Sunday, 29 June 2014

TASTE OF LONDON 2014, REGENTS PARK

I have never been to a Taste of London event in the past, but this year I was lucky enough to win a pair of complimetary tickets to Opening Night, and VIP entry passes for Saturday.
Coincidentally, Opening Night also fell on my day off, which was great.



On the first day that we visited, we pretty much just walked around the stalls, without any sort of preference in terms of food that we wanted to eat.

Stopped by the Le Gavroche stand for a quick photo with Michel Roux Jr. ...



Pork cheek and belly braised in Balvenie whisky sauce with soft polenta, from Le Gavroche.



The guys at Purbeck got rather excited as I ordered their first Jurassic Jaunt of the day.

 


We checked out the Inamo stand, and tried out the mini sake tasting session.

 

 


Whilst resting our legs and watching one of the cooking demonstrations, Wai Kit was selected to take up the challenge with the chef. The chef's knife skills against the Wai Kit's 'chopping skills' using a food processor...
Wai Kit is now the proud owner of a Sage Control Grip All In One by Heston Blumenthal.
My luck seems to be rubbing off on people who hang out with me - it must have something to do with my special hugs (!)
I'll be expecting a dinner invitation soon...*ahem*

 

Pistachio macaroon served with dark chocolate mousse, griottine cherries and crystallised white chocolate, from Duck & Waffle.







The 5 Star Haute Dog with charred padron peppers and fennel and pomegranate slaw from Action Against Hunger.



Continuing my sweet treat hunt, we both shared a dessert from Ametsa Arzak - Tostada Roasted Pineapple Ice cream with Toasted Milk.


I think I would fare well as a food cover girl!

 


Moving on to our second visit...



Thanks to our VIP passes, we managed to skip ahead of the long queue of people and ran straight to sign up for the Electrolux Chefs' Secrets session - nabbing the last two spaces on the list!

Having seen plenty of posts and praises on Twitter, we obviously had to stop by the L'Anima stand to try the Fettuccine with peas, broad beans and summer black truffle.
So deliciously creamy and fragrant.


 

Chef Pascal Aussignac and Chef Francesco Mazzei trying out each others' dishes...


My favourite dessert from the event - Peanut butter parfait, salted caramel and raspberry from Andre Garrett at Cliveden House.
I am currently going through a peanut butter craving phase...open to recommendations for any good peanut butter desserts anytime.

 

With Love from Rio: Valhrhona macae 'pure brazil' dark chocolate ganache, coffee mousse, tonka bean ice cream served with caramelized macadamia and lemon sorrel.




Finally meeting in person with Chef Dan Doherty.



And finally it was time to put on our aprons at the Electrolux Chefs' Secrets cooking demonstration!

 


 

After the short briefing session, we both excitedly took stood ready by our station right at the front to get a better view.
And seeing as everyone else was taking last minute selfies, we decided to take some ourselves before we started cooking!





I let Wai Kit have the honour of being the official 'chopper' - I wasn't going to risk shedding blood with my poor knife skills...
Look at the concentration on our faces...okay, maybe his more than mine.
I did help out, honest.

Photo snapped from the Electrolux facebook website :)

Not quite the best looking dish, but it still tasted good.
Wai Kit was clearly to blame for that 1cm un-chopped chive.



And I just couldn't miss out having a photo taken with the talented and dashing Chef Colin McGurran...




Having a little rest in the VIP lounge with some champagne...



I've lost count of how many desserts I've had...but here's my last one from L'Anima - Amaretto tiramisu.


Oops, sorry I meant that THIS was our last one...BoneDaddies green tea ice cream sundae from Flesh & Buns.



We were handed free ice cream as well, which we obviously could not refuse...


Besides food-hunting, we also tried our luck in the competitions that were on offer.
God knows how much junk mail will be flooding my inbox over the next few weeks...







We have also been really lucky to have had good weather upon us on both days that we visited.
Looking forward to the next Taste of London event - and hoping that I'll get lucky again!

The Cheekster, signing out x

Friday, 27 June 2014

THE BACKBENCH #3, KOYA

I'm back again...for the third time at The BackBench.
I tried very hard to resist from eating too much earlier in the day at work, and managed to survive nibbling on three mini chocolate brioche buns and a cup of coffee. 
I had clearly built up quite an appetite by the time I arrived at Koya, and (elegantly) plonked myself in the middle of the bench.

Having more recently acquired a liking for sake, I also ordered the sake flight of three 90mL glasses - nothing too hardcore on a 'school-night'.

| Cherry Tomatoes & Shiso Dashi |

Fresh and juicy tomatoes, in a very light shiso dashi.
This was paired with Kamoizumi Junmai Daiginjo "Autumn Elixir", which is described to possess flavours ranging from persimmon to caramel to earthy notes of shiitake and autumn leaves.

| Jellied Turbot, Asparagus & Fresh Wasabi |

Making use of asparagus once again before the season comes to an end. The turbot was first cooked in dashi, and the turbot broth used in making the jelly.


| Chilled Seatrout Surinagashi, Jersey Royals & Wild Pea Shoots |

 Delicious and creamy, and great on a warm summers evening. Another appearance of the Jersey Royal, baked in a similar fashion as before in seaweed and salt. 
This was paired with Terada Honke "Katori 90" Pre Modern Brew, produced organically and the rice only polished 10%, resulting in quite a strong rice bran flavour.


| Early Aubergine & Turnip Kaburamushi |

The turnip, a classic winter dish in Japan. The dish was formed in a way to imitate snow, which Chef Junya improvised with to create a summer version by utilizing aubergine.


| Carp, Peppers & Scottish Girolles |

I don't usually see much carp on menus, and this was grilled really well. Deliciously combined with peppers and one of my favourite mushroom varieties.


| Boar Belly, Wild Spinach & Wild Flowers |

The meat was rish and gamey, slightly chewy, and much leaner than domestic pork.
 Nice sweet, intense flavours, and really well marinated. Served with wild spinach and an eye-catching green sauce, scattered with a variety of wild flowers that they foraged over the weekend. 


| Chilled Cucumber Udon |

I always look forward to the udon course - me and my love for noodles! 
This time the udon was served chilled which was really tasty despite not having any meat in it. I especially loved the paste served with it which was a spicy green chilli paste with fresh Szechuan seeds.

This was paired with Terada Honke "Kaikoshu" Pre Modern Brew 12-Year Aged, which had a much darker colour and deeper flavours, kind of like whisky.

| Elderflower Pickled Daikon |


| Wild Strawberries & Sakekasu Ice Cream |

And finally for dessert, we were once again served the sakekasu ice cream which I really enjoyed, this time combined with wild strawberries. 

Getting a feel and view from the other side of the BackBench!



Another great evening spent at the BackBench. Third time in a row and already looking forward to the summer dates which I have penned down in my diary.

Click on the links below for my previous BackBench posts:

The BackBench #1
The BackBench #2

The Cheekster, signing out x

Square Meal