Sunday, 24 February 2013

Trout with Pea & Watercress Purée

My friend Naomi bought me a year’s sub to Olive magazine for Christmas - yay! It’s such a treat to have it delivered every month, have a good read and decide what to earmark for cooking later. March’s issue was very timely for me having a feature on eating out in Marrakech (me and the BF are going in a few weeks) but it also had a lot of recipes I can’t wait to try.

The first was trout (the recipe actually specified sea trout but I’m pretty sure mine was just river trout - they’re actually biologically identical anyway) with a pea-based purée: very simple, with only a handful of ingredients, to prepare and cook and very, very tasty. Pretty good for you too!

Trout resembles salmon in appearance but is smaller, with a silver, black-flecked skin and oil-rich flesh. It has a subtle and delicate flavour with a fine texture.

Trout with Pea & Watercress Purée
serves 2

200g frozen peas
2 knobs of butter
100ml chicken stock
75g watercress, reserve a small handful
6 slices Prosciutto Speck, chopped
2 trout fillets
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Put the peas in a pan with a knob of butter and the stock. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until the peas are tender.

Stir in the watercress and cook for a minute more. Take off the heat and let cool a little before using a stick blender to blitz to a rough purée.

Meanwhile heat a non-stick frying pan and cook the prosciutto until golden and crisping. Remove from the pan, leaving any fat that may have come off the prosciutto, and set aside.

Season the fish fillets with the salt and pepper then add to the frying pan, rounded side down. Add the second knob of butter and cook on a medium-low heat for about 4 minutes until golden. Flip the fish over and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

Reheat the pea purée and spoon onto 2 plates. Lay a fillet of trout on each mound of purée, then sprinkle over the prosciutto and reserved watercress.

Serve with boiled or steamed new potatoes tossed with a little butter and chopped parsley

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Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Battle of The Burgers

Luckily this post isn't featuring the burger I made a few weeks ago (and then again last week for a wider audience) in the style of the famous LA restaurant Comme Ça's burgers (with secret ingredient of bacon fat), as frankly my burger would have won hands down!

We do have pretty much a head to head of MEATliqour, MEATmarket and Honest Burgers. Honestly, they were all delicious. There is little that can match, when you're in a burger mood, a really good juicy meaty burger, glistening with just the right amount of fat that threatens to leave rivulets of lusciousness dripping from your fingers.

I think where MEATliqour / market wins out is with the sides. The former with their incredibly amazing buffalo wings and "who would have thought that would work?!?" deep-fried pickles; the latter with jalapeno poppers. I'm a sucker for a good one, and these were killer. That said, Honest Burgers' rosemary salted fries are amazing too.

On the drinks side of things, I think it very much depends how you feel, and what the occasion is. MEATliqour has it's pretty infamous House Grog - where you wonder a) why you are paying that much for what seems a fairly innoucous drink and b) why on earth you're only allowed 2 per person per visit. And then it hits you, an hour later, that you're actually pretty drunk. In a giggly, happy, moving onto snoozy way.

MEATMarket on the other hand has "hard" shakes: mine maple syrup. With bourbon. And it was delicious. But if you're in a straight up "hand me a bottle of beer with my burger" mood, then you can't really go wrong with a bottle of Bethnal Pale Ale at Honest Burgers.

Something then for everyone really, depending on your eating, drinking and also your can I be arsed to queue for a table mood.

The Dead Hippie burger, "Poppaz" with ranch dressing and Hard Beige
shake at MEATmarket

Look at how good the Dead Hippie looks

Slight twist on the traditional jalapeno popper &
certainly no worse for it

Relative calm in Soho - Honest Burgers

Pretty straightforward menu, with a couple of daily specials on the chalk-

On this occasion the special was the "Welsh Burger" that had braised
& crispy leeks, 'rarebit' bacon & peashoots. It was delicious.

The house chips are seasoned with rosemary salt which is inspired -
they are gorgeous

All washed down with a couple of bottles of Pale Ale.
Bills come served in a tobacco tin which personally I found quite a nice

MEATliquor's interior - it can get very loud, very dark & very brothel-
like, perhaps not the best choice for a romantic dinner à deux

The infamous 'House Grog'

I think this was the Dry Daiquiri. Or the Silver Angel. Very good,

'Bingo' wings with blue cheese dip plus deep-fried pickles with yet more
yummy blue cheese dip.

Our platter of food: Dead Hippies, Green Chilli Burgers, Fries & Southern
Style Slaw

Slaw & Fries - well you need some vegetables right?

Green chilli cheeseburger

If I'm honest, and I add chillis to a lot of food that I cook, there were
too many (take a look at the top bun - coated)

The Dead Hippy: MEATliquor's take on the Big Mac (& it's goooood)

Getting darker...

Somehow the 2 per person limit on the Grog's didn't apply. I think we
outfoxed them.

I will happily go to all of them again, and again. Firmly on the agenda is also MEATmission, the new place opened by Yannis Papoutsis that takes reservations. Hurrah!

MEATmarket: Jubilee Market Hall, Tavistock St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8BE
Honest Bugers: 4a Meard St, London W1F 0EF (and also Brixton)
MEATliquor: 74 Welbeck Street, London W1G 0BA

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Saturday, 16 February 2013

Eating Out Over The Last Year

So here's Part II, a round-up of a few of the places eaten in, or indeed taken away from in the last 12 months or so (plus a few things that perhaps should have gone in Part I but weren't (necessarily) cooked by me) . With a couple of these I had fully intended to write up proper reviews but just never really got around to it. There will possibly also be a Part III which in essence will be a sort of photo comparison of a few burger places.

Again, I must apologise for the quality of some of the snaps - iPhone, bad lighting & no flash, blah blah.

Ramen at MoschMosch, Frankfurt Airport

The end of Sunday brunch at Mestizo, near Euston Sq, NW1

Some sort of mushroom ragout with truffle mash  & a crispy fried egg I
think at The Coach & Horses, Clerkenwell

Tiger prawn shish at Del'Aziz, Bermondsey Square, SE1

Chicken, preserved lemon & green olive tagine at Del'Aziz

Nibbles for my party: there was a lot more to come!

Delicious fresh bread & skyr (I think) at Texture,
Portman Square

Heritage beetroot salad at Texture

Salmon, seaweed & horseradish snow at Texture

Icelandic salted cod & prawns with grapefruit & seafood sauce at Texture

Anjou pigeon & sweetcorn 3 ways (including bacon popcorn) at Texture

Cheese course at Texture

Demolished Petit Fours at Texture

BBQ spiced crispy pig's ears & cocktails at Duck &

Scallop, apple, truffle & lime on a Himalayan salt brick at D&W

Heavenly bacon wrapped dates at D&W

Roasted beetroot with goat's curd & honeycomb at D&W

Spiced Herdwick lamb cutlets with spiced aubergine at D&W

Duck & Waffle at erm, D&W

Torrejas & maple caramel apples at Duck & Waffle

'Peach Melba' at D&W

Business Class salad.. it won't happen again - memories!

Steak & Bearnaise: actually much better than it looks

Cheeses & quince jelly (with port of course)

Lump crab cake at Legal Seafoods, Arlington, VA

Smoked salmon, charcuterie, cheese & champagne at the Olympic Park

Chateaubriand at The Leather Exchange, SE1

Pho, hoisin & Vietnamese coffee from Ca Phe on Bermondsey Street

Garlic chicken & waffle fries from Leon on Regent Street

Iced tea at Honey & Co, Warren Street

Rainbow beetroot salad, walnuts, pomegranate & labaneh at Honey & Co

Chicken & rice casserole with pistachio & pumpkin at Honey & Co

Amazing cakes to take home for tea, also at Honey & Co

Fish & chips, Camber Sands

Cream tea, Rye

Mint tea, Finchley Central

Amazing Diamond Jubilee birthday cake for my friend Naomi,by my
friend Emma

Full English (minus bacon, plus extra sausage) at Duck & Waffle

Foie gras 'all day breakfast' at Duck & Waffle

'Steak' & eggs benedict at Duck & Waffle

In lieu of actual reviews: Texture, Honey & Co and Duck & Waffle (once for dinner, once for breakfast) were all great - if I had to choose one to go back to it would probably be Honey & Co as it was just so goddamned delicious. I'm most likely to go back to Duck & Waffle for breakfast / brunch due to its proximity. And that I really want to try the duck's egg en cocotte.

BF & I have been back again for the Chateaubriand at The Leather Exchange - their Thursday special, you get a veritable mound of food and a perfectly cooked steak for 2 plus a bottle of nice red for under £50. Bargain.

The ramen at Frankfurt airport was really very good: who knew such a high level of quick and tasty airport food existed. Leon is, well Leon. But if you're in central London and need a quick bite it's so much better than many of the alternatives.

I'm addicted to the Vietnamese coffee at Ca Phe and when I was off work and had stayed at the BF's the night before it was a ritual the next morning to grab a cup of it to takeaway and sit in Tanner Street Park, people watching. The pho on this occasion, was also very good.

I had a very long, lazy, boozy brunch at Mestizo with my friend Phil. We retired to a bench in Regent's Park afterwards for a couple of hours having eaten so much we could barely move. Good fun.

And finally Emma's cake: not only was it absolutely beautiful to look at, it was also the best cake I think I have ever tasted. Fact.

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