Thursday, 17 May 2007

Jellyfish, Tripe and Turnip Cake!

Today I went to a fun GTG of folks from the BBC Food Chat board. We met for lunch at Crispy Duck on Gerrard Street in China Town and shared a huge array of dim sum. Many dishes were familiar favourites (scallop dumplings, prawn dumplings, pork dumplings, thai octopus, turnip cake, sticky rice parcels and more) but I also tried some new dishes including jellyfish, served cold, sliced with cucumbers, a little like bang bang chicken and tripe, served, well just in gelatinous little strips.

I was surprised to enjoy both, especially the jellyfish. I hadn't expected to like the tripe given the sheer number of people who find it disgusting. It's still not something I'd necessarily choose to order but I'd happily eat it again.

I really like being able to try something new... I think it's good to expose myself to something different alongside all the firm favourites.



Sunday, 6 May 2007

Mini Restaurant Review: Al Shami (Lebanese), Oxford

On Saturday Pete and I visited Oxford to attend a BBC Food Chat board GTG in Lebanese restaurant Al-Shami.

We had a very nice meal indeed. I always forget how prices are so much less outside London.

For £15 a head (group of 9) we were served a fantastic mix of cold and hot starters (9 different ones plus bread and they took care to duplicate each one at both ends of the table). Starters included hummus, crunchy falafel, grilled chicken wings, pastries filled with a bitter green leaf, little lamb kebabs, deep fried cauliflower, a cold haricot bean and tomato sauce dish, some pale green beans and a lovely leafy tabbouleh. After those we had a nice selection of mains such as lamb and chicken pieces grilled on a skewer, lamb kebabs, a lovely mixed vegetable dish and some more that I can't remember served with two rice dishes and more bread. The cover charge of £1 per person covered the large serving of un-dressed fresh, raw salad vegetables that came out pre-starter - a refreshing start actually. Drinks, desserts and dark, cardamom-infused coffee were extra but the bill was still very reasonable indeed.

For those in Oxford craving Lebanese (a lot in common with Turkish and most Middle Eastern cuisines) I'd recommend this place.


Wednesday, 2 May 2007

What did I eat on holiday?

We recently returned from a 5 day holiday (3 nights in Bruges and 1 in France) that I'd organised as a GTG for members of an online photography community.

In just a few days I put on 1.5 kilos! How?

* Belgian shrimp croquettes (coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried)
* A fabulous shrimp starter in a creamy sauce
* Ostrich in a rich, cream and boursin sauce
* A huge waffle smothered in fresh strawbs, chocolate sauce and whipped cream
* A fabulous breakfast (3 times) of smoked fish, cheese, cold meats, fresh fruit, tinned fruit and boiled eggs, fruit juice. No carbs but fairly calorie heavy anyway!
* A croque madame (toasted ham and cheese sandwich topped with a fried egg) and frites
* A thick banana milkshake
* A thick chocolate milkshake
* Several full fat coca-colas over the course of the trip
* Some Belgian fruit drinks branded Looza
* Another starter of shrimps in creamy sauce
* Flemish beef stew with frites and apple compote
* Ice-cream filled profiteroles with chocolate sauce and whipped cream
* Steak and frites
* Another waffle with strawberries, chocolate sauce and whipped cream
* A starter of smoked salmon with toast
* The best spare ribs I've ever eaten in my entire life with a few frites on the side
* Chocolate mousse, ice-cream, raspberry sauce, chocolate sauce and whipped cream
* Mussels in garlic butter and bread with butter
* Foie gras with brioche and a fruity compote
* A glass of Sauternes dessert wine
* Scallops in puff pastry with creamy sauce
* Duck breast with cooked fruits and gravy
* Cheese
* Dessert
* Another breakfast consisting of croissant, bread (with butter and jam) and pains au chocolat
* Some belgian chocolates (though actually not very many)
* Some raspberry jelly suits called Cuberdons/ Noses
* A lunch of cheese-filled pasta with mixed cheese sauce
* Probably some other stuff that I've missed out!!!