Thursday, 21 June 2012

Lizzy likes to eat a little bit too much!

Ok so I haven't kept up with the blog at all this is because I am trying to avoid being overly preoccupied by food! Not an easy task...

I shall try to post more and healthy eating blogging to come..

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Midnight Dinner Party

My housemate is somewhat notorious for hosting elaborate dinners that aren't ready until very late. We were lucky enough to attend one last night. We had appetizers at home where we told that are dinner ETA was 11:30. We took a cab to Stoke Newington to meet up for drinks and made it home for our midnight meal.

It was definitely worth the wait for Heston Blumenthal slow cooked chicken and triple cooked chips (which were made by freezing them frying them freezing them frying them) in other words a painstaking labor of love of a meal. It was amazing hope the phone picture does it justice!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Friday Night Sticky Spicy Ribs

Having never cooked ribs before, they were easy and delicious. We didn't eat until after 9 though ( sorry Maryam) they were cooked for a long time on a low heat. We also skipped the marinating and they were still pretty awesome.

We had sticky spicy ribs with roasted potatoes and tender stem broccoli. The recipe was from and it was good even without the BBQ sauce.

Yield: Makes 4 servings
Active Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 5 1/2 hr
For ribs
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons paprika (not hot)
1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 (2-lb) racks baby back ribs

For sauce
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (from 1 large)
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook's note: If you aren't able to grill outdoors, after baking ribs covered, remove top sheet of foil and continue to bake ribs, uncovered, basting generously with sauce and pan juices every 10 minutes and turning ribs after 20 minutes, 40 minutes total. Then turn on broiler and broil ribs, meaty sides up, 4 to 6 inches from heat until browned, about 3 minutes.

Whisk together brown sugar, salt, and spices in a small bowl.

Line a 17- by 12- by 1-inch heavy-duty baking pan with a double layer of foil, then oil foil.

Pat ribs dry and arrange in baking pan. Rub ribs all over with spice mixture and marinate, meaty sides up, covered and chilled, 2 1/2 hours.

Bring ribs to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Cover pan tightly with foil; bake 1 1/4 hours. Remove foil.

Make sauce while ribs bake:
Cook onion, garlic, and ginger in oil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.

Purée sauce in 2 or 3 batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Set aside 1 cup sauce for serving with ribs.

Grill ribs:
Prepare grill for cooking over indirect heat with medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas); see Grilling Procedure.

To cook ribs using a charcoal grill: Lightly oil grill rack, then transfer ribs to area of rack with no coals underneath, reserving pan juices, and cook, covered with lid, basting generously with pan juices and sauce and turning over and rotating ribs every 10 minutes (keep ribs over indirect heat), until tender and browned, 30 to 40 minutes total. Transfer ribs to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes before cutting into individual ribs.

To cook ribs using a gas grill: Lightly oil grill rack, then transfer ribs to rack above shut-off burner, reserving pan juices. Grill, covered with lid, basting generously with pan juices and sauce and turning over and rotating ribs every 10 minutes (keep ribs over shut-off burner), until ribs are tender and browned, 30 to 40 minutes total. Transfer ribs to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes before cutting into individual ribs.


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Homemade "Chik-fil-a"

If you are unfamiliar with Chik-fil-a the American fast food chain you are missing out. C-F-A is by far the best of the fast food options. I am confident that a chicken sandwich, waffle fries and sweet tea can cure most things.

I often miss living across the street from chik-fil-a but it's probably best for my waistline..anyway today I made a homemade variation of the classic chicken sandwich using this amazing sauce my brother alex brought back for me from a Maryland Chik-fil-a. (The sauce was a very exciting find for him as he is a frequent sauce packet stealer).


Sunday, 12 February 2012

Lunch at the Hind's Head

This weekend we were very lucky to take a trip to Bray to visit Heston Blumenthal's pub, The Hind's Head for lunch to celebrate Keith's mom's birthday.

If you are unfamiliar with Heston, he is a celebrity chef famous for his ''inventive cooking,'' making things like bacon and egg ice cream, and snail porridge.

The Hind's head is mostly upscale pub food but our desserts were definitely Heston-y.

We ate: To start Keith and I had a scotch egg and ''devils on horseback'' which is a prune filled with chutney wrapped in pancetta. Anita had a beet and goats curd salad with blood orange. I had chicken thighs with liver butter, mushrooms, bacon, onions and red wine sauce. Keith had the very British oxtail and kidney pudding and Anita had the Wild Mushroom macaroni with slow cooked hen egg. (I did have to consult the menu for those descriptions btw). We shared triple cooked chips, spiced cabbage and winter vegetables.
Everything was delicious although I have not acquired a taste for oxtail and kidney pudding ( and to be honest don't think I ever will).

Heston Blumenthal did a TV program where he tried to recreate old English foods from the 1500's etc. and on the menu certain items such as the Chocolate Wine Slush ( c.1660)  when you order it the server brings you a slip of paper with a little history of the food. This was a really fun touch which we enjoyed.

Overall,  The Hind's Head was a very special dining experience and definitely worth making the trip to Bray for.

Happy Birthday Anita! 

Scotch Egg and Devil's On Horseback
Chicken thighs with liver butter, bacon, mushroom and red wine sauce.
Oxtail and Kidney Pudding
Wild Mushroom Macaroni with slow cooked hen egg.
Everything + triple cooked chips and winter vegetables.
Chocolate Wine Slush and Millionaire's Shortbread
The Hind's Head

British food Americans do not understand

  • Butter on a tuna sandwich
  • Beans for breakfast, beans on toast, beans on a baked potato
  • Corn on pizza, corn on a sandwich, corn in salad? ( not sure)
  • Marmite
  • Brown Sauce
  • Fruit cake

Saturday, 11 February 2012

American food that Brits do not understand

• Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches

• S'mores

• Iced tea

• Chocolate covered pretzels

• Chicken biscuits

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Mission to Mishkin

When it is freezing outside going anywhere feels like a mission. I have been really excited about going to Mishkin, a self described "kind of Jewish deli with cocktails". (Sounds great right?)

I was excited for some New York comfort food. We got to Mishkin at 3:00ish on a Saturday. I would suggest booking because it was packed, but we did manage a seat at the bar.
We ate: I had one of their specials which was salt beef macaroni and cheese. It was amazing and very comfort food-y. Keith had beef and peppercorn meatballs with two sides, onion rings/fries and a cauliflower and cabbage slaw.

My one complaint is completely biased. Being from the New York/ New Jersey area, I supposeI was expecting it to be trying to be more "authentic" which it wasn't- but the trendy loosely based NY foodie theme works for Mishkin. The food is probably better than your average New York deli but why oh why do they have to spell BAGEL "b-e-i-g-e-l"?! No New York Jew would recognize that and it seems a bit like sacrilege! Ok rant over...

Very high on the hipster vibe but everything was different and delicious. I want to try everything on the menu, Mishkin is very reasonably priced for the quality of the food and I will be coming back.

Slow cooker - Lentil and chickpea stew

Yesterday I became the owner of an aubergine colored crockpot. My first recipe to try was a lentil chickpea stew. All you have to do is throw everything together in the slow cooker and remember to turn it on...

In England the outlets have a switch next to them to turn them on and off and apparently I had it turned the wrong way! I came home to a cold pot but since the lentils had been soaking all day, it heated quickly on the stove on a high flame.

This Whole Foods recipe was good, I added a little bit more chili and garam masala so don't be shy on the spices! ( I also added my brand new umami paste which I will have to do an entry on!) I think it could also take more olives.
Get the recipe from Whole Foods here.

Slow Cooker Chickpea and Lentil Stew

Serves 6

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil*
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 chile pepper, such as serrano or jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and chopped, more to taste
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans (chick peas),* drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dried red lentils
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup pitted black olives
1/2 cup yogurt

Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions. Add peppers, garlic, garam masala and sesame seeds and cook until peppers begin to soften. Combine everything except the yogurt in the slow cooker and cook on low 8 to 10 hours. Add yogurt about 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with Naan or Pita bread.

Vapiano- Southwark Street

When you walk into Vapiano you are handed a card with no explanation. We ask and find out that the idea is to order at the different stations ( they have a pizza station, pasta station and bar). At the stations you hand over your card and when you are finished eating and drinking use your card to "check out".

Keith and I went for pizza, I had vegetable and he had ham, artichoke mushroom pizza. My pizza was sadly cold but both were pretty good at last than 10£ each very reasonable.

The highlight for me though was the waiter with the tray of free deserts! We got a miniature panna cotta with berry compote in a plastic shot glass. Ok I am a sucker for free things but for me that was a nice way to end the meal!

They also had a bowl of gummy bears in the area that you pay which I loved ( god I am a fat ass! ) haha

 Verdict: Italian Nando's? Can't complain!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Keith makes Chicken Vindaloo

Lucky me I got to have dinner made for me last night. Keith made a chicken vindaloo from scratch. It was delicious but not very spicy but had a lot of flavor from cardamom, ginger, and cloves.

I am so obsessed with poppadom's ( and the grocery store one's just don't cut it) that I went to an Indian restaurant on my way home and just ordered poppadom's and chutney.

Monday, 30 January 2012

American/British Food Translations

Rocket  -  Arugula

Spring Onions  -  Scallions

Courgette  -  Zucchini

Aubergine  -  Eggplant

Coriander  -  Cilantro

Sweets  -  Candy

Biscuits  -  Cookies

Bucks Fizz  -  Mimosa

Candy Floss  -  Cotton Candy

Crisps  -  Chips

Chips  -  Fries

Ice Lolly  -  Popsicle

Beetroot  -  Beets

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Chez moi, on sert le dîner à 7 heures pile.

This Sunday we had some friends 'round for dinner, and decided to call it, ''French themed''.
I think cooking a Sunday dinner for friends is by far the best way to start the week. ( as long as you don't drink too much, which surprisingly, we didn't..).

To celebrate my housemates arrival back from her holiday in France we had a French theme. A good excuse for her to get to try a just-learned recipe for potato dauphinose.

I made a fig and olive tapenade with goats cheese as a starter and Anthony Bourdain's Poulet Basquaise ( which was a chicken dish with peppers onions and tomatoes) with dauphinoise potatoes and haricot verts.
We also had a hot buttered rum as an after dinner drink because I received a complimentary one recently and it was magic like liquid apple crumble This is the second time we tried to recreate it and I think it worked really well ... Recipe to follow!

The Fig and olive tapenade is Banging and I would definitely make again and recommend trying it. The recipe from Epicurious below,

Poulet Basquaise recipe below:

Friday, 27 January 2012

The York and Albany

Yesterday we went out to eat at the York and Albany, a Gordon Ramsay pub in Camden.

I have been to two other Gordon Ramsay restaurants, the Michelin star, Maze and the gastropub, The Narrow. I would recommend those two highly!

The menu at the York and Albany was a bit strange they had standard pub mains such as a steak sandwich and chicken Milanese and they also had pizza and pasta there wasn't a very clear theme- I wanted to order the macaroni and cheese side but I don't think it would have really worked well with anything on the menu.

We went for the Arancini ( fried risotto balls) with spicy mayonnaise and a cured meat plate to start- I would say the bread and the risotto balls were probably my favorite part of the meal. For my main I had the Parma pizza which was Parma ham, rocket and smoked salt ( I chose that because I love smoked salt but unfortunately it didn't come through at all. The pizza was good but not special and I had the Macaroni and cheese side which was fine.

Overall- I don't think I would return, although the bar area is lovely it would be a very nice place to go for a drink and light snack I think for the price of this meal I could have eaten much nicer food in London.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Quick weekday salad with turkey

For my first blog post I  wanted to cook something very blogworthy! but then had to work late and went to the gym. After which I wanted to make something very quick! To make this ( which took less than 20 minutes) I coated turkey in spicy seasoning and fried in a pan with fake olive spray then tossed with salad, corn, red peppers, carrots and sun flower seeds and Keith's special dressing...

(spicy seasoning was this Hursey's BBQ rub I got on a recent trip to NC the ingredients are salt, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, and "spices")

Never having made a blue cheese dressing before, I tried this and it worked well:


Small chunk of blue cheese (Stilton) microwaved for 1 minute until melted.

Pound in pestle and mortar with slug of olive oil, add garlic, salt, pepper, sweet mustard and splash of lime juice.. Stir together until smooth.. :) - Keith

And the wine?

Galiano's Portugese Vinho Regional Alentejano

The verdict: fab healthy quick salad that I can ( and do eat some variation on) at least once a week.