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Everything posted by sheepish

  1. We ate lunch there today. The dining room, and serving-ware are old school, but I like that. Food isn't trend setting, but not old-fashioned. I don't get to eat out much, so meat-fruit, foie gras ice-cream are new to my palette. We tried the taster menu which judging from what others were eating appears to consist of 7 full size plates of food, although it didn't feel over bearing. The only hole I could pick, if I was looking for holes to pick, were repeat ingredients. OK February isn't awash with in-season veg, but jerusalem artichoke as an amuse, and then as puree on two dishes seems overkill. And toasted "granola" turned up on nibbles, amuse and main. Still, I'd happily go back. The "lunch for less" deal looks a steal. As mentioned the wine list looks very sensibly priced, although no bargains on the half bottles. I might perhaps uncharitably describe it as a poor man's Le Manoir in terms of ambience, but really it's a shrewd man's Le Manoir. Half the price or less for really only a small step down in quality. I felt very satisfiied.
  2. sheepish

    Dinner! 2012

    My lung repertoire isn't extensive. But chopped, simmered with some stock veg for about 90 mins. Then added to a hot and sour soup for a few mins. And served on rice noodles. I think anyone who says lungs are their favourite thing is lying, but this wasn't bad at all.
  3. Very interesting. Butchered 3 hoggets yesterday - I think those fellas, well the one on the right looks like a fella :-), are at least a year old, but maybe that's all. The gyro meat is a new one on me but I shall be giving that a go with some belly, which i generally mince but not for something as interesting looking as that. Offal the day you slaughter is never strong tasting in my experience, but you sound like you have a lot more experience than me :-). Hearts will certainly not be strong. Got some lungs simmering as we speak. Only find kidney or liver getting a bit ripe, but then only after a week or so.
  4. I usually leave it until September. I was going to say game in the height of summer just feels wrong to me, but fortunately summer isn't reaching any heights this year! There are rumours of 30C in London today. I can assure you that weather hasn't hit Wales. Always eaten at home because 1) I can roast a bird pretty well myself. 2) I don't know of anyone in south Wales who servers it. 3) I can afford much better Burgundy at home :-)
  5. Had lunch here last Saturday. The ten course job. I think on balance I was disappointed. Tartare of venison with coal oil was memorable, for the smokey flavour on raw meat, but the venison itself was a bit lacklustre. Like having a steak tartare made of fillet, rather than something with a bit of taste. Carrot foam and ham fat at the start was nice - although had some chewy bits on top which did nothing for me. A bit of crispy bacon would have worked a lot better in my book. Other than that, the golden egg thing tasted of thick chicken stock (of the Marco-Pierre White advertsied variet) to me, not impressed. The smoked eel and pork croquettes would be nice with a pint, but too rich and fatty as a pre-dinner nibble. Bread was memorable for being very ordinary. The Great British Menu smoked salad dish was just OK - I think I was probably expecting more after the judges rhapsodized about it. Nice light zingy deserts. Service OK, but they weren't on top of topping up - although we were only on bottled water. They did admit to being a man down. Its a very small place. I'd go as far as to say cramped. Glad I've been to see what all the fuss is about. But now I don't really know what all the fuss is about.
  6. I was there on Friday evening. My two pence. Had a really lovely night.Tasting menu and wines. Location is nice, room is stylish. Nice buzz. Staff were excellent. Very relaxed Aussie waiters, and enthusiastic German sommelier. Food was very good. But just that. No faults anywhere but for me, no real standout, "wow" dishes. I think, if I was a foodie blogger type I might call it "assured". Certainly wouldn't see this as a 3* place. Would recommend it for a great night out, but in my limited experience of London high end dining, I'd go back to the Square, which doesn't have the atmosphere, but has more "wow" in the food.
  7. Way behind again here. Hush puppies? Those are shoe where I come from. Wasn't sure where they were in the pic, let alone what they were? And hard cider? What does hard mean in that context? Ta
  8. That toasted sandwich. Can you help for those of us unfamiliar with American brands. I can spot sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese (is that sort of generic Emmental style?). But what's in the front packet? And the bottle? Ta
  9. Tripe tacos. I think I'm in love! Tacos and barbeque I just never see in the UK commercially. They must be out there, but no where near me. Very much looking forward to seeing the brisket result. Egullet taught me the joys of pulled pork, coleslaw, vinegar sauce and cheap white rolls. I've only ever brined brisket for boiled beef, but have a slab in the freezer and want to see what to eat it with now I'm definitely going to smoke it.
  10. You need to find someone who raises pigs, or a butcher who knows someone who does. Any contacts through a farmers market perhaps? Problem is modern pig breeds have been engineered for lots of lean meat. You can make pigs fat but you need to feed them a lot. And pig feed is expensive. And most folks have been brainwashed into thinking fat is bad. So pig growers aren't growing fat pigs. To get decent backfat you need fat pigs, otherwise you can scavange fat from pigs but it won't be in the nice big pieces you want. Good sausages need fat and butchers I've talked to are loathed to give up much of what they have, because fat pigs are rare and they want the fat too. There's a fair bit of fat on the head, and it's fine to add to make fatty sausage meat, but I find it a bit soft for using in salami or cutting to line a terrine.
  11. Eh? How does that work? Stun pig. Lift with a gambrel through hocks. Slit throat. You don't touch anywhere near the bladder before that.
  12. This is great. I was in Lebanon about 10 years ago. Stayed in Beirut and drove around. Never been scared driving before or since :-) Road markings and traffic lights were definitely just there to trick foreign drivers into taking notice of them. Either that red Merc taxi is unusual or the drivers have been replacing the smashed off door mirrors since I was there. Any chance of a trip to Byblos for a spot of fish? I recall eating most evenings at a smart row of cafes and restaurants that must have been in walking distance from the Virgin Megastore, because I know we parked there a couple of times. Too much mezze every night. Pretty vague I know, I've been looking on a map but can't work out where they must have been. Will keep watching, and checking out the price of flights there.
  13. Chris. All amazing. Love those supermarkets. Very naive I know, but I didn't have the US down as a great place for supermarket produce. Never seen anything like that range in the UK. London has some good places, but it takes 20 minutes to drive a mile there. At least I can show our friends in France it's not just the UK that's awash with needlessly big cars and pick-ups :-) Anyway I noticed your hob. Is that induction? For someone so into cooking I'm interested as to why you have that over gas?
  14. For my money, frying is done long enough to coat each grain with oil so the rice goes from a cold lump to warm individual grains. I don't want the rice crispy.
  15. I've had celeriac like that a couple of times at the ledbury! I wonder who was first? Recipe for salt crust celeraiac is in Eleven Madison Park book. I didn't realise how passé it was. I've only been put off from trying it because of the additional requirement for cups of truffle juice. Goats' curd sounds more accessible for my pocket.
  16. Right. Last blog pictures. Sunday. I have cooked nothing today. I've eaten quite a bit. Breakfast. Pancakes. Mrs S cooks 'em up in a kitchen not quite fully restored from yesterday's culinary explosion. Served with maple syrup and seasonal (last September) berries. I had butter with mine too. Look at the contented smiles. It's Mrs S's birthday today. I just prefer to cook a special dinner on a Saturday night. So I indulged her by staying out of her way, watching Wales beat Scotland in the rugby, while she prepared roast pork. Can't get much more British than a Sunday roast. The rather splendid apron was a birthday present from her sister. This is my spice grinder. I have an attachment for my expensive Waring food processor that grinds spices. I think I've used it twice. This gets used nearly every day. Pork rubbed with fennel seeds, salt and black pepper ready for the oven. At this stage the house had tilted sideways. I've no idea why the picture is like this and I've resized more photos this week than the rest of my life in total and you're not going to get a 90 degree rotate out of me too. And the final photo of this blog. Roast pork. Roast potatoes. Roast carrots. Green beens. And a slosh of gravy. A satisfying end to the week. Hope you've enjoyed it. Thank you for all the comments and questions. Thank you to my family for joining eGullet and making me look artificially popular. I will get that parfait right soon and post the evidence!
  17. This is pretty much as per Eleven Madison Park. One omission. 'Chokes roasted whole, wrapped in foil with butter, salt and thyme. These are cooled, then finished in hot butter using the butter they cooked in plus a couple of garlic cloves. The watercress sprigs are also wilted in this. 'Chokes sliced lengthways and poached in chicken stock and thyme. These are then topped with a lemon brioche crust which is brioche bread crumbs, lemon zest and butter. Those are finished under a hot grill. There's a smear of 'choke puree - just 'chokes, potato, butter and cream. Also pickled 'chokes - finely sliced and pickled in white balsamic, sugar and salt. Pickled yellow mustard seeds. And 'choke crisps - thin slices fried in hot oil. Watercress 'jus'. This is watercress blended with ice and water and strained so you just keep the water. A little xantham gum added. You're supposed to emulsify lemon oil into this, but I hadn't made that, so I blended in rapeseed oil and squeezed in a little lemon juice.
  18. Grated gruyere blended with egg white. Blend. Smear on silicon sheet. Cook at 150C for 15 mins. Cut to shape. Cook for another 15 mins. The filling is a mouse made with cream and gelatin plus cherve blanc. What really made this was the lemon jam. Lemons and sugar simmered for hours. When I tried the jam on its own I though it was going to be too bitter. It's supposed to be made with Meyer lemons and I just had regular supermarket lemons, and I wondered if Meyer skins are less bitter. But just a little blob with the cheese was lovely. It's in the Eleven Madison Park book so I suspect I better not give exact details.
  19. So the camera ran out of batteries and I was getting a bit behind schedule, so skip to the end. Here's dinner. We go a dozen bottles of '96 Dom Ruinart as a wedding present from my brother in law. Last bottle gone tonight, but it's a special occasion so, hey. Gruyere crisps with cheval blanc mouse filling and a blob of lemon jam. The lemon jam on it's own was bitter and unpromising. With the cheese it really lifted everything. Next up, jerusalem artichokes, or plain old sunchokes depending on how far west you live. These were lovely. I'm always after a dish to highlight nothing but vegetables, and this is a great winter option. I think this looks pretty. Remember this because it's all downhill from here. Served with a very good Gerwurtzraminer my sister bought me for my birthday. The weight of this was just right and it took the picked 'chokes and mustard seeds in its stride. Been a bit busy today. Hadn't got round to filleting my fish. Plus needed to cook prawns. Recipe called for crayfish. Not a lot of crayfish in the fishmonger's yesterday. Served with a citrus berre blanc, prawn bisque and very good garlic potato puree, although it was a bit stiff to be pretty. Meat course. Boeuf Borguignon and a half bottle of Ch. Neuf de Pape that's been languishing in my climate controlled cellar. And to end. A mess. A colapsed, melted muscavado and star anise parfait, with parkin jus (should be puree), clementine jelly, orange cream and croquant. Good night.
  20. Laverbread is smooth more than gelatinous. A pleasing mouth feel. And yes, minerally. Not assertive. I can understand some people not appreciating it. Cockles come picked and cooked. I've never seen them still in the shell. Quite common to see someone of advanced years asking for a small pot and the fishmonger has the vinegar so they can be enjoyed on the spot. To eat with breakfast I heat them through in the last of the bacon fat, but they are nice cold with vinegar too. Everything hand washed. I'm all in favour of labour saving, but I find I generally want to reuse that pan 5 minutes into a 90 minute cleaning cycle. Just not a fast enough turnaround. Routine is cook til there is no more workspace or utensils. Clean and put everything away. Start again. That is until it's time to dish up courses and then it's just pile everything into the sink and hope there are enough pans to warm stuff.
  21. Having tasted tequila for the first time ever two weeks ago, and still working through that same bottle I think it's safe to say I have no idea. I didn't even know there were kinds of tequila. I can appreciate there are different qualities. I need to do more research!
  22. More updates from this afternoon. Heating muscavado sugar and star anise before adding to egg yolks to make a parfait. Folded in whipped cream and poured into cling film lined ring molds. Beef bourguignon done. Meat is so tender it was falling apart as I was picking it up. Liquid is strained and added back to meat and left to cool. 3 pans on the go. Clockwise : 1) parkin puree - more muscavado, the ginger syrup, orange peel, orange and lemon juice. agar agar added to this as a thickener. 2) clementine juice reducing before being used for clementine jelly. 3) lemon jam. a dot of this is needed with the chees crisps My vegetable scraps bin in the kitchen was full so I've taken the opportunity for a pic of the "vegetable" garden. Looking a bit overgrown and unproductive at this time of year. Sheep got in last winter and seemingly destroyed our two bay trees. One has come back well this year and the other is at least still alive. Gratuitous landscape shot And finally eating sheep. These are ram lambs from last year. They'll get fatter by June or July which is when they go to the abattoir.
  23. Cooking this morning. Started off adding veg and then a bottle of red wine and reducing that down to almost nothing. While thats reducing I make a batter for my cheese crisps. This is gruyere and egg white in my favourite kitchen "gadget". All it does is chop, but it's so solid and had the kind of switch I'd expect to find on a 1950s power station control board. The batter gets rolled thin between two silicon sheets. After 15 mins in the oven it's cut to crisp shapes and then returned to the over to brown (a little bit too much in my case) And get some chopped lemons and sugar slowing melting down for lemon jam to go with the cheese crisps. Then get some meat ready for my beef bourguignon. I'm using ox cheeks which I think work really well in a slow cooked stew. They're cheap so I bought plenty yesterday and vac pack up what I don't need for the freezer. The cheeks I cut up and trim of too much fat and then brown. Fresh veg added to the wine reduced stuff And the meat goes in on top of muslin to keep it from making the broth round the veg too cloudy And thats one into the oven for a couple of hours. Desert needs mandarin juice. I couldn't find any so I have clementines. The juicer gets used frequently enough that it took me 5 minutes to find it. Wasn't even in the kitchen. But it still seems to work. After that lot I need some breakfast. I thought I'd share about as Welsh a breakfast as you could fine. Bacon, laverbread and cockles. I make my own back bacon. Because I grow my own pigs I can let them grow a decent bit of back fat. Back fat is almost non-existent on any pork you buy in the UK. Because as we all know fat is an evil force that drowns kittens and pulls the wings off flys. That cooks and renders out enough fat to cook the laverbread in. Laverbread is just boiled nori seaweed. In the summer the fishmongers, sometimes even in supermarkets have it fresh. But it's always easy to find in tins. I like it on toast with melted cheese, or an egg. But the traditional preparation is to mix it with oatmeal and fry it. Cockles come from just down the coast at Penclawdd, near Swansea. Popular with a dash of vinegar and pepper and eaten from the tub. Also a breakfast accompaniment. Anyway all fried up and on the plate. I've got a pile of washing up to do now and then press on with desert, and JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES.
  24. Last post today. Tonight's dinner. Gurnard. Couldn't remember how to fillet these fellas. Has to consult Rick Stein book. It's sort of like this. While Mrs S was cutting chips and cooking that I took on the priority job. We've just started extending our cocktail repertoire beyond gin and tonics, and whisky sours. This is a favourite based on the last couple of weeks of research. Tequillla fizz. Tequilla (as you might guess), lime juice, grenadine and topped up with ginger beer. And finally dinner is ready. Beef stock is made and chilling. I couldn't run to a bucket full of lobster bodies for the lobster bisque used with the John Dory in EMP so I've made a prawn bisque. I also realised I don't have any syrup from preserved ginger to use in the desert so have made that too. Black garlic looks less good than I'd hoped, but it's drying in the oven. We'll see what it looks like tomorrow. Nos da.
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