yoghurt success, and the perfect lunch on a rainy day

29 November 2009

Ta-da! Homemade yoghurt. I had one for breakfast and it was exactly what I was hoping for: tangy, with a creamy top (not sure if you can make out the little bubbles around the edge of its surface in the picture below?), the tartness of the yoghurt perfectly offset by the sweetness of the apricot jam. I left this batch in the yaourtière for thirteen hours to account for the cold weather, and it seems to have worked a treat.

Whilst we’re on the subject of breakfast, I must share my discovery of a wonderful local pâtisserie and purveyor of the most heavenly, authentic-French-tasting croissants. I had often walked past its inviting windows and made a mental note to pop in sometime, but had – wrongly – never prioritised it as a destination. I won’t make that mistake again. Charming service, a peaceful ambience, and even a few tables if you want to sit and enjoy your goodies there and then with a cup of coffee. If you’re ever in the area, head to:

Des Lys Pâtisserie Boulangerie, 8 Bedford Hill, Balham, London SW12 9RG (020 8673 0804) 

I maintained my French theme for the day with the most satisfying lunch: rotisserie chicken, sautéed potatoes, and green beans.

I am positively evangelical about rotisserie chicken. That ambrosial aroma that pervades the kitchen as soon as the warm shop-bought parcel is opened; the unctuously melting skin; the soft and succulent meat; the luscious juice that drips all over your fingers………..bliss. Potatoes, preferably fried – chips, roasties or, my method of choice, thick slices sautéed in the oven – are the ideal complement to this king of dishes, their flouriness and crispiness the perfect foil for all that lovely grease. An accompaniment of green beans lifts this meal still further into the realm of culinary Shangri-La.

So I give you my method for perfect garlicky green beans, in the hope that you will go forth and spread the good news.

Garlicky Green Beans

300g green beans, ends trimmed
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
large knob of butter – about 30g
splash of olive oil
(around 20 pearl onions – optional, but highly recommended)

Steam the beans until they are cooked but still retain a bright green colour (so al dente – ie. cooked to the ‘tender crisp’ stage rather than softened to oblivion). Drain beans and return to the pot. Add the garlic, butter and olive oil, and the onions if using. Put a lid on the pot and give it a bit of a shake. Once the butter has melted and everything is nicely glistening, pour it all into a dish and serve.

Just a note about the onions: these are what the French refer to as petits oignons croquants, usually called cocktail onions in England. They are tiny and crunchy and really very moreish.

One final tip before I go… If you’re in London and looking for great rôtisserie that’s a cut above those you find in supermarkets, I recommend Rôtisserie Jules in South Kensington for the most delicious chicken (also lamb and beef, if that’s what does it for you).

Rôtisserie Jules, 6-8 Bute Street, London SW7 3EX (020 7584 0600)

And if you’re there anyway, it would be rude not to stop by Oddono’s along the road for the most sublime ice cream. Their motto? ‘Life’s too short to eat bad ice cream’. I wholeheartedly agree.

Oddono’s Gelati Italiani, 14 Bute Street, London SW7 3EX (020 7052 0732)
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jon-ster 30 November 2009 at 4:32 pm

….this from my friend who was a vegetarian for countless years. Plus ca change!

Never thought of sauteed spuds with chicken before. Have you tried the same process with whole little new pots? Very nice indeed.


green apple sorbet 30 November 2009 at 5:36 pm

Just a passing phase my friend, and thank goodness!

Love roasted new potatoes 🙂 Have you tried Jamie Oliver’s take?: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetarian-recipes/baked-new-potatoes-with-sea-salt-and-ros


Jon-ster 1 December 2009 at 8:37 am

That does sound good. What I’m thinking of is just slowly cooking the little spuds in butter on the stovetop, no blanching – have to be careful that they don’t burn though! Think the oven treatment is perhaps more reliable to avoid an irate cook and smoke in the kitchen 🙂

Tried to look up a very good potato cookbook just now, but apparently amazon lists at least 20 – there are more things to do with potatoes than you’d think!


James 5 January 2010 at 9:44 pm

I love roti chicken!


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