Firstly, a massive thank you to you all for the touching responses to my last blog. It has made a big difference and now it’s time to move on and occupy my mind with the life ahead. Whilst it took a lot of deep breaths to make the issue so public, it would never have been possible without the support of family and, in particular, my gorgeous grandson Ezra.
So what has Bazza been up to?
Cooking, eating, so usual really.
I’ve made some Jerusalem (f)Artichoke soup which is quite delicious as well, as long as you are prepared for the after-affects! This recipe is courtesy of my very favourite chef, Yotam Ottolenghi
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 30g unsalted butter
- 2 banana shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 leek, washed, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1.2 kg Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and thinly sliced (peeling is a real labour of love here!)
- 250 ml dry white wine
- 500 ml full fat milk
- 700 ml vegetable stock
- sea salt and black pepper
- Place the olive oil and butter in a large pan on a medium high heat.
- Add the shallots and sauté for 3 minutes
- Add the leeks and garlic, 1 1/2 tsps salt and a good grind of black pepper and continue sautéing for another 3/4 minutes
- Add the artichokes, cook for 12 minutes, stirring from time to time until they begin to soften and caramelise
- Pour over the wine, bring to a simmer and reduce the liquid by a quarter
- Add the milk and stock, bring to the boil then simmer for about 50 minutes until the artichokes are cooked through, stirring occasionally
- Remove from the heat and blitz in a mixer, adding more stock if required.
- Ladle into dishes
You can add a garnish of your choice. In this case I made a very delicious home made pesto.
Places I’ve been to, things I’ve done.
A couple of recommendations for eating out.
I’ve eaten recently at The Fox Inn, Lower Oddington. Haven’t been there for ages, probably not since it was owned by my friend Kirk Ritchie.
The family and I had lunch there a couple of weeks ago and we all thought it was a great find. Wonderfully hosted by Graham and his staff and some great food. You know how so many of us have been out to eat with a small child who does not want to sit down? But here they were really child (and dog!) friendly.
A special on the menu that day were mussels cooked in a spicy cream sauce, which were dreamily delicious, especially with a side of home made fries. No complaints here then from my finicky family.
I would so recommend this place all round and can’t wait to make a return visit.
Life is moving at a pace and I’m preparing for a new opening! Strangely I haven’t had much occasion to visit Chipping Campden recently, but I will be there an awful lot from now on so please watch this space!
We recently had lunch at Huxleys in the centre of town. Huxleys currently have an expansion in progress.
The first thing you notice is how warm, comfortable and cosy it is. Some of the table spaces are very casual and that suits me. We sat in some lush sofas next to an inglenook fireplace and I had a nice craft beer and a perfect chorizo frittata. I did have to comment that the quality of food they turn out is quite remarkable, given that they have such a small and open kitchen. Presumably, with their extension plans this will all change.
and now for something completely different…….
It was a complete sell out and I am not surprised because it was so interesting. Fish filleting is a great skill and one at which I’m not very accomplished. Gareth made it seem so simple and he did it perfectly and professionally.
Gareth gets his fish from sustainable sources and is very keen on using fresh and local supplies
He prepared two dishes – Cornish mackerel, heritage beetroots and pickled rhubarb – and Cornish lemon sole, St Austell mussels, new potatoes and seashore greens. We were given the perfect method for preparing a fish stock and the whole 1 1/2hr demo was captivating and concluded with a tasting of the two dishes.
Purslane is a hugely popular restaurant in Cheltenham, specialising in the freshest fish but with meat and vegetarian dishes as well. You should take a look at the menus on the link above. It’s a brilliant restaurant with great service and all dishes so well executed. So no hard feelings that a previous restaurant I ran was runner up to Purslane as best newcomer of the year, Cotswold Life!
Well done Gareth and the team at Purslane.
So that’s all for now, but coming up next, more details on the really exciting project I am working on!