Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Howard Arms - Cotswolds

This year I spent my August bank holiday exploring the beautiful Cotswolds for a few days. I can't tell you how amazing it was to get out of London and walk around the English countryside in the open fresh air. One thing I wanted to do was eat at a country pub and the Howard Arms in Ilmington hit the spot.

The Howard Arms is located in a small idyllic village where there are only two pubs in the area. You could tell from the people in the pub that many were visitors, the Red Lion down the road was more for the locals. Nonetheless, the restaurant had a great feel to it with its old wooden furniture decorating the pub and stone walls. What I liked most about this pub was that the ingredients were sourced from local suppliers.

I visited on a Sunday so chose to have a roast dinner, which was priced at a modest £13. My meat selection was beef served with a homemade Yorkshire pudding, vegetables, crispy potatoes and gravy. Oh, it was so good and gave me that nostalgic feeling of how Sunday roasts should be at home. The portions were a good size and the potatoes were crispy on the outside and fluffy inside.

The service was good and the staff were very friendly who kindly gave us more gravy when I asked. I would highly recommend this lovely establishment for any of those travelling through Ilmington. 

The Howard Arms
Mix vegetables and gravy
Beef and a Yorkshire pudding

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Turkdin - Bayswater

I wanted to really like Turkdin after reading great reviews, but didn't. Well, its not that I didn't enjoy the food, I think after reading all the reviews it didn't meet the hype or expectations I had. For my main I chose the Kupang masak serai, which was mussels cooked in a light coconut sauce flavoured with lemon grass. The coconut was more watery than light, I expected it to have a kick of coconut but it was flavourless and lacked substance. For dessert we shared fried banana fritters served with vanilla ice cream. This was good, but didn't make up for the shortfall in the main meal. 

I recently visited Malaysia and have to say, the food at Turkdin tasted nothing like the Malaysian food. There was no burst of flavour or spice to heat the tongue. It was such as shame as I really looked forward to eating here.

Mussels in coconut sauce
Chicken curry
Banana fritter

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sushi making at home

Back in October my best friend took me to a sushi making class and since then we haven't had a chance to put what we learnt into practice. So for her birthday I arranged a day and bought all the ingredients to make yummy maki rolls and nigiri.

I did some research in where to buy fresh fish and decided on Atariya, as I had read a lot of positive feedback. The good thing is that you can tell them beforehand what you want and they can cut it to your specifications and quote you a price. I had ordered 6 pieces of tuna and salmon for maki and three slices for salmon and seabream nigiri, so on the day I went into the store it was ready for collection.

I also prepared smoked salmon, cream cheese (it was tough cutting the cheese into blocks) and tuna with chilli mayonnaise. The most time consuming ingredient was the rice, as once it was cooked whilst adding the rice vinegar I was frantically fanning it with a piece of card to cool it down. Granted you can use a fan or "cool" option on a hair dryer, but I didn't have these close to hand.

If you have time I would highly recommend to make your own sushi. I found it quite therapeutic and its so rewarding when you eat what you've made afterwards. You can also choose what ingredients you want in your sushi like smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber, which worked great together. So be creative and get out there and start rolling!

Sushi ingredients we used
Salmon, avocado and cucumber rolls
Just a handful of sushi we made