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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El Vergel

I was asked to write a short review of our favourite local cafe for our square’s newsletter. I thought I’d share it here!

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I first discovered El Vergel, a South American café bar on Great Suffolk Street when I was working nearby. Serving speedy and delicious tacos and empanadas to eat in or take away (as well as lots of other nice things) it’s a popular place with local office workers at lunchtime.

When we moved to Borough with our little girl Lexie, who is now almost 3, El Vergel went from being a nice and slightly different from the norm lunch spot to becoming a complete and total godsend for me! I’ve since run there many times to escape Peppa Pig and revive myself with coffee or to meet other adults who don’t howl at me because I cut the apple they requested ‘the wrong way’ or gave them the ‘wrong juice cup’ (THE LELLO ONE MUMMY NOT THE BLUE ONE). I’ll quickly caveat that I really love being a mum and I adore my daughter but it is bloody hard work… and so… back to the review!

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I’d say going to El Vergel is a perfect pick me up as the music, décor and staff are all South American – friendly, colourful and vibrant! It’s a light and airy industrial space (exposed concrete and pipes) juxtaposed with colourful murals and beautiful Mexican weavings, tapestries and baskets. There’s a good mix of large communal tables as well as tables for two and aside from the lunchtime rush, when it gets pretty busy, it never feels hectic. In fact I’d say it’s one of the few local cafes where I don’t worry about disturbing other customers because it’s so spacious. There are usually a few young professionals on laptops when we go and it never feels like we are sitting on top of them (or flicking avocado at them in Lexie’s case).

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El Vergel opens early in the morning (great when you’ve been up since 5 with a perky toddler who is bouncing off the walls) and has good coffee and fresh juices as well as a lovely healthy breakfast menu including huevos rancheros, chilli avocado tortillas and greek yoghurt with fruit, granola and agave. A particular highlight or luxury for me is getting to read one of the newspapers available while my daughter has her juice – the bliss! It’s also a very good café for a group – so in my case to meet up with other sleep deprived mums who appreciate the space, the high chairs, the section of fun bean bags for jumping on and the supply of pens to scribble on the walls (well our kids appreciate the pens). But I always see lots of groups of childfree people looking very happy here, especially on the weekend, enjoying the El Vergel brunch menu with the papers.

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Our favourite thing to eat is the churrasco palta or churrasco queso – an incredible steak sandwich served on a homemade bread roll with really good salsa and either ‘palta’ avocado or ‘queso’ cheese. Definitely order this if you go – it is delicious and very reasonable at under a fiver. The range of freshly baked empanadas is very good too. I like the ‘carne’ meat empanada best but the cheese empanadas are very popular with my friends (and kids!) – all come with a really good coriander salsa. There are also daily specials and if you ever see one that says chips go for it – the homemade chips are brilliant and I wish they would sell them as a side dish. I should also mention the really good cherry cheesecake, which is massive yet very easy to eat all of even though you when you get it you say ‘oh I’ll never manage all of that!’ El Vergel also serves lots of other things like tacos and fresh salads and the bar is licensed if you want a beer or a glass of wine. I’d love to go for a meal there in the evening but alas they shut at 4pm. I’d say my only bug bear with El Vergel are charges for some of the add ons (60p for a tiny bowl of ketchup etc). This aside it would be hard to find a friendlier, more colourful spot in SE1. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Mama Lan’s Beijing street food

We are BIG fans of Mama Lan’s. This teeny tiny restaurant next to Clapham Common serves the most delicious noodles and dumplings – Beijing street food to be precise. Ning Ma started Mama Lan’s as a Supper Club operating from her living room. Mama Lan is her mum who helps her cook and the food is what Ning Ma’s grandpa sold on his market stall in Beijing – recipes from her childhood living in China.

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Taking advantage of Lambeth Council’s scheme encouraging entrepreneurs to repopulate a run down part of Brixton market, Mama Lan’s opened up there, joining the cluster of new budget eateries doing wonderful things in this part of town. We’ve been to Brixton Mama Lan’s a few times but I prefer the Clapham one mainly because it’s not in a bustling market! We also go swimming once a week round the corner so this is the perfect lunch to look forward to!

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Lexie absolutely loves noodles so she’s very happy here. There are no high chairs and it does get busy at lunchtime but if you get there at 12 and your child can sit on a chair (or sleep in a buggy) you’ll be fine! We ordered the beef noodle soup – unctuous beef, silky noodles with a fragrant broth – we love this so much. They served the spicy chilli sauce on the side so we could share this with Little Miss Noodle. We also had the pork buns and beef and spring onion beijing dumplings – both absolutely delicious. These were fine for Lexie – no chilli – and the pickled vegetables that accompany the dumplings are sooo good. In the past we’ve had the pork and chinese leaf dumplings – I felt a little sad we didn’t get these 😦 They are super yum.

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The final thing we had was smacked cucumbers with chilli and sesame. I liked these a lot, they were refreshing and zingy and probably the only thing on the menu I’ll attempt at home. I’d have preferred a half portion – it’s quite a big bowl of cucumber to get through when really all you want is MORE DUMPLINGS. The waiter very sweetly brought Lexie a bowl of cucumber with no chilli so she could join in!

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We drank a lovely white tip Oolong tea and Lexie had juice but they are licensed and on other occasions I’ve had a refreshing Tsing Tsao beer! The menu isn’t long and caters to all tastes, spicy, not spicy, vegetarian noodles/dumplings. We will go back again and again and if you can you should go too. I’m really happy Mama Lan’s has joined the other success stories of Brixton Village and opened up in another location (like Franco Manca, Honest burgers – my favourite burgers in London for sure, ooh their thrice cooked chips with rosemary salt ooh!!). For all the info on opening times, location etc visit the Mama Lan’s website.