Author Archives: sumray2012

About sumray2012

Love a bit a food! Look out for my blogs for restaurant reviews and anything food related. Including my tips of where is best to eat, and the best eats at a low price!

Travel like a foodie

Firstly, I wish to apologise for the complete lack of activity on ‘Alex’sfood’ for about a year now. Indeed, I’m sure my audience has now dwindled down to the point of zero, or one, if my mum counts.

But, I have an excuse, sort of. I am delighted, relieved and quite scared to announce that my very own book is, at long last, available for purchase.

‘Travel like a foodie; the experiences of a socially awkward foodie travelling Europe’, tells the story of my solo backpacking trip. It’s part travel log, part restaurant guide, part diary of a socially awaked boy!

Available for Kindle e-book, and other e-book platforms, like Kobo.

Thanks very much, hope you enjoy it (if you buy it). Actually i’ll rephrase, hope you buy it and enjoy it, once you’ve brought it!

Hello Fresh

alexsfood

The tag line for Hello Fresh is ‘everything but the chef’. Their hope and aim being to take the hassle out of cooking, delivering you ingredients for recipes, that you merely have to assemble.

What could go wrong…

Well, on the first night, prepped with making a simple stir fry, I pour boiling water all down myself.

I demand a refund!

Of course, I write this in jest, though maybe they should consider an ‘idiots box’ and actually send a chef with each delivery, aimed at people as incompetent as me.

The stir fry itself, titled as double satay was a perfectly acceptable meal. It had a lovely peanut taste as advertised. Ingredients were of decent quality, though the Bok choi was unusable, in that there was hardly any of it.

The Thai basil sent with the box gave a lovely citrus undertone to the dish. Like using lime, but with more a fragrant flavour and something I shall look…

View original post 631 more words

Hello Fresh

The tag line for Hello Fresh is ‘everything but the chef’. Their hope and aim being to take the hassle out of cooking, delivering you ingredients for recipes, that you merely have to assemble.

What could go wrong…

Well, on the first night, prepped with making a simple stir fry, I pour boiling water all down myself.

I demand a refund!

Of course, I write this in jest, though maybe they should consider an ‘idiots box’ and actually send a chef with each delivery, aimed at people as incompetent as me.

The stir fry itself, titled as double satay was a perfectly acceptable meal. It had a lovely peanut taste as advertised. Ingredients were of decent quality, though the Bok choi was unusable, in that there was hardly any of it.

The Thai basil sent with the box gave a lovely citrus undertone to the dish. Like using lime, but with more a fragrant flavour and something I shall look for more in my future cooking ventures.

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Not a looker, but it’s hard to dress up a stir fry!

 

 

Next up, aubergine and chickpea tagine. I had gone for the vegetarian box by the way, as the options on offer were more appealing to me than the classic box; I’m no veggie however!

A dish like this, hadn’t even entered my consciousness in terms of possible meals I could make; mainly because I don’t own a tagine! This is definitely something I like about Hello Fresh, in that, if you’re ever bored or losing inspiration with your recent dinners, you’re bound to get some new, creative ideas, in ordering a box. The fact you can create your very own cookbook by amassing your favourite recipes, is equally appealing.

The dish was easy to prepare and satisfying in terms of taste and most definitely in satiety! One of the first dinners I’ve had in a long time that has made me forgo my nightly tea and biscuit(s) ritual (that’s right, I know how to live it up!)

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I’d like to apologise for the shoddy cameraship* of this post. *I’m aware this isn’t a word.

Ingredients like the dried apricots and flaked almonds for the tagine and Thai Basil in the stir fry dramatically enhanced both dishes. It’s nice to see, ingredients that can’t be considered essentials included by Hello Fresh, showing that they are not scrimping on money in exchange for quality or flavour.

I did have a few gripes with some of the fresh ingredients received in the box. A half-rotten onion, slightly soft pepper and a quite pitiful portion of Pak Choi would make me consider re-ordering. However, I think the pros outweighed the cons.

Easily pleased I know, but coming home to find a Hello Fresh box on your doorstep, was quite exciting. Maybe a student shouldn’t derive such joy over what was essentially a box of vegetables, but hey that’s who I am now, that’s what I’ve become!

The final dish left to prepare was ‘A virtuous vegetarian curry’; though I pimped it up by adding some chicken. If I had one word to describe it, ‘virtuous’ wouldn’t be it. I’d probably plump for solid; though I can see it contains none of the alliterative attributes or effusive qualities that Hello Fresh were looking for, when searching for an adjective!

The yellow curry paste was mild, without lacking depth. Maybe I’m a carnivore who has gone past the point of no return, but I feel without the chicken I added, mushrooms, green beans and corn would have been inadequate to cull the yearning that is my appetite come dinner time. When I see a curry served up, I become tunnel visioned and in this curry induced, sleepwalkesque state, I don’t have a picture of the finished dish to show. Though presentation has never been a strong point of mine, so you’re not missing match there… as you’ve seen!

 

Using a free gift voucher I received with something I had ordered*, Hello Fresh was definitely worth giving a go and something I’d keep in mind to do again. However, at the usual price of £36, which feeds 2 people for 3 dinners, I feel is a little pricey. Personally, I could spend £5 or £10 more for a whole weeks worth of shopping.

Anyhow, I enjoyed all 3 meals, so I would recommend giving it a go if you can and thanks to Hello Fresh for the voucher (not that it was an entirely altruistic gesture I’m aware!)

*Salt, for the nosey of you reading)

Sometime over the festive period (hopefully) I shall be releasing my very own E-book, based on my travels and subsequently eating whilst on my travels this summer, so keep your eyes peeled!
Of course I will bombard you with reminders when the time nears.

Thanks for reading, Alex

I’m not being (completely) lazy

Firstly, I must apologise for my lack of blogging. I have just come back from a 5 week trip to Europe (well about a 1/6 of it anyway). And so, although I may well be lazy, complete laziness is not why I have neglected by blogging duties of late.

Of my 550 photos, almost half are food related. I have thus decided to write a travely foody sort of booky thing.

I’m looking to include tips on avoiding a bad restaurant whilst traveling, restaurant suggestions, a couple of restaurant reviews. Will hopefully, but I make no guarantee of it being a humorous, maybe even a little informative and something else (was always taught to write in 3’s) sort of travel diary.

I was lucky enough and spoilt enough to visit the number 3 restaurant in the world, Osteria Francescana on my trip. I think I may leave the review for my book.

By my current rate of progress, this book may take my the rest of my life to complete (if Im still not finished by national retirement age ((probably around 90 by the time I get there)), I will post the separate review of Osteria Francescana on my blog instead (((so watch this space!))).

Name suggestions welcome; I was thinking of the very original, Travel like a foodie. Yes, I do mean thinking, that was literally (in its true definition), the only ((passable)) name I have come up with so far, so this is a serious cry for name help.

Thank you. Oh, if ever released, the book will be an Ebook

The New Angel restaurant review

alexsfood

Now on a student budget, the frequency of visiting fine food establishments has slowed to a snails pace (presumably a snail not too fussed with how its grass is prepared). However, with John Burton Race back in London and his new restaurant, ‘The New Angel’, offering 50% off, my foodie instincts kicked in and I had to book.

Having been seated by a clearly accomplished waiting team, the menu and breads followed quickly.

I went for an onion and potato bread, followed by a soda bread. The onion variety was a little charred on top, giving it a slightly bitter and unwelcome aftertaste. Though the sweetness of the onion was very pleasing. The soda bread was beautifully soft and trumped the onion and potato.

Look at the aeration on that! Look at the aeration on that!

After ordering, an amouse bouche was quickly served; a mushroom soup with a parmesan tuille. In terms of amouse bouche of mushroom soups…

View original post 619 more words

The New Angel restaurant review

Now on a student budget, the frequency of visiting fine food establishments has slowed to a snails pace (presumably a snail not too fussed with how its grass is prepared). However, with John Burton Race back in London and his new restaurant, ‘The New Angel’, offering 50% off, my foodie instincts kicked in and I had to book.

Having been seated by a clearly accomplished waiting team, the menu and breads followed quickly.

I went for an onion and potato bread, followed by a soda bread. The onion variety was a little charred on top, giving it a slightly bitter and unwelcome aftertaste. Though the sweetness of the onion was very pleasing. The soda bread was beautifully soft and trumped the onion and potato.

Look at the aeration on that!

Look at the aeration on that!

After ordering, an amouse bouche was quickly served; a mushroom soup with a parmesan tuille. In terms of amouse bouche of mushroom soups that I’ve had in the past, this was probably the finest (surprising amount of competition there). Really deep, rich pure mushroom flavour. The tuille I felt was a little stale and had to revert to the uncivilised, yet welcome practice of dunking.

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For starters, I decide to shun the advice of the maitre’d (very good he was by the way) of going for the salmon, instead opting for the scallops, served with onion bhaji and pickled vegetables. Beautifully cooked and presented, if perhaps a little small. I felt however that there could have been a little more of a curry hit in the curry elements and a bit more pickle in the pickled elements. Still a pretty solid starter. Let’s go for a 7/10

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Choosing a main was nigh on torture (albeit being nothing like torture). I would have happily eaten all of the mains offered (aren’t I a  saint) and had to place my trust in my sister to choose for me, as I was that pathetically indecisive. Her verdict being the pigeon with savoy cabbage, a truffle and madeira sauce, with a mushroom and foie gras tart.

The smell emanating from the dish was just lovely. The pigeon was succulent and perfectly pink. The skin wasn’t crispy, instead melted away to gamey deliciousness. The sauce was deep in flavour of madeira and truffle, balanced perfectly. While rich, it was harmonious with the dish. Savoy cabbage was a nice accompaniment; can’t really say much more about that! But the best thing about the dish and in fact the whole night (barring the company of my sister of course … she paid!) was the mushroom and foie gras tart. Delectably smooth foie gras, worked perfectly in the crisp tart shell, with the earthy mushrooms finishing off a wonderful mouth feel (whatever that means!).  It was a most enjoyable dish. To parallel the theme of indecisiveness here, I can’t decide between an 8 or 8.5/10.

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Dessert was aesthetically stunning; a strawberry and lemon mille fueille, with raspberry sorbet and italian meringue. I almost felt bad taking my first spoonful (well, not quite)… then I tasted it. Ooh, just lovely. Fresh, light, indulgent; all words that I look for in any dessert!

It was a tad hard to eat, with the mille fueille taking a little persuasion to break free and I felt there could have been a touch more zing in the lemon element, but I’m knit picking. The italian meringue was of the highest quality, putting my own attempts to shame. The real pleasure of this dessert was the number of different combinations, making each spoonful interesting. From the texture of the crisp millie fuille with the varying creams and meringues around the plate. The flavours of raspberry and the marshmallowesque of the meringue. 8/10

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Coming in at under 30 quid a head, including a glass of wine, ordered out of a fear of looking cheap by my sister, represents very good value for money. I feel if I were paying full price (£55), perhaps an extra amouse bouche and or a pre – dessert, would have sweetened the deal (pun intended).

Not that I have any power, influence or even credibility, but I’d give it a Michelin!

Thanks for reading.

Like, comment, share if you wish, you know the drill!

Nearly made it to 2000 views on my blog, so thanks to anyone who has pushed that number up (I’m sure even my Jewish mother couldn’t have done that by herself!)

May be reviewing the Taste of London festival in June (though don’t hold me to that).

I will post a special review (well for me anyway) at some time in August … Osteria Francescana. So you all have that to look forward to!

Thank you

My week of food heaven; revisited

So, I blogged last week about how I was going to treat myself, to live in a haze of pure food ecstasy for a week. 

I ate well yes, but wasn’t the best food week I could in visage, missing a few inclusions that weren’t possible to, well, include. 

A trip to a top restaurant would have been there, a visit or two to my local south Indian (Sai Mantra), which serves perhaps the tastiest food I have ever eaten. Maybe an afternoon tea to top it off.

But being a university student, and thus on a university student budget, my week of food heaven was a rather watered down version.

Still, I ate pretty well most days.

I started with a lovely, fresh fillet of Cod. Pan fried and served with spinach and a caper butter. 

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The next night was the star of the show/week. A lovely breast of duck. My all time favourite meat. Because of the high esteem I hold it with, I kept it very simple. Simply rendered the fat until it was nice and crispy in a pan and finished in the oven for 5 or so minutes. Slicing into it and finding that glow of pink rare meat was particularly satisfying. Of course don’t forget the seasoning.

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I served with a very fresh, tasty asian salad. I mixed fish sauce with lime, sugar and soy. Add chilli, spring onions and pepper (veg). Then fresh rice noodles and tossed. Very much recommend and worked nicely with the duck.

Craving the salty, sour, sweet salad again and with some leftover ingredients left in my fridge, I made it again. This time I very quickly fried some thin strips of chicken and spiced it lightly. Took me about 10 minutes to make this and was just very tasty.

I then headed to the comfort foods. A big serving of bolognese. Can’t go wrong, say no more!

 

Finally, another of my favourite salads;  the recipe you can see in my backlog. Giant couscous, roasted veg, caramelised walnuts, beetroot – bliss.

My supplies started to dwindle slightly and the rest of the week faded into territories not worth blogging about. 

Also, made some bread rolls for lunches. Best lunch I had though was spicy scrambled eggs. Onion, chilli, spring onion, tomato, eggs, cumin – really satisfying and a good way to use up things in the fridge. 

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So, what would your week of food heaven consist of. Would you go for those comfort classics; bolognese, shepherds pie, basically any mince based dish. Or splash out on luxury ingredients and visit your favourite restaurants?

Let me know. 

Thanks for reading

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