Tag Archives: chorizo

So many tentacles!

16 Oct

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My name is Emma, and I love squid. So much so that – in much the same way that Jay Rayner admits to being unable to resist the charms of pork belly – if I spy calamari on a menu, the rest of that menu is instantly dead to me. Hell, I still have the occasional happy flashback to the deep-fried baby squid at The Circus.

I’ve wanted to give squid a go as an ingredient for a while. To avoid that nasty rubbery texture that puts so many people off, you need to cook either super-quick or nice and slow, so with a bit of time to myself this weekend I decided to try Chasing The Dish’s recipe for squid and chorizo stew.

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I bought this little fellow from The Fish Shop on Gloucester Road. Thankfully, the fishmonger offered to clean him for me. Yes, I may not be squeamish about the eating of squid (the tentacles are the best bit!) but I’m not quite ready to gut it myself. I’ve got a long way to go, baby, to inappropriately paraphrase Germaine Greer.

I bastardised the recipe slightly; leaving out the celery, but adding a glug of red wine (not too much, mind – I did want some left to drink), some strained chopped tomatoes and a few spoonfuls of flour to thicken it towards the end. I scaled it down to make two portions rather than four, too, because I wasn’t entirely sure how well it’d freeze. I think this may have been a good decision.

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The result was exactly what I’d hoped for: meltingly tender squid – impressively so, given it took less than two hours to cook – in a stew packed with flavour and texture. Fantastic with a squeeze of lemon juice and some ciabatta from the Love Bristol Pop-Up Bakery on Stokes Croft. Nothing better than a productive Saturday, is there?

I really wish this was my local

17 Sep

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“Can we go to The New Conway while we’re in Cardiff for Huw‘s wedding?” asked my friend Jamie, before we returned to our ex-adopted hometown on the weekend. “My friend’s taken it over. The food’s really good – I think it’s the only place in the city in the Michelin Pub Guide.” I’m not entirely sure what part of that he’d expected me to refuse. Hell, he had me long before the word ‘Michelin’.

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I am so glad we didn’t have to choose between the starters. Some decisions are just too tough to be made when in a slightly fragile state on a Sunday. Instead, we had a platter of pretty much all of them: houmous; olives; butternut squash arancini; fishcakes with onion and coriander salad; and roasted garlic, thyme, honey and kidney bean fritters. The latter were my favourite – light, crispy shells surrounding a soft middle, with whole kidney beans adding texture and a lovely, subtle undernote of sweetness.

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My philosophy that almost every savoury food can be improved with the addition of generous amounts of chorizo apparently holds true when it comes to a roast, especially when said roast involves large, juicy pieces of chicken complete with crispy skin.

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We had another platter to share for dessert: banana cake with apple compote and white chocolate icing; shortbread and toffee sauce; rhubarb panna cotta; and Jamaican ginger cake. I think it was somewhere around the panna cotta that we simultaneously realised our hangovers had lifted, and that we were sat giggling with joy over a fantastic board of pudding.

Somebody please remind me why I no longer live in Cardiff?