So what new trends did I see in the US this time?
Well as ever there’s lots going on and New Yorkers are always on the lookout for the new ‘big thing’. Readers may remember my piece of Saturday July 20th 2013 on queuing for 2 hours in the rain to buy a cronut (a cross between a croissant and a doughnut) at Dominique Ansel’s, bakery in Soho and very very delicious it was too. Well they are still queuing around the corner of Spring Street but Dominique has done it again. His latest genius creation is a play on the milk and cookie theme, a chocolate chip cookie with ice cold milk inside. Essentially it’s a shot glass shaped chocolate chip cookie lined with chocolate and then filled with Tahitian vanilla flavoured organic milk. Ansel created a special aerated dough, crispy on the edges with a moist centre and Valrhona chocolate chips. As with the cronut customers are limited to 2 per person at present. Apparently his inspiration came after he tasted his first Oreo cookie a few weeks ago – who would have thought it!
Apart from all that, small plates are everywhere from chic neighbourhood restaurants to gastro pubs and posh places. A counter reaction to the gross portions that we have come to associate with so many fast food restaurants. These plates are meant for sharing so one can order and sample 5 or 6 dishes or even 7 or 8. Tiny desserts too are a brilliant concept, almost guilt free so we’ll try 2 or 3 little bites!
A raw fish section on many menus is super popular. John Dory had several choices including Kampachi with crispy fish skin and Myoga ginger, Spanish mackerel with yaita olives, wasabi greens and tiny blobs of lemon mayo.
I also had periwinkles and Winter chantrelles on toast and a lobster roll with a bowl of gaufrette potatoes before Dulche de Leche tart with mascarpone cream and a few flakes of sea salt over the top, – small plates …..
Meat balls were served in a variety of ways and on sliders (tiny burger buns skewered with a bamboo skewer), Roast or fried Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and kale in lots of guises.
Brooklyn is still hopping; Best BBQ is Fette SV, Williamsburg.
For the best pulled pork sandwich made with heritage pork of course head for Mighty Quinn close by on 27th N 6th Street. St Anselm also in Brooklyn has a cult following who are prepared to wait over an hour in the local pub Sputyen Duyvil while their table comes free.
America’s love affair with bacon continues. It’s all about amazing house made bacon and amazing ice creams, sometimes in combination. Anyone for blue cheese ice cream with candied bacon and burnt orange cheesecake or housemade vanilla ice-cream with Pork crackling and chocolate sauce – I’m not so sure….but I did eat amazing Parsnip ice-cream (Ignacio Mattos’s) Estella’s and mussel escabeche on toast, another place to definitely add to your list.
Lots of heirloom grains and pulses, lard is super cool and at Pearl and Ash one of the hottest items on the menu is smoked bread with organic chicken fat. How about that for a turn around, the word is out that good fat is good for you after all. A recent study from Cambridge University and the Harvard School of public health published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that they found no link, repeat, no link between consumption of saturated fats and heart attacks or other cardiovascular problems. Saturated fats are found mostly in meat and dairy so this is very good news indeed for our meat and dairy industries – not that it’s any surprise to me!
Craft everything, beer, cider, spirits, housemade lemonades, relishes, pickles, hot sauce – the Ottolenghi effect has spread to the US so Middle Eastern flavours are wowing customers everywhere.
Every chef who possibly can is growing food somewhere, anywhere in the backyard, on the roof, up the walls, in boxes…
The range of foods and salad greens continued to expand with farmers adding the health benefits to the labels in the markets.
The coolest chefs are cooking over ‘live fire’. The allergy and food intolerance is now big business. Ramen shops are popping up everywhere. The New York Times Dining section did a whole piece on the hot spots if you would like to be on the inner groove http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/05/dining/ramens-big-splash.html?ref=petewells&_r=0
I stayed at the Ace hotel and loved it. Best breakfast I ate was at the Breslin and Buvette. By the way I pay all my own bills so I can say what I like, no strings attached!
Cibli Turkish – Fried Egg with Paprika
Great starters everywhere, Zanne Stewart shared this recipe for one of her favourites.
2 free range eggs
4 tablespoons natural yoghurt
1 small clove garlic, crushed
25g – 50g (1 – 2 oz) butter or extra virgin olive
¼ – ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
Put the yoghurt into a bowl; add a very little garlic and a pinch of salt, set aside.
Melt some butter or extra virgin olive oil in a pan; fry the eggs on a high heat. Transfer the eggs onto a warm plate. Add more butter or oil to the pan; add a generous sprinkle of smoked paprika. Put a dollop of thick yoghurt on top of each egg. Drizzle with paprika butter or oil and serve immediately with toasted sour dough bread.
Fried Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo and Parmesan Aioli
This is my interpretation of a starter I enjoyed at The Diner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – everything I ate there was memorable.
Makes 4 small plates
12 Brussels sprouts
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
125g (4 1/2oz) chorizo, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
100g (3 1/2oz) coarse white breadcrumbs
6 – 8 anchovies
flat parsley sprigs
Parmesan Aoili (see recipe)
First make the Parmesan Aioli and then the chorizo bread crumbs (you’ll have more than you need) Put the oil into a cool pan, add the diced chorizo. Toss on a low heat until the oil starts to run and the chorizo begins to crisp. Careful it’s easy to burn the chorizo, drain through a metal sieve, save the oil and return to the pan. Increase the heat, add coarse breadcrumbs and toss in the chorizo oil until crisp and golden. Drain and add to the chorizo.
Trim and split the sprouts in half. Fry in hot oil for 3 or 4 minutes. Spread a slick of Parmesan Aioli on a plate; preferably oval shaped. Arrange six fried half Brussels sprouts on top, some cut side up, tuck a few bits of anchovy in here and there. Sprinkle chorizo crumbs and sprigs of flat parsley over the top. Serve immediately while the sprouts are still hot. They also scattered some celery tops and little tiny pieces of kale over the dish – the combination was super delicious.
2 egg yolks, preferably free range
1-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of English mustard or 1/4 teaspoon French mustard
1 dessertspoon white wine vinegar
8 fl ozs (225ml) oil (sunflower, arachide or olive oil or a mixture) – We use 6 fl ozs (175ml) arachide oil and 2 fl ozs (50ml) olive oil, alternatively use 7/1
2 teaspoons of freshly chopped parsley (optional)
2oz finely grated Parmesan cheese
Serve with cold cooked meats, fowl, fish, eggs and vegetables.
Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the mustard, garlic salt and the white wine vinegar (keep the whites to make meringues). Put the oil into a measure. Take a whisk in one hand and the oil in the other and drip the oil onto the egg yolks, drop by drop whisking at the same time. Within a minute you will notice that the mixture is beginning to thicken. When this happens you can add the oil a little faster, but don’t get too cheeky or it will suddenly curdle because the egg yolks can only absorb the oil at a certain pace. Add the grated Parmesan and chopped parsley. Taste and add a little more seasoning and vinegar if necessary.
Reynard’s Dutch Pancakes
3 free range eggs
175ml (6fl ozs) milk
75oz (3oz) all-purpose flour
salt to taste
3/4 tablespoons clarified butter
4 slices cooked ham
75-110g (3-4ozs) Gruyére cheese, grated
maple syrup (optional)
2 teaspoon thyme leaves
freshly ground pepper
We use small, 15cm (6 inch) cast iron pans for ours.
Preheat an oven to 230°/450°F/Gas Mark 8.
Whisk all the ingredients together for the batter. Melt a scant tablespoon of clarified butter in each of the cast iron pans over a high heat, pour 1/4 of the batter into the hot pan. Transfer into the preheated oven, they will bubble up. Reduce temperature to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Add a slice of cooked ham and a good sprinkle of grated Gruyére cheese. Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the cheese melts. Slide onto a warm plate.
Drizzle with maple syrup (optional), sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves and a grind of freshly cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.
Ramen is the ultimate comfort food, it needs to be well flavoured but it can be varied in so many ways. The broth can be a mixture of chicken, pork, dashi, miso or vegetable based. Noodles can be traditional wheat ramen noodles or you can use buckwheat or brown rice noodles if it needs to be gluten free. The meat can be braised brisket or short ribs, pork shoulder, pork belly or bacon, tofu or shrimp. It’s whatever vegetables are in season, fresh herbs that you like. You can top it with softish hardboiled egg, nori, sesame seeds or nuts. The variations are endless. It’s also a fantastic way to use leftovers at any time of year. Here’s a basic starting point.
1.8 litres (3 pints) homemade chicken stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2.5cm (1 inch) chunk ginger root, gently smashed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
300g (10oz) cooked squash or pumpkin, diced into 5mm (1/4 inch) dice
2 chillies, finely sliced
200g (7oz) ramen noodles or other Chinese noodles
100g (3 1/2oz) Mizuna or spinach or Swiss chard or kale, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons coriander, roughly chopped
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
450g (1lb) roasted turkey, chicken thighs, with or without skin, sliced
3 ‘hardboiled’ eggs – cook for 7-8 minutes rather than 10
6 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
6 lime wedges
Heat chicken stock with soy sauce, mirin and ginger. Simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes. Discard the ginger. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sesame oil, squash and sliced chilli and simmer for 10 minutes.
Cook the noodles in boiling water until just tender (usually 4 to 5 minutes but check the directions on the package). Drain well. Add the mizuna to the soup, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the coriander and lime juice.
Place the noodles in each bowl, top with the sliced chicken. Ladle the broth over noodles. Shell the eggs, halve and lay 1/2 an egg in each bowl and sprinkle with lots of green spring onions and garnish with a lime wedge. Eat while very hot — broth first and then other ingredients or any way you want.
Lower the eggs gently into a medium sized saucepan of boiling, salted water. When water returns to the boil, cover the pot and turn off the heat. Allow to rest for 7-8 minutes. Drain the eggs and cool in a bowl of cold water. Crack the shells, peel and cut in half lengthwise just before serving.
Just 6 weeks to go until The Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine 2014. Rene Redzepi, Maggie Beer, Diana Kennedy, Ariana Bundy… You can’t imagine the line-up and you can check out ‘RTE’s Finest’ Catherine Fulvio, Martin Shanahan and Paul Flynn who will be giving a cookery demonstration or perhaps listen to a talk ‘Celebrating Elizabeth David’ with Tom Doorley and John McKenna in conversation with Jill Norman. The wine and drink element is also beyond exciting, meet Lilian Barton, Telmo Rodriguez, Alberto Zenato, Brian Nation…Tickets are still available for many of the inspirational talks but advanced booking is advised – www.litfest.ie for more information and to see the full list of events and I’ll keep you posted.
Foraged foods from local woods, hedgerows and sea shore have been part of the Ballymaloe House menu for over forty years and not just in Autumn but throughout the Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. This year we are offering a Spring and Autumn Walk on the Wild Side with Darina Allen on Saturday 26th April 9:30 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday 20th September 2014. After just one day you’ll learn how to identify and use over forty wild food, plants, wild flowers, nuts, berries, fungi, seaweeds and shellfish depending on the season. Suitable for chefs or for anyone with an interest in foraging for pleasure or to earn a living. www.cookingisfun.ie
Connemara Mussel Festival is a celebration of Killary Bay mussels which takes place every May Bank Holiday Weekend. The festival includes mussel cooking demonstrations, heritage walks, a country market and lots of craic. www.slowfoodireland.com/event/connemara-mussel-festival-2014/
Slow Food Ireland has just re-launched its website www.slowfood.com Check it out to see upcoming Slow Food events around the country. Next East Cork Slow Food event is a Celebration of Local Food at Sage Restaurant Midleton. Kevin Aherne will create a 12 mile dinner menu, featuring local producers within a 12 mile radius. 021 4639682 – book now, places are very limited www.sagerestaurant.ie