Monday, 28 February 2011

Grilled Pork Chop with Vegetable Mash

Grilled Pork Chop with Vegetable Mash

Spurred on by my crisp frying, I decided to go for the full whack and make dinner as well. Pork chops marinated in soy sauce, oyster sauce, shao hsing rice wine, sesame oil and a dash of white pepper. Grilled to glistening perfection (if I may say so myself). The slight chewiness of the meat had nothing to do with either my marinating or cooking abilities. It was the pig! Or the farmer.

The mash was courtesy of the inspirational 4 episode Jaime Oliver special I watched whilst huddled in bed (see my last post). Inspirational as in I blatantly ripped it off and messed around with the original. But hey, isn’t that what cooking is all about? I will, however, cite the wonderful Jaime and fully acknowledge that my version may or may not be tastier than the original =)

Vegetable Mash

2 large baking potatoes, skin on cut into small chunks
2 medium sweet potatoes, skin off cut into small chunks
1 medium head of broccoli, florets separated from the main stem. Cut the main stem into roughly the same size as the chunks of potatoes
2 small handfuls of frozen peas
generous knob of butter

Basically you’re making a normal mash with a few extra bits thrown in.

Boil up some water (however you may normally do this – straight in a pot over the stove or like me in a kettle and then into a pot sitting on the stove). Salt the water and add the potatoes, sweet potatoes and the broccoli stem. Leave to boil for about 10 minutes before poking the end of a sharp knife into the middle of one of the potato chunks. If the knife comes away easily but the potato is not breaking up just yet, add the rest of the broccoli and peas. Bring to a boil and take the pot off the heat once the broccoli florets are tender (yup, that means sticking your knife into the pot again but this should be about 2-3 minutes from the time the water comes up to the boil again).

Drain. Leave contents to draining in the colander sitting over your pot for a few minutes. You want to let some of the steam escape. You don’t want watery mash.
After a few minutes, tip the potatoes and veg back into the pot. Add the butter, season well and mash the hell out of it with a sturdy wooden spoon or if you have a poncy potato masher sitting around the kitchen like I do (technically it’s SM’s – mash is usually SM’s territory, along with the washing up).

Serve with a stonkingly large piece of grilled meat – SM style. Or eat with a spoon out of a soup bowl with nothing on the side – Luscious Temptations style.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Root Vegetable Crisps with Rosemary and Sea Salt

Root Vegetable Crisps with Rosemary and Sea Salt

I've had absolutely no inclination or desire to cook lately. Other than my mechanical forays into the kitchen for my beloved instant noodle soups and bits of burnt toast smothered in butter and dripping with homemade peach and vanilla jam (oh and cups and cups of steaming tea) I've steered clear of the one room in my flat I usually quite like spending time in (other than my bedroom where I'm usually found under my heap of a duvet).

Then one Saturday afternoon, whilst peeking out from under said duvet, I caught a few episodes of Jaime Oliver's 30-Minute Meals (4 back to back episodes to be precise). Good ol Jaime ... Justine finally got her inspiration back! OK so I spent another week or so under that duvet (I quite like it under there - it's cosy) but I've navigated my way out and dragged SM to a supermarket. Poor sweetie .. We haven't done a proper shop since mid Dec (uh huh yeah that long) but to be honest I think we were both secretly rubbing our hands in glee over the amount of money we were saving - ?

Root Vegetable Crisps with Rosemary and Sea Salt

The next day I even made it to the my corner fruit and veg stall. Stocking up on beetroot (as I have never cooked with them before, it is rather curious why I even gave them a second glance), sweet potatoes and the usual run of the mill white spuds, I was left with no other option but to slice them up and chuck them into a pot with lots of hot fat. Lo and behold - crisps! Deep fry a few spring of rosemary and scatter over the crisps and sprinkle over some sea salt. Good crunchy all natural goodness.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Late Night Munchies - ICCo, Fitzrovia

It was a late night munchies at ICCo (Italian Coffee Company) on the corner of Goodge Street and Charlotte Street.

Pepperoni Pizza & Special Pizza ICCo Pizza Place - Goodge St, Fitzrovia
Pepperoni and the Special (black olives, artichokes and an egg). You can never go wrong with pepperoni ... always sublimely good. I love articokes, I like black olives but I will never get the whole egg thing on pizzas.

A Pepperoni and a Special. Thin, chewy crust = tick, pipping hot = tick, level of deliciousness = pretty darn high. And at around £4.50 for an 11" ..... I would say these pizzas were pretty darn amazing!

46 Goodge Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 4LU

Italian Coffee Company (Icco) on Urbanspoon

Friday, 18 February 2011

Dubai with a Bang!

Burj Khalifa - Dubai
The impressive Burj Khalifa, previously known as the Burj Dubai

Burj Khalifa - Dubai
The equally impressive dancing fountains at the base of the Burj Khalifah

My twenty hours in Dubai was a whirlwind of big brand madness. Glimpses of the Atlantis, Mirage, Armani and lord knows how many other gazillion star hotels, browsing through the stores of big fashion labels crammed into the Dubai Mall and chowing my way through some delights offered by some well known high street names of the foodie world.

Fro-Yo - Red Mango, Dubai Mall
Fro-yo at Red Mango - a small original with 3 weenie scoops sliced strawberries and a scoop of dark chocolate chips

It started with Pinkberry on my way out to Colombo. On the way back it was Red Mango (triple servings of strawberries and one of dark chocolate chips), a red velvet cupcake from Magnolia Bakery at Bloomingdale's and salad on the terrace at Joe's Cafe overlooking the dancing fountains (Joe's as in fashion brand Joseph).

Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting - Magnolia Bakery, Bloomingdale's Dubai
Breakfast! A red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting from Magnolia bakery

I have to say Dubai was a real eye opener. Luxury dripped off the silk lined walls and money (or the seemingly oodles of it) screamed from the rooftop of every skyscraper. It's almost expected of me to say that I hated it but I didn't. Quite the opposite in fact. I think I could quite happily live there. Sure, everything is man made and more than just a little superficial but life can be comfortable. And I think I'll happily go for comfortable.

Salade Niçoise - Joe's Café, Dubai
Salade Niçoise at Joe's Café

Man made - every inch of it and yet surprisingly tranquil when it wants to be