tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5916013389812875652018-08-29T23:18:52.514+01:00Mat Follas - The Wild Garlic blogMat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.comBlogger91125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-40928534766226241592012-11-05T20:21:00.000+00:002012-11-05T20:21:48.348+00:00A week in Malta <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>716</o:Words> <o:Characters>4082</o:Characters> <o:Company>CHESIL BEACH</o:Company> <o:Lines>34</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>9</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>4789</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>14.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties></xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> 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style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: large;">A week in Malta</span><o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">Let me start by saying this is a personal view of our family trip to Malta in October 2012, and by no means a definitive guide.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">We wanted a week in the sun during the autumn half term. We didn’t want to stray into a possible war zone, or for it to be full of British ham, egg &amp; chips and we wanted the journey to be straightforward as we have 2 young children and it was their first trip abroad.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">Working through a short list of ideas; Sardinia, Sicily, Greece, the island of Malta leapt out. With a little research (5 minutes) and a heavily reduced Villa price from ‘James Villa Holidays’ our week away was booked.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">Overall impression of Malta ... some of the most amazing European architecture I’ve ever seen particularly the city of Valetta, the history of the Knights of St. John and their reign over Malta for 200’ish years makes for an extraordinary history. This was followed by an accidental take-over by Britain to boot the French out and they ended up staying 150 years until 1964. The architecture is southern European with Arabic place names and British phone boxes, 3-pin plugs and driving on the left hand side of the road (and of course, they all speak English, often with a disconcerting British regional accent). <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">As you drive around you pass numerous early 1980’s Ford Escorts and Morris Marinas, all in perfect condition, it starts freaking you out after a while. The whole country feels like it’s 1980 again, electricity failures, bad internet connectivity, 7up signs (or is that just the Mediterranean?). <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">We were disappointed in the beaches and facilities for children but they were very welcome in the restaurants. We eat at a wonderful Maltese restaurant called ?, the food was Maltese, a fusion of European, Mediterranean and <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>Middle Eastern influences. The service was great, the food was great, the children ate the food ... it was a wonderful evening out. To balance that, we also went to a Chinese restaurant local to the town we were staying in, it was dire, bad service, bad food, but the children eat everything ... they love Chinese.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">It was, however, a safe, friendly, warm and pleasant place to be from the moment we got off the plane, at no time did we feel unsafe or harassed ... as a country, for a first overseas trip for our family, it was a good choice.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">What the children thought<o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">The children thought it was great. It was their first time in an aeroplane, first time swimming in the sea, first time abroad, first time on a coach (transfer to/from the airport at Gatwick), first time having their own swimming pool to play in, ... They took all of it in their stride and had their horizons expanded.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><b>Highlights<o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;">Amazing architecture built by the Knights of St. John; lovely, welcoming, relaxed people; easy transport links between UK and Malta; hot, sunny weather; the Britishness of so many things makes things seem familiar. We learnt about history we didn’t have a clue about before which surprised and delighted us.</div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px; text-align: center;"><b><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: large;">Sights of Valetta</span></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing" style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><br /></div><br /> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2nO_N_7ByHg/UJgJyeG-8jI/AAAAAAAAAHQ/KOFvEk0ssDM/s1600/Malta1+020-002.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="293" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2nO_N_7ByHg/UJgJyeG-8jI/AAAAAAAAAHQ/KOFvEk0ssDM/s400/Malta1+020-002.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-12ZtFWXuvzI/UJgKPMMGg8I/AAAAAAAAAHY/4vtxztmOYaU/s1600/Malta1+021-001.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="293" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-12ZtFWXuvzI/UJgKPMMGg8I/AAAAAAAAAHY/4vtxztmOYaU/s400/Malta1+021-001.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IAI4ZDC3c5I/UJgK0pngihI/AAAAAAAAAHk/0eXvWEalILo/s1600/Malta1+023-001.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IAI4ZDC3c5I/UJgK0pngihI/AAAAAAAAAHk/0eXvWEalILo/s400/Malta1+023-001.JPG" width="300" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-dG89WQyRY-o/UJgIlcG4QCI/AAAAAAAAAHA/viovSzKcQCY/s1600/Malta1+016-001.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="293" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-dG89WQyRY-o/UJgIlcG4QCI/AAAAAAAAAHA/viovSzKcQCY/s400/Malta1+016-001.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-6fjl_H1gJvs/UJgLd1O5K0I/AAAAAAAAAHs/PFpRZJ1Yji0/s1600/Malta1+042-001.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-6fjl_H1gJvs/UJgLd1O5K0I/AAAAAAAAAHs/PFpRZJ1Yji0/s400/Malta1+042-001.JPG" width="300" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-yKrDezMwCNM/UJgMVNB7d5I/AAAAAAAAAIA/-uxnfreg2dM/s1600/Malta1+053-001.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="293" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-yKrDezMwCNM/UJgMVNB7d5I/AAAAAAAAAIA/-uxnfreg2dM/s400/Malta1+053-001.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-1YkJixy3Y8E/UJgNXKQJN0I/AAAAAAAAAIc/t34yvB-CJPo/s1600/Malta1+058-001.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="293" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-1YkJixy3Y8E/UJgNXKQJN0I/AAAAAAAAAIc/t34yvB-CJPo/s400/Malta1+058-001.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ESR7p5J1EEc/UJgNs4SeqSI/AAAAAAAAAIk/-eZS-YmEjFA/s1600/Malta1+061-001.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="293" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ESR7p5J1EEc/UJgNs4SeqSI/AAAAAAAAAIk/-eZS-YmEjFA/s400/Malta1+061-001.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-fGn-dULdwmY/UJgOLQdBpEI/AAAAAAAAAIw/rwFW1KkyjfQ/s1600/Malta1+062-001.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="293" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-fGn-dULdwmY/UJgOLQdBpEI/AAAAAAAAAIw/rwFW1KkyjfQ/s400/Malta1+062-001.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ge-eqhFlsKg/UJgOs5DC2QI/AAAAAAAAAI4/5ClXStoEoPI/s1600/Malta1+063-001.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="273" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ge-eqhFlsKg/UJgOs5DC2QI/AAAAAAAAAI4/5ClXStoEoPI/s400/Malta1+063-001.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-k4ned5NZuoU/UJgQbkMc-5I/AAAAAAAAAJg/3WIwwR_JjrU/s1600/Malta1+068.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="300" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-k4ned5NZuoU/UJgQbkMc-5I/AAAAAAAAAJg/3WIwwR_JjrU/s400/Malta1+068.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b><br /></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Lowlights<o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">Shockingly bad roads, full of pot holes and a total lack of adherence to driving rules, if there are any, although it’s done in a very non-assertive way. Crowded, very few usable beaches ... the coastline is very rocky, the local habit of shooting birds is disconcerting when, as happened to us, they start shooting just above the beach. Really scruffy rental car (booked through James Villas), boot wouldn’t open, petrol cover lock broken open and a €35 petrol charge for €20 ½ tank worth of petrol when we arrived to collect it.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Things to see and do<o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">Valetta, the 3 Cities and Mdina <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">9/10<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">The rest ... not so good, few shops, beaches or sights <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">4/10<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Beaches<o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">We found one good beach but down an steep uneven track of broken concrete and bird shooting 200m away, all other beaches were either rocky drop offs or beside a busy road <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">2/10<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Food<o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">OK ... mish mash of cuisines and nothing really stood out. Lots of british favourites in shops. A few very good restaurants<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">6/10<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Getting about by car<o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">There seems to be an awful lot of buses, so we’re assuming that public transport is good and regular.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">Signage is poor, driving is difficult with all the pot holes, it has the highest accident rate in Europe, tailgating and blind overtaking but it’s all done with such good humour you can’t be offended.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">4/10<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Accommodation<o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">Expected a bit better from James Villas, tired, bits broken and a night without electricity due to poor wiring but spacious, clean and a lovely pool . Frustrating to not be allowed into the house till 4pm, six hours after arrival but have to be out by 10am on departure day <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">6/10<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Overall rating<o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">6/10<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Will we be coming back ?<o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">Unlikely<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">It lacks that something special that would keep us coming back for more, we’ll probably risk mangling our Italian and go to Sicily or Sardinia next time. Although, I’d make a special day trip to see Valetta again.<o:p></o:p></div><!--EndFragment-->Amandahttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11358237258802141179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-7081349895571461492011-06-12T11:54:00.001+01:002011-06-12T12:00:16.898+01:00Dinner at Le Chateaubriand and moreThis isn't meant to be a detailed review. A week's break beckoned and a couple of fellow, foodie and motorbike loving mates and I came up with the idea of trying Le Chateaubriand for dinner. Matt of <a href="http://maisonmattmoo.blogspot.com/">Maison Mattmoo</a> and Justin of the superb <a href="http://www.townmillcheese.co.uk/">Town Mill Cheesemonger </a>in nearby Lyme Regis and I headed out early Monday morning, Justin and I meeting in a McD's carpark at 5:15 am before heading to the ferry, a couple of hours down the motorway and we're tucking into Moules in <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honfleur">Honfleur </a>after meeting up with Matt ... well worth a stop !<br /><br />A few hours further on and squinting at my iphone's GPS we're heading towards the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arc_de_Triomphe">Arc De Triomphe</a> ... and the one roundabout I've always wanted to go around on a bike (in a slightly massochistic way) ! I pushed my way through in a somewhat assertive way on the Harley and blasted down the Champs-Élysées with Matt and about 50 scooters in tow (Justin rides in a far more mannered way and we met him at the hotel) ... absolutely brilliant fun !<br /><br />Paris Tuesday consisted of a visit to <a href="http://www.e-dehillerin.fr/en/index.php">Dehillerin </a>... amazing kitchen bits shop ... I managed to control my urge to buy everything in sight ! Then a couple of amazing cheese shops, <a href="http://androuet.com/fromage%20paris%205%20France-6-fromagerie.html">Androuet </a>being the main one, they also have a branch and restaurant in London.<br /><br />And so to Dinner. We'd tried to book but it was full so we were there on the off chance we could blag a table and there was a whisper that a second booking was available ... we rocked up about 8:30 and found what looked like a cafe, busy but certainly didn't give the appearance of the 9th best restaurant in the western world and the best in France ( <a href="http://www.theworlds50best.com/awards/1-50-winners">S.Pelligrino 50 best restaurants in the world</a>) ... it was casual, open to the road, a bar you could stand at and order a drink ... wooden unmatched tables and chairs. Could we get a table ? "Come back at 9:30"<br /><br />We returned, queued for an hour with mostly American students who'd never heard of the restaurant as far as I could tell, and finally sat down.<br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://a.yfrog.com/img614/5876/k2saj.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://a.yfrog.com/img614/5876/k2saj.jpg" width="300" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">If your name's not on the list you're not getting in before me !</td></tr></tbody></table><br />The menu was a single sheet of paper, no options, we had smokers near us outside the restaurant and people staring as we ate ... <br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pChVag6izEI/TevwME5yKaI/AAAAAAAAA5w/_1sahg2TzSY/s1600/IMG_0774.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pChVag6izEI/TevwME5yKaI/AAAAAAAAA5w/_1sahg2TzSY/s400/IMG_0774.JPG" width="298" /></a></div><br />The food is mostly un cooked raw foods, wild plants, edible flowers and seafood, which reflects the tiny kitchen they serve from.<br /><br />But ... I have to honestly say it was one of the best meals I've ever eaten, no contest. When Matt had originally suggested the trip he said he thought it'd be up my street ... absolutely it was. The flavours are intense, the food is surprisingly simple, the perfection of flavours was just heaven for me. It is food as I'd love to be able to serve and absolutely inspirational ... I will remember it for a long time and definitely return.<br /><br />More photos to be added:Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com6tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-77303915075026301792011-05-10T21:44:00.000+01:002011-05-10T21:44:52.175+01:00Elderflower Tempura and Elderflower CordialElderflower is just starting to appear, early this year. A simple way to cook flowers is in a tempura batter. I had intended to make the tempura with champagne but after trying decided to have a go with some sparkling elderflower cordial as the champagne overpowered the elderflower.<br />Elderflower is highly aromatic, something like 80% of our taste comes from aroma so very important to find a way to keep the lovely aroma through the cooking.<br /><br /><b>Elderflower Tempura&nbsp; </b><br /><b>Ingredients:</b><br />3-4 heads of Elderflowers, pick when the flowers are fully formed and deeply fragrant <br />1/4 Cup Cornflour<br />1/2 Cup Plain Flour<br />1 Egg White (use a good free range egg, I recommend <a href="http://www.thehappyegg.co.uk/">Happy Eggs</a>)<br />1/2 Cup chilled Sparkling Elderflower Cordial (recipe below)<br />pinch of fine salt <br /><br />Vegetable oil to fry <br /><br /><b>Method</b><br />Whisk the egg white till stiff peaks form, add the cordial then fold in the sifted flour, the batter mix should be wet, consistency of single cream.<br /><br />Heat the oil to approx 180C (one of the best investments you can make is a good <a href="http://www.nisbets.co.uk/products/productdetail.asp?productCode=J242">cooking thermometer</a>)<br /><br />Drag small 'branches' of elderflower through the batter and place gently in the oil, drop the elderflower away from yourself to avoid splashes<br />Cook for approximately 30 seconds before turning over and cook the other side for 30 seconds<br /><br />I like it served with fresh strawberries, but try with fresh whipped cream or ice cream.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-b5wBGW5ir_Y/TcmfklvkHAI/AAAAAAAAA5Q/hyw8iPXAb3Q/s1600/Photo1%25281%2529.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-b5wBGW5ir_Y/TcmfklvkHAI/AAAAAAAAA5Q/hyw8iPXAb3Q/s400/Photo1%25281%2529.jpg" width="298" /></a></div><br /><b>Elderflower cordial<br /><br />Ingredients</b>:<br />1.5 l water<br />1 kg of caster sugar<br />20 large elderflower heads <br />4 lemons<br />50g of citric acid<br /><br /><b>Method</b>:<br />Bring water and sugar to simmer, stir to dissolve the sugar, leave to cool<br />Add the citric acid, Lemon juice and zest, elderflowers<br />Leave in a fridge for 72hr<br />Strain (I use a clean 'J' cloth in a sieve).<br />Simmer till reduced by 2/3 in volume then store in <a href="http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter11-2.html">sanitised</a> glass bottles<br />To make up mix with soda water to taste, I prefer about 20% cordialMat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com9tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-1766775098221863152011-05-01T21:35:00.000+01:002011-05-01T21:35:40.225+01:00DIY Sous Vide WaterbathI've been asked a number of times how I made my Sous Vide waterbath. Its pretty simple to make one really, a sous vide bath is a hot water bath and an accurate temperature controller. You can buy a ready made one that incorporates all the elements in one package, or seperate the controller which enables you to use different equipment.<br /><br />For day to day sous vide I use an <a href="http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&amp;cPath=8&amp;products_id=44">Auber Sous Vide controller</a>. This controller switches the output based on the temperature setting. Its an American controller but works on 240V so just needs a plug change for UK use. I then use a jug cord on the output side with a socket fitted to plug my 'bath' into. It also costs about £100.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-wHD3-8BGs4E/Tb3C50NFbDI/AAAAAAAAA5M/6rYoT8wXfpo/s1600/ws-1500Aa.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="233" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-wHD3-8BGs4E/Tb3C50NFbDI/AAAAAAAAA5M/6rYoT8wXfpo/s320/ws-1500Aa.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br />This enables me to use any analog controlled (ie a switching not digital controller) setup, most wet Bain Maries, simple electric hot plates, soup kettles and slow cookers will work. All you have to do is plug the bath into the output of the controller, set the temperature higher than required, place the probe in the water then set the actual temperature on the controller ... done !<br /><br />The benefit of this setup is I can use all manner of equipment, a fish or beef consomme as an overnight stock at 70 or 85C respectively in a regular stockpot sat on an electric ring or set the bain marie at 52C for slow cooking skirt steak ... in restaurant service 52C perfectly conditions steak in 15min to a warmed through medium rare, requiring a simple browning in a pan to serve.<br /><br />A couple of tips ... from experience ... put a pie rack or a plate on the bottom of the bath so not to get 'burns' from the heating element directly underneath, when cooking for extended periods cover the bath to minimise water loss ...<br /><br />For lots and lots more sous vide applications and information the best I've found is here ... <a href="http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/136274-sous-vide-index/">Sous vide index</a>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com7tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-31516898621203153982011-03-02T11:07:00.002+00:002011-03-02T11:13:00.891+00:00Kai We Care - popup restaurant for NZ quake<div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">Twitter is an amazing and powerful tool for our times. I've seen statements like this said a number of times but hadn't realised till Monday night how true this can be. </div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">One single tweet from me and approx 300 replies came flooding in within a few minutes.</div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">A short conversation with Dave Ahern aka @corkgourmetguy, a blogger and fellow 'mature' newby chef … went along the lines of (and I'm paraphrasing):</div><ul><li>D You doing anything for NZ Earthquake ?</li><li>M Running an auction for dinner/overnight, not sure what else to do</li><li>D Popup restaurant ?</li><li>M Too far from London and not enough time to handle as much as I want to, keep asking if anyone is so I can help out</li><li>D I run events for a living (or did), how about it? We could do a 30 cover dinner with our contacts alone</li><li>M Why not? I'll ask twitter and see what feedback I get</li></ul><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><i><br /></i></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><i><a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/matkiwi">matkiwi</a> Mat Follas </i></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><i>It's been suggested a popup fundraiser restaurant for nz earthquake ... London ... 4 or 5th April ... thoughts? Volunteers? Location?</i></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">What a response ! Literally hundreds of people offered their help immediately and lots more offering services and goodies.</div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">Thank you all so much … I can't say that enough</div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">So its starting to take shape. </div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div align="CENTER" class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Kai we care</b></span></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">Kai = Māori for food ... the name is a pun on Kiwi care ... </div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/KaiWeCare">@KaiWeCare</a> is the twitter account</div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">The website (just starting) <a href="http://kaiwecare.weebly.com/">http://kaiwecare.weebly.com/</a></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">email <a href="mailto:KaiWeCare@gmail.com">Mailto:KaiWeCare@gmail.com</a> </div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">This is now somewhat bigger than envisiged (that's English understatement for you) </div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">We have a whole bunch of seriously good chefs including Michelin starred on board to run a course each. Some you might know and some will be better known to chefs and their local communities. It will be great to get a few TV faces on board but just as fun for us to experience some of the lesser well known but exceptional chefs we have in the UK. For example we will have the lovely Lisa Faulkner (Celeb Masterchef winner) and the less well known Michelin starred Russell Brown from Sienna down here in Dorset. There's a few from Masterchef and The Restaurant on board and a whole bunch of exceptional chefs, more to come. </div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">Harass your favourite chefs to offer to help, its a Monday so most of them will be available ! The best chefs we can get will make this an amazing event and help with the right ticket and auction prices … this is a fundraiser first and foremost, but we all want it to be an evening to be remembered too.</div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">Lots of wine offers, great ! I'm thinking a wine company per course to sponser and a few special bottles for the Auction</div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">Auction prizes: a number of meals, training courses and wines … please keep them coming !</div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">Bloggers and twitters I need your help to sell tickets, We will need to source ingredients free or at cost and lots and lots of publicity so we can maximise ticket sales and auction values. I know you'll help and please bear with us as the above is all the planning we've been able to do so far.</div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><b>Importantly:</b></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><b>Date</b>: &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; <b>4 April - put this in your diary now please !</b> </div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><i><span style="font-weight: normal;">(as a nice antidote to Mothers day it has been said ...)</span></i></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><b>Location &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; </b>London </div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><i>(several sites probable/possible at the moment, looking for size, kitchen and locations, hopefully finalize asap but please do suggest more)</i></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><b>Tickets&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </b>£ to be agreed<i> (suggestions?)</i></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><b>Sale method&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</b> Ebay or direct from the email account&nbsp;</div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><b>Numbers&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </b>100 planned</div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">Who's doing what ? In rough terms I'm organising the chefs, Dave the location and auction and John running the twitter and email accounts and day to day … conveniently he has arranged to be unemployed while we're organising the event</div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">Please retweet/email/blog/copy this letter and let your friends and family know. </div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">More to come soon</div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">Mat</div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com3tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-56691492069988870072011-02-23T18:10:00.001+00:002011-02-24T00:13:33.665+00:00Chocolate Fondant<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-KeosS0MajLc/TWVMK5FBfOI/AAAAAAAAA4w/bEFJY_RbcvU/s1600/Chocolate-fondant-450.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="265" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-KeosS0MajLc/TWVMK5FBfOI/AAAAAAAAA4w/bEFJY_RbcvU/s400/Chocolate-fondant-450.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><br /><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><b>With Masterchef back on the Telly ... what more appropriate time to post my chocolate fondant recipe (written for <a href="http://www.thehappyegg.co.uk/index.html">Happy Eggs</a>) ?</b></span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><b><br /></b></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><b>Chocolate Fondant</b>Serves 4<br /><br /><b>Ingredients:</b>200g 72% cooking chocolate<br />200g Butter<br />240g Caster sugar<br />4 happy eggs<br />4 yolks<br />200g Plain flour</div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><br /></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><b>Method:</b></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><b><br /></b>•&nbsp;Butter the inside of 4 ramekins, sprinkle with cocoa powder and place in the freezer for 5 minutes.</div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><br />•&nbsp;Melt the chocolate and butter in a pan on a very low heat.<br />Tip: Alternatively, you could place the pan in a sink of hot water from the tap. This warms the mixture gently without direct heat.<br /></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;">•&nbsp;In a bowl whip the eggs, yolks &amp; sugar.<br /></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;">•&nbsp;Fold in the flour and when mixed, fold in the chocolate.<br /></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;">•&nbsp;Pour the mixture into the 4 ramekins.<br /></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;">•&nbsp;Place in a preheated oven at 180°C for 7-10 minutes.</div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><br />Tip: You can tell they’re cooked when they are soft to touch but are set, not liquid.</div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com11tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-16420574382350508952011-02-18T01:09:00.002+00:002011-02-18T01:15:22.411+00:00Tripadvisor - my personal viewI've rewritten this piece a few times so as not to respond emotively.<br /><br />Its really frustrating to be targeted by a campaign of abuse by anonymous sources. This is exactly what the restaurant has been subjected to recently in a deliberate attempt to damage our business via the Tripadvisor website. Should I just ignore it and rise above it ? Maybe.<br /><br />I like the idea of independant review sites but I genuinely have serious doubts as to how they can be valid, it is just far too easy to manipulate and fake reviews. I think they cannot be entirely ananymous without any review being suspect ... and I say this as a restaurant with many more positive than negative reviews. <br /><br />Why the campaign ? I'm not sure, perhaps a member of staff that I have sacked or perhaps a competitor or someone I have upset ... I don't really know. I have only sacked staff go for reasons of incompetence, non-attendance (or both) so I guess there might be some resentment there. My local competition in town I have a good working relationship with and we share after work drinks so I certainly don't cast any aspersions their way ! We have had a few customers who take extreme umbrage, out of all proportion, to how we cook and/or serve food at the restaurant and to be honest I'm fine with them posting a negative review as we have a very defined style that will not suit everyone. We do go to a lot of effort to be clear about the style of the restaurant via website, sample menus and photos.<br /><br /><br />How do I know its a campaign not actual issues ?<br /><ul><li>The dishes that are referenced we don't serve (Rump steak)</li><li>The layout of the restaurant has been made up ('the cutlery was spilled outside the toilets' ... the loos are on another floor altogether)</li><li>Conversation that didn't happen ('Matt laughed at a fly in my salad')</li></ul>The tone of some of the reviews is of such fury it actually makes me feel uncomfortable ... surely no one should get that upset over a meal ??<br /><br /><br />Don't get me wrong, there are negative reviews on Tripadvisor that are certainly fair and I'd love to be able to respond. We did have a vegetarian waitress who sneered at meat eaters ... for about two days until we parted company, some dishes have stayed on our menu for a long time, Fillet steak, bearnaise and smoked mash is a keeper but the goat's cheese salad has finally been replaced with a lovely goat's cheese pannacotta with beetroot crisps, poached and powdered rhubarb for the winter. There has been the occasional booking issue, some our fault, and some, I suspect a result of there being more than one restaurant called The Wild Garlic, at last count there are three in the UK I'm aware of.<br /><br /><br /><br />I'm not going to respond to Tripadvisor, I find the anonymity of the site an invitation for some very unfounded reviews. I know approx 10% are fake for the reasons above. I know a number have been put up by a couple of single parties who have very strong ties to a competitor, I would like to think the competitor hasn't asked them too and they are acting out of a sense of loyalty. I know a number have been written as a result of me not acceding to blackmail and giving a free meal 'or we'll put negative reviews about you'. <br /><br /><br />If you are happy or unhappy with the restaurant in some way please post a comment to this blog entry, like all of my blog comments I will publish as long as you don't hide behind anonymity. <br /><br /><br />MatMat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com39tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-19339207140632725312011-02-13T17:35:00.001+00:002011-02-13T17:40:25.832+00:00Masterchef 2011 (why I will be watching)I will be watching Masterchef this year, I don't always watch the celeb or professionals but always the amateur series<br /><br />Why ?<br /><br />... as a fan of the program I've always enjoyed the honesty of the judges, John and Gregg, the aspirations of the contestants, the ones who flourish and the ones who's pomposity is burst with a truly awful dish. John and Gregg are not your friends who, at every dinner party, praise you for your 'wonderful cooking', they're direct and honest and more than a little painful at times. The 'journey' is a much copied format now but its always great to watch the huge leaps the semi-finalists take as they progress and get opportunities to learn.<br /><br />... as a previous contestant and winner I have a huge debt and can share the highs and lows from a privileged perspective. I know a lot of the team behind the cameras, the directors and the brilliant and committed Series Editors Karen and David. I know the program is honest to its core, John and Gregg, the production and the contestants are kept at arms length from each other. I'm sure the production would have preferred a female finalist in the last couple of years but the judges are kept separate from influence and, I believe, only ever judge on the food placed in front of them. I know now Gregg and I are friends that I wasn't his favourite to win my series until the final day although I had no inkling when I was contestant which way either of them felt.<br /><br />... finally as a restaurateur there are some wonderful new ideas and dishes, its great to see other kitchens (we cooks lead pretty insular lives)<br /><br />The format changes this year, I don't know how similar to the Aussie or NZ Masterchef it will be but I do know the production team is basically the same as the previous series. I know they're a bit nervous of the new, more glamorous perhaps, format and studio losing the audience who like the grittiness of the original series but am confident there will be the underlying honesty kept which will ensure the series will continue as a success.<br /><br />So good luck to the program, more importantly I wish the last few luck as they are now committed to cooking for the next few years, I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I have. I look forward to hopefully meeting you soon.<br /><br /><b>Series 7 Masterchef starts on BBC1 at 9pm this Wednesday 16 February</b><br />(I might be making a brief appearance on the 24th February<b>)</b><br /><br /><b></b><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yuuz7xczeJo/TVgV1BTIDII/AAAAAAAAA4s/1TQy47VqPNs/s1600/820MasterChef-1.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="131" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yuuz7xczeJo/TVgV1BTIDII/AAAAAAAAA4s/1TQy47VqPNs/s400/820MasterChef-1.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><b><br /></b>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com8tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-32258462824693233102010-12-05T11:13:00.006+00:002010-12-05T20:10:58.449+00:00"Heston's Christmas Pudding" My take on it anywayI keep seeing reports on how amazing Heston's Christmas Pudding is and how much they sell for on ebay. In the interests of good taste, food investigation and a shameless traffic generating blog post I am creating one.<br /><br />Stage one ... candied orange:<br />Actually I'm going to candy some mandarins ... they're quicker and, for me, they taste better for this dish.<br />Four mandarins, prick a dozen or so times all over and remove any stalk, trat an orange the same way.<br /><br />Place in saucepan and mix roughy 250g icing sugar and 350ml water and pour over. The mandarins will float so make a cartouche to cover them ... or just use a small pan lid with a vent hole like so ...<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPtx5vJKgXI/AAAAAAAAA2A/tcyShn2_u8w/s1600/photo.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPtx5vJKgXI/AAAAAAAAA2A/tcyShn2_u8w/s320/photo.JPG" width="239" /></a><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPtxvaCQUeI/AAAAAAAAA18/f9dHV-npkZ4/s1600/photo%25283%2529.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPtxvaCQUeI/AAAAAAAAA18/f9dHV-npkZ4/s320/photo%25283%2529.JPG" width="239" /></a></div><br />Heat to 80-90C and leave at this heat for about 2 hours&nbsp; ...<br />What we have now is a sticky candied fruit, slightly translucent and glossy, I added a small orange and lemon to flavour the final pudding, the liguor has a wonderful frangrance a citrus flavour so I've added some orange juice and reduced it to make a citrus sauce for the puds. I then placed the fruit in a low oven for an hour to dry the peel and 'candy' it<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPutBz9giDI/AAAAAAAAA2Y/k1fef1uvXSA/s1600/photo%25286%2529-1.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="266" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPutBz9giDI/AAAAAAAAA2Y/k1fef1uvXSA/s400/photo%25286%2529-1.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><br />When the fruit has dried the lemons are more candied than the mandarins, I diced a mandarin and some lemon to add to the pudding mix<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPvPBfGeMBI/AAAAAAAAA20/PsZUSaBQIdg/s1600/photo%25287%2529.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPvPBfGeMBI/AAAAAAAAA20/PsZUSaBQIdg/s320/photo%25287%2529.JPG" width="251" /></a></div>The liquor is reducing nicely on low:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPvPjXrGyTI/AAAAAAAAA24/3GHB-nyo8p0/s1600/photo%252810%2529.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPvPjXrGyTI/AAAAAAAAA24/3GHB-nyo8p0/s320/photo%252810%2529.JPG" width="239" /></a></div><br />Now to the pudding ...<br />Ingredients:<br /><ul><li>2 slices of brown bread, crust removed</li><li>20g Plain Flour</li><li>30g Brown sugar</li><li>50g Butter</li><li>1 Egg</li><li>1tsp Bicarb</li><li>1tsp mixed spice</li><li> 2 tsp Orange marmalade</li><li>2 tsp Ginger conserve</li><li>Diced candied orange and lemon</li></ul>Blitz bread to fine crumbs before adding dry ingredients and mix.<br />Add other ingredients and mix for a short time with a wooden spoon.<br />Place several Tbsp of mix in based of a buttered pudding bowl. <br />Place the mandardin on top of the mix and fill around and over, till the bowl is approx 3/4 filled.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPvSf4zN57I/AAAAAAAAA28/xzzqCVO4KeI/s1600/photo%25288%2529.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPvSf4zN57I/AAAAAAAAA28/xzzqCVO4KeI/s320/photo%25288%2529.JPG" width="239" /></a><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPvSm8aBYWI/AAAAAAAAA3A/BVk-HdEUVUs/s1600/photo%25289%2529.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="239" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPvSm8aBYWI/AAAAAAAAA3A/BVk-HdEUVUs/s320/photo%25289%2529.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br />Clingfilm the top of the pudding dish and place in a baking tray with a couple of inches of water in the tray, bake in a low oven (140C) for approx 70 minutes.<br /><br />The end result was spot on ... which was a relief&nbsp; ... the pudding was delicous and the sauce ... oh my god the sauce was good ... toffee, citrus, bitter peel ... heaven<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPvuBpDYBOI/AAAAAAAAA3E/4no-GTTeJGo/s1600/Christmas+Cake+2010+001-2.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="640" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TPvuBpDYBOI/AAAAAAAAA3E/4no-GTTeJGo/s640/Christmas+Cake+2010+001-2.JPG" width="440" /></a></div><br /><br />The fruit could be candied for longer, overnight in a low oven perhaps, personally I like it like it is with a citrus kick still ... but if I'm honest candied fruit is not high on my list of things I choose to eat ... I liked this pudding and will be making it on my cookery course this week and at home for christmas.<br /><br />A few people on Twitter have asked how much ... Heston's was £13, at a rough guess this costs about £1 and 20 minutes work over a day. I won't be selling these though ... go on make it yourself ... its easy !<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com20tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-77694052073173469802010-10-03T12:11:00.005+01:002010-10-04T07:25:34.519+01:00Burmese night at The Wild Garlic<span id="goog_1364067561"></span><span id="goog_1364067562"></span><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_UkpKGLSO0gM/SgC_DZiaG6I/AAAAAAAAAA4/rqixikWXq8c/S768/MK_Banner+May+2009+bright.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><span id="goog_1364067557"></span><span id="goog_1364067558"></span></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><span id="goog_1364067567"><span id="goog_1364067571"></span><span id="goog_469357507"></span></span><img border="0" height="47" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_UkpKGLSO0gM/SgC_DZiaG6I/AAAAAAAAAA4/rqixikWXq8c/S768/MK_Banner+May+2009+bright.jpg" width="320" /><span id="goog_469357508"></span><span id="goog_1364067572"><span id="goog_469357509"></span><span id="goog_469357510"></span></span><span id="goog_1364067568"></span></div><br />On Friday night we held a succesful evening where I let <span class="status-body"><span class="entry-content"><a href="http://www.meemalee.com/">MiMi of meemalee's kitchen</a> </span></span>take over my restaurant and cook Burmese food for the night ...<br /><br />Why would I let someone take over my restaurant for a night and cook food I know nothing about ?<br /><br />A question that will take a little longer than my usual <a href="http://twitter.com/matkiwi">twitter </a>140 characters to answer.<br /><br />I guess the nub of my answer is the same reason 44 customers booked blindly to come and eat ... an interest in food and a different culture. I know MiMi does great food and has one of the best food blogs around (<a href="http://www.meemalee.com/">here</a>) plus she is working on a cookbook ... hopefully she'll leave a comment with more details.<br /><br />The practical ... Asian food isn't that hard to provide for a group ... its bulk rice and pots of curries, salads and cold foods ... there was a couple of dishes cooked to order but that's a whole lot less than any normal evening. Its not something I could do daily as MiMi and Simon spent two solid days on the preparation and we have hours between services to do our prep.<br /><br />MiMi did a brilliant job of preparing a dozen or so dishes, about the right amounts for the customers, her and Terry plated and sent the food out well and on time for the evening.<br /><br />How was the food ? ... there are some other bloggers who will describe better than I can ... <a href="http://www.lostinthelarder.co.uk/?p=297">lost in the larder</a> for example, for me the food was interesting, some really good, like cinnamon chicken, and some I didn't enjoy ... I'm not going to hurry to eat century egg salad again but it was something I'm glad I tried, other customers disagreed and loved the salad.<br /><br />The food is very different to most asian foods I've tried but I would choose to eat Burmese again. It has subtle flavours like Thai but light heat and spicing so very different too. The food was all very well cooked to a professional standard, by MiMi and her husband Simon who seemed to spend several days just chopping onions !<br /><br />The customers, I think, felt pretty much the same, it was good food, it was mostly locals in, who block booked the restaurant within days of us deciding to host the night, for a great night out and a very different experience and we delivered that succesfully<br /><br />Well done MiMi ... and good luck with your next popup !<br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span"><br /></span><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-weight: bold;">Burmese Night at the Wild Garlic</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-style: italic;">Friday 1st October</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">***</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">Christophene Fritters</span><br /><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-style: italic;">Gorakhar-thee Jaw</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">Matpe Bean Fritters</span><br /><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-style: italic;">Bayar Jaw</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">Charred Tomato Salsa</span><br /><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-style: italic;">Pun-tway Byaw</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">***</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">Wood-ear Mushroom and Bean-thread Vermicelli Soup</span><br /><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-style: italic;">Jar-zun Hin-gah</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">***</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">Fish Ball Salad</span><br /><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-style: italic;">Nga-pè Thoh(k)</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">Century Egg Salad</span><br /><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-style: italic;">Say Bè-Oo Thoh(k)</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">Green Bean Salad</span><br /><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-style: italic;">Bair-thee Thoh(k)</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">***</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">Cinnamon Chicken</span><br /><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-style: italic;">Je(t)-thar Hin-mway</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">Mogok Pork Curry</span><br /><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-style: italic;">We(t)-thar Hnu(t)</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">Tomato and Coriander Prawns</span><br /><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-style: italic;">Bazuhn See-Byun</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">Straw Mushroom, Oyster Mushrooms, Baby Spinach</span><br /><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-style: italic;">Moh Hin-Noo-Nwè</span><br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">Burmese Coleslaw and Shrimp Relish</span><br /><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-style: italic;">Gorbee Thoh(k), A’Ngun Jaw</span><br /><br />***<br /><br /><span class="Apple-style-span">Coconut Sorbet, Tapioca Milk and Brioche</span><br /><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-style: italic;">Mohn(t) Le(t) Saon</span></div><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://s3.amazonaws.com/twitpic/photos/full/170776764.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=0ZRYP5X5F6FSMBCCSE82&amp;Expires=1286105061&amp;Signature=UobuvS4ZE6GHPAVim5P%2BvQS910g%3D" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/twitpic/photos/full/170776764.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=0ZRYP5X5F6FSMBCCSE82&amp;Expires=1286105061&amp;Signature=UobuvS4ZE6GHPAVim5P%2BvQS910g%3D" width="300" /></a></div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com6tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-73189060853600032182010-09-28T16:46:00.001+01:002010-09-28T16:48:57.935+01:00Fennel and roast tomato Lasagne<div align="CENTER" class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: large;"><b><br /></b></span></div><div align="CENTER" class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span> </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TKINYn2ydnI/AAAAAAAAA1c/iMSt8cNPVv0/s1600/Fennel+&amp;+tomato+Lasagne+-+Dorset+Echo+-+Sep+2010.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="404" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TKINYn2ydnI/AAAAAAAAA1c/iMSt8cNPVv0/s640/Fennel+&amp;+tomato+Lasagne+-+Dorset+Echo+-+Sep+2010.JPG" width="640" /></a></span></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span> </div><br /><span style="font-size: small;">One of my favourite vegetarian ingredients is Fennel. The aniseed flavour in Fennel becomes milder when it’s roasted, so I generally slow cook it in an oven before mixing with cream; this gives a lovely deep savoury flavour that can be used as the base for many dishes.</span><br /><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">This recipe is one of my wife’s </span><span style="font-size: small;"><i>(ex-vegetarian)</i></span><span style="font-size: small;"> staple dishes when I’m away or working at the restaurant and it uses a fantastic vegetarian cheese.</span></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span> </div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span> </div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;"><b>(Serves 4)</b></span></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span> </div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;"><b>Ingredients</b></span></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">800g Tomatoes on the vine</span></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">3 Fennel bulbs</span></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">100g Parmesan style cheese (we use Lyburn's 'Old Winchester' - </span><span style="color: black; font-size: small;">www.lyburnfarm.co.uk</span><span style="font-size: small;">)</span></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">Balsamic Vinegar</span></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil</span></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">1 packet of good quality dry lasagne pasta</span></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">300ml Double cream</span></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">Salt &amp; pepper to taste</span></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span> </div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;"><b>Method</b></span></div><ul><li><br /><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">Finely slice the fennel and place in an oven tray; drizzle with rapeseed o</span><span style="color: black; font-size: small;">il and a pinch of salt &amp; pepper</span></div></li><li><br /><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">In a separate oven tray, place the tomatoes </span><span style="font-size: small;"><i>(still on the vine)</i></span><span style="font-size: small;">; drizzle with rapeseed oil and season with 2 dessert spoons of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt &amp; pepper</span></div></li><li><br /><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">Place both trays in the oven for 30 minutes at 180C</span></div></li><li><br /><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">Take out the oven tray containing the fennel; add 300ml of Double cream, mix with the fennel, and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes</span></div></li><li><br /><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">Take out the oven tray containing the tomatoes and place them in a bowl. Remove the vine and lightly crush the tomatoes with a fork</span></div></li><li><br /><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">Take out the oven tray containing the fennel. Grate most of the cheese onto the fennel and stir </span><span style="font-size: small;"><i>(this should make a thick cheesy sauce with a custard-like consistency. Add more cream if it's too thick)</i></span></div></li><li><br /><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">To assemble the Lasagne, start with a thin layer of tomatoes, then a layer of dry Lasagne pasta followed by a layer of fennel then another layer of dry Lasagne pasta. Continue with alternate layers of tomatos, dry pasta, fennel and dry pasta. The top layer should be fennel, onto which you can grate the remaining cheese</span></div></li><li><br /><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">Cover with foil and place in an oven for 40 minutes at 160C </span><span style="font-size: small;"><i>(remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking)</i></span></div></li><li><br /><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: small;">Serve with a seasonal salad</span></div></li></ul><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-57279786748803857982010-08-15T17:50:00.000+01:002010-08-15T17:50:05.317+01:00Ham Hock Terrine<div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">The difference between dishes I would cook at home, and those I would cook at the restaurant are twofold; firstly, the effort involved in sourcing the best ingredients (we currently use lightly smoked and cured Ham Hocks bought from local smoker, Capreolus Fine Foods); secondly, the preparation time; to make a Ham Hock Terrine takes 2 days. It's a worthwhile endeavour but as a home cook you've got to be organised to do it. This recipe is ideal if you start mid-week for a weekend dinner party, for example.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Ham Hock is a cheaper cut of meat and it's well worth sourcing a good quality joint from an independent butcher.<b><o:p></o:p></b></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TGgabepx0vI/AAAAAAAAA04/yXGBy-vDtwQ/s1600/HamHockTerrine+-+Marshwood+Vale+-+September+2010.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="250" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TGgabepx0vI/AAAAAAAAA04/yXGBy-vDtwQ/s400/HamHockTerrine+-+Marshwood+Vale+-+September+2010.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Serves 4<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Ingredients:<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Ham Hock<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">1 onion<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">2 carrots<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">2 sticks celery<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">½ bunch Parsley<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">2 Gerkins<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">30 Capers<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Small handful Hazelnuts<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Method:<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><ul style="margin-top: 0cm;" type="disc"><li class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Place the Ham Hock in a large pan and add water until it is just covered, then add the roughly chopped onion, carrot and celery. Cover the pan and simmer for 3 hours<o:p></o:p></span></li><li class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Take off the heat and leave it to chill<o:p></o:p></span></li><li class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Remove the Ham Hock and set the pan of liquor aside. Pick the meat off and chop into small pieces, place in a bowl<o:p></o:p></span></li><li class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Strain the liquor and return it to the heat on a rolling boil until it has reduced by 1/3, set aside<o:p></o:p></span></li><li class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Chop the parsley, gerkins, capers and hazelnuts and mix with the meat<o:p></o:p></span></li><li class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Spoon the mixture into a mould and press down gently. Add some of the liquor, then place in the fridge to set overnight<o:p></o:p></span></li></ul><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Presentation:<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">To serve, use a nice apple based chutney or homemade piccalilli <i>(I'll do recipes for these soon)</i></span>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-55308761714986632322010-07-20T22:52:00.000+01:002010-07-20T22:52:05.569+01:00Chocolate and Rosemary Mousse<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TEYaNb7O8jI/AAAAAAAAA0w/QYxH4M09tXQ/s1600/Choc+&amp;+Rosemary+mousse+-+Marshwood+Vale+-+August+2010.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/TEYaNb7O8jI/AAAAAAAAA0w/QYxH4M09tXQ/s400/Choc+&amp;+Rosemary+mousse+-+Marshwood+Vale+-+August+2010.JPG" width="348" /></a></div><div align="center" class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div align="center" class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Chocolate &amp; Rosemary mousse<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">This is a simple recipe, using cream, allows us to infuse all sorts of flavours into the mousse, not just rosemary. Other alternatives could be ginger, citrus <i>(use the zest and a little of the juice)</i>, basil, chilli etc.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">We use this mousse as part of a trio of chocolates in the restaurant, along with a chocolate citrus sorbet and a white chocolate strawberry truffle ganache. Rosemary works well with the dark chocolate because, as with lamb dishes, the rosemary cuts through the richness that dark chocolate can bring. This recipe is all about the chocolate, so use a good quality dark choc; for an extra few pennies it’s worth investing in some Green &amp; Blacks 72%</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Serves 4<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Ingredients:<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">3 Eggs<br />200ml/7fl oz double cream<br />100g 72%(or higher) dark chocolate broken into small pieces<br />tbsp chopped rosemary<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Method:<o:p></o:p></span></b></div><ul style="margin-top: 0cm;" type="disc"><li class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Heat the cream and chopped rosemary in a saucepan untill the cream is just too hot to touch ... don’t boil it !</span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></li><li class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Leave the cream to cool and infuse with the rosemary flavour, then place in fridge after 20min of cooling</span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></li><li class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">When chilled, strain out the rosemary pieces and whip the double cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed</span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></li><li class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Separate the eggs and whip the whites till hard peaks form when the whisk is removed</span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></li><li class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Warm the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, take off the heat as soon as melted and combine with the yolks <i>(take care not to heat too much, or the chocolate will grain or the yolks will cook)</i> ... I know I’m making it sound difficult, but it’s easier than it sounds</span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></li><li class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">While the chocolate mixture is still melted fold in the cream until well combined, then carefully fold in the whipped whites</span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></li><li class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;">Pour into serving dishes and chill for two hours or more. This will leave you with a strong but light dark chocolate and rosemary mousse ... delicious !</span><span style="font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 10pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></li></ul>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com11tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-68949081646478643462010-05-17T21:55:00.001+01:002010-05-17T21:57:21.340+01:00Full circle, back to New Orleans and some great food this time !<span style="font-size: small;"></span><br /><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S_GrlXucR6I/AAAAAAAAAyI/cogJnMWJyKY/s1600/rest%20of%20trip%20006.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S_GrlXucR6I/AAAAAAAAAyI/cogJnMWJyKY/s1600/rest%20of%20trip%20006.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><span style="font-size: small;">My last night on the road was back in a Motel 6, an original design version, which gave me the chance to see the difference between a bog standard and newly designed room, which I had been mostly staying in for most of the trip. This room had the bare essentials, and although the clean lines and jazzy colours were missing it was still an OK place to stay and ticked all the boxes after a long ride.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-size: small;">The staff though were fantastic. When I asked where it is I should eat that night, not only did they come up with a load of suggestions, they were also enthusiastic about their local food, and had gone to the trouble to try to get in contact with a local wise woman who foraged and used herbs from the landscape to come see me. It didn’t work out as I had to get back on the road early the next morning, but I appreciated the effort they had gone to.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Supper - a mile down the road – an unbelievable $10 later, but almost worth it just to chat to Daniel the taxi driver. I thought he was as mad as a rattlesnake, but had some great stories to tell. He had spent time in the army and was from a family of racehorse breeders, as well as being a bit of an expert in Tai Kwan Do, well he said so anyway – and with all those tattoos and general demeanor I certainly wasn’t going to argue.<br /><br />The restaurant was empty but did have a key difference – it served vegetables! The meal was a bit topsy turvy with alligator tail starter being served ¾ way through the main course, but all was excused as the soup – a seafood bisque was absolutely stunning. One of the best dishes I’ve had since being in America. Truly stunning mix of depth, spice, fresh seafood and seasoning. I loved it.</span><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S_GrrWsOL4I/AAAAAAAAAyM/H-YfRYFjDak/s1600/rest%20of%20trip%20040.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S_GrrWsOL4I/AAAAAAAAAyM/H-YfRYFjDak/s320/rest%20of%20trip%20040.JPG" width="240" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">A Po-boy in New Orleans ... basically a huge filled french bread sandwich</td></tr></tbody></table><span style="font-size: small;">Leaving Alexandria a bit sad as it was the last leg of the road trip I was still looking forward to getting back to the wonderfully colourful New Orleans. This time I was determined to do it right. No more messing around in tourist restaurants that were serving half hearted slop. I was up for the real deal. Half a dozen oysters and a margarita later the friendly bar man I had plonked myself in front of had recommended half a dozen places with Bayona right at the top. Reservation made, job done.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-size: small;">It was as good as I had hoped. And I certainly had high hopes for this restaurant that has been rated in the top 50 in the world. Cocktail was delicious, service friendly, quirky and prompt. Food all fantastic, flavoursome with a Cajun kick to it all. Just what I had been waiting for. I didn’t take any pictures though as it seemed inappropriate in such a reserved setting. It’s all going to just have to stay in my memory – all I can say is that if you’re in the area then go. I would. &nbsp;</span><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S_GsHbAa3qI/AAAAAAAAAyU/q1UjmYdwq14/s1600/rest%20of%20trip%20050.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S_GsHbAa3qI/AAAAAAAAAyU/q1UjmYdwq14/s400/rest%20of%20trip%20050.JPG" width="300" /></a></div><br /><span style="font-size: small;">I think I’ve written enough about New Orleans from when I first stayed there at the beginning of the trip. I did end up on Frenchman street after dinner for a quick drink to catch the end of a jazz session which was authentic and uplifting. But early to bed for me as I was off to the Big Apple the next day. A great end to a brilliant road trip that I will never forget. You’ll just have to watch this space to see which food inspirations make it back home to my café opening later this year.</span></div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-73498826744320691702010-05-14T17:28:00.000+01:002010-05-14T17:28:34.412+01:00Telegraph reviewWas so delighted to get a great review from the Telegraph ... one of the best I've seen ... will address the limeness of my tart for next week !<br /><br />http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/restaurants/7720948/Dorset-restaurant-guide-The-Wild-Garlic-in-Dorset.html<br /><br /><div class="storyHead"> <h1>Dorset restaurant guide: The Wild Garlic in Dorset</h1><h2> Jasper Gerard is delighted by The Wild Garlic restaurant in Dorset. </h2></div><div class="headerOne">&nbsp;</div><div class="byline"> By Jasper Gerard in Dorset<br />Published: 4:00PM BST 14 May 2010<br /></div><div class="slideshow"> <div class="ssImg" style="display: block;"> <img alt="Dorset restaurant guide: The Wild Garlic in Dorset" height="288" src="http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01637/p_wild-garlic_1637180c.jpg" width="460" /> <div class="imageExtras" style="width: 460px;"> <span class="caption">The Wild Garlic: Simple, stunning and seasonal</span> <span class="credit">Photo: CHRISTOPHER JONES</span> </div></div></div>Dusk is the time to descend on Puckden Wood. I walk to its heart, open my arms then breathe in lungful after lungful. The flowers of May cover the ground as extravagantly as had the falls of January's snow, and every year this great explosion of ransoms leaves me spellbound. My children are normally about as keen on walking as Pauline Prescott is after a fresh blow-dry but come May even they will down their Wiis and race to the woods. April's sweet sweep of bluebells had seemed beauty itself, until summer's white shroud. Early evening is when deer break cover and in their flight they trample the delicate flowers that could so easily be lily of the valley, and this fills the wood with a powerful aroma of garlic. <br />I realise that brand-wise, garlic has work to do. The marketing men would consider its pong a definite negative. Its image is down there with Ratners and New Labour while even the prettiest lips parted to reveal garlic breath will send most us recoiling faster than from a Greek bearing gilts. <br /><!-- BEFORE ACI --> But in the woods I can't get close enough to wild garlic. You would kiss this with gusto. If it weren't for its unsexy reputation Jennifer Aniston would have declared it a scent and bottled it as "Amorous: the Aroma" or "Whiff of the Wild – For Women". <br />So I'm delighted to see garlic being rehabilitated. A restaurant has been opened called Wild Garlic, and it's sensational. The chef is Mat Follas, the IT geek now reigning as Masterchef. And serendipitously his inspiration is Denmark's Noma, just declared the best restaurant in the world. Follas had a stint at Noma while filming <i>Masterchef</i> and impressed its chef, Rene Redzepi, as he did viewers. As I await a table there – Copenhagen's tourist board claims 100,000 people around the globe are in the queue – I'm intrigued to see how its ethos might work in Britain. <br />Noma goes way beyond the usual "local produce" mantra, avoiding even olive oil. When I interviewed Redzepi recently he spoke of sending his chefs foraging, garnering extraordinary ingredients: cloudberrys, wild beach roses, musk ox. He talks with near-religious solemnity about venturing out with "cold fingers" to pick "the first shoots of spring". <br />True, many British restaurants now decorate dishes with "foraged leaves" but these sometimes add about as much flavour as the cellophane packaging to a sandwich. Follas claims to employ three foragers. I'm not sure wild garlic is the greatest challenge to the forager's craft seeing as you can smell it several fields away but the name does symbolise Noma's attempt to re-connect with nature. If Heston Blumenthal is exploring the future, Noma is pioneering the past. <br />Beaminster is a small town with a big appetite. On a soaking midweek evening two food vans do a bustling trade while inside the simple, rustic restaurant every table has been snared. As soon as chefs acquire even the stringiest reputation they often desert to shoot some dire cookery show, but within minutes of us sitting before our rough-hewn table Follas enters the dining room. He is bearing a giant brill of proportions almost as generous as his own. Our eyes had wandered elsewhere on the brief but tempting menu but who could resist that brill? Redzepi also brings food to table, declaring there is nothing like facing customers out front to raise his game out back. Follas is rugby-tackled by another customer rhapsodising: "That's the best pigeon I've ever tasted". <br />I order a starter of spelt and nettle risotto with confit rabbit, and I'm tempted to do bunny hops of joy. Spelt grain makes this sturdier than conventional risotto, while pine nuts add crunchiness and nettle pesto round the edge lends intrigue. Like all Follas dishes it's perfectly seasoned, but it's the strong flavour of rabbit that wows. Faultless. <br />Diana tries crab pâté with cucumber and pickled dill, stunningly presented with nasturtiums and resting on chicory leaves which somehow escape bitterness and are instead young and juicy. <br />Unusually an amuse bouche arrives after the first course by which time our mouths are already laughing merrily. And rather than some frothy nonsense this is proper grub: smoked venison, so tender I long for it all over again. <br />And so to brill, arriving not so much on a plate as a giant flying saucer. There are no tricks, just consummate cooking of fine fresh fish, lifted powerfully by lemon and caper butter. Fillet of beef with – another seasonal touch – asparagus is another simple perfectly cooked winner, the only twist coming in wonderfully smoked mash.<br />Puddings don't win quite so many garlands. A lime tart has good texture on thin short-crust pastry and is well caramelised, but where's the lime? It tastes more like thick baked custard. Hot chocolate is better, with cream poured into the gooey middle lightening the richness. <br />But these are quibbles as trifling as a foraged Jack-by-the-hedge. If the burghers of every country town could enjoy a restaurant like the beaming folk of Beaminster's, we Britons would be happier bunnies. <br />Best of all there is nothing poncey about this place. A note on the menu states: "If you have had great service please leave a tip; if you haven't, don't." Just so. <br />Now when I amble over to Puckden Wood I will still be thinking of aromas – but they will be calling me back to Beaminster. <br /><ul class="storylist"><li>The Wild Garlic Restaurant, 4 The Square Beaminster, Dorset (01308 861 446)</li></ul><ul class="storylist"><li>Dinner for two: £84.50</li></ul><ul class="storylist"><li><strong>9/10 </strong></li></ul>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com6tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-86886614182366217722010-05-13T01:59:00.001+01:002010-05-13T02:05:52.443+01:00BBQ and smokehouses<span style="font-size: small;"></span><br /><div style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: small;">After a breakfast of Mexican influenced cinnamon beignets stuffed with an apple sauce I was back on the road, heading to, well, I wasn’t really sure where. I knew I wanted to get lost in Texas lake country and pointed the bike in the direction of nowhere hoping for the best. Actually, I had seen that there may be the possibility of renting a cabin next to Lake Buchanan for a night, so envisaged a night spent catching up on the blog next to a moonlit lake with a beer in my hand. Long story short, it seems that in America you either stay in a mass motel and hotel center where everything is within spitting distance of each other, or…you go into the middle of nowhere and find a load of holiday homes, but nowhere to rent for the night. Lots of hotels yes, but going back to the basics in a cabin,&nbsp; no. It may seem lame, but I did end up in a hotel for the night overlooking the lake I had been driving around the last hour looking for said cabin. The hotel was a 5* Marriot resort, with a pool and a spa, which I shamelessly enjoyed to the full.</span></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lW2s0KEgI/AAAAAAAAAvg/3Aa-0Af7-0c/s1600/Texas%2011%20May%20001.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lW2s0KEgI/AAAAAAAAAvg/3Aa-0Af7-0c/s320/Texas%2011%20May%20001.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lXJeYPEPI/AAAAAAAAAvo/OjjLqxRfU5U/s1600/Texas%2011%20May%20005.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lXJeYPEPI/AAAAAAAAAvo/OjjLqxRfU5U/s400/Texas%2011%20May%20005.JPG" width="117" /></a></div><span style="font-size: small;">Dinner was brilliant - black and blue Texas waygu sirloin perfectly cooked, Argentinean medoc and al dente asparagus resulted in me enjoying every bite. I almost didn’t want to find such a stunning meal in an international chain hotel, but really can’t find fault with the main course. The pudding came to the rescue of my preconceptions….inside-out strawberries. What do you think they are? No? Haven’t got a clue? Don’t worry, explanation follows.... Strawberries stuffed with cheesecake filling, coated with a rice crispy batter and then deep fried to perfection. They had the taste of three things I like - strawberries, cheesecake and doughnuts. But no, really, trust me on this one, no! But with an exceptional steak like that I can excuse the chef anything....almost.<br /><br />Heading for Dallas the next day I was happy travelling along the roads, listening to the radio as loud as it could go. There was a bit of a side wind which kept things interesting, but hey, that’s all part of biking.&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Seeing the countryside change from scrub land with ranches dotted around through to lush trees was interesting, but most striking, driving through a hot country you really do get to smell water before you see it. Such a metallic smell that you recognise before you have even got within sight of it, its a smell that's saved many a smart biker who learns to slow down at the smell before hitting a wet patch on the road, but on this day it was so marked that it couldn't be missed, the route was long and I spent most of the day on the road, but did stop off at a smoke house in the middle of Marlborough country. </span><span style="font-size: small;"></span><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lXGPEbw4I/AAAAAAAAAvk/G2LP6-OGNuw/s1600/Texas%2011%20May%20008.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lXGPEbw4I/AAAAAAAAAvk/G2LP6-OGNuw/s320/Texas%2011%20May%20008.JPG" width="240" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lXboU1NdI/AAAAAAAAAvs/hDE0bREJed4/s1600/Texas%2011%20May%20009.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lXboU1NdI/AAAAAAAAAvs/hDE0bREJed4/s320/Texas%2011%20May%20009.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lXdh6V7xI/AAAAAAAAAvw/wyHwBNcSbu0/s1600/Texas%2011%20May%20010.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lXdh6V7xI/AAAAAAAAAvw/wyHwBNcSbu0/s320/Texas%2011%20May%20010.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lXiJ15b8I/AAAAAAAAAv0/M84lMTrJSIc/s1600/Texas%2011%20May%20012.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lXiJ15b8I/AAAAAAAAAv0/M84lMTrJSIc/s320/Texas%2011%20May%20012.JPG" width="240" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lXs8-afGI/AAAAAAAAAv4/tpH63TdrtJM/s1600/Texas%2011%20May%20013.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="257" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lXs8-afGI/AAAAAAAAAv4/tpH63TdrtJM/s320/Texas%2011%20May%20013.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><span style="font-size: small;"></span><br /><br /><span style="font-size: small;">What an amazing little place this was. The owners are a married couple who have been working together cooking and smoking their meat since year dot. Mrs Smoke House rules at the stove, shoving and slicing huge slabs of meat around the place, and Mr Smoke House busies himself around her, helping his wife with whatever he can get for her, as well as serving the 6 odd tables in the place. The smells are amazing, oh, and I met the local policewoman coming out of the place, so again, a definite good sign.<br /><br />Their meat was the most amazing melt in the mouth, flavoursome sumptuousness you could think of. Ribs in homemade BBQ sauce (so much more complicated in its spicing than we tend to get at home) and beef that fell apart as soon as my taste buds got to it. Seriously good. Am drooling still thinking back on it. There are some things that no chef should mess with. And this is one of them….if only I could get the recipe off them …. I can see a lot of time will be spent coming up with my own version … a few hours later, full and chilled out from my drive I arrive in Dallas dusty and dirty.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-size: small;">The Motel 6 I arrived at was just fab. A great pool and stunning room with individual balconies. They arn’t all as great as this one, it is near their head office, but if there was ever a flagship motel to stay in this was it. Sipping a beer, looking over the pool I was pleased with my trip so far. The ribs at the BBQ place recommended to me that night were great, as was the pulled pork sandwich. It seems Dallas has got a load of fab restaurants, but one serving a good homemade BBQ sauce is celebrated above all others. Justified too.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-size: small;">The next day saw me doing a monster ride. Over 300 miles with strong side winds so hot I thought I was in a hairdryer. Stopping every half hour or so for refuelling on the water that I’d lost, Alexandria seemed a long way away. Travelling over such a long distance in one day the changes in landscape were striking from rocky brush, to fulsome pine trees and then back to more bare grassland with the odd copice spattered around. Arriving in Alexandria I had crossed over back into Louisiana and alligator country. The change is almost immediate with different foods, road rules and architecture immediately apparent, the language changes too to the creole sing song accent and words and the Texan hats disappear. So long Cowboy country, hello Cajun.</span></div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-78451336941249890452010-05-11T14:26:00.000+01:002010-05-11T14:26:31.407+01:00Beach and San Antonio<span style="font-size: small;"></span><br /><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Eating at a local restaurant on the waterfront (the only one open) I asked the waitress whether the frogs legs on the menu were local - seeing as I had heard frogs in the swamp on the way over. Frogs legs? Local? She looked at me like I was a complete idiot and said ‘Nah - they come off the back of a truck every couple of weeks’. OK then, no frogs legs for me. So I ordered what was local; oysters and shrimp. You can make up your own mind from the picture of the oysters, but all I will say is that bigger is almost certainly not always better (insert own joke here if you like). Shrimp were very good - better grilled than broiled is my tip of the day. </span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"></span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"></span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lYNBLzCoI/AAAAAAAAAv8/wP-6Qo3_x0s/s1600/Texas%209%20May%20134.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lYNBLzCoI/AAAAAAAAAv8/wP-6Qo3_x0s/s320/Texas%209%20May%20134.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><span style="font-size: small;">Chatting to my friendly waitress, who had apparently been working at the restaurant for a year, but didn’t consider herself local, I enquired as to what I could do in the area the next day. Was there any interesting activity I could do in the swamp? ‘SWAMP?! What swamp?’ she exclaimed. Urrrrr……the one pretty much over there, there, and there….a blank look came over her face and I realised I wasn’t going to get any further with my tourist information enquiries that night. <br /><br />&nbsp;</span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lZ2IPPGPI/AAAAAAAAAws/5zd212qu4cQ/s1600/Texas%209%20May%20148.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lZ2IPPGPI/AAAAAAAAAws/5zd212qu4cQ/s320/Texas%209%20May%20148.JPG" width="231" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lYl7huc0I/AAAAAAAAAwA/PAWbcNXTa1w/s1600/Texas%209%20May%20155.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lYl7huc0I/AAAAAAAAAwA/PAWbcNXTa1w/s320/Texas%209%20May%20155.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br /></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><br /></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Waking up to bright blue skies the beach was the only option in my mind. Flowers all around, with lovely yellow cactus flowers. I may have looked a bit a prat though wading through the dry bush singing at the top of my voice to scare off any snakes that may have been lurking. A quick dip in the sea seemed a good idea at the time.&nbsp; I did wonder why no-one else was swimming, and assumed it was an american thing -must be wooses. Until of course I came out from my refreshing dip and saw a lovely big jelly on the beech. Don’t think I would have been so happy if that one had got me in the water.</span><br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lY6duJPSI/AAAAAAAAAwI/fESoVwDKaOU/s1600/Texas%209%20May%20163.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="155" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lY6duJPSI/AAAAAAAAAwI/fESoVwDKaOU/s1600/Texas%209%20May%20163.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">I know I should have tried some, but I didn't ...</td></tr></tbody></table><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;A long drive with endless green fields almost put me to sleep, with the odd nuclear power station dotted in between - no, sorry ‘Electric Generating Plant’ as they call them. Hmmmm, very PC I’m sure. Eventually I ended up in San Antonio - really looking forward to getting off the bike and into the shower at the Motel 6. Without meaning to sound like an ad at least I knew by now the formula and what I would be getting in the room, which was strangely comforting after the mozzie splattered walls and damp of&nbsp; the night before.<br /><br />&nbsp;</span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lZARacTfI/AAAAAAAAAwM/xn8G89HzSfo/s1600/Texas%209%20May%20170.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lZARacTfI/AAAAAAAAAwM/xn8G89HzSfo/s320/Texas%209%20May%20170.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lZJSTSnNI/AAAAAAAAAwQ/DFcQywEICT0/s1600/Texas%209%20May%20173.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="282" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-lZJSTSnNI/AAAAAAAAAwQ/DFcQywEICT0/s320/Texas%209%20May%20173.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><span style="font-size: small;">San Antonio - wow, what a place! This city rocks, and I mean really rocks, mainly to the sound of trumpets played by Mexican musicians, but rocks none the less. It helps if you douse yourself with tequila, frozen margaritas and Corona beer of course. Oh, while I’m thinking about it I have to tell you about the way they serve the beer here. So far, since I’ve been in the States they’ve served the Corona with a slice of lime in it, which I would expect, but here in San Antonio, they push the lime wedge into the top and then, wait for it, sprinkle the whole of the wet bottle (it’s been sitting in a vat of ice) with salt. That’s salt sprinkled all over the top half of the bottle, including on the bit of lime, so when you push it in and take a taste there is cold cold beer, fresh lime and salt all combined. Perfect. Completely perfect after a long drive. So perfect actually that I managed to sink quite a few … and then there was the tequila …</span><br /><br /><span style="font-size: small;">I gorged myself on the Mexican food on offer and promptly forgot the ‘to go’ bag with the stuff I hadn’t finished in it. I think I might have had a few margaritas by that point. Oh well. The spices were fresh, the guacamole delicious and the meat cooked meltingly well. I console myself with the thought that my ‘to go’ box wouldn’t have tasted as good the next morning as it all did that night, but am not really so sure.<br /><br />A bar with couples and groups of all ages dancing together to Mexican and American disco music finished the night off. I also met a lovely couple who offered for me to come stay with them any time I am next in San Antonio and I think this sums up the feeling I get from my night there. Everyone is generous, fun and willing to talk to anyone - even me. The city and its people have endeared themselves to me and I would love to return to experience more.<br /><br /></span></div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-7253363652389556922010-05-10T14:55:00.001+01:002010-05-10T14:56:57.188+01:00Heat, Houston and crazy cars<span style="font-size: small;"></span><br /><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">The main land consisted of a long road with pylons either side. The sea and grassland stretched for miles, with the grass so green and round in the formations it had grown in that it looked like something from telly tubby land. Passing through the small towns which had constructed forks of land into the ocean, so they had their own personal jetty, a bit like streets of houses, but instead of roads between the opposing rows of houses there was a canal.&nbsp; These water streets formed the town of Bayou Villaz, which if you lived there would certainly be buying into a way of life, and not just bricks and water.<br /><br />This is where the dream ride ended, as the next 20 miles were spent starting and stopping in a long series of traffic lights with vehicles either side. I am definitely a fair traffic rider and hate having to stop for lights, partly as the bike is so heavy it takes it out of you. Exhausted after a long drive I arrived at Motel 6, Houston happy to see my room was in order and one of their newly redesigned versions. This means that the old 80’sdecor has gone out the window and in its place you have a Scandinavian like sparse design with chairs the same as the ones I have in the restaurant and the biggest bed I have ever seen. Sleep certainly wasn’t going to be a problem tonight. <br /><br />The morning brought more sunshine and heat with it which I hid from in a café doing a whole range of Texas breakfasts. I plumped for the eggs with grits and a side of blueberry pancakes. As I had never had grits before I wasn’t really expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised by the bowl of what was basically gritty porridge. The blueberry pancakes were ok and the glass of orange juice just delicious. I was off to a good start.</span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"></span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"></span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"></span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"></span></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-gN_9afawI/AAAAAAAAAu0/0fZd0LUQBW8/s1600/Texas%209%20May.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="374" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-gN_9afawI/AAAAAAAAAu0/0fZd0LUQBW8/s640/Texas%209%20May.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;I had been told about a great place in the centre of Houston which was built as part of a new garden complex in the city.&nbsp; The Grove is the brainchild of executive chef Ryan Pera, set in the middle of Discovery Green, a collection of gardens with lawn and oak trees and interactive water fountains. A charming place to spend hiding from the midday Houston sun. It really was starting to hot up, with humidity hitting the 90% mark. The Grove is different from anywhere I had yet eaten on my trip. It was fine dining but also has a stab at sustainability by growing fresh herbs on the rooftop which are used daily in the restaurant dishes. Ryan Pera is of Italian descent but born and raised in USA so wanted to create a culturally integrated menu. I decided a tasting menu was the way forwards, as that way I wouldn’t have to choose between dishes.</span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"></span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"></span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><br />Brought out before me was plate after plate of wonderfully presented food, which smelled great. I started with a charcuterie board of locally made salami, chorizo and ham. It came with devilled eggs which were made from ‘yard eggs’. I eventually figured out that ‘yard eggs’ are what we call free range. This seems to be a relatively new concept in these parts and indeed when I walk around supermarkets there is only really a choice between white or brown eggs. Maybe there’s a vacancy over here for a celebrity chef to come save the chickens?!<br /><br />The next course was cerviche with plantain crisps, a tricolore salad made with fresh oregano rather than basil and a salad of pink grapefruit, roasted pecans, feta cheese and leaves. This was promptly followed by pork buns, a take on the Chinese dish I think, soft shell crab served in mini fajitas and salsa and cold smoked quail with apple sauce dip.&nbsp; Following that (and yes, I did take a deep breath as there was so much food) skirt steak with chips and a salsa verde with melted cheese and the other dish was hand made ravioli with fresh vegetable sauce. At this point I thought I could fit no more in, but found the desserts so appealing that I tasted a bit of each of the bread pudding,&nbsp; cheesecake, chocolate tart with marmalade orange and peanut pudding. I may have got a bit blurry with my descriptions of things by this stage as was just so full.<br /><br />For me the best parts of the meal were the ceviche, sweeter than the one I serve, but delicious with lots of different flavours. The salami on the charcuterie board was a winner, as were the pork buns which were sweet and yummy and the soft shell crab. The crab was my favourite dish by far, no surprises there though seeing as I love cooking crab myself. The beef dish was really good, although possibly a little bit simple, but the chef said as much himself, explaining it was an early dish on the menu but if he took it off some of his customers would object violently. I know how he feels as I have dishes like that on my menu. The ravioli deserves a mention as well, as it was adequately made, but the sauce accompanying it was fantastic as the vegetables were cooked so well they made the dish.</span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"></span></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-gPcrIdJZI/AAAAAAAAAu8/xBgJ-H3OlDY/s1600/Texas%209%20May%20106.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="252" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-gPcrIdJZI/AAAAAAAAAu8/xBgJ-H3OlDY/s320/Texas%209%20May%20106.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">All in all a great meal, in a stunning setting. A brief tour of the kitchens made me envious of the amount of space they have, as well as the number of staff, but I reminded myself that The Grove is a completely different beast to The Wild Garlic. I am happy in my little kitchen in Dorset, would rather be nowhere else, as much as I enjoy seeing what other people are doing with food.</span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-gPLyCAwLI/AAAAAAAAAu4/3nxBnY0uBrk/s1600/Texas%209%20May1.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="372" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-gPLyCAwLI/AAAAAAAAAu4/3nxBnY0uBrk/s640/Texas%209%20May1.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">A quick walk around the park was entertaining as there were dozens of cars which had been made up as pieces of art for a festival and competition taking place the next day - a bit thing in Houston. The best one for me was The Sashimi Tabernacle Choir, a load of singing fish stuck onto a car that rise up and perform different hits, with the fish as chorus and the lobsters on the top standing up for the main verses. Very amusing. But really they were all brilliant and I couldn’t stop taking pictures, so there are quite a few on the blog. I couldn’t help myself!<br /><br />The end of a great day in Houston for me, and I set to the roads in the afternoon, hoping to get to the coast. Unfortunately, everyone else in Houston was also leaving at the same time as me and add to that a four lane going down to a one I was stuck in the hottest day so far on the Harley hardly moving in traffic. It got so hot that my boots melted and I was trying to follow in the shadow of trucks to help cool the engine down. This didn’t work though and I was afraid the whole bike was going to blow (yes an exaggeration, but trust me, you would have though the same if you’d been there), so pulled into a gas station for a rest and refuelling of my fluids. <br /><br />After a long drive which did eventually get cooler I made my way towards Mateador country. This was just a finger on map job, and I didn’t have a clue what I would find when I got there. Certainly it wasn’t very touristy and when I did reach the coast came out onto a peninsular with a river on one side and water and land on the other. It was a bit of a mish mash of land and I admit to not paying too much attention as was scanning for a place to sleep. This was a night that I had decided to go off the beaten track where no Motel 6 could be found. Stopping by two fishermen who were packing up I asked if they knew of somewhere I could go. Not many suggestions later they were sucking their cheeks in and trying to hurry me up as they were in a hurry to go. They revealed that they had to get back and in their houses right this minute as the mozzies were about to come out - I was in the middle of a swamp! Oh dear, not only did I not have anywhere to stay at that point, but also no mosquito spray. <br /><br />A quick U-turn took me back to the first shop I came across to buy some deet. No sooner had I put it on and come out the shop the place had turned into mozzie central. I could hardly see in front of me for the critters and became very aware that being in the middle of a swamp with no-where to stay wasn’t the best plan I had made so far. But not to worry, I sorted myself out and found a room … a bit smelly and damp but OK for the night. <br /><br /></span></div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-25896237463741103772010-05-07T15:11:00.005+01:002010-05-10T00:55:55.583+01:00TV and Texas<span style="font-size: small;"></span><br /><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Wake up calls at 4.30am are never pleasant, and this one wasn’t welcome. However, it was for a TV interview on the local station and I was cooking the flounder and shrimp that I had bought the night before. So off for a pre-dawn ride with all the truckers and got to the studio just about on time, only to find that they had no pots or pans of any description. I mean zip. Motel 6, who had set up the interview had warned me that they didn’t have much and I should bring pretty much everything - the baking tray, knife, presentation plate etc. But, what I failed to manage to stuff into the back of the Harley while in Wall Mart the night before, was a frying pan, called skillet over here. One measly frying pan (or an oven) was all I needed, but no.&nbsp; So a mad dash ensued with producers flying out the door to find a frying pan at 5.30 in the morning, whilst I started my interview.&nbsp; I was prepped, ready and prepared for my cooking demonstration with all the ingredients before me, praying that someone would get my a frying pan in time before the camera started rolling. Literally 30 seconds before ‘on air’ was called, a frying pan was shoved into my hand and I was off. A close shave by even my standards … all terribly Masterchef last minute panic stations but hopefully I looked calm on air.</span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Getting back to the Studio 6 I was staying at I wanted breakfast after the eventful interview. Toast with marmite I had ‘acquired’ from the breakfast bar at the Crowne Plaza, Heathrow and a smearing of Philadelphia did the trick, but I wanted more. Rummaging in my bag I found a jar of&nbsp;</span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Mayhew jelly - a jelly (what American’s use as jam, but it really is spreadable jelly) that I had picked up along the way. This jelly is made from the Mayhew berry - a native berry to the southern states and to be found growing naturally around, so right up my street. This was also great on toast, albeit a bit sweet, as it was catering for the American palate. I don’t mind sweet though, and was pleased I had been able to try something made from local berries. This was teamed with a huge papaya I bought the night before with the juice of a key lime squeezed over the top. Great, I was finally ready to roll and get back on the road.</span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Leaving Lake Charles over its huge bridge was again stunning as the sun shone down and I started to sweat in my leathers … nice.&nbsp; I was off to Texas today and couldn’t wait for whatever I was going to see.&nbsp; I was really getting into the bike now and relaxing into the rides, which were becoming more and more enjoyable as I saw the landscape changing around me.</span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-bjTURYw1I/AAAAAAAAAtI/ydmOo-HN5m0/s1600/Texas%209%20May%20019.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="185" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-bjTURYw1I/AAAAAAAAAtI/ydmOo-HN5m0/s400/Texas%209%20May%20019.JPG" width="400" /></a></span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Taking the long way round, down to the coast and along the Bolivar Peninsular was one of the best decisions I have made so far this trip. What a stunning ride, it was.&nbsp; There were birds galore, derricks still being used and an amazing long stretch of road with the sea lapping at the sides and pelicans flying overhead. The beach on my left hand side was deserted, so parking the bike up I went for a stroll. Before I had gone 50 yards I had found samphire. Fantastic! Samphire in the States. Extremely pleased with my find I rolled on to the end of the peninsular where houses have been built on stilts.&nbsp; And I don’t mean small bits of wood raised above the ground. The houses are 20 feet high off the ground, and the views would be amazing across the Gulf of Mexico, but I don’t think they did it for the views but rather the storms that come through and can cover the whole peninsular with water. This happened, but on a much bigger scale a few years ago with the hurricane, and again, as in New Orleans, you could see the remnants of houses that had been completely swept away, leaving their naked wooden legs behind. The waters were 15” high over the land … I’m not sure if the locals are brave or just mad resettling after that ! I can see why they do though and its where I’d live if I was in the area …</span></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-bjdNHHwFI/AAAAAAAAAtM/0ybQlh3oxv8/s1600/Texas%209%20May%20021.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="190" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-bjdNHHwFI/AAAAAAAAAtM/0ybQlh3oxv8/s200/Texas%209%20May%20021.JPG" width="200" /></a></span></div><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-bjiycjYDI/AAAAAAAAAtQ/mBRs31eVOzA/s1600/Texas%209%20May%20024.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="150" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-bjiycjYDI/AAAAAAAAAtQ/mBRs31eVOzA/s200/Texas%209%20May%20024.JPG" width="200" /></a></span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">My grumbling stomach encouraged me to stop at what seemed to be the only open joint in town. Set off the road and looking a little ramshackle, but well loved I strolled into the kind of bar that I knew existed in America, but hadn’t yet experienced. A ‘howdy y’all’ greeted me and after my eyes got used to the change in light, I saw a long bar with stools perched up against it - most of which were taken with locals escaping the heat with an ice tea or beer. Signs were hung up all behind the bar and juke boxes and other games scattered the room. I settled myself down and ordered from the menu, after being served an ice cold beer from the attentive and charming server. 10 minutes later I had crawfish nachos, stuffed jalapeños, shrimp kisses and soft shell crab in front of me. Oh, and a bowl of green chilli salsa made from, I think, green tomatoes as a base.&nbsp; The whole thing was absolutely delicious. The vegetables (yes, vegetables - pretty much the first ones I had found on a plate served to me since I had arrived) were cooked well, still with a crunch to them, which can be difficult when serving a mixture, including green and yellow courgette, which have a tendency to run to mush very easily.</span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Admittedly, I was hungry before I walked in, but the combination of the warm welcome I received along with the superb food and an ice cold beer meant that Tiki Bar had just served me the best meal I have had since being in America. So much so, I had to thank the owner Amanda, and have a quick picture taken with her. Everyone was charming and if I can I intend to return to the houses on stilts, where all you need to do all day is hunt for samphire, go fishing and, once you’ve had enough of the sun, have a drink at Tiki bar, before going back to cook your supper over a BBQ. Bliss.</span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">At the end of the peninsular is a ferry, that not only is amazing for its capacity to fit two long lanes of vehicles onto its small decks but also because as you travel across to Galveston the pelicans fly in a formation next to you, occasionally veering off to crash into the sea, catching some tasty fish. An amazing sight by anyone’s standards - especially when it’s free!</span></div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-84225246035343176272010-05-07T15:10:00.003+01:002010-05-07T15:21:41.707+01:00Tabasco<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_zmoEeqomXD4/SoKhVnOQrGI/AAAAAAAACsA/aHUYHFw0p_U/s400/Tabasco-logo.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_zmoEeqomXD4/SoKhVnOQrGI/AAAAAAAACsA/aHUYHFw0p_U/s400/Tabasco-logo.jpg" /></a></div><span style="font-size: small;"></span><br /><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Large red bottles of Tabasco on billboards started directing me to Avery Island, the home of the McIlhenny family who founded the sauce and still run the factory, long before I was near to it. This is the home of, and I am pretty sure I am right in saying this, the most famous hot pepper sauce in the world. <br /><br />Travelling over train tracks and little rivers on Avery Island was very peaceful, passing the Jungle Gardens; huge trees with vines draped around them, which also provides a sanctuary for thousands of birds at certain times of year. I also discovered the Mcilhenny family own the salt mine on the island - one of the largest in America. I don’t think they’re short of cash.<br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"></span><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-LckULERdI/AAAAAAAAAsE/s8DbwT2CiIo/s1600/camera%20010.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-LckULERdI/AAAAAAAAAsE/s8DbwT2CiIo/s320/camera%20010.JPG" width="240" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-LcV9vNPRI/AAAAAAAAAr0/-UMY974uvss/s1600/Tabasco%20and%20Lake%20Charles%205%20May%20003.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-LcV9vNPRI/AAAAAAAAAr0/-UMY974uvss/s320/Tabasco%20and%20Lake%20Charles%205%20May%20003.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-LcaIbQEqI/AAAAAAAAAr4/as7t7sMnF4c/s1600/Tabasco%20and%20Lake%20Charles%205%20May%20005.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-LcaIbQEqI/AAAAAAAAAr4/as7t7sMnF4c/s320/Tabasco%20and%20Lake%20Charles%205%20May%20005.JPG" width="240" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Beverly (Bluerose) and me</td></tr></tbody></table><span style="font-size: small;"><br />Pulling up outside the factory it was hot. Really hot. I can see why all those little chillies like growing here. First stop was a free tour around the factory, with our asthmatic tour guide. I cant remember her name, but I do remember thinking it was a definite Faulty Towers moment as she explained that it was the chillies that caused her asthma, and so if she did have an attack as we pass through the factory to just keep going and ignore her….she would come round eventually. With that image in mind, and wary that the tour guide could keel over at any moment we started the tour. There were about 12 of us, which was just fine, and between us all I think we got the gist of what she was saying.&nbsp; Moments where she lost her train of thought, or just where she was in general with the Tabasco story were soon remedied by one of us piping up, letting her know just where she had got to. A video demonstration later and I was much the wiser about Tabasco.&nbsp; Enough of the learning and onto the gift shop and café.<br /><br />As it happened there was a fellow Harley blogger; Beverley who was visiting with her husband on the same day. They rolled up in the most amazing machines and we happily got down to tasting the free samples in the Tabasco café.&nbsp; I never knew they did things like Worcestershire sauce Tabasco, or soya sauce Tabasco, but they do! The chipolte Tabasco was particularly good, as was the sweet and spicy Tabasco.&nbsp; I wasn’t completely sold on Tabasco ice cream, but hey, it wouldn’t have been the same without the experience.&nbsp; The café next door also does food, so we tucked in to some nachos and sausage and beans.&nbsp; It was great to be eating out in the open air with Beverley and her husband, generally talking about Harleys and the trips they had done. <br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br />Leaving Avery Island I travelled a little way inland, as Beverley had told me all the little towns along the coast had been devastated by the hurricane and were still pretty much flattened.&nbsp; There wasn’t a whole load more to see on the route that I took either - the odd small bungalow houses, that seem to have grown from the original trailer, and lots and lots of flat land as far as the eye could see. A great ride that I really enjoyed, as the music was blaring and I was happily roaring along.<br /><br />Approaching Lake Charles it seemed that this was more of an industrial town than I had thought. Lots of factories and industrial plants lining the lake on one side. But then you go up, up and up higher on a great bridge that gives you views across the whole city.&nbsp; Stunning. I made my way to a fish shop, JT’s who stayed open late just for me, to get some flounder which I needed for the TV interview I was doing the next day. While I was in there the shrimps looked so good I had to get some for myself.&nbsp; As I was staying that night in Studio 6, a variation of Motel 6, where they provide a kitchen, I thought I would cook myself a little supper, instead of eating out.&nbsp; And boy, was I glad I did. The shrimp, which we would probably call giant tiger prawns were succulent and sweet and completely delicious. Cooked in a heavy sprinkling of the local Cajun spice mix, and then peeled once cooked, sucking all the juices off your hands as you go. I have found another dish to take home.&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-LcqygWaXI/AAAAAAAAAsI/AJ9Q-CphvwQ/s1600/Tabasco%20and%20Lake%20Charles%205%20May%20009.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-LcqygWaXI/AAAAAAAAAsI/AJ9Q-CphvwQ/s320/Tabasco%20and%20Lake%20Charles%205%20May%20009.JPG" width="240" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Bridge over Bayou</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-LccC1flMI/AAAAAAAAAr8/mJmUg7FAHoY/s1600/Tabasco%20and%20Lake%20Charles%205%20May%20008.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-LccC1flMI/AAAAAAAAAr8/mJmUg7FAHoY/s320/Tabasco%20and%20Lake%20Charles%205%20May%20008.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Houseboat ... still occupied I think</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-LchZXR6FI/AAAAAAAAAsA/ssMm-72ESsY/s1600/Tabasco%20and%20Lake%20Charles%205%20May%20018.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="163" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-LchZXR6FI/AAAAAAAAAsA/ssMm-72ESsY/s320/Tabasco%20and%20Lake%20Charles%205%20May%20018.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Grain store .... dotted everywhere they are huge ... like most things&nbsp;</td><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">in the US</td></tr></tbody></table></div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-35193631200500746002010-05-05T15:46:00.002+01:002010-05-05T16:06:17.741+01:00Ruminations on Gumbo and coffee<div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">Landing in New Orleans was fantastic - not just because I was able to get off the cramped plane, but because of the smells and heat that greeted me. The humidity welcomes you like a hug after the dry atmosphere in the plane and jazz music drifts through to you while smelling amazing food smells.&nbsp; Great - my trip starts here.</span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Travelling along in an American vintage car I passed Obama and his entourage of cars just leaving New Orleans. The president of USA passing you on the road just 10 minutes after you have arrived - bet that doesn’t happen all the time.&nbsp; </span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">After dropping bags and before I crashed out I had to experience some of those New Orleans smells that greeted me for myself. Stepping out onto the streets I found myself in the middle of a tropical storm, raging around and making the streets seem like rivers. One step out from under cover and you were drenched within an instant.&nbsp; It made me reflect on the hurricane and all the damage it had cause - evidence of which you can still see all around as you pass through the city.&nbsp; With no brolly, I braved the downpour and made my way to Bourbon Street, which drew me in from the smells wafting out of it.&nbsp; A bubbling couldron of people, jazz and cajun food rolling out and around you. With the steam coming up from the recent downpour it really was an amazing atmosphere and I found myself on the film set of Bladerunner.&nbsp; Weird.</span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Everywhere was full!&nbsp; Packed with people out of town over for Jazz Fest, finishing that night.&nbsp; I found a tiny Mexican café, tables of the local police digging into their mid-shift fajitas. Seemed like the thing to do, and I ordered some myself along with stuffed jalapeños and some crazy chilli cheese stuff which turned out to be something that I wasn’t bargaining for. A gelatinous mass of plastic cheese with a load of chilli thrown in. But hey, it didn’t taste so bad with some nachos and salsa chucked on the top. What can I say - I was hungry! On to better things though - the fajitas were great and fresh calamari meant my dinner was just the ticket after a long journey from the UK</span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Monday morning brought with it beautiful sunshine, and even more heat! Wow, all that steam and humidity in the air, along with the sunshine beating down on you and everyone in the street nodding a G’mornin’ to ya. First things first I head off to the French Quarter, winding my way through small blocks with stunning maisonette buildings either side of me, all with balconies laden with intricate iron-work and flowers drawing me in further to one of the most beautiful parts of any city I have seen. My meanderings deliberately brought me to a trumpet player blowing out as much jazz as someone can at 9am on a Monday morning outside the Café du Monde. This colonial style building with covered open air tables is home to the most popular and celebrated coffee to be had in New Orleans, also serving a type of French doughnut that they call beignets. The star of the show was the beignets which come on a mound of icing sugar, which you dip them into as you stuff as many down as you can. These were seriously good, and I can see why there are queues out the door to eat at this place. The coffee?&nbsp; Well, let’s just say, I don’t get it. </span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Moving on with stunning views of the Mississippi river to the right I wandered through the French market area, trying alligator on a stick and meeting the cactus lady. She didn’t seem very impressed with me when I asked if any of them were edible, so I took a picture of the tequila cactus and moved on. Stalls solely set up for selling cocktails were all around, as were people drinking the local speciality of Bloody Mary, even though it was only 11am. Well that’s the thing in New Orleans, you go with the flow. And so, with Jazz wafting through the streets I found myself drinking a local beer ‘to go’ and taking it all in. </span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">I took a peek into a doorway with spicy Cajun wafts of steam escaping onto the street, and found myself in a different world - but one I was more familiar with; the back kitchen of a busy restaurant. Wayne, the head chef noticed me and came over to give the usual warm New Orleans greeting and we got chatting. He was in the middle of making stock for his gumbo from crawfish shells, although admitted they did bland it down for all the customers in the restaurant, as locals like him eat it mouth burning hot. </span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Moving on I came across a jazz street band and decided to pop into the Gumbo Pot for some lunch. This turned out to be enjoyable really only due to meeting a Quaker couple who were sitting next to me as they were visiting for the jazz festival, which they do every year, and recommended to me some places to eat that evening. The food?&nbsp; Well, I tasted blackened fish, not bad, jambalaya, crawfish etouffe and gumbo, no comment.&nbsp; Ok, well it was fine, but really just a stodgy mess on the plate. I was expecting more from it flavour wise and although all the spicing was in there, you could tell the kitchen wasn’t really putting much love into what they were cooking. I left disappointed, but with a recommendation for dinner that night, which gave me hope of better things to come.</span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Unfortunately, I found myself disappointed again. I don’t want to be down on the food I tasted, its just that’s the way things have turned out. An oyster house was the destination for that night’s food and I sat down with great expectations of the seafood to come. Half a dozen raw oysters, and half a dozen mixed cooked ones later and all I can say to you is that although they were fresh, the oysters were fed, so were very plump and tasted of flour.&nbsp; The mixed cooked ones were better, I admit, but using frozen spinach and plastic cheese is always going to taint the taste of any dish. This hasn’t put me off though, it has made me want to start cooking oysters rockafella and other delicious variations properly myself, and done well, with the fantastic local oysters in UK, I will be onto a winner. </span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">A stroll through the red light section of Bourbon street, past the jazz halls and clubs took me to Lafette (I may have got that wrong), the oldest drinking house in New Orleans. There I soaked up the sounds of a pianist with americans crowded around him, all singing and chatting happily to each other, along with a beer in my hand and found I was content to be there, but in need of sleep. So, a great drinking hole was found at the end of a long, enjoyable and interesting day.</span><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-GH5zCvrVI/AAAAAAAAAqs/jjSrCyFbFeE/s1600/New%20Orleans%205%20May%202010%20004.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-GH5zCvrVI/AAAAAAAAAqs/jjSrCyFbFeE/s320/New%20Orleans%205%20May%202010%20004.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Up bright and early the next morning as I had signed myself up to a cookery class at the aptly named New Orleans Cookery School. This I was excited about, as we were going to learn about gumbo, jambalaya, pralines and bread pudding (a New Orleans speciality pudding that really is just like bread and butter pudding back home, but with a few more handfuls of cinnamon and nutmeg, and generally using pineapple instead of raisins). Laura opened up the class with a&nbsp; talk on New Orleans and its food history and influences. It seems everyone has put something into this culture’s spice pot, including the Spaniards, French, Germans, Italians and Africans to come up with a truly fabulous tasting cuisine, que and drum roll…..the gumbo. </span><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-GH5YcgGVI/AAAAAAAAAqo/q8NwS1czJqE/s1600/New%20Orleans%205%20May%202010%20002.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-GH5YcgGVI/AAAAAAAAAqo/q8NwS1czJqE/s320/New%20Orleans%205%20May%202010%20002.JPG" width="240" /></a></div><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Gumbo is a soup that originated as a bouillabaisse but then had a load of chicken, sausage and spices thrown in to make it a dish in its own right. With Laura showing us how to make a roux (not what you think - a load of hot melted lard with some flour thrown in and stirred until it turns brown) and ending up with a delicious soup, which had layers of spices and a depth of flavour that really was delicious - I was sold. Gumbo, cooked right, is a delicious thick soup that I would happily serve up in one of my future cafes back home. I just hope I will be able to do it justice, as it has a dedicated following out here, with everyone having learnt their own family recipe which has been handed down through the generations.&nbsp; </span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">The rest of the class passed pleasantly, and the top tips I give anyone visiting New Orleans is go to the cookery class and learn something about the food. Get recommendations from them on where to eat in this fantastic, vibrant city - it will save you dollars as well as disappointment. But most importantly - DON’T DRINK THE COFFEE!</span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">My time in New Orleans ends as Chris comes to pick me up to take me to the Harley Davidson centre, just outside town. Like most Americans out here Chris drives a huge truck. This form of machoism in the states is everywhere and although I have been here before, it does seem that the vehicles just get bigger and bigger. So travelling along with Chris he tells me about the hurricane and the effect it had on people who didn’t get to leave. The stories that didn’t get into the papers, because they wernt allowed to. Stories of how gangs set up camp in the city, charging people rent on their own homes, paying up if they wanted to stay safe. If safe can be a word used during those times. Everyone had a gun (and still does, ready for the next hurricane), and police were not afraid to use theirs, as rule of law went out the window. It seemed the use of firearms was the only way to get the attention from the outlaws running havoc through the city, loading up vans full of ATM machines they had just ripped out of the wall. A crazy, crazy time which saw devastation on so many levels. At least it seems people are now coming back and the city has recovered itself - on the surface at any rate.</span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Pulling up to the Harley centre and being able to browse round all the bikes was just about the best thing, if you are into bikes, which of course I am. It seemed only right for me to buy myself a new helmet whilst I was at it, just to make sure my Motel 6 road trip got off to only the very best of starts.</span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">My bike was waiting for me, gleaming in the sunshine, and with a quick cheerio to Brian who helped get me sorted I was off on the roads.&nbsp;</span><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-GH6wsuJMI/AAAAAAAAAqw/5ZbLnceP4IM/s1600/New%20Orleans%205%20May%202010%20007.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S-GH6wsuJMI/AAAAAAAAAqw/5ZbLnceP4IM/s320/New%20Orleans%205%20May%202010%20007.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br /><span style="font-size: small;">My road trip had begun, and in such an amazing part of the country. As I got into the swing of things, with bikers waving as they passed on the other side of the road, I swept over bridges which covered miles of swap land as far as the eye could see.&nbsp; The sun was shining, and for me, knowing my motel room was booked ready for me at Lafayette I relaxed into the hum of the engine and started eating some miles. Perfect.</span><br /><span style="font-size: small;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-size: small;">A good night’s rest in the first Motel 6 I had ever stayed at put me in good stead to get an early start off to Avery Island, home of the iconic Tabasco brand.&nbsp; Everywhere I have been so far on this trip there has been a bottle, in various sizes and flavours, on the table of every restaurant I have eaten.&nbsp; It isn’t just a little red bottle of hot sauce over here, it’s a way of life, and I wanted to find out more about it … as well as try to blow my head off on chilli sauce … it’s a macho thing.&nbsp; </span></div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com8tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-48829397734150616392010-05-04T00:02:00.001+01:002010-05-04T12:45:25.057+01:00New Orleans<table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99Qk1a20II/AAAAAAAAAoM/IdUyG1rtTK4/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20010.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99Qk1a20II/AAAAAAAAAoM/IdUyG1rtTK4/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20010.JPG" width="176" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">French Quarter garden</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99UXgz-0RI/AAAAAAAAAqE/XDjpbFQeRAY/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20101.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99UXgz-0RI/AAAAAAAAAqE/XDjpbFQeRAY/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20101.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">A coffee shop that made a half decent espresso, sorry but American coffee is not good</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99UUgUlFKI/AAAAAAAAAqA/IlM0-G5kecQ/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20100.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99UUgUlFKI/AAAAAAAAAqA/IlM0-G5kecQ/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20100.JPG" width="265" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">French quarter balcony</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99ULreivOI/AAAAAAAAAp8/q2VFb5_CUcc/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20095.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99ULreivOI/AAAAAAAAAp8/q2VFb5_CUcc/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20095.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">another</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99UBfdqd6I/AAAAAAAAAp0/b14wHECAOFI/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20090.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="292" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99UBfdqd6I/AAAAAAAAAp0/b14wHECAOFI/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20090.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Nearest thing to an edible plant I could find !</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99UJDClJwI/AAAAAAAAAp4/U8iIA56MbFI/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20091.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="280" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99UJDClJwI/AAAAAAAAAp4/U8iIA56MbFI/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20091.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Alligator on a stick ... it was OK</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99TyoZTuZI/AAAAAAAAAps/K0b3yt2PG3A/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20087.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99TyoZTuZI/AAAAAAAAAps/K0b3yt2PG3A/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20087.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">French market, a few ok food stalls but mostly tacky souvenirs</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99TACqzLpI/AAAAAAAAApc/OCBXZiUMrOA/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20066.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99TACqzLpI/AAAAAAAAApc/OCBXZiUMrOA/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20066.JPG" width="240" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Beignets at Cafe du Monde ... yum !</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99TO4BNBfI/AAAAAAAAApg/_OO9dfrYSUI/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20082.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="640" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99TO4BNBfI/AAAAAAAAApg/_OO9dfrYSUI/s640/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20082.JPG" width="192" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;"><br /></td></tr></tbody></table><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99TXK48BDI/AAAAAAAAApk/C5XcO20Ruyw/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20084.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99TXK48BDI/AAAAAAAAApk/C5XcO20Ruyw/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20084.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99TfGJMovI/AAAAAAAAApo/JkXYrcMHZa0/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20085.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="225" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99TfGJMovI/AAAAAAAAApo/JkXYrcMHZa0/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20085.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Wayne was very cool, met him by sticking my head in the back of a restaurant, we talked food for a while. </td></tr></tbody></table><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99St82c7cI/AAAAAAAAApU/OFXEGnlJsA0/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20055.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99St82c7cI/AAAAAAAAApU/OFXEGnlJsA0/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20055.JPG" width="240" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99SpBb5AyI/AAAAAAAAApQ/t81CzYhwpzc/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20047.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99SpBb5AyI/AAAAAAAAApQ/t81CzYhwpzc/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20047.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99SmFUvpkI/AAAAAAAAApI/FPRDwKE0vMM/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20046.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99SmFUvpkI/AAAAAAAAApI/FPRDwKE0vMM/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20046.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99Sfy6QptI/AAAAAAAAApE/KEraby8yCDg/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20039.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99Sfy6QptI/AAAAAAAAApE/KEraby8yCDg/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20039.JPG" width="206" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99RX47cYYI/AAAAAAAAAo0/LeoFI9peJ4Q/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20024.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99RX47cYYI/AAAAAAAAAo0/LeoFI9peJ4Q/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20024.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99RvlegIOI/AAAAAAAAAo4/g8TiHHPdU_4/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20025.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99RvlegIOI/AAAAAAAAAo4/g8TiHHPdU_4/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20025.JPG" width="240" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99SCZhRpuI/AAAAAAAAAo8/ge65WAV96G8/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20028.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99SCZhRpuI/AAAAAAAAAo8/ge65WAV96G8/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20028.JPG" width="251" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99SPBdewtI/AAAAAAAAApA/OFP4nxEaWFY/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20035.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="129" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99SPBdewtI/AAAAAAAAApA/OFP4nxEaWFY/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20035.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99RSVu-yYI/AAAAAAAAAow/lMx9dTQ-MRQ/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20022.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99RSVu-yYI/AAAAAAAAAow/lMx9dTQ-MRQ/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20022.JPG" width="240" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99RF6k-nJI/AAAAAAAAAos/8P8sNQBmlxg/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20013.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99RF6k-nJI/AAAAAAAAAos/8P8sNQBmlxg/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20013.JPG" width="240" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99Q-whd_7I/AAAAAAAAAoo/-QWoIpv9VnI/s1600/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20011.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="194" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S99Q-whd_7I/AAAAAAAAAoo/-QWoIpv9VnI/s320/New%20Orleans%203%20May%202010%20011.JPG" width="320" /></a></div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-35639532578811447962010-04-30T22:27:00.003+01:002010-05-07T15:12:40.089+01:00New Orleans, Louisiana and Texas Roadtrip<div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">It's been such a fantastic year at the restaurant, and I have loved every minute of it. The beginning of this month saw me pass on my Masterchef title to Dhruv Baker; such a worthy winner of the competition that changed my life. I wish him at least as much success and fun from his win as I have and still enjoy.&nbsp;</span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><br /></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">We have been open for a year I have seen the menu change each season, sometimes daily, according to what is growing and what is available. You can be sure that whatever's on our menu is fresh and locally sourced, if possible, even if it does cause me a bit of a headache sometimes!<br /><br />The staff I now have in the restaurant are great, and as a team we are continuously creating food and an eating atmosphere that we enjoy giving to our customers, and hopefully also they enjoy. I am always trying to push myself to keep the best standards, but still strive to improve and explore new ideas. One thing I have always wanted to do is open a cafe, the kind of cafe I talked about on Masterchef. I now have that chance and have put in an offer at a site in Beaminster, just opposite the restaurant.&nbsp; Fingers crossed, if it all goes through, when it opens I want to give everyone who comes in a great cup of coffee and also something fun and yummy to eat, without necessarily having a three course meal. A more tapas approach to food so I can do dishes that are inspired from other cultures, that everyone can mix and match - ending with a combination on their plate they wouldn't really have thought of having before.<br /><br />So in order to get some inspiration, (and also a bit of a break and fun !) I am off to do a Motel 6 road trip in America.&nbsp;</span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><br /></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">As of Monday I will be in New Orleans and riding a Harley Davidson through to Lafayette, then on to visit the Tabasco factory and staying in Lake Charles. A quick cooking demo on a local TV station and then off along the coast to San Antonio, through to Houston for a couple of days and then off to Dallas, before a stop in Alexandria takes me in a loop to New Orleans again.&nbsp; En route I am going to be chatting with anyone I can about local wild foods that can be found, and of course getting inspiration for my cafe dishes to bring back home. I am hoping bloggers and twitterers will give me suggestions of where they think I should eat.....and if you have advice on any wild foods I can find as well. Whatever I do find I will be taking pictures of and posting on this blog.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><br /><br /></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S9tLjFBP4AI/AAAAAAAAAno/y6Bu4R2nEcU/s1600/M6-logo%20updated%20-%20jpeg.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="200" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S9tLjFBP4AI/AAAAAAAAAno/y6Bu4R2nEcU/s200/M6-logo%20updated%20-%20jpeg.JPG" width="186" /></a></div><br /></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;">I planned the trip with Motel 6, they have an online trip planner at <a href="http://www.goin6.com/" target="_blank">www.goin6.com</a> where I put in each stop I wanted and they figured out the journey route. Great for me and I know that I have a bed waiting for me at the end of every day's riding.&nbsp;</span></div><div style="font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><span style="font-size: small;">I know the restaurant will be in the safest of hands while I'm traveling USA, which isn't for long anyway. A quick break so I can come back refreshed and ready to step up a gear as the restaurant moves into the summer months. Get in touch with me please and let me know where you think I should eat, and what to look out for in the countryside. The trip is only a couple of days away, and I can't wait!</span><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S9tLofjPs2I/AAAAAAAAAns/YUZ76GyCQjU/s1600/Matt%20on%20Bike29%20copy.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="267" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S9tLofjPs2I/AAAAAAAAAns/YUZ76GyCQjU/s400/Matt%20on%20Bike29%20copy.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><span style="font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span> </div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com7tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-68710380885616220132010-01-29T15:17:00.000+00:002010-01-29T15:17:21.774+00:00Spelt Risotto with confit wild rabbit<div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="color: black;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">This recipe contains two fantastic British products, organic pearled Spelt and Old Winchester cheese. We've been trying to move towards using mainly British produced ingredients in the restaurant, and although we have a long way to go yet, these two products will definitely remain on our menu for the future.</span></span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="color: black;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">I discovered Spelt recently through the 'Taste of The West' awards. It's an ancient grain and a distant cousin of wheat, introduced to England, it's thought, by the Romans.</span></span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="color: black;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">I had been looking for an alternative to rice and the pearled spelt is as good as, if not better than, rice. It doesn't have the stickiness of risotto rice but retains an aldente centre which gives a wonderful bite to the texture.</span></span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="color: black;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">Old Winchester is a vegetarian, hard cheese, with a delicious deep flavour which I use in place of Parmesan.</span></span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="color: black;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">Confit can refer to preserving by immersion, historically this was fruits preserved in sugar. More commonly confit is used to describe a method of cooking by slow poaching in oil or fat, French confit is typically Duck or Goose poached in fat whereas in Italy it is poached in olive oil. I use vegetable oil or duck fat, a few herbs in the oil will infuse a great flavour to the meat, the meat is seasoned with brine before slow poaching for a few hours to create a delicious flavoursome meat. Rabbit works brilliantly as it is a lean meat and the method of cooking stops it drying out which is often a problem when roasting rabbit as they are naturally very lean.</span></span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"><b>(Serves 4)</b></span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"><b>Ingredients</b></span><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"><u>Spelt Risotto:</u></span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">120g pearled spelt (available from Sharpham Park - Tel. 01458 844080 or www.sharphampark.com</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">2 x Onions</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">75g Old Winchester cheese (finely grated) </span><span style="color: black;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">(available from Lyburn Farmhouse Cheesemakers - Tel. 01794 390451 or www.lyburnfarm.co.uk</span></span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">500ml Stock (Chicken or vegetable)</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">250g Bag of spinach or 200g nettle leaves </span><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"><i>(if in season)</i></span></div><div style="font-style: normal; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">Knob of butter</span></div><div style="font-style: normal; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">Pinch of salt</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"><u>Confit wild rabbit:</u></span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">1 wild rabbit </span><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"><i>(cleaned and quartered by your butcher)</i></span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">100g salt</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">1.5 ltr vegetable oil</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">Small bunch of thyme<br /></span><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"><b>Method</b></span></div><div style="font-weight: normal; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"><u>Spelt Risotto:</u></span></div><ul><li><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">Finely chop the onions and sauté in a pan with a little butter and salt until translucent</span></div></li><li><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">Add the Spelt and mix. Add approx 1/3 of the warmed stock and bring to a low simmer. Stir whilst simmering until the liquid is absorbed</span></div></li><li><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">Add another 1/3 of the warmed stock and stir. Once the liquid has been absorbed, you have a choice; it'll only take 10 minutes to finish the dish, or you can store the risotto for up to 48 hours in the fridge</span></div></li><li><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">Add the remaining stock. Simmer and stir until most of it has been absorbed, then add the finely grated cheese, and stir</span></div></li><li><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">Add the spinach or washed nettle leaves, stir until all the liquid has been absorbed and the leaves are cooked</span></div></li></ul><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="font-weight: normal; margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"><u>Confit wild rabbit:</u></span></div><ul><li><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">Make a brine by mixing the salt with 1.5 ltr water. Place the rabbit pieces in a bowl and pour the brine over until the rabbit is well covered. Put in a fridge for 24 hours</span></div></li><li><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">To make the confit, take the rabbit out of the bowl of brine, wipe-off excess moisture and place in a suitable large pan </span><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;"><span style="font-style: normal;">(where the rabbit pieces have enough space not to be touching)</span></span></div></li><li><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">Pour the vegetable oil over the rabbit until it is covered and throw in the thyme</span></div></li><li><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">Bring the pan to a temperature of 80-90C (this might be best to do in an oven). Leave at this temperature for 4 hours</span></div></li><li><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">Remove the pan from the oven and take the rabbit out. Dry-off any excess oil</span></div></li><li><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">Flake the meat from the bones</span></div></li></ul><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-family: Arial,sans-serif;">To serve, spoon the risotto into a large bowl and place the rabbit meat on top. Decorate with a sprig of fresh thyme. </span></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S2L75zMI6kI/AAAAAAAAAnE/Asl2CfrN43U/s1600-h/Marshwood%20Vale%20-%20February.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S2L75zMI6kI/AAAAAAAAAnE/Asl2CfrN43U/s400/Marshwood%20Vale%20-%20February.jpg" width="400" /></a></div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-591601338981287565.post-17523041000545638622010-01-17T11:54:00.000+00:002010-01-17T11:54:18.887+00:00Lemon Sole with caper and lemon butter sauce<b> </b>Fresh Sole, baked to perfection and topped with a buttery, citrus, sweet and vinegar caper and lemon butter sauce. My recipe is borrowed shamelessly from a classic Sole Meunière recipe which uses Dover sole and parsley in the lemon butter sauce.<br />This is another regular dish from the restaurant, simple and quick to make, the skill is in the timing of the dish and ensuring the temperatures are correct, follow the recipe carefully to get a perfect sauce and ensure your fish is as fresh as possible as it is served slightly rare to capture the flavours of the fish.<br />This can also be used for John Dory and Plaice, for Megrims and Dover Sole get your fishmonger to skin the fish before cooking. Ensure all fish used comes from a sustainable source, Megrims are a great local South West alternative to Dover Sole which are becoming scarcer.<br /><br /><b>Serves 2<br /><br />Butter sauce</b><br />100g unsalted butter<br />1 Lemon<br />tblsp Capers<br /><br /><b>Method:</b><br />Heat the butter moderately till it foams, when the foaming stops reduce the heat and add fine zest from the lemon, as soon as the butter colours turn the heat off. <br />Wait till the butter cools and then add ½ the juice of the lemon (no sooner or the butter will burn) and the capers before reheating till the sauce foams again, immediately taking off the heat when it foams.<br />Serve warmed over the cooked fish<br /><br /><b>For the Sole</b><br />1 Sole<br />Vegetable oil<br />Plain flour <br />Seasoning<br /><br /><b>Method:</b><br />Gut and rinse your fresh Lemon Sole <br />Slash the skin in crossed diagonal strips (as per the picture) on both sides <br />Drag the sole in a plate of seasoned flour and lay on a oven tray, (hint: use a teflon sheet to ensure you can get it out of the tray !)<br />Pour about ½ cup of oil over the fish and rub it into the fish on both sides to cover.<br />Bake in hot oven for 10-15 minutes<br />Probe the middle of the fish and remove from the oven when the centre of the fish reaches 60C degrees, crisp for a few moments under the grill.<br />Plate and pour a generous portion of the sauce over the plate<br /><br />Serve with some samphire and fresh salad (foraged sea vegetables work great if you have a source for them).<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S1L6PY1QUGI/AAAAAAAAAm8/dop88T2maUY/s1600-h/Lemon%20Sole%201.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="480" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_K-wlnlFiE8I/S1L6PY1QUGI/AAAAAAAAAm8/dop88T2maUY/s640/Lemon%20Sole%201.jpg" width="640" /></a><br /></div>Mat Follashttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01283378128055963822noreply@blogger.com4