Monday, 10 September 2007

Quick Lemon Chicken Salad

Summer Days are coming to an end but until those evenings draw in, make the most of those warm afternoons with a sunny citrusy salad. I have a few different recipes for lemon chicken but while the weathers nice, I think we should be out there enjoying it, not inside slaving over the stove so here's a quick chick option so you can get out there sharpish!

Quick Lemon Chicken Salad
You will need:
For the chicken
Chicken breasts (about one per person, chopped)
Red Onion (sliced) Garlic (to taste)
Thyme (fresh or dried)
Juice of One Lemon and a little of the rind

For the Salad
Iceburg Lettuce
Sweet Ramiro Peppers
Yellow Pepper
Cherry Tomatoes
Granny Smith/Golden Delicious Apple
- Brown the onions, garlic and chicken with the thyme until golden brown; this will take a few minutes and is important to ensure the chicken is cooked through
- Drizzle over with the lemon juice/rind and add honey to taste - it should be a balanced sweet/sour taste but not overly sweet.
- Let the lemon juice reduce until syrupy and slightly sticky, which usually takes about ten minutes over a low heat.
- While it is reducing, chop the salad and dress with a little cider vinegar. Serve the chicken on top of the salad.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Magic Roll!

Bristol is home to the fantastic Magic Roll Takeaways. I discovered them whilst trying to find something a little different for my lunch while working near the Clifton Triangle. They're open all round the clock but the really amazing stuff is rolled out at lunch time when they will fill a wrap with whatever fillings and sauces your heart desires. They win with me because they put jalapeno chilli's in their sandwiches; they're really on to a winner. Think of it like a better, fresher and more local Subway. As well as lunch, they cater for breakfast too so pop in and try their porridge on your way to your morning meeting (though don't forget to grab a serviette too!). Lunchtimes get pretty busy so make sure you set aside some time for your order - trust me, it's worth it. You can also phone ahead if you're in a rush. Give them a try!

Friday, 20 July 2007


For my boyfriends birthday, I organised a small surprise get-together at his home. The theme for the menu was Italian and two of my close friends volunteered to make the starter. Although it was quite simple, it was thoroughly delicious and I thought it was a great idea for a big dinner as it's very easy to prepare before hand.

You will need a collection of the following:
Olives (green, black or a mixture - your choice)
Sundried Tomatoes
Vine Cherry Tomatoes
Mozarella Cheese
Slivers of Parmesane
Salami or Pepperoni
Parma/Serano Ham
Good Quality Anchovies or Tuna
Roasted Peppers or Aubergines (home-made or from a jar)
Globe Artichokes (Steamed or from a can)
Salad Leaves to garnish
- Before hand, you can marinade your olives if you have time by covering them in a little cider/white wine vinegar and adding herbs. Keep them chilled in the fridge until you need them.
- This is very easy! Simply arrange everything on a big plater; start with the salad leaves to thinly cover the plate then add the meat or fish in the middle, followed by the cheese around that and then the vegetables. Or if you're catering for many people, have one plate for the meat and fish and another for the cheese and vegetables. It really is as easy as that! Serve with crusty bread, green pesto to dip, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil!

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Review: Riverstation, Bristol

I have to share a particular culinary gem with you all. Riverstation is a forward thinking fusion restaurant in the heart of Bristol (a city very close to my heart). My parents have been lucky enough to go several times whenever they get shot of us kids and have a few pennies to spare but we were lucky enough to be taken along on this particular occasion. Being a bit of a "foodie", I was in heaven! Not only that but the architecture is rather exquisite too; creating an uplifting (if a little noisy) atmosphere that makes the most of it's riverside location. During our meal, I enjoyed the Crab Ravoli with ginger, chilli and lemon grass, which was subtle but a good set up for my main of Sea-Bass Fillet with crushed jersey royals, asparagus and sauce vierge. It was trully delicious and rather citrusy but a fab summer dish. Then to finish, I had their summer pudding with clotted cream. We shared a fantastic bottle of white rioja (a family favourite), Conde de Valdemar Blanco 2005, which complimented everything beautifully. I was surprised to find that their Fois Gras starter (which a member of my party had) was really very good; I'm not usually a huge fan of Fois Gras due to it's production and the fact that it can be very heavy but this was beautifully light and flavoursome. Well worth trying. Okay, so admitedly it's pretty pricey but great for a treat or important celebration plus the service really can't be faulted. You can look up their menu online before you go and, if it's a few too many pennies for you, it makes a great venue for a light lunch or drinks with friends!

Thursday, 28 June 2007

France Trip

I have been lucky enough to spend around two weeks touring France with my best friend. We packed up her little VW Polo and set off across the channel to see where life took us. Food is France is fantastic as far as I have experienced; even the produce in the supermarchés are of far superior quality and a lot fresher than what you would find in England. The weather drove us South for a stay near Agen but on our way back to Bourlougne for our return ferry, we decided to stay for two nights in Chartres. It is such a beautiful city and I would really recommend a visit if you are in France!
We ate some fantastic meals. One of which was in Le Pichet, a restaurant recommended by one of our trusty guidebooks. It was lovely; small, quaint, homely and with a truly fantastic menu. It was also very affordable - something that was important as we ended our trip! Read more about it on Chartres Office de Tourisme website. Just across the road from Le Pichet was a great restaurant which served, as part of its starters, a selection of Spanish inspired, French tapas. They were truly divine! Two of the three I chose were salads and I thought I would share with you my versions of the Recipes...

Roasted Red Peppers with Almonds and Honey
You will need:
Red Peppers (sliced longways)
Almonds (flaked)
A little chilli or sweet peppers (such as Peppadew)

- Place the peppers on a baking tray with a little oil and glaze with honey (warmed to make it runny if necessary)
- Roast at around 180C (350D, GM: 4) for twenty or thirty minutes or until soft and slightly crisping at the edges.
- Mix together honey and hot water at 2:1 to make a sticky syrup and add almonds and chopped chilli/peppadew.
- Place the roasted peppers in a bowl and add the dressing.

Fennel and Orange Salad
You will need:
An Orange
White Wine vinegar
Raisins (soaked)

- Finely slice the fennel and remove the orange segments. The best way to do this is to cut the top and bottom off the orange until you can just see the flesh, then cut downwards removing the skin to reveal the flesh. Run your knife either side of each segment to remove it.
- Place the fennel, orange and raisins in a bowl. Drizzle with orange juice (squeeze the remaining flesh and pith of the orange into the bowl) and a little white wine vinegar.

Saturday, 26 May 2007


After some deliberation as to where to start, I think a little review is in order. When I'm out and about in London, particularly when I'm around Covent Garden, I often leave a little time for a coffee or even a spot of lunch in Ponti's. They serve a fantastic selection of Italian pizza and pasta if you're after something hot - their spagetti and meatballs is highly recommended - to keep you going through the day or you could always go for a sandwich or salad if you need something lighter and more summery. Their hot drinks and puddings - my particular favourite is a hot chocolate and chocolate fudge cake combination - are great too.
Even better, the prices are quite reasonable (particularly for London) and they offer catering and delivery services for the more jet-set among us. So take a look at their website or pop in and try them out!


Designer Dishes is open and ready for business! Here you will be able to find fabulous recipes and all sorts of foody things for your digestion. You see, I love to cook and it surprises me how many of my friends don't know how to make the simplest of nutricious meals. Okay so not all the recipes you'll find here will be 100% healthy but, hopefully, the majority will be! So get your saucepans ready and put your faith in a Designer to give you some inspiration for yummy meals...
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