Arch House Deli

January 31, 2011

Arch House Deli in Clifton Village is one of my favourite places, their selection is amazing…

Fresh bread;

Posh flour to make real bread;

Huge selection of olives;

And kits to make chocolate rice pudding (YUM!);

I adore their spice cupboard;

Lahloo Tea; my fave!

And wine… they have local lovely’s like Strawberry Hill;

Look at this pile of chocolate treats;

They even have lots of treats for a nice lunch or dinner at home; pies, quiches and fishcakes looked great;

This was the treat table at Christmas, like a proper sweet shop!

Homemade colourful cupcakes;

And this was our destination; cheese!

Look at this beauty!

We very much enjoyed tucking into this, I wish I could tell you what we ate, and recommend as it was so good especially the one with the blue and yellow sticker…

I made some oatcakes… recipe here and we dug out some chutney and fig cheese jam…

Go visit, they have a cafe too… and a table outside in the sun is just the best place to have a cappuccino.

I finally made it to my first ever supper club!

If you haven’t heard about these, it’s something that is becoming popular all over but has been around in London/NY/all them big cities for a long time.
Basically some lovely people open their home, cook you a lovely dinner and then you donate some money…

I went to the amazing Montpelier Basement, which you have probably seen or heard about if you live in Bristol and read papers (Guardian/Telegraph/Venue have reviewed these guys are so hot right now)

After hearing about it through Twitter and booking via email, you arrive at the address, and call the number given… walk down some stairs and you are seated at your table… they have room for 17 here!

I took along a little gift of some gourmet vinegars (you know I am a good guest) I hate arriving empty-handed and since they would not get to share my wine…

I love the details… the big print on the stairs, the lighting (soft; hence the dark photographs, apologies), the music; 40’s swing, I felt like I was at a secret speak-easy.

The menu board…

…and the place setting; cute cutlery and tea towels for napkins…

We started with Keen’s Cheddar Palmiers… I really want to make these they were so tasty… served by Elly from a lovely tierd stand…

Followed by Creamed Onion Soup with Cider, I was so happy to see a little bowl arrive, with 4 more courses to go I didn’t want to fill up on soup but they have the portions just right…

Then the fish course; Baked Cornish diver caught scallops with tarragon crumb, scallops are my favourite shell-fish in the world, this was perfect, served with bread to mop up the tarragon crumby butter, I devoured this quickly…

Then the main, I have to admit I failed to be adventurous here and went for the veggie option over steak and kidney pudding as I had never eaten kidney, the Boy and my friend Tam who was my date, and who are both devoted carnivores also hate the stuff made me think I should stay safe this time…

Mushroom, Caramelised Onion and Thyme Suet Pudding  with Roast Shallots, Potato, Celeriac and Cavolo Nero

I wasn’t sorry though, this was so good, I loved the mash, I love anything potato-related but add a little celeriac and I am in heaven.. and you know I love Cavalo Nero…

Then we had a little palate cleanser… Somerset Cider Brandy & Barleywood Juice Ice and controversially I would say this was my favourite course, I know it’s not proper food and all the other courses probably took a lot more effort but this was beautiful!

Elly has kindly put the recipe up on her blog so hopefully I will be able to recreate this soon…

It went in seconds…

By this time I had, had a little to drink and when the dessert arrived I was worried that I couldn’t fit anymore food in, but it arrived and I had to try right?

So I did, and the apple fritters were so light and the ice cream was so good that I had to eat it!

Unfortunately I forgot myself at this stage and didn’t take any more photographs, so another guest has kindly let me steal his…

The menu photograph is also his, thank you EuWen Teh for lending me your (far superior) photographs.

I was a little apprehensive about going to a supper club and sitting with a group of people I had never met before but we had a lovely table of people (and two more bloggers; Stokes Croft Town Crier and HelsWrites) and it turned out that I had a great time chatting as well as enjoying the food.

And big thank you to Elly and Dan for the wonderful evening, I really hope I’ll be back soon… if I can get a spot!

Mac and Cheese!

January 28, 2011

 This was made for a movie night in with some girlfriends, all we needed was some food we could fork into our mouths without any fuss…

This is a Jamie Oliver recipe, chosen for its ease and lack of fussing over a sauce for 30 minutes…

You need;
500g good-quality macaroni
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a knob of butter
a small bunch of fresh marjoram or oregano, leaves picked
100g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for grating
100g fontina or taleggio cheese, roughly torn (I used Gruyère as neither of these were available, grated)
100g mascarpone cheese
¼ of a nutmeg
a small ball of buffalo mozzarella cheese

Preheat your oven to 200ºC

1. Cook the macaroni in a pan of salted boiling water 2 minutes short of the timing on the packet instructions, then drain in a colander and reserve a little of the cooking water.

2. Heat the butter in a large heavy-based frying pan. When it starts to foam, add the marjoram or oregano and fry for a minute until it starts to crisp up, then turn off the heat

3. Add your cooked pasta to the marjoram or oregano butter, along with a couple of spoonfuls of the reserved cooking water and the Parmesan, fontina or taleggio and mascarpone.

4. Return to a medium heat and toss and stir around until most of the cheese has melted and you have a lovely gooey sauce – you may need to add a little more of the reserved cooking water.

5. Season to taste, then tip it all into an earthenware dish. Grate over the nutmeg, tear over the mozzarella and sprinkle over the extra Parmesan.

6. Bake the macaroni cheese in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, finishing up with a quick whack under the grill, until golden brown and crispy on top.

This was amazing, and Jamie was right I will never go back!

Sticky toffee pudding…

January 27, 2011

The Boy asked me to make this as the pudding to his roast on Sunday when I had my family over… the deal was he makes the roast I make a pudding, good deal!

So I thought this was going to be a huge pain but actually is a really easy pudding, I am definitely making this again…

You need;
For the pudding…
150g dates, stones removed, chopped
250ml hot water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp coffee essence
60g butter, softened
60g caster sugar
2 free-range eggs
150g self-raising flour
For the toffee sauce
200g butter
400g brown sugar
vanilla pod, split
250ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 180c

1.  Mix the dates, coffee essence bicarbonate of soda and the water together in a bowl and leave to soak for ten minutes, I couldn’t find coffee essence anywhere so used a tbsp of coffee from a cafetiere
2. In a clean bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
3. Still stirring the butter mixture, gradually add the eggs, making sure they are well mixed in then gradually add the flour, then add the date mixture.
4. Pour the mixture into a 20cm cake tin. Place into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cooked through.

5. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a thick bottomed pan over a medium heat, then add the brown sugar, vanilla pod and cream and stir well. Simmer for five minutes.

This was another recipe from my hand-made cookbook, but I adapted to make one big one.

This made a huge amount of sauce, to serve I pour most over the pudding and put the rest in a jug for people to help themselves

The served with vanilla ice cream… it was lovely quite light, perfect after a big roast beef lunch

 This recipe was sent to me by Sarah at Anubis Therapies (@AnubisTherapies on Twitter) after she made it and I comment on how amazing it sounded… so I made it!

It was one of my girlfriends birthdays last week so decided, as she was coming for dinner, I would make her this as a birthday cake…

You need;
225g Butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
225g golden b sugar
4 eggs, beaten
250g self-raising flour, sifted
Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
25g ground almonds
200g fresh blueberries
Optional Topping:
Juice of 2 lemons
115g caster sugar

 Preheat the oven to 180ºC and grease and line the base of a 20-cm/8 inch cake tin. 

 1. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. 

 2. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little of the flour towards the end to prevent curdling. 

 3. Beat in the lemon rind, then fold in the remaining flour and almonds with enough of the lemon juice to give a good dropping consistency.

 4. Fold in three-quarters of the blueberries and turn into the prepared tin. Smooth the surface, then scatter the remaining blueberries on top and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Drizzle Topping:
To make the topping, place the lemon juice and sugar in a bowl and mix together. 
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick it all over with a fine skewer and pour over the lemon mixture. 
Leave to cool in the tin until completely cold…

And if you’re feeling really naughty serve with some cream!

I got this book from the Boy for my birthday… I saw it in a bookshop and loved it, I hope it will help me to become a more creative cook who doesn’t always need a recipe…

It works just like a thesaurus, you have an ingredient and you look it up and there are different pairings and a little paragraph explaining why it works… and you can then create your dish.

I freely admit I started with an easy one… a trip to the fishmongers for squid also produced two lovely plaice fillets, and I paired them with lemon thyme and lemon zest…

Then I remembered we had some capers so chucked those on as well, and left while I made calamari (a fish night!)…

To cook I pan-fried for 2 minutes on each side, it’s fun to watch plaice shrink, it goes fast!

We served with what was possibly too strong a tasting salad for this fish but it was really nice (rocket, good olive oil, sweet pepper and avocado)… and couldn’t resist…

Sweet potato chips as well!

… plus candlelight, always a winner…

Calamari…

January 24, 2011

In keeping with being more adventurous at home and after having been inspired by Eat Like A Girl making this last week I decided to try and make calamari at the weekend… here are Niamh’s recipes; Calamari with Blood Orange and Fennel and Calamari with Cous Cous

I am quite squeamish still about touching meat and even some fish so for me to make this made me very proud of myself.

You need;
1 squid, cleaning and cut into rings (I asked my fishmonger to do this)
1 egg, whisked together
flour, I used buckwheat flour with massive amounts of sea salt and cracked black pepper in it

It’s massively simple to make… I put my flour in a wide shallow bowl and the egg in another, first swish a squid ring around in the flour then the egg then in the flour again…

The I filled our wok with about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil and fried each side for 1 minute…

That really is it! I managed to touch squid for the first time and it was fine, although I did leave the tentacles for the Boy to cook later… I’m not quite there yet!

I made a lemon and black pepper mayo to serve and roasted some tomatoes for 20 minutes with olive oil, salt and pepper.

It was amazing… I am so making this all the time now!