With September already half gone and just a few spots left at the remaining dates (book now), I thought it was about time to tease a couple of the new dishes I’ve got coming up for the October menu. Some of my all time favourites have been reserved for this month. Here’s three of them:
Smoked eel with celeriac puree and black pudding
This dish is so pretty it’s everywhere, on website banner and my business cards. Eel is one of the kings of the seafood world – right up there with lobster, scallops and monkfish, and smoked eel is so delicate, subtle and complex its like a precious gemstone that needs the right setting to set it off. A creamy puree of celeriac, along with little crumbs of black pudding and tiny glistening cubes of poached pear works beautifully to this effect.
Inspired by my recent trip to New Orleans. A boucherie is a Cajun tradition where a community gathers together upon the occasion of a pig being slaughtered in order for all to assist in preserving the different parts of the pig. Gumbo Ya-Ya is the rich, roux-thickened stew, also hailing from Louisiana’s Cajun country. The name means “everyone talking at once” – because of all the different meats and flavours going into the stew, or to evoke the image of a whole group of women gossiping in the kitchen while taking turns as the one in charge of constantly stirring the roux. I’ve given a nod to both of these traditions by topping a classic Cajun gumbo with a selection of cured meats – honey-smoked ham, boudin balls (made from rice and sausage meat) and crispy duck confit.
Toast ice cream
In Alice in Wonderland, the infamous potion, with its big “Drink me” label had “a sort of mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast”. The flavour of hot buttered toast. How curious. Toast is usually just a convenient vehicle for the transport of honey, strawberry jam, scrambled eggs, melted cheese, smoked salmon or marmalade. And while it might have flavour of its own, there’s simply nothing else that has its flavour. This curious thought led me to the creation of my toast-flavoured ice cream.
You might think that toast ice cream would resemble in some way brown bread ice cream. It does not. Toast ice cream has the flavour of hot buttered toast, but is marvelously smooth and ungrainy. So smooth in fact, that I wanted to add something with a little bit of texture. Honeycomb candy – with the crunch of toast and the flavour of honey, is perfect. Its method of production as well – hot caramel billowing up out of the saucepan – feels very Wonderland.
If you’re interested in trying it at home, here’s the recipe: https://smokeandthyme.com/2013/11/19/toast-ice-cream/