karohemd: (Chef)
This long weekend was perfect for some experimentation in the kitchen so on Monday I used up the rest of the asparagus (I had sauteed spears with my lamb steaks on Sunday evening), cooking the front half of the spears in lemony butter, removed them from the butter and kept them warm. Then I cooked the chopped stems in the same butter with some veg stock. When those were tender, I blitzed them with a stick blender, seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg, stirred in a good dollop of double cream and blitzed again, tilting the blender head to get in as much air as possible. The result was a light, smooth, fluffy soup. The flavour was spot on, too.
I served the soup in a deep plate, with the cooked spears and a poached duck's egg yolk on top. Probably the technically best dish I've ever cooked. Very happy. :o)
Cream of asparagus soup, poached duck's egg yolk
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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karohemd: (Chef)
It's been a while since I produced food that was worth taking a photo of (or I hadn't taken a photo of before).
Here's the yummy veg soup I made this evening.
Broccoli, leeks, carrots, potatoes (for starch), seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, sweet pimenton, mixed herbs, blitzed, scraped through a sieve.
Finished with creme fraiche, garnished with chilli oil and a few slithers of red pepper and mint leaves.
I even have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. :)

karohemd: (Chef)
It was using leftovers day so I first made a veg stock from a few carrots, spring greens, onions, broccoli stalks and the cauliflower leaves. In that stock I cooked a cauliflower broken into florets, four deseeded tomatoes and two garlic cloves until tender. I blitzed the lot with my stick blender, added some leftover cheese sauce as thickener, seasoned with salt, pepper, sweet and hot pimentòn and freshly ground nutmeg and let simmer for a while longer.

Meanwhile I cut some sourdough bread (the Polish one from tesco's is nice when you can't get to a bakery stall) into pieces and fried them in a large pan until crispy.

I served the soup in a bowl, with the croutons over the top, finished with some grated parmesan and a drizzle of good olive oil.

karohemd: (Chef)
I still had loads of veg left over so decided to make a soup, something I don't often do.
I had a big bulb of fennel (reserve the tops), two large leeks, two tiny heads of cabbage, a baking potato and three tomatoes.
Method:
Chop everything into smallish chunks and sautee everything off in a generous knob of butter and an equally generous glug of olive oil, fill up with veg stock (I used a cube but the good organic stuff) and let it simmer until the potatoes are soft.
Blitz it all up (I used a stick blender) until it's smooth, check the seasoning (I added pepper, salt, freshly grated nutmeg and sweet smoked paprika), serve in bowls and garnish with a blob of cream and chopped fennel tops.
Devour.
It was gorgeous, I could have eaten that at a fine restaurant and not noticed the difference.


Bigger )
I have to take a little hat tip to Kayotic Kitchen (there are both LJ and DW feeds and she's @kayotickitchen), one of my favourite food bloggers (despite her penchant for Americanisms) and photographers, because she's making a lot of these kind of soups. It's not based on any of her recipes (at least not to my recollection) but she's certainly been an inspiration. Thanks, Kay.

February 2013

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