Thursday, March 20, 2008

Post Punk Kitchen

Mondays are fun days. Today has been a day of culinary experiments and cooking for the kids. This morning I made my second vegan feta, based on a recipe by Bryanna Clark Grogan. Any vegans out there may want to check her out on the web. I also watched the Mexican show from the Post Punk Kitchen, another must for people who love to cook. Then the mundane task of preparing salagne for my daughters and spag bol for my son. One of my daughters will not touch the spag bol but loves salagne. kids eh. It was whilst making these dishes that I started to think about white sauces. I'd seen loads of recipes on the web for white sauces but none were made the traditional way with a milk substitute. I needed to eat, there was a pumpkin, some curly kale, purple sprouting broccoli, calabrese and mushrooms. The solution, vegan lasagne. I had some rice milk open that I'd used in the not-feta, so made up a roux with veg oil and flour, then made a white sauce with the rice milk. A little sweet so I added some yeast flakes and some tahini paste, seasoned well it tasted delicious. It's not a white sauce in the conventional sense but I thought it would work well with the other ingredients. I roasted the pumpkin, blanched the kale and broccoli duo and sauted the mushrooms. That done I assembled the lasagne with sauce, pasta, filling, sauce, pasta filling, sauce cooked off and I've just eaten a bowl and it was delicious. Oh, I also added nutmeg to the sauce. Maybe we'll do this one day.
For anyone interested the children ate all their food. I'm signing off now because they're bugging me for marshmallows. I can feel another experiment coming on.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Buzzing Kitchen

The new menu has been on for its first three days, and whilst the feedback has been very positive with really good nights it just isn't as interesting to cook as some of the previous menus. One of the things we've learned in the first three months is that the structure of the menu affects your enjoyment (I'm talking about the kitchen) of the delivery process. Some menus are all adrenaline, a rush to get things out in good time, some involve less real time cooking, others more so. The last couple of menus included stir frys and a risotto. There is some prep but there is also a degree of real cooking (at the time of serving). The mains on this menu are more about arrangement than cooking (when we serve). For example, the most important aspect is to make sure that the roulade is put in the oven when the starters are ordered, and get the dumplings in. Other than that it is plate arrangement. The kitchen isn't buzzing as much as we like. It's something for us to consider as the menus develop and progress. Next time we're going to do some Irish dishes for St Patrick's day and then we're going to put ourselves in your hands. We'd like you, the customers, to decide what goes on it. We've already got a menu database and we need you to let us know what you'd like to see come back for the first 'best of' menu. Some early indications are the pumpkin ravioli, bhajias and lebanese parcels. We're going to encourage you to leave this feedback by offering a further prize (more about this in the next newsletter)!

Following on from that it'll be a Gem-inspired Italian menu followed by the first of our Millennium jaunts.