchasing without a plan. That said, when I bought this side of salmon from the fishmonger because it looked so lovely, it worked to my advantage as I had to think on my feet for what to do with it. I had already made dinner plans out and certainly wasn't having enough people round to cook for. So, with my boyfriend and his mate throwing a BBQ on the weekend for about 30 people I decided to cure it so it would keep. 
It's a bloody messy job and you're best off doing it with gloves on. There's a reason my photos look so staged, and jumpy because I had to keep washing my hands! 

So for a side of salmon -
  1. Put it skin side down in a tray (that will fit in your fridge) and pack sea salt all over the flesh. Pack it down quite firmly making sure it covers the whole side. 
  2. Sprinkle Demerera sugar over the salt and push this down too.
  3. Sprinkle freshly grated horseradish over the sugar (you could also use grated from a jar as long as it isn't a 'sauce')
  4. Peel and grate 2 large raw beetroot on a cheese grater and carefully pack on top.
  5. Now, using vodka or gin, drizzle over the beetroot.
  6. Lastly chop fresh dill and zest a lemon or two over the salmon.
  7. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate with a baking tray on the top and a few heavy cans to weight it. 
  8. Leave for 2 days before holding the salmon up, draining it and scraping off the dressings. Pat the salmon clean with kitchen paper and lay down on a board to cut the skin off. Make sure you have a long, thin and very sharp knife for this. 
  9. Slice the salmon up and layer on a plate. You can leave this covered in your fridge for up to two weeks but we ate ours straight away. I toasted rye bread, topped with sour cream mixed with grainy mustard, lemon zest & dill. Layer the salmon on top and squeeze lemon juice and grind fresh pepper on the top. It was delicious.

Two days later...

Monday, 14 June 2010

Sticky Short Ribs

I've always wanted to try something from The Ginger Pig Farmers and Butchers in Borough Market. I stumbled across their Marylebone site when I was next door looking for cheese. They farm rare breeds of the best quality on the North York Moors and boy you can taste it. I picked up four short ribs. Beef short ribs have more meat on them and are more tender and juicy than their pork counterpart. Four short ribs cost me £11 and two of them had the same amount of meat on them as a fistful of rump steak! I marinaded the ribs in a mix of soy sauce, homemade brown sauce, Manuka honey, chillies, fresh ginger and mixed spice with a couple of star anise and roasted them in a hot oven for nearly three hours, turning and basting. 
Just when they were resting, I chopped up some cabbage and stir-fried with white wine vinegar,sesame oil, a touch of soy sauce and a sprinkling of black sesame seeds. 
It was a yummy, sticky dinner. 

Cowboy cake

This is a special cake for a very special boy, check out the gold leaf on his belt buckle! 

Friday, 4 June 2010

Trainer Cake!

You know when someone describes an over done steak like eating an old boot? 
Well what about an old boot that tastes like cake? YUM! I made the cake for my brother who has a slight obsession with new kicks and turned 20 this week. This is because I love him and because I can't afford a real pair!


Wow I have been feeling so guilty since my last post. I did pour myself a cup of tea and fix myself a slice of cake, and then ten minutes turned into ten days because I had an enquiry and was scribbling menu ideas until I had to catch a plane, a plane to Spain.

I hadn’t touched ground 20 minutes before I was in the kitchen, but let’s face it, this is where I am happiest.

So although I disappeared for a bit I am back now and have plenty to blog about!

Firstly - Taste of London 

17-20 June Regents Park 

I was very fortunate to be invited to a little sneak preview of Taste of London this year.  There were about 15 food bloggers, writers, chefs and critics and we were treated to three courses at three different restaurants that will feature at the Festival later this month.

Knowing this, I denied myself breakfast that day. This was hard, as I go by the rule of “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a princess and dinner like a pauper”
Hmmm, maybe not the pauper bit! Gosh there was a lot of food consumed and a lot of wine and champagne… lurvely. This didn’t stop me from getting a cheeky strawberry tart on my way home after more drinking, no excuse really other than I’m about as greedy as they come ;)

Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill – Yauatcha – Dehesa (The Salt Yard)
These are just three of about fifty London restaurants that will be exhibiting at Taste. Taste will be offering us an insight to Malaysian cuisine this summer and featuring one of my favourite restaurants -Satay House!
I went here for my birthday a few years back and after I sent out the invite my friend Ellie replied – I will come but I hope you realise Satay house might aswell be called “Death house” to me (oops forgot she has a serious nut allergy!)

At Bentleys we ate Oysters, smoked salmon on rye and fish a chips with mushy peas and tartare sauce. At Yauatcha we were spoilt with the most beautiful dim sum and have got to mention the wine paired with he seafood -Chateau Ste Michelle Dry Riesling 2009 Washington State, USA AMAZING. At Dehesa (sister restaurant to Salt Yard)- Courgette flowers stuffed with feta cheese and drizzled with honey, Smoked octopus a la Gallega with crispy shallots and Chargrilled beef bavette with Salsa Verde and Escalivada. Well I wont bore you with the details of every dish, all I can say is that it was all so wonderful and you have to go to Taste to sample it all!

By the way, visit www.tastefestivals.com/london/ice-cream where you can submit your idea for an original ice cream flavour along with a suitable name and see your very own limited edition brand of ice cream served at Taste of London this summer. (You’ve got til the 7th of June to enter and can win free entry)

Hope to see some of you there.

This is a pic of the guy who sold me my strawberry tart, I thought he was as sweet as the pastries!