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  1. Figs wrapped in parma ham stuffed with gorgonzola and drizzled with honey - bake for about ten minutes and serve on a bed of dressed rocket Gorgonzola can be strong but the flavours complement each other really well and as there are so many other sweet and salty elements it shouldn't be too overwhelming for you.
  2. Jam on a crumpet? That has never occured to me before! Surely crumpets are spongey because they are a the ideal recepticle for industrial quantities of butter - when it's soaked through to the plate underneath you're onto a winner! BTW I'm sure Nigella Lawson had a recipe but never tried it so I can't vouch for it.....
  3. Thanks for the info Beandork, worth bearing in mind giving the lunch deal a try, not to mention the patisserie. Next time I'm in London I'll pay a visit and report back!
  4. Was at the Inside Soap Awards on Monday which was held in Sketch, pretty nice venue with good canapes (mainly of the mini burger type favoured at such events but there was also a great croque monsieur). Has anyone been for food recently, I note they do good patisserie (I had an amazing chocolate and fig concoction which was to die for) but how is it in general + service etc? How involved is Pierre Gagnaire nowadays? Is it worth another trip for a meal? N.B. They had quite a saucy statue of two dogs - is that hidden during the day?
  5. Sounds like a good book recommendation - I'll look it up! I was never fooled by these, but as a child I loved pilsbury dough bread sticks straight out of the oven. Never seen them since, *shakes head* that doughy chef was a genius, a synthetic over-yeasted genuis......
  6. Yes Katie came and served the milk in the cow jug - I agree its a really nice touch. I think it was porridge and coconut - a nice segue into something sweet after the cheese course, especially as the cheese was served with oatcakes, a nice extension of those flavours. The soup was in many ways more of a substantial amuse but it was nevertheless impressive -we had yellow split pea soup with roasted garlic and a basil oil through the centre - the individual layers worked really nicely together. One thing I neglected to mention yesterday however was my frustration with the cutlery, which made it quite tricky to eat the food out of the deep bowls it was served in - both the crockery and the cutlery were beautiful and stylish in their own right but they weren't well matched and this was a bit of a shame. I think earlier reviews gave similar feedback on this issue.
  7. Having visited 21212 for the first time a few weeks ago and having kept up to date with the above 'incoming reviews' I have to say that I was exceptionally pleased with the place (not only because it is only a 5 minutes walk from home - hoorah for doorstep dining!) First of all the decor of the place is amazing, as is the kitchen itself - it is a joy to watch calm and composed teamwork executed with almost surgical precision. I would note that it was very quiet for Saturday night (I saw 5 tables in total dine over the course of the evening) - is this normal for late July in Edinburgh or indicative of location/ a recently opened establishment/ recession? Having read a recent interview with Tony Singh who noted the massive reduction in business caused by the lack of financial institution 'business meetings' in his private dining room I think it could be quite an unfortunate time for such a promising place to open. As for the food I was more than happy - the baby turbot was just cooked through enough to retain a semi-translucent quality and to hold its texture without flaking. My partner's dishes were also excellent. As it was a few weeks ago (and I don't make notes in a restaurant unless its strictly professional) I don't want to get into too much detail suffice to say it was technically and compositionally joyful across the board. Overall I think the keywork for this place is 'balance'. The execution of everything from the service to the menu was a perfect balance of juxtaposition resulting in a stellar experience. There is a theory used when cooking junk food that suggests that high salt levels and high sugar levels in perfect balance are largely pleasing and addictive because they satisfy the pleasure centres in the brain without being over obvious on the palate and I suppose this is a perfect (though totally inappropriate) allegory for the features of 21212. Without this balance I don't think anything would work in quite the same way. Much has been said about small portions, well I have some appetite on me and must admit when I got my main my heart sank a little - however, there are five courses to get through and after realising that the composition of the full meal wasn't going to be so much of an 'introduction- main event- afters' affair, put these notions aside and waited to see what happened next. As it happened the cheese board appeared and made everything slot into place portion wise and, following the 'chocolate trifle' for the final course, was perfectly and very nicely full, without that cloying overindulgent lingering of 'I can't breath unless standing up' which can come from some meals. Not sure how having two courses for lunch would work with respect to the portioning though - I would be interested to hear from anyone who has tried this. I will definitely be returning soon (and stealing interior decor ideas).
  8. Went to Chop Chop a while back and it was pretty good. If you want good value dim sum for lunch go to Saigon Saigon on South Andrew Street - but ask for the dim sum when you walk in and you get taken downstairs to a basement section where you can get an excellent range of dim sum (there are around 40 menu choices including sweet dishes) and quick service. There are always a lot of chinese families eating there at lunchtime which is a good sign and it is really well priced. Its fairly traditional - mark off what you want on a menu ticket and they bring it as and when its ready.I only work around the corner from there and have overindulged with a friend many a time and the bill hasn't gone much over £22 (and I eat a lot). N.B. The main restaurant upstairs serves standard chinese buffet food - never tried it but haven't heard excellent things so be sure to clarify that you want the Dim Sum.
  9. It was my birthday recently so I've just finished a glut of foodie reading including a Pierre Gagnaire retrospective (beautiful coffee table book) and the Le Gavroche recipe book. I also got, quite randomly 'Barring Some Unforeseen Accident' by Jackson Tippett McCrae whch is a surreal comedy romp (for want of a better phrase) about a writer who is invited to a small town in the Southern States to compile a cookery book for members of the town's junior league - not a cookery book persay but it includes the recipes contributed by said ladies and is more about small town infighting and scandal - nevertheless pretty enjoyable - anyone else read this?
  10. What about drinks? A bloody mary with lots of tabasco and celery salt is pretty good, and I also like a dirty martini - alcohol+ salty goodness! BTW what on earth happened to Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream? It was the msot divine combination of salty peanut butter chocolate and ice cream ever!Bring it back I say....
  11. I'm originally from Accrington which is close to Northcote and apparently Haworth's home town (this figures from the accent but I'm not sure on facts). I went to a wedding at reception at Northcote manner some years ago which included an evening barbeque. There was amongst other things, marinated lamb grilled as a whole piece and sliced up - still pink and moist with charred edges. It was simply amazing and had a very big impression on me as I was only a teenager, it was a meal which has really stayed with me.
  12. I love Old Bay with most kinds of eggs - sprinkled in a boiled egg before dipping in soldiers or on top of poached or fried eggs (runny yolks are a necessity)
  13. Apparently (i.e. I haven't had chance to try this yet) a tablespoon of duck fat in the mix really helps keep the burgers moist. This sounds really nice for a barbeque. I personally love a bit of old bay (or celery salt at a push) in a burger and a few finely ground breadcrumbs to soak up some of the juices that might get lost. p.s. venison burgers and ostrich burgers are amazing but I get them from the farmers market rather than making them myself.
  14. What brief do the chefs actually get in advance of the competition - is it any more detailed than simply 'a taste of home?' Whilst I think that overall the judges have made the right decisions in choosing the winning menus I can't help but find their comments on what they are looking for slightly contradictory. The better dishes are ones that will obviously speak for themselves and carry a resonance that isn't necessarily tangible but still, how can you knock one dish for not being 'celebratory' and then another for being too complex...it seems they are making the right decisions but using the brief to back up their decisions when in fact it may simply boil down to more basic quality issues. The chefs all seem at odds with each other in their aims to meet the brief (Aiden's summer orientated menu vs Nigel's comfort food). The brief seems to ask for originality and creativity and this seems to have had the opposite effect as many of the dishes are too 'overthought' to be playful and resonant. With that in mind which single dish out of the series so far has met the 'taste of home' brief the best? My favourite menu was Nigel Haworth's (but I'm probably biased because I'm from Accrington) but I don't think even that had any dishes that stand out in the same way as those from the previous series.
  15. Glad you enjoyed yourself Ross, I look forward to reading the full reports. Looks like I'll be booking a table myself in the next week or so. Julianne
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