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Cajun chicken pasta

October 1, 2012

In the finest tradition of this blog, we’re a day late in starting. We meandered home from our holiday in Ruthin (North Wales, gorgeous, recommend a visit) via a stop in Llangollen (also lovely – we need to go back for a proper explore) and by the time we got home there was just about time for toast and then to bed.

We stayed in a fabulous boutique hotel that describes itself as a “restaurant with rooms” and doubles as an art gallery – Llinos Lanini was exhibiting while we stayed and her photographs were breath-taking. We were lucky enough to meet her, which was particularly brilliant as she told us where she was when she took H’s favourite photograph from the exhibition (so we went there; it was just up the road) and talked to me about my favourite in the collection, which was taken in Bute Park!

We ate in the restaurant on our first evening, and the food certainly deserves the Michelin recommendation. Andrew had the soup followed by duck and was highly impressed, and I had the risotto followed by pigeon, which was incredible. We shared a side of green beans which were simply but beautifully scrumptious. Both of us had to admit defeat without clearing our plates because of the generous portions, and I was in awe of the couple that managed to fit in a dessert as well. The service was fantastic, but it was a little awkward that all the diners were elbow-to-elbow in the conservatory with an empty dining room out of sight of the road. It makes the restaurant look busier and more enticing for passers-by, but makes casual conversation more stilted.

Our booking included breakfast, and having feasted the night before we were looking forward to a magnificent repast. H’s Eggs Benedict was delicious, but I couldn’t finish the lukewarm beans or the sausage, which had clearly been kept warm for some time and wasn’t the quality of pork or herbs that I’d been expecting. More disappointingly, and in complete contrast to the night before, the service was utterly perfunctory. I’ve stayed in B&Bs across the UK, including places as far afield as Manchester, Cambridge and Llandudno, where the owners have recommended local sights, activities and places to eat. Not so the case here – the co-proprietor only engaged with the guests for them to place their order, and busily cleared tables around us without uttering a word.

On Sunday we had a far better experience in terms of a much friendlier service, and my fruit salad was rather good, but H’s full Welsh breakfast didn’t really hit the mark. We shall certainly be going back to the area, but looking for a self-catering cottage.

Tonight we’re back to cooking for ourselves, and we’ve started the renewed challenge with cajun chicken pasta. It’s light and tasty, and distinctly reminiscent of green Thai chicken curry. Even halving the recipe this was generous and certainly something we’ll be making again. Looking forward to having the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Cajun chicken pasta

Sprinkled with spring onion

The spring onions work really well with the spice of the cajun and the medley of peppers, mushrooms and red onions in a lightly creamy sauce. This would probably work well with rice as well as linguine.

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