Friday, May 25, 2007

Grand Menu Britannique

So we know who has booked their ticket to Paris to cook for the special banquet hosted by the British ambassadors showcasing all that is wonderful about British food and cooking.
I had all my fingers crossed on the way home tonight, I had Sky+'d the important final and was hoping that my favourites had gone through and also that the final menu would be a splendid feast as D and I have already committed ourselves to recreating it. And there were some of the final dishes that we really didn't want to attempt.
I might not be an enormous fan of Sat Bains, I thought he was a little mean to the rather sweet 'Marvin the paranoid android' Galton Blackiston in the first week, but apart from the two plus hours in a water bath poached duck egg, I rather fancied the Ham, Egg & Peas starter. D and I have already sworn that an element of artistic licence will have to be exercised in our recreation. We won't have an army of sous chefs, a water bath or a "sous vide" vacuum machine but we'll do our best. So what else have D and I got to tackle?
The winner of the fish course was the fabulous Richard Corrigan. The 'this chef's not for turning' Richard Corrigan who completely reinvented his Whole Poached Wild Salmon & Duck Egg Dressing with Wheaten Bread & Country Butter after it was slated in the Northern Irish regional heat. But in the final when his wild salmon was substituted for common or garden farmed salmon he had to pull all the stops out to sex up the flavour. And clearly he managed it, well done Richard.
The main courses were well fought, the judges had really feared that the French would laugh the 'rosbif' out of Paris if it wasn't the most amazing, earth shattering beef ever. So they went for two lamb dishes - Richard's lamb dish - Shoulder of mountain lamb with leek-wrapped loin and champ and Atul's Lamb rack and pan-fried lamb patties flavoured with rose petals. And as a fabulous finale Mark Hix's rather theatrical and I'm sure extremely tasty Rabbit & Crayfish Stargazy Pie. I have been a huge supporter of Mark Hix's food in this competition, I have tasted his food and the French are very lucky. And the French are going to be extremely surprised and I hope delighted at the first sight of their pie at the banquet. And I reiterate, there can be no way that any of the guests at the banquet could say "ooh, I had the very thing only last night", congratulations Mark.
And the most laid back chef in the world is going to have his work cut out for him in Paris. Out of the four final dishes Mark's fabulous looking, quintessentially British and extremely seasonal Perry Jelly & Summer Fruits with Elderflower Ice Cream was voted the nation's favourite.
We get to see them all produce their winning dishes in Paris in a few weeks. D and I will produce our own homage to the Great British Menu in the next couple of months.It may be take me that long to think of a suitable theme for the table.

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