Food & Work. Finally.

Not that I can bring myself to really buy any. I have continued to sustain myself on yogurt (but not cottage cheese, it just isn’t the same here), cereal, and instant coffee to which I adapted almost instantly. Aside from that, when possible — which is daily, unless I sleep in and just cannot justify being another 5 minutes late — I indulge in what is my very favourite meal:

The Flat White and Almond Croissant.

I have always been a Croissant girl, but rarely ate the almond variety. Designed to use up the left over croissants from the day before, the croissant is sliced in half and filled with frangipan, a mixture of soft butter, sugar, almond meal, flour, and eggs. The croissant is closed, eggwashed to hold the sprinkle of sliced almonds, baked just long enough to set the eggs, then finished with icing sugar. The flavour and texture is no longer day-old. Almond croissants are good, but too sweet and not almondy enough. Until the Canadian ordered one and let me have a bite.

In London, maybe all the UK in fact, the almond croissant is filled with Marzipan, a cooked almond mixture that is flavoured with bitter almonds (think almond extract). So much for my low-calorie breakfast.

The only other food I’ve had the time or the pence to have has been the ice cream at Chin Chin Labs in Camden Town. I first enjoyed their nitro-frozen deliciousness back in March, with their Jelly Doughnut ice cream. Since then, I’ve managed to try: Scone, Jam, and Clotted Cream, Gin Fizz, Cigar Smoked Caramel, Jelly Baby, Pimm’s & Borage. They also make Warm Ice Cream Lattes, which are just heavily-vanilla-ed Cream Anglaise with a shot or two of espresso. Yum.

Cigar Smoked Caramel with Salt and added Caramel, and Jelly Baby Sorbet with Green Tea Peanut Brittle

Gin Fizz with Chocolate Sauce and Fizz Powder

Meanwhile getting to work is still a test of my patience…

After a month I have settled in pretty well. Everyone is lovely, even though they take the piss out of you and everyone else all the time. The Dessert menu isn’t particularly exciting or complicated:

Chocolate Truffle Cake with Fresh Mint Ice Cream

Passion Fruit Bavarois with Passion Fruit Sorbet

Raspberry Soufflée with Raspberry Sorbet

Profiteroles with Warm Chocolate Sauce 

Assortment of Ice Creams and Sorbets

Assortment of English Cheeses

Riiiiiight. When I type them out like that, it looks more boring and basic than actually making them. Happily, I have control over the Ice Creams and Sorbets, and we have at least one or two specials available, which I also have creative control over.

As with all specials, they are for the most part a way of using up things we already had. The first special happened when my Sous Chef said, “There’s a load of chocolate raspberry terrine in the walk-in, do something with it and put it on special tonight.” I look at the clock, which reads 17h00. Ohhhhkayyy. The last time I had control over a dessert menu was when I was in school and working at a tiny resto in the evenings. I had no idea what I was doing.

After a brief moment of sheer terror, I thought, “You travelled across the ocean for this, don’t fuck up a stupid special.” So I made this, which went over well:

Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse with White Chocolate Chantilly, Fresh Raspberries, and Toasted Hazelnuts. There is also some crunchy chocolate bits hidden in there as a bit of a surprise.

One thing that surprised me, a thing I am not yet quite used to, is the Cream Situation. Every time I make anything with cream I have this decision that needs to be made; do I use Whipping Cream, which is lower in fat than in Canada, or Double Cream, which is higher in fat than the Whipping Cream in Canada?

I particularly like the EASY TO POUR embossing on the Double Cream jug; it is not, as you can see, easy to pour.

All eggs come with feathers, which is quaint.

Here’s some food:

Kent Strawberry Tart with Strawberry sorbet — on our special Lunch time British Menu. I should take this moment to point out that Lunch is actually Dinner, Dinner is Supper, and Brunch DOESN’T EXIST (which I think is blasphemy). This tart is so fun because it has to be made practically à la minute, which is wonderful when we have 50 covers.

Eton Mess. I didn’t know what this was until I googled it. I can’t believe I didn’t do any research before I left Canada. I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT PUDDINGS. I’ve never even eaten one.

My second special, Melon and Honey Mousse, Frangipan, Fresh Strawberries, and Elderflower Compressed Melon. Hated the texture of the mousse, but the dish as a whole was satisfying.

My commis and I had a brief brainstorming session about this dish, and he kept crinkling his nose every time I narrowed an idea for a component, so I waited until he was gone for the weekend and made it without him, cause I’m a passive aggressive Canadian. It sold out in two days: Coconut Panna Cotta with Fresh Mango and it’s Coulis, Rum Compressed Pineapple, Crunchy White Chocolate, Pineapple Ice Cream, Lime, and Pineapple paper. Chef is putting it on the regular menu next week. Score.

I’ll shoot up some photos of the coffee dessert I’ve been trying out over the last couple of weeks, but haven’t had the chance to perfect. This week, I swear.

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2 thoughts on “Food & Work. Finally.

  1. If you don’t come home as a severe, insulin dependant diabetic, I for one, will be thoroughly impressed with your pancreas.

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