Culinary Causerie

With Lesley Williams

Verve 37

With so many new places to eat out opening in Uplands, it’s good to go back to an old favourite. Verve 37 is a wine bar and restaurant that has stood the test of time – its food is good and its atmosphere is relaxed.

As usual, our visit was impromptu, a quick mid-week supper for two. I wasn’t in the mood for cooking as we had just done a twelve hour stint in Bay Towers.  Verve’s menu is pretty varied – tapas can be shared with a group of friends or the small plates could be eaten as starters – we selected a couple of dishes as starters and then shared a platter.

I love Halloumi cheese. The way that it squeaks as you bite into it, and its salty, slightly rubbery texture – I know that doesn’t really sound appealing – but for me it works. Add to that some char grilled peppers and I’m a happy lass. Here the Halloumi was served in thick chunks and had a good amount of surface area to crisp up. Lamb chops are another of my favourites; grilled until the fat is good and blackened but the meat is still tender and moist.

There is only one way to eat a grilled lamb chop, and that is with your fingers – no fiddling around with a knife and fork. We also had a bowl of mussels in a light cream sauce – so a side order of bread was called for.

The chicken platter that followed was sufficient for two of us to share having demolished all the tapas starters. It consisted of a generous portion of wings, bites and goujons with red cabbage slaw, corn on the cob and chips.

As I have often said, it’s the staff that make eating out really special. On the Tuesday evening that we were there, the young lady who was on duty was absolutely delightful. Her cheery disposition was infectious – service with a smile.

Verve 37 is great for a mid-week supper but also ticks all the boxes for a proper evening out – with-out having to go into town.

Verve 37, 37 Uplands Crescent, Swansea SA2 0NP

Tel: 01792 643701


Chicken wings

Chicken wings are probably my favourite part of the bird – I have never really liked the breast meat – the thigh, leg and wings are much more flavoursome. I often buy wings to cook at home – they are ridiculously cheap to buy from the butcher or supermarket, and are really simple to cook. One of my favourite ways is to mix a couple of tablespoons of natural yoghurt with a good slug of curry paste, the juice of a lemon, salt and pepper and marinade the wings in this mixture for about an hour. Put onto a baking tray that you have lined with non-stick parchment* and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes turning them over after about 30 minutes. They should be easy to pull apart when they are cooked through. Serve with wedges of lemon.

These should definitely be eaten with your fingers and a supply of paper serviettes.

*lining the tray just helps with the washing-up as the yoghurty mix does tend to stick and burn.


Wild garlic

Wild garlic or ransoms are back in season and are abundant in and around Gower. The pungent, garlicky scent is very evident as you drive through Parkmill and a walk through the valley to Three Cliffs will bring plenty of opportunities to practise your hunter gathering skills.

Now is the time to make soup, pesto and other goodies to stash away in your freezer. I like to make wild garlic butter – a disc popped on top of a piece of hot grilled steak or chicken melts and gives lovely buttery juices. You could even add a handful of wild garlic to Fulke Andel’s recipe for rocket soup on page 35.

Finely chopped ransoms can be added to an omelette or used to replace cress in an egg and cress sandwich. Fresh mackerel stuffed with wild garlic before grilling will

One word of warning though – do try and gather your wild garlic away from the edges of the footpaths where they may have been contaminated by dogs – and do give them a good wash anyway!

 

 

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