Fish Week – in lockdown

We are now running low on innovation and so decided on fish week. We would love suggestions. Oily fish is very good for the brain, and we need a restart soon as our brain power has been reduced following all the bingeing on old and new TV series together with zoom meetings. There is plenty of evidence that this passive screen watching is not good for independent thought – may explain why our blogs have a much reduced vocabulary.

Our first effort was fresh mackerel. It was bought from a well known Brixton superstore, even though one of the great things about food in Brixton is the number of proper fishmongers. So apologies to them and perhaps we owe them an update our previous post on the subject – see here – one of our most read. It was served with fresh salads, including the potato salad with some excellent homemade mayonnaise. We probably overdid the size of the serving, as this could have been halved and still enjoyed.

Next was salmon. Another oily fish and easy to get hold of – this is the M&S version – served with fluffy mashed potatoes and broccoli – but importantly a lemon and caper sauce that i am told by the chef is a “doddle”.

Last we have some smoked salmon spaghetti with a chilli and lemon sauce. It came from an online recipe and, to be honest, was a bit underwhelming. It was probably underseasoned and missed the chives that were specified.

English Week During Lockdown

This week started with Olleys Fish and Chips and we always over-order so included “three-fried chips” in this homemade fry-up with a Brixton twist of fried (and caramelized plantain). Fried bread from leftovers, and of course HP sauce. Totally delicious even despite the cholesterol high.

I really like mackerel and we bought some in the market but argued about which stall. We served it with mange tout and smashed new potatoes with “chopped shallots” or spring onions to most of us – also from stalls in the market. It was all topped with homemade horseradish sauce … horseradish from the Chinese supermarket on Electric avenue. Probably too much fish for one plate so next time we will try to find a more taxing recipe than …. grill it.

Peas, brown sauce and Quorn Shepherds pie – onions and some tomatos – Quorn from Brixton Wholefoods

Cauliflower cheese – Tesco’s Cheddar cheese and the green things are the outer leaves of the Cauliflower – as advocated by Jamie. They were cabbagey and did taste of cauliflower – we recommend this no waste tip. Veg from Brixton market or En Root

Chinese Week during Lockdown

The Year of the Ox has started, so it is Chinese week. It began with a blow-out meal from Hakkasan, which we didn’t quite finish. So with the leftovers we produced a duck inspired meal with wok fried vegetables and jasmine rice – both from the Chinese supermarket in Electric Avenue. None of the pictures looks that appetising, but they were all delicious.

We love mushrooms (Tesco’s finest) so this is again a stir fry with seaweed and coriander – again from the Chinese supermarket

Mapo tofu – tofu again from the Chinese supermarket. They have loads of things to browse but it is difficult to choose one type of soy sauce from the many on offer. But they do have some that is gluten free. The only problem with Mapo tofu is the grit from the ground Sichuan pepper that never seems to be in small enough grains.

To make a change from rice, our last dish in Chinese week was spicy spinach (chili spice) with noodles – an incredibly tasty but fantastically easy dish to make. A long time family favourite that introduced the children to spicy food. Back then the only place to buy oriental ingredients was the little Chinese store in the long-lost Station Arcade.

Italian week during lockdown.

We are trying to improve our culinary creativity by concentrating on a specific country’s cuisine and doing our best with the ingredients provided in Brixton. We are following up our Maremma takeaway (see here) by going for Italian. The first offering in “Italian week” was designed by happen chance – you agree to all the substitutions in the online shopping and then discover that you now have not a standard sized haggis but the jumbo one. This fed us on Burns night, with some going to neighbours and family (no contact delivery nearby of course) but we still had some leftover so, after the haggis toastie, we invented “Left-over haggis with rigatoni”. Which was delicious with the added tomato and impossible to eat without a glass of red wine.

Our latest box from En Root (see here for details) contained aubergines this week and with the excellent Lidl parmesan we were able to produce “Melanzana Parmigiana” (Aubergine Parmesan) with some culture clashing patatas bravas and beans.

One of the favourites of the week was produced from the “Friends of Mine” Italian delicatessen in Coldharbour Lane. They sell large bags of coffee beans and an array of wine, cheese and pastries. We cought our Pasta di Semola di Grana Duro con vino Barolo – Pink pasta – and matched it with a mushroom cream sauce.

But towards the end of the week and in the current rainy weather you need something hearty and we did have a lot of leftover veg. So we made a sort of Italian vegetable soup – but not a classic minestrone. We used the stuff in the fridge plus home-made pesto and again some leftover rigatoni. Warming and delicious and surprisingly vegan, apart from the Parmesan of course.

Korean week during lockdown

We needed something to do to make lockdown a bit more bearable. So, after the takeaway from Kuma, see here, and some hints from Nigella, we embarked on a Korean week. Lots of dishes seem to come with a fried egg and heavy doses of gochuchang, but that’s no hardship. Gochujang is Korean food’s hallmark red chili paste made from chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybean and salt.

All the food comes from local Brixton supermarkets, especially Wing Tai, the chinese supermarket in Electric Avenue, or the market. You do need tofu, chickpeas, spinach, bean sprouts, radish, rice and a bit of salad, together with a secret ingredient, fish fingers. We added some relishes – kinchi (Wing Tai on this occasion but you can make your own) and cucumber pickle – made in house. All are really simple to make. Here are the dishes:

Chickpea Bibimbap

Tofu and peanut Bibimbap

Fish finger sandwich with Gochuchang mayonnaise and salad

We also had a rice dish with fish fingers, but we were so hungry that we ate it all before we remembered to take a photo.

En Root – plant powered goodness – restaurant delivery

Address: 5 Ascot Parade, Clapham Park Road, SW4 7EY
Tel: 020 8001 6603

Email: enrotldn@gmail.com
Website : https://www.enrootldn.co.uk/
Instagram/Facebook: @enrootldn

Open for delivery orders: Thursday to Saturday – Noon to 9:00 pm.

Today we tried a home delivery of their ready meals. This follows the delivery of a box of fresh fruit and vegetables (see review here) that we agreed was a great success. They offer Indian inspired food that includes gluten free and vegan options and and is all veggie. And we agree with the claim that this is definitely “plant powered goodness” with “Indian fusion, international confusion”. Continue reading

En Root – plant powered goodness

EnRoot02Address: 5 Ascot Parade, Clapham Park Road, SW4 7EY
Tel: 020 8001 6603
enrotldn@gmail.com
https://www.enrootldn.co.uk/
@enrootldn

This is an outfit that mainly offers home delivery for their menu of hot food, but also, almost as a sideline, will deliver a box of fresh fruit and vegetables. They are open for hot food Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They describe themselves as offering “plant powered goodness” with “Indian fusion, international confusion” that emphasises fresh fruit and vegetables. The restaurant menu has many gluten free and vegan options, which we plan on trying soon when our larder runs out. Continue reading

Using Xmas leftovers

Chez EatinBrixton

It has past twelfth night and what is noticeable this year, whether because of over-catering or undereating, is the quantity of leftovers. So this post is some ideas of what you can do with them. We try our best not to throw food away – it is a waste of money, time and the environment, but not all of our cooking was trouble free.

  1. Goose (from Jones the butcher) and Ham (Tesco’s)

One of the high spots of my Christmas is the left overs from Christmas dinner reheated on at least two days following the feast. That’s because by the time we sit down for dinner on Christmas Day I am usually too full of appetizers and champagne to fully enjoy the food. When it comes to reheating, the roast potatoes do need to go back in oven but the rest (including the gravy in a separate pot) are fine when simply heated in the microwave. This year was no exception, with plenty of goose and ham leftovers, even after we had sandwiches for eight on Boxing day.

There was even enough meat remaining and, more importantly, both ham and goose stock to make a cassoulet, using the haricot beans from the cupboard. In the end it was not a great success as it was left in the oven too long and, as a result, ended up being much too dry. Next time we will follow Felicity Cloake’s recipe in the Guardian more closely, substituting the leftovers for her ingredients where appropriate. A little went a long way and there’s still some lurking in the back of the fridge.

The copious goose fat is rendered down and put into clean dry jars. It keeps a long time in the fridge but this year we plan to give some away. This is mainly to avoid a repetition of the annual ritual of throwing away the remainder of last year’s goose fat, having completely over-estimated the need for roast potatoes during the course of the year.

  1. Panettone (Lidl)

These large bread/cakes are pretty hard to eat your way through and we ended up with quite a lot leftover, even after using it in the Boxing Day trifle (too much like bread to be very successful but no-one minded as it was full of sherry). So next try is a marmalade bread and butter pudding. Layer slices of Panettone with melted marmalade (home made) and custard (4 eggs and a pint of milk). It depends on the depth of the container but three layers is probably enough. The top is sprinkled with sugar and butter so it becomes crisp. Cook in the oven at 180 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. When taking it out it should wobble in the middle but not be liquid. Serve with cream – double if you didn’t overeat at Christmas and single if you are worried about the waistline.

  1. The Gingerbread House (Tesco’s)

I used to make a gluten free gingerbread house each year, as one of our children suffers from an allergy. Although it taught my children several swear words, when hot syrup dropped onto my thumb, I had to accept that it was never actually eaten. It just sat on the table and collected dust until late January, when it was finally thrown away. So for the last few years I have bought a kit. I had hoped to ditch it this year, but one nostalgic daughter saw a kit going cheap on Christmas Eve when she braved the hell that is Tesco’s shortly before closing time; the saving grace was she put it together.

After removing the sweets, various Santas, snowmen and, unaccountably, Bambi, break up the biscuit and remove as much Royal icing as possible. Put all the biscuit into a food processor until you have crumbs. This then makes an excellent base for a cheese cake – just mix with butter and if there is enough royal icing, there’s no need to add any sugar. Press into the bottom of a cake tin and cover with cheesecake mix (either the cooked or chilled kind).

Alternatively, sprinkle the crumbs on clementine sorbet or, easier still, clementine granita (our favourite source for the fruit is Nour Cash & Carry). If you want a richer dessert put the biscuit crumbs on the bottom and cover with liqueur or brandy before putting the sorbet on top (this is inspired by a dish on the revamped menu from Shrub and Shutter).