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no matter what the road block in life, a great recipe can get you back to the bright side

Sunday, 7 April 2013

a lil bit o'this, a lil bit o'that

So I haven't done any major new recipes lately but I have tried some new things, and because we have had quite a few social occasions recently I have some new eating out experiences to share!

Poached eggs
Firstly, Justin and I both love eggs. Omelettes, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, frittatta, quiche I've done it. But at the age of 31 I have yet to try making poached eggs at home. What a revelation and how easy and more healthy then frying of course! 

So here was my first attempt at doing it - I think that by the time I got all the eggs in the water and all out, although still with a runny yoke, they were about a minute overcooked. 

So I started to boil two pans of water and when it reached the boil I put a tablespoon of white vinegar in each pan and then turned it down to a simmer. I separated the eggs into cups so that they would be easier to pour into the water. 

So when the water was a wee bitty bubbly I poured two eggs into eat pan. I let them simmer for about 3-4 mins each (depending on how quickly they went in and out of the water!). 

I drained them in a strainer and seasoned with salt and pepper. Before I did the eggs I made some potatoes and then I just put the poached eggs on top of the potatoes once seasoned. Served with a side of pork and leek sausages. 

The Rat Inn
Easter Monday saw us taking a wee trip around Northumberland with some friends. Sunday dinner we headed to Hexham and tried The Rat Inn for the first time. It's my understanding this traditional English pub has undergone a change in management a few times. It was a quaint little pub with a fairly decent menu for Sunday roast. It was also one of those lovely pubs that cared about their ingredients and sourced it locally. 

Two of us opted for the lamb and two for the duck (I had the duck). I have to say it wasn't the best duck that I've had because they didn't grill the fatty layer as much as I would have preferred but it had a really nice flavour to it! I was jealous of the dauphinoise potatoes that the lamb dish came with, they were absolutely lovely (but not as good as Adam's of course! Adam you must share your recipe with the world!). The Rat Inn is fairly far out of Newcastle and so I knew that I probably make there again soon so, although absolutely stuffed, I opted for dessert - Sticky Toffee pudding. Oh my.......it was huge (too huge to finish!) and it was glorious! One of the best I've had in the long time! Nice and moist but not too gooey and a nice stickiness around the outer edges. nom nom nom

Homemade Green Relish
Last week Justin and I were craving homemade burgers. I personally was craving some American green relish which can sometimes be difficult to find here. It was after work one night and I wanted to do something that didn't require too much effort so I cheated a little bit with my relish. Typically you are supposed to use cucumbers to make relish and you add vinegar, and sugar etc etc and pickle those cucs up! I opted for using dill gherkins so I could skip a couple steps! So I first seasoned the steak mince with some garlic and some onion powder - and set the burgers off to grill in the pan. Whilst they were grilling I went to work on my relish! I whizzed about 3-4 gherkins in the food processor, added a good squirt of American mustard - you could also use grainy mustard, but I then proceeded to put some mustard seeds in as well. Then I put about a teaspoon of onion powder and a half teaspoon of both chilli powder and garlic powder. Whizzed it all up again and presto! Some sort of resemblance of Green Relish! Slap some cheese on your burgers, put them on wholemeal buns, chop up some onions and add your relish and any other condiments of choice! nom nom enjoy!

So a good friend of mine and a couple of her workmates were coming to Newcastle for the weekend. They asked me for a list of restaurants to have her birthday supper at and I provided a list with at least one restaurant of each 'type' of food. I had never tried Fujiymama before but I had heard good things from a co-worker. I was pretty excited to head there as I knew it was one of those Japanese grill restaurants where the chef cooks up your feast in front of you. Our chef Jay was absolutely hilarious - pure entertainment! The Fujiyama experience is definitely one that you must have if you enjoy Asian food! You get involved, you laugh, you enjoy some great food and you even get to know a little bit about your chef if they're willing to open up! Our chef was a cheeky lil bugger but we didn't mind and it relaxed us all enough to have a proper chat to him. We found out that he aspires to one day have a place of his own which I"m sure he would excel at given his serious desire to get a business degree. Suffice to say it was nice to put a face - a real person - to the food we were about to feast on!

We opted for the set menus and all you had to do was choose the centre piece of your main. Three of us opted for duck (actually the 3rd time a week as we had a fab curried duck at a friends on Good Friday......I know.....) and one had the beef sirloin. We watched in awe as our chef prepped our mains, cooked our egg fried rice, and kept us entertained. I won't tell you about the entire experience so that you will just enjoy it without expectation when you go, but I can definitely recommend Fujiyama - especially if you are celebrating a special occasion. Check out the pics below for a bit of an idea of the food. 

I forgot to mention the super sexy aprons you get....

mmmm miso soup

firing up the grill!

going to be something amazing...

the egg fried rice is almost ready :)

the finished product!! nom nom nom

Tynemouth Market
I always love venturing around the Tynemouth Market - but it's dangerous - I usually find something to bring home - but at least it's cheap! The Tynemouth has recently undergone a renovation and expanded. This is great because it's made space for more food stalls! The OCC guys were on hand as always, as was Monsieur Crepe and a few others who I can't remember! The girls had the roast on a roll wish I now wish I took a photo of because it was huge - the size of their heads I'm sure! I opted for the Caribbean stall and had some jerk chicken, rice&peas with grilled plantain for lunch.  It was absolutely yum! Cleared the sinuses as well! Then to finish off we had to have a cupcake each :) Mine was the ferrero rocher one :)

Then to finish off the culinary day we headed to Scalini's on Osborne Road in Jesmond for a late-ish supper. Justin and I walk by here quite often and always have said we wanted to try it. The food was really well priced and so I was a bit hesitant about how good it would be - sometimes you can never tell. The 5 of us were really impressed with our meals and not a single one of us had a complaint about our meal. Karen and I had the Crostini Scalini starter. It seemed to essentially be toasted bread with some bruschetta like tomato topping and we knew it would come with mozza and proscuitto on top....well little did we know it was actually a entire ball of mozza wrapped in proscuitto. At first we were a little hesitant - thinking mmmm that's a heck of a lot of cheese but it was soooo delicious and so incredibly easy to devour.  *droooool* Karen and I also had the calzone with bolognese sauce on top. Well, sadly I wasn't able to finish my meal, it might have been the mozza balls fault, or the enormity of the glorious calzone.....(it definitely wasn't because it didn't taste good!). I'll let the photos below speak for themselves. :) Scalini's is dangerously close to the flat.....dangerously....I'm sure we'll check it out again soon ;)

I'm stuffed just thinking about this again..........

Final words - try these restaurants......seriously. Go....now.....just go. 



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