Friday, December 9, 2016

Restaurant Review; Kaspars at the Savoy and Dreamgirls

Dreamgirls is one of the best musicals I've ever seen and you really must see it if you get the chance! Starring Amber Riley, best known as the wonderful Mercedes from Glee (yes, I'm a fan), it opened a couple of weeks ago in London's West End. I bought tickets literally the minute they went on sale at the beginning of this year and managed to get two seats in the third row for last Saturday night.

I took my mother-in-law, as she loved the Dreamgirls movie and really likes gospel music, and we had a fantastic time. The musical doesn't really deviate from the film so there are not really any surprises (unlike Legally Blonde, one of my other favourites - as the film isn't a musical, the way it was done in the West End was brilliant). But it's such a good film with fantastic songs, I knew the stage show was going to be good.

But it is so far beyond good - I'm not normally one for hyperbole (in fact an old boss used to tell me my writing was too dry) but I can't say enough good things about Dreamgirls. Amber Riley steals the show - her powerhouse voice that you might be familiar with in Glee is even more astounding in real life, especially when you are only three rows from the front and can see the emotion she puts into every song. The actress who plays Deena Jones - Beyoncé's role in the film - was also outstanding. I hadn't come across Liisi Lafontaine before but she is an experienced musical theatre performer and the duet she does towards the end with Amber Riley makes your hair stand on end.

As as aside, I discovered from the cast list and Wikipedia that Lafontaine's father is the voiceover legend Don Lafontaine, who you probably won't have heard of, but you will have heard him boom 'In a world where....' at the start of many movie trailers!

So to sum up: the choreography is fantastic, the costumes dazzling (often literally), the male leads hold their own and are very good but really this is a show about the women - Deena and Effie - and I don't think there could have been anyone in line for casting as Effie other than Amber Riley. She received more than one standing ovation (after her signature song, 'I am telling you I'm not going' and of course at the end) which was well deserved. I hope Lafontaine does really well from the back of this as well as she was fantastic.

To go on to what I was actually going to write about, here's my review of Kaspar's at the Savoy. It was a rare treat to go somewhere so fancy, but my mother-in-law and I decided to make a night of it, get dressed up and have a lovely meal - the fact that the theatre was next door also helped!

From the moment you set foot through the revolving doors the magic begins with a tall and beautifully decorated Christmas tree. We walked through the foyer where a few people were still enjoying afternoon tea and entered the restaurant. The best description I can give is from the website itself:

Cut-glass mirroring and bright brass railings, silver leaf ceiling and chequer-board marble floor frame a central circular bar flanked by Murano glass columns and pendant glass light fittings to crown Kaspar’s theatrical style.

It was gorgeous and the service excellent as you might expect - and the portions small as you might also expect! The menu is very expensive - eg Dover sole for £39, a rack of lamb for £31, caviar and oysters - but the restaurant does a pre-theatre menu for a very reasonable £25 for two courses or £28 for three.

I started with a Kaspar's martini which was very strong - I didn't quite understand what was meant by a "spray of vermouth" but it was pretty much just neat vodka!

Guinea fowl ballotine - a sort of terrine - was my choice of starter, which came with truffle quince jam, lamb's lettuce and hazelnuts which was very tasty and beautifully presented. For my main course, I had pan-seared stone bass with chantenay carrot textures, charred leeks and tarragon nage. I Your guess is as good as mine!


The fish was a small fillet (no bones at all); the carrot was in ribbons and I think also a smear across the plate, unless this was the nage. I actually mis-read it as sage, but according to the internet, a nage is a flavoured liquid used for poaching delicate foods, typically seafood. So I've learnt something! I also had a side of potatoes which brought an extra charge of £5 (a bit cheeky I think) - the meal was really good and more filling than I expected, though that was probably down to the potatoes.

Finally we decided to have dessert and my wine plum tart was interesting - sweet but also a bit sharp at the same time. The base was almost biscuit-y and the plum quite tart (literally); the shortbread and vanilla ice cream it came with was really good but the promised cardamom marshmallow was so tiny - a few dots around the plate - that I almost missed it!

It was a great meal and a great experience and combined with the musical it was one of the best nights out I've had in ages!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Winter Hot Drinks - Mulled Cider, Ribena, Hazelnut and Pistachio Coffee

This time of year a hot drink is lovely but tea and coffee doesn't always quite hit the mark. I've tried a couple of things recently that I want to share with you, which have varying levels of difficulty!

First of all I can definitely recommend a hot chocolate with marshmallows floating on top - whipped cream isn't even really necessary in my opinion. The best hot chocolates are the ones you make from chocolate flakes and heating a pan of milk - but at a push, cocoa powder and boiling water will do!

Next, I came across a new flavour of Ribena called Winter Spice. I'm not entirely sure what the spices are, since reading the ingredients, there's actually nothing I recognise as an actual spice. But it does contain 35% blackcurrant juice from concentrate, which is the main thing.

The suggestion on the bottle is to drink Ribena Winter Spice hot; I tried it both hot and cold. It is nice - a little reminiscent of mulled wine but sweeter and fruitier and particularly when drunk hot, does conjure up a bit of a festive atmosphere. Having said that, in my opinion it isn't anywhere near as nice as regular Ribena, which I really like!
Speaking of hot drinks, I was sent a packet of Schwartz mulled cider spice to review. They are like little tea bags - you get six in the box and they cost as little as £1 (current price in Tesco). The spice is a blend of allspice, orange peel, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg; you do need to buy cider to go with it then you put 1 litre of dry cider, 2 tbsp. brown sugar and 2 sachets of Schwartz mulled cider spice in a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes, and remove the sachets to serve.

I had to wait quite a long time until the cider was cool enough to drink but it was really rather nice; I preferred it to the hot Ribena and the spices brought out the apple flavour of the cider well. It would be a good drink to serve at parties, garnished with apple slices.


Finally I had a coffee in the canteen at work from their menu of special Christmas drinks that I liked so much I decided to make a version of at home (I don't even drink coffee normally!). I had a packet of Nescafe Coffee Choca Mocha in the cupboard - individual sachets - though of course you can use normal coffee.

I made up the coffee and added a shot of Monin hazelnut flavour coffee syrup, then whipped some cream which I piped on top with a star nozzle. I sprinkled the top with chopped pistachios and drizzled over a swirl of Choc Shot liquid chocolate. It was delicious!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Nutty Pear Crumble with Haagen-Dazs Honey, Walnut and Cream

I love crumbles - they are very wintery puddings, aren't they? Often served with cream, custard or ice cream, apple crumble is one of my favourite desserts.

When I was sent a voucher to try out a new flavour of Haagen-Dazs ice cream - Honey, Walnut and Cream - I thought a crumble would be a lovely thing to make to serve with it. I decided to try something a bit different and use pear instead of apple, and mirror one of the flavours of the ice cream by adding some nuts.

The ice cream is very creamy with a swirl of honey in the middle for an added hit of sweetness. The walnuts add a nice crunch and you get a different mixture of flavours in every spoonful. It's really good on its own, and works really well with desserts as it wouldn't overpower the flavour of the pudding you serve it with.

I remembered a Weightwatchers recipe for crumble I'd once made, that used rolled or porridge oats in the topping as well as flour and sugar as a way to use less of the latter two ingredients; I decided to add some oats and some chopped nuts into my crumble topping for a filling, warming winter crunch.

To serve 2, you need:
2 pears
1 tbsp. artificial sweetener (optional)
50g low fat spread
50g plain flour
25g caster sugar
25g chopped mixed nuts
25g rolled or porridge oats
Haagen-Dazs Honey, Walnut and Cream ice cream, to serve

Preheat oven to 180C (it's good to make this while you already have the oven on to make dinner - it's lovely after a roast!). Peel and slice the pears and place in a saucepan with 100ml water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer until the water has evaporated and the pe
ars have softened. Add sweetener if desired.

Spoon the pears into an ovenproof dish and set aside.

Rub the low-fat spread and flour together in a bowl to make a breadcrumb texture then stir in the sugar, nuts and oats. Scatter over the dish with the pears and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until browned and crisp.

Serve warm, with Haagen-Dazs Honey, Walnut and Cream.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Meal Planning Monday 2016 Week 49

It's been another crazy week with a big project at work that's meant most nights I've been home too late to cook anything properly for dinner - one night it was beans on toast and another night an M&S sandwich at the train station as it was so late! But the big launch will be done on Monday and while I will still have plenty to do, hopefully I will get home in time to actually eat dinner! Having said that. Christmas is approaching and I have a few social events in the diary - many of which might be completely scuppered due to a planned train strike!

For my lunches this week I am going to have:
tuna risotto

spaghetti Bolognese but with butternut squash fusilli pasta instead of actual pasta - haven't tried this before (it's chunky rather than like spaghetti) so that will be interesting!

honey, ginger and garlic chicken with spiralized veg for me and potatoes for him, that I was going to make last week but didn't

Out for Christmas drinks

lemon chilli chicken from Weightwatchers magazine with rice

end of week treat - sausages and chips

lunch: soup? lacking inspiration a bit at the moment!
dinner: Spanish roasted fish with patatas bravas from Tesco magazine (chicken for him as he doesn't eat fish)
dessert if we want one: bread and butter pudding using leftover croissants (recipe suggestion in Tesco magazine)

Lunch: out for a big Christmas pub lunch with friends
dinner: may not want anything at all but so I have something on standby: crumpets or cheese on toast

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Morse Toad Personalised Chocolate Greeting Cards

Most people love to get some kind of chocolate for Christmas, whether it's a box of chocolates or a bag of chocolate coins. I've come across a great alternative for the chocolate-lover in your life that is really unusual, makes a great gift and can be easily sent by post. I've also got a 10% discount code for my readers.

Morse Toad’s messaging service allows you send chocolate cards by post - with a message spelled out in individual chocolate letters, chosen especially for the recipient. They gave me a discount code so I could order something to review; I decided to treat my husband to something as an early Christmas present.

The website has sections for Christmas, birthdays and other occasions; each one has suggested messages which are great if you are lacking time or inspiration - everything ranging from standard sentiments to "I love you more than wine" and "All I want for Christmas is diamonds". You can also write your own message, so I went for: "Our first Christmas as Mr & Mrs".

Prices start at £9.50 for short messages (eg "super mum", including a heart and a star) up to £17.50 for longer ones; you can write your own messages for around the £15 mark. That price includes the packaging and a photo which you can upload and have placed inside the lid of the box. I chose a picture of my husband and I on our wedding day in front of the building in which we got married.

Mine cost £18 and for that I got 33 chocolates - the chocolate is handmade in the UK and tastes really good.

I've got a 10% discount code especially for readers to be used at Morse Toad, which expires on Christmas Day: enter the following at checkout: HappyToadmas

I think these make lovely little Christmas gifts, don't you?

Thanks to Morse Toad for the discount code. All opinions are my own

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Food 'n' Flix Round-Up: Burnt

In November I guest-hosted the Food 'n' Flix challenge and chose the Bradley Cooper film Burnt. The idea is that people watch the film and cook or bake something related to the film in some way - you can see my announcement post here.

The film is obviously full of food references and scenes, ranging from street food and Burger King right up to high end Michelin star dining. I was very impressed at what everyone made - there were some photos sent in that I think wouldn't have looked out of place in Adam's restaurant in the movie! Hosting this challenge also introduced me to lots of blogs I haven't come across before, though I ended up having a very busy month both at work and personally so didn't get to look at the blogs or entries straight away - apologies if you were expecting me to comment on your post immediately, but there just wasn't enough time in the day, and I did manage to visit everyone's blog eventually!

Image result for burnt

Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm was inspired by the beginning of the movie where Adam is undergoing a self-imposed penance of shucking a million oysters. Wendy only had to shuck eight oysters but said she found a good trick to do it; it was interesting for me to read as I've never eaten an oyster let alone cooked one! According to Wendy these are "mouth-wateringly delicious".

More oysters, this time from Heather at All Roads Lead to the Kitchen, who runs the Food 'n' Flix challenge. She was inspired by the same scene from the movie and as it was close to Thanksgiving, she made an oyster stuffing. She said: "Plump oysters, smoky bacon, and chewy French bread mingle happily in this classic Thanksgiving side dish."

For my own entry, I found some recipes on the official movie site for Burnt and decided to make one of those: a mascarpone and orange streusel slice. It was really complicated and took ages! I had to make a mascarpone mousse (which didn't set properly so I had to semi-freeze it), a blood orange gel, honeycomb (which didn't set at all) and a streusel biscuit layer which I overcooked a bit. I drew the line at making ice cream to go with it! It didn't turn out badly despite a lot of the elements not quite working and did taste really good, but it was far too much effort to ever make again!

I've never come across Japanese sea vegetables before so was intrigued by this recipe for Fishless Fish Free Japanese Sea Vegetable and Nori Cakes from Shaheen at Allotment 2 Kitchen. She was inspired by a scene at Billingsgate fish market in the movie but as she is vegetarian found a great way to give her own take on it. Shaheen says they make a fantastic light starter to a meal.

Kimberley from Coffee and Casseroles blended the Burger King scene (comfort food) with the part where Helene cooks her daughter fish over and over again until she gets it right, and came up with a dish of scalloped potatoes. This is one of those dishes that look like they take all day to make but is actually really quick.

Ali from Fix Me a Little Lunch said her favourite part of the film is where Adam suggests adding
chopped sage to a luscious looking bowl of cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper pasta).  Ali said: "I got to thinking about the combination of cheese and black pepper and then even more about food and how it can bring such comfort – whether one is taking care of a chef who has gone on a binge by cooking a simple omelette or if one is just trying to recover from the election hangover." She decided to use the cheese and black pepper to flavour some scones in these Cacio e Pepe Scones.

I'd been very tempted to copy a beautiful cake from the film but at that time had no need for a large cake and wanted to make a smaller dessert for just me and my husband. So I was really glad when I saw that Amy, from Amy's Cooking Adventures, had made this Buttercream Roses Vanilla Cake - it looks perfect! In the film, Adam won't give Helene the day off for her daughter's birthday so she brings the girl into the restaurant, and Adam (who isn't so bad after all) ends up making her a cake that looks a lot like this.

As if other bloggers could read my mind, I'd also wanted to cook turbot as I liked the scene where Helene practises over and over again, even giving it to her daughter for breakfast. But I couldn't find any turbot in the supermarket and don't have a fishmonger I can get to. Luckily Sarah at Chef Sarah Elizabeth was able to buy turbot and she made this fantastic dish: Butter Poached Turbot with Cayenne Mushrooms. The way it's plated up, it looks like it belongs in Adam's restaurant!


That beautiful birthday cake makes another appearance with Katharina from Pretty Cake Machine. She has introduced me to a flavour called 'isaphan' which is a combination of raspberry, lychee and rose, created for the famous macaron house Laduree. Katharina used those flavours in her cake which looks gorgeous, and must have tasted gorgeous as well!

Evelyne from CulturEatz took the title of the film literally and decided to look for recipes which are deliberately burnt. She finally settled on a Charred Broccoli Shrimp Pasta with Peanuts dish and proved that sometimes when food is burnt it can still taste really good!

An insult in the film inspired the dish made by Deb from Kahakai Kitchen. Adam disdainfully asks his friend Tony, maitre d' of a hotel restaurant, "You're serving seared tuna. What happened to your self respect?" Deb's Pistachio-Crusted Seared Ahi Tuna on Burnt Eggplant with Feta and Pomegranate Couscous is another recipe that involves charring, and has plenty of self respect!
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla watched the movie several times while trying to decide what to make, and was eventually inspired by the fish market. She made Crisped Chanterelles Over Brown Butter-Braised Halibut and said: "This dish is definitely a testament to great ingredients making a terrific dish...and you don't have to be anything close to a Michelin chef to make it." It only uses six ingredients, and two of those are salt and pepper, proving you don't need to over complicate things to create a wonderful dish.

Debra from Eliots Eats made a luscious cocktail based on a recipe in the Official Burnt Movie Cookbook. Her Pineapple Confit Infused Rum can be drunk as it is, or diluted with tonic water. I know which I'd prefer!
Finally Elizabeth from the Lawyer's Cookbook made Scallops with Caper Sauce over Veggies, inspired by the various dishes that you can see Adam prepare in the film. This looks like quite a simple recipe where the flavours speak for themselves and is beautifully presented, rather like the food in the film!

Interestingly, opinions of those who took part in this month's Food 'n' Flix were divided - some people really enjoyed the film but several didn't like it at all! One thing is sure and that is there was plenty to be inspired by in the kitchen. Thanks to everyone who took part in Food 'n' Flix this month! If you would like to take part in December, Heather from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen has chosen a film called Krampus.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Meal Planning Monday 2016 - Week 48

It's been a crazy week both at work and personally. On Thursday night I did Sleep Out for Centrepoint which was very cold and uncomfortable but an amazing experience. My dinner that night was cooked by the RAF (chicken curry); the next night, I had a takeaway pizza with my husband as I was far too tired to cook, and the next night I didn't get home til 9pm so we went to the chip shop! My diet has been really bad for several days and as a result I'm really craving broccoli!

I'd already done this week's meal plan and here is what I had planned. Some things may need to shift around or I may need a quicker alternative as I will undoubtedly end up working late at least some of the time this week.

Meal I meant to make last week but didn't: Inspired by a new dish at Leon: chicken thigh with spiralized carrot, mooli and sweet potato, with mint, coriander and a peanut sauce, and a peppered beef grillsteak for him. Only it didn't quite pan out as I couldn't get hold of mooli!

Lahmacun - a sort of Turkish pizza, from a recipe in an old Weightwatchers magazine

Wednesday - I'm out at a colleague's leaving do, my husband will probably go to his mum's

Thursday -honey, ginger and garlic chicken with spiralized veg for me and potatoes for him

chicken nuggets and chips or similar as an end-of-week treat

Lunch: chorizo hash with eggs from an old Weightwatchers magazine (with hash browns on the side)
Dinner: Out with my mother-in-law; I'm taking her to see Dreamgirls in the West End starring Amber Riley as an early Christmas present - and because I really wanted to see it myself! I bought tickets the minute they went on sale at the beginning of this year and if memory serves we are in the 3rd or 4th row!

Lunch: bacon sandwich (my husband's favourite)
Dinner: lamb chop and roast potatoes for me, beef grillsteak for him

Something I was going to make for the last 2 weeks but didn't: pear and hazelnut crumble for me, from Weightwatchers magazine; chocolate crumble from this recipe for my husband as he doesn't eat fruit. Of course the pears I bought will have gone off by now so I will have to buy more!

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cheesy Broccoli Bites

I found this recipe for broccoli bites in a book called America's Most Wanted Recipes, which aims to recreate dishes from popular US restaurant chains. This one comes from Bennigan;'s, which I've never heard of, despite having visited 21 US states over the years.

This is broccoli, but not as you know it! I guess this is one way to get people to eat their vegetables... it's mixed with bacon, cheese, onion, rolled in breadcrumbs and fried! So it's really not very healthy, but it is still broccoli I guess... and it tastes amazing! I made these to go with pasta and they worked really well; the recipe suggests to serve them with a honey mustard dressing.

The recipe said to use  Monterey Jack and Colby cheese, neither of which I could get hold of, so I used cheddar. It also called for a 16 ounce box of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained. You can of course get frozen broccoli here but I wanted to use fresh so I cooked it in a pan of boiling water then chopped it up. So this is what I did:

To serve 4, you need;
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup cheddar, grated
1 head broccoli, cooked and chopped
5 tbsp. bacon bits or pancetta
1 tbsp. finely diced onion
2 tbsp. plain flour
about 100g breadcrumbs
oil for frying

Mix the cheddar, broccoli, bacon, onion and flour in a bowl and refrigerate for an hour. Heat an inch of oil in a large frying pan. Meanwhile form the broccoli mixture into balls, roll in the beaten egg and then the breadcrumbs and fry each one in the hot oil. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Santa Fe Chicken

After a few road trips around the US I bought a cookery book called 'America's Most Wanted Recipes' - it contains copycat recipes based on dishes served at some of the biggest restaurant chains across the US.

I hadn't used the book in a while so a couple of weeks ago went through and picked out several recipes to try. This one, called Santa Fe Chicken, is apparently based on something served at Applebee's, a restaurant chain I've heard of but never actually been to. Still it sounded like a nice recipe I wanted to try!

It's one of those recipes where exact quantities aren't required and you play it by ear, at least I did.

First butterfly a chicken breast to open it out flat and cut a thick slice of cheese - one per chicken breast. The recipe said to use Monterey Jack cheese but I couldn't find that in the supermarket. I think this would be nice with any kind of cheese but the internet tells me Monterey Jack is a mild white cheese and that Cheddar is a close cousin.

Wrap the flattened chicken breast around each piece of cheese and secure with a cocktail stick.

Mix breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, cumin and pepper. Dip the chicken in a shallow bowl of melted butter and then roll in the breadcrumb mixture.

Bake in the oven at 180C for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with a cheese sauce and top with chopped red and green peppers - though I left these out as my husband and I don't like them!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Molten Chocolate Filo Parcels

I had some filo pastry left from making a pie and decided to use it up in a dessert. I found a recipe for molten chocolate parcels on the Good Housekeeping website and decided to give them a go. They did taste nice but were very messy!

To serve 4, you need:
250g dark chocolate, chopped
60g butter, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
40p plain flour
6 large filo pastry sheets
icing sugar to dust

First melt the chocolate, either in a bowl in the microwave or in a bain-marie. Stir until smooth and allow to cool for 15 mins.

In a large bowl cream 40g of the butter and the sugar together and beat in the eggs and vanilla. Fold in the flour then the melted chocolate. Chill for about an hour in the fridge until firm.

Melt the rest of the butter and cut the filo pastry into large squares (I cut each sheet in half). Brush with the melted butter and lay two pieces of pastry on top of each other. Using a spoon and/or your fingers scoop some of the chocolate mixture into a ball and plce on the filo pastry. Gather up the pastry and scrunch together at the top so you have a little parcel.

The recipe said to then chill the parcels for 30 minutes but I decided not to as I was making these after dinner and we wanted dessert!

I put them into an oven that was preheated to 180C and baked the parcels for 10 minutes - less than the 15 minutes in the recipe but these were perfectly done, the pastry crisp and the chocolate soft but not runny. Sprinkle with icing sugar and eat with a spoon - be prepared to get messy!

I'm sharing these with the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary as I was using up leftover filo pastry.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Meal Planning Monday 2016 - Week 47

This week should be an interesting one as I'm spending a night sleeping outside on the streets to raise money for homeless charity Centrepoint. It's an organised event that people from companies all over London are taking part in at the same time, so should be perfectly safe, but will certainly be cold - and hopefully not wet! It's quite different to anything I've done before but am going with a team from work (not the team I work with, but a group I belong to within the organisation) and am starting to look forward to it as something of a challenge but hopefully with good camaraderie at the same time. If you want to donate to Centrepoint, you can do so here!

Here's the meal plan for this week

Home late as I'm meeting a contact after work and will probably have to ask my husband to put dinner on so it will be something from the freezer.

Spaghetti and meatballs/ tuna polpette that I didn't do last week

Inspired by a new dish at Leon: chicken thigh with spiralized carrot, mooli and sweet potato, with mint, coriander and a peanut sauce, and a peppered beef grillsteak for him.

Sleep Out for Centrepoint - apparently the army come and cook everyone some dinner!

When I will be very grateful to be returning to my own home, which sadly isn't the case for people who sleep outside every night.
Dinner: honey, ginger and garlic chicken with spiralized veg for me and potatoes for him

During the day I'm in London on a course - the CIPR Certificate in Internal Communications - then popping to see a friend as it's her daughter's birthday after that. I don't know what time I will be home for dinner so something my husband can cook is probably the best approach.

Lunch: breakfast burritos - special request from my husband who loves them
Dinner: lamb chop and roast potatoes for me, beef grillsteak for him

Something I was going to make last week but didn't: pear and hazelnut crumble for me, from Weightwatchers magazine; chocolate crumble from this recipe for my husband as he doesn't eat fruit

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Spiced Roast Lamb Chops with Roots and Alliums

I love lamb though my husband doesn't eat it so I don't cook it very often. But when I was looking through my Sophie Grigson recipe book Country Kitchen I decided it was worth cooking this dish even if I had to make him something else!

The book is divided into seasons and this recipe comes from the autumn section; even though I think we are probably in winter now it is really good for this time of year.

You can find the recipe on the Good Food Channel. It uses tamarind pulp; I wasn't sure where to get that from but was able to buy tamarind paste from the supermarket which seemed close enough. It gave the dish a lovely unusual flavour - a little sweet and sour at the same time.

I had a packet of nigella seeds in the cupboard - I can't remember where I got them from, I think it was a Turkish supermarket. I mixed the tamarind, oil, garlic, water, turmeric, cumin seeds and nigella seeds and drizzled it over some lamb chops, chantenay carrots, red onion and potatoes.

That's pretty much all you have to do; roast it all in one pan in the oven and allow the juices and flavours to mingle. Delicious!