Thursday, June 30, 2011

Zigni House

330 Essex Road
N1 3PB

J joined me at Zigni House for a nice catch up over dinner. A Keynoir pass had given us £32 to spend at the restaurant, so we dived into the Combo Special for 2 people for £30 and then added a bottle of wine to go with it. Service was friendly but the food was very slow to come out - we probably waited about 45 minutes before it came out. Thankfully, it was good enough to be worth the wait. Using the soft, slightly sour injera bread to scoop up different meat and veggie dishes is one of my favorite ways to eat - then when you finish the little piles of food, you can attack the injera bread underneath which has soaked up all the remaining sauces and flavors. I've snapped up another Keynoir pass and will definitely be back.

Monday, June 20, 2011


5 William IV St

A blustery rainy night meant that P and I changed our original plans to go to Chowpatty Beach on the Southbank. After checking out the Ai Wei Wei exhibit at Somerset House, we headed towards Trafalgar Square and P had the brilliant idea of going to Terroirs. This cozy wine bar is hidden away but still popular, and we waited at the bar with a lovely bottle of refreshing white wine until we managed to snag a table. I believe their menu changes frequently so some of these dishes might not always be available, but we put together a delicious meal with some saucisson, duck rillettes, anchovies, artichoke, steak tartare and a beautifully wobbly vanilla panna cotta. It's a fantastic place to go to catch up with a friend over nice wine and perfectly prepared small dishes, and beats the pants off of most of the other restaurants in the area.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Asian-Style Cabbage Salad

A glut of veggies in the fridge meant that I had to think up something to do with them, fast. Here's a great way to use up crunchy vegetables when you don't feel like cooking.


1/2 head of white cabbage, shredded
2 cups of snowpeas (mange tout), sliced into thin strips
3 carrots, julienned
1/3 cup of dark soy sauce
1/4 cup of sesame oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp ground pepper
1/4 cup of sesame seeds, toasted


Place soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar and pepper in a container and shake hard to mix. Toss with cabbage, snowpeas and carrots in a big bowl. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Salmon and Dill Fishcakes

Ridley Road market is one of my favorite places to shop for food - the fruits and veg are cheap and fresh, and there are several fish stalls with great deals, especially for mackerel and salmon. I picked up a bag full of the salmon bones that are left when the fishmonger has cut off the salmon fillets for about two quid - and by quickly pan-searing them and pulling off the cooked salmon, I ended up with a medium-sized bowl full of juicy flaked salmon. When I was thinking about what to do with it, I remembered my new dill plant in the garden and how it was overflowing, so salmon and dill fishcakes became the plan.

2 cups flaked salmon
2 cups mashed potato
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
a small bunch of chives, chopped
1 cup of breadcrumbs (usually I use panko but this time I had some ground up wholewheat breadcrumbs in the freezer)
salt and pepper
Mix salmon, potato, dill and chives together in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste (and make sure you add enough salt). Take spoonfuls of the mixture and form them into patties with your hands. Pour the breadcrumbs onto a plate and then press the patties into the crumbs, making sure both sides are covered well. Heat a pan over medium heat with some vegetable oil and then fry on both sides until golden brown and crisp. Serve with a salad on the side (I paired this with the cabbage salad I'm posting next and it was devoured by A within seconds).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Jee Cee Neh

74 Burlington Road 

A trip to Surrey for a wedding meant that we could stop in New Malden on the way home. (A also managed to cajole me into a trip to Ikea but that is less relevant to this blog.) I've read a lot about this neighborhood as it boasts the highest concentration of Korean people in the London area and therefore is home to many Korean restaurants. I have a deep love for Korean food, kimchi and pajeon and barbecue being a few of my favorite foods. I've probably mentioned before that I really hate how banchan is usually charged here, unlike New York where you get amazing arrays of small dishes that come free before your meal. Thankfully, Jee Cee Neh has followed the NY tradition, and four dishes appeared shortly after we were seated - bean sprouts, kimchi, pickled spicy cucumbers and shredded radishes. The seafood pajeon was light and crispy and full of bits of clams, octopus, squid and prawns - and the spring onions had been carefully laid down parallel to each other before the pancake was cooked, making for a very attractive presentation. Since we weren't hungry enough, the barbecue that you cook yourself was not an option - instead we had some bulgogi which came on a hot metal cow-shaped plate - it was tender and balanced the sweet and savoury flavors well. This was A's first experience with Korean food and I am happy to report that he is a fan, which means we should be seeing more Korean food on here in the future.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Tortas Frontera

Chicago O'Hare Airport 

Thankfully, if you don't get a chance to go to XOCO, you can still eat the same menu at Tortas Fronteras, Rick Bayless' outpost in the airport.  A choriqueso pressed sandwich full of homemade chorizo sausage, roasted poblano, artisan jack cheese, tomatillo salsa was split between A and me. $8 is not cheap fora  sandwich, but the ingredients here are interesting and therefore more justifiable for the price. It was gone all too fast and made for one of the tastiest airport experiences I've had. Next time I'm in O'Hare, I know exactly where I'm heading for grub.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Portillo's and Barnelli's Pasta Bowl

100 West Ontario Street
Chicago, IL 60654

Obviously, on A's first trip to Chicago he was pretty keen to try a Chicago-style hot dog. We ended up at Portillo's after a failed attempt to get into a Rick Bayless restaurant (it was closed) but it turned out to be one of the best meals of our trip. In addition to the great hot dog, we had a combo Italian beef and chargrilled sausage sandwich, which was trashy and messy but fantastic, and my parents ordered a half slab of baby back ribs from the Barnelli's Pasta Bowl that was also inside the restaurant - they were fall apart tender and we certainly stripped the bones clean. I think my brother had a decent chicken parm and his wife got the chicken al'diavolo pasta which unfortunately came out swimming in grease. She only managed a bit before giving up in disgust. So my recommendations would be to stick to the Portillo's menu and the ribs - don't bother with the pastas.