Food cooking and eating – stories and ideas from a passionate foodie

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To offset the excess – what??

We are doing the Dry January thing. After the excesses of Christmas – it does feel nice to have a rest!  Or at least, that’s what my liver would say if it could talk?

Fish and chips Phil style!

Fish and chips Phil style!

 

We started the detox (ish…) on Christmas eve.  Knowing what was to come – pan fried then steamed a small piece of cod each (steam by adding lemon juice to the pan, lowering the heat, and putting a lid on the pan – works really well). Chips – spuds chipped and skins left on, 5 mins in microwave, 30 mins i oil in the oven at 180. Mushrooms and tomatoes done in steam in the frying pan.  Sauce is the lemon from the pan huices – lovely – and cleansing!

 

After Christmas and the wonderful excesses of Carlyon Bay Hotel (including 7 course dinner on New Years Eve…), we resorted to the slow cooker, stews and adding a detox item – beans and pulses!  Also, we served them with brown rice – again, good for gut health…

Slightly hot turkey with chickpeas and curried carrots, butter beans and shallots.

Slightly hot turkey with chickpeas and curried carrots, butter beans and shallots.

The first one here has left over turkey as the base.  The carrots were microwaved, then had garlic, olive oil, ginger, lemon juice, chilli, honey vinegar and salt added.  I added some chilli to the turkey – and the beans and chick peas just soak up all the flavours – stunning.  Finally, we had a pork stew, with kale (cooked for 8 minutes in water, then drained, fried off a leek in the pan, and re-added it to it – kale tastes great with a bit of leek!). Butter beans and borlotti beans – all add to the clean feel.  Warming and tasty – and good for you.  Loving winter!

Pork stew with mashed potato and sweet potato

Pork stew with mashed potato and sweet potato

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Adam’s Brasserie, Luton Hoo

It’s a wonderful race back in time at Luton Hoo.  You can see why so many film companies are drawn to it as a location. It’s not just the buildings and the opulence.  The staff lives it too.

Knowing me, knowing you

Knowing me, knowing you

I’d managed a sprained ankle while doing new years resolution early morning run.  Tripped over a kerb.  Out for 6 weeks.  I was at a meeting and was driven there by my friend Sue Leach (who was the designer for my book, “Can Men Cook?” – and what a great job she did!).  We had to ask at reception where Adam’s Brasserie was – and as it was 3 minutes walk away (or hobble away) they gave us a lift down.  Lovely, old-fashioned service.

The place is definitely Michelin style. Mike Kean (another friend and colleague) was treating us to lunch – and what a treat. Here’s a taster (see what I did then?) of what we had.

Starters:

Smoked mackerel pate with a horseradish crème fraiche lemon salad and beetroot wafers. Not traditional at all – a quenelle of the pate, and the beetroot wafers were divine. The horseradish was de-heated by the creme fraiche and lemon.  Loads of good feel to this.

Red wine poached pears wrapped in Parma ham with baby spinach and a balsamic reduction. I’ve never considered using a poached pear like this.  It works as an accompaniment as it was very tart – no sweetening added to the wine.  Looks fun too, doesn’t it?

Slow roasted pork baby back rib with a spiced cracked wheat salad and chilli dipping sauce.  OK – I did have choice jealousy at this stage.  And I didn’t steal any, even though I wanted to.

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Our starters

Our starters

Mains:

This is a golf course as well as a meeting place and spa.  Mike went all golfer – and had the burger with triple fried chips!  It was the full monty – bacon, cheese, but on focaccia bread (bit better than a burger bun!), and the tart and hot tomato relish was rather good. Sue had Dingly Dell Farm pork fillet, served with duo of apples (sweet and tart) sautéed greens and wild mushrooms.  It wasn’t just a nice name and description, but I am sure many will be drawn to it for that – it was silence making in its richness.  Sue is not a quiet person – so creating a lull is no mean feat – so the food definitely passed muster!  Fish of the day was sea bream – and we could smell the wafts of the sea 10 feet away – again, simple separate flavours, well executed and just fine dining.

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The Mains...

The Mains…

One of us had pud – lemon meringue pie.  That was good, but the lemon curd took it up a notch, and the blueberry sorbet just exploded with delight.

A clever menu, with enough variety to entice a jaded January palate.  A great discovery in an unexpected place.  Great lunch – thank you Mike.

Pie!

Pie!

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