Posts Tagged ‘dinner’

Little Bay5

Whilst the refurbishment took place through the long drawn out winter months, the team at Little Bay made sure to keep tantalising people with morsels of information about their warming exotic food menu, enticing cocktails and ultra modern decor.  When they finally opened in April 2016 people were intrigued and couldn’t wait to sample Little Bay’s alluring Eastern delights as presented to us through social media.

“Cumin, cardamon and clove.”

I eventually made it down there one Thursday evening in mid-May and the place was buzzing: groups of friends, individuals, couples – of all ages.  I think we may have even been the second or even third sitting that evening!

“Comfortable decadence.”

Little Bay1

Dominating the centre of the restaurant is the heart of Little Bay – its circular bar.  The bar staff shimmering between the glinting glassware and beaten copper water jugs, mixing enticing cocktails.  Guests are encouraged to sit at the bar on plush stone coloured velvet bar stools studded with metal rings hanging off the backs whilst waiting for their tables to be set.  Masala Mules being everyone’s cocktail of choice.

The menu is varied but not extensive; 14 starters and 16 main dishes – a good balance of chicken, lamb, seafood and vegetarian options, as well as the ubiquitous rice dishes, naans and sides.

My menu choices were as follows:

Little Bay2Starter – Chicken 65 (Chilli Chicken)
Marinated pieces of chicken breast, stir fried and tossed in spring onions, chillies and coriander.  This was a very generous starter.  Succulent chicken pieces, fresh zingy ginger coming through the heat of the chillies.  Like popcorn chicken – but grown up; delicious.  With some rice or a naan this could have been a very decent lunch.  I would have liked to have been encouraged by the waiter to have perhaps ordered some raita to go with, not because it needed to be tempered but just as another texture/sensation on the tongue; hot chicken pieces, fridge cold raita.

Main – Keema MattarLittle Bay4
On the menu there is a “Little Bay recommends” next to this dish and I was not disappointed.  Spiced, minced lamb cooked in a tomato and spice infused sauce, freshened up with vibrant green peas. Rich and full of body, this dish was perfectly accompanied by a plain naan and steamed basmati rice.  Any other flavours would have conflicted with the musty-heavy scent of cumin, cardamom and clove.

We decided to forgo dessert as I didn’t really want chocolate cake, carrot cake or pecan pie after a delicious Indian meal.  What happened to the Indian desserts normally served in Indian restaurants?  Mango kulfi? Mango Lassi? Kheer (milky rice pudding)?

Gibraltar desperately needed a proper Indian Restaurant in the leisure areas.  Since Masai Grill, Viceroy and then Laziz shut down, we’ve had to succumb to the Indian takeaway.  Little Bay, which I can’t help but feel, should be called, The Bay Leaf, is a high end Indian Restaurant with high quality food.  A restaurant that wouldn’t be out of place next to London’s The Cinnamon Club or The Red Fort.  Its Directors have worked hard to create an image of comfortable decadence.   Their dynamic team of managers, exciting bar staff and committed waiters making the place buzz with youthful exuberance.

There is an Indian tapas menu which has many dishes from the a la carte menu so that guests may discover the menu, however, I would like to see more “Little Bay recommends” next to different dishes to encourage diners to choose something delicious but unfamiliar.  All tables should be offered a copper pot of poppadums and accompanying chutney whilst diners peruse the menu – we weren’t.

Little Bay6

Masala Mule

I, for one, can’t wait to return.  Promises of exotic spice and Eastern delights did not disappoint.  Next time though, I’d make sure it was in a large group so that I could try lots of different dishes!  And I’d make sure that I tried one of those Masala bad boys!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pear

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“Ui que freski!” can be heard as people pop out of their warm houses into the cool work morning air.

Midday temperatures climbing and sunny (though not unbearably hot) sunsets disappearing in the blink of an eye and evenings creeping in sooner.  Sorry folks but autumn is setting up camp for the next few months.

Fruit and veg has grown full to bursting soaking up every last bit of summer sunshine getting itself ready for the harvest.  Thankfully making its abundance present in our kitchens.

pearsA quintessential autumnal fruit is the pear.  Once I see pears-a-plenty I know autumn is here.  And I don’t mean long haul, greenhouse grown perfect pears; dry and hard to the bite.  I mean pears of varying shapes and sizes, soft to the touch, buttery and bursting with juice.

Outshined by apples every year, however, I find the pear just as versatile in the kitchen – it can be baked into cakes, used to top cheesecakes, used in salads, pureed, transformed into a chutney/relish, poached, used in main dishes as well as desserts.  A great accompaniment to cheese, especially if it’s blue and let’s be honest, perry (pear cider) really is that much better than apple cider.

So in a bid to extol the virtues of the underdog, I’ve created a few simple pear recipes to get your autumn pear imagination flowing.

  • Pear, gorgonzola, prosciutto and walnut galette
  • Pear, ginger and cinnamon tart

You can make both of these recipes simultaneously as they require similar ingredients and cooking times but their eatability is just as desireable!

Serves 2 as a 2 course dinner but quantities can be easily doubled.

Ingredients: 1 block of puff pastry and 2 pears (whether serving 4 or 2 as a two-course dinner)

Pear, gorgonzola, prosciutto and walnut galettePear and Blue Cheese Tart

  • Blue cheese (or other blue cheese)
  • Prosciutto (or other cured ham)
  • Rocket leaves
  • Walnuts
  • Honey and olive oil dressing
  • Seasoning

Method:

1st: Roll the block of puff pastry out onto a well floured board.

2nd: Cut the pastry into quarters and score the pastry with the tip of a knife creating a 1cm border around the outer edge (do not cut all the way through).
If creating both the sweet and savory version, leave 2 quarters to one side.

3rd: Crumble the gorgonzola into a bowl and beat with a palette knife until soft.  Spread a layer of this over inside of the border of each of your quarters.

4th: Slice half a pear per quarter and place ontop of the gorgonzola.  Brush the border with either milk or an egg-wash.

5th: Place into a preheated oven at 200°C for 15-20mins or until golden brown.

6th: Add slices of prosciutto, rocket leaves and walnut halves over before dressing and seasoning to taste.

Pear, Ginger and Cinnamon galettePear, ginger and cinnamon tart

  • Cinnamon
  • Light brown sugar
  • Stem ginger in syurp
  • Flake almonds
  • Cream / Ice cream to serve

Complete stages 1 & 2 as above.

1st: Brush the inside of the quarters with egg-wash and sprinkle cinnamon, sugar and a piece of stem ginger per quarter (chopped finely).

2nd: Slice the pears finely and arrange half a pear per quarter.

3rd: Sprinkle with a bit more sugar and cinnamon.

4th: Egg wash the border and place into a preheated oven at 200°C for 15-20mins or until golden brown.

5th: Serve with flaked almonds and either cream (with some of the ginger syrup mixed in) or ice cream.

Optional Extra – sprinkle the tart with ground ginger for added depth and warmth.

Click on the following links to view previous recipes posted on http://www.gastrorob.com

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Try any of the following or create some of your own; why not post your recipes here?

Pearfect!

As much as I enjoy the kitchen with both its discipline and creativity combined, there really are times when the idea of cooking for one can be more of a chore than a pleasure.  The thought of having wanting to create something comforting, wholesome and packed with flavour stirs images of the washing up taking longer than it does to eat!

“Pasta and sauce, rice and a can of tuna, soup, cheese toastie!” I hear you yell student staples at me.

“As if were that difficult!?” I hear you mock me.

But there are ways round this without having to reach for the jar of tomato sauce everytime.  Generally I find that if I want a simple, easy, one-off meal, packed with flavour and comforting AND minimises the washing up, cheese becomes my ingredient of choice.

Now I know that there are a multitude of cheeses which would naturally result in a greater multitude of cheese dishes.  However, I’m not talking about having to make complex cheese sauces nor am I talking about a cheese and crackers!  I’m talking about the simplicity and speed of heated or melted cheese.

No recipe to follow, just your judgement as to how much you want to use.

The point of heating cheese is simply to allow it to soften and ooze until it becomes a liquid permanently on the cusp of becoming solid again.   Normally used as a glue to ensure that the rest of the filling does not spill out – melted cheese is a delicious meal when encased in pastry or between slices of bread.

Take the humble cheese toastie – a great Sunday supper with or without extras!  With this comes the panoply of international variations: croque-monsieur (BTW: Bianca’s, Gibraltar makes a great one!) Welsh rarebit, mozzarella in carrozza, San Jacobo, etc…

But for me the ultimate, easy, quick and simple version of the ubiquitous toastie is a mexican quesadilla:

pestochicken2Quesadillas

Place a tortilla into a frying pan large enough in diameter.  Grate whichever hard cheese or combination of cheeses you wish to cover the tortilla (leave a 2cm rim around the edge).  Chop spring onions and a few slices of chorizo or pepperoni over.  Sprinkle over some dried chilli flakes or use fresh and add oregano and basil.  Season to taste.  Grate some more cheese over and cover with another tortilla.  Once the cheese has melted and the base not too crispy, flip it over and heat on the other side for another minute.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.

(Clicking on the image will take you to my pesto chicken quesadillas in a previous blog)

boxCamembert Baked in the Box

Where melted cheese is at its most sensuous and indulgent is a ripe Camembert baked in the box.  I remember a friend took this to a beach BBQ one year and we fought over eachother to see who could scoff more of it!  But before we proceed to the preparation of the cheese let me share with you my secret weapon:

ROAST GARLIC.  If like me you were given a garlic roasting pot as a present this is its ideal use, a roasting tin and some foil works just as well.

Give the garlic head a knock on the work surface to tease the cloves or cut the tops off and place into your garlic roasting pot and drizzle over honey, olive oil and add a bay leaf, sprig of rosemary and seasoning.  Add a knob of butter and roast in the oven for 40mins at 200˚C.

TOP TIP: If cooking this on a Sunday you can prepare this along with your roast, otherwise just prepare it in the evening bearing in mind to accommodate for its cooking time.

After 30mins take the Camembert from its wooden box and remove the wrapping, putting the cheese back into the box.  Put a large cross on the top of the Camembert and put the lid back on the box.  Cook alongside the garlic until the cheese is oozing and gooey.

The garlic once roasted turns into sweet amber nuggets that need to be squeezed out of their papery cases and spread onto your bread before dunking into the hot, bubbling Camembert.  Wash it all down with a classic French red.

It’s best avoided to entertain anyone’s company after this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mayday18I normally arrive at these evenings a good half hour before kick-off and almost form part of the welcoming committee at the door.  However, this time around, I was probably one of the last to arrive.  As I turned the corner into Market Lane it was exciting to see the natural evolution that El Capote’s Food and Wine Evenings have taken.  A team of waitresses and Ian himself were circulating round the crowds serving glasses of beer to everyone with the occasional top up for those of thirsty disposition.  Enjoying the Spring evening we greeted eachother but it was interesting to note that out of a regular clientele of 30 people on these special evenings, only approximately 6 of us were part of the original crowd.  Speaking to Ian about this later he mentioned that all his allocated covers had been snapped up within the hour on sending out the invitation email; hence many regulars had been left out!

Good food, good wine, good company

Once we were all present, Ian invited us into El Capote where we took our places around bar tables; there was to be no seating tonight.  And we were quickly thrust into the tantalising delights the evening would have us experience.

Paper cones of beetroot crisps, potato crisps and spiced cashew nuts were handed out to everyone whilst the first course was prepared.

Tantalising delights the evening would have us experience

Glasses of a silky, kimchi broth were handed out to everyone with slices of red grape as well as sea urchin roe – huevas de erizo – hidden at the bottom.  If the sea urchin wasn’t surprise enough there were also bits of popping candy, crackling away.  This glass was a delicate breath of the sea.  I was however unsure as to the temperature of the dish.  The idea of a broth would indicate that it would be a warm dish but it was served lukewarm.  Was this to prevent the sea urchin from cooking in the residual heat?  Was it due to the time it took to plate up the dish?  Either way – around our bar table we came to the consensus that perhaps chilled it would have also been delicious.  We happily sipped away diving for the sumptuous sea urchin flesh so as not to waste a single morsel.

Next came a palate-cleansing cocktail made with elderflower cordial, Prosecco and a mint leaf.  Bright, fresh, bubbly and dangerously quaffable!  Whilst we sipped upon these we were asked to play a game to determine a winner from each table.  Some of us are still trying to get to grips as to how to play the game!

The winners from each table won a golden nugget of pure decadence – milhojas de foie y queso de cabra covered in gold leaf.  The rest of us were presented with the wooden spoon version of these milhojas (mille feuille).  Ours was not covered in gold leaf but delicious nonetheless.  The golden winners were treated to sheer indulgence.  With both versions there was accompanying jam/membrillo and hazelnut rubble adding sweetness and a texture to the finished dish.  Absolutely divine.

Golden nuggets of pure decadence

Our next dish was a carabinero prawn with its rich, red flesh and crunchy legs; served on a bed of braised chard (acelgas) and un ajo negro.  Simple, delicious but complex in flavour.  Carabinero prawns have a more distinct and robust flavour compared to a shrimp or prawn which can generally be very bland.  Accompanying the carabinero with the almost creamy chard was a beautiful concept.  It did however need another dimension in flavour brought by the ajo negro.  Black garlic, originally used in Asian Cuisine is a type of caramelised garlic that has been cooked for several hours at a low heat and this cooking brings out sweet, syrupy tones with bitter hints of balsamic vinegar and even tamarind.  Another texture made this dish sing; crispy carabinero prawn legs.  This dish was clean in flavours as well as delicious – I kept trying to cut the carabinero into tiny pieces so that I could make it last longer!

Papas con Choco a La Chef Lede was perhaps the most homely of the dishes.  When I was asked by Chef Lede which my favourite dish was I mentioned another dish but this one was sumptuous and comforting and thinking about it retrospectively was perhaps my actual favourite.

Papas con Choco is a typical dish of the region of Andalucía – in its simplest terms, a cuttlefish and potato stew with peas.  However, Chef Lede took this traditional dish and created it in his inimitable manner using gastronomic deconstructive ideology.

Imagine a baked potato that had been partially scooped out and filled with the cooked cuttlefish, turned upside down and sitting in a rich, flavoursome, fish stock (probably made using the heads of the carabineros in the previous dish!) and served with a salty, fishy foam on the side.  Beautiful.

The following dish – Thai meatball with green apple and prawn – was probably the most true to El Capote.  What do I mean by this?  Well, El Capote is a tapas bar and this skewer of meatball, prawn and green apple, could easily form part of their regular menu.  I believe so much in the success of this combination that I would highly encourage Ian to add it to their menu – even if just a tapa of thai meatballs without the prawn and apple – as it was the thai flavourings (lemongrass/lime/chilli) that really came through.

There were elements of the following dishes that I liked, disliked or did not understand.

Chocobon con crema de maiz y maiz frito – a small chocolate, rice and apple ball – almost as if intended to be a sweet Italian arancini (rice ball) served with a custard and toasted corn.  This dish did not appeal to me as much as others did due to the fact that I found the texture of the actual chocolate ball somewhat grainy and the overall flavour was that of toasted corn.  I enjoy churruca (toasted corn) as much as anyone else but it was too dominant a flavour.

I can only but apologise to Lede

mayday12Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter and UMAMI (the fifth taste literally translated from Japanese as ‘pleasant savoury taste’ I think Brits would refer to it as being moreish) was heralded as a 5 taste sensation.  Sadly for me I was lost in translation with this dish – which I got the impression from Ian and Chef Lede – was meant to be El Capote’s flagship dish of the evening.  I can only but apologise to Chef Lede; I ate the whole lot and it was not pleasant.  Vinegar was the main taste I picked up from the dish.  It wasn’t until we spoke to Lede later on that he explained to us that we should have picked flavour combinations within the dish to eat and NOT the whole thing – DOH!

If food comes with instructions, follow them, they are there for a reason!

 

Two sumptuous deserts followed – one seasonal and fruity, the other a sharp clean taste.

A summery, strawberry gazpacho made with a strawberry confit (slow cooked strawberries) and fresh strawberries.  Followed by a deconstructed mojito.  A little almond cookie sitting in lemon juice and topped with soda water; finished with a refreshing mint granita.  Clean, sharp but beautiful.

No vulgarity, no excess

When I think back over the years to these El Capote evenings, the bar of fine dining has really been raised.  It started off with Ian plying everyone with loads of wine and mountains of food; gradually this changed to the event of today.  The mountains of food have been replaced by delicacies designed to tease your taste buds.  Chef Lede’s skills in the kitchen have transported us from humble El Capote, Gibraltar, to gastronomic heights parallel to restaurants such as Calima (Danny García) DiverXO (David Muñoz) and The Fat Duck (Heston Blumenthal).

Ian, through Lede, is educating us about good food.  Good food that has been prepared with the best ingredients, skill and finesse.  There is no vulgarity.  There is no excess.  There are no chips on the side.  If there would be chips they would be gold plated Maris Pipers sat in potato air!

Good food, good wine, good company!

Shepherd’s Pie, baked beans and ketchup – Oh my God!  Could food get any more comforting?!

I remember as a child I would mix it all together so that every spoonful was a mashed-potatoey, mince-meaty, ketchup-tangy mouthful.

And then came the correction; it’s only Shepherd’s Pie if made with real shepherds – or at least minced lamb!  If made with beef mince it is a Cottage Pie.  Either name, I loved it as much as a child as I do to this day (however as I’m all grown up now, I only mix it up into a potatoey, meaty, ketchupy mouthful at home!)

But even though I make it in the same way that both my Mum and Granny taught me, I recently stumbled across a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall that makes a very decadent shepherd’s pie.

delicious, comforting, familiar, easy to make, and above all, thrifty

The premise is that it uses up your left-over Sunday roast.  And that for me is great as I’m not one to have reheated day old roast lamb.  I can’t make up my mind whether it is the smell or the gelatinous texture that puts me off so this is a brilliant way of exploiting your leftovers.

Hugh’s Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients

  • About 1Kg of leftover roast lamb
  • Olive oil
  • Onions
  • Any leftover gravy or lamb juices
  • Small glass of red wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • Mashed potatoes made up to cover the dish
  • Seasoning

Method

1st: Heat the olive oil in a saucepan big enough to accommodate all the ingredients.  Coarsely chop the meat and brown in the hot olive oil – this will render out any excess fat and make the meat crispy around the edges.  Remove onto a plate.

2nd: Sweat the onions (I used a leek that was hidden at the back of my fridge and bunged in diced carrot for good measure!) make sure to scrape any meaty bits off the bottom of the pan whilst turning the onions.

3rd: Once the onions are translucent return the meat to the pan and add the red wine, Worcester sauce and ketchup.  Mix in the left over gravy and season to taste.  Simmer gently for a few minutes and if the mixture looks too dry add a little water.  Simmer gently for 20-30mins.

4th: Have a final taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary – add more ketchup, wine, salt/pepper to taste.  Again add a little water to slacken the mixture if you feel it needs it.

5th: Put the mixture into a casserole dish and cover the meat completely with your mashed potatoes.  (I wanted to use up the left over roast potatoes too so I chopped these up into small dice as I want them to retain some shape.  As you can see from the photo I covered half in mashed potato and the other half in diced small potatoes.)  Bake at 200˚C for 30-40mins until the mash is lightly browned on top and the sauce if bubbling around the edges.

Recipe taken and adapted from http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes/chefs/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall/hugh-s-mum-s-shepherd-s-pie-recipe

As a meal it ticks all the boxes – delicious, comforting, familiar, easy to make, and above all, thrifty.  With spring warmth having finally kick started but chilly evenings this is the sort of food you want to eat for supper.

This makes a delicious mid-week supper.  If you have left-over lamb that you do not know how to use up I urge you to give it a try – it may seem lengthy but to be honest there really is nothing to it as it is either simmering on your hob or baking in the oven – you are not slaving stove-top for 1hour.  I preferred the diced roast potatoes on-top to the traditional mash and this would take out a whole stage of the process, alternatively using instant mash may also be an option.  What I wouldn’t recommend is that you purposefully roast some lamb to create this as the whole point of this dish is to use up left-over meat so as not to be wasteful.

This recipe should serve 4-6 people but if you need to serve a large number of people you could always add some veg on the side or add minced lamb to make the dish go further.

 

This time round El Capote surprised us by holding its food and wine event on a Saturday! Children were sent to their grandparents’ houses and the old faithfuls treated their partners to a fantastic night at El Capote.

Not being allowed in before 9pm opening time, we congregated on Market Lane wondering what delicacies were to be sampled forthwith.

Everyone waited in anticipation…

good food, good wine, good company

We started off the evening with a beautiful Cappuccino de Foie. Having previously tasted this on a previous occasion I was very appreciative to see it on the menu again as it was one of my favourite dishes served on these evenings. So much so that I firmly believe that this dish could make its way onto their regular menu.

20131019-115059.jpgOur next treat was a lamb and grape meatball which was delicious but it was the presentation that did it for me. Like something out of a science Lab we were instructed to squeeze the soy sauce pipette into the lamb meatball. And without cutlery there was nothing to be done but pick up the meatball on the pipette and drop it into your mouth as you squeezed. The sweet succulent lamb and sweet juicy grape doused in salty soy sauce was delicious. I could have feasted on a bowl of these!!

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Following this was a delicious light gazpacho which we felt was more like a salmorejo as it was so smooth and silky. Poured over the sea scented meat of some juicy muscles, gently sprinkled by some micro herbs for a crunchy, floral back note to the gazpacho. A delicate dish. The only thing that annoyed me was that the square bowls it was served in made it difficult to scoop any dregs of gazpacho left behind!

20131019-123318.jpgAnother gorgeous dish was the fillet of bass (ròbalo) served on a salad of soya beans, cubes of mojama, seasoned with yuzu (an Asian citrus fruit used to season dishes) and dressed with an infusion of baby prawns (camarones). The mojama adding intense saltiness to the otherwise bland fish broth created by the camarones. Each mouthful bursting with citrus notes cutting through the fish. Every mouthful was exquisite.

What would have complimented this dish well would have been some tortillitas de camarones – as served in El Faro, Cadiz.

The last of the savoury dishes was an oxtail and shiitake empanadilla served on a wave of creamed ras-el-hanout potatoes. The aromatic spices in the potatoes working beautifully with richness of the oxtail and shiitake mushrooms. The empanadillas had been steamed which is traditional when using this type of pastry for dim-sum, however, as the potatoes were creamed I felt the textures here were too similar; the dish needed an extra texture and perhaps either deep frying them or even cooking them as Japanese gyoza (first fried in a pan until the bottoms are golden and then steaming them) would have provided this something extra.

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I say all this having thoroughly enjoyed the dish and fully aware that having to fry something would have been time consuming and an extra task to have to be done in an already extremely busy kitchen and considering the amount of other jobs that had to be done to create this evening’s menu.

My favourite dish of the evening followed. And even though I’m not one to have to end a meal (or 6 course dinner!) with a sweet this one did it for me. Rice pudding, enticingly referred to as Risotto de Arroz con leche with a twist, was a seductively sublime dish. As it arrived at the table my immediate thoughts were that it was very pretty with its pink decorations and fruit – absolutely beautiful.

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Freeze dried raspberries crushed over to add colour, texture and flavour. And topped with a cloud of raspberry flavoured candy floss!  Each spoonful was a voluptuous sweet dream, everyone at my table was silent as we feasted; frequent sounds of instant gratification coming from all over the room…

…Mmmm…que bueno…ooooh….delicious…mmmmm…

I can imagine that had people been eating this in the comfort of their own homes they would have been licking the bowl with greedy abandon.  It was absolutely delicious.

Nothing more to add other than what a beautiful dish to end what was another great evening of good food, good wine and good company.

Over the past few days it has been impossible to go to sleep comfortably due to the searing heat and high temperatures. Sitting, sweltering in humid, airless evenings has been unbearable. The thought of having to turn an oven on and subsequently heat up the house is quite frankly the last thing I’d want to do.  Alas, even the ubiquitous summer staple; the BBQ, is making me want to jettison off to cooler parts. But one must eat and one must eat well.

So inspired by the shimmering evening heat and the colour of summer, I offer you a simple yet stunning 2 course supper that bring all the colours and smells of the souk to your doorstep: cinnamon and lemon chicken pilaf followed by a refreshing lemon syllabub.

IMG_3513Cinnamon and lemon chicken pilaf

Pilaf, from Persian origins, is basically a rice dish with any vegetables, meat or shellfish added. When cooking anything Middle-Eastern, I cannot avoid adding toasted nuts to the dish, nor do I want to, as this adds to the resiny earthiness of the dish as well as a touch of exoticism.  Feel free to add dry fruits or even rose petals as this can only enhance its intended decadence.

The beautiful aromas and earthy colours make everything golden; as if a Sultan were to be joining you for dinner.

1st: Marinade chicken pieces (I used breast but have used boneless thighs before) in Greek yogurt, the juice of a lemon and a teaspoon of cinnamon (or alternative aromatics e.g. cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, mixed spice) for one hour or longer.

2nd: Prepare your chicken stock (add a glug of rosewater) with saffron strands to relinquish their warm ochre dye.

3rd: After an hour, drain the excess marinade off the chicken pieces and fry in batches to colour them.  Once all the chicken is fried set aside and tend to the rice.

4th: I cook rice using the 2:1 method. 2 parts warm stock: 1 part basmati rice. Toss a couple of cardamon pods into the stock to release their spicy aromas as well as a good squeeze of lemon juice.

5th: In a dry pan, fry pistachios, flaked almonds and pine nuts until golden.

6th: Once the rice is cooked, mix everything together with freshly chopped parsley.  I usually do this in the large frying pan I used to fry the chicken in so that all the charred-black marinade bits around the pan make their way into the final dish.

Lemon syllabub

20130824-011437.jpgA Tudor creation, the syllabub is a cloud-light yet aromatic dessert that is more a visual delight than a full blown pudding.

Very easy to make (no cooking; merely pouring and whisking)

And can be made with several flavour combinations. Basically think of it as scented cream that occupies a notional territory between solid and liquid:

1st: Whisk a 254ml tub of cream with 4 tablespoons of icing sugar until it forms soft peaks.

2nd: Add a splosh (more if you want!) of limoncello liqueur and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Fold this in gently, try not to make the cream any thicker.

3rd: Add a couple of tablespoons of lemon curd and ripple this in with the handle of a spoon.

4th: In a dry pan, fry flaked almonds with icing sugar until golden.

5th: Serve in chilled glasses, sprinkled with the flaked almonds.  Provide biscotti or alternative biccies to scoop the cool cream into your mouth!

Not even, Sheharezade, would be able to pull Aladdin away from the table with this feast!

Enjoy.