Posts Tagged ‘pine nuts’
It was a glorious Monday in London and we spent the only clear weather we had outdoors. I gallivanted about Westminster in the morning fending off tourists with unwieldy maps and gargantuan DSLRs. We merrily roamed Kew Gardens in the afternoon, steamed in Victoria era glasshouses and felt the spring blades of grass between our toes.
Famished and fatigued, dinner at Nopi was a nourishing conclusion to a lovely day.
A lampshade of rustic bronze leaves greeted patrons.
The glare of the all white interior was diffused by the lighting creating a warm ambience.
A beautiful bouquet in pink hues marked the serving table where platters of salads and loaves of bread were displayed in a front corner of the dining room.
On the left was the grapefruit and lychee cooler, a fruity cocktail of lemon infused vodka, lychee and grapefruit juices, lemon, sugar and mint.
The menu was categorised into vegetables, fish and meat. We agreed to let our waiter order for us and our group of seven had nine dishes family style.
The first was roasted aubergine with black garlic, harissa and pine nuts. Eggplant halves were roasted until silky, its soft flesh contrasted with the crunch of the pine nuts.
I’m neutral on lentils so I only had a tiny spoonful of these green ones with shaved beetroot and radish, and berbere croutons. An African spice blend, the berbere was an appetising seasoning for the bland but nutritious lentils.
Sambal rubbed gurnard was wrapped in banana leaf. The fish fillet was succulent and fiery.
A sphere of burrata was paired with slices of blood orange and coriander seeds. The squeaky mozzarella oozed with cream, and the herby and citrus notes tempered the richness.
Portions of twice cooked baby chicken was dipped in chilli sauce and sprinkled with lemon myrtle salt. The distinct Mediterranean flavours were bold and vibrant.
A cube of pork belly was in a pool of grape mustard jus. The fatty meat was balanced by the wedges of caramelised nashi pear.
In a skillet was seared prawns tossed with feta, fennel and Pernod.
Two golden orbs were courgette and Manouri fritters. Dipped in a cooling lime yoghurt, the mixture of zucchini and Greek cheese were savoury bites.
The last of our waiter’s selection was a ‘cheesecake’. Valdeón, a Spanish blue cheese, was baked in a copper pot and garnished with pickled beetroot and thyme honey. I prefer this version to dessert cheesecakes!
This scoop of sorbet was the essence of pear.
A classic English treat, this Eton mess of meringue, sumac and rose syrup was topped with a quenelle of strawberry sorbet.
Delightfully warm and fluffy financiers were shared.
Disclosure: I received a demo product from Duo PR. This is not a sponsored post.
A dish that I’ve frequently reflected on from the Sharone Hakman and SousVide Supreme event is the eggs with asparagus and brioche croutons. The freshness of the ingredients was highlighted by cooking them sous vide, their essence presented on a plate.
I was in a hurry to make a weekday dinner and the components were prepared and cooked in the time the eggs were in the SousVide Supreme Demi. I recommend using the freshest eggs as sous vide accentuates their flavour and colour.
The eggs are placed directly into the water oven without a food grade plastic pouch or vacuum seal. I experimented with different duration at the same temperature of sixty four degrees Celsius and the best consistency was cooking the eggs sous vide for forty minutes.
While the eggs were in the machine, I diced shallot, garlic and bacon, and sautéed them in olive oil with peas and chilli flakes. To serve, toss with pasta and toasted pine nuts, and crack a sous vide egg on top. Break the yolk and gently stir the egg through.
It was a simple yet delicious combination of quality ingredients, a versatile favourite!
With bravado we ventured to Spinasse on Saturday without a reservation. Their dinner service commences at five o’clock and I expected a short wait arriving at seven thirty. The restaurant was full with a wait list and the maître d’ recommended Artusi next door.
We were directed to the back where a corridor connects the restaurant and bar. Fresh pasta sheets were draped on rods across the windows of the spacious kitchen, ready to be hand cut.
Opened by Spinasse Chef Jason Stratton, Artusi is named after Italian cookbook author Pellegrino Artusi. Self-published in 1891, La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiare bene (The science of cooking and the art of eating well) was a seminal recipe collection of Italian cuisine.
Hexagonal tiled tables line the floor-to-ceiling windows. The bar is at the centre of the room and there are two counter seating areas. Cylindrical shades funnel light for a soft ambience.
The cosy table was lit with a single tea light candle. Wines were served in carafes and flat glassware.
Categorised into stuzzichini, antipasti, primi and piatti di Artusi, the menu is designed for sharing. First was bruschetta with roasted cauliflower purée, toasted cumin and sesame. Spread onto thick slices of bread, it tasted like hummus.
Piled into an oval bowl, the roasted young carrots with pancetta, sage and garlic were a generous portion. Sweet and tender, the rustic root vegetable was simple yet scrumptious. This was the only warm part of our meal.
We ordered Columbia City Bakery filone not for the Ligurian olive oil it was served with but to scoop up the caponata, and mushroom and egg salad.
I had sampled the Artusi caponata at the Fall Comforts Taste the Season event and loved it. Described as eggplant and stone fruit caponata with pine nuts and cherry tomatoes on the menu, it was announced as squash caponata by the waitress and absent of eggplant and cherry tomatoes. I missed the smokiness of the eggplant but it was still a balanced dish.
And finally, shaved white mushrooms and egg salad with salsa ‘Apicius’ (a reference to fifth century Roman recipe compilation). Thinly sliced and liberally coated in a dressing of pine nuts, vinegar, honey and colatura (anchovy essence), it was a surprisingly appetising combination of flavours and textures.
The service was a little abrupt and we were coveting Spinasse pasta but Artusi was a casual alternative with light Italian fare.
Located on a quiet street away from traffic, Cedarbrook Lodge is secluded and surrounded by luscious greens. Originally built by Washington Mutual as an exclusive corporate retreat, it is now a public hotel.
The grounds are beautifully landscaped and the interior is elegantly decorated in earthy tones with natural materials. The entrance is on a mezzanine level and the lobby overlooks a magnificent loft with a plush lounge area, Copperleaf Restaurant and floor to ceiling windows to the terrace.
TomatoFare celebrates the harvest of the season’s locally grown organic heirloom tomatoes. The festival has been held in Eastern Washington for several years and this is the second one in Seattle.
Pale, bland and mealy. We’ve all had bad tomatoes. Grown with love and nurtured, a quality tomato bursts with sunshine and has a sweetness and acidity to every bite.
The Jacqueline Tabor Jazz Band entertained the crowd on the terrace. Although an overcast day, it was pleasant to be outside and many enjoyed the autumn weather sipping wine and beer, and nibbling on tomatoes.
Stalls in French colours were set up on the lawn. On the right were restaurants, and on the left was tomato tasting.
As we arrived mid afternoon, some of the stalls had closed. A handful of people were hovering around the Copperleaf stall and we joined the group listening intently as the chef spoke passionately about sourcing produce and the importance of connecting with farmers.
A tasting board was laden with tomatoes and we sprinkled sea salt on the vibrant slices.
A shot glass of layered mousse was popular, there were people returning for seconds and thirds! On the bottom was Parmesan mousse, the middle was heirloom tomato mousse and on top was fresh basil purée with Niçoise olive nougatine. It was an intense combination, each spoonful had a different accent.
Next was Barking Frog, where the chefs were busily plating their heirloom tomato and watermelon salad.
It was an artist’s palette of heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, burrata mozzarella purée, toasted pine nuts, micro basil and ten year old balsamic vinegar.
The Blackboard Bistro platter was empty and they were packing up as we approached their stall. The chef kindly scraped the last of the geoduck and heirloom tomato ceviche with orange and mint onto a mini toast and cut it in half. It was my first taste of the weirdly shaped bivalve, a Pacific Northwest specialty.
We proceeded along the stalls to Little Water Cantina, a recent addition to Eastlake.
The chef assembled cute bite size tostadas of white habanero, heirloom tomatoes, house made queso fresco, micro cilantro, toasted sesame seeds and Mexican sea salt. These were delectable morsels, ideal as a hors d’oeuvre for cocktail parties!
Our final stall was Seattle Cremes, an ice cream, sherbet and sorbet wholesaler. We sampled a scoop each of red heirloom tomato sorbet and yellow heirloom tomato sorbet. With garlic, sea salt, basil and Tabasco, the red one was savoury and highlighted the tomato as an ingredient. The yellow one was refreshing with mint, sea salt, lemon zest and lemon juice.
Glossy globes in shades of red, orange, yellow, green and purple were on display. Dozens of varieties were presented in and on stemware and laminated cards detailed their characteristics.
Tiny baubles on vine, these Mexican midgets were my favourite.
The lumpy red star is turban like and star shaped when sliced.
This is the legend. I just like the name. It is a Pacific Northwest variety cultivated by Oregon State University.
The stripy green zebra is a contrast to the red hues of the majority.
A hidden oasis close to the airport, Cedarbrook Lodge has serene ponds and manicured shrubbery.
The Copperleaf Restaurant is in an open area of about a dozen tables with a magnificent stone fireplace as the focal point.
We meandered into Tamarack Hall and one of the chefs directed us to the restaurant garden.
Four neat patches had rows of lettuce, herbs and of course, tomatoes.
Sincere thanks to Carol for inviting me to be her plus one. The complimentary tickets were courtesy of Richmond Public Relations.