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Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Candle Stick Maker on Tour!!

Happy New Year to all!!

Hope it has been an extremely fun festive period and the kiss/smack of reality has been gentle and quickly soothed by the short week and the arrival of the weekend.

We've been all over the country and its been epic; food, family and friends. Christmas eve involved a seafood platter followed by a deliciously rare piece of beef. Possibly a tad too rare for my folks but then they always overcooked meat as I was growing up so perhaps, subconsciously, I was  returning the favour/flavour! I did cook them some medium & well done pieces on the side too, it was xmas after all!!

Christmas Day, drove for 5 hours and followed this with a delicious nut roast, an intensely clovey and lovely bread sauce, a boozey red wine sauce and plenty of vegetables courtesy of the missus' mum and her allotment. I returned the favour and cooked a vegetarian banquet for their family on Boxing Day. A few years ago I would have been confused, unsure, and scared of this prospect and probably would have snuck off to the local chicken shop (we all have vices) However vegetables aren't scary anymore, they are awesome!! Yeah the French taught us that a meal should be a chunk of protein with a sauce, some sides of veg and a garnish, but we're more creative than that!! Look at a lot of vegetarian cultures around the world, Hindus and Budhists for example, have very diverse and interesting (and tasty) foods. (Some Budhists will eat meat if someone else kills it. I think i'd be this kind of Budhist if I had to be, I'd probably have a mobile too) It shouldn't be about replacing the meat component, more thinking outside this societaly impose box.

Back to Boxing Day, bring on the veg!!! For starters I did cauliflower three ways; raw with lemon and parsley, panfried in butterand pureed, then blanched n shocked, spiced up an roasted. Made some spelt flatbreads to go on the side. For mains, with the help of Kat and her bro, we made a parsnip, celeriac and Jerusalem Artichoke bake, with cheese, cream, thyme and rosemary from the garden, easy peasy and I must admit I wasn't the only one picking the caramlised cheese off the edges. I made a red cabbage puree, chestnuts and Lissa's kale (which she went and picked in the pouring rain, commitment!) Pudding was a classic that was no doubt sered in homes across the country, Armagnac soaked prune chocolate fondant, with thick cream and frozen yoghurt, boom!!! This expereience has defintely inspired the Vegetarian Supperclub on Saturday 26th January, if interested get in touch!

New Years was awesome!! After some requests from amigoes we decided to hold an informal Candles Stick Maker event at a cottage in Kent, invitation only (ie only the peeps at the cottage and Ku & Amy) We were staying in a beautiful cottage in the rural area of Brook near Ashford. The starter was a selection of vegetables and fruits, the idea being inspired by Michel Bras' Gargouillou salad which is made from flowers, leafs, herbs, veg and fruit picked from the garden that morning. I was very happy with how this dish came together and am excited to work more on this idea, it will definitely appear in the vegetarian supperclub, in some form!! This was accompanied by roasted beets, some pureed, some caramelized and served with goats cheese cream, pickled potato chips and crisp bread. Mains were roast beef, roast ham (basted with the juices from that mornings pork heavy breakfast) and again lots of veg; celeriac puree, roasted sweet potatoes, celery braised in beef juices, kale amongst others that I cant remember at this point in time!!! Desserts were simple;  sweet fennel with a pineapple granita and toasted cumin seeds served as a palate cleanser, accompanied by caramelised apples, creme patissiserie (thick custard) and nut crumble. On the side was a light chocolate mousse with poached pears, I may of added booze, I cant remember, possibly due to brain cells demolished later in the evening!! 

Basically, as I'm sure you can all agree, the festive time is FUN, religious or not, but January isn't. Thats why I'm holding two Supperclubs this month, both in my lil' flat in the C side. One is a version of the last one from before Christmas, the Multicutural British Festive(ish) Feast on Saturday 19th January.

After numerous deliberations and conversations we have decided to allow the menu to evolve. Rather than changing everything every time, I want to move with the seasons, flavours and inspirations that get me at that particular point in time. This will allow dishes on the menu to develop, improve and change as feels natural and as supplies allow.

Below is the last menu from before Christmas which was a fantastic success. There are some obvious movements away from the festive theme,but other than that I will (attempt to) keep an air of secrecy over the finer details.

2012 Xmas Feast: 

Festive cocktail on arrival 

Oysters three ways; French shallot vinaigrette, Thai salad, Rockafella 

Confit salmon, berries and sourdough 

Jerk prawns and scallops, Carribean mojo 

Mutton loin, beetroot puree, mushrooms, radish, herbs 

XO pork belly with Bombay roast potatoes, bok choy 

Fennel palette cleanser with yellow snow 

Chestnut figgy pudding with kulfi ice cream 
Tamarind Margarita 

The other is the Vegetarian Supperclub on Saturday 26th January which I mentioned earlier, health kick time!! If interested, please get in touch and i'll send you more details.

I should probably also mention that I have now quit my job and launched my self into 100% self employment (woop woop!!) pushing ahead with the Supperclubs, food adventures and Cult Events, so expect to hear a little more from me, perhaps more coherently, and I may even get round to sorting out this blog thing so it doesn't look like a 5 year old has done it!!

Awesome, see you soon ix

Not the best pic of NYE salad, but was a little rushed at the time!!

Beets and fried pickled potato

Fennel, pineapple & cumin palate cleanser, apple, custard and crumble

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