Brunch at Granger & Co

Happy Australia Day! Down a quiet road in Clerkenwell, you’ll find Granger & Co, a lovely bright space with a buzzing crowd. My first clue that this was an Australian place was their classic ‘Fresh Aussie’ with Jasmin tea hot smoked salmon, poached eggs and avocado.

My suspicion was confirmed by my Australian friend, who said that it was similar to Bills in Australia (not to be confused with Bill’s that we know in the UK). Bill Granger set up his restaurant and a number of cooking books and Granger & Co is an extension of this with a few locations in London.

With a friend who was late and one who went to the wrong venue (oops!) we ordered some courgette chips to nibble on with a tahini dip.  Lovely and light and just right before ordering our main course.  I also sampled their green juice which consisted of green apple, cucumber, ginger, silver beetroot, chia seeds and coconut water. Yum!

We all had trouble choosing as I wanted a lot of things, but I fancied something savoury so I went for ‘crispy duck, clementine, star anise, brown rice and citrus salad’.  Truly delicious and I’d like to return to try more of their menu and maybe go for some of their classic dishes such as their ricotta hot cakes.

Crispy duck & clementine

Lunch at Darwin Brasserie, Sky Garden

After visiting the Sky Garden late one night, just before closing, I was determined to see the place in daylight and I finally got a chance!

It had been snowing the day before and I was secretly hoping we’d get a view of snow falling across London during our lunch but it wasn’t to be!  Instead we had a lovely 2 course set meal accompanied by a glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc.

I stuck to a fish theme and had pastrami cured smoked salmon, served with beetroot, taramasalata, radish and micro coriander herbs. Very tasty and I think I was the first to finish! 

Pastrami cured smoked salmon
Next course was roast stone bass, which apparently comes from rocky ledges and wrecks? Served with parsnip purée, Savoy cabbage, pancetta and red wine jus. This also came with curly parsnip crisps which I found quite difficult and not elegant to eat but I tried my best!

Stone bass
At £29.50 for 2 courses, it’s much better than I expected.  You also come here for the view, you are in Sky Garden after all!  But still be prepared to queue through airport security style in order to get into the building, so add some extra time before your booking to allow for this.

Shame it wasn’t snowy or sunny but still a great view!

Sky garden in London
Sky garden in London

Chermoula coley recipe

Chermoula coley fish recipe

Chermoula is a classic taste of Morocco, and again, this reminds me of my childhood when I grew up in Casablanca (not as romantic as the movie suggests!)

Any fish can be used here and normally a whole fish with head and all would be used.  In this case, I’m using a large coley fillet which is similar to cod and this made 3 meals for me.

The herby goodness can also be used raw as a sauce to go with other meats such as ostrich, so don’t worry if you make too much!

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp of coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves – chopped
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • Zest and juice from half a lemon
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of crushed chilli flakes 
  • 1 cup of coriander/cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup of parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup of mint leaves
  • Handful of green beans
  • Handful of samphire (woody bits at the ends cut off)
  • 1 tsp butter

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F)
  2. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan. Keep tossing for around 2 minutes until you can smell the fragrance.
  3. Crush seeds with the back of a spoon (in a deep bowl to stop them flying around)
  4. Use a hand blender to blend the toasted seeds, lemon zest and juice, 2 garlic cloves, oil, salt, chilli until the mixture is smooth
  5. Add the parsley, coriander/cilantro and mint and blend.
  6. Taste the mixture and add more salt or lemon or herbs as you see fit
  7. Line a baking tray with foil and put a little oil to cover the bottom and spread around.
  8. Add the fish to the tray and spread the mixture all over the fish. You can also do this earlier in the day or day before so that the marinade can really soak through the fish.
  9. Bake for around 15-20 mins, depending on the thickness of the fish.  I use a meat thermometer to check when my food is cooked. Very handy tool!
  10. While this is cooking prepare the beans and samphire.  The green beans need to have the ends cut off and place in a microwave safe dish with a bit of water and cover with cling film. Poke a hole in the cling film. This only takes 3-4 mins to cook.
  11. Samphire goes beautifully with fish and this will be gently and lightly fried in a frying pan with the tsp of butter and 1 garlic clove that should be chopped already.  This will only take maximum of 5 mins.
  12. Once fish is cooked, serve with the beans and samphire and enjoy!

Chermoula coley recipe

Thai pork stuffed cucumber soup recipe 

This dish is inspired by by teen years living in Thailand.  Simple, delicious and fresh, this dish in Thai is called ‘Gang Jued’ and is made with a clear light broth and cooked cucumber.  It may not be as famous as ‘Tom Yum Kung’ and it’s definitely not as spicy, but it should probably be known a bit more.

Ingredients

  • 150g of pork mince
  • 2 long, wide cucumbers
  • Small bunch of coriander/cilantro (chopped, keep leaves and stalk separate)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 pork/ham stock cube
  • 3 tbsp of light soy sauce (used for flavour)
  • 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce (used for colour)
  • 2 spring/salad onions, chopped
  • 3 cups of water
  • Pak Choi (optional)

Recipe

  1. Peel the skin from the cucumbers and cut into large chunks
  2. Deseed the cucumber chunks by using the small end of a teaspoon and digging out the seeds
  3. Now prepare your pork mince filling. Add pork, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tbsp of light soy sauce, pepper, coriander stalk and mix well. Use your hands!
  4. Add water to a pan and bring to the boil, adding 1 tbsp of light soy sauce and dark soy sauce, 1 clove of garlic and the pork/ham stock cube
  5. Stuff your cucumber chunks with as much mince as possible and then roll the rest of the mince into little meatballs.
  6. Slowly drop the stuffed cucumber and meatballs into the soup mix and cook with a lid of for 15-20mins
  7. Add in the pak choi (optional), spring onion and coriander leaves and stir.
  8. Don’t let it all cook for too long and then serve!

Such a wonderful, light and tasty dish for a cold evening and unusually for Thai food, it doesn’t contain the spicy, sweet and sour element, just the salty.