Soy-fried prawn and steak noodle soup bowl

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I love bowls of noodles, filled with comforting soup and various toppings. It feels like a cure for sickness. There’s something so lovely about warm noodle soup, whether it’s summer or winter.

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This version is the fancy kind, like an upgraded noodle bowl. I chose a nicer piece of steak (rump, to be precise because I prefer it over sirloin) so though it ended up with smaller amounts for each person, the bits we had were lovely. But more importantly, I don’t find that you need that much meat in any case, because there’s so many other lovely things alongside the steak in the noodle bowl.

Like the prawns, which are flash-fried in soy sauce so that the latter kind of caramelises around the shell of the prawn, and creates a delicious, slightly smokey flavour that really sets in when you peel them. If you’ve never had prawns this way, I suggest you try it, with or without the noodles — it’s my favourite way of cooking shell-on prawns or langoustines, or even crawfish!

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As you may have read before, I love recipes where elements are easily swapped or changed or added or detracted. So this recipe is my kind of heaven. Don’t fancy steak? Just sub in some slow cooked pork belly, some teriyaki chicken, or some baked tofu. Don’t want prawns? Change it for some other type of seafood, or skip it altogether and add more of the mushrooms. Don’t like parsley or mint? Try coriander. Prefer egg noodles to rice udon noodles? Go ahead. Want to change the vegetable stock? Go ahead.

It’s a superb sort of base recipe to implement your ideas and what you fancy on the day. So have fun, and get creating!

Makes enough for 3 light dinners, or more for 2 people.  Read More

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Sticky pomegranate chicken thighs with quinoa mint & walnut salad

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I’ve still never quite got ‘with it’ in regards to quinoa. I absolutely fell in love with it in Malta, where I tried a little of mum’s dish in a restaurant in the centre of Valletta. Since then, it’s never quite been the same, and I tend to favour bulgur wheat as my grain of choice (I’ve never been a fan of rice, or even pasta, in the first place).

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But I’ve been giving it a go, and I think next on my hit list is some quinoa fritters. Any thoughts on those? I think they sound quite nice. I did like this salad, so perhaps I’m coming round to the quinoa way, and my parents loved it. I hope you do too! The chicken is wonderfully sticky from the pomegranate molasses, though I don’t think the flavour comes out very much, and thus the pomegranate seeds scattered on top are the true heroes! They make a lovely pop, like they did in my sea bass dish from last month.

This is a pretty great filling lunch or dinner, and makes enough for roughly 4 servings.  Read More

Honey & rosemary venison carpaccio

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This is such a simple dish to make, and takes very little time overall. It makes a lovely starter for a dinner party, or even a wonderful accompaniment with a fresh salad. I’ve also tried variations upon the marinade, including; crushed juniper berries, rosemary, crushed garlic and olive oil crushed juniper berries, sage, dried thyme, and olive oil Most have worked very well, so take the guidelines, and play with the flavours! I think the honey here lends a lovely sweetness that cuts against the richness of the meat. Makes a starter enough for 4-5 people.

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Chicken piccata

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I don’t know where I’ve been on this earth without knowing this dish. It’s quick, easy and so rewarding. The chicken remains tender, despite using breast (I think it’s one of the driest pieces available, and therefore requires more treatment in order to prevent it becoming so), and the lemony-garlicky flavour is just divine.The dish originates from Italy, where it’s made with veal but this chicken version is from the States and has newly made my list of favourite quick meals. Simple does not mean basic.

Basically, go make this, because it’s definitely worth your time. Mashed potatoes or pasta would likely go well with this, or even just fresh vegetables.

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Serves 3-4 as a main.

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Dinner at Vinotheque, St. Julian’s, Malta.

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Yes, I realise we’re talking a long time ago. Like, months ago. But you know, I realised I hadn’t posted these gorgeous pictures, and it’s bitterly cold and the frost seems to bite your cheeks and nose when you’re out, so what better time for a little reminiscing on sun and summer? (more on sun in a minute, in case you’ve noticed I’ve been quiet for a little while now).

So, without further ado, I present these gorgeous plates from a wonderful evening at a restaurant from our summer trip to Malta. Vinotheque utilises the French style of cooking, and though we returned for a second night and it was much less successful (it was a sort of grill/buffet evening, probably where we went wrong there), this first trip was utterly delightful from start to finish.

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First up, I chose rabbit livers on brioche. Too much goodness, seriously. Plating, unless at one of those swanky-slate-plate-types of places, is usually incredibly generous in Malta. But, in this case, I didn’t hesitate to scrape the plate clean. So creamy, so indulgent.

(I would regret it in the end not really.)

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Dad chose the chicken liver pate, with toasted brioche. Again, very generous with three thick slices of the pate. Again, creamy and rich, but delicious.

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Mum chose a lighter starter (very wise) and went for the special, beef carpaccio. Look at those colours! I have to say, most places in Malta do a very good beef carpaccio. Clearly a favourite around the island, and when the quality is like this 99.9% of the time, I can definitely see why.

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And for the mains. Oh, boy. This first trip happened to coincide with a special lobster-centred menu, and all 3 of us chose from that menu for our mains. Dad and I both went for this risotto with two gigantic claws. I honestly could not finish my plate for the life of me–it’s the one fault I find with Malta, the portions are entirely too big! However, I presume that’s precisely how the Maltese like it…

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And for my mother, the lobster spaghetti. Simply beautiful, and again, a wiser portion size decision. Despite the less successful second try, this restaurant honestly impressed me so much. A little quirky, with the décor clearly mimicking the interior of a French bistro, service was great, and the food was phenomenal. What more do you want?

Sweet Chilli Oven-Baked Crispy Chicken Wings

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Crispy chicken. Like fried chicken. Without the frying process. Yeah, I’m pretty excited, but I’ll stop with the whole full stop thing now. It’s just that, I love making fried things even if they aren’t the epitome of health, however, I pretty much hate the frying process. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I love the fried product! But not so much the splattering hot oil everywhere…

So. Here’s a pretty damn good compromise. Just like you would with fried chicken, we keep the soaked-in-buttermilk process to keep the meat nice and moist inside when cooking, and then we coat them in panko breadcrumbs, and pop them in the oven to get crisped up. I promise you, it’s like panko-fried chicken, which sounds pretty great if you ask me. If you ask me again, it tastes even better! 😛

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Plus side? Oven baking obviously makes it healthier, and makes you feel full, without like a bag of lard that heavier fried foods make me feel afterwards. Result.

To make it even better, I made a sweet-spicy sauce from a few kitchen stock ingredients to make things even messier, but even more delicious. So much so that, in fact, it disappeared pretty quickly…

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I’ll take that as a compliment.

Serves around 3-4 people as a light dinner or lunch, alongside accompaniments, or 5-6 as a light snack.  Read More

Review; Lunch at Tokyo Diner at the högtorgshallen plus Bonus Snails

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I’ve walked past this place a few times. I’ve seen the gorgeous plates of sushi served to guests at this small little booth-type place, tucked into one corner of the Högtorgshallen at the top floor. There’s about maybe eight high tables with bar stools, and some more seating right at the bar in front of the chefs. Because it was sushi, and it was in the centre of Stockholm–not to mention in the Högtorgshallen, a fancy type of saluhall (a food hall for non-Swedes).

However, this time, my friends and I went for lunch after a hot morning of shopping in town, deciding what the heck, we didn’t need a lot — we were just craving some good, light fish and we thought this place looked so good. Turns out, it wasn’t that expensive–not cheap, but for the quality and the portions (plus bearing in mind, you know, the cost of Sweden) it was fine with us.

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One friend chose these wonderful pulled pork tacos, with spiced mayo and fennel salad, for about 150 SEK. The pulled pork was amaaazing, us two others snuck a bite each, and ended up in taco heaven. The spice was pretty strong, but it suited the overall dish. Not for the faint-hearted, but it was honestly delicious. For meat lovers ending up at a sushi place! 😛

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My other friend chose Chirashi sushi (about 156 SEK, I think?) — bites of fish, like sashimi, over a bed of sushi rice, served with squid salad and seaweed salad. There was white fish pieces (monkfish and seabass, I believe), salmon, tuna, prawns, scallop, and lojrom. It was so beautiful, and seemed to taste pretty good too, because it was gone quickly. He and I were both served miso soup first for our choice.

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And mine? I chose the sashimi platter, something I usually don’t do, but I’m glad I made the exception. I chose the small plate for 165 SEK, but next time, I’ll choose the big one, even if it is 265 SEK (we saw one couple order it, I’m pretty sure I was catching flies!)–nonetheless, I was super pleased with my choice. Beautiful morsels of fish; tuna with a thick soy dress, slightly smoked salmon, normal salmon fillet pieces with mashed ginger, monkfish with black salt, thin slivers of sea bass, sweet prawn tails, and a cut scallop stuffed with lojrom. Mine also came with squid salad, and seaweed salad, as well as some thin strands of beetroot. Seriously, all of it was so good.

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It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I’ll dither between the thick chunks of monkfish with the salt, and the scallop stuffed with lojrom. Both were so tender and fresh. If you’re looking for sushi, and don’t want to have the fanciness of RaKultur in Stockholm, but want something a bit better than the average Chinese-Japanese-Thai-Indian-Sushi mess of a place (I kind of love them, but they have their place 😛 ), try Tokyo Diner. Just a note; the food places upstairs close at 6pm, so lunch here is best, unless you embrace being a Swede and eat super early!

When I got back home, I was still comfortably full from our lunch, and decided to buy some snails for a quick and easy dinner.

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A shed load of parsley-garlic butter, and we’re good to go. Happy weekend, everyone!