Friday, 19 December 2014

Restaurant review - Pitt Cue Co. Soho

After several failed attempts, be it down to arriving just as the kitchen was closing, or the restaurant being full, we finally managed to get a seat in Pitt Cue Co. in Soho. 

It was worth the wait.

The restaurant has an unassuming fa├žade, no flashy signs, you could easily walk by if you didn't know it was there. They also take no reservations! This isn't (as they say) that they are trying to be cool but simply because with only 30 seats it is the fairest system that you get in on a first come first served basis.

On this day, that made me happy as we were able to perch at the bar upstairs and excitedly order our plate of meat!!

Not really knowing what we'd get we ordered a side of loaded skins. They were not what we expected for skins and were kind of deconstructed... creamy mash layer on the bottom, oh so crispy fried potato skin layer piled high with more delicious pulled pork and a slightly spicy carrot and chive garnish.   These came out first and whet our appetite perfectly... now we were more than ready for the main event.

We both chose the pulled pork, minus the bun. For my side I chose the green chilli slaw, just a little heat, not too much. The pork came served in these fab enamel dishes with some pickles and a hunk of griddled bread on the side.  

My friend chose the pork with a side salad of beets, walnut and ricotta, also getting the pickles and bread on the side.

We demolished the lot! The pork melted in the mouth and was perfect for me, just the right amount of vinegary tang and smoky sweetness, complimented by the fresh slaw and salad on the side.

Wouldn't hesitate to go back and maybe try something different next time... then again, the pork was so perfect I might just end up choosing it again.

Pitt Cue Co. is located just off Carnaby Street in Soho

Opening times
Mon-Sat 12-3pm and 5.30-11pm
Sun 12-4pm

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Winter fruits and Bonne Maman Madeleine Charlotte cake

I was recently invited to attend a festive Madeleine Master Class with Bonne Maman and the ever so lovely Eric Lanlard, held at the newly styled and purpose built Good Housekeeping Institute in Soho.

We were first shown to a table adorned with an array of decorations including, sprinkles, flowers, sugar christmas trees and lots of baubles and glitter where we decorated our own Bonne Maman Madeleine.

After tea and a sample of Bonne Maman's Chocolate Caramel and Lemon tartlets we watched Eric Lanlard demonstrating his delicious Madeleine Charlotte cake (recipe below).

Soaking the Madeleines in strawberry sugar syrup before layering up with deliciously light strawberry mousse and more Madeleinies, finally decorating with lots of fresh berries and fruit.

Me assisting Eric lining the tin with Madeleines

Oops... I think we enjoyed it!

Summer fruits and Bonne Maman Madeleine Charlotte cake
Recipe by Eric Lanlard

A light and fluffy strawberry mousse topped with fresh summer fruit, all held beautifully in place with Bonne Maman Madeleines, this delicious dessert is perfect for weekend picnics and summer parties. Using buttery Bonne Maman Madeleines instead of the usual sponge fingers gives this dessert a traditional French twist and is guaranteed to impress your party guests.  

Serves: 8
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes
Set time: 3 hours

For the Bonne Maman Madeleine syrup:
·      100ml water
·      100g golden caster sugar
·      100g strawberries
Everything else:
·      20 Bonne Maman Madeleines
·      250g of mixed summer fruits
For the mousse:
·      300g strawberries
·      100g golden caster sugar
·      4 egg yolks
·      300ml whipping cream
·      2tsp vanilla bean paste
·      5 gelatine leaves

For the Bonne Maman Madeleine syrup:
·    In a saucepan, mix the sugar and water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Leave to cool.
·    Wash 100g of strawberries, remove the stems and liquidise in a food processor to make a coulis.
·    Pass the coulis trough a fine sieve to collect all the seeds.
When the sugar syrup is cool, mix with the coulis and put to one side

For the mousse:
·    Wash 300g strawberries and remove the stems.
·    Heat the strawberries in a small saucepan with 50g of golden caster sugar to create a puree.
·    Cover the gelatine leaves with cold water in a separate bowl.  
·    In a separate bowl, whisk 4 egg yolks with the remaining 50g of golden caster sugar.
·    Pour the hot strawberry puree on to the yolk and sugar mixture and whisk continuously.
·    Put the strawberry puree, yolk and sugar mixture back in to a saucepan and heat whilst continually mixing until the puree thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
·    Drain the gelatine and add it to the hot strawberry puree. Put it to one side to cool.
·    Use an electric hand whisk to whip 300ml of cream in to soft peaks, adding the vanilla bean paste half way through
When the strawberry puree is cold, fold in the whipped cream in two stages to create a smooth and creamy mousse

To build then Bonne Maman Madeleine Charlotte cake:
·    Line a 22cm in diameter springform tin with baking paper.
·    Cut the Bonne Maman Madeleines in half length ways and line the tin with the curved sides against the wall of the tin.
·    Fill the bottom of the tin with the other Bonne Maman Madeleines halves – cut them to fit if need be.
·    Using a pastry brush, paint the Bonne Maman Madeleines with the syrup made at the very beginning.
·    Using a ladle cover the Bonne Maman Madeleines with the mousse.
·    Repeat the process – add Bonne Maman Madeleines, paint with syrup and add mousse. Make sure you leave a small gap between the final layer of mousse and the top of the Bonne Maman Madeleines.
·    Place the cake in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours.
·    When set, gently remove the tin and put on a serving plate or cake stand.

Decorate with mixed summer fruits and enjoy - the cake can be enjoyed at any time of the year with a selection of fruits, shown here with winter berries.

Happy baking xx