karohemd: Gentoo penguins in Antarctica, by me (Hungry)
The Pass restaurant is in Sussex and a bit tricky to get to from Cambridge so when I read that Matt would do a "popup" at Cinnamon Kitchen (a few minutes from Liverpool St. station), it sounded like an easy way of sampling his food. After a train and tube journey that took 40 minutes longer than it should have, I arrived at the restaurant in time for the welcome drink (a rather nice Bellini). The meal itself was at the "tandoor bar" in the main restaurant, a long low open kitchen counter with comfortable chairs (not barstools) behind which the chefs worked and were also happy to answer questions and explain what they were doing.

Matt Gillan Lewis Hamblet Matt Gillan

When we arrived the chefs (Matt Gillan, head chef at The Pass, Lewis Hamblet, executive chef at South Lodge and Sarah Payne, junior sous chef) were busy assembling the starter. I ordered a glass each of the recommended wines and after a short introduction to the dish by Matt, the starter was served.

Curried gressingham duck breast, braised leg, blackened onions, pink grapefruit

There were two elements of duck in the dish (Curried gressingham duck breast, braised leg, blackened onions, pink grapefruit), hot slow cooked leg in a parcel and rolled up slices of dark pink breast at room temperature. This might sound slightliy odd but worked perfectly and the additional elements tied everything together adding texture and acidity. The wine, a Pinot Gris, worked well with the dish, even if you would expect a red with duck.

Roasted stone bass, spring onions, chick pea, watercress

The fish dish (Roasted stone bass, spring onions, chick pea, watercress) was next and freshly cooked directly in front of me as were the spring onions. You could see how much are and attention went into cooking the fish and the result was brilliant: Crispy skin and moist, flaky fish with excellent accompaniments.

Main: saddle of lamb, slow cooked belly, lamb fat gnocchi, lemon curd, mushroom

The main event was saddle of lamb, slow cooked belly (sitting underneath the slices of saddle), lamb fat gnocchi, lemon curd, mushroom. The meat had been cooked to medium in a waterbath and was then freshly seared and sliced. The belly had been cooked overnight and then pressed. The gnocchi and mushrooms were freshly fried as well. This dish is actually fighting with the lamb I had at Tuddenham Mill I had earlier this month. The basic idea was the same, a prime and a "cheap" cut of meat with interesting accompaniments but rather different in execution. I loved the contrast of the two cuts of meat, the juicy saddle and the soft and crispy belly (which wasn't greasy at all). The gnocchi were crispy on the outside, soft inside, the mushrooms had great flavour and the lemon curd (as weird as it sounds) tied everything together and provided the acidity that came from the yoghurt in Paul Foster's dish. Genius.

Dessert: vanilla and lime cream, mint gel, cucumber, mango, coconut sorbet

The dessert was vanilla and lime cream (inside the cylinder), mint gel, cucumber, mango, coconut sorbet. Lovely fresh, fruity and not too sweet flavours, some soft, some crunchy with the surprising element being the cucumber balls which had been steeped in a light stock syrup to give it some sweetness. Brilliant.

You can find more photos in this flickr set which will be expanded with a few more shots when I find the time over the next few days.
karohemd: (Chef)
After so many posts of other people's food, I've finally cooked something pretty enough to post.
Nothing special, just a nice lamb steak, marinaded in rapeseed oil, rosemary and garlic, seared in a smoking hot pan one minute on each side and then finished in a medium oven until it was nicely pink throughout (links to a crappy phone pic halfway through eating).
Served on garlic mash, wilted spinach and a red wine reduction made from the pan and resting juices. Not exactly fine dining but solid home cooking and, if I may say so myself, very tasty indeed. I possibly should have let it rest a bit longer but I was hungry. :P

Lamb steak
karohemd: Gentoo penguins in Antarctica, by me (Hungry)
This month, Ben Pope, head chef at The Punter in Cambridge, and his team are growing moustaches for the men's health charity Movember. To add a little excitement to this, he's also added lamb's testicles to the menu with one pound going to the charity.
Lamb Fries (Movember special)

So this evening I went along to try them. It was the first time I had them and they were really nice (poached, sliced, breaded and then deep fried), served with a herb salad. The texture is not unlike soft liver, very subtle in taste so the well-dressed herb salad and the crunchy breading were definitely needed. As with all offal, there is no reason why anyone should be put off by them.
If you would like to donate to Ben specifically, click here.

As main I had a confit duck leg with puy lentils and curly kale.
Confit duck leg, puy lentils, curly kale

(apologies for the rubbish phone pics)
Wonderfully moist meat, crispy skin, just as it should be. I also loved the use of lentils instead of a starch. This was a very generous portion and had to leave some lentils behind. The food at the Punter might be pricey for a pub but then you get a lot on your plate and the cooking is definitely restaurant level.

After years of mediocre chain restaurant fare (and very few fine dining places), Cambridge is finally getting somewhere with a few pubs where you can get food cooked fresh and with love, not from the common larder like chain pubs do. Apart from The Punter, there's The Old Spring on Chesterton Road and more recently, The First and Last (used to be The Cricketers, across the corner from The Elm Tree) and I'm sure there are few more where I haven't been yet.

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karohemd: Gentoo penguins in Antarctica, by me (Hungry)
On Wednesday, I attended a food photography workshop run by Paul Winch-Furness (details on that to come next week, when I've had time to write it up and process all the photos) at The Ship, a nice and big pub and restaurant in Wandsworth. Included in the workshop fee was a three-course lunch, we even had our own set menu (three choices for each course and this is what I had:

Lunch - Seared Wood Pigeon
Seared Wood Pigeon, Braised Puy Lentils, Dried Pancetta and Baby Roquette

The meat was nicely seared and cooked on the rare side of medium rare (nicely rested and warm throughout) and the earthy lentils and pancetta matched perfectly.

Lunch - Lamb Shank
Lamb Shank, Black Olive and Chorizo Mash, Rosemary Gravy.

This was big enough to be a course on its own, not as part of three courses but it was great. The bone came out without resistance as I grabbed it and the meat fell apart, just as it should be. Excellent gravy and lovely mash, enriched by chorizo. Not exactly a light dish but great flavours. I recommend this before an evening of heavy drinking.

Lunch - Vanilla Pannacotta
Vanilla Pannacotta with Blackberry and Blueberry Compote

Made with real vanilla, the pannacotta was soft and flavourful, the tart stewed berries offering an excellent contrast and the crunchy biscuit was great, too.

Everything was cooked perfectly and presented well, definitely on a good restaurant level of food rather than pub grub.

Short URL: http://bit.ly/KaroShip
karohemd: (Chef)
I seared the shank on all sides and then braised it on a bare simmer in red wine and stock with onions, carrots, garlic and rosemary for about three hours.
I then removed the shank and wrapped it in foil to keep warm and rest. Then I turned up the heat and reduced the cooking liquor to a thick sauce while cooking the potatoes and cabbage for the colcannon. Before serving I blitzed the sauce to make it smooth and seasoned it with salt and pepper.
I set the shank on a bed of colcannon (almost didn't manage to do it in one piece as the meat fell off the bone) and poured a liberal amount of the sauce over.
It was just a bit big for me so I have leftovers. :D

Slow Braised Lamb Shank
karohemd: (Chef)
This was quick and easy:
I had marinaded the chops in garlic, rosemary, freshly ground pepper and olive oil, then seared in a very hot pan, seasoned with sea salt and finished in a low oven to medium.
I used some of the marinade to sweat off a bit of finely sliced red pepper and leek, stirred in the couscous and added simmering chicken stock (from concentrate in a little pot) to finish (it was lazy couscous, the kind that takes 5 minutes). I also had some green salad with this.

Lamb Chops on Red Pepper Couscous
karohemd: (Chef)
This was a piece of a rack of lamb cut into three cutlets by the Art of Meat, marinated in garlic and olive oil.
Mashed potatoes with milk, butter and crushed garlic from the marinade.
Curly kale braised in butter. Red wine reduction.
All seasoned with salt and pepper.



Bigger photo )
karohemd: (Chef)
Marinate the chops in olive oil, garlic, rosemary and thyme for a few hours in the fridge.

Cut the potatoes into cubes, parboil them for five minutes, drain. In a large frying pan heat olive oil from the marinade and a generous knob of butter and sautee the cooled potatoes until crispy.

Braise the asparagus in a mix of good olive oil and lime juice, seasoned with salt and pepper.

Scrape the solids off the chops and sear them in a very hot pan. Turn down the heat and cook a bit more until done to your liking.

Remove the chops from the pan and keep warm to rest. In the meantime deglaze the meat pan with a generous glug of red wine and let reduce.

Serve the chops on the asparagus with the potatoes on the side and drizzle everything with the red wine jus.



Bigger )
More info on flickr (click the big pic)

February 2013

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