Saturday 31 March 2012

Tis the Season

Those of you that know me or read any of my blog at about this time last year will know to be prepared for a LOT of pictures of a similar nature, as we have now officially entered my favourite bit of the year - Asparagus Season.

Hooray hurrah and calloo callay :-)

We began celebrations last Wednesday with this - grilled asparagus, PSB and duck livers.

And continued the following day with haggisagne (or, in my case, more like haggisaka, as I put aubergines into my end rather than pasta) topped with further grilled asparagus.

And, in a less asparagus related turn of events, I also made a prototype Easter cake, which I forced my long suffering workmates to eat.

Which actually looked much more interesting on the inside.

And I made my first Herman the German apple cake, who is very much like (if not the actual same as) the slightly insidious Friendship Cake that was knocking around when I was at school.

We went out for lunch yesterday, which probably deserves its own post, so here, instead, is the Easter present I bought for myself from Selfridges on the way home.
I am VERY excited about it.

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Wednesday 28 March 2012

Burger Tuesday II : The Second Coming

So you've probably all seen something very similar before but today we cooked the remaining beef and foie gras burgers from the freezer.
Served with tasty rolls, special sauce and a kind of ratatouille that I made yesterday which had been maturing overnight...

And the obligatory (if blurry) "burger shot".

Now so full, it's hard to move. Still. Several hours later.
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Monday 26 March 2012

Tomatoes and Whatnot

PSB with baconny tomato sauce. I put sweet soy and a bit of raspberry vinegar in this, which I think adds a nice savoury depth, but husband doesn't like, so I guess we'll do without next time...

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Working Sunday

I had a lovely weekend, involving much beautiful food, lots of lovely people and many fizzy wines.
Well - except for the part where I had to work till 10pm on Sunday.
This meant that I spent much of the day trying (and mostly failing) not to eat the fast congealing workburgers and curries that they use to try to make us feel better about working on a sunny Sunday...
When I finally got home, I was keen for some real food that could be assembled in the shortest possible time, so I ate this - steamed broccoli and boiled eggs with a hasty vinaigrette...
I promise to be more inspiring another day :)

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Thursday 22 March 2012


Inexpertly boned chicken legs stuffed with haggis (and quite a lot of string) served with kale, cauliflower and sriracha hot chilli sauce which I unexpectedly found in Tescos and obviously had to buy...

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Tuesday 20 March 2012

On A Roll...

Ice cream memories from childhood - ah, there are so many to choose from.

Viennettas... The, oh-so-desirable-yet-forbidden screwballs... 99s and oysters from the ice cream van... Mini milks... Oh - and Gino Ginelli - whatever happened to him?

But, when it came to the crunch, there was really only one choice - arctic roll.
Oh yes!

First, I made a custard based vanilla ice cream - not unlike my last month's rhubarb ice-cream, but with cream instead of milk - well, mainly because there was some in the fridge.

I rolled it into a sausage after churning, wrapped in baking parchment and stuffed it into a tiny space in the freezer overnight.

The next day, I made a lovely springy swiss roll sponge, which I left to cool under a damp tea towel for half an hour or so after taking it out of the oven (to stop it drying out and make it possible to roll), spread it with strawberry jam and rolled it around my ice cream sausage.

Et voila - arctic roll!

It's been sitting in the freezer for the past week, getting progressively smaller.

Husband is overjoyed. And most definitely over his previous insistence that we (read I) attempt to recreate Viennetta :-)

This is my March entry to Kavey's Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream round up . Be there or be super super square.

Seafood Tea

Black pudding, prawns, octopus and tomatoes.
With a good whack of garlic, chilli and lemon.
I ate mine with leaves. Husband had pasta.

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Monday 19 March 2012

Late Night Leftovers

Husband's leftover cabbage and spare sausage and an egg that only *slightly* exploded in the microwave...
Served with dirty dirty branston jalapeƱo relish.

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Sunday 18 March 2012

Celebratory Cakes

Today was Mothers Day.
And also my mum's actual birthday, which, given that Mothers Day is a moveable feast, seems to come up really quite often...
We went round for celebrations, dinner and small nephews.
We took presents (the big one is a birthday present, the small one is for Mothers Day):

And birthday cake:

Friday 16 March 2012

Friday Bake

Cauliflower, broccoli and spicy tomato sauce bake.
With CHEESE :-)

Thursday 15 March 2012

Foods of Days Past

I wasn't expecting to be in for tea today, so was totally unprepared.
Husband ran to Tesco to get some emergency rations (the idea of another day of another vegetarian day was disturbing him a bit, I think) and we ate sausages (quorn, in my case) and curly kale.

Last night, we ate spicy butter beans and weird edible flower things (a bit like sprouts - v good).

And on, I think, Saturday, we ate amazing Butlers' Steaks from East London Steak Co with cabbagey bits and sweet potato wedges, which I don't *think* I've already posted (if I have, sorry, but they're super nice, in any case).

I think that's probably just about that!

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Pie/No Pie

Last night, I combined the leftover chicken and chicken stock from Sunday's roast with various mushrooms (and onions and garlic), sage and a tiny few broad beans into what would have been a super awesome chicken and mushroom pie filling, if I'd thought of it earlier and made some pastry...

I ate my No Pie with roasted squash and onions.

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Tuesday 13 March 2012

Late Night Monday

I got home after 10pm last night, so needed something quick, easy and tasty.
I ate green beans with some dressing that I found in the fridge and a couple of burford browns.
Not very glamorous, but totally hit the spot!

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Monday 12 March 2012

Sunday Roast

Roast poulet noir, courtesy of Hubbub and Ginger Pig, WITHOUT head and legs intact, which was kind of a relief, though I'd psyched myself up for it a bit.
Chicken was lovely - dark, moist meat as promised and lots of great leftovers.

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Sunday 11 March 2012

Dinner at the Ledbury

Last Sunday, husband and I went to the Ledbury for our one-and-a-halfth year of marriage dinner.
Husband played a New Year's Eve gig this year, and stashed the cash away for an occasion just such as this AND we emptied our money egg. Between those two things, we had *almost* enough money for our Ledbury tea :-)

We were both massively looking forward to it - husband didn't even make too big a fuss about trekking over to West London...
We opted for the tasting menu (obviously) and the matching wines.

We drank glasses of champagne (2000 Taittinger B de B - v tasty) to start with, and they brought us these tasty little niblets to whet our appetite.
They were kind of squid ink crackers with little blobs of creamy fishy goodness and roe - proper tasty.

We also got our own wee (not *that* wee, actually) loaf of sourdough bread (which husband maintains that we should have pocketed the remains of).

And an amazing roll selection, from which we both greedily scarfed the bacon brioches, which were not unlike fluffy, bacon chelsea buns (definitely an idea I shall be following up on soon).

Then we were into the 'tasting menu proper', with an amuse bouche of a kind of scrunchily coated scotch quails egg on top of some truffly, ceppy stuff. Very nice with the dregs of our champagne.

The first of the starters was next - pretty chantilly oysters with an additional deep fried oyster and a horseradish tartare. And a long crispy thing.
This might have been my favourite course of the evening.
We had a glass of 2012 Alvarinho to accompany this.

Another fish dish followed - flame grilled mackerel with smoked eel, celtic mustard and shiso, with which we drank a 2010 Gruner Veltliner. The mackerel was lovely and barbecuey, and the little mustardy parcel was amazing.
I don't always love Gruner Veltliner - it can be a bit perfumed for my taste, but I liked the match here - I'm definitely going to give it another go at home.

The next dish was a two parter, and another candidate for dish of the day. A buffalo milk curd with truffle toast and an onion broth.
This was basically a junket (a dish from my childhood - I said this to husband and he had absolutely no idea what I meant, but I'm pretty sure that I haven't just made it up) and some toast, but it really was absolutely delicious - it was so truffley and ceppy - really really good.
And the truffle toast was served on a crazy log :-)
We drank a New Zealand Chardonnay with this - nicer than I was expecting and a superbly good match again - a good foil for the big flavours.

The last of the (nominal) starters was this fillet of brill with crab, cauliflower and blood orange. Both of us really love cauliflower and it really was tasty.
It's not always an easy thing to match with wine, I think - it's a very specific flavour. We drank a Condrieu here, which, with its high perfumey viogner content isn't necessarily something I'd expect to love, though, in this case, I really did.

The first main course (and red wine) was this muntjac (who I correctly surmised, is a small deer) with pear, parsnip and juniper. Now, I do NOT love parsnip, but these were made into nice crispies, which definitely helped the situation. The meat was delicious and the fruitiness and contrasting textures made this a really good experience. We drank Triennes from Provence (ish), which was kind of rustic-but-refined, and just what I'd want with game.

Pigeon with rhubarb (yum) and foie gras - what more can I say - really lovely - and so very pretty.
Served with a Swartland Rhone-blend type red - I am a fan of South African wine, and this kind of thing is the reason why.

And - it came with bonus cutlery - with an (extremely poorly photographed) bird on it.

At this stage we broke menu and snapped up the cheese course when the man came round with the trolley. I usually have slightly mixed feelings about trolleys and things - they seem terribly dated, somehow, but it was nice to be able to see (and sniff) all the cheeses before making our selection and the cheese man was delightfully enthusiastic.
We chose a lovely selection, which we both really enjoyed (and husband finds cheese quite difficult generally). We washed it down with a tasty beer.

The cheese came with what were described as 'side plates' which were both enormous and also lovely enough to photograph :-)

We moved onto pudding at this stage. And they confiscated the remainder of our sourdough. Husband was right - we should have pocketed it while we had the chance!
Our pre dessert was this orangey little number.
I remember that I liked this a lot and that husband wasn't wild about it, but, tragically, I don't remember much else. I should have written this sooner!

And then, finally, the dessert (we had been eating for some gluttonous hours, by this point). It was this banana, galette, peanut, salty caramel extravaganza (on the lovely plates again). I wouldn't normally order a banana dessert, but this one was really just the job.
We drank a sweet but not too sweet soave (which I would definitely investigate again in future).

And then, because we evidently hadn't eaten *quite* enough, we finished off with these beautiful petit fours.
On a bed of cocoa nibs.
I obviously (and in a pre agreed fashion) broke my Lenten resolution at this point and ate not only the petit fours, but a fair whack of the cocoa nibs too :-)
In fact, as can be seen here, we even ate a couple of them before we remembered to take the photograph.

So, we waddled home, reflecting on our Ledburian experience.
It was easily the most expensive meal we've ever eaten. I have no regrets about it at all. The tasting menu was fun and delicious and the matching wines only added to the experience (I honestly don't understand people who don't do the wine matching - there is no way that one, or even two, bottles of wine could properly compliment all of the foods we ate - lots of people when we were there seemed to be trying to do this, and it all looked, well, slightly disappointing).
The decor and ambience were lovely and laid back and the service was top notch - informative and helpful, but without being too formal or intimidating. Special mention here goes to the delightful sommelier, who, latterly, on finding that we were enjoying the wines, got us to blind taste them all before coming back and explaining, which was a super-fun game.
The only minor criticism we had (or husband noted) was that there was a little bit of possible upselling from the staff - they recommended us a (top price) champagne before we'd seen the list (though I'd actually looked on the interwebs beforehand, so wasn't *totally* blind on that one), and did a good sell on the cheese course (which carried a supplement, which we did know about), though I'm not sure that I'd have altered any of my decisions without this.
And maybe they just reckoned that if you were rich enough to be eating there in the first place, then you would want to be recommended the best things!

I would recommend this to anyone who was feeling flush, though - a really amazing experience. If I could, I would definitely go back.


127 Ledbury Road
Notting Hill, London
W11 2AQ

Saturday 10 March 2012

Thursday 8 March 2012

Super Swift Food

Last night I got home at about 10 o clock, so I needed a tea (practically a fridge buffet, in fact) that could be prepared and eaten in the space of about ten minutes...

So I ate this - baked (or microwaved, really) sweet potato with egg, tomato, olives and gherkins - not quite ten minutes, but *did* manage to get the microwaving in whilst washing my hair (in cold water in the bath - ugh), so I think it still counts.

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Tuesday 6 March 2012

Burger Tuesday (A New Trend)

Do you think it will take off?
In the spirit of clearing out the freezer (something that I am abjectly failing to do), I dug out a hunk of frozen foie gras this morning.
When I got home, it was squidgy and defrosted.
I combined it with some mince that had arrived from ELSCo this afternoon and a teeny bit of herbs and seasoning, smooshed it all together into a sticky mess and cooked in my stripy grill pan.
I also made some potato wedges in the oven (with dripping, obvs) and stirfried up some PSB and garlic (for a bit of green). Oh, and I made some Special Secret Sauce. Served with some tasty bread rolls.