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Sunday, 2 October 2011

Chicken and then more chicken

There are times when eating out is just one big disappointment!  The anticipation is rarely matched by what is delivered.  I have eaten lunch out twice this week and both times were definately underwhelming. 
Monday was a holiday here in some parts of Scotland so we went out for lunch.  Limited by what my son would eat (must expand that boy’s range of acceptable food!)– we went to Pizza Express.  They used to have a great salad with torn chicken, avocado, egg and dough sticks.   Unfortunately they don’t do it any more – so I had one with mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, cheese and avocado but it was drowned in balsamic vinegar and that was all you could taste.  That evening I fancied some Kedgeree so I picked up some smoked haddock at the supermarket (could have been better) and we had a big pan of buttery kedgeree.
Tuesday I used up the left over roast chicken by making some pancakes and mixing the chicken into a creamy sauce with mushrooms, rolling up the mixture in the pancakes – topping them with some cheese and baking in the oven for 20 minutes.  Serve with a green salad.
Wednesday – we clearly are trying to eat our way through the European chicken mountain because we had more chicken.  Husband sometimes buys random meat and I could bet a month’s salary that it will be sausages, chicken or pork tenderloin in that carrier bag.   I won’t even bore you with how I prepared the chicken.  Even I , who really likes chicken can sometimes have had enough.  Having said that – chicken does make one more appearance in our week (Friday)
Thursday – Nothing in the house so – after picking my son up  (He does Combined Cadet Forces on a Thursday after school) I dropped by M&S on the way home.  My son – who usually wants to stay in the car whenever I stop off at a supermarket – decided that today he wanted to accompany me.  The thing about CCF day is that they go in their combats and big boots and on Thursday this week they had been practising camouflaging their faces.  So there I was trying to look like it was the most normal thing in the world to have my trolley pushed round M&S by a boy in camouflage gear with his face totally obscured by camouflage paint.  Small children were hiding behind their mothers in fear, staring!
That evening we had steak sandwich and salad with sautéed potatoes (had some new potatoes left over from earlier in the week which I sliced and sautéed).  Thin, flash fry steak in baguette spread with a little horseradish.
Friday – the reappearance of chicken – this time I was trying to recreate the pizza express salad and managed to do so successfully.  Bowl of salad topped with chicken breast that had been sliced and pan fried.  Avocado sliced on top, boiled egg cut in quarters in there too, some bits of shaved parmesan, a few cherry tomatoes, mix in some Caesar salad dressing and accompany with some dough balls and garlic butter to dip them in.  All prepared in 15 – 20 minutes.  The warm chicken makes the salad leaves wilt slightly.
Finally – the second eating out.  My daughters and I went to Costco on Saturday.  I go to Costco every couple of months and always spend far more than I intend.  I am always fascinated by what people have in their trolley.  There was one woman who bought 5 sets of salad bowl and servers.  I can only assume that is what everyone is getting from her for Christmas this year.  Costco also has some strange and random things for sale – this time what caught my eye was a Victorian style streetlamp.  You know the kind of thing – seen in films set in a foggy London street.  Who buys this stuff?
Anyway – the Costco bit is irrelevant – we decided to have some lunch on the way.  We headed for the west end and –for no good reason – decided to have lunch in Otto on Byres Road.  I would describe it as soulless in both atmosphere and food.  My fish and chips were overdone and greasy, the vegeburger was bland and tasteless apparently and the chicken burger wasn’t great either.  All in all a very lack lustre performance and so we have decided that the next time we have lunch out we will try the Two Figs at the bottom of Byres Road  - the menu looks really interesting and apparently it has the same owners as the Left Bank in Gibson street – which is always good.
That’s the problem with eating out – I object to paying for food that you could cook better yourself.

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