BBQ whole chicken marinated in lemon and olive oil and seasoned with za’atar recipe

Once upon a time I was a vegetarian. After co-habiting with the aforementioned carnivore, I have somewhat reversed that life choice (with a few caveats). Firstly, if I’m going to eat meat I’d prefer to buy it locally, from the farmer’s market or a local veg box scheme. Secondly, I’d like it organic or at the very least free-range. Thirdly, I’d like to try and eat as much of the animal as possible – waste not.

So – vegetarian guilt aside – this weekend we BBQed a whole, organic chicken. It was tasty good.

BBQ season is well and truly upon us again, we have had three BBQs in as many weeks and the chances of this slowing look slim to none.

If you too want to make this BBQed chicken, you can do so by using the following method.


  • One large whole chicken or equvilent chicken pieces
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Juice of an orange
  • Juice of a lime plus a squeeze extra
  • Liberal helpings of salt and pepper
  • Small onion/challot grated
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, grated
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil

Marinade method:

      1. Combine all the above ingredients.
      2. Find a lock-and-lock container or sizeable ziplock bag that will fit your chicken.
      3. Spatchcock your chicken or put your chicken pieces to one side.

Spatchcocked and ready to rock.

4. Marinade all chicken in the bag or Tupperware, ensuring the whole thing is well covered, for 24 hours if possible but for a minimum of 4 hours.

Other ingredients:

        • 3 tsps of za’atar

Steenbergs is the herb supplier of choice.

        • Cup of cherry wood smoking chips

We’re PRO-Q-ers. No doubt.


Loading up the wood chip gadget thingie.


        • Preheat BBQ.
        • Soak the cherry wood smoking chips, then add to the BBQ – we use a bespoke wood chip box that sits on the grill and heats through.

Wood chip gadget thingie.

        • Heat the BBQ through, until the wood chips are starting to smoke.
        • Remove chicken from marinade (but save the juice), lay out flat and coat with za’atar and rub in until liberally coated.

Prepping the chicken for massage of spice.


Leftover marinade for basting.


Do the chicken rub.

      • Put chicken on BBQ, on the cooler half (if using gas, turn down one half of the grill, if coal move coals to one side – you basically want to cook over indirect heat).
      • Occasionally baste chicken while it’s BBQing, turning regularly.
      • Continue until cooked through – check in thickest part for juices to run clear.

We served with rocket, BBQed asparagus and BBQed red romano peppers. It was awesome.


Spatchcock chicken and wood chips in situ


It’s nearly done!


The finished meal complete with required BBQ char.

You can see a Vine of our BBQ action here.

Moshi Moshi Book Launch at Moshi Moshi Liverpool Street

Tonight, the Canadian and I are at a Moshi Moshi members’ event for their new book launch, 500 Sushi. So far, the fizz is flowing and the sushi plentiful.




So far we’ve had avocado and plum, duck with chilli and onion, scallop, and some beautifully rolled maki. All the sushi has been lovely, with one small exception of the duck – the onion on this was so bitter it deflected from the taste. My favourite so far has been the scallop one, but the Canadian opted for the duck. So as you can probably tell, it’s all really rather good.

So, here’s the book:


And since the last update, we’ve been served the following and had a wonderful conversation about sustainable fishing:



A sunny spring day beer review: Fathomless Oyster Stout

It’s been a while since we reviewed a beer, but we certainly have a lot to try (our West Ham flat is a kind of makeshift beer cellar).

Today’s brew is Fathomless. It’s a 5.2% Oyster Stout, brewed by RedWillow Brewery in the UK. It’s a bottle conditioned ale.
Charlie’s thoughts:

“At the first sip I wasn’t sure, but the taste grew on me. It’s a lovely, light stout and perfectly suits this sunny day. A stout for spring if you will. I’d recommend it to someone wanting to try stout for the first time, who usually drinks lighter beers. Overall: it’s very quaffable.”

Ty’s thoughts:

“Slightly bitter, doesn’t have that full stout heaviness. Quite light in colour for a stout, with a slight liquorice flavour. There’s a sweetness but with a hoppy-ness along with it.”


Gauthier – Vegetronic Tasting menu review

Since a visit during London Restaurant Festival a few years back, we’ve always been fans of Gauthier Soho. With my coming from a background of vegetarianism, and the Canadian coming from a background of out-and-out carnivorousness we always found Gauthier to be a good middle ground.

Of course, these days, my vegetarianism is all but a distant memory, and the carnivores reign supreme – so tucking into all Gauthier had to offer was on the cards for me this time.

I should probably start by mentioning the overall ambience of the restaurant, and I’m going to do it in a bulleted list:

  • You ring a doorbell and go in through a front door – this was a brand new experience to me first time round, and very much puts you in the mind of going to a posh friend’s house for dinner.
  • There are often pillows on the seats – for comfort, naturally.
  • The lighting is soft and a lot like how you might light your own home if having a dinner party.
  • There is loud music in the toilets, and soft background music in the main dining area. It’s like walking into the toilets and finding a rave is continuing on in a more appropriate place.
  • Sometimes the tables are set up so that you and your dining partner are both facing outwards, in the mannar of surveying the room.
  • The waiters are well mannered and informed, and attentive throughout service.

So, now to the actual food. The Vegetronic tasting menu went a little something like this:

A small bite: squid ink crisp with avocado moose and toast with tomato confit and basil

We thought: ruddy lovely, we’ll have more of that thank you.

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An aperitif: jasmine scented hydromel

We thought: possibly an acquired taste, I (Charlie) love Jasmin tea so the taste was very pleasant to me, whereas Ty found the whole drink a little hard going. Still, not a drop was left.

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A pre-starter: ovenbaked carrot and fish skin

We thought: lovely, crispy, unctuous fish skin which worked really well with the carrot. The sauce that accompanied was a little too salty for our tastes and my carrot did seem just a tad over.

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A starter: green asparagus with quail’s eggs, confit lemon and parmesan crisps

We thought: very excited when we saw it coming up on the menu and it tasted as good as it sounds. Perfectly poached quail’s eggs and the asparagus with crunchy parmesan crisps just made it. The only query we had was on the confit lemon; it was very strong and even seemed to detract from the taste of the parmesan crisps (oh the shame!). Perhaps it was meant to refresh the palate, but I personally think the dish would have been fine without that.

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A post-starter: umami bomb, wild mustard custard

We thought: up there with favourite dish of the entire menu. The name really says it all, the textures of the dish were amazing as well: smooth custards with the firmness of really well cooked wild mushrooms with a piece of crispy panchetta. An accomplished dish and a memorable moment in the meal.

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A fish dish: bamboo steamed cod, garlic leaves, croutons and cos lettuce

We thought: although the cod was cooked perfectly and the croutons a delightful crunchy addition to the dish, overall the flavour didn’t quite deliver for us and the garlic leaves didn’t seem to have the punch we’re used to (perhaps because it’s earlier in the season or perhaps the cold weather?) and again the dish was a bit too salty for our tastes.

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To cleanse: peppered lemon infusion with sugared celery and cucumber sobet

We thought: very well-timed dish, I was just beginning to feel full and needed something light and palette cleansing to see me through the remainder of the menu. The cucumber sobet was awesome (but not in the Vegetronic cookbook it seems) and it was a pleasing and surprising way to treat celery.

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And now for dessert: compote of rhubarb, Indonesian pepper and fresh goat’s cheese

We thought: having a sweet tooth, I always hold out for dessert and it will (by and large) be my favourite course – this did not disappoint me or the Canadian (who does not have quite the sweet tooth I do). There was a decidedly savoury note and the goat’s cheese worked wonders with the rhubarb. I’m not entirely sure what made up the little floating dots, almost like mini, very light, slightly salty, meringues. It rocked. Alas, this picture doesn’t do it justice.

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Finally: lovage bubblegum, orange blossom marshmallow, sugared quince carrot and olive oil petits fours

We thought: specifically, I thought, “how delightful”. You can see my Vine of this part of the meal here. My favourite was the orange blossom marshmallow which was just wonderful. The lovage bubblegum was tasty, but this taste only lasts a short amount of time before giving over to what you’d expect from gum that’s lost it’s flavour. No matter how much I wanted to – I just couldn’t bring myself to blow a big bubble with the gum in the restaurant.

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We drank: strawberry vermouth, Pommeau De Normandie and coffee to finish

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Total bill: £191.25 (including service)

Cost of tasting menu: £136.00 (with two copies of the Vegetronic cook book included)

Cost of drinks: £34

Overall thoughts on Vegetronic tasting menu: more than 3 hours of dining with fantastic food in one of our favourite places to eat, great waiters and two books included. Highly recommend a visit.