It’s been a grey, sadly chilly weekend from a weather perspective, and Luffy decided to try to shame it into a semblance of summer with a pointedly summery lunch.
Fast cooked lobster tails, simmered for two minutes so that their sweet flesh remained succulent, dressed with a simple garlic and lime zest butter and served on a bed of young salad leaves, this was a glorious combination.
The lobster flesh was as sweet as a nut , the lime butter added a citrus, salty kick as if we were eating it with a margarita chaser, and we sopped up the juices with the young, soft leaves until replete.
Dinner last night was at the remarkable St.Johns restaurant in Smithfield, London. An old smokehouse now converted into an emporium of reverence to all things edible between tusk and tail.
Here you will find cuts not normally on restaurant menus, such as heart, liver, tripe, sweetbreads and crispy pigs ears. All delectably cooked, with simplicity and honesty, and served with panache.
The highlight of the meal was their signature dish starter of bone marrow, parsley and onion salad, rock salt and sourdough toast.
It was the best thing I’ve eaten in years.
The marrow was silky soft, deliciously creamy and deeply savoury. The flat leafed parsley salad, sprinkle of crunchy rock salt and the crispness of deeply good sourdough toast completed a taste experience that knocked my socks off.
If you get a chance to worship at this Emporium to Meat, go. Bite someone’s hand off for an invitation. Sell your children for a table.
Snow is blustering around both London and the Gers along with a bitterly cold wind, driving us to huddle around the woodburner. Winter has us all at last in its icy grasp.
Time for warming stews and soups, and a garbure is a wonderful fusion of the two.
Normally made with duck locally, a Garbure is a local, rustic stew- soup made with cabbage, garlic, beans and meat. Totally delicious. Anneli had the inspiration to replace the local duck with chicken, and I have to say that it was an inspired modification.
This recipe just uses the shredded meat from the legs (and the meat from the wings in my case as that was what I had left) from a roasted bird, and I have to say with the onion, leek, garlic, cabbage and beans it was more than enough.
I’m in the Workshop Cafe on Clerkenwell Road, London, having brunch.
You know when you come across one of those menus where you could seriously eat everything?
And whilst you’re weighing up the pros and cons of sourdough toast, grilled cherry tomatoes on the vine, sweet corn fritters, chorizo anything and roasted peppers you know that the waitress is gonna arrive soon and it will just have to be a blind stab at the menu, because whatever you choose will be gorgeous and it’s impossible to narrow the selection down.
And that doesn’t really matter because it’s all what you feel like eating.
At supper tonight at Hawksmoor, a celebrated steak house in London, I spotted potted mackerel and melba toast as a starter on the menu.
Very retro-chic, I thought. I’ll definitely try some of that.
The butter sealing the pot of mackerel was diligently removed. In days gone by I would have spooned this greedily onto the toast, but am trying to be good and so it was quietly and a bit wistfully laid to one side of the plate.
Mackerel has a lovely, oily texture and a robust, salty flavour so a little goes a long way.
Served with dill sprinkled cucumber slices to counteract the strength of taste it was rustic, delicious and very moreish.
I like it when things stand the test of time and potted mackerel is up there with the best of them.
In my usual guilt-ridden January mindset, having consumed far too much goose, turkey, mince pies, chocolate and wine to be good for me over the Christmas break, I have started to seek out healthy meals in January.
It was that or invest in reinforced elastication on the waistband, believe me.
But after three days straight on salads I needed something carb-laden and slightly bad-ass, and the craving for a pizza came upon me.
Enter stage left Pizza Express with their wonderful 500 calorie extravaganza of a pizza, the Legera.
The pizza with a hole. Just like a polo mint.
The base and toppings are the same as normal, but some enterprising individual cuts the centre out of the pizza and stuffs it liberally with dressed salad.
Somehow this food witchery works, and the eater doesn’t feel at all hard done by even though consumption of the gorgeous, fattening bits like crispy base, goats cheese and caramelised red onions is significantly less than it would normally be.
Thank you Pizza Express Legera inventor, whoever you are. You shall henceforth be known as a Food God.
Because of you and your invention my healthy eating month will lurch further on by at least a few days.