Friday, 16 November 2012

Youtube video episode 2: Margherita pizza

I’ve also been busy working on another few videos for my youtube series and the next one is here:
Let me know what you think and the next one will be with you in the next few days.



Bistrotheque, Rice Pudding and a good lump of jam.

Every time I go to a decent restaurant and see rice pudding on the menu I have to have it. In my opinion to impress someone with a mille feuille is easy, you don’t have them often and they always taste great but to impress someone with as simple a dish as rice pudding is a challenge.

This happened last weekend at Bistrotheque in Bethnal Green (@BISTROTHEQUE). We had a 3 course meal, every dish as perfect as the last. We started with cocktails – I had a cucumber flip which was sublime. The glass had been rinsed in Ricard before pooring in the flip and so with every refreshing cucumber-y sip came a faint aniseed taste – INCREDIBLE. (Recipe to follow when I buy Ricard)
Then came the starter, lardons, frisee, poached egg. To be honest at first it looked pretty but basic, after I started eating it I realised that the egg was done to perfection and the lardons were some of the nicest smoked bits of meat I’ve ever had. Confit duck leg and green beans followed, literally a leg of confit duck on a pile of green beans. It looked as if I was going to be left hungry but I wasn’t at all. The portion size was perfect. I haven’t had as nice confit duck in the Dordogne!

And then came the pudding, the rice pudding, damson jam, toasted almonds. Simple but perfect! A few glasses of wine later and it’s definitely one of the top 3 meals I’ve eaten in London! Bold statement I hear you say, maybe, but it’s definitely worth the visit.

There are certain things that you don’t realise how brilliant they are until you’re older, for me rice pudding is one of them. I don’t think I ever appreciated as a little boy the subtle flavours you can add and versatility of the dish. Also, it’s very easy to make, is filling and you can make it very cheaply. This is my version of the one I ate at the restaurant, please don’t be put off by the long cooking time as you literally don’t have to do anything, the prep time is about 3 minutes!

(Serves 3-4, Cooking time including prep: 1-2 hours)


Ingredients –

75g pudding rice
1 ½ pint whole milk
3 tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

nutmeg (optional)

Method –

-       Turn your oven to 160 degrees centigrade
-       First you need to rub butter onto the buttom and sides of your casserole/baking dish
-       Put rice, sugar and milk in the pan
-       Place in the oven
-       After about 45 minutes take out the oven, stir well and grate a good amount of nutmeg over the surface
-       It’s done when there’s a thin layer of skin on the surface (my Sisters favourite bit) and there’s still a bit of a wobble in the centre
-       Serve with toasted almonds and whatever jam you have in the cupboard, I went for dark cherry jam.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Lemon flip - cocktail of Kings

Ever since I worked at Gaucho Restaurant in Manchester I’ve had a bit of a thing for cocktails. When you have to make and taste them everyday you kind of end up falling in love with them. So now living in London I often find myself endulging in a cocktail or two!

I was at Shoreditch House with my house mate when I first came upon a lemon flip. Having never heard of the ‘flip’ family of drinks we endulged…unbelieveable! A flip cocktail refers to the use of a whole egg which makes the cocktail rich, creamy and frothy. In the olden days a flip was a crude mixture of rum, sugar, beer and spices that was then heated with a red hot poker which caused it to froth, or flip which gave it it’s name.

Nowadays you don’t see many red hot pokers behind bars and after trying to create a similar drink by mixing all the ingredients and then quickly poor into a very hot pan you wouldn’t want such a drink anyway. I’m not sure whether I simply got the amounts wrong but the warm, yeasty and rather alcoholic drink I made was vile.

I wasn’t sure what I should use as the base ingredient so I went to consult one of my favourite cocktail places Public House in Angel (@Public_HouseN1). After much discussion we thought it might be interesting to sack off using a spirit at all and instead to use a sweet white wine such as a Sauternes which is what I ended up doing and here is what I came up with. You could use another wine but I found this worked perfectly.

This is a lovely cocktail – rich, smooth and refreshing without being too light. Ideal for a cold evening by a fire!


Ingredients –

3 measures Sauternes
½ lemon juiced
Zest of 1 lemon
2 barspoons sugar syrup
1 whole egg

Method –

-       Add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker
-       Dry shake (no ice) for a good 15 seconds*
-       Fill the shaker up with ice and shake
-       Strain into a small tumbler and garnish with lemon peel

* It’s important to dry shake so that the egg white fully incorporates with the rest of the ingredients and it gives the cocktail it’s frothy texture.