Tag Archives: coconut

Courgette & Aubergine Curry

The Art of Eating Well arrived on the same day as my first Riverford veg box. I was excited by both, so decided to create a slightly tweaked Hemsley & Hemsley recipe to make room for my extra veggies.

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The result? A sweet, aromatic medley of vegetables that was the perfect antidote to the blisteringly cold weather. So here is my version of Jasmine and Melissa’s recipe – one I’ll make word for word when there’s less veg in town.

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Serves 2 (with yummy leftovers for lunch the next day)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or coconut oil if you’re as good as the girls)
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 thumb sized piece of root ginger, grated
  • 3 large garlic clothes, diced
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 1 large aubergine, chopped into chunks
  • 3 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large purple carrot, diced (thank you Riverford)
  • 1 large courgette, diced
  • 4 Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lime (grated zest and juice)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • a handful of chopped fresh herbs (I could only get parsley, which tasted lovely)
  • 1/4 litre of vegetable stock
  • 1 tin of coconut milk

Method

  • Heat the oil in a large pan and lightly fry the garlic, leaks, mushrooms and onion until soft
  • Add the diced carrot, coconut milk and vegetable stock and stir well
  • After six minutes, add the aubergine and stir
  • After ten minutes, add the tomato courgette and lime zest
  • After six minutes, add the maple syrup, lime juice and fresh herbs
  • Serve in a bowl with a scattering of herbs and toasted cashew nuts

Tredwell’s, Covent Garden

Before I launch, eating and slurping into 2015, I want to tell you about my lunch at Tredwell’s. A lunch that took place many months ago, in a year we called 2014.

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Despite less than favourable reviews, I was keen to try Marcus Wareing’s newest and most ‘accessible’ establishment. The restaurant was named after the butler in Agatha Christie’s The Seven Dials Mystery, so it had to have hidden depths (even if the soulless dining room suggested otherwise).

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Turns out I was right to trust my instincts as aside from the lack of customers chatting and chomping, I rather enjoyed my meal. Prawns on a bed of white polenta with white garlic and chicken broth (£8.50) was a lovely start. A hug in a bowl, it was sweet and sumptuous with pleasant warmth.

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Sea Bass was of similar design, but this time the gently cooked fish crouched on creamed carrots, lentils and shallots (£15). Had it not been for the sides of Kale Slaw (£3.50) and Sweet Potato Chips (£4.50), I could have lost the false teeth for the duration of the course. As with the starter, this dish was made for Mr Soft.

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A Virtuous Chocolate Brownie (£5) was shared for dessert, washed down with what remained of our carafe of house white (£13). It looked like a brownie, but a lack of eggs, dairy, wheat and refined sugar changed the taste and texture beyond repair. I regretted my choice and vowed never to liken ‘virtue’ to a ‘pudding’ again.

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I wouldn’t rush back to Tredwell’s, but I certainly wouldn’t avoid it as some critics suggest. The food is tasty, well presented and not insanely priced. So it’s a shame the restaurant is deprived of charisma and warmth due to a distinctive lack of bodies.

Tredwell’s, 4A Upper St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2H 9NY

Food 4/5 – Price 3/5 – Staff 4/5 – Atmosphere – 2/5

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Gelato at Black Vanilla, Greenwich

Gelato and Champagne – can you think of a better combination? I certainly can’t. So, when invited to celebrate the launch of Black Vanilla in Greenwich, I jumped at the chance.

Set on two floors, Black Vanilla is a stone’s throw away from the newly restored Cutty Sark. As you enter the Gelateria, you are confronted with over thirty different types of Gelato and Sorbetto, all made by Italian Head Chef Alessandro.

If, like me, you thought Gelato was a fancy Italian word for ice-cream, you’d be mistaken. Instead, dieters can rejoice as ice-cream has a much higher fat content due to the extra cream used in production. What’s more, Gelato has no air added and is held at a slightly warmer temperature, resulting in a richer, creamier, softer and more velvety texture – what could be better?

Well, i’m certainly sold as my favourite pistachio (made with the finest nuts from Bronte in Sicily) and coconut varieties were the best I’ve tasted outside of Italy, and I couldn’t resist an extra helping of ‘flavour of the moment’ Salted Caramel and ‘Chef’s choice’ Cherry Ripple.

Sorbetto is the even healthier option, made with nothing more than fresh fruit, water and sugar. Each time I tried a different flavour it felt like I was biting into an intense version of the fruit, whether it was kiwi, green apple, passion fruit or watermelon.

Upstairs there is a smaller room with a bar serving artisan roasterie coffee and a selection of alcohol, so you can quaff Champagne, whilst indulging in a scoop or two of Gelato on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night. If Gelato isn’t your bag (god forbid), you can also try one of their divine cupcakes and brownies or, for something savoury, their freshly baked foccacia, artesian breads, Italian cheese and incredibly moreish Parma Ham.

At £2.90 for a scoop of quality Gelato and Sorbetto in a cone or tub, a visit to Black Vanilla is a must on a hot summer’s day visiting the Cutty Sark or en route to the Olympics (if, unlike me, you were lucky enough to get tickets). And, if you want to take a taste of Italy home, you can always buy a container of your favourite flavour and save it for a sunny day.

Black Vanilla, 05 College Approach, Greenwich, London SE10 9HY

Eat Film, Soho Hotel

Eat Film is exactly what it says on the tin – a screening followed by dinner inspired by the movie.  Last week, I was lucky enough to get tickets to the first instalment, which had a distinctly Asian theme as we watched Taiwanese film Eat Drink, Man Woman, before tucking into a three course meal taken from Bill Granger’s latest book Bill’s Everyday Asian.

Held in the Soho Hotel, the film was selected by Bill Granger, who got on stage to give a brief talk at the start. Whilst sipping on Laurent Perrier Champagne and S. Pellegrino, my friend N and I happily listened to Bill explain that he had selected the film not only because of his love of Asian cuisine, which was first introduced to him as a child, but also due the film’s energy, pace and the way it links food with family. This is something that resonates strongly with Bill, who believes cooking is a great way to show his family how much he loves them.

I’d previously read that the film had been nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. I’m no film critic, but I know what I like and Eat Drink, Man Woman was not only beautifully shot, but was also extremely endearing and funny – a view that must have been shared by the audience who laughed throughout and applauded at the end. The best thing about the film were the endless cooking scenes, which left me longing to get in the kitchen and start making dishes like Stir Fried Taiwanese Clams and Minced Shrimp in Lettuce. Fortunately, and coincidently, this week’s cookery class at Leiths had an Asian theme, so I didn’t have to wait long before I got my wish.

After the film, we made our way to the restaurant for a late dinner. The menu was set and sounded delicious, starting with Pulled Chicken Salad.

The salad was by far the best part of the meal as the chicken was moist and the addition of lime gave it a freshness often reserved for Asian cooking. I couldn’t help but think what a perfect lunch it would make, so I’m determined to recreate it to spice up my usual soup or sandwich.

For main we had Steamed Arctic Char on Vermicelli Noodles. Closely related to the salmon and trout, Arctic Char is a fresh or saltwater fish from Arctic or sub-Arctic waters. It tasted perfectly pleasant and the noodles were a satisfying accompaniment, but the overall effect was bland, despite the dominating flavours of lemon and coriander.

After a slightly disappointing main course, we were both looking forward to dessert and at first felt satisfied as we tucked into Chilli Roast Pineapple with Pomegranate and Coconut Ice-Cream. Unfortunately, our enjoyment was short lived for as soon as the overpowering chilli kicked in, we were left gasping for water.

Although the meal didn’t end on a particularly high note, the overall evening was enjoyable and, considering what you get for a ticket that only costs £55, I would recommend it to anyone looking to do something a bit different mid-week.