Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mews of Mayfair

10-11 Lancashire Court, New Bond Street, Mayfair, LONDON, W1S 1EY

Had lunch there. Brand new Mayfair venue in a converted four storey town house that’s been turned into a very fancy bar (ground floor) and restaurant. The d├ęcor is very feminine all beige and white with very girly butterflies stamped on the wall. Quite pretty actually even if it is not exactly my style.

The food was a success though. I had the lunch menu for £19.50 for two courses which is a great deal in Mayfair. I chose a frothy celeriac soup that was finished off with a truffle olive oil and a roast rump of lamb both of which where beautiful. The lamb mainly because it was cooked to perfection with completely crispy outsides combined with moist insides. Not quite sure how they achieved this but I imagine it involves an very hot griddle.

The soup was pretty much a standard velute and would have been quite good without the truffle oil. With the truffle oil, however, it was excellent.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


As a result of a particularly well made BBC program about sausages I had a craving that could not be denied and had lunch today at Bang! The sausage restaurant. The name I suspect is supposed to evoke the english nickname for sausages banger. One wonders if they bothered to research the origin of the nickname. Sausages got the name during WW II when producers filled them with water causing them to explode on the pan as the water expanded.

In any case Bang serves sausages from all over the world and mash and nothing else. I had a kentish pork sausage, a scottish beef and a classic Toulouse pork sausage. The verdict is that Bang gives specialisation a bad name. The sausages all tasted the same in a massproduced tasteless kind of way. Even the mash was completely tasteless as apparently the company has signed up to the no salt religion in a big way.

Total waste of time and a good craving.
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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Stewed Lamp Shoulder with Artichoke Hearts

My friend Aksel just called wanting the recipe for a lamb stew I made last year in Flayosc. At first I could not remember but as we discussed the dish it came back to me. It was a recipe that I made up after having something similar in the restaurant La Treille Muscate in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie in the Var.

It is basically a standard braising stew that uses some uniquely Provencal ingredients. As I remember the ingredient list it was:

  1. Lamb shoulder, off the bone and cut up into large chunks, roughly 200 grams per person;
  2. Artichoke hearts preferably purple, small and one per person. If you can only get large normal hearts then use as many as you can get into the stewing pot along with the meat;
  3. Pitted Olives;
  4. Olive tree branches the small new growth ones (come on steal them in a garden center), the point here is to get the leaves not the actual branches so there ought to be more sources of those;
  5. Root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and turnip;
  6. Fava Beans;
  7. Bouget garnie or if you can get your hands on fresh Provencal herbs like rosemary, French thyme, tarragon, basil, savory (type of mint), cracked fennel, lavender and marjoram use those;
  8. Bottle of white vine;
  9. Vinegar about a soup spoon and half, I use either red vine or balsamic;
  10. Loads of olive oil;
  11. Salt and pepper;
  12. Garlic.

Marinate the lamb in olive oil, garlic and pepper for at least half hour but longer is better, then brown the meat over high heat in the skillet. Remove from the skillet add some butter and caramelize the vegetables. Add back the meat and poor over the vine and vinegar and boil off most of the alcohol. Add the rest of the ingredients except the beans and simmer in a preheated oven at 170 degrees for 3 hours. Roughly two hours in add the beans.

Serve with mashed potatoes or fresh new ones. I like to make a mash with truffle flavored olive oil but then I also love truffle…

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