Tuesday, 30 October 2007


Halloween was a few days early this year as we celebrated the second birthday of the Charles Lamb Pub. I scooped out 25 Pumpkins of varying size for the locals to carve and this was put to good use in a Black Cabbage, Pumpkin and Pinenut Lasagne .... and Mariannes infamous Pumpkin Pie which brought a couple of regulars running over for their fix. I'll try and pry the recipe out of her to put up here!

Witches Brew was on the house ... a good autumn cider/perry punch spiced with star anise, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, cardamon, clove, soft brown sugar, some sharp apple juice, a little orange peel and a good slug of brandy.

It goes without saying that I was feeling a little worse for wear on Sunday ... too many Jägermeister shots I think.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Christmas Menu

Thanks for sending me the Christmas Menu, Camille! I can't wait to have a taste, it looks great!
It's now up on the Charles Lamb website, together with the new wine list, but I thought it should go up here too:

The Charles Lamb Christmas Menu 2007 - £27.50 per person

Cauliflower Soup with pickled pears and Roquefort

Pheasant and pistachio terrine with cornichons

Smoked Salmon with beetroot relish

Smoked Haddock and Scallop Pie with seasonal vegetables

Daube of Venison with roasted root vegetables

Confit of Duck with red cabbage and celeriac mash

Chou Farci stuffed with wild mushrooms, chestnuts and Reblochon

Tarte Tatin with Calvados crème fraîche

Figgy Pudding with brandy cream

Brie de Meaux and Fenugreek Gouda with chutney

Filter coffee with chocolate truffles

This Christams Menu is available from Tuesday the 4th until Friday 21st of December.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Entente Cordiale Tart

We were invited by some friends for a 'soirée rugby' last saturday - oops, sorry about the result, which slightly pooped the end of the party. Not wanting to take sides (Scotland got knocked out anyway), I took a

Cheddar and Shallot Tart:

Quantites are for a fairly shallow 20cm tart tin - serves 4 mains or 8 starters.

For the pastry:
250g plain flour
50 spelt flour (just to make it more nutty, but you can substitute any wholemeal flour or use all white if you prefer)
75g butter
pinch of salt
1 whole egg
dash of water (if necessary)

Rub ingredients together until they are well mixed and can be formed into a flat lump.
Roll out pastry into well greased tart tin, prick with a fork and bake blind for 10-15 minutes.

For the filling:
200g mature cheddar, grated
6 medium shallots (or 3 medium onions)
50g butter
500ml crème fraîche
2-3 eggs (depending on size)
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of ground piment d'espelette (my favourite! if unavailable, you can use sweet paprika instead)
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt & pepper
8 fresh sage leaves (for decoration)

Soften the shallots in butter for 15-20 minutes over a low heat but do not let them brown. Allow to cool.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add all the other ingredients, including the cooled shallots.
Pour into the pre-baked tart tin and decorate with sage leaves.
Bake in a medium oven (mine says 6, but the thermostat's decidedly unreliable!) for around 20 minutes until brown on top.
Allow to cool before slicing.

Serve with English leaf salad and French vinaigrette.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

The quinces and the nudity

News from the Auvergne: The three quince trees have had a good year. Luckily the parental vehicle is no longer a 2cv or it would have buckled (on any kind of gradient) under the bulbous weight, both of the quinces and my aligot hungry self. Aligot will, with an inevitability informed by my shameful habit, make an appearance on the Charles Lamb menu next week.

Such was the glut of runner beans (racily named 'Scarlett Runners') in the garden that some had escaped picking and grown over tough - these I podded and their seeds were fabulously pink and lilac, until I dropped them into some chicken stock with tarragon and chicory. Then I ate some magret, roasted with guerande salt over some little garden apples, goose fat pototoes, blettes galore, pale pink onions, a plantation of flat leaf parsley and some quinces baked for 4 hours in Calvados and honey. It is a hard life.

Back in London, I spent the day strategically balancing figs and oysters on naked men for a TV camera. I repeat: it is a hard life.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Sorry haven't been online much ... Went to Paris for a couple of nights (didn't eat anything worthy of comment) and Claudette has had a nasty cold and cough (which I now have!)
My parents are coming back from France in the next couple of days with 20 kilo's of chestnuts for me from their tree in the woods ... I'm very excited! Sanchia is on her way back from her folks place with a load of Quinces, yeah!

Alex made an amazing chicken, cider and calvados casserole last thursday which needs posting up here!

We had a supper club here on Saturday which was held by a couple of friends of mine Tony & Marco. Tony C is a very accomplished cocktail barman who has worked in Heston's Laboratory making alcoholic jellies and Marco has done a stint in Locatelli's Kitchen so I was expecting great things ... and I wasn't disapointed!

The menu revolved around Alcohol and was a short tasting menu

Bloody Mary Oyster Shot
Pea and Dill Aquavit Soup with Wasabi Pea Croutons
Prawn Cocktail with Tequila Marie Rose
Vodka Pasta with sauce alla ????
Poached pear with poire William Marscapone and Butterscotch
Illy Coffee with Damien Allsop Chocolates

One of the guests at the supper club was a master chocolatier who used to be a pastry chef to Gordon Ramsey and came laden with chocolates for us all to sample!!!
It was the night that The Charles Lamb turned Nouvelle Cuisine and it was alot of fun. My personal favourite was the Bloody Mary Oyster Shot which I recreated for the Staff and a couple of regular customers on Sunday morning... I think it might have to feature on my Sunday Menu as its the perfect way to rid yourself of a hangover.
When are you back from France Pippa?
We need to book in another guest chef night hosted by you and Sanchia! Also Wanted to book in Chocolate tasting outing with Paul Young on Camden Passage.

Will be in touch soon with some pictures and recipes xxx