I’ve come across some baffling menus recently. It throws up this recurring scene which plays in my mind. It begins with a one-arm bandit being wheeled into the kitchen one morning – a kind of gourmet fruit machine, which is put in charge of recipe development. The chefs gather round it, and pull the handle……
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A few years ago I had a conversation with Omar Allibhoy which stuck with me. The Spanish chef and founder of Tapas Revolution was, unsurprisingly, talking tapas. Or the lack of.
When he first came to Britain, he was taken aback by the amount of drinking which took place without food. It’s a uniquely British trait. Walk past Leadenhall Market after work, and you might spot a packet of crisps amongst the pints, but not much else. Or wander down a British high street early on a Friday evening, and you’ll notice that the general migratory route goes from work, to pub, to bar, to club – without a pit stop at a restaurant for some non-liquid sustinance….
Early last week I cooked a three-course meal. I know, no big deal, right?
I usually stick to two courses though. I launch myself into the main course, and then put a pre-prepared pudding on the table. Minimum effort, maximum time to catch-up with friends. But last Tuesday night I pulled out all the stops. I served watercress and soda bread to start, then bavette with chimichurri, and finally a pavlova….
People often think of mussels in terms of France’s classic dish, moules-frites. But mussels have been cultivated in British waters for hundreds of years – seven million tons of them are farmed in Scotland alone. So it makes sense to showcase them alongside some more of Britain’s best produce: cider, bacon, sage and English mustard….