RiverSide delights

Have you ever been to RiverSide Walk in Kingston-upon-Thames? If not, you really should do, especially if you like good food and stunning views.

IMG_5634
How’s that for a view?

I was invited to “Taste the World” with RiverSide a few weeks ago, and I still find myself thinking about the tasty treats on offer there! A word of warning – not all of the food there is strictly healthy, but the quality is well worth the justification of a “cheat” meal.

The first restaurant we visited was Cau, and it was also my favourite of the night. Their contemporary Argentinian cuisine features so many delicious cuts of mouthwatering meat. Their steak and chorizo in particular was mind-blowing, and their chicken was so tender! I’m dribbling a little just thinking about it.

The next restaurant on the menu was Comptoir Libanais. I’ve been to different branches before, but this one is lovely and, as with all of them, adorably decorated with bright coloured prints and authentic Middle Eastern design. Not only is Lebanese food delicious and so full of flavour, it can also be very healthy if you opt for aubergine-rich baba ghanuj, houmous and grilled meat, such as chicken and lamb. As a non-drinker, I was also delighted by their vast array of fresh and fruit juice option – the Roomana (pomegranate and orange blossom) was a definite favourite.

IMG_5644

IMG_5646

Last, and certainly not least, we visited Côte Brasserie. At this point, we were absolutely stuffed, but there’s always room for pudding, right? Especially with their Dark Chocolate Mousse and signature Crème Caramel on offer! If you like French food or are keen to try some, Côte is an ideal choice.

Even though I was invited along and treated like a Queen (HUGE thanks to Ushma and the gang), I promise I’m being 100% honest when I say that Riverside is a beautiful place to visit and all of the restaurants there are fantastic! There’s something for everyone, and I can’t think of a better place to visit in the summer sunshine for a delicious meal and stunning scenery. You’ll feel more like you’re abroad on holiday than in a London borough! Get down there.

Advertisements

Perfect poached eggs

poached eggs

Who doesn’t love an egg? Apart from vegans, obviously (sorry vegans). They don’t just taste good – they contain plenty of powerful protein, which will give you lots of energy and help your body to heal itself. Isn’t that egg-citing?

I’m not good at many things, but one thing I’ve become something of a master at is poaching the hell out of eggs. I’ve seen all of the tutorials on Pinterest and I’ve tried various techniques, but this way has proven to be the easiest and most successful. Together with the right timing, you should be left with perfect eggs with a wonderfully runny yoke. Life will never be better.

Perfect poached eggs

Ingredients

2 eggs (per person)
A pinch of sea salt
A generous glug of white wine vinegar

Method

Take a medium-sized sauce pan and fill it 3/4 full with water. Put it on the hob on a medium heat, and add the salt and white wine vinegar. Wait until the water just starts to bubble – you don’t want it too hot. Break your first egg into a teacup and place it into the water (the egg, not the teacup). The egg will stay together well if you don’t move it around too much, hence the placing. Repeat for the second egg.

When all of your eggs are in, mark your timer for 4 mins – this is the perfect amount of time for making sure the egg is cooked well while still keeping the yoke nice and runny. When the time is up, fish the eggs out with a spoon that has some holes in it (ideally) and drain as much water off as possible. Serve however you bloody well like, and enjoy!

Roast chicken with garlic and coconut oil

chicken5chicken3

Is there anything better than a Sunday roast? It’s a British institution for a reason, and that reason? It tastes incredible. I’ve also found buying whole chickens to be very economical – roast it up on Sunday and enjoy the meat for the rest of the week! You can even make a stock from the bones, but more on that later.

I’d had this recipe forming in my mind for a little and, after finally trying it today, it did not disappoint. Not only that, but it’s clean and pretty healthy – hooray! If you love garlic as much as I do, then you have to stop what you’re doing right now and try it. Combined with the coconut oil, the results are bloody brilliant: fall-off-the-bone tender garlic-infused meat with a beautiful crispy skin. The best part? It’s super easy! Just be prepared to have your home smell of garlic of a few days…

Roast chicken with garlic and coconut oil

Ingredients

One medium/large (depending on how hungry you are) good quality chicken (I used a corn-fed one, and it was really good)
A whole bulb of garlic (approx. 8 cloves)
2 tbsp coconut oil (with a little extra for greasing)
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 red onion

Method

The first thing you need to do is make your garlic butter. That’s right, you read that correctly – garlic butter. This is the secret to making your chicken amazingly moist (sorry, I know a lot of people hate that word, but I don’t know how else to describe it). To make it, melt your coconut oil in the microwave about 30 seconds. Mince 4 cloves of garlic and add to the melted coconut oil, followed by the herbs. Mix well. Line a small tupperware container with cling film and pour the mixture in. Pop it in the freezer and leave it in there for at least 30 minutes.

garlic butter 1

Next, preheat your oven to 190 degrees C/Fan 170 degrees C/Gas 5. Cut the red onion up into slices and put it in a roasting tin to make a little bed for the chicken to sit on. We want it to be comfortable.

onions

Take your chicken and cut/remove any string tying the legs and whatnot together. Remove giblets if it comes with any. The next step is a little gross, but be brave: slide your fingers under the chicken’s skin to separate it from the meat. The skin is stronger than you think, so don’t worry about tearing it. If you have small fingers like me (welcome to the small hand club!), use the end of a wooden spoon to get to the end of it. Take your garlic butter out of the freezer. Cut it up, and insert it under the chicken skin.

garlic butter 2

chicken1
It looks a bit like a Klingon, doesn’t it?

Take another 4 cloves of garlic (I told you this would be super garlicky), peel them and put them in the chicken’s bum (teehee). Rub the extra coconut oil on the outside of the chicken. Put the chicken in the oven and cook for as long as it’s supposed to – mine said a cooking time on the packaging (1 hour 35 minutes), but you can always ask your butcher if you’re unsure.

When the time is up and the juices from the chicken run clear, take it out of the oven. Cover it up with tin foil and tea towels, and let it rest in a cosy little fort for roughly 15 minutes. This will make the chicken really tender so don’t skip this step, no matter how hungry you are.

After the rest, remove the blankets. Carve it up and enjoy!

chicken4

Chicken and Sweet Potato Coconut Curry

pan

bowl

This curry isn’t big in the looks department (thanks for sticking with it, much obliged), but trust me – it’s big taste more than makes up for it. It’s become a favourite in my house, as it’s pretty damn tasty and quick to make. The main reason? A majority of the ingredients are frozen. That’s right, I said the f-word – FROZEN. I’ve found there’s still a bit of snobbery around using frozen vegetables in healthy cooking. Whilst using the fresh variety is preferable for ensuring you get the most nutritional goodness, buying them on the reg can get pricey and the (fridge) shelf-life isn’t long. Having a good stock of frozen vegetables means you can just whack them into your dishes quickly with minimal fuss (I hate chopping), and some veg is better than none, right? Plus, it’s much more affordable. This recipe makes for a whole lot of curry, so be prepared for leftovers – ideal for taking to work the next day…and possibly the day after.

Also, sweet potato is AMAZING in curry. It goes so well with coconut milk, and it makes the texture much creamier and more luxurious. It definitely plays a bigger part than the chicken does, so you can always leave that part out if you want to make it a veggie meal. I keep it in for the extra protein.

Chicken and Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Peas and Spinach

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts (optional for all you veggies out there)
1 large sweet potato (or 2 medium ones)
1 can of coconut milk
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chilli powder (as hot as you like, or not)
1 cup of frozen onions
1 cup of frozen peas
1 cup of frozen spinach
1 pinch of sea salt and pepper (to taste)
1 tbsp coconut oil

Method

Let’s get preppin’! Cut the chicken breasts into cubes. Peel the sweet potato and cut that into cubes also – the smaller they are, they faster they cook.

Heat a large wok or saucepan (I prefer a wok, as it gives you more room for activities) on a medium-high heat and melt the coconut oil. Once it’s clear and the pan is nice and hot, add in the frozen onions. It’ll take longer than the fresh kind to cook, as the water will need to cook off. Once the onions appear dry and start to brown, add the chicken. Make sure the chicken is cooked all over (no pink, please), and then add the spices: cumin, ginger, turmeric, garlic and chilli powder. Make sure the chicken is well coated with the spices, and then add the sweet potato and mix well. Once everything is nice and coated, add the coconut milk. Stir it all together, reduce the heat to medium and pop a lid on it for five minutes. This makes the chicken and sweet potato so soft and really infuses them with flavour – trust me, you’ll love it. At this point, I normally start cooking my brown rice to go with it. The timing normally works out perfectly.

After 5 minutes, add in the frozen peas and frozen spinach. Make sure the spinach in particular is submerged in the coconut milk so that it can melt. Put the lid back on for another 5 minutes, and then stir to break up the spinach. Leave it to simmer away for another 10/15 minutes. Serve with the brown rice and enjoy!