Why did I start The Underground Restaurant?
“it’s such a nice atmosphere here and I’d like to know more about the other tables so, if you like, perhaps you could say who you are, what brought you here…”
“Do-it-yourself is an ethic that is practiced by many different people.It is an attitude of self-empowerment and openness to learning. Do-it-yourselfers include folks who garden, cook ‘from scratch’, make clothes and handcrafts, build and fix things, and practice healing arts…Anarchist punk culture uses do-it-yourself, or d.i.y. as a slogan to live by. Publishing a ‘zine’, being in a band, dumpster diving perfectly good food, squatting, activism, and skill-share events are all manifestations of the d.i.y. attitude”
- Take off the lid and wrap the bottom of the wooden box in double foil.
- Simmer a clove of garlic in some white wine. Slice thinly and put 2/3 shards into the cheese.
- Add half a glass of white wine.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until bubbling.
- small waxy potatoes like Exquisa, Charlotte or La Ratte, rolled in salt and covered with olive oil, roasted whole with skins on, for 30-40minutes in a hot oven.
- small sharp silverskin onions, cornichons, pickled peppercorns
- bread if need be
- salad with walnut oil and vinegar or lemon juice. Malden salt crumbled on at the last minute.
- Yuzu (a kind of Japanese citrus fruit somewhere between a mandarin and a lemon). This is rather expensive however and only available in Japanese shops.
- Ponzu, a Tamari style soy sauce
- White miso, also available from Japanese shops
- Ginger (I used pickled ginger to garnish)
- Kaffir lime (zest and juice) if available. This is the fruit tree from which lime leaves come, as used in Thai cooking.
- Chopped umeboshi plums
- Fresh limes. I used tons of the juice. I love them.
- Cut off ends and roll cucumbers in salt. Leave for fifteen minutes.
- Mix 100ml soy sauce, 100ml of rice vinegar. Julienne some fresh peeled ginger.
- I added fresh torn dill too to make a Jewish/Japanese fusion pickle.
- Rinse salt off cucumbers, slice them lengthways down the centre and scoop out the seeds.
- Turn them over and bash the skins a little with a rolling pin. (Yeah I know that’s weird, but just do it, don’t argue).
- Slice ’em all up and put them in the mixture of soy/vinegar. Leave them for a few hours.
- Again, you can replace the rice vinegar with wine vinegar if you like.
“I miss this. As an executive chef you aren’t hands on. I want to be filleting fish again”
he explained as I watched a virtuoso display of skill. He worked methodically, and it still took him a couple of hours to do it. It would have taken me a day. One of the things I need suppliers to understand is that as a one-woman domestic operation, I’m short of both time and fridge space. Ingredients such as fish need to be delivered as specified and close to dining time. I desperately need a bigger fridge, and would love a Smeg as it would fit nicely into my vintage style kitchen.
- 600ml of double cream
- 160g of caster sugar
- zest and juice of two lemons
- Boil cream and sugar for 5 minutes.
- Let it cool.
- Add the zest and juice.
- Whip it.
- Spoon into glasses or ramekins or jam jars or whatever.
- Leave it in the fridge for 3-5 hours.
I had a lovely time at your place when I visited all those months ago, but I can honestly say if someone stood up and said:
"it's such a nice atmosphere here and I'd like to know more about the other tables so, if you like, perhaps you could say who you are, what brought you here…"
…I would have stood up and left.
Yes sounds a bit scary, a bit unEnglish doesn't it?
But actually it was really cool, exhilarating even…
It's good when you pull things together at the last minute leaving guests with no idea there was a problem in the first place. I had a similar experience with white chocolate – the properties of the two types are so different.
I realised I'd forgotten the sauce for the main course just as I was about to clear the starter. Kitchen cupboards at the house were empty. Panic. They had port though. Port, tomato soup, sweet & sour sauce, roasting juices and a wodge of butter. They loved it.
I was getting into a similar position as Gary – removed from the frontline which is why I like doing this. Good job I've never been too interested in money though.
Not too sure about the photo thing – too technical for me. I've just started to reduce the size of my photos using Paint programme (20%) so they're under 100kb so they take up less space. Maybe you could reduce some of the old ones? Or use Flikr and include the link on the blog post? Or move some of your archive to a new blog and carry on with the present one?
Have you thought of going to Billingsgate yourself? You would save even more going direct, and you can get them to fillet it there for you. Early start though. Tried here? http://www.thebestof.co.uk/local/westminster/business-guide/feature/coastline-galicia/43319 Seeing people face to face is easier.
And fridges – try freecycle. I've picked up 4 from there. Free. So useful.
I agree a very unEnglish approach but perhaps speaks volumes as to your customer base…
Good to hear Gary performed well and as to his good film star looks well I know a few who are eager to get to know him better!!!
I am sure its his Scottish lilt that makes him even more attractive…gosh I hate him!
I agree with James check out freecycle you can get some amazing throw aways… my local area has even had sit on lawnmowers being given away!
Sounds like you had a stressful but rewarding evening…
It's seems to me that this has restored your faith, which had been somewhat put upon over the last couple of months – that is a GOOD thing! So pleased for you.
Lemon possett – always wanted to try – shall give it a go over the weekend I think. Can pretend to be a Victorian consumptive maybe?! For some reason that's the image that is always conjured by the word 'possett'.
Stay faithful, C x
This is EXACTLY why I am coming over later! See you in a bit xx
It does sound like you have exceeded your limit. Another blogger user I know had the same thing happen – she had to set up another blog and link back
I host pictures on flickr – is it that blogger won't host your pictures? Or can you not post any?
Another great read. Never a dull moment in your kitchen. If your events were dull and boring you wouldn't have anything to write about and we wouldn't be reading your blog. The fact that you are running out of uploading space suggests to me that you ought to write a book. Kind Regards.
fingers and toes: mine seem to go on picasa…but my allotment is full up almost…
The Curious Cat
Is Chicha the purple stuff? I think it tastes good so!
My, my you've had a varied and very interesting life/life experiences haven't you? Much to be admired and to aspire to!
I agree with what you talk about at the beginning of the post – why does everything have to be so uniform and regiment? Why follow a set of rules? Creativity comes when you break them and carve out your own path. We are all too eager to lay out rules sometimes that it restricts the possibilities and potential! I'm trying to adopt the manta of 'going my own way' where my life career is concerned and not to just fall into the dull world of office life…it isn't easy. You have to be a brave person I think…I think you are very brave and adventurous to do what you do! 🙂
Message to Chris, I know it sounds like something out of AA but I was there and it was actually kind of sweet and we had a laugh…
Yes it's the purple stuff…
Sarah, Maison Cupcake
I love reading your posts and it's going to be one of my new year resolutions to come to one of your nights. And I'd be delighted to help wash up.
Beautiful post. I am not so sure how I would react to "sharing" but fascinating when others do!
Hello from Argentina! I am now hooked to your blog! Bravo! I love your blog posts.
Great post, I take inspiration from all the heart you put into the restaurant. I guess the sharing is like those occasional fab nights when (usually a little tipsy or in a foreign land) you talk to the strangers on the table next to you and end up having the most wonderful evening. Also, might be able to help with tech stuff, don't know Blogger v well but am web designer, will DM you on Twitter (@Urbanfoodie_net we met at the Blaggers Banquet).
I think the idea is absolutely brilliant. If you like entertaining, cooking and getting people together, how perfect is that? It's like the man on the advert with the After Eights. Does anyone know if there are any similar underground restaurants in Dorset? I feel a trip to your abode coming on, to get some tips.
Great post! LOL at the restaurateurs anonymous.
I love your stories. Fullstop.