Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ye Olde English Sunday Roast

Cook's Spotlight with Shannon Campbell

I'm always so impressed by how many great cooks there are out there. I'm not only talking about the professionals, I'm also talking about regular people who just love to do their thing in the kitchen. I decided to open up my kitchen and let these people have a go at it.

Shannon Campbell was the first to visit and he just happens to be a fellow caterer here in Berlin. He's from New Zealand but has a real love and talent for cooking up some seriously amazing English food. Yeah, the menu was a bit daunting for a Non-Englishman: toad in the hole, mashed neeps, pig faggots, roly poly... but I tell you, it was outstanding.

When my mother's side of the family immigrated to the States from Italy, they settled in the hills off of the banks of the Ohio River on the West Virginia side. Coal mining country. It was there that my grandmother, Stella, got a taste of what I like to call: good hillbilly cooking. The love for "cracklins" has been passed down the line and so when Shannon pulled out his homemade "pork scratchings" I was really excited. They were addictive and delicious. All I could think of was how to send my mom a box of them for Mother's Day.

In his own words, this is how Shannon sums it up...

"In the long tradition of British pub food, serving lazy Sunday food, early and late, homemade with classic English ingredients, in a relaxed atmosphere where you can unwind after a long weekend, eat, drink and still make it home for the late movie before bedding down with a full belly and sleepy beer dreams."

spiced nuts and pork scratchings

Lil Bits
Cock a leekie soup
Lil pork pies with red onion chutney, apple chutney
Potted duck with bloomer bread
Mussels with cider and bacon
Toad in the hole with red onion jam

Mains - served with chicory, stilton and walnut salad
Pigs faggots braised in ale with bashed neeps
Beef cheeks with dumplings
Citrus spatchcocked baby cock with bubble
and squeak

jam roly poly
perry poached pear crumble and custard

Brunch a la carte - Valentines Day in disguise

It had been long time since I hosted a brunch, since the Hazelwood days to be exact. The whole point of having brunch was to show everyone the tasty alternative to the dreaded brunch buffets that plague this town. Where I come from and where I've been, brunch is served up fresh and warm, just for you- not from a picked over, dried up, breathed on mediocre spread. It also comes with a proper Bloody Mary and a Mimosa.

It happened to be Valentines Day. Even though I decided to down play that fact, I did use it as an excuse to buy little roses for my bud vases. You can't really get away with that any other day of the year, in my book anyway.

All in all, it seemed to be a big success- people asking if I was hosting a brunch weekly. I think I'll start bi-monthly.


Buttermilk Pancakes with real maple syrup

Eggs Juanita
with eggs, spiced black beans, grilled chorizo, two flour tortilla, fresh avocado and sour cream

Salmon Hash
two eggs on top of fried potatoes, poached salmon, fresh dill all mashed up and caramelized with maple syrup. topped with a bit of sour cream

Biscuits and Gravy
Homemade biscuits smothered with sausage gravy- for those who know, no more explanation needed

Jalapeno Cheddar Burger
served with home-fries

Homemade Honey-Almond Granola with lemon infused greek yogurt

Eggs Anyway... comes with whole grain toast, butter and jam
add on:
crispy Danish bacon

Real Bloody Mary's
Mimosa's with fresh squeezed OJ

I've succumbed. I'm starting a blog.

Where to start? Well, how about the last couple of events that Feast hosted- Brunch a la carte and Ye Olde English Sunday Roast. As good a place as any, I suppose...