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

Barbecued spatchcock chicken with lemon, honey and fresh herbs

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I’ve been wanting to try to barbecue a whole chicken spatchcocked (butterflied) as it cooks quicker than keeping the bird whole. This way the bird is still in once piece but flattened out, so it still holds the moisture but almost cuts the cooking time in half.

To insure a juicy bird I marinated it in rapeseed oil, honey, fresh rosemary, thyme and lemon zest and I grilled it with the lid on for most of the time, keeping an eye on the temperature. Afterwards I let it rest before serving and the meat was indeed moist and full of lovely flavours both from the marinade and the charcoal.

Served with barbecued corn on the cob and a potato salad with tomatoes, green beans and Dijon vinaigrette this was a lovely summer meal!

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Barbecued spatchcock chicken with lemon, honey and fresh herbs, serves 4

1 large free range chicken

50 ml rapeseed oil

2 tsp honey

zest from 1 lemon, I used a potato peeler – no need to finely grated zest

10 stalks of rosemary and thyme

salt, black pepper

Mix the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Cut away the back bone on the chicken and butterfly it. Season with salt and pepper, put the bird in a large ziplok bag and pour the marinade into it. Massage the marinade onto the chicken and let it marinate for an hour in room temperature or up to 24 hours in the fridge, just make sure to take it out of the fridge an hour before cooking it. 

Barbecue both sides of the chicken on high heat without the lid until brown all around, about 5 mins per side. Put the lid on and barbecue in 150C for about 30 minutes (or until clear liquid from the thigh joint). Leave to rest 5-10 minutes before serving, adding a little butter while resting. 

Girolles on toast, meat scewers and new potato salad with pears and blue cheese

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My aunt Pavla picked the first girolles of the season the same week I came home to visit, so my sweet parents saved them for me. Girolles are in my opinion a pure delicacy, and especially witht the first ones I think a simple approach is the best. So we the same toast we usually make. Fry some nice bread in butter. Then fry the girolles in butter and garlic. Add seasoning and chopped parsley and top the bread with the ‘shrooms. Simple and absolutely delicious!

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Mother also made some wonderful meat scewers with chicken, pork tenderloin and bacon in a tasty marinade with soy and ginger.

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And with the barbecued scewers we had this lovely salad a friend of my mother’s found in a magazine this spring. It has the slightly strange combination of lettuce, tomatoes, new potatoes, grilled pears, crumbled blue cheese and walnuts and it really works. So yummy!

Our pudding was simple as can be; just vanilla icecream with freshly picked strawberries and wild strawberries from the garden. What a treat! I just love the luxury of having so much produce in the garden (and woods). I loved growing up here, snacking on all sorts of berries, plums and pears as the summer went on.

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Meat scewers with soy and ginger marinade, serves 4

From the April edition 2013 of Lantliv Magazine.

about 600 g meat (we had a mixture of chicken pieces, pork tenderloin in pieces and bacon, on scewers). 

50 ml soy sauce

2 tbsp honey

1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1/2 lime, zest and juice

salt och pepper

Mix all the ingredients until the honey has dissolved. Brush the marinade on to the meat and let it sit for an hour in room temperature before barbecuing. 

Salad with new potatoes, pears and blue cheese, serves 4

Adapted from the April edition 2013 of Lantliv Magazine.

50 ml dijon mustard

50 ml honey

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

100 ml olive oil

salt, black pepper

300 g boiled new potatoes 

10 cherry tomatoes (or 10 wedges or regular sized tomatoes)

100 g mixed lettuce leaves

60 g blue cheese, crumbled

100 ml walnuts

1/2 red onion, sliced thinly

2 pears

Beat together mustard, honey and vinegar, add the oil drop by drop while whisking. Season. 

Cube the potatoes and cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Plate the lettuce, potatoes and tomatoes, scatter with blue cheese, walnuts and red onions.

Remove the seeds from the pears and cut into wedges. Grill on medium heat for a minute on each side (using a frying pan works too). Add the pears to the salad and drizzle with dressing. 

Mexican corn salad

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We had gorgeous weather here last weekend. I made the most of it and sat outside bronzing up and reading, changing between that week’s Stylist, Jo Nesbo’s latest crime novel (read it!) and the latest issues of Bon Appetit and Delicious Magazine

At the same time I was contemplating the best way to jazz up some leftovers and then suddenly I literally saw the answer in front of me; this Mexican corn salad in Bon Appetit’s grilling issue. I had everything at home (not that it requires that many ingredients) and made it the same evening, warming up some left over pork to go with it. And OMG, the salad was amazing! The sweet and slightly smoky corn from the barbecue paired with salty cheese, fresh tangy lime juice, a hint of heat from cayenne and a little bit of mayonnaise for creaminess, this is the ultimate companion to any barbecued meats. 

Do try this at home!

Mexican corn salad, serves 4

Adapted from Bon Appetit

4 ears of corn

3 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1/8 tsp ground paprika

a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

about 55 g grated parmesan

2 tbsp chopped coriander + more for serving

salt and black pepper

Preparation

Prepare grill for medium heat. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until tender and charred, 8–10 minutes; let cool slightly. Cut kernels from cobs and transfer to a medium bowl.
Whisk mayonnaise, lime juice, paprika, cayenne, cheese and coriander in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add corn and toss to combine. Top with more cheese and coriander.

A weekend in the country

The countdown to our holiday has begun. It is two weeks until we go home to the South of Sweden for a week. Can’t wait!

So it was great to prepare for our holiday with a mini break in Bucks with Chris’s mother. We got there by train on Friday, quite late, and only had a glass of wine and a chat before bed. The next day we had a nice lie-in and decide to venture out despite of the terrential rain. We went to  Waddesdon Manor, the home of Ferdinand Rothschild. There were plenty to see inside so we could escape from the wetness outside.

The manor certainly had grand interiors with marble, gold inlay on the walls, several drawing rooms and magnificent chandeliers. I enjoyed the layed tables and the china nad silver services the most. We also had a look in the wine cellar, where they keep some of the family wines.

The weather improved in the evening and we could even have a barbeque. We had foodto feed an army for just the four of us, and I am still impressed with how much we managed to eat.

As a starter we had a lovely salad with peaches, mozzarella, parma ham, crema di balsamico, honey, chives and chopped almonds. After that we tucked in on steak, chicken kebab, tuna, burgers and sausages with plenty of salads and garlic bread.

We ate and ate because we decided to skip dessert, but of course it came out anyway. It was summer pudding, which I’ve never had before, so I had to try it. I think it is safe to say I have not felt fuller in my life!

Yesterday we spent the day watching golf (Christopher) and looking through recipes (me) and just chilled out as you do on Sundays. Eileen had made a proper Sunday lunch with toad in the hole, roast potatoes, gravy and lots of different vegetables finished off with an apple crumble. Lovely!

Barbeque in the sun

When one lives in a flat without either balcony or patio one is extremly happy when friends invite one over for a barbecue a sunny Sunday in April.

It was certainly perfect barbecue weather yesterday, and while our friends Ian and Anna prepared the lunch, Christopher and I got the hard task of sitting in the sun sipping wine.

It was a great lunch that consisted of many goodies; homemade sausage rolls, chipolatas, homemade burgers, marinated lamb, new potatoes, potato salad with egg and gherkins, salad and homemade trifle for dessert.

Thank you! We certainly enjoyed it!