Thursday, July 16, 2009

CATERING OF LATE. there's been a lot.

there really has been a lot of catering of late. mostly of the teaparty design, which is all rather fun. check'em out.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


so the outcome for the trout in agar, is that it set beautifully and tastes really delicate. however, next time, when leaving to set, i'm going to add fresh ginger to the mix, and also some more seasoning. the flavours of the bouillon just don't come through enough.. but all in all, not a bad saturday afternoon snack with some buttered warm granary bread. i'm ready to head off and meet zahra at the double club now! (well, once i've devoured this poundshop chocolate) xxx

Friday, July 10, 2009

we'll have to see about... ASPIC TROUT

having got quite obsessed with 70's recipes recently i've decided to try my luck with trout in aspic. however, the wholefood shop only had japanese 'agar flakes' which is a sea vegetable gelling agent. so i plumped for poaching my little fish in asian aromatics to give it the twist that i am already heading for.

2 L water
a handful of peppercorns
a bay leaf (from the garden)
3 finely chopped garlic cloves
2 whole star anise
a nub of garlic, peeled and sliced into shards
1 dried chilli

1 little trout
agar flakes
some chives
some parsley

fill a medium saucepan with the water, peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic, star anise, garlic and chilli. place this on a high flame and simmer for 20 minutes, to make a spicy stock. now turn the heat down to a simmer and curl in the trout. gently heat for 15 minutes, and then let it sit for 10 minutes. remove the trout, and remove all the flesh, paying particular attention to get out the bones. set this aside.

now reheat the stock that you've made and reduce. find a smaller saucepan and decant about 200ml of this stock, straining though a seive so that it is a clear liquid. add the agar flakes (according to the packet instructions as ratios may vary) and gently heat for 3-5 minutes or until the flakes have fully dissolved. finely chop the chives and parsely and add to the trout, decanting all of this into a small bowl. now pour over the solution, cool and place in the fridge to set.

i'm waiting for mine to set but will let you know how it goes! xxx

Thursday, July 9, 2009

EXETER EVANGELISM, even for a London Girl

I love London. I don’t leave London very often. I really don’t need to. Everything I love is here: My home, my business, fine food, my friends, constantly exciting Soho with it's speed, fashion and finesse. But this weekend I was on a joint mission out of town, a. to my dear friend Hen’s Wedding and b. in doing so, to stay with my other friend Doctor Helen (heavily referenced in 'Spooning with Rosie'). The wedding at Exeter Cathedral was reassuringly English, and was followed by an ace garden party with a brass band and sandwiches with no crusts – so lavish.

And staying in Exeter, Raf and I were bombarded with the delights of this city. Neither too posh nor heavily industrial, too ‘down-from-london’ or backwater either, with serene Georgian villas and steep little Victorian terraces. First up, Doctor Helen took us to her local, The Hour Glass on Melbourne Street. I can’t get this place out of my head. Everything we ordered, literally everything, was immaculately executed, simple and just good. There was confit duck with a Reform club sauce; potted crab; butterbean and pancetta soup with cider; a beetroot and goatscheese salad and 2 bottles of excellent Uruguaian red to boot. THEN we ordered every pudding on the menu (we three are not the types for abstinence). I had a pear trifle, so very oldfashioned and yet, utterly beautiful. Not school food at all. Raf had a gypsy tart, with however did bring back school memories but only in a really good way. Augh it was amazing. And Doctor Helen had a white chocolate parfait. If this pub was in London it would be full of idiots (like me), but as it is, it’s just perfect.

Next in Exeter was a lovely lazy Monday. We left Raf working whilst we went off round the quay. This again is so pretty and yet not shi shi. We worked our way round to the grocey shop (Magdalen Road) that Doctor Helen had already told me lots about. Bill was a generous waisted and spirited man, who sold me a massive bunch of beetroot (for dinner tonight in Brixton), and some other bits and bobs. The shop is tumbling and the stripy green awning and scribbled labels like any girls fantasy veg shop. A few doors down is Bon Gout, a packed to the rafters deli when lovely staff (really really) and a good selection of cheese. We bought Cornish Yarg and had it with Tomato chutney, bread and salad.

I simply can’t recommend Exeter enough. It’s a theme park of My Kind of Fun.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


after a big old weekend at Glastonbury following raf and his records around, i've been in desperate need of cleansing-of-the-soul stuff. added to which this heat wave is really hitting me hard (try making a coffee and a toasted ciabbatta in these degrees). so, i can highly recommend skiving off work and heading for an exhibition. we scurried down to the south bank to the Walking in My Mind exhibition which is fully air conditioned, and also a real pleasure to meander around the creative thoughts of artists.

the other thing that's truly necessary is salty water after a long festival slog. try buying a ready prepared tom yum soup pack of spices and sauce, and then add in a load of floaters to the pot: noodles, enoki mushrooms, snake beans, loads of mustard leaves and extra chilli. that way you'll be half way to feeling fed and watered again with added green goodness. for the best tom yum packs try china town or the wing thai supermarket. enjoy the juice xxx