Dinner at The Big Easy, Covent Garden

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The Big Easy on Kings Road has been around for 20 odd years and only recently opened a more central sister restaurant in Covent Garden. My friend Gaby introduced me to the original restaurant and she was also the one suggesting we try out the new edition on one of our girl’s nights.

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The menu is quite very similar to the Kings Road restaurant but the restaurant itself is a lot bigger, more spacious and feels more modern. On the lower ground floor you can see the chefs hard at work in the kitchen and there is a bar area on each floor.

We started with some voodoo prawns (top picture) and delicious chicken wings to share since we know that the portions here are big here, huge in fact. Which of course fits well with the American BBQ food they serve.

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Gaby and Rowena had the ribs and although they had had them before they were surprised of the portion size. Six big, juicy (and very delicious) ribs each, as well as coleslaw, beans and a potato salad makes for quite a substantial meal…

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Laura and I chose the lobster roll which was really good but really filling as well. The filling had large chunks of lobster and was quite creamy (in a good way) and brioche roll was large and shaped like a loaf. With a side salad and chips we were stuffed!

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Instead of pudding (as they all seemed too heavy in our food coma state) we had some cocktails and milkshakes. Even the milkshake was too much for me but really yummy.

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I really like this place! As a restaurant it feels more up to date than the Kings Road branch mainly because it is a lot bigger and has a more modern look. It’s more fun on the weekend as it is buzzing with people and has a large capacity and the food is just as good as on the Kings Road.

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I definitely think it is a winning concept; not changing the menu trying to be too edgy but instead sticking to what you know.

Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crabshack, 12 Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7NA

Macaroni and cheese

When I grew up in the rural countryside in Sweden in the 1980s and 1990s, most series on teve were American. In my youth I watched the likes of Beverly Hills 90210 and Baywatch and grew acustomed to a few American traits. Like eating icecream straight out of a paper tub, when icecream in Sweden only came in a plastic tub or a brick shaped paper carton. Not at all the same as the Ben & Jerry’s you could get in the States. Anyway, I have had plenty of icecream the American way since, and now you can get the American brands of icecream (with the right packaging) in Sweden too.

But there were other foods that seemed just as intriguing. Like a proper burger form a diner or mac ‘n cheese, the ultimate comfort food.

It has taken me until now to make an American version of the mac ‘n cheese, using The Pioneerwoman‘s recipe. And I truly understand now, why this is such a popular dish especially when in need of something comforting.

This recipe contains lots and lots of cheese, but the top layer is the best with the crusty cheese on top. I thought I used a lot of seasoning in this dish, but it needs a little more than you expect.

We ate this with chorizo style sausages

Macaroni and cheese, serves 3

Adapted from The Pioneerwoman’s recipe.

475 ml macaroni (2 cups)

1 beaten egg

4 tbsp butter (1/4 cup)

4 tbsp plain flour (1/4 cup)l

235 ml milk (1 1/4 cup)

1 tsp Colman’s mustard

225 g grated cheese (1/2 lb) for the mixture + extra for the topping

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Cook macaroni until very firm. Drain.

In a small bowl, beat egg.

In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly.

Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.

Take a few spoonfuls of the sauce and pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly. Whisk together till smooth.Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth. Add in cheese and stir to melt. Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed.

Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes in 200C oven or until bubbly and golden on top.