Newbury Town Council, please let me sit down

I love Newbury Market and could happily spend hours there except for one thing.  The stall owners arent allowed to have tables and chairs outside.  I am thinkiing in particular of Isidro’s, the ultimate Thai street food stall outside Tescos.  I love it but cant stand for too long for medical reasons and would love the chance to sit outside in the glorious sunshine enjoying their delicious food at a leisurely pace.  Dear Newbury Town council is there a reason they cant have a table and chairs and if there is can you look at it?

It’s garden oven building day!!!

Two different lots of ribs in oven along with a marinated leg of lamb to have in wraps, salads in fridge along with a million chicken wings.  Long Island Iced Tea on standby, Beers in fridge.  Will blog as I go.  When I say I this doesnt mean I am doing the manual work, I am feeding the herd

Michel Roux Jr v Marco Pierre White

Apparently I have caused a little controversy as a result of my blog on the P&O cruise on the Oriana.  This, if you remember was a fairly miserable cruise with pretty rubbish food but possibly the worst disappointment was the meal we had to pay extra for, the meal at the Ocean Grill, Marco Pierres White offering.  Check out day 4 for the description of this meal then compare it with the post Roux Parliament Square.


The MPW thai fish cakes my pescatarian sister chose, no mention of the bacon, very tedious and hardly worth moving your mouth for.

IMG_2776Ruby, my niece chose this mac and cheese type thing which was like a liquidised heavily condensed bowl of wallpaper paste which they had forgotten to add the crispy shallots, would it have made a difference, who knows?  If you want to see the other ‘food’ check out day 4 of the blog but there was nothing exciting, wooly fluffy lobster and prawns which tasted prefrozen, an amuse bouche which was actually inedible.

P&O did kindly conact me to discuss my disappointment re their food and I am not sure whose fault it was that Marcos was so rubbish but sureyly @mpwgroup has some responsibility.  At Roux we were not catered for by @michelrouxjr , indeed not @SteveGrovesChef but by Marco, the next one down.  The food was impeccable.  The service was incredible.




Char roast langoustine, prawn tortellini, prawn tartare and coastal vegetables

I have been told that I am naive to expect good quality if the executive chef/owner isnt present and that of course the food will be much worse.  I find this unacceptable.  I realise I am criticising the Chefs Chef, so many of the great chefs that I have interviewed  love him so I was expecting quality even though I wasn’t expecting him to be in the kitchen sorting out the stock and the turkey himself.  What is his food like in his other restaurants, he has chains of them? Was this just a piece of bad luck or all the restaurants Marco puts his name to just as rubbish.

Scallops and prawns YUM Veggies avoid this post Pescaterians embrace

When Tony is out I muck about cooking things that I fancy and one that I keep coming back to and refining is my scallops and prawns dish.  Today I left out the beetroot and introduced wild garlic.

2015-05-12 18.04.33

onions and smoked bacon lardons in wild garlic butter

2015-05-12 18.25.06fresh raw scallops and prawns ready to be made gorgeous and delicious

2015-05-12 18.26.42ooh look, fried in the fat from the smoked bacon and just about to turn pink and lush

2015-05-12 18.27.38prawns going pink and perfect in the bacon fat

there we go, mashed potato with spring onion, a bit of cabbage and a spoonful of horseradish

2015-05-12 18.33.07don’t forget a squeeze of lemon juice and some chopped basil at the finish

Isidro’s – best street food

Ever since I was a child (and young mother to James but that is another story) we have made gyoza.  We didn’t call them gyoza, we called them ears, I have no idea why and my brother Toby who introduced them denies calling them ears but I can’t work out why else they would have got this name,  Even my bots now call them ears.  Toby spent time in between term times at Leeds uni going to Hong Kong working with substance abusers and met and fell in love with one of the other volunteers.  So they brought back the ‘Knowledge of the Ears’.

Making ears is a wonderful family occupation.  We all (remember I am one of 6 kids and we all had friends and don’t do things by halves) would sit around the huge table my dad had constructed and we would create ears.  You may know ears as pot stickers, Peking dumplings, dim sum but I am going to call them by their correct Ferguson name.  Ears.  Once the pastry was made, your choice, flour, touch of salt or oil if you want and enough water to make it pliable, then we would start rolling.  The filling was minced pork, chopped spring onions, garlic, ginger, Chinese leaves, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, touch of sesame oil.  A lot of this can be added to or missed out, it really doesn’t matter too much, go wild and free.

The hard part was the pleating, they are like tiny Cornish pasties and if you are even slightly hoggy then the temptation was to stuff the damn thing but don’t do that!  They will split and spill.  My advice to you would be to go down to Newbury on Saturday and watch Chris at work.  He is the ear King.  He also makes it look easy, don’t be fooled.  OR you could just buy his and eat them.  I went with my lovely oldest son James and I think we ordered about 40!!  While we waited for them to cook we tried out lots of different dishes and bought one of everything to take home (in fact we bought more than that as James and I both took some items home.  The sauce Chris and Venus serve is a hot and addictive sauce which is a little different to the one that I make.

IMG_2856This is them!!!  They are so wonderful and beautiful and tasty and delicious.

IMG_2852Chris making ear making look easy

IMG_2848      Green Thai curry with such an amazing depth of flavour!

IMG_2847The sign advertising the dish below

IMG_2846Again the flavours were intense but harmonic, cracking

IMG_2844This is Venus with two spectacularly gorgeous children, stunning lads who also happen to be my grandbots.

IMG_2857Two of the many regulars that this stall has, I cant believe I hadn’t been before but I absolutely know I will be a regular returner.    I haven’t even shown you the delicious Pad Kra Pao, so addictive, or many of the other dishes they cook according to season and fancy.  Thanks James, your views were quite right.  What amazing parents you must have.