Sunday, 31 October 2010

Just the way it goes

So what happened in the wonderful world of mine this week, well off the subject of food I said goodbye to a good mate whose off home to marry the love of his life and enjoy the weather in sunny south Africa (good luck mate have a great wedding, me and lizzie will miss u both). Right on to the part of my life that I’m meant to be blogging about.

We have had the busiest week restaurant wise at the hotel since I started which is a massive plus, food went down well and sold a good few specials which is really cool. Using the specials a way of trying out new ideas for the ala carte menu has worked out really well. I had some amazing halibut steaks delivered for the weekend and they were so good I’m thinking about putting them on the next menu. Decided that was going to do a simple pan roasted halibut steak, buttered new potatoes & sauce vierge very very simple but when the fish is that good why hide it behind some elaborate garnish.

Thinking about going into London this week for some lunch somewhere but cant decide if it should be the Ledbury or Hibiscus, but knowing me as I’m will be going solo (missus will be working) it will probably be Arbutus the best value Michelin starred restaurant in London. If anyone has any ideas you can send me a message on twitter @chefaj82.

Right time for a recipe and its going to be Sauce vierge as its a sauce that not many home cooks will know but is a really nice sauce to use on grilled or roasted fish.

100ml good virgin olive oil, I’ve been using extra virgin English rapeseed oil which I love but up to you
2 plum tomatoes (peeled, seeded & chopped)
1 tsp shredded basil
1tsp chopped tarragon
Maldon sea salt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbs red wine vinegar
Black pepper

Mix the tomato, salt, herbs & pepper and let sit for 15 minutes to infuse flavours into the tomato, and then add the lemon juice add vinegar. Give it a good mix and the slowly incorporate the oil.
Don’t serve this sauce to cold or the oil is to thick and the flavours dull.

I hope a few of you try this it think that you will be really pleased with the results.
Right next update in the near future having had a nice lunch somewhere up town, review and pictures to follow.

But remember live to eat don’t eat to live

Friday, 22 October 2010

A recipe at last

Well hello and welcome to the 4th edition of my blog, this week has mostly been about trying to get my head back in the game as far as the new menu is concerned and try out some of the dishes on the specials. As it happens this week’s best seller was the beef braised in London pride, root vegetables & creamed potato, really simple but it’s been so cold I think people where crying out for something rich & sumptuous. It was nice showing my young Thai commis this proper British food instead of the usual smears and drizzles that we normally do. 

Well the weekend is upon us once more so as normal that means functions and Sunday lunch to contend with but at least there is the Korean gran prix to look forward to after I finish work Sunday. So what does the next week have in store for me, well got a busy week of functions and dinners at work so at won’t get much time to play with the menu but make a few quid for the boss and maybe just maybe that thermomix I want so badly might make to my kitchen.

I know I said I was going to put some recipes up but struggling to decide which ones you guys might actually use, well here goes.

I like to use this with cold meats, terrines & cheese but it’s also really nice warm with roasted pork fillet & crushed new potatoes

Spiced apple chutney

225g onions (finely diced)
900g apples (chopped)
100g peeled deseeded tomatoes (finely chopped)
110g raisins
15g ground coriander
15g paprika
15g mixed spice
15g salt
340g caster sugar
750ml white wine vinegar

Put the sugar, vinegar, spices and salt into a pan and cook until the sugar has dissolved and started to become thick and syrupy this should take about 10 minutes on a medium heat,
Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the apple, tomatoes and raisins and cook until soft and all liquid is gone.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

The difficult 3rd post

Hi it’s been a busy few days, going to the restaurant show on Monday was good fun. Got to see Claude bosi cooking demo wicked food as always, he did a pork pie sauce which is something I had never even considered but even he says it came from a mistake but then some of the best things have come that way like the tart Tatin.
A little story of a great dessert
At the Hotel Tatin Caroline Tatin (1847-1911) greeted the customers and ran the business side of the establishment.  Her older sister Stephanie Tatin (1838-1917) worked in the kitchen and her apple tart was noted for its caramel flavour and texture.  According to legend, one day in 1898 when the hotel was especially busy during the hunting season, Stephanie absent-mindedly put the peeled apple quarters, butter and sugar in the pan without first lining it with pastry. Realizing her mistake, she then put the pastry on top of the simmering apples, popped it in the oven, inverted it and served the new concoction warm.
There is no news on the new menu front yet as the owners are still away and I’m waiting on the all clear before we put it on.  Thought I might put a picture of our current smoked salmon starter which is still selling well considering its getting colder.

I still find writing this blog is a bit scary which is strange considering as chefs we put food out to be criticised every day, a sous chef when I was an apprentice said to me a kitchens only as good as its weakest member and you’re only as good as your last meal. I know they are well known old sayings but as I take my first steps as head chef, managing people and trying to keep a tight but interesting and rewarding kitchen to be in. Those sayings hit home and I hope that I can do him proud and train my guys in the informative and interesting way that I was trained.
So I’m going to take this chance to thank the guys that trained me as I don’t think I ever did this a young over confident commis

So Mr Andrew Farrow I thank you and Mr Gary Thompson I thank you too

                    But remember live to eat don’t eat to live

Saturday, 9 October 2010

2nd post

Well what can I say about the past few days apart from I’m glad there over, firstly it’s been a long but quiet week at work but next week is looking really good so shall enjoy the hours a bit more, secondly one of my chefs decided to pack his bags last night and leg it in the middle of the night dropping me right in it this weekend but play the hand your dealt and will raise not fold this hand.

On more interesting news the new menu is coming along nicely been trying dishes out to gain peoples reactions and so far so good (pics to follow). Spent a few hours today making profiteroles for Sunday lunch tomorrow, I know all the gourmets out there will stick their noses up but there is nothing more relaxing for me anyway than making a few profiteroles or ├ęclairs.

So looking towards next week I’ve got another six day week at work but hey ho more importantly Monday is the start of this year’s restaurant show. Ticket in hand will be off to earls court on Monday to see some of the demos, watch a little of the chef of the year competition good luck to all those that made the final, hopefully meet some people and maybe buy some little bits for work.

But remember live to eat don’t eat to live

Thursday, 7 October 2010

first post

well today i decieded to join the millions of people already blogging about there lives. 

well first off my name is alex and im a chef living and working in surrey, i love what i do but sometimes wish it gave me more time for other things(im sure most chefs feel that way). im going to use this blog as a way to discuss various things but mostly food, recipes and restaurants so please follow and get involed. 

today has been my day for sitting around trying to come up with menu ideas for my upcoming new menu and trying to chosethings i love to cook and eat but also stuff that our custourmers want to eat, as its there money and sometime i think we chefs forget that, they vote with there wallets and there feet therefore im trying to work out what to give them but stay true to the way i was trained and feel about food.
It has been an intersting day as i have relised its not the expensive foods i used to cook with at other jobs that i really love it seems to be the more inexpensive food that i truley love and order when out or pick up at markets. so have i got the balance right only time will tell but i will keep you updated with progres and put some recipes/pics up to.

but remember live to eat dont eat to live