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eG Foodblog: Andy Lynes - Brighton Rock and Rolls


Andy Lynes
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p.s: i do find it funny though that you keep reminding yourself to stay on topic--i hope no one's shocking you or anything.

:laugh::laugh::unsure:

On that note, I would like to add here that I have just purchased a Virginia Woolf mug on Ebay UK. Purple, even! Thanks for the inspiration.

I would also like to second the idea of a nice scone recipe. Assuming you're interested in the task. The closest I've done were some feta-chive things which really turned out more like American biscuits than anything else. (still tasted good, though!)

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Breakfast 16 January

I very rarely eat a Full English Breakfast, so its a real treat to take the time to cook one at home for the family. As with the traditional roast dinner (see tonights dinner), a Full English is a pretty complicated dish to prepare and requires a degree of organisation to get all the elements ready at the same time.

I only have a four burner hob which makes things a bit difficult when it comes to a fried breakfast, so I cook or finish as much of it in the oven as I can. So for example I started the lovely, meaty "Old English" pork and sage sausages from my local butcher in a grill pan on the hob, which I then transfered to the oven to fisnish the cooking. I laid the bacon out on the rack of a roasting tin cooked it in the oven to save some frying pan space. Muchrooms were cooked with a dot of butter and salt and pepper on a baking tray in the oven as well.

I peeled, sliced and boiled a few potatoes for a moment or so. I then drained the water and returned the pan to the heat to dried the potatoes out. I then scored them on each side with a fork and sauteed them in vegetable oil. I fried the eggs gently in butter and served the whole lot up with some baked beans and hot buttered toast (sliced white of course).

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Dinner 16 January

None of us were hungry come lunch time, so we waited to eat at Alice's belated birthday party. Being born on Boxing Day makes having your party on the day itself a bit difficult, so we had a family tea with some relations in December and waited a couple of weeks before holding the "official" party for Alice and her friends. The party was at a local community with a huge bouncy castle "assualt course" and we got them to do the catering as well. Not really worth discussing here I'm afraid. Suffice to say that next year we've decided to do it ourselves at home.

Dinner was roast chicken. I seasoned the bird well inside and out and stuffed the cavoty with a few halved shallots. I rubbed the skin with oil and butter and then poured a glass or so of white wine into the roasting tin along with some cloves of garlic, thyme and bay. This roasted at 180 degrees c for about 80 miutes until the breast was done. I then removed the legs and returned them to the oven to finish cooking. I reduced the cooking juices by half, passed through a chinois and then whisked with a stick blender to create the sauce.

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I served it with roast potatoes; brussel sprouts; a stuffing made from the sausages left over from the mornings breakfast, some diced onion, chopped bacon, panko breadbrumbs, an egg, thyme, salt and pepper and a puree of butternut squash made by roasting the squash, then scooping the flesh from the skin, passing it through a sieve and reheating with a good amount of butter.

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Lunch 17 January

Breakfast today was of course more granola (there's a bucketful of the stuff still to eat). My wife had the day off work so we met up for lunch at E-Kagen sushi and noodle bar in Brighton's North Laines. Its above the wonderfully named Yum Yum Noodles, an asian supermarket.

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As you can see, its not a fancy place, but the food is excellent. Gill had the fried pork noodles

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and I had the chasyu men (ramen and roast pork slices)

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The bill including free teas came to 15 pounds.

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Dinner 17 January

After such a large lunch, a light eveing meal was called for, so we used up the leftover chicken leg meat in a club sandwich. The bread was a multi grain loaf from Infinity Foods, lightly toasted under the grill, then topped with watercress dressed with apple viniagrette, both left over from Saturday's meal. I added some sliced avocado, red onion and cherry tomatoes and finished off with the chicken meat bound with mayonnaise.

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Andy, were your children ever picky eaters? If so, have you found that including them in the meal preparation helps them in accepting new foods, or do you stick to what they know?

George is generally quite adventerous with his food, although he hates peas and disappointed me when he refused the granola saying that he doesn't like it. Alice took great delight in pointing out that he's never even tried it. He's a big meat eater and loves chicken and steak and even duck when he can get it. He's not keen on stews or things like shepherd's pie, which I can't quite understand so maybe that's something we can work on.

Both are good with vegetables and fruit in general, especially Alice who eats a lot of kiwi fruit, oranges and satsumas. Alice has a tiny appetite however, only seeming to get hungry every other day. Sometimes it appears like a real chore for her to eat anything.

One thing that drives me insane is that both of them regularly ask for, or get themselves drinks which I then find left virtually untouched all around the house.

Like most kids though, they prefer stuff that is bad for them, fried foods, burgers, sweets and cakes, but they are far less picky than I remember being at that age (and until the age of about 17 in fact.)

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Fairly minimalist 'Full English' there Andy - Don't think a Truck Driver would be impressed...Looked good though.

You are right on the oven use - definitely the easiest way unless you have a huge range or a big griddle. You didn't have tomatoes, but the oven is the only way to go with them - I hate so called grilled tomatoes where the outside is burnt but the inside is cold and rock hard.

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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Fairly minimalist 'Full English' there Andy - Don't think a Truck Driver would be impressed...Looked good though.

It was a big plate, and the shot was taken before the addition of baked beans and toast, so it was quite a lot of food in the end. Slowly roasted tomatoes work really well and I have successfully fried them in the pan, you just have to do it on a gentle enough heat that allows them to cook through with out burning. I agree though, much easier in the oven.

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Fairly minimalist 'Full English' there Andy - Don't think a Truck Driver would be impressed...Looked good though.

It was a big plate, and the shot was taken before the addition of baked beans and toast, so it was quite a lot of food in the end. Slowly roasted tomatoes work really well and I have successfully fried them in the pan, you just have to do it on a gentle enough heat that allows them to cook through with out burning. I agree though, much easier in the oven.

I know some purists shun baked beans, but I'm with you on that front. Lots of toast is essential (I'm not really a fried slice man). And a mug (not a cup!) of strong slightly oversweet tea.

But did you have the essential hangover?

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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The granola recipe is by Michelin starred chef John Campbell of The Vineyard restaurant and appears in "A Cooks Guide To Grains" by Jenni Muir. I've e mailed Jenni and requested permission to reproduce the full recipe here so hopefully I will get the OK soon.

The good news is that Jenni has agreed to the recipe being reproduced here. The bad news is that she doesn't have a copy on file, so I'll need to type it in from the book which I should be able to do by Thursday (broadband at home still not fixed so I can only post at the office at the moment).

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I'm keen that when they eventually leave home, they'll be able to feed themselves well. I couldn't even boil an egg when I left the nest.

Just curious, Andy, how did you learn to cook? Culinary school? Self-taught?

I actually did not know how to cook when I left home, either. My parents cooked and ate for sustenance only, and they didn't cook well. :rolleyes:

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I'm keen that when they eventually leave home, they'll be able to feed themselves well. I couldn't even boil an egg when I left the nest.

Just curious, Andy, how did you learn to cook? Culinary school? Self-taught?

Self taught. I lived in a bed sit when I left home at 17 and subsisted on cheap ready meals. I was dating Gill (now my wife) and decided I really ought to be able to cook her something a little bit better when she came round to see me. I tried a dish of pasta with salami, peas and cream which I saw on a cookery item on breakfast tv and went from there. I bought some recipe books and progressed to things like chicken in cider and beef in beer. I used to cook Robert Carriers Coq au Vin recipe quite a bit I seem to remember.

I started working stages in professional kitchens about 10 years ago and that really bought my cooking on. I met people like Shaun Hill, Henry Harris, Richard Guest and eventually Bruce Poole who have all significantly influenced how I cook and the way I think about food. I use a lot of techniques and recipes I've seen in professional kitchens at home, although I've pretty much stopped trying to replicate restaurant food.

When I read recipes these days I'm looking for ideas and approaches, not necessarily to copy the dish exactly. I'll adapt them to suit my budget and my abilities. I'm far happier making something really tasty from cheaper ingredients, like the bream or the chicken, than using turbot or fillet of beef.

I don't tend to use a lot of spices in my cooking, although I do have a fair amount of them, and I don't go over board with piles of herbs at the last moment. I want to taste the main ingredients and not have to plough through a field of greenery to get to them. I'm more likely to extract the flavours from thyme, rosemary, bay etc during the cooking process and sprinkle a little parsley or tarragon or other soft herbs at the last moment to accentuate flavours, especially in sauces. The thyme petals on the scallops are a good example. But it all depends on the dish. You need lots of tarragon in bearnasie for instance.

So to answer the question, its been a process of learning from books and tv shows and spending days in professional kitchens, watching and talking to chefs and carrying out basic tasks (and even helping to run a section on a few occasions) and then taking all that information and putting into practive at home in a way that suits me.

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Lunch 17 January

Breakfast today was of course more granola (there's a bucketful of the stuff still to eat). My wife had the day off work so we met up for lunch at E-Kagen sushi and noodle bar in Brighton's North Laines. Its above the wonderfully named Yum Yum Noodles, an asian supermarket.

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The bill including free teas came to 15 pounds.

That takes me back. I did my doctorate at the Univeristy of Sussex just outside Brighton, and this place was a regular haunt. Is there still the Black Chapati?

Great blog too Andy. Nice to see it on this side of the pond.

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However, I think we're all on the same page here, so this week I'll be documenting everything I cook and pretty much everything I eat. I won't pretend that its going to be a normal week in the Lynes household, I'll be making a special effort in order to make the blog at least readable. So I'll be visiting my local butchers, fish mongers, markets and supermarkets to give you a flavour of what its like to live and cook where I am.

Just a reminder. I'd love to see where you shop on a regular basis.

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Fairly minimalist 'Full English' there Andy - Don't think a Truck Driver would be impressed...Looked good though.

It was a big plate, and the shot was taken before the addition of baked beans and toast, so it was quite a lot of food in the end. Slowly roasted tomatoes work really well and I have successfully fried them in the pan, you just have to do it on a gentle enough heat that allows them to cook through with out burning. I agree though, much easier in the oven.

I know some purists shun baked beans, but I'm with you on that front. Lots of toast is essential (I'm not really a fried slice man). And a mug (not a cup!) of strong slightly oversweet tea.

But did you have the essential hangover?

no baked beans, no tomatoes

can't be doing with the juices making everything soggy and interfering with the egg yolk/bacon interface!

i am a fan of bubble and squeak though, that'll fox our overseas visitors!

(a dish made traditionally from the leftover mashed potaotes/veg fromthe sunday lunch then shallow fried to give a crunchy texture. I cheat and buy 'aunt bessies from sainsbury's)

cheers

gary

you don't win friends with salad

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i am a fan of bubble and squeak though, that'll fox our overseas visitors!

(a dish made traditionally from the leftover mashed potaotes/veg fromthe sunday lunch then shallow fried to give a crunchy texture. I cheat and buy 'aunt bessies from sainsbury's)

Ha! I knew that. I learned it from The Fat Ladies! You might want to check out the hash browns thread for an American take on it.

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I wrote a letter to Terence Conran saying I was interested in becoming a chef and had no idea hwo to go about it and Tim Powell, then the head chef of Pont De La Tour rang me and said come down and have a look around the kitchens. He then rang back again and said "we're short staffed this Saturday, can you work for the day" and I did.

I then wrote to 10 London restaurants and 2 responded. I spent a week in JC Novelli's kitchen at The Four Seasons, working mostly with Richard Guest who was the sauce chef at the time, and spent about 8 days at The Fifth Floor with Henry Harris over the period of about 18 months. From then on it was just a matter of ringing up the chefs and asking. I even worked a day in a restaurant in Atlanta when I was over there on business.

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Tueday 18 January

Breakfast was - does anyone want to guess. A busy day at the office meant I just had time to grab a goat cheese and roasted veg baguette from the deli up the road. My office is just off St James Street, which is rammed full of cafes, restaruants, take aways and delis. (And violent drunks bit that's another story).

This was a bit disappointing actually, and relatively expensive at 3.20:

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I think Gary must have been reading my mind, as I decided to use up the left over creamed cabbage from Saturday's meal to make bubble and squeak. I just boiled and mashed some maris piper potatos, stirred in the cabbage mixture, formed it into large patties which I fried off and then heated through in the oven. I served them with haddock poached in milk flavoured with bay and thyme, a perfectly poached egg and home made hollandaise sauce:

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I make hollandaise according to a recipe I picked up from chef Graham Ball when I worked with him at the Hotel Du Vin in Brighton. Reduce a bottle of white wine and half a bottle of white wine vinegar with 10 sliced shallots and a bouquet garni until it reaches a syrupy consistancy. Add the reduction to 16 egg yolks and whisk over a pan of hot water until the whisk leaves trails in the mixture. Off the heat, slowly pour in 1 kilo of still warm clarified butter, whisking all the time. Produces perfect sauce everytime. Reduce the quantites according to your needs (I made an eighth of the recipe this time and it still worked perfectly).

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I sat here open mouthed at your hollandaise recipe until I got to the 'I made an Eighth of the quantity'!

Oh and Gary - you are right, you want to keep your beans/tomato away from your bacon - I find the sausage makes an effective barrier - I don't mind the beans lapping onto the egg too much though.

I prefer to keep them away from the mushrooms though, although this is not always possible. It's a sort of gastronomic take on the 4 colours map problem.

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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Wednesday 19 January

An early start was made even earlier by Alice waking up at 4.30am asking if it was OK to turn the TV on. We of course said no and sent her back to bed, but it seemed only moments later that the alarm went off and I had to get up. Breakfast was the usual and then I was out the door and on my way to a 9.30am meeting with 3 michelin Star chef Heston Blumenthal. he showed me around his new pub, the Hinds Head in Bray, just across the road from his legendary Fat Duck restaurant.

I was there to speak to him about his collaboration with the food historians at nearby Hampton Court Palace on updating Tudor period dishes for the pub menu. I'm writing an article for History Today magazine so I can't say too much about it here, but suffice to say that it was a very interesting 90 minutes. I was sort of hoping that he would suggest I stick around for an early lunch but nothing doing.

I had some time to kill before my PM meeting at Hampton Court, so grabbed a coffee and a chocolate shortcake at Starbucks in the nearby Sainsbury superstore and typed up some ideas for the article. I bought some chanterelle mushrooms, wine, tarragon, pecorino, papardelle pasta and cream for the evening meal and then drove over to Hampton. Another interesting couple of hours and then I wass just in time to join the queue on the M25 motorway home to Brighton.

For the pasta, I sweated two finely chopped shallots in some oil and butter and added a a thrid of a bottle of white wine and let it reduce. Meanwhile I diced the butternut squash (leftover from Sunday's roast dinner) and sauted it in oil. I sauted the mushrooms with a clove of choped garlic. I added some cream to the wine reduction and let it reduce again, then added the squash, mushrooms and some tarragon. I cooked the pasta in plenty of boiling water for a few minutes until just cooked (although past the al dente stage. I don't care what anyone says, chalky pasta is not good) then tossed it in the sauce. I served it with some pecorino grated over the top. It was a nice bowl of food:

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