Tag Archives: leek

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

Grain Store, King’s Cross

When I walked into Grain Store I saw pine, painted tables dressed with root vegetables, a bustling open kitchen and a well stocked bar. All juxtaposed with an industrial ceiling of metal pipes.

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Then, I noticed Bruno Loubet, meticulously checking food before service. This made me happy. I’ve never seen a ‘celebrity’ chef actually in the kitchen, so appreciated Bruno being there, even if it’s just for one night.

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We were a large group of 12, so had the four course tasting menu at £35 a head. The dishes weren’t on the main menu, so we waited with bated breath (and mouthfuls of bread and wine) until course no.1 arrived.

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Portions of Yoghurt Flatbread with Carrot Spread, and Coco Beans, Roast Pepper & Octopus Salad, were placed in front of us. The Carrot Spread was my favourite – sweet and aromatic, it was unlike anything I’d tried before.

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The Octopus Salad wasn’t as fishy as I’d have liked, but around the table I could hear ‘mmms’ of joy, so knew it was going down well.

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Next we had Wood Fired Scorched Leeks with Sautéed Chestnut Mushrooms, Girolles & Roquefort Dressing. Vegetables are King at Grain Store, so it was nice to see the simple leek given so much attention.

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The Moussaka’s flavour was a tad disappointing, but I liked the novelty of having  minced lamb, mash and other ingredients stuffed inside an aubergine.

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The main course of Savoy Cabbage, Ash Baked Celeriac, Roast Greengage Plum, Roasted Partridge and Tarragon Jus would make a great, if not slightly pretentious, Sunday lunch. This time on individual plates, it was cooked perfectly and I loved the greengage, but probably wouldn’t have ordered it given the choice.

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By contrast, the pudding was exactly what I’d have chosen. Chocolate & Red Bean Cake was served with Ginger Ice Cream, Black Sesame Sauce & Confit Mango. A masterful combination of flavours that forced me to polish off The Boyfriend’s leftovers.

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Grain Store gets a LLE Rating of 7/10The food wasn’t always what I wanted, but each course was interesting and appealed to different people round the table. What’s more, the atmosphere was second to none, they made an excellent White Lady cocktail (always a deal breaker for more) and the staff were lovely – I even managed a chat with Sous Chef Neil Campbell at the end.

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Grain Store, Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street, King’s Cross, London N1C 4AB

Grain Store on Urbanspoon

Canteen, Royal Festival Hall

I’ve eaten in two canteens recently – one at Lampton School in Hounslow and the other underneath Royal Festival Hall. Now as much as I’m sure you’d love to hear about my comforting jacket potato with cheese and beans at Lampton, I think I’ll focus on Canteen, the restaurant.

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There are four Canteen branches in London – Spitalfields, Canary Wharf, Baker Street and the subject of this post, Royal Festival Hall. The chain is committed to providing “honest food that’s naturally sourced, skilfully prepared and reasonably priced”. How do I know? I read the Canteen cookbook.

I hadn’t intended to go to Canteen the other week. Instead, it happened out of necessity – necessity to get out of the icy rain, necessity to catch up with my friend and necessity to find somewhere that wouldn’t make me wait over an hour before feeding me (ahem, Wahaca Southbank).

The restaurant has everything you’d want on a truly disgusting day – stews, freshly baked pies, daily roasts and an all day breakfast. The only thing it doesn’t have is a warm, cosy interior, but hey, it is a canteen. The most inciting thing on the menu was the fish finger sandwich, so I ordered one of those as a starter.

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My sandwich was a thing of beauty. Soft, white bread cuddled chunky pieces of golden breadcrumbed fish, coated with the perfect amount of homemade tartare sauce. I personally couldn’t fault it.

I went for a lighter main course – smoked haddock salad with leek, croutons and a poached egg. It felt healthy, yet deliciously filling. A perfect salad, if it wasn’t for one medium sized problem – the egg. I wanted it to explode with yellow gooeyness, but instead, the yolk was hard.

Pudding was skipped for no other reason than being full, so we ordered the bill, which came in at £15 a head for food, a glass of wine and tip. Not too shabby for Little Lady Eats.

I would, and probably will, return to Canteen as I’m keen to try more of their British delights. Apart from the egg, the rest was yummy, so I’ll give it a LLE Rating of 7/10.

Canteen, Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX