Poached whole salmon for The Underground [Pop Up] Restaurant at the Fire and Knives Magazine Mixed Grill event

Monday, February 14, 2011
Parking at £0.40 FOR SIX MINUTES! That's when you know you're in central London.Poached whole salmon - what a classic. Due to there being just one domestic size cooker at Conway Hall for 70 people whole dressed salmon and truffle potatoes en papilotte couldn't have been better. Normally for a buffet you might do one. On this occasion it was 5. Ms M sure never likes to do anything by halves.

To get the salmon in the aga they needed to be curved slightly - this seemed to give them all a different 'personality' (well it looked like it at 3am when this was posted at least). I'd found this pic the night before - which is actually a ham, but used the same idea for the salmon. This seemed really good, until I realised how time consuming trimming those lengths of cucumber skin actually was. And then there was the waiting for the aspic to set. Another labour of love.

Rewind slightly and while the salmon were cooling and Ms M was out last minute shopping it had been soup time. This scallop soup recipe turned out great - half the scallops were used in the soup leaving half to be cooked on the salt blocks by Josh (see pic here) in the room in front of the guests while Ms M was speaking. There's a lot more about cooking on salt bricks here.

Rewind even earlier to Friday morning, and Ms Marmitelover had been making real blancmange and baking huge meringues to make meringue swans - 18 egg white versions - so 1 between 20 (ish). These were great fun to put together on the day. And I now know which way round swan's wings go. That's a swan not a shark (cue Jaws theme tune).

It all made for a great interactive meal - with the scallops being cooked in front of the guests, the soup being poured at the table, the salmon being carved at the table (Josh and I helped one table each while others had their own designated carver) and then the desserts which guests could cut into and serve themselves. The very ethos of the home restaurant taken into a hall in Camden. And everything was fresh and homemade - what more could you ask for?

Working alongside 2/3 of Blanch and Shock (Mike's off-cam to our right)

Queen of puddings ii

Monday, February 07, 2011
They always say the old things are the best. They're right too!The queen of puddings is one of the first things I blogged here - back in March 2006 when I was setting up the business and after a couple of months break was getting back into the kitchen.
No idea what happened to the recipe I used then - but now I use this one.
Apparently it's origin can be dated back to the 1600's - they knew about comfort food back then.

Cake (or bread) crumbs, milk, yolks, sugar baked in the dish, jam spread on top (raspberry in this case) and meringue piped on top.

Pheasant ballottine

Last of the season from the nearby Overbury Estate.Quite a labour of love. When you're de-boning pheasants you also need to take out stray bits of shot too. And the legs have fine bones which also need to be removed. All these bones can be roasted and made into stock for the sauce.

It helps to have 2 people doing this - I was removing the main bones, legs and wings and Hannah was removing shot and the fine leg bones, and the removing the leg meat from the skin.

Leg meat was chopped, mixed with sage, onion, mix spice, prunes, few breadcrumbs to bind and rolled up.

FAQ - What does ballottine mean?

De-boned and rolled into a cylindrical shape with a stuffing in the middle.

Like this is looks much nicer plated up. Plus you get to use the bones for the sauce.