Beans and Sausages

I've got to be honest I feel like a bit of a fraud cooking such a simple dish tonight for the Taste Festival but made to taste it really is good ... I start with the base I use for a quick spaghetti dinner then add a few herbs and Haricot beans ... try it its really good ... ps get good sausages !

I'm on the Tropicana stall at 8pm tonight and tomorrow, 7pm Sunday if you want to try some and say hi.

Sausages with Haricot beans and hand made tomato sauce for one
2 quality breakfast sausages

1 brown onion
1/4 227g can concentrated tomato paste
200ml water
fresh thyme
fresh rosemary
1 bay leaves
1 tsp anchovy paste
1 tsp brown sugar
salt and pepper

1/2 can Haricot beans

Brown sausages
Chop onion, sweat onion till translucent, add anchovy paste and tomato paste, cook through. 
Add water, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and simmer. 
Add approx 1sp sugar to taste and season.
Add drained beans
Chop sausages and add to sauce till heated through.

Serve with toast

Caption anyone ?

Courtesy of Farmers Weekly

Still laughing at this one sent to us ... thanks Colin Tapley ! too much time spare in the office perhaps ?

The Restaurant - day one

Yes we have signed at last ... here's a preview of how it looks after I whited the windows to start work ... more to come.

Have just spent the day ripping out all the plants and tidying up the front ...

Phone is not on yet and working to opening date of 20 June ! Will post as soon as we are taking bookings.

Foodies Ticket offer (buy one get one free)

Here's a ticket offer for the Foodies festival in a couple of weeks if you haven't already bought ...

Pea and Asparagus soup

Inspired by the wealth of Asparagus suggestions floating around the web sites I follow I made a quick dish for dinner that was yum.

Firstly the easiest and one of my favourite soups - Pea

Add Peas to minimal water, boil for 3 minutes, puree and season ... that's it ... delicious and simple. Add bacon bits for extra salty zing if you want but a a sweet, filling yummy soup you really can't go wrong.

Today I added some asparagus stalks (not the woody end but the first inch or so after that) then followed the same procedure ... delicious !

The rest of the asparagus I griddled then warmed some Brie over it ...

Put it together and it was a delight ! I might go with parmesan shaving next time to try a stronger cheese as i think it could take it. Not the most elegant presentation but its just a quick dinner for me ... I was in a hurry to eat !

Anyway ... another idea for anyone looking for inspiration ... but have your first few bunches of Asparagus with Hollandaise first ... takes some beating.

Foodies festival

My next festival appearance is at foodies at Hampton Court ... really honored to headlining and looking forward to the day ... come and say hi if you are there ...


Anyone who's been to New Zealand will understand that we are pretty obsessive about coffee ! Coffee culture is a big thing, I miss going out at night and stopping for coffee instead of a beer. As far as kiwis are concerned I always considered myself pretty average in my regard and taste for a good coffee ... till I got to the UK and the complete drought of good coffee shops !

To my great delight I've found an excellent bunch of british guys who are far more obsessive about coffee than me, the team at Origon coffee make good coffee and roast their own, they are totally obsessive about it and I had a great couple of hours talking to one of their owners. I've found my coffee supplier for the restaurant.

It was also great to find somewhere outside of London to get a flat white ! Relish coffee and Deli in Wadebridge have the 2008 UK barrista champion Hugo and his protege 'Barrista boy' who placed 8th in the 2009 competition. I had the pleasure of comparing flat whites made by them both and I think the boy won it by a nose ! Needless to say they use Origon coffees ...

More news on the restaurant plans any day now !

le Manoir

Had a fantastic day at le Manoir yesterday for a brief stage. I was in the kitchen for about 14 hours and was really flattered that the chefs let me work the pass for lunch and dinner.

I was expecting more fussy french food but the dishes I was working on were really my sort of food, we had some great discussions over sourcing and growing wild plants and the selection of sorrel used in the plate I was helping with were amazing. Take a look at the menu. Its really inspiring to see this sort of food at Michelin level and I look forward to borrowing elements for some of my dishes.

Lots of great ideas, good plating experience ... and I can almost move my back again now ... fitness will come once we open I'm sure !

Some of the dishes and recipes were quite inspiring and the chefs were very open about the recipes and how they made the dishes. It was great to be able to prep six lobsters in a row, not something I could afford to do as a practice and now I have the confidence to do it in our own restaurant when we open.

Am off now to think about making a chocolate mousse mouse, based on an egg mouse they make at le Manoir for children ... I like the play on words and hopefully it'll be nice treat for my daughter's birthday party next weekend.