30/11/2010

So many photos but not many words.

I love taking photos of food. It's become some sort of an obsession, but not enough that I want to go out and buy an uber expensive camera or rig up a mini crane so I can get overhead shots. I'm a cook, and an eater and damn I love my food to look good, and if it looks luscious then I like to share it as well.
What I don't have a lot of is time, and writing does take up a lot of time. It's taken me over a week to write up the Acornhouse post!

Anyway. I thought I'd share some photos from the past few weeks/months.

Essex Dry Cure bacon from our local farm shop. Bacon that tastes of pig, according to a friend when we made him a sandwich.


Rainbow chard and fresh asparagus - also from the farm shop. How could I resist snapping up a bundle of these lovely fellows?


The summertime farm shop haul. Every Saturday is like a mini adventure!


A golden beetroot. Beautiful things.


Savoy cabbage from last week. They fascinate me. 

Acornhouse restaurant, Kings Cross

This place deserves a hell of a lot more recognition than it gets.

http://www.acornhouserestaurant.com/

Not only are their origins and their intentions both honourable and sustainable, the food they serve is absolutely top notch.

I had the great fortune to visit them last year with my friend Karen, and we just were agog at the quality and cleverness of each course that we had. By the time the dessert came along, we had no space in our little brains for any more squee but we oh boy found some when we tried the Malted Barley Ice Cream. It was like my childhood bedtimes in a bowl. Grown up Ovaltine with added sensuality. Karen had Apple Crumble Ice Cream and the noises of appreciation we made were audible to the chefs, who just grinned broadly when we pronounced the food to be "OMG AMAZING!" as one of them happened to walk by behind us.

Last week it was time to go again. I had a new person to introduce to the wonders of Acornhouse and I am glad to say that they did not disappoint. Acornhouse I mean, not, um. Anyway.

This time I had me New! Shiny! Phone! and so pictures were able to happen.

We were a bit late but they didn't complain, just sat us down and made us feel welcome. They fully appreciate that you will have trouble deciding what to choose. They brought us bottles of filtered water, free, and Col chose an organic lager by the name of Angel as they didn't have the cider. He tells me it was absolutely gorgeous and made up for them not having the Clementine Bellini that was on the menu. It certainly looked like a beautiful brew but I just cannot appreciate alcohol. I'll take his word for it though.

Col chose Field Mushrooms with Taleggio on Toast and I had Seared Scallops with Jerusalem Artichokes, Chillies and Almonds. (There is no photo of the mushrooms, as I was too busy tucking into my own starter and had also forgotten I had a cameraphone. It was a very distracted evening!)

The scallops were perfection personified. Silken centres still with the hint of sea, and a rich, caramelised outside, that bled dark golden juices onto the artichoke purée. The flakes of almonds worked well with the chopped chillies - no searing heat, just a warming glow and a fruity sweetness. I had never had Jerusalem Artichokes before but by golly I'll be having them again.

I tried some of my partner's mushrooms and they were also utterly delicious. Deeply garlicky and buttery but no harshness at all, even though there was a lot of garlic in there. The toast was chewy and dense, just the thing to soak up all the lovely juices.

After a  bit of a rest, the mains arrived. We probably should have had more of a rest because oh my goodness.

Col opted for the Confit Duck with Red Cabbage, Spiced Orange and Beetroot Salsa. I chose the Braised Mutton, with Pink Fir potatoes and Stewed Quince.



Everything was stunning. Out of the two I would say the duck was the more striking - it was so very tender, zesty and spicy, and we deemed it to be "Like Christmas in a bowl!" Every single thing in that dish worked together and created a gorgeous whole. I though Col was going to explode with glee, then I tasted some and did the same.

The mutton was rich, and deeply satisfying, and there was so much of it too! They had used rosemary and mint together, which in other things might have been too much but  the hit of a shred of fresh mint every so often added a zing that kept a very rich meat dish light tasting and easy on the palate. The quince worked with the meat extremely well indeed. A slightly grainy texture which contrasted nicely with the velvety mutton. Light tasting it might have been, yes, but there was too much for me to manage on my own so poor Col had to help me out. Looking back now I should not have ordered the side dish but dammit it was sprouts with honey and pancetta. I could not resist. My only complaint was the they could have been cooked a smidge longer, but each to his own taste with sprouts. Seggiano Chestnut Honey would have been amazing with them, but that's hardly locally sourced.

I had to admit defeat and didn't finish my greens, but I did give it a good go!

We were both far too full to even consider dessert, and in the end we settled up, and sloped off to lie down in a darkened room, groaning faintly and clutching our tummies.

I would urge you to give this lovely little place a go. They really are well worth the trip. They even tucked my scarf in for me as we left, making sure that I didn't get cold!

I had a Taste London card so we got 50% off, but even so, the full bill was only a little over £40.

20/11/2010

Brownies, blondies, call 'em what you will.

I tried a brownie recipe a while ago using sweet potato as the 'fat'. It was rich and gooey and luscious.

(http://cookwitch.blogspot.com/2010/07/turkish-delight-brownies-variation.html)

Now I want to try a variation, simply because I am dying to try and make lilac brownies. Er, blondies. Ooh I know! Slocombes! (Anyone who remembers Mrs Slocombe's hair from Are You Being Served will know exactly what I mean.
This is the roughly worked out recipe.

400g purple mountain sweet potatoes, baked in their skins until soft, then cooled and pureed.
3 free range eggs
140g white caster sugar
A pinch of salt
150g white chocolate, melted and cooled (I'll use Divine white or Green and Blacks white)
100g ground almonds
2 tsp white flour
70g of good quality white chocolate drinking powder, Whittards one is gorgeous.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rosewater or rose extract
1 tsp cinnamon
150g Turkish delight, chopped (I used whole shelled pistachios as I had no TD, hence the rosewater but chopped chocolate covered Turkish Delight may have to happen)
    I do hope it works, but it will be a week or so until I can be back home to give it a go. How cool, though, to make lilac cakes?

    So much food, so little time.

    I have a ton of write ups to do, but being laid low with a bad back for a while, and then work ramping up to sheer screaming ab-dab levels means that I simply haven't had the time. I also left my SD card reader at work...*sigh* but soon, soon my lovely mini readership, there will be a post or two with content.

    There's been farm shop visits, and cookie making, and amazing white chocolate raspberry blondies brownies made by my friend Mark, Nicoise style salad that took over the dining room table, cottage pies big enough to take over the world, more farm shop visits, pumpkins, Marmite chocolate, a stew to end all stews, autumn harvest soup, Turkish food and French food, roast dinners and burritos, anchovy and garlic croutons, herbs and spices and goodness knows what else. My life rocks like a huge mountain and I just have no time to tell anyone much about it.

    I need a holiday just to catch up!