Time for some fish and chips again

I was staying at the Doubletree Hilton in Ealing and was eating in the hotel restaurant.

I recently had fish and chips in a different hotel which I had enjoyed. So I decided to order it at the Doubletree.

It was described as traditional fish and chips with garden peas, chunky chips and tartare sauce. I received an excellent looking plate of food.

I wouldn’t have said the chips were that chunky! However it was nice to have the lemon as well. The fish was well cooked, the batter was excellent, lovely, light, and crispy. The chips were nice as well. Overall I really enjoyed the dish.

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.

Delicious Gastro Pub Food at the Canbury Arms

It was August and we were staying with family in Kingston. The night before we had had some great sushi at Obon and on this evening we were visiting the Canbury Arms.

This is a pub, probably what most people would call a gastro pub, there was a section of the pub for people who wanted to drink, but there was a larger section with tables for people who wanted a meal. There is a difference in decor between the two sections, the restaurant area looks a lot more like you would imagine a restaurant should look like, whilst the bar area has lots of wood.

We were shown to our table and I looked over the menu, I have to say I had cheated and looked at the menu online before, but even so looking at the menu in the flesh, I wasn’t sure what I would have.

For my starter I decided to have the calamari and share it with my son. I kind of default to calamari as a starter, something that I do enjoy, and I have had great calamari in a variety of places, but sometimes I think I should have something else as a change.

It was nice, but nothing special, I think if I went again I would choose something different from the menu.

My sister in law went with the farmhouse pork, black pudding & sage scotch egg, brown sauce.

Now it was only later when I had posted the picture to Instagram (as one does) that someone commented on the saucy nature of the presentation of the food. Having said that I was offered half of the scotch egg, to which I said, yes please. This was actually rather excellent, and I really enjoyed the intensity of flavour in the pork around the egg. I could have eaten all of that dish.

For my main, there were some lovely choices, but I decided that I would go against my usual choices and have the chicken. Usually I would avoid the chicken, as I have it quite a lot at home, but this time I decided I would go down a different route and I would choose the chicken. This was a chicken supreme, asparagus, butternut squash puree, sautéed wild mushrooms & tarragon butter. I think what sold it to me was the wild mushroom element of the dish.

The chicken was cooked to perfection, tender and moist and full of flavour. The butternut squash puree was to die for, it was so smooth, buttery and full of flavour. The mushrooms weren’t as good as I was hoping, but I did enjoy them. The tarragon butter was an addition that in my mind brought the dish together. This was a delicious plate of food and I really enjoyed eating every mouthful.

We had some great food across the table, some great looking steaks. I did quite like the look of the sea bass fillet, on crushed jersey royals, peas, spring greens, with caper butter.

The salad from the specials menu was also outstanding. Black Quinoa Salad with roasted cauliflower, feta, pomegranate and harissa dressing.

Overall we had a wonderful meal, delicious food and we left feeling very happy and satisfied.


I quite like peas. Cooked very simply, perfect. I do prefer petis pois over the bigger garden peas.

Chicken with lentils and peas

My original plan was to cook chicken with lentils in my usual manner, and as explained in this blog post.

However this time decided (as I was cooking) to cook something slightly different. Firstly the chicken wasn’t entirely suitable for grilling in my original recipe, as I was using skinless and boneless thigh pieces. So I went with cooking them in the pan that I would normally use for the lentils.

The chicken was added first and browned. I then added some pancetta, chopped red onion and some chopped courgette. This was then cooked for a few minutes. I then added some chicken stock. I let this cook for about ten minutes.

It was at this stage that I decided to change my recipe. I added some frozen peas and some chopped sun dried tomatoes, and let the dish cook for another five minutes.

I then added the tinned green lentils and half a pot of creme frache. This was then brought back to the simmer to ensure that the lentils are heated through and the creme frache mixed through.

I then served the dish.

Chicken and Prawn Paella

Tonight I took the time to make a paella using a slightly different recipe to the one I normally do.

This time I took some chicken thighs (for flavour, they generally have more flavour then chicken breasts). These I tossed in olive oil and an Italian spicy herb mix. These were browned in a hot frying pan and then removed.

To the hot pan I then added diced onion, red and green pepper and courgette. When these were softened I added the paella rice. Do use paella rice or rice suitable for paella and not the rice at the back of the cupboard. The rice needs to both take on the flavours in the pan, but also soak up the stock and cook. Using other types of rice usually results in a wet paella with undercooked rice.

Having coated the rice in the oil, pepper and onion mix, I added a large splash of white wine and some chicken stock. As the rice cooks I stir the paella and add more stock as required.

After ten minutes of cooking I added the previously browned chicken. Ten minutes after that I added a handful of frozen peas.

Meanwhile in a separate pan I cook off some thick slices of cooking chorizo sausage. If you are using dried chorizo then just add them as they are to the pan when you add the peas. On my griddle I also cooked some large prawns.

Ten minutes after adding the peas, I added the cooked chorizo sausage, the grilled prawns and some slices of lemon.