Paradise By Way of Kensal Green

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And so it was, on one of the first glorious Sunday afternoons of the year, a few of us had a small gathering at one of the private rooms at Paradise By Way of Kensal Green, in London to celebrate another year’s worth of ageing of The Crow.

I’ve eaten here before and the food is always consistently good.  Their Sunday lunch is no exception.  No one had any starters – and this is no reflection of the choice of the starters, which all did sound rather wonderful – instead, it was because the mains sounded pretty special and it was tough enough just to figure out which one of them we would have… to have to make one tricky decision is more than enough on a Sunday, after a heavy Saturday night, I think!  For my main I chose the Pugh’s suckling pig with Bramley apple sauce (delicious). Others selected choices like the trough of Bowland rib of beef and roast rump of Lonk lamb.  Each roast came with a Yorkshire pud as well as bowls of perfectly cooked veggies, all washed down with a glass or two of red wine.  Suffice to say there were murmurings of appreciation all around.
Unfortunately any thoughts of dessert were overruled by suggestions of walks in the park (one has to make the most of the British sunshine when it deigns to appear). In any case, I’m not sure I would have had room.  I think Paradise is a great place – unassuming and unpretentious – and, whilst Kensal Green isn’t the first place that may come to mind when deciding where to feast on a Sunday roast, I would well recommend considering Paradise.
paradise by way of kensal green

paradise by way of kensal green

a wonderful wedding

I mean, really!!! I needed further proof of my enormous appetite! This was the rather yummy wedding breakfast that we were served at TC’s bro’s nuptials on the weekend. It was all very tasty and at the same time, not too heavy, which meant we had lots of energy to rock out on the dance floor all evening. The very quaffable wine it was all washed down with had been shipped over from Argentina – it was ever so drinkable and not a headache in sight the next day – bonus! It was a fantastic weekend and the happy couple went to great lengths to ensure a super time was had by all. Congratulations J&T and may you have a wonderful future together.

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the arc chronicles, continued

chorizo and puy lentils

chorizo and puy lentils

I’m still refusing to go shopping – sorry – swimming for some food, so it’s back to the voyage of discovery of my cupboards.  Last night I found some fresh chorizos in the fridge, some small capsicum peppers, some cherry tomatoes (I tend to only buy cherry tomatoes in the UK – I find them closer to the ‘true’ flavour of a tomato, than the usual plastic tasteless rubbish that is usually peddled in this country) oh and some puy lentils… and I made…um… chorizo and lentil salmagundi!  Anyway, it went down very well with the boys.  This is what I did…

Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 fresh chorizo

half an onion – finely chopped

small garlic clove – finely chopped

a capsicum pepper (or lots of small ones) – chopped

couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes – quartered

1 1/4 cup of puy lentils (I used lentils from Merchant Gourmet – so much easier and no need to faff about pre-soaking etc. the night before)

balsamic vinegar

Put the lentils on to cook with the required amount of water etc. The Merchant Gourmet puy lentils work really well with this as the lentils are ready in approximately 20 minutes, giving you enough time to get the chorizo mix all cooked and ready, thereby providing you with a wonderful sense of accomplishment when all your timings come in, in unison! Chop the chorizo into slices, and start to fry them in a non stick frying pan.  No need to add any oil as the chorizo will provide all that.  After around 5 minutes, add the onions, after another five minutes add the capsicum, after another 5 minutes add the garlic and a few minutes turn off the heat after that add the tomatoes (purely because I don’t like them to be too cooked) and wait for the lentils to ready themselves.  Drain the lentils and pop into chorizo mixture and stir around and serve (with a drizzle of balsamic over the top, which really cuts through the oil and lifts the dish).

broccoli, cheese and pasta bake

broccoli cheese

broccoli cheese

It’s been raining now for the past 2 weeks and I, along with my collection of animals, am patiently waiting to board the arc when it floats past.  Until then, I have to make do with cooking up a storm with what’s currently languishing in my cupboards (as I’m refusing to don my galoshes and step foot outside in this weather).  So, with some purple sprouting broccoli and some various odds and ends of cheese I made a little pasta bake which went a little something like this:

Serves 2

Ingredients:

Pasta (I used conchiglie as that was what was in my cupboard, but penne or fusilli would work) – enough for two people

Broccoli (I used purple sprouting – again, enough for two people)

Half an onion (finely chopped)

15g butter

15g plain flour

150 ml milk

1/2 tablespoon of whole grain mustard

100g cheese (I used a mixture of grated cheddar, some gorgonzola and stuck in a parmesan-end for good measure) plus additional cheese for the topping (I used some grated cheddar and parmesan for this)

Breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper for seasoning

Cook the pasta, together with the chopped onion in the boiling water.  In the last 3 minutes of cooking, chuck the broccoli into the mix.  When cooked, drain, reserving a tablespoon of the cooking liquid and set aside.  Heat the grill to a medium temperature.

Heat the butter in the saucepan and when melted, add the flour and cook for a minute or so before gradually adding the milk, stirring all the time.  Bring the mixture to the boil and then bring down to simmer for a couple of minutes. Before stirring in the mustard and the cheese (remembering to reserve some cheese for the topping).  Melt the cheese down a little.

Put the pasta mixture and the sauce into an ovenproof dish, scatter over the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs, with a little pepper and salt on top and grill for 4-5 minutes or until the top is golden and yummy looking.

peppermint tea

A nice glass of refreshing peppermint tea made from the mint sprigs on my window sill, and a generous dose of brown sugar; to be sipped whilst I think about how I’m going to spend my Bank Holiday Monday.

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saint vernier cheese

My usual choice of online writing tool has gone AWOL. Actually, it’s in San Francisco with The Crow so I do know where it is, but it wasn’t exactly granted leave to go there either! As much as WordPress tries to make it easy to upload posts via their iPhone and iPad apps, the functionality isn’t quite as good and I find typing on Apple things slightly arduous (although this doesn’t detract from my deep love of all things Apple for some reason). So anyway, until my laptop and TC return, I will keep Comestibilis updated with some mini-bites – a little of what I’m finding and liking right now… In any case, I’m not really cooking right now as cooking for one isn’t nearly as fun (and I would get seriously fat eating it all by myself!). I discovered this cheese last weekend, it was so good I had to buy more… So much for the trying to keep the lard of though – but in this case I’m willing to make an exception. It’s called Saint Vernier – the cheese is made from the milk of local Montbélliardes cows and it’s rind is washed with a white wine made from the Savagnin grape. Mmm, it’s little lump of gooey, tasty loveliness.

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when the garlic made me feel small

My elephant garlic clove is the size of mouse! I have stood marvelling and it for a good few minutes now! I’ve never seen such a whopper before. Now I’ve just got to figure out what on earth I’m going to do with it!

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