Pumpkin Pie! I’d wanted to make Nigella’s Pumpkin Scones from Kitchen and so when I found myself with some left over tinned pumpkin and some time to kill so this was inevitable. Most pumpkin pie recipes involve evaporated milk which I didn’t have in, so I used Martha Stewarts ‘healthy’ recipe, though I think the term ‘healthy’ is decidedly relative.
The first pumpkin pie I ever made was when I’d just moved to London and was in a new kitchen with a new oven, and therefore I mistakenly grilled it into submission rather than gently baking. Therefore I think this could be regarded as a 100% improvement.
I just made regular shortcrust (two parts plain flour to butter), and also added some ginger, cloves and cinnamon into the pumpkin. What came out what a rather wonderfully light pumpkin pie, which made a nice change to the rather stodgy affairs I’ve tried in the past. I am also now 2% more American. Right?
Last Friday I took myself to the Chicago French Market for the first time for a look around. I confess living a short tube ride away from Borough Market in London has spoiled me and I found myself a little disappointed, but this market has a great variety of traders and I’m sure hides some great food. It certainly seemed very popular with the office worker lunch crowd so I’m planning on investigating further.
For my lunch I got myself a veggie sandwich from Little Goat Bread, which might go down as one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. An awesome bundle of colour, texture and flavour I’d be heartily disappointed if I left Chicago without eating it again. I’ve found it a little tricky to stick to my vegetarian leanings in Chicago, so it’s super to find a team taking the vegetarian option so seriously! Also left with a bag of macarons from Vanille which were great, and included charmingly American twists like Peach Cobbler. The staff were super friendly and I confess myself a little surprised and impressed how good they were - I look forward to being proven wrong more!
We went for Farmhouse on W Chicago Ave last week and had an awesome time. Really friendly staff, a great ethic and well executed hearty dishes. Also included our first taste of grits (undecided) and deep fried cheese curds (deliciously and dangerously addictive). A great neighbourhood restaurant (with British portions!) we look forward to returning to.
Once, at Le Gavroche, I waxed adolescent about the way [Silvano] Giraldin had taken a complex order from our table with his hands behind his back and nothing more than a few cooing words to congratulate us on our superb good taste. “Clearly you didn’t see the kid standing 6ft away scribbling like mad on his notepad,” my wife said. Giraldin is the master of the restaurateur’s art of theatrical misdirection.
Restaurants are so much more than a bit of food on a plate, and great restaurants understand that. Amazing service is an art in itself; I have huge respect for those who choose to treat it as such, and am very happy to pay for the pleasure and experience of it.
I would prefer to buy my own caviar than be given it as part of the trade-off for a wearyingly unwelcome lunge.