Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Year 2

One year has passed since starting the blog!

A lot has happened, most recently I have not been updating here because of a transitional period of getting together a restaurant idea.

I have collected so much information and so many ideas, yet to be put into practice, but I want to start again by slowly unraveling those ideas here, thank you to those who sent me a few messages asking me to start posting again. Well watch this space, Year 2 I promise to keep the blog going and flowing with ideas, thoughts and progress of everything I think about food.. glad to be back!

I sketch my food all the time when not able to get it either cooked for photos or having the camera ready so here are a couple of pictures... 

More to come.. Year 2, what will it hold on this blog and for the future.. all very exciting!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Still Here!!

I am still here!! Time has just flown by and haven't posted for a while..

Things are moving so far with the possibility of the restaurant my feet can hardly touch the ground!!

Busy working away 24-7 on figures and presentation alike!!

Will be back soon with some food, I can't wait to get cooking some dishes for the restaurant and get them on here...

Watch this space!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Best of British!

Crab, Asparagus, Jersey & Garden Salad..

The joyful season of spring is coming to an end and summer is very nearly here and this makes available some of England's finest natural finds which should be brought to the table more often. What better a day than St. George's for me to be shopping for ingredients and finding fresh Crab from Selsey, beautiful Asparagus picked that morning to inspire this dish of the lightest garden salad with warm jersey royals scented with soft garden mint....
Selsey is known throughout the south east of England for its outstanding crab and very happy I was to find this beauty, found in a St. Georges day market I chatted with the vendor for a while, he lives in Selsey and fishes his own small boat daily. Coming to different markets throughout the south and bringing with him beautiful fish and shellfish still to be found off the coast, the market was full of all types of small food businesses very much bringing back the provenance to our towns which is missed and celebrating our patrons day, lets not forget about being British..

The fisherman had landed his catch late the night before and they had cooked their crabs before heading off to markets, seeing it there on the ice I couldn't resist, managing to beat him down on price, this started my afternoon of searching for ingredients for our simple salad for dinner. Arriving home and cracking open the monster brought back early memories of working on the crustacea bar in London and the daily picking of the crab meat..

Asparagus, truly you can not find anywhere better than England for great asparagus and what a find picked that very morning from a Hampshire farm not more than 30 minutes away, the season appears to be starting a little early usually the first signs are the first week in may, the season runs for only 8 short weeks, so you need to make the most of it while you can! Officially 5 days to go, but look out now because you'll find some gems like these..

To peel or not to peel that is the question?.. I am always drawn between the choices, here I choose just to keep it simple throughout the whole dish, the best of British ingredients, letting the flavours speak for themselves, so naturally not peeled and just snapped off at their breaking point, I love the snapping sound, no need to cut, boiling salted water and dropped in 3-4 minutes, dressed in butter, perfect..

In all of the gardens across the country their are natural flowers and leaves we take for granted everyday, we tend to forget they have been eaten for years and used in cooking for generations preceding us, everyday we find our at the supermarkets 10-12 different lettuce varieties which have not originated or never seen English soil. Remember what you have which also grows free in our own gardens and as cooks to revisit the likes of pansies, violets, lilacs, dandelions, daises, garden mint, chives, shoots of radishes, not only flowers but also leaves brings back all the things we so often look abroad for, there are great things in this country of ours which are overlooked everyday, these flowers to me are exotic in their own right in flavour and appearance but all the time under your feet..

My favourite Pentland Javelin potatoes would be fantastic for this and are due in season after jerseys, they are often forgotten about for their excellent flavour which could easily match their rivals. For this though I used Jersey Royals we all know and love, they are at their best coming up over the next few weeks again, I chose the little ones for not only their look but also the firm earthy texture here, cooking them with fresh garden mint allowing it to infuse and keeping them the under side of crisp, I love to be able to bite heartily into them..
Cox apples, on their way out now, but I managed to find a beautiful ruby red one, the flavour is rich, honeyed and aromatic. The flesh is fine-textured, firm and juicy. The overall eating experience is exceptional, sliced thinly on a mandolin and then cut into julienne strips, dressed with a little lemon juice and pinch of salt it really enhances the sweet tones of the flaky white crab meat and gives an almost palate cleansing taste with each mouthful, adding a delightful lightness to the salad with the rich dark crab meat..

Handmade mayonnaise.. Crab meat is just not the same without it, I like to use a mix of half a light Olive Oil and half rapeseed oil, spoonful of fantastic English mustard and a splash of cider vinegar, salt. pepper, lovely..

So, all ingredients brought together and ready to use, time to assemble into a light crab and asparagus best of British garden salad, first the mashed dark crab meat mixed with a little fresh mayonnaise, seasoned squeeze of lemon juice and representative of the earth in our dish, with its rich earthly flavour..
Our next additions, the warm mint scented new potatoes and cox apple laying down the textures into the base of the salad, the apple with the dark crab meat to lighten the rich intense flavour and potatoes offering a crisp earthy texture..
Next our delicate white flaky flesh, the true soul of the dish, the beautiful meat brings together all the elements and is so light in flavour it helps to marry together the fragrant leaves and the rich hearty characteristics of potatoes..
To bind and dress from the inside of the salad, our handmade mayonnaise..
A little bit of tang and bite, the flavours of the natural garden with crisp green spring onions and the still warm crisp earthy flesh of the asparagus, the flavour of this asparagus was second to none..
Sweet and light and offering just a little crispness to the salad comes the natural sprouts of radishes and used here alfalfa as well, lightens the whole mouth feel and brings genuine garden flavours to the dish..
And to finish all the best from the natural garden, the leaves and flowers of everything available in our own back yard, picked for dinner while the salad was being prepared you just can't get fresher or more fragrant. There are so many natural flowers here which add lots of tones and delicate flavours to the dish, not only the flowers but also the leaves, I used, pansies, violets, lilacs, dandelions, daises, chives, go out and search in the garden and remind yourself of the natural resources that are there, in these times of recession be thankful for what we have in our own back yards, this was made on St.Georges day, so consider it a tribute to the best of British..

In getting ready for and looking for the premises for the restaurant these are my thoughts of the food I would love to be able to create on a daily basis to serve there, soon we will hopefully be in a position to start the ball rolling and hopefully cook simply like this everyday..

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Search is on.....

Recently I have been very busy working on an opening project, it has been a fantastic experience and once again convinced me that the time is now right to open a restaurant, so I am now spending all of my time and efforts working on this goal.

Watch this space..

Monday, March 16, 2009


To be a good blogger, we must keep up the posts no matter what, unfortunately recently I haven't been a good blogger!

There are many reasons, which shall soon come to light, I have been very busy with pre-opening a restaurant for someone, 12 days to go!!

Also some exciting news for us, I will be back soon to reveal all!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Simplicity... Rose Petal Brulee, Apricot & Saffron Jam, Glazed Shammali

Simplicity is something we all forget, how and where we started what we do today, I for one have extremes in my food play, sometimes over complicated, sometimes keeping it simple, here I opt for the simple approach in appearance but deep in flavour to finish off my time of playing with these middle eastern flavours

Rich Brulee lifted with light and delicate flavours of rose petals steeped in the cream, they are fundamental to Persian and north African dishes and not forgetting Turkish delight, so using their delicate flavours to help the vanilla is a perfect balance here with that solid caramel topping. I flavoured my caramel with fenugreek which becomes intensely bitter, from the already natural bittersweet flavour obtained from the small pods, roasted ground and boiled into the caramel its pungent aromatic taste a bit like lovage

The elements of the dish represent a breakfast, a sunset breakfast dessert, in the past making a fruit taffy or leather on the side to bring in other possibilities which were representing "bacon" of a breakfast, but this is about simplicity. So the 3 elements are the egg, shammali "soldiers" & jam, the smooth texture of the brulee is perfect for taking the edge of the slightly over sweet apricot, saffron & vanilla jam, eating with fun, dipping the soldiers into the brulee spooning on the jam..

Shammali.. A Turkish-Cypriot cake of semolina, almonds and yoghurt, to be representative of the flavours I added a pinch of cardamon, which I have to adopt as my new favourite ingredient the beautiful aromas from ground cardamon powder I can never seem to get enough of now, joining the realms of my love for vanilla it excites the palate no end. The Shammali when baked and still warm is drenched a slightly sweet syrup and allowed to steep, then cut and gentle glazed in a hot pan, those crystallised crusty edges remind me of pain perdue in a Paris cafe early in the morning

There are other elements that could have been included here to lift the dish and make it more "breakfast" like, but this again would risk over complicating things for what gain? I find its simplicity satisfying and its in depth surprising flavour elements really do invoke the saying the.. the proof is in the pudding..

Now from one extreme to the other, Martin Lersch of has set the new TGRWT#15 which is smoked salmon and dark chocolate, Mexmix is hosting this round and you can get the details at this is the food blogging event that has us put together seemingly strange pairs of ingredients that share a certain number of chemical components, thus, making them "compatible". Could be interesting!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Banana & Clove Won Ton, Golden Raisin Consomme, Vanilla Straw, Saffron, Rose Ice Cream

It has been far too long since my last post, I have been looking for that next bit of inspiration, yet too find it, so rather than wait any longer, here is a recent dessertEveryone who knows me, knows I love Vanilla....

You can use vanilla in so many applications, one of the worlds most expensive ingredients along with saffron also used in the dish, because of my love of vanilla I like to use all of it. I love to make vanilla straws, for this they are used to sip the warm flavours of the golden raisin consomme which is so light and delicate sipping through the straw adds that little bit of depth to deeply flavour the clear soup. I find with vanilla that there can be a fine balance when used in cooking going from balancing a flavour to completely overpowering in just a slight adjustment either way, this is a way of giving that subtle hint without the use of it in cooking it too much into the dish. Cut the ends off of a vanilla pod and with a bamboo skewer push out all the seeds, you'll need to do it several times, save the seeds, leave the pod on the bamboo skewer and dry out until hard..

Golden Raisin Consomme.. its fantastic just warm, I like to use a Rooibos tea base and blend the raisins making it into the clarification. I made this whole dessert while I was working with the middle eastern flavours, years ago I used to make a rum & raisin consomme with banana gnocchi & mincemeat ice cream, a real christmas dish, which I'll go back to around christmas again and play with the flavours although with the temperature here last week it would have been good then. To the base tea stock I added extra anise flavour, later adding a few raisins to the consomme to serve which had been soaked in a saffron solution I later used for the syrup..
TGRWT11.. Banana & Clove, I know this combination is old to a few of you, to some others maybe new anyway banana & clove won tons, I baked the bananas in their skins studded with cloves and removed the flesh, added a touch of cardamon powder for me it just lifted it a little. The mix was wrapped in phyllo I added a very delicate flavoured clove syrup between the layers....

The won tons baked and drizzled with a saffron and honey rich syrup, I wanted a thick syrup rather than soaking the whole thing and making a baklava..

There we have it, I just added a little rose syrup to the ice cream, brings all the flavours together..