Bank holidays full of food and sunshine

Two long weekends in a row, full of sunshine, good friends and mmm all that food!

Easter already feels far away but actually it was the most glorious weekend, so much fun and food with friends, what can get better?! It kicked off with Chinese in Hayward’s Heath, it is one of my favourites, the atmosphere might have been just ever so slightly strained at times (lovely family meals), but who cares when the table was full of all the favourites, prawns in garlic sauce, lemon chicken, Singapore noodles and and and, am sure you get it. So ignoring anything even close to tension it was smile and eat all night long, no one was able to resist!

Easter Saturday was no less food focused, friends got the biggest steaks ever for dinner, and we had a barbecue planned, in the heat and sunshine, what could be more perfect? Well, saying that just in time for us to start lighting the charcoal the sky opened and rain kept pouring down. Quick change of plans, eat inside and time for nibbles and champagne

Followed by the first English asparagus of the year. I bought the asparagus from a farm, picked the very same day. To properly celebrate this I decided to make a lemon beurre blanc, enough cream and butter to clog up the arteries of an army unit but oh the soft velvet taste with a slight hint of lemon – it just had to be done!

More vino and the traditional barbecue smoke seem to have joined us indoors but who cares when the steaks are sizzling away looking lovely! There is enough steak (from the Ginger Pig!) for everyone! Served with a crisp salad and a garlicky potato bake I made it through about one third of my steak, I did make an for me, heroic effort! And it was so yummy.

The hot and sunny Easter weekend continued but not with quite the same volumes. The rhubarb is growing at the allotment like there is no tomorrow so I made some rhubarb and ginger sweets, a perfect flavour combo.

Tuesday after Easter was business as usual, up before the sun and off for a business trip to Stockholm, I landed just in time for a Swedish lunch. We had booked a table at Lux, one of the best restaurants in Stockholm. They just re opened after refurbishment from a fire just before Christmas and I think the food might even be better than before! I had slow braised pork with swede and carrot mash. The mash was to die for but it might possibly have even more butter than my beurre blanc!! But as I didn’t see it being cooked I decided it didn’t count and ate with gusto!

After a short but intense week it was time for the royal wedding and May bank holiday weekend. A little less happening but as the lovely weather returned and it was time to kick off with a barbecue, nothing else tastes so much like summer!

We had a crazy long Sunday afternoon/evening with friends starting at gorgeous e&o in Notting Hill, in what felt like no time at all we managed to polish off quite a few bottles and eaten our way through most of the menu. Everything going very smoothly until dessert when I so carefully ate my way around the salted caramel, my favourite! Someone tried to take it (I am a bit of a slow eater) and I fiercely screamed nooooo and dived on to the plate and ate the salty caramel before anyone could blink! There was a moment of stunned silence followed by a “what the *beep* and then we had to laugh, just a tiny bit embarrassed but still not willing to share!
To recover from the wine induced long lunch an asparagus toast benedict was washed down with plenty of strong coffee the moring (brunch time) after!

All this time off was ended by an experiment, I put pork belly in brine for 24 hours, then cooked it in low temperature for 10 hours in the oven. Well, actually I lost patience after nine and a half hour and ate it. Was it worth the long cooking time? Yes, the fat was beautifully melted and remaining was soft, mellow and very flavoursome meat, perfect as “Sunday roast” meat with roast potatoes, guacamole and allotment grown leeks!

Now another week ahead, not quite so much time to think about foods but am sure there will be some!


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