WP_20150725_13_08_25_Pro I enjoyed a splendid lunch a St Martin’s Tea and Coffee today – a beautiful rich and warming rendang curry made with ox-cheek along with zingy salad with lime and coriander dressing. The beef (liberally covered in toasted coconut) had clearly been cooked for many hours, overnight quite possibly, and was tender as you like. Having also had a great satay a couple of weeks back  and then yesterday reading Leicester Veggie’s enthusiastic review of her vegan Jakarta Gado Gado, I wondered what was prompting this South East Asian fest.

The answer is a new chef has joined Chris Elliman and his team and it’s Bobby Ananta from Java.  You might have seen Bobby preparing a fantastic seabass dish in one episode of Nigel Slater’s recent series Eating Together.  It seems he had been managing a coffee bar in Leicester, and it’s great that he’s now getting a chance to cook. And more good news in that while he’s starting off with one or two of the more well-known dishes, in due course he’ll be  pushing the boat a bit more. In particular watch for a ticketed mid-week event being planned that will involve a full Indonesian menu.

Not the only fruit

January 15, 2011

Right, where were we?…

Now I know Leicestershire is not exactly famed for the quality of its citrus fruit, but as there’s not much local fresh product to celebrate right now, and as oranges are absolutely on form, that’s what I’ve been out searching for this week.  

Seville oranges can be found for a few precious weeks until mid February, so expect more marmalade-related posts soon. But today the focus is on blood oranges. Not only is this variety exceptionally tangy but I think they are just about the prettiest thing you can put on a plate.      

Look how beautiful these are. I’ll be making a sorbet later on but it seems a shame to only pulp these beauties, so I adapted a Nigel Slater idea and made a vaguely Middle Eastern salad. I know it’s January and there’s a cold wind outside but man cannot  live by comfort food alone and this relatively light and refreshing lunch was just lovely.  

Start by smearing a chicken breast in harissa paste (I always use the part-boned breast – seems to keep it juicy and flavoursome). For the salad just mixed fresh leaves, some cous cous, pine nuts tossed in a little soy sauce and toasted in a pan, and these slices of orange. As lon as you’ve got a sharp knife, it’s pretty simple to cut slices off the top and bottom of the orange so it stands flat and then cut down  between the flesh and the pith/peel before slicing crosswise.  It’s a little messy but do try and rescue what you can of any juice and use it a dressing in which to toss it all.  I just used red wine vinegar, olive oil and grain mustard.

Grill and slice the chicken breast and you’re done.

Digging in

January 6, 2010

For pure kitchen porn, Nigel Slater’s new TV series takes some beating.  A huge expanse of wooden worktop (sustainably grown I’m sure), oh-so-elegant gadgetry and to die for crockery. Yet however many earthy winter stews he produces there’s not one splish or splash to sully the look, nor washing up required.

But of course what saves everything is Slater’s eminently doable approach to cooking. Yes it looks easy, but actually, it is.  You don’t really have to be a domestic  god,  you just have to an adventurous palate and a respect for what’s seasonal and what goes well with what.

This new show  has a prime time slot on BBC1 and is linked to the  BBC campaign Dig In which is encouraging folk to grow their own vegetables and fruit.  I’ve not got space to go much beyond a herb garden, but I’m fully intending to use Slater’s epic  tome The Kitchen Diaries to help plan a few raids on the  sizeable and brilliantly-planted allotment of my pals Rob and Eliene.  If I felt I could give the commitment, I’d also be looking at schemes such as the Community Harvest project in Whetstone   http://www.community-harvest-whetstone.org.uk/.  One way or another, I’ll be eating more  local grown stuff this year.

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