The Kitchen Revolution

Full disclosure, I worked on this title when it came out last year, but God, it is good. I haven’t cooked from it in ages, but decided that this week will be a Kitchen Revolution week. The premise of the cook book is that you plan what you will eat for the week and create meals that feed in to each other. So, for example, last night I cooked a roast shoulder of lamb with lentils and glazed carrots and that will feed in to two more meals – lentil salad with lamb and baked summer vegetables with pancetta.

As I had leftover lamb and lentils for lunch today, I decided to cook one of the other recipes this week, tagliatelle with cucumber and hot smoked salmon. Ed, who I work with, is always raving about this recipe and although his looked good when he brought it in to the canteen for lunch, I really don’t like cucumbers so have never really given it a chance. But I decided to give it a try anyway since he is so keen on it.

Wow it was good. Wow. The cucumber takes on a totally different flavour – lemony and buttery and delicious. I have some leftovers for lunch tomorrow and I can’t wait. The lamb was delicious too – really melt in the mouth soft and the gravy was absolutely fantastic. I should have taken pictures really, but I started cooking it later than anticipated so by the time it was ready (9:30!) my stomach was starting to eat itself and in the end it all got gobbled up too quickly!

Anyway. If you haven’t got the book yet and you are a fan of meal planning and preventing food waste, get a copy. It really is a fab read. Or check out the website (which I worked on) where you can get each week’s recipes for free.

Leek Fritters-ish

So this was a complete recipe fail. I didn’t read the recipe all the way through and just got cracking. When it said ‘mix all ingredients’ I didn’t realise that the instruction was for the sauce, not the main dish. Doh! My bad.

So this was less fritter, more frittata.

Still: delicious. Wow. The recipe is from Ottolenghi’s Plenty, which has just provided meal after cracking meal since I got hold of it a couple of months ago. If you like to cook, it is so worth buying. I know I am biased because we publish it, but seriously – search for it on Twitter – I haven’t heard a bad word said!

Plenty – Ottolenghi

Celebrating the egg

Today has been a day for the celebration of eggs.

To help recover from a ridiculous hangover, caused by drinking a bottle and half of wine (each) with my friend Eleanor, I went for brunch at The Modern Pantry with Peter. His way of coping with a (separate) hangover was to order a glass of prosecco with his breakfast, but I couldn’t even stomach that thought and went for full fat coke. We both had poached eggs, his with haloumi (salty and grilled, with very little ‘squeak’) and mine with chorizo and plantain. Both were excellent and incredibly tasty. The portions were slightly too small, so we both had dessert – he had some kind of pistachio cake with grapefruit and vanilla ice cream and I went for the hardcore option of a chocolate brownie with caramel and coconut and lime ice cream. Again, both delicious.

I had heard mixed reviews of the restaurant – not because of the food, but just because of the service – and I have to say apart from one forgotten order of tap water, the service was very good. I would definitely recommend it, and would quite like to go back another time for a more substantial meal.

The rest afternoon was spent wandering around London, walking from Farringdon to Monument to Tower Bridge to Liverpool Street, and then back to the flat to prepare some fresh pasta.

In around November of last year, my friend Aline told me that for her birthday (in July) she wanted me to make soft egg ravioli. Apparently she saw it on Masterchef. So today was my first practice run for her. And wow it was good.

I mean look at that. What a beauty. Yum. The egg is sat on a bed of ricotta and  basil. The pasta is plain fresh pasta, but next time I will probably try to infuse it with some saffron, as I think that would be amazing.

The four raw raviolis.

Served on a bed of Hertfordshire asparagus and parma ham.

Soft egg perfection.

All in all, a great day for food. I didn’t write a reasons to be cheerful last week, but my reason today is: The Egg. What an ingredient.

Pizza East

I was a little pissed off when T Bar closed and Pizza East opened, I have to say. I have had many a good late night at the T-bar, dancing to questionable music after taking one too many shots at the bar. Some people thought it was a bit pretentious, but I never thought it took itself that seriously and it was always a good place to end up late on a Saturday night. Apparently the new one in Aldgate is absolute shite, so I haven’t been. It also isn’t on the N8 bus route anymore, which was always part of its charm for me, I’ll be honest.

When I heard it was being turned into an expensive pizza restaurant, I was not happy. I put off going for ages because if I want a pizza, I can get one half price at Pizza Express, or there’s always the delicious Stringray Cafe on Columbia Road for a cheap and tasty meal. Then the Florist does amazing little pizzas, as well as being a great pub with an occasionally hot bartender, and there’s La Forcetta as well on Bethnal Green Road, which I’ve never been to but have heard is pretty decent. Why do we need another pizza place? Well, I went last night and okay, I guess we don’t need another pizza place, but it was really really good.

I had aubergine and mozzarella to start followed by a spicy sausage pizza with sprouting broccoli and both were delicious. The dough was chewy and light and crispy and the sausage was actually really spicy. The atmosphere in the restaurant was really fun, with lots of people chatting at the bar area, yet still quiet enough for my friend and I to hear one another without shouting. The service was also very good overall, although the woman who brought over our drinks was fairly useless (she didn’t know what beers they sold, even though when the actual waitress came over, it turned out they only sell three – shouldn’t that be part of basic training when you work in a restaurant?).

Good food and I’ll definitely be back. RIP T Bar, but long live Pizza East!