The Barbary

This weekend was all about new favourites.

The team behind Palomar has opened their second restaurant concept in Covent Garden at Neal’s Yard, one of my favourite little spots in the city. For those of you who have not been, its a perfect spot for a date night.

b2

I’ve had Barbary on my list for a while and finally A and I landed up there on a Saturday evening. Might not have been the best choice of day considering the fact that they don’t take reservations but the vibe, people and the lovely wine definitely transported us to the Barbary Coast.

b3

We finally got our two seats at a 24 seater kitchen table and I was possibly behaving like a little kid who had been left free to roam in a candy store all night. I literally wanted to try everything on the menu. But before that, I gave myself a bit of history lesson and quickly read up on the food culture and traditions of the Barbary coast which are made up of some beautiful ingredients and some great traditional cooking techniques. The spices, seeds and seasonal fruit and veg seem to define the menu which changes depending on the season of course.

b1

We got a couple of dips to begin with along with the Moroccan cigars. They were crispy golden spring rolls filled with a delicious sea food mince.

b20

The baba ghanoush was creamy and velvety with a perfect smoky aubergine flavour
b21

I lately have got a thing for pickled beetroot and this was even better as it came on a bed of whippy thick yogurt

b5

The msacabha chickpeas took me down memory lane as they reminded me of the white peas my granny would make when we visited her after school. This would be my staple Friday lunch. A tiny squeeze of lemon and they taste divine

b22

The fluffy cauliflower charred on the ends and served with this jeweled tomato and herb dressing is an absolute must

b23

The black salmon dukkah was possibly the best thing on the menu. I couldn’t get enough of it as my fork kept going back to the plate even when the fish was over. The glossy marinade with honey and all the crunchy seeds was something that I would love to recreate in my kitchen

b25

The salmon gets to feature twice!

b8

The chicken was juicy tender and A’s most loved dish of the night

b7

The monkfish skewers was the special for the evening. I love anything that’s cooked on a charcoal grill and this was no exception. The cooking technique seems to bring out the flavour of the meat for me. The skewers were garnished with this citrussy olive oil reduction which added a bit of zing to the fish

b12

Last but never the least the knafah was ordered to put the sweet tooth to rest. This dessert is as sweet as it can get. The crispy rice noodle cake dipped in honey with a sprinkle of pistachio and a touch of orange brought a swing to my spoon and a satisfied sparkle to my eye

This has got to be your next culinary destination. You can find them here  https://thebarbary.co.uk/

 

 

 

Chicken & Quinoa Spring Salad

Its not only the clothes that start getting a tad bit happier and brighter during this time of the year, its also the food.

The breads , soups and pastas are replaced with salads, smoothies and sushi.

To cheer up our after workout Saturday afternoon I came up with an easy and quick quinoa and chicken recipe. I had some mini chicken fillets in the fridge and this preferred protein goes well with quinoa.

q10

Now for the ingredients, just in case you are in the mood for some quinoa goodness

1 packet quinoa

8 mini chicken fillets

1 red pepper

1 red or white onion

1 tbsp. cajun spice

1 tbsp oil

1/2 lemon

Handful coriander

Handful flaked almonds

1tsp salt

1tsp pepper

quinoa2

I started off by chopping the onion and red pepper

q2

Its up to you whether you want chunky chicken pieces or thin slices. I like them thinner so I further sliced the mini fillets into two

q3

After all the chopping and slicing I added the chicken pieces to the pan along with the oil and the Cajun spices. Make sure the oil is hot before you add the chicken to the pan. Mix well to ensure even coating and cook the chicken for 5 minutes.

quinoa1

Slide the onions and peppers into the pan

quinoa

Mix them with the spices and cook until the veggies soften and start to caramelise. Don’t let the chicken burn, keep swirling your wooden spoon for some sparkling compliments later

q12

I used the quinoa and puy lentils mix for my salad and followed the cooking instructions on the bag

quinoa3

Once cooked I emptied out the quinoa into a bowl

quinoa4

By now my chicken and veg mix was also cooked to perfection so I transferred that to the bowl as well

q8

Gave it a good mix and squeezed half a lemon over it along with some salt and pepper

q9

Once I was happy with the flavours I sprinkled a handful of flaked almonds over it. You will be surprised how they add another layer of texture & taste to the recipe

q11

Finally sprinkled some sparkle with fresh coriander. I absolutely love the smell and the colours of this herb.

I was starving by the time I finished cooking, just look at those colours aren’t they calling out to you.

I grabbed my bowl full and sat in front of the telly to finish off my guilty pleasure – an episode of Marvel Agents of Shield.

 

Dover Sole with Chilli Parsley Butter & Baked Kale

Super kicked with this recipe. I was so pleased with the final result and had a big smile towards the end of the meal. It was quick and tasted delicious, we could have had a bit more but I only bought two fillets. Will just have to wait until next time, which won’t be very long from now.

Started of by making the butter mix.

ds17

Roughly chop a small bunch of parsley and make sure the chili is cut into tiny squares.

ds11

Cut two small blocks of unsalted butter for two fillets.

ds13

Put the chili and parsley into the bowl with a small squeeze of lemon.

ds12

Add 1/2 tsp of paprika and adjust the flavor after giving it a good mix.

ds14

Have a lick and see if you are happy with the taste, if not add some more lemon and paprika. If you have the time and patience you can keep it in the fridge for an hour, if not just use it like this. I didn’t have the patience as we were very hungry after a long day at work.

ds7

Season the fish on both sides.

ds8

Place it on a pan with a few drops of olive oil. Don’t add too much as you are going to cook it in butter. Remember to keep the flame on medium.

ds9

Add the beautiful chili parsley butter.

ds10

Let it sizzle……..

ds1

Turn the fish over after 4 minutes and add more butter if you like. Depending on the thickness of the fish it should take about 4-5 minutes on each side.

ds6

While the fish is cooking, season the kale and drizzle some olive oil over it.

ds15

Keep it in the oven for about 15 minutes at 150°C fan and do keep a watchful eye on it as you only want the edges to become crispy and not burn.

If you want you can sprinkle some parmesan over it once its roasted. Its entirely up to you.

ds4

Here go my January goals. I am allowed to cheat a bit, what do you think?

 

Chicken Kebabs with Harissa Yogurt

This recipe makes for a perfect mid-week supper. Its quick, fresh and healthy. Definitely fits into the January lean and green goals, as I like to call them. No resolutions for me please. I am not sure if I have ever managed to fulfill any new year resolution till date. So this year I decided to set some goals- lets see how that goes.

Now coming back to my kebabs. I took inspiration from a mix of Indian and Mediterranean flavors that are freshly put together in my kitchen and served with some super easy and fresh harissa yogurt.

This will serve 2 very hungry people and 4 not so hungry guests.

chk1

Take 4 chicken thighs and cut them into rough chunks.

chk2

Chop 1 white onion, 3 cloves of garlic, tiny piece of ginger and a bunch or coriander.

chk3

Throw everything into a grinder and add 1 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper.

chk4

Next up 1 tsp of coriander powder.

chk5

Finally a tiny amount of chili powder.

chk6

Quick tip- adding olive makes it a finer chicken mince.

chk10

I prefer this sort of a shape and size but you can make them smaller to serve as an appetizer or larger to make a grilled chicken burger.

chk11

Add a little bit of olive oil to a large frying pan and cook until brown. Approximately 4-5 minutes on each side should do the job.

chk12

Make sure you cook them over a low to medium flame so that they don’t burn.

chk14

For the harissa yogurt take 1 cup of yogurt, 1tsp salt, 1 tsp harissa paste and mix them all together. Next up, squeeze half a lemon into the mixture and tadaaa….ready to do.

chk17

I served mine with some spinach and beetroot salad and wholemeal pita.

chk15

And of course my favorite diptyque candle to add to the sensory pleasure.

chk19

Fancied a little chicken pita. I like mine salad heavy what about you ?!