Poached Mackerel

Poached Mackerel with VegetablesSince I am on my own in Dubai I have been able to eat lots of foods that I would find difficult to be able to eat when at home because my partner would not like them. One thing that I have really been enjoying is fish and I’ve been making the most of it. In the UAE, like the UK the array fish is vast and but most of I’ve not heard of before, like milk fish, king fish to name a couple. So it was nice to see Mackerel in my local supermarket as it reminded me of home. Although these mackerel where smaller, they still had the beautiful marking as the ones in get in the UK.

When I get to cook a wonderful fish like Mackerel I like it plain and simple. I would just place the fish into foil sitting on some lemon slices, add some seasoning and then just throw into oven for about 10-15 minutes. This time I wanted to do try something different and decided to try poaching which I have never tried before. This is a very simple recipe and works well with Mackerel. I’m serving it with grilled potatoes wedges (a healthy version of chips) and steamed vegetables, as I wanted simple accompanying flavours to allow the fish to shine. Apologies for the photos – not my strong point.

Two things though, do not steam the vegetables over the poaching fish and it’s mackerel so expect a LOT of bones – but worth the pain :-)

  • 4 small or 2 large mackerels
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • (serves 2)

Just place all the ingredients in a pan with cold water.

Mackerel Poaching

Bring to the boil and then turn down to a gentle simmer for 15 to 30 minutes and serve.

See I said it was easy…..

Posted in fish, main, recipe | Leave a comment

Where Has The Time Gone

Okay, will someone please tell me where the time has gone. I decided to take a short break from writing on my blog, because frankly I’ve got a bit boring since being in Dubai. What I mean is, my passion for food and eating is still there, but what I’ve been eating has become boring. I’ve always enjoyed a great curry, but since I’ve been in Dubai it’s got so bad that it’s nearly all that I am eating. There is such a large India, Pakistani, S.E Asian community here the ingredients are so easy to get hold of and it is so much cheaper than other foods why wouldn’t I take advantage of it.

Masala Dosa

Masala Dosa

Also petrol is so cheap here that everything can be delivered, from medicine, to bottled water and my downfall DOSA’s. These are pancakes served with a “gravy” and I don’t mean Bisto :-) . The “gravy” tends to be a light curry sauce, sometimes with vegetables but mostly just lentils. These are actually normally eaten at breakfast, but you can get Masala Dosa’s which are the pancakes filled with potato curry and when only 8AED (dirhams), about £1.10, it’s very hard not to eat them every lunchtime, it’s cheaper than a sandwich and much tastier. I will talk about these in another post as this paragraph cannot do them justice.

Fresh Gamboge

Fresh Gamboge

Dried Gamboge

Dried Gamboge

Even though I’ve been eating a lot of curries, I have been introduced to some new ingredients and recipes, like gambogee, a fruit, from Indonesia and Kerala in India, that is dried and then added to a curry to make the sauce sour, like tamarind. I’ve actual found a tamarind stock cube that can give a flavoursome twist on a lamb stew. I’ve been introduced to a wonderful Filipino recipe called adobo, which can be made with chicken or pork, although my first attempt to make the dish was disgusting, but with more practice I’ll get there. It’s made with vinegar and my mistake was to stir the dish and apparently once you add the vinegar you shouldn’t stir it – guess more practice is needed.

 

Sandwiches At The Burj

Sandwiches At The Burj

Gawping At Cakes At The Burj Al Arab

Gawping At Cakes At The Burj Al Arab

I have also been eating out a lot and some good and not so good restaurants. In Dubai they have a thing called Friday brunch. Where the restaurants serve mostly buffet style food at a standard price, with or without alcohol. This is another of my downfalls – If you talk to people they go for a brunch maybe once every 6-8 weeks. I’ve now been five weeks in a row. It’s a great way to try a vast array of foods and flavours.

When people first move to Dubai, they say you get the Dubai Stone, which means that you put on a stone in weight (14lbs or 6.3kg) in your first month and I certainly did that. With all these brunches and curries I’m having to train about 5 times a week at the gym, otherwise I would be a lot bigger than I am now and would be very unhealthy. It’s a small price to pay to allow me to stuff my face on some great new foods.

Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo

I have also been doing a lot of reading and below are some links of recipes and websites I’ve been looking at and hopefully you’ll enjoy them also. As these are external links I do not have any jurisdiction over them I just read them as I found them interesting, so don’t blame me if you don’t like them. :-) .

But as I said at the beginning, where has the time gone and I’ll have to get my act together and start blogging again.

Happy Eating……

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2013/apr/15/el-bulli-film-watch-here

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/apr/16/tinned-food-fresh-just-as-good

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/apr/18/art-ultimate-sandwich

http://thefoodblogdiary.blogspot.ae/

http://farmersgirl.blogspot.ae/

http://underthebluegumtree.com/

and one of my favourites – http://petra08.wordpress.com

Posted in comment | Leave a comment

The Beagle – Hoxton, London

The Beagle

The Beagle


In an earlier posting I said that I was really excited about coming home to London, as there was a restaurant called The Beagle, that I was eagerly wanting to visit. A friend pointed it out to me and I liked the look of the menu with dishes like pigs head croquets, octopus stew and odd drinks like bloody mary with chorizo infused vodka and pine made gin, it’s hard not to get excited.

On Sunday 2nd June, I managed to drag myself along to the restaurant, I say drag because unfortunately I had over done it on the plane back to London and had one to many – ooops…..will I ever learn. But I was still very keen, as I like to eat my way through a hangover.

Pigeon and Prune Terrine

Pigeon and Prune Terrine

The restaurant is under the railway arch at Hoxton and couldn’t believe how “trendy” it had become. I remember when Hoxton was seen as a rough area, but it’s great to see how things change, just wished I’d bought a property there before it moved upmarket. Even though the restaurant is under the railway arches, the trains did not distract from our lunch or conversation, even though we were sitting outdoors. It’s odd to think that the UK is now becoming perfect for sitting outdoors, but in Dubai we are moving indoors because it’s far too hot and humid.

Octopus and New Potatoes

Octopus and New Potatoes

My two friends and I eagerly studied the menu and struggled as all sounded really delicious. After much prevaricating I ordered something unusual for me and decided on the roast chicken. I eat so much chicken when cooking at home that I like to try something different when I go out, also nobody cooks chicken better than me (how that’s for ego :-) ) I’ve not had a roast chicken since being away so how could I resist one of my favourites. Although it was only the chicken that was roasted and didn’t come with all the usual trimmings, it was still roast chicken, but I am jumping ahead of myself

Roast Chicken with Pazanella

Roast Chicken with Pazanella

For my starter I went for pigeon terrine with prunes, which came with a light pickled red cabbage and toast. The terrine was very tasty, with big pieces of pigeon and ham hock and the cabbage was tangy and light. My only issue was the look of the dish, the prune looked like a septic sore in the middle terrine and actually decided to give the prune a miss. My friends order the octopus with new potato. They both said it was okay, nothing special and actually found a few pieces of octopus over cooked and very chewy. They also both agreed far too much oil.

Grilled Seabass with Roasted Fennel

Grilled Seabass with Roasted Fennel

After a long wait, which I asked my friends if I was being impatient and was pleased when they said no and that we had been waiting a long time for our mains. When it did finally turn up, the chicken was moist and the skin well seasoned and crispy. I got the better cuts, thigh and breast but my friend only got a drumstick and a small thigh and at £15.50 felt a bit hard done by. The chicken came with a brightly coloured pazanella that was nice and light, but too much vinegar for my liking. Our other friend order the grilled seabass with roasted fennel – and like the chicken, had moist flesh with well seasoned crispy skin, but like the octopus was let down by the vast amounts of oil.

The service was polite and slow with one of them seeming as if she didn’t want to be there (maybe she had a hangover like me). Considering it wasn’t busy and there were a fair amount of staff I still had to ask were the wine was (a good cure for a hangover – hair of the dog), and we thought it was a cheek that they added a 12.5% service charge which wasn’t optional.

Overall, I was extremely disappointed. I had been really keen to visit the restaurant and it didn’t live up to all that I was expecting, The Giaconda Dining Room it isn’t. I’m not even sure I would say try it out, because it’s not worth the price tag, never did find out what the discount was for, see below

 

The Bill

The Bill

Posted in restaurant, review | Leave a comment