karohemd: (Chef)
I have been lax in posting my own cooking to my blog recently which was mainly due to not having cooked anything new, exciting or worthwhile to post but here are two:

Mackerel and orange salad


I had picked up a mackerel from the wet fish counter at Sea Tree in Mill Road and wanted to make something very simple and quick. I filleted the mackerel (which is very easy compared to other fish), rubbed the skin side with rapeseed oil, seasoned the flesh side with sea salt and pepper and fried the fillets skin side down in a hot pan for about a minute, took the pan off the heat and flipped over the fillets to cook the other side.
To serve I arranged the fillets on simply dressed leaves with orange segments. The bitterness of the leaves with the tart orange worked well together. Blood oranges would have been even better but those weren't in season.

Poached Dover Sole


My friends Heidi and Carri had told me of a van that sells fresh wet fish from Lowestoft next to the Portland Arms pub on Mitcham's Corner on Wednesdays (from 8:30 to 15:00, I think) and yesterday I finally got up half an hour earlier and took a detour on the way to work. Yesterday, they had cod, haddock, salmon, plaice, Dover sole, herring, sprats, whole squid, prawns, rainbow trout and a few other bits and pieces. Everything looked excellent and fresh. As I knew I wouldn't have much time in the kitchen, I picked a Dover sole with the plan of poaching it. They even had a few that were already skinned which saved me some time.
Home after work, the fish was still in excellent condition, ever after 9 hours in the office fridge. I made a poaching liquor from white wine, water, a fish stock pot and a couple of slices of ginger and garlic, brought it to the boil, switched the heat off and let it cool down for a while, taking out the ginger and garlic at the end. On a Saturday I would have made my own stock from the bones but I was quite hungry and didn't want to wait that long. I filleted the sole (you get four fillets from a flat fish) and poached the fillets in the liquor for about five minutes. Then I took them out, seasoned them with salt and pepper and served them on dressed leaves and boiled new potatoes. Next time, i'm going to let the liquor cool even further so they don't cook quite that much. They were firm but still moist. The flavour was subtle and clean, just what I wanted.
karohemd: (Chef)
It's been a long time coming but I finally cooked something the look of which I was reasonably happy with and that was a bit different from what I'd cooked before.
The mackerel fillets were simply pan-seared and seasoned with salt and pepper. With it I served beetroot couscous for which I stirred the couscous into cooked, pureed beetroot, thinned with a bit of chicken stock so there was enough liquid and seasoned with salt and pepper and wilted spinach. The little cubes of beetroot were pickled in warm balsamic vinegar for about an hour.

Pan fried Mackerel, Beetroot Couscous, Spinach
karohemd: Gentoo penguins in Antarctica, by me (Hungry)
A new month means new dishes at Alimentum so I went yesterday to try some of them. I was told a menu had been created for me (things like this happen when you're friends with the chefs on twitter) so I didn't even know in advance what I would get (or choose from a menu) and that it would turn into a 8-course extravaganza.

The canapees came in a funky double bowl:
Canapees: Popcorn and Cheese&Onion Macarons

Alimentum popcorn and Cheese&Onion macarons. Both had an excellent flavour combination of savoury and sweet. I could happily devour a box of those macarons.

The amuse bouche was a small bowl of frothy cauliflower veloute, with little bits of pickled cauli at the bottom.
Amuse Bouche: Cauliflower veloute

This style of soup is one of Alimentum's staples and there's a new flavour every month or so. A nice way to get the tastebuds going.

The next dish was smoked haddock with a fried egg and a fluffy potato veloute.
First starter: Haddock and potato veloute, fried egg

Definitely the first highlight in my menu, the different textures made this. Flaky haddock, frothy soup, rich egg and some crispy bits. Oh, and served by the head chef himself. :)

The first meat dish was a duck terrine (smoked leg and foie gras) with sorbe and fig, and liver parfait on toast.
Second starter: duck terrine, sorbe, fig, liver parfait on toast

The only thing that was a bit off for me here was the "BBQ sauce" that was a bit strong for me but that's a personal preference as I'm not a fan of BBQ sauce. Still, with only a little, it was a great addition.

Back to fish: mackerel with a teriyaki glaze with avocado puree, cucumber and radish.
Fish: mackerel, teryiaki glaze, cucumber, radish

Mackerel is one of my favourite fish, you don't need to much to it, only barely cook it and this is what I got here. The glaze wasn't overpowering and the salad was nicely refreshing. The second highlight.

The main act was a duo of beef. Roasted sirloin with carrots and onion ash and in a separate little copper pot a beef cheek ragu and a generous blob of horseradish mash with more onion ash.
Main: beef, carrot, onion ash

Needless to say, the sirloin was perfectly and evenly cooked, deeply flavoured and soft, perfectly matched by the carrot, the jus and the onion ash adding a bit of zing. The ragu had clearly been cooked for a very long time as the meat was reduced to tiny slithers with jus the right amount of sauce. Deep and rich, I was almost tempted to just dig in with the spoon but didn't in the end. While writing this, I remembered I had a rather similar dish at Pollen St. Social last year and thinking back, I prefer Alimentum's version.

By that time, I was thoroughly stuffed but there were two desserts to come:
Luckily, the pre-dessert was very light: a smooth pernod foam, with bits of pineapple at the bottom and fennel crisps stuck in top (yes, this works, very well).
Pre dessert: Pineapple Foam

The only criticism I could find was that it could be a bit more colourful, especially when served in a white bowl.

The final dessert was a slice of Battenburg cake with apricot icecream on one and a cylinder of amaretto foam on the other side.
Dessert: Battenburg cake, apricot ice cream and foam

The apricot things were light but I couldn't finish the cake after that generously poritioned main before. It was, however, very nice indeed and I'm not a big fan of this sort of cake. The natural light from behind me had faded by that point so this photo didn't come out quite as planned.

So yes, another great meal at Alimentum. The restaurant had a little facelift and a window to the kitchen has been added so you can watch the chefs at work. Immediately behind the window is the cold section where desserts and cold elements of other dishes are assembled but you can also see the stoves further in.

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April 2016

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