gorgonzola and roast fennel

gorgonzola and roast fennel

Happy new year to everyone. There have been quite a fe people getting in touch asking what I’ve been up to and where I’m going next. I think it’s going to be a year of gorgonzola and roast fennel, that’s for sure, and what I mean by that, I suppose, is that I’m going to have more of an opportunity to develop, create and play around with more ideas, and generally have a lot more fun!

Back to the gorgonzola and roast fennel thing, it’s not just about flying in, handing over a couple of recipes, baking a few cakes and then flying back out again to the next job. It doesn’t work that way, almost never does. I wish it could be that simple!

Lots of techniques and systems need to be put into place, building motivation and enthusiasm for a project until a team are ready to take things by themselves. Fledgling students learning to fly high with confidence, skill and speed. That’s where the real satisfaction comes from.

And my work here is done!

Thanks to everyone for your continued support, happy new year 2014!

peppers in Siberia

peppers in Siberia

I spent the whole weekend looking for peppers in Siberia. It’s not the easiest thing to do, with the weather and general supply of products available. Why exactly did I need peppers this weekend? The idea was to flame-roast them in all their colours and add them to a mouthwatering spinach and sour cream quiche I’d been dreaming of all that week…

I thought that would hit the spot with a salad and a bright winter’s afternoon. I kept thinking back to those conversations where people keep telling me I should be eating meat while living in Russia, that living as a vegetarian here was nearly impossible. I should just forget it. Then I shook my head again and went back to the (constant) challenge of finding peppers in Siberia. Sometimes determination can give you the answer. Sometimes, you just go home freezing cold.
Continue Reading

Cutting cakes correctly

the elephant …and everything freezes, I can still hear the hustle and bustle of the kitchen, waiters rushing by with their trays, the chef shouting for the sauce, plates on the passe ready to be whisked away, something bubbling on the back burner, something else sizzling at the front, the oven alarm sounds, it’s the cue to bring everything together, a synchronised motion of the entire kitchen team to get the plates out into the dining room.

this time, things don’t go to plan. Slowly the crowd is forming around me. Continue Reading

winter cake and sandwiches

closed for winter

I was busy that morning, so I couldn’t talk too long when she called.

There was a new menu item that no one had even SEEN before, let alone ever tasted, so I really need to get it prepared immediately. After that, served to all the staff and managers and make sure they knew exactly what it was they were trying to sell!

I remember one waitress telling a customer that Eton Mess was “just like strawberries, cream and meringues that had fallen on the floor and you’d scooped them back up onto the plate before anyone saw you”. No, actually that was a real story, not something I’d heard from a friend of a friend…

“So, what time are you free?” she asked. We arranged to meet at that little French place ‘Le Pul’ or something, it was called. They served cake and sandwiches – good coffee, too. Pretty central and not too far from my place. I didn’t really feel like going to a restaurant that evening, I was probably going to be  preparing and eating new dishes most of the day so wouldn’t be hungry at all anyway.

I’d been there a couple of times. First of all, the visa place was right across the street so I’d waited here while they went through to make sure all my paperwork was in order. One time I had spent the morning in the museum and was starving and found a tasty sandwich that was made well. Continue Reading

not all who wander are lost

logoIf you take a quick look at the logo at the top of the page with the tag line ‘cook your way round the world’, you’ll notice straightaway how it differs from the one in the picture at the top of this post (look lower! Yes there! That’s better!)

It took me a while to think of the original idea, the logo, the colours and the ‘tag line’ which was rather adventurous-sounding:’not all who wander are lost’ – I am master of my destiny! Took me half the night to put together the logo itself on a unknown photo editing programme, because I’d never done anything like that before. It had a hint of travel, adventure, explorer and a generally enviable lifestyle in exotic locations but all with a greater purpose. Continue Reading

baking is friendship

melting point

 

Baking is friendship…

The set up: how do you solve that question? Transporting FIVE THOUSAND glasses or plastic cups around the city, abroad, or to the planet Mars, each month without damaging the precious contents inside?

Precious contents, you ask? Well, the usual: fresh egg yolks, a little sugar, butter, fresh cream and milk, a HINT of ginger the slightest TOUCH of lemon grass. Like I said, the usual, but for pastry chefs, rather precious…

So, meet our little guinea piggies: from left to right we’ll call them Paul, Alex and Maria (or even, for our Russian friends, Pasha, Sasha and Masha). Continue Reading