Hair of the dog…
My clients, I think, went for the theory that the best way to recover from a dinner party was…to hold another one. So with impressive stamina, night after night they wined, dined and entertained. Located in the area around Holland Park it s a chef’s dream as far as sourcing quality produce is concerned.
There is the fabulous Lidgate Butchers (where I had my first job in London), top notch green grocers and just down the road there is the excellent Kensington Fish Shop, Chegworth apple store (for those discerning apple eaters whom Pink Lady just don’t cut the mustard) and the super impressive Whole Foods.
For those of you who don’t know, I feel I must tell you a little more about Whole Foods. It is a predominantly organic supermarket that has exceptional standards.
Staff are phenomenally polite e.g. even if you show the slightest sign of being vaguely lost or looking for something they will spring to your aid and / or they will bend over backwards to fetch, carry or hail a cab for you. I’m sure they would even agree to singing your favourite Christmas carol while you chose the most festive looking clementine’s if you asked. The meat is excellent, the fish sourced well and I am convinced the vegetables are given a pep talk each morning to remind them to look their best and anythingless than perfect will be marched off the shop floor with no second chances.
It is also the kind of place where you can find ethically sourced, completely natural, CO2 neutral, anti animal testing, biodynamic washing up liquid (that unfortunately doesn’t wash your plates very well) and breast feeding mothers happily sipping their decaf almond milk lattes (I spied 8 in various bits of the shop over the week).
There is also a fantastic local farmers market on Saturdays that had the finest display of brassicas I have ever seen as well as some happily reared meat, baskets of blue eggs, bread stalls that would impress even the French and bags of delicious UK apples.
So with fantastic shopping just a short walk/taxi/tube away sourcing the food for the parties was easy and fun. The menu for the first night read as follows:
Goats cheese, San daneille and balsamic
Pan fried scallops with whisky butter, bitter leaves toasted hazelnuts and samphire with lemon
Slow cooked lamb shoulder with vermouth, thyme and rosemary served with blanched chard and patats povres.
Clementine sorbet with mint sugar
For this postcard recipe I will give you the recipe for clementine sorbet, a light and refreshing festive dessert.
Maids a milking seen; 8
Fluffy poodle like things seen; 14 (clearly the must have accessory around this part of town).
Mince pies personally consumed – a pathetic; 0
I’m reading; The London Underground Map.
Percentage of taxi drivers eating turkey for Christmas; 100%.
Clementine sorbet with chilled vodka
This dessert works really well around this time of year as with so many big meals and celebrations going on something light and refreshing to finish is most welcome.
The difference between sorbet and granita is the texture achieved by freezing methods. A sorbet is churned and should be smoother and the grainta will have ice crystals as is only agitated while being frozen.
You can make this recipe into a sorbet or granita depending on preference.
zest and juice of 1 lime
12 mint leaves
1 tbs Demerara sugar
50ml Vodka plus extra shots chilled to serve.
Juice the clementines
Briefly bring to the juice to the boil with the sugar, lime juice and zest then leave to cool. Add the 50 ml of vodka (this lowers freezers temperature and stops it from freezing rock solid).
To make sorbet;
Once chilled place in an ice cream machine to churn till frozen
Or if you don’t have a machine;
Place in the freezer for about 4 hours (or till semi frozen )
Then blitz in a food processor till smooth, return to the freezer for another four hours or until fully frozen.
To male granita
Freeze in a dish occasionally agitating the mix with a fork. (about three times over the 6 -8 hour freezing period.
To serve the sorbet or granita;
Place the mint and Demerara sugar on a board and chop the mint so it gets crushed with the sugar.
Place scoops of the clementine sorbet/granita in a serving dish and sprinkle with the mint sugar.