Author Archive

Who’s For A Recipe? Spinach with Pine Kernels and Garlic

Cypressa sent me a pack of pine kernels (also known as pine nuts) to review recently and initially I was going to go straight for the usual pesto recipe but remembered that I had done one recently. I realised that pine kernels can be used to add flavour and depth to very simple dished and found this simple Spinach with Pine Kernels with Garlic recipe that anyone can try.

Pine Kernels from Cypressa

Pine Kernels from Cypressa

  • 1kg fresh spinach, or 500g frozen leaf spinach (I used Frozen)
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts/kernels
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
Pine Kernels Frying

Pine Kernels Frying

Spinach and Pine Nuts ready to eat

Spinach and Pine Nuts ready to eat

  1. Place frozen spinach in a large pan of water and bring to the oil, stirring occasionally to ensure spinach is cooked. Be sure not to overcook.
  2. If using fresh spinach, make sure you wash the spinach thoroughly and place in a large pan. Pour over a little boiling water, cover and cook for 2-3 mins, until the leaves have wilted.
  3. Tip spinach into a colander and drain well.
  4. Meanwhile heat the oil, add the pine nuts and fry until golden – be careful to ensure that the heat is not set too highly as the nuts brown very quickly. Add the garlic and fry briefly, then stir in the spinach and stir until heated through.

Simple, yet delicious and perfect to go as a a healthy side dish with any meal.

Visit http://www.cypressa.co.uk/ for more details.

Steak Night at VOC Bar and Grill

The lovely team at VOC cocktail bar and grill invited me to sample some of their food as their guest recently. I took my sister, Abi,  along to enjoy a steak night in the heart of London’s King’s Cross. VOC is set in a gorgeous hidden gem of a courtyard in Regents Corner just moments away from the bustle of King’s Cross station. It has a unique split level layout with the cocktail bar downstairs and the restaurant at the top. I was impressed by the layout and liked the homely feel of the restaurant although I think more attention is paid to the bar area with regards to ambiance.

VOC is every meat lovers dream, the menu is simple and straightforward without being excessively fussy. We decided to share our starters and so to start my sister chose buffalo chicken wings with blue cheese dip. They were sweet, moreish and a generous portion size for a starter. I selected the Aubergine & Courgette salad which contained chargrilled ribbons, feta, sweet basil, lemon, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin oil. I enjoyed the balance of ingredients in this salad and it was a refreshing way to start our meal.

Chicken Wings with a blue cheese dip

Chicken Wings with a blue cheese dip

Aubergine & Courgette Salad

Aubergine & Courgette Salad

To drink I had a glass of  Rioja tempranillo azabache whilst Abi had a Cabernet rose la playa which were good quality wines as you would expect from a restaurant of this caliber.

As you know by now (if you’ve been paying attention) I love steak so of course this menu was a real treat. I went for the 250g Fillet Steak which was served with mushrooms, asparagus and BBQ. Abi went for the sirloin steak and we both ordered triple cooked chips which were VERY cooked! I enjoyed my main course and the meat was cooked to perfection although I didn’t need the chips afterall. The bbq sauce was thick, rich and went really well with the steak. I had the apple pie for dessert which I was expecting to be much warmer but it was still a lovely sweet treat which I enjoyed.

triple cooked chips at voc

Triple Cooked Chips

Fillet Steak at VOC

Fillet Steak at VOC

Up close and personal

Up close and personal

Steak uncovered

Steak uncovered

Apple Pie

Apple Pie

Overall I enjoyed VOC, the service could have been smoother though, we found ourselves waiting for too long after our main course to be asked about a dessert and the overall attention to detail with hospitality was lacking in our experience. I would still recommend a visit though as the food is very good and the location is great.

I wanted to give Abi a chance to comment on her experience too and here’s her summary:

The simple menu had a fine selection of American-inspired dishes and steaks to choose from. My starter of bbq chicken wings were deliciously drenched in finger licking sauce, I was pleasantly satisfied. My main dish of the Sirloin steak was a lovely sight when it came to the table with a tower of accompanying vegetables that were well cooked, as was my steak, again I was very happy with my main. The chocolate ice cream was as good as any chocolate ice cream can be. My only reservation was with our servers who seemed unable to understand us at times which in turn meant they got our orders wrong twice. My only recommendation would be to repeat our orders back to us to ensure they are understood. Otherwise a lovely evening and very good ambiance.

Visit http://www.voc-london.co.uk/