Nice smoked salmon starter

I was attending a team away day at Ashorne Hill Conference Centre and it was time for dinner.

As part of my job I will often attend events and conferences. Sometimes these will be in hotels and other times they are in dedicated conference centres. I usually have lunch, which usually defaults to some kind of buffet lunch. For some events and conferences I stay over and that means having dinner. I have had some outstanding food at some conference venues. I had been to Ashorne Hill Conference Centre before, last year I had an okay meal of crispy chilli beef, chicken, and cheese and biscuits.

So there I was attending an “away day” at the Ashorne Hill Conference Centre near to Leamington Spa. It was a lunchtime to lunchtime event, so there was dinner in the evening.

For my starter I went with the smoked salmon on a crumpet, with a poached egg and topped with hollandaise sauce and a chive crumb.

I did think the crumpet was an interesting choice, but overall I really enjoyed the starter. The smoked salmon was excellent, the poached egg was cooked perfectly and the sauce and crumb just added to the dish. 

A really lovely way to start a meal.

Homemade Gluten Free Fritto Misto

One thing I do quite like is seafood in crispy batter, what the Italians call Fritto Misto.

So after enjoying my recent attempts at gluten free Frito Misto, I thought I would cook it again. I went with the recipe I had used before.

Again I used the mixed seafood mix from Lidl. As part of their Andalusian range, Lidl had a bag of frozen prepared mixed seafood. It contains pieces of skin-in cod pieces, anchovy fillets, squid rings, chopped Indian squid and peeled shrimp. As I said before I do think there could be more shrimp (prawns) in there, but it is a good mix of seafood. I did take some of the squid rings and cut them into smaller pieces.

I took the seafood and defrosted it in a bowl and removed any excess water. I coated the seafood in seasoned flour and then left it for a while, a couple of hours all in.

I cooked the seafood by deep frying in hot oil. The end result was a crunchy coating on the seafood. This was then seasoned with a little salt.

Fritto Misto

I was staying in Wimbledon at the Hotel du Vin and had dinner a couple of times in their Italian themed restaurant. The restaurant was in the Orangery, and to be honest the air conditioning was turned up a little too much for me, as it felt quite chilly.

On another evening I looked over the menu and went with the Fritto Misto for my starter, which was also available as a main course.

The dish comprised deep fried squid, tiger prawns, mullet and anchovies, set on a bed of ailiol and served with lemon.

The dish was garnished with some chilli and herbs. I am not sure how authentic the chilli is, something I see at Wagamama on their chilli, squid. I picked off the chill and squeezed some lemon juice onto the dish.

The batter was thin and crispy. You could taste the fish in the dish. The aioli was a little rough, but was okay.

More Gluten Free Fritto Misto

One thing I do quite like is seafood in crispy batter, what the Italians call Fritto Misto.

So after enjoying my recent attempt at gluten free Frito Misto, I thought I would cook it again. I decided though, this time, to try a slightly different recipe.

Again I used the mixed seafood mix from Lidl. As part of their Andalusian range, Lidl had a bag of frozen prepared mixed seafood. It contains pieces of skin-in cod pieces, anchovy fillets, squid rings, chopped Indian squid and peeled shrimp. As I said before I do think there could be more shrimp (prawns) in there, but it is a good mix of seafood.

I took the seafood and defrosted it in a bowl and removed any excess water. I coated the seafood in seasoned flour and then left it for ten minutes. 

I cooked the seafood by deep frying in hot oil. The end result was a crunchy coating on the seafood. I think this was better than my previous attempt.

Gluten Free Fritto Misto

Gluten Free Fritto Misto

One thing I do quite like is seafood in crispy batter, what the Italians call Fritto Misto.

Though I have bought the Lidl Fritto Misto from their Italy week quite a few times, the reality is that it’s okay, but not good. It’s mainly squid, in a crispy batter. Also, the other downside is, it’s not gluten free.

As part of their Andalusian range, Lidl had a bag of frozen prepared mixed seafood. It contains pieces of skin-in cod pieces, anchovy fillets, squid rings, chopped Indian squid and peeled shrimp. Personally I think there could be more shrimp (prawns) in there, but it was a good mix of seafood.

I took the seafood and defrosted it in a bowl and removed any excess water. I coated the seafood in seasoned flour before coating in a gluten free batter and deep frying in hot oil.

The batter I made from gluten free plain flour, egg and milk. Mixing to a consistency that ensures a smooth coating of the seafood. As well as the seafood I added some prawns and cooked those as well.

Overall I was quite pleased with the dish, it was better than the Lidl Fritto Misto I have had before. The only issue I did have, was that the batter didn’t stay as crisp as I would have liked.

Lemon Salmon

This is a regular dish in our house. 

I take salmon fillets. To these I had the zest of a lemon, lemon juice, crushed garlic, salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil.

I bake these in the oven for twenty minutes. 

I usually serve these with a vegetable risotto.

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.

Fish Tacos and Mango Salsa Again

Staying at the Drayton Court Hotel I did quite fancy a starter with my evening meal. The menu talks about bar snacks, rather than starters. On a previous visit I had really enjoyed the fish tacos with mango salsa, so I ordered it again.

As before, the dish arrived promptly. It comprised three tacos, each was served with a piece of fish in a crunchy coating, shredded lettuce, mayo and mango salsa. 

They were slightly different to the ones I had before, but were still very nice. The fish lacked the flavour of the previous tacos, but there was more salsa this time. They were tasty and I enjoyed them.

Fish Supper at Bills

I was in Manchester and needing an evening meal, my hotel restaurant was closed, so I headed out to the Trafford Centre for a bite to eat. There is a wide choice of places to choose from. I did walk around, but in the end decided I would go to Bills. There were quite a few things on the menu that I liked the sound of. They also had a reasonably priced set menu as well.

This branch of Bills is set within the New Orleans area of the Trafford Centre, so though it is a fake building, it’s quite an authentic fake building. I actually liked the facade.

I had a really good meal on my last visit to Bills in Ealing. I had some great tuna tacos and a nice steak. However that branch in Ealing has closed, it is now a branch of Las Iguanas. The menu at Bills appears to change frequently, or probably more likely I go so infrequently that it only appears to change frequently. However the tacos were on the menu, and I was tempted to give them a go again. I took my time, but in the end I decided I would go with the set menu.

For my starter I went with the crispy calamari with chilli and roast garlic & basil aioli.

I am a fan of crispy squid, so knew that I was probably going to be hyper-critical of the end result. However this was a nice plate of food. The squid was nice and tender, the coating was nice and crispy. It worked well with the aioli. I liked the presentation of the dish with the pea shoots and the chilli.

My main course was the pan-fried sea bass which was served with tomato sauce, nicoise olives, chive mash & pea shoots.

This was a nicely presented dish. The sea bass was nicely cooked and was quite tasty. I enjoyed the chive mash and it worked well with the tomato sauce. I finished all of this enjoyable dish.

I was tempted with dessert, but in the end said no.

Service was excellent and combined with the food made for a lovely meal. I would certainly go again and there are other items on the menu I want to try.

Pan-Roasted Cornish Hake

Staying at the Drayton Court Hotel overnight I had a meal. I went down to eat, planning to have the roasted belly of pork, only to find that they had changed the menu overnight!

So in the end, I chose the pan-roasted Cornish hake with St Austell Bay mussel velouté and sea vegetables.

pan-roasted Cornish hake with St Austell Bay mussel velouté and sea vegetables

The dish looked fantastic, a nice piece of fish on a bed of vegetables and there were a number of mussels in the velouté.

The fish was well cooked and the sea vegetables added different tastes and texture to the dish. The velouté was smooth and creamy. I only wish I had a spoon to finish it off.

Though I think the dish was as nice as it was, I think some bread would have been a nice accompaniment. If I was cooking it at home I might have served it with some creamy mashed potato.