Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted, life continues to be rather ridiculously hectic at the moment. I only have 20 minutes right now and I’m feeling a little tired and jaded after a great weekend with one of my closest friends visiting (late nights and cocktails!) so thought I’d ease myself back into the blogosphere with this quick and tasty mid-week meal!
I’m a big salmon fan and like to do things a little differently with it from time to time – salmon is brilliant as it is robust enough to take on quite strong flavours. The idea for this marinade originally came from my friend Charlotte.
- Crushed garlic
- Grated ginger
- Rice wine vinegar
- Toasted sesame oil
- Soy sauce
Once again, I don’t really go by measurements – more by taste and look. Just keep adjusting this a little at a time until you’re happy with the balance of flavours. I think the earthy nuttiness of the toasted sesame oil goes brilliantly with the salmon and also in this case the edamame beans.
Pop your salmon fillets in a tin foil parcel, pour over around half of the marinade and wrap up. Leave to marinade for a little while if you have time before putting in the oven.
Once the salmon is in the oven you can forget about it for 15 to 20 minutes and prepare your noodles and vegetables. Sometimes I’ll buy specific vegetables to eat this with – I like pak choi, water chestnuts and baby corn, but other times will be a bit of a cheat and buy a ready made stir fry veg pack. This is a little bit naughty, but you can get nice ones (like this edamame bean one from Sainsburys!) and when you come home late from work and don’t have much time, it makes for a great very quick but very tasty meal with very little preparation time! Anyway, prepare and stir fry your vegetables in some more sesame oil and cook your noodles. Once ready, drain the noodles and add into the wok with the vegetables, pour over the remaining marinade and toss. Whip your salmon out of the oven and serve on top of the noodles and vegetables. Voila! Healthy fast food that is singing with flavours and just makes you feel good!
Last weekend my mum and dad came down to Manchester for a visit. Much as I love living here, I do miss Scotland and wish that I could see my family and friends that live north of the border more often. So a visit from the parents is always a treat, even the more so as it’s also usually an excuse for some indulgent food treats! (plus my mum always brings down some of her unbeatable homemade chicken and rice soup and some of the delicious granary bread from the local baker that you can’t get down here)
We decided to treat ourselves to a really nice meal out and I knew just the place to take them – Bistro West 156 in West Didsbury. This is a small, perfectly formed bistro where you are always guaranteed a warm welcome and an outstanding meal. The other half and I have been delighting over the famous fish pie, the black pudding salads and desert trios here for many years, in fact he used to live just a two minute walk away, so the temptation was all the more! Anyway, for all these reasons, plus the fact that this is usually our restaurant of choice for celebrating special occasions, the Bistro holds a special place in my heart.
The meal last weekend didn’t disappoint (aside from the fact we still weren’t quite in season for the winter fish pie! 😉 )
I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo in before my dining companions began demolishing the starters, but we shared some incredibly moreish fried salt & pepper squid with chillis, spring onions and a sweet chilli dressing as well as a lovely rustic ham hock.
We then moved on to the mains and I ordered salmon baked in filo pastry with sundried tomatoes, basil and cream cheese, on a bed of creamy crushed potatoes, peas, leeks and little gem – I’ve never really put salmon with tomato before, but the flavours worked really well and the filo pastry was beautifully flaky and crispy.
My mum and dad both picked the mixed fish grill which consisted of seabass, salmon and beer battered haddock. This batter was definitely a contender for the best batter any of us had ever tasted – batter perfection! This came with chunky chips, peas and tartare sauce, yummy!
Rob had an amazing Moroccan-spiced slow roast lamb shank with sweet potato couscous, crispy onions (ohmigod these were insanely good!) and lemon and corriander yoghurt.
This dish was a beast, but sadly he didn’t need as much help as we anticipated!
Having eaten all this delicious food, washed down with equally delicious wine, we were all feeling really rather full. The deserts in Bistro West are however, in my opinion, legendary, so there was no way we were missing out! After a little rest we were ready to peruse the desert menu. I’m not going to lie readers, this was a stressful situation for me – how the hell am I supposed to choose between plum and almond frangipani tart with CRUMBLED AMARETTO BISCUIT ICE CREAM, a trio of creme brule with sticky ginger cake and STEM GINGER ICE CREAM or a melting chocolate and orange pudding with, get this, COINTREAU AND ORANGE ICE CREAM!!? (excuse the ice cream excitement, but oh my god, how amazing do they aaalll sound?!) I had already discounted the sticky toffee pudding with god damn honeycomb ice cream as I knew there was absolutely no way I could squeeze in a sticky toffee pud. I agonised over the other three for a while and eventually after much soul searching plumped for the tart – I adore both frangipani and amaretto so this swung it in the end!
Here’s the creme brule trio
And the melting chocolate and orange pudding (which you’ll see I didn’t get a chance to photograph before it was half demolished! You get the oozy chocolatey picture though…)
All in all, I think you’ll agree, a truly scrumptious feast and the perfect place to spend some time with my parents. Everytime I go, I just love the Bistro more!