Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Extra, mega Ultra SPICY home-made Nandos



If Nandos did a delivery service then I am sure I am not the only one to swear that they would be the no 1 customer. But unfortunately they don't (Or maybe fortunately, as I'm sure eating it 5 days a week would get boring pretty fast!)



So what do you do when you can't be bothered to leave the house? Or when its 10pm and you NEED that chicken-y goodness- Or maybe you just fancy amazing your Nandos-loving friends/partner/mum! You must do as I and try to recreate the magic at home!



My standard order goes a little like this: Quarter chicken extra hot with chips/corn and salad, halloumi and perinaise. I know I should branch out more, and in the past I have, but this is my favourite combo! This is what I will take on to replicate in my little personal challenge! Let me warn you though, I like my food HOT HOT HOT! So if you don't like the feeling of a bonfire in your mouth, I would advise you to leave out the majority if not all of the additional chilli extras I add in.

So basic ingredients are:
Chicken & Marinade (Save a little for the corn):
Either a half chicken or chicken thighs
Nandos sauce (heat of your own chosing)
6 birds eye chillies
4 cloves of garlic
A splash of fresh lemon juice
Extra hot chilli powder
Creme Fraiche
Bajan Chilli Sauce

Fries with peri salt:
1/2 Sweet potato per person 
1/4 tsp Cumin powder
1/4 tsp Coriander powder
1/4 tsp Chilli powder
A little sprinkle each of salt, pepper & sugar.
(If your spice cupboard is a little unadventurous- generic cajan spice will do the trick!)

Perinaise: 
1 tbsp Creme fraiche
1 tbsp Mayo
1 garlic clove crushed
1/2 tsp extra hot chilli powder

Sides:
1 mini corn on the cob per person
1/4 Halloumi pack per person


It pays to be organised at this point, try and marinate the chicken the day before you plan to eat it. This will allow the flavours to be absorbed into the chicken and give it a much richer flavour.
I am sometimes know to be quite organised, so ideally I will get my chicken marinading the night before. Score the skin of the chicken lightly, pop it in some tuppaware (or a bowl you can cover) pour over the marinade ingredients, and stir until everything is dripping in saucy goodness! Cover and leave in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes, ideally though for 24 hours.



I use chicken thighs, as my griddle pan is a little too weeny to accept a whole, a half or even a quarter! It cooks pretty fast though so there are benefits! You can use breast, but I would always recommend using the dark meat- much more flavoursome and juicy! Im sure you'll be a convert if you try it!
Chuck the Chicken in a griddle pan on a low to medium heat, and leave to sizzle for about 35-40 minutes (make sure you check the middle of the thigh is cooked before serving)     

     

Whilst this is on, coat some wedges of sweet potato with your spice mix & a drizzle of oil and pop in the oven on a baking tray for about 30 minutes.



After about 15 minutes, add the your corn to any marinade leftover and if there is room then add to the grill pan with the chicken. The corn should pick up some of the flavour from the chicken fat and any caramelised sauce.



Perinaise is a quick and easy mix together, add the ingredients in a bowl and put to one side until you are ready to serve.



When everything is looking and smelling like it is ready to eat, take your chicken out of the griddle and leave to rest whilst you plate up the rest of the meal. Throw the halloumi in a hot pan with the tiniest bit of fat to stop it sticking, and dry(ish) fry until both sides are golden brown.




I like to put everything in big piles on the table and let everyone help themselves! Terracotta bowls and little flags optional


Just drool….. :) 

(Also this manages to come in at only 430 cals per person, shhh!)

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Bright spring bags, High Street edit.


I am little bit of a handbag addict, I don't tend to invest all my love on one perfect (expensive) little beauty- rather I spread the love through good quality high street numbers!
The great thing about bags this spring/summer is the colours! Every hue from sunset orange through to cool baby blues! I appreciate a classic tan bag as much as the next girl, but I like my bags with a little more POW!
Here is a selection of my favourite high street picks that look designer without the hefty price tag:

Topshop Large leather padlock bag £95: here!
A lovely simple take on Michael Kors Saffiano Tote


DKNY Saffiano medium tote bag £265: here!
A bit cheaper than my super lust Prada Saffiano Lux Tote



Hobbs Alice Tote £249: here!
A nice alternative to the classic Hermes Birkin


Lulu Guinness Small patent Annabelle cross body bag £225: here!
A nice alternative to the gorgeous Chanel ...



I havent decided which ones (yes, plural!) to go for yet... Now where did I put that credit card....


Thursday, 25 April 2013

Hot Spring Sushi style Salmon

You may know by now that I am a Sushi addict,  A DIE HARD sushi addict!... Ahem...






I have been searching a long time for a recipe that combines my love of salmon, avocado et al and gives it a more dinnertime feel.





So I get home this evening with a big juicy, ripe avocado in my bag & find some lovely pink salmon fillets in the fridge, and so I have adapted the lovely Delia Smiths classic Salmon with Avocado & creme fraiche sauce recipe to fufill that need!  After consulting the amazing flavour thesaurus (find it here..)  I was reminded how well salmon and wasabi go together, and that I had never tried it on hot salmon! So to work!
Original recipe is Here...
I will pop my changes in below!




Begin by taking said salmon, and giving it a liberal smothering in some snortingly spicy wasabi! Having the powder at home to make your own is best, but ready made (like mine tonight) is fine :) Pop in a pre heated oven for about 20 mins.





Whilst your salmon is steaming itself to perfection, grab your avocado and mash it to smithereens! Add rock salt flakes, fresh milled black pepper, a drizzle of both lemon juice & red wine vinegar and finally a dash of tabasco!



Fold in a big gloop of Creme Fraiche and pop in the fridge to chill until serving time.




About 5 mins before the salmon is done, put any green veg is season on to steam- I have runner beans, asparagus & courgettes today and have created a simple lemon vinaigrette to lovingly complement them. I use 1 part good olive oil, 1 part white wine vinegar, seasoning and a good squidge of fresh lemon juice.




Ah Voila! 
Plate up as prettily as you please! Hot Spring Sushi style Salmon! 


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Shoe-seum!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the fruits of todays labour- The Shoe-seum!

Spring has sprung, so decided to do a little reorganising of my wardrobe.

All of my knee-high boots and wellies have been consigned to the back of the cupboards, and the pastels and brights have replaced winters blacks and browns!



Thursday, 18 April 2013

Delicious Detox!

I love a lazy morning! 

I woke up this morning with a rare day off, and a not so rare hangover :)

Although I was seriously hankering after a full fat coke and a runny egg barm, I dipped into the vast reserves of my willpower (After not using it last night to refuse gin) to create a little detox breakfast!


The first 'Course' on the menu is a pint of hot water with a whole lemon squeezed in.
Lots of pseudoscience floats around about the supposed health benefits of hot water and lemon, but I think we can safely say it contains a LOT of vitamin C, helps stimulate your sluggish hungover digestive system and hydrates! (Well Duh!)

Now its time for some green lemonade!
Spinach is a massively nutrient dense food, it contains heaps of vitamins and minerals so we will use this as the basis for our detox juice.
The only other compulsory ingredient is a whole lemon, skin and all! Todays forage around the fridge also produced these additional flavour and vitamin enhancers! 2 Kiwis, 2 raw beetroots and a big handful of fresh mint.


Time to chuck it all in your juicer!


I feel healthier just looking at this picture!!

The final course is a nice big plate of avocado & chilli on toast.
Apart from the skin enhancing fats and piles of vitamin E, avocados are believed to help liver function- perfect for a day after the night before recipe! I must eat at least 1 avocado every day, I am obsessed by them! This recipe is super simple, and just accentuates the natural loveliness of the avocados creamy flavour.



Take a ripe avocado, add a little sea salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.


Fresh ground Kashmiri chillies are my choice of poison here, they are quite mild and have a lovely rich flavour. They add a little kick and flavour without too much heat.



Mash a little (I like mine quite lumpy) and apply to your chosen toast. I like something a little nutty/seedy to give a different texture and flavour depth.

Now put the radio on, put your feet up and enjoy!

I promise this will make you feel a million times better than a bacon sandwich!








Saturday, 13 April 2013

Sashimi-oholic

I am seriously addicted to raw fish! Tuna, salmon, prawns: I love them all!
Here is a peek into my lunches for the week!
(Warning, may contain sushi!)

Monday:

Sasa Sushi: Sushi and Sashimi Bento box


Alaska rolls, salmon and tuna sashimi, mixed salad, miso soup & some fish ball goodyness

A staple of mine as Sasa is only a 30 second trip from my desk- handy when you are having a hell of a busy week at work! Wonderful staff, Juicy fish, always a tasty treat!

Tuesday:

Sasa Sushi: Tuna Tataki


Another ridiculously busy day, another awesome favourite from Sasa. The tuna is seasoned before a very brief introduction to the pan leaving the outside delicious and caramelised and the centre sweet, juicy and RAW! Served with a tangy ponzu sauce and so, so good! I added a whole avocado with a little sprinkling of salt to punch up the calories as tuna doesn't have many, my skin was rejoicing as I plated this up!

Wednesday:

Itsu: Mixed Sashimi



I am a big Itsu fan, fresh, low calorie and always a big yum dish (as Greg Wallace would say) The sashimi may be of a lesser quality than Sasa, and may have a crap load of seaweed that I can never bring myself to eat but it has edamame beans! And the (not so very) spicy sauce! 

Thursday: See monday. Another tried and tested awesome fast lunch, makes me almost not mind being up to my ears in work! Almost...

Friday:

Hix@Selfridges: Avocado & chilli on toast, Strawberry and Earl grey Bellini.



Took the afternoon off to get pampered with a friend before an awesome party that evening. In between a weave, shoe shopping and getting rejected for a manicure I managed to grab a tiny spot of lunch -well it was about 4 but hey, it was my second meal of the day- if you can count an apple as breakfast! Mushed avocado on toast, almost a thick guacamole actually- on a slice of brown toast with chilli powder sprinkled liberally on top, Scrummy! All washed down with a very fruity and delicately jasmine scented Strawberry & Earl grey Bellini.





Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Scallop heaven and Mormon hell!


10 Greek St is a lovely, unassuming little restaurant in Soho. No neon signs shout its arrival, just a little 10 above the door- easy to walk by- but you definitely shouldn't! 



 I was lucky enough to rock up there on friday with a few friends and nab the last table in the pre theatre rush- there are no bookings taken here, so turn up early if you hate to wait!
 The rickety looking tables and unfussy decor give the place a cosy, shabby-chic feel, a bit like a posh communal dining room. The menus are neatly written on blackboards on the walls and the cutlery, napkins and olive oil tucked into little hidey holes on the table. 
 The menu is changed frequently which I love, always chance to try something new each time you visit!



 Orders were quickly taken, I opted for the scallops with celeriac and bacon, my friend for the octopus carpaccio. On the advice of the waitress we went for the pinot noir from Wild earth vineyards. It was a good choice! Light and fruity, but with enough depth to satisfy our red wine cravings. 
 


The scallops were cooked to perfection, my knife cut through them like butter- they seemed to have just turned from raw to cooked the second before they were lifted out of the pan- dreamy! The smooth celeriac puree and crispy bacon complemented them wonderfully in both texture and taste, giving rise to a lot of mmmm's and sighs during their consumption…
The sneaky bite I took of the octopus was very light and fresh, with the lemon and capers giving a unexpectedly subtle touch of flavour that didn't overpower the delicate octopus.
 


More wine followed, we plumped for something a little more robust this time. A nice rich Fontodi Chianti Classico was ordered to better complement the main courses. (Not mine I may add, I was a little outvoted!)
 The boys had ordered the Welsh black short rib, with wild mushrooms and new potatoes to share. Again, I only managed to sneak a mouthful from the huge but jealously guarded plate! The mushrooms were AMAZING! Rich and woody, and perfect with the meat, which was pink, soft and gloriously juicy!



 My main of goats cheese tortellini, broad beans, peas and mint was equally delicious. This is one of my favourite food combinations, like spring on a plate! The goats cheese gave this dish a rich lemony bite which married perfectly with the zingy mint and tender greens. I felt the presentation let the dish down a little- it looked a little tired! Luckily, this didn't affect the taste :) 
 The portion size was perfect too, enough to fill, but not to leave you lethargic as is wont to happen after a huge plate of pasta #carbcoma. All in all a great little place, a perfect stop off before our trip to the theatre! (We saw Book of Mormon, I was on the verge of wetting myself laughing the entire way through- highly recommended!) 


Restaurant details here
Theatre details here

10 Greek Street on Urbanspoon Square Meal

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Low carb Tomato and Basil Tortilla

I am afraid I am too much of a bread fan to have followed the low carb trend with a vast amount of success, however I do seem to have a knack of creating some beautiful no carb foods, which I am always passing on to anyone who mentions they are trying atkins, south beach etc for themselves.
 So I thought I would share a few of my favourites on here to help you stick to the diet where I have failed!! 


Breakfast (or anytime) Tortilla
Now I religiously and boringly went 4 weeks surviving on 2 boiled eggs with a sprinkle of maldon salt before I came across this beauty! It creates about 8 portions, and is perfect to take into work fresh from the fridge for a quick breakfast or warmed up for a snack later on.


Take about 4 medium white onions- spanish preferably as they are a little sweeter than other varieties, place in a frying pan with a tbsp of groundnut or other plain oil.




 Add a knob of butter to help the caramelisation, a sprinkle of maldon salt flakes to keep the onions sweaty and a good shake of dried oregano to infuse a lovely herby woody taste in. Chop up about 4 tomatoes into eighths and chuck these into the mix too. Cook the onions off until they have reduced in volume by a third, and are just turning a little brown (roughly 15-20 mins on a lowish heat)



Whilst the onions are cooking, grate 50g of hard, strong cheese- I like parmesan, and 50g of a softer, subtler cheese- gruyee and red leicester among others have been used here to good effect, it tends to be whatever is looking tempting in the cheese box that day! Crack 6 free range eggs in a bowl- duck, hen, large, medium, just not quail, that would be silly..
and add in the cheese. Season with a little more salt and some fresh ground pepper, then rip- never cut! A big handful of fresh basil leaves into the gooey mix.



The background glass may, or may not, contain a gin and tonic....





Now pop all of this on top of the onions, give it a stir until you are happy with the distribution of the ingredients. Continue to cook on a low heat in the pan until it has started to set in the middle, then pop a little (ok a lot!) of butter on top and then place under a grill until brown and bubbly on top.



 Apologies for the lack of a 'finished' photo, in my greedy rush to consume this little beauty I forgot until I was half way through eating! And I hadn't touched my salad either- I did eat it all after though :)

This recipe works out at about 179 cals and 4g carb per portion (if split into 8) 
Enjoy!