Last weekend I had two late nights in a row and as I am not twenty anymore (sob) I coudn’t do the same this weekend. Instead I hibernated at home on the Saturday and invited my party happy friends from the weekend before over for a relaxed dinner. It’s obviously a different experience to doing shots at 2am but very emjoyable.
We started with a few nibbles; padrón peppers, sweet green olives (that I managed to find in Sainsbury’s actually) and serrano rolls with lemon crème. Some nice bread would have worked well with this, and a grassy olive oil to dip it in, but we avoided gluten this evening and even though there are great products out there, glutenfree bread just isn’t as nice as a proper sourdough.
We then had a real classic in my kitchen; lavender chicken with lemon, thyme and garlic served with roasted new potatoes and steamed green beans and broccoli tossed in a Dijon vinaigrette with some honey in. The jus is simply the juices from the chicken reduced and thickened with a knob of butter. Delicious!
To finish we had a take on Gino with bananas, strawberries and perfectly ripe mango. I usually don’t buy fruit and veg so very out of season but couldn’t resist the strawberries and they were actually not that bad, but I prefer local produce in season. Hurry up summer!
Mele e Pere in the midst of vibrant Soho (we saw two people getting arrested just after dinner) is a real gem. It’s very relaxed, usually crowded and they have prosecco on tap!
I had dinner with my ex-flatmate Nick here a few weeks ago and since we were both starving after a hard day at he office we started with a few things to share and then moved on to a pasta dish each. To share we had a bread basket (with lovely focaccia), sweet green olives, calamari with smoky mayo and a parmigiana with pesto and rocket. All very tasty!
Nick had a large portion of their beef ragù to finish and it was very proper. I’m sure it had been cooked for several hours.
I chose probably the richest pasta dish in the universe but it was utterly amazing. Fluffy pillows of gnocchi with a very buttery sauce and shavings of black truffle. So lush!
Mele e Pere, 46 Brewer St, London W1F 9TF
As much as I love a challenge in the kitchen sometimes I like to keep it simple. Very simple.
This classic Scandinavian potato salad is great with fish or barbecued meats (but substitute the dill with parsley and go easy on the lemon to combine with meat) and gives me hope that spring (and summer) is just around the corner.
Creamy new potato salad with dill and Dijon, serves 1
200 g new potatoes
3 tbsp creme fraiche
2 tbsp mayonnaise (Hellman’s is fine)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 lemon, the juice
1 tbsp finely chopped dill
salt, white pepper
Boil the potatoes and drain. Leave to cool slightly (or have already cold cooked potatoes at the ready from the day before, although lukewarm works well). Dice the potatoes. Mix creme fraiche, mayo, lemon juice and dill in a bowl and add the potato. Season to taste.
Serve with a few slices cold smoked salmon and a lemon wedge.
Pret A Manger sells a small baguette with egg mayonnaise and bacon that I sometimes have for breakfast and that’s of course where I found the inspiration for this lovely breakfast. The crispy toast (with salted butter), smooth egg mayonnaise with plenty of flavour and savoury pancetta is such a great breakfast I’ve already had it two mornings in a row for breakfast.
NB. I prefer runny eggs in general but that doesn’t work in egg mayonnaise, therefore I boil them for seven and a half minutes so the yolks are set but still very yellow and creamy. If you prefer your eggs hardboiled please boil them for longer. Also, I prefer white pepper to black in subtle (non-Italian or meat) dishes, but again, it’s up to you to decide what you prefer.
Egg mayonnaise, serves 3
4 medium eggs
50 ml mayonnaise (Hellman’s or homemade)
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and white pepper
Bring water to the boil in the saucepan and place the eggs in the pan. Boil for seven and a half minutes. Drain and cover the eggs with very cold water. Drain once the eggs are cool and place in fridge for an hour to cool some more (makes it easier to peel them).
Peel the eggs and chop with a sharp knife. Mix mayonnaise with mustard and add the chopped eggs. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Keep refrigerated.
Egg mayonnaise on toast with pancetta, per serving
1 thick slice white toast
a knob of butter for the toast
2 tbsp egg mayonnaise (as above)
2 slices pancetta, fried in the oven, 15 minutes in 200C
Toast the bread and butter it. Spread the egg salad on to the bread, top with the crispy pancetta. Serve immediately.
Last Saturday Sinead and I played ‘ladies who lunches’ and went to The Delaunay for lunch after the Isabella Blow exhibition at Somerset House. The Delaunay is part of the same company that runs The Wolseley as well as Brasserie Zédel and Colbert (of which I’ve been to all the others).
Just like the other restaurants in this group The Delaunay has a grand art deco interior and a very classic European menu offering borstj, pierogi, wurts and Schnitzel as well as French classics.
I had the steak tartare (which I adore if it’s made properly) and this was a very nice version. Perfect balance of flavour, good quality meat and a quail egg yolk on top. I chose the smaller size because even though I love steak tartare I can’t eat a lot of it. The smaller portion came with sourdough toast but I ordered some frites so make it more substantial.
Sinead loves chicken and had the spatchcocked poussin with salsa verde and a green salad. She enjoyed it but wasn’t as pleased as I was with my steak tartare.
We both liked The Delaunay but prefer The Wolseley. The Wolseley just feels grander with its lighter interior while The Delaunay is darker with its wood panelling. I also found the service a little lacking here. But with that said, it is still a great restaurant and a good alternative to the real thing if you find yourself in Holborn.
The Delaunay, 55 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BB
The most satisfying way for me to cook is to look in the quite empty fridge and forage a few ingredients and turn them into a delicious meal. It is definitely a challenge but this is usually when I come up with some really good dishes I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
I really despise food waste and am trying my best not to throw produce away so that’s the main purpose of fridge foraging but I like the fact that I can turn this into something really delicious too.
This dish came about when I had some sad looking mushrooms lying about in the fridge together with some spring onions and an opened packet of feta. Together with some courgette, aleppo pepper and garlic in a toasted pitta it turned out to be a great dish. Lots of umami and tang from the feta combined with a bit of heat. A perfect weekday supper.
Mushrooms, courgette, spring onions and feta in pitta, serves 1
about 8 chestnut mushrooms, washed and sliced
1/2 medium courgette, thinly sliced
4 spring onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2-1 tsp aleppo pepper or similar (a pinch of cayenne pepper works well)
2-3 tbsp crumbled feta
oil for frying
salt, black pepper
toasted pitta to serve
Heat up the oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the mushrooms to the pan and let them brown then add the spring onions and courgettes and fry for another five minutes. Add garlic and aleppo pepper, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add the cumbled feta. Serve with toasted pitta.
Chocolate fudge cake with peanut butter frosting and salted peanuts
Last week I finally managed to have time for an evening of baking for the office. As the archives here on the blog are quite full already, I decided to stick to some tried and tested recipes that never fail to impress!
Mary Berry’s white chocolate cheesecake is always a winner
Swedish drömmar (crumbly vanilla cookies) went down a treat