Monday, June 14, 2010

Today’s Vegetable Menu





Green Asparagus

Sautéed Mousserons Mushrooms


The asparagus are quickly pan-fried in olive oil without coloration with salt. Then we add ½ a glass of water and cover.

They cook for 4 minutes.

When the lid is removed the entire liquid has disappear back into the asparagus.

The asparagus are bright green and look shiny and tender.

In another pan, we turn the butter brown and quickly pan fry the mousserron mushrooms.

It is vital that the pan is large enough so the mushrooms concentrate their taste within the brown butter.

Otherwise, the mousserron release their water and the whole thing turns bitter.

We plate the asparagus and put the mushrooms over it.

Easy & simple but delicious.



Light Green Pea Velouté

Soya marinated Tofu


Peas are prepared everyday- we keep the pods.

Peas are quickly washed and pan fry with nothing more than olive oil, salt and water.

We cook them for 3 minutes- that's all.

We add some ice cube and blend very quickly.

Meanwhile we boil the pods for 10 minutes. Then we blend them and add the pod'jus to the pea.

We taste the soup and keep in fridge for at least 3 hours on ice. It must be very very cold.

We always buy the softest Japanes Tofu- we slice it and marinate it with fresh gratted ginger, lime jus and skin, sweet soya sauce, fleur de sel and olive oil.

We sometimes add a spoon of caster sugar- not always- depends of my mood. (Humm...., the Michelin inspector may not like that- maybe I should not write that!)

Then we cut the tofu in thick cubes and put it at the bottom of the soup plate.

We pour the soup over the tofu infront of our guest.

The sweet pea mixed with the soft texture of the tofu is quite special. Then comes the bite from the ginger and lime.

Perfect with peas.



Monday, June 07, 2010

Bloody Mondays-

This is how to treat an asparagus supplier on Monday.
Another Monday- another annoying day for supply.

Why can't we find anything of good qualities on Monday?

First, I went to Covent Garden Market to buy some flowers for the restaurant. I reached the market around 6am; despite the early hours, I did not see anything worth buying. The vegetation were so old- I was embarrassed to even look at them.

The fresh cut flowers were all half baked. No small tight Lillis; no bright and closed red roses; the eucalyptus branches I bought last week were all gone- the only things left were not worth adding to a compost.

So I spent a small £20 and embarrassed myself in front of the restaurant staff with some really bad cut flowers. I need to go back this week-annoying!

Then in the kitchen, I noticed that our Asparagus suppliers sent us the thinnest asparagus he could find! At our last meeting, he told me that we were VIP customers and we shall always get the fattest and tender asparagus- rubbish!!!! Only VIP when it comes to charging us!

Fish was crap; meat was just OK; fruits were just alright... not good enough for what we are trying to do here.

The problem is that we can't hide ourselves behind bad ingredients. If the ingredient is not first class, our food looks crap- really crap- and tastes old. Shall we close on Mondays?

I know that tomorrow, all of our suppliers will have plenty of great stuff- freshly picked the day before.

Food on Monday is freshly picked from Friday (if you are lucky!).Crap!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Late Spring....

It is such an exciting time of the year for me in terms of ingredients.

Spring is probably my most inspiring season.

Last week, for example, I had the sweetest beetroots of the year so far. We peel them, we quickly pan fry them in olive oil and cook them with water for almost 7 minutes.

I am always very tempted to serve them just like that- perfectly cooked with nothing more than their own taste- but you have to be very brave to do that. I am not convinced that our customers will feel excited by the view of a plate filled with beetroot.

So we "play" a bit with them= some red chard leaves tossed with an aged Balsamic dressing- maybe some deep fried tofu & artichokes to give a crunchy contrast to the dish....

I am hoping that broad beans will be better this week than last. They tend to be slightly flourish and hard to cook lately.

Radishes are perfect at the moment, so we serve them as soon as guest seat down with some basil relish, butter and salt.

Asparagus were really up and down this week- some big , some too thin. We are seeing the end of the season and I doubt that we will have some from tomorrow. It is quite sad to see the end of an ingredient- I have to wait for another 10 months for some good green asparagus now!

Strawberries were delicious this week (from Secretts farm). Carlos has created and exceptional dessert with them.

A base of very fragile chocolate biscuit Breton topped with a light sweet wine jelly.

Then he puts the strawberries (room temperature) and a light coconut cream/mousse.

To finish the dish, he adds a little translucent crust over it.

When he first told me about this dish, I told him that he was " hors sujet". I didn't want him to play around too much with the strawberries. Most of all I didn't want to see a dollop of coconut cream in my pudding.

Despite my comments, he developed the pudding and asked me to try it.

And then..... i thought to myself- what a wanker I can be.!

I was so wrong. His composition was perfect. in terms of taste nothing took over the subtle taste of the strawberries. The ingredients are just complementing the deep flavour of the red fruit.

Texture wise, it is perfect. The balance crunchy, tender, soft and crispy is very clear across the dish. Nothing is too hard or too soft. The simple weight of the spoon breaks everything without effort. I was blown away. Well done Carlos.

Also, his Campari granité with grapefruits and lime juice was out of this world!

Veganisteria 111

Deep Problem If there was one thing that has seriously amazed me since becoming a vegan chef is the fact that I am still not connected ...