- Champor-Champor – Thai/Malaysian/British fusion?
- Orange-flavoured, Oven-baked Pork Chops – An orange-coloured delicious mess
- Flesh & Buns – Branching out in the world’s dine-out capital
- Three Years and a Main Dish Smothered in Chocolate
- Fried Aubergine With Yoghurt Dressing – Sort of Guilt-free Pleasures
I haven’t cooked in so long. Diet food is so uninspiring sometimes that it isn’t even worth putting on here. I’m not complaining, I’m just saying that if I’m having peppered mackerel with brown rice three times a week, then I most likely won’t be very popular with the food blogging community.
When I finally do come around and cook something though, I always love it. Like this recipe – it was one of those days when you toss together what you have, add a little of what you bought, and then something delicious comes out.
It’s quite hard to tell from here (bad photography skills strike again) but there is actually more to this picture than potatoes, asparagus tips and two slices of meat. The latter was in fact marinated in a sweet mixture, made up of:
The peel of one orange
The juice of half an orange
2 whole star anise
A splash of balsamic vinegar
Salt, freshly ground pepper
So I marinated my pork chops in this for about an hour, until they smelled like a Middle-Eastern dish.
In the meantime, I dressed 0.5 kg of Jersey potatoes in some Maldon salt, thyme and olive oil, and placed them in a hot oven in an oven proof pan. Interestingly, the end result of these potatoes tasted more boiled than roasted, but we’ll come to this in a second.
When the potatoes started to get soft, I added to the pan my pork chops, the orange peel and star anise from the marinade, and poured over the remaining juices. This is when I also chopped up one beautifully bright orange-coloured bell pepper and added it as well. The whole dish was a mix of sweet, sour and acidic, and it smelled absolutely gorgeous.
I let this cook in the oven until the potatoes were boiled and the peppers roasted; I fried up some asparagus tips left over and served it with a soft cheesy roll.
Overall, the dish was very tasty, but the pork chops were probably the least interesting part in it. In all honesty, they turned out a little dry, despite the orange-marinade.
The best bits though were definitely the potatoes. I’ve never bought this type before, so it might be the fact that they are Jersey-types, but they came out soft and delicious despite me aiming to roast them – they soaked up all the sweet juices and were absolutely amazing. Paired with the sweetness of the pepper and the crispy, slightly sweet and bitter orange peel, it was really quite the dinner.
If nothing else, the colour is definitely stunning though – and again, it’s one of those dishes where you can just toss in whatever you have at home.
So according to Time Out London, we live in the world’s dine out capital. And I’m one of those people who will read about all the new, cool, fancy restaurants on Time Out, and then never visit them.
The good news was our old landlord was kind enough to release all our deposit on our flat when we moved (oh yeah, I live in Charlton now), so I felt super rich and decided to drag my boyfriend to a new place. He enjoys a free meal and I enjoy pretending I know what’s hip.
The place is called Flesh & Buns, and this pretty much covers the concept. It is a Japanese-style underground diner, with one long table in the middle, ranging from one end of the room to the other, and a few small booths on both sides. On one end of the table is the kitchen, and the other the bar.
Something like this:
The short and sweet review of the place would be quite pricey, but delicious food. The longer one goes something like this.
The starters on the menu are all gorgeous, but for the price you pay, they are sadly very tiny. We ordered some sashimi for two, some venison and some salmon and avocado rolls. The taste was exquisite, with delicious Japanese flavours and impressive design, but the above mentioned first two dishes were so tiny that we both had about one and a half gulps of each. There is no doubt they were gorgeous though:
The sashimi plate (can you see what I mean when I say this, for £12, is not really worth it? Especially for two people?) (On the other hand, the fish was to die for.)
And finally, the sushi, which was flawless:
After the starters, we definitely felt hungry enough for the mains we had ordered. We both ordered a portion of ‘flesh’ – some salmon teriyaki and some crispy pork belly – which comes with two ‘buns’ each, some pickled vegetables on the side, a matching sauce and some salad leaves, and this was the most outstanding part of the dinner. The pork belly was soft and extremely crispy on top – which instantly won my admiration – and the salmon was nothing like the fish you buy in the supermarket. Both were cooked to perfection, and placed into the steamed buns, it was absolutely perfect. Also, as compared to the size of the starters, the main dishes were huge.
We also ordered a portion of rice, which came flavoured with a raw egg, some chilli, beef, sweetcorn, mushrooms and probably plenty of other stuff; and this because we felt extremely hungry. We probably would have been okay with just the flesh & buns, but it was worth it. The rice came served in a heated bowl, and pretty much cooked in there. Our waiter mixed up the dish when serving it, so the egg cooked in the bowl and the dish stayed warm even when we were scraping the bottom bits.
At this point we were close to bursting, but Time Out said it would be a crime to miss out on the s’mores served here, so we sacrificed a few (…) more calories to try them.
And thank heavens we did. If you come by here, do not miss out.
You get your own little fire to toast / melt your marshmallow, with some crisp biscuits to smear them on and some dark chocolate to melt on top, and as small as the portion may seem on this picture, it is actually the perfect size.
Overall, I am definitely happy we made the extra effort to try something new. The only side effect now is that I can’t stop thinking about the taste of the crisp pork belly and the soft steamed bun in my mouth – so I may have to be cheeky and be back here pretty soon.
It won’t break the bank (although it certainly doesn’t help it); but if you’re on the look out for something new and interesting to try, this is definitely a good place to start.
We’ve entered into April – the critical month. This is the make-or-break for those who made the ‘this is the year when I keep my diet’ promise when the clock struck twelve on New Year’s Eve. How are you all doing? Hanging in there?
If you are, stop reading this post.
If you’re not, or if you’re open to occasionally sinning just a tiny bit, then stick with me, because I’ve had a lot of fun cooking these dishes.
So my boyfriend, who is my fiancé by now, and I hit magical three years not long ago, and what better way to celebrate than to cook up a delicious meal, drink home-made cocktails and get drunkenly emotional over Glee ending? (I’m not kidding.)
I had a lot of fun planning the meal. Basically the idea was to make chocolate the theme of the dinner, meaning that everything had to involve chocolate in one way or another. (See why I discouraged dieters?) I mean have you ever seen the movie Chocolat? If you don’t crave the dashing young Johnny Depp, then you sure as hell will crave chocolate…
So for starters we had 6 pan-fried scallops each, in a butter, parsley and white wine sauce – with a grating of dark chocolate on top, more like decoration, but just enough to give it a bit of adventure.
(I don’t have a good enough picture of this, but just believe you me, it was delish.)
The main dish, which I was most proud of, involved a gorgeous piece of silverside beef – seared in a pan, then finished in the oven with a basting of beef stock. Although the marinade is worth mentioning, here is what I used:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 whole dry chipotle chilli, seeds and all, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp Chinese five spice