Sunday, July 08, 2018

Chino Latino , I want my service charge back

Finished work on a Saturday evening and we decided to have a quick meal at a fusion restaurant called Chino Latino based within Park Plaza Riverbank hotel. The restaurant was at a perfect location, just a few minutes from work at St Thomas hospital and not too far from Waterloo station which makes going home that much easier. The reviews on TripAdvisor  were positive and the foodie pictures looked good. As we travelled up the escalators, walked into restaurant and clocked the views of the Thames, we started to get excited. Instead of a quick bite, I started to think this was probably going  to turn into a crazy Saturday night story, with too many cocktails, a bottle of red and a few dances around the piano. Well, forty minutes later I began to worry our table was invisible to the restaurant staff, another twenty minutes and I was sure of it. Very poor customer service.  So what happened ?

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Monday, July 02, 2018

An exciting Portuguese World Cup BBQ in London

Go Portugal     
I spent last monday evening at an exciting Portuguese World Cup BBQ starring Portugal vs Iran. The venue was Marina's lovely garden in South London and the guests were an army of Portugese friends all hoping this would be their year seeing as they have Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably the best player on the planet ( I can't name the other player for fear of this being my last ever Portuguese BBQ invite).. Iran arent really known for their footballing skills so the plan was to eat tons of barbecued meat washed down with Portugese beer..sorry I meant Budweiser, whilst trying to guess If Portugal would score less than 4 goals. Well that's what we hoped would happen. So here's how the evening played out.

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Award winning Sourdough bread from Gradz Bakery

Share the bread
You may not be aware but I am a very competitive person and I love a challenge. So imagine the excitement when I received an email from PR agency, asking whether I could possibly write a review on Sourdough Bread from the award winning bakery GRADZ. Easy answer, 'Yes of course!', especially after reading the hand crafted breads were the creation of two master bakers, Gabriel Romuald and Agnes DamaZ, overall winners of the 2016 Tiptree World Bread Awards


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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Brown and Green Cafe

Brown and Green Breakfast
I've had a full English breakfast in many cafe's and restaurants ,some very disappointing and others pretty solid. If there was a premier league of places serving a full English , Brown and Green would be in my top tier of cafes actually competing for the tastiest full English breakfast cup. Pardon my football reference, the premier leagues over and I think am suffering from a case of withdrawal symptoms. I'm getting the shakes and for once it isnt due to rib eye cravings. The world cup kicks off in a few more weeks and that should help satiate my hunger. Speaking of hunger, let's get back to why I rate Crystal Palace's triangle Brown and Green soo highly. 

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Street feast at Woolwich public market review

Woolwich market street feast food
A quick trip to Woolwich public market Street Feast food stalls after work revealed an array of stalls selling drinks and different dishes. I was pretty impressed when I saw the variety of food stalls on display. The first thing that came to mind was when did this actually open and how come I had no idea. Well it turns out it opened just a few months ago, in March to be exact. A few comments on twitter from the Street Feast founder Jonathan Downey really centred on the various battles he had to go through opening Street Feast opposite the Royal Arsenal developments. I am glad the permission was granted for the public market to be transformed on weekends because Woolwich or Plumstead road is not exactly a cool place to hang out or spend friday evenings. A new foodie spot can really transform a place for good. Check out pictures of my evening below
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Friday, May 11, 2018

Nigerian spinach and melon seed stew recipe

Efo egusi
My forays into Nigerian cooking mostly involves making Jollof rice and fried rice. Yes i love my Jollof, but like many things can be tiresome when you have it 6 out of 7 days a week. Whilst watching a cooking show on BBC , a Masterchef meets Apprentice and Bake off style programme, I decided to try out a new Nigerian dish out of curiosity. The stew known as Efo Egusi or in English melon seed and spinach stew is possibly one of my favourite Nigerian stews. It goes well with pounded yams, cassava and ....drum roll..my beloved rice. Yes it looks like it's going to be rice 7 days a week. There are 3 important sources of inspiration when making this stew.

1) A Nigerian or African shop 

I walked into the Nigerian shop outside my flat to buy all the ingredients and to my amazement 2 much older ladies who were themselves shopping, started offering advice about the best ways of cooking the stew. The lovely man at the till also offered some advice by telling me the sort of fish to buy, what to do with the melon seed powder...to fry or not to fry, he basically went over the cooking process. I have to admit, many of it zoomed past my head. All I could think of was....this might just be as bad as my souffle attempt a few years ago. You ever tried making souffle in a cup because you didnt know what ramekins were ? .. well I did and I still get shivers. Anyways back to the food, their advice was pretty useful. I have a feeling I am going to rely a lot on advice from that shop in the future. 
Nigerian masterchef : He really gave me some good advice

2) Family Whatsapp group 

My family chat group really helped. My mum and her many sisters gave me tons of advice, even if they did make fun of me a little. I spoke to one in Chicago and another in Lagos. The stew was definitely intercontinental. Blending onions and mixing it into the melon seed powder before you stir it into the pot of pepper blended stew was one key advice.
Family chat picture 1
Family chat picture 2
Family chat 3

3) Internet 

There are tons of good Youtube videos out there, however it can all be a tad confusing as people tend to cook it slightly differently delending on what part of the country they are from. So I would say check out some videos, but really study the comment sections to see what other Nigerians think of the recipe.
Research over, it was time to start cooking up a storm. Here are a list of ingredients I bought 

Ingredients 

3/4 cup of Palm oil
2 onions
3 bell peppers
1.5 scotchs bonnet 
1 plum tomatoes ( optional)
3 tbs of crayfish ( You can buy a liitle sachet )
3/4 cup of Melon seed powder ( you can buy a sachet )
Smoked catfish / stockfish ( 3/4 of a cup)
1 cup of Spinach leaves ( diced )
1.5 Cups of diced lamb - ( keep the stock when you boil this. You need 1.5 cups of stock)
1 knorr chicken stock cube
1 maggi cube 

Let the cooking begin 

Boil some well seasoned lamb ( you can season with onions, peppers, garlic , curry powder, knorr chicken stock cubes , salt and mixed herbs) for 40 minutes and save the stock. You need 1 to 1.5 cups of stock. Ps Nigerians can boil tripe ( shaki ) and ponmo as well. Non Nigerians should stick to meats of known origin as the assortments of meats I mentioned might make you grimace. If you want to try something new however, then ask your local butchers for those meats as well.
Boil some meat
Blend the 3 bell peppers, 1 onion and scotchs bonnet together. You can also add plum tomatoes, but this seems to be optional based on all the advice
Pepper mixture blend
Pour the palm oil into a pot and saute half a diced onion for 4 minutes on medium heat. Add your maggi cube and knorr chicken cube to the palm oil for a minute, then pour in your blended pepper mixture for about 8 mins. Pour in your cup of stock and let it simmer for 5 additional minutes.
Fried palm oil and onions
     
Blended pepper mixture
While the meat stock is doing its thing, blend half an onion and add this blend to the melon seed powder along with 2 spoons of the crayfish powder. Mix it and add it to the pepper mixture for 5 minutes.
Melon seed to the left and crayfish on top.
Melon seed powder, onion blend and crayfish
 
Stew with melon seed mixture
Add in your meats and fish for 5 mins.. You can add some salt after you taste it.
Boiled smoked catfish / stock fish and meats added into stew
Toss in your diced spinach leaves for 5 mins and take off the stove.My aunts also mentioned adding a few diced basil leaves, but thats optional.
Spinach leaves in melon seed stew
Stew is ready
There goes my first ever attempt. I had it with a plate of rice and plantains. A match made in heaven if you ask me. The verdict on my stew according to my taster was a healthy 7 out of 10. Pretty good for a first attempt. The recipe have added to this blog has been edited a little to encompass the comments. The maggi cube and 1.5 cup of stock instead of 1 cup is a new addition. I think adding tripe and ponmo ( meats ) also adds a bit to that flavour. 
Give this a go and let me know what you think. If you have any tips, I would love to see it in the comments as well.
Rice, stew and plantains
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