Reidbury's Kitchen

Food thoughts, recipes and billowing smoke from a home cook's kitchen in London


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A Dessert For The Lazy

Iced Berries with Limoncello White Chocolate Sauce

Iced Berries with Limoncello White Chocolate Sauce

It was only a matter of time before I referenced the Food Goddess herself – Nigella Lawson. Anyone who knows me, is fully aware of my somewhat obsessive love for this domestic goddess – I’m still convinced if she just met me, we’d be the best of friends. I mean, we like the same things – wearing black dresses, sticking our fingers into bowls of chocolate, fairy lights… But in all seriousness, there’s no other person who makes me want to get into the kitchen and cook something as much as Nigella. And inevitably, that ‘something’ is usually not that healthy. Bonus.

Over Christmas, my parents and I had finished dinner and were  stuffed. Well, almost. Mum and I had a sneaky little yearning for something sweet.  It wasn’t appropriate to start whipping up a Croquembouche after a few glasses of wine, so we dug out Nigella’s latest book Nigellissima and made what might be the finest, laziest, tastiest post-dinner treat I’ve had – Iced Berries with Limoncello White Chocolate Sauce. It is actually really similar to a dessert I had at the wonderful Boundary Restaurant in Shoreditch and is a perfect combination of sharp and sweet. And it’s pretty easy to whip up if you want to show off to your friends as the ingredients can sit happily in your fridge freezer until needed.

Once Mum and I started eating this, all of a sudden Dad arrived with a spoon hidden in his back pocket. So watch out for converts…

Ingredients

  • 250ml/9fl oz double cream
  • 4 tbsp limoncello
  • 200g/7oz white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 500g/1lb 2oz frozen mixed berries (unthawed) – I went with a combo of raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants and blueberries, but any will do

Method

Put the double cream and two tablespoons of the limoncello in a milk pan, and heat it until just about to come to the boil, but not actually boiling.

Take the pan off the heat and add the white chocolate, then swirl the pan about so that it is all submerged.

Take the berries out of the freezer and arrange them in a single layer in a dish or plate that has a small lip (so that the sauce doesn’t drip off later). Mum and I actually used a cake stand, which worked nicely and made us feel fancy. Sprinkle with the remaining two tablespoons of limoncello and leave for five minutes, during which time you can swirl your white chocolate pan about every now and again to help the chocolate melt into the lemony cream.

Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate-cream mixture, still off the heat, until it’s smooth, then pour it over the berries and serve immediately

Recipe & Image Credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/iced_berries_with_63709 

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Jerk Chicken with Rice & Peas

I’m not sure why, but I always get some smug satisfaction when I have meat that’s marinating in the fridge. Something to do with me being organised enough to have prepared something a whole 24 hours before I plan on cooking it! One of my favourite marinaded meals is Jerk Chicken. Now, I have no idea how authentic this recipe is and can’t remember where I found it, but apparently the history of this dish is very varied and there’s a lot of flexibility on the exact spice blend anyway. But it is said there’s one rule for Jerk seasoning – don’t skimp on spices, even if you choose to reduce the heat. In my world, anything that tastes and smells as good as this is a winner!

And whilst you don’t have to marinate overnight, you should definitely marinate for 4 hours minimum.

Serve with Rice and Peas and add a little sunshine to your plate during these grey, winter months!

Jerk Chicken 

Ingredients

  • 2 Scotch bonnet peppers (heat is pretty important here, but reduce if needed)
  • 3 spring onions, diced
  • 1  large white onion, diced
  • 1.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp ground thyme
  • 1.5 tsp ground sage
  • 0.75 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 0.75 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.75 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 60ml soy sauce
  • 60ml dark rum
  • 175ml white vinegar
  • 120ml orange juice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1kg chicken pieces – skin on, bone-in thighs and drumsticks give the best flavour

Method

Put all the ingredients, apart from the chicken, into a blender and blitz until smooth.

Put the chicken into a large freezer bag and pour over the marinade. It’s helpful to place the freezer bag into a bowl to stop any leakage, and then leave in the fridge for anywhere between 4 and 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180C and put the chicken skin side up on a roasting tray. Roast until cooked through (about 45 mins) turning over once halfway through the process.

Rice & Peas

Ingredients

  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 300ml long grain rice (measure in a measuring jug, as weight doesn’t really work with this absorption method)
  • 400ml water
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 400g tin kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tbps fresh thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh coriander, to garnish

Method

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion until translucent.

Add the rice, stir well and add the water and coconut milk. Bring to the boil.

Add the kidney beans and thyme, simmer, and cover, for about 20 minutes until the rice is cooked. Season with the salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve garnished with the coriander.


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Apple & Frangipane Tarts

Apple Frangipane Tarts

Apple Frangipane Tarts

So last year I went to Leith’s School of Food and Wine to take on a Pastry Workshop. I would highly recommend both the course and Leith’s for anyone interested in furthering their knowledge or learning a new skill. I always knew that pastry is a tough mistress, but within the first 20 minutes it became pretty clear that we were going to have a day of mixed fortunes! The chef who provided an initial demo of the items we were going to make was very honest that pastry is something that takes plenty of practice, cold hands and the right atmospheric conditions to get right! We learned to make three types of pastry:

  • Choux Pastry in the form of Profiteroles
  • Rich Shortcrust in the form of a Salmon & Dill Quiche
  • Pâte Sucrée (sweet shortcrust) in the form of Apple and Frangipane Tarts

Full details on the 2013 course are here but my highlight was the Apple and Frangipane Tarts. Whilst they require some effort to make, they just look so irresistible and have always garnered lots of ‘oohs’ of approval, so here’s the recipe:

APPLE AND FRANGIPANE TARTS

For the Pâte Sucrée (I reckon you can get 6-8 small tarts out of this)

  • 170g plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 85g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 85g sugar
  • 2 drops of vanilla essence (I would use extract here)

For the Frangipane

  • 200g butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp Calvados or kirsch (optional allegedly, but I wholeheartedly approve)
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 3-4 ripe dessert apples

For the apricot glaze

  • 3 tbsp apricot jam
  • ½ tbsp water
  • Juice of half a small lemon

Make the pastry:

I’m using the method that was taught during the course.  Our instructor did say there’s a food processor version, but honestly, the pleasure in making these tarts for me is the ‘hands on’ approach!

Sift the flour with the salt on to a board.  With your fist make a large circle in the centre (about the size of a dinner plate) so you are left with a ring of flour. Place the sugar and butter in the centre.

Using the fingertips of one hand, mix the butter and sugar together in a ‘pecking’ motion.  Once mixed, add the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla essence and ‘peck’ into a paste.  After that, flick the flour over the paste using a palette knife. Using the ‘sharp’ side of the palette knife ‘chop’ the pastry until all the flour is combined. When combined, frasier the pastry into 6-8 sections (as many sections as you want tarts).  This involves shaving 3 slivers off the ball of dough with a pallet knife at a time, and then pressing all the slivers together to form your finished clump of pastry).

If the pastry seems too soft to roll out, wrap it in clingfilm and chill in the fridge.  Then, roll it out to fit your tart cases and line them.  Good luck with this – the shorter the pastry, the better it’ll taste, but the more frustration it’ll add to your life when you’re trying to line those tins…! Chill in the fridge (regardless of whether you’ve chilled the dough up to this point or not).

Make the Frangipane:

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6 and put in a baking sheet to heat

Cream the butter in a bowl gradually beat in the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and soft.

Gradually add the eggs and egg yolks, beating well after each addition.

Add the Calvados or Kirsch if using (I judge you if you don’t), and then stir in the ground almonds and the flour. Spread the frangipane into the chilled pastry cases.

Peel the apples (unless they’re red or pink, in which case leave them as they are), halve them and scoop out the cores. Cut the apples crosswise into very thin slices and arrange them on the frangipane keeping the slices of each apple together. Press them down gently until they touch the pastry base.

Bake the tarts on the preheated baking sheet near the top of the oven for 10 – 15 minutes until the pastry dough is beginning to brown. Turn down the oven temperature to 170C/350F/gas mark 4 and bake for a further 30 -35 minutes or until apples are tender and the frangipane is set.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Remove from the tart cases whilst the tarts are still warm as it’s easier.

Make the apricot glaze: 

Whilst the tarts are cooling, make the apricot glaze. Place all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring gently until syrupy. Strain.

Brush the tarts with the apricot glaze quickly (as the glaze can set pretty quickly and become unspreadable) and serve at room temperature. These tarts are best eaten the day they’re cooked, but they can also be frozen.

Et voila… Bask in the glory of the inevitable praise that will follow!


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New Design, New Start!

Well, it’s been a while. But with a fresh design and a refreshed interest in food, I thought it was about time I started updating this blog again! I’m hoping to post little and often, covering recipes I know and love, new recipes I’ve tried and restaurants I’ve been to. Mostly I’m trying to remind myself of some of the wonderful things I’ve cooked and eaten, but perhaps I might inspire someone along the way too to try out a new recipe!


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Playing Catch Up…!

Well I’ve been very lax at updating this blog for the last month. It’s due to a combination of things, but mostly that we didn’t do a proper food shop last month. Instead our kitchen has been like a poor episode of ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’. Turns out there’s not much you can create with some vodka, an old onion and some jam…

Instead we’ve been a bit lazy and had simple things at home like pre-made tortellini and my absolute new favourite – Trofie with pesto and LOTS of parmesan.

Trofie Pasta

I’d never heard of this type of pasta before, but it started getting advertised in food magazines and even Tesco Beirut (our affectionately named local store) stock it. It’s a sort of small, rolled shape and retains a bit of bite when you cook it which I like. And to make it even better, it takes 4 minutes to cook. Yum! I’ll also admit to a few naughty takeaways – although one was a celebration that our favourite Indian takeaway (Moza) which had closed down, has now miraculously reopened. Woop!!

So, onto the food we’ve had over the last month that I can remember… The whole purpose of this blog is to stop me forgetting what I’ve cooked, so I will definitely not leave it so long between updates from now on.

First up was Tuna Tartare Fishcakes from one of Olive Magazine’s brilliant mini supplements. This one was from p.40 of  September 2011’s “£5 Suppers for Two”.  Simple recipe that makes fishcakes from mashed potato, tartare sauce, spring onions and tinned tuna. Served with skinny French Fries and some green salad leaves.  I absolutely loved this recipe and will definitely be doing this again – really simple, but really effective. KB rating 8/10. PR rating 7/10

We also tried another recipe from the same supplement – Sausages with Boston Baked Beans on p.30. Again, a straight forward recipe that has absolutely become one of Reidbury’s Kitchen Classics! Cook sausages until browned all over. Remove and then add bacon, onion and carrots for a while before adding haricot beans, mustard, brown sugar, stock and tomato puree. Whack in the oven for 30 mins and it’s done. Fabulousness. KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8/10

Sausage with Boston Beans. Olive Supplement, September 2011

I also cooked a full on 3 course meal one Sunday afternoon. And afterwards Paul felt like it was Christmas Day – stuffed! Starter was Slow-Cooked Onion & Cider Soup with Gruyere Toasts from Delicious Magazine, November 2009 (9.86). This was followed by Nigella Lawson’s Roast Chicken from ‘How to Eat’ and her roasted garlic and shallots, served with mashed potatoes and green beans. All finished with Mulled Winter Fruit Crumble from Delicious Magazine, November 2009 (p.88).  Here’s Paul about to tuck in!

Nom Nom Nom!

Great meal – the soup was lovely and warming, and the gruyere toasts worked really well. The roast was as good as ever – although I do need to work on my portion control. I daren’t show the picture here as it literally fills the entire plate and looks a bit OTT! The dessert was a revelation – it’s a really clever way of rustling up a crumble using dried fruit instead of fresh. Kind of a store cupboard crumble recipe! You basically put dried fruits (cranberries/figs/sultanas etc) into a pan with red wine, a mulled wine sachet, orange zest, sugar and water and simmer for about 10 mins. Transfer to a shallow ovenproof dish and cover with the topping –  simple blend of flour, mixed spice, sugar and butter. Bake in the oven and serve with ice cream, clotted cream or  custard. Lovely! KB rating for the meal 8/10. PR rating 7.5/10

A less successful recipe was Devilled Turkey Koftes with Apple Salad from Delicious Magazine, September 2011 (p.20). Despite looking like a good recipe with lots of lovely flavours in the kofte, I felt the whole thing was a bit sloppy and disappointing! The flavour didn’t really pack the punch I expected either. Although the apple salad was a surprising start – will do that again. KB rating 5/10. PR rating 6/10.

So, moving on to something far better – my first foray into Hollandaise Sauce making! What a proud moment for a home chef when something that’s quite poncy-sounding turns out better than expected! The recipe was from Waitrose Kitchen magazine, September 2011 (p.104) and the picture on that page of hollandaise sauce draped over toasted English muffins, ham and poached eggs was enough to make me obsess about attempting it for 2 days! I was genuinely surprised that my first attempt worked so well – only thing to change would be to taste the sauce BEFORE adding any lemon juice. The vinegar was already pretty obvious, so I shouldn’t have been so heavy-handed with the lemon too! KB rating 9/10. PR rating 8/10.

Toasted English Muffin with Ham, Poached Eggs and Hollandaise Sauce

Now I’m almost up to date. This week I’ve cooked a couple of things. The first being Rare Beef with Thai Herbs from Delicious Magazine, February 2006 (p.32). Goes to show how useful it is to keep back editions of food magazines as I was planning to do a beef roast. But then the mini October heatwave scuppered the plan so I went for this instead. It’s effectively a roasted joint of beef that’s been marinaded with sesame oil and soy sauce. You sear the meat in a pan before transferring to the oven. But the good bit is the 1 hour resting of the meat. Separately you make a dressing with shallots, chilli, spring onions, fish sauce, sugar, herbs (basil, coriander and mint), soy sauce and sesame oil and add the juices from the meat. This gets spooned over very thinly sliced rare beef. YUM! I served this with a sort of raw salad which I made up – I blanched sugar snap peas and tenderstem broccoli and then added these to yellow pepper and beansprouts which I dressed with some sesame and soy. A great way to get some vegetables into your life! KB rating 9/10. PR rating 9/10.

Rare Beef with Thai Herbs. Delicious Magazine, February 2006

And something that I can’t believe I’ve not cooked before – Spaghetti alla Carbonara, from Olive Magazine, October 2011. Not much to say about this one really – just a classic! KB rating 7/10. PR rating 7/10

Spaghetti alla Carbonara. Olive Magazine, October 2011

Finally, special mention to Paul’s curry that he made this month along with home made Chappatti’s. I knew the Curry Cooking Course I sent him on would prove profitable one day! Fantastic stuff!


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Surf and Turf…And A Cake

A few recipes to include today, given my lack of blog updates for a while! First up, two steak dishes to compare.

The first steak recipe we cooked was Steak with Chimichurri from Olive Magazine, June 2011 (p.3 of the BBQ section). It’s a pretty straightforward recipe that works as well on a griddle pan as it would on a BBQ. Cook the steak for 2 minutes a side on a searing hot pan (with just a little olive oil rubbed over) and serve with the Chimichurri which incudes paprika, cumin, garlic, red onion, red wine vinegar and some coriander. All emulsified with olive oil. I did enjoy this dish but felt the chimichurri was a little powdery due to the cumin and paprika. I’d be interested in researching other chimichurri recipes to see if I can improve on this a little. But the sauce works really well with the steak and I served with home made wedges. KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8/10

Steak with Chimichurri. Olive Magazine, June 2011

The next steak recipe was the simply titled Spicy Fillet Steaks from Delicious Magazine, September 2011 (p.88). I don’t often eat fillet steak, preferring the flavour of rump, but decided to stick to the recipe and pushed the boat out on fillets! Again, the steak is cooked simply on a searing hot griddle pan (2 mins a side) and then left to rest for 10 minutes. During this 10 mins you create the sauce by using the same pan as you cooked the steaks and adding garlic, fennel seeds, sun-dried tomato paste and chilli. To turn these flavours into a sauce you add some balsamic vinegar, red wine and beef stock and allow to reduce. By this time your steaks have rested and you can add in their juices to the sauce. The recipe suggests serving with rocket – I’m still not keen on this, so I went for the old faithful. Yep, home made potato wedges! (Worth noting there was a gap of a couple of weeks between cooking these two recipes!). Somehow that sauce is greater than the sum of its parts – very fiery and rich and works amazingly well with the steak. I can see why fillet works well here as you get the texture of the cut, but the sauce packs in the flavour that is often lacking with fillet steak. Amazing, and one for the repertoire. KB rating 9/10. PR rating 9/10

Spicy Fillet Steaks. Delicious Magazine, September 2011

Up next was a recipe that Paul cooked for us, Spicy Chorizo Potatoes with Fried Eggs from the p.32 of the ‘£5 Supper for Two’ supplement with Olive Magazine, September 2011. The recipe only had 7 ingredients but it worked really well. Simply cook some potatoes in boiling water and drain, then fry in oil until golden. Remove from pan and add some onion and green chilli, before adding chorizo and paprika. Once cooked, add the potatoes back into the pan and serve with a fried egg on top. Great comfort food, stuff you’d often have in your fridge and very tasty. Nom nom nom. KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 8/10.

Spicy Chorizo Potatoes with Fried Eggs, Olive Magazine Supplement, September 2011

Another recipe Paul cooked recently was Linguine with Garlic, Prawns & Spinach from Gino D’Acampo’s ‘The Italian Diet’ (p. 104). A nice pasta supper with fresh flavours (lemon, parsley and cherry tomatoes) in addition to the ingredients in the recipe title. Very enjoyable but I found it strange that the recipe only used the zest from the lemon and no juice – think I’d add a bit of juice next time and increase the amount of spinach to give this recipe a bit more oomph! The prawns, however, were really juicy and full of flavour and were definitely the highlight. KB rating 7/10. PR rating 7/10.

Linguine with Garlic, Prawns and Spinach. Gino d'Acampo, 'The Italian Diet'

I cooked another recipe from Gino D’Acampo’s ‘The Italian Diet’ book recently too – Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce (p.150). You can’t beat butter, lemon and chicken as a flavour combination (my own roast chicken uses lots of butter and lemon – surprise, surprise, it’s Nigella who inspired me!) and it works really nicely in this recipe. Unfortunately I had a slight issue when making this dish – the first stage is to coat thin pieces of chicken in seasoned flour and fry in a pan before removing and keeping warm. You then proceed to make the sauce in the same pan by deglazing with some lemon juice and stock, and adding parsely and butter to create a creamy texture. However, the floured chicken was catching on the pan so there was a slightly burnt layer over the pan that, when I deglazed, made the sauce really, really bitter and burnt tasting. I tried to sieve but to no avail! So I effectively had to make a sauce from scratch which meant the chickeny bits from the pan that add so much flavour were lost. Boo! I’ll make this again but with a more careful eye! KB rating 7/10. PR rating 7.5/10

Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce. Gino d'Acampo, 'The Italian Diet'

Given I’ve been feeling unwell over the last week I decided to cook two things with a view to making me feel better! So first up was a simple soup – Summer Veg-Box Soup from Olive Magazine, June 2011 (p.44). Dead easy to make – fry spring onions and courgettes in oil (I upgraded to garlic oil to add further flavour). Add some orzo pasta before adding frozen peas, frozen broad beans and veg stock and allow the whole thing to bubble away. I got a bit carried away with adding extra orzo, so it turned out being less liquidy than it should, but that’s what I was after anyway. Serve in a mug with warm bread and I instantly started to feel better. Yum. KB rating 8/10.

Summer Veg-Box Soup. Olive Magazine, June 2011

And finally, what else can cheer you up when you’re feeling grotty? Tea and cake. It’s a winner, so I decided to make a Victoria Sponge from 101 Teatime Treats (p.10). I hadn’t made one before, but now I am the proud owner of 2 cake tins I felt it was time. I had a slight worry when the oven started to smell like scrambled eggs, but turns out I was being paranoid and the end result was very good indeed given it was my first attempt. Buttercream and strawberry jam, with a mug of tea, completed the treat. KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8.5/10

Victoria Sponge. 101 Teatime Treats


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Pretty much pasta…

A few meals cooked this week, of which a couple are Reidbury’s tried and tested favourites! In addition to the recipes that follow I should admit to a takeaway curry (featuring my new obsession – paneer cheese in ‘Mottor Paneer’ form. Paneer cheese with peas – shouldn’t work but somehow it really does) and one night of 5 types of cheese and a good bottle of red…First up this week in the genuine cooking stakes – Sicilian Sausage Pasta from Delicious Magazine, July 2011 (p.34). A relatively simple pasta recipe that I hadn’t tried before. It works well as a ‘I’ve just got in from work, don’t want to reduce myself to a takeaway…what can I conjure up myself’ recipe. It uses sausage meat (easily squeezed from their cases), tomatoes, lemon, chilli, creme fraiche and Parmesan to create a fresh pasta sauce. Enjoyable but it felt a little thin on the ground with regards to taste – I think i’d up the chilli quota next time. Good meal to create when you’re a bit tired and uninterested. KB rating 6.5/10. PR rating 7/10.

Sicilian Sausage Pasta. Delicious Magazine, July 2011

Next up was a Reidbury favourite, Pasta with Sausages, Mustard and Caramelised Onions from Nigel Slater’s ‘Real Fast Food’  (p.12o). This has been cooked numerous times in the Reidbury kitchen and we often have a chorizo ring in the fridge for this very purpose. There’s something amazing about the chorizo oil that works so well with onions, mustard and pasta and it’s a nice feel good recipe as it’s so simple but tasty. Easy to knock up in about 15 minutes and not too much chopping if you’re feeling lazy. The recipe advocates the use of wholegrain pasta which I actually prefer – but Paul is harder to convince! KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 7.5/10

Pasta with Sausage, Mustard and Caramelised Onions. Nigel Slater’s ‘Real Fast Food’

Last recipe this week was another Reidbury favourite. Definitely in our top 3 homecooked meals at the moment – Harissa Chicken Kebabs with Spring Fattoush and Couscous, from Olive Magazine, April 2011 (p.66). There’s something about this recipe that means the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The harissa chicken is straighforward enough – chunks of chicken breast marinated in harissa and olive oil. But somehow grilling this on skewers makes the chicken really flavourful and moist. The spring fattoush incorporates cucumber, radish, lettuce, spring onions, mint and toasted pitta bread with a simple dressing of garlic, oil, sumac and lemon juice. Served with simple couscous and the whole meal is amazing! KB rating 9/10. PR rating 9/10.

Harissa Chicken Kebabs with Spring Fattoush. Olive Magazine, April 2011

Finally Paul and I went to Su Sazzagoni in Victoria Park for dinner on Friday. I really enjoyed the honest, Sardinian ambience and menu and particularly enjoyed the Spritz aperitif (currently one of my favourite drinks – either dry white wine or prosecco with Aperol and sparkling water – usually served with lots of ice and slice of orange). Out of 4 dishes (2 starters and 2 mains) only one really stood out – Paul’s simple-sounding starter of pasta with sausage. I did enjoy both of my dishes but felt a little disappointed – the seafood skewer didn’t have enough flavour and the prawns were mushy. My main of tuna was lovely but the bland salad didn’t offer enough contrast. I would go back again but I’d stick to their pasta and pizza rather than the grilled seafood as I’d been advised previously.