The roof garden, the Big Easy and a virtuous dinner

We've been out and about a lot this weekend, with a trip to Taste of London at Tobacco Dock more of which soon, followed by a stop off in Canary Wharf, for dinner on the way home. Sometimes you just have days when you're out, and it makes sense to stay out, and this was one of those. Not an out-out day, just out. I'm too old for out-out without any preparation, sadly.

Our initial thoughts were to do some Christmas shopping in Canary Wharf on the way home, and while this was good it was slightly flawed. Mainly because I hadn't thought about what to buy people and mostly because my feet hurt. I'm not sure what I've done to them, well the right one precisely but it's sore and shoes that are comfortable and I can walk in weren't really doing the job. 

A hasty change of plan saw us heading to The Big Easy instead. And I quickly realised that we could walk outside in the rain, along the covered quayside or through the roof garden. You'll already know which route we took, won't you?

It's somewhere I've been meaning to go for a while and not quite made it there. And now that I have I want to go back in daylight. The garden sits above the new Crossrail station in Canary Wharf and is a 300 metre enclosed garden which is open daily until 9pm (or sunset in summer). It draws on the area's heritage as a trading hub and uses plants native to the countries visited by the ships of the West India Dock company who were based here 200 years ago.

And within its space there's a performance space that is used in the summer for a programme of theatre and music. Must remember to check that out when it warms up again.  It was starting to rain as we visited, but as we walked through the space it was impossible not to stop and admire how the lights were shining through the trees. And the wooden and concrete benches, which also caught my eye.

Tree fern in the roof garden in crossrail place in Canary Wharf
The path leading you through the roof garden in crossrail place in Canary Wharf
Admiring the roof garden in crossrail place in Canary Wharf at night
A wooden and concrete bench in the roof garden in crossrail place in Canary Wharf
Tree fern in the roof garden in crossrail place in Canary Wharf
Trees in the roof garden in crossrail place in Canary Wharf

Even from these photos you can see it's a great space and definitely something to explore further in daylight. And so we arrived at the Big Easy, we'd seen it from the DLR earlier and had previously eaten in the Covent Garden restaurant. We were shown to the Captain's Room and somehow neither of us were expecting quite so much wood, or the blue and white china stacked opposite our positions at the large - and I mean large table, which could easily seat thirty or so people.

In the Captain's room at the Big Easy in Canary Wharf, a room that celebrates wood
In the Captain's room at the Big Easy in Canary Wharf, a room that celebrates wood
In the Captain's room at the Big Easy in Canary Wharf, a room that celebrates wood

We ordered our food, pork ribs for me and lobster mac and cheese for MOH and it wasn't long before the most ginormous trays of food arrived. On my plate, or skillet, there were four gigantic pork ribs, barbeque beans and coleslaw. We knew when it arrived that we'd been wise to forgo any kind of starter. 

And I had no idea how I'd make it through this meal. As usual I forgot to take pictures, this time because of the shock, I think. So with two ribs done (and some of those given to MOH) I was done, MOH had done well on his equally gigantic portion of lobster mac and cheese, but felt he could help out on the ribs. Partway through he realised his mistake and admitted defeat. Both mains were tasty and good value, but huge. So large that I asked to bring the meat home.

And that's where the virtuous meal comes in. 

We finished the ribs tonight as part of our dinner. Yes that's how large the portion was, I used them in a broad bean and sweetcorn pilaf for the two of us. So leftovers at their best. And even more virtuousness for us as the broad beans, sweetcorn, onions and garlic all came from our allotment (the first two courtesy of the freezer!).

 A TASTY WAY TO USE UP LEFTOVER MEAT

A TASTY WAY TO USE UP LEFTOVER MEAT

Our Big Easy rib, broad bean and sweetcorn pilaf recipe

2 left over ribs from a Big Easy meal (or any leftover meat)
3 handfuls of broad beans, double podded
3 handfuls of frozen sweetcorn
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp of turmeric, ground cumin and ground coriander
4 cardamom pods, split with a knife
1 clove
1/2 a cinnamon stick
120g basmati rice, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes
250ml chicken or vegetable stock

To make the pilaf

1. Fry the onion and garlic in a tablespoon of vegetable oil until they are soft.

2. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom pods, clove and cinnamon stick and cook for another couple of minutes.

3. Drain the rice and add to the pan with the stock, leftover meat, broad beans and sweetcorn. Cover with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is cooked.

4. Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt, some lemon juice, coriander leaves and black pepper.

It really was as easy as that. It tasted great and was a good way to make use of both our allotment produce and the leftover meat. What's your favourite way to use leftovers?
 

PoCoLo