Wednesday, July 15, 2009

the secret is in the small print

i think i mentioned that we've been shortlisted by the veg soc again and one of the things that we will have to do is send them a complete list of ingredients for every item on the next menu. this is to guarantee that each item is indeed suitable for vegetarians. sometimes it's pretty obvious, other times less so.
for example last year there was a question about whether the wine vinegar that we used was suitable and i have to say that i hadn't given it too much thought (it was). things are more complicated for us because we also have the vegan/coeliac element to consider. at the moment we have the artichoke and mushroom rillette on the menu. the artichoke is on because we prepared too much when we had the risotto on some time ago and they are just marinated in oil, wine vinegar, lemon juice and herbs, then blitzed.
the mushroom rillette is sauteed onions, then sherry vinegar, sherry (vegan), herbs, a little stock from porcini and cashews blitzed. when the sherry ran out i used chinese rice wine and hey presto, no longer gluten free. the two bottles of rice wine we have both have wheat as a listed ingredient so i've made an alternative with port (which is not vegan).

sometimes the mental gymnastics are such that i think my head will explode and sometimes we have made mistakes. usually i catch them in time, i've run up the restaurant after pasta dishes in the past, but i have had to apologise on a couple of occasions when it's been too late. we're lucky that our customers appreciate what we are trying to achieve, so thank you for that.

the next menu is likely to be our best ever because it's going to be relatively fluid with dishes appearing and dis-appearing as we try to run down our stocks of food for our week long summer break. more on that next week.



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