Vivido – Harrogate

So tonight my friends and I decided to have a casual meal out and a catch up after work. We actually do all work in the same place, but it gets busy and its nice to spend quality time together outside of work. My friend DC suggested Vivido as it has a decent early bird menu and she’d heard some good reviews.

Inside Vivido is a spacious restaurant with a relaxed modern feel. Luckily as it was a Tuesday night the restaurant was quiet and we could sit by the window. Now I love sitting outside or by the window in restaurants. I think it’s because I am basically a big nosy kid who wants to know everything that’s going on. Anyway, it was pretty lovely sitting by a window, with the sun shining drinking wine and eating pizza.

We all decided to order from the early bird menu which is basically 2 courses and a glass of wine or a soft drink before 7. The normal menu looked absolutely lovely and we all were going pretty dizzy with the choice, but thriftiness won us all over.

ED ordered whitebait to start. I’ve never tried it before (I used to be shockingly fussy when I was younger). The batter was lovely and crispy and ED said it reminded her of eating it on holiday.

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Here fishy fishy fishy

DC, Miss S and I all had insalata caprese which was tomato and mozzarella salad with a green pesto dressing. The mozzarella was good quality, as were the tomatoes. Sometimes simplicity is best and this was one of those times.

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Cheesy

For main course Miss S and ED had salmon tagliatelle which they both enjoyed. I tried some and it was pretty nice, despite me not being particularly enamoured by cooked salmon.

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Pre parmesan
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Post parmesan

DC and I opted for pizza with prosciutto. The base was thin and crispy and the pizza was really tasty. I’ve not had pizza since approximately January and this one was pretty decent. Not the best I’ve ever had, but I really enjoyed it.

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Pizza pizza pizza

ED and I chose not to have dessert we were both pretty full) but DC has a sweet tooth so she and Miss S shared a slice of chocolate fudge cake. Doesn’t it look glorious? I was pretty damn jealous!

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Now I would say that the menu we dined off was pretty fantastic value really. It has made me very keen to try other things on the Vivido menu so I will definitely be visiting here again.

You can find more information about Vivido here.

Crab, tomato and chilli linguine with green beans

Crab, tomato and chilli linguine with green beans

Now, occasionally on a late Sunday I wander round M&S browsing for teatime inspiration. This Sunday proved fruitful as I managed to find some very reasonably priced crab meat and vine ripened tomatoes. Thus, I decided to make crab linguine using another few ingredients I happened to have in. Fortunately, this turned out really nicely. Its light and perfect for a summer evening as it doesn’t sit too heavily on your stomach like some cream based pasta sauces.

Crab is one of those foods i have only got into as an adult. I remember the first time I tried it at my 21st birthday and I really enjoyed it. J ordered it as his starter when we went for my 21st birthday meal with my family and I tried it and ever since I have had it whenever I’ve eaten somewhere with it on the menu.

Anyway, enough about me and my seafoody adventures. To make this you will need:

1 pack crab meat (brown or white)

1/2 pack vine ripened tomatoes or other good quality tomatoes

A handful of green beans chopped into bite size pieces

A clove of garlic

A pinch of chilli flakes

A teaspoon of olive oil

1/4 of a lemon

Linguine

(This makes enough sauce for 2 people)

 

Cook the linguine according to the instructions on the packet. While the pasta is cooking heat the oil and garlic (sliced or crushed) in a frying pan until the garlic is fragrant.

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Add the chillies and fry for a few seconds.

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Add the tomatoes and while they are softening, lightly crush the tomatoes so that they form a sauce.

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As the tomatoes soften add the green beans, and keep crushing the tomatoes with the spatula.

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When the sauce looks something like it does above add the crab meat and squeeze over the lemon.

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Why are you looking so crabby?

Stir the sauce until the crab is heated through.

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Top your cooked and drained linguine with the sauce and serve with cracked black pepper.

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A quick, easy, fresh and simple meal. What more could a girl want on a Sunday night?

One pot king prawn, rice and chorizo

I love chorizo and I’ll be honest, I bought the chorizo I used in this to put in a chilli Miss S and I made earlier in the week. (Chorizo in a chilli? Amazing!) Now, I wouldn’t exactly say this was a risotto and from my limited paella knowledge I wouldn’t say it was one of those either, but it is tasty. It’s also colourful and I like colourful food. It takes about 30 minutes to make this so its a straightforward meal during the week and good for when you have a friend round, or want to impress whoever you are feeding.

To make this you will need:

Uncooked king prawns (I used about 7 but I was just feeding myself, you’ll want more for more people as people get quite upset over a lack of prawns)

1/3 of a chorizo ring

1 pepper

1 courgette

Approximately 200g rice (I used basmati)

Chicken stock

1 and 1/2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp mixed herbs

 

Peel and slice the onion and garlic, pepper and courgette. Dice the chorizo. Butterfly the prawns by slicing them down their backs (not all the way through the prawn). Put the prawns, chorizo, courgette and peppers to one side and gently fry the onion and garlic until soft.

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I’m really starting to wonder how many of my blog posts include a picture of a frying pan with some onion in it?

Add the diced chorizo and fry for 2-4 minutes.

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I definitely got my camera lens steamed up!

Add the courgette and green pepper and fry until the vegetables look slightly cooked. They should go orange because of the chorizo oil.

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Add the rice and fry for 30 seconds – 1 minute.

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Add enough stock to cover all of the rice, plus a bit extra. Add the paprika, turmeric and mixed herbs. Turn down onto a medium low heat and leave the rice to absorb the water, stirring it all occasionally.

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If the mixture starts to dry out add some more water or stock.

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Once the rice is pretty much cooked, add the prawns and stir until the prawns turn pink and opaque.

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This bit shouldn’t take too long – 3 or 4 minutes at most.

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Enjoy your beautifully colourful meal!

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This recipe could also be made with chicken for people who dislike seafood, or white fish (if you hae a shellfish allergy like J’s mum). Just add the chicken at the start or add the fish just before the rice starts to look fully cooked.

Easy midweek meal idea – Vegan style (Courgette stuffed mushroom with pine nuts)

Well, that was a long title for a blog post, now wasn’t it? Once again I have dipped a toe into the (frankly massive) world of vegetarian and vegan cookery. This week I have kept it simple and tasty. Any die hard carnivores can rest assured that this recipe can also work as a side for steak, lamb chops or grilled chicken. It started out as a bit of a fluke when I decided to grate some courgette as I fancied both courgette and mushrooms for my tea.

Well anyway, I made this recipe twice and in between I discussed with my Dad how to incorporate a vegan friendly form of protein and he suggested pine nuts. Toasted pine nuts work very well in this, but if you’re not a fan you could always toast some cashews instead.

To make this recipe you will need:

2 mushrooms (portobello or large flat white mushrooms)

A courgette

A pinch of chilli flakes

1/3 a bag of pine nuts

Black pepper

(2 mushrooms serves one as a main course or 2 as a starter)

 

Preheat the oven to around 200°C. Was the mushrooms, remove the stalks and place on a baking tray or roasting tray.

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There’s not mushroom on this tray…

Grate the courgette and put half in each mushroom, packing down the gratings.

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Greeny gratings

Put the chilli flakes and a good amount of cracked black pepper over the courgette and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the mushroom is tender.

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During the last 5 minutes of the mushrooms heat up a frying pan and dry fry the pine nuts until they are lightly toasted.

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Take the mushrooms from the oven.

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Using a spatula lift the mushrooms from the tray onto a plate and top with the pine nuts.

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Nicely sprinkled?

This tastes best when served with salad and cous cous, quinoa or bulgur wheat.

Mussels in a white wine sauce

Mussels in a white wine sauce

Now buying live mussels was a Thursday night whim when I saw the bags at my local Asda fish counter. Now I do love seafood, and anyone has read a few of my posts knows this. However, I have never made mussels from scratch as it seemed mega daunting so I always opted to buy the ones that are ready cooked and need heating. Now the best reason to eat mussels (aside from the taste) is that the way of growing them is very sustainable and environmentally friendly compared to a lot of fish. In addition mussels are stupidly cheap when you can get them. I got a whole kilogram for £3.50 which lead to my friend Miss S coming to get some post work on the Friday night due to the short shelf life of most seafood.

Which brings me to somethings you need to think about when preparing, cooking and eating mussels.

1. Remember raw seafood has a very short shelf life so buy them on the day you want to eat it or the day before.

2. When you take your mussels home they might come in a plastic bag. When you put them in the fridge remove from the bag or the mussels will suffocate and go bad.

3. Pick over your mussels and discard any with a broken shells.

4. Once cooked if mussels don’t open, don’t eat them. If you find any more with broken shells don’t eat them.

5. If you’re unsure whether your mussels are still alive, give one or 2 a light tap. The shells will slowly move if still alive.

Now, aside from the list, this recipe is actually way easier than I thought and be scaled up according to the number of people. The recipe below can be served as a main course for 1 or a starter for 2.

 

For this recipe you will need:

400-500g live mussels (I didn’t measure how many I took from the bag before I gave the rest to Miss S)

2 shallots (I actually used small red onions)

A good sized piece of butter

2 cloves of garlic

A glass of wine

Crusty bread and salad to serve

 

Pick over your mussels and look out for broken shells. Cut off any pieces of rope or fibrous material that is on the mussels and give the mussels a good wash.

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The smell of fresh fish always reminds me of the seaside

Peel and dice the onion and slice the garlic. Melt the butter in a pan which has a lid.

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So I burned sugar on this pan….

Add the onion and garlic at fry until soft.

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Add the mussels to the pan and pour the white wine over everything.

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I did NOT do a good job of removing all the rope (I picked it off as i was eating it, lesson learned for next time though)

Cover the pan and boil for 3-4 minutes until the mussel shells open. The shells being open means they’re safe to eat.

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It should look like this while cooking

Once the shells are open your mussels are ready to eat (and in my case pick over for rope – it didn’t affect the taste)

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A perfect food for a sunny day! Prepare to get sticky fingers. It’s difficult to eat mussels in their shell in an elegant way!

Food gawking

So, I haven’t quite jumped onto the instagram bandwagon yet (I probably should for blogging purposes). However, having more than a passing interest in food, I tend to collect photos of beautiful food in every form. A lot of these pictures are things my friends have made or are meals in restaurants I’ve reviewed. I hope you enjoy having a look at my food (and a couple of non food) adventures.

Some information about where I ate out at Wagamama and So! by clicking on the links.

Chorizo sausage and cous cous salad thingy

I suppose this recipe IS a salad, but its a hearty salad. Filling enough to serve to even the most macho men (all men like sausages right?) you can use any sausages but chorizo ones work best with salady things in my opinion. Now this recipe is pretty easy and straightforward, sausages are generally more fatty than other meat products but I think the benefits outweigh the negatives (plus I got 3 meals from 4 sausages).

To make this recipe you will need:

Chorizo (or chorizo style) sausages suitable for cooking (I used 4 to make 3 portions but you could use a pack for 4 decent sized portions)

2 small to medium red onions

Cous cous (I half filled a small pyrex jug but you can increase the amount you use accordingly)

2 Avocados (I used small avocados but if you’re serving more people use larger avocados)

Half a pack of cherry tomatoes

Whatever you like to season cous cous with; I use sea salt, olive oil and chilli flakes.

Olive oil or a few spritzes of fry light

 

Preheat the oven to 170°C (190°C if its not a fan oven). Roughly chop the red onions and place on a roasting tray with the sausages, drizzle with a tiny amount of oil and cook the sausages for 25-30 minutes.

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In the last few minutes of the cooking time prepare your cous cous by soaking it for a few minutes in boiling water. Once it is cooked season it according to how you like it. I find cous cous bland without something tasty like chilli flakes added to it. Remove the stone from your avocado, peel and chop the avocado and wash the tomatoes. Keep the avocado stones if you’re saving some of this. It prevents the avocado from browning.

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My least favourite washing up is scrubbing roasting pans and trays

Once the sausages are cooked remove them from the tray and slice them. If your roasting tray has deep sides add all the ingredients into the tray and mix thoroughly. If it doesn’t, find a bowl and use that to mix and prepare your salad.

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Pre mixing
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Post mixing

Enjoy! Oh, and by the way, if anybody calls you a “big girls blouse” or a “fairy” for enjoying a good salad, or thinks of salad as rabbit food, point them in the direction of this recipe. It doesn’t taste as if its as healthy as it actually is.