Monday, 30 June 2008

30.06.08: Smoky salmon, carrot tablouleh, and grnz

The salad strikes back: after sitting on the sidelines for many a post, the salad portion of the programme takes the main plate by storm. This carrot tabouleh, made oh-so-easy with the Kitchen Tool of the Year, pepped up our standard fare of smoked salmon fillet and plain, boiled- beyond-belief grnz.

HE SAYS: I was impressed by the carrot salad, the sultanas added
a little sweetness but not too much, the pumpkin seeds helped out with salt and crunch duty, and the carrots were the star of the show - really intense fresh, carrot-y taste and bright citrus-y overtones. I managed to wolf down 2 and a half salmon fillets, seems I can't get enough of their smoke-infused goodness. And as for the salad...oh yeah, I mentioned it already, stoopid.

SHE SAYS: I was afraid the tabouleh (you know, I hate that spelling, should be an 'i' on the end!) would be too sweet, but lemon juice and ho-made harissa kept it even-steven in the flavour dept. This has got to be one of the best ways to eat carrots, esp in the summer, and the ease and fun of using the K.T.O.T.Y. ensures more such julienned delights are to come. Should have stirred some chili flakes into the grnz, never mind; and the salmon was good, but not inspiring. Might try give it a twist of sumpin' sumpin' next time.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

29.06.08: Ready-roast chicken, spicy polenta, and snap peas

So Sunday didn't feel like Monday, He hunted and gathered the rotisserie half-chicken while She whisked up polenta with roasted corn kernels and chili flakes, then steamed some sugar snap peas. A supa-fresh salad with avo and Jersey Jewels looked on.

SHE SAYS: All good - didn't get chickened out by the well-seasoned bird; the snap peas had plenty of crunch, and the polenta was a star - roasting a couple of cobs with chili flakes and stirring in the kernels added excellent texture and perked up the flavour considerably. I am loving the Jersey toms and suspect they'll be regular guest as long as they're on the store shelves.

HE SAYS: The polenta was extra good tonite, especially enjoyed the grilled corn aspect but also the consistency was spot on, and far from the warm glue like gunk it so easily can turn into. The rotisserie chicken was the bbq variety and it didn't disappoint neither. The oriental leaf salad was still going strong from Friday and I'm still lovin' those tomatoes dearly.

28.06.08: Out to Angelo's

Aaahh, dining al fresco at Angelo's - nothing better after a long day at the summer sales. And if We're wrong, We don't wanna be right.

She had the Scaloppinni Meunaia, veal with a lemon-caper-white-wine sauce and veg...

...while He indulged in the Paglia and Fieno: sausage, mushrooms, peas and garlic in a tomato sauce.
We were already relaxed and happy, finishing off generous pours of the house red, when The Man himself - Angelo, of course - came out in his natty pinstriped suit and swore he could not let us leave without complimentary tiramisu...

...and law! Free espresso to boot!

HE SAYS: A very pleasent night out with the missus, all al fresco and all. My pasta was cooked just right, the sausage was herby and smoky and the tomato sauce was rich and not too sweet. Angelo's tiramisu was very creamy and melt-in-the-mouth good. The strong espresso was not too bitter and managed to keep me awake for a couple of hours past my bedtime.

SHE SAYS: I thoroughly enjoyed my down-home plate of meat and veg, mopping up the salty, creamy sauce with every forkful. The thyme-coated potatoes were especially yummy. Since I try to avoid big plates o' pasta (wheat thing), this is my fave item on the menu. Dessert and coffee were such a pleasant surprise, and though Angelo has bestowed tiramisu upon us a couple times before, it's been a while. It was deeply delish, more cream than sponge, and the espresso was the perfect dark-roasted delight in a tiny cup. The long-lasting light and cool evening breeze made this a strong contender for the year's Best Meal Out.

27.06.08: Tagine encore

Easiest end-of-week solution ever: Remove frozen lamb tagine. De-frost. Reheat. Add salad. Done!

SHE SAYS: It's only a cliché because it's true: tagine, like all slow-cooked stews and the like, gets better in when it has time to develop in the fridge (or freezer). This was meltingly yummy and complex and tasty for flick-of-the-wrist effort. I defrosted some rice from the depths as well, and it turned out to be coconut rice, but the coco-flavour wasn't strong enough to interfere, only enhance with richness. Salad did its job as virtuous palate cleanser.

HE SAYS: Enjoyed a second chance to indulge in the the tastee tagine, like she said, I think freezing it added some more depth to the flavour. Salad waz pretty good too, enough said.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

26.06.08: Black bnz

Herb heaven: nothing like the coriander- and cumin-packed black bnz spooned over brown basmati and wild rice, topped with avo and (this time) a dollop of creme fraiche. Salad of chopped lemon-and-garlic marinated olives, Apetina, whole radishes, Jersey jewel tomatoes and watercress appears to be yearning to jump into the bean bowl to mix up the ultimate taste extravaganza.

HE SAYS: Though the beanz were up to their usual great standard I thought the créme fraiche detracted from the intense flava and I quickly regretted the generous helping I spooned into my bowl. I have to hand it to the M&S fresh (ish) stock which once again helped the rice and also the beanz reach their potential yummy-ness despite the créme debacle. The radishes made their farewell appearance for this week in the salad bowl with Apetina playing a blinding set as their support act.

SHE SAYS: What can I say, I've seem to have hit on the recipe for magic bnz. Addition of even more fresh coriander than usual - two big handfuls, with stems, roughly chopped - may have turned up the mmm volume even higher this time. The creme fraiche was gilding the lily, we only tried it b/c it was left over from the risotto. Salad was salty and cool, with good satisfying crunch from the remaining radishes. I think salad is as filling as bread, as part of a meal, even when it's not spiked with cheese and olives...

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

25.06.08: Peasant salad with hot salmon flakes

Gettin' fresh: She pulled together a peasant salad of boiled Maris Bard new potatoes, grilled sweet peppers, asparagus, radishes, soft-boiled egg, and Jersey Jewel tomatoes, then flaked over some hot-grain-mustard-coated smoked salmon. Nigella's wasabi-lime dressing took it all onto another plane...

SHE SAYS: Feasted me eyes as well as me tastebuds on this one. The dressing and salmon gave it just enough piquant qualities to keep my tongue a-tingle, while the soft egg made a subtle, velevty accompaniment for the
asparagus. I'll have to say it again - the MB new potats are exquisite simply boiled and put to fork, plain as you please. Did I almost forget the Jersey Jewels? Biting into one whole rewarded me with a burst of just-plucked tomato-stem tang. Well worth their non-sale price during a time when most tomatoes are half their usual price.

HE SAYS: This was a big salad...and a nice one too.
Who says salads are for wimps? I found this very satisfing with the protein element of the salmon and egg, and the tasty potatoes definitely filled me up just like a hungry man meal. Could do this salad thing for dinner again and maybe add some beetroot next time for good measure.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

24.06.08: Green risotto with broiled portobello mushrooms

She pulled out the stops on a Tuesday nite and tried the really green risotto in the latest Waitrose free mag, subs-ing spelt grains for risotto rice and topping it off with grilled portobello mushrooms instead of the suggested roast chicken. He swabbed the mushies with balsamic, salt'n'pepa, and Her ho-made rose harissa (yep, new variety - comment to ask for exclusive recipe!). Noting pretty food photography in recent Observer Food mag, She left the breakfast radishes whole in the salad, which was also fortified with Sweetfire beetroot.

HE SAYS: Fantastico! this must be a strong contender for risotto of the week. This green pile of delight was minty fresh and packed with flava. The molasses-like consistency of the vegetable stock from M&S seemed to add another depth of yum while the white wine reduction only helped intensify an already tasty plate. The mushrooms were meaty, beaty, big and bouncy, okay maybe not bouncy, but intensely satisfying. After all the soft food, it was nice to put my teeth back in and crunch into my one of my fave vegetables, the humble radish. Oh, and the beetroot was ever so good, to boot.

SHE SAYS: Very fresh-tastingand more-ish, though I don't think the spelt pack's claim of 'great for risotto!' really holds true. As I suspected it might, the spelt cooked up like barley - springy, though soft, but not creamy. It did have far less intrusive flavour than barley. It didn't subtract from my great enjoyment of the risotto, though - it was like a decadent mint pesto thingy. Mushrooms added meaty texture and depth of flavour (with just a hint of rose, lots of garlic, and mischievous chili bite). Liked the whole radishes - don't know why it makes a difference, but biting off as much as you want vs daintily chewing slices is utterly satisfying.

23.06.08: Smoked salmon fillet, potatoes with panch phora, and grnz

She's slightly adventurous for a Monday: broiled smoked salmon fillet and boiled-senseless grnz with a touch of liquid smoke played supporting roles to Ramsay's panfried potatoes with panch phora. A salad of young mustard leaves, Apetina, and peach slices nudged in on the side.

SHE SAYS: I've been wanting to try the potato recipe for some time, esp since I was conned into buying a container of oh-so-special nigella seeds at a market for the required spice mix, only to find out they're black onion seeds. Hmph. The flavour was very good, and I'd def. use it again: cumin-y yet sweet, esp with the fennel and nigella. That said, the Maris Bard potatoes, sampled when simply boiled, were way delicious on their own, with no frills. Grnz did their virtuous-veg job well, and the salmon was filling, firm and didn't cross the smoky line. Salad was salty-sweet and almost too much!

HE SAYS: The lightly smoked salmon is becoming my preferred choice for the Monday fish dish these days. This batch was cooked to perfection: crunchy top and moist centre. The potatoes added a twist to proceedings and added a little spice to my life. Apetina was back in full effect in the salad, oh, I luv those little cubes of goodness.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

22.06.08: Lamb tagine with couscous

Slow-cookin' Sunday: She prepared the inimitable lamb tagine, plus a crunchy salad of romaine, watercress, pomegranate seeds and avo with the remains of last nite's lime dressing.

HE SAYS: Oh Tagine, it's been a looong time. How I missed thee? Well, I have every right to be dramatic, I thinks - 'cause it was super tasty and incredibly more-ish. This one may be up for an award at the end of the year (def. in my top 5 best meals to date). The lamb was tender, the gravy was not too sweet, the couscous was light and fluffy, bellisimo! I also managed to remember to drizzle the leftover dressing from last night on me salad, all is right with the world.

SHE SAYS: Mmm-mmm good - that's what She said.
Sunday comfort food at its best, with perfectly tender lamb. Could have done with more salt, it was a bit sweet with all the apricots and sultanas, but some freshly prepared ho-made harissa took care of that. Salad balanced out the soft, silky texture of the tagine and added satisfying tartness.

21.06.08: Tofu Vindaloo and salad of seeds and stone fruit

Comfy on a Saturday nite: She concocted a casual curry with some bottled vindaloo, tofu fried in curry and chili powder, plus aubergine, sweet pepper, onion, and mustard seeds. Brown basmati and wild rice soaked up the sauce, while a salad of spinach, pomegranate seeds, and sliced nectarines brought colour to the plate. Nigel's lime dressing pepped it all up considerably.

SHE SAYS: That's it - no more of these Bombay sauces unless it's for the original pork vindaloo dish. This was perfectly ok, but only thanks to a last minute addition of concentrated chicken stock paste and a dash of leftover single cream. We need to move on to other 'luxury' sauces. One bright spot: the spice-coated tofu fried up crisp and tasty in safflower oil, with good spongy texture. Salad lifted the spirits and the flavour quotient.

HE SAYS: A curry not in a hurry, but instead laid-back at home on a Saturday night in. The substituting of
tofu for pork didn't hurt the taste and perhaps made it a touch lighter then usual. I don't think we've reached the curry sauce zenith with this particular variety; it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't utterly crazy delishy either. Salad was on its usual satisfying form although I forgot to drizzle the dressing, something I regret even now.

20.06.08: Out to Fat Boys

We finally made our way to Fat Boys, a cosy but nicer than usual Thai joint within fast driving distance, along with a couple of guests.

In the foreground is her 'special' dish of Tamarind Duck with generous slices of ginger and chili on shredded cabbage, while His 'chef's recommended' gae pad cha - wok-fried lamb fillet in wild ginger, green peppercorns and red curry sauce - patiently awaits knife and fork. Not pictured: brown rice and a starter of corn cake: cripsy sweetcorn fritters made special with curry paste and shredded lime leaves, plus a sweet chili dip.

HE SAYS: I thought the corn cake we ordered was the best of the bunch and the sauce was nice n' hot n' spicy. I enjoyed the gae pad cha, it was a little salty but still authentic-tasting. I didn't try any of the prawn dish our guests were having, which may or may not of been a little iffy. Overall, the entire meal was fab and reasonable; would certainly go again.

SHE SAYS: I've been mulling this place as I jog past for a little while now, and the first outing did not disappoint. Duck is always a little fatty, but my dish had good tamarind tang tempered by the nutty brown rice (so rare to find a restaurant serving the wholegrain stuff!), and the copious thinly sliced ginger elivened the sauce further. I liked His dish, too, esp for the tiny, tender, seedy whole green aubergines. But the real star was the fancy Thai hush puppies - the addition of lime leaves took deep-fried corn to a new level of sophistication and refreshment.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

19.06.08: Butterbnz with chorizo and watercress

She concocted butterbnz with chorizo, hot pepper, white wine, sage, dill, green onion, oregano, chix broth, and a flutter of watercress to fill in the corners on an almost-Friday nite. Salad of romaine, sweetfire beetroot, and leftover torchi chfenaria (carrot and caraway salad, when it's at home, made previously for lunch) held its own on the plate.

SHE SAYS: Divine, if I do say so myself. Perfect balance of smoky, salty, spicy and herby - we even forgot the obligatory hot sauce. Salad was very crisp and fresh with virtuous veg, but couldn't quite compete in the flavour stakes.

HE SAYS: Another really authentic comfort food beanie special, this number definitely had a lot of rich flavours and herby goodness. The fluffy butter beans made every bite a silky delight. The chirozo wasn't totally needed but it rounded out the tastes with some rich, salty, spicy goodness. I luv me some beans, yes I do.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

18.06.08: Lemon chicken nite

While She was out, He did the lemon chicken and rustled up a salad complete with radish, leftover halloumi panfried, avo, and physalis.

HE SAYS: Probably the most satisfying of our regular meals, this one keeps us coming back for more. Maybe it's the jammy lemons or the the roasty-toasty 'tators? Whatever it is, it adds up to a one delish of a dish. The salad was a halloumi fest with lots of squeaky noises emanating from every bite, what's not to like?

SHE SAYS: Very tasty with nice crisp skin and tender chicken, but not so jammy on the lemons or crips on the taters (though, being jersey royals, they had plenty of deeply potatoey flavour). Salad leaves were a little past sell-by, but I found enough good bits to hold the whole thing together, despite what He says. Halloumi was a little overdone, echoing last nite's theme of 'a bit tough'.

17.06.08: Chickpeas with rocket and egg

Nigella's chickpeas and rocket, without rice, but with a nice boiled egg on top, plus a salad of young mustard leaves, cherry tomatoes, avo, boiled prawns (prawns!) an the last-minute star of the show, Nigella's wasabi lime dressing.

SHE SAYS: Always a convenient, wholesome option, but I couldn't get the chickpeas to develop that velvety texture I prefer. Wonder if the organic ones we use now are less prone to the velvety thing? Firmness seemed to be a theme: I boiled the prawns too long, which detracted from the aura of 'extra special' we wanted to add to the salad. But my quick mixin' of the wasabi dressing lifted it all up to another level of flava-flav and made us wonder why it took us so long to make this green goddess of a dressing again.

HE SAYS: The chick peas like she said were a little on the tough side, still tasty and not at all musty like some other canned verities can be. The salad dressing was wonderfully tart, zesty and hot at the same time, could have this more often and same goes for the prawns, nish touch.

Monday, 16 June 2008

16.06.08: Smoky salmon, nutmeg mash, and snap peas

Easy does it: She pounded the potatoes according to a nutmeg and cream preparation for the hallowed Medina Kitchen, steamed up some snap peas, and grilled a few smoked salmon fillets. A salad pepped up with true-ripe cherry tomatoes and an Apetina Snack pack vied for centre stage.

HE SAYS: Mmm, mmm good. The smoked salmon came up trumps and seemed to not stink-up the kitchen too much like previous goes. It's mild smoky-ness still left a little room for the taste of the salmon to shine through. The snap peas were al denté and fresh tasting, the mash was also tasty although I may have preferred a touch more nutmeg in the mix; still creamy and delish. The salad was improved upon by the added bonus of the Apetina Snack mix; their motto should be "Itsa better then feta!" (Maybe not.)

SHE SAYS: The salmon had good smoky flavour and griled up tender inside, slightly crunchy outside. I thought perhaps I'd overdone the snap peas - they were a little grey rather than the bright green I was going for - but looks aren't everything, as these were perfectly crisp. I don't know what Apetina even is, exactly - it's not goat cheese, though they cube and salt it to be like feta - but hey, it's delishy and Snack comes with marinated garlic, some olives and herbs in safflower oil. The combo made the salad leaves a little soggy, but it was all still quite tasty.

15.06.08: In and out

A Sunday of separate ways: She indulged in the leftovers of last nite's Indian feast, while He serendipitously cadged a whole roast dinner from his mum before going to a gig!

SHE SAYS: Mmm, the saag-sorta-paneer only gets better in the fridge - the spices intensify - and I truly appreciated the no-effort preparation on a Sunday nite.

HE SAYS: I was very lucky with me timing, with no warning I turn up at my mum's and she is about to serve up a Sunday lamb roast. I couldn't say no, so I didn't, and tucked in. It was not the best-ever roast but not shabby either: the potatoes were fairly crunchy and the veggies not too nuked. The accompanying salad (not pictured) was pre-dressed (again) with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and Apetina cheese. I accidentally ate my mum's salad portion, and she didn't seem too bothered but I felt slightly guilty, she is my mum after all.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

14:06.08: Veggie Indian nite

Spicing up a Saturday nite: She prepared the much-loved saag paneer with the even-more-loved subs of halloumi for paneer, and filled out the plate with a too-good-to-be-true microwave recipe for eggplant curry. Since it was the weekend an' all, She pushed the boat out with ho-made raita, our favourite lime pickle, and some mini-poppadoms. An ultra-quick salad with pre-peeled pomegranate seeds provided cooling crunch.

HE SAYS: The saag went up against the eggplant curry and won convincingly. The eggplant dish was a not really a curry but a dry flavourless impostor, and well, I ate what was on me plate like a good boy but didn't feel the need for seconds. The saag, on the other hand, performed beautifully as per usual, I say it was a fix. The salad was a mixture of tart and aromatic, I have noticed that pomegranates have a nice horseradish-y aftertaste to them - discuss.

SHE SAYS: I'm now firmly committed to halloumi over saag in the paneer recipe stakes: it's so salty and yummy, and the extra kick from the spices puts me in culinary nirvana. That bogus eggplant curry recipe from the NYT, tho' - f'shame! It was, in a word, icky, with a cardboard flavour and limp, dryish texture. I could have cooked it even longer (already went over the tme suggested), but it wouldn't have improved the flavour. The only good thing to come out of this experiment was learning that you can toast dry coconut by
microwaving it. Well, that's neat. But even my raita couldn't make the eggplant worth eating. Normally I'm opposed to packaged pomegranate due to the ripoff price, but the pack I bought was on sale, plus the seeds were ruby red and full of juice, yet taut and satisfying to pop between the teeth. All good.

13.06.08: Out to Belgo

Lining the stomach at Belgo's before a friend's Friday nite gig, with special dining guest Joe: He and She had mussels classique with celery, onion and a dash of cream, while Joe plumped for the tomato-based Provencal half-kilo. All of us made sure to order our own bowl of frites, each with its paper cup of thick mayo for dipping - not something you want to have to share.

And we were so hungry we forgot to take the photo til the damage was done! Mmm, look at the remains of that strawberry beer, top-left, too...

SHE SAYS: I do love the strawberry beer on tap - so intensely, almost sourly, fruity and refreshing - but I think Belgo's food is slacking on quality these day even as its prices have risen. The frites were tasty but not as crisp and hot as they should have been; I suspect they soaked up some rays from heat lamps. Mussels, too, were okay, but not as plump and plentiful as they have been in the past.

HE SAYS: The mussels were pretty good, but not as good as these; the chips were a notch above, say, these, but not as good as these. The beer waz fruity and so was the waiter. Overall a not bad outing made better by the company and plentiful beverages.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

12.06.08: Quorn and fresh veggie sauce

The great tomato experiment of '08 continues: She got the pan sizzle-hot, threw in the onion, tomatoes, pregrilled aubergine, freshly grilled peppers, and basil, then shook it up til saucy. A quick flip of the lemon-pepper quorn patties and the plate was done. Salad with physalis and an olive-feta mix edged into the frame, too.

HE SAYS: The quorn reminds me of a giant veggie-friendly Chicken McNugget; crunchy, crispy and tasty too. I once got paid in Chicken McNuggets but that's another story for another blog.
No store-bought sauce for us (at least not tonite), we went old school and it waz first class with rich flavours from the roasted veg and cooked-'em-to-death tomatoes. The salad was a marked improvement on recent attempts, with olives and feta competing for my luv and affection. Luckily I luv 'em both equally, aahh bless.

SHE SAYS: The tomatoes took ever so long to cook down this time - overcrowded the pan a bit - but when they did they were sweeeeet. The bottled grilled peppers were only so-so, I bought them b/c no fresh ones were to be found. I don't know how much more I can heart lemon-pepper quorn. And any salad with that tart, juicy yet somehow grainy je-ne-sais-quois de physalis is a success.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

11.06.08: Jerk chicken stew, take two

It's so nice, we had to have it twice: He sauced up some chicken breasts with the M&S jerk spice, baked it all with some callaloo, and spooned the silky results over a mix of basmati brown, red camargue, and wild rice. The 'Italian-style salad with herbs' plus Sweetfire beetroot nodded its approval nearby.

SHE SAYS: Tasty and simple - what's not to like? The M&S jerk paste is very mild, but nice with the generous allspice. A dabbadoo of Crystal brought out its wild side, and made for one satisfying midweek meal. That salad is so wrong, though! I'm not sure which herb it is - possibly chervil - but it is nasty and metallic! Methinks this was partly the cause of last nite's poor artichoke performance. Sweetfire beetroot did it's best to offset, but eeww.

HE SAYS: This one-pot chicken stew is easy on the tastebuds as well as the washin' up. Adding the callaloo to the mix about 20 mins before serving seems to be the best solution to avoid it drying up and soaking up too much liquid. I also added a splash of the hot sauce for good measure, mon. The salad like she said was nastee, some herb or other in the bowl tasted like fish or summat; I carefully picked out the beetroot to at least salvage what I could.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

10.06.08: Black bnz and Jiffy muffins

In true Southern style, She rustled up some sweet cornbread right out of the box to complement the newfangled black bnz with avo, plus a salad with His favourite raw veg and some artichoke hearts. Getting all fancy, now, she added a small can of Niblets and some (gasp) fresh chilies to the cornbread batter. Finding the cupboard bare of chipotle paste, She sprinkled in a tsp of some kind of smoky mystery powder long ago decanted into a nice jar (possibly adobo powder, but too red) instead. Result!

HE SAYS: The black beans were delish, flavoursome and extremely satisfying. I'm so glad we had our friends bring back some Jiffy cornbread mix from the free world. It was spesh-el, with the chillies and corn givin' some power in the taste department, I was in 'eaven (again). Too bad the artichokes tasted like crap and had a metallic, artificial sweetener aftertaste as the salad had a lot of potential with the inclusion of the radishes.

SHE SAYS: This batch of black bnz was the best since the original recipe revamp: deeply savoury, not too heat-hot, and just enough smokiness. I also reduced the thyme and oregano to 1/2 tsp and added a bit more sage. Loving on the Jiffy muffins, bad for us tho' they may be: the diced chilies and corn kernels added welcome texture to the sweet fluff. Salad was unremarkable except for an odd lack of taste to the artichokes.

Monday, 9 June 2008

09.06.08: Risotto with mushrooms and peas

Play it again, ma'am: She used up the second tub of ho-made pesto from the freezer to throw together the world's easiest risotto once again, then used Her ample free time (ha!) to concoct a salad of physalis, bunched radishes, cherry toms, and young mustard leaves.

SHE SAYS: Even more flavourful than last time, though I've no idea why.
Maybe I snuck in a little more boullion. Nice balance of savouriness to bright pesto flavour, and I didn't even think about salt. Would like to take it up a level with a few porcini mushies next time. I've searched high and low for this recipe online since we found it in a free paper, but said free paper pretends that it doesn't publish recipes even though its site lists every other minute topic it covers in print. Well, folks, if you want it let us know and we'll type it on out....but you gotta ask!

HE SAYS: Wow, tonight's risotto was exceptional, better then last week's version, and that was mighty tasty too. The rice was so well-cooked - soft and a little mushy but not glue-like - and the
consistency of the whole dish was right on. I think the chicken stock and white wine fusion brought this too another level of yum. I love pesto in pasta, but mixed in with the mushrooms and wine/stock, it created a new way of appreciating its intense flavour. The salad also had a nice crunchy element, what with the radishes, and a tart element what with the physalis. We ate the whole salad bowl portion, but we have some risotto left for lunch tomorrow, by which time the taste will be outta this world.

08.06.08: Mum's Hungarian goulash

A taste of home for Him: His mum served up her speciality, goulash, featuring carrots and braising steak, over rice, plus a leafy salad with generous helpings of cucumber, avo and red onion, for a family Sunday nosh-up.

HE SAYS: I haven't had me mum's goulash for a while, was always a crowd pleaser, and it hit the spot again after a long absence. The beef was like buttah, so tender and moreish, and the roux was tomato-ey thick and very well spiced with authentic Hungarian paprika. I wasn't too pleased with the salad (my mum has the annoying habit of dressing it in the bowl, eradicating any control you may want over the matter). Apart from that and the white rice, it was very nish.

SHE SAYS: Very tasty and wholesome, though I don't normally eat beef - no big reason, I've just never liked it much. But the plentiful amount of beef in the sauce was kind even to my tummy, being tender and slow-cooked. The sauce had lots of good tang, and I was pleasantly full. Picked out the red onions from my salad - again, simply not to my taste - but enjoyed the leafy freshness after the hearty meal.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

07.06.08: Out to a par-tay with the curr-ay

For a friend's 40th birthday surprise party, we all commenced feasting on Indian-themed delicacies. The image above is a good mix of the mains on offer: a mild, creamy coriander chicken; a spicy veggie curry with potato and aubergine; fragrant pilau rice; pungent pickle; sweet chutney; and cool raita, garnished with curry leaves, naan, and mini poppadoms (not pictured, but eaten by the handful, We can assure you).

Btw, She was delighted by the fun-size bowls - shrewd hostess, our Judy, to make the chow-down so manageable and queueing up for seconds so acceptable.

But before there was dinner, there were party snacks: spicy veggie samosas, crab and fish patties, and crispy lamb rolls.

Bring on the curry!

Let's not forget the accompaniments...

There were pistachio and almond mini ice cream cones as well, but these disappeared before She could snap a pic. Fruit kebabs and a marzipan covered b-day cake rounded it all off nicely.

SHE SAYS: Well-stuffed and happy. The samosas were the stars, methinks, popping with spice and a judicious amount of peas, carrots and potatoes. The curries were a little mild, but nicely done, and the rice was fab - so full of cardamom I could have happily stood by the tray subtly sniffing for a good while. Those mini poppadoms were so crispety-crunchy with a slightly bitter lentil taste - very moreish, and therefore dangerous. The libations flowed freely (including a nice blackcurrant concotion called Kir), and the weather made it all too-too: soft breezes and long-lasting light. Many thanks to Jon and Judy (esp. Ms Jude!) for the fantastic spread and company.

HE SAYS: For party food this was fantastic, for Indian food is was just okay. The samosas were crispy and spicy enough for me to reach for a beer, and the choice of curries filled me to the brim. The weather held up and made for a wonderful summer outdoor party.

06.06.08: Omelette and stirfry

Fast food after a Friday-nite dash around the sto': spinach omelette with the remains of the vintage cheddar; a pack of precut stirfry veg padded out with oyster mushrooms and mung bean sprouts; plus a salad of mustard leaves, tomatoes, and some seriously scenty physalis.

HE SAYS: The stir fried veggies were not that inspiring and I reached for the hot sauce once or twice but they still were a nice accompaniment to the omelette, which was light, fluffy, fresh and tasty. What with the inclusion of spinach and the hint of aged cheddar (and a half a toasted bagel for good measure) I felt very satisfied and warm inside.

SHE SAYS: Spinach omelette is my favourite flash in the pan - and that pan makes such perfect omelettes: toasty on the outside, hot and melty on the inside. Makes me want to do breakfast every day for dinner. Stirfry was rather enh, the extra veg didn't add anything special - it was all a bit soggy, should have held the soy sauce and mirin. The salad had a heady aroma of physalis, which made it more than a virtuous afterthought.

05.06.08: Ceasar Salad and racetrack grub

Separated for the evening, he rustled up a quick a non-traditional Caesar salad from bits and pieces picked up on the way home from Waitrose including rotisserie chicken, chunks of beetroot falafel from thier Delicatezze range, iceberg lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese and some left-over sprouts. She grazed on organic-pork-sausages-inna-bun while at the track watching her pick of the ponies fail to bring home the bacon.

SHE SAYS: My pork bun was much more tasty than it looked - unfortunately, there's no way for you to judge this since the photo I thought I took was merely a blur. (Was fumbling surreptitiously with camerphone while well-meaning work colleagues stood nearby... was trying to shoo them off to the stands where I said I'd join them...didn't want to explain odd photo-taking!) There were six small skinny sausages with twisty ends unceremoniously pushed into a rather nice flour-dusted bap. No lettuce, no tomatoes, no sauce...what do you think this is, a restaurant? But the sausages were piping hot and superbly herby, and the bap was fightin' fresh. I may have gone home empty-handed, but at least I wasn't hungry.

HE SAYS: A bit of a hodgepodge of a meal but still not bad. The new beetroot falafel was very nice but perhaps didn't add much to the mix of tastes. The sprouts were a day or two over their sell by date and were a tad musty but still edible. I have to keeping reminding myself that less is more and I should've stopped adding ingredients after the rotisserie chicken, which was great and only 40p (since I bought the last two pieces right before Waitrose closed). That's what I call a deal!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

04.06.08: Veggie pasta with fresh sauce

A second outing for the spelt pasta: She grilled some baby courgettes, sauteed an onion and portobello mushrooms, got saucy with the fresh tomatoes, splashed in some red wine, sprinkled in the garlic and capers, shaved some Parmesan over the whole dealio and called it dinner. Lest we forget: Sweetfire beetroot, avo and leafy salad pulled up to the plate, too.

HE SAYS: Mama Mia! Whatta nice-a pasta dish this was. The capers really made it zing and the courgettes added the fresh smokey element. I'm sure a dash or two of red wine didn't hurt either. Ate more then my fair share of the Sweetfire salad, she don't mind, she knows how much I crave the deep red chunks of goodness.

SHE SAYS: Decent enough, if not wow-inducing. Tomatoes are really good right now, so I think we'll keep experimenting with fresh sauce instead of automatically reaching for Lloyd. I'd get the spelt pasta again if we passed by the market. Now, do you know about the joys of the frozen tomato? One of mine was icy as it came out of the fridge, and I immediately learned two things: frozen tomatoes peel super-easily (the peel just slipped off when I tried to cut into it), and they are so very tasty! Think savoury tomato sorbet. This is going to be my blue-ribbon summer snack if it ever gets hot outside.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

03.06.08: Black bnz and encore salad

We like black bnz and we cannot lie: She threw together the black bnz with avo and piled 'em on top of the brown-basmati-and-wild-rice mix, then set the rather well-chilled salad from last nite (with last-minute addition of sundried tomatoes) on the side for a little raw food action, you dig?

SHE SAYS: Better than the last batch - less thyme-y, and more fresh corianderish. Tasty and filling...have you ever noticed how avocado changes flavour when it's hot? When I stir it into the bnz, it loses the egg-yolky flavour and develops something else - hard to say what, I just think of it as hot avo flavour. Salad didn't suffer from its sojourn in the fridge - all was still crispy and juicy.

HE SAYS: Dug in with
abandon to the big bowl of happiness. A good batch full of the creamy, herby taste we long for. Licked the spoon good. Maybe we should make this a recurring staple? No, too good and satisfying, we don't want to spoil ourselves. Let's just save it for special occasions, huh. Oh no you didn't!

Monday, 2 June 2008

02.06.08: Lemon chicken nite, all right

It's baaack: She cooked up some lemony roasty chicken and potato and green bean goodness to repair the some of damages of the day's living, as she said.

HE SAYS: I do like a little tart now and again - lemon chicken variety, of course. The breast was tender and juicy...I'll stop trying to make any more sexual innuendos
now. This version of our classic was just what I wanted: sour, olive-oily, roasty and delicious. I skipped the salad, will have to wait for tomorrow's review to get the scoop, but it looked nice.

SHE SAYS: It was a winner, once we stuck it all back in the oven for 15 minutes to cook the chicken properly! I always thought this recipe was a little overlong, but apparently it isn't. Good jamminess from the lemons, and good crisp-to-fluff ratio on the spuds. Didn't have room for salad, so it will be making a special encore appearance tomorrow nite.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

01.05.08: Risotto with mushrooms and peas

A serendipitous sensation: on the train home last nite, He ripped a recipe our of some freebie mag left on the seat, and tonite She cooked up a Milanese Risotto starring peas, chestnut and oyster mushrooms, white wine, chicken broth and spring onions, plus pesto handily rescued from the freezer. (Actually, there's nothing Milanese about this risotto - normally that's v. plain, with just a few saffron threads - none of this veggie and pesto nonsense.) A salad with garlicky olives, some sundried tomato and tiny bits of lemon filled in any remaining corners.

SHE SAYS: Mmm-mmm good! I had my doubts about this recipe, as it required very little stirring and no sauteeing of any ingredients except the rice (was this reeeally a risotto?) - and I admit I was feeling snobbish about the frozen pea component. Well, bust my buttons, was I wrong! It was rich yet subtle, creamy and satisfying - and not as goosome as many another risotto I've made. It was also the easiest risotto I've ever turned a hand to, so I'm sure it will have an encore.

HE SAYS: Agree with her, it was fab. Lots of intense gravy-esque sophisticated flavours and meaty mushroom textures made this a winner. Salad weren't bad neither, espesh with lemony garlic olive type fixin's, ooh mama.

31.05.08: Out to Brick Lane for a curry

After a very enjoyable movie date with friends at Rich Mix cinema in Shoreditch, we all schlepped over to Brick Lane, home to many a curry inna hurry. Now, just about every restaurant along the lane has a barker of sorts out front to reel the punters in; there's a lot of competition. Finding this one, above, that could immediately seat 7, we sank into our chairs in happy expectation...

...but quickly learned to expect scowls at the slightest request. Not to pre-empt Our reviews, but one of our party even found a fly in her pilau rice - and when she complained (politely) and asked for naan bread to replace it, the waiter insisted the fly must have 'come in from outside' and just then settled on her plate! Can you believe!

But we were all having such a good natter, We forgot to take a photo of the food. For the record, He and She shared chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, and chicken bhuna, and some pilau rice (very carefully). She had a mango lasssi while he shared in the table's bottle of white wine.

HE SAYS: Bog standard Indian fare, nothing to write home about, in fact nothing to write on the blog about. The company was ace and made us forget the food's shortcomings. After a trip to the loo and seeing its complete lack of cleanliness, I worried for my near-future intestinal health, but so far, so good.

SHE SAYS: Agree with him - standard o' the bog. The saag was cloying, without the richness that at least normally accompanies saag paneer that's too sweet. Decided I'd probably really like chicken bhuna in a different restaurant, as it's more of a dry bbq-type chicken that the usual tikka masala. Very, very glad I decided against anything with prawns in! Service was grumpy and defensive, and my lassi was warm. Good company overcame all, but I doubt we'll try our luck on Brick Lane again - there are just too many good Indian restaurants anywhere you turn London, no reason to seek it out specially in the East End.