I went back to Ottolenghi on Monday. The restaurant/cake lovers paradise is situated on Islington’s Upper Street and is part of a London chain opened by Israeli Yottam Ottolenghi. Clouds of meringues, dark chocolate cakes and crumbly-topped muffins tempt passersby in. A stark white background in both the window and restaurant makes the food all seem more vibrant and colourful.
I bought a blueberry muffin on Monday to cheer myself up in the face of an impending media law exam, but a few weeks ago I went there with a friend and had a coffee and cake while she polished off a late lunch of mushroom quiche and salad. The salads there are almost as tempting as the cakes. Fragrant, filled with spice and exotic ingredients, they give a whole new meaning to salad. My choice of cake that day – macadamia nut and caramel topped cheesecake – however, went down very nicely with a latte.
A friend of mine who lives in central London and regularly eats out in some lovely cafes says a cake she bought in Ottolenghi was the best cake she had ever eaten. When I bought the muffin I was a little worried this reputation would be called into question – I thought it looked a little bit dry – but looks can be deceiving and it was actually very moist inside. Little cubes of apple loosely bound into the muffin mix really worked with the plump blueberries dotted throughout.
I haven’t baked anything for a while; it’s quite tricky in my student kitchen and tools are limited, but I came up with a fairly cheap, healthy student-friendly dinner the other day. I like to eat fresh fish at least once a week, which means eating it on the day I buy it, usually at the weekend. I bought a rainbow trout, which is by far one of the cheaper fish on sale and so, providing the eyes are sparkly, I’ll buy one for a cheap and healthy dinner.
My mum’s slightly unfashionable, but delicious way of cooking fish fillets is to lightly coat the skin side with seasoned plain flour and then let the fish sizzle away skin-side down in a pan bubbling with butter and olive oil, before flipping it over to finish the other side. I followed suit, removing the head and tail from my trout and giving it a rinse before coating both sides with seasoned plain flour into which I’d mixed some M&S smoked paprika with sweet red pepper and thyme (one of those seasonings you can buy in a jar). Not only does this method of cooking the fish make the skin super-crispy, the added paprika reminded me of those spicy french fries you can get, kind of naughty tasting, but with the benefit of Omega-3!
I ate the fish with some boiled new potatoes and green beans, along with a wedge of lemon. Yum.