Saturday, 18 June 2011

Last bank holiday of May

And since I recently mentioned that I have a new dining table that I made myself, I'd like to share with you a pic or two. The actual table doesn't show very well and it's covered in plates and food but that's what it's meant to be used for, right? I took these a couple of weeks ago when our good friends Evi and Andre visited for the weekend and we made a couple of things to have as dinner. The menu consisted of:

-Portuguese cheese (oh dear, I forgot the name again!), charcuterie, red hot cherry peppers filled with ricotta, Poilane bread
-Steamed asparagus and smoked salmon with parmesan shavings and honey vinaigrette
-Crevette risotto with saffron and vegetables
-Tomato tarte
-Tarte Tatin for dessert
-Vinho verde

We had a lovely time and the weekend pretty much evolved around food and on the Sunday I had booked us a table at Providores for brunch. I was looking really forward to it as I had never been there before but I ended up slightly disappointed: The food was very good, but nothing that we haven't had before at Lantana and other places of more reasonable prices. The atmosphere downstairs was cozy and casual (but too crowded on that particular day, but that's what happens with popular places I guess) but we were seated upstairs were it was more fancy-restaurant-like and it lacked the hype vibe. We all made a great discovery though: Turkish baked eggs in yoghurt!! Even I, having had a longtime love-hate relationship with eggs, could not believe I hadn't tried this before, or didn't even know it existed.

I didn't take a photo of Evi's Turkish eggs but here is a pic I found on the internet:

We also went to Ginger and White (it almost sounds like I'm advertising the place) and had a coffee before going for a walk in the Heath. Here are some pictures from that day:

Oven-roasted king scallops

Today we woke up in a very energetic mode (despite the bad weather) and we jogged up to Hampstead village. It's so much more motivating than going to the gym and running on the treadmill, because you know that when you get there, there will be coffee waiting for you as a treat for your efforts. And so we had two flat whites at Ginger and White, waited for the rain to stop and walked back home again to make lunch (a very late one).

Here are some pictures I took (discreetly, I hope) at Ginger and White - one of my favourite coffee places:

Towards the end of the itinerary it started to rain again and we run through it, getting home soaked and tired. I didn't want to make something that would cancel our efforts and I was still thinking of a scallop dish I ate in Copenhagen while I was visiting for work last week. They were oven-roasted and had a pesto-like sauce but I decided to completely make something up - a sauce of my own creation:

I made a pesto-salsa verde hybrid by mixing garlic, pine nuts, basil, parsley, dill, lemon and olive oil.
Please don't ask me the measurements because I didn't actually measure, I just put all the ingredients together in the blender, in quantities that seemed fit to me. And so I blended them.

I cut about 10 vine tomatoes in half, put them cut side down in a baking tray and sprinkled with just a dash of olive oil. Then I roasted them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes.

Then I took a tablespoon or two of the green herb sauce and mixed it with some vine tomatoes (3-4) and blended these too (separately) to make a tomato sauce.

In the meantime, I took the tomatoes out of the oven and kept them aside. I seasoned the king scallops and put them in the oven for about 20 minutes. If you have a better/faster oven then mine, you might need less time.

After roasting the scallops I put them in a serving dish with some of the roasted tomatoes and sprinkled them with the green and the tomato sauce according to taste.

To accompany, I steamed some asparagus for 2 minutes, poured over them some vinaigrette and  parmesan shavings. I make the vinaigrette by mixing olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a teaspoon of honey.

Et voila, a light but tasty lunch