Monday, 20 April 2015

Fiona and the black garlic

Clem, Fiona, Richard, Kit, Kelly and Ellie.

"We have a gift for you." Said Richard, guest of Fiona - wife of Kit, whose birthday they were all celebrating. "Shouldn't they be for Kit?" I asked. No. These were food gifts. We don't get gifts very often. I was chuffed. Richard produced some black garlic, both whole and a box of peeled cloves, made by some apparently secret process that he has mastered - and made available commercially. I've never used it but it was much discussed across the foodie world a few years ago. It says 'balsamicky' on the box and I know what he means. It has a 'balsamicky' cost too. We had an impromptu tasting. The cloves have lost their allium abrasion, replaced instead by a mellow,
sweet, slow roasted zing and a smooth, yielding texture. Almost like... liquorice. I haven't cooked with it yet but when I do I'll report results. Richard suggested a wild mushroom risotto which sounds just the ticket.I'm also wondering about a thin wedge on top of my mushroom and truffle velouté.

This was Fiona's second time with us. Her first being the memorable evening with the Courgette Club

Starters saw a return to my goats cheese soufflés. Been a year or so since I last did these. I must find a way of including chunks of Kinderton Ash and still allow for a smooth rise. The chunks of cheese distort the internal structure so you get a unbalanced rise and a lumpy top. Doesn't affect the eat, only the eyes. These were served with some dressed lambs lettuce and a sprig of my confit garlic and thyme tomatoes.

A lovely, well lubricated, late evening it was. I've never had so many guests swagger and stagger as they left. A tardy taxi meant we had a fairly loud and uninhibited political discussion on the pavement too. Sorry neighbours.

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