Well that was really tasty squid!

It was a Thursday and wanting lunch, well if you are in Bristol then the regular Temple Quay lunchtime market is really the place to be.

It was my intention to visit Low and Slow again after having a really nice lunch there a few months back. As I arrived (early) there was no queue, so I thought I would take the opportunity to check out what else was there at the market. There was a already a massive queue for the Thai stall, one day I might try it, but the queue always puts me off. The dumplings place had a queue and then I saw a new stall. It was called Crispy Squid!

Crispy Squid

Now, those of you who are regular readers of the blog will know that I have a soft spot for squid. It also one thing that when cooked well cane great, however my usual experience is that it is done badly.

So though I really liked the idea of the squid I was slightly sceptical that it might not be nice.

However I decided that it was worth the chance, so I looked over the menu, there were two choices, sweet chilli squid or salt and pepper squid. Both choices were served with potato, chorizo and salad.

I took the plunge and asked for a portion of chilli squid for £6. The lads at the stall got cooking and the dish was freshly cooked to order in front of me.

I have to say it looked fantastic.

Crispy Squid

It also tasted fantastic!

The batter was wonderful and crips and the squid was beautifully tender. I really liked the combination of squid, potato and chorizo, very Spanish and really tasty. I did feel that it was a probably a little too salty for my taste and I think if I was to order it again I would ask to “hold the salt”. The reason I chose the sweet chilli squid as I thought the salt and pepper squid would be too salty!

Update: have since realised the stall was called Audacious Squid.

Another visit….

the view from Waterloo Bridge

Back in London for a meeting and needing a bit for lunch, I did consider where I should go for lunch, and if I should go somewhere new, but did like the idea of Wahaca again. It wasn’t that long since I had been, but I had really enjoyed that meal. So off I went, over Waterloo Bridge to the South Bank to partake in some Mexican street food. So once more I went to the Street Food section of the menu to make some choices.

I hadn’t had quesadillas before so chose one from the menu. These are large toasted tortilla oozing with melting mozzarella, chorizo and potato. This is British chorizo, made to a special recipe, with diced sauteéd potatoes and fresh thyme.

Quesadillas Large toasted tortilla oozing with melting mozzarella and classic Mexican ingredients.  British chorizo, made to our own special recipe, with diced sauteéd potatoes and fresh thyme.

The large tortilla is folded and then cut into two. I did initially think that I had been given the wrong dish, as I didn’t think there was much potato or chorizo in the dish. There was more in the second though. I did enjoy the quesadilla it was nice and spicy.

My other dish was the smoky tomato fideus. These were east coast Mexican angel hair noodles in a chipotle tomato sauce, with sliced fresh avocado, capers & crumbled Lancashire cheese and topped with a touch of hand picked white Devon crab meat.

Smoky tomato fideus East coast Mexican angel hair noodles in a chipotle tomato sauce, with sliced fresh avocado, capers & crumbled Lancashire cheese, topped with a touch of hand picked white Devon crab meat. #wahaca

This was a much larger dish than I thought it was going to be. When Wahaca recommend 2-3 dishes, I usually go with three, but if this is one of them, then I think you can get away with just two, even if you are hungry.

This is very much thin noodles in a tasty spicy tomato sauce. I liked the avocado and cheese. There was a nice topping of crab, which to my surprise was chilled and hadn’t had a chance to warm up. I did like this dish and it was full of flavour, and something I wouldn’t expect in an Mexican eatery.

For my third dish, I did order a dish I had before, and went once more with the tacos, three toasted soft corn tortillas with flash grilled skirt steak with chipotle salsa. They also came with raw diced onion and some guacamole.

Tacos flash grilled skirt steak with chipotle salsa with crisp grilled cheese

These were very generous filled with steak, more than I have had when I had these tacos before. These were delicious, I really enjoyed the chargrilled steak and the different textures and flavours.

The service was excellent, friendly, efficient and lots of smiles.

A taste of Peru

Temple Quay Market

So how often do you get a chance to sample some authentic looking and tasting Peruvian food?

One of my favourite features of Bristol is the weekly street food market that takes place every Thursday at the square in the newly redeveloped Temple Quay. It is open between 12 and 2, but I suggest you get there early, as there are large queues and many times dishes sell out (especially the vegetarian ones).

There are a range of regular and guest stalls, and when I went there was a real choice. I did like the idea of Greek, the halloumi pitta sounded and looked delicious. There was also a pulled lamb sub, that also looked very nice. After looking around, I went with Uchu Perú, as stall selling Peruvian food, my choice dictated slightly by the shortness of the queue and the interesting sounding menu.

Uchu Perú Menu

In the end looking over the menu I decided that I would go with the sample menu, so I could have a bit of everything. The sample plate has smaller portions of all the dishes from the menu.

If you stay at the market the stall provides a nice plate, but as it was starting to rain I got my meal to go and they split it between two boxes for me to take away.

Ceviche, which was sea bass cooked in lime with prawns, chilli, coriander, red onion, sweet potato and Peruvian corn. This was fresh and sharp and really tasty. I wasn’t so enamoured with the Peruvian corn, but it was something that I can see other people liking.

The Quinoa Salad was made from black and white quinoa with carrot, radish, coriander, broad beans, feta cheese and Peruvian yellow chilli sauce. I really liked how the team put this together, and was like the Ceviche was delicious. The ingredients were fresh, tasty and worked really well together.

The final dish in my trio was Causa, which was freshly piped potato puree with Peruvian yellow chilli paste, served cold with tomato, avocado puree, purple corn mayonnaise, sweet potato crisp, pulled chicken, topped with togaroshi mayonnaise. As I was eating I did wonder what the pink stuff was, but re-reading the menu, I realised this was the purple corn mayonnaise. Delicious components that worked really well together.

I really liked how the dishes were constructed to order and they looked beautiful. I’ve not eaten Peruvian dishes before, these were delicious and I would certainly go back to Uchu Perú.

I rarely go with the chicken

When I go out to eat I rarely go with the chicken, not that I don’t like chicken, on the contrary I cook it a lot when I am at home, as you can see I have written a lot about it on the blog. The main reason I don’t choose chicken is that, it is something I do cook at home and where possible when eating out I prefer to go with something I don’t normally cook at home. I also don’t choose chicken is that often the dish is chicken in some kind of sauce, or topped with stuff. In these dishes, the chicken is not the star of the dish, merely playing a bit part to the sauce. Another reason I don’t choose the chicken, is that generally the chicken used in restaurants is bland and lacks flavour, at home I usually go with thighs and legs as they have more flavour.

So even I was little surprised with myself when I recently had dinner at the Brasenose Arms in Cropredy and I chose the chicken.

the chicken, pan fried with lemon and oregano and served with crushed rosemary new potatoes and green beans

I will say it wasn’t my first choice, I did in fact want to have the roasted pork belly that was on the specials board, but that had sold out. So I chose the chicken, pan fried with lemon and oregano and served with crushed rosemary new potatoes and green beans, it was priced at £9.95.

The chicken was delicious, beautifully cooked and full of flavour, I liked the combination of lemon and oregano. I have to admit I was less impressed with the potatoes, they were nice, but were a little dry for me. I enjoyed the green beans. Overall I was really pleased with the dish, it was tasty, fresh and cooked with style and flair.

I liked the ambinance and friendly service that I had, I will certainly go again if I have the chance.

Rösti

Over the years I have tried to cook potato rösti and have generally failed miserably. Either the rösti was too soggy and grey, or was burnt on the outside and raw in the middle. Sometimes the whole thing just fell apart as I tried to turn them, or had stuck to the bottom of the pan. I had tried various preparation processes, cooking techniques with little success. In the end I use to buy prepared rösti from Waitrose, though very nice I took as a sign of failure.

However I think I have managed to get it right this time.

Homemade Rosti

I took some Maris Piper potatoes and I think that this was key, getting the ingredients right. I have found Maris Piper a really good potato for roast potatoes and thought that as a result it might work well for rösti.

I peeled the potatoes and then grated the potato into a bowl. I gave the grated potato a squeeze to remove some of the moisture. I then added some grated cheddar cheese. Now according to Wikipedia, true rösti is just plain potatoe, however some regional recipes do use cheese so I wasn’t that concerned.

I then using a flat frying pan added some sunflower oil and placed a handful of the raw ingredients onto the pan. I then pushed and shaped the pile into a round shape not too thick. When I was sure the bottom was cooked and from the edges looked nice and brown, this was the moment of truth, would they stick or turn?

It was a huge sense of relief as I turned the rösti over, it remained in one piece. After finishing that one off, I cooked some more and then placed them in the oven to finish them off and keep them warm.

The next test, was the taste test. I was so pleased with myself, the taste was perfect, I think the cheese added flavour and a hint of saltiness, whilst the texture was just right.

The next big test will be, can I repeat the process to cook rösti to the same standard, that remains to be seen….