Friday, 30 April 2010

Otarian restaurant puts carbon footprint on the menu!

A new restaurant, Otarian, has just opened in New York that has put the carbon footprint of everything it serves on its menu and two branches are planned for London later this year.

The restaurant has put sustainability at the core of its business. and taken a comprehensive look at all the business processes involved. It's a vegetarian place, the carbon footprint is a comprehensive cradle-to-crave analysis, energy and water efficiency, waste reduction and sustainable procurement have all been considered.

This sounds like a fantastic venture and something that I hope works well. Sustainability is one of the key challenges facing today's society and anything that can be done to break down the absurd excesses and wastage of our grotesque disposable consumerist society is a fantastic thing. What businesses need to remember is that sustainable performance actually improves the bottom line so there's simple no reason not to embrace it.

However, Otarian is a restaurant and it will live or die depending on the quality of its food. I hope that they've put as much effort into the menu as they have everything else. This is one restaurant opening I cannot wait for.

Read the full article on Edie

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Crispy pancakes

Following the news that Findus has reintroduced the chicken curry crispy pancakes after (what has now become a ubiquitous PR stunt) a campaign on facebook and coupled with the fact that I had a couple of herb pancakes in the freezer (leftover from the last beef wellingtons I made) I decided to make my own crispy pancakes.

The first question to answer was what to fill it with. Well, I took inspiration from the humble scotch egg and decided to make "scotch pancakes" (you see what I did there? If not, read this).

Along with the chopped boiled egg and sausages slices, I added a few slices of tomato flesh and bound it all in a grain mustard reduced cream sauce. Tasty!

The pancakes defrosted perfectly and cutting them into discs was no problem. However, sticking the edges of pancakes together to create the classic half-moon shape of the crispy pancake was impossible. I now know that a pancake to pancake bond cannot be achieved with egg alone as I had naïvely hoped. However, the idea of making some sort of cornflour paste or exploring similar edible adhesive to use was beyond my rumbling tummy.

I decided, instead, to go for an scotch pancake stack. (See? The pun just doesn't work.)

I coated the discs of pancake in egg and breadcrumbs (mixed with paprika for colour and a touch of spice) and fried them in butter. I know, you're all shouting at me "Why did you use butter?" and the answer is I don't know. Clearly a touch of oil would have been better to get the requisite crispiness (or even deep fry as I was going to do with the pancakes). Then I piled on the filling and repeated alternating with layers of "crispy" pancake with filling.

It wasn't too bad, but there's definitely room for improvement. More filling would be a starter. Some herbs would go well, maybe some parsley in the sauce.

I think the idea is solid, I just need to improve the execution. Again, another time to wish I had an experimental kitchen.

I think this would be an amazing for a retro dinner party. A '70s or '80s based event with all dishes firmly rooted in the decades gone by but given a modern update.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan

In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan is a fantastic book. He examines the age of nutritionalism and explains what a scam it has become for big food manufacturers and also the damage its manifestation, as The Western Diet, is causing to people's diets.

The most fantastic thing about the book for me though, is his rules for eating:
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Seven words which have made me think again about the food I buy and what I cook and hence my decision to bake my own bread. There's slightly more to it that just that so let me expand on the rules.

Rule 1. Eat food

1.1 Don't eat anything that your great grandmother wouldn't recognise as food
1.2 Avoid food products containing ingredients that are:
a. unfamiliar
b. unpronounceable
c. more than five in number or that include
d. high-fructose corn syrup
1.3 Avoid food products that make health claims - can you actually believe these food science claims that might be based on exploring a single nutrient out of context of the rest of the diet?
1.4 Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle - fresh food is on by the walls (fruit and veg, meat, fish, deli, bakery) and processed food is at the core
1.5 Get out of the supermarket whenever possible - support local producers when and if you can. It's pretty difficult to find processed food at a farmer's market.

Rule 2. Mostly plants

2.1 Eat mostly plants, especially leaves
2.2 You are what you eat eats too - the food that the cow/lamb/pig/chicken/fish has been eating has an affect when you eat the cow/lamb/pig/chicken/fish
2.3 If you have the space, buy a freezer
2.4 Eat like an omnivore - eat everything in moderation
2.5 Eat well-grown food from healthy soils
2.6 Eat wild foods when you can
2.7 Be the kind of person who takes supplements - people who take supplements are typically healthier for reasons that have nothing to do with their morning pill-popping routine. They are typically wealthier, better educated and more health conscious and as a result probably eat healthily.
2.8 Eat more like the French. Or the Italians. Or the Japanese. Or the Indians. Or the Greeks. - these are all healthy traditional food cultures both in what they eat and how they eat
2.9 Regard non-traditional foods with scepticism
2.10 Don't look for the magic bullet in the traditional diet
2.11 Have a glass of wine with dinner

Rule 3. Not too much

3.1 Pay more, eat less - good quality costs more, so savour it
3.2 Eat meals
3.3 Do all your eating at a table
3.4 Don't get your fuel from the same place a car does
3.5 Try not to eat alone
3.6 Consult your gut - stop eating when you're full
3.7 Eat slowly - support Slow Food
3.8 Cook and, if you can, plant a garden

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Recent events

  1. I was invited to the launch party of Platform, a new restaurant under platform 1 at London Bridge. The venture is championing their "gate to plate" approach using produce from one Devon farm and using the whole carcasses of animals reared there. The restaurant is full of reclaimed furniture and has a modern light feel to it. I have high expectations.

  2. I went to Moro for the first Unearthed tasting panel, where I met Helen from Food Stories and Chris from Cheese and Biscuits (both bloggers who occupy the Premiership whilst I dwell down in League Two, dreaming of promotion). I also found out that I've made it into an Unearthed promo video (you'll want to fast-forward at about 1:35 , to avoid my ugly mug)

  3. I've also been to the The Middle House in Mayfield for a surprise family birthday. It was a very odd meal with highs like my starter blue cheese and walnut soufflé, lows such as the mess of incompatible flavours which was my main of sea bass on a smoky bacon mash with balsamic glaze (I think the only reason I went with the fish was to avoid one of the one-size fits all Sunday roasts. I knew balsamic and fish was a mistake.) and middling ground like my strawberry cheesecake with poppy seed tuille and a strawberry & tarragon coulis. Overall I just got the impression that this place was trying far too hard and just not meeting expectations. I think it's got potential the chef just needs to reign it in and avoid odd combinations and build a reputation by delivering quality throughout the entire menu.

  4. Finally I have decided that I'll not be buying bread again but will be making my own. This has come about whilst reading In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan. I'll explain more once I've finished the book.
P.S. Unearthed are running a competition at the moment to win a holiday in Italy. Find out more.

ICCHFC - Week 31: Squidgy spiced apple cake

Amazingly the vote for Jo's was a dead heat with two apiece for each of the options:
  • Sticky stem ginger cake with lemon icing
  • Upside-down rhubarb cake
  • Squidgy spiced apple cake
However, the Dice of Destiny decided that apple cake it was to be.

This cake was incredibly moist due to the huge amount of apple. The demerara gave a very pleasing crunch on top and there was a very pleasant undertone of spice. Lovely!

Jo's squidgy spiced apple cake (taken from BBC Good Food)

125g butter
225g dark muscovado sugar
2 eggs , lightly beaten
225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
300g cooking apples , peeled, cored and diced
2 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp unrefined demerara sugar

1. Heat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C.
2. Cream the butter and muscovado sugar in a food processor for a couple of minutes, then mix in the egg.
3. Sift over the flour, baking powder and spices. Fold together, then stir in the apple.
4. Pour into a buttered, base-lined 20cm springform cake tin and bake for 1 hour, or until risen and browned.
5. Combine the honey and demerara and spread over the cake while still warm. Remove from the tin and serve with cream or ice cream.

Friday, 23 April 2010

St George's day lemon posset

There was a gathering at R's tonight and I was helping do some of the cooking. I was on pudding duty and to celebrate St George's day I made a couple of traditional English puddings: treacle tart and lemon posset.

[Whilst searching for inspiration I came across a great site, Traditional English Puddings, which looks like it's not longer being updated, unfortunately]

The lemon posset was so simple yet wonderful, you must make it:

Lemon posset recipe (serves 6)

600ml double cream
Juice and and zest of two lemons
140g caster sugar

1. Gently bring the cream and sugar to the boil and simmer gently for 3mins.
2. Take off the heat and whisk in lemon juice and zest.
3. Pour into 6 ramekins and chill.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

ICCHFC - Week 30: Devonshire honey cake

Sara's choices this week were:
  • Yummy scrummy carrot cake
  • Chocolate marble cake
  • Devonshire honey cake
Fortunately the honey cake won out. I don't remember being this excited about a cake for quite some time. I think the mere idea of a honey cake struck a chord with me this week.

Anyway, what with Sara being off ill and me up in Brumingham for a day, I didn't get to taste this bad boy until Thursday. Things were not helped when I got a photomessage from the rest of the ICCHFC whilst I was on the train to the Midlands and much banter indicating that there'd be no honey cake left for me... Fortunately there was.
I can safely say that Sara's pathological fear of a dry cake was, yet again, completely unfounded. The cake was a much more subtle than the jar in the face hit of honey I had been expecting, however. I think it would make a very good warm dessert with a warm honey glaze and some cream.

Sara's Devonshire honey cake (recipe taken from BBC Good Food)

250g clear honey , plus about 2 tbsp extra to glaze
225g unsalted butter
100g dark muscovado sugar
3 large eggs , beaten
300g self-raising flour

1. Preheat the oven to fan 140°C. Butter and line a 20cm round loosebottomed cake tin.
2. Cut the butter into pieces and drop into a medium pan with the honey and sugar. Melt slowly over a low heat. When the mixture looks quite liquid, increase the heat under the pan and boil for about one minute. Leave to cool for 15-20 minutes, to prevent the eggs cooking when they are mixed in.
3. Beat the eggs into the melted honey mixture using a wooden spoon.
4. Sift the flour into a large bowl and pour in the egg and honey mixture, beating until you have a smooth, quite runny batter.
5. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 minutes-1 hour until the cake is well-risen, golden brown and springs back when pressed. A skewer pushed into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
4. Turn the cake out on a wire rack. Warm 2 tbsp honey in a small pan and brush over the top of the cake to give a sticky glaze, then leave to cool.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


I saw Gilbert of Gilbert and George on the way for a spot of dinner in a brand new cheese restaurant, Androuet in Spitalfield's Market tonight.

The restaurant is an annex to the new cheese shop, opened by a pair of very enthusiastic Frenchmen. To say it's intimate is an under-statement. There are three, maybe four, high tables inside, each surrounded by surprisingly comfy stools. There's a massive window into the cheese-shop which, while the shop is open, is a little unerring.

The staff couldn't have been friendlier, more knowledgeable or attentive. The place is so small you barely have to whisper to your companion that you might like some more bread than it's already on its way.

We had two boards of cheese, soft followed by hard and also a board of charcuterie. Every morsel was devoured by us. I'd love to be able to tell you what we had but as is always the case, the ratio of wine to food was a little unbalanced.

If you like cheese and wine this is a great place to go. A more perfect night filled with deliciousness and frivolity I couldn't imagine. Androuet must be French for success.

Androuet (Old Spitalfields Market) on Urbanspoon

Friday, 16 April 2010

Afternoon Tea at The Athenaeum, Mayfair

Took my family for a Pink Afternoon Tea at The Athenaeum Hotel in Mayfair this afternoon.

It was a lovely afternoon that lasted from 4:30pm till nearly 7pm. Although refined, it was very relaxed. The service was excellent and allowed us to take things at our own pace, which, given the huge amount of food, was a very good thing. The tone was set very with a glass of Kir Royale to start off with then the food started coming:

Traditional English Finger Sandwiches (Ham, Cucumber, Free Range Egg and Cress, Scottish Smoked Salmon)Freshly Baked Scones with Homemade Jam and Clotted Cream
Selection of Homemade Pastries
Granny’s Cakes
Toasted Crumpets and Tea Cakes

There was even a tea menu of 16 different teas including herbal teas and or infusion teas.

It was a lovely afternoon that I'd gladly recommend.

Fresh scones with clotted cream and jamThe cake trolley bearing: coconut and carrot, lemon drizzle, chocolate and fruit cakes, pink meringues, chocolate nests, berry tarts, mascapone slices, marshmallows, white chocolate cupcakes and probably others that I can't remember!
Berry fruit tart with an AMAZING fromage frais filling and champagne jelly, lemon drizzle cake and a mascapone slice (shortbread base, berry mascapone topping, a chocolate shard and a pistachio)Lemon drizzle cake, chocolate cake, meringue and a chocolate nest (filled with fromage frais and berries)(Yet more) lemon drizzle cake, coconut and carrot cake and a berry tart
Fresh tea cakes (artfully shot in the reflection of the mirrored flower vase)

Afternoon Tea at the Athenaeum on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 15 April 2010


Whilst wandering through the Hays Galleria on the South Bank, K and I were looking for a mid-week meal and stumbled upon the a little gem in the shape of Côte. It is based on a French bistro and serves
simple freshly prepared French food at value for money prices

just as a bistro should.

Traditional warm flatbread from Nice with caramelised onions, with reblochon cheese and thyme
We shared this beautiful crisp flatbread as a starter. although it was delicate it packed a massive savoury punch courtesy of a very generous helping of reblochon.

Mushroom Crépes
Baked crépes with mushrooms, spinach and gruyère cheese
These baked pancakes were perfect as a light main. Unfortunately on more than one occasion I had a slightly gritty mouthful, which smacked of unwashed spinach or poorly cleaned mushrooms, which was as real shame. Especially as everything else was very good particularly the cream sauce which was so rich ans tasty I almost wanted to drink it.

Moules Marinières
Mussels cooked with white wine, garlic, shallots, parsley and fresh cream with frites
K's mussels were the biggest mussels either of us had ever seen. They were absolutely gargantuan and equally tasty.

Côte certainly delivers what it promises: very tasty traditional French fair at very reasonably prices, we paid about £20 a head (including a bottle of wine). I was slightly let down at the level of service: our mains came before we'd finished our starter and we were left ages before being able to ask for the bill. However, the value is undeniable and for a quick post-work informal dinner with friends Côte is ideal.

Cote Brasserie (Hays Galleria) on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


Whilst in Birmingham at a conference I delayed the trip back south so that I could have dinner at Lasan. This Indian restaurant that came to prominence by becoming The F Word's best local restaurant of 2009 which they are obviously proud of: as you walk through the door you almost stumble into the massive trophy!

The actual restaurant is contemporary wood, mirrors and creams. There are also a large number of intriguing architectural features with holes in the wall and many levels. We got there at 6pm and I expected to us to be the only one in there. I was mistaken there were two other parties in there with us and by about 7pm the place was full and buzzing. On to the food:

Surprisingly good poppadoms that were elevated above the normal fare. Great mango chutney which had a pleasant hint of chilli, probably the only time during the meal that the chilli heat was appropriate.
Mans Ke Shooley
Smoked lamb fillet marinated with hung yoghurt and mustard oil cooked in tandoor, served with salad and mint coriander sauce
As you can see, this place is going for high-end fine dining. The peppers were almost raw, I think if they had been char-grilled they would have added a lovely sweetness to the dish (the green peppers did nothing for it either). The spice of the marinade was over-powering the lamb fillet was simple over-whelmed. Amazingly it was also pretty tough definitely not what you expect from spring lamb!
Dum Ki Biryani
Goat meat and basmati rice cooked together in sealed pot with yoghurt and mint. Scented with cardamom, mace, and dum masala served with Lucknowi gravy
This was delicious. The goat was tender and flavoursome and the fragrant aroma that wafted from the biryani was mouth-watering. The flavour of the subtle spices was delicious. Then I put some of the Lucknowi gravy on my plate; it was the last thing I tasted. The chilli heat just ruined me. I had to eat almost a whole naan (I know, I know no-one has naan with a biryani: carb overload!) to return my mouth to a state where my taste buds actually worked again.

The extent to which chilli took over my mouth meant that I couldn't really taste J's Thengapal Duck, but she said it was excellent.

Lasan seems to be trying to hard. The first two pages of the menu are dedicated to the awards it has won, as if it doesn't believe it is a good restaurant and needs other people's praise to prove it to the customer. Also it's the first Indian restaurant that I've been to that gives no indication of the heat of the dishes. I know I'm not particularly chilli heat tolerant, but I didn't expect to get my head blown off.

I think I understand why this place had garnered so many plaudits. The restaurant experience is every good, but I feel like I was let down by the food. I'd need to go back and be much more wary of my menu choices before I could whole-heartedly recommend it.

Lasan Restaurant Ltd on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


I was wandering around Birmingham city centre today and came across CyberCandy
...a sweet shop like none other. We import an astounding range of sweets and drinks and other cool stuff from all over the world for your delight and delectation.

As soon as I walked through the door I began to get a little heady (in a good way) from the saccharine atmosphere.

The shop was filled with sweets from around the world, especially western English speaking countries i.e. Canada, USA, New Zealand and Australia. I liked the Whatchamacallit and was staggered by Milky Way and Mars bars that clearly aren't anything like the British originals...

There was also a few bits and pieces from other countries like Sweden's Plopp (obviously) and a large selection from Japan. My favourite in the whole shop was the Marie Antoinette shaped lollipops - genius!

The prices were pretty steep (as you can imagine that they would be importing confectionery from all over the globe) so I only splurged out on a Canadian Wunderbar (yeah, that's right it's not from Germany). It's now waiting for me in my desk at work, ready to perk me up on a dull morning/afternoon/any tedious time.

Whilst I like the shop, I'm not sure I'm convinced it's the most carbon friendly of enterprises. But by their own admission they do recycle 90% of their waste which is to be commended. It makes an unusual treat and provides an edible reminder of holidays gone by.

Monday, 12 April 2010

ICCHFC - Week 29: Apple fruit cake

This is the picture from the BBC Good Food magazine site of Louisa's Apple fruit cake which was, not only the overwhelming winner of the vote (over some ginger and carrot options), magnificent incredibly moist and a great Monday morning pick-me-up. Full of fruit but yet surprisingly moist.

The cake we had really did look like the picture sans icing. But, such is the high level of expectation surrounding the ICCHFC offerings now, there was much unnecessary apologising for an incredibly slight caramelisation at the very edge of the cake. It was perfectly tasty, so there's the library photo so save any blushes.

Louisa's apple fruit cake recipe (taken from BBC Good Food)

200g butter , softened plus extra for greasing
200g dark muscovado sugar
3 eggs , beaten
1tbsp black treacle
200g self-raising flour
2tsp mixed spice
1tsp baking powder
2 eating apples , grated (approx 100g each)
300g mixed sultanas and raisins

1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter and line the bottom of a deep, round 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper.
2. Beat the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl (electric hand- beaters are best for this), until pale and thick.
3. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold in the fruit until evenly combined.
4. Spoon the batter into the tin and bake for 50 mins-1 hr or until the cake is dark golden, springy to the touch and has shrunk away from the tin slightly. A skewer inserted into the centre will come out clean when it's ready.

P.S. Speaking of expectation, I cannot wait for Sara's honey cake...

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Unearthed Catalan Cooking Sausages: pizza and risotto recipes

My weekend project this weekend was to try out the Unearthed Catalan Cooking Sausages.

These little are Spanish pork sausages with a fennel kick. I'll admit that I'm not the greatest aniseed lover but these sausages are remarkably moreish, even on their own. They are, however, meant for cooking so I tried them in a couple of Italian dishes, obviously!

Sausage pizza

I used my faithful pizza base and tomato sauce recipes with a simple topping of sliced sausages and mozzarella.
This turned out very well. The thickly sliced sausages made a great meaty topping. Maybe only some green leaves, like spinach, could have improved the pizza.

Sausage risottoAgain this turned out very well with the fennel adding a lovely background note.

Ingredients (for 2):
100g risotto rice
150g Unearthed Catalan Cooking sausages, roughly chopped
Onion, finely chopped
~100ml passata (or you if you've made pizza the previous night you could use your leftover tomato sauce...)
100g frozen peas
~750ml chicken stock
2oz butter
3oz parmesan, finely grated

1. Fry the sausages in a dash of olive oil until just starting to crisp.
2. Add 1oz of butter and the chopped onion to the pan. Sweat until the onions have softened.
3. Add the rice and coat in fat. Fry gently until the grains are starting to go translucent.
4. Add the first ladle of stock and the tomato sauce. Keep adding the stock one ladle at a time until the rice is soft but still have a little bite.
5. Add the peas with the penultimate addition of stock.
6. At this point take off the heat and rest, lid on, for 2 minutes.
7. Finish the risotto with the mantecatura and beat in the remaining butter and parmesan. Season to taste.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Olive magazine

Olive magazine are planning an issue in which readers help put together the content. They are
...looking for people to write recipes, review a restaurant, share cooking tips and vote for the features you’d like to see in all sections of the magazine. We would also like people to test recipes for us.

So, I've replied to do all of that!

We shall see if I make it into the mag. Not that I know when it's going to be published...

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

ICCHFC - Week 28: Sachertorte

Hannah was determined to have chocolate this week having put up a vote consisting of chocolate fudge cake, dark chocolate and orange cake and sachertorte, which just won.

Sachertorte is originally from Vienna and is a a cake steeped in history. It's a rich chocolate cake layered with apricot jam and topped with a dense chocolate icing. Hannah's version was a single layer (minus the apricot jam).
It was an intensely chocolaty experience. Almost bitter cake balanced by an incredibly rich icing. It went particularly well with a cup of coffee. Traditionally it'd be served with a dollop of cream but you have to have some limits in the office. It certainly helped to ease us back into work following the Easter weekend.

The recipe was from an original Delia book, but Hannah reckons this recipe from Delia Online is pretty similar.

Monday, 5 April 2010

All I got was...

So, my one of my friends went to France for the weekend and unexpectedly brought me back a present. I could try and write a few words explaining what I thought it might be in the few moments between the announcement of a present and actually receiving it. But it's best to just keep things simple and show you a picture.

P.S. It's the R2-D2 egg-cup that was the present not the boiled egg or soldiers.
P.P.S. We all know it's awesome!

Friday, 2 April 2010

Good Friday feast: Unearthed selection, Rainbow trout and Hot-cross bun and butter pudding

My sisters came round for a Good Friday meal:

Unearthed selection
Rainbow trout with beurre blanc and roast anya potatoes
Hot-cross bun and butter pudding

Unearthed selectionRainbow trout with beurre blanc and roast anya potatoes
I spent a couple of hours filleting 4 rainbow trout and came up with 6 good skinned portions to serve (and a couple of hunks of fish for me) which was a surprisingly pleasant way to spend a morning. Although if I'm going to cook fish more frequently I'm gonna have to get a proper filleting knife.

2 skinned fillets of rainbow trout per person
2oz seasoned flour
Fish stock*:
Bones and trimmings of fish
30z Shallots, thinly sliced
3oz Mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 peppercorns
Slice of lemon
Anya potatoes:
250g potatoes per person
Rosemary sprigs
Garlic cloves
Olive oil
Beurre blanc**:
2 shallots
2floz white wine vinegar
4floz fish stock
2oz butter, very cold small cubes

1. Use the trimmings fish to make a stock. Put all the fish in a large pan together with the mushrooms and shallots. Just cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Once the pan is boiling, lower the heat and add the lemon and peppercorns. Simmer gently for 25minutes. Strain and cool.
2. Par boil the potatoes whole until just tender. Half the potatoes on the diagonal and put in a roasting pan together with some rosemary and whole cloves of garlic. toss in olive oil. Roast at 200°C until crisp.
3. For the beurre blanc put all the ingredients in the pan except the butter and reduce by two-thirds.
4. Gently dust the fish in the flour and fry in olive oil and butter for about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove form the pan and allow to rest.
5. To finish the sauce, gently warm the liquid then take off the heat and beat in the butter until combined. This is probably best done as the fish is resting.
6. Serve two fillets of trout per person gently and nap the beurre blanc over the fish.

Hot-cross bun and butter pudding

6 hot cross buns
Soft butter
Raspberry jam
160g caster sugar
4 eggs
500ml double cream
Vanilla pod
Demerara sugar

1. Whisk the caster sugar and eggs until fluffy and light yellow.
2. Put the vanilla seeds and pod into the cream and bring to the boil.
3. Pour the cream over the eggs, whisking then return to the pan and heat gently until thickened.
4. Cut each bun into three slices through the whole bun top to bottom i.e. each slice should look the same (this ensures that the top and bottoms of the buns are evenly distributed through the pudding)
5. Spread each slice with butter and jam and place, overlapping, in a buttered ovenproof dish.
6. Pour the custard over the sliced buns and allow to rest for at least 25mins, to allow the buns to absorb the liquid.
7. Bake in a bain-marie (the roasting tray should be a third filled with boiling water) at 160°C for 40mins.
8. Spinkle demerara sugar over the pudding and caramelise under a hot grill.

*Fish stock recipe adapted from Sauces by Michel Roux
** Beurre blanc recipe adapted from Larousse Gastronomique
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