Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Lemon Posset and Ginger Shortbread

Two really easy peasy recipes from Richard Corrigan's great book, The Clatter of Forks & Spoons.  If you must drink wine with pudding then a sweet German or Austrian Riesling should cope with the lemon tartness.  Sauternes would match the richness.  Tokaji Aszu from Hungary is an oft overlooked wine with plenty of character and the sweetness (and acidity) to cope with many challenging puddings including this one.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Roast Guinea Fowl with apologies to Gordon Ramsay

There's nothing more I love than cooking something and making up the recipe as I go along.  For this supper video I admit I was inspired by a Gordon Ramsay article I'd read a few days beforehand.  But I couldn't find it when a guineafowl appeared in Abi's 'fridge.  So I stumbled through with what I could remember and with what ingredients were to hand and it ended up really delicious (if not quite 3 Michelin star quality).  Oh, and whilst waiting for it to cook we had an umami moment...

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Mexican Supper Club at Dock Kitchen

I heard on the grape vine that Thomasina Miers was helping out at a one off Mexican dinner at the pop-up restaurant Dock Kitchen.  She is something of an authority on the food of Mexico having cooked her way around the country and she now owns three restaurants in London (all called Wahaca).  So I put myself on the waiting list as I'd read that food in Mexico is as regionally diverse as it is in Italy, it's spicily interesting due to the vast range of chillies grown there and well, I wanted to be shown that authentic Mexican has nothing whatsover to do with the vile gloop that is Tex Mex. 

Dock Kitchen is run by the Moveable Kitchen company which previously specialised in popping up at odd locations all over London but now seems to be settling more permanently into this site overlooking the canal at the unsmart end of Ladbroke Grove (W10 rather than W11 for postcode snobs).  The front of house staff are sweet and polite and appear to be friends giving a hand rather than the pros the River Café trained owner chefs must be. The kitchen is open plan and very calm.  A set menu with everyone eating the same thing at the same time is easier to achieve than the multiple orders a normal restaurant copes with but the phlegm in the kitchen was noticeable.  It's a shame then that, given the relative lack of pressure, time was not afforded for a little introductory talk about Mexican cuisine especially as no written menus were available and the waiting staff were not drilled in the naming of dishes or ingredients.

We kicked off with what looked like a deconstructed, molecular After Eight but turned out to be (Tommi kindly sent me the menu a couple of days later) blue tortilla chips (quite brown actually) and octopus swimming in lime juice & chilli water ("Agua Chile").  This very sour northern Sinaloan recipe was a real palate sharpener and I realised that I was going to be drinking the beer I'd brought rather than the southern French red wine which was completely floored (Costières de Nîmes from Nicolas).  The very hoppy old fashioned India Pale Ale (from Meantime Brewery) coped deliciously with this assault (the restaurant doesn't yet have a license so is BYO; hopefully it will one day list this classic, full-bodied IPA).

After those palate fireworks, we had this soothing dish of vermicelli pasta, white crab meat, coriander, and smoked Jalapeno pepper sauce (according to the waitress but Chipotle according to Tommi's notes).  You needed to take quite a mouthful of crab to notice it (perhaps brown meat would have been better than white) and the chilli was quite strong, tasting as it did of a smokey Wurst, but overall an interesting, enjoyable dish,  and 'cooling' after the first course. The dish is called "Fideus" and comes from Veracruz on the east coast (whence certain Mediterranean influences like olives & capers). 

Next came slow cooked pork shoulder with achiote spice served with greens in crème fraîche and habanero salsa (from the Yucatan peninsula via a farm in Kent).  This was tender and tasty pork some of which had crispily caught on the sides of the pan.  The greens were a little underwhelming but we learned later that in Mexico they would be pepped up with chillies.  Perhaps the yellow chilli salsa was supposed to be mixed in with the veg. We were served some doughy tortillas; I'm not sure what these are for but Abi suggested I put bits of pork, greens and salsa into one and roll it up.  I remonstrated that this reminded me of a Tex Mex sarnie (fajita?) but I did it anyway so as not to offend her.

The India Pale Ale was so delicious that I forgot to snap the orange "nieve" ice which was like a grown up orange squash made with orange and tequila.  There followed these chocolate truffles.  One was almost savoury, its cocoa content in inverse proportion to its sugar content.  The other packed a really hot chilli punch; how nice not to end a meal on a sweet note whilst eating chocolate.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Seabass from Aldeburgh

I picked up some seabass caught that very morning by Dean Fryer off the beach at Aldeburgh.  You can watch me cook it somewhat cackhandedly in the short video.  I should have perhaps used some greaseproof paper or, better still, some baking parchment to stop the skin sticking to the foil.  Or, just been more thorough in oiling and salting the fish all over.  Seabass is not very firm so falls apart more easily than say bream.  It is delicious when fresh like this but isn't packed with flavour.  It deserves decent wine but something not too powerful.  A Meursault or good Mâcon might overpower it.  Perhaps a minerally Chablis 1er Cru would do the trick or something from Galicia like an Albarinho or Godello, both mineral again but also with a touch of peachy perfume to go with the ginger.  We drank a zesty young Sauvignon from Chile which worked but seabass deserves something classier (especially when it outprices the wine threefold).