Monthly Archives: June 2013

Thursday 20th June 2013

A lovely, sunny day off today so we took ourselves off on a walk along the Thames to Richmond. Is it finally summer!!!

Unfortunately I forgot my phone so have not been able to take a photo of lunch, and this is a massive shame as lunch was great- The Duke, 2 Duke Street, Richmond. This was our first visit and I don’t know why we have never been there before as it was great. Fabulous food, large selection of wine and beers, and more than that fantastic service. Colin had sausage and mash with a sweet jus, and I had a pan fried sea bass on a Colcannon with a crayfish butter. I so wish I had taken my phone as it was all presented beautifully and tasted even better than it looked. Potentially our new favourite lunch place.

Another first was a dessert bought from William Curley. We have had chocolate from him before, but never a dessert. They looked so inviting in the shop as we walked past that it was actually impossible to keep on walking!

ImageThe shop massively reminded me of patisseries in Brussels, shops I do miss. On the left is my dessert, a lychee and raspberry dome of loveliness! Colin’s on the right is a fromage blanc, and it was light, with a crisp base and raspberries. Delicious and a great way to end a foodie day off.

Tomorrow we are going to have an Indian takeaway from Minar in Hampton. A lazy Friday night dinner as I will be packing for my holiday in Devon. After work on Saturday I am headed to Appledore, near Barnstable, for a few days with my Mam and little sis, Marie. Colin will join us on Wednesday after a few relaxing days at home. Fingers crossed for sunshine!!

Tuesday 18th June 2013

Tonight and last night we have made the best use of the delights bought at the weekend from The Ginger Pig. Last night a happy kebab night with lamb mince- nicely spiced with ras al hanout. Tonight some delicious Lincolnshire sausages…

ImageThis was the first time we have had these particular sausages and it won’t be the last. Quite peppery, very juicy and quite addictive! Here we have eaten them with some olive oil roasted slices of potatoes and sautéed red peppers and onions.

We also bought some pork and pistachio sausages which are currently living in the freezer ready for some inspiration to strike! Tomorrow I am on late night so no dinner for me, but Colin is making a chilli for himself and  in readiness for the weekend when I am away in Devon and he is home alone…..


Sunday 16th June 2013

The new Rick Stein has had a second outing this week! We are looking forward it watching the new series tomorrow night, but tonight we have made an Indian roasted, stuffed chicken dish with spiced roast potatoes.

ImageThis recipe does call for a good free-range chicken- the juices mixed with the spices from the stuffing made a delicious gravy. The chicken was stuffed with a mixture of pork mince, cashews whizzed up in the food processor, cinnamon and allspice. Another stuffing mixture was made with the same string but without the pork mince- this was then stuffed under the skin. The potatoes were simply par-boiled and then tossed and roasted with mustard seeds and curry leaves.

The book is well worth it, 2 recipes in 1 week is a good hit rate!

Saturday 15th June 2013

What a great day! A perfect day apart from the weather, and one that makes me so happy to live so close to London.

In the morning we headed out to Borough Market, and what treats we have come home with!!!

ImageWe visited the best Spice shop (in my opinion)- Spice Mountain. I was worried as there had been a move around in the market and on a previous trip we couldn’t find it, but this time a success and goodies have been bought, as well as some mini bamboo skewers to make some groovy little kebabs with.

As well as spices we have got some sausages from The Ginger Pig, some pork & pistachio and some Lincolnshire, and some great Mayfield cheeses. We got to Borough market early in the morning which is such a good idea as you can actually get near the stalls, anytime after 10 and it is absolutely heaving, and it is so disappointing to get all that way and not get to easily see all the goodies on display.

For lunch we headed to Momo, just off Regent Street. We have been once before and have been planning a trip back ever since.

For starters Colin had a vegetable harira soup, lightly spiced and fragrant with preserved lemon. For me some prawns wrapped in K’taiffe, with an avocado purée and labneh. This was absolutely delicious, crispy from the pastry and beautifully presented.

ImageFor main course Colin had a mixed grill: there was some chicken, some lamb, and a really lovely marinated quail. I had a chicken tagline, gorgeously fragrant, with big hunks of chicken and potato, green olives and preserved lemons. Truly delicious.

ImageImageDespite being full we couldn’t turn down some desserts, washed down with a crisp glass of sauternes. For Colin a plate of mini chocolates, for me a plate of small traditional pastries.

ImageMomo is such a delight to all the senses. The décor is beautiful and the ambience spot on- you would never believe you were just off the hustle and bustle of Regent Street.

Now we are planning our next trip, and not leaving it so long!


Friday 14th June 2013

June is the month for birthday’s in my family, Dad and Marie last week, and Mam tomorrow. I will see Mam very soon as we are going to Devon for a mini holiday, but Tonight’s dinner is dedicated to her in the meantime- happy birthday Mam!!!

ImageMam likes a bit of salmon, and we like a curried fish dish so tonight I am honouring both adapting a recipe from the new Rick Stein book on India. It is called ‘Fish Fry’ and served with a ‘Kachumber salad’, pan fried sapphire and some roasted potatoes. And here’s how it goes:

Fish Fry

1 glove garlic, finely chopped

Small piece of ginger, grated

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp cornflour

2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric


2 salmon fillets

  • mix together all the ingredients apart from the fish.
  • Rub all over the salmon and leave for 20 mins.
  • either fry in a little oil or roast in the oven until just cooked through.

The salad served with this was particularly delicious:

Kachcumber Salad

6 vine ripened tomatoes

1/2 cucumber (I left this out as I hate cucumber!!!)

1 red onion, sliced into half moons

1 green Chilli, chopped

1/2 cumin seeds

Handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped

1 tbsp lime juice

  • Toss everything together!

ImageThe picture does not do this justice as it was absolutely delicious! Bon appetit Mam, and happy birthday xxx


Thursday 13th June 2013

New cookery book alert!!! Colin arrived home last night with Eric Lanlard’s ‘Tart IT Up!’, his new release, and it is full of delicious looking recipes. Tonight we are starting with a summer vegetable pie, prepped in the morning and cooked in the evening…..

ImageLots of potato, peppers, onion and spinach, mixed with a whisked egg and grated mature cheddar and placed in filo pastry, layered in a baking dish, and sprinkled with pine nuts. Baked in the oven for 30mins, and served with some olive oil baked potato slices and salad.

ImageA really lovely, light and summery pie. Our plates were cleaned off, and the remainder will make it to work with me tomorrow for my lunch. The book is filled with many more sweet and savoury pies and I look forward to tasting the rest of the book.

This week has been a long one with some long days and long drives. Because of this I have been extremely lazy and we have had takeaway, Pieminister pies, and tomatoey pasta. However, I look forward to a food filled weekend ahead!

Sunday 9th June 2013

A Campari for the weekend…..

ImageI became fond of a Campari or an Aperol on my hols the year before last in Venice. Topped up with prosecco this is a perfect aperitif, and the sunshine made me break open a bottle to welcome in the summer!

The past 3 days I have worked late so no real dinner to speak of, unfortunately. So tonight I have made an effort: Roast Topside of Beef with a Mallorcan Tombet. The Tombet came from a cookbook Colin’s parents brought me back from a recent jaunt to Majorca. It is a layered vegetable bake, and although it took a little while to assemble it was well worth the effort. Here’s the recipe……

2 large potatoes

1 large aubergine

1 large courgette

1 large yellow pepper

2 garlic cloves, chopped

Small glass of white wine

1 tin chopped tomatoes

  • Cut the potato, aubergine and courgette into slices
  • Chop the pepper into long strips
  • Heat some oil in a frying pan and brown the vegetables, both sides, one veg at a time
  • In a baking dish place the potatoes in a layer. Top with a layer of aubergine, the courgette, and then pepper.



  • In a separate pan add a splash of olive oil and fry the garlic for 1min. Add the wine and reduce by 1/3. Add the tomatoes and a tin full of water and reduce until thick.
  • Pour the sauce over the vegetables and bake in the oven for 30mins until bubbling away nicely.

ImageWashed down with some delicious Valpolicella, and accompanied by some roasted beef, this was a lovely Sunday night dinner.

Dad & Marie’s Birthday- 5th June 2013

ImageHere are my Dad and Marie, photo taken when we were on holiday in Malta a couple of years ago. Both were born on 5th June, although a good 30 years apart! Both also live in the north-east so I can not see them today, so instead I dedicate some food to them: lunch to Marie, and dinner to Dad.

A lunch for Marie….

ImageMarie loves seafood, and the flavours of Thailand and the Far East, so lunch is a Thai-inspired squid salad. This was very simple and made a good lunch- here’s the recipe.

Marie’s Squid Salad

6 squid- I bought them fresh from the fish counter at work but you could easily use frozen

1garlic clove

2 hot red chillis

Splash marsala

8 cherry tomatoes, chopped in half

Salad leaves

Fresh coriander

1 lemon

4 spring onions, sliced lengthways

  • prepare the squid by removing the tentacles and slicing into 1cm wide rings. I also used the tentacles, but don’t if you don’t like them.
  • Heat a frying pan and add a splash of olive oil. Sauté the garlic and chilli for 1 min until fragrant. Add the squid and stir for 1 min on a high heat.
  • Add a splash of marsala, or dry white wine and bubble away quickly. Add the tomatoes and stir around the pan for another couple of minutes until the squid is cooked. This doesn’t take long, and you need to be careful not to overcook as squid can turn very rubbery very quickly.
  • Squeeze in some lemon juice and get ready to serve.
  • On a large plate add the salad leaves and sprinkle over the spring onions and some freshly chopped coriander. Add the squid and a final squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Eat immediately, preferably with a chilled glass of celebratory prosecco!

I have promised it make this for Marie when we are together in Devon at the end of the month.

A curry for Dad…..


Now Dad is actually partial to a Lamb Rogan so this would have to be a departure for him! This curry is made with chicken, tomatoes, hot chillis, curry spices and coconut milk to take the heat down a notch. I have also sautéed some red and yellow peppers in mustard seeds, curry leaves and cumin seeds as Dad will always love extra veg!

Happy Birthday French men!!!

Tuesday 4th June 2013

A few weeks ago Barbara, my mother in law, visited a magistrate colleague who has a farm and returned back with some pressies for us- 2 sirloin steaks and a top rump. Tonight we had the steaks…

ImageThe quality of the meat shine through and needed nothing more than a simple seasoning and a hot griddle pan. It was tender and juicy and makes you think more and more that it is worth eating less meat, but making sure what you do consume is of the highest quality. You can taste that this animal had been raised well, looked after, and not simply seen as a commodity. Truly delicious with some English asparagus and some chips (to keep Colin happy of course!).

Weekend 1/2nd June 2013


What a weekend! Not only did the sun shine, making everyone happy and smiley, but I had a captive audience to feed 😊😊😊

A little while ago it was my father in laws 70th birthday, but as they are international jet-setters it has been impossible to get together to celebrate, until this weekend. He requested a curry, so we spent some time looking at our favourite home curries to design a banquet fit for the occasion! But first the cake….

70th Birthday Rainbow Cake

A cake with 7 layers – 6 cake and 1 mascarpone icing!


This cake looks amazing once cut, a real visual surprise, and perfect for a special occasion. It was not even that difficult, although it did take some time as the layers need to be cooked in batches. The kitchen was in chaos for the morning- actually the entire flat as at one point I was using 3rooms for prep!

Here are the individual cakes once out of the oven…

ImageOnce cooled they were stacked using mascarpone icing as ‘glue’.

ImageThe I iced the entire cake and topped with some edible silver glitter and some candles. Here we are in the garden enjoying the sun and cake.

ImageThere are many recipes for this cake. I used the one from Good Food magazine which you can find on their website. Worth the effort, and I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate a grand birthday!!!

Once cake had been digested I set to work on a curry banquet. As you will know myself and Colin love a selection of curries and it is almost a weekly occasion for us, and an opportunity to try new recipes. Tonight was about tried and tested favourites, but also introducing a variety of curries and flavours. On the menu….

Chicken curry, jalfrezi style

Red kidney bean curry

Red lentil dal

Bombayed Jersey Royals

Basmati rice

Coriander naan bread

Red onion, tomato, chilli and coriander salad

Washed down with a couple of bottles of Portuguese Duoro from Waitrose, which was a good match with the highly spiced food. A spicy, tasty spread!

ImageA walk on Sunday blew the cobwebs away, even though we did have to take a detour avoiding the locals……. After a brunch and a drive home all we could manage for dinner was a pizza. A lovely weekend off in the sun with happiness all around. Perfect.

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