28.5.15

Chubby Chicken Legs with White Wine, Olives and Caperberries

Spring: the prettiest season by far and definitely less demanding than its summer counterpart. There’s not a wedding on every available weekend, there’s no need to book a holiday due to the copious bank holidays and it’s absolutely unnecessary to bare legs, which helps on the body admin front, a lot. Heck, even wild flowers make the motorway roadsides look idyllic.


We are eating easier, fresher food than the heavy recipes of the winter months and accompanying them with a salad rather than stodge. So, here we were on a spring evening and I cooked a deceptively simple dish for eating al fresco (when I say al fresco, I really mean directly under a patio lamp). I once heard tell that you can taste the quality of a wine that is cooked in a recipe and remembering this and being fully aware that any wine not included in the recipe was to be drunk at dinner, I opted for a beautiful Lindeman's Bin 65 chardonnay. Whole chicken legs are simply placed in an ovenproof dish with olives, caperberries, fresh tomatoes, Parmesan, wine and garlic and baked until the ingredients have mingled and become united. Serve straightaway with fresh greens and a chilled glass of wine.




Chubby Chicken Legs with Tomatoes, Olives and Caperberries


Serves 4



Prep Time – 10 minutes
Cook Time – 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp olive oil
75ml dry white wine (I used Lideman's Chardonnay)
100g freshly & finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 big gloves of garlic, peeled and very finely sliced
4 plump chicken legs, skin on
4 fresh tomatoes, halved
A handful of black olives (125g)
2 tbsp caperberries
Fresh bread to serve

DIRECTIONS
1/ Preheat the oven to 180C, fan 160, gas 4
2/ Add the olive oil; white wine, half of the Parmesan and garlic to a 2-litre oven proof dish and stir vigorously to combine. Add the chicken legs and coat well with the sauce. Add the tomatoes, olives and capers to the dish and toss in the sauce.
3/ Turn the chicken so the plump side is facing up and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan to cover as if a sheet of snow. Cook for 35-40 minutes until the chicken meat is pulling away from the bone. Remove from the oven and give a final dusting of Parmesan.
4/ My suggestion would be to serve with a hunk of bread and chilled glass of white wine.


17.5.15

How to Make a Naked Cake

Now that we are fully moving into summer, it seems that everyone (and all their friend’s of friend’s and family members and work colleagues…) has something to celebrate. Either someone is getting married, or there’s a birthday, a leaving party – SO MANY PARTIES WE JUST CAN’T KEEP UP.

But, as every cloud has a silver lining, every occasion has a cake – or 100% should do in our opinion. And if you are half as obsessed with cakes and bakes as we are, you have probably come across naked cakes. Now, these are not half as risquĂ© as they seem – there is definitely nothing Dita Von Teese would find interesting here – but they are stunning to look at, if done well, and a pretty certain hit at any event.

Naked cakes are a classic example of less is more. You let the ingredients speak for themselves by leaving it all up to simple decoration and beautiful food. Just have a glance at ‘Take One Pot’ and ‘Take One Veg’ and you’ll see this is what I’m all about.

A naked cake, then, is a multi tiered stunner of sponge (in this case, chocolate), a contrasting ganache or buttercream, topped with some seasonal berries or flowers. What could be more beautiful for a British summer time party?

So first: the sponge. The cakey foundation on which all else is built. Most importantly, pick your flavour be it chocolate, vanilla, red velvet, maybe lemon and thyme – this is an area for real creative spark. You’ll need to bake at least three tiers to make this look as ‘wow factor’ as possible, working from the largest base to the smallest top tier. Once baked and risen in a way that would make Mary Berry gleam with joy, split horizontally into three more layers so that you have a 6 in total.

Then, the icing. White chocolate ganache here ALL THE WAY as it needs to be strong enough to support the cakes but tasty enough to leave your guests coming back for more. But most importantly, it needs to be a contrasting colour to the sponge. So I went for white chocolate to stand out against the dark sponge. Then, between each layer, just spread the frosting all the way to the edge, start building and pipe any into exposed edges. Finish the look with a palette knife. 

Lastly, cover the whole thing in a flurry of flowers – no piping bags or fondant here. Just seasonal, pretty, fresh flowers that work at any celebration; mine was a May birthday dinner. What could be more beautiful? 


10.5.15

I Know This Great Little Place in Soho



If you’re anything like us, eating out is one of life’s pure joys. Somebody else cooks, cleans up and plies you with wine all night. What could be better? But more often than not, it’s a blessing and a curse because as social convention states, you only get to have one starter, main and dessert. That’s your lot. Just. Those. Three. But what if we can’t choose?! What if we want it all?! WHAT IF OUR DATE DOESN’T ORDER SOMETHING DIFFERENT AND WE CAN’T TRY EACH OTHER’S?! It’s a real panic point.

But fear not because 10 Greek Street is the perfect place to go, if, like us, you simply will not be forced into this strict choosiness. Bring on the tasting plates! Slap bang in the middle of Soho sits the Google maps friendly named restaurant, 10 Greek Street. It’s a real ‘blink and you miss it’ spot because of its subtle signage but keep your eyes peeled for the large open windows and suitably edgy dark exterior and you’ve got it.

Now, if there’s one criteria that you judge a restaurant on, chances are your entire evening out will hang terrifyingly on this one point. For some, it’s the prettiness of loos (yes…I know). For others, it’s the size of the smile on the waiter’s face. But over here, it’s if there’s free bread. The smallest of offerings, the BIGGEST of returns. We love a carb fest so bring on the house-made still-warm-to-the-touch bounty with all of that olive oil and balsamic and you are firmly in our good books. So congrats 10 Greek Street, you’ve started out well.

This is sharing food / tapas style / indecisive dining at it’s best. You can pick from larger or smaller versions of most dishes, meaning that if you just can’t bear the thought of a small plate of burrata with polenta and morels (OH YES) then you can fill up without having to limit yourself to just one darn plate. The menu is super ingredient focussed with dishes designed to showcase all the individual beauties off like the best kind of foodie beauty pageant. On top of this, it’s extremely seasonal – often switching out dishes completely, week to week. So all the more reason to just go ahead and get all those sides. They might be gone before you blink.


With small plates starting at £6 and mains going up to £19 it’s not what you would describe as a ‘bargain diner’ but it’s definitely reasonable for the quality of the dishes. The perfect place to try everything and regret nothing.