Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The Admiral Codrington - Mossop Street SW3

There’s a lot to like about the Admiral Codrington. From outside it looks very unassuming; tucked away down a sleepy Chelsea side street it seems like your typical quiet boozer.

Walking through the doors though you realise it’s not so much of a well kept secret. The bar was full with happy a Sloane crowd relaxing and enjoying one or two post work gins.

Once you get through the throng and into the restaurant things get a lot more relaxed. The bar soon felt a million miles away as I tucked into my pint and started reading the menu.

I’d already decided on the burger before we’d even got through the door. Having read a post from the Burgerac I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

To start though we shared the Chilli Salt Squid and the Courgette Flower stuffed with Ricotta. Both quite simple and quick but a lot of flavour all the same.

Chilli Squid seems to be quite popular at the moment as they sell it down the road at the Thomas Cubitt as well. I’d be hard pushed to say which is better but I love squid and chilli so I was happy.

The Lady enjoyed her stuffed Courgette Flower; the Salsa Verde brought the whole thing to life. It was a shame that there was only one in the portion but delicious all the same.

Onto the mains and the Lady ordered the Black Leg Chicken breast. It looked good but I didn’t try it as I was busy getting involved with my burger so I won't pass comment.

The Burger?  The meat was fantastic, a perfect medium rare, really juicy and well seasoned. So juicy in fact the brioche bun struggled to stay together. The pickles were great but I was disappointed with the cheese.

Cheddar just doesn’t cut it for me in a burger and I think this would have been awesome with a bit of gooey plastic American cheese! The chips were more like roast potatoes but absolutely cracking as well.

All in all it was a great meal and I was definitely impressed.  The Cod is a great example of how good modern british pub cooking should and can be.  I'll be booking a return visit to try the rest of the menu soon enough!

Admiral Codrington on Urbanspoon

Friday, 24 June 2011

Left-over Breakfasts

Sometimes I like to splurge on ingredients, other times I am so tight it’s untrue. We had a load of left overs from the other night and I couldn’t bare to throw them away.

Things like potatoes and mange tout don’t mind sitting in the fridge once they’ve been cooked for a day or so. With that in mind I knew I’d think of something to do with them in the mean time.

This little breakfast dish was brought to you by the school of Potatoes, Bacon and Cheese so it’s probably not best for those on a diet. You can literally throw whatever you like in here just use my recipe as a guide.

Get a frying pan hot, pour in some oil or butter and throw in the sliced Bacon and Potatoes. Cook till it begins to crisp with those little sticky bits on the bottom of the pan.

After a while throw then in the Mange Tout. You could use peas or sugar snaps they all work well. Add some sliced chilli, throw in some chopped cherry tomatoes and grate in a good handful of parmesan.

Toss it all together for a few minutes on the heat. If it catches in places don’t worry as it all adds to the flavour. Serve with a fried egg on top and big mug of sugary tea!

Cooked New Potatoes
Cooked Mange Tout - Sugar Snaps or Peas work really well here.
Sliced Smoked Bacon
Cherry Tomatoes
One Big Chilli - Sliced
(Just throw in whatever you have left in the fridge, it's all good!)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Gorgonzola, Walnuts, Green Beans and Beetroot

I fucking love Gorgonzola; it’s what cheese should be!  Pure and simple it’s creamy; addictive, heart attack food on a plate.  In short I could eat it all the time…

The problem is I’m trying to be healthy at the moment and there in lies the rub.  I still want the good shit! It’s not that I’m trying to lose weight, just that I’m trying to just eat better DAMN YOU!

Eating more veg is high on my priority list but at the end of the day I still want something tasty.  So this is my kind of compromise.

I forget where I first saw this recipe, it’s an old one though and one I’ve not cooked for a long time.  The only thing I’ve changed really is to glaze the walnuts with a salted honey caramel. 

I sort of got the idea from a meal I had with stealth chef Ollie Harridge.  Slightly different to his dish and far less precise but good all the same! 

Start by getting your Gorgonzola out to allow it to breath and get up to room temp.  Boil your beetroot till tender, blanch your Green Beans and cool under the tap.

Arrange some walnuts on a sheet of baking parchment.  Make some salted honey caramel by adding two tbsp of honey to a small pan and caramelise.  Then add a healthy pinch of salt… (you may want an adult to supervise you at this stage)

Drizzle it on the walnuts and leave them alone to cool.  Thinly slice your beetroot, arrange it with the other ingredients on the plate and you are done!

French Beans
Honey and Salt for the Caramel

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Sainsbury's Feed Your Family for Fifty Plan

Fuck me… Those were my first words when I took delivery of the Sainsbury's feed your family for fifty quid food shop. Where the hell was I going to put it all?

I’ll qualify that statement: It’s not that often we’d actually spend fifty pounds just on food. It looked a lot to me… We normally do a couple of shops a week, spending thirty or forty quid.

That covers the lot usually; including all those boring things you get from supermarkets alongside your food as well like bog roll and fairy liquid. But then you need to add the “specialist” shopping trips…

Those little one offs, like a couple of Quail from Waitrose for a nice Sunday lunch. The booze runs, the picnics in the park at lunch or the occasional and mysterious deliveries of offal from my man at the market that all add up.

So being faced with a plan of what I was going to eat plus all the food to do it seemed like quite a refreshing change. I won’t bore you all with the details; you can check them out here if you are interested.

The idea revolves around choosing the value option where you can to add bulk! That means less meat, more veg and more carbs to make up the difference! Basics bread, though not that thrilling does make a sandwich as well as the next loaf.

Choosing Basics pasta means you can spend that little bit more on a big bit of meat for your Sunday Roast but more on that later. Then you’ve got the VEG!

I’ll freely admit I’m actually quite tight so I’ve bought Basics veg before so I know it’s actually not that bad. It’s not arrow straight or perfectly round but let’s face it a carrot is a carrot no matter what packaging you put on it.

But when you consider it’s a third of the price of your premium option you can see it start to makes sense. Testing out the plan was quite easy for me as I don’t actually have a family to feed as it’s just me and the Mrs at home.

I have however fed most of my office for the last week and a lot of our friends. They’ve been quite happy having their lunches made or popping round for dinner. In my opinion though the idea of the plan is simply to show you what you can get if you shop sensibly.

I’m not going to pretend it’s for everyone and by the end of it I was bored of carbs. I’d eaten far too much bread and pasta for my liking and went rogue on the last few meals.

But then again you aren’t meant to follow it verbatim. Use your initiative and cook what you want really. I ended the plan on Sunday with a certain amount of relief and cooked a Harrissa Roast Shoulder of Pork with Boston Baked Beans (definitely off plan).

Very simply butterfly out the shoulder and score the meat to create lots of surface space to take your marinade.  Chop 5 Red Chilli’s and 5 fat cloves of Garlic in a blender with a little Olive Oil and some toasted Cumin Seeds till you get a smooth paste.

Stick this in a freezer bag with the meat and SQUISH it all together till the meat is well covered with your Harrissa paste. Then throw it in the fridge for a day or so to allow it to really absord all the flavour.

Roast in a hot oven for about an hour and a half and it should be just about ready. Let the meat rest and serve with some gorgeous sticky Boston Baked Beans.

Helen at Food Stories did a fantastic recipe you can follow for the beans. I’ve used tinned rather dried beans in mine but it’s not that dissimilar.

I do think the plan is a great idea though all in all. If you add some order into your life and actually plan out what you want to do you can start to make savings. It’s simple really?

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Kentish Asparagus, New Potatoes, Guinea Fowl Eggs and Bacon

Sometimes I’d love to live in the countryside.  Going to farm shops, buying what’s fresh there and then and making something interesting from what you get.

I think like that and then I remember what it was like only being able to get two buses a day to the nearest town.  I remember travelling for hours to see a mediocre band, god forbid I wanted to see one I actually liked…

I remember I hated to have to eat the food my Dad grew in the garden as a kid.  Nowadays I’d kill for a patch of dirt to grow my own!

Every now and again though we get the odd stash of real food brought to our door.  The lady’s parents kindly driving boxes of veg into the city when they pass their local farms on the way to visit us.

This weekend we took delivery of some proper British Food.  Kentish Asparagus cut that morning, New Potatoes still covered in dirt and some amazingly fresh Guinea Fowl eggs.

It was pretty easy to throw them all together into something simple and tasty.  Add a little bacon here; a dash of Olive oil there, top it off with some Parmigiano and we were done.

Start by boiling the Potatoes and let them cool while you prepare the rest.  Bring the eggs to the boil from cold for four minutes then dash them in an ice bath (or under a cold tap for a few minutes) before peeling.

Mine rested a little longer than they should in the hot water and you can see they are a little over.  Fry some bacon; then the Asparagus in the same pan to colour, till it just begins to wilt with the heat.

Pour yourself a glass of Rosé; arrange the food on your plates and you are done.  Perfect for a simple, quick and delicious summer supper.

Kentish Asparagus, Potatoes and Guinea Fowl Eggs (Or just what ever you can get locally... or easily, I'm not that fussy as long as it's fresh)
Bacon - It makes everything better, but you know that by now.
Olive Oil for Drizzling and a dash for the frying pan
Some Parmesan for shaving on top!