Hvar Town, Croatia

IMG_8328

The first week of my summer holidays was spent in sunny Croatia. We had one evening in Split and then stayed in Hvar town for the rest of the week. Gaby, Rowena and I had an amazing week with lots of sleep, lots of sunbathing, a bit of party and several nice meals. My ideal holiday.

We stayed jn Hvar Town the whole time and although it is small town there were plenty of restaurants to choose from so we never got bored.

Macondo

macondo

Our first evening we tried Macondo, a fish restaurant with a great reputation. We tried the local dish marinated octopus which was really nice and then shared a platter of grilled seafood and a lobster pasta. The food was alright but not amazing so we were a little disappointed. But then again, maybe we just ordered the wrong things from the menu?!

Macondo, Groda, Hvar Town, Croatia

Zlatna Skoljka  (Golden Shell restaurant)

golden shell

This restaurant’s speciality is slow cooking and offered lots of stews. We started with a fish tartar (not sure which particular fish) to share and then Gaby and I had the fish stew with potatoes and shelfish. It is one of their signature dishes and it was nice in a homemade kind of way. Rowena had a beef stew (shortribs?) with dumplings that was very heavy. The meat was very tender melted in the mouth and although a hearty stew isn’t summer food for me it was nice and well cooked.

Zlatna Skoljka, Petra Hektorovića 8, 21450 Hvar, Croatia

Giaxa

Giaxa

Gaixa had a bit more oomph than the previous two restaurants. Gaby and Ro shared the swordfish carpaccio which was lovely and so was my ravioli with truffle sauce. The beef with gnoochi and truffle was utterly delicious while my swordfish with cauliflower mash was underseasoned a little underwhelming. But overall I really liked this place.

Giaxa, Trg Tv. Petra Hektorovića 3, 21450, Hvar, Croatia

Paradies Garden

paradies garden

We sat outside in a cozy courtyard at Paradies Garden and could watch the boats in the harbour. The portions were huge but everything we tried was well-cooked and very nice; grilled fish, risotto, scallops and their signature dish – meat cooked on a hot stone. The table next to ours shared a huge seafood platter that looked great too!

Paradies Garden, Groda bb, Hvar, Hvar Island 21450, Croatia

Restaurant Vartal

pizza

Ro and Gaby noticed this place when out for a walk and thought the pizzas looked nice. So that’s what we had when we had dinner here the last night (and pasta). It is a no-fuss restaurant but the food was nice, the wine nice and it was very good value for money. Definitely the cheapest place we had dinner.

Restaurant Vartal, Fulgencija Careva 1, Hvar, Hvar Island, Croatia

Dinner at Dvor, Split, Croatia

2014-08-02 22.58.49

We arrived to Split quite late on a Friday night but we were determined to go to this lovely restaurant we discovered last year, even if it meant eating around 10.30pm. 

The ambiance was just as cosy as we had imagined it would be in the evening, sitting outside overlooking the beach underneath some trees. Last time we had lunch here which was also lovely, but in a different way. 

2014-08-02 23.10.282014-08-02 23.10.33

The menu was similar to last time although some of the fun commentary was removed. We started with a board with various meats like saucisson and chorizo with pickles as well as an interesting salmon tartar with olive oil ‘snow’ on top to share which was plenty. 

2014-08-02 23.39.02-1

For the maincourse I actually chose the same delicious pasta as last time; spaghetti with prosciutto, rocket and truffle sauce. Gaby had a risotto with prawns and Rowena a very generous portion of grilles seabass. 

2014-08-02 23.39.132014-08-02 23.36.56-1

We had a great meal and this was a fantastic start to our trip. The next day we took the catamaran to Hvar where we spent the rest of our week. Mainly in our respective sun loungers. 

Dvor, Put Firola 14, Split, Croatia

To Spain

img_6679

My summer holiday has come to an end and so has the summer here in London, apparently. The air is crisp and the sun rays less warm than a few weeks ago. Soon the colour of the leaves will turn to gold and copper and before we know it Christmas is upon us.

Before I get into autumn mode completely I hope to squeeze the last out of summer with a quick trip to San Sebastian over the bank holiday weekend. Bring on the pinxtos, tapas and Michelin starred restaurants. And some sun, please!

Fried squid with coconut milk, noodles, lime, chilli and mint

IMG_8303

I absolutely adore squid and try to mix my recipes up a little; one can only have so much calamari… This dish with crispy squid with the bold flavours of lime, chilli and mint contrasting the soft noodles in coconut milk is really tasty and one I will make many times in the future.

Fried squid with coconut milk, noodles, lime, chilli and mint, serves 2

2 nests egg noodles

300 g squid, cleaned and sliced

1/2 red chilli, chopped

1 garlic clove, pressed

1 tomato, chopped

1 handful chopped mint

2 limes, zest and juice

200 g coconut milk

salt, pepper

Cook the noodles according to the packet. Heat up some olive oil in a non-stick pan and add the tomato and chilli. Fry for a few minutes then add the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Season with the zest and juice from 1 lime, salt and pepper. Let the sauce thicken, then mix with the noodles and add some mint. 

Heat up olive oil in a frying pan on high heat. Add the chilli and then the squid and flash-fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and lower the heat (so it doesn’t burn). Add the juice of 1 lime and scatter with mint. Season. 

Place the noodles in a bowl and top with the squid. 

Lunch at Bar Boulud, Knightsbridge

bb1

Quite a while ago Sinead and I had a lovely long lunch at Bar Boulud in the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge. It was raining so we thought we spend the day very appropriately with two courses each and some nice wine.

Sinead started with a couscous salad with herb sauce and vegetarian filo pastry parcels that was delicious, although big as a main course.

bb2

I chose the crab and had both crab mayonnaise on lettuce as well as fried soft shell crab with remoulade on my plate. Very tasty!

bb5

Sinead usuallu has the chicken dish on the menu wherever we go and this was a stellar classic with chicken breast, roast potatoes, green beans and tarragon jus.

bb6

I went for the burger that I had heard so much about. It was rumoured to be the best burger in London which I think is a bit ambitious but it was definitely a good burger. But nothing beat the truffled mashed potatoes I had on the side. Oh my, this was amazing! The mash was a proper buttery and fluffy puré and served with generous shavings of black truffle. Trust me when I say I will probably order it every time I go here.

Bar Boulud, Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park 66, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA

The best couscous salad

cous

This couscous salad is divine. I know, the recipe sounds too simple to create a divine dish but trust me, and my friend Gaby, when we say it is delicious.

I whipped this up one night when I was tired, hot and bothered and had no energy to cook and it turned out great. I just served it with some fried halloumi and a glass of white wine and it turned out to the an amazing supper.

Couscous salad with chilli and mint, serves 2

2 portions coucous

olive oil

1/2 lemon

1 tomato

3 spring onions 

1/2 red chilli

a handful mint

sea salt

Cook the couscous according to the packet, but add some stock to the water. Takes max 5 mins. Meanwhile chop/slice the chilli, tomato, spring onion and mint.

Use a fork to puff up the couscous and add some olive oil. Heat up some more oil in a non-stick pan and fry the chilli for a minute or two without browning. Mix the chilli and hot oil into the couscous and add the tomato and spring onions. Add some lemon juice and salt. Adjust the seasoning and add the mint. Serve with fried halloumi, barbecues chicken or what else you fancy. 

Lunch at Burger & Lobster, Soho

lob2

I have finally been to Burger & Lobster; one of the very many popular first come first serve restaurants in Soho with a limited menu.

The menu is very concise; you can choose between a burger, whole lobster or a lobster roll for £20 and they’re all served with fried and a salad.

lob

I couldn’t resist the lobster and it was great. Perfectly cooked, finished under the grill and the claws were pre-cracked to make it easier to eat. The lemon and garlic butter was delicious too, the fries pretty standard and the salad really fresh.

The staff were friendly and supplied bibs, wet wipes and proper seafood tools. I really enjoyed this place and will definitely be back for the lobster. £20 is quite steep for a regular burger but it looked really good so I definitely want to try that too!

There are more restaurants than the one in Soho and the first Burger & Lobster is about to open in NYC so more than I seem to like this concept.

Burger & Lobster, 36 Dean Street, London W1D 4PS