Thursday 30 September 2010

Sloe Gin.

Sloes are bang in season in October and the beginning of November, usually after the first frost, and my uncle Frank gave me some he foraged last week in London.
I've always wanted to make Sloe Gin, but usually forget or can never find them anywhere.
So now was a great chance to experiment. I wanted to add a few more flavours so here is what I came up with,

-Sloe Gin with Chilli,
-Orange, Clove and Sloe Gin,
-Sloe and Basil Gin,
-Honey, Lemon and Sloe Gin.

I basically divided 800grms of Sloes, which I pricked each with a folk, into 4 small bottles, then added 100grms of caster sugar into each of the 4 bottles, 'guesstimated' the flavourings, shook the bottles so as to mix the ingredients, then added 250 mls of Gin into each of the bottles.
Easy, peasy! Now I will store them in the cupboard and give them as pressies at Crimbo! Wahaaay.

Monday 27 September 2010

Sunday 26 September 2010


The method of 'Tempura' was introduced centuries ago by Europeans living in Japan, The Portuguese and Spanish who established missions in Southern Japan in the late 16th century. The dish caught on and the Japanese added the thin, delicate dipping sauce mixed with grated diakon. By now tempura has passed so thoroughly into native Japanese cuisine that its origin has almost been forgotten.
Here are a few pics of some Tempura vegetables and some lovely tempura lemon sole.
A few really important things to consider when making a tempura batter are that the batter must not be mixed to thoroughly, use chopsticks or your finger tips rather than a whisk, never overwork the batter as it will become to thick and gluey and just form a thick batter over the vegetable instead of a light, crisp coating. The oil must be kept at a constant temperature of between 180 and 190 degrees c., The temperature will lover if to many items are added to the oil at on time, if the oil is not hot enough then the batter will be soggy. Also make sure that the batter is ice cold and ideally contains small pieces of ice, these 'explode' on impact with the hot oil and create a really crispy, rough coating to your vegetables.

Recipe, Tempura,

2 egg yolks,
2 cups of ice water, with small pieces of ice still in it!
2 cups of tempura flour.
A selection of elegantly prepared vegetables or finger sized slices of fish such as Lemon or Dover (more expensive) sole.

Tempura batter does not need to rest, in Tempura restaurants in Japan, small batches are made throughout service, so make yours just before you fry.
Lightly beat the egg yolks, then pour in the icey water and give it a light whisk with chopsticks. Add the flour, all at once, 'stroke' a few times with the chopsticks until all of the ingredients are loosely combined, the batter should be very lumpy.
Dust the vegetables (or fish) in flour and pat any excess off, then dip in the batter and then carefully dip into the preheated (180-190) vegetable oil. Fry until crisp and golden, serve immediately.

Make a simple tempura dipping sauce by mixing,

1 cup of Dashi,
1/3 of a cup of Mirin
1/3 of a cup of Soy sauce.

Warm to about 90 degrees c, just before boiling point, then remove from the heat and add 1 tbspn of grated diakon, stir and serve.

Saturday 25 September 2010

The Loft.

Nuno Mendes' The Loft Project, is a pop up restaurant in Hoxton, it is getting bigger and bigger each week, always 'popping up' in restaurant magazines and slowly becoming a 'foodie destination'.
It was originally set up for chefs to showcase their food. Each week a different chef cooks a 12 course meal for 8-16 guests, each few courses are paired with a glass of booze (wine, Sake, sherry, whatever).
I was lucky enough to be one of the first chefs to cook there (the 4th I think), it was a great experience, meeting the Loft team and the guests, something us chefs dont really get to do much of as we are usually locked up in the kitchen!
Here is my menu.

Course 1, on arrival,
-Crispy Pigs Ears with chili flakes,
-Fried Asian herbs and seaweed salt.

Course 2,
-Salmon tartare, Ginger and Apple.

Course 3,
Cornish Mackerel marinated in Konbu with Cucumber and Purple Basil.

Course 4,
Light broth of Crab and Lemongrass, Chicken and Ginger Dumplings.

Course 5,
Crispy Prawn, green chili and Ikura.

Course 6,
Turmeric fried Squid.

Course 7,
Curried Scallop, Coconut and Galangal.

Course 8,
Free Range Chicken (Medrith Farm, Suffolk), cooked 2 ways,
Salted and Steamed,
Glazed with Soy and Mandarin.

Course 9,
Wagyu Beef Cheeks braised with Lotus and Mooli.

Course 10,
Chilled Pineapple soup, Melon and Thai Basil.

Course 11,
Light Mousse of Jasmine Flowers, Ginger Tea Jelly, Madeleine of Chinese Honey.

Course 12,
Tapioca with Young Coconut, Pandanas Agar Agar.

Friday 24 September 2010

No Malaysian Festival!

I didn't get to make it to the Malaysian Festival in Trafalger Square! Soz!
Anyway, heres a horrible picture of uncle Frank eating a Papaya salad that I made for him and my mate Miko, who is head chef at D and D's The Avenue.

More Mushies.


Met Mrs.Tee at her mushroom seminar in Brompton Road, just off of Knightsbridge, introduced her to uncle frank, then treated her to dinner at Racine, top restaurant, always have a good hearty meal there and great value,
I had,
Tar tare of beef, capers, egg yolk etc,
Grilled Rabbit (leg only, bit disappointed that I didn't get a bit of Saddle)
Cherry Clafoutis, with creme anglaise (AKA custard)

Mrs.Tee had,
Tar tare of beef, same as me,
Braised Veals head (what a women),
Apple sorbet with Calvados (a large shot, poured over the sorbet by the waiter)

And we shared a side order of chips (homemade, bloody good) and spinach puree with generous chunks of foir gras inside.

She was telling me how that there was a restaurant on the site before Racine that she used to deliver mushrooms to in 1980, the year I was born!
And last week she was shooting a program to be shown on BBC 1 in a few months.

Malaysian Food Festival.

Off today, going to see Mrs.Tee, who is doing a mushroom seminar in Knightsbridge and then off to the Malaysian food fest in Trafalgar square. Then probably cook din dins for uncle Frank, mmmmm....Maybe a Malaysian Mushroom stirfry!

Thursday 23 September 2010

Pie and mash with Disco Dan.

Me and disco tracked across the Big Smoke in the pouring rain this afternoon for pie and mash at Cookes in Hoxton. He has just spent a month in Thailand, so really needed a good feed, not that the food wasn't amazing out there but you know, you can take disco Dan out of London but you cant take London out of Disco Dan! He needed some chili free stodge.

English Ceps!

Here are a few pictures of some amazing Ceps that we received from Mrs.Tee last week.
All imported Ceps will have been cut in half on arrival to the UK, so as to check for any worms, foreign bugs, etc, these badboys arrived whole.
Mrs Tee told me how Ceps pop up around the same time each year and to save herself a 30 minute car drive, she simply checks Google Earth to see if any 'Mushroom rings' have formed yet, if not she just checks the next day until they have! How cool, Hunter Gathering 2010 style!
I'll try to take a sneaky picture of the dish we create with them!

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Thanks Mrs.Tee.

My mate Mrs.Tee sent us some beutifull mushrooms which she picked from the New Forest, we recieved a giant Puff Ball (£20) and 2 Beefsteak mushrooms (also £20)! We are approaching a great month for mushrooms, we recieved some of the first Ceps from her last week, also from the New Forest, Mental, I didn't even know that Ceps grew in England! They were great, they could have been from France, Italy or Spain, you could't tell the difference! She is a real legend, I am due another hunter gathering trip with her soon, some time in October I hope.

Monday 20 September 2010

8 Day stint....Again.

I am almost at the end of my 8 day stint at work.......Gotta stop booking monday, tuesdays off!!!!!! I'm off Thursday and Friday this week, thing me and Disco Dan are going for Pie and Mash.

Friday 17 September 2010

Dustmen and DVD's.

There comes a day when you wake up really needing a good feed, something really stodgy, unlike the porridge and fruit that I usually eat before my morning Jog (Bo####ks)! Luckily I just discovered a really cool Greasy spoon not to far from me in Fulham called The Peterborough, a really old school, working class, ''Proper'' Cafe, it seems really out of place in this fairly middle class area, but was full of working class characters.
On entering (at around 9.30 in the morning!), I was offered DVD's from an Chinese girl on a mobile phone, 'she's here all the time', said the girl behind the counter, who was also on her mobile, telling the person on the other end how hung over she was, cos she'd been on the Stella's last night with Dave! I sat near a group of Dustmen and a man who rides around the streets near my house on a crazy bike with medals and other strange ornaments dangling from it, before today I thought he was a bit crazy but actually seemed really intelligent!
The food was what you would expect from a greasy spoon, 1 spoon of grease, 2 bacon, 2 deep fried sausages, 2 fried eggs, black pud (deep fried), 2 tomatoes, beans, 2 toast, a fried slice and a cup of rosey all for £7!

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Chocolate mousse alla ha ha.

1 packet of Angle Delight, Chocolate Flavour.
300 mls of Milk.
Shaved white chocolate, optional.

Add Angle Delight to a bowl of milk, whisk until light an airy and store in the fridge until needed, garnish with chocolate shavings.
Tip of the day, Coffee essence can be added to give an extra 'Wow' factor.

Chefs Night in With Freddie (one chef and his dog).

Me old mate Freddie came to my house for dinner tonight, here is the menu,

Grilled Chicken with Baby Leeks,
Watercress Potatoes and Mustard.

Cheese(Epoisses), With Chutney.

Chocolate Mousse alla Ha Ha!
(see next post)

I simply grilled the chicken, but the leeks I cooked 'Vichy style', its a French technique where the leeks cooked in just enough water to cover then, a nob of butter, pinch of salt and pepper, the water/butter mix is boiled until it evaporates almost completely and the leeks are soft and coated in a lovely, salty, buttery emulsion. The potatoes (Charlottes) I peeled, boiled from cold in lightly salted water then added a guzzle of Olive Oil and a bunch of roughly chopped Watercress, which wilts slightly and tastes great. I made a wholegrain Mustard sauce by sweating a finely diced carrot and half an onion in a nob of butter, then adding a small bottle of cider (280 mls) and reducing by half, then adding a glug (100 mls) of double dream and reducing to sauce consistency, then adding a large table spoon of wholegrain mustard and seasoning with salt and pepper.
The Cheese was Epoisses, a rich, smelly, rummy cheese from France, which is washed in Brandy and therefore has a slight hint of Brandy flavour. Freddie bought round a bottle of Amarone.