This week I've been eating...Salt Cod scotch eggs
The garland for the invention of the Scotch egg has been claimed over the years by, variously, Fortnum & Mason, Sir Walter Scott and even for India, whose Nargisi Kofta may, or very well may not, have been its inspiration. The man who really deserves the plaudits is Tom Kerridge, the cheery chef-proprietor of Britain's only two-Michelin-starred pub The Hand & Flowers in Marlow. He didn't invent the meat-embalmed egg, but he's taken it further than anyone else. His crayfish version won praise on the BBC's Great British Menu. And the salt-cod number he was serving last Thursday in the low-ceilinged dining room gets mine. Served hot with a slice of chorizo, its core was a warm and runny quail's egg, which had been wrapped in salted cod and then placed on a small slick of harrissa, perhaps to remind us that this particular egg owes more to the iberian peninsula than it does to the Scotch egg's traditional home: the motorway service station.
Could Raymond Blanc – currently celebrating his 40th year as a chef in Britain – soon be opening a restaurant in France? Publicising his new BBC2 series, Raymond Blanc: The Very Hungry Frenchman (in which he cooks professionally in his homeland for the first time), Blanc, pictured, says should the economic conditions be right – with France dropping the 35-hour work week – he would consider such a move. Enough to sway gastronomic voters in the upcoming French election maybe?
'Raymond Blanc: The Very Hungry Frenchman' starts on 2 Feb
The olive oil maker Nudo is, er, branching out with a new range of flavoured olive oils. Unlike quite a lot of flavoured oil that has never seen the seasoning or spice it supposedly tastes of, Nudo takes a natural approach. So the flavouring ingredient is either cold-pressed at the same time as the olives or is left to macerate in the oil for several months. Choose from either mandarin, lemon, basil, garlic, thyme or chilli flavours.
January, the month of moderation, has only five days to run, so ring the change with Paul A Young's very immoderate chocolate cookbook. After a bit of when-I-was-a-lad stuff, the mesmerisingly pretty 80-recipe book divides into seven chapters. They include: making chocolate truffles; unadulterated (read: plain) chocolate; fruit and nut; sugar and spice; herbs and flowers; alcohol; and alchemy, which is where Young lets fly with recipes for marmite ganache, chocolate gnocchi and a chocolate pesto confection.
Alain Milliat's fruit nectars are the finest around – and they are now available at M&S. Produced once a year at harvest time, they are remarkably fresh tasting. Mix with sparkling water or prosecco for a great afternoon tipple. On sale currently are a white peach, and an apple flavour. A strawberry juice will soon be available, too.
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