Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Mushroom risotto

March 28, 2023

Adapted from Jamie Oliver One Pound Wonders mushroom risotto.


– mushrooms
– chicken stock
– dry vermouth
– white wine
– olive oil
– clove of garlic
– pinch of herbe de Provence
– red onion
– 2 sticks of celery
– risotto rice
– Lincolnshire Ploughman cheese


Chicken stock into a pot and bring is simmer.

Place a large non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat with slosh of olive oil.

Peel, finely slice and stir in the garlic for two minutes

Slice and add the the mushrooms, dried thyme and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Cook until the mushrooms start to caramelise and any wate stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat.

Remove the mushrooms to be returned later.b

    Peel the onion and finely chop with the celery. Add the the pan. Adda slosh of olive oil. Cook until softened.

    Once the veg has softened, stir in the rice to toast for 2 minutes.

    Return the mushrooms.

    Add vermouths d white wine.

    Keep adding stock, stir.

    Cook for around 15 minutes.

    Add Lincolnshire Poacher cheese and a dollop of creme fraiche.

    Plate. Sprinkle on top the cheese remains.


    Disappointed. Not as creamy as mushroom risotto at Old Ithaki.

    Rosemary roast chicken

    March 27, 2023

    Rosemary roast chicken with leeks, garlic, Brew Dog Punk IPA, butter beans, creme fraiche,  Colston Blue and baby leaf spinach.

    Adapted from rosemary roast chicken One Pan Wonders Jamie Oliver.

    – two hicken thighs & drumsticks, skin on bone
    – Brew Dog Punk IPA
    – two cloves of garlic
    – 400g tin of butter bears
    – one leek
    – Colston Blue Stilton cheese
    – sprig of rosemary
    – sprig of mint
    – crème fraiche
    – baby leaf spinach
    Preheat the oven to 180°C.
    Slosh of olive oil in a large shallow casserole pan  on a high heat. Add the chicken, fry for 10 minutes, or until golden all over, turning regularly, while you peel and finely slice the garlic, and wash, trim and very finely slice the leeks. Pick and roughly chop the rosemary leaves, then add to the pan with the garlic and leeks, season with sea salt and black pepper, mix well and cook for a couple of minutes to soften slightly. Ensure the chicken is skin side up, add a pinch of herbes de Provence.  Half-drain and add the butter beans.
    Roast for 45 minutes, or until the chicken pulls easily away from the bone, fan oven 180C.
    After 45 minutes,  move the pan to a medium-high heat on the hob. Bomb in little nuggets of Stilton and add the crème fraiche.
    Mix well, simmer for just a few minutes, wilt in the baby leaf spinach.


    Easy to prepare.

    A very tasty dish.

    Spinach Tomato and Butterbean Curry

    March 25, 2023

    A mild curry, packed with sweet roasted tomatoes, carthy spinach and butterbeans.


    – cherry tomatoes
    –  garlic clove
    – small piece ginger
    – red chilli pepper
    – coriander
    –  tin butterbeans
    – spice pot no. 19

    – garam masala
    – tin light coconut milk
    – half a mug white basmati rice
    –  star anise (to flavour rice)
    – cinnamon stick (to flavour rice)
    – baby leaf spinach


    Preheat  oven to 200°C.

    Halve, the cherry tomatoes.  Put them in a roasting tin. .Sprinkle a little sakt. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes, until softened.

    Peel and finely chop the garlic and ginger. Desced and finely chop the chilli.

    Chop the coriander stalks away from the leaves. Chop the stalks.

    Drain and rinse the butterbeans .

    Heat ½ tbsp of oil in a large pan. Add the ginger, garlic, coriander stalks and half the chilli. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir frequently.

    Add the spice pot and garam masala. Stir for approx. 30 seconds, until smelling fragrant.

    Add the butter beans. Stir the tin of coconut milk (emptying it into a bowl and whisking it together can work best), then add three-quarters of the tin of coconut milk.

    Simmer for 10 minutes. You might want a splash more water later (or the rest of the coconut milk if you don’t mind the

    Meanwhile, boil a kettle. Rinse the rice in the sieve. Add the rice, star anise, cinnamon and a pinch of salt to another saucepan. Cover the rice with plenty of boiled water. Bring it to the boil. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until the rice is just tender.

    Chop the coriander leaves

    When the tomatoes are ready, remove them from the oven and add them to the curry sauce. Then, handful by handful, stir in the spinach until wilted in.

    Drain the cooked rice. Remove the star anise and cinnamon

    Season the curry, stir in some of the coriander leaves and add more fresh chilli if you like.

    Divide the rice and curry between 2 bowls. Sprinkle over more coriander leaves to garnish.


    I should have added more rice.

    Other than the spices, another tasteless vegan dish. I neglected to season the curry.

    Light coconut milk a mistake. It would have been creamers d tastier if not used light.

    Lincoln farmers market

    March 25, 2023

    Saturday a week ago, third Saturday of the month, farmers market.

    City centre packed.

    Long wait for Walk and Ride, city centre gridlocked.

    Eventually turned up Out of Service, but driver offered to give it a go. Quicker to have walked.

    A long chat with an organic stall about honey and Honey Festival in Athens autumn last autumn. I picked up not sure what, turnip, parsnip. They reminded me of the market closed at two. It was already two.

    Last market there was a new stall, honey. Saturday not there, in its place another new stall, coffee.

    Not impressed by the coffee stall.

    Fresh salmon, but no crab. Raw milk, Poacher cheese, butter , but no creme fraiche

    Lunch at Elite on the Bail.

    Looked in Dough Loco. Will drop by one day and pass on what I learned of pizza making from world champion pizza maker at HoReCa.

    Walking down Steep Hill, Base Camp their window smashed. It will be expensive to repair, old building.

    Back down in the city centre late afternoon, drunken scum roaming the streets.

    Thyme Restaurant Premier Inn Gatwick North Terminal

    March 21, 2023

    On checking in to Premier Inn Tuesday evening of last week I was offered a meal deal of breakfast and dinner.

    Thyme Restaurant, pleasant ambiance, helpful and friendly staff.

    My steak dinner, luke warm, the chips disgusting. Otherwise reasonable. Poor choice of drinks, the rubbish would find in a pub. I paid extra for a glass of red wine. Steak and dessert, attracted an extra charge.

    Breakfast good, good choice.

    Better than any of the terminal eateries.

    Franco Manca sourdough pizza

    March 21, 2023

    Sunday an e-mail from Franco Manca, Monday pizzas six pounds each.

    I decided to give it a try.

    I knew what I wanted, tomato, cheese and dried oregano.

    I expected the restaurant to be packed, a long queue outside. It was nearly empty, no queue.

    Menu does not indicate the size of the pizzas. I learnt twelve inch pizza.

    Why sourdough? Traditionally the flour would be soft wheat 00.

    I asked for water. A bottle of water brought to my table, no glass.

    Sitting on the side near the pizza oven a pizza and what was maybe a couple of sides or starters. Why were they sitting getting cold, not immediately served to a table?

    My pizza was served on a cold plate, not sliced. By the time I ate my last two slices,  my pizza was cold.

    My pizza was excellent. Not as good as Slow Rise or Dough LoCo, nevertheless excellent and better than I expected.

    The one and only waitress was pleasant and helpful. Reviews on Google maps slam the poor service. I had no problem with the service, but did query how one waitress could have coped if the six  pound pizza offer had generated demand?

    Whilst no problem with the waitress the service was at best iffy.

    When I walked in, maybe 10% full. When I left, almost empty, two occupied tables with a couple of people at each table.

    A limited selection of cocktails. Curious, I asked how they made a Negroni. The waitress said we pour it out of a bottle. I thought she was joking. She brought over the bottle to show me,  Campari Negroni.

    Four cocktails, three of Italian origin, odd one out gin and tonic. But why no Americano, the precursor to the Negroni, a classic Italian cocktail?

    If offering cocktails, I do not expect to be offered ready mix cocktails poured out of a bottle. If lack the resources for cocktails, then remove cocktails from the menu.

    The coffee? No one knew, other than Italy. Italy is infamous for bad coffee. I learnt from their website, specialty coffee from Italy. But looking at their equipment, a cheap machine, no beans in the hopper and the coffee ground God knows when. Looking at the disgusting state of the ground coffee, I would have dumped in the bin. Coffee has to be freshly ground, weighed, for each cup.

    And no, I did not have a coffee.

    For coffee, equi-distance between Madame Waffle and Coffee Aroma. Monday, Madame Waffle closed, Coffee Aroma it was to be.

    My bill was brought with 10% service charge added. The offer was £6 for a pizza. I handed over six pounds cash. It is not acceptable to add a service charge.

    The robotic reply to critical reviews on Google maps is insulting. A robot would do better. When responding to critical reviews at least have the courtesy to address the issues raised.

    Franco Manca is a chain, that started in Brixton, spread across London, and now Lincoln. It was sold to a restaurant group headed by the former boss of bankrupt Pizza Express.

    Update: I passed by Franco Manca late afternoon early evening on Wednesday and Friday, on both occasions empty, one table occupied with a single customer.

    coffee + bites

    March 19, 2023

    Tucked inside the entrance to Athens International Airport.

    Is the cheese and spinach pie hot? Yes.

    It wasn’t. Nor was it very good. Nowhere as good as from Gregorys.

    Dipro soup in the cellar

    March 14, 2023

    Soup in the cellar beneath a derelict mansion.
    Packed. It was packed on my last visit.
    Chickpea soup. I was offered white wine. I declined.

    Fruit and vegetable market

    March 14, 2023

    I made as they were packing up. One stall not yet packed up.

    An orange, mandarins (or similar), cucumber, tomatoes. €1-50.

    Dried fruit and nuts

    March 14, 2023

    Outside Athens Central Market a row of shops with dried fruit and nuts, halva, spices, chocolate.
    I bought nuts, chocolate, dates. The quality of the nuts and fried fruit for higher than would find in the UK.
    Large urns which I assumed contained olive oil. No, peanut butter. The man lifted the lid. Wonderful aroma. I was tempted, but no jar. A jar was found for me. The smallest jar 500g, the next size 1kg.
    Not permitted to sell olive oil in bulk. Has to be in a bottle or can. This makes sense. I would not buy from a bulk container. Oxidised, rancid

    %d bloggers like this: