Sunday, 10 June 2012

A Grand Day Out

We saved almost everything to do on the last day of half term!  Never organise anything properly.

It was an early start to get to Brands Hatch for 8.30 a.m. - younger daughter had a "Young Drive" booked for 9.00 a.m - this was one of her birthday presents from January - we did expect that the weather would be much better by June but whilst the rain held off it was pretty windy yesterday.

They drove off, three children to each mini with the instructor and spent two and a half hours learning to drive, negotiate cones, three point turns, hill starts - you name it, they did it.

We got to watch - a half day well spent - younger daughter was thrilled to bits, loved every minute, wants to go again tomorrow and can't wait to get behind a wheel properly - unfortunately she has rather a wait - at least four more years.  Still, I'm sure this will not be the last time we go to Brands Hatch.  The husband wants to go racing and elder daughter (who has yet to pass her test) wants to take an advanced driving course!  Me?  I'll just stick to being the taxi service.

negotiating the cones
All done

From here we headed into London and stopped off in Greenwich to view the Royal River exhibition at the National Maritime Museum which was fabulous.  If we had had more time we would have visited the Cutty Sark as well, but time was short so all we managed was a couple of photographs!

From here we made our way to Chelsea (King's Road) and just had time for a quick/late lunch at Partridges before elder daughter went off to Liz Earle for a facial - one of her birthday presents from February - I had hoped to make it to Notting Hill to have lunch at Granger & Co. but time just did not permit - maybe another day during the summer holidays combined with a browse through Books for Cooks a favourite haunt for myself and my sister whenever she manages to make the trip over here from Australia.

The husband happily played the part of Chauffeur to us all day - he has his uses after all!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Random Recipe Challenge

Oh my, oh my .............. I think I may have cheated with this one!

The Random Recipe Challenge for this month was to choose a book at random, take the last page number and divide by two - that number page is the recipe to make.  Ok, so far so good ......... the random book was Diana Henry's Crazy Water Pickled Lemons .............. 192 pages divided by 2 = page 96 ..... and the recipe?  Sardines Beccafico, well, what can I say, I don't like sardines, my daughters don't like sardines, the husband really likes sardines - but he isn't getting them, well not this recipe for them anyway.  Sadly I'm not the most adventurous of food eaters, but I try, however, there is no way I could scale and gut a sardine, cut off its head, break the backbone at the head end and "gently pull it out, taking the bones with it".  SORRY.

Therefore, I cheated and randomly chose another book.  Am I disqualified?  I hope not.

Still, even if I am, we enjoyed our Grilled Chicken Club with Avocado Mayonnaise, Roast Tomato and Bacon - bit of a mouthful in more ways than one.  The random book was Bill Granger's Bill's Sydney Food - a lovely book (as all his books are) and I have to admit to restaurant envy too - I'm desperate to get to his new restaurant in Notting Hill and I'd quite like to own this myself!

The halfway mark in the book was page 97 - The Club Sandwich - which we had for dinner tonight - not a conventional dinner I admit, but it was nevertheless very good.  I had a loaf of turkish bread (corek) in the freezer which I defrosted/heated in the oven at the same time as some tomatoes which had been drizzled in olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  The tomatoes took twenty minutes as they were quite small (the recipe called for larger tomatoes to be roasted for forty minutes) and the bread about thirty minutes. 

My little helper cooked the chicken for me - 4 chicken thigh fillets cooked in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, seasoned with sea salt and pepper - cooked for approximately twenty minutes in a frying pan over medium heat.  In the meantime I kept my eye on four bacon slices and also made the mayonnaise.

The mayonnaise consisted of two egg yolks, juice and zest of 2 lemons, 1 avocado (chopped), sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, 200ml canola oil (I used groundnut oil).  The egg yolks, lemon juice and zest, avocado, salt and pepper into a food processor and blended until it was mixed thoroughly, then I added the oil small drop at a time and then in a steady stream whilst the blender was still going and until it became like a green mayonnaise!

Once everything was cooked I assembled the sandwich with some rocket added and a half of a little gem lettuce sat on the side of the plate.  The mayonnaise was served separately.

Here is the finished club sandwich.

I'm entering this into the Random Recipes Challenge No. 17 at Belleau Kitchen - see link below.

The full ingredients list is as follows:

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken thigh fillets
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 thick slices bread
avocado mayonnaise (separate ingredient list)
1 bunch rocket (arugula), washed and dried
4 rashers bacon, cooked
12 roast tomato halves
Lettuce cut into wedges

2 egg yolks
juice and zest of 2 lemons
1 avocado, chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
200ml canola oil

6 ripe Roma tomatoes, cliced in half lengthways
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180C and roast the tomatoes for 40 minutes.