nicoise:monaco

Salad Nicoise

I was at the Cafe de Paris, just outside the Casino at Monaco. Their salad Nicoise was certainly ample. It had big chunks of tuna, hard-boiled egg, cucumber, anchovies, tomatoes, olives, capers, and of course lettuce. It went well with a Provence rosé wine.

ivy grill bar

Ivy Market Grill

The Ivy Market Grill is a fairly recent discovery for me. It’s very close to Covent Garden and has outside tables for warm days.  The menu is actually closer in style to the nearby Delaunay than to its parent Ivy, but it’s very good. And the bar is spectacularly large and decorative.

botantic chox

Just desserts

I was at a Vice-Chancellor’s Circle reception and tour at Cambridge’s Botanic Garden and Sainsbury Laboratory.  We saw some of Darwin’s specimens from his Galapagos trip.  Afterwards there was a champagne buffet lunch of sandwiches, plus some mini desserts, great looking and great tasting…

black rav

black lobster ravioli with crab

Cicchetti’s Italian restaurant on Piccadilly is a great discovery.  I like to sit at their long bar with a friend and sample their tapas dishes.  This time I had their black lobster ravioli with crab, done with tangy tomatoes in a tomato sauce.  It was outstanding.  The service was helpful and informative, too.

tomtart1

Tomato tart

The base is puff pastry rolled into a rectangle.  I use ready-made puff pastry because it’s too labour intensive to make my own.  I score an inner rectangle about three-quarters of an inch in, and spread green pesto inside it.  Then come the chopped tomatoes, the torn basil leaves and the crystals of sea salt. […]

lamb-quiche

Lamb, tomato and basil quiche

I make a quiche as a way of using up leftovers.  In this case I had cold sliced lamb I cut into pieces of about half an inch across.  After lining my dish with shortcrust pastry, I put strips of cheese to cover the bottom, then the pieces of lamb sprinkled with rock salt.  I […]

ivy mkt grill

Ivy Market Grill, Covent Garden

They had no tables left to book for lunch at the Ivy Market Grill in Covent Garden, but I knew they always keep a few spare for walk-in customers, and do not let people book the outside tables.  I took a chance and arranged for my friend and I to meet there at 12 noon. […]

lamb plate

Roast half leg of lamb

I roasted a half leg of lamb after first cutting slits in it to insert slices of garlic and rubbing it with large crystals of sea salt. I gave it 25 minutes per half kilo plus another 15, making 1 hour & 15 minutes to have it pink. I roasted par-boiled potatoes in goose fat […]

uncooked2

Prawn and bacon quiche

Left over from the previous night’s barbecue were 3 skewers of prawn and vegetables and a rasher of bacon. The shortcrust pastry was made from 4 oz of plain flour, a heaped spoon of oat bran and 2 oz of goose fat. It was lined with cheddar cheese, then in went chopped (cooked) bacon, prawns, […]

Bright Courtyard

Bright Courtyard Club

I returned to the Bright Courtyard Club in Baker Street.  It is up-market Chinese.  On my previous visit I had a special three course crab menu, including Alaskan king crab.  This time with two friends we shared a dim sum basket and then crispy aromatic duck with plum sauce and spring greens.  Both were first […]

Jesus:wine

Chassagne-Montrachet

The meal included Brussels paté, lemon & basil crusted cod fillet and strawberry & stem ginger Eton mess, and the wine went with it very well.  It was Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Chenevottes, 2006, a white Burgundy. Depending on exchange rates, it currently costs about £55 a bottle in the UK, though I’m sure Jesus College […]

souffle

Lunch at the Ritz

The Ritz hotel restaurant has to be among the poshest in London.  I had lunch there, starting with terrine of goose liver and going on to Bresse duck for the main course. Both were excellent, but the raspberry and elderflower soufflé with yoghurt sorbet took my breath away.  It was the best I’ve ever tasted, […]