Spiced Cauliflower Salad

Spiced Cauliflower Salad

This recipe was inspired by one I saw in a magazine.

In a foil lined roasting pan, add some olive oil (and a splash of sunflower oil) and place in a hot oven for ten minutes to heat through.

Cut some potato into 2cm cubes. I used Maris Piper potatoes.

Add the potatoes to the hot roasting pan and roast for ten minutes.

Break the cauliflower into florets and halve the bigger florets, so the pieces of cauliflower are of an equal size. You can also add the cauliflower leaves as well.

Add these to the roasting pan and mix with the potatoes.

Cook for another fifteen minutes.

Sprinkle on some garam masala and stir and toss the potatoes and cauliflower.

Cook for another ten to fifteen minutes, or until the potatoes are crisp and brown.

Remove from the oven.

On a serving plate arrange some leaves of Romaine lettuce. Top with the potato and cauliflower. Add some pomegranate seeds and thinly sliced red onion.

Serve.

Time for Tapas

Staying in London I did fancy some tapas one evening, we decided to head to La Rueda Tapas Bar in Ealing.

La Rueda Tapas Bar is a one-of-a-kind culinary establishment with a menu inspired by the idea of simple and honest cooking. Starting in 2000, we developed a unique dining experience for all of our guests using fresh and sustainable ingredients—taking you on a culinary journey like no other. From classic recipes to new-age kitchen adventures, each dish reflects our passion for high-quality food presented in a simple yet pleasing manner. 

We were given a nice warm welcome and allowed to choose where we wanted to sit. We could have sat outside, but it’s quite a busy street, so we sat inside. We looked over the menu and chose what to have. In the end we went with five different dishes.

Knowing me, I probably would have chosen the calamari, but this time I decided I wouldn’t choose that dish. I was also tempted by the paella, but in the end we went with the tapas selection.

We started off with some olives marinated in garlic and herbs. These were really nice, just the thing to nibble, whilst waiting for the dishes to arrive.

The first of these was the Patatas Bravas. Tripled fried potatoes served with a spicy Brava sauce and a helping of aioli. The potatoes were nice and crisp, the Brava sauce was quite spicy, but this was offset with the nice aioli that had a good flavour of garlic. I think I would have liked the spiciness to be taken down a notch, but otherwise it was a nice dish.

The next dish to arrive was the Gambas al pil pil. This was prawns with chilli, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. This was an excellent little dish, the prawns were nice and tasty. They hadn’t been peeled, but they were easy to peel.

The dish after this was Pulpo Gallego. Galician style octopus, saffron potato mash, pimenton. 

This was one impressive dish, and one kind of dish I have wanted to try for a while. The dish was a mound of saffron flavoured mashed potato topped with two grilled octopus tentacles. The octopus was very nice, tender and tasty. I think the mash could have been smoother (more butter), but was tasty.

Our final dish was Chorizo al vino, the classic Spanish sausage cooked in red wine sauce.

The chorizo was lovely and tender and I liked the sauce.

Overall the food was beautiful cooked and it was delicious. I do hope to visit La Rueda again.

Tapas at the Brunello Lounge

My first visit to a “Lounge” was back in 2013 when I went to the Portvio Lounge in Gloucester. I didn’t know at the time that it was part of a chain, but since then I have visited a few others.

The Brunello Lounge in Weston-super-Mare opened in 2017 and I have visited it quite often, usually for breakfast or for coffee.

Recently we decided to pop in for a drink and a lunchtime snack. It was rather busy, but we decided to queue. They had some tables free but we were warned that there was a thirty minute wait for food, which we accepted.

We placed our order at the bar and waited. We did think it might be a “wagamama” thirty minutes, in other words it would be closer to fifteen minutes. However in the end it took fifty minutes for our food to arrive, by which time we had drunk our drinks, which had infant arrived quite promptly.

We had ordered some fries and a selection of tapas. We got three dishes, patatas bravas, crispy squid and buttermilk fried chicken.

The best of the three dishes was the patatas bravas. This was cubes of deep fried potato served with a spicy tomato sauce. The potatoes were nice and crispy, well cooked and I enjoyed the tomato sauce. In my opinion the crispy squid was overcooked, it was certainly crispy, but it was very very crispy and dark as well. The buttermilk chicken was nuggets of crispy chicken served with a chipotle mayonnaise. The mayonnaise was nice, the chicken was a little dry.

Overall I think these could have been three great dishes, but the final result was not as good as they should have been. One was really good, the others needed a little more refinement. I did wonder if the volume of orders was causing problems in the kitchen. In the past the food we’ve had at the Brunello Lounge has been excellent.

Having said all that I might go again and try the tapas again.

Back to Côte Brasserie

I have been to Côte in Ealing a couple of times, on a recent visit I really quite enjoyed the cassoulet I had. I was needing dinner and decided that I would visit Côte for food. It was quite busy, which I found out later was down to the pre-theatre crowd. However A table was found for me and I sat down and looked over the menu. I was tempted by the cassoulet, which I’ve had before, or trying out the Breton fish stew.

As it was a weekday there was a prix fixe (fixed price) menu, so I went with that having two courses, a starter and a main. 

If I am eating out I generally prefer a starter over a desert. There was a limit choice of four starters, though tempted by the wild mushroom soup, I went with the Pork Terrine with spiced apple chutney and pain de campagne.

It was a nice terrine and the accompanying chutney was a good contrast. I think a stronger flavour would have worked for the terrine, but it had a nice texture. My pain de campagne was well toasted, slightly burnt on the edges. I would have preferred a more lightly toasted bread with my terrine.

There were five choices for the mains. I did think about ordering the Toulouse Sausages with puy lentils and sautéed kale with a Dijonnaise dressing for my main. However I went with the Poulet Grille. This is a chargrilled chicken breast with a creamy wild mushroom and thyme sauce served with gratin potato. 

The presentation of the dish was rather messy I thought. The gratin potato was nice and creamy, but there was no golden crust. I think I was expecting more of a defined structure of potato. The wild mushroom sauce was nice, but lacked flavour, partly down to the excess cream from the gratin potato which diluted the sauce. The chicken was slightly overcooked, but I enjoyed the flavour.

I did enjoy the food and it was tasty. Service was warm, friendly and efficient.

Huevos Rotos with Iberico Ham

Headed out at lunch for a walk. I did visit Finzel’s Reach Market first, but nothing there took me fancy. So I headed over Bristol Bridge to St Nick’s market and went to La Lola. I had enjoyed the paella there earlier in the week.

Though tempted by the calamari, or the paella, this time I went with something different, the Huevos Rotos with Iberico Ham. This is egg, ham and chips, Spanish style! You could have had chorizo instead of ham, but I went with the ham. Took a seat and it wasn’t long before the food arrived.

Huevos Rotos with Iberico Ham

This was chipped potatoes, two fried eggs, aioli, slices of Iberico ham and some breadsticks.

The eggs were freshly cooked, the chipped potatoes were nice. The aioli added a nice touch. I did think the ham was not as well flavoured as I was expecting, so I think next time I get this I’ll go with the chorizo. I didn’t really see the point though of the breadsticks.

I enjoyed my lunch and left with a smile on my face.

Making some Game Chips

Game Chips

Having had my mandolin for a while now, one thing I did want to try was to make some game chips. These are slices of potato cut on the serrated blade on the mandolin and then twisted 90º before slicing again.

These are then deep fried in hot oil until cooked and brown. Drain and serve.

Slow Roasted Pork Salad

Back in the summer for an evening meal, we had slow roasted pork belly with potatoes and salad.

The pork belly was from M&S and comes already seasoned. It has no rind, so you don’t get crackling, but slow roasting usually (for me results) in rubbery crackling anyhow. It is a tasty joint and a favourite in our house.

I did small roast potatoes, using Maris Piper potatoes which are par boiled and then roasted in hot oil in the oven. I generally add a little butter towards the end of cooking to add colour and a final crispness.

The salad included a personal favourite of thinly sliced raw cauliflower in a spicy mayonnaise. We first had this eating out at a  cafe in Wapping Wharf in Bristol. We stole the idea and now have it on a regular basis.

Overall a delicious meal and very tasty.

French Excellence in Edinburgh

Last November I was off to Scotland, staying overnight in Edinburgh, for some meetings and events. I took an afternoon flight from Bristol. I took the tram to the heart of Edinburgh and then walked over to the hotel the Radisson Blu. The room was nice and modern. After dropping off my stuff I went for a walk around Edinburgh.

I realised as I walked around Edinburgh having checked into my hotel, that I have been to Edinburgh many times over the last twenty years for work, but have never actually visited the place in a personal non-work capacity. I go to London a lot for work, but also go there with family to visit and explore. So I am thinking about possibly visiting Edinburgh in the future to explore and have a proper look around.

It was getting dark even though it was only 4pm, well it was November. I walked around the old town before heading up to the castle.

It was way too late to visit the castle proper so I just took in the evening views across Edinburgh.

There was a couple of shops I wanted to have a look at before I went back to the hotel so walked further into the heart of Edinburgh with the intention of walking around Princes Street and back to the hotel. On my way I passed what looked like a really nice French place, Petit Paris on Grassmarket. The menu looking really interesting and inspiring. They had a pre-theatre deal that looked good value. It was not as though I was going to go to the theatre, but  could take advantage of the deal.

As it was afternoon, I continued to explore Edinburgh, however as I walked around the weather got worse, so I stopped at a Caffe Nero for coffee and catch up with work stuff. I went back to the hotel more directly to get changed and then I headed out to get something to eat.

I went out to Petit Paris for dinner. The place was quite busy and I was given a nice welcome, before being taken down into the basement where there was a free table.

I looked over the menu and there was so many tempting dishes on there. I had to make a choice though, so for my starter I went with the garlic mussels.

This dish reminded me of snails in garlic butter, but this dish was done with mussels. It had just come out of the oven was really hot, so I was careful not to scald my mouth when eating it. Very strong garlic flavours, slightly overpowering the mussels, but still a nice start to the meal.

There was a lot of choice for the main course, in the end I went with something that I probably wouldn’t have ordered, but did so as I wanted to try a new kind of dish. I went with fish in a cream sauce with mashed potatoes.

It was delicious and very nice. The potato was smooth and creamy, the sauce was tasty and not too rich and the fish was cooked really well.

I didn’t want a sweet end to the meal and I like cheese so I went with some cheese.

There was a nice choice of cheeses.

Overall this was one of the best meals out I have had for a long time, the food was delicious.

If I get a chance to get to Edinburgh again I think I will try and visit Petit Paris again for a meal.

Pommes Rissolées

When we went on holiday last year to France one thing we tried and enjoyed were Pommes Rissolées. We bought the frozen variety from the local supermarket and then cooked them in the oven.

Of course when we came home, we couldn’t find them on sale in our supermarkets. However they are pretty easy to do yourself.

I take Maris Piper potatoes and after peeling them, I then used my new kitchen toy I got for my birthday, a mandolin,  (other similar models can be had on Amazon) to dice the potatoes into cubes, about 1cm big.

Then in a large frying pan I shallow fry them (I don’t have a deep fat fryer) and when they start to brown, I remove and drain them on kitchen towel.

I then finish them off in the oven with a couple of pieces of butter to aid the browning process and add some flavour. So they’re not quite Pommes Rissolées as we had them in France, but close enough.