Wednesday 30 March 2011

Loong Kee Vietnamese on Kingsland Road

After deciding that I couldn't live without the £300 cardigan, I dragged my ill self to Selfridges on Saturday to finally be reunited with it. However, the reunion was not to be a happy one... we spent a crazy half an hour in the changing rooms together, with me putting it on, taking it off, turning round and round like a dog chasing its tail, trying to see it from every angle and generally acting like a mad person, before running hot and flustered from the store saying "I can't do it". I think it was the right decision, though, because I haven't thought about it that much since. And it means I can have a normal life this month, doing all the things I like to do, such as going out for dinner with friends...

Loong Kee used to be one of the lesser known Vietnamese restaurants around the Old Street area, which had a lot of charm - they only took cash, the menus were on A4 sheets of paper, the food was great and it felt like a bit of a cool insider secret. Well, the cat is definitely out of the bag - they have expanded to the shop next door and the millions of staff run around busily in Loong Kee T-shirts. On the plus side, they do take card now, they're still incredibly friendly and the food is still good and so amazingly cheap that it cost under £30 for the three of us (plus booze, but you bring your own)

We ate steamed rolls with minced pork and mushrooms, fried king prawns with ginger and spring onion,  rare beef with lemon juice and fried mixed vegetables, with steamed rice. The rare beef (up there) was my favourite, because it was like an asian steak tartar, with mint, coriander and chilli. A close second came the rolls, as the filling was so delicious and the crispy lettuce and sauce complimented them really nicely. The other stuff was great too though. If you want to come here at the weekend, it's worthwhile booking a table because by the time we left (about 8.30pm) there was a massive queue outside

Monday 21 March 2011

A delicious "broke-ass" meal

I am truly terrible with money - every month I work out my finances and it all seems fine, and every month there's a at least a few days where I am completely and utterly broke, and end up putting random meals together from whatever I have in the cupboards. Mostly, it's nothing to write home about, but a couple of days ago there was an exception. I can't believe how amazingly delicious my "broke-ass meal" was! What I found in the cupboards were the following:

2 shallots
garlic clove
bit of fresh ginger
tin of tuna
season all
dried thyme
fish sauce
(black) buckwheat
black pepper
Bit of tomato puree
Bit of hot pepper sauce
Knob of butter
Olive oil
(I also bought) 1 courgette

And this is what I created

I chargrilled the courgette first on the open stove first, then added it, chopped to the frying shallots, garlic and ginger before sticking all the other ingredients in, bar the butter and buckwheat - simples. The buckwheat is Polish "kasza gryczana", which is very popular in Eastern Europe and difficult to find in the UK, but you could use other types of grain. The traditional way of cooking the black buckwheat was to wrap it up like a baby and put it under a pillow to steam for about forty minutes, but I just cook it like rice, then stick some butter in at the end

Next month I am set to be even poorer than this month, because yesterday Anna and myself went on a quest for the "summer look". As usual, Anna found nothing she wanted and I fell in love with something I can't afford. Is £300 too much for a cardigan? You should see this one though! I have asked them to put it aside until payday for me. I will probably spend a month sitting at home twiddling my thumbs, eating bread and drinking water, but what can I do? I'm just not the sort of person to deny my feelings...

Sunday 20 March 2011

Pancakes with roasted cinamon apples

Ironically, ever since pancake day I have acquired an unquenchable desire for pancakes, and am eating them loads. I use this recipe, which Mariana would argue is a crepe recipe not a pancake one, but I honestly can't work out what the actual difference is. Anyway, I have a new filling idea for you, inspired by my friend-at-work's mum - roasted apples with honey, cinamon and mascapone

I made these for the lovely Magda when she was here last weekend. Just last Sunday we were eating these while watching The Mighty Boosh, drinking green tea, recovering from a well earned party. Happy days...

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Cakes in Tenerife

It's been a week since coming back from Tenerife, and now all that's left is lovely memories. How fast time flies. There's one thing I haven't written about yet from that trip, which I'd like to mention - it was the one day I saw fit to break my notorious "no sugar" rule (some would argue that this rule does not actually exist, but that's another story). Anyhow, people who really know me, know that I like to break my own rules with a measure of style, so in Tenerife, I broke this one at "Cafe Palmelita" (922 25 04 05)  in La Laguna

La Laguna is the old capital of Tenerife, and extremely pretty. We found a sunny square with lots of cafes, and we chose "Palmelita" because of it's sunny tables, we had no idea what delights were awaiting us inside! So we choose a few that looked interesting to us - that up there with the vanilla cream was a poppy seed cake, very similar to the one we eat in Poland, strangely enough (also flavoured with almond essence), as well as a caramel flavoured sponge cake and a nutty, crunchy biscuit type thing. Amazing!