Monday, September 11, 2006

Sunday Lunch

Went to the White Horse in Parson's Green for lunch with Iain, Alex and Mike yesterday. To start, I had some lovely flavourful mussels, cooked with Pernod, which really brought out the flavour. For a main course I had a delicious, if rather small, piece of monkfish cooked in bacon. The monkfish was served on top of a mount of a Puy lentil salad, in which walnuts cleverly brought out the nuttiness of the lentils. The others all went for roast pork, which looked to be a sizeable portion of good meat (with plenty of fat to keep the meat moist as it cooked). All this was washed down with a couple of pints of Tripel Karmeliet from the Bosteels Brewery in Belgium. The beer was a great example of a triple, well balanced, not too sweet, and suprisingly easy to drink for an 8%abv beer.

We went back to Alex's flat for some wine, the highlight for me being a lovely Puilly-Fussé (of which I will post more later)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

An exotic fry-up

Last Saturday, I bought some venison kidneys at Borough Market, and have been wondering what to do with them. Tonight I decided to have a fry up, also with duck eggs, and some wonderful dry cure bacon made from free range Gloucester Old Spot pigs.

When I opened the vacuum pack containing the kidneys, I was initially disapointed by how much they smelled like lamb's kidneys. As I took them out of the pack, I was struck by how much firmer they are than lamb's kidneys. They also have a much darker colour, with just a hint of brown (I don't know if this is a result of the long hanging that the deer carcass would have received).

Upon cutting into the kidney, the core is much smaller than a lambs kidney (although the kidney as a whole is a similar size- slightly longer, but a bit thinner)

I briefly fried the kidneys in hot butter, exactly in the way I would a lambs kidney.

Once on the plate, I was quite suprised by how much blood came out of the kidneys (although it did taste delicous, and mix well with the slightly gamey flavour of the duck egg yolks) - I do like kidneys very rare though. Flavour wise, the strongest flavour was 'kidney', but they was just enough venison flavour to be aware that you are not eating a lambs kidney.

A Trip to the Brothel

Just got back from an Italian restaurant in Wapping called Il Bordello. Not too bad - quite good if there is a group of you, although more as a fun place to have drinks with friends rather than a wonderful gastronomic experience.
To start with, I had bresaola - thin slices of air dried beef. The bresaola was perfectly OK, and was served with an enormous rocket salad. There wasn't a huge quantity of beef though, and the £8.25 charged for this seemed to be a touch on the expensive side.
For main course I had a tagliata con rucola, a sirloin steak cut into strips, and marinated with garlic. Although not the tastiest steak in the world, it was cooked exactly how I had asked for (very rare), and the portion size was extremely genourous. A good selection of garnishes came with the main course (another enourmous portion of rocket, chargrilled vegetables and baked potatoes). At around £15 pounds, the main course represented very good value.
For dessert, I had fairly ordinary piece of tiramisu. I suppose there isn't very much you can say about such a run of the mill tiramisu, other than that it was reasonably priced at £5.

Overall, this restaurant is a good place to go for a filling, reasonable value meal, but I would skip the rather overpriced starters.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Salsa Puttanesca

Last night, I felt the need t something really intensely flavoured, but didn't really feel like going out to shop, so I made a simple pasta sauce of store cupboard ingredients. I'm sure to call it salsa Puttanesca is horribly wrong, as it's probably an utterly inauthentic recipe, but it does taste very nice. Here is the recipe (enough for 2 very large portions, probably more like 3 normal portions):

Chop 2 largeish onions, and put in a saute pan with a good amount of fairly strong flavoured of oil, over a very gently heat.

Add quite a lot of crushed or finely sliced garlic (I used a whole head, but then I really like garlic)

Stir reasonably frequently, or the garlic will sink to the bottom, then overcook and go bitter.

After about 20 minutes, add a chopped up jar of anchovies (and pour in the oil that they are preserved in, for a bit more flavour).

After another 10 minutes, stir in a good splodge of tomato puree.

After another 10 minutes, add a can of tinned tomatoes (chop the tomatoes into good size chunks, and add all the juice from the can). This makes a thick sauce - if you prefer a thinner sauce, maybe you could add passata at this stage.

Stir occasionally until it starts to look like a sauce, then stir in a good handful of capers (I like the once preserved in salt, but be sure to wash off all the salt).

Cook for a little longer, then add plenty of black olives.

Serve with pasta (I prefer wholemeal with this dish, as it seems to suit the slightly rough and ready character of this sauce), and a fairly full bodied red wine. I wouldn't use Parmesan here, as all the other flavours are so strong it would just be wasted.

Monday, September 04, 2006

I find that bread and cheese, possibly with a piece of really ripe fruit, makes a wonderful lunch, and today I treated myself to two cheeses that I bought from Neal's Yard Dairy at Borough Market on Saturday. The white coloured, wedge shaped piece is Wigmore, an unpasteurised ewe's milk cheese from Berkshire. The slice I had today was slightly firm and had a sweet, nutty flavour, but was less runny and had slightly less depth of flavour than the piece I tried in the shop, so I will leave it a couple of days to see if it will improve with a little more ripening.

The large, grey cheese is piece of Tymsboro - another raw milk cheese, although this one is made from goat's milk. The rind is covered with ash and white mould, which gives it the grey colour. Under the rind is a thin layer of absolutely delicious pungent creamy cheese, with none of the soapiness or ammonia flavours you sometimes get next to the rind of a Brie or Camembert. The centre is firmer, with the slightly dry texture of a young goats cheese, with a pleasant fresh, fruity (maybe even slightly citrusy) flavour.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Well, I've decided to take the plunge and start writing a blog. As I seem to spend far too much of my time making, shopping for or discussing food, I think that is going to be the main subject here.

To get started, these photos show a delicious slice of brawn (also known as fromage de tĂȘte) that I had last night. The brawn comes from the Ginger Pig at Borough Market, and the bread is a multi-seed loaf from Flour Power City, also at Borough Market.

The brawn was lovely - really meaty, with a slightly soft andgelatinouss consistency that was really satisfying. The only thing I didn't quite like were the cornichons (the little green bits you can see in the photos), which I thought were just a touch too vinagery, and weren't quiet as crisp as I would have liked.