Friday, 29 August 2008

Boxwood cafe Birthday

Ive been wanting to come here since I visited taste Of London 3 yrs ago and had tried to get that famed melon soup recipe off of Stuart Gillies!

After all that I didn't even have it for my starter!!!!!! If Id had the tasting menu , I would have got to have it alongside my chosen starter and nosing at the tables aside from us , it looked like a good idea to have such variety.

Image care of Berkley Hotel Website, see link below

Its attached to the Wonderful Berkley Hotel , which has the famed Blue Bar inside its classic , quirky yet contemporary decor and on the opposite side of Boxwood is also the famed Petrus , head chef Marcus Wareing.

I thought the atmosphere quite low key and relaxed with soft jazz music playing , despite this muted atmosphere , it seemed like every chic Hen do had decided to come for the evening (reems and reems of all female tables). It isn't what I would say is a funky happening place , but it was still quite lovely. We unfortunately weren't in our loveliest of moods , having dealt with a meltdown from Cupcake an hour before at home! More of that on Gifted Hand!

At an opened door we were greeted by a Maitre de , (he the mans pointed out that he felt all of Gordon Ramsey's Maitre de's look like someone from the Mafia, think Godfather!!), in what seemed like a very green interior .The main theme is dark woods and dark mint green leather with silver walled tiles. Some of the lighting looks tired and battered and above some of them were ripped! I don't think we had the best table in the house and really should have said something, no matter the food was still very good!

He the mans started with a Foie gras pate, he found he couldn't finish it due its rich sweetness , so I did him the favour of cleaning the little pot out! It was a nice taste change to my Salmon Ceviche , which I was a little disappointed with, as this is one of my favourite dishes if done properly. A true South American Ceviche is teeny cubes of raw fish marinated in citrus's and sometimes spices, which gives the dish a piquancy I love and may be I'm being philistine to want these strong flavours with such good qaulity salmon , but there you go! Although beautifully served , I found the large slices a bit bland and the shredded crab a bit tasteless. It was all very very fresh though.

For my main I just had to have Lobster, I don't have it out very often due to the cost v the quality as in many places its been so rubbery and measly, but on my birthday he the mans said to go for it! It was most probably the best Lobster Id ever had ; soft , sweet , flaky and melt in the mouth. The only thing , although I love it ,was that I stank of garlic for the next 3 days, as it was smothered in it with herbs!!!

He the mans had a lovely Halibut on a buttery sauce with new potatos , but I didnt even try it , as by this time , I think I was all fished out!!

For dessert although quite cheesy , we had a Valrhona chocolate fondue with fresh marshmallows, Biscotti and strawberries. I was channeling the 10yr old in me , as the table next to us had been served with a Birthday plate version of his fondue for the husband and I didnt get any such a thing , (he the mans take note for next year!!!).

Id say It was a lovely meal but I wouldn't rush back there as it didn't set the world alight. I found the menu to be mainly good classic dishes, but may be I'm in the mood these days for something a bit crazy and different, like L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (as I'm so spoilt at home with he the mans own great food, so its all his fault for raising the bar!!!!). It was however very fresh , beautifully served , amazingly cooked and the service was efficient , may be a little too efficient !

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Goujons , kebabs and taking a wordy break

Ive had to take a break from doing both blogs in tandem and this one took the back seat for a couple of weeks. I have continued to take photos and make notes of what I wanted to write about, but I didn't quite realise what an undertaking it would be to actually do. He the mans is also getting rather fed up with hearing the tap tap tap of the keys every night! I also needed to get some relaxation away from the pc screen and of course catch up on my sky+ recordings!!!

I may have to set one evening a week to post on here and stick to it ,somehow!!!

A couple of weeks back he the mans made an old fave for me and my littluns fish goujons. We normally have it with salsa Verde , but this time he made a traditional tar tare sauce (well a cheats one!). His special ingredients for the batter being panko breadcrumbs and ciabatta breadcrumbs. It gives them an amazing crunch and the leftovers were heated up in the oven the next day for my girls and they love them.

You will need

sunflower oil for frying
2 fillets cod/haddock
panko breadcrumbs (or try Atari Ya supermarkets)
ciabatta breadcrumbs (sometimes sold in Waitrose - although not seen them on Ocado)
1 whipped egg
check seasoning , some ready made breadcrumbs are seasoned already
Cut fish into long small pieces , coat in egg , roll in the breadcrumbs and fry until golden.

Tar tare sauce :
lemon juice
chop all ingredients finely and mix with the mayo.

Onto the Salmon kebabs for the girls, cupcake loved them , however pickle wasnt so keen , but its always worth another try!

You will need
2 fillets of salmon cubed
yellow pepper
baby corn

I did these in a chinese marinade with light and dark soy sauce, mirin, agave syrup and sesame oil and a little groundnut oil for frying. Make up the kebabs 1st and sit them in a wide shallow dish with the marinade for a couple of hours. Then griddle until done. I served them with an uncle bens special fried rice. I would normally do fresh , but this is a great time saver when I only have a little time at home before their dinner