Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Tomato and Pepper soup

With nights drawing in quickly and it already feeling a bit like autumn a hearty soup is in order. I made this the day after a wedding so was feeling a little fragile and in much need of something hearty but healthy too!

1 tablespoon of frozen diced shallots
1 tablespoon of frozen diced garlic (can't beat waitrose for these!)
I vegatables stock cube
1 Romano pepper
Small tub of passata
I tablespoon frozen chopped basil
1 teaspoon of sundried tomato pesto
30 ml water (more if required)
1 tablespoon of crunchy onion bits
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat up the oil and soften the shallots and garlic

2. Add the vegatables stock cube

3. Add the chopped peppers

4. When softened add the passata

5. Add in all the frozen basil

6. Add in the sundried tomato pesto and salt and pepper

7. Add a little water to thin slightly 

8. Pour into two bowls and add the onion on top with a couple of whole slices of pepper- so it looks a little less bland

Monday, 17 August 2015

Courgetti, Bacon and Tomato

Everybody is talking about Courgetti, or a spiralizer, but courgettes seems to be the only thing people use them for. With a low carb week about to start we tried some Courgetti to see what the fuss was about. We ended up going a tad over board and didn't really need up too healthy, but tasted great!

3 courgettes, spiralizer of course!
1 red onion diced
One pack of vine tomatoes
6 rashers of bacon, chopped
1 pack of sliced saucisson 
Handful of black olives
Tsp garlic granules
2 tablespoons tomato purée
2 handfuls frozen basil
Handful of pine nuts, roasted
Parmesan to dress

1. Sweat down onions and garlic granules until soft

2. Add the bacon until cooked

3. Add in the chopped tomatoes and black olives

4. Add in the pieces of saucisson 

5. Add tomato purée and all the frozen basil

6. Add in the spiralised Courgetti 

7. Add the pine nuts 

8. Add Parmesan to taste 

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Nobu, Mayfair

A special birthday meant a trip to Nobu. Some how I had never been despite the other half having been 3 times and was always talking about it. I was bit surprised as the dining room style felt very much like a canteen rather than the high class restaurant I expected, especially compared to the entrance and bar area.

We were absolutely starving so ordered quite a lot. We also had some great cocktails, every variation of mojito they had on the menu.

First up yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño. Was very tasty but incredibly limited in terms of amount, was slightly concerned how many dishes we may need. There is a hint of spice but quite probably the mildest dish I have ever had with jalepeno on the description!

Next up was creamy spices baby shrimp tempura. A solid dish but not spectacular, but we finished in what felt like seconds so must have been pretty decent with hindsight. The picture looks like a full bowl but actually a lot salad leaves underneath.

Next up pork belly with spicey miso. This was more like it, the flavour was exquisite and so unbelievable morish. I had to slow the other half down so that they actually savoured it. The only part I would change was the size, too big to eat in one go but a bit too chewy to bite off. You end up with everything in your mouth but as a youngster I would have been told off for stuffing my mouth full. A little smaller and 8 chunks instead of 6 would have been perfect.

Then the star dish came. Miso style black cod is certainly a must have, we had with steamed broccoli. The dish made the evening, we had very similar in santorini recently but this was something else. For 
someone who eats little fish this could certainly change me. In addition the salsa with the broccoli was immense, I could have it with every dish I ever eat!

To finish we thought we had better have some sushi so went for some shrimp tempura inside out cut roll. A good way to end without being fantastic and I regularly have better. 

We then settled on something sweet, and went for lollipops. I ordered mango with white chocolate, well I did before I was told it was actually raspberry and pistachio covered with white chocolate. It wasn't as didn't have any pistachio at all! Slightly disappointing that such a basic item on the menu was so confusing and I ended up with something I didn't really want, and fell apart before I had even taken a bite. Eating ice cream off a plate with a spoon, so very classy of me.

Overall rating 7/10

Would I ever go back, probably unlikely. Despite some standout dishes it certainly wasn't worrh £235. I think half this amount and I might feel some value.  I also don't like the fussyness, the first drinks took 15 minutes but then the waitress topped up our water about every 90 seconds, which is far too much attention for my liking. I can see why Nobu has always been popular and will remain so for those in certain circles who want to be seen somwhere but the value is poor and I have had better meals for a lot less. 

Monday, 13 July 2015

Hutong - Shard, London

A special birthday recently meant a lunch time trip to Hutong up the Shard. I had heard that it was expensive for what it is but the view more than made up for it.

Fortunately when we turned up we had a window table, the tables that turned up after had tables set away from the window and looked a bit pissed off. Although the view we had wasn't great especially against comparable restaurants, the area between London Bridge and Waterloo isn't exactly the most impressive in London. We also sat next to the duck kitchen which for many would be off putting, in addition to the cutlery draw directly behind that was rattling through most of the meal.

We started with cocktails, Dragon Tail for me with vodka, lemongrass, honey, sesame and asparagus -yum but having a pretty raw stick of asparagus in a cocktail was a little weird. We also had a passion fruit and mango martini. Note how worn the table looks, it's not as if this is an old restaurant!!

We then ordered the pork belly and cucumber starter which was beautiful and a cracking sticky sauce

We were enjoying this but then all the other dishes came half way though, not sure why as no reason for this. Almost trying to rush our lunch so we left quickly but with a number of empty tables this 
was odd. 

Our mains, were bbq lamb ribs, sweet chilli beef with egg fried rice and fried noodles.

Notice how much of our drinks we had drunk, that's how quick it all came. Normally this isn't an issue for me but a lazy lunch should not be rushed. The positive was the beef which was incredible even for me who eats this dish everywhere I can, but for £26 it needed to be. The noodles and rice were average but again very price. The real negative was the lamb, although warned it was fatty this was something else. For each little piece there was maybe 30% meat. The other half hated the dish, for £31 this was distinctly average, about £3 per minuscule bit of fat! Please avoid this dish, it would 
be overpriced at a third of the price.

We were very full after the meal so declined a dessert but as a nice surprise we received this:

This was a nice touch but the lack of friendliness throughout the meal was noticeable. I expected a clean cut service but it was akin to a local chinese restaurant and clumsy throughout. 

The location of Hutong is special but unless it improves noticeable I will be surprised if this is still here in a year or two. Almost £140 for mains and cocktails is a bit of a pisstake, live and learn!


Much better was the bar downstairs which we spent the leisurely time we had planned at Hutong. Great cocktail and a lovely view of the city that was missing from upstairs 

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Almond Milk, Strawberry and Oat Smoothie

I have been on a health kick recently after realising I was slowly putting on a bit too much weight! Decided to at least start every day on the right note with a healthy oat smoothie to start the day. The problem with most oat smoothie recipes are they are American and those who have read other blogs on here know I detest recipes which have 'cups' as measures. This is 2015, why we allow such a inprecise measurement amazes me. I have cups in my kitchen sizing between 100ml and a pint, which size is right??

Anyway here is a very simple oat smoothie recipe, with normal measurements, for a nice filling start to the day 

200g Strawberry (or one Banana. Do not use blueberries at this ratio as turns gelatinous!)
50g Oats
400ml Almond Milk

1. First get yourself a Brevil blender, a god send with such little fuss or mess for only £30 http://www.breville.co.uk/vbl062-blend-active.html. 

2. Cut up the strawberry into quarters and add these, the milk and then oats into the bottle

3. I like to soak for 10 minutes and then blend. 

4. Two mornings worth of smoothie, enjoy!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Review: Holyfuck sauce (TheRibman.co.uk)

After following theribman (@theribman) on Twitter for what seems like forever and friends raving about his famous ribs, I thought I had better try some his sauces. The most famous is 'Holy Fuck' but I fancied trying more than just one of his sauces, so went for the holy trinity hot sauces travel pack. As well as the Holy fuck, it comes Christ on a bike, and Holy mother of god, in handy 100ml bottles in a handy see through plastic wrapping (for when you desperately need to take as hand luggage)

I really hot sauces but my heat limits are not the highest so was anxious as to just how hot these were going to be. Fortunately the side of the bottle has a scale, 6 crossed irons left me worried.

So I thought I would just for it and try them all together, with of course some meat as was designed for! No ribs though unfortunately.

The taste was not what I had expected as so different to every hot sauce I have tried before. It tasted like a pizza or pasta sauce because of the herbs and tomato used, just with a massive kick! Unless you want to cry until next week I wouldn't recommend having as a pizza base. Certainly doesn't have the sheer amount of vinegar you find in most (cheap) hot sauces

I love the holy fuck sauce and lapped it up, the Christ on a bike stretched me, whilst the Holy mother was just too much for me! Certainly separates the men from the boys but I'm not ashamed not be able to handle the hottest, my mouth was on fire for about 20 mins and looked a little red. The milk in the picture below was essential.

So how does it fair, I would give them 8 out of 10. Very good sauces but I wouldn't be replacing my default favourite hot sauce - A Totally Frullish Concoction (Mr Richardson incomparable condiments) reviewed here but would be a very good back up and an essential sauce at a bbq.

The travel pack is available from www.theribman.co.uk/collections/sauces for £10. The ribman can also be found on brick lane on Sunday for the full fix with ribs! 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Fenchurch Seafood Bar & Grill (Skygarden)

I had previously booked a couple of tickets to go up the 'Walkie talkie' tower but work commitments meant I never could actually go. For date night with fiancée I suggested we treat ourselves at Fenchurch seafood bar and grill and review. Despite having limited number of tables we were able to book 48 hours ahead which was surprising.

The table was booked for 6:45 but thought we would chance going up an hour early, but we were met with a pretty lengthy queue at ground level. What wasn't clear was that with restaurant reservations you could skip this queue, so ended up wasting 10-15 minutes. By the time we got to the top we were really ready for a drink at level 35 (sky pod bar), but unfortunately despite being at the bar itself we again had a lengthy wait. Most drinks were cocktails and lengthy prep time along with what appeared to be in-experienced bar staff meant quite a few errors occurring! I can appreciated teething issues with brand new bars but this has been open for a little bit of time now and it looked quite amateurish.

We finally got drinks and the views were certainly worth the wait
Looking East


 We took a walk around and loved the views in every direction. There is plenty of seating both in the bar and around the sky  garden itself which is a real positive. 

And inside 

As we were getting hungry we went up to level 37 to the restaurant itself. The menu is fantastic with both a number of seafood and meat options with mains from £22. We decided to skip starter as the 
desserts looked pretty special and also the amuse Boucher and bread were more than enough. We went for Fillet steak and Guinea Fowl which were both delightful and kept us very quiet. My partner was in love with this dish as all of their favourite things on a plate- and a salad just out of shot!

The main courses were great but where this place adds the special touch is the desserts.  We both went for the strawberry doughnut, lime ice cream,  buttermilk and honeycomb. My partners reaction was 'the best dessert I have ever had'. Considering the places we have eaten, fine praise indeed.

The overall bill came to about £155, but considering we had a £55 bottle of US Pinot Noir was reasonable and certainly felt well worth it. I will be going again and now looking actively for an occasion to book it for.

Overall Rating 8.5. Though I would say a point off purely for having to wait downstairs for both the lift and at the sky pod bar. This may be harsh on the restaurant itself but all part of the evening