foodie for thought

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity. ~Voltaire
Dinner tonight: Chicken thighs and drumsticks in a paprika and lemon sauce with sticky rice. 

Ingredients: 

2 large onions roughly chopped

8 chicken thighs and drumsticks 

150ml of chicken stock 

1 lemon zest and juice 

Paprika

1 clove of garlic 

1 cup of rice

Method: 

This dish could not be easier to do and only involves 2 pans, simple! 

Brown the chicken in a pan with garlic, paprika and one onion and season to taste.

Pop the chicken in an oven proof dish pouring over the stock, add an extra onion and the lemon then simply place it in the oven on a grill setting for approximately 30-40 minutes until bubbling and the chicken is crispy and golden.

Ten minutes before the chicken is done pour rice in a pan and cover with a cup and a half of water and season. Just let the rice come to the boil and cook until the water has been soaked up and you have perfect fluffy rice each time. Do not stir or drain - you won’t need to! 

Et voila.

Dinner tonight: Chicken thighs and drumsticks in a paprika and lemon sauce with sticky rice.

Ingredients:

2 large onions roughly chopped

8 chicken thighs and drumsticks

150ml of chicken stock

1 lemon zest and juice

Paprika

1 clove of garlic

1 cup of rice

Method:

This dish could not be easier to do and only involves 2 pans, simple!

Brown the chicken in a pan with garlic, paprika and one onion and season to taste.

Pop the chicken in an oven proof dish pouring over the stock, add an extra onion and the lemon then simply place it in the oven on a grill setting for approximately 30-40 minutes until bubbling and the chicken is crispy and golden.

Ten minutes before the chicken is done pour rice in a pan and cover with a cup and a half of water and season. Just let the rice come to the boil and cook until the water has been soaked up and you have perfect fluffy rice each time. Do not stir or drain - you won’t need to!

Et voila.

Blanchette - Soho

Blanchette is the new French bistro on the block. Embedded in the streets of Soho, you could almost miss it amongst the crowd. This is the new offering from three brothers Maxime, Yannis and Malik Alary, benefitting from consultancy from the much established (and Foodie For Thought favourites) Salt Yard Group. But it really has a style of its own. The only massive similarity is the layout and concept of the menu. Other than that, Blanchette holds its own. I don’t know what the critics are on about, but this place gets my vote.

I was immediately sold on the interior when I stepped in. It’s as if I walked into a kitchen from the pages of House and Garden; French, very quaint, with bare brick walls, stripped furniture and Frenchified knick knacks adorning the tables. For me, they’ve nailed it. The atmosphere is extremely calming and casual (and pretty girlie may I add).

It’s refreshing to have a French tapas place around, Spanish and Italian has been done, and very well might I add, but the small French bistro sharing plates really work.

We devoured the following:

An abundance of cheese and cured meat boards.

Seared Peppered Tuna with Wild Garlic Greens and Piperade - this even won over the non fish eater at the table

Baked Scallop with Café de Paris Butter - heavenly

Chou Farci of Braised Beef Shin with Spring Vegetable - arrives wrapped in a cabbage leaf and was a parcel of pure delight

Chargrilled Marinated Chicken with White Beans, Savoy Cabbage and Smoked Aioli - I’m not exaggerating when I say this is some of the best chicken I’ve ever tasted; moist and packed with plenty of flavour from those beans and aioli.

Grilled Beef Onglet with Snails en Persillade, Salsify Chips and Red Wine Sauce - this melted in my mouth, and is a charming take on beef bourguignon. Who knew it could be done so delicately?

Frites and Béarnaise - the table were massive fans of béarnaise and we were not disappointed. I hate to say it but I could eat these by the bucket load, and we practically did.

Asparagus with Cervelle de Canut and Aged Comté - a really elegant vegetable dish and tasted super fresh.

As mentioned above it’s the quirkiness of the place that really intrigued me and drew me in. Just look at how they serve their milk! (token porcelain cow milk holder shot). And the bread comes in a brown paper bag - not something all restaurants would do. It’s something so charming which brings a smile to your face and encourages conversation around the table. Top tip - go to the bathrooms and you’re in for a tongue in cheek feast for the eyes with the naughty wallpaper on display.

Come here for a super chilled atmosphere with your girls or on a romantic date to remind you of Parisian days gone by. If that doesn’t convince you the staff are a treat for the eyes (as one of the diners made very clear). Don’t listen to what the critics are saying - go see for yourself and you really won’t be disappointed. This is classic French cooking served in a quirky, charming style.

Discover more here (and enjoy the music) http://www.blanchettesoho.co.uk/#

jeparlefrancaisfoodieforthought

Treated on a severe hangover Saturday.
Spaghetti swirled in tomato and mascarpone sauce, fresh tomato, chorizo and spinach with a healthy helping of parmesan.
Dreamy.

Treated on a severe hangover Saturday.

Spaghetti swirled in tomato and mascarpone sauce, fresh tomato, chorizo and spinach with a healthy helping of parmesan.

Dreamy.

Make Mine in Soho is quite possibly my favourite place to grab some lunch from when I don’t bring any in to work. It’s considered a treat once every couple of weeks when I effectively ‘break the bank’ paying just under £5 for a gourmet, mammoth salad - I mean it’s worth it every time.
But today I decided to make my own version of a make mine, incorporating some core ingredients when I order my usual in there.
So here you have it, lambs lettuce with feta, chorizo, sun dried tomatoes, red onion and asparagus, all finish off with a healthy squeeze of lemon.
I should have made more. Super yum. If I don’t say so myself.

Make Mine in Soho is quite possibly my favourite place to grab some lunch from when I don’t bring any in to work. It’s considered a treat once every couple of weeks when I effectively ‘break the bank’ paying just under £5 for a gourmet, mammoth salad - I mean it’s worth it every time.

But today I decided to make my own version of a make mine, incorporating some core ingredients when I order my usual in there.

So here you have it, lambs lettuce with feta, chorizo, sun dried tomatoes, red onion and asparagus, all finish off with a healthy squeeze of lemon.

I should have made more. Super yum. If I don’t say so myself.

Ember Yard - Soho

Ember Yard, the newest member of the Salt Yard Group family. I was already a firm favourite of both Opera Tavern and Salt Yard, so safe to say my expectations were pretty high. This new offering in terms of decor is in stark contrast to its siblings, which gives it its own personality. A two storey building complete with basement in the heart of Soho, boasting dark grey walls with bold, textural oil paintings and antique lamps. It’s a winner in my eyes already. 

Here there is a sharing ethos. Don’t bother coming here if you want your own food as that will not happen. Plus you’ll get major food envy. This way you get to sample practically half the menu if you’re in a big enough group (which is exactly the stance we took)

So here’s the extensive list which we quite frankly demolished when we visited a couple weeks ago:

Marinated and Charcoal Grilled Hereford Beef Skirt Steak with Horseradish Crème Fraiche - that crème fraiche is mindblowing 

Chargrilled Salt Marsh Lamb, Roasted Aubergine and Salsa Verde - the salsa verde couldn’t complement the lamb more. After trying one we went ahead and ordered two others, that’s how amazing it was

Chargrilled Cuttlefish with Roast Pumpkin, N’duja and Wild Oregano - first time I’ve tried cuttlefish and it was divine, tastes very similar to squid so you’ll love this if you like squid

Parsnip-Buttermilk Chips with Manchego - these sound simple and I wouldn’t necessarily have thought to order them but they were one of the group’s favourites

Courgette Flower Stuffed with Goats’ Cheese and Drizzled with Honey - a classic which features across the Group’s menus and a must have 

Smoked Chorizo Skewers with Saffron Alioli - this alioli is possibly the best you’ll ever try

Oak Smoked Basque Beef Burgers with Idiazabal and Chorizo Ketchup - a Salt Yard Group classic

Padrón Peppers - because they’re simply a must 

And for dessert we went for both the Italian and Spanish selections of cheeses - needless to say I was stuffed by the end of this meal. 

What’s great about this visit was that we ordered away from our usuals, and plates like cuttlefish I wouldn’t usually have at the front of mind will definitely come close to replacing my usual old spot pork belly. 

Sadly the service was a little lacklustre, with food coming out quite slowly and delaying the entire process. At one point there was just one singular lamb chop on the table which looked slightly ridiculous between 7 of us. But fair to Ember Yard, they softened the blow and offered us a dessert on the house to make up for it: Grilled Pineapple, Pineapple Sorbet, Yoghurt Mousse and Pistachio. I instantly forgave them. 

Ember Yard, you’ve got my seal of approval, and now the firm favourite of the Group. 

basquefoodieforthought 

Prawn Bhuna, Saag Aloo, Bombay Potato, Tarka Daal and Okra at Winton Tandoori.

Prawn Bhuna, Saag Aloo, Bombay Potato, Tarka Daal and Okra at Winton Tandoori.

Chop Shop - Piccadilly
Valentine’s Day is never a day to look forward to when you’re single. You basically want to hide away and not admit to the world that you have no other half. So it practically made my month when my best friend suggested we dine together so we could both be alone together. Jammy.
As the foodie I got to pick the place, and I thought one thing - all boys love steak. So that made the choice slightly easier. On a great recommendation from a friend, I looked up Chop Shop. In the heart of the buzzing Haymarket in Piccadilly, usually you’d avoid this tourist hub, but I had it on good authority the trip was worth it. Described as ‘Hawksmoor standard food without the hefty price tag’, I was sold. And ’nothing too couply either’ - you don’t want to be surrounded by couple on V day - people could get the wrong idea.
First thing’s first, I love the décor of this place. Reminiscent of a very upmarket Jamie’s (that’s meant as a compliment), this place is both simple and trendy, boasting distressed dark wood panelling, exposed white wash brick walls and large reclaimed tiles, right up my street.
We didn’t mess around with the ordering and went straight into the mains. Both of us ordered the rump steak (a steal at £19), then I picked the vodka bacon peppercorn sauce (it had to be done - and great combination), he went for two jars of the béarnaise, then we both opted for creamed spinach and a choice of both mash with crème fraiche and chives and chips with rosemary sea salt.  Safe to say we did not leave hungry. The food here is top notch. I wouldn’t place it amongst Hawksmoor, but I’d definitely prefer to come here with friends and to save my bank balance. For a bottle of wine and steak with trimmings it was just over £35 pounds each - you can’t really complain about that.On top of that, the service was excellent, maybe even a little too good at times - you don’t need to be checked on every 15 minutes.
Definitely come here with friends when you feel like treating yourself a little instead of going for the more obvious steak houses. It’s good to branch out slightly.
The added bonus? We were back home in time for Graham Norton. A wild Valentine’s. Someone stop us.
I’ll be visiting again soon, see for yourself in the meantime.
http://www.chopshopuk.com/
savedfrombeinglonelyfoodieforthought

Chop Shop - Piccadilly

Valentine’s Day is never a day to look forward to when you’re single. You basically want to hide away and not admit to the world that you have no other half. So it practically made my month when my best friend suggested we dine together so we could both be alone together. Jammy.

As the foodie I got to pick the place, and I thought one thing - all boys love steak. So that made the choice slightly easier. On a great recommendation from a friend, I looked up Chop Shop. In the heart of the buzzing Haymarket in Piccadilly, usually you’d avoid this tourist hub, but I had it on good authority the trip was worth it. Described as ‘Hawksmoor standard food without the hefty price tag’, I was sold. And ’nothing too couply either’ - you don’t want to be surrounded by couple on V day - people could get the wrong idea.

First thing’s first, I love the décor of this place. Reminiscent of a very upmarket Jamie’s (that’s meant as a compliment), this place is both simple and trendy, boasting distressed dark wood panelling, exposed white wash brick walls and large reclaimed tiles, right up my street.

We didn’t mess around with the ordering and went straight into the mains. Both of us ordered the rump steak (a steal at £19), then I picked the vodka bacon peppercorn sauce (it had to be done - and great combination), he went for two jars of the béarnaise, then we both opted for creamed spinach and a choice of both mash with crème fraiche and chives and chips with rosemary sea salt.  Safe to say we did not leave hungry. The food here is top notch. I wouldn’t place it amongst Hawksmoor, but I’d definitely prefer to come here with friends and to save my bank balance. For a bottle of wine and steak with trimmings it was just over £35 pounds each - you can’t really complain about that.On top of that, the service was excellent, maybe even a little too good at times - you don’t need to be checked on every 15 minutes.

Definitely come here with friends when you feel like treating yourself a little instead of going for the more obvious steak houses. It’s good to branch out slightly.

The added bonus? We were back home in time for Graham Norton. A wild Valentine’s. Someone stop us.

I’ll be visiting again soon, see for yourself in the meantime.

http://www.chopshopuk.com/

savedfrombeinglonelyfoodieforthought

Kickstart

It’s March. We’re 4 days in. I’ve already consumed half my body weight in chocolate I swear. But not all is lost, I’ve decided I’m giving up chocolate for Lent. It will be hard, but I’m determined to do it.

And on top of that I need to start eating relatively healthily again.

For my dinners I’ve had a cod fishcake with a creamy parsley sauce centre, complete with wilted spinach and peas. And the packed lunch this week was couscous, wilted spinach, peas and breaded chicken all finished off with a healthy squeeze of lemon.

Tomorrow however I’m out for Homeslice pizza at lunch. HELP.

tobecontinuedfoodieforthought

I always like to showcase my friends’ culinary adventures.

So here’s Lily’s feast when she went to Riding House Café (next on my list for brunch)

Chorizo Hash Brown with Mushrooms and Poached Eggs and the Buttermilk Pancakes to share.

Thanks for sharing Lil!

Looks incredible.

Five Guys - Leicester Square

This is the craze that hit central London like a storm. In its opening weeks people were queuing right the way up to Covent Garden station to get their piece of the Five Guys. And a couple weeks ago I finally got mine.

You walk in, greeted by massive potato sacks and monkey nuts like i’s the norm - I had no idea what to do here. As instructed I proceeded to fill an entire vessel with peanuts that I didn’t really need and that also proved very difficult to crack open with one hand - note to self. They’re not trying to lure you in with their décor by any means. Five Guys is quite simply an all American fast food chain as you’d expect it. ‘Rustic’ some may say.

To be perfectly honest I found it all a bit overwhelming. What was the difference between a little and a normal burger? The amount of patties apparently. Little = 1, Regular = 2. And getting my head around the unlimited toppings that come at no extra cost (a total of 15 - what do you do with all that choice). And you can order a Corona here. Mental.

I played it slightly safe with the little bacon cheeseburger with pickles, mayo, lettuce and tomato. A classic combo some may say. And then my dining buddy and I had the Cajun fries to share - we did not need one each by any means. Caution - you will struggle to finish them. What I was almost more excited about than the burger was the infamous soda machine with over 100 varieties of your favourite carbonated soft drinks. My heaven. Coca Cola Lime charmed its way back into my life that day. 

What’s so great about this burger? The lack of grease. It doesn’t feel unhealthy as you bite into it, there’s no burger juice dripping down your arm - winner. I think I put it quite perfectly if I don’t say so myself when I say the burger is that of Macdonalds combined with Byron and there you have it. It’s just awesome and you need to try it if you haven’t already.

Next time I’m going for the normal burger with unlimited toppings - it’s surely got to be done right?

Until then.

gimmethemeatfoodieforthought