Sunday, 15 February 2015

dinner & catch up

On Thursday evening myself, Mel and Sarah reunited over envy-inducing dinner at Sauterelle at The Royal Exchange. It's always so difficult to find a date that works for everyone so we were very excited bunnies- throwing hugs and smothering ourselves in kisses.

Sarah is now studying for her masters to become the greatest physchologist in the world, Mel is increasing here patience even more by staying on for another year at the boarding school whilst I am writing away every day until I can no longer see the screen. It seems all of our dreams are ever so slowly rolling into motion. 

Anyway, enough about us- here's to the food. 

Sauterelle is part of D&D, restaurant giants of London, and recently they have been running a promotion with The Evening Standard for dinner at some of their top restaurants for no less than £30 a head- three courses and wine thrown in- a total bargain. From Quaglino's to Skylon, the choice is fantastic and an opportunity not to be missed. 



We opted for two courses with petit fours- just the right amount to keep us delightfully happy. We took photos but unfortunately the lighting wasn't the best for food so you'll just have to take my word for it. Mel and I started with tender slices of marinated beef with cheese fondue and spring vegetables whilst Sarah opted for artichoke, quail egg and truffle. I told you it'd make you drool. For mains we had pan seared duck with a currant coulis and red cabbage and sea bass with roasted tomatoes and crushed potatoes- all divine and beautifully presented. 


We gossiped and caught up on everyone's news, jobs, boys and family- it was an evening that needs to be repeated at least monthly. Nothing changes with us- the power puff girls! 



Having dined to our hearts content we decided to make the most of the beautiful surroundings. The Royal Exchange is a huge building with a massive central courtyard, dotted with boutiques. The lighting is wonderful and just crying out for a photoshoot of silly proportions. We snapped away in front of Tiffanys until a very angry security man forced me to delete my photos in front of him- who knew this was sacred ground... Clearly it's a place full of secrets. 


We did however, take a couple outside before heading off in separate ways (me to bed- wild, and Sarah and Mel to cocktails and god knows where else in Covent Garden). Next time we fancy sampling Heston Blumenthal's taster menu... My mouth is already watering. 

A perfect evening with the perfect company and all for the price of a bottle of wine- try and beat that one! 


Sunday, 1 February 2015

mediterranean chicken tray bake

I have been meaning to blog about this recipe for such a long time now. It's a favourite of mine (and his) and it is so easy and just too darn delicious. 

For a feast for two, or three little ones, you will need:

3 chicken breasts (6 chicken wings if you prefer)
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
2 vines of tomatoes 
Chopped pancetta 
Fresh basil
Salt 'n' pepper 

Baby new potatoes 
Fresh rosemary 

All you need is two trays/baking dishes so it limits the washing up- hurray! First, slice your red onion and crush the garlic. Pour a glug of olive oil over the top. 


Next, chop your chicken breasts into smaller pieces and nestle in amongst the onion and garlic and lay your vine tomatoes over the top. Season to taste. Liberally tear up you fresh basil (I couldn't find any fresh herbs this weekend so had to use dried instead- works just as well). 

Leave this to the side whilst you prepare your potatoes. 

Quantity really depends on how hungry your mouths may be. He was coming from the gym, so I assumed very hungry. Slice them in quarters or keep them whole if they're eering on the minute size. Season with salt and pepper and fresh rosemary and pour a glug of olive oil over the top too. 

Give them a shake and pop them in a pre-heated oven at 180* for 45 minutes. Put the chicken in at the same time too. 

After 30 minutes, take the chicken out and chuck some chopped pancetta over the dish. Put back in the oven for a further 15 minutes. Give the potatoes a shake if needs be. 

In the mean time, pour yourself a glass of wine, play cards, watch "The Real Housewives of Cheshire" (it's a fav- thoroughly recommended)- whatever. I told you this was an easy dish! 


(I didn't add pancetta this time but I reallllllly recommend it)





Perfect and crispy! 


(Can you see my amaryllis? It's slowing shooting up and I'm fairly confident it's only going to get bigger and better over the next few weeks).

This recipe is super easy and versatile. I like to mix it up with paprika and chorizo for a Spanish take or with asparagus and Parma ham for something fresh. Whether you're cooking for an evening in together, a meal for one in front of the television or a whole family of hungry mouths, I couldn't recommend it enough. 

Tuck in!