Sen Nin, Islington: Crazy cheap Express Lunch menu

Sen Nin, Islington branch is an expensive looking teppanyaki restaurant that isn’t actually that expensive and has an incredibly reasonably priced express lunch menu, which is available on Saturdays.

Appetisers such as gyoza, edamame are £2.50, bento, rice bowls, sushi, or noodles are all £5 each

Sen Nin bento

Gyoza (not pictured) would have been preferably a little crisper, but the yaki soba had plenty of (the japanese equivalent of) wok hei, and the pork belly katsu bento was very hearty, pork belly meltingly soft and the curry sauce was very pleasant.

A bento box/main would be substantial for 1 person, with 3 highly ravenous people, splitting 2 appetisers, 4 mains, and a bottle of prosecco, £18 per head (including service) is incredibly reasonable for the area.

Perfect fodder for an autumnal afternoon.

Sen Nin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Banh Mi Town, W1

banh mi town

Banh Mi Town would make a fantastic lunch stop but is also good for a healthy, quick meal in Central London, away from the craziness and tourist traps of Soho/ Oxford Street.

They aren’t licensed so if, for example, you’re visiting as an early evening pit stop en-route to a recording of a Radio 4 “Comedy” show, be sure to top-up your hip flask somewhere nearby.

Pho/ noodle dishes are all around £6-7, banh mi around £5, so works out around £10 per person including a (non-alcoholic) drink.

Banh Mi Town Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Butter Tart Squares

this is officially the most rapid way to inhale calories that does not involve consuming pure saturated fat

butter tart squares

Butter Tart Squares: “Square” (ie. tray-bake) version of Butter Tarts, a “quintessentially Canadian” dessert, shortbread-type base, with the topping/ filling a combo of sugar/ eggs/ butter and raisins/ walnuts.

Similar to: pecan pie (with raisins added/ substituted) or ecclefechan

Best eaten on Vancouver Island, sitting on a beach, chilling with sea lions n otters n such, but also delicious in shitty cities (ie. London).

Based on this recipe from CD Kitchen (minus the oats)

175C, 9″ square cake tin (lined)

Ingredients
base
1 cup/ 200g plain flour
1/2 cup/ 100g butter
1/4 cup/ 50g sugar (white or brown, doesn’t matter)

topping
1/4 cup/50g melted butter
1 cup/200g brown sugar
1/4 cup/ 2tbsp honey
2 large eggs (beaten)
1 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins/ walnuts (some combination thereof)

Method
base
Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles crumbs, then stir in the sugar.
Press into the lined cake tin and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven to cool and prepare filling

topping
Stir together topping ingredients, pour onto base.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the topping has set (it won’t wobble when you take it out of the oven)
Cool completely, slice and eat.

CNY Pineapple Mango Tarts aka Greedy Tarts

pineapple mango tarts

Confession: I’m not the massive-est fan of pineapple tarts, but baked these in some attempt to appease family/ ancestral guilt
Confession 2: I altered the recipe to be the opposite of what pineapple tarts are supposed to be like. ie. pastry shell: less crumbly and more solid, jam: less sweet

Makes approximately 20 tarts – 10g filling, 12-15 g cookie layer

Pineapple “Jam” filling

1 can pineapple, drained
2 tbsp/ 40g sugar
50-100g dried mango, chopped
1-1.5 tbsp cornflour
plain/ all purpose flour – dusting, optional

Blend or grate the pineapple until almost pureed
In a small saucepan, simmer pineapple with sugar and dried mango until liquid has dried up and the pineapple is golden
Add cornflour and cook for another few more minutes
Cool pineapple completely, then form into 10g balls. Lightly dust hands with plain flour if the filling is sticky.

“Pastry”
Almond cookie dough used for the tart “shell”
Use 1/3 quantity of the almond cookie recipe, omitting the baking powder (if you remember) instructions here (based on an awesome almond cookie recipe from Everybody Eats Well in Flanders).
Plus: glaze: 1 egg yolk beaten with 1-2tsp water

Method
Form the pineapple filling into 10g balls, using a light dusting of plain flour if the filling is too sticky.
Form the almond cookie dough into 12-15g balls.

Roll each cookie dough ball out to a circle big enough to wrap the pineapple balls.
It may be helpful to roll the cookie dough between sheets of cling film, to avoid it getting too sticky/ crumbly.
If you’re having trouble wrapping the tarts, you can also use the cling film to form the tarts by placing a ball of filling onto a circle of cookie dough, then gathering the cling film up and twisting, which will gradually press it all into a round wrapped ball.

“Mend” any cracks in the tarts by gently smoothing them over with a flat edge eg. butter knife.

Glaze the tarts with egg yolk and bake at 150C for about 15 minutes (until golden brown)

baking pineapple tarts

If you have any leftover almond cookie dough, bake some almond cookies :)

CNY (tardy) Almond Cookies

Almond Cookies

Recipe adapted from the Everybody Eats Well in Flanders’ almond cookie recipe

I used all butter, omitted the vanilla essence, and used caster sugar (icing sugar had run out, I prefer a slightly less crumbly cookie, and it’s so much more manageable). Reduced the amount of baking powder to almost nothing as I don’t want the cookies to spread too much and lose their shape. Also, shaped the cookies to a smaller size using a mould so cooking time is adjusted accordingly. And baked it at my usual “cookie” temperature/ time as I like to bake cookies at a lower temperature to get (my preferred) crispy vs melty texture. No glaze.

This makes about 60 teeny tiny cookies. I bake about 1/3 of the dough at a time, storing the rest in the fridge/ freezer.

Ingredients
125g butter (room temperature/ soft)
100g sugar (icing, caster, granulated, it doesn’t matter really)
1 egg yolk
175g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 (very light sprinkle) salt
75g ground almonds

Method
Cream the butter and sugar together.
Add the egg yolk
Fold/ stir in the flour/ salt/ baking powder
Stir in the ground almonds. Combine with your hands if necessary.

Divide the dough into 3, and either bake right away or form into logs, wrap in cling film and store in the fridge/ freezer as required.

Shape the cookies into 9g balls, and bake at 140C for about 15 minutes.

unbaked almond cookies