Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Souvlaki with griddled tomato kissir

July 22, 2021

Beef souvlaki with griddled tomatoes and bulgur.

Greek souvlaki, English kebabs.

Kissir, Turkish salad

Overnight marinade diced beef. Finely chopped mint and olive oil, add salt, add the beef. After ten minutes, turn over the beef, leave for several hours.

I prepared at two in the morning. After two hours popped in the fridge. In the morning took out to reach room temperature. Add juice of half a lemon and cinnamon.

Bulgur wheat, add double of boiling water. Bring to the boil, allow to simmer for a minute. Stir in bouillon and olive oil oil. A little salt. Turn off the heat but leave on the heat. Fluff up. Add chopped herbs, mint and parsley. Save a little of the herbs for dressing. Add chopped onion. Squeeze half a lemon. Cover and leave.

Slice tomatoes in half. Mix in a bowl with rapeseed oil, finely chopped garlic clove. and tamarind.

Add tomatoes to griddle pan

Four kebab sticks. I used stainless steel. If using bamboo soak in water first to prevent burning.

Thread beef interlaced with peppers. Rest on pan suspended above the tomatoes.

Pan in an oven at 200C for 30 minutes. Turn skewers every five minutes. When turning, drizzle what us left of the marinade.

Dish very tasty.

Yet more problems with Riverford.

Yellow pepper bruised and going mouldy. Included a yellow pepper and red pepper

I only needed one pepper

I estimated cooking times. If an hour for a chicken thigh, try thirty minutes.

Tomatoes very poor for salad tomatoes, Tasteless. Fine for cooking.

Lincoln Cathedral Cafe

July 21, 2021

Where to start, lack of character, lack of ambience, outsourced, disgusting coffee, piss-poor service.

But let us start at the beginning.

The Cathedral had a lovely tea shop, wonderful ambience, back of the Chapter House, off the cloisters. It closed, the staff fired.

I ventured into the garden a few weeks ago, a couple of days before they opened. I walked in out of curiosity, to be shouted at as soon as I stepped over the threshold, Get Out.

Visitors walking in the garden came across to me and said they were appalled at the way I had been treated.

They went on to say were disgusted at the closure of the tea shop and said it was yet another example of how the Cathedral squandered money. I think if they knew how much they would be even more appalled. I have heard £7 million mentioned. Whether true or not I do not know.

A couple of weeks later I looked again, now open. Very busy. I was told has been much busier earlier.

I looked last week, thought I would try a coffee. We stop serving at four-thirty close at five. It was a little after four thirty.

Why, long daylight hours, warm weather, visitors milling around, why close at five?

Today, try again.

Fountain in the garden not working. Was it my imagination, was it not working when I was ordered to Get Out?

The fountain a monstrosity, unbelievably ugly. This could have been rough hewn limestone, as used in the construction of the Cathedral, smooth on the inside, lined with slate. There would be some leakage. Surround with a circular channel to collect the water.

Lining the footpath, low lamps, grey, less than foot high, ideal trip hazard.

Outside what was the Dean’s residence, tables and chairs in a sun trap. Ideal spring or autumn but not mid-summer, no parasols, no shade.

Inside, noisy, very hot.

Service abysmal. At least four waiting staff came to the table to take order. Completely disorganised.

Long wait for order. How long does it take a tea and coffee when they were not busy?

I went to inquire. I was lied to, told only eleven minutes had elapsed. I looked at the receipt which was stamped with the time. At least fifteen minutes had elapsed. Maybe they cannot count.

I asked why was there no parasols? We have only been open three weeks and did not know it was going to be hot. This is like saying we did not know summer happens.

I asked of the coffee they used. Did not know. I asked when I looked in a couple of weeks ago when I looked in when busy. I asked of the staff brewing the coffee. Did not know. How can be brewing coffee and not know?

Catering supply coffee.

I looked at the cakes. Very unappetizing. Looked like factory cakes.

I returned to my table.

No air conditioning. Very hot.

I then realised time on the receipt was when paid, not when ordered. Order taken, then sometime later asked to pay. Should that not be when finished? The norm elsewhere.

Drinks eventually arrived, Maybe half an hour after ordering.

What was wrong? Where do I start? Cup size far too large, looked as though carpet bombed with chocolate by a Lancaster bomber. I took one tiny sip, too hot, tasted as disgusting as it looked, cheap low quality catering supply coffee.

I took it back. En route was intercepted by a waitress. I explained what was wrong. She started to argue with me. It is never wise when you clearly know nothing about coffee to argue with a customer who does, especially when have just demonstrated how not to make coffee. I have had worse but this was pretty bad.

A young man then came to the table. Said I had complained. Did not introduce himself or explain who he was. I asked and learnt acting manager.

I explained what was wrong. He did at least listen. Unlike the waitress who threw a tantrum, not in my pay grade.

He then asked what would I like to drink? I had assumed a drink on its way. Did I really want cheap crap catering supply coffee? No. By now I had had enough. I asked for a glass of water and a refund. A glass of water was brought and a refund.

Near the table was what looked like a drinking fountain. It dispensed soap. I explained this should be clearly labelled as to what what it was. I can see a child, once worked out how to operate, white froth pours out, will think it a drink. It is foamed soap. An accident waiting to happen. I explained to the acting manager what appeared to be a drinking fountain should be clearly labelled. He claimed it was. No, all it had was the name of manufacturer or supplier, no explanation what it was. I assumed to be a drinking fountain, a child would assume the same.

And the tea? The cup as large as the teapot.

The staff were at least wearing masks which is more than can be said of the adjacent gift shop, where no staff wearing masks. I do not recall name badges worn.

Large posters in the café and gift shop promoting concerts. No mention of services in the Cathedral.

Menu on a plastic laminated sheet. Ideal for coronavirus transmission. I saw no staff cleaning.

We left several minutes before four. Staff were already vacuuming the floors.

When arrived mid-afternoon, not busy, less than a third full. When left, almost empty.

The ambience that of a station waiting room.

A classic example of outsourcing.

If they actually cared and clearly don’t, they would have sourced coffee from Seven Districts, employed a competent barista, bags of the Lincoln Imp coffee on sale in the gift shop.

If visiting Lincoln Cathedral, walk into Bailgate if wishing to eat as spoilt for choice. Try Bailgate Deli, falafel and salad excellent, Sanctuary on The Bail, their backyard a hidden gem. Or Elite on the Bail for fish n chips. Or if a nice day, sit on Castle Hill with a sausage roll from Redhill Farm shop. If wish for a coffee or tea, walk through Lincoln Castle and out the other side to Stokes at The Lawn where on a hot day it is pleasant to sit outside. For the very best coffee, walk down Steep Hill into the city centre and try Madame Waffle or Coffee Aroma. Also in Bailgate a very popular ice ream parlour, always a queue. On the way down Steep Hill, Bells serves ice cream, a traditional tea shop and unlike Lincoln Cathedral Cafe has charm and character. Another place of charm and character, Pimento a vegetarian restaurant half way down Steep Hill, teas served are from Imperial Teas opposite.

Support local businesses, money is circulated within the local economy.

I walked down into the town, sat outside Madame Waffle with Japanese iced coffee. Highly recommended on a hot day.

There are plans to use the café for meetings and conferences. I cannot think of a less suitable venue. And this has nothing to do with the catering, which is easily solved by ditching the current contractor. The rooms are very noisy, in the summer too hot. It would be nigh impossible to follow any conversation or comprehend a speaker.

The Cheese Shop Louth

July 15, 2021

The Cheese Shop is a tiny little shop on a street leading out of the centre of Louth.

I had passed by in the past on my way to the bus station, just out of the centre of Louth, made a mental note to visit.

My next visit, two people pissing about, who clearly thought it a joke. I waited twenty minutes, maybe longer, a queue formed. I gave up. A limit of two people in the shop, one could have left to give opportunity for another customer to enter.

Yesterday, a wander through the market and headed straight to The Cheese Shop. I thought I was once again out of luck, shop in darkness, door closed. I tried the door and it was open.

A big choice of cheese, which always makes choosing difficult, but I knew what I wanted, only problem was, I did not know the name.

A Caerphilly with a strange name, not made in Wales, I do not know the name but it’s from the West Country, maybe Somerset.

You want Gorwydd, said a voice from the bowels of the shop.

That’s right said I with confidence though in truth I did not know, though there could not be another Caephilly with a strange name produced in Somerst could there?

A slice was cut.

Old Amsterdam? No. I was offered a Gouda which I was assured was excellent. OK, a slice was cut. Or at least an attempt was made. The wire snapped.

Cornish Yarg, no, but I wished for another cheese from the same farm. I did not know the name and they not a clue what I was asking for.

Kirkham Lancashire, a slice of.

Cmpte a slice of.

Half a pork pie.

I would have liked a Cornish pasty. They buy in frozen, but would not sell to me frozen nor offer an explanation why not.

Excellent shop for cheese but completely clueless on coffee. Monmouth Coffee, pioneers in the 1970s, but sadly long lost their way. Coffee from Lincoln Tea and Coffee I would not touch with a barge pole.

Either stick to cheese and not sell coffee or seek advice of those who know coffee. The problem though is turnover not likely to be high and they would be selling old stale coffee.

Only buy coffee from a reputable coffee roastery or specialty coffee shop.

Very limited opening hours. Nine until three, Tuesday to Saturday.

I sampled the Caerphilly later. it as not Caerphilly it was not like, not if think Caerphilly dry and crumbly. Gorwydd moist and creamy.

Sri Lankan Golden Masala Curry

July 6, 2021

Two large sweet potatoes, peel, cut into wedges.

Two onions, slice in half, cut into wedges.

Fan oven 190C.

In a baking tray, onion and sweet potatoes, cold pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil, season with salt and pepper. Place in oven.

Ginger, sliced and diced.

One chilli pepper, slice down the middle, deseed, chop.

Turmeric chop.

Tender stem broccoli.

Cherry tomatoes.

Two cloves of garlic.

Cinnamon stick.

After 15 minutes in the oven, add tomatoes and vegetables and spices to the sweet potato and onion.

Also add Sri Lanka spice pot.

  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tbsp five-spic
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

Can of chickpeas, drain and rinse.

Add chickpeas and can of coconut milk to the roasting vegetables.

Should be cooked in a further 15 minutes.

Menu from Riverford, cooking times do not add up.

Already had cherry tomatoes Overripe, substituted for those from Riverford.

Although advised not to peel, I nevertheless peeled the sweet potatoes.

I thought broccoli was added too soon and would be overcooked. But no, crunchy.

Tasty if not delicious.

Unlike other Riverford meals, where the vegan always seemed to be lacking something, like er meat or the very least dairy, this dish well balanced.

Over generous portions, left over to be heated up another day, maybe add rice. But for how long?

Delivery not good. Left out when rain forecast. Box full of water, inner box within a paper bag, bottom waterlogged and fell to pieces. Left out to get soaked in the rain, will then add to compost heap. Fortunately contents fine and was used on day of delivery.

Promoted as Very Low Plastic. Marketing bullshit, no more or less plastic than any other Riverford delivery. Two compostable plastic bags for vegetables, one plastic box for spices, tomatoes and other spices in compostable box, onions  and sweet potatoes loose, cans of chickpeas and coconut milk.

Green pesto spaghetti with courgette and peas

June 30, 2021

In a hot frying pan, toast pine nuts for a couple of minutes until brown. Empty onto a plate to keep warm.

Pod fresh peas.

A small courgette, cut engthwise into thin slices. Not as easy as it sounds. Leave the end to grip, then what is left, cut into thin slices.

Into a pan of lighty salted water, add spaghetti. Cook for several minutes.

The last five minutes add the fesh peas to the spaghetti.

Last couple of minutes when spaghetti almost ready, stir fry with a little oil the thinly sliced corgette, add a few salad leaves, chopped dill, mint leaves stripped off stalks, rolled, then chopped. Return the roasted pine nuts to the pan

Drain the spaghetti and peas, add to the courgettes.

Add green pesto.

Plate.

Tasty albeit a little anemic.

This was a modification of a dish from Riverford, Pea and Mint Pesto Spaghetti. The Riverfrd menu required to make the pesto from scrratch. A criticism of Riverford for not mnetioniong this not inconsequential detail when ordering. Far too much hassle, I added a pot of green pesto from Waitrose, which luckily was reduced.

Piss-poor Riverford food delivery

June 25, 2021


Raining all day, has been raining since last night.

A Riverford delivery sometime before nine this morning.

White plastic drooped over two boxes, not covering, with net result boxes soaking wet.

That was how I found the boxes at lunchtime.

When I looked a couple of hours later, top box a pool of water inside, the bottom box sodden.

A delivery a couple of weeks ago, hot sunny day, box or boxes covered with white plastic. Net result, everything inside overheating.

This is the second time I have had to raise with Riverford problems with delivery.

And can it get worse?

Yes, Riverford changing delivery from Friday to Tuesday. No consultation with customers, simply an edict from Riverford advising of change.

Tofu and salad at Bailgate Deli

June 19, 2021

I was in two minds to eat at Bailgate Deli, it was a cool day, cooler than of late, but fish and chips at Elite on the Bail has not been up to their usual high standards of late.

A table was free, I took a seat.

I wished for falafel and salad.

All they had was fake burgers, not their usual menu. Oh why, when vegan food, vegetarian food, can be excellent, it does not have to ultra-processed vegan crap. I should have left, eat at Elite on the Bail.

I was offered, toasted tofu, maybe I was offered fried tofu, with salad. It sounded disgusting but was surprisingly quite good. Generous portion size.

Next weekend? Sadly more ultra-processed vegan crap. Obviously avoid weekends and eat weekdays. A shame because it will give any visitors a bad reputation of the place.

Normandy Pork and Cider with Tenderstem

June 18, 2021

Peel potatoes, cut into wedges, par boil for ten minutes.

Potatoes in roasting pan, rapeseed oil, season with salt and pepper. Oven fan 200 C.

One red onion, slice into wedges, add to the potatoes in roasting pan after fifteen minutes.

Add two diced garlic cloves.

Cook potatoes and red onions for a further thirty minutes.

Core, then thin slices one apple.

To a frying of hot rapeseed oil, fry the sliced apple for a couple of minutes. Remove to a plate to return to he pan later.

Add two pork loin chops to the pan, season with alt and pepper, cook a couple of minutes each side until brown.

Douse in dry cider. Boil off about two-thirds of the cider.

Add double cream for the sauce.

Add mustard, add chopped chervil

For a little over five minutes, add the tenderstem broccoli to the water used to par boil the potatoes.

Drain the broccoli, remove from the oven the potatoes.

Plate, pork loin, potatoes, broccoli, pour over the sauce.

Delicious.

I was not going to use the pot of double cream, I thought I had a pot already open but did. Used about two-third of a small pot of double cream/

The French mustard was a mistake, overpowered the pork.

The smell of the cider boiling was not pleasant. I thought maybe substitute craft beer, eg Brew Dog Puck IPA, but then would not be a tilt to a classic Normandy dish.

Maybe try again but this time with new potatoes not old, but still roasted, fresh peas instead of broccoli.

Served with Brew Dog Punk IPA. I think red wine would be a better choice.

Risotto primavera

June 16, 2021

Pot of vegetable stock.

Chop and dice carrot and onion, fry in large frying pan for 15 minutes.

Add Arborio rice.

Splosh of white wine.

Asparagus, bend and break off wooden stems, drop into vegetable stock pot.

Slice tips off asparagus stems, slice stems into short sections.

Ladle stock into frying pan to stop drying out. Continue for twenty minutes.

Add last ten minutes, asparagus stems, sugar snap peas that have been topped and tailed.

Last five minutes, add asparagus tips and peas.

Add a knob of butter and Old Winchester cheese.

Serve, with a little Old Winchester cheese as dressing.

Accompany with glass of white wine.

Follow with slices of watermelon as dessert.

Pork and garlic mushroom gnocchi

June 12, 2021

Pan of salted boiling water.

Slice mushrooms, add oil to hot pan, fry in large pan for a few minutes. Remove from pan, pop on a plate.

Fry in same pan minced pork until brown, add a little oil first.

Add three cloves of finely diced garlic to the pan.

Strip spinach from stalks, slice the leaves.

Return mushrooms to the pan.

Add herbs de Provence.

Add spinach.

Drop gnocchi in pot of boiling water, cook for 2-3 minutes. No need to drain the water, the gnocchi will rise to the surface when ready, scoop them out and add to the frying pan.

Add creme fraiche.

Add chopped parsley.

Ready to serve.

Excellent with glass of red wine.

Follow with fresh watermelon for dessert.

Gnocchi is not something I have ever tried before, let alone cooked. It was excellent.

Note: I used two and a half cloves of garlic which was about right. More than three cloves would overpower with the garlic.

Easy to use freshly prepared, but is wish to make Gennaro Contaldo shows how.


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