Tonight I had some bread, humous and a salad, with sweetcorn to start. Ah!]]>
I could help thinking that the dimness was partly to cover up the flaws; there was a ice bucket hidden partly next and partly under my seat, catching drips from the ceiling; or at least the ones which didn't fall on me. The toilets were dark, but with spotlight urinals which were stainless steel; the parabolic bowls shined the light back bright enough to burn your retinas; while engaged, however, my head blocked the light and, already half-blinded, meant I had to aim using echo location. And one of the taps was not screwed in properly, rotating Exorcist style rather than producing water.
A strange night; Gershwins is a bit tacky, but gets away with it for some reason; it was both elegant and naff simultaneously, which should be impossible.
Oh, yeah, and the food. I had a pepper and courgette soup followed by a mushroom curry; they were both excellent, even if the curry was a bit pokey. I had a pepper soup a couple of weeks ago (on the Grand Canyon of all places) which was lovely, so perhaps I should try this.]]>
I've been thinking about why I've started to each so many beans recently; then it came to me. I've got salad obsessed recently. My fridge is smaller than my freezer. Salad goes into the fridge, beans the freezer. It's all perfectly logical.]]>
I've had a 10kg bag of rice in my house for most of my adult life, but I fear now that I have seen my last. I shall be buying 2kg bags in future.
The mites were incredible though; it's wonderful to me that a thing so small, smaller than this comma, can be a complete multi-cellular organism. Wonder what species they were?]]>
Very simple: tin of mixed beans which I have had for quite a while — I think fresh would have been better; some fresh garlic, lightly chopped; olive oil; pepper; balsamic vinegar and lime juice. Served with an undressed green salad (with addition carrot and and parsnip), eaten with one of those boil-in-the-bag batton loafs.
Very simple, very nice. Back for more.]]>
The two highlights, though, were the the bakeries. I had croissant and coffee everyday. The coffee was rich, strong and without bitterness, while the croissants were delicious. The only exception here were the two breakfasts I had in the Ibis Hotel where I was staying; the croissant were stale and tasteless. And, finally, last night we found a Japanese. Not the greatest I've ever been too, but it hit the spot. The food was pleantiful, cheap and well cooked. I ended up having a second main meal, although we split it between two of us.]]>
In general, it's confirmed my opinion. Blackfrairs is okay, but when you get down to it a polysyllabic menu, and artful arrangement on the plate does not make up for the unspiried dishes and a lack of flair for vegetarian food by the chef.
Course, the meat might be great. I can't comment.]]>
Their service was interesting: the heated food (toasted sandwiches, sorry panini's) was very slow to come. When it did come, the waitress described it in French, and seemed genuinely surprised to be answered in English. Everyone else got their food, but mine never appeared. I went and asked; they had forgotten.
So, no idea at all what the food is like, but I can say that it did offer a genuine and authentic French experience.]]>
In the end, I boiled them with some fresh garlic that I had, strained, the water of, tossed them with chilli olive oil and soy sauce (heat and salt), strained the excess and eat them. Nice actually. Needed a bit more than the 4 minutes simmer the packet said, so I ended up giving them a quick microwave.
Not bad, although not exactly refined. I need to work on this one.
The rest of the mean was dry, curried tofu and chickpeas, a spinach curry and rice. Done this many times before. I need to do it more often, not least as I appear to have 3 kilos of spinach in my freezer.]]>
Worked pretty well, as it happens. Took ages, as you'd expect from a bit lump of tofu, but required little effort.]]>
This is incredible simple. I cut the tofu into blocks about 1cm x 1cm x 2cm. This goes into a frying pan with some rice vinegar, soy, and chilli sauce. This is all fried in, on a low heat for, well as long as you can be bothered to wait. Within reason, the longer the better, but an hour is a reasonable time. This is then served in pitta with salad. I added some felalal as wel, as I had it in the freezer.
We only had time for a quick bite each. However, we left the gig at 11 and the curse of Newcastle hit us, with all the food places closed and we scoffed the rest when we got back.]]>
Worked quite well, in general. As is my usual practice, I'll probably do the same dish again tonight, while it's still fresh in my mind.]]>
The taste was fairly good, although it didn't keep that well. The main problem was the colour; it was pretty palid looking and would have been better with, say, lots of soy in the broth base.
I will work on this; I like the concept of garlic as a main ingredient rather than a garnish.]]>
Very simple: garlic flakes, oil, pepper, black mustard seed, all fried. Then add rice vinegar and some soy. After a few minutes of frying put in a enough rice and fry it drish, then add enough water. Finally, spice with an Oxo cube, cumin, coriander, turmeric and add a small amount of tomato puree and chilli sauce.
To give it a bit of bulk, I added peas, broad beans and some quorn chicken. Turned out rather well, as it happens. Takes about 15 minutes in total.]]>
And, yes, it should have been a pie. I've clearly been scared by the pastry experience of last weekend.]]>
Pretty good, actually.]]>
More recently, I discovered that they were real. So I tried cooking them last night. Rather nice, as it happens.
The meal was this:
All of this was fried in garlic flavoured olive oil, tofu first with the soy and vinegar till brown and then all the rest dumped in. This was eaten with rice, with peas and broad beans, with a light drizzle of liquidizied chilli.
Very nice as it happens. The aduki beans taste like a cross between baked and kidney beans, but didn't overwhelm the rest of the meal.]]>
Instead, we ended up next door at Vujon. It was okay. The seafood angle was well covered, but the veggie options were poor. I ended up with the set of side dishes option, which were adequate.]]>
Cooked them with some potato, tofu, red onion and bulgar wheat. Very nice indeed.]]>
I can't remember the name of the place, but it's near the Quayside, and rather pink. But the food was excellent. We had a daal, a strange pancake bread, a cabbage dish, dosa and some vedna. I've been a fan of dosa for ages, since discovering them in the Punjab Tandoori in Manchester. I've only had then in one other place, so it's great to find another resturant cooking them. I even tried making them for myself once, using some of the wonderously named "Mr Git's Dosa Mix". It never worked.
As well as his dosa mix, Mr Git also makes vedna mix. I did buy some, but never tried it. So, this was the first time I've actually got to eat them. They were great. A light donut made out of lentils.
Afterwards, we went back to the pub and I almost fell asleep. I hadn't realised how tired I was.]]>
Wasn't bad at all. Had a pretty good menu. As I'd been standing outside in the cold for most of the day, I went for the mixed grill. Was alright, but I think they need to make it a bit different from the meat version — it was too dry. I couple of pots of dips (a light chilli sauce, some brown sauce and something a little sweet, perhaps) would have been perfect.
Still, it's a pleasure to be in a veggie place, with lots of choice on the menu. It's not been that easy in Newcastle.]]>
It's relatively tasteless, but is spices up well. I did it with parsnips and potatoes that I'd lightly fried with lots of spices.
It was alright, but I need quite a bit more work on the polenta. Less water, I think, more spices.]]>
1 Red Onion
Handful Soya Mince
Various Curry Spices
Essentially, this is your basic curry — fry the onions, then add garlic puree. After it's cooked for a while, add some lime juice, then cumin, coriander, tumeric and any other spices you fancy. This makes it pretty dry, so before it burns add tomato paste, and then water. Today, I also washed added some garlic pickle. Milk is good as well. Cook for about 10 minutes. Then add the soya mince.
While this is doing, parboil the potatoes, then add them to the curry. Follow this by part cooking the rice in the same saucepan, and add this to the curry.
The combination of the rice and soya mince will soak up a lot of the moisture. Add a bit more water if needed: there should not be much left by the time everything is finished; it's supposed to be dry.
At this point, it tastes okay, but sort of wish you hadn't added the soya mince. But this is the good bit; make some toast, then spoon the biryani on top of it, and stick the whole lot under the grill for a couple of minutes and serve.]]>
1/2 Red Onion
Large Handful Bulgar Wheat
Dark Soy Sauce
Veggie Oxo cube
Fry red onion, with some garlic and pepper and the Oxo cube in a small pan, with olive oil. When half done add decent splosh of soy. Wait till the soy starts to brown somewhat. Add the vinegar to shift the soy stuck to the pan. Wait till most of the vinegar has evaporated off, then ad the bulgar wheat, followed by a cup of water, put a lid on and simmer.
The wheat takes about 10 minutes to cook, after which most of the water is poured off, leaving enough to keep it moist. Then, it's served and garnished with a some few threads of the chilli sauce.
In this case, I used this to accompany some quorn garlic and herb chicken things. And topped it off with some garlic bread that's been hanging around for ages.
So, yeah, this meal had a lot of garlic in it (the olive oil was garlic infused as well). It was reasonably hot. I really like the MSG/Soy/Rice Vinegar combination which I discovered recently and currently using in lots of food.
I quite like the Bulgar wheat; it's nice to have another staple to play around with.]]>