Bleeding Heart

Street cafe

I was in London for a meeting and the plan was that we would go out for dinner. The place had been chosen, the Bleeding Heart Bistro. The Bleeding Heart Bistro, is situated in the Bleeding Heart Yard just off Greville St in the heart of the City of London. It is a French style bistro with pavement cafe seating. There is no traffic in the yard and the enclosed space is free from traffic. We sat outside and it really felt like we were somewhere in France. The tables, the canopy over the tables; along with the red and white theme, really set the scene for a French dining experience.

The service was excellent, efficient, friendly, and we never felt rushed or hurried.

Originally, when the dinner was planned, we had been provided with a fixed set menu, which was rather limited and to be honest disappointing. So I was quite pleased when the decision was made to go with the full a la carte menu. Lots more choice of lovely sounding food.

For my starter I went with the stuffed courgette flower filled with lemon ricotta.

I have never had a stuffed courgette flower before, though I have seen them on cooking programmes many times. In many ways this was a no-brainer for me to try this dish. However there were lots of other dishes in the menu that sounded delicious. It was hard to make a choice.

It was a really nice plate of food. The stuffing was light and fresh, the flower in the light batter was nice and crisp. I was pleased I had tried it. Would I have it again, I would probably choose something else from the menu. It was nice, but I wasn’t blown away by the dish.

For my main course, I went with the lobster and fries.  I have cooked lobster myself and I did wonder how it would be if it was cooked in a top restaurant like the Bleeding Heart. I got half a lobster, a portion of fries, and some herb butter.

The lobster was delicious, full of flavour. Though I enjoyed the dish, I think though if I was to repeat the experience I would have chosen something else. It wasn’t as special as I thought it was going to be.

We didn’t have dessert, though I wasn’t tempted by the cheese board on offer.

Would I go again, yes I would, it was a lovely place to eat and we had a fantastic meal.

Pan-Fried Lemon Pepper Chicken Breast

I had been staying at Drayton Court and had wanted the pan-fried lemon pepper chicken breast, but they had run out, so had gone with the Norfolk chicken schnitzel with Caesar salad. 

So on a later visit it was nice to see the pan-fried lemon pepper chicken breast still on the menu and it was available, so I ordered this as my main course. It was described on the menu as pan-fried lemon pepper chicken breast with courgette Parmesan fritters, prosciutto crisps and warm garlic slaw.

Pan-Fried Lemon Pepper Chicken Breast

It was a beautifully presented plate of food and I was really impressed.

The chicken was cooked perfectly and was full of flavour. I liked the warm garlic slaw. The prosciutto crisps were interesting and added texture and an element of saltiness to the food. I have to say though I was less impressed with the courgette Parmesan fritter. Mine was not crisp and felt laden with grease, so much so I didn’t actually finish it. However, apart from the fritter, I did enjoy the dish.

Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken

I was in London and staying at the Fox and Goose close to Hangar Lane. This is a Fullers Hotel and is part of the same chain at Drayton Court, which I have also stayed at.  The restaurant is in the older part of the hotel, as the hotel part is now a new build at the back. Despite being part of the same chain, they do have different menus. Their version of chicken was different to Drayton Court. So after having had my prawn cocktail starter I had the lemon and thyme roast chicken.

This was lemon and thyme roast chicken served on chorizo, courgettes, red onion and cannellini beans.

lemon and thyme roast chicken served on chorizo, courgettes, red onion and cannellini beans

The chicken was really good, full of flavour, moist and tender. You could taste the chicken, and the lemon and thyme enhanced the flavour.

The chicken was served on a bed of chorizo, courgettes, red onion and cannellini beans. The beans were a little overcooked, but the chorizo was excellent, large chunks of soft spicy chorizo.

Overall I really enjoyed this dish and would certainly order it again.

Barbecuing a whole chicken

We had a barbecue today and I cooked a whole chicken on the barbecue.

I have done this method of barbecuing a whole chicken many times now and each time, the end result has been delicious tender moist chicken full of smokey and chargrilled flavours.

The first part of the process is to spatchcock the chicken. I don’t have a pair of poultry shears so I usually use a big cook’s knife to cut out the backbone. I also don’t use skewers to secure the legs or keep it flat, but you just have to be more careful when turning the chicken when it is on the barbecue.

This time I seasoned and marinaded the chicken with garlic, salt and pepper, herbs, lemon juice, and some olive oil.

Though you can cook a spatchcocked chicken directly on the barbecue, it can be quite challenging to ensure that the chicken is properly cooked, through, without burning or overcooking the outside. Part of the issue is that it is difficult to control the temperature of the barbecue unlike a normal grill. The key process is to recreate some aspects of a “normal” oven as opposed to the usual way of using a barbecue as a grill.

As for the barbecue, the key here is to avoid cooking the chicken over a direct heat. After lighting the charcoal, once the flames have died down, and they are covered in grey ash you can start to cook. However the first thing you need to do is to move the coals to the sides of the barbecue leaving the middle empty, the chicken will be placed over this empty zone. Moving the coals can be tricky as they will be really hot, but the aim is to create a circle of hot coals around a clear area. This will allow the chicken to be cooked via in-direct heat without overcooking or burning.

The chicken is placed down on the grill carcass side down. I then use a wok lid to cover the chicken. This creates an oven effect and helps to stop the chicken drying out. You could of course if you have one use the lid on your barbecue.

barbecuing over charcoal

Turn the chicken after 15-20 minutes and cook the skin side. Take care when turning the chicken, especially if you like me didn’t use skewers.

Actual timing will depend on the heat of the barbecue and the size of the chicken.

Re-cover with the wok lid and cook for another 15 minutes, ensuring that the chicken doesn’t burn.

Check the chicken is cooked and then remove from the barbecue.

The end result is delicious moist barbecued chicken.

I served mine with salad and bread.

Made some paella

I made and cooked a paella, or a Spanish inspired rice dish.


I diced an onion and a pointed red pepper.  In a hot large frying pan, I put some olive oil and I cooked off bacon lardons, and some diced chorizo.  I then added the diced onion and pepper. When this was softened, I added some sliced mushroom. Once this was stirred in I added 250g of paella rice.

To this I added some paella seasoning, paella seasoning, Carmencita Paellero Paella Spice Mix.

This is according to the description the number one selling spice mix in Spain.

I ensured that the rice was coated I added a splash of sherry. I then added some chicken stock and water. Stirred once and left it to cook.

I added some more water as it cooked.

Before serving I added some cooked sliced chorizo, freshly chopped parsley, and some chunks of lemon.

I served this with some freshly cooked fish and salad.

Chargrilled lemon chicken

Chargrilled lemon chicken

I cook this recipe quite regularly in our house. It is a quick and easy method for tasty, tender, moist chicken.

I take some skinless and boneless chicken thighs, these I cut in half, trying to make the halves equal in size and weight.

I then add a splash of sunflower oil to the chicken pieces and coat them evenly.

I then add some Schwartz Pepper and Garlic Chargrilled Chicken Seasoning.

Schwartz Pepper and Garlic Chargrilled Chicken Seasoning is expertly blended with pepper, garlic and parsley to add a deep, rich and delicious flavour to your chicken dishes.

I then add the zest and juice of a lemon. Add salt if required.

The chicken is then cooked in my griddle plan.

I heat the pan, and when it is hot I then place the chicken into it.

I add some greaseproof paper on top of the chicken as it is chargrilled to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked.

Once the chicken is cooked on one side, I turn it over and cook from the other side.

Serve with salad.

Some more kebabless chicken

I had enjoyed the kebabless chicken I had cooked a few weeks back, that I decided to cook it again.

I took some chicken thighs and marinaded with some chicken seasoning, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper, some garlic olive oil and some freshly chopped flat parsley.

I then took my griddle and put it on a high heat. I then cooked the chicken on the griddle. I turned it over and cooked the other side.

I served it with salad and rice 

I am still not sure that kebabless is an actual word. 

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.

On the barbecue

Over the weekend we had a couple of barbecues. It is one of my favourite ways of cooking. Even a little rain wasn’t enough to put me off.

On Saturday we had burgers, seasoned chicken and lamb ribs. Sunday we had a similar spread, with beef kebabs, lemon chicken and more lamb ribs.

For the lemon chicken, I marinaded some chicken thighs in lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic oil and some Schwartz Chicken Seasoning. This is then cooked on the barbecue. 

I find that you have to be careful to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked, so I use an old wok lid on top, to cover the chicken, to “roast” the chicken as it is grilled. I really like the crispy chicken skin that you get on the barbecue.

For the seasoned chicken I followed a similar process, but used a new chicken seasoning (from Morrisons) which had turmeric, so the chicken was quite yellow. It was delicious.

The lamb ribs were from Waitrose and I seasoned them with salt, pepper and rosemary before placing them on the barbecue.

I did think that they might need longer cooking, but they were tasty and tender.

The burgers and kebabs were from Aldi and were quite good.

Hoping the weather continues to improve so we can have more barbecues.

Barbecuing in the sun

With the lovely weather we have been having a lot of barbecues recently. I try and cook different things, and we usually have a selection of salads alongside the grilled meat.

I do like cooking boned and flattened chicken thighs on the barbecue.

These were marinaded in lemon juice, olive oil and herbs. I leave the skin on as this is the best bit.

I also do ribeye steaks, but I find you need to have the temperature just right otherwise they can either be bland or overdone. I season my ribeye steaks with salt and pepper and a little garlic oil.

The lamb leg steaks were marinaded with olive oil and rosemary.

I am also know to do burgers, but I try and use a good quality burger to get the best results. These are served in a brioche bun with cheese and salad.

With sausages, like the burgers I like using a good quality meaty sausage. I prefer chipolata sausages, they remind me of the French sausages we cooked when we were on holiday, but sometimes I use  other kinds.

With pork belly slices I find it best to marinade them for a few hours in a salt and pepper marinade for a few hours to tenderise the pork.

Thinking now about other possibilities.