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Everything posted by Julianne_Reddin

  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
  16. David, Ross Hope you both have a great meal tonight I live in Edinburgh and fancy booking a table in the next few weeks. I anxiously await both of your reports! Julianne
  17. In my experience of running a busy hotel bar (in Scotland)waiting staff check a table is happy with their food for several reasons. I've had a think and have a couple of points to make: 1) When you are getting hammered the only way to ensure that everything is running ok is to have a procedure in place eg, take food to table and follow up with checks after five minutes or so. When training staff this is useful because it takes a bit of experience to 'go freestyle' and as a manager you can then monitor exactly what it going on on the floor with ease. It is a lot easier to attract the attention of waiting staff in a fine dining restaurant as the atmosphere is quieter and the structure more formulaic, no chance of 30 golfers walking in wanting haggis and irish coffees at the same time as the group of locals at the bar want a refill. It sucks but it is far easier if you can schedule in a visit to a table than have them try to call you over when you're busy with someone else - and I hate to leave people waiting or wanting something! Bear in mind I wasn't just waiting tables I was serving drinks behind the bar, manning the phones, running the reception desk for the rooms upstairs and making coffees and preparing desserts to order - 60 meals a service with 2 staff members. 2) Cynically (and based on experiences of several difficult customers) some people will try to stiff a restaurant for a free meal by complaining after the event generally with an empty plate - obviously this is only a small minority of people but it happens. Asking during the meal means not only that problems can be rectified swiftly but also that this doesn't happen as often and prevents difficult situations arising. 3) You'd be surprised how often people (including myself) don't order another drink when the food arrives only to realise that they want one as soon as the waiter/tress has disappeared! p.s. Though this is the case I can't stand cheesy questions and overfamiliarisation it was simply something that had to be done to keep service going as efficiently as possible. When it was quiet it was easier to gauge customer's wishes without being so intrusive and that is obviously the ideal to aim for. Julianne
  18. Heston Blumenthal tried to create the ultimate pizza in the 'In search of Perfection' book and TV series - there was a lot of detail especially in the book on getting the right dough and temperature for the pizza to cook just right in (from memory) about one minute. It was pretty interesting especially his attempts to get an oven to the extremely high temperature necessary. Has anyone attempted his recipe for this? There's no chance in my oven!
  19. Being from Lancashire I was brought up with the Breakfast, Dinner, Tea structure no matter what time the meals were served, with a snack before bed in the form of supper. [incidentally my younger brother liked to have a bowl of cereal for supper when he was little and consequently decided to call supper 'breakfast' which I think is quite funny] If this helps my Nana who is very proper always told me that traditionally 'tea' was a meal eaten around 4-6 ish; 'dinner' 6-8 ish and supper was the correct name for an evening meal if it was to be taken later than this, e.g. a candlelit supper etc.
  20. I've been obsessed with the meal from Babette's Feast for years, especially the version in the film. I once read that researchers for the film checked old cookbooks for the dishes that Isak Dinesen mentioned in her story, and concluded that Dinesen had made them all up! So they had to develop recipes for all the dishes in the film. When the film was released, this article appeared in the NY Times, with recipes. Are you up for making Blinis Demidoff or Cailles en Sarcophages? http://www.nytimes.com/1988/03/02/garden/i...se&pagewanted=1 Other notes on the food (in the film) that I've taken over the years: The salad is a composed salad of red lettuce, hearts of romaine, Belgian endive cut in matchsticks (best guess), whole walnuts, and vinaigrette. The baba au rhum is garnished with glaceed fruits (angelica, cherries, pear?, apricots), plus candied rose petals and that spectacular whole candied rose on top. The fruit and cheese platter holds figs, red and green grapes, papaya, pineapple, dates, maybe pears. The cheeses look like some kind of yellow cow's milk hard cheese (8-12" diam) and blue cheese (6" diam). At the end of the meal the guests are served coffee and vieux marc fine champagne (from Cognac appellation--super brandy?). A friend and I were tossing around the idea of making this feast for people we like very very much, but so far it's all just talk. ← Thanks for the link, that article is definitely a keeper! Such a shame, I could have had the meal in a New York restaurant but I'm 20 years too late! As far as making the meal I think it would be a great idea. Personally I'd toy with the idea of making a few of the dishes such as the quail, though I think they'd lose their impact slightly as individual items (and I do love the pure over-indulgent decadence of it all, filling your senses to saturation point and all that!) I'm going to have to sit and rewatch tonight...in the meantime do we have any idea of calorie count, I'm assuming zero... if its fictional? Julianne p.s. I've always fancied being forced to eat that giant chocolate cake by Ms Trunchbull a la 'Matilda' by Roald Dahl. It may be possible that I have some problems. Snozzcumbers(?) always sounded quite revolting. Enid Blyton had some lovely foodie creations in the Faraway Tree books - Pop Biscuits filled with honey for example (I should really try to recreate them). There was a land in one of the books where everything was made of sweets, with ginger beer rivers and lollipop flowers. Whe I was 6 or 7 I used to think it was amazing.
  21. I love this thread! When I was running the bar at my old job in a hotel I could always tell when that time was upon me because I would lust at the bread baskets something awful. I don't really care for bread normally but I've been known to take an entire bread basket into the dessert prep room to wolf down with butter and once....*hangs head in shame* shoved an entire roll in my mouth whilst crouching down behind the bar (out of the view of customers obv.) - it was the smell I tell you I couldn't help it! Julianne
  22. Not a book but Babette's Feast is a brilliant Danish film featuring an amazing meal...I always wanted to sit round that dinner table. I would recommend it to anybody that hasn't seen it. Julianne
  23. I've been rereading 'Fish Flesh and Good Red Herring' by the late Alice Thomas Ellis which is brilliant for anybody interested in culinary history. It essentially a mish-mash of historical extracts from various book on housekeeping and cookery through the ages, mixed with personal anecdotes. It doesn't really have a set structure and you can pick it up at any page over and over again. On the subject of M.F.K. Fisher, when I was at University I had a wonderful English lecturer originally from the States who gave me her copy of The Art of Eating when I graduated, because she had always said that if she ever met anybody passionate about food who wanted to become a food writer she would give them that book, I always thought that was really sweet and so I treasure that book in pride of place on my book shelf. I'm certain that my ability to turn any literary discussion into a food maybe had something to do with it! Julianne
  24. This is a fairly basic point but I would suggest that in your particular case location is key. Obviously if you are providing quick food on the go then somewhere easily visible with lots of passing trade (i.e. commuters/ tourists) would be ideal. Watch out for competition as well - your food may be much better than that supplied by the sandwich chain around the corner, but many people have a lunchtime routine that is difficult to break.
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