The last week or so I have been ill, hence the absence. After not eating for four days, I was plunged back in at the deep end once recovered with an early Saturday morning wake up call. The parents and I were headed into London to the infamous La Fromagerie restaurant/cheese-shop/grocers/cafe (!) to watch a cookery demonstration by Alice Hart. A great cookery writer, her bio from the La Fromagerie is so impressive:
The youngest ever food editor at Waitrose Food Illustrated, a chef, and a food stylist. Her popup restaurant Shoreditch in February sold out in less than a day. Later this year she plans to launch a Vietnamese restaurant. And whenever she has the time, she is cooking and travelling in her pride and joy: Myrtle the Hurtle, a bay window, 1972 VW camper van, fully decked-out with kitchen.
Here making aioli from scratch in a pestle and mortar with Patricia Michelson, owner of La Fromagerie, Alice Hart provided the audience of 20or so with great tips and entertaining talk as she coked up delicious food. Firstly, we enjoyed blackberry granola muffins – something I look forward to making and sharing with you fully later this year. They were gorgeous and the use of wholemeal flour, hazelnuts and granola made them feel positively healthy. Next on the menu were courgette flowers stuffed with fresh goat cheese alongside a summer squash agrodolce. Whilst I am normally into my sweet food, being ill had left me craving savoury and the food here was exciting and new to me – I enjoyed it all! The squash agrodulce was like a summer salad of roasted squash and courgette with a fresh dressing, perfect under the soft richness of the goat-cheese flowers. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures so these are the few from my Dad’s phone. Alice made an interesting point that people often hear of battered and fried courgette flowers and think this is the only way to eat them. Whilst yummy, that is such a faff and the flowers are very versatile – can be eaten raw, shredded in salads or baked. Next up was beetroot cured salmon with a fennel salad and the aformentioned aioli. I haven’t tried much fish before but the beetroot cure made this totally beautiful and the whole audience seemed to love it. The aioli was a wonderful yellow and tasted just as vibrant, it was also new to see it being done in a pestle and mortar with no whisk to be seen. Also saving on washing up because the garlic and salt can be crushed in here first before you go on to create the emulsion. The fish was served with a glass of prosecco with a stunning purple borage flower which tastes of cucumber! (Don’t worry, my prosecco was passed along!) We finished with mocha affogatos (chocolate ice cream with hot coffee poured on top) which were an indulgent end. Overall, I had a wonderful time and enjoyed trying fresh new food and great produce. Alice Hart is lovely and I have noticed many more delicious recipes to try from her new book which I highly recommend. In particular I am looking forward to trying salted caramel mousse cups with scooping biscuits - sounds totally divine.
PS head to the lovely Culinary Travels blog here which has a full review of Alice Hart's book here.