Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Optimist, Upminster, Essex   Leave a comment

 

Why is this pub called the Optimist? I hoped the fish and chips would be edible but I didn’t expect them to be good (which, it turned out, they were). By the time my food arrived my glass was half empty (see what I did there?), and I was convinced one of these obese fellows creaking around the grounds was going to have a heart attack at any moment. I just wasn’t getting into the spirit of the pub name.

 

 

I finished my lunch and headed out. I needed to cross the road to rejoin the trail and was dashing toward it when I heard the clip-clop of the horse-drawn hearse, stopped at the kerb, and removed my cap until the entire cortege had passed. I hope the passenger deserved this minimal show of respect but I bet he was a complete and utter bastard. Crypt half full, and all that.

Loads of ale (and more guests to come), cheap (my meal and drink was about £7.50), and it was where I was when I got hungry and thirsty.  Not much to complain about, for sure.

 

 

Halalhalal Fish & Kebabs, Morden, London   1 comment

 

On my way to the park in Morden, I stopped for some nourishment in the form of a ‘small’ cod at the Halalhalal Fish & Kebabs.  Remarkably good stuff — firm, perfectly steamed within the tasty batter, and neither too salty nor oily.  Well done.  Perfect for a rainy day out.  Might be found by looking up “Morden Fish & Kebabs,” but I was going by the sign.

 

Posted May 22, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Fish and Chips, Food

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Bob Carver’s Fish and Chips, Hull, East Riding   Leave a comment

On my way to the Inkerman Tavern to check in to my room, I came over quite hungry and grabbed the lunch special at Bob Carver’s, a perfect batch of haddock and chips.  I had a recommendation  (from a native with whom I work) to add the ‘spice’ to the fish and chips.  The spice is some sort of paprika and other red powder mixed in with salt and is another of the peculiarities of Hull culture.  And, I can kick myself for not buying some to bring home with me.

 

 

Posted May 17, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Fish and Chips, Food

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Best Kebab, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire   2 comments

 

I had a long journey home and knew I wouldn’t fancy cooking so I looked around for dinner near the station.  The runs today and yesterday had taken their toll on me and I felt I could eat just about anything and absorb the worst it had to offer.  The worst that the Best Kebab had to offer was an insidious saltiness that had me at the water tap all night but the kebab wasn’t too fatty and it tasted more like actual lamb than filler.  I’ve definitely had worse.

 

 

Posted May 15, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Food, Kebabs

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Mount Fish Bar, Coulsdon, Surrey   2 comments

Cooked fresh, my small cod took ages at the Mount but it was worth the wait.

I asked the cashier if there was a bridge over the tracks at the rail station not ¼ from here.  “No, you have to go around.”  I showed her my map and pointed to the sweat blurred area next to the rail station.

“That’s not a bridge?”
“No, there’s no bridge. You have to drive around through Coulsdon.”
“Where do I get a car, then?” She didn’t get it. “I’m afoot,” I added making the international hand gesture for walking.

A moment passed. “Oh, then you should take the foot bridge.”
“What’s the best route for that?” I asked, certain the floor show would continue. Instead of looking at the map or pointing to either of the two roads just outside the shop window, she whipped out her phone.

“Where are you trying to get to?”
“The Smugglers bar.”
The owner interjected, “you need to drive down through Coulsdon.”

“He doesn’t have a car,” cashier informed him. To her phone she said, “get me from here to the Smugglers.”
A moment passed and a map turned up. “It says it will take 4 hours if you drive.”
“That’s the Smugglers in Dorset. I want the one at the bottom of the hill. Just the other side of the foot bridge across the rails.”

“There’s no bridge,” interrupted the cook, handing me my snack.
“I’ll take my chances. Thanks!”

 

Posted May 13, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Fish and Chips, Food

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Carp and Trout, Hampton Hill, London   1 comment

 

It was rapidly becoming a drinking day and suddenly I craved protein, carbs, fat, and salt in that order.  Just across from the entrance to Bushy Park I got a spectacular chunk of cod at the Carp and Trout.  The day was going well…I am living the dream.

 

Posted May 12, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Fish and Chips, Food

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Tafel Spitz   Leave a comment

tafel-spitz-mid-cook

The chef, Rick Stein, has this fantastic travel and cookery show called Rick Stein’s Long Weekends. A bit like Tony Bourdain’s shows without the likelihood of a fight breaking out, the conceit is that Rick travels to less touristy destinations than usual but all within an hour or two flight from Britain so you could go on a Friday and return on a Monday and see loads and eat your fill of local stuff. I record these and scribble the recipes down as near as I can manage and have been looking forward to trying the Tafel Spitz (the specialty of the house at Plachutta in Vienna) ever since this one aired.

I’m sure this recipe will horrify the Viennese, but it turned out well.

Put 1 kg of a tougher cut of roast (mine was a silverside) under just enough water to boil and throw in a dozen or so black peppercorns, a couple of bay leaves, some salt, and a pinch of carraway seeds and simmer just above boiling for 3 hours. Take some marrow bones and roast these for 30 minutes at 200 C while the beef makes its broth.

Plunge the meat into an ice bath and while it chills add about 500 g of root vegetables to the broth — I used carrots, turnips, leeks, and an onion which was cut in half and scorched in a frying pan on the cut sides (this is in every recipe so the carmelization must be important). Throw the bones in with this. When the meat is very cold, cut it in slices about 2 cm thick against the grain; the chilling is necessary as otherwise the meat will fall apart due to the long boiling. After about 30 minutes, slide the beef slices into the soup to reheat and soak up some of the veggie flavours.

 

tafel-spitz-rosti-to-do

Traditionally, this is served in 3 courses. First, the broth and vegetables are served as a soup followed by rye bread with the marrow used to butter it (we had some Austrian style black rye from our baker for this). Finally, the slab of beef is served with a bit of the broth on top, an apple and horseradish sauce, and rosti and creamed spinach on the side.

For the rosti, I brought a bunch of small potatoes to the boil then plunged them in the ice bath and grated them. This pile was mixed with chives and freshly ground black pepper then fryed in butter until crisp and golden brown on both sides.

The sauce takes some baking apples (peeled, grated, and tossed in lemon juice) and freshly grated horseradish at about a 3 weights of apple to 1 weight of horseradish. For each 100 g of apple add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon cider vinegar plus salt to taste then whiz it to a paste. This should clear your sinuses, gently; add more horseradish at your peril. I think it will go really good with roast pork, too.

I took the spinach and wilted it over some soy beans then thickened it with buerre manié because Jackie isn’t a big fan of creamed spinach. You do what you got’s to do, eh? A not too dry white wine would go well with the first course but as we kind of scooped everything into a plate and ran with it we just had a chianti.

 

tafel-spitz

A revelation. Thanks, Rick. See if you can get the theme music out of your head:

 

Posted February 21, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Food, Recipes

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