Saturday, 22 January 2011

So 2011 Is Here Then

So here we go again time for some more of my thoughts and ramblings about food. I have been on holiday this week which is lovely a chance to catch up with some zzzs and relax to get the creative juices flowing again. So during my week off I have spent  a vast amount of time online reading other chefs blogs and catching up with all that’s been going on with the staff canteen most of which has focused on Simon Holstone Boucse D’or  competition entry in Lyon.

 It’s been really refreshing to see the amount of support being giving to Simon and the team as he is getting no funding from the government but lots of support from chefs and catering industry. He has even got the support of a certain Albert Roux, so we have one of this countries god father of cooking and a Frenchman at that supporting our entry to the Boucse D’or.

I know it’s a bit late in the day but here is the interview of Albert & Marco showing their support for Simon and the British Boucse d’or team.

I managed to get to London on one of my days off and went to eat at the brilliant arbutus. The food was outstanding (again), as I have said before I personally think that Arbutus has the best lunch deal anywhere in London if not the country.

 So for £16.95 you get 3 courses, a choice of 2 starters -2mains and 2 desserts. On the day I went the 2 starters where

Rabbit & smoked eel terrine or winter vegetable soup
Slow cooked beef, mashed root vegetables & or warm salt cod brandade, parsley salad
Custard tart or comte

So the descriptions above don’t do the food justice at all. I had the rabbit terrine to start which had a rich and luxurious feel in the mouth but was full flavoured and beautifully presented. I was not alone in my lunch at Arbutus I had my friend “ginge” with me so I will throw the pictures of his lunch up as well, he also had the rabbit terrine so here is that beautiful dish in all its glory

For Ginge’s main he had the brandade of cod which was presented in a wonderfully copper sauté pan with some ciabatta crisps & parsley salad. The slight smokiness of the brandade and the wonderful aroma where something to behold, this dish was expertly put together and with a restaurant full of guests having fun I could see why this dish works well at lunch. You can smell it from 3 or 4 tables away and it makes your mouth water, the parsley salad worked well by countering the richness of the brandade with the freshness that you get from parsley and bitter note from radicchio.

I enjoyed a fine plate of slow cooked beef, mashed root vegetables, the beef was cooked so well that the slightest pressure with a spoon and lovely hot tender chunks of beef where mine to feast upon. The mashed root vegetables where perfectly seasoned and very nice with a couple of different textures and a few different flavours, also the cabbage served with the dish cut thought the richness to balance the dish perfectly, I could eat this everyday and I’m sure it would never get boring.

Again we both chose the same for the next course, the custard tart which came with a good covering of nutmeg and a very light wobbly custard filling more along the lines of a classic brulee just not as rich than the traditional English custard tart that is heavier and abit more stodgy. The tart was so good Ginge and I would have both quite happily eaten another slice.

To go with our lunch Ginge picked a bottle of montepulciano, villamedoro, abruzzo. This is a wine I had never tried before and it really went well with the beef and was not too much for the custard tart either. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is a type of red wine made from the Montepulciano wine grape in the Abruzzo region of east-central Italy. Up to 10% Sangiovese is permitted to be added to the blend. It is typically a dry wine with soft tannins, and as such is often consumed young.
So it’s that time again for a recipe and as it is that time of year when people are trying to be healthy and lose those winter pounds I thought I would put a salad up but not some boring old salad something vibrant and interesting, please let me know what you think.

Thai style salad

Serves 4

Salad mix

100g bean sprouts
1 head frisse/curly endive
1 baby gem
100g red cabbage
1 green chilli
50g unsalted peanuts
2 shallots
1 orange
2 carrots
2 tbs sesame seeds

Put bean sprouts, shredded frisse, ripped baby gem & finely sliced red cabbage in a bowl. Finely chop the green chilli & shallots add to the lettuce mix. Peel and segment the oranges put in bowl finally add the sesame seeds and crushed peanuts (to crush the peanuts, pierce the bag and bash with a rolling pin), finally mix in dressing and serve straight away

Great on its own or with a piece of steamed fish/char grilled chicken on top


1 lime juiced
1tsp fish sauce
½ tsp grated ginger
1 chilli finally diced
1tbs rice wine vinegar (white wine vinegar also works)
1/2 tsp sugar
1tsp sesame oil
4tbs good olive oil or English rapeseed oil

Put lime juice, fish sauce, vinegar, chilli, garlic & sugar in a pan, heat till sugar dissolves then add oil use straight away or flavours will be lost

But remember live to eat don’t eat to live

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