Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tapas Brindisa Borough Market

Ever since I moved to London just over 2 years ago, I have been trying to go to Brindisa at Borough Market. Unfortunately, as they never take advance bookings, you have to rock up and hope for the best, and until recently, the best was never in my favour with waits of up to and over 2 hours for a table even just for Hussyband and myself. To which I usually respond with a polite “sod that” and wander off elsewhere in search of victuals.

The other week I was meeting up with fellow expat Mrs_Mups for a quick lunch while she was passing through the area, it is rare for me to take a lunch break at work, normally I just heat up one of the boring soups and crack on with my day at the desk, gazing mournfully at the insipid sunlight London normally has on offer this time of year. But, on a gorgeous clear late winter day, I ventured out. Out into the big bad world of London Bridge.

Now, maybe it was the weather, or the fact it was the first day of spring, maybe it was because I was showing a disgraceful amount of cleavage, or just that the Food Deities were looking out for me, but I wandered in the door of Brindisa and oh my goodness gracious me, I got a table for 2 straight away!
Messaging Mrs_Mups were I was, I started to have food envy very quickly at the plates being delivered quickly to the tables around me. On MM’s arrival, we quickly ordered a couple of plates to share and settled in for some girlie gossip (of which I cannot divulge the topics as what goes on in GirlieGossip stays between the girls!)

Being good little construction employees, I had a diet coke, whilst MM went for a lemonade, but the wine list was very tempting, and quite affordable.
We started off with a bowl of plump Gordal Olives with oregano and orange (£3.50) – olives and me have had a love/hate relationship over the years, but the big green juicy ones from Spain have been love/love ever since I first had them when we moved over here.
Next up was a Ham Selection (£19.50) – now, paying that much money, for a few slices of hams, did have me a little worried, but the serving was generous, the meats (serrano, iberico and carved iberico de bellota) meaty and hammy, and the bread and olive oil were both chewy and unctuous in turn.
Needing something a bit more substantial we for one of the Cocina De Mercado – house specialities at London Bridge. The Huevos Rotos (£5.50) grabbed both of us by the heartstrings and did not disappoint. Just fried eggs broken over pan fried potatoes and iberico pork sobrasada had us reaching for any leftover bread we could lay our hands on to mops up the juices.
We finished off with a cheese course, of course. Deep Fried Monte Enebro (£7.60) – handmade goats cheese with orange blossom honey and crispy beetroot. At this point we had to ask for more bread, three times, but it finaly came and was much needed to eat the cheese and honey with. The beetroot chips were very moorish – almost reminiscent of bacon bits but so much better.

Just time for quick kisses on cheeks before we both rushed back to our respective offices with full bellies, sated appetites and happy hearts.

Tapas Brindisa
18-20 Southwark St
London SE1 1TJ
Tel: 020 7357 8880

Monday, March 5, 2012

British Pie Week - Left Over Lamb Roast & Mint Pie

This weekend London had a return to winter, and after talking to Mum back home, I had a craving for roast lamb with all the trimmings, especially burnt pumpkin. In my family, we always cook out butternut pumpkin (or squash in the UK) until it is black and caramalised on the outside, it gives it an amazing flavour. We couldn't have eaten all the pumpkin, so I steamed and mashed the leftovers with a cunning plan in mind.

Knowing that the leg of lamb (that I had picked up for a steal at Makro) was too big for the two of us, I planned to make the leftovers into a pie for British Pie Week, but I didn't want a stodgy pastry as I am trying to be healthy. After trimming all the visible fat from the leftovers last night, I refrigerated the rest overnight so that I could pull off the lard that I couldn't see this evening and then I mixed it with the leftover gravy, homemade mint sauce, and peas and piled it all into a pie dish.

The pastry is an old favorite that is very quick to whip up in my trusty food processor using the pastry blade. Mix together 90g of room temp butter with 150g plain flour (I used spelt), 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 120g of cooled mashed pumpkin (you could use any root vegetable for this - I have done it with potato, celeriac, carrot and would love to try it with beetroot!) and salt to taste. Blitz together until combined, then turn out onto a lightly floured mat and knead together. Roll out and cover your pie mix, cut a breathing hole and decorate to your hearts content.

Being a lamb pie tonite, I made a couple of wellie boots and the back view of a sheep - hey it was Kiwi lamb and we all know the boots are useful! And yes, that is a dag on its ass, not a tail!

The pastry was short, savory and nice and crisp, and was the perfect foil to the sweet minty lamb.

Now my Hussyband claims to be a boob-man...but I couldnt resist when serving up, and after tonite he may be an assman!

A Kiwi, a sheep, and a dog were survivors of a terrible shipwreck. They found themselves stranded on a desert island.

After being there a while, they got into the habit of going to the beach every evening to watch the sun go down. One particular evening, the sky was red with beautiful cirrus clouds, the breeze was warm and gentle; a perfect night for romance.

As they sat there, the sheep started looking better and better to the Kiwi. Soon, he leaned over to the sheep and put his arm around it. But the dog got jealous, growling fiercely until the Kiwi took his arm from around the sheep. After that, the three of them continued to enjoy the sunsets together, but there was no more cuddling.

A few weeks passed by, and lo and behold, there was another shipwreck. The only survivor was a beautiful young woman, the most beautiful woman the Kiwi had ever seen. She was in a pretty bad way when they rescued her, and they slowly nursed her back to health. When the young maiden was well enough, they introduced her to their evening beach ritual. It was another beautiful evening: red sky, cirrus clouds, a warm and gentle breeze; perfect for a night of romance.

Pretty soon, the Kiwi started to get "those feelings" again. He fought them as long as he could, but he finally gave in and leaned over to the young woman, cautiously, and whispered in her ear... .
Would you mind taking the dog for a walk?