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Due to my extended period of downtime given that, unbelievably, we are still having to pump out the basement on a daily basis, I took the opportunity to try a local establishment for lunch with me old mate Al.

The last time we did this was about 6 months ago when we ended up having a legendary meal of roast quail and sauerkraut at the Anchor and Hope in Waterloo.

Like that time (snails and ox heart) Al chose to stick with an offal’esque selection at The Duke with cuttle fish and white bean on toast followed by Ox tail and braised pearl barley – and very nice it was too.  The Duke are slavish to their organic paradigm – the only pub in the UK (the world?) to have certification from the Soil Society  – so their dishes are seasonal, sustainable and, for once all the better for it.

Our approach at Full English is not to be a flag waving, organic pioneer, rather an establishment that obsesses over the flavour and welfare of the animals we butcher and serve. There’s no doubt in my mind that a happy pig is a tasty pig – an given that I happen to quite like pigs anyway, I don’t want to be responsible for making that pig spend its days inside on a hard concrete floor.

I’m pretty sure that the porker in my bacon and egg sandwich was a happy one – I certainly was when I’d washed it down with a couple of pints of Eco Warrior!

My bacon & egg sandwich with sautéd pots

My bacon & egg sandwich with sautéd pots

Al's oxtail and braised pearl barley

Al's oxtail and braised pearl barley

Felix had the milk special!

Felix had the milk special!

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Wiping the plate clean

Wiping the plate clean

 

Five-a-day?  Me neither…

Not at the moment anyway.  Bread for breakfast, bread for lunch (sandwich styleé), then something bordering on vegetables for tea if I’m lucky.

However, given my obsession with soda farls I’ve become equally addicted to the berry compote.

They are so easy to make and have a fraction of the sugar of a jam but taste just as great.  Plus, they aren’t boiled to buggery so they don’t loose loads of their nutrient content.

Strangely, given our leaning towards all things English, my fav. is the blueberry compote – kinda American in it’s outlook.  No matter, the blueberry creates a wonderful light syrup and combined with real vanilla is a real treat.

 

Blueberry Compote with Soda Farls

Make sure you add a little sugar to the farl recipe here

 

For the compote:

1 punet of blueberries (serves 2 generously)

2 tea spoons of sugar

1 vanilla pod

 

Wash the blueberries and add to a small pan.  Add enough water so that the berries are barely coated (think steaming spinach – about that amount) – DON’T ADD TOO MUCH – you can always add but its a lot of faff to take out the berries and reduce the syrup later.

Sprinkle over the sugar, split the vanilla pod to scrape out the seeds – add those and chuck in the pod itself for good measure – stir lightly to combine.  

Get the mixture up to boiling and simmer gently for about 5 mins.  The blueberries should be starting to break up but not completely turned to mush.

CAREFULLY taste the syrup – don’t forget it has sugar in there and will be volcanic – if its too loose take out the berries and boil hard to the right consistency  – it should be like loose jam but not too runny. 

Take out the vanilla pod and allow to cool.

Best served slightly warm with the farl and lashings of salted butter.

Yumosa!

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