Prawn and chorizo omelette with pimientos and chipotle lime mayo

Short and snappy title hey? And that’s the abridged version. We recently celebrated my little cousin Bec’s birthday with brunch at Caravan (Kings Cross). I had this delicious omelette – the official title being ‘prawn and chorizo omelette with pimientos, flaked almonds and chipotle lime mayonnaise.’

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I’ve never eaten at the original Exmouth Market branch of Caravan but know it’s famous for the coffee and fusion East/West style of cooking. The Kings Cross outpost is fab, especially the outdoor seating area overlooking the supremely toddler friendly fountains. Fountains are a big thing for us in London over summer and these Kings Cross ones are great because they are teeny tiny therefore not scary for little ones. I’ve had brunch here a few times, the coffee is indeed excellent and I’ve tried some delicious things like chilli avocado on sourdough, and jalapeno corn bread with fried eggs and black beans.

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The omelette with a long name was totally divine and I decided to recreate it at home. My first attempt didn’t really work – I used supermarket packet prawns and way too much filling per egg ratio. It was tasty but not a patch on Caravan’s omelette. Then I tried again with king prawns from the fishmonger and it was really yummy. The pimientos and chipotles en adobo are the most exotic ingredients but shouldn’t be too hard to find (see suggestions in the ingredients list). The rest is easy to source and it’s not that faffy to make. Because the mayo is a little spicy I left this off Lexie’s portion and also made sure to buy non spicy pimientos and chorizo.

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I haven’t got any recent photos of the Kings Cross fountains so these are from last year with Bec at KERB – the wonderful street food market run by my bessie – that often takes over Granary Square (check their website for details).

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Prawn and chorizo omelette with pimientos and chipotle lime mayo

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins
Budget: £10 if you already have the condiments, £15-20 if you don’t (£5 prawns, £5 chorizo, £4 chipotles en adobo, £5 pimientos, £2 rocket, £2 mayonnaise, 20p lime, £1.50 almonds, £1.50 eggs)
Ease: Easy if you know how to make an omelette
Serves 1 and a toddler. Definitely make separate omelettes if making for more people – just cook the filling in one go, reserve and add to individual omelettes when cooking
Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • Chorizo – about 5cm chopped into thin slices
  • 5 king prawns in their shell
  • 2 pimientos cut into strips (from Brindisa online or M&S, Waitrose also do a version)
  • 1 tsp flaked almonds
  • 1/2 tsp chopped coriander
  • Handful of rocket
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp chipotles en adobo (to taste)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper
  • A little olive oil

Assemble all the ingredients and start by toasting the almond flakes in a hot pain with no oil. This should only take a couple of mins and take care they don’t burn. Once done, remove the almonds and heat a little olive oil in the same pan to fry the prawns and chorizo. When they are done pour into a separate bowl along with all the oil. Once the prawns are cool, shell them trying to reserve their juices in the bowl (throw the shells away!! Or use for a fancy fishy stock – I don’t know how to do this!). Don’t wash the pan – the leftover oil will be used to fry the omelette.

Make the chipotle lime mayo by combining these ingredients to taste – it should be fairly liquid. Slice the pimientos and get the rocket and almonds ready. Season and beat the eggs then reheat the pan. Once it’s hot pour the eggs in and a few seconds later add the coriander, prawns and chorizo along with some of the juices (not all or it will be too oily). Check the heat and use a spatula to start lifting the edges of the omelette. When it is mostly set but still liquidy in the middle, use the spatula to lift one side of the omelette over the other creating a sort of half moon. Cook for another few seconds then I usually use a plate to flip the omelette (place a large plate over the pan, flip the omelette onto the plate then slide back into the pan). Cook for another few seconds until you think it is done, it should be runny in the middle.

Once the omelette is ready, place on a plate and drape the peppers on top. Cover with a handful of rocket and some flaked almonds. Finally drizzle or, as in my case, blob the chipotle lime mayo on top. Voila! A tasty omelette with a very long name!

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Here are some more pics of some of our favourite fountains this summer.

Princess Diana memorial

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Victoria and Albert museum

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Southbank Centre

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Somerset House

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Two dresses, some tulips and a cauliflower soup

It’s been a week for flowers and dresses. I couldn’t resist getting some beautiful tulips from the market and we have small branches of apple blossom dotted around our flat. Lexie likes shaking them and making the blossom “snow” on her head.

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Inspired by the new season I’m finding myself wearing dresses, drawn to anything floral or white and crocheted. Two ebay finds that have delighted us this week are this little Laura Ashley number for Lexie (99p!) and a Whistles dress that I will probably wear at my wedding – I love it!

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Continuing on the white theme, I also made the most delicious scallops with cauliflower the other day. The recipe is, as always, by the beautiful Mimi Thorisson whose book: ‘A kitchen in France – a year of cooking in my farmhouse’ is now available to preorder – hurrah!! This was wonderful, light and fresh despite the copious use of butter. The cauliflower was probably my favourite element – I adore cauliflower. As there are only two of us and there is only so much cauliflower one can eat at a time – even for an aficionado like me – I used less than half of it for this recipe. I needed to make something else with the rest… hmm decisions decisions.

I thought about cauliflower cheese but didn’t really fancy it. I love Lewis’ Indian spiced cauliflower he serves as part of a ‘Rice and Three’ vegetarian curries – the other two are usually sag aloo and dal. But I don’t know how to make this (there is still some cauliflower left so his recipe will probably be on the blog next week). As it’s still quite chilly despite the blue skies I decided on my mum’s cauliflower soup. This is a delicious and simple creamy soup that we ate with cheese toasties and, in Lexie’s case, a sombrero.

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I should add that my mum is the worst person in the world to ask for a recipe. For example: “Mum how did you roast this amazing pheasant?” (which includes brandy and flambeing in the cooking)… Mum: “I put it in the oven.” When I asked her how to make this soup, she replied: “Like every other soup.” Lewis and I think it’s hilarious to do ‘my mum’ impressions when cooking. Me: “Lewis what are you doing?” Lewis: “Cooking hmmmpfh!” etc etc.

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The pic above is us out in our new dresses and old denim jackets. Lexie turned to me aghast that day and said: “Mummy where our coats!!!!” She was right, it was far too cold to be out without proper coats.

Cauliflower soup 

Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Budget: Under £5 (£1.50 cauliflower, 20p potato, £1 milk, 20p onion)
Ease: Easy
Serves 4

  • 1/2 cauliflower head, cut into florets
  • 1 potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small sliced white onion
  • Chicken stock cube
  • 1 cup milk
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper

Gently fry the onion in a little olive oil or olive oil and butter for 10 mins. Add the potato, cauliflower and stock cube, cover with water. Cook for 20-30 mins then blitz in a blender. Put the soup back in the pan and gently heat. Add a cup of milk and a little knob of butter and stir in. Season to taste and serve.

Globe artichoke with butter and lemon

I distinctly remember the first time I ate a globe artichoke. It was 2002 in Aix en Provence where I was living for 6 months as a student. Here’s a pic of me outside my wonderful studio flat! There are a gazillion things I loved about living there – the weather, the beautiful architecture, the beaches and countryside of Provence – and of course the wonderful food markets and bakeries.

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One week my cousin from Australia came to visit me and we duly perused the local market. She bought huge globe artichokes and cooked them so simply, with some melted butter and lemon to dip the leaves into. We ate the artichokes on my little rooftop balcony, watching the sun set with a bottle of Rose! La vie est belle!

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Yesterday I cooked a wonderful roast chicken for a big Sunday lunch with my mum – her first proper outing since a knee operation in January. I made Mimi Thorisson’s lemon, thyme and rosemary roast chicken and it was delicious – I highly recommend it! Mum and I love artichokes and, spotting them at the market, they were an obvious starter along with some asparagus.

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Globe artichoke with butter and lemon

Prep time: 2 mins
Cooking time: 20-30 mins
Budget: £5 (2 artichokes for £5)
Ease: easy
Serves 2-4

  • 2 globe artichokes
  • Half a pack of butter
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt

Place the artichokes in a deep pan, cover with water and boil for 20-30 mins until it’s easy to pull the leaves off. Just before serving make the butter sauce – melt the butter gently in a pan, add salt and a good squeeze of lemon juice to taste. Drain the artichoke and serve alongside the buttery dipping sauce and a big bowl for the discarded leaves.

(In the pic below Lexie is protesting that she wants to start eating NOW!!)

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Simple asparagus tapas

My family is obsessed with asparagus. In fact I think the whole of the Basque country is obsessed. Whenever we have big family dinners there’s always a plate of asparagus as an appetiser, it’s always in the bars – the ubiquitous green vegetable. If it’s a special occasion, like Christmas, we have delicate white asparagus served with langoustines and mayonnaise – divine! I’m very very happy that my daughter loves asparagus too!

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Here is a super simple and traditional way to serve a tapas of asparagus! This is my go-to starter for all meals with friends and family – I made it recently as a starter for friends before crab linguine, and yesterday as a starter before a delicious roast chicken (I made Mimi Thorisson’s rosemary, lemon and thyme roast chicken – I highly recommend this recipe!). It’s great with other tapas – jamon, boquerones, Spanish tortilla, garlic mushrooms, pan tumaca etc.

I just have to add, having written asparagus a few times now, it is totally one of those words the more you write it, the weirder it becomes! Is it really spelt like that etc!?! Apparently it derives from a latin word that derives from a greek work that derives from the Persian ‘asparag’ meaning to sprout or to shoot! There you go!

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Asparagus tapas

Prep time: 1 min
Cooking time: 5mins
Ease: Easy

  • 1 bunch of green asparagus, rinsed and ends trimmed
  • 1 lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Place the asparagus in a wide pan and cover with water. Parboil for a few mins depending on thickness. Drain and set aside. Heat the olive oil in the same pan on quite a high heat, add the asparagus and sprinkle with salt. Fry for a couple of mins then you can shake the pan a bit or turn the asparagus with a fork. Add a generous squeeze of lemon and after a couple more minutes they should be done. Sometimes I cook asparagus on a really high heat and blacken some of the sides, other times I lightly fry them – they are pretty versatile!

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Pork chops with lemon and baked rosemary garlic potatoes

Finally, after what feels like months of rain, we are getting some bright blue skies. I’m still dreaming of escaping London… This time it’s long walks in the countryside and afternoons in front of the fire. Over the Christmas holiday we stayed with friends in their amazing Tudor home in Hampshire. We walked back from the pub across fields in the pitch black, awoke to a bright frosty morning and visited the neighbouring horses, meandering along a magical river. Tammy, our host, had a great way to keep toddlers happy on the long walks – luckily the toy fairy and the chocolate fairy were two steps ahead of us at all times leaving Max and Lexie little gifts under rocks and leaves!

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Tammy also prepared the most wonderful glazed ham with delicious sliced roast potatoes and onion for a lunch (with champagne!). I’ve been thinking about those potatoes ever since and wondering when to try them. A special deal on pork chops at my favourite butchers provided the impetus. Remembering how uplifting it was when I roasted lemon, garlic and rosemary potatoes – the incredible smells of lemon and herbs that filled our kitchen – I decided to do a take on these flavours. Not the same as a long walk in the countryside but pretty cheering nonetheless. The pork is a River Cafe recipe and the potatoes were inspired by Tammy’s using this recipe. The star of this dish was definitely the potatoes – they were amazing! The pork chop was nice but I preferred the gammon by a mile (I’m not crazy about pork chops or fillet in general – love pork belly, love ham, love bacon!).

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Pork chops with lemon and rosemary garlic potatoes

Serves 2
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins
Budget: £10-15 (£5 pork chops, 60p lemons, £1.50 herbs, £1.50 potatoes)
Ease: easy

  • 2 Pork chops
  • 1 lemon quartered
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 stick rosemary – leaves removed and chopped
  • 3 or 4 cloves of peeled garlic
  • 3 potatoes – washed and sliced into 4 mm rounds, skin on

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Preheat the oven to 200/gas mark 6. Put the potatoes in a baking tray with a generous amount of olive oil, season and add the rosemary and garlic. They should take about 30 mins to roast, check them half way and turn.

Get a griddle pan (or heavy bottomed pan) and heat until smoking. Season the pork and smooth a little oil on both sides. Seal the meat on both sides, 2 mins per side then place in a baking tray with the lemon quarters. Squeeze one of the lemons on the pork and pop in the oven for 5 mins. After 5 mins take the meat out, baste and squidge the lemon quarters into the meat. Depending on the thickness of the pork they should take another 5-10 mins to cook but err on the side of caution and try only 5 mins first. Once done, let the meat rest covered in foil for a few minutes before serving with the potatoes and maybe some nice dijon mustard. (The reason the skin is off in the pic below is because I attempted this Jamie Oliver crackling tip – it was a failure!)

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Baked porcini mushrooms

As I said the other day, all this wet weather is making me fancy mushrooms – mainly on toast (fried in olive oil with garlic and parsley, maybe a splash of wine) or on pasta. Since I’m in London and can’t go foraging with my family in a Basque forest the next best thing is of course Borough market which luckily we live right by. I wanted to try something different from the usual suspects (chestnut and button mushrooms). I also wanted to do a non-pasta dish!

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I decided to make this baked porcini River cafe recipe because it sounded delicious and very easy. We had it with veal saltimbocca and rosemary, garlic and lemon roast potatoes. It’s lovely but next time I might try it with balsamic instead of lemon for a bit of sweetness. It’s definitely a starter/side dish not a main!!

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Baked porcini mushrooms

Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 8 – 15 mins
Budget: £5 – £10 depending on cost of mushrooms (Salad £1.99, pancetta £3, mushrooms £2, herbs £1.50, lemon 30p)

  • Porcini mushrooms (in pics used portobello)
  • Pancetta cubed
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • Sticks of thyme
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Rocket salad or similar
  • Lemon (or balsamic vinegar)

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Preheat the oven to 180/gas mark 4. Clean your mushrooms by cutting off the end of the stalk and wiping with a kitchen towel or old toothbrush (here are more tips on how to cook and clean mushrooms – don’t wash them!! Makes them soggy!). Put the mushrooms in a baking tray, stalk side up, and drizzle with oil. Stick the thyme into the stalk and sprinkle the cubed pancetta and garlic on top of the mushroom. Pop in the oven for 8-15 mins. Once done serve whole or sliced on rocket salad (or ‘a bed of leaves’ if you prefer…). Season and drizzle with extra olive oil and either lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.

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Rosemary, garlic and lemon roast potatoes

The heavenly scent of the lemon, garlic and rosemary roasting in the oven is exactly what’s called for when it never ever stops raining. So far this month only making Vietnamese crunchy salad has been this fragrant and uplifting (oodles of chopped mint and coriander). We also had a very fun secret mission to cut the rosemary from the big garden.

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This recipe is by my current obsession: Mimi Thorisson’s Manger website. Mimi lives in the Medoc, France with her Icelandic photographer husband, 4 children and numerous dogs. She is French and Chinese and her recipes are delicious. I’m very very happy she has a cook book and TV series coming out this year. I cannot recommend her highly enough.

We had the potatoes with veal saltimbocca and a baked porcini salad. ‘Saltimbocca’ means ‘jump into your mouth’ which seemed apt since we didn’t get to eat until 10pm and were practically lying on the floor with exhaustion – at least the food could ‘jump’ to us. Though the potatoes looked beautiful and crunchy I found them a little heavy. We had an olive oil emergency so had to use an untried oil from the local shop. It was too rich for roasting I think so I want to make these potatoes again, either with a lighter olive oil and less time parboiling or with sunflower oil.

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Rosemary garlic and lemon roast potatoes

Prep time: 5-10 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour
Budget: under £5 (potatoes £1, lemon 30p)

  • Potatoes suited to roasting (maris piper, desiree)
  • Rosemary – leaves picked and chopped
  • 4 cloves peeled garlic
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Light olive oil (or sunflower oil)

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Preheat the oven to 200/gas mark 6. Peel and parboil the potatoes for 10 minutes. We usually parboil for longer then drain and shake the potatoes around so they get smoodgi. I wouldn’t recommend doing that for this recipe unless using sunflower oil which crisps up better. Put the potatoes, rosemary, garlic and lemon in a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Roast until golden for around 40mins-1hour. Lewis recommends wiping up any excess oil from the baking tray with kitchen towel.

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