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Great loss of a real gentleman today and a great artist who, like me in the kitchen, never liked doing the same thing and re-invented himself permanently.
In the mid 70's I was working in an art house cinema in Wardour Street, one day we were showing Jean-Luc Godard's "One Plus One Sympathy for the Devil" when this angel came into the cinema. Her name was Jeanette, she said she was a dancer and she lived in a squat in Regent's Park.
I saw David Bowie for the first time that year, it was the time he was really playing up the bisexual thing, hanging on Mick Ronson's arms most of the time.
One night I'm at the Speakeasy with Ted Baker, Phil Lynott, Katy Vaughan and others and I see Jeanette on the dance floor erotically dancing with another girl. I catch up to her at the bar and ask if she remembers me, she says "Oh you just saw me in the papers, I'm going out with David Bowie", I say "No, the Godard movie in Wardour Street last year...". She was stunned and became suddenly humble. We talked a long while, then she was gone. I think Leo Sayer wrote a song about her. (Read more about the encounter with Jeanette by clicking here)
I met David Bowie at the EuroRock Festival in Belfort France in the 1990's. We had a cup of green tea together and he complained about awful English tea with milk in it, "must be even worse with French milk", and he was wearing a dressing gown. It was pouring with rain and the stage was slowing sinking into the mud and sliding backwards towards a lake. Bowie went on stage nevertheless and gave a great performance, some songs were included in the TV show I did, it was shown all over the world.
Back then I would pay in the cinema takings to Barclays Bank Regent's Street every morning where there was also an angel behind the cashier's desk, Fuzanna Wakhani, I wonder what became of her, and Jeanette of course. Then I met another angel in the cinema....but that's another ongoing story.
posted at: 22:22 |[/music] permanent link
It's been ages since I made this classic dip, I'd forgotten how simple to make and tasty it is. The secret is having the right size blender: not too big as you end up pushing the ingredients back down in the bowl to get properly blitzed; and not to small or you end up overflowing.
- put a tin of (cooked) chick peas and some garlic cloves (the number depends upon how garlicky you like your hummus) in the blender
- Add the juice of a lemon and some tahini (ground sesame paste, it can be found in most oriental markets)
- Start blending and add olive oil slowly until you obtain a smooth consistency
- Season with plenty of pepper
- Add a little cream or, better, fromage blank to lighten
- Decorate with sweet paprika and olive oil and serve as a dip with pitta bread
posted at: 18:42 |[/cooking] permanent link
Cold almond soup
This is a really interesting soup, deliciously surprising.
- soak some white bread in a little water (cut the crusts off first)
- Take a similar amount of almonds (ie: equal amounts of bread and almonds) and grind in the blender
- Add two or three cloves of garlic and the soaked bread, grind a bit more until you get a paste
- Add a little sherry vinegar
- Slowly drizzle with olive oil and keep blending in the mixer until the resulting "paste" become smooth
- Add water slowly until you obtain the required consistency: the soup should be slightly thick but not too watery
- Season with plenty salt and pepper and place in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours or more
- This soup need to be served very cool, you can add a couple of ice cubes before serving if necessary
- Decorate with roasted almonds and deseeded grapes (black and white)
posted at: 19:22 |[/cooking] permanent link
Polenta with sour cherries
Our friend Balazs brought us a jar of sour cherries from Hungary so I used them in this starter, inspired by the Tables des Cordeliers restaurant in Condom (see here)
- make some polenta according to the instructions on the packet, add some chopped sun-dried tomatoes and a little grated parmesan. Press down into a square or rectangular dish and put in the fridge to set.
- Reduce some sour cherries in their juice with a little red wine vinegar and some sugar. Crush the cherries into a pulp and boil until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Remove the pips from a few fresh cherries (I have a de-pipper designed for olives but it works for cherries too)
- Add the fresh cherries to the sauce for just one minute so they heat through
- slice "fingers" of polenta and place them under a hot grill until they are heated through and starting to "toast" on top
- decorate the polenta slices with small squares of feta cheese and the fresh cherries
- garnish with the hot cherry sauce
posted at: 21:02 |[/cooking] permanent link
We've been decorating, new floor.
posted at: 09:49 |[/travel] permanent link
We've been decorating, new floor, new shower.
posted at: 17:48 |[/travel] permanent link
I came across this beast at the fishmongers, absolutely divine.
- make some diagonal incisions in the fish.
- Rub some salt, pepper and herbs (thyme is good, oregano or rosemary too) into the flesh
- Place the fish, dar side up, in a roasting pan
- Drizzle with olive oil and a little white wine
- Place some lemon slices on top
- Bake in a hot oven for 25 minutes or more for a big fish
posted at: 11:52 |[/cooking] permanent link
posted at: 13:23 |[/humour] permanent link
Guinea Fowl with autumn fruit
We have a lot of fruit in the orchard and it's been a bumper year for figs.
- melt some butter in a small pan and skim off the white impurities that come to the surface, these are the bits that can burn. The result is "clarified butter" but you can also use Ghee from India, which is the same thing.
- Mix the melted clarified butter with some honey and baste a guinea fowl all over. Season well. Place is a roasting pan. You can also use a small chicken.
- Cook in the oven at 180°. For a guinea fowl the total cooking time will be about 45 minutes, you will need longer for a chicken.
- 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time add the following mixture to the pan:
- peeled and chopped pears
- peeled and chopped apples
- roughly chopped walnuts
- quartered fresh figs
- some raisons and sultanas
- the bird should be golden brown when ready, with delicious crispy skin. You can serve as is, or carve the meat and serve with the fruit and couscous (photo right)
posted at: 12:00 |[/cooking] permanent link
This year's chillie harvest
It's that time of year again. There are plenty more in the garden and we've got a bumper crop of figs this year.
posted at: 10:30 |[/cooking] permanent link