Sunday, 30 November 2014

Black & Blue, Waterloo

Friday night the two of us decided to go for something to eat near Waterloo on the way home. Unfortunately out of all the choices within walking distance we made a massive error with Black & Blue.

As the place was busy we went straight to the bar and we probably should have left at this point, as the G&Ts were served in the type of glasses not seen since cheap student union nights many years

Eventually a table was free and we were shown towards it, well told it was upstairs and left to find our own way. As there was no staff upstairs we just sat anywhere and waited and waited. Eventually we asked the only staff member anywhere near for menus and grudgingly she got some.

Trying to order was also great fun, 4/5 attempts to explain what we wanted as the server's English was almost non existent. What tricky order did you want I hear you say, well Ribs times 2! Could not have been easier to understand and pointing to the menu didn't even help.

When the food arrived it was actually alright, not fine dining but certainly edible and we polished it all off. Would have been nice to have been offered anything else/more sauces but not to worry.

Unfortunate it was just after we received the food that the real reason for this blog posting exists!
Sitting the small table right by the railings were fine, nice view over the rest of the restaurant, however big gaps occur between every post in said railing. Putting cutlery 3/4 centimetres from the edge is a recipe for distaster and as you can imagine when the plates were put down the lack of space meant by girlfriend knocked her knife slightly. This then fell through the railing, fortunately hitting the floor below and not a diner.

This then led to the quickest movement of staff that evening, with the bouncer on the door running up the stairs to berate my girlfriend for 1. doing it on purposes and 2. being drunk. Great way to kill the mood of not only our meal but also all other tables upstairs.

A little later we explained to the server and she apologised and said she would have a word with the
bouncer, shame that when she went downstairs, she walked straight past him (maybe she forgot upstairs had such a good view??)

We finished our meal and paid, again explaining the poor experience. Not really any apology this time but told simply he wasn't part of normal staff so it wasn't the restaurants fault. Oh that makes it alright then.

My advise is simply don't go here, if you need a quick fix food wise at Waterloo hit Mcdondalds instead.

Food 5.5/10
Overall 3/10

I tweeted the restaurant post meal well over 48 hours ago,  but up to now have had no response so have no qualms what so ever in posting this less than positive review 

Honey and Mustard Dressing

On a bit of a health kick recently, so have been a little slack in updating as most of my meals have been monotonous and boring. Although this meal was a salad, it had blue cheese covering it and my famous (well within friends) honey mustard dressing

I love condiments but always think salad dressings are a bit dull and almost always a bit too vinegary for my tastes. I will always try and make something up rather than just pour at a bottle

1 tsp whole grain mustard
1 tsp american mustard
2 tsp mayonnaise 
2 tsp honey

1. Simply add the mustards and honey together. Mix well
2. Add the mayonnaise in, small bits at a time and continue to mix

3. Add further amounts of any of the ingredients for preference. If too thick add a little olive oil

4. Drizzle over salad

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Tomato and Sweet Pepper Bruschetta

A lazy Saturday and thought I would try a new fruit and veg stall near. I'm incredibly lazy and so much of my vegetables come from the supermarket and will be making more of an effort going forward!

5 Sweet peppers (red and orange for colour)
Approx 500g baby plum tomatoes (Was a bit over a pound in weight)
Large sprinkling of homemade Garlic oil
Handful frozen chopped Garlic
Handful frozen chopped Shallots
Handful frozen chopped Basil
Large sprinkling Paprika
Large sprinkling Red chilli flakes
Black pepper to taste

We picked up 5 peppers and loads of tomatoes all for about £2.20 and we decided to make some soup with them (which we didn't follow through with!)

1. We started by chopping and placing all of the above in a roasting tray. 

2. Then added all the other herbs, spices and home made garlic oil.

3. We roasted for 30 minutes at 200c.

4. We then decided it looked far too tasty to 'waste' in  a soup so instead toasted a couple of pittas and added some salad round the side.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Five Guys, London

I had a busy day at a conference pretty central and the food was pretty lousy, so the moment it ended I desperately needed something to fill the void. Despite Five Guys being around near Leicester Square for some time now for some unknown reason I had never tried. I thought I would give them a try.

The queue was fortunately pretty short but still out of the door and got served after about 5 minutes wait. I ordered a cheeseburger with the works, regular fries and a soft drink. Considering I ordered regular fries the amount of fries was ridiculous as seen in the below picture, which was after the cup
of standard fries had been removed

The fries were very tasty, proper hand cut chips so big plus on this. However there were far too many and despite leaving about a quarter of them eating them became a chore! 

The other good thing about the meal was the soft drink machine, free refills of what looked like every version of Coke, Fanta and Schweppes ever made.

So to the key item, the burger with all the works.

Incredibly messy burger and looks between a mix of a burger from a bog standard burger van and a  Big Mac. I was hugely disappointed as for £8 I thought it would be much better, both presentation wise and also the taste. It tastes like it looks, greasy! It is by no means the worst burger ever but far from being a good burger and certainly not value for money.

The most annoying thing about it was the grease, even when in the foil it still went through 4/5 paper tissues. My hands still were greasy hours after despite using numerous tissues and washing my hand numerous times.

The burger fries and drink came to £14 which considering the place is a slightly glorified McDonalds it is shockingly expensive, especially given the great burger places out there. I've learnt my lesson, stick to more hipster style burger places in future!!

Five Guys 4.5/10

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Lamb Paprika and Pistachio burgers

Another post another pistachio recipe, seems to be my love at present!

500g lamb mince
2 tablespoons crushed pistachios
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon mixed spice
Salt and pepper

1. Mix all ingredients apart from the honey and leave for 20/30 minutes

2. Add the honey and mix again

3. Form into burger shapes (i made 2 koftas with leftovers)

4. Cook at 190c for about 20 mins, turn over half way through

5. Allow to cool slightly and slice. Serve on top of salad leaves, radishes, beetroot and pepper

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Sweet Potato with Pistachio and Pomegranate Guacamole

After a couple of weeks of the new site here goes for the first actual recipe on here.

I winded up with lots of leftover pistachios and pomegranate after a Turkish inspired lamb burger salad recipe (no photos unfortunately!). After looking for some inspiration the majority of recipes I found were either American and therefore obsessed with cilantro/chipotle and generally pretty rubbish. However it did give me the idea of using sweet potato for the meal.

2 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Cholula chilli hot sauce
Sprinkle of smoked paprika

1 avocado
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
2 tablespoon pomegranate
Half a lime

1. I started by simply roasting the sweet potato in the oven, 200c for an hour.

2. Then I sliced open the sweet potato and took out all the inside leaving just the skins. I then mixed with the honey, smoked paprika and the hot sauce. I then placed all of this back into the skins

3. I then broke up the avocado as fine as possible with a fork, then added the juice of half a lime the chopped pistachios and pomegranate and mixed well.

4. Then add this onto the top of the sweet potato. Voila!

Sorry for the messy pic I was so hungry by this point I was desperate to devour it

Monday, 6 October 2014

A Slightly Pathetic Chilli Plant

In late spring a work colleague brought in a number of Cayenne pepper seedlings in for others to share in the Chilli goodness. Not having a greenhouse or conservatory had previous put me off but I thought I would give it a go.

After a few weeks things were looking good and it was growing well on the window sill and repotted into a larger pot.    

As the months went on I started to get excited when the plant start flowering and a small pepper started growing. 

Unfortunately things then took a bit of a turn for the worse and a lot of the leaves started dying. 
Whether being on the window sill was a bad idea, or it was over fed or overwatered I'm not sure but nothing seemed to be going right.
I finally managed to get it to come round by watering a little less and not feeding it for a few weeks. 

Although the plant started to look healthy the fact that it had been on the window sill behind a blind meant it had grown incredibly narrow and still only had one pepper.

(Spot the pepper!)

I finally admitted defeat today as it's getting colder and cut the cayenne pepper off. The taste was very sweet with a lovely heat but five months of effort for one pepper probably wasn't worth it!!

This won't put me off though, next year I will back and will try more.

Any tips for growing indoors or advice about which chilli's that grow better would be graciously received!!!!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Mr. Richardson's Incomparable Condiments

A friend has been a bit too over excited recently after ordering some hot sauce online. I'm not usually someone who particularly loves hot sauce for the sake of it but I will try any food item, especially condiments, at least once.

When the sauce arrived he brought it round for me to sample. Turns out there were more than one, 'A Truly Frulish Concoction' and 'Deep Fried Heroin'.

Both very similar looking bottles and lists of ingredients but boy these are worlds apart!!

First up Truly Frulish, quite possible the best hot sauce I have ever tried. The fruity elements of the strawberry Frulli beer comes through but without being sweet at all. There is a strong kick but very enjoyable, the type of hot sauce you would be addicted to after the first taste. I can imagine using the sauce as a marinade, mixed with sour cream for a nacho dipping sauce or even used sparingly in a slow cooker over meatballs. 

Next up was the Deep Fried Heroin. Apparently double the strength in terms of number of scotch bonnets and you can really see the difference. Unfortunately for me it is too much heat, and couldn't get the same fruity flavours as with the first as the heat overpowered. My mate was in love however, something tells me that he will be ordering a lot more!

The sauces are available from for £3.29 for a 250ml bottle (plus postage) although the Deep Fried Heroin looks to be pretty new and therefore not available on line as yet.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Peach and Raspberry Gin

After dinner round at friends at which we drank a number of flavoured gins, I was desperate to try and make my own.
Various recipies for fruit gin are out there but none seem to combine different fruits so this was a bit of a gamble. However raspberry gin seems to be the most popular (apart from sloe) so I thought I would start from here and add peaches. I know there is at least one gin company that make Peach gin so it must surely mix well!

225g punnet of raspberries
3 peaches diced (about 200g)
300g sugar
1.5l gin
2l Kilner jar

1. Sterilise your Kilner jar, I prefer the oven method.
2. When cooled add raspberries, followed by diced peaches.

3. Add sugar to cover the fruit, give a little shake.

4. Top up with all the gin to the top of the jar ( I had a little left over so a nice g&t followed :) ).

5. Shake daily for the next couple of days until sugar dissolved.

6. Place in a dark cool area for between 6/12 months, I used the brown paper the Kilner jar came in. Strain the fruit out after a couple of months. I recommend tasting on a semi regular basis so that you can add further sugar if required.

I will update 6 months with the final results!