This is my second ever blog and I must say I’m loving it!
The market reports are getting better, that amount of water we had over winter has subsided and given the parched ground a good wetting, which it desperately needed, and the hot start to the spring has allowed the young greens to establish so there’s plenty of healthy leaves and salad vegetables coming to market. Unfortunately the blessed kale has taken a beating and has almost finished but the good news is we should see wild garlic and savoy cabbage within the month. Asparagus is here and very tasty as are berries. From my home county Kent, there are lots of new potatoes, radish, celery and celeriac, which to be honest, are some of the best for ages if not a little pricey.
I love this time of year for fish, as a boring fisherman I have seen a dramatic level in the catch for the past 20 years or so, most fisherman report their catch to the fisheries departments so they can keep an eye on the beach catch as well as the boats, personally I put all my fish back to fight another day and only fish seasonally but not all fisherman are like that especially out at sea where there’s no one to see you.
Our seasonal catch is mackerel and sardine as well as rock salmon and wrasse, these have dropped by at least 20 per cent on last year and keep falling. So my message is to buy seasonally and locally if you can, most high streets have a fishmonger and he will know the best fish for you to buy also what to stay away from. For me it’s about changing our attitude to cooking and food, it’s hard not to preach but fresh and seasonal is the only way forward.
The EU has banned fish fingers a) because fish don’t have fingers and b) because it's depleting all fish stocks with no distinction as any ungraded white fish is used, including over-fished species. I loved fish fingers as a child and still hold a guilty pleasure for them now but much prefer cooking fresh fish in breadcrumb for my four-year-old niece who thinks they are much better and will only eat "Uncle Simon's ones”. Great! Another convert for fresh fish. It’s up to us as individuals to make the change. Rant over. Now let’s get back to some food.
In the restaurant, we have been trialing some new dishes, which have been received very well. "Katsu madness” is what we are calling Katsu day the response was amazing, one of the busiest days this year. Also the new salad bar has been received very well, we have introduce some whole grains and lot more undressed salads for the more heath conscious. Next month we have plans for macrobiotic salads as a grab-and-go option to give you more time to enjoy your lunch break outside in the sun.
For main courses, I have introduced spet and more brown rice and reduced the levels of salt in the dishes, adding more herbs and spices to balance the dish, seasoning to me isn't just salt and pepper. Fresh herbs and freshly ground spice add a whole new dimension to any dish, try it at home and see for yourself.
As always please feel free to approach me or any of our staff for info and I look forward to seeing you all in London’s Kitchen.
Bye for now
Executive Head Chef, Simon