Conference Pastries

pastries

One thing that I find irresistible at conferences is the small danish pastries that are often served with the pre-conference coffee. It is something I missed from the online conferences I have been attending (due to covid) over the last couple of years. 

Obviously the pastries aren’t the only thing I have missed from in-person events, but having some pastries in London recently I was reminded how nice they are…

I suspect it is something to do with an early start, a couple of hours on the train into London, onto the underground, and then a walk from the tube to the conference venue. By that point I have been up for a while, worked up an appetite and right there on the table next to the coffee are some freshly baked pastries. Just what is needed after a long journey.

That time I had some Chilango Tacos

Back in October 2016 I was staying in Manchester for a conference and had arrived the night before. Across the road was a branch of Chilango, so went there for dinner.

They had an interesting menu, but I was hungry so I went for the plate of tacos with a choice of fillings and salsas, along with a bottle of beer.

The tacos are made fresh to order, and after paying, I took my tacos to a table.

They looked great and were very tasty.

Sweet Chilli Chicken

I wanted a quick meal at Paddington Station, but wasn’t really sure what I was in the mood for. Well I was hoping to get some tacos from Barburrito, which I had really enjoyed on a previous visit. However like Chilango, they’ve stopped selling tacos.

I’ve had the sushi quite a few times from Wasabi at Paddington and have enjoyed it. However I didn’t really want sushi. At the Holborn branch of Wasabi I once had the Sweet Chilli Chicken and didn’t really enjoy it.

I quite like sweet chilli chicken, but in this case the sauce was overpoweringly with sweetness and stickiness, even with the heat of the chilli.

 I did decide in the end to give it another go.

Yes the sauce was, again, overpowering, rather too sweet and had a lot of chilli. Yup, probably not the best choice in the end.

Wood Fired Italian Ham, Portobello Mushroom & Mascarpone Pizza

Wood Fired Italian Ham, Portobello Mushroom & Mascarpone Pizza

Rushing about meant I didn’t have time to cook anything special for dinner. So I popped a shop pizza in the oven. I had a Specially Selected Wood Fired Italian Ham, Portobello Mushroom & Mascarpone Pizza from Aldi. It had a great doughy base, good proportion of toppings and some nice flavours. I have had this pizza before and I would have it again.

Should note I did add some extra salami slices and olives to the pizza.

Pork Shoulder Kebab

When I was last in Waitrose I saw in their barbecue range a Mexican inspired pork king kebab

Outdoor-bred British pork (shoulder) is seasoned with a spicy Al Pastor rub which blends chipotle and ancho chilli, black pepper, cumin, clove and cinnamon. Finished with a sticky pineapple, chilli and oregano glaze. 

I did quite like the sound of this, but then I saw the price of £9.50 (£11.88 per kg). Well this put me off slightly and I did think it might me a little too spicy for some.

So I decided to have a go at making it myself. I got some pork shoulder from Aldi, which was £3.19 (£4.56 per kg). This I cut into strips and then rubbed with some pepper and garlic seasoning, and some salt.

I then threaded the strips onto skewers. I used two skewers so that the pork was like a flat slab.

This I then chargrilled on my griddle pan.

Once the pork was cooked, I let it rest and then I sliced the pork off the skewer.

It was rather good.

Would you like fries with that? Yes I would please!

Having arrived late one Sunday into Manchester and was staying at the Copthorne Hotel in the Salford Quays. I was quite hungry after a long drive. I headed down into the hotel foyer where I found the restaurant had just closed, but the bar was still open for food. They had quite a good menu, in the end I chose the Steak frites, this was described as a sirloin steak served with rocket, fries and herb garlic butter.

This is what I got.

Well, yes it was a sirloin steak, yes it was served with herb garlic butter (and it was quite garlicky), yes there was some rocket. However those were not fries, they were chips! Okay maybe being a little petty, but the menu describes the fish and chips as coming with chips, the steak and ale pie talks about being served with chips, but when I see a menu say it is served with fries, I do expect to get fries.

The menu says steak frites, this means steak with fries, not chips. Fries are not chips, chips are chips and fries are fries.

Well apart from the fries disappointment, the chips were okay. The steak was nice, the herb garlic butter was probably a little too strong for me, but I did like it. The rocket salad, was okay. Overall, I was hungry, this was a nice plate of food.

Coffee and a pistachio swirl

I decided to drive to work. Well there was a train strike, so the train was out of the question. I drove down the M5 and headed into Bristol on the A369. As I approached the junction with Bridge Road, I could see that Rownham Hill wasn’t moving due to loads of traffic, so I headed down Bridge Road to cut down Burwalls Road, with no luck. So, I turned around and headed back to Bridge Road and crossed the Suspension Bridge. There were lots of police and fire crews. There were signs saying the bridge was closed, but it was open when I crossed it. I headed down Sion Hill and then hit more traffic. 

Later I found out that there had been an issue, the police were concerned about the welfare of a man, so had closed the Portway and other roads around the Cumberland Basin, which was causing all the issues I was having.

Having given up at this point, I parked and headed into Clifton Village to get some coffee. I went to Spicer & Cole and at the counter ordered a flat white. They had some nice looking pastries so I added a pistachio swirl to my order.

I had my pastry, took a seat and waited for my coffee. I did seem to be waiting for a fair while, so much so, I went back to the counter to check. They had been prioritising takeaway orders over my coffee.

The coffee was actually rather good and I enjoyed it. The pistachio swirl was quite nice, I did feel that it was slightly dry, and there was an excessive amount of icing sugar, but there was a nice taste of pistachio. 

Overall it was nice place for a coffee break, a little more pricey than other places I frequent, reminded me of London prices. If I am back in Clifton Village I would certainly visit again.

African Spiced Lamb Rump

I was up in Manchester staying at the Copthorne Hotel on Salford Quay and went for dinner in the restaurant. I had a table overlooking the water, I settled in and looked over the menu and ordered.

Well after a somewhat disappointing starter, I did have quite low expectations about my main course. I had ordered the African spiced lamb rump with roasted Mediterranean cous cous.

Unlike my starter I got what was described on the menu.

The lamb was nice, tender, but lacked flavour. There wasn’t s lot of African spice there. The cous cous was nice and there were some nice roasted Mediterranean vegetables hidden in there. The dish was dressed with a yoghurt dressing.

I have to say, I did enjoy the dish, it wasn’t that impressive, but it was okay. If I was at the Copthorne again, would I order it again, probably yes.

Not as described

I was up in Manchester staying at the Copthorne Hotel on Salford Quay and went for dinner in the restaurant. I had a table overlooking the water, I settled in and looked over the menu.

For my starter I went with what was described as mini pan fried scallops with pea puree, pea shoots and bacon crumb.

Well this is what I got!

Okay, so there were some mini pan friend scallops, but it was dressed with peas and bacon. No puree, no pea shoots and no bacon crumb.

This was really disappointing. I did complain, but really I was just fobbed off with an excuse that the chef had over-elaborated the dish on the menu. My response was that, if the chef had described the dish, accurately and as it was, then I wouldn’t have been disappointed, I probably would have still ordered it. 

It’s this kind of thing that puts me off eating in hotel restaurants, which can be overpriced as well.

Grilled Chicken

I did grilled chicken thighs, roasted potatoes, and salad. The chicken was done with chicken seasoning and a little salt and pepper.