Saturday, 22 March 2014

Prawn and Quinoa Salad.

 This was a quick dinner on Sunday that I thought I would share. 

First chop up some tomato about a handful for each person, I was cooking for three. I then added half a red onion and a small bunch of coriander. Mix this up with the juice of half a lime. Leave this to one side the lime juice will reduce the harshness of the red onion.
Then cook some quinoa around 35g per person, rinse it through first under cold water using a sieve. Then add the 1 part quinoa to 5 parts water and cook for around 20 minutes. 

 While the quinoa is cooking, boil two cobs of corn for around 8 minutes and then cut the corn off the cob. I also mashed up an avocado with the juice of a quarter of a lime. 

 When the quinoa is nearly cooked it is time to fry the prawns. I used coconut oil. 

Cook until they are just all pink so as not to overcook them. 

While they cook quickly plate up the rest, quinoa first then tomato salad and corn. then add a dollop of the avocado on top. 

Before adding the prawns to the salad I added a final spritz of lime.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Five Fields, Chelsea.

When looking at places to go for my birthday I headed straight to Tripadvisor and went for the easy option of picking what was currently number 1 on the list. It has also won restaurant of the year in 2013. So when I rang up in January for my birthday in February when I was told that the next available booking was in March I wasn't surprised as the restaurant is also small around 15 tables most of them for two. 

So on wednesday the three bears of Mum, Dad and me headed up to Chelsea to see what a restaurant has to do to be number 1 on Tripadvisor.  

The exterior, interior and tableware are all luxurious without being showy. Just how I like it. 

When we arrived and had ordered our drinks we were given several amuse-bouches while we looked at the menu. 
First up was this tomato, bean and broccoli offering such intense flavours from foods that usually aren't centre stage. 

Next up were three little canape style nibbles. Game and pistachio terrine, pig cheek on something or other and I want to say goats cheese and chutney sandwiched in between pastry.  

The last amuse-bouche was this it was like a mushroom soup which was really unexpected. The flavour was so strong and delicious.  

Along with the amuse-bouches aplenty, the hot bread and salty butter is also in abundance with the olive bread and the buttermilk roll my favourites.  

We decided on the tasting menu and I am so glad we did. 
The first course was a rich salmon cream with yuzu crispy bits (yuzu is a citrus fruit), this was probably my last favourite but only because everything else was so amazing, I still ate it all so it can't have been that bad! 

Next was beef tartare with smoked mayonnaise and onion crumble. This is one of the reasons I wanted to try the tasting menu as I got to try things I never normally would in case I didn't like it. This I loved the onion crumble was amazing. 

We then had what the restaurant called 'dead garden' not the most appealing name but one of my favourtie dishes. This was roasted vegetables with truffle. The flavours were so concentrated and the textures went so well together. 

Next on the menu was foie gras in a gel casing with quince and rum. The gold leaf on the top really lends itself to how decadent the taste of the foie gras is, I ate mine spread on yet another bread roll.

Following on from that we had Orkney scallop with green lentils and kaffir lime sauce. Probably the best scallop of my life. Perfectly cooked and it was huge!

We then had Scottish langoustine with chorizo and butternut squash again really meaty shellfish that was just went so well with the chorizo. 

Next pulled pork with dumplings, all the flavours in every course was so intense and this was no exception. 

Then we moved onto the 'main course' I chose the cod with broccoli, shellfish and blood orange.

The other option was loin and breast of lamb with potato, rhubarb and olive. 

We then had a kind of palate cleanser of pina colada, pineapple granita with a coconut cream and foam. I liked this even though I am not keen on actual pina coladas!    

For dessert we had pea and coconut ice cream with chocolate soil and coconut sorbet. This sounds weird but it really works as it isn't too sweet and after all those rich courses I think that is really important. 

Petit fours were then bought out consisting of lollipops and sherbet, chocolate, nougat, sweets and marshmallows.

I then had a macchiato to finish a wonderful meal, maybe the best I've had!  
Service here is also impeccable there are a lot of staff for the size of the restaurant and everyone knows their stuff without patronising.

Find The Five Fields at 8/9 Blacklands Terrace, London, SW3 2SP. Just off the Kings Road. 
The Tasting menu is £75 while three courses is £50. 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Brownie Bites... Kinda.

The buzz in the media at the moment is that processed sugar is the devil food. I have long been aware of my addiction to the sweet stuff but I have been making small changes to try and reduce my sugar intake.

The first way I did this was to cut out fizzy drinks see here.

Secondly I have cut out sweets and most chocolate from my diet, it was getting way out of hand! 

When I do have something that I would add sugar too I try and have stevia or use honey or fruit to add sweetness.

These 'brownie bites' have no added sugar in them so are a winner for me as I will never be able to give up sweet things life is too short!

To make 20 bitesize balls (just bigger than a malteser/malt ball) you will need:
10 pitted dates
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of cocoa nibs
1 tablespoon of natural nut butter (I used almond)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place this all in a blender until it all comes together. Then form it into balls place in a container and keep in the fridge or at room temperature.

They don't look like much but they taste great. I also tried these nakd bars so I think I am now going to investigate using other nut butters and fruit to create other bites. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Pulled Pork.

Just look at it! gnarly crust with fall off the bone, tender meat inside. It's perfect and simple. 

Start off with a whole shoulder of pork and take the skin and most of the fat off. 

So it then will look a little something like this. 

Next mix up the seasoning paste for this you will need. 
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp of chilli and paprika paste
1 tbsp of smoked paprika 
1 tbsp tabasco

Mix it all up and spread it onto the pork. Put it in the fridge until half a hour before you are ready to cook it.

While the pork is the fridge it is time to make the coleslaw. Grate 2 carrots, 2 red onions and half a white cabbage. 

Add in 2tbsp of 0% greek yoghurt and 1tbsp of whole grain mustard, mix it all up and put it back in the fridge until you need it. 

Pre heat the oven to 150C and add in 300ml of cloudy apple juice. Place it in the oven for 6 hours, taking it out occasionally to spoon over the juices.  

6 hours in the oven and it will come out looking like this. 

Shred up the meat with a fork you can mix in the gravy or leave it to one side. 

To serve with the pork and coleslaw I did a tray of sweet and new potatoes in the oven just with some oil and salt. 

The next night we had the pork with left over coleslaw, mashed avocado, salsa and cheese in a wrap delicious. 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Giving Blood.

I have now given blood 9 times and think it's a simple and great thing to do. A lot of people that find out that I give blood have so many questions about it so I thought I would do a step by step of it to show how easy and fuss free it really is.  

First up register online to give blood and make an appointment at your local donating centre by doing it online or phoning up, I usually call and they are always so friendly and helpful. This saves a lot of hanging about. 
They then send you confirmation in the post and a donor health check questionnaire. Fill this out and bring it along to your appointment. 
When you arrive you check in and are given a sheet of information to read. Read this and while you wait and drink some water.  

When your name is called you sit down with a nurse to go through any queries they have about your donor health check questionnaire. They also prick your finger and put a drop of your blood in a greeny blue solution, if it sinks you're through to the next round and ready to give blood. You then go back and sit down for your name to be called for the main event. 

Your name is called and you sit down while they clean your arm. Clench and unclench your fist while to help them find your vein easily, they also put a blood pressure band on your upper arm to help with this. They put the needle in, you do feel it go in but it doesn't hurt. 
Now just continue to clench and unclench your fist and move your feet around a bit like how they tell you too when you are on a plane. 

This photo is a bit on the graphic side but I wanted to show that it really isn't gory! No blood escaping!

You just sit play on your phone whatever until your timer goes off. They then remove your needle and you hold a cotton pad down on your arm you then get a plaster and pressure pad on it and then you head off to the snack table! 

Have a drink, some biscuits, crisps and when you are sure you feel ok you can get up and leave simple as that. The whole process usually takes under a hour with the actual blood giving lasting around 10 minutes for me. 

This is my arm the next morning not even 24 hours after giving blood. You can barely see where the needle went in. 

I really hope this helps if you are thinking about giving blood but are nervous about the process, it really is easy and everyone is so friendly and will answer any questions you have about it. Also if you want to ask me about any of it I will try and answer any questions in the comments :) 
If you want to sign up here is the link to the UK site