Sunday, July 08, 2007

Four course Sunday lunch

D and I have been poring through towering stocks of cookbooks and back issues of Olive, Delicious and other magazines considering what shape our Sunday should take. All we’ve really decided is that we want to do something on the barbecue and possibly a little bit different from the gorgeous butterflied lamb we normally indulge in. Seemingly we are inexplicably drawn to everything that requires 24 hours plus marinating time but we want to eat in a few hours so that doesn’t really work. We are both huge fans of Food from Fire by Charles Campion as it really gets our barbecue juices flowing. After much pondering we settle on Lemon and Black Pepper Chicken. Charles describes it as “a dish so profoundly simple that it hardly looks worth bothering with, but I urge you to try it”. LLcT isn’t joining us today and as he isn’t a fan of chicken we normally don’t often inflict it on him. But today, if we desire, the world is our chicken! So we settle on this and nip off to Knibbs Meat Safe at Burwash Manor in search of some of his plumpest breasts. D has already suggested that we should also grab a bunch of their most pert asparagus and start our meal with Crispy Parma Ham with Asparagus from the ‘fast drinks party’ section of Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food. Whilst with Mr. Knibbs we are struck as usual by his yummy looking sausages and decided to add some onion marmalade and pork and stilton to our package. We’re not sure how they’ll feature in the meal but we’ll worry about that later. We are shocked to discover The Pantry is entirely devoid of asparagus, D explains that before Burwash Manor became the foodie paradise it is today is was purely as asparagus farm so it seems ironic that we are deprived today. We visit another purveyor of fine produce and amongst the stuffed peacock and other assorted taxidermist’s delights we find they are also lacking the green spears. We suddenly realise that the deprivation of the asparagus has unsettled us and made us forget that we haven’t even decided on vegetable accompaniments, so we grab a few perfect Bugs Bunny carrots and a few potatoes and whilst at the till spot the ice creams and get a tub of raspberry and another of rhubarb and ginger. Ever indecisive!

We place a quick call to MC with a plea for him to search for less auspicious asparagus (though with the Parma ham jackets we are pretty confident that we’ll get away with it even if our asparagus turns out a little jet-lagged).

We haven’t been able to get chicken breasts with the skin still attached unfortunately, but we never let little things like that bother us. This is another one of those dishes that needs some marinating to get the magic happening but a judicious deployment of a vacuum box speeds the process up considerably.

We decide (or maybe that was just me!) that our Sunday lunch deserves another course; we had planned to get some oozy cheese as we’d contemplated a little Fab Cheesy Garlic Bread from James Martin’s Great British Village Show Cookbook. We’d meant to get some Brie for the garlic bread but as we didn’t we abandoned the garlicky dreams and switched to plan B. And plan B was to replace the intended cheese course with the less well known sausage course, so that’s what happened. After the rather delicious asparagus enveloped in the crispy Parma ham we enjoy a plate of the two different sausages, indecision problems again! I think the sausage course could really catch on!

The lemon and black pepper chicken worked very well, the final flourish was a sprinkling of celery salt. I am not sure that was my favourite flourish. I know that celery salt is a traditional condiment for quail eggs but I kept harking back to the 'crazy salt' that we made for D's birthday lunch at N & R's in Normandy so many years ago. I wonder how that would have worked with the chicken? Charles was right though, the chicken stayed very moist. I am sure it would have appreciated it's extra layer of protection that the absent skin would have afforded it, but we had to do without. The carrots were sliced obliquely with a scattering of thyme inside a fat foil parcel which could be added to the barbecue to steam/roast. When we were deciding the potatoes we had one of out usual quandaries, what potato delight to serve this time. Yesterday we'd been watching Saturday Kitchen and an old Nick Nairn program was shown and he cooked his version of fondant potatoes (though I think he called them "stovies" which I believe are slightly different) so we thought this would be a good extra to whip up with the chicken. I'd always envisaged that potato fondants required braising in chicken stock or something but I was mistaken as some do use a glass of wine or stock but most just use lots of butter. We ended up with Gary Rhodes' recipe for buttered fondant as his was the first I recall tasting when I enjoyed it at City Rhodes so many years ago. The potato fondant was served with leeks as was my main course (you see I don't always have to have meat!) but bizarrely (or maybe not so for me) I had his infamous mash potatoes as a side order. These turned out slightly different than I recall, rather like fat sautéed potatoes and not as soft an unctuous as my memory insists. But still very tasty, actually the entire meal was delicious and a fresh lighter twist to a Sunday roast dinner.
There was really only room for a soupçon of dessert (possibly the downside of a sausage course!) and as we couldn't really choose we had a small scoop of raspberry ice cream topped of course with a raspberry and the ginger and rhubarb with a chocolate ginger and the whole lot with a rather liquid raspberry coulis.
I like this Restaurant 74, I wish I could eat here more often!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your usual table awaits, Madam. Dxx