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The Black Boy

31 Mar


Address: 91 Old High St, Headington, Oxford OX3 9HT
Phone:01865 741137


Located in the heart of gorgeous Old Headington, this is a gastro pub with a great reputation (lots of rave reviews from the likes of Jay Rayner (The Observer), The Guardian etc). We’ve been several times and have always walked away happy. Our most recent visit was Mother’s Day lunch yesterday and it didn’t disappoint. Even with fussy eaters (one in our party is), there’s always something for everyone. The prices are mid-range of what you’d expect. Not cheap, but not over the top either. The quality is good/great.

I guess my only question is the ‘seasonality’ aspect of it. There’s a lovely broad bean/crayfish risotto on the menu, and in March, these are definitely not in season. Seasonality being a big buzz word at the moment could be a bit of a let down. But that’s it really. Everything else is very good indeed!

Menu highlights: Strangely enough I haven’t picked out any favourites at this place. I tend to ask what’s on the specials board and/or follow recommendations from the staff. My husband had their Moules Mariniere yesterday and raved about it. His scallop starter was exceptionally good as well. My sister really enjoyed their roast beef lunch and said it’s the best she’s had out ever (high praise indeed!).



La Cucina

22 Mar

cucina40 St Clement’s St, Oxford OX4 1AB
01865 793811

OK, I’m going to go out on a limb here. I’m a real foody and I can’t think of anything I enjoy more than going out for a meal. I am also a keen home cook and Italian is probably where my general inclination lies (split with Thai, possibly). BUT if I had to pick my absolute favourite restaurant in Oxford, it has to be La Cucina. We absolutely love going to this place. Their food is always amazing. Whenever possible I tend to go for one of the specials because they’re usually sensational.

Menu Highlights: Apart from the specials: duck pappardelle (yum!) and my hubby really loves how well they cook the steaks to order (he’s medium/rare).

Tip: Make sure to book in advance as it’s reasonably small – particularly weekends. Request the back of the restaurant. You will feel you’re almost part of the kitchen. Quite cool.


22 Mar


152 Oxford Rd, Oxford OX4 2EA
01865 777402

Oxford has an abundance of amazing curry houses, but I have to say this is my favourite. Karma offers all the ‘normal’ curry dishes that you would expect, but the highlights are really their chef/house specials.

The best thing about this place, though, is the staff/customer interaction. In some places serving staff are either ignorant, disinterested or told not to recommend a dish. Not at Karma. I brought my family from northern Sweden (among which my 10 and 12 year old nieces), and asked them for a great way to introduce them to curries, as there weren’t really used to spice or heat of any kind. They were brilliant. They served a mix of spice degrees and flavours + took the time to explain the dishes too. My family walked away loving this style of food.

Fortunately for us it’s around the corner from our house and, in my opinion, there is no curry house even being close to this one!

Menu highlights: Me: Murgh Xacuti (chicken, medium/hot). Hubby: Goa Maachli Curry (medium, fish)

Cote Brasserie

21 Mar


A French bistro style restaurant chain. Went to the one in Brighton a couple of years ago and was really happy to see the Oxford branch opening up in late 2012. It’s a very popular restaurant even on weekdays. This is partly due to its location on George street next to the theatres, so pre-theatre is particularly busy. But it’s also because the food is really good! Their Plats Rapide are extremely good value and perfect if you’re in a bit of a hurry. Their specials are usually very good as well.

Menu highlights: Seafood Linguine, Roast Duck Breast + any exciting item on the specials menu…

Pierre Victoire

21 Mar
PVAddress: 9 Little Clarendon St, Jericho, Oxford OX1 2HP
Phone:01865 316616
Last visit: 16 March 2014

This restaurant is ALWAYS busy. It’s situated down ‘little trendy street’ just as St Giles meets Jericho and is popular with people of all ages. This is my husband’s favourite restaurant, so whenever given the choice, this is where we’re heading. It’s crowded, busy, (sometimes) loud and very atmospheric. The staff tends to be all French and always extremely friendly. The food is very typically French and rarely strays from that. Their set menu lunches on Sundays are a real bargain!Vegetarians may struggle…

Menu Highlights: Moules Mariniere (my husband’s fave – swears he has never tasted any better than here!), rabbit and confit duck.

Crispy skin duck breast – weird but it works!!

9 Feb


This is a John Torode recipe. Take your duck breasts and score the skin all the way through the flesh. Season the skin (and only(!) skin) with salt and black pepper. Take a solid, heavy frying pan and turn the heat to 3/4 on your stove. Lay the duck skin down in the cold (!) pan and put over the heat and turn the heat down to 1/2. Now DO NOT touch anything. Leave it alone for good 10 minutes.

The fat under the skin will slowly melt and the skin will go brown and crispy. You should have a good 1 cm of duck fat at the bottom. When the skin starts to colour around the outside you’re ready to move on. Season the flesh side now and turn the duck breast down. Cook for 2 minutes and turn the heat to full, cooking the duck for further 1 minute. Take the pan from the heat and leave the breasts in the pan for 5 minutes.

You can keep the fat for further cooking – for example for roasted potatoes 🙂

Chicken Ballotine Stuffed with Cream Cheese, Garlic & Herbs

21 Jan


  • 2 chicken breast fillets, diced
  • 100 g garlic and herb cream cheese (I used boursin with sundried tomato and garlic flavour)
  • 4 large chicken thighs, boned
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 50 g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • vegetable oil, for deep frying


1. Working with one chicken thigh at a time, place between two sheets of cling film and then using a rolling pin, flatten to an even thickness. Lay out another large sheet of cling film and lay the flattened chicken thigh skin-side down in the middle of the film. Season with salt and pepper and then pipe the cream cheese along the centre of the meat. Using the cling film to help, roll the chicken up tightly, to enclose the filling and create a sausage shape. Tie the ends tightly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining thighs and mousse

2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, carefully add the chicken parcels, cover and remove the pan from the heat. Allow the chicken to poach in the pan, off the heat, for about 20 minutes. Then using a slotted spoon remove the chicken parcels from the pan, drain on kitchen paper and leave to cool slightly. Remove from the cling film and pat dry with kitchen towel.

3. Heat the oil for searing. Sear the chicken parcels, in batches, for about 5 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden. Transfer to a plate and drain on kitchen paper. Leave to rest for a couple of minutes and then carve into thick slices. If meat still pink, let the chicken rest in the oven for a while before serving. Arrange on warm serving plates and spoon over sauce to serve.

Cheesy Spinach Filo Triangles recipe – All recipes UK

31 Dec

Cheesy Spinach Filo Triangles recipe – All recipes UK.

Pappardelle with duck confit sauce

16 Nov

20131116_113955 (1024x576)I made some duck confit about a week ago and was debating with hubby about how to best eat it: the French way with lentils and veg or go Italian with a lovely pasta sauce. I ended up going the Italian way this time. I had a very strong image of what I wanted to achieve, but could not find a single recipe that included the taste I was going for. So I ended up inventing this recipe – and seriously – probably the best pasta sauce I’ve ever produced! So here it is:


  • 2 confit duck legs – meat taken off bone
  • Soffritto
  • Chopped garlic
  • Chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small glass of red wine
  • A splash of balsamic vinegar
  • Chicken stock
  • Juniper berries
  • Chervil
  • Quartered cherry tomatoes (to go in just before serving to add some freshness)

Just bring all of this to boil and let it reduce to intensify the flavours (except the fresh cherry tomatoes). Serve with fresh pappardelle or tagliatelle and sprinkle some parmesan over it.


Thai Style Chicken Noodle Soup

2 Oct

Chicken Noodle SoupMy poor little hubby was down with a cold which inspired me to create this little dish. Perfect to chase away a pesky cold and clear the airways. It’s a bowl full of goodness – and is delicious too! It’s also a good way of using up leftover roast chicken.




  • 3 spring onions chopped/sliced (whichever you prefer)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 medium hot red chilli deseeded and sliced finely (or more if you want it really spicy, not just ‘warm’)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 pint of chicken stock
  • left over chicken, shredded (equivalent to a breast and a half or so)
  • noodles (I use the medium width variety, but any would do)
  • a splash of soy sauce (to taste)
  • the zest of one lime
  • 1 whole (slightly crushed) lemon grass stick
  • a few pinches of sugar
  • salt & pepper( to taste)
  • extra water to accommodate the noodles


Just chop everything and throw into a sauce pan. Let the ingredients cook for 20-30 minutes to let the flavours blend together to a lovely broth. Add the noodles towards the end of the cooking (see instructions on pack) or cook them separately and just add them to the soup. Voila!