Wednesday, 27 February 2008

27.02.08: Red prawn and mango curry

Nigella strikes again: it's fruity, tangy curry nite, courtesy of Him.

SHE SAYS: Good, but not the best one we've ever had. Needed more simmer time to reduce the liquid and soften the squash a little more. Still quite comforting.

HE SAYS: Agree with Her. More prawns this time, which made it more filling, and there was some left over. I think it'll be better second time around, for lunch tomorrow. Overall, a quick and easy, tasty dinner experience.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

26.02.08: Salmon, potatoes, and red cabbage

Simple salmon grilled with olive oil and salt, pan-fried Charlotte potatoes with rosemary, and the highly reliable red cabbage (only two portions left in the freezer, more's the pity).

HE SAYS: I thought the salmon was cooked perfectly and simply, and the potatoes were delish with the added rosemary. Red cabbage ain't failed me yet.

SHE SAYS: Using up some leftover rosemary gave the potatoes a nice lift. Although Charlotte potatoes are promoted mostly for salads, they browned up crispy on the outside and stayed velvety on the inside after lots of dutiful sauteeing in a touch of peanut oil. Salmon had a good, clean flavour, and the red cabbage was as divine as ever.

Monday, 25 February 2008

25.02.08: Jerk chicken, rice 'n' peas, and greens

A hearty plate: Chicken marinated in and baked with Reggae Reggae sauce, smokey greens with ho-made harissa stirred in, and mild, coconutty rice 'n' peas made with red beans. Combined the remains of last nite's salad with spinach, cucumber, and radishes for a touch of cool and fresh (forgot to take the pic!).

SHE SAYS: Hit the spot. Harissa is the perfect last-minute add-on for the boiled greens, all minty and garlicky. Looking forward to having leftover creamy rice 'n' peas tomorrow at lunch.

HE SAYS: I like me some of that Jamaican jerk chicken! Rice 'n' peas again were tasty. Can you eat too much coconut milk? If it's wrong, I don't wanna be right. I could eat it straight out of the can. The souped-up greens were full of flava-flav, and the salad was kickin' it, too.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

24.02.08: Laksa with prawns and scallops

Sunday cooking for friends, with hastily snapped photos: Jamie Oliver's Laksa-style scallops served over rice noodles, accompanied by a salad of oven-dried tomatoes, fancy mozzarella, and a simple lemon vinaigrette. And for dessert: scoops of Green & Black's Vanilla ice cream plus some of the remaining margarita ice cream, topped with sliced strawberries and granadilla passionfruit.

HE SAYS: Scallops were perfectly seared, and had a delicate flavour - very tasty. The rice noodles could have been a little warmer, but the laksa broth was fragrant and I gladly mopped it up with a few pieces of French bread. I enjoyed the ice cream selection, especially the margarita one, with a few crushed Jules de Strooper almond thins.

SHE SAYS: I'm always up for some scallops, they're probably my favourite seafood treat. The laksa was light and tangy, less heavy than a normal curry. Agree noodles would have been nicer if piping hot. Thought the salad was particularly yummy with the intense thyme-infused tomatoes and subtle mozzarella. Two thumbs up on G&B's vanilla, though our own margarita effort more than held its own. Agree with Him, you can't go wrong with the almond thins.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

23.02.08: Black bnz

Nice 'n' easy for Saturday nite: the usual black beans, livened up with new and improved chipotle chiles in adobo, and topped with ho-made salsa and avo. Plain salad with tomatoes and radishes contributed cool overtones from the next bowl over.

SHE SAYS: Soothing and satisfying after a long day of running around. Could do two spoonfuls of the chipotle sauce next time. Slight disappointment in the radishes we bought at our local Saturday market - no kick to them, but they were more tender than supermarket ones.

HE SAYS: Love dem beans. I never seem to tire of them. Nearly ate two big bowls, but decided to leave some for leftovers tomorrow.

22.02.08: Out to the Sheesh

Friday night out (with His brother and bro's fiancee) at our award-winning and favourite local curry house, Sheesh Mahal. The Sheesh is fancy in decor and strong on service, but it's the deep, smoky flavours that keep us coming back. We ordered for the table: King Prawn Saag, Saag Paneer, Chana Bhajee, Saag Aloo, Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Rezalla, 2 pilau rice, and one garlic naan.

HE SAYS: The Sheesh rarely lets us down. With so many Indian restaurants around here, they have to work to stand out, and they really do. The saag paneer is always fantastically creamy, and the chicken tikka masala is far better than the typical overly sweet and under-spiced fare found at your average British curry house. With a pint or 2 of Kingfisher, it was a lovely ruby!

SHE SAYS: The chana bhajee here is the most deliciously smoky and savoury I've ever had - so many places make it far too tomatoey and sweet. However, after many tastings of Sheesh's saag paneer, I must regretfully admit I think it's way too sweet, though like Him I adore the creaminess. The star dish was a new one for us: the lamb rezalla. Spicy, tangy and satisfying, it's more of a dry curry, and perfectly complements the creamier dishes we love to indulge in.

21.02.08: Nigella's chickpeas, with a twist

She made Nigella's chickpeas with rocket and sherry with the added bonus of a soft boiled egg on top. A simple improvised salad of greens, tomato, avo, radishes and black olives kept it company.

SHE SAYS: I always love this dish but the egg made it superb. V. proud of getting the soft boiled egg yolk to just the right creamy consistency.

HE SAYS: Agree with her, enjoyed stiring it all up and as always adding a little Crystal for kicks.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

20.2.08: Lemon & pepper chicken fillets w/Moroccan sweet potato salad

She made pan-roasted M&S Lemon & Pepper chicken fillets with red cabbage (3 more to go!) and Moroccan sweet potato salad from The art of simple food plus a Piquant sauce from Ramsey's fast food.

HE SAYS: The bread-crumbed chicken cutlets turned out crispy and were a swift replacement for Tesco pork chops which despite being well within their sale by date when cooked smelled and tasted off and were binned in favour of the quick and easy cutlets. Thankfully no pan juices were added to the sauce and it turned out to be a nice dinner anyway. The new addition for the evening - the sweet potato salad was sweet, zesty and yummy and was a perfect companion to the tart, tangy red cabbage.

SHE SAYS: What he says plus boycott Tesco's fish and meat.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

19.02.08: Magic lentils and squeaky cheese

The classic coconut dal and rice pals up with a newcomer salad featuring grilled halloumi cheese, fancy French breakfast radishes, rocket, and cucumber. A ho-made dressing of lemon 'n' lime marmalade, olive oil, basil, lime juice, salt 'n' pepper and dried red pepper flakes did its best to provide a sweet and sour contrast.

SHE SAYS: Grilled halloumi is so incredibly delicious with its intense salty-mint flavour, I could just have it on its own. The dal was good, but our new curry powder made it sweeter and not as delicately tasty as usual. My new dressing was sweet and sharp, but not quite as zesty as I'd hoped. Oh, and there's no sense buying Waitrose fancy radishes - they're no spicier than cheapy Tesco ones.

HE SAYS: Halloumi salad was great. The squeaky cheese is one of my faves - as She says, it's so deliciously salty. The coconut dal was also delish, but I agree with Her about the curry powder.

Monday, 18 February 2008

18.02.08: Mediterranean salmon

Tomato heaven: He made Ramsay's Salmon with Mediterranean Flavours (studded with sundried tomatoes, basil leaves and olives), then whipped up some sundried tomato and basil pesto to toss with trofie pasta and pan-roasted red pepper and portobello mushrooms. Her Mardi Gras salad - mango, beetroot, cucumber, and spinach - looks on with envy.

HE SAYS: Lovely meal. Salmon was very tender and had a poached-like consistency. Pesto was not as intense as I had hoped, but there's some left over, and hopefully it will intensify in the fridge for next time. Overall very happy and will try the salmon again. Also, I love the beetroot.

SHE SAYS: This made a Monday evening much nicer. The unexpected combination of flavours with the salmon worked very well and made for a pretty plate. The pasta was cooked perfectly this time, and I thought the pesto fragrant and lemony. New odd-combo discovery: mango and Sweetfire beetroot make a delicious duo.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

17.02.08: Breakfast for dinner

Super Sunday: He made spinach-cheddar-dill omelet, vine-ripe tomatoes pan-roasted with a splash of balsamic vinegar, and speshy sage-pork chipolatas, while She roasted a few remaining potatoes in leftover duck fat with rosemary. Maple syrup (not pictured) drizzled over made it just that little bit more decadent.

SHE SAYS: The omelet was perfectly cooked, melty inside and toasty outside; tomatoes had just the right touch of acidity; the special sausages He picked out were v. flavourful; and the crispiness on those potatoes was something you just don't get with oil. Meal o' the week!

HE SAYS: It was nice to add a bit of aged cheddar to the omelet, which gave it some savoury depth. Thought the tomatoes
deliciously offset the sweetness of the maple syrup and the five-spice infused duck fat from the potatoes. The potatoes were crispy and more-ish - wish we had had more left in the fridge.

16.02.08: Cereal and miso soup

We made ourselves a little sick chomping down on deep-fried tortilla chips and spinach-artichoke dip at the Kensington Whole Foods (overpriced, overhyped and over here). It was meant to be a snack to tide us over, but the resulting ick-bloat put a real dinner out of the question. She had some of her new Rude Health spelt flakes cereal with yoghurt and sultanas, and he had a soothing miso soup with spinach. Later we had some some baguette slices with olive oil and salt, plus remainder of the dip (we never learn).

HE SAYS: I really enjoyed the spinach-artichoke dip from Whole Foods, probably too much, as I felt sick all the way home. But after the miso, in a couple of hours I was ready for more, only this time with the fresh-baked baguette.

SHE SAYS: I second the sickie feeling, but those chips were sooo good. My cereal was greatly improved by a handful of sultanas - when they say 'trace' of sugar, they're not kidding. But the yoghurt soothed my tummy enough for some v. enjoyable baguette-dipping later.

15.02.08: Pan-fried hake with tomato relish

Another one from Ramsay's Fast Food: He tried out the pan-fried hake with tomato relish, adding polenta and smoky kale on the side.

HE SAYS: Agree with Her. Next time I'll put less sugar in the tomatoes and cook the polenta minutes before serving. Otherwise, the hake was a good, cheaper cod-like alternative.

SHE SAYS: I really like the hake, but the sauce was a little sweet for me. Greens could have done with less liquid smoke. Polenta was a bit firm.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

14.02.08: Valentine Chickpeas

She decided to put a serendipitous discovery to the test and give Nigella's chickpeas with rocket and sherry a little Valentine's colour by way of pomegranate seeds. Faithful salad of mixed leaves, beetroot and cucumber was standing by.

SHE SAYS: I'm always impressed by how v. tasty this recipe is for something so simple - no chopping! The pomegranate seeds proved themselves fully up to the chickpea challenge when liberally sprinkled on top: juicy and tart, they made a delicious counterpoint to the soft, dry chickpeas and slightly bitter rocket leaves.

HE SAYS: Chickpeas were nice and tender and delicious. Thought the pomegranate seeds added a nice crunch and a little bit of Crystal made it perfect.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

13.02.08: Lemon chicken

The chicken is kickin': Lemon chicken with potatoes and green beans brighten up a Wednesday nite, courtesy of Him this time.

HE SAYS: Nice juicy chicken breasts. The potatoes were deeeeelicious, with loads of lemony tang.

SHE SAYS: Happy sigh. The potatoes were good, but I still think the anyas are the best roasters.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

12.02.08: Baked pork chops and polenta

This was one of those dinners where all the different elements complemented each other really well: Baked pork chops with a piquant sauce from Ramsay's Fast Food, quick-cook polenta with parmesan stirred in, and a leafy salad with avo and cucumber.

HE SAYS: I thought the pork was tasty with the tomato-based sauce, but the polenta was the best thing on the plate. Haven't had it for a while, forgot how much I enjoyed it. Makes a nice alternative to rice. Think I'll choose thinner pork chops next time.

SHE SAYS: Would def. make this again - even though you have to bake, saute, and boil, there's very little prep, and it all goes pretty fast. The sauce was a perfect mixer for the polenta, and made for a fairly healthy way to enjoy pork chops. Really glad I thought of doing polenta last nite!

Monday, 11 February 2008

11.02.08: Red prawn and mango curry

She made our favourite Nigella curry recipe tonite, and quickly stir-fried a bag of cut-price fancy veg to fill in the corners as only a little jasmine rice was left over from last nite to soak up the spicy sauce.

HE SAYS: The prawns were cooked perfectly, still a little tender. Enjoyed having the extra veg instead of more rice. Still one of my fave meals.

SHE SAYS: Perfect Monday nite food, quick and extremely tasy. I can't really get tired of this one since it gives so much and asks so little.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

10.02.08: Crispy duck and choi sum

An old fave: Crispy duck rubbed with salt, coated in five-spice powder, and cooked on low heat for a few hours, served with hot and sweet ho-made plum sauce, both from Jamie's Dinners. Market-fresh choi sum greens simply boiled with ginger slices a la Won Kei and served over jasmine rice coolly complement the rich flavours.

SHE SAYS: I could spoon the plum sauce straight from the pot all day. The crunchy duck skin was heavenly, but some of the meat was a little tough. No matter - good excuse to shlup more sauce! But I'm most pleased with the choi sum we picked up from Seewoo, which was incredibly fresh and tasted just like what we get at Won Kei.

HE SAYS: Mmmm! Nice crispy duck with fantastic plum sauce, the star of the meal. I had three servings - feeling a little duck-ed out now. The Chinese greens were simple, but great. Two thumbs up.

09.02.08: Out to Mildred's

Soho's vegetarian gem, and a rare find (many thanks to our pal Elspeth), though not quite as hidden as Carnevale: we plumped for dinner at Mildred's after a day of West End retail therapy. (Note: our undercover restaurant photography doesn't do the food justice!)

Thai green curry with fluffy fried tofu and coconut milk, garnished with crunchy-fresh beansprouts and carrots.

HE SAYS: Very nice, a fragrant and yummy dish. Bit jealous of Her entree, though.

The pinto-bean burrito with guacamole, gouda cheese and creme fraiche, plus salad with apple-mint dressing.

SHE SAYS: Divine. The burrito was smoky and gooey and velvety, perfectly paired with the cool, tangy salad. I heart Mildred's.

08.02.08: Quick grab

Jetting to a Friday nite gig means M&S for dinner, so fast we forgot to take the picture first: The reliable crayfish and rocket sandwich for Her, the New York pastrami for Him.

SHE SAYS: Always more filling than you'd think, and tasty enough that I don't feel cheated out of dinner.

HE SAYS: Not bad for a bite on the run, but not exactly up there with Katz's Deli, my pastrami haven of choice when I'm in NY.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

07.02.08: Lamb cutlets with kale and cauliflower

Nice veg: Cauliflower sauteed according to an Alice Waters recipe, with garlic, cumin, turmeric, and fresh coriander; kale boiled with onions and liquid smoke; no-fat lamb cutlets grilled with a spice rub; and a lively salad of radish, conference pear, mixed leaves, and finely chopped preserved lemon.

HE SAYS: Not too keen on the lamb cutlets, but thought the cauliflower was a hit, and I liked the greens with a little liquid smoke. Also enjoyed the salad with the nice 'n' salty preserved lemons. And with my favourite, radishes, what's not to like?

SHE SAYS: Agree the lamb was tough and tasteless, despite quick grilling - nonfat is not the way to go. Liked the cauliflower immensely, looking forward to exploring more of Alice's book, The Art of Simple Food. Greens were subtle but not boring, and the lemony salad combined sharp and sweet nicely.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

06.05.08: Tomatoey white bnz

A hearty veg improv: Canellini beans made creamy with sauteed onion and crushed garlic, veggie broth, rosemary, rocket and freshly whizzed sun-dried tomato paste, served over corn pasta. Avo, beetroot and mixed salad leaves do their bit in the background.

SHE SAYS: Easy, quick, hearty and tasty. What more do you want?

HE SAYS: Thought the rosemary made this dish distinctive, and set off the other flavours well. A+!

05.02.08: Tagine redux

Leftovers to love: more of the tagine from Sunday nite.

HE SAYS: I thought it was better the second time around. The flavours were more intense. My vote for Meal o' the week!

SHE SAYS: Really mmm-worthy. Agree that the flavours developed ever so nicely in the fridge. I second the motion for Meal o' the week!

Monday, 4 February 2008

04.01.08: Salmon, veg, and mash

A worthy supper: the fancy veg returns, sauteed in wok oil and tossed with a spoonful of newly ho-made harissa. It's doing veg duty with a mash of anya potatoes (finally finished those), and some salmon grilled with a touch of olive oil and a spice rub.

SHE SAYS: Perfectly wholesome, tasty enough, and filling. Harissa makes anything moreish. The anyas mashed up good and fluffy.

HE SAYS: What she said.

PS: N+D are pleased as a rum punch that dinner4deux is now on The Foodie Blogroll. It's a fun way to discover and be discovered by people who like to share their passion for food and cooking. If you have a food-centric blog, go see and sign up.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

03.02.08: Lamb tagine and Slatit fjill

An extremely comforting way to end the week: velvety lamb tagine over couscous. This comes from an Anthony Worrall Thompson recipe published in a BBC Good Food insert a couple of years ago, but this recipe of his is very similar.

And this is not the usual role for a radish: front and centre, in the crunchy-tangy slatit fjill, or radish and lemon salad with capers, for which She preserved the lemons. Another adventure from the much-loved Medina Kitchen.

HE SAYS: The photo may not do it justice but the tagine was very tasty, and it's looking like there's enough left for another meal. It was nice to have couscous again since we've been on a rice kick for some time now. Love the salad, which includes my number-one favourite vegetable, the radish. The preserved lemon was tangy, salty, and tasty to boot.

SHE SAYS: Really enjoyed the tagine, but the lamb could have been more tender. May try lower heat and longer cooking next time. So pleased with the preserved lemons - they were brining for a month and I wasn't sure if they were properly pickled. (Oh, but they are.) Radish salad was a crunchy, refreshing treat.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

02.02.08: White bnz, chorizo and rocket

A cosy Saturday nite solution: chorizo and haricot beans cooked up in a pan with onions and rocket, then simmered in chicken stock with dried thyme, bay leaf and black pepper until nice and creamy. Served over rice, topped with parsley, and accompanied by spinach, radish and avo salad.


HE SAYS: Chorizo wasn't as intense as I expected, but it was still a very nice,
satisfying cold-weather dish.

Friday, 1 February 2008

01.02.08: Scallop and bacon pasta

An improvised Friday nite special: He topped the trofie pasta with scallops, a lone piece of bacon from the fridge, portobello mushrooms, canned chopped tomatoes, butter beans, some sun-dried tomato puree, and fresh parsely.

HE SAYS: Pasta was a little overcooked, but the sauce was very satisfying. Agree with Her that the scallops didn't add that much, think I'll stick to prawns for this dish. A very quick and easy meal to make on a Friday nite.

SHE SAYS: Tasty and satisfying, nice intensity of flavour in the sauce. Could have done without the formerly frozen scallops - not bad, just not great. It was good to try them, but I think with scallops fresh is distinctly better. I like the trofie pasta a lot.