Gail’s Bread from Waitrose, a rosemary and potato bread made into cheese and salad sandwiches. One with farmhouse Red Leicester cheese and red onion, another Double Barrel Lincolnshire Poacher with red peppers.
Thai chicken curry, using up some of the left over roast chicken, with onions and red peppers, birds eye chilli, coconut milk and boiled rice. To be honest, it had a proper kick as I put in two chillies which were a wee bit hotter than the standard dried jalapenos I normally use.
Gail’s bread with salad and some mayonnaise.
They do a very tasty ‘bento box’ with two buns, two vegetable gyoza, miso soup and salad, all for £7.50. I had a chicken with tartare sauce and pork with hoi sin sauce. While the pork and hoi sin sauce was tasty, the chicken with tartare sauce and chilli sauce was definitely the winner, and the buns were beautifully light and fluffy. It’s become a favourite in our office and no surprise, decent food at a reasonable price makes it hard to resist.
And unusual breakfast today, using up some croissants from home, but with savoury fillings of aged red Leicester; one with chilli jam and another with chilli jelly.
Finished off the last of the Gail’s bread with tomatoes, lettuce and mayonnaise.
A crowd pleaser for the kids, pasta with a tomato sauce base, but with added chipolata sausages and some sweetcorn thrown in to provide a bit more the carbohydrates.
For myself and the better half, I did a grown up version of the same dish with mergeuz sausages, roasted red peppers and smoked paprika in the tomato sauce instead.
Two pleasant deliveries at work. Firstly, we all received a personalised Thortons egg for Easter. Then through the post arrived my delivery of spices and noodles from Steenbergs Organic. They do a really fantastic range of spices that are otherwise difficult to source, including organic rose and orange blossom water for my North African dishes.
Toby showed me a great little Vietnamese restaurant round the corner, Chao in Whitecross street, which serves one of the best Bahn Mi around (crunchy baguette with spiced meat, coriander and cucumber). It was absolutely heaving with a pretty long queue already by 12:30.
I went for a BBQ Pork Bahm Mi, a Spicy Hue Broth and a couple of pork Bahn Cuon (steamed filo rolls). Once I tucked in it was obvious why there is always a long queue. The Bahn Mi was wonderfully crunchy and tasty, and a mile away from a sad baguette from a standard sandwich shop.
In the evening it was off to a party at Bounce – allegedly the home of ping pong, just off Chancery Lane. It had surprisingly good nibbles for a catered event with the highlight being some pretty decent pancetta and olives.
Friday 29th (Good Friday)
Manic spring cleaning, so a simple meal of soup for all of us.
Being Good Friday, it had to be fish and chips from Mario’s, skate for me, cod for the girls and the better half. It’s rare to find a chip shop in London that does more than just cod and haddock, and skate is a lovely treat.
I normally grate beefsteak tomatoes for the sauce, but at this time of year they’re not readily available so I went for a tin of chopped tomatoes. As they are a bit sweeter, they needed a bit more vinegar, salt and soy sauce to sour it up but it did the job.
I also put on some chocolate orange brownies for a departmental meeting tomorrow, with a couple of mini brownies for the youngest who prefers them not to contain candied orange peel.
A simple salad made with living salad leaves and pancetta. I was hoping that the living salad would by a good alternative and brighten up the desk but our office is such a harsh environment with very little natural light so the pour thing struggled to survive.
The cous cous is a variation on Jamie Oliver’s recipe from The Naked Chef book. It includes cumin, coriander and fennel seeds, chilli and I add some spring onions just after the chicken stock to give it some crunch.
The important thing I learnt about cous cous was to not touch it once you have added the chicken stock. It may be hard to resist, but if you can manage it, the cous cous should stay pretty loose instead of becoming a stodgy mess.
The accompany the pastilla and cous cous, is some thick Greek yoghurt with chopped cucumber and orange blossom water.
One of our work lunches from Abokado, a Fragrant Red Thai Shrimp Pot. Personally a bit lack lustre and not enough chilli kick and spices for me. I think the brown shrimp were overcooked too, probably a result of the sheer number of meals they have to deliver at the same time.
School run, so a simple pasta with broccoli, baby corn and asparagus.
A bit of left over pasta from the school run yesterday.
For tea I cooked Spanish tortilla; thick egg omelette with red peppers and charlotte potatoes as a base, served with a light side salad.
A departmental lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant, Huong. I really enjoyed the starter of beef wrapped in betel leaves, followed by some very well cooked and tender stir fried squid in tamarind sauce.
In the evening it was off to a gig by Dead Sons (a Sheffield based band) at the Sebright Arms in Bethnal Green, which had the added advantage of being host to an outlet of Lucky Chip that Toby from work mentioned some time ago from it’s Netil Market venue
This week’s special was the return of the double pattie John Candy burger, which I ordered with wasabi and ginger fries.
It was a fine, if messy affair to eat, and the wasabi and ginger was a great alternative to the standard ketchup, although the chilli cheese fries that Toby ordered weren’t bad either.
Oh yeah, Dead Sons put on a good show, although were so determined to be louder than either support acts they did clip the sound on the sound system rather too often.
Off to our first swimming gala in the afternoon, for the eldest, so I had to be a bit more organised than normal. I got up early to get a white loaf through the bread machine for soup at lunchtime and for sandwiches for the gala.
I also made some chocolate brownies, as one of the other parents was spending her birthday at the gala. This was my standard brownie recipe, but the variation where I use candied peel and a bar of Maya Gold rather than chilli chocolate.
With a fresh loaf, it had to be soups for lunch for me and the girls. Heinz tomato for the youngest and Baxters Italian Wedding soup, a firm favourite of the eldest. The Italian wedding soup comes complete with meatballs, pasta and an array of vegetables and is very tasty.
For the girls, I made some sandwiches with tuna and sweetcorn to get them through the gala – which was a smart move. It started at about 5 o’clock in the afternoon and didn’t finish to well after 8 o’clock.
For myself and the other half, once the kids were in bed, I picked up a bag of chips from Mario’s, the lovely local chip shop we have in Isleworth, so it was an guilty pleasure of chip butties on the bread made in the morning. Awesome.
Market – Chiswick Farmer’s Market
Due to the gala I’d moved my market visit to Chiswick Farmer’s Market this week. It has a few regulars including the Thee Olive Tree, March House Farm and Ringden Farm. It also saw the return, after a couple of months break, of a Moroccan stall you can find at Hammersmith, Barnes and Chiswick. They make a lovely chicken and vegetable pastillas and spicy lamb flatbread.
After the market me and the girls headed off to Waitrose and then swimming in Brentford. The eldest couldn’t handle waiting for lunch to arrive, so chomped on the Lamb flatbread as we drove around. The youngest went for another tuna sandwich when we got back, using up some of the left over filling mixture from yesterday.
Tim Tam Slam
Some at work, back from holiday in Australia, brought back some Tim Tams and so I tried a Tim Tam Slam, where you bite off both ends and such tea through the biscuit. Apparently you can do it with a penguin biscuit too.
With some of the left over Lebanese flatbread, we had mergeuz (March House farm) sausages with salad, tomato puree mixed with Ras Al Hanut spice blend (from Steenbergs) and garlic mayonnaise. Very tasty, the Ras Al Hanut really makes all the difference.
Having bulked bought the Waitrose Paleta Iberica de Bellota when it was on offer, it was another simple ham salad. I’m going to have to be more imaginative when it runs out, although I will miss the ham.
Back in January I used half a sachet of Thai Taste, Kaeng Pa, or Jungle Curry Paste, and hadn’t got round to finishing it off.
While half a packet was perfect in the Thai soup I made back in January, it provided one almighty kick when mixed with only a single 160ml can of coconut cream to make a prawn curry with peppers and red onion.
Dinner – school run
A simple meal tonight, pork loin steaks, potato wedges and brocolli followed by some granola bars with cranberries from the in-store bakery in a Sainsbury’s near work.
The last of the barmbrack, toasted, with a pot of rose tea for breakfast at work. It really relishes lashings of butter – it’s not healthy, but it’s very tasty.
Bar – The Book Club
Dinner – Rotary Bar and Diner
Recommended by Toby, we headed down to a new pop up restaurant that has appeared right near our office called the Rotary Bar & Diner which provides another refuge for those who like a proper burger and top notch American classics (you can see their menu here).
We both went for hot chicken wings as a starter, which although not actually that spicy were completely and utterly awesome.
Not especially spicy but I can forgive that. The breadcrumb coating was incredibly crunchy, and underneath the chicken was juicy and succulent. Very fine.
For my main I chose the Rotary burger, and Toby went for a Fried Chicken burger, with both being served with dripping fries.
The burger came served with a classic gherkin, cheese, bacon, relish and the surprise ingredient, lightly pickled red onions. The pickled red onion was fantastic, providing a very clean finish to the juicy burger.
Highly recommended, and I can’t wait until the have tuned in their BBQ smoker and the currently crossed out items on the menu appear for real. Definitely a great addition to the Shoreditch food scene.
After such a hefty lunch, and after another few cheeky pints before heading home it was cheese and biscuits again. Never a chore for me though.