Monthly Archives: November 2009

Paris – Day Two

Woke up late.

Forgot that Paris is useless and everything is still closed on a Sunday. Teachings of Cathol really mess up my food intake.

Got the concierge to get us a table at Ladurée as we were around the corner.

It was cold and wet, even though it was 5 minutes walk we went to grab a cab. Of course we all forgot what a bunch of twats Parisien cabbies can be. So we ended up walking as they did not want the fare. Sometimes I remember why i never decided to live in Paris over London, I love the place but my god, they can be so irritating!

Waited for a bit for a table, ended up with one that would have been just comfortable for two people, we had four. By this time we were starving so it did not matter. Omlettes, Scrambled eggs, Grapefruit juice…it was all passable. The bread basket was really average as well. For the first time in my life I passed on having some macaroons. Oh yes the other thing, £90 for breakfast for 4!

The wedding in the church was next, big place, austere. Lunch did not really happen instead late tea/sandwiches at the hotel.

The Mrs got well angry when they brough white bread sandwiches and we asked for brown!! The Croque I had was acceptable but in no way great. Have I always overplayed the abilities of big hotels in Paris - I always remember everything be well executed and luscious. Maybe I have grown up some and have a few more taste buds.

The evening was on a Michelin Starred Boat!! Le Paquebot.

The Canapés were all amazing:

Lobster and Basil wraps

Cold Lamb and Tomato Discs

Foie Gras Boules on Brioche

Prawn Tempura

Then we sat to :

Scallops, Spring onion compote and Cauliflower purée – A great combination of flavours.

Main course – Rack of lamb, spinach and Ricotta ravioli and mustard sauce.

Pudding  - Chocolate Boule Surprise!!! This was amazing – A perfect sphere of chocolate on a plate, the waiter poured over an hot raspberry sauce and the top part of the sphere melted  onto the fresh raspberries encased within. Truly spectacular and Delicious!

The tower of Ladureé chocolate macaroons appeared with sparklers – The best wedding cake ever!

The journey back on the Eurostar was better than the way out – Food still sucked tho. Don’t think I can recount the menu as it will just hurt me.

Got back home in time for some proper food – London wins.

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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup – Gale Force 1 – A Recipe

I love Jerusalem Artichokes.

Their knobbly shape and nutty, earthiness makes me feel as if I personally dug the little blighters up. If Jerusalem Artichokes were to appear on an episode of  ‘QI’ @stephenfry would most certainly sound the claxon and flash the big black screen at the mention of ‘wind’ – for some it builds up over night and gently releases while sleeping, for others it begins straight away and expels itself over a period. I have never seemed to find it troublesome, what I mean by that is, no-one seems to mention anything.

I am always unsure whther I should mention the possible side effects when serving to friends. A friend of mines mother always warns guests if they are unaware of the effects, she always does this during or after the course containing the offending tubers.

They have nothing to do with artichokes by the way, they are in fact a relation of a Sunflower, which is why those in the know over the pond call them Sunchokes. Unlike other tuber cousins (potatoes!) the carb in them is actually Inulin (not insulin) and that breaks down into fructose in the digestive tract, which makes these little beauties useful for diabetics.

I like them, roasted, sauteed, grated raw. My favourite way to eat them is soup. This is my recipe that has been honed over the years.

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
500g Jerusalem artichoke, peeled and cut roughly (keep in acidulated water to stop discolouration)

700ml Light Chicken or Vegetable Stock

1 small red onion

1 shallot

1/2 leek

1 clove garlic

50g butter

1/2 cup full fat milk

4 tbs Marsala or other sweet/fortified wine

5 peppercorns

1/2 tsp salt

Method

Chop the onion, leek and shallot. Soften in the butter. Add garlic and soften. Do not brown them.

Add the artichokes, and all the other ingredients (except the milk and marsala), bring to the boil and simmer for 35mins.

Add the Milk and Marsala and bring back to the boil and simmer for another 10 mins.

Blend. You should have a thick soup the consistency of single cream with lots of black flecks of pepper. check the seasoning and adjust as you see fit.

I always top off with garlic poilane croutons and extra pepper.

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Filed under Allergy, GC Recipes, Stomach Problems

#ihavenoteateninawhile…

Hashtags for trending. SO now.

Last night was a bit of a trip down memory lane.  I decided to indulge myself and just make what I fancied.

To start we had Jerusalem artichoke soup with a Chicken Liver Paté Croute

I decided that I would make Fondue Chinoise for dinner and let my guests do the cooking themselves.  For those who don’t know the difference, Chinoise is cooked with a stock not oil or cheese.

The cooking liquor is easy 1/2 good brown chicken stock and 1/2 sweet wine (reisling, liebfraumilch, gewurztraminer) – you can spice it up with whatever you want, celery, carrots, bay and peppercorns usually work for me. Let is simmer for a while and burn off the alcohol and it is ready for cooking.

Then salads.

Last night I made:

Sweetcorn, Orange pepper, spring onion, flame roasted chilli. Vinagrette

Mixed Bean – Chick pea, borlotti, canellini, spring onion, lemon and olive oil.

Beansprout, Sugar Snap pea, Cherry Toms, Sesame Seeds (toasted) – Chilli Sauce, Sesame oil, Soy Sauce, Mirin Dressing

Then sauces:

Marie Rose – with dill and marsala

Pine nut and Pistachio Relish – a la thai

Caramelised Ginger and Sake

Chilli Sesame

Then the dippers:

Tuna

Prawns

Beef (cryptic clue : this cut is a ‘knighted fruit’)

ChickenThighs

We also had some garlic bread and copious amounts of wine

Traditionally one would have a shot of the cooking liquor when all is over, but as I had made some pudding  we did not partake of the tradition.

Pudding was good.

Made some grape and blueberry pepper jelly with poached cardamom marsala peaches  and greek yoghurt, topped with amaretti crunch. The poaching liquid was reduced to a thick syrup and popped on top.

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Leftover Footprints…and a jelly recipe

I am constantly battling with myself.

I want to try and reduce my carbon footprint.

Al Gore thinks it is a good idea, so who am I to argue.

I do what the people at Do Green Thing tell me to do.

I am quite good at buying local, recycling, lights out, short showers and um, that’s probably about it.

Reasons I am not so good: (mainly cos I have a tongue that is genuinely precious to me, or I am just a bit precious, who can tell)

I can’t abide tap water. It is just about palatable with water filter thingy, but I do drink 2litres  a day like the doctors tell me to (I have just noticed that I seem to be quite pliable? mmhh!), and you know what,  if I am going to drink that amount I am going to drink the stuff that my tongue likes (phew. back to doing what I want!!). N.B my good recycling efforts should surely counteract the copious amounts of water bottles I buy.

I love to slow cook things. This no doubt means that I am using way more energy than I should be. everything tastes better when it is slow cooked tho. The oven is always on at about 60c. Those cheaper more local cuts are unctuous and melty when slow cooked. I like unctuous and melty.

I eat lots of things that aren’t local. While I do buy whatever I can from local sources there are just TOO MANY delicious things that you can’t get on teh shores of Blighty. I have a very, VERY long list and I am sure that most other gastronauts (is this a wanky word?) will have the same list but to mention a few…

  • Parmiggiano Reggiano – from Somerset? no!
  • Palm Sugar – Thai food the same without it?
  • Curry Stuff – Nuff said.
  • Wine – oh yes I forgot you can get goo english wine now.
  • Tropical fruit – it is in the name.

I could go on. I won’t.

Anyway you may have got to this point and wondered what am I babbling about, do i really care about the world we are leaving for our children or do I care more about my tongue?

As I said before I am battling with myself…but I do find myself making more and more out of the leftovers or things that I forgot I had in the darkest recesses fo the fridge crisper drawer. Yesterday was my favourite for a while. Jelly.

Recipe:

There was a Bunch of Red Grapes ( been there for a week or so)

A pack of Blueberries (in winter i hear you cry, see what I mean about distance travel)

  • I popped them in a pan with some sugar and about 500ml of water, popped them on the hob.
  • Boiled them up.
  • After 25mins I popped in a shot or two of marsala, a knobble of ginger and a few black peppercorns.
  • Left it for another 20mins and sieved it all through a really fine sieve, squeezing all the juices out the fruit.
  • Should be about 450ml of Liquid
  • Two Tbs and a bit of agar flakes, pop it back on the hob for a few minutes till they are dissolved
  • Pour into Ramekins, cool and pop in the fridge.
  • 20 minutes later, Robert is your Mothers Brother.

You can obviously adjust the mixture to whatever you want, that is the point of leftovers.

I slept soundly last night (not because of the copious amounts of wine I had consumed) knowing that the blueberries and grapes had not travelled in vain.

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Chicken Liver Paté

I love Paté. Always have done, always will do. I like it smooth, rough, chunky, gooey, with port, with brandy, every way possible really.

I have not made it for ages, so I decided to knock a quick batch up and use some of those many ramekins that have found their way onto the topshelf of the cupboard. I forgot how quick it was to make and how much I love it. OK, I only really forgot how quick it was, especially if you have a good food processor, which we just got from our wedding list.

Recipe:

Ingredients

400g Chicken Livers

150g Butter – Few Drops of Olive oil

1 Big clove of garlic

1 Small shallot

1 Small red onion

6 Sage leaves

Brandy, Marsala, Salt and Pepper.

Method:

  • Slice – Shallot, Onion, Garlic and soften in 15g butter (add a few drops of oil to stop from burning)just before they are done add 3-4tbs of marsala to the shallot mixture, whack up the heat and let it reduce a little.- Pop in Processor
  • De-nasty the kidneys, slice out all the veins and discoloured bits. Try to keep all the pieces the same about half the size they came in the packet.
  • Take a quarter of the remaining butter and melt (again add a few drops of oil to stop from burning) – pop in half of the kidneys and three of the sage leaves, season with salt and a generous amount of pepper, on a medium heat fry them for about 2-3 minutes. They will ready when the kidneys are coloured on the outside and slightly pink on the inside and the sage leaves are just crispy. At the end pop in 3-4tbs of Brandy and swill around to coat the kidneys. Pop the contents of the pan in the processor with the shallot mixture
  • Repeat with the rest of the kidneys.
  • In the pan melt the rest of the butter and keep to one side.
  • Process the kidneys and the shallot mixture in short sharp bursts and make sure that everything is incorporated. It should be a little softer than peanut butter. You can add a little more butter
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as required. (I always add a little more pepper, and remember that when cold the flavour changes so you will need a little more salt.(
  • Spoon into ramekins (should make about 4 little ones) Leave some space on top.
  • Take the melted butter in the pan and pour onto the Paté to cover it.
  • Pop in the fridge when cool. it will keep for about 3days. You can also freeze it for about 3weeks, just thaw in fridge overnight.

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Tired…but looking forward to Paris

The day job seems to be taking over again. I keep forgetting to have breakfast, but slowly become more gastro-0rientated by tea time.

I have not really had time to start a food experiment this week and probably won’t get a chance to, so instead I am going to plan something for next week that has a french theme, as on Monday I will be in Paris. Maybe I will eat nothing but croissants all week?

No i’m not Giles Coren or do I wish to be supersized…but I am looking forward to spending the weekend and beyond in lovely Paris, staying near Fauchon, Ladurée and Hediard (of course)..looking forward to a Michelin starred meal on Sunday evening – a wedding on the Seine with great food, what more could you ask for?

  • Maybe some dancing girls covered in Jerusalem artichokes?
  • A big swimming pool sized bowl of Artisan du Chocolat – Chocolate salty balls?
  • A fast car full of duck confit?

Sorry. Trying to mix my fantasies there.

Anyway, the collation is nearly there. tho I have been having a few problems with a few exports and feeds and as I have not put up a proper WordPress blog (working on it in my spare time) everything is a little squiffy. Not to worry will have it sorted soon.

Having fondue chinoise for dinner this evening as I can’t be arsed to cook and am having people round, bit of chopping and a little sauce making and poof – we are cooking (with methylated spirits!)

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Taking some time…

I have been collating all my foodie stuff from an old blog, personal notes that never saw the light of day and random posts.

It is taking a little time.

I think that I will have it up and runnning pretty soon but until then apologies if you see random posts appear and then disappear, or you have annoying updates/issues in your RSS readers.

I am off to Paris next weekend for a wedding, so if I don’t get it done before then it will be soon after.

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