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.

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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.

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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.

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Roast chicken with garlic and coconut oil

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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