Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mystery Dinner Duel I

Two people. Two meals. Only one winner.

Iain goes first. The house smells of lemon and seafood. The wine has been poured and the food has been served. The competition has begun.

My first impression from looking at Iain's mystery dish is that it looks like vomit. I am looking at this thing thinking to myself: is this really safe to eat?  Then I poke my fork in the green algae looking soup surrounding the salmon and take a brave bite. It's... Delicious? Yes, it really is delicious! And so is the pale gravy with bits floating around the edges of the plate.

I say: 6/6 for fantastic flavour... But a sad 0 for presentation (really, Iain - it was BAD). Final score of 5. Iain, of course, gives himself a straight 6. Well done.

It is round two. From the kitchen Iain can hear things smashing, things whizzing, people swearing... Less than 45 minutes later the next dish is on the table (knock knock - who's on the door? It's energy dog and Jayashankar! Come in and have a taste guys!). Ok, it DOES look better than vomit fish. It smells nice... It tastes... Nice (although I have to admit the potatoes were slightly on the dry side).

Iain says: 5/4... No I mean 6/5! What the hell is he talking about?

Mystery dinner party is nearly over. We don't really know who's won, because Iain's score doesn't really make any sense. If you want to make food that tastes like Iain's but looks better or food that tastes better, but looks as appetising as mine (give me something!) - then here's our approximate recipes:

Iain's salmon on a bed of vomit

Two pieces of salmon fillets

Pea and mint purée
Frozen peas of unknown quantities (but defrost first doh!!)
Big bunch of fresh mint
Olive oil
Black pepper to taste

Chicken stock
Lemon juice

Pour some olive oil and lemon zest over the salmon, let sit in the fridge for a couple of hours, then wrap in aluminium foil and bake in the oven. To make the brodetto, add olive oil to a pan and sauté the shallots. Add lemon juice, zest and stock. Bring to a simmer and keep warm while you make the pea and mint purée (this is easy - just chuck it all in a blender!). Add a blob of  purée to every plate, place the salmon on top and drizzle the brodetto around the sides.

Maria's sherry beef with rosemary fingerlings

A cut of rib-eye steak or similar (enough for two)
Three cloves of garlic
A handful of parsley
Five chestnut mushrooms
One cup of dry sherry
One tbsp of crème fraîche
Smoked paprika
Salt and pepper

4-6 Fingerlings
One tbsp olive oil
One tbsp unsalted butter

Start with the fingerlings as they need longer to cook. Add oil and butter to a large pan. When butter has melted add fingerlings and season well. Cook covered on low heat for half an hour, turning occasionally. After half an hour, add freshly torn rosemary and cook for another five minutes while dishing up the beef.

Make the beef by heating olive oil and frying cubes of rib-eye on high heat for five minutes. Meanwhile whiz together the parsley and then add this to the meat (making sure to cover all the cubes). Cook for a little while and then add the sherry. Let the meat simmer in the sherry and soak up all the good flavours. In a separate pan, heat a little butter or oil and quickly fry the sliced mushrooms. Add these to the beef and let simmer with the sherry. Then add the creme fraiche and some smoked paprika. Season and serve with the potatoes!


  1. Please don't let Iain cook vomit at Christmas-NewYear fest!

  2. If he is trusted to cook then he will not be trusted to assemble ;-) By the way, we were talking about having some themed food/wine nights - what do you think? It might be a bit tricky with our limited amount of luggage, but we could even include dress codes!

  3. how i wish i got to taste some of the vomity salmon...

  4. It was genuinely very nice! (as long as you keep your eyes shut haha). Your risotto looks amazing - did you get the right sausage?

  5. It needs a wide bowl rather than a plate. And firmer puree. And a better way of pouring the brodetto. And it was a truly amateur move to place the salmon on the puree skin-side-down.

    But I promise it tasted nice!

  6. Are you sure it should be served skin up? That doesn't sound right to me. Do we have any more peas? I am quite happy to eat that puree again tonight :-p

  7. I believe you guys... I've made enough non-photogenic curries to know it doesn't have to look good to taste good... My curries tend to look poopsome... Like strategically placed turds... I promise they most always taste good!