Saturday 29 October 2016

Hot-Smoked Salmon, Roasted Garlic And Apple Salad - And A Book Review

Catching up with old friends has been the Pickings household's theme lately.  We realised to our dismay that we had only seen these particular friends a couple of times this year.  So a dinner catch-up was in order asap.  And this meant a rush to my cookbooks to find some tasty recipes.  

I have a couple of Nordic cookbooks on my shelves at the moment - well, who doesn't? - so I chose from one of them a salmon and apple salad for the starter.  You may laugh but I have never bought a radish before in my life, and have hardly ever eaten them. This salad has radishes, and I was pleasantly surprised. Crunchy and with a bit of heat, they were a great addition to the rich fish.    

radish-y doodle

Serves 4:


1 head of garlic (yep, a whole bulb)

250g. of plain Greek yoghurt or your fave thick brand

100 mls. milk

a pinch of pepper - black or white

sea salt flakes, to taste

500g. hot-smoked salmon or trout

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cucumber, finely sliced

3 radishes, thinly sliced and placed in cold water

1 Granny Smith apple or any green cooking apple, thinly sliced and placed into cold water with a bit of lemon juice

150g. green leaves - the author says to use watercress or mâche, but I used baby spinach as I could find neither

1/2 lemon, juiced


First roast your garlic in a 200C oven for 20-25 minutes; I have individual cloves in my freezer so I wrapped 10 of them in alfoil, sprinkled on a wee bit of olive oil and baked till they started going golden

Let them cool off before squeezing the flesh out of the skins into a bowl and mashing with a fork

Add the yoghurt, milk and pepper and stir gently together

Break the fish up gently into a large bowl, and combine with the onion, cucumber, radishes (which have been drained), the apple (also drained) and the green leaves.  Tip the salad carefully onto a serving plate or bowl, and drizzle over the yoghurt sauce

Sprinkle the lemon juice over the salad


Apparently the average head of garlic has 10-15 cloves, just so you know, so ramp it up if you wish

Confession time: I forgot to put the radishes and the apple into cold water of any kind!  I just sliced them and added to the salad.  Our guests loyally said they were sure it was better done that way

The yoghurt sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to a week

roasted garlic cloves 

ingredients gathered

squueze out the garlic and mash with a fork

mix the sauce together 

sauce drizzled over the fishy salad

We all loved this salad and I have quite a few post-it notes stuck in the book for future exploration.  See below :=)  And yes they are Daleks.

recipes galore to try later

The author is an Aussie chef, writer and food stylist who married a Swedish girl and moved to Sweden.  He went about discovering Nordic dishes, and taking glorious photos of the food and the countryside.  His central idea is "to celebrate traditional Scandinavian preparing them in contemporary ways."

He starts off by explaining ingredients and cooking processes like pickling and brining. The recipes are broken up into From the Sea, The Land and The Forest.  I think you could safely say it is a bit of a hodge-podge as there is no clear delineation, as in most cookbooks, of starters, mains and sweets.  

There is a helter skelter of dishes like nettle dumplings - he suggests you touch one with your bare hands if you are unsure when picking them - ouch!   There is venison, there is skyr - an Icelandic kind of yoghurt I think, cake made with barley and berries, and cod with cabbage.  

And so it goes.  Lots of really different dishes to the norm; unless you are Scandinavian of course.  The food photos are beautifully styled, and the scenery makes you want to rush off right now.  I am enjoying this book, and will update you on further recipes.

my radish doodle again

Tuesday 25 October 2016

The London Club - Restaurant Review

We had been trying to catch up with some old friends for way too long, so it was a happy day when we could finally get together one sunny Saturday for lunch.  Our friends fancied going to trendy Teneriffe, so off we all trotted to The London Club.

Their boys had mysteriously shot up and turned into young men while we weren't looking.  How does that happen?  And I think there was even mention of 2 girlfriends for one of the boys!  Do I even need to say Mr P. and I felt like the old wrinklies? :=)      

'twas a beautiful sunny day 

This area of Brisbane is very popular for weddings, and we were surrounded by an entire bridal party at one stage.  They were having drinks while the photos were being taken I assume.  It was hilarious when we went to pay the bill; the waitress swept us out 'cos apparently the bridal party had taken over the whole restaurant!

glass of Chandon NV $11.50

Okay I had 2 of these.  You guessed it.  As delish and bubbly as ever.

ginger beer $5.50/Bitter $9.50/LemonLimeBitters $4

Don't you love that name?  My Wife's Bitter.  Clever!

pan fried seafood $33

This is snapper in a vanilla butter sauce with potato purée and macadamias.  Sorry folks, I didn't get any reports from the eater, our friend Fifi's (her pseudonym) hubby, but it looks fabulous.  

pasta of the day $15

Confusingly this paella was called pasta of the day.  Mr P. asked the waiter again but yes this was the pasta du jour.  Mr P. loved it; he said it had lots of flavour, and was delicious.  The chorizo was a big spicy, tasty hit with him.  There was also tomato, chicken and capsicum involved.  The rice was al dente, and the paella a success. And even better, being a daily special so a very good price.

Szechuan Pepper Calamari $12 

Sadly this did not hit the mark with Fifi and the boys Samwise Gamgee and Mr Tibbles. The calamari was in big pieces rather than the rings they were expecting; this seemed to shock them. The nam jim dipping sauce was a bit too much for them too. All up, this was a bit of a weird one.  Of course you expect calamari to have a fishy sort of taste but this was a bit over the top. I find it hard to pinpoint exactly why we didn't love it, but this one was mostly left on the plate.  

sweet potato fries $10 

You have to love sweet potato fries, don't you?  And we did.  They came with sour cream and chives, which was fine but I do love aioli with my fries.  We all agreed these were yum.

duck fat potatoes $9

I think you would have to be a zombie not to like these beauties:) Ah duck fat, you gorgeous substance.  Happily they were not limp. I just can't bear a limp spud.  Crispy skin and soft middle - perfect.

this is the braised beef cheek burger lunch $16  

Somewhat confusingly, the braised beef cheek burger under Large Plates was $20.  A bit fancier I guess than this one.  I enjoyed this one, but it had way too much mustard for me.  I love mustard but I prefer grain mustard; not a fan of bright yellow American stuff.   The somewhat suss-looking brown pile was eschallot jam I think; I loved its tanginess.  Samwise Gamgee had his without mustard or relish; funny lad.  The beef cheek was not as tender as I would have liked but it was still a good burger. 

We had a fun time catching up, and doing some people watching. We saw at least 2 beautiful brides.  Mr P. had his usual complaint about food coming out on a board rather than a plate.  Why oh why?  We finished off with coffees and wandered off into the sunny afternoon.

looking up from outside the restaurant

The restaurant, along with a few others sits in the old Wool Stores area of Brisbane. The buildings are beautiful and full of history. Worth a wander around.

9/38 Vernon Tce.,
Teneriffe 4005

Ph: 07 3252 8188

  The London Club Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato