Thursday, 27 December 2007

It's Great Having Other People Cook For You

After three months preparing food for restaurant customers all day and knocking together meals for myself in the apartment on days off, I'd forgotten just how good it is to have someone else do the cooking. The pleasure started on Sunday evening.

With my family and Nuno Mendes at Bacchus on Sunday night after a great mealHungry, thirsty and exhausted on Sunday after a delayed flight into London on a damp mid-winter afternoon with some of the foggiest weather for years... what better way to make the discomfort and stress melt away than to sit with your family and have a great chef cook your pre-Christmas dinner. We were the very last guests to be served by Nuno Mendes before he closed up the restaurant for the holiday. After indulging in the six-course tasting menu with paired wines, a cold wet winter evening in London was transformed into a warm summer's afternoon in Portugal.

Then home to the joys of a Christmas tree with twinkling lights, piles of presents and a dinner table laden with wine and crackers, Christmas cake and mince pies. On Christmas day, dad cooked the family meal. Deep fried Portuguese sardines with a fresh leaf, tomato & lime salad - inspired by a great lunch we once ate in a seaside café in Apúlia in the Portuguese Minho. Followed by seared scallops with a balsamic-basil vinaigrette. For the main course, capon roasted Jamie Oliver-style on a bed of rough-chopped onions, carrots, leek & garlic, cooked with Italian sausages and smoked West country bacon, served with a sausage, onion, grated rice cake & fresh herb gluten-free stuffing and a reduced capon stock gravy. For mum, who's more or less aquatarian, line-caught sea bream cooked en papillote. All accompanied by sprouts sautéed with five spice, star anise & soy sauce, with Maris Piper potatoes & parsnips roasted in goose fat with rosemary & thyme and a sweet potato purée. And to finish - Prune and Armagnac Creole Cake by Delia Smith, copied from Can Cook Must Cook, with a brandy cream sauce.
Serving Xmas dinner
It's great having other people to cook for you. Even if you do eat so much that you're laid out flat for hours afterwards!

PS. Dear Santa, if you have any of those gold stars left over after Christmas, please consider dropping one down the chimney at Bacchus. If anyone really deserves it, it's Nuno, Derek and their kitchen and front of house teams. Thanks guys, and the best of luck for January when the fat man does his rounds.


ros said...

You have no idea how jealous I am. Well, you probably will once I get around to posting about my Christmas. I still haven't been to Bacchus- lack of funds prevented it on the last planned trip but hopefully by the time my birthday comes around...

I only just read your last post so I had no idea you were back in London. Are you going to be around for long? If so, I think that drink that was supposed to happen in September should happen before you go- after all we're just around the corner.

ros said...

Oh, and I forgot to ask- where did you find a capon?

Trig said...

Happy Christmas, Ros and I hope you guys have a great New Year. Like you I'm finding it very hard to keep the blog going while working so hard at a new job and it's even harder to find enough time to read everyone's blogs and comment as much as I'd like.

Do try to eat at Bacchus if you get a chance. I don't know if they will get their Michelin star next year, but the food and service are certainly good enough in my opinion. And definitely get Andy to buy you some texturas. Check them out at the links I provided in my post.

I'll have to turn down the drink offer, I'm afraid, for reasons that will become obvious if you watch this space for the next few days.

My writing may be OK when I take time over it as with my college gastronomy report, but it's still bad when I'm in a hurry and I'm quite capable of triggering your idiot-auto-rejector when commenting on your blog. As I said before, I depend a lot on my dad to tidy up my blog posts before publication. It's mostly my spelling, which tends to fall apart when I'm in a rush. I wrote another piece for the Guardian three weeks ago but they haven't published it yet.

I might be wrong about the Budhist holiday, but I looked up "religious festivals 2007" on the web and found this site that lists Bodhi Day on 8th December.

I didn't do the shopping for Xmas lunch, but I'm fairly sure dad ordered the capon from Murray's in Ridley Road. He used to buy capons from a little Jewish chicken shop in the market, but it's closed down now. The veg came from Ridley, the seafood and fish from Steve Hatt and most of the other ingredients came from Waitrose in Holloway Road.

All the best

Sarah-82 said...

Can your Dad cook xmas dinner round mine next year!? Sounds great!

schmoof said...

Hi Ros, have a look here for the special offer - 6 courses + champagne for £30.

Mike (Trig's father) said...

I'm hoping to be a long way from here next Christmas, but for the right fee...

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