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.

Kebabless Chicken Kebab

I am not sure that kebabless is an actual word. 

I was short on time, so rather than thread chicken cubes onto wooden skewers, I decided to miss that step.

I took some cubed chicken breast and marinaded with some chicken seasoning, salt, pepper and some olive oil.

I then took my griddle and put it on a high heat. I then cooked the chicken on the griddle. I turned it once, and then covered the chicken with some baking parchment. This ensures that the chicken is cooked through, by acting as a “lid”, but avoids steaming the chicken, so that there is still some crispness to the chicken from the griddle.

I served it with salad and rice with a homemade tomato sauce.

Japanese Miso Cod

I have to say my experiences of the Nusa Kitchen have been in the past somewhat disappointing. I had a grilled chicken dish back in 2018, which wasn’t impressive at all. In 2019 I had a mushroom and tofu dish, which was a little better.

On a recent visit to London and looking for some lunch, it was later than usual, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted (nothing new there then). Though I did recall my previous visits to the Nusa Kitchen, I thought, why not give them another try. Well it had been three years and I did quite like the idea of the Japanese Miso Cod. This was served on a bed of coconut rice and salad. 

It was okay, but nothing special. The cod was overcooked and lacked flavour. The coconut rice, well I think I could taste some coconut, but really it was just rice, and the salad was fresh. I don’t know why I went there now. Maybe I wanted to give them another chance to shine. They didn’t.

Nice Gin

Received a bottle of Aviation American Gin as a present.

I have had the gin before out and about, and enjoyed it. So it was nice to get a bottle of it as a present.

Time for Valerie’s Welsh Rarebit

We were up at Cribbs Causeway doing some shopping and we stopped at Patisserie Valerie for a coffee and a snack. There are quite a few places you can have a coffee at Cribbs, but what I like about Patisserie Valerie is that it is table service. So we sat at our table and looked over the menu. The place was busy, but the service was excellent, and we didn’t have to wait long to order.

Whilst my son went with the traditional breakfast, my first choice was an apricot danish, however they had run out. So I went with my second choice, which wasn’t a pastry, but Valerie’s Welsh Rarebit. Our food arrived promptly, which was nice, especially as the place was quite full of diners. Valerie’s Welsh Rarebit was toasted bloomer bread topped with a poached egg, tomato chutney, cheddar, mustard & served with a side salad.

I don’t think I have ever had Rarebit before, so I was interested to see what it was going to be like. This was a nice cheesy toast dish, the mustard was subtle and added warmth. The poached egg was perfectly cooked. I liked the tomato chutney, which was on the side, I did think it was a little too sweet for me. Overall it was a really nice light meal.

I think one of the reasons I hadn’t ordered or had this dish before, was that usually I am looking for cake, or a full meal. Valerie’s Welsh Rarebit for me is more of a snack, or a light meal.

Alongside I had a flat white, not the best flat white in the world, but it was a good coffee.

Well that was nice

I was working in Bristol and for lunch I headed out to the Temple Quay Market. I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for, so looked around. I really liked the idea of Big Nath’s BBQ, however they had (basically) sold out. This was both disappointing and reassuring, in that I didn’t get my food, but it must be good if it had sold out!

I looked around, and did think about getting some fried fish from the Kingfin stall, but in the end I went to She Sells Sushi.

Having not really enjoyed the hirata bun on my last visit, this time in my bento box I went with the beef donburi and some Takoyaki in octopus and duck varieties.

The beef teriyaki donburi was delicious.

This is tasty tender beef rib on a bed of sushi rice and served with pickle and spring onions.

The Takoyaki were very nice too. Beautifully presented with sauces drizzled over them and garnished with herbs and bento flakes.

I had two duck dumplings and two octopus ones.

Made without care or love

flat white

Travelling home on the M4 I stopped at Membury Service for a coffee. I went to the Starbucks and ordered a flat white. I was drinking “in” but it still came in a paper cup and they also charged me 5p for the “privilege”.

I find that quite frustrating, I wanted my coffee in a china cup, but they didn’t do that, so I had to have a paper cup, and then I get charged for it. I guess I should remember this, and bring my own cup in the future. Hmmm, it was a motorway service station, not a regular haunt for coffee.

I watched the coffee being made, it was more of mechanical automated process for making the coffee and then there was a lackadaisical carefree approach to the heating and frothing of the milk, which was then added to the coffee without any care or love.

It’s not as though I had much of a choice of where I could go for coffee, and I thought for £3.40 I was getting ripped off. It did feel that it was not much better than the (instant) coffees you got years ago from cafes across the country, before the rapid growth of coffee chains like Starbucks and Costa filled our high streets.

Maybe I need to find some independent coffee places just off the motorway instead of stopping at the services. Having said that, the coffee at the Gloucester Services on the M5 was quite good, but that is on the M5, so not on the M4 or the M6, or the M25.

Gluten Free White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten Free White Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is a different recipe to one I have used before.

85g of unsalted butter
100g of light brown sugar
30g of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
200g of gluten free plain flour
½ teaspoon of xanthan gum
75g of white chocolate chips
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 180℃ and line two baking trays with baking parchment.

Add the butter to a heat-proof mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a microwave for approx 50 seconds, until just liquid. Ensure it has fully melted.

Add the brown sugar and caster sugar to the warm butter, stir well.

Now the add the vanilla essence and the egg. Mix into a smooth batter consistency.

Sift the plain gluten free flour and xanthan gum into the batter and combine into a soft shiny cookie dough.

Add the white chocolate chips

Spoon the dough onto the baking trays and flatten the dough mix into cookies.

Put them into the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes. 

They are ready when they are starting to brown slightly but will still be very soft. Leave them on the tray to cool for five to ten minutes before transferring carefully to a wire rack to cool.

This recipe makes about twelve cookies.