Monday, July 6, 2009


The wonders of computers never cease to amaze; I’m sitting typing and watching ‘the Colbert report’ at the same time. The last menu is over and it is time for a new one to begin. I am quite a fan of the menu that we just finished, although I’m not sure if new customers would be as wowed as by some of the others. One serious mis-judgement was the profiteroles. I had imagined that they would be the best selling dessert and was worried that I would run out every night. My worries were groundless, they sold like the proverbial cold cakes. They were so bad that we’ll be resurrecting them in the future as a starter and a main course, gougeres and savoury paris-brest. The runaway hit for me was the ratatouille and I’ll be enjoying some in some stuffed mushrooms for lunch today. The secret is to cook everything separately, fry the courgette, roast the aubergine and peppers and slowly dry the tomatoes. Then make a dressing with lemon juice, smoked paprika, agave, cumin, oil and seasoning. Dress the stew, heat and serve.

We’ll be borrowing ideas from elsewhere again on the next menu. For some reason we had a recipe bookmarked and have decided to do a version. This was for lavash nachos with nice stuff and we’ll be marrying them up with our old favourites, smoked aubergine cream (baba gannoush) and imam bayeldi, as well as a guacamole made from peas and broccoli. Beetroot was not going to appear on this menu but ben and anne let me borrow some of their moosewood recipe books and that got me book-searching on the web. The upshot is that our gazpacho has become a beetroot gazpacho and the humble beetroot is back. I’m off for a couple of days on the next menu so to keep things as easy as possible there’ll be no pasta dish, so pierogi fans will have to wait a little longer; it’ll be worth the wait. The last starter is the courgette cannelloni.

For mains we’ve also kept it quite simple. A vegetable tagine (I’ll be making ras-el-hanout) on Monday, thai red mutton curry, a rice flour galette filled with a szechuan tofu, mushroom and sweet potato stew and pea, broad bean, lemon and mint risotto. So a couple of new dishes and a couple that are re-workings of other stuff that we’ve done. For desserts we have the same-old, same-old sticky toffee, a caramel cheesecake with hazelnut brittle and a napoleon/mille feuille of hazelnut biscuits and apple with berry sauce.

A new, irregular section now, an introduction to the canteen music maestro, vino. Vino’s great achievements so far are a mention of our restaurant on the 6 music show by cerys matthews and a compilation of new kids on the block. This is his first list

My trawl through the airwaves and tracklistings of various radio shows and web channels (last fm what a find that is, keeps me going on a night shift I can tell you), has thrown up a few gems.
I hope you like them
Broken Records - Until the earth begins to part
Grizzly bear - Southern point
Empire of the sun - We are the people
Hot Chip - Ready for the floor
The Doors - Touch me
Stevie Wonder - we can work it out
Fleet Foxes - He doesn't know why and Mykonos (reminds me of Midlake, ask Paul when you see him next)

Grizzly Bear - a top new band anything by them is worth a play.

Other news now. We may be contributing some recipes to the publication ‘Cardiff Life’ as part of a series that they are putting together. I’m writing them at the moment but, as you’ll know from these, I’m not very good when it comes to measuring.

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