Sunday, 30 October 2011

October Round-up

Revisiting our London favourite for dosa and uttapam this weekend, I was relieved to discover that it measured up even post-Malaysia. The chutneys were fantastically fresh and sprightly in the mouth, the rava dosa—extra-lacy and crispy around the edges—was a great new find, and the service was as friendly as ever.

Muscat grapes
Oddly, these are a plummy, dusky purple, not green, as muscats are meant to be, but the tiny French grapes at Tony Booth’s greengrocers (formerly at Borough Market, now happily resettled at Maltby Street) are nonetheless delicious. I’m tempted by Amanda Hesser’s recipe for adding them to a foccaccia-like bread dough, and by this suggestion of roasting them with thyme, but that would leave fewer to just eat now.

I know the man became ubiquitous a long time ago, but his new show on British food is both winning and informative. The producers have clearly employed some good researchers—hence the visit to the burger pop-up which was a big hit on Chowhound, and the accurate explanation of fish and chips’ origins with Jewish immigrants to London’s East End. Refreshingly, there’s no preaching, just enormous enthusiasm for British ingredients and recipes new and old. And the food looks damn tasty.

Advocates for eating more venison like to point out that it’s local, sustainable and low in fat. All true, but I think the best recommendation is the taste. We splurged on some saddle a few weeks back, which we sealed in duck fat then roasted in the oven to a rare pink. Last night we sautéed some onions, leeks and carrots, added bay, thyme, stewing meat and a bottle of brown ale and cooked in a low oven for half the afternoon, throwing in some vacuum-packed chestnuts about an hour before serving. Next up, I think, a ragu.

According to no less an authority than the Observer’s Jay Rayner, Brixton Village is the “most exciting, radical venture on the British restaurant scene right now.” And to think I live just three minutes’ walk away.

No comments: