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britcook

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Posts posted by britcook

  1. I think this concept of trying to quantify what British Cooking means is a bit like trying to define a dog. I mean everybody recognises a dog when they see one but trying to find a short definition that fits all breeds is, er, tricky. I don't think we can rule out any dish just because it contains imported or non-native ingredients, as Raj says we have been importing and using spices for centuries, although I might qualify this by restricting it to ingredients which are commonly available in general or are specific to a particular area. So that allows laver bread (specific), passion fruit (general) but rules out soft-shell crab (non-specific and rare). I suppose one possible thought for "typical" is what would be served in a bourgeois or "middle class" British restaurant. So you might get some interesting spicing and elements of "fusion" cooking in the better ones but you wouldn't get anything as full-on Indian as Tandoori chicken and some of the other elements so ably showcased by Atul. So Indian influence is fine, remember Coronation Chicken, but Atul's cooking is not Indian influenced British, it's British influenced Indian.

  2. I can second Bernice's recommendation of the driftwood, not an easy place to find though. For a good lunch in a great spot try the Hotel Tresanton in St Mawes, owned by Olga Polizzi of the Forte family and very stylish. Going the other way there's John Burton Race's place, the New Angel, in Dartmouth.

    Edit to say just caught your reference to JBR's place, but according to my spies (well, family actually) the place is still well worth a visit.

  3. Tandoori style chiken in a gravy sauce (Chicken Tika Marsala) is about the most popular dish in the UK isn't it?

    Queen Victoria regularly had "Indian" items on her formal menus, so although the present queen isn't Empress of India, I guess you could squeeze that one in.

    So far I haven't seen much evidence of regional or seasonal dishes in most of what has been done. I think that to target Kochar's for lack of these properties is pretty much saying that Indian food has no place in a British menu. Not sure that I agree with this.

    To be  frank I would say that an Indian meal is much more representative of British food habits then the either "regional" or "seasonal". So why live with this pretense? Why not encourage a better version of what people actually eat in the UK.

    There is a subtle difference between a British Menu, whether Great or not, and what is popular in Great Britain. After all McDonalds is surprisingly popular but I didn't see anybody attempting burgers. Or kebabs. Or even dim sum. I thought the original idea (which was excellent even if it has become debased in the execution) was to feature regional and seasonal produce that spoke of its links to tradition. The title of the programme contains "British", which has a strong implied link to our culinary heritage, and is not about food eaten in Britain, which is entirely different. Even if you overlook this the judges apply double standards, effectively ruling out one of Blackiston's dishes as "too Italian" because it contained lasagne. What we should have had was either clearer explanation of the rules and/or adherence to them by the judges.

  4. What's un-British about Anglo-Indian cooking?

    For that matter does any body have a useful definition of British cooking? The idea that because an ingredient is sourced from the UK, doesn't make a dish British IMO.

    I thought (but I could well be wrong, again) that there was a regional element to this "competition", where the principal ingredients would be sourced from the particular region that the chef was "attached" to. So where do soft shell crabs come from? There was nothing in Atul's menu that said anything at all about the South East other than it has got some good international markets.

  5. I'm stunned.

    Atuls food was truly horrific.

    Horrific is perhaps too strong a word, but certainly not British - where does soft-shell crab feature on British menus for instance? His food looked interesting, and I'd be well pleased if cooking of that quality featured in any of my local restaurants, but British? Gina Yashere has a catchphrase which exactly suits.

  6. Nobody seems to be commenting on this programme any more - is it a foregone conclusion that Gary will win the whole thing?

    Was at a press event today with a chef/contestant and one of the food stylists from the show who ruefully confirmed that Gary will indeed win, by royal command, as predicted by Popbitch (and our own ChampagneSadie) over a month a ago.

    So, not only offensive, but wrong. :raz:

  7. Nobody seems to be commenting on this programme any more - is it a foregone conclusion that Gary will win the whole thing?

    Was at a press event today with a chef/contestant and one of the food stylists from the show who ruefully confirmed that Gary will indeed win, by royal command, as predicted by Popbitch (and our own ChampagneSadie) over a month a ago.

    Makes you wonder why they bother really.

    Who cares what the wrinkly, scrotal old parasite gets for her tea anyway?

    Surely the only thing more supremely irrelevant that the monarchy is Gary Rhodes.

    In fact, I'm racking my brains to think of a single one of our 'celebrity' chefs who's come out of this with any distinction at all.

    Frankly, the entire thing might as well have been planned to show them up as the grasping, dead-eyed media whores they truly are.

    Maybe I shouldn't have had that last Margherita.

    As a moderator you seem to be remarkably immoderate.

  8. You can get a surprising amount of information about a restaurant just by reading the menu, what's on it, how it's described, how much it costs, general presentation etc. and this is just as true for on-line menus as it is for the printed version. On my travels I always look for good places to eat and a restaurant menu that I can check out before I even leave home is always a big plus and I have made many a reservation at places I may not even have heard of on the evidence of the on-line menu (backed up by the restaurant site). So far I haven't been disappointed. If there isn't an on-line menu I'll wait till I get there before making a booking, unless it's a restaurant that already has a good reputation that I know about.

    Deciding what to eat from an on-line menu is slightly trickier as even those that are updated frequently often show only a representative selection, so setting your heart on a particular dish may prove disappointing if they don't actually have it on the menu when you visit.

  9. Retailer - Taj Mahal Stores, Brighton 

    Full results here.

    Definitely approve of this choice. On a wet Sunday morning in February Taj's provides an excellent excursion through the cuisines of the world, a terrific find on a weekend visit.

    Mind you Mr Lynes, I do have a small complaint about Brighton, which is the fact that you live there. Nothing personal you understand, but on said visit I was looking for a reasonable restaurant and searched this forum for Brighton. What did I get? Every post you've made in it, which did rather pad out the results!

    (Ended up at SevenDials, well worth a visit)

  10. ...Harts was spot on - great bar, lovely rooms, great location (once I'd found the bloody place of course.

    Finding Hart's is easy (at least on foot), but getting there through the tortuous one way system is slightly more difficult. At least it's on the map, which is more than you can say for Sat's place which is somewhere off of the edge of the world beyond Clifton Bridge. Still, worth hiring a few local guides and mounting an expedition to find it as the food is top notch.

  11. One thing is for sure, the two front men (presenters is too good a word to use for these amateurs) have learned nothing since the first series. They still have no idea what it is they are supposed to be judging, on the one hand they bang on about "simplicity", "letting the ingredients speak for themselves", "properly cooked" and then one guy does a simple, properly cooked piece of (I think) haddock and they complain that he wasn't adventurous enough. Then an interesting veal with pesto dish is written off as being too complicated. No wonder the contestants look dazed. Of course they would do better next time because they might have some insight into what the two clowns want.

  12. To add to Mr Wozencroft's point, tomato puree is also found in the UK in tubes (like toothpaste tubes) which you can squeeze to get as much as you want and then replace the cap to keep the rest for another time

  13. Like lots of food shows (and comedy shows come to think of it) there is real content, sometimes, and there is padding. It's the ratio that is important but, in extreme cases, 1 minute of excellent content is worth enduring the surrounding half hour of dross. F Word had a reasonable amount of real content, sometimes as much as 10 minutes worth in a programme, and he cooked some decent stuff, the sea bass with sweet and sour pepper sauce, citrus pilaf and braised endive alone was worth an hour of watching the other garbage, go to the website, download the recipe and cook it. Terrific, and this from a person who is not keen on fish.

  14. One of the major problems with a large dish in any course is that unless there are many levels of taste or texture, difficult with a large chunk of protein, then the taste buds lose their sensitivity. Eat enough of it and you will no longer taste it. It's the chewing gum thing, it doesn't lose it's flavour you do. With the conventional meat and sides entree the variety is provided by the differences between the elements and if you don't have enough contrast then boredom sets it. One of the great joys of dim sum, nasi goreng, mezze or tasting menus is that your palate is constantly refreshed and stimulated. It ain't fashion it's physiology.

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