Monday, 30 June 2008

Review of Shahee Mahal, Staines

This saddens me to write an unflattering review of a restaurant I have frequented for nigh on ten years but sometimes, things must be done.

As mentioned above I have gone to this restaurant many times, partially as I used to work and live nearby and also as you could guarantee a good if not outstanding indian meal, however as advertised in the local papers recently its now under new management and offers a buffet all day, as well as the a'la carte.

We went as a group of four yesterday evening and were very disapointed, we opted for the sunday £9.95 buffet as we all pretty much like trying new and different dishes and were not overly hungry (thankfully in hindsight).

The choice on offer (the paper advertised 30 different dishes) was very poor, the restaurant was admitedly quiet but the containers had hardly anything in and not everything was labelled, 'starters' were odd tasting and rock hard mini spring rolls, chicken nuggets of all things and dry looking pieces of chicken tikka (I didnt dare try either of them!), supposedly a choice of veg or meat samosas but I only found lamb ones in the 'vegetable' container(!), flat bland onion bhajis and poppadoms.

On to the mains, (which all had an unattractive film that had formed over them!) 'meat bhuna' (bland and indifferent), 'meat dopiaza' (which turned out more firery than hell and seemed to consist of whole green chillies), a small container of warm coloured rice, there was another rice but as the light was off / broken I didnt look in, saag aloo lacking in the saag or flavour and a dahl dish that was so runny I didnt dare put on my plate for fear of spilling, there was also a couple of other unlabelled and unappealing curries. There was also slices of cucumber and orange slices laid out on another stand in such a fashion that they actually looked lonely and we didnt dare distrub them, the only saving grace of the meal was that we ordered fresh peshwari and keema naans that were both hot and edible. We promptly ordered the bill skipping the vanilla ice cream that was on offer which seemed to surprise them, I thought the fact our plates were still half full would surprise them more.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Crunchy courgettes with noodles

I haven't been shopping for a few days and am running low on fresh stuff so lunch was cupboard surprise today!

I must it did look marginally better than it tasted but with a bit more effort I think it could be much better!

I brought to the boil some chow mein noodles with a handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn, whilst that bubbled away I finely chopped a small courgette and marinaded it in a combination of sesame oil, dark soy sauce, black pepper, hot chilli sauce and a splash of rice wine vinegar and left to infuse. When the noodles were soft I drained and refreshed them in a little cold water, returned to the heat to evaporate any leftover moisture and added the courgette mix for a couple of minutes, tipped into a bowl and sprinkled over some lightly toasted sesame seeds.

Not bad for 5 minutes work :)

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Naughty büt oh so nice!

Despite the amount of desserts I have made and consumed of late, I have been on a bit of a health kick (10 weeks to holiday!!). However, craving chocolate yesterday I convinced myself dark chocolate is much better for me than its milkier cousin (?!) and tried a Gü chocolate trifle - yum yum yum! three layers of perfectly rich, dark yet creamy chocolate and cream - what more can a girl ask for!!

They are currently on special in Tesco so even better :-)

*also tried their melting middle puddings - utterly divine gooeyness!! one for the girls though!

Chicken, Chorizo and Petit Pois Risotto

We had this for dinner last night and it was yummy!

Makes two large bowls

Under 30 mins

Ingredients (approx as kinda threw everything together!!)

90g chorizo sausage, chopped into small cubes
4 tbsp apx of grated parmesan
1 pint light chicken stock, hot
1 level tsp dried rosemary
mug of petit pois
1 small onion finely chopped
Big handful cold cooked chicken, shredded
165g risotto rice (I used carnaroli)
Olive oil
Tsp butter

1) In a large heavy based pan heat a little oil and the butter, add the chorizo and onions and gently saute for about 5 mins

2) Add the rice and rosemary and mix well with the oil, add a little stock to moisten, let it absorb then repeat, halfway through add the chicken and the petit pois near the end and enough stock and cook for a further 8-10 minutes until nearly all absorbed

3) Remove from heat, stir in the parmesan and serve!

Piccie to follow!

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Rhubarb and rice pudding!

Feeling decidely indulgent on this cold damp day, I found myself inspired when given a gift of rhubarb this morning! (I get the strangest presents!)

Whilst I love rhubarb for some reason I have never actually cooked with it before but I was very pleased with the result!

For the Rhubarb: (makes 3-4 servings)

460g diced rhubarb
apx 12 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp sloe whiskey

In a large shallow pan, add all the ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer, cover and ignore for 10 minutes, return and mix well and remove the lid and allow the excess liquid to bubble away. That's it - all done!

For the rice pudding: (makes 1-2 servings depending on greed levels)

25g vanilla sugar
50g pudding rice
1 pint milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix everything together and gently bake in a shallowish dish for approx 2 hours or until the liquid is nearly absorbed and its gorgeously brown!

To serve simply place a good dollop of each and bowl and tuck in! :-) perfect food on a grim day!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Tropical Fruit Jelly

This was an wishful experiment after realising it was to late to go out and buy dessert and didnt have much time to prepare for people coming around!

Whilst it was lovely and refreshing now, this would make a perfect Halloween dessert due to its green colouring!!

Serves 6-8

Two packets lime jelly
1 tin mandarin segments
1 tin coconut milk
2 tbsp maraschino cherries
Cold Water

You will need two jugs for this!

Split the jelly between the two jugs and make up with hot water, as per the pack instructions, mix well until dissolved

now open the mandarins and pour their juice into one of the jugs and place the fruit in your intended dish, make up the rest of the liquid using strained coconut milk, the remaining milk should top up the 2nd jug perfectly but you may need a dash of water to bring up level

Now place the cherries in with the mandarins and pour over the liquids, allow to cool thoroughly and refridgerate until set.

*As you will see from the picture the mixture seperated at the bottom but it looked really good, kinda two-tone!*

*I also made this again this week using strawberry jelly and thick and creamy coconut milk, which didnt need straining, was perfect girly pink!*

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Individual Lemon cheesecakes

Last weekend I made little lemon cheesecakes for fathers day and finally found a perfect parter for my lemon topping, posted a while back:

Makes 5 individual dishes (I used some vintage dessert glasses, similar size to ramekins)


2 tubs mascarpone
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 heaped tbsp icing sugar
10 gingernut biscuits
1 tbsp butter

1) Start by bashing the lights out of the gingernuts or blitzing in a food processor, gently melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the biscuits and coat thoroughly, remove from heat. Using two spoons line the base of your dishes and place in the fridge to cool

In a large bowl add the mascarpone, sift in the icing sugar and stir in the lemon juice and zest and beat together until light, spoon carefully over the biscuit base and smooth over

Now you can chill and eat later or make the lemon topping

Finally back on-line!!!!

After being plagued with problems I seem to have finally fixed most of the errors but in the process lost some old features :-(

However I have so missed writing and will get posting again very soon!!
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