Week of food heaven

Seeing as though I spend very little on alcohol (and when I do, it is for red wine, to use in my spag bowl), I have a fair amount of money leftover in my weekly budget. 

Having eaten fairy well so far this term, I thought I could step it up a notch. 

So my week (in food) will consist of duck breast, cod, spaghetti bolognese, Schnitzels, perhaps even a curry

I was thinking of rubbing my duck with five spice and serving with a fresh asian rice noodle salad

Serve my cod with puy lentils; possibly make a red wine sauce

 

Any ideas, suggestions as to how best to treat my ingredients?

What would be your week of food heaven consist of?

I shall be posting at the end of the week, hopefully describing the success of my week

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Chakra restaurant review – Mutton dressed as lamb!

As we turned up to Chakra, we were a little embarrassed. I thought I had booked for a standard curry house, but the white leather interior and people in suits put an end to such thoughts.

Our poppadoms had been deliberately broken up. They were trying too hard, I don’t know how such touches were meant to add to the experience, but rather trying such things as they felt they had to, to make a ‘posher Indian experience’. This ended in a rather comical scene where my brother (who had recently fractured his finger), was trying to put some chutney on a crumb of poppadom (maybe you had to be there!)

We were even given an amouse bouche; a red bean thing. Nice enough, but I started to think they were trying to be something they weren’t. If you want to be an upmarket restaurant  then you have to serve upmarket, better food, not just pretend to do so.

As the mains arrived, all I could think was ‘mutton dressed as lamb’.

The food was cold and lacked that deep depth of flavour. Give me a good old curry house all day long to this. There is a reason why places like Benares are successful. They have managed to Westernise and modernise their cuisine, without losing real, delicious Indian flavours. Chakra tried to poshen it up and failed. How does breaking the poppadom in to tiny pieces add to the experience; it doesn’t!

The service by some of the waiters was, like the food, a little cold. When taking our orders, their eyes would drift else where and showed little interest or respect to us. At my favourite Indian place (Sai mantra in Gants hill), they often forget cutlery, the menus are old takeaway menus and the waiters speak little English, but they are polite and appreciate the custom; again this over robotic, often rude waiters yet dressed nicely, all day long!

The Ledbury Tasting Menu, My Review

alexsfood

Having run out of money, I have been unable to supplement your needs for a humorous, well written review of late. So when my 18th birthday came around, I thought hard of what I would ask for. Being a momentous year, I took the charity route; I would go out to eat and this would feed all your appetites for an Alex’s food review (how generous I am!)

First up, The ledbury

We didn’t so much opt, as we were forced to have the tasting menu, having changed their policy, meaning that Friday and Saturday nights that is all they would be serving; this only came to light after we booked – in for a penny (easy for me to say, when I’m not paying!)

Even before the amuse bouche, we were brought some canapés – the amuse before the bouche if you like.  A small oat cake topped with foie gras…

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Indian spiced Chicken

All I did here was find any Indian ingredient I could find and chucked it together; but it worked well enough.

Using a pestle and mortar, pound; fenugreek, cumin, caraway, fennel, coriander seeds.

Add some garlic and ginger

Now turmeric, curry powder and oil.

Make some slashes in the chicken supremes and get in there with your hands

Leave to marinate as long as you can.

Heat the griddle. I spread some apricot jam on the chicken before hand, which worked a treat. Get a nice caramelisation going, before finishing in the oven.

Serve with and how you like!

Enjoy, let me know what you think and how you would improve.

Chinese beef soup

Another of my dad’s concoctions (although not really an original dish, I think the Chinese have been making a similar dish for hundreds of years before).

There are two ways to go with this – either a quick, lunch or the full shazam

 

I’ll start by giving the quick, lunch version and then tell you what I would do to make it a bit more special (no offence Dad). 

 

Mushrooms, carrots, spring onions, chilli, ginger

Noodles

Beef stock (we only had shop brought – worked fine)

Water

Soy sauce, fish sauce, five spice

 

Really all there is to do is to combine it all together. 

Cut the veg, chill and ginger very small and thin, particularly the carrot. 

It is quite nice with the carrot to still be slightly raw – so the soup does;t have to cook for too long

Add them to the water and stock.

Add in the soy, five spice and fish sauce, along with the noodles (remember the noodles will continue to cook, so if anything undergo them)

That’s it really

Extremely fast, simple and surprised me with the flavour punch it provided.

 

To refine the dish slightly, the main and most obvious alteration would be to use better stock

The soup would make the ideal dish after a whole roasted duck the night before, using the carcass for the stock and any left over meat – like a chicken soup, but an Asiany one and duck!

Maybe some crushed peanuts to add some more texture or perhaps cut your carrot at slightly differing thicknesses to get a sort of carrot three ways thing going on

You could also make it slightly more substantial, by packing it full of other veg (maybe a greeny leaf like some sort of cabbage)

Add what you will. Please let me know suggestions, comments so on

Enjoy and of course happy new year to you all

 

 

 

Christmas leftovers!

Christmas leftovers.

I would simply recommend not buying as much as the last year! But of course, the inevitable mountain of leftovers is all part of what makes Christmas, Christmas!

Here’s a recipe that is perfect for such an occasion, where you have leftovers galore; i.e Christmas!

Again ‘created’ by my father. Very simple, wholesome, filling and above all, tasty.

Method

Leftover cooked turkey (doesn’t have to be Christmas turkey)

Onions, celery, garlic

Red Wine, stock

Sage, rosemary

Lentils, rice

Sweat off the onion, celery and garlic. Add any other vegetable; mushrooms, peppers – the choice is yours (just don’t blame me if it goes wrong). Fry with some rosemary/sage/thyme or any herbs you wish (see above brackets)

I usually go for a Morrocan twist, so add some ras el hangout and alike. But you can go Spanish, Italian and so on

Add a good glut of red wine and some stock

Let this reduce down a touch.

Add pre cooked puy lentils and rice

Add in turkey – it’s important to only heat the turkey through, it doesn’t need long.

Keep the stock handy as it could get quite stodgy if you don’t keep it moist.

Sorted. From start to finish about twenty minutes.

Enjoy

Let me know thoughts/improvements

Thank you

Merry Christmas one and all

Pasta just like Dada used to make

I love my dad’s cooking. He is the self proclaimed ‘King of the makeshift’. Meaning, no matter what little ingredients he has available, he will always find a way to make something delicious.

He has made some, what I think are restaurant quality pasta dishes, including a duck ragout, made with leftovers from the roast the night before.

This recipe is very simple and requires very little ingredients, but delivers big on flavour and texture.

Here we go:

Spaghetti

Fresh breadcrumbs

Pine nuts

Oil

Butter

Parmesan

Chili, nutmeg, garlic, capers, sage- (work well, but not completely essential, if you are in a real rush)

All you do is;

Fry off the chili and garlic in butter and oil

Add the breadcrumbs.

Add the (toasted) pine nuts

Season

Add pasta and toss with a bit more oil and butter

Serve with grted Parmesan.

A nice touch is to fry of some sage until it is crispy

There you go, it really is that simple

Please have a go and let me know your thoughts. I love it (I can say that, it’s not my recipe!)