Friday, 21 October 2011

So I'm now going to tell you all about my "Victorian" garnish for the tasting menu tomorrow night, and how Lardy cake has been turned into lollypops!

But before that, I'm going to waffle on about how this dish came about.

It all started at the Cow public house in Westbourne Grove.

On Saturday lunchtimes, after popping into Books for Cooks, it seemed only correct for me to be tempted into the Cow, for a couple of pints of Guinness and a dozen oysters.

Or that might have been a couple of oysters and a dozen pints!

Such a great combination, the Irish are lucky to have such a perfect marriage.

And, knowing I needed to change the East Lodge smoked salmon starter for something a bit more autumnal, I thought this would be a good starting point.

Although, being East Lodge, I had to come up with something a bit more modern.

So, thinking cap firmly on, I wondered what else would go with oysters and smoked salmon.

Champagne, of course!

And bread.

And cucumber.

And horseradish.

And potatoes.

And watercress.

And caviar.

Now, these are classical garnishes for oysters and smoked salmon.

All I've done is East Lodge them up a bit!

The only other thing I've added is a dice of sugar cured tuna. I wanted to do thinly sliced fillets of mackerel,  as I love the combination of oysters and cured mackerel, but they ended up being a bit too strong for the other garnishes, so I got my hands on a nice tuna belly. And, anyway tuna is related to the mackerel so it all sort of fits!

So, ready?

Cold oak smoked salmon, (we use the trimmings to make a tarama with milk soaked bread and oil, clever eh!), our now world famous potato "pasta", rolled with a chive dressing and topped with caviar, home made Guinness bread wafers, belly of tuna, cured in sugar and air dried, pickled cucumber, chilled watercress puree, horseradish cream, and finally the two original players in the dish.

We make a black velvet jelly, by mixing equal parts of Guinness and Champagne and setting it and we shuck oysters and deep fry them in a light tempura style batter.

Right, thats it.

All I've done is put some things that really love being together on the same plate, and hey presto, a new East Lodge autumn dinner dish.

And now for my next magic trick, turning lardy cake into lollypops!

Before I was old enough to go to the pub on a Saturday lunchtime, I'd go shopping with dad.
And, like father, like son, we both loved a slice of freshly baked, warm, sweet, lardy cake.

So now I knew animal fats could be used in a pudding, but I wanted to use some duck fat in a savory lollypop.

I'm already serving honeycomb as a garnish for our duck terrine, but I wanted to do a main course, using as many bits of duck as I could.

So we make some duck scratchings, mix them with picked thyme, orange zest, cured duck and cracked peppercorns, and make these little lollypops!

These will be served tomorrow night, to Mr H, with those duck hearts you saw last time, on our uber cool chef's table. If you look closely, you can see it behind the lollypop.

They will add an interesting texture to the multi course tasting menu, and hopefully, keep everyone excited, about what's to come.

Right, I'm not sure how I'm going to get away with this one.

"Victorian" garnish!

Everyone knows steak and kidney pie, right?

Well, before kidneys were used, oysters, as they were so abundant, were.

So, a Victorian "surf and turf'!

By using some beef trimmings, marrow and caviar we can introduce a 2011 thought to a common Victorian dish.

I'm going to garnish a beautiful line caught sea bass with some beef juices, a small dice of bone marrow and caviar.

Steamed at 65 oc it will be so moist and sweet, and with the salty caviar, and rich beef sauce, all it needs is a few thin slices of marinated crunchy turnip to bring it all together.

Right. thats it.

Oh, just quickly, its a picture of Agness, and even though I love her, writing this does take a bit longer now!

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