A fishy feast at Harbour House

So I’ve headed south to Cape Town for a bit of Southern Hemisphere summer and family time. And of course a chance to sample all the delicious food. Cape Town’s restaurant scene is fabulous, the range of great produce available is mind-blowing from delicious seafood, the freshest of fruit and veg, flavoursome meat and of course a wine industry to keep even the most demanding of wine lovers satisfied. How could I not share all of this with you? Welcome to Cape Town.

First up, an old favourite in the lovely V&A Waterfront. Harbour House has wonderful fish options and my advice to you would be don’t spend too long pondering the menu which is packed with delights, until you have been told the day’s specials. You’re bound to change your mind several times – this is one tough decision-making challenge. One I’m more than happy to take on.

An updated version of a classic, the avocado ritz is a plate of beautiful greens and pinks with plenty of prawns and beautifully creamy avo.

avoritz

A pretty plate in pinks and greens

My tuna tartare was the absolute freshest, beautifully tender chopped tuna with a spicy mayo. A wonderfully light starter for a hot summer’s day.

tuna

A fresh tower of tuna to savour

The tempura prawns comes with an aubergine and avocado tian. A wonderful creamy combination to go with the fishy, crunchy prawns.

prawns

Tempura prawns with creamy avocado and mayo

There are also a selection of meaty dishes on the menu which the restaurant does really well. Their prime beef carpaccio is served with parmesan and parsnip crisps, parsnip puree and mini aragula. A great mix of flavours and textures.

carpaccio

A meatier option to tuck into

Also on the starter menu is this tasty plate of gnocchi garnished with roasted butternut, grilled artichokes, mushrooms, roasted pine nuts and a truffle parmesan sauce.

gnocchi

A perfect portion of gnocchi

Another meaty option is the steak tartare which comes topped with raw quails eggs and a rocket salad on the side. Another beautiful plate of food.

steaktartare

The steak tartare is a great carniverous option

The seafood specials board offers a selection of whatever’s fresh. I couldn’t resist a couple of langoustine simply grilled. Sweet and satisfying.

langos

Sometimes you simply have to treat yourself

I’m always happy to spend a few hours at Harbour House indulging in a seafood extravaganza. And I believe there’s a new one opening up soon. Oh well, I’d better plan to test it out.

Harbour House is at Quay Four, Ground Floor, V&A Waterfront.

Up on the roof at Vintage Salt

Today I’m on the roof of Selfridges, that stylish store in the middle of Oxford Street. Vintage Salt is a new addition to this summer’s alfresco offerings, the London outdoor lifestyle continues to grow and I’m loving it. And this is the perfect place to refuel mid-shopping, a peaceful haven high above the hubub of London’s busiest shopping street..

The decor is kind of seaside village with plenty of whitewashed wood and blue trims. The menu offers a good range of seasonal dishes and the service is warm, friendly and efficient. And the food is lovely.

Vintage+Salt

Get away from it all on the roof at Selfridges

My shrimp burger was plump and flavoursome with good chunks of shrimp, a crispy crumb and a lovely spicy tartare sauce on the side.

shrimp burger

The tastiest of shrimp burgers and a spicy tartare sauce

The fish and chips was a substantial portion and came with more tartare sauce and mushy peas. One of the nicest pieces of fish I’ve had in a long time, it was sweet and moist inside with the most perfect of light and crispy batters. Now this is what fish and chips is supposed to taste like.

fishandchips

It’s hard to beat perfect fish and chips

Here’s a good view of the roof terrace, looking very welcoming.

Vintage-Salt-interior

Vintage Salt up on the roof of Selfridges

Vintage Salt is on the Roof at Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, W1.

Seafood beach-style at Harbour House

There’s something totally magical about eating lunch while the ocean waves crash up against your restaurant. I’m a total beach baby, and as soon as I walk into Harbour House, I feel like I don’t want to leave…ever.

Aside from the waves and the stunning view (the restaurant is surrounded by glass), the whole place is decorated in shades of blue with lovely wooden furniture, such a beach-house feel. It’s what my ideal home would look like.

When you go to Harbour House you simply have to eat fish, as much of it as you possibly can. Seriously, stay away from the meaty menu options as you can be sure the fish will be so fresh and perfectly prepared. Oh, and don’t focus too much on the menu, rather take a look at the blackboard where the day’s specials are displayed. I always end up ordering from there.

To start I had this amazing yellowtail tartare. The yellowtails seem to be jumping out of the ocean at the moment so they are fresh, meaty and just beautiful.

yellowtail tartare

The freshest of yellowtail, a masterpiece on the plate

The tian of prawns (also on the blackboard) offers a tower of aubergine, tomato and avocado, surrounded by tempura prawns.

prawn tian

Juicy prawns surround the tian

Focusing on the fishy side of the menu I decided to go for langoustines for my main. You can order as many (or as few) as you want, two seemed to fit the for me bill today. Beautifully sweet and meaty and served with the most delicious savoury rice.

langos

Love the langoustines

There were three line fish specials today, one of them being…yellowtail. Served with an orange beurre blanc, artichokes and spinach.

yellowtail

The yellowtail’s unbelievably fresh and citrussy

Of course, if you’re in a seafood restaurant there’s always the ultimate dish…the seafood platter. Crayfish, prawns, mussels in a deliciously creamy sauce, spicy calamari and fried linefish. A veritable feast!

seafood platter

Tuck into a feast of seafood

I wandered around snapping happily with my iPad when I arrived to try to capture the beachy feel of Harbour House. How beautiful is it? Just to say it’s empty because we arrived at noon, for an early lunch…it soon filled up.

interior

There’s also a beautiful deck outside where you can chill out before (or after) lunch…again this is for my dream house. Blue and white all the way, it’s the perfect lunch venue!

deck

Soak up the sunshine on the stunning deck

Harbour House is at Kalk Bay Harbour, Kalk Bay, Cape Peninsular.

Recipe: Peppered mackerel, broccoli, new potato and pea salad

This salad is packed with goodness with its vibrant greens, peppery oily mackerel and hot and creamy dressing.

You can experiment with your own ingredients but I find this is the perfect combination and the potatoes and rich fish make it seem pretty substantial.

Serves 2

mackerel

A wonderfully healthy and tasty recipe

8 new potatoes, boiled and halved

100g tenderstem broccoli, boiled and cooled

Peas, boiled and cooled

50g pea shoots or other leaves

1 pack of smoked, peppered mackerel fillets

100ml creme fraiche

2 tbsps hot horseradish cream or sauce

Boil the new potatoes until tender. Put aside to cool, then halve

Boil the broccoli and peas for about five minutes each and immerse in cold water to cool down and retain the strong green colour.

Mix the creme fraiche and horseradish together well.

When cooled, assemble the salad.

First place the leaves on the bottom and sprinkle lightly with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Add the potatoes, broccoli and peas. Sprinkle  half of the horseradish creme fraiche on top.

Remove the skin and flake the mackerel on top of the vegetables.

Sprinkle the remainder of the sauce on top and serve.

 

Recipes and ideas for summer barbecues: Part three

Heatwave – it’s one of my favourite words! Possibly because I spend most of my time in London where you can never be certain of a decent summer. And a heatwave generally doesn’t mean death and destruction as it can do in hotter parts of the world. English heatwaves are gentler, though you wouldn’t necessarily think so if you’d heard the somewhat alarming warnings on the radio this morning. It’s only likely to reach 30C!

Anyway, when the sun does come out, I immediately gravitate towards my garden. I love eating al fresco and lighting the barbecue, of course.

Despite my strong, carniverous, Southern African genes, I don’t believe barbecues are entirely about slabs of meat. I treat my barbecue as an outdoor oven, I can create anything I want out there in the sunshine. So today I’m cooking up some deliciously sweet seafood kebabs.

This simple, summery dish is wrapped in foil so it can steam in the juices and flavours of the marinade. It’s quick and easy and makes a lovely light dinner. I served it with a jacket potato, one of my favourite comfort foods.

Scallop and prawn skewers in ginger and lemongrass

Serves 2 (makes 4 skewers)

fish kebabs

12 medium to large prawns, heads removed, peeled and deveined

12 small scallops

1 yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks

1 small packet of asparagus tips

For the marinade

Juice of two lemons

2 tbsps chopped ginger

4 sticks of lemongrass, sliced

Half a cup of olive oil

A good grind of black pepper

Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and add the prawns, scallops, asparagus and pepper. Leave to marinate for 1-2 hours.

In the meantime soak the wooden skewers in cold water so they don’t burn when you cook.

Thread the ingredients onto the skewers, alternating with different ones until you have used everything up.

Tear four squares of tinfoil and lay each skewer on one. Divide the marinade between the four skewers, pouring it over.

Wrap the foil loosely around the skewers so none of the juices can escape.

Place on the barbecue on a medium heat and cook for about 15 minutes.

Unwrap carefully and serve.

kebabs2

Colourful skewers ready to be wrapped and barbecued

My top tips

You can buy prawns already peeled, deheaded and deveined which will cut down significantly on the preparation time. Preparing prawns is not my favourite pastime!

Try different vegetables, eg red peppers, spring onions or even fruit like pineapple or mango.

You could add a chunky white fish for a more substantial skewer, like monkfish.

I like the smaller Patagonian roeless scallops which have a lovely sweetness to them, and are perfectly bite-sized.

For a delicious jacket potato, rub your potato thoroughly with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper before wrapping in foil and baking in the oven for at least 45 minutes.

The sun is out...time to barbecue in the garden

The sun is out…time to barbecue in the garden

Looking for a new barbecue? Birstall have a good range to choose from, visit http://www.birstall.co.uk/ to find one that’s perfect for you.

Shopping for exotic ingredients

I love food shopping. There, I’ve said it again! Whether it’s in the local supermarket or a bustling market abroad, for me there’s something about choosing all your goodies, filling up your trolley and maybe even getting some inspiration along the way. My husband, on the other hand, hates food shopping and will avoid large supermarkets at all costs (though he can cope with a sunny market in Spain). But the good news is, we’ve found a food shop that we both want to visit!

Korea Foods is in New Malden or Korea Town as it’s known. The London suburb is home to over 30,000 Koreans and this treasure trove of a store offers the widest selection of Korean food and drink in the UK. They also sell plenty of Japanese, Chinese and Thai products.

Welcome to a whole new shopping experience

Welcome to a whole new shopping experience

It’s the sort of place where you need to meander up and down the aisles, taking your time – it’s all something of a voyage of discovery with mysterious jars and packets offering a doorway to something exotic. There’s a mind-boggling array of spices, sauces and pastes.

Packets and jars full of magical ingredients

Packets and jars full of magical ingredients

As you walk in the fridges are packed with fruit and vegetables to delight.

korean2

An array of exotic vegetables

There’s also an amazing fresh fish counter where we often buy tuna that we eat as sashimi it’s so fresh and tasty and the meat counter’s great, too. Love their pork loin steaks that are amazingly tender and flavoursome.

korea3

Fresh fish on ice

The kitchen also makes daily side dishes Korean-style using fresh ingredients – the place is a real hub of activity! Plus it’s really great value with friendly staff, lots of parking and plenty of space inside which all makes for an enjoyable shopping experience.

Some of our regular favourites include a selection of their amazing dumplings, prawns in Japanese breadcrumbs and frozen king prawns, spring rolls and crab claws which we stock our freezer up with.

Then a bundle of sauces and spices and well, pretty much anything we like the look of! Who knows what we’re going to come out of there with but one thing’s for sure, it’s going to be a trolleyful. Hooray for food shopping!

Korea Foods is at Unit 4-6 Wyvern Industrial Estate, Beverley Way, New Malden. It’s just off the A3 opposite Tesco.